School Projects

Fun Projects

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What Do You Do with Treasures You Can't Scrapbook?

Every year when we go on vacation, I collect stuff (Aaron helps) to put in our scrapbook along with all of our vacation photos. I collect things like ticket stubs, postcards and tourist brochures. Those things are generally flat and fairly easy to store. Eventually they get sorted out and glued onto scrapbook pages.

(She really isn't cross-eyed!)

Generally, I am thrilled when my kids follow my example, but when it comes to collecting treasures, their stuff dampens my joy just a bit. It is usually the stuff that you find at the bottom of beach buckets: sand, rocks, and shells, and stuff you find along the trail: sticks and pine cones. The mere suggestion that these valuables be thrown away leads to pint-sized revolution. So, I had to come up with a way to display (read "contain") these mementos.

These glass canisters did the trick!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Season Finale

Since Spring is supposedly here (I have my doubts), the time has come to wrap up the official "Project Day" projects for the school year. This meant that we had to have a good project and a picnic. The picnic part was easy, but finding a project was a little more difficult. I knew it had to include painting, but I needed inspiration. Thankfully, blogland came through, and I found the idea I needed here.

Step 1: Paint small wooden letters and allow them to dry

Step 2: Attach the letters to small clothespins

The kids were so quick I only got one action shot!

Here are the finished clothespins. Each kid got the letters to spell their own name.
After the picnic ended (Mac and Cheese IS picnic food) and the friends left, I sat down and had some painting fun of my own. I'll need a few more clothespins though.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Excising the Tumor

We used to have this THING on the front of our house:

It was a wall-mounted air-conditioner, which the former owner thought would be a wonderful addition to the front-center of his home. Doesn't everyone want an eye-sore where everyone can see it? If the air conditioner wasn't enough, he made a cover for it out of siding. But, he didn't have corner pieces of siding, so he used cardboard. Yes, cardboard. And not only cardboard, but cardboard covered with duct tape. He painted it white, of course, because you always want your duct tape covered cardboard to match!

Thankfully, FINALLY, the time arrived to remove this warty protrusion from the front of our house. Aaron worked at it all day, and I think he learned the satisfying feeling that a surgeon feels when he successfully removes a cancerous tumor. Here's the view through the hole:

Daddy's helper:

Here is the man himself, closing up the hole:


It is amazing how much nicer our house looks after that one "little" change.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Successful Project in Education

I am happy to report that a school year that started last September with this cheerful student:

has come to a cheerful conclusion.

While he RARELY looked like this while studying:

(he preferred the "standing on the head" method or the "hopping on one foot while spinning in circles" method) he did manage to learn a few things. Since he still likes it, I'd say this year's foray into the field of education was a success!
(If you must know, he can write all the letters of the alphabet, numbers 1-20 as well as each of the "10s" up to 100, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and some Bible verses, tell you more then you want to know about germs or fire safety, and maybe remember a few more social studies facts.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring Traditions

It is a spring tradition around here to paint birdhouses.

(This year I think we might be trying to coax spring to come, not celebrate it's return!)

In the past, these birdhouses were given away as gifts, but this year the kids want to keep them and hang them up in the back yard. They are a little confused, since they want to fill them with birdseed, not nesting material.

I don't think it matters much though, since no self-respecting Wisconsin bird would have the guts to actual move into one of these artistic masterpieces.

You'd have to have the type of personality that can pull off these tail-feathers to even consider a Kolste birdhouse:

(Sorry, I forgot to note the name of the photographer, so I can't give credit. Since I'm not taking credit for it, or making money off of it, I hope he won't mind)

So, here are the finished pieces:
I can't decide which I like better - the pink and yellow one or the green with metallic gold polka dots. If you were a bird, which would you choose?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Medieval Surprise

I love giving my kids surprise presents. Things they haven't whined for or begged for and especially things they don't need. It is just so much fun to see their faces when they realize they got something and to watch their excitement as they explore the new thing.

I've been working on this surprise for a while now, so it was extra fun!

So, what did they get? Well, Ian's been hoping for knight armor for a long time. I had this large gift bag from Target laying around that I realized would make an awesome tunic. I started by tracing and painting a dragon on the front:

Then I cut a hole for the neck and two more for the arms, and sewed in a hood and sleeves. I've never worked with a knit fabric before (can you believe it?!), so that was interesting, and my sewing won't bear close scrutiny, but in the end I think it turned out pretty well.

Here's my little warrior.

Brynn's project wasn't quite so labor intensive. The inspiration came from the Pottery Barn catalog:

It's cute, but I'm not willing to pay their prices. So, with the picture for inspiration, I set out to create my own "Tea Party Apron".
Since Brynnie is only two, it was pretty easy to measure things on her without revealing the surprise.
I guess she likes it, since she screamed when I had to take it off of her for nap time.

Hurrah for surprises!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Anti-weed Project

Since Blogger has so kindly begun to work again, I can finally post what I wanted to share yesterday! I hate feeling behind when there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Since we decided to take a two week vacation during the second half of April, I came home to a yard in a very sad state. I have been battling colds, crabby kids and especially the weather to get it back under some sort of control ever since. Today I finally managed to get our dirt-pile infested front yard into something resembling neat and tidy.

My big project was adding a border to the edges of my garden on the west side of our driveway and garage. I got this far when my little helpers came visiting:

As you can see, the only things currently growing in our yard are weeds, so I offered Ian a penny a flower to get rid of those pesky dandelions. He thought practicing his homerun swing would be a more effective removal method.

Brynnie very slowly picked and admired these "pretty flowers", often very narrowly avoiding Ian's decapitation bat.
Here is my border, fully installed:

It is the old drain tile that we dug out of the ground last fall. Waste not, want not, as they say.
This is the other part of my garden, the part that needs filling:

I think I am going to plant a grapevine here, and probably some tomato plants, but I'm not sure if they will get enough sun or not. The rhubarb is doing fine and some of it turned into a tasty dessert last night.

Now it is on to the backyard......

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Project Day

It is time again for another official "Project Day" project. It has been many weeks since we last did one, because of vacation and other things. We were all happy to be back at it.

I suppose if I really had my act together, "Project Day" would be more like an actual Art class, and I'd have some sort of rhyme or reason to what we do each time. Instead, I just dig into my supply pile and find out what I have a lot of, and use that up.

Today I had lots of scrapbook paper. Single sheets of oddly colored stripes and shapes pile up in my box, because even though I haven't been able to use them in years, "you just never know."

Well, I finally found a use for them.

I cut them into 1 inch strips to use in weaving place mats:

After the kids enjoyed their weaving (with varying understanding of the process), they went off to play while we moms figured out how to man-handle the contact paper into place.

Here is one of the finished pieces:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back In the Sewing Saddle

I think my sewing machine was glad we went on vacation, because it needed a break.

But, break time is over and sewing projects are queueing up (I love that word, queue, such a fancy way of saying "line.).

Here is my first project:

It was also my first solo adventure into "Tailoring" (also known as disaster management), since I accidentally bought the pattern one size too big. I learned that it is more complicated then just taking in the sides and shortening the hem. Using the cap sleeve option helped, but the back was a little baggy. anyone?

Here is Brynn's completed ensemble:

Being Brynn, it had to have accessories - an Easter hat from Target's dollar bins, and fun little gloves from Grammie.

Blair also had a polka-dot dress (not made by me) - variations on a theme - but she was sick, so she didn't get to wear it. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Home Again

After more then 6000 miles on the road we are back home again.

When we arrived, the refrigerator looked like this:

My project was to unload our stuff, clean the van, do mounds of laundry, and make the refrigerator look like this:

All that time in the car gave me lots of time to think of new projects, so I'm excited to get all the boring work done and start having some fun!