Something New! Advent Printable Cards!

I wanted to share a little something that is going on behind the scenes! I’ve started another blog, affectionately titled Bad Mister Kitty!! My new site is just that – new, and not a replacement for this one. I will continue to post here also.

Bad Mister Kitty will be featuring original artwork, art and craft ideas, mandalas, Zentangle, coloring pages, and other printables.

You can connect with Bad Mister Kitty on Facebook and Twitter, too.

My platform is (a little) larger on The Lunch Hour Gardener, so I wanted to share my newest creation here to jump start a following on Bad Mister Kitty. I have created a free pack of 25 Advent cards to print and use during December that unravels the marvel and the mystery of Jesus leading up to His birth.

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Go here to get the free printable cards and start your Advent journey with me on December 1st.

Print a set for everyone you know and share it, then join up with Bad Mister Kitty in whichever way suits you best.

There’s also a pretty cool Zentangle turkey over there to print and color.

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Send a comment and let me know how you plan to use the Advent Cards this Christmas season.

Christmas Blessings,

The Lunch Hour Gardener ~~ Also Known As Bad Mister Kitty

 

All-Ages Craft: Leaf Garland

Garland, bunting, banner, pennant. I am smitten with anything I can hang on a string.

I am always on the lookout for crafts all the kids can do together. They are 12, 10, 8, 6, and four. Garlands fit this bill most of the time, plus the display is always wonderful.

Today’s craft is a leaf garland.

I purchased color diffusing leaf cutouts, but the same results can be achieved with coffee filters and a steady scissorhand.

materials

Begin by preparing the color medium you will be using. I diluted a variety of food coloring in water. The less water, the more vibrant the color. I used about one-quarter cup water and 10-15 drops of food coloring. We also used a watercolor paint palette with a variety of colors for a subdued color effect and Faber-Castell watercolor crayons for bright and bold leaves.

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Place a paper towel underneath each leaf or coffee filter. Use a paint brush to apply food coloring or watercolor to the leaf and watch the colors spread and blend. If using watercolor crayons, draw the design on the leaf or filter first, then apply water and spread the crayon.

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Lay aside each leaf, including the paper towel, and allow to dry completely. To hang on a garland, use a hole punch and run a string through each leaf then hang using thumb tacks.

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The leaves came together quite quickly, even for my youngest artist, and because the paper diffuses and blends the colors, it is very forgiving and difficult to differentiate artistic level.

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One of the kids would find a cool new technique and the rest would copy for a similar effect. The oldest in our group is 12 and she created some very intricate designs. My husband even got in on the action and created a leaf accentuating his favorite football team’s colors.

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Any art that brings together the entire family is the best kind of art.

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Collaborative Art Projects for Kids

 

I’m sure there are a multitude of good reasons for collaborative art. Cooperation, sharing, encouragement, membership in the Mutual Admiration Society, etc.

All benefits aside, we do collaborative art in our house because my kids are unholy terrors and they fight about everything: new crayons, whose turn it is to use the red marker, a sliver of paper crossing the imaginary line between them, the “better” glue stick, and everything in between. It. is. ugly.

So we work on art together. For now, at least. I’m hoping they’ll chill out a little after they get the hang of working together.

Here is an assemblage of our favorite collaborative art projects. Click on the pictures to connect with the printables and the artists.

mrprintables-haunted-house-halloween-coloring-page
Mr. Printables Haunted House
mrprintables-giant-christmas-coloring-pages
Mr. Printables Christmas Tree
mrprintables-valentine-coloring-page-candyland
Mr. Printables Candy Land Heart
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Hattifant’s Mandala Doodle Poster
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Le Zebulon’s Klimt Tree of Life Collab
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Krokotak’s Leaf Mosaic using Radial Symmetry
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Frugal Fun 4 Boys’ M.C. Escher Lizard Tessellations

What are some of your favorite collaborative art projects?

 

Upcycled Egg Carton Floral Wreath

The kids and I collaborated on an Easter-y, spring-y art project: an egg carton floral wreath. In a nutshell, I cut and glued, they painted. Collaborators included my 11 and 9 year old niece and nephew, my 8 and 5 year old daughters, and my 3 year old son.

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As with most of my good ideas, I got it from Pinterest and modified it to our skill set. I could not be happier with how it turned out. It is gorgeous. I cannot stop staring at it. I just can’t believe a group of 6 non-artists could make something so beautiful out of trash and paint.

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We used 4 one-dozen paperboard egg cartons. I cut both the egg cup and the separator post in the middle to make flower centers. The leaves are cut from the tops of the egg carton. The whole business is glued onto a cardboard wreath base measuring about 15 inches in diameter, leaves first, then flowers, obviously. We also glued some buttons in the flower centers.

The wreath’s unexpected beauty was the kids’ doing. They mixed paints instead of using a single color on each flower and the results were just amazing.

And because no floral wreath is complete without a little fairy, we found a spot on ours to tuck her in.

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I had no idea trash could be so beautiful!

Pinterest Success – Kids Version

Our family recently spent a  week-long staycation together. It’s was a great week, full of sleeping in just a little bit later than usual, being outside as much as humanly possible, and, of course, knocking a few of my pins off the list.

I love Pinterest, I love doing arts and crafts with my kids, and I have zero shame when it comes to borrowing creativity from someone else. There, I said it. I’m one of those crazy Pinterest moms that everyone seems to hate so much. But I excel at almost nothing else, so there’s no need to dislike me.

As I was planning the crafts and activities for the kids, I had a realization that it’s somewhat possible that maybe I’m the one who wants to do the crafts and activities and perhaps my children are merely along for the ride.

It also occurred to me, toward the end of the week, that I may have overdone it – my kids started demanding an activity whilst in the middle of an activity. KIDS!!

I put together activities and crafts using things we already had on hand or could acquire cheaply and easily. I love upcycling, especially when I can upcycle something into an artwork or a play thing.

Without further ado (because you know I’ve got a lot of ado in me), here is a tour of our staycation activities:

The Dollar Store Pool Noodle Sprinkler!

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Materials required: pool noodle, drill, duct tape. (A cheap, dollar store pool noodle works just fine.) Drill multiple holes into pool noodle at a variety of angles, then duct tape one end. Shove hose into other end, hang, and watch the kids play.

Shaving Cream Play!

Materials: Shaving cream, mental fortitude, garden hose. Shaving cream is very, very, very messy. We did this activity outdoors on a plastic picnic table and still managed to make a huge mess. I hosed off the kids when they were done playing and decided it counted as a bath.
Materials: Shaving cream, mental fortitude, garden hose. Shaving cream is very, very, very messy. We did this activity outdoors on a plastic picnic table and still managed to make a huge mess. I hosed off the kids when they were done playing and decided it counted as a bath. In the future, I would put the kids in bathing suits beforehand, or do this in the tub.

Baking Soda Rock Treasure Hunt!

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Materials: Baking soda, water, tiny jewels, optional food coloring. Place about 2 cups of baking soda in a bowl and add water slowly until it can be formed into a ball. Mix in small beads or jewels, form into balls, dry overnight. Food coloring can be dripped over finished baking soda balls.
Search for treasure by applying vinegar to baking soda bombs using syringes, spoons,  measuring cups, etc.
Search for treasure by applying vinegar to baking soda bombs using syringes, spoons, measuring cups, etc.
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The kids loved everything about this activity. The surprise of the fizzing, seeing the colors mix and change, playing with the baking soda with their hands, mixing and swirling when it was done fizzing. We did this activity outdoors.

Craft Foam Stamps!

Materials: Craft foam, plastic bottle caps, glue, paint, ball point pen. Cut out small shapes in the craft foam and use a ball point pen to create any patterns or designs on the craft foam. Glue foam to bottle caps. When glue is dry, put a small amount of paint on a paper plate and dip stamps, or apply paint to stamp with a paint brush.
Materials: Craft foam, plastic bottle caps, glue, paint, ball point pen. Cut out small shapes in the craft foam and use a ball point pen to create patterns or designs on the craft foam. Glue foam to bottle caps. When glue is dry, put a small amount of paint on a paper plate and dip stamps, or apply paint to stamp with a paint brush.
We discovered that a very thin layer of paint worked best for stamping. We blotted the stamps on scratch paper before using them for the best result.
We discovered that a very thin layer of paint worked best for stamping. We blotted the stamps on scratch paper before using them for the best result.

Rock Painting!

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Materials: Rocks, paint, paint brushes. I placed a rainbow of soy paints in an empty egg carton and let the kids paint rocks on front steps. The kids loved painting a rock, then digging around for another perfect rock to paint.
Full disclosure: I painted these.
Full disclosure: I painted these.
The beauty of this project is that the rocks stayed outside in the rock bed. I love seeing the little flecks of color in there.
The rocks stayed outside in the rock bed. I love seeing the little flecks of color in there.

Lego Games!

Materials: 6 cups or bowls or a serving dish with 6 sections, dice, Legos. The compartments are labelled 1-6. I had the kids fill each compartment on the tray with a variety of Legos. We took turns rolling the dice and picking a piece from the compartment matching the number on the dice. We rolled the dice for about 30 minutes, then put our creations together. Even our 2 year old was able to play this game. Another variation we tried is having a single building project and each person adding to it with every turn.
Materials: 6 cups or bowls or a serving dish with 6 sections, dice, Legos. The compartments are labelled 1-6. I had the kids fill each compartment on the tray with a variety of Legos. We took turns rolling the dice and picking a piece from the compartment matching the number on the dice. We rolled the dice for about 30 minutes, then put our creations together. Even our 2 year old was able to play this game. Another variation we tried is having a single building project and each person adding to it with every turn.
I love how different every project turned out. We will definitely be keeping this game handy.
I love how different every project turned out. We will definitely be keeping this game handy.

Dying Beans!

Materials: Dry beans (pinto, navy, great northern - our are pinto), food coloring, resealable bags, and paper towels. Place about a cup of bean in each plastic bag, drip in 15 drops of food coloring, seal bag and shake away. Dry on paper towels overnight. Repeat with as many colors as you want!
Materials: Dry beans (pinto, navy, great northern – ours are pinto), food coloring, resealable bags, and paper towels. Place about a cup of beans in a plastic bag, drip in 15 drops of food coloring, seal bag and shake for 30 seconds. Dry beans on paper towels overnight. Repeat with as many colors as you want!
Had to get a rainbow shot before they dug in.
Had to get a rainbow shot before they dug in.
The beans are all mixed together. All three kids enjoyed filling eggs, spooning up beans, filling bowls and other items with beans. They concocted some kind of bean birthday party.
The beans are all mixed together. All three kids enjoyed filling eggs, spooning up beans, filling bowls and other items with beans. They concocted some kind of bean birthday party, too. As long as the beans are kept dry, they will keep indefinitely.

Chalk Paint!

Materials: small, broken pieces of sidewalk chalk, resealable plastic bags, hammer, plastic cups or bowls, paint brushes, rinse bucket. To make the chalk paint, crush chalk with a hammer in a resealable plastic bag. The finer the crushed chalk, the nicer the paint.
Materials: small, broken pieces of sidewalk chalk, resealable plastic bags, hammer, plastic cups or bowls, paint brushes, rinse bucket. To make the chalk paint, crush chalk with a hammer in a resealable plastic bag. The finer the crushed chalk, the nicer the paint.
Place about 1/3 cup of crushed chalk in each cup or bowl.
Place about 1/3 cup of crushed chalk in each cup or bowl.
Fill with about 1 -1 1/2 cups of water. Then paint!
Fill with about 1 -1 1/2 cups of water and stir. Then paint!
The paint goes on thin and somewhat lifeless. The real treat is when it dries. The colors become vibrant!
The paint goes on thin and somewhat lifeless. The real treat is when it dries. The colors become vibrant! Use a rinse bucket to keep the kids from mixing up the colors in the cups.
One of several art pieces made with chalk paint.
One of several art pieces made with chalk paint.
This was my favorite activity we tried, so much so that we did it a couple of times.
This was my favorite activity we tried, so much so that we did it a couple of times.

At the end of the week, we accomplished all of the planned activities and only bought two items at the dollar store to make our fun. I think we can call this Pinterest-inspired week mission accomplished!