COLLAGE

Today Levi was with me and he asked if we could make something ‘artistic’.  I told him that would be fine and asked him if he remembered how to draw the different kinds of leaves we learned in art at school last year.  He thought he did, so I got out all the supplies.

I had told him how in my last art lesson at the preschool, I had showed the children how to paint with Kool-Aid…and of course, he wanted to do that, too.  We made a run to Winn Dixie, and a side trip to Chicken Salad Chick…and came home to start our work.

First we practiced drawing leaves.  When he got some he was pleased with we started the painting.  Luckily, I’m a smart Lulu and I had put a whole king size sheet on the floor!  To paint with Kool-Aid…first you spray your picture with spray starch.  Then lightly sprinkle different colors of the powder onto the wet starch.  Using a sponge brush, brush in a downward motion in long strokes…overlapping to mix the colors.

OK…Ours did not always show the differing colors because we were pouring out of the package and we got big globs.  At school, I transferred the powder into salt shakers and it was much more controlled.  But, I did not have any extra salt shakers…so we made do.  That’s the thing about giving kids freedom in art.  They make mistakes and use their own minds to figure out a solution.  Levi thought we needed more starch, before I could say that was probably not a great idea.  And so it got a double dose of starch which turned the dry powder into a liquid.  Therefore some of his leaves are solid and that’s ok, too.  The main thing is that he was so pleased with how they looked.

Then his mind went into overdrive.  “Lulu, I want to make a big picture  like a collage and put it in a frame, but I want it to be fall things behind the leaves.”  Get that?    So, I got out my 300 sheets of scrapbook papers and he set about going through them to find the ones he thought looked like fall.  He found these 4.  I just wait to see what would come next.  He got the tape and taped all 4 together on the backside (My suggestion to turn it over).  He missed a few spots in his taping and things got a little wonky.  But, he said he would just put some green paper there like that part wasn’t fall yet.

After getting the background ready, he was ready to glue down the leaves.  I suggested he plan it out first to see how he liked it before we glued.  He did and came to the conclusion there was not enough leaves.  I asked if he wanted to make some more…but he said that he thought he would build a tree.  And he did.  Two trees actually!  We painted and cut and I ironed them all to dry them and make them lay flat.  Then he began designing again.  We quickly discovered school glue and glue sticks would not hold, so we got out the glue dots.  These worked very well.  And here you see the finished masterpiece…

 

Now he wants it framed and hung on the wall.  I’ve got to do some thinking on that part!  (He wanted to be sure his Providence logo on his shirt was in the picture, too.)

Friends, if you are able, DO ART WITH YOUR CHILDREN OR GRANDS!  The mess is well worth it.  I like the fact that Levi gets so relaxed and calm when he is creating, that we are able to talk about so many things.  For instance, When he was so delighted with the final product, I told him it was a ‘masterpiece’!  “What’s that”, he asked.  I explained it to him and then told him there was a bible verse that used that same word.

We were able to talk about how God made him and all of us just like he wanted us to be and he was just as proud of us as Levi was of his artwork!

We talked about the colors of the leaves and why they changed colors.  How God has a plan for our world and He says it will always be this way.

We discussed if we thought leaves were prettier when they were green or if we like the changing colors.  We talked about how God used so many colors in His world.  And, that led us into talking about colors of skin and how God created people with the skin he wanted them to have…and that they are all beautiful.  We talked about how different people do different things well.  God gave us all talents.  Levi said, “Like me, I am a great artist!”  And so you are, Little Man!

 

It would be near impossible for me to sit him down and  just talk through all the things we discussed that day.  He would not sit still long enough in the first place and his mind would be on too many other things.  But, art frees the mind and nourishes the soul.  It allows you to relax and let thoughts and ideas come easily to the forefront.

I realize that many think ‘I can not do this…I’m not artistic’.  But, it really is nothing more than having some materials…a safe place to explore…and lots of towels!  It about making it available and then just sitting back and watching the magic.  Levi has his own art area.  He has markers, crayons, paints, pencils, tape, glue, old magazines, stickers, colored and white paper, scissors, colored tape, popsicle sticks, stamps, inks,etc.  And, it is there for him to use anytime he wants.  He has learned from just a toddler that we always put something on the floor and he either puts on play clothes or his painting apron.  Crayola makes wonderful art supplies and almost everything we use is washable.

Just some thoughts to share with you this morning.  Our collage of fall things turned into a collage of beautiful thoughts, as well.  Thanks for listening…and please give it a try with those little ones who you love!

 

 

FALL ART

Hooray for fall break…and 2 whole uninterrupted days with my Little Man! I’d take him the whole week, but his other grandparents would surely not agree! Yesterday was mostly spent in the outdoors doing ‘guy stuff’ with his Pa. But today was mine! We played Star Wars, and grocery shopping, raced with Finn, played a game or two with Uncle Alex…and had plenty of time left for some art!

I found these little burlap drawstring bags at Hobby Lobby in a pack of 4 for around $3.

We had a few ideas of what to do with them…but decided on making a stuffed scarecrow face for Levi’s fall tree.  I sectioned off a portion for the hat, then Levi drew a face on the bag with chalk…following a picture of a scarecrow in a book. Chalk is good for an initial outline, as it wipes off easily. He then drew right over his chalk lines with his Crayola Markers. Grabbed the fiberfill and filled the bag…then tied it off with a tight knot. It looks great on his tree!

You could get darker colors with Sharpies…but they bleed through burlap…and I really don’t like using Sharpies with children.  They stain their fingers and everything else they touch.  And, they stink!  Now, I use them all the time…but with Levi…not so much.  You could even use craft paint and get a better coverage…but, we wanted a quick and easy project and paint is more tedious.  And, there are days when tedious is NOT a good thing!

I also found these great raw wood pieces with an easel back…Hobby Lobby, $4, differing sizes.

I bought them without a project in mind…knowing they could be painted all sorts of ways. Levi decided on a pumpkin. Again, we used white chalk to draw first…erasing with a wadded up paper towel. Took him a while to be satisfied, but once he was, we used a chip brush and acrylic craft paint.  I showed him how you use red and orange and yellow to get variations on the color.   After it dried, I showed him how to take off a little of the paint by sanding lightly with sandpaper.  This helps the wood to show through in spots and gives a nice look…not so shiny!   I think he did a great job with his design and his painting.

Well, the title got a little wonky…but it only adds character.  Right?

Another Lulu/Levi project.

 

FALL IS IN THE HOUSE

 

Fall is here.  Have you enjoyed a few cool mornings lately like I have?  Feels nice, doesn’t it?  It has taken a while but I have gotten my fall decor out to spruce up the house.  I love to walk through and see the autumn touches that remind me of this lovely season.

The front door…

This beautiful wreath was a gift from Shirl and Tina quite a few years ago…one of my favorites!  Bought these fall colored ferns this year at Hobby Lobby.  There are 3 bushes in each pot.  Love the tie in with the wreath and the door!

The mantel…done in whites this year…

This beautiful vase was a gift from sweet Suzanne for my birthday.  It looks like a hollowed out log…and was the inspiration to go with whites and twigs on the mantel this year!

I wasn’t sure I liked the church in this spot and was contemplating trying something else.  Levi heard me talking to Suzanne about it and said, “Lulu, I like that church.  I think you should not move it!”  And, so it stayed.  Smart boy.  The church was a gift from Ian many years ago.

The coffee table…

I found these needle felted pumpkins just this week at TJMaxx.  They yelled at me so loud, that I had to put them in my buggy just to quieten them!  They are fabulous!  Found the ‘Grateful and Blessed’ pillows at Hobby Lobby this year!

 

Levi’s tree…with all decorations done by him..with a little help from Lulu. He decorates the island next to his place and loves to put these teeny tiny ornaments on this teeny tiny tree.  The truck is an antique from the 40’s.  Bought it in Franklin, Tenn.  Looks like it has seen much play over the years, doesn’t it?

 

 

 

The big table…

Love my dishes from Pier One from several years back.  They are melamine, but sure don’t look like it!  Found the glasses at HomeGoods.  Cloth napkins are from TJMAXX last year.

 

The buffet…

 

Don’t you love the colors on these floral picks?  Found them at Hobby Lobby this year.  They have either a gourd or a pumpkin on each.  Bought the small cotton pieces there, too.  They came in a bag of about 20.

A piece I did several years ago…love this verse!

 

 

Enjoyed sharing my home with you.  Hope your fall season is full of cozy gatherings with lots of hot cocoa!  Oh, and candy corn, too!   Enjoy!

 

 

SPRING IS COMING AGAIN…

Spring, as usual, is a fickle girl!  It has been so nice and warm here in Dothan…and then BAM!!! out of the North Pole blows this frigid blast of air that has stayed around too long to suit me!  It is 40 degrees here as I write!  Last week, kids were in shorts and Birkenstocks!  Of course…it does give us Southern ladies another chance to wear our boots…and the kids get to wear their big coats their parents bought for the two or three days they actually need it!

sa40

I love spring!  All the newness and the budding out and the green taking over again!  It’s so lovely!  I decorated my house for Spring and Easter right after Valentine’s.  I know it was quite early, but I put a lot of effort into decorating and I like for it to last a while!  Decorating my house is a creative outlet that feeds my soul.  I wish I could just go house to house and decorate for any one that wants it!  I will share some pictures of my work with you.  First, my mantel…

sa36

Levi’s tree and bunny…

sa18

My dining room table…

sa22

Centerpiece close up  on table…

sa23

Close up…

sa15

A little arrangement I put together…the moss bag was a gift from sweet Suzanne…added some greenery and small stems cut from a larger bush…

sa20

Levi’s spring art…

sa19

 

My buffet…sa43

Here is a project I worked on yesterday…

 

sa37

Found this great little moss basket…hollow inside…and reinforced with wire rods.   Sorry I didn’t make a pic before I filled it..

sa30

 

I added a styrofoam ball to the space and covered it with more loose moss.  Then I found these silk ranunculus that were so pretty.  They had them in several color variations, but I love white flowers!  They were bundled into groups of 7.  I bought 4 bundles.

sa25

So in this project I used 23 flowers.  Of course, if you like the look of seeing the stems, you could use less.  But I love the look of the flower heads packed together closely.

sa29

After I finished, I filled in any blank spaces with more of the loose moss…

sa26

While I was at the store, I found this beautiful birds nest on a branch.  It needed a lot of fluffing, but isn’t it lovely?

sa28

I added it to the base of the flower arrangement…and love the look!  You could always lift the basket on a stack of books or even a cake plate surrounded by little eggs  and more moss if you need the height.

sa27

 

sa37

I hope you enjoy decorating like I do.  It is a creative outlet for me.  If you don’t have a lot of spring decor…start small and just buy a few things all along. I have 3 wonderful silk greenery garlands that I use most every season.  It’s wonderful filler.

Here is a picture of Suzannes’s mantel…you can see the same garland here…

sa45

Hobby Lobby has all their spring and Easter at 40% off.  I’m sure Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s does too.   And, if you live close to a Home Goods or TJ Maxx, you can score big time there…just buy it when you see it, it won’t be there when you go back!  I speak from experience!  Remember that you can download coupons for all these stores on your phone and use one each time you shop.  (For my friends who are local…the flowers, moss basket and bird’s nest came from Inside Accents.)

sa41

LEARNING WITH LEAVES

Levi told me he was ready to do an art project.  Hmmm!  I didn’t have anything in mind that day.  So I suggested we go on a walk outside and see if we came up with a good idea.  He loves to walk down to the  wooden bridge that covers a small creek on the road to our house.  It’s a perfect place for a little boy.  And he has loved it since he was able to walk.

We found the beginnings of fall laying on that bridge.  Leaves beginning to turn, acorns, sticks, a great rock that rolls.  He put it all into his bag.  We came back to the house and poured it out on the paper.  Then we began to touch and explore them.  UH! OH!  We discovered that some of the ones he picked up were crackly and dry.  They fell to pieces in his hand.  He said that’s because all the juice had gone out of them.  Which is a pretty good way to explain it I think.  Some were a little crinkly around the edges and some were nice and supple.

 

1u

I unrolled a nice piece of clear contact paper, and took the backing off.  ( You can find the clear contact paper at Michaels or HL and even Wal Mart).  We took the leaves and laid them face down on the sticky paper.  He worked carefully arranging the leaves to his liking.  Even though he was so certain he could add the rock into the design, it jut wouldn’t hold it.  He ended up making 3 collages.  One for his tree here, one for his tree at home, and one for his Mia and Papa.

1v

 

We added another sheet of the sticky paper to the top and then he commenced to rolling them as flat as he could. We used a hard rubber brayer, but a rolling pin would work, as well.Also, be sure you leave a large enough margin around the leaves that you can get a good sealed edge when you add the top layer.  It’s necessary to seal those edges well…just rub top and bottom margins  together with some force. There will be some space that won’t stick around the leaves.  That’s OK.  As the leaves dry, the paper will flatten out.   Then we punched a hole at the top…he had to tell me which was the top…and then he chose cord to make a hanger.

1w

 

1x

 

How nice they look!  They would also look pretty just hanging in the window!  Depending on how you cut the contact paper…you can make lots of shapes.  They make great book or Bible markers.  You can always add in some words or a Bible verse.  Or write on it with a Sharpie.

Levi and I did this same project a few weeks ago…before the leaves started turning.  We hung them in the window in the studio and watched them as the color in the leaves faded day by day.  These all started out green…with one white flower.  This is about 2 weeks later.

1zz

 

What is so neat is that now he can really see how the veins in the leaves give it its shape.  We call these leaf skeletons.

 

 

1yy

 

A little later on we’ll talk about that big word ‘chlorophyl’.  [Another Lulu/Levi project]

1zzz

 

FALL IS IN THE AIR

We have been slowly adding some touches of fall to our house.  Levi loves to help.  Especially if painting or gluing is involved!  Here is a package of burlap leaves I picked up at HL.  They have a wire attached for hanging.  $4.99 a pkg…16 in each. 40% off.  I set Levi up with his watercolors and showed him pictures of how fall colors seem to blend right into one another.

aa9

 

aa4

 

aa5

 

aa3

These are the colorful leaves he did with his watercolors…

aa2

And here are some I did with acrylic paints…

a33

 

He painted with abandon!  Be sure to put something under the leaves if you do this…paint seeps right through.  You can also use regular acrylic craft paint for heavier coverage.  WARNING…acrylic craft paint is NOT washable,  Will NOT wash out of clothes!  We used kids washable watercolor palette.

aa1

Once dry, he hung them his fall tree.  Then …on his own, he decided to paint pumpkins and acorns and cut them out.  I imagine we will add quite a few more things before the season ends!

aa18

I set my big table with dishes and glasses from Pier One.  These are all melamine…but have a rustic weathered look to them.  The runner is an antique piece given to me by Shirl and Tina.  It is all hand wrought and such a treasure of mine.  Th napkins came in a pkg. of 12 from TJMaxx.  They had only 1 package!!!.  My table seats 10 and many times I’m out of luck when it come to having enough of one pattern for my table.

aa13

 

aa25

 

 

aa30

I want a candle burning all the time!.  But, it sure frustrates me to get one that may put off a tiny bit of scent…or smell until the top layer of wax melts.  This is one of the best candles I’ve found anywhere.   The scent lasts through the whole candle.  It’s from Wal Mart and is their MainStays Label.  I use different scents all year.  A favorite is Cranberry Melon.  They have a myriad of fragrances to choose from, but this is a yummy smelling pumpkin and it’s scents travels from one room all through the house.  Another plus…the label pulls off neat and clean so you do not have to advertise where you got it.  And some prefer just a glass candle holder.  A sure winner all around!

aa8

 

aa27

 

I went on to deck my mantel for the season.  I found this nice sign that appealed to me with its clean lines.  The writing is done on natural burlap atop a stained wooden frame.  This cute fall couple is made of heavy tin and was waiting patiently for me to pick them up at Tuesday Morning.  I used a greenery garland with fall foliage picks to lay a base.  Then added fall decorative books and 3 wooden stained pumpkins.  It’s a little different than I’ve done before, but I really like the color with the rocks in fireplace.

aa11

 

aa10

This is the buffet behind my table.  The leaf garland is intertwined with teeny tiny lights…

 

aa15

 

aa31

 

I did go over and help Suzanne, my daughter-in-love, with her mantel, as well.  I think it looks so festive!

aa7

 

aa26

And that is the extent of my decorating for fall this year.  Unless something else grabs my attention.  And, of course, whatever masterpieces Levi creates must be proudly displayed.  The nice thing about his little tree is we can hang everything right in one spot!

Hope you are getting ready to enjoy the changing of seasons where you live.  Here, we don’t really have much fall weather…just a little cooler than summer.  All this decorating just makes us feel like it’s fall!  Blessings to you and yours!

aa23