Thursday, October 13, 2011

Awesome Books - First Art

I discovered this book browsing on Amazon...I can't remember what, exactly, I was shopping for that it came up in my recommendations, but I'm happy that I clicked the link and even happier to borrow it from the library.

This book is chock-full of great ideas. All of the suggestions are given a messiness rating and almost everything can be done with items you probably already have. There are recipes for multiple kinds of play clay, paint, and other entertaining and creative goops. There are so many ideas in here for process-oriented art making that we could get to kindergarten. The author helpfully explains what the child will learn from the activity, ways to adapt it to the children at hand, and keeps the supplies largely limited to things that are easy to find and non-toxic.

The first thing we tried was water painting. It seemed too easy. A bucket 1/4 full of water and a paint brush. Really? Really. Entertained him for a looong time. For days, he demanded to play the "new game". And since it was so hot when we did this, the water evaporated quickly. Clean slate every few minutes!

Of course, the inevitable happened:

But so what? It was just a little water and he and I had fun making wet footprints from the puddle. I think even the most mess-phobic mamas can enjoy this one.

We also tired an aluminum foil activity that was a fail. I was to inspired to buy him an enormous newsprint pad with my Michael's coupon and that has also been a huge hit. That's the other great thing about these projects. Because they are about the process and not the product, the activities can be done for extended periods of time or repeated day after day.

If parents could give parent gifts rather than Melissa and Doug puzzles at birthday parties, I would be giving this book to anyone with a toddler. This book, and a bottle of wine. : )

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Best Little Yarn Crawl in Texas 2011

This was my first year participating in The Best Little Yarn Crawl in Texas. I only made it to 4 of the 9 stops, but it was so much fun! I came home with a head full of project ideas and all kinds of knitting goodies.

I beefed up my stash with some sparkly sock yarn, beautifully heathered alpaca lace weight, and malabrigo lace weight in the best dark green color. Yarn with a bit of glitter in it seems to be the trend this fall, a trend that I was happy to indulge in!

We visited all the shops in the Austin area: The Knitting Nest, Hill Country Weavers, and Gauge. Then, my yarn crawl buddy and I got adventurous and took our toddlers out to Old Oaks Ranch Monday morning. Oh man, do I love me some alpacas! I have to say, as much fun as we had at the ranch, I was disappointed that I didn't get to touch an alpaca even though their ad in the passport says "Come touch an alpaca!". We also didn't get a free gift there, but taking pictures of the kiddos running around the sculpture garden was a great souvenir.

Everyone we encountered along the crawl was super friendly and helpful. I think it's great that they changed things up a bit this year so there's a giveaway that you can enter for each store.
Hopefully next year I can make it to all the stores so I can be eligible for the grand prize! Now if you'll excuse me, I have some serious knitting to attend to. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It Takes a Village Baby Blanket

A member of Knitters Anonymous, the awesome knittin' and drinkin' group I'm in, recently had a little boy. While she was busy growing a human life, the rest of us made her this blanket.
We used two colors of Naturally Caron Spa and each member contributed a panel.
The only instructions given were to CO 36 stitches and knit in your chosen stitch pattern until your piece measured 32". I gathered up all the panels, stitched them together, and did a single crochet border around the edge to tie it all together. I think it looks very sweet and it is silky soft, perfect for delicate baby skin. Sorry for the blurry, picture, it's the only one I have. I think my camera is starting to lose it. : /
Anyway, I think this is a great project for a gift from a knitting group, but were I ever to do it again I would go with a cotton yarn.