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DIY arty bag for kids or adults


I have really enjoyed doing a trial run for this carrying case as it brings back fond memories of when my daughter was small. She had one of these for those occasions when either we went visiting ‘adults’ or when we went to a restaurant where she preferred to doodle rather than eat. I reckon this idea saved a lot of restaurant tablecloths from getting scribbled on!

This sewing project is a bit more complex than most of the kits I have produced — it takes a bit more skill, though a novice stitcher will probably cope well enough if they take it slowly, one step at a time. If there is some help to hand, all the better.

Basically the kit consists of all the elements needed to produce a simple carrying case for some paper, some coloured pens and a few pencils. Of course, for the painter or sketcher, the spaces will be useful for the appropriate tools. All the pieces of printed cotton fabric and felt are pre-cut and labelled — you’ll find a zip for the pencil case; some yarn for the tassel, and if you ask at the time of purchase — either a cross-stitch chart or a set of felt letters to personalise the bag with the name of your choice.

For more details follow this link >>>

Some of the other colour choices as you can see in the gallery below.

Cards for Kids

cardsBeen searching high and low for these images and have found them at last tucked right at the bottom of my hard disk!

They normally surface once a year for the kids to colour in and make cards or just for the fun of scribbling. Useful for Mums too if they need a quiet moment to get on with their own cards or other seasonal activities. Anyway, you can pick them up here now as a downloadable zip file.

You can see just a few samples of the cards in the gallery below. When you print them out on an A4 sheet, some of the images are already prepared to be folded into a card, whilst others are just large images for colouring.
List of cards contained in zip file in both large and small format:
1. angel
2. candle
3. Christmas wreath
4. Santa
5. snowman
6. tree
7. comet

Bunny project number 2

Here is another idea for all those Spring & Easter elements in the download file. How about an Easter basket or wreath?
So instead of just sticking the various elements — the bunny, the flowers and the eggs — onto a piece of paper, you prepare a circle, similar to the one in my image, and add them there so the ‘basket’ can be hung on the door, or wherever else you think might be suitable.
Just download the pdf and print it off to find all the templates necessary to complete this project. The second download below includes all Bunny elements plus additional instructions for the Easter basket project as shown in the image.


Paper & clips necklace

Hardly rocket science, but quite a fun and simple upcycle/recycle project for schools — granmas with the little ones etc. A little project for #isolationartschool too.

Take a pile of paper clips and clip them together to form a long ‘chain’ necklace — you can do multi-strands if you have enough clips. Then take an old magazine or some other sort of paper (old gift wrap for instance) and cut into strips. With white glue, wrap around each paper clip to cover the open ends and block them together. When it’s all dry you can give a coat of varnish to the paper wraps if you like. Obviously if you used plain paper, the kids can do some drawing on each ‘bead’ before the final seal. A bit sticky and messy, but fun. Here I am in the process of doing a multi-strand with some turquoise coloured wrapping paper I had salvaged.

The paper strips needn’t be any longer than about an inch — depends on the size of the clips of course, but make the strips just long enough to overlap around the ‘height’ of the clips. The width will obviously be determined by the actual length of your clips leaving just enough room for the rounded extremity to be free.

Download the project details here.

Easter bunny project


Just in time, here is a sweet project for the children to do — possibly with a little help — a Spring or Easter project with eggs and bunnies and flowers. A bit of colouring, a bit of tracing, a bit of glueing to make the project just messy enough to keep everyone happy.

My own image here is just an example of the kind of effect you can get by applying the various elements. As you can probably see, i haven’t stuck the grass down completely, but just along the bottom edge so that some of the shapes can be partly hidden behind the grass tops. I believe that you will find most of what you need around the home — colours such as crayons, felt tips or pastels are all fine — and you can use food cartons for the shapes, or recycled wrapping paper if you are looking for something with a pattern for the eggs for instance.

Anyway — your imagination is the only limit, so have fun!

#isolationartschool — good news


Isolation continues to keep us all indoors, and that of course includes children who are home from school since all the schools (in Italy anyway) have been closed until further notice. Many teachers have organised themselves — and their students — to continue on a home learning basis in the hope that the kids will not lose out too much on this year’s curriculum. But then there are numerous children who are relying on their family to ‘entertain’ them, or assist them with school work.

One of the lovely initiatives which has evolved as a result of this crisis, is the spontaneous gathering of artists, teachers and crafts people on the social media, all of whom are offering lessons, tutorials, drawings and more for adults and children alike.

But there has also been the negative side to all this activity, and it seems even that has now — at least in part — been resolved. So where’s the problem? The lack of materials needed to participate in these activities. Many artists and makers have gone out of their way to limit the projects offered, as far as possible, to this and that which can easily be found in most homes, either through recycling or delving into the bottom of a desk somewhere. But stationery has been a problem. Some well meaning suppliers have come forward and offered ‘art packs’ to kids in some areas, but for the rest of us, they would have been almost impossible to find. The reason for this is that with the lockdown, all non-essential shops were closed, and even supermarkets selling stationery, had to make if off-bounds to customers.

So today’s good news — in Italy at least — is that supermarkets can now sell stationery and basic art supplies so that those with the wherewithall can purchase these items and get on with some of the wonderful activities being offered online!

Keep your eyes open on Instagram for the hash tag #isolationartschool and their amazing selection of offerings to keep you and your kids busy and creative during lockdown. There are others on social media, but the one I have mentioned seems to be offering the broadest collection of freebies. Check it out.

Recycled music

riciclare-001

Every now and again I make an assault on my collection of books in an effort to organize them a bit better. Don’t usually have much success as books are one of my great weaknesses and Amazon frequently drops a few more onto the doormat – vicious circle really.

But this one caught my attention and I thought I would bring it in here. It has been used quite a few times surprisingly enough in spite of its ‘unusual’ content.

I belong to a non-profit association, and have done for some 20 years now. As inspiration strikes, each of us over the years has suggested various activities which we prepare for the ‘locals’ of all ages. Maybe it’s down to my cultural background and traditions that my events are often considered ‘strange’ but are usually embraced with bemused enthusiasm by the rest of the team.

And this is where this book comes into the story, because one year I convinced everyone to collect ‘rubbish’ for a couple of months – clean rubbish of course – from the kitchen roll carton tube (no loo roll tubes thank you), to the empty coke cans, to the corona bottle caps, to the old inner tubes, saucepan lids, shells etc.etc. We had mountains of the stuff – and we made a sample series of musical instruments using what we had found with the addition of some dry lentils, beans and so on. Then at Carnival time, we set up a local hall with tables all around the hall with mounds of the ‘rubbish’ and all the tools necessary to create and decorate the ‘instruments’ – and then waited for the onslaught of kids and adults which followed. Where there is free food and drinks and a party, very few people hold back!

It was fascinating to watch (and help) as the parents, with a little assistance from ourselves, helped their kids make all sorts of instruments over the next couple of hours, and then join in as our guest percussion band taught the kids to ‘play’ the instruments.

Great day – and my suggestion is, if you have anything to do with children as teachers – or just as parents, this is a great party piece and I’m pretty sure that you can find a similar book in English. If you want any specific ideas about the instruments, just give a shout. Some of them are pretty obvious, like hammering saucepan lids with wooden spoons, but there are others which are a bit more complex …

NB. Not much of the material is suitable for very small children as a lot of recycled bits have sharpish or jagged edges – just think of drink cans or bottle tops for instance. Adult assistance is essential for this activity.

Pompoms galore tutorial

pompom-tutorial001If anyone is interested, I have just added a pompom tutorial – I have set it all up in a downloadable pdf file for you – free for the taking, and have fun with the pompoms – they are always such a cheerful addition to scarves and hats and sweaters for both children and adults alike.

You can pick up the pdf file for download by clicking on the link below …

Sewing machine out

Got the machine out and am putting together a few ideas. These lovely ‘colour keepers’ for the kids have proved to be popular in the past, but as they take quite a lot of time to make, I just hadn’t got around to creating a new bunch. Following Jay’s advice, I will be doing some of these for older users – she says that she would love one, but not necessarily with teddy bears and smurfs! So there will be a couple for her age group – and why not – for the customer who would love to have a secret scribble and doodle now and again!

So briefly – what are they? Well a sort of wallet or carrying case for coloured pens, pencils and so on – with a section for tucking away the odd doodle, and a small pack of paper to start you off. Each has a small pencil case sewn into the centre area and a set of felt tip pens. Intended for both the young and the young at heart!

My biscuit man

ginger0031Been wanting to make some of these little guys for ages, but I was finding it hard to get hold of the felt colour I wanted. At long last my suppliers came up with the goods and I was able to ‘bake’ half a dozen. I also decided to set up a little kit for home ‘baking’ just in case anyone would like to have a go – mainly because I think it is the kind of small project that a younger child could attempt with just the minimum of supervision from an adult.

They actually make lovely little ‘fist’ sized cuddlies, so it would be easy enough just to leave off the hanging loop and use as a small mascot. I know kids like to hang these things on their school bags and use them as mega-sized keyrings too.

Don’t forget though that these are definitely not suitable for very small children because of the small parts.

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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