Friday, January 15, 2016

Winter Wool

One weekend in November, while all my friends and fellow college students were studying for exams, I went to get coffee with my cousin just to chat. All of a sudden I just really wanted to knit. I'm not sure where it came from, but it was sudden and strong. The best part about the whole situation was that I didn't even have exams to study for (thanks to online classes, a cancelled exam, and education classes without them at all!) so I had time for some fun with yarn. Fortunately for me, my crafty cousin also felt the desire, so off to Michaels we went.

My grandmother, whom I now live with, taught me to knit when I was younger (late elementary I'm guessing). It's one of those things that I've never put much time or effort into though. I do it when I feel like it, without stressing over a "perfect" product, intricate detail, or consistency. While part of me hopes I never lose that carefree, fun aspect, I also would like to start learning some new stitches and do it more often. Any suggestions on videos or books for learning new stitches and styles?

Anyways, back to that December morning. My knitting supplies were at home, so I needed both needles and yarn on our Michaels venture. I always love a good neutral or jewel tone, and own enough scarves that I have almost every color covered. However, I've never had a burgundy scarf, so that's the color I chose! While I've used several kinds of yarn in the past, thick wool is my favorite. Specifically, ever since that day, I've been loving "Lion Brand Yarns Wool-Ease." I selected metal size 15/10.00 mm needles. The photo below is of the finished product! I cast on 30 stitches and knit until I liked how long it was when I wrapped it around my neck. It took almost two skeins. After casting off, I used a plastic needle and some of the leftover yarn to sew the two ends together. To avoid knots on either end, I left tails and wove them in to knot them where they would not be visible.

This scarf was also made with "Lion Brand Yarns Wool-Ease." However, instead of needles I used a "Rectangular Loom Set" by "Stitch Studio." The rectangle I chose had spots for 24 stitches across. Despite having less stitches across, the loom made a thicker scarf, which also meant that it took almost three skeins instead of two. If you're looking for an extra warm scarf, it is worth it to use a loom! 

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm usually drawn to neutrals. However, once I finished the two previous scarves I decided to change things up a bit and use bright pink yarn! I'm loving it so far! This style will be a bit different than the others. I cast on 17 stitches and plan to make it long enough to wrap around my neck twice. 

Have you knitted anything recently, or found inspiration around you to begin? I'd love to hear about it!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Florals from Fall

Indecision is a pretty common trend in my life. Something I try to work on for sure (hello, 2016 resolutions), but it continues to pop up unannounced. This summer I changed my fall class schedule and life plans every time I breathed. Okay, twice a day. While I'll admit that's still an exaggeration, I did change my mind a few times. In the end, my love for children and art reigned supreme and I stuck with special education, and added in a painting class as well. Part of me went into it planning on adding an art minor, and part of me just really needed to paint. As logical as I am, I do things like this just for the sake of it sometimes. The thrill in it to me is probably comparable to someone else deciding to sky dive, but it still counts.
Taking this class ended up being a good decision, both because of the people I met and fun times in class, as well as the paintings I had at the end! The majority of the semester was spent creating three paintings of a theme of choice. It was harder than I anticipated to select a theme, and even harder to find and select photos to paint. Eventually I decided, and the paintings below are the result of hours of painting...

This is the first painting I worked on. I took the original photo of a flower outside my old dorm.
(9" x 12")

The second painting, and probably my favorite. I actually took this photo from a friend's instagram when I saw it and fell in love. 
(12" x 12")

The third and most difficult piece! The smaller rose on the right was actually not in the original and I had to make it up on my own. Roses are more complex than you'd think, but in my opinion this one turned out pretty well! The original photo is of a bouquet of roses my boyfriend, Carter, gave me on my birthday.
(9" x 12")

This collection is now hanging proudly over the couch in my parents' living room. My mom has been asking me to do something for the living room for a while now, and these actually match the colors and happy mood she's aiming for quite well!

Coming soon: A recap of the most wonderful time of the year, CHRISTMAS!,  and some of my current most favorite ways to stay creative over Christmas break!


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Swimming Colors

  • Milk (at least 2%)
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Bowl or lipped plate 

Step 1: Pour milk into your dish until there is a thin layer covering the whole base.

Step 2: Put several drops of food coloring in, scattered around the whole surface.

Step 3: Drip a very little bit of dish soap in and watch the colors begin to swim and mix!

Step 4: Swirl the bowl to watch the design change.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


  • Microwave-safe bowl/plate
  • Bar of soap
  • Microwave
  • Watercolor
  • Parchment paper or something else to catch drips during play

Step 1: Place a bar of soap on a microwave-safe dish and microwave for a couple minutes.

This is what it looked like after about one and a half minutes, so I put it back in for another 30sec-1min.

This is after about 2 minutes

It's looking more like a cloud now!

Step 2: Let cool and then place this in front of your amazed children. Give them water colors or watered down tempera and let them turn their cloud into a rainbow! A paintbrush is optional. At this point, the activity turns from art project to hands on activity. Encourage them to rub it between their hands, break it apart, hammer it with a paintbrush, and anything else they can think of! 

Symmetrical House

  • Drawing paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Optional: markers, colored pencil, canvas&paint

This is a very versatile activity. I like to teach symmetry to each group of art campers, because I know it is something familiar to them, but not necessarily in an artistic context. Houses are good things to practice drawing symmetrically, as are cats, dogs, people, trees... and the list goes on. 
Also, this idea can be done as a large project that they measure out and paint or color, or as a quick sketch for practice. 
This time we will be learning symmetry the day before completing this exercise. I like to give the children an activity each day that reviews what they learned the day before. It so happens that our theme that day will be "Architecture/Design," so it seems logical to incorporate some architecture into our review as well! 
The students will each receive a piece of paper, a ruler, and a pencil. Rather than explaining my method of measurement, I am going to let them reason through it on their own. It is not necessary that they actually achieve a perfectly symmetric home; I place a much higher value on the time they'll spend thinking about implementing the concept of symmetry. For that reason, I do not have specific instructions on teaching students how to do this. I do, however, recommend drawing a line down the middle by which to measure and compare. 

Book-Page Cityscape

  • Book (that you are okay with tearing apart- I chose one from our donation pile)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolors
  • Paint brush
  • Water
  • Glue stick
  • Markers

Step 1: Cut your book pages into strips of different widths and heights to represent buildings in a cityscape. Spread them out as you choose how tall and wide to cut them, but do not attach them to the paper yet. 

Step 2: Using watercolors, paint a background. To do this, you must consider what time of day it is, if there are other buildings around, what part of the world you are in, and any other influential factors. 
(Your project should show more effort and detail than the one below. That is simply a quick example.)

Step 3: You can splatter some water color on your buildings by dipping your brush in water and then the paint without wiping any water off before splattering. Try not to splatter the paint all over things other than your buildings though!

Step 4: Once the background is dry, glue down your buildings and add more detail! 

Popsicle Stick Prints

  • 1 Popsicle stick
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers 

Step 1: Trace the popsicle stick all over your paper, making sure to have several overlapping points.

Step 2: Choose one color for each overlapping spot. Then color the rest of the sticks using whatever colors you would like! You may choose to use only warm or cool colors, or you may use a combination of many colors like I did!