I love dioramas so as soon as I saw these miniature scenes from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol I was smitten! There aren't any instructions, just lots of pictures to enjoy and inspire! Thank you Artistes a Les Corts for this treat! English translation here.
This is a guest post by Annie Riechmann, the creator and author of Alphabet Glue.
Alphabet Glue is a downloadable magazine for families who love books. It's full of activities, printables, projects and inspiration for incorporating all things literary into your daily routine. She is sharing the Origami Planting Pots from Volume 6 that is an activity to go-along with the lovely book, The Gardener .
I first read The Gardener when I came across it in a Language Arts textbook at a school where I was teaching. I immediately realized what a treasure the book was, and found a copy at my local library to share with my daughter at home. Written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by her husband, David Small, The Gardener is the story of one Lydia Grace Finch, a young country girl, sent to live with a grumpy uncle in the big city when The Great Depression brings hard times to her family. Told through a series of letters to her family back home, Lydia Grace shares the story of her time in the city, including her quest to see the dour Uncle Jim smile before her time with him is over.
Through her letters, the reader learns about the people that Lydia Grace meets in Uncle Jim’s bakery, as well as her inspired green thumb, which soon has every cracked tea cup or empty wooden box in the bakery blooming with flowers. We also become aware that Lydia Grace has an imaginative surprise up her sleeve; a final parting gift for Uncle Jim that is sure to win her the smile that she has been seeking.
The last few pages of The Gardener abandon text altogether and are told only through Small’s expressive illustrations, and his pictures are so perfectly rendered that Lydia Grace’s magical effect on Uncle Jim is abundantly clear, even without words. The Gardener is one of those rare picture books that has something to offer to readers of all ages, and the book’s final scene captures my heart each and every time I see it.
Here is a little seed starting project in the spirit of Lydia Grace and her quest to bring joy to the world around her. These origami-style paper cups can be filled with soil, sprinkled with favorite garden seeds and then planted directly into the ground when the resulting seedlings are ready for their garden debut. The materials for this project are humble, to be sure: newsprint, recycled egg cartons, a bit of garden soil. But, with proper care, the results are much more remarkable, and just may get you the kind of smiles that Lydia Grace was going for when she planted her flower seeds in every last place she could find.
Materials: - newsprint or newspaper, cut into 5 x 5 inch squares - an empty egg carton - potting soil - seeds
Begin by laying out a square piece of paper. Newsprint or newspaper works well because it quickly absorbs water and begins to break down, making it ideal for plant roots to grow through and for planting into the garden.
Fold the square in half so that it becomes a triangle like the above. Make sure to match up the corners and to make a nice, sharp crease at the fold.
Take the point of the triangle on the right hand side and fold it so that the point lands just a bit above the middle of the opposite side of the triangle, as in the picture above.
Now fold the point of the triangle on the left side across toward the right. The point should land at the top of the fold that you made in the previous step.
Fold each of the top flaps of the triangle down toward the flat bottom of the pot. The flap closest to you will fold forward, fold the flap on the backside of the pot down toward the back. This will allow you to open up the pot to fill it.
You should now be able to open up the pot at the top and fill it with potting soil.
Once the pots have been filled with soil, place them in an empty egg carton and plant seeds in each one according to the planting instructions on the seed packet. You’ll want to make sure that you water your pots regularly and well, as the paper can dry out more quickly than a traditional plastic pot.
Once your seedlings have their first set of true leaves, you can plant them out in the garden. You should be able to just pop the pots directly into the ground, but if you like, you can use your fingers to gently tear a hole in the bottom of each cup to make it easier for the paper to break down around the roots.
Thank you so much to Annie for sharing this project that is such a wonderful way to introduce gardening to children and giving us a peek inside the latest volume of Alphabet Glue.
I want to send a big thank you out to the bloggers who took time out of their busy lives to contribute to the Book & Craft series! I got a lot of great feedback for this series so I'll make sure to do it again.
We're so delighted and honoured to contribute to "A Book and a Craft" initiative. We love books and we love crafts, so when I saw this initiative, I knew my daughter would be thrilled to be a part of such a project.
I left it to my 5.5 year old daughter - Pari - to decide the book that she would base her craft on. And, I wasn't at all surprised that she chose "The Saggy Baggy Elephant" - a heartwarming story of a baby elephant - by Kathryn and Byron Jackson. The illustrations by Gustaf Tenggren are particularly endearing. Though, one may think this book is a little wordy for a preschooler; for Pari it really works because she's now at that stage where she reads voraciously and in fact likes it if the book offers lots to read besides having exclusive illustrations. We all love Elephants and have had many a trysts with this gentle giant of a creature. During some of our trips around South India, we have watched the Elephants in the wild, bathed them, fed them and played for hours. So, our love for Elephants is innate and deep-rooted. The Saggy Baggy Elephant narrates the story of a baby Elephant named Sooky who goes around the forest dancing and playing without a care in the world. He is not aware of his looks; does not even know he is an elephant. Until, he is mocked at by a tactless parrot for the oddities in his looks - his way too big ears, a rather long nose, and a skin that's all "bags and sags and creases and wrinkles.
The Parrot declares that Sooky should be called a 'Saggy Baggy Elephant'. Along the way, he is made fun of and even threatened by many other animals too, which makes Sooky feel lonely and demoralized and hurts his self-esteem. So much so that he hides in a dark cave shedding copious amount of tears. This is when he meets a herd of giant and beautiful elephants and discovers his own identity. And, Sooky regains his confidence, spirits and zest and even teaches his "one-two-three-kick"
dance to this herd.
In my opinion, this story conveys a meaningful message to kids (as well as to adults) in that we are all different and hence unique in our own ways and we should be proud of who we are. We are born with different looks, skin colour and talent and that's what makes this world a diverse and interesting place. For me, as a parent, the takeaway was to respect my child as an individual and not compare her with any other kid. The message apart, the story and the illustrations are bound to delight a child's heart.
Our craft, too, is based on the main character and the message and celebrates the spirit of "being different and unique".
Pari thoroughly enjoyed making this craft because the result is another book - an accordion book - with a story woven into it with the help of six different art techniques!
And, here is a step-by-step tutorial with pictures. I'll try to keep this as succinct as possible.
We discussed the concept and approach before we set out to make this. The concept was to make five elephants using different art techniques:
*Eric Carle style colouring on tissues *Mosaic elephant using styrofoam cuttings *Crayon rubbings with rays effect *Printing an elephant with leaves *Using the rolling tube with yarn technique
Her idea was to write a short story describing each elephant and his talent. But, the talent of the elephant would be decided and narrated only after all five elephant artworks were ready.
Step 1: I cut out a long strip of paper from a sheet of Ivory paper. The length was long enough to make four folds. The size of each fold will depend upon the size of the artwork you want to make on it. I made the elephant sketch for each artwork.
Step 2: The first elephant was made by cutting small pieces from the Styrofoam plate, colouring them and pasting them in the elephant body. Before that, she did the outline with 3D glitter glue.
Step 3: For the second elephant, she cut out the sketch that I drew on a paper; coloured the outline of the cutout with soft pastels and after placing the cutout on one of the folds of the accordion paper she rubbed the colour in a outward direction onto the paper underneath. This resulted in beautiful rays-like effect emerging from the elephant's outline. Then, she went on to decorate the inside with sketch pens.
Step 4: For the third elephant, we used the Eric Carle method of artwork. I had her paint a tissue paper with many layers of diluted tempera paint. We made sure that she did not move the brush too vigorously or the tissue would tear apart. It was also important that the next layer of colour was painted before the previous layer had dried. Finally, once the painted tissue was completely dry and stiff, I sketched an Elephant figure with a black marker pen and cut it out. Pari pasted the cut-out onto the first fold of the accordion book.
Step 5: She made the fourth elephant by applying paint on the back of the leaves and stamping them. We used three different leaves to make the elephant's head, body and trunk and painted the legs separately.
Step 6: Finally, she moved onto design the accordion book cover. For this, I first cut out an elephant from a Styrofoam plate and stuck it down in the centre of the book cover using glue sticker. The idea was to make an elephant surrounded by tall grass all around. To make the grass, we glued yarn around a hollow cardboard tube. Then, painted the strings with green tempera paint. While it was wet enough, Pari rolled the tube all over the paper, including on the Styrofoam elephant. When we removed the Styrofoam cutout, we had a white space in the shape of an elephant surrounded by green grass.
Step 7: Besides all those arty and fun techniques, we used a spin-art technique to make the rainbow coloured flowers. On a dart (part of Pari's toy bow and arrow), Pari placed some drops of thick colours. She then pressed the dart down and gave it a slight spin to reveal beautiful impressions with branched effect.
Step 8: Once the artwork was over, Pari sat down to decide names for her elephants who were all so unique and so different from each other, despite the fact that they were all the same creature. The Eric Carle style tissue elephant gave her an impression of night sky. So, she named it "Singing Elephant under the moon-lit sky". Among the rest of the elephants, one was a dancer, another was a designer and the fourth was a nature lover! She named her book with a fitting title - "It's Fun to Be Different"!
Rashmie is from New Delhi, India. She is passionate about creating a holistic learning environment for her daughter by means of art, nature, free play, books, music and traveling. She writes about her artful parenting journey at Mommy Labs. A former advertising and marketing professional, Rashmie, now, is a published photographer and a writer. She writes about health, travel, eco-friendly living, pursuing dreams and purpose in life etc. You can follow Mommy Labs here on facebook.
Thank you, Rashmie! To see the rest of the books and crafts in this series click the button below!
My guest today is Miri of Here We Are Together sharing one of their favorite books, The Paper Bag Princess, and how to make your own paper bag dress! It's fun, easy, and you probably already have everything you need to make it!
I'm Miri of HereWeAreTogether. I am a homeschooling Mama to three little ones and live on the south coast of England. We love reading together and today I want to share one of our favourite stories with you:
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch
(Our book is the German version of the story.)
The book is about a beautiful princess who lives in a wonderful castle with lots of pretty dresses, until one fateful day a fierce dragon simply scorches all her clothes and takes her prince away. Not wanting to wait for someone to help her she gets dressed in the one thing the dragon did not burn: A paper bag. She sets off to rescue her prince and defeat the dragon in a smart and non-violent way and in the end she comes to realise that you can't judge people by the clothes they wear.
Our craft is quick and easy, a decorated paper bag dress.
You will need:
a large paper gardening bag (those you use to collect leaves)
Everything else you might need to decorate your dress.
First let your prince or princess lay down on the bag, their head on the part of the bag that is closed.
Mark the arms and the head so you can cut the holes into the right place.We also cut a fancy edge around the other side of the bag.
Now it's already time to decorate your dress,
we first coloured in the whole bag with crayons,
then added a few buttons and ribbons, too.
Now all you need to do is put on your dress, maybe make a matching crown to go with it, and find some fierce dragons to play with!