Arts and Crafts

Colorful Recycled Sand Flower Vases

March 30, 2012

Sand covered containersThese decorative sand-covered flower vases are a perfect craft for spring. They're easy to make, and look really beautiful, especially placed by a window where they catch the light. My daughter was so proud of her colorful creatiions. Use them to hold daffodils or other bright spring flowers.

Raid your recycling bin and find some containers like glass or even plastic jars and bottles for this craft. You'll also need colored sand, white glue (like Elmer's), a paint brush, and paper plates. We found colored sand at Michael's, but most craft or art supply stores should have it.

Pour sand on paper plates, and "paint" the outside of your jar or bottle with white glue. You can also paint patterns like dots and swirls with the glue to create special decorative effects.

Create This Decorative Spring Butterfly Craft

March 27, 2012

Butterfly craftNow that spring is here, work with your children to create some beautiful seasonal crafts to decorate your home. One of our favorite spring crafts this season is these charming butterflies made from things you probably have on hand at home: old magazine pages and 12-inch pipe cleaners. This craft is best done by children of kindergarten age and up, as it involves some coordination and folding skills and might be difficult for younger children.

To make these butterflies, cut out colorful pages from magazines (instead of just throwing them in the recycling bin), and cut out two squares: one four-inch and one five-inch. Turn squares diagonally (like a diamond), and fold in 1/4-inch accordion pleats.

Bend a pipe cleaner in half and twist the folded end so it makes a loop. Pinch the middle of each square together, and carefully place them between the two arms of the pipe cleaner, with the smaller four-inch square on the bottom. Hold everything in place by twisting the ends of the pipe cleaner and pressing the loop flat. The two pipe cleaner ends can now be curled into antennae.

Creative Hands-on Birthday Parties at Studio 4 Art

March 20, 2012

Art birthday party at Studio 4 Art in NovatoMy kids have been getting creative at Novato's Studio 4 Art since it opened on Grant Avenue a few years ago. We've all enjoyed their hands-on art workshops and classes. Studio owner Kebby McInroy recently opened the Studio 4 Art Annex around the corner from the main storefront, and we decided to hold my daughter's recent birthday party there. Needless to say, it was a big hit with all who attended!

The Annex is a cute little cottage that Studio 4 Art uses to hold parties, special events, and summer camps. It holds up to 20 children, who can work on a variety of different art projects around the two large tables in the space. The Annex space has bamboo floors, track lighting, kids' art on the walls, lots of natural light, and a warm, welcoming ambience.

For our party, we chose mosaic nameplates, which the girls crafted out of colorful ceramic letters and pieces of glazed ceramic tile. Each project was totally unique, and everyone was really proud of their creations. When everything's dry, you can hang them on the wall—they make great decorations for children's rooms.

Make Some Cute Potato-Print Cards for Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2012

We always love to make our own greeting cards for birthdays and holiday, and Valentine’s Day is of course no exception. This year we created cute and classy heart cards using homemade stamps cut out from potatoes. Yes that’s right: a regular old russet potato!

This potato print card project is really easy and fun, and the kids think it’s neat that they’re using something they usually eat for dinner to create a craft.

Who's Nibbling at My (Trader Joe's) Gingerbread House?!

November 27, 2011

Trader Joes gingerbread houseIn case you miss out on one of the gingerbread house workshops (at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, for example) this Holiday season and still want to get in on the action, you can head down to your local Trader Joes and pick up one of their bargain priced gingerbread house kits.

For $7.99 you get a nice quality, German-made gingerbread house kit that includes the house parts, base, a tree, and enough chocolate buttons, gumdrops, and pink and white candy sprinkles to decorate a house worthy of being devoured by Hansel and Gretel. Speaking of them, the kit also comes with a little sugar Hansel and Gretel and a witch, as well as a little candy cat (or is it a pig?) that sits on the rooftop or anywhere else you like.

They also throw in a half-pound box of powdered sugar with which to make the royal icing that glues the thing together. You supply an egg white, lemon juice, and imagination. It's also helpful to have a pastry bag to pipe the icing, although a garden-variety ziplock bag with one of the edges snipped off makes a dandy substitute. It's not the most architecturally complex gingerbread house we've seen—it looks kind of like a Tahoe A-frame—but it's a lot of fun to put together. Just watch out for little nibblers who try to eat the candy and cookies before they have a chance to go on the house!

Make Colorful Turkey Handprint Placemats for Thanksgiving

November 22, 2011

Since we'll have quite a few children over for Thanksgiving this year, we've been busy coming up with easy and fun craft ideas to keep everyone busy before the feast. One of the projects that we came up with, based on something by daughter did in kindergarten, is creating colorful festive Thanksgiving turkey handprint placemats. Since you'll need one for everyone at the dinner table, this project should keep the kids busy for a while.

Here's what you'll need:

Get a Jump on Holiday Crafts at Studio4Art

October 25, 2011

Clay gingerbread house at Studio4ArtHandmade holiday crafts make great gifts, so make sure you check out Studio4Art's creative Saturday workshops in November and December. All Saturday workshops take place from 11 am to 12:30 pm.

  • Create an imaginative clay gingerbread house on November 5 and December 3 ($40). It will last a life time and is sure to become a family heirloom. Many families come to this workshop year after year and create their own villages! Begin your house with slab construction, then add clay molded to look like candy and end with a finished piece that is sure to dazzle.
  • On November 12 make cards with handmade papers, fabric, sewing machines, block printing, printmaking and stamps ($20). Your cards will be beautiful enough to be framed! Each student receives 6 cards to create.
  • Make your own clay Christmas tree ornaments on November 19 ($30). It's amazing what you can create with a pound of clay! Creating and glazing will be completed in this one-day workshop. Families are welcome to work together.  Extra clay is available at additional cost.

Novato's Studio4Art Celebrates Four Years with the Opening of the Annex

October 23, 2011

Studio4Art AnnexNovato's Studio4Art celebrates not only its four-year anniversary, but also the opening of its new Annex, located directly behind the main studio! This new space will be used for parties, summer and holiday camps, workshops, and classes for children two years and up. The Annex will also serve as a gallery for student-created artwork and student art shows. The main studio will continue to be the place for drop-in art sessions as well as the retail area where customers can continue to find quality art supplies and unique art gifts.

Studio4Art has been serving Novato and surrounding communities in Marin and Sonoma County since it was opening in September of 2008 by owner Kebby McInroy. Studio4Art has maintained a specialized niche within the community, serving schools, families, and civic groups such as scout troops and dens. Studio4Art continues to advocate for children of all ages and their creative needs by offering affordable and quality hands-on classes, summer and holiday camps and workshops, and drop-in art sessions covering a variety of media from acrylic, watercolor, and oil painting, to sewing, wheel-throwing, clay hand-building, silk screening, block printing and mosaic-making.

Book of the Week: The Apple Doll

September 18, 2011

The Apple DollMy five-year-old daughter must love the book The Apple Doll by local Bay Area author and illustrator Elisa Kleven (40 pages, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007). She checked it out from the library no fewer than two times last year and got it again a few days ago. It's easy to see why it's one of her favorites: The Apple Doll is a charming book, and it's another great read-aloud story (with an added activity) for the fall season, especially if you happen to have an apple tree nearby.

The Apple Doll tells the story of Lizzy, a shy little girl who loves the apple tree in her yard and ends up making a doll out of an apple and twigs that she names "Susanna". She ends up getting teased by other kids for carrying around her apple-and-sticks creation at school. I know this sounds a little odd but the book handles the situation in a much better and sweeter way than I'm describing it here. Ultimately, Lizzy's mom takes the now long-in-the-tooth Susanna and makes an apple doll out of her, which inspires a class apple doll project and friendships and happiness ensue.

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