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Winter Art 21/12/2010

Posted by snoozerider in art, craft, home education, kids craft, trees.
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Well, I’ve had a break from posting on this blog…but it hasn’t really changed what we do, so thought I would share a few of the boys’ latest beauties with you all 🙂

Here are some tea light lanterns they decorated yesterday. I can’t find link to tutorial but basically you mod-podge the jars, add strips of tissue paper and torn sheet music (this is “Winter Wonderland”) plus bits of glitter in our case 🙂 They look beautiful with the little candles in:

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The boys have also made some lovely paintings of winter trees:

waif winter treeG winter tree 2010

(and yes, that is some more glitter!)

We have continued with the Sketch Tuesday and are all seeing real improvements in our sketching abilities. The boys have picked their favourites from recent assignments:

Gman likes his “something to cure a cold” sketch:

cold g

And Waif was especially proud of his “something you find in a toolbox”:

tools r

Oh, and we’ve been doing more Van Gogh inspired art. Van Gogh is both boys’ favourite artist at the moment.

Here’s Gman’s vase of flowers:

gman van gogh flowers

And Waif’s:

R van gogh flowers

This will probably be the last post of 2010…see you in 2011. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

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Matisse Week 04/10/2010

Posted by snoozerider in art, collage, home education, kids craft, printing.
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This last week, the boys have been learning about the artist Henri Matisse. We started by reading “Drawing with Scissors” and also watched an excellent BBC documentary “Modern Masters Matisse“. And of course, we got stuck in by doing our own art in the style of Matisse.

The boys made Matisse inspired collages:

matisse collage - george
matisse collage - rafe

(although Gman had trouble grasping the big, bold shapes concept at first!!)

made collaged name panels (an idea from Deep Space Sparkle)

gman matisse name panel
rafe matisse name panel

had a go at printing shapes over a collaged background (this idea from the “What’s the Big Idea?” book mentioned in this post.

playful prints in progress
matisse prints

And favourite of all, this wonderful Matisse-inspired dancer collage, another project idea from the excellent Deep Space Sparkle site:

matisse dancer finished

Favourite Art Books 14/09/2010

Posted by snoozerider in book reviews, home education, kids craft.
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In the Snooze Academy, art always wins the homeschool day! The boys find it relaxing and rewarding and we all learn a lot along the journey. We get a lot of ideas for art projects from websites and blogs (and always link to these when we do) but also use books and these are a few of our current favourites:

fave art books

Discovering Great Artists

This is an excellent book for finding out all about some of the greatest masters in the art world with one or two projects for each artist. They are graded by ability, by time taken and use a variety of techniques and materials, so great for ideas for using all the different art materials we seem to be constantly accumulating! It is a little short on illustrations of what the “finished product” might look like, but in some ways that is a good thing.

What’s the Big Idea?  Activities and Adventures in Abstract Art (Art Explorers series)

We used the Impressionist version of this book extensively when Gman was doing his impressionist lapbook earlier in the year. We also have editions on Expressionist Art, Pop Art and Surrealism. They are all fabulous, fabulous books! Each artist is introduced by a section showing a piece of their work followed by questions about the piece which really get the children properly looking at and thinking about the picture. Then there are a couple of different projects for each artist with very clear instructions and pictures of the completed work by children of various ages. We recently did some “Picasso faces” using this book as a springboard:

rafes picasso facewaif working on picasso facegmans picasso facegman does picasso face

I cannot recommend this series of books highly enough. They really are excellent.

Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists

Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists is our new favourite art inspiration book. This book isn’t aimed at children but there are a lot of ideas in it that could be used by kids.  There are 52 different “labs”, each giving a starting point for drawing.  They are light hearted, fun and whimsical, just what we like :-).  To get an idea of the sort of thing included in the book, check out the author’s blog, especially the assignments and tutorials down the left hand side.

Catch Up 12/08/2010

Posted by snoozerider in days out, home education, kids craft, painting.
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Is it really that long since I posted?  Yikes.  Time flies when you’re having fun.

So what have boys been up to?

We’ve visited several local art exhibitions, including my favourite, a textile art exhibition at Blickling Hall.  No photos of the exhibition but here’s the boys enjoying the grounds:

boys in tyre at blickling

windswept boys at blickling

We've done some more expressionist style paintings. These are expressing an "angry" feeling using unusual colour combos:

IMG_5602

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We've been on a visit to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. The boys are lucky enough to have a grandfather who worked as an aircraft engineer at Duxford in the early sixties, so he was able to give them lots of insider knowledge on the planes.

duxford (3)
duxford (2)
duxford (5)
duxford (7)
duxford (9)

Another highlight of the last few weeks has been the first session of Forest School (there are five more 2-hour sessions to go). Here the boys will be learning about such exciting things as using tools, making a campfire, identifying plants in the wood etc. The first session was promising, hopefully I will be able to post some pics in an ensuing entry.

Edible Science Experiments are the Best 03/07/2010

Posted by snoozerider in art, home education, kids craft, painting, thrift.
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Gman has started on his latest project – Rocks and Minerals.  This has given us a great opportunity to make some toffee and honeycomb…oops, I mean igneous rocks :-).  Here’s how to do it:

First, put a greased baking tray in the freezer for an hour or two.

Place about 500g sugar and a few splashes of water into a saucepan.  Heat until melted and golden brown.  You need to stir fairly constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.

Use oven gloves to take the baking tray out of the freezer.

To make a glass like substance, simply tip the mixture straight onto your baking tray.  It will set almost instantly, but certainly be ready to hack away and eat (er, study) after 10 minutes.

If you want to make a pumice like rock, then add a teaspoon or so of bicarbonate of soda to your mixture before you pour it onto the tray.

The honeycomb (oops, I mean pumice) is particularly good with ice cream ;-P.

As well as the rocks project, the boys have also been enjoying recreating more artistic masterpieces, including this Pollack-inspired masterpiece:

Waif got up one morning deciding that today he would “do” Van Gogh, and produced several small pictures, carefully copied from a little book of Van Gogh pictures that we picked up at the Fitzwilliam Museum.  We put them all together and made a display poster:

Aren’t they fab?

Those that saw this earlier post will know that we like to home educate as thriftily as possible, so we were quite excited to find that a local primary school which was closing and moving premises was holding a book sale.  For £2 we got a stack of educational books, including a massive poetry book just in time for next week’s poetry themed home ed group.  Yay!

A Car Boot Sale Education 16/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in craft, home education, kids craft.
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Who says home education needs to be expensive?

At this morning’s boot sale we picked up a vintage weaving loom, two primary science books, three books interviewing children’s authors (Telling Tales series) a set of Oxford Learning Tree readers, a workbook on telling the time, a book of scary stories and Star Wars Monopoly.  OK, not sure of the educational value of the Monopoly but all the same 🙂

So what have we been up to the last couple of weeks..?

More on the Aztecs as part of Gman’s Mexico lapbook project.  The boys are quite taken with the somewhat gory nature of this particular period of ancient history.  I think it’s the live human sacrifices that do it!  Gman patiently stuck down loads of little gummed squares to make this two headed-serpent (Waif started out helping but got fed up with the bits sticking to him so wandered off to do something else):

As you can see, Gman was rather pleased with the finished result!

Waif has been continuing making some more “quilt” patterns and has even had a go at a liberated house (see my sewing blog for what this means!)

We have also been to see a small but very lovely textile art exhibition at the Babylon Gallery in Ely.  While Gman was totally entranced by a piece entitled “The Power of Money” which comprised a kind of waterfall of £10 & £20 notes embroidered in between sheets of sheer material, Waif was more interested in having a go at the hands-on textile art activity, with a little help from Nana.  They had a table laid out with fabric, ribbons, buttons, beads, and various yummy trims for participants to make fabric flower corsages to go on a “tree” inside the gallery.  Waif hung his first flower up there, but was so taken with his second that he went home with it sewn to his jumper!

Continuing on an artistic theme, Gman has been designing a poster for his latest story, borrowing somewhat from all the sci-fi we have been watching and reading lately!

Last few weeks 01/05/2010

Posted by snoozerider in days out, home education, kids craft, lapbook.
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It’s been a while since I posted, mainly because we have recently suffered 11 days without a broadband connection.  Yikes!  It has given us all a bit of a jolt as to how much we rely on the internet for learning, so we have been doing lots of stuff involving information from good old fashioned books.  This has been helped by the discovery of a home educator’s perk (yes, really!) – I can get an extra library card from Norfolk Libraries!  And I can borrow up to 20 books at a time!  And 12 of these are allowed to be junior non fiction (usually limited to four)!!  Woohooo.  Now to get myself a bigger trolley to haul all the books home 😉

So what have the boys been up to?  Readers of my sewing blog will know that I am into quilting and have recently discovered the Liberated Quiltmaking of Gwen Marston in this book.  It has such lovely pictures, that Waif has been inspired to design his own quilt pattern:

Gman’s main thing has been learning about Mexico.  Buoyed by the success of the Impressionist lapbook, he is putting together a Mexico lapbook on the bits and pieces he has learned.  He has done a minibook on food in the shape of a chilli; music in the shape of a sombrero; fiestas in the shape of a papel picado…and so on.

Tied in to this, we have done some Mexican themed crafts:

  • Made an Ojo de Dios – check out Gman’s blog here for pics and info about this
  • Created some yarn paintings
  • Decorated skulls in the style of the Day of the Dead

We are about to move on to the Aztec era and there are sure to be plenty of activities relating to this we can do together 🙂

This week we have also been on an home education field trip to Castle Acre Priory near Swaffham, where we enjoyed storytelling from the marvellous Yarnsmith of Norwich.  As you can see, the children were totally captivated by his storytelling in such a beautiful setting, helped along by a bit of sunshine.  Take a look at the Yarnsmith’s website to see if he is storytelling at an event near you.  He really is wonderful!

Painting and Sewing and Stuff 25/03/2010

Posted by snoozerider in home education, kids craft, painting.
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We have been continuing with our Impressionism’ theme and Gman has nearly finished putting his first lapbook together on the subject (pictures will follow!).  In the meantime we have visited the excellent Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to check out their Impressionist collection (and were also wowed by the Ancient Egyptian stuff there) and painted some more in the style of famous painters.

Firstly, the boys did these paintings, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”:

Gman's painting inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Gman's painting inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Waif's interpretation of Van Gogh's "Starry Night"

Then, we had a go at using some unexpected colours for everyday landscapes, in the style of Paul Gauguin.  Waif chose to paint orange grass, purple trees, a green and blue sun and a red sky.  He loved choosing different wacky colours for his:

Waif's wacky colours

Gman was a bit more hesitant about the whole colour thing and initially referred to a colour wheel so he could select the “right” wrong colour (!) but he soon got into it.  He chose to paint from a sketch he had made on the train to Cambridge of things he could see out of the window.  He has blue and yellow grass, orange gravestones, purple barns and a green sky with blue clouds, with a purple window frame round the outside:

Gman's crazy colours

Gman has also been turning his hand to sewing some napkins this week.  He has made two reversible napkins using the sewing machine and is very proud of them.  He has even put pictures on his own blog:  here and here.

Gman shows off his new napkin

New Best Place Ever and More Impressionist Art 12/03/2010

Posted by snoozerider in home education, kids craft, nature, painting.
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We have had a busy few weeks of living and learning (can you have one without the other?).  On a lovely sunny morning last week we went exploring at a local nature reserve we had never been to before – Dersingham Bog Nature Reserve.  Here you can see the old Wolverton Cliff (now 2km from the sea but 6,000 years ago at the sea’s edge) and explore the bog using the boardwalk.  There was, of course, plenty of mud 🙂  Gman officially declared this the “Best Place Ever” so I am sure we will be returning for more adventures soon.

We have also been continuing on our Impressionist theme.  Gman is putting a lapbook together on the Impressionist artists, while Waif is happy just to join in with the painting.

The boys have:

Painted trees in the style of Monet:

Waif's tree painting

Gman's tree painting

Created cityscapes in the style of Pissarro.  Firstly using sponge painting, secondly using oil pastels and water colours:

Gman concentrates on cityscape

Waif adds to cityscape

Finished sponge printed cityscape

Gman works on his wax resist cityscape

Waif creating cityscape with oil pastels

Gman's finished watercolour resist cityscape

Waif's watercolour city

Tried out pointillism in the style of Seurat:

Waif tries out pointillist technique

Gman gets pointy

Waif's pointillist island

Gman's pointillist beach scene

When they haven’t been painting, the boys have been enjoying various computer based activities.  Gman has been playing BoulderDash, a game resurrected from Daddy’s game playing youth.  Waif has been feverishly working his way through the Alphablocks game on the CBeebies site, and then translating this into words to make from his wooden alphabet bricks.  I was a bit surprised when he asked for help making the words “x-ray”, “exit” and “hospital” and was relieved that the following day, the most important words of the day had become “brown”, “flake” and “aero” 😉

Muddy Impressions 28/02/2010

Posted by snoozerider in home education, kids craft, painting.
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This week we have mostly been playing in the muddy woods and painting in an Impressionist style.

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