Thanks to Stephanie for pinning art teacher Cassie Stephens’ original project. Head over to Cassie’s site for the full DIY which is much clearer than mine!
Alex and I spent the morning making these detailed leaf prints … using gelatin in a jelly roll pan! This takes a little planning because the gelatin takes a few hours (ideally overnight) to set. I used two boxes of Knox Gelatin in three cups of water (note that Cassie suggests using more Gelatin and more water but I didn’t have more gelatin). Once the gelatin is set, you roll on some paint, place your leaves (I used leaves from various houseplants and my mother’s day bouquet) and do the first print. This will be high contrast.
Then you remove the leaves and do another print. This one will be very detailed, showing all the veins in the leaves.
I used my own roasting pans, along with some acrylic black paint and printer paper. The only “speciality” item that you might not have lying around is the brayer paint roller. I’m sure you could use fancy paper but the printer paper and the acrylic paint dried fast, which was good because we made a TON of prints. The first couple of prints come out kind of gloppy so don’t get discouraged! The best and most detailed prints come after you remove the leaves and do a few prints.
Thanks to reader Amapola for asking for a post on this after seeing it in my instagram!
My mother sent me and Alex a care package of goodies, including all the supplies to do “Milk Painting” – which I had never heard of. It’s sort of like marbling, except totally non toxic. My mom also sent along the link to BabbleDabbleDo which as the full technique explained. I can’t wait for the weekend to play around and make something with Alex.
We’re in a new phase here at Nova/Wright HQ. The era of the birthday party is upon us. For the last four years, birthday parties have really seemed more for the parents than for the kids (everyone has fun, but the focus is on celebrating the parents surviving another year). However, it turns out the age 5 is when parties start being important to the kids, too. We’re on the spring circuit here, a party every weekend and each one seems to out do the next. Alex has started planning his own Ninja party – here is what he has requested so far:
- a ninja pinata, filled with ninja candy and ninja cakes
- every kid is going to get their own ninja costume in black while Alex is going to get a red ninja costume
- a ninja fight show
A party at our karate place seems like a logical and low key way to meet some of these requests. Trying to find good gifts for these parties is a another balancing act. I like to give a good book and a small gift. Some recent favorite books have been Zen Shorts and In The Town All Year Round. I also like to give Iota – the tiny tin (perfect for purses or small NYC apartments already filled to the brim) holds an awesome card game – easy enough for Alex to grasp the rules but enough of a game of strategy that Tim and I enjoyed it too. I highly recommend!
Today was our family’s first day back from holiday and I spent the day wondering how I can make our normal routine more like our holiday routine. What is our vacation routine like? I guess at it’s best on vacation we slow down and we find space in each day that must always be there, but we just don’t see it in the fog of war. I’m not sure it’s possible but I’m trying to hold on to that awareness of space as long as I can. A friend of mine has a co-worker who takes a week of vacation every quarter without fail – no matter what project or crisis is brewing. I respect that discipline, that she makes space in every year like that.
One of the new books in heavy bedtime rotation around here is Water in the Park — I highly recommend it to anyone with kids who spends time at playgrounds in the park. Emily Jenkins has done a lovely job capturing the rhythms of the day in a park and both Alex and I find it soothing at night.
Update: I purchased the nap blanket, the wash clothes and the napkins. I have been really happy with the nap blankets and the wash clothes, the quality is really good. The napkins were a little bit of a disappointment. Sort of cheap looking and hard to wash. My star obsession got a nice boost this morning when, while looking for a washable/cotton nap blanket for school, I came across these starry goods at H&M Home. Washable because the blankets come home every week to prevent lice and other preschool vermin (!!). Duvet $25, Baby Blanket $25, Wash Clothes $6, Napkins $4
A Paris Cheat Sheet
We just came back from two weeks in Paris with our four year old son Alex (see my other post on all the design I saw). This the second time we’ve gone to Paris with Alex. It is a city we know pretty well from travel prior to having kids (and in fact, we’ve stayed in the apartment we rented before we had kids, so that helped us have courage to try it with Alex). There is something magical about experiencing a city through the eyes of your children. Continue reading
This snow shovel is probably the #1 most played with toy in our house (for the last two years — winter and summer). In the summer it’s all about the sandbox, in the winter it’s all about snow removal (outside our house, mostly). Alex’s favorite game is summarized in the photo above — I push him in the stroller while he “snow plows” — we get mostly adoring looks on the sides walks of the upper west side. And, I have to say, I feel pretty kick ass when I come to a slushy, impassable street crossing and I whip out the shovel and get down to business. NB: The shovel slides into the back of our MaClaren perfectly for storage or long block hauls.
From a parenting perspective, the snow was great for about 45 minutes – because that is exactly how long Alex wanted to be outside sledding. Two year olds, three year olds, four years olds — it’s tough to figure out how to keep them from bouncing off the walls when its cold outside. My friend Anika always has something new up her sleeve every time we head over there for a playdate. One day it was Cloud Dough, the next shaving cream party in the shower and she mentioned casually that they had a blast with glow in the dark paint and a black light!!!
This children’s book (Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats) is in heavy rotation at bedtime (I think I’ve read it 8 times in three days!). It’s a really sweet story of a lonely old man who has four cats move on to his boat; It has a gentle cadence and we love the illustrations! It reminds me of The Sailor Dog, another boat favorite in our house (which happens to be by Margaret Wise Brown!).
I grew up in a rambling and slightly dilapidated farm house in Vermont. I remember summers as hot, languid and awesome. As a parent now myself, I can’t believe how my mother made every day of summer interesting; how she was always making something out of nothing. My mother is one of those insatiably curious people who has spent her whole life learning (I don’t think it is a coincidence that she has also been a teacher for most of those years). She always has a project and current passion; dying yarn with natural dyes; pressing flowers; drying flowers; making terrariums; gardening and preserving; painting furniture; feng shui-ing the house; making Ukrainian eggs; knitting; sewing; watching and making experimental videos (my mother has a background in television production). If there had been blogs in the 1980s my mother would have torn it up. So I’m so pleased that say that this summer my mother has agreed to guest post some of her favorite summer activities for kiddos. First up is one of her favorites: building (and most importantly — racing!) twig boats.
Tim recently found In The Town All Year Round at the library and it’s been a major hit in our house. Alex (and I) love children’s books that are really densely illustrated. This book has no storyline, or at least not a written one. Which is a relief since as readers who are parents will know that reading and rereading favorite books to toddlers can get old. This way we can all just look at the illustrations together. The book follows the life of town through the seasons, which is very soothing and teaches a lot in a very gentle way.
We’re also huge fans of Richard Scary’s Busy Town, Where’s Waldo, and The Book of Cities. Any others to suggest in this “genre”?
We gnomed it up this year with an amazing costume from Etsy seller Lauren Bauer.
We headed to Storm King last weekend and Alex, while a little puzzled by the sculptures, had a great time running around and rolling in the dirt.