Archive for category Arts and Crafts

Wet Felting Soap

As sun poured in through the windows, I decided now was the time to get out our wet felting kits and get soapy!  I know there are lots of tutorials on the internet about how to wet felt (there’s a lovely one here) but I decided to take the easy option and buy some kits at the same place I buy my wood roving.  We’re really lucky here in Ottawa to have a diverse range of businesses and Wabi Sabi is one of my favourites.  They sell beautiful wool, wool roving and all the supplies you could need.  They also have some very cute kits, easy to pull out and know you have everything you need.

The process was really easy, wrap soap bar in lovely roving, wrap supplied piece of yarn around that to help hold it in place, then dip in a bowl of warm water.  After that the instructions recommended using a ziploc bag to felt the soap in.   I found this worked really well and helped prevent the soap whizzing off and frustrating small people.  Mummy got involved helping with this part as it took about 10 minutes of rubbing to felt the soap which is a long time to little peeps.

The finished pebble of wool is so tactile I know there will be a lot more hand washing going on around here!  The soap in the kit was more perfumed than I would usually buy so I’d definitely reserve it for hands only, but what could be more fun than lathering up with soft wool?  Lovely.  Now that we’ve worked through the process once I’d be confident doing it again and am thinking these would be great Christmas gifts that the boys could make themselves.  Plus it’s an excuse to indulge my soap fetish an opportunity to purchase locally made products.  Ahem.

What favourite wooly projects have you tried recently?


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There’s something of a theme running through our activities at the moment…

After seeing me needle felt my first pumpkin (after watching this great tutorial), Huwyl was desperate to have a go, so he made his own over the weekend.  I can’t say watching him wield the needle was a stress free experience for me, but he got the hang of it and has now declared that he wants to needle felt every day from now on.  Ok.


Continuing on the pumpkin theme we did our second round of pumpkin lanterns this weekend.  I’d hoped to enter our first ones into Movita’s pumpkin carve off, but before I could get my act together and buy candles they, well, rotted.  It really doesn’t take long does it?  Ahem.

So we missed our chance for glory but will hopefully have working lanterns for our Halloween celebrations, I’m calling the previous ones a science experiment on the process of decay.  Planned it all along.  Yep.


Ah, kitty cat pumpkin, how sweetly you glow.



Cloud Sand

What do you do on a boiling hot afternoon (37C with humidity) when you can’t head to the pool because one of your number has a poorly tummy?  You make a double batch of cloud sand and stay in the shade of course!

For something so incredibly simple (flour and oil, that’s it) this was a real hit.  The boys played with their trays of sand for the best part of an hour, giving Mummy the chance to sit down for a bit whilst trying not to melt into a puddle.  It also got us through that 3-4pm time slot and got Neirin just messy enough for a cool bath with lavender oil while Huwyl listened to an mp3 of greek myths.  What could have been a tough afternoon ended up being tranquil and nicely occupying without being overly taxing; I was glad we all got out unscathed!

As Neirin approaches the end of his preschool year (and won’t be returning next year) I’m conscious of providing more sensory experiences for him.  Luckily Huwyl loves this kind of thing too so it really is win-win.  I have a preschool pinterest board that is rapidly filling up with ideas and I’m planning on attempting one or two a week over the summer to discover which ones work for us.  Its a great opportunity to vary our school life and give the boys opportunity for creative, kinaesthetic play that develops all of their senses.

Plus there is the sitting down; the sitting down is good.

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Sensing Fun

Since Neirin finished preschool I’ve been conscious of trying to create more activities with him in mind.  I’ve been pinning lots of different ideas for sensory activities that I can use with both boys and so far this week it has been going really well.

The first try, boxes of soapy water, was a resounding success and had the happy by product of clean toys!

I love how something so simple can be so soothing and entertaining at the same time, Neirin particularly enjoys moving water around, pouring it from one vessel to another and rescuing his toys from the depths of the tiny ocean.

Our next outing was more ambitious, I created spaghetti sensory boxes that I saw here using a corn pasta that I didn’t like and was glad to be rid of.  It was stickier and dried out a bit quickly so I think I would use a gluten pasta next time.  The boys wrapped and cut the pasta, using it to create scenes with their toys and seemed to enjoy the experience.  The chickens also got the benefit of an afternoon pasta snack which they scoffed in record time!

Neirin played with the pasta for about half an hour before it got too sticky, he then moved on to the bathroom sink where he spent another 20 minutes or so washing his hands and cleaning his toys.  It is fascinating to me how a sink of water never loses its appeal no matter how fancy a Mummy tries to get!

This morning I broke out the Cloud Sand that we made a couple of weeks ago, the boys still really enjoy it and it gave them a good half hour of fun; for me that justifies the cleanup required as no matter how hard we try that stuff just goes all over the place!

My goal is to have some kind of sensory activity available each day, in addition to outside play and pool time, all valuable large body work.  Though Huwyl happily joins in I’m focusing my attention on Neirin’s needs for this one.  Moving as we are into the more complex emotional work of a nearly seven year old (gulp) I sometimes forget how straightforward the threes are.  Play, food and attention at regular intervals really do cut it as far as my little chap is concerned.

Oh and cuddles.  Lots and lots of cuddles.  At Mummy’s request of course.


Pastel Shades

Yesterday I opened up the oil and soft pastels for the boys to have a bit of an experiment with, they loved the deep colours and textures and we spent a happy hour playing as the afternoon sunshine spilled over us.  Huwyl asked me how oil pastels are made, when I told him I don’t know he said “I don’t know either, that’s what makes it so interesting!”

I just love the way his mind works.

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Getting Our Art On

I’ve been a bit absent from the old blog this week due to having a small piece of wood in my eye.  I quite literally poked myself in the eye with a stick.  Well a piece of kindling actually but the upshot was the same.  Ouch.

Despite me doing a thoroughly convincing impression of a pirate for a couple of days we have rediscovered our arty mojo here at Chez Jhompson and the boys have been arting up a storm over the last couple of days.

We indulged in a bit of wet-on-wet watercolour painting, exploring spring colours of differing yellows and greens.  I love how gentle this kind of art is, allowing for free interpretation.  Huwyl’s sense of focus and purpose with his art has definitely changed over recent months.   He has a clearer idea of what his goal is and is willing to spend more time and care in order to achieve it, it is lovely to see him so immersed.  Neirin is, of course, not able to stay on task for as long but he definitely enjoys all of our art experiences and still finds time for a little dress up.

Of course he enjoys it all the more when it is messy…

Neirin is in a much more sensorial developmental stage, he is experiencing things much more through his body and senses than his eyes, it is really fun to watch him dive in, uninhibited to a box of  art tools and some paint.   He also really enjoyed scattering rice on his watercolour painting, though there was a bit more dumping and spreading than I had anticipated.  Note to self, never leave the room when there is a tub of rice on the table.  Never.  

I’ve been using my Pinterest Art Board to log ideas for art projects (and everything else), I find it such a wonderful resource for ideas.  Even if we only use it as a jumping off point it is great encouragement to try new things, to experiment and see what happens.

So what was it that inspired all of this creativity?  What triggered this attack of arty mojo?

Tada!  The most fantabulous set of shelves in the entire world!*  Yes indeedykins these puppies have literally changed my life.  No more art supplies scattered everywhere, toys with no home, games forgotten and out of sight.  Now it is all front and centre, triggering my creative thoughts as I see the supplies available and think hmmmm, what could we do with that? As well as having a tidier house, I feel much more able to create interesting projects at a moment’s notice and I know that the boys will actually be able to use their toys as I present them with different baskets of nicely grouped items for their creative fun.  Adore.

Stephen knocked these up for me as phase once of my Organise My Stuff plan.  Ok, the title could use some work but the idea is sound.  Apparently this was his first router project, when he told me this I nodded as though that meant something to me but quickly moved on to the topic that really interested me, baskets. I got these onces from ikea and they work perfectly.  The smaller ones are great for storing art supplies, toys, activities…you name it these baskets can handle it.  The larger ones on the bottom currently store playmobil (there is a LOT of it) and another holds the school laptop.  Life is good.

Though my long term plans involve wall to wall ceiling height shelving and a purpose built art bench (ambition is good you know) I am more than happy with things as they are right now.  I’m already planning a reorganisation of our homeschool materials and have some plans for seasonal baskets, science baskets and fun collection baskets that will hopefully materialise some time in the future.  But for now I am content.

Unless Stephen fancies knocking up an art bench, in which case I will not say no.

*This claim has not been verified by any external sources but is, however, true as this is Emmalina Land of which Emmalina is Queen and therefore the Boss of Everything.  



Happy Thoughts

First of all thank you to everyone who left a kind comment yesterday, each one was read and brought comfort and a little smile.

And to avoid the dwelling or slipping into maudlin mode let’s celebrate the little joys of life shall we?  There’s been some fun painting going on around here recently, all ideas nicked from The Artful Parent.  First off salt line painting, very cute and effective.  As you can imagine Neirin kind of went his own way.

The second project (but part of the same painting session in case you think I never change my children’s clothes) was crayon resist.  White crayon on white paper, magically revealed by the paint.  Loved it!

I love their concentration and seriousness.  I love how they embrace each project, each new idea and explore it to death, even if that means killing it.  I love that the exploration matters more than the outcome.  And I love hearing Huwyl say “Neirin is just doing things his way isn’t he Mum?  And I’m doing things in my own way.”  Yes indeed my love; words to live by.

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