Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snowy Paper Bag Houses

 Aren't these little houses adorable? They are made with lunch bags. The children can start by painting their cardboard base white. Then it can dry while they work on the house.

They can draw on the paper bag while it is flat. They can add color with watercolor paints, but I urged them not to get the paint too watery. As usual, a sample project by me was an inspiration for lots of their own enchanting and individual ideas, as you can see.

 They gently stuffed the paper bag with some loosely balled newspaper. Ottilie prepared some newspaper so the children wouldn't stuff large pieces in their houses...that would have caused these delicate bags to rip. We stapled the top of the bags together and an adult used the glue gun to attach the houses to the bases when they were dry enough.

We had some white paper ready for them to make a roof, folded in half, so they could cut both sides of icicles at the same time. We helped them size their roofs so that details on the houses wouldn't be covered up. We wanted them to glue the roof on top but a few children found the stapler and used that.

 Some of the children made a construction paper walkway, pine cone bushes or trees, (which we adults attached with the glue gun,) and a few made some delightful snowmen. Acorns were also added to some yards.

 I must have missed taking pictures of a few of the houses, unfortunately. That's too bad, because they were all so cute!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Stein Am Rhein and Its Medieval Market

 We visited this amazing little Medieval town on the Rhine River in Switzerland this weekend to see the Christmas market.

 I knew it was going to be a pretty town, but I could hardly believe my eyes.

 I feasted my eyes on the murals on the buildings in the square around the Town Hall. Switzerland has taught me to appreciate the subtle beauty of a grayed down color palate.

 The town is beautifully maintained, and the murals are restored from time to time. How did this little town escape uglification?

 There are many images of St. George because there is a Cloister named after him in Stein Am Rhein. Even the manhole covers have St. George on them.

 The Christmas market also wasn't what I was expecting. I thought we were going to be visiting a little market which would show a lot of German influence, since we were close to the border, and I was looking forward to adding to my supply of wooden German Christmas ornaments. But it was a medieval market with a distinct New Age/Lord of the Rings flavor. Do you see the elf ears in this picture? There were many costumed people in attendance.

 We saw a battle demonstration.

 The think this is the syrup stand. Sirop, (in French,) is added to water to flavor it. Children love it.

 The dragon handler is at the end of this row of booths. There was also a blacksmith.

 This is the leather goods stand. The leather goods were amazingly beautiful "pockets" for attaching to your belt. I wish they made pocketbooks, too.

 This is the fur stand, next to the longbow and arrow vendor. We also saw the potions lady, her hair wreathed with herbs and ivy, a man grilling sausages, a fortune teller, some Gandalfian staffs, hand-tooled leather book covers,  jewelry, including cape pins, and a Medieval costume seller.

I wish you could see this painting better. The drawings of the animals really inspired me.

What an amazing place, and what a wonderful place to visit.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Collage Bird by Marlene Van Jaarsveld

My art friends and I got inspired by some collage birds by Mark Hearld. Marlene put her own amazing spin on a collage bird using magazine cuttings, collage paper she had made, different thicknesses and textures of paper, drawing, and stamping. The wings open up, and it is meant to hang. Now I can't wait to try one!