Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Paracord Bracelets

Paracord is a type of versatile nylon cord popular with the military and with survivalists. Woven into bracelets and belts, soldiers and civilians can unravel the cable if and when it is needed. Recently, crafters have discovered paracord which has increased its popularity. My daughter likes paracord more for the crafting/fashion aspect, but even for her, it may come in handy.


The book Paracord Fusion Ties - Volume 1: Straps, Slip Knots, Falls, Bars, and Bundles is a good place to get started constructing paracord strips. It begins at the basic level and is full of color photos to make understanding the steps easier.

There are many different ways the cords can be woven together to create wider strips which can be worn as belts and bracelets.




For more craft projects please check out our Arts and Crafts page.






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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Custom Knit American Baby Hats

I created two very different red, white and blue baby hats.

The patterns were created using stitches detailed in All about Knitting. The first hat was very simple and a joy to knit. The second hat was difficult and I couldn't wait to finish.

The stitch used in this hat is called Three Color Tweed. It was created by knitting two stitches and then slipping one. In some rows the yarn was held in front of the slipped stitches and in other rows the yarn was held in the back of the slipped stitches. In addition, the stitches were offset in each row so that some were knit 2, slip 1 and other rows were knit 1, slip 1, knit 1. Since each row was knit using only one color the hat progressed rather quickly.

Here's the pattern:
sport weight yarn, #4 round needles
Cast on 120 stitches
place stitch marker and join into a circle
Row Color
1-B-knit
2-W-sl 1,k2 *sl 1 wyib, k2* k1
3-W-k3 *sl 1 wyif, k2* k1
4-R- *k2, sl 1 wyib*k1
5-R-k1 *sl 1 wyif, k2*
6-B-k1 *sl 1 wyib, k2*
7-B- *k2, sl 1 wyif* K1
repeat rows 2-7 until hat is 5.5 inches tall

decrease
beginning on row
7 - B-(*k2,sl 1 wyif* 3 times, k2 tog, sl 1 wyif - place a stitch marker) repeat until round is complete
1 - W- (*sl 1 wyib, k2* 2 times, k2 tog) repeat until round is complete
2 - W- follow pattern
3 - R- (*k2, sl 1 wyib* 2 times, k1, k2 tog, sl 1 wyib) repeat
4 - R- (k1 *sl 1 wyif, k2* 2 times, k2 tog) repeat
5 - B- (k1 *sl 1 wyib, k2* sl 1 wyib, k1, k2 tog) repeat 
6 - B- (k2, sl 1 wyif, k1, k2 tog, sl 1 wyif) repeat

slip yarn through remaining stitches and weave in loose yarn ends


wyib (with yarn in back)
wyif (with yarn in front)
*repeat sections within stars*


This hat was created with a combination of knit twill stitches, knit cable stitches and purl stitches. Since at the bottom of the hat three colors were used in one row, it was extremely difficult. All of the white stitches were purled, all of the blue and red were knit throughout the entire hat. The red stitches were created using a crossed rib stitch which means when there were two stitches together, the second one was knit, then the first and they were slipped off the needle together. I really enjoyed the cross stitch rib, but cabling the blue stitches was no fun at all. Therefore, after a while, the hat was reduced to two colors.

Creating unique patterns is a lot of fun. Sometimes it works well, and other time not so well. Have you created your own knitting patterns? How has it worked?






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* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fireworks Mixed Media Artwork

We created firework artwork using watercolor and acrylic paint.

In Germany there is one day per year when fireworks are allowed. When the New Year begins most families emerge from the house and light off loads of highly explosive fireworks. For hours on end the booming goes on in surround sound. Fireworks are launched in cul de sacs, fields, and neighborhood intersections. Ordinary citizens light the type of fireworks reserved for the fire department in my hometown. The celebration is followed by a week of greeting all friends and acquaintances with "Happy New Year" and kisses on each cheek.

After watching the show, we attempted to capture what we witnessed in paintings. Using watercolor paper, watercolor paint, acrylic paint and two days the following images were created.

The silhouettes of trees and houses were sketched as we saw them from our safe viewing location in a farm field.

Watercolor paint was used to fill in the sky with a dark greyish hue intermixed with regions of faint color.

After the watercolor dried, black acrylic paint was used to fill the dark silhouetted areas.

Next, brightly colored fireworks were added with acrylic paint. The above photo shows my 13 year old daughter's finished piece.

The finished firework artwork of my 8 year old daughter.

 My piece before fireworks.

My piece after fireworks.

 My 11 year old son's work before fireworks.

 My 11 year old son's work after fireworks. (My personal favorite.)
He has such a different view of the world than I do. It's often very interesting to see what he produces.

 Happy 4th of July!



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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Perspective Art for Kids - City Street from Above

My son created a bird eye view of a city.

Last year my daughter completed a similar bird's eye view drawing, but my son's turned out quite different. His drawing looks down on street full of buildings, where as my daughter's looks down on a point in the middle of a few buildings. In other words, his bird was flying much higher in the air down a street with rectangular buildings placed on a grid, and her bird was flying over a few building scattered together. Perhaps my son's bird was American and my daughter's was European?

This youtube video explains the steps for creating a city drawing from a bird's eye view.

How to Draw a City Using One-Point Perspective: A Bird's Eye View


 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Zentangle for Kids

My eight year old loves creating Zentangles.

Zentangles are art doodles meant to be done on small pieces of paper for relaxation.

The book one Zentangle a day give basic instructions for creating Zentangles. First a few lines are drawn to contain the doodles. Next the created regions are filled with doodle art. Finally the doodles are shaded to add depth. Contained in the book are 150 different doodles which are introduced a few a day, over the course of six weeks.

After creating a few small zentangles, my eight year old decided to fill an entire piece of paper. Many are done in black in white, but color adds new dimensions to zentangles. A simple internet search reveals zentangle animals, plants and other shapes sure to inspire. Creating zentangles is a fun way to learn some basic art techniques and the book One Zentangle a Day is a good reference for getting started.





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* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bernhard Hoyes Dancing Ladies

We created oil pastel dancing lady artwork inspired by Bernhard Hoyes.

Studying artists of the past is educational, but studying living artists is inspirational. Bernhard Hoyes was born in Jamaica and is a successful artist living and breathing in southern California. After learning about Hoyes on the Art Projects for Kids blog I immediately wanted to do a Hoyes inspired project. Much of his work is designed to celebrate his African, Jamaican and Christian background. His use of bright primary colors, coupled with the confident, uplifting spirit displayed by the dancing women in his paintings drew me in. Flowing from a featured center dancer to a background of gay, bright colored dresses fading into the background, I could feel the power of the moment in time captured in the artwork.

To create our dancing ladies we began by sketching the central dancer beginning with the head and working downward toward the dress. Next, the two background dancers were drawn, ensuring that the arms were placed above the head and the hips were placed either forward or backward to display movement.

Then the dresses were filled with primary colored oil pastels, followed by the head, neck and arms. Shading was attempted by adding darker oil pastels to one side of the dresses, faces and arms. (We are still working to improve our shading techniques.)

Then the background was completed with dark shades of brown to give the image a feeling of an outdoor, nighttime celebration.

Although the finished drawing looks simple, it was quite difficult to sketch the figures with a proportionality that looked reasonable while placing the bodies in positions of movement.

Overall, I was quite satisfied with this project that took a few hours to complete. I would like to try another version in the future using watercolors instead of oil pastels.



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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bottle Cap Collection

Who needs toys when they have bottle caps? What does one do with a bottle cap collection? What does your child collect?

Here are a few things my son has done with his bottle caps.

Bottle Cap Wreath
Bottle Cap Necklaces
Sorting Objects

Counting, categorizing, comparing, trying to make squares and rectangles (recognizing prime numbers), max - he has over 600 Bitburger, min - he has several unique caps from the local brewery......


Organizing them on the floor lasted three days and involved both of my daughters.

Now the neighbors know my son collects bottle caps so he receives weekly donations. In addition to making a wreath for himself, (See the link above.), he made two which he gave to people who gave him lots of bottle caps.

After organizing the bottle caps on the floor, they were sorted into plastic bags of similar type.

The next step is another internet search for more bottle cap craft ideas.




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