Thursday, March 29, 2012

One, Five, Many.....A Collaborative Work

Kveta Pacovska is a Czech illustrator who has only recently come to my attention.
Last year, when Arjun turned 2, he (we) received a book from friends of ours who had just returned from vacationing in Argentina.  It's a lovely, lovely book.  And the illustrations are incredible!  They are thought provoking and inspiring.  Since receiving this book, I have scouted out and purchased other books illustrated by the same artist.  I LOVE them!  They are wildly imaginative and very appealing and accessible to kids who are still drawing not so very representationally.  They are an excellent reminder of one of my favorite mottos in the art studio, which is:  "When you are an artist....you can do ANYTHING!"
When Arjun and I read these books we always set aside plenty of time as the pictures spark interesting conversations.
I do book related art projects with the Big Kids (K-3rd Grade) at my school, but this is the first literature inspired art project that Arjun and I have done together.  We've done literature inspired sewing projects in which Arjun helped with design and inspiration (Iggy Suit and Banjo Suit), but this is our first actual book-inspired fine art collaboration.  We are proud of our work!
Here are some Big Kid highlights inspired by The Little Flower King.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Reusable Sandwich Wrap...A tutorial.

I've been sending super tasty peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school with Arjun for his lunch lately.  He LOVES them.  Actually....they are soynut butter and jam sandwiches.  On our favorite homemade bread.  Still our favorite, but we've been dumping a glob of honey into the dough in honor of Pooh.  Oh, and we've been experimenting with sprouted wheat flour, replacing some of the bread flour with it.
Anyway....I've been needing something reusable to wrap the sandwiches in.  Either they swim in the containers we have or I have to cut them into shapes.

So here we have it:
I decided to use woven fabric from my stash so that all I'd need to buy was some vinyl sheeting.  They sell it by the yard at many fabric stores.  You'll be likely to find it in the upholstery section.
1.  Decide on an inside and outside fabric for the wrap.  I had a small piece of this excellent dragon fabric. (Thanks Elisa!)
I thought it would be fun to unwrap a sandwich and find a cool creature inside.  Then I thought it would be really, really funny to unwrap a sandwich and find these Australian grubs inside.
So I decided to make two wraps.  The red fab with dots looks picnicky to me so I chose that for the outside.

2.  Cut 3 12"X12" squares; one of the outside fabric, one of the inside fabric and one of the vinyl.
 Also cut a 1.5"X3" piece of fabric for the tab to slide the corner through while wrapping.
3.  Fold the tab fabric in about 1/4" on each of the long sides and press.  Then fold the whole strip in half.  Press again, then stitch.
4.  Turn each end of tab under and pin about 2 inches in from one corner of the outside fabric.
5.  Stitch.  I used a button hole stitch here and I think that a zig zag stitch is appropriate.  Since you'll be pulling the other end of the fabric through the tab, it will need to be pretty sturdily stitched.
 6.  Here's the tricky part:  Lay your three fabrics out in the order that you intend for them to be in the end.
Then bring the bottom one up and place it on top of the pile.
The final order - from bottom to top - should be:  Inside fabric face up, vinyl, then outside fabric face down.  The trickiest part of this whole project is getting the layers in the proper order so that you don't see any of the unsightly seams.
7.  Since we will not be wanting to create unnecessary holes in our vinyl, we will use hair slides to hold our layers together rather than pins.  Also, because of the vinyl, we will want to set our machine to stitch fairly long stitches.  Close together stitches will perforate the vinyl and make it more likely to tear at the seam.
8.  Stitch all the way around the square leaving an opening to turn the layers right side out.  Trim corners, then turn right side out.  This part is also a bit tricky, and requires attention to which layer you want where.
9.  After poking out the corners, finger press the entire wrap.  Pull tightly across the opening.  Place a layer of paper over the opening so that your presser foot does not get stuck on the vinyl and stitch the opening closed.

Tear away the paper and you are ready to wrap!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ooooh....I'm so Tigressy!

Arjun LOVES Kung Fu Panda.  Favorite movie ever.
He has developed a wild crush on Tigress.  I made a Tigress Shirt for him and Tigress underpants.  He loves them.  LOVES them.

The first time he had them both on at the same time he went straight to the mirror and admired himself from every angle.  As he was looking I heard him say:  "Ooooh....I am SO Tigressy!"

Construction Kid

so...here's the other fun thing we did while I was sick. AND we've been doing it every day since.
I gave Arjun his own set of real "working tools."
 I brought a 2"X4" up from the basement and put a few nails and screws into it.
 Working tools + wood + nails + screws = hours of entertainment!

He's always been into construction and building. Especially since last summer when we had the old sidewalk on our street ripped up and a new own put in. Boy did we learn a lot about concrete!
We sat outside watching the workers every chance we got. Arjun wore his working hat and brought a shovel or a rake with him when we went out - in case the workers needed help.

The workers were never too busy to smile and wave at Arjun. He loved them. His imaginative play nearly always included making a new sidewalk. He taught his friends at school.
He loved construction and building even before the sidewalk workers came. He LOVES Richard Scarry books. Particularly this one.

His favorite parts are: building a new house,  and where bread comes from. He loves baking too.
So, on my second day of being sick we read most of these books.....
And watched Arjun's favorite construction movie......Construction Kid, about a four year old boy who follows the progress of building a house from start to finish.  Arjun LOVES this movie.  He works right along side the boy and his crew.
Richard Scarry's books are by far the current favorites, but other often requested construction books include:

Who Made this Cake? In which a crew of tiny workers use heavy machinery to create a birthday cake.  This one combines two of Arjun favorite activities!
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site - in which weary trucks and tractors work hard all day, then settle in for a comfortable sleep.
A Year at a Construction Site.  Which documents the building of a new school.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"That was fun!" Part 2

 Then the Big Kids tried it.

Even clean up was fun.
Happy Valentine's Day!