Driftwood Animals

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How much doe it take to encourage kids to see extraordinary in the ordinary objects?

Usually not more than a couple of words. In this case, it took even less. I just collected some driftwood and brought it into the classroom. I showed the treasures to the kids and let them play with it. Suddenly the sticks became snakes or dragons, the larger pieces changed into birds and cars, people or even dinosaurs.

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We then talked about driftwood and read Driftwood Dragons (really nice poems). Then it took just some questions like: how can we bring out the animals that are hiding in the driftwood out for everyone to see? – Paint them! And we sure did.

It was a really fun project and now we have a lot of fun animals for our block area. I’m sure they will be very happy there.

Alcohol Ink Birds

alcohol ink

Alcohol inks are one of my favorite media for little kids. They are so flexible and fun to use. We have used them to decorate Christmas ornaments, coasters for teachers, plates and candle holders and now we used them to make a colorful collage on our window.

I got the idea when I picked up my new (old) overhead projector and the teacher gave me a box of colorful transparencies. I immediately wanted to use them for some window decorations and some light table projects but it took a while to figure out exactly what I want to do.

We discussed it with the kids and decided that birds sitting on a string would be awesome. So, we put a little blending solution onto the transparencies and started dripping the inks onto it. The kids love this process. It is super fast and it literally moves in front of your eyes. The more blending solution you use, the more the inks blend into each other and the more space they will cover (and the more they move). In a couple minutes we had more pictures than we could ever use.

We left it to dry for a little bit and then starting drawing and cutting out our birds, flowers, leaves, birdhouses, hearts and bumblebees 🙂 I tried to take a picture but it does not show well. It looks so much better in person!

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If you want to try it yourself, you just need some transparent colorful foil (I used old colorful foils I got along with my overhead projector), alcohol inks and alcohol ink blending solution. That’s it.

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Tinkering in Tacoma

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If you love tinkering, upcycling and art – bring your kids to Tacoma!

I have never been in this tiny little store before but I wanted to get there for quite some time. It is a little bit far for me now but oh my goodness, am I glad I spent an hour in the car!

As soon as I walked in, I knew it was worth it. They have so many treasures here (at least my kind of treasures). I found translucent Plexiglas crabs for the light table, plastic tubes for robot’s legs, transparent circles for alcohol-ink sun catchers, wooden spaceships ready to be painted, wooden horse-monsters from an old piano, apple-monster ready fall art project-in-the-making, microfilms and photo negatives and of course a LOT of samples of tiles, bricks and stones for our block area. And the best part? A huge paper bag is $20. I stuffed it to the rim and beyond  😉

tinkertopia finds

They also offer drop-in tinkering sessions for the kids. I talked to the owners and the best time to go seems to be Saturday morning or Sunday early afternoon. Just check their online calendar to see if there is a birthday party or not. It’s $7 per hour an a half and you can use whatever there is in the tinkering section of the store. I know what we are doing the next weekend it’s raining…

Our Remodel Story

remodelAs always, it started with an idea.

Two years ago when we were looking for a place to live, we saw this big house on almost an acre of land. As soon as we walked out on the deck a mother deer walked into our garden, followed by two little fawns – and they started nurising just in front of us. We were sold!

We moved in a couple of weeks after that.  And as it happened, there was a 700-square foot building right next to the main house. The previous owners used it as a shop and storage but once I saw it I knew it could be so much more than that. It screamed: art preschool!

We talked about it a lot, counted and planned… until we were ready to do it. We found an amazing contractor and started on this long, painful and exciting journey. Now, after a year of permits, plans, 100s of decisions and a lot of patience… we have arrived. The building is almost ready. We have new drywall, wonderful floor that should survive anything, skylight-like diffused lights that should be perfect for creating art under… basically, the interior should be finished in a week or two. I cannot wait!

We still need to finish a brand new bathroom (we are connecting to sewer to be able to do it so it slowed us down a bit) and a playground for the kids… but I cannot wait to be able to start moving in some furniture soon and sharing it with all of you! YAY! So excited!