Monday, 25 November 2013

Autumn Natural Paints

Homemade natural coloured paints, made from spices, tea and fruit infusions made for some lovely soft watercolour style painting in autumnal colours.

Painting is an often requested activity and making some natural paints has been on our list of things to try for a while.  These were super simple to make and stored in a jam jar with lids they have lasted a couple of weeks.

The paints were turmeric, chilli (I would have used paprika or tandoori masala powder if I was concerned they might taste them), tea and a blackberry fruit infusion.  I added boiling water to each of them, stirred them and left them overnight to intensify in colour. 

The blackberry infusion was a pinky red paint that dried pale blue - some science there to explore.


The tumeric gave a lovely bright yellow colour.

The wind blowing the leaves from the tree by my 5 year old.

What other natural simple paints could we make?  And would these paints work on fabric?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Building a Hedgehog Hibernation House

After having fun with our Autumn Woodland Story Box, and inspired by this post from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots, we set about making our own hedgehog hibernation house in a corner of our allotment. After floating this suggestion a few of weeks ago, the girls most definitely took to the idea and we had lots of fun planning, researching, building and now checking on it regularly.

Over the last couple of weeks there has been lots of questions and conversations about planning this hedgehog hibernation house and about hibernation.  We've been collecting all sorts of sticks, twigs, leaves and things when we've been to the park or woodlands, one such trip pictured below, and there has been lots of talk by Chick about how we are going to build it, what the hedgehog might need, why animals hibernate, which animals hibernate etc.

 Our allotment is certainly on the wild side, but with lots of raw materials for building, plenty of space and close to woodland it's hopefully an ideal place to build a house for a hedgehog.

First up was collecting raw materials for building it - wood chippings for the foundation and the roof.

Logs for the walls and roof timbers.

Sticks to plug the gaps in the roof.

Leaves for bedding.

And straw for insulation.

We started out laying a foundation of woodchip and leaves.

Then we created our side walls and our first roof timber.

Then Chick set about adding more timbers to the roof and plugging the gaps with smaller sticks.

Until it looked like this.

Then we added wood chip for insulation to the roof.

And then finally straw was added for bedding.  So here's our finished hedgehog hibernation house and we'll just have to wait and see if there is a resident over winter.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Scratch Art Firework Pictures

As well as our Sand and Glitter Firework Art we also did some other firework pictures today, these are scratch art using wax crayons and black acrylic paint.  For other firework art ideas see here for our Firework Pipe Cleaner Printing and Firework Splatter Art.  Fireworks are so great for art - full of colour, explosion and no two ever the same.

The picture above is Chick's (5.5 years) work and the top picture is mine - I had a lot of fun too! 


We coloured in sheets of A4 paper with wax crayons.  We found that the wax crayons needed to be applied firmly and thickly to get the best effect.


We then covered our pictures with a layer of black acrylic paint.  A thin coat seemed to work the best.  Once dry we scratched our firework pictures using a wooden skewer.

Meanwhile Boo is wanting to be involved in everything at the moment and had fun drawing, although I wasn't about to let him loose with the black acrylic paint just yet, and as he wasn't going to be able to do the scratch part, he got to paint with coloured water instead.  

 I don't have a picture of Shoeshine's (3.5 years) as her picture didn't turn out very clear and was quite faint so I couldn't get a photo of it.  I think this was due to a rather thick coating of acrylic and not enough coverage with the wax crayons.  Whilst she enjoyed doing it, I would say this activity was much more suited for my older one, because of the pressure needed for both the wax crayon colouring and the scratching and the lighter touch required for the acrylic paint. It might have worked better if we had used oil pastels instead as these may be lighter to work with.

Sand and Glitter Fireworks Art

It's Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night tomorrow and each year we do a bit of firework art.  This year we used sand, glitter and glue to create some explosive art, using the same technique as these thank you cards with sand, glitter and glue we made a while back.  Previous years we have done Firework Pipe Cleaner Printing and Firework Splatter Art.  


Using a cotton bud, the girls made firework patterns over their paper with the glue.

We then put the gluey pictures in a tray and they were liberally sprinkled with coloured sand and confetti glitter.

The pictures were then tipped up and the excess sand and glitter tapped off into the tray, before being left to dry.

The girls enjoyed a good production line of pictures!

Looking forward to the real thing tomorrow!
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