Tag Archives: wrapping paper

Christmas Stamping

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We cracked out the Christmas glitter paint and foam Christmas stamps to make some festive art.

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Foam stamps.

Usually I would put the paint onto sponges so that the stamps don’t get overloaded with paint. Unfortunately we were out of sponges, so some of the pictures were a bit gloopy, but they still look nice. And importantly the kids had fun!

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Roller Painting

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Paintings hanging up to dry.

Paintings hanging up to dry.

We ran out of wrapping paper, so we broke out our little foam rollers, paint and a roll of plain brown paper and got down to having some fun.

Rolling paint onto the paper.

Rolling paint onto the paper.

We used blue, purple, green and pink paint. I tried for one roller per colour, but the kids quickly put the rollers in all the colours…

A used the pink paint to make a heart, while L made long green and blue stripes. The boys dabbed the paint here and there, rolling all the colours together, and rolling paint onto themselves. Luckily I had stripped them down to just their undies in preparation for such an event!

 

 

 

 

Making a heart.

Making a heart.

Painting stripes.

Painting stripes.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun with rollers.

Fun with rollers.

After Falling Apart by James Hanson

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AfterFallingApartAfter Falling Apart by James Hanson, e-book, published in 2015.

Harrison is seventeen when his life falls apart. He walks away from his future as a soccer star, away from his father, away from his friends. He starts over, building himself a life far different to his previous one. He takes a photography course and moves out on his own. When he hires Chloe Smith as his gardener and house help his life takes another unexpected turn.

Told from the point of view of seventeen year old Harrison, After Falling Apart is written plainly. This may be a writing technique, placing the reader into Harrison’s narrative, but overall I found the language to be rather too simplistic for the intended audience.

This story felt a bit flat to me. It seemed to jump through time too quickly, and I wanted more explanations, details and background. Harrison’s ascent to a photography career whipped by and his relationship with Dave seemed fleeting, then they’re going into business together. It did become more interesting when Chloe and Dana entered Harrison’s life though. That all happened a bit quickly as well; he hires her one day, next day she’s bringing her daughter and he’s offering her his spare room? I suppose this could just reflect Harrison’s naviet√©, but I suspect that it has more to do with speeding the plot along.

I disliked Harrison as a protagonist. I did feel sorry for him growing up with an overbearing father and a semi-absent mother, but he’s a bit of a jerk. He is boring, lazy, arrogant and selfish. He walks away from his life when he’s hurting, fine, but he goes straight to his aunt’s house, and freeloads there for a bit. He doesn’t attempt to help about the house, do anything with his cousins, he doesn’t even show up for the meals his aunt makes him. Such a lack of gratitude and respect. His aunt is hurting too. He also disrespects Chloe’s wishes in regards to Dana. Life is really all about Harrison, and what he wants. I also didn’t like that Harrison begins referring to Dana as his daughter after knowing her for such a short period of time, especially without being in a relationship with her mother. I didn’t much like Claire either. She only wanted Harrison on her terms, when things were good. When things were hard she didn’t bother going after him, and nor did his friends. The soccer match was more important to them than Harrison. Most of the characters needed further development (and perhaps some interpersonal skills!). Chloe and Dana were more complex, but I still didn’t feel like I got to know them very well. Chloe was secretive and self-righteous, not to mention overly controlling of Harrison right from the start. I guess that she was doing what she though she thought was best for Dana. Dana’s condition made her a difficult character and a difficult character to write, I’m sure, but she was the only character that felt real to me.

The descriptions of the soccer matches were much like a running commentary. Using all of the player’s full names made it a bit confusing to follow, as I didn’t know where the players were, or often who was on each team. These interludes were just over-the-top detailed, which made them tedious to read. A couple of the dialogues sequences also had me a bit lost, and I had to go back and re-read them to work out who said what. I found the sections of poetry difficult to read too. I would have preferred to see these sections inset and spaced away from the main narrative, with one line of poetry per line.

I was a bit surprised when some of the characters were described simply by their skin colour. When Harrison visits the library for the first time, he encounters a “black library worker” and a “white library worker”. I don’t think that their skin colour is important to the story at all, and besides, there are certainly better ways of conveying colour than baldly stating it like this. The quality of details and descriptions are somewhat lacking throughout the story, and this let the book down.

After Falling Apart is an easy read for high school students.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Potato Stamping

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Potato stamps.

Potato stamps.

There were some potatoes going soft at the back of the cupboard. I used two of them to make some stamps. Each potato I cut in half, and then cut a basic shape into the flesh of the potato. I used a small, sharp knife to cut away the extra potato, so I had to be very careful.

We used giant paint pads to apply the paint to the potato. These kind of stamping pads are great because they prevent excess paint getting on the stamp, and also avoids waste.

Potato on the paint pad.

Potato on the paint pad.

A stamping.

A stamping.

A used the potato stamps to stamp randomly all over the piece of paper. It looked very interesting, and she had fun. We will save this paper as wrapping paper.

 

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Finger Painting

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Finger painting palette.

Finger painting palette.

In order to make finger painting available for Baby T, I tried making some home-made edible paint. It probably wouldn’t taste very nice, but I just wanted something that wouldn’t hurt him if he put it in his mouth! So I mixed up a runny mixture of cornflour, water and food colouring, making it thick enough to feel like paint but thin enough to spread. It’s just a runny version of the slime we like to have sensory and messy play with.

Dipping her fingers.

Dipping her fingers.

Drizzling paint onto paper.

Drizzling paint onto paper.

Finger painting.

Finger painting.

The kids had a good time spreading the paint around in the tubs, drizzling it to make patterns, and swirling it together. They squished their fingers through it, and then made some paper prints from it. The paper soaked up the coloured water from the cornflour, leaving pretty patterns on the paper. They also used it to paint directly onto paper.

Paint in the tub ready to use for prints.

Paint in the tub ready to use for prints.

Once they were finished, it all washes off with soap and water. This was an inexpensive, easy and fun activity for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

A print.

A print.

L's finger painting of a red sunset.

L’s finger painting of a red sunset.

Spotty Dotty Christmas Wrap

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Foam dabbers.

Foam dabbers.

It’s easy and fun to make your own Christmas wrapping paper, as long as you don’t mind a little mess along the way! We used glitter paints in silver, gold, green and red, and white paint mixed with glitter. The kids applied the paint using little foam dabbers, basically a foam piece attached to a handle for easy use. We could have done similar painting using pieces of round sponge, but I find the handled variety a little less messy for the kids to use.

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L painting a tree.

L painting a tree.

A painting.

A painting.

L used the dabbers to make spotty Christmas trees and lines, while A just put random spots all over the paper. A also made one picture of flowers out of spots, which we won’t use as wrapping paper, we will place it up on the wall instead.

A's lovely flower picture.

A’s lovely flower picture.

Paint Stampers

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IMG_0262Using stampers with paint can be lots of fun. We have a few packs of stampers. In this set there is a heart, whale, star, butterfly, snail and smiley sun. Each stamp has a handle which makes them easier to use for young children, and it helps to reduce the amount of paint that gets on their hands during the activity.

Paint and stamps on sponges ready for stamping.

Paint and stamps on sponges ready for stamping.

I like to put the paint onto some clean kitchen sponges to use with the stamps. This helps with even paint coverage of the stamp, and makes it less likely there will be too much paint on the stamp to see the shape.

Using a stamper.

Using a stamper.

Both L and A got right into the stamping. A placed her stamps randomly all over her paper, while L made an earth picture. She used the whale stamp to create some water, before adding some whales jumping out of it, and there are stars and suns in the sky, and snails on the ground. She told me that she added the hearts to indicate that she would love the world to be full of nature’s wonders like whales for ever (she is environmentally conscious).

L's earth painting.

L’s earth painting.

Painting with Marbles

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Blobs of paint.

Blobs of paint.

For these paintings each of the kids had a cardboard tray that we laid a piece of paper in the bottom of, then blobbed paint onto the paper. A requested a lot more paint than L.

Rolling the marbles about.

Rolling the marbles about.

They each chose some marbles to place in their tray. We have a collection of small marbles, and a few larger ones, over which the girls argued. The largest marbles made larger tracks in the paint, but the size of the marbles didn’t really matter for this painting technique. Both L and A placed more than one marble in at a time, and then tilted the tray about to make the marbles roll around. If they tilted the tray too fast the marbles would sometimes fly right out, and we ended up with a few splashes of paint, but that’s what the muck mat is for.

One of L's marble paintings.

One of L’s marble paintings.

Once the marbles ran through the blobbed paint, they transported the paint all over the paper, making lovely patterns. As A had used so much paint, some of her marbles actually got stuck in the paint, and we had to push them along. It also meant that the paint colours mixed together and covered the paper, allowing the marbles to form tracks in the paint, rather than making tracks with the paint.

These are easy and fun paintings to do, and they look great!

A's paper with lots of paint.

A’s paper with lots of paint.

A rolling her marbles through the paint.

A rolling her marbles through the paint.

More rolling marbles.

More rolling marbles.

 

A's finished marble track paintings.

A’s finished marble track paintings.

Monster Paintings

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The hand-print monsters worked so well, I thought we would have a go at painting monsters. And if it involves paint, A is always keen!

A's monster.

A’s monster.

A started by painting a monster with lots of legs and arms, and then she told me she was going to paint a mermaid monster, but then she changed her mind, and painted a pink, blue, green and purple blob. When it was dry, she turned this blob into a monster using markers, paper cut-out teeth and eyes. She even added a heart on the monster’s chest. She also used markers on her first painting to add details such as eyelashes, pupils and a tongue.

A's monster.

A’s blob monster.

We made some squish paintings to use for creating more paint monsters using markers after they were dry.

L made a magical cat monster with blue and yellow magic all around it, and a large green tail. There was a monster with one eye in its bottom, and lots and lots of brains all over its body. According to L, this monster also has the ability to shoot brains from its sides to defeat its enemies. Her third monster was a hypnotising monster, with swirls for eyes and nose and green spiky horns and swirly arms.¬† If you look at this monster for too long you would come under it’s control, and you would have to do anything that it wanted you to. L has a very good imagination!

L's magical cat monster.

L’s magical cat monster.

L's brain monster.

L’s brain monster.

L's flying monster.

L’s hypnotising monster.

Hand-print Monsters

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Two hand print monsters.

Two hand print monsters.

Paint hand prints.

Paint hand prints.

 

 

 

 

 

A was more than happy to paint her hands to make hand prints for this activity! She made some paint hand prints on some white paper, and we put these aside to dry. She also added some fingerprints to one of the paintings. Another of her hand print paintings was pretty messy, as she placed her palm on the paper over and over again, but it was still useful for making monsters out of.

Painting her hand for the prints.

Painting her hand for the prints.

Creating a blue hand print.

Creating a blue hand print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the paint had dried, we used markers to create monsters from the hand prints. A used one of her paintings with the hand prints upside down, using the fingers for monster legs. She gave each leg some claws, and each monster a head and spikes. These are very happy monsters.

L didn’t do the painting with us, but A let L use the messy hand print painting to make a monster out of too. L enjoyed drawing her monsters. Her green monster has eyes on each one of it’s spiked tentacles, and a really big bottom, while its pink friend is a one-eyed blob monster.

L's monster drawing using A's messy hand print painting.

L’s monster drawing using A’s messy hand print painting.

Two hand print monster with fingerprint eyes.

Two hand print monster with fingerprint eyes.