Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

Castanet’s Sketch Kit

April 29, 2009

my sketch kit

Originally uploaded by Castanet

I’ve shared before Castanet’s Field Bag. Now it’s time to share her Sketch Kit, a must have collection of necessities for the traveling artists and all naturalists. Click on the image and it will take you to her Flickr page where she has added notes of all the contents in her sketch kit. Then follow her link to her blog to read more about her adventures with her kids.


Artist Trade Card Swap: ATC’s We Received!

March 16, 2009

ATC Swap:  Collage

Booh was sick last week (five day fever!).  So on the third day, when we got our package from an artist trade card (ATC) swap we participated in, it was a timely dose of joyful medicine!  Just what the doctor ordered!  

Booh had made ten cards for the kid ATC swap and I had made ten for the adult swap – in return we received a package of twenty little cards gems from artists (and young budding artists) all over the country. We took nine of the cards and made a collage to show how delicious they all look together! 

ATC: Sarah Washington - "Heartsong"

Heartsong by Sarah Washington

This one on the left is Booh’s favorite out of all the wonderful cards we received. I’m very fond of it too. It’s called Heartsong and was made by Sarah Washington.  She has an esty store called Totally Crunchy Handcrafts.  There aren’t any listings right now, but I’d love to see what she may add in the future.   Sarah received our sailor card, one of my favorites that showed a sea sick sailor on the back side.

ATC: Rachel Wolf - "Fly"

Fly! by Rachel Wolf

The two other cards shown here we’ll add to our nature table: 

The watercolor with butterfly is by Rachel Wolf, titled Fly!.  It reminds me of spring and we’ll add it to our table on Friday for the Spring Equinox when we change our table to spring (yeah!  spring is here!).

The other card below is titled Summer Tree and was painted by Harmony Lattin.  This one we’ll save for the summer to add it’s rich greens and blue to table.

ATC: Harmony Lattin - "Summer Tree"

Summer Tree by Harmony Lattin

Another set that I was particularly fond of is shown in the collage above: the top row, center and the middle row, right.  These two were made by Willary Palaia.  Her cards were mixed media.  Printed paper was folded around her card, embellishments added, and she wrapped her cards with sewing thread.  They’re really cool!  

If you click on the collage above it will take you to its corresponding Flickr page where I’ve noted all the cards.  – Special thanks to Alison Kiser for being the hostess extraordinaire! 


Felted Fleece Spring Nature Table Baskets

March 13, 2009

Felted Fleece Spring Basket & Pussy Willow

Booh and I made a set of little spring baskets by felting raw fleece. Recently we went to a local farm to watch them shear their sheep and we got to take home a small bag of the skirted fleece. I wanted to add the fleece to our spring nature table and the idea of felted baskets came to mind.   We took the raw fleece and wrapped it around a river stone. We then felted it using hot water and soap. I love the organic look of these and how the silvery Pussy Willow catkins from the tree in our backyard look nestled inside. To me it is the perfect addition to Booh’s spring nature table.

The one above is a close-up of the smallest one in the bunch (this one is for “T&Z”). I love the wispy edges.   And the close-up of the one below is the largest one which we filled to the brim with Pussy Willow catkins and placed in the center of our nature table.  We made several baskets to share and swap with others that have a nature table too.  We’re sending them off today and are looking forward to what treasures we get in return!

Felted Fleece Spring Baskets & Pussy Willow Felted Fleece Spring Basket & Pussy Willow 

Winter Tree Study

February 9, 2009

Every morning at 6:30, Booh and I snuggle up on the couch and watch the morning winter sky light up as the sun slowly rises above the hills.  We’ve been recording the morning temperature, time, phases of the moon, weather conditions and any nature observations we can make from the window.  The coldest temperature we’ve recorded this year was negative 12-degrees … 24-degrees below freezing!  On that day our nature observation was steam coming off of the river!

This was the same day that Booh noticed patterns the branches of the deciduous trees made and how the morning sky made patches of negative space in between.  I decided to do a winter tree study with her and I came up with two projects I wanted to share.

Winter Tree Study Collage


The first one was a collage project.  After painting watercolor paper the color of the sky, we used strips of brown and black construction paper and glued them to our canvas of blue.  The idea was to glue one tree together first, followed by a second tree of a different color, and so on, creating the illusion of depth.  As you can see above (collage on left), Booh had her own methodology. I wanted to add more to mine but ran out of time.  – When we glued the strips of construction paper onto our dried blue canvas, we allowed the strips to project off of the page, and when we are done I trimmed the strips to make a smooth edge

Tree Study with BeeswaxBEESWAX

Continuing with our Winter Tree Study, we used Stockmar modelling beeswax and made little sculptures of our deciduous tree observations.  This time we added the river with its snowy bank and ice floating by.  

These medallions make a great addition to our winter nature table.  I’d like to make one for spring, summer and autumn with her too to add to our nature table as the seasons change.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Men (and dreidels!)

December 21, 2008

I remember as a kid decorating cookies for the holidays with my dad and brother. My mom would buy a roll of Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and cut it into thin medallions for us to decorate with rainbow jimmy’s and red hots.

J and I have followed a similar tradition since we met, only we make and decorate gingerbread men (and women) from scratch. I’ve made a gluten free gingerbread cookie dough two years in a row, and sadly many of our gingerbread men wind up on the Infirmary Cooling Rack. They just don’t hold together as well. I guess my mother had the right idea!

I made a royal frosting this year and piped it onto the batch I decorated with gluten free sprinkles. J and Booh opted to spread frosting on theirs with a butter knife and add currents. Booh found licorice Jelly Belly jelly beans and added those to hers too. That should taste interesting!

One of our neighbors is Jewish and they’ve never decorated Christmas cookies, so we invited them over to help us. They brought their dreidel cookie cutter. The dreidels stayed together much better than the gingerbread men.

Next year I think I’ll go back to a traditional gingerbread cookie recipe … unless someone knows of a good gluten free recipe that holds up after they come out of the oven!

How to Make a Gnome

December 6, 2008

This is a super easy nature craft we learned how to do during the winter fair at Booh’s school:

Material list: acorn, unfinished wooden bead, felting wool, felt, raffia, silk flower (optional), hot glue gun and a fine tip magic marker.

  1. Draw a simple face on the unfinished wooden bead with a fine tip marker.
  2. Glue the wooden bead atop an acorn that is just larger than the bead.
  3. Glue a small lock of felting wool to the top of the wooden bead.
  4. Glue a rectangular piece of felt on top of the wool lock.
  5. Tie around the “neck” a piece of raffia, holding down the felt “scarf.”

Another option:
Between Step 2 & 3, take a detached silk flower and cut a hole in the middle, just large enough to push over the “head” of the gnome. Leave off Step 4 and glue an acorn top on as a hat instead.

These make great handmade “green” gifts for the holidays. You can coordinate the colors to match the seasons and make them for May Day, Winter Solstice, or Fall Equinox to give as gifts or add to a nature table.

Handmade Holiday Card Swap

November 30, 2008

Handmade Holiday Card Swap, originally uploaded by icybooh.

This year Booh and I are participating in Kids Craft Weekly’s Handmade Holiday Card Swap. We finished up our designs and sent them off to 10 families that are part of the swap. Our families were from all over the USA and two international families (Mexico & Australia), including a first grade class in Massachusetts.

Above is our design. We cut a star out of recycled scraps of paper and hole-punched 10 round “ornaments” that we glued onto our Christmas Tree design. They were a lot of fun to make and we are looking forward to receiving our 10 handmade cards from families participating in the swap too.


November 5, 2006

Friends of ours who live had a Martinmas festival at their home. Martinmas is a celebration that has celebrator elements found in both American Halloween and Thanksgiving traditions. It was a perfect night with a full moon and clear skies.

When we arrived fresh apple cider was being pressed from fresh picked apples. Booh and I gathered with other children in our friend’s barn to make lanterns out of glass jars for the lantern parade. Booh painted her jar and said the design was a snake cloud from her imagination. She described it as snakes in a ball. I took strips of colored tissue paper and glued them to the outside of my jar.

Guests placed candles in their lanterns and paraded into the darkness along a path that snaked through their fields, lit with candelabras. We sang “Lantern Songs” and other familiar tunes. After the parade we gathered for a feast of food guests had brought. Traditional goose would have been served, but we brought a rotisserie chicken instead.

After eating we went for a full moon hayride and then gathered around a beautiful bonfire with hay bale seats. We sang more songs and roasted marshmallows. The fire let off burning cinders into the air that Booh calls Fire Fairies.

Booh’s daddy couldn’t come with us, so when we got home she explained what was Martinmas. She said that is was for Martin from Zoobomafoo. Actually, Martinmas is name after St. Martin, the patron saint of beggars, drunkards and outcasts. He was known for his gentleness and hospitality, and his ability to bring warmth and light to those who were previously in darkness.

Fruit Flies & Fireflies

November 1, 2006


At Booh’s preschool they have two classes, the Morning Glory Class and Firefly Class. Morning Glories are the younger kids (2.9 -4) and Fireflies are the older kids (4-5). Last year Booh was a Morning Glory, graduating this summer to a Firefly.

This fall the Firefly class made apple dolls. They used “prickles” (cloves) for the eyes and poked popsicle sticks in them. When I arrived to bring her home she protested our departure and I insisted. Said exclaimed she wanted to “eat someone’s head off!” I suggested her apple doll’s head as her snack. Much to my dismay it became her snack indeed.

Last year the Morning Glory class made Dried Apple Shrunken Heads. Whole apples were studded with clove faces and left to shrivel up and dry. By the end of the week they were covered with a swarm of fruit flies. We were infested with fruit flies that fall and I swore it was from the apple art she made at school that was grimacingly displayed on our kitchen counter.

I was happy this year to have apple art she could actually eat, and to bring home a little Firefly rather than fruit flies!