It's been a while since I've posted on here, but not because we haven't been busy...
We've done some more abstract art, using watercolours and marker pens:
This was with the help of the great book "Painting Abstracts: Ideas, Projects and Techniques". It's not a children's book by any means but a lot of the projects are accessible or adaptable for kids and the great thing is they aren't too prescriptive so allow the kids to go off at their own tangent.
We've done some more experiments relating to Gman's rock project. The most recent of these goes against all my instincts and turns something that is perfectly edible (grapefruit) into something most inedible (a fake geode)!! This project was taken from a fab little book we have out of the library and involves layering Plaster of Paris mix into the emptied grapefruit shell, then sprinkling in alum crystals and topping up each day with some alum mixture. We put a little red and blue food colouring in the mix to make it purple and sparkly! And yes, it is a messy process :-)
Waif particularly enjoyed doing some rust dyeing this week. Again we took this project from a book aimed at adults: Fabric Art Workshop but which has a few projects that would be good to do with kids, as long as you take care and use rubber gloves etc. To make this fabric, first of all we laid our unbleached cotton in a metal tray, then dampened it with a mixture of vinegar and water. Next we ferreted around in the shed for some metal artefacts, some already rusty, some not eg washers, steel wool, weights, nails etc and arranged these on top of the fabric before spraying again with the vinegar and water mixture. We placed the tray inside a black bin bag, tied it closed, weighed it down and left for 24+ hours.
This is what it looked like when we took it out of the bag:
Waif donned some rubber gloves and carefully removed the rusty things (we put them aside in an old ice cream tub for "next time") then we soaked the cloth in a mixture of salt and hot water to set the dye. The cloth is beautiful, partly because you can see in it what you like eg a treasure map, a wolf, the moon, monsters, an explosion in space...what can you see?
As well as the art and rocks, we have also been enjoying some old fashioned stories together. Following a recommendation on Julie's Homeschooling-ideas blog, we got hold of the book "A Picture Perfect Childhood". I found this a really inspiring book, convincing me that reading picture books to the boys (including 10 year old Gman) would be beneficial for all of us. We've been slotting in a story after lunch each day, starting with the beautiful picture book, "The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales" and both the boys and myself have been really enjoying it. It's a lovely, quiet, cuddly time together and the stories themselves are raising plenty of issues to talk about. Hopefully it will help balance out some of the over-boisterous boyish behavior that has been landing them in trouble this week, and help them get in touch with a gentler side...