Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Autumn Leaf Bowls

Just time to fit in one last craft the children have been doing for Autumn before the season changes, this time we have made leaf shaped clay pots or candle holders. My eldest children made some like these when they were very small and I can remember some children making them when I was at school. So we thought we would have a go using a pack of air drying clay after seeing some recently which reminded me of how pretty the bowls looked.

First thing we did was print and cut out some leaf templates and chose one each, then we rolled out the clay to the required thickness. We rolled ours out quite thin but I think if we make some more I will leave the clay slightly thicker as I was terrified that the children would break them.

My husband put the leaf template onto the clay and cut round them all and we added a few leaf details onto the clay. For more realistic looking veins you could press real leaves into the clay and cut around them.

The cut out leaf was then placed onto a bowl, so that it curled around it and left to completely dry, we used several different sized bowls so that each leaf had a unique shape. There is a lot of waiting to dry in this craft so a little patience is required.

After the clay has dried it was possible to paint the bottom of the leaf while it was still on the bowl, we used acrylic paint for this. After the painted base has dried you can remove your leaf bowl and paint the inside, we started to paint them in Autumnal colours but the children decided to add extra colours to the inside of the bowls.

This is what we ended up with, after adding a little extra sparkle as it is coming up to Christmas. My daughter's one is mostly red, my son has added a little blue glitter and I painted mine red and lightly sprayed it with gold paint. They are not quite finished yet as we will be adding a couple of layers of varnish to make them a little stronger and easier to clean.

It looks very Autumnal with a candle in it, although we are now seeing the start of Winter. My son also made some casts of dinosaur footprints with the left over clay, just like the fossil ones.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A Tale of Two Beaches

We have been making the most of the last sunny weather of Autumn with some more beach trips, two different sorts of beaches, to give the children different experiences and hopefully an entrance to study other coast based educational subjects. First we went to the east coast of Norfolk where the beach was sandy with a few dunes and lots of pebbles, but no rock pools and no cliffs.

Usually the children spend their time looking to see what the tide has washed up and then they insist on having some rides and visiting the local reptile centre or the sea life centre. This year we visited both of these places, there were hardly any people in the sea life centre at all so we were able to spend a long time watching the sea creatures and getting extra insights into the creatures behaviour from the staff. The children enjoyed playing finger tag with a penguin and had a very close encounter with a ray when it popped up over the top of the tank and nearly kissed them!

The other beach we visited was on the north Norfolk coast and this was a very different experience, we went to West Runton the place where the fossil of the elephant was found. This beach had cliffs and rock pools, when the tide went out a chalky foreshore was exposed which was full of fossils, of course this was very interesting to my son who loves fossil hunting.

The photograph above was taken just after the tide started to go out and rock pooling commenced with much enthusiasm, we found fish, winkles and other sea snails, anemones, limpets and many different types of crab. Our favourite were the little hermit crabs we nearly passed over thinking they were snails, my son also had lots of prawns tickling his feet like they were cleaning them which caused much amusement.

Seeing the differences first hand like this allows the children better insights when we discuss coastal geology and erosion but most of all we'll remember the wonderful times we had at the beach especially the rock pooling day.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Autumn Tea light holders

Just a quick post to show you some of the themed tea light holders we made this Autumn, which would look lovely at any bonfire or fireworks party. If you are a regular reader you may remember we made our tea light holders from old recycled jars earlier in the year, if you need to recap on how to put the wire on the top you can find them here.

We have two small schumacher trees in the garden and we waited for the leaves to change colour to make the bonfire picture I wrote about yesterday. With the leaves left over from the children's crafts we glued some on a couple of jars, any leaves can be used last year we used maple leaves and earlier in the year we used leaf skeletons. The schumacher  leaves have the appearance of flames and the beautiful glow they give off when lit make a lovely Autumn addition to any garden.

Here they are after dark, I think they look quite magical like little tiny bonfires. We made these as temporary lanterns for Autumn, and are hoping to make more seasonal ones in the future. If you would like to preserve the leaves and make this autumnal lantern last a little longer you could totally cover the leaves in craft glue or modge podge to seal them in.

Inspire Me Beautiful

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

3D bonfire and fireworks art

The children have been making some lovely 3D bonfire and fireworks art pictures incorporating  some natural things from the garden and some junk modelling recently and I thought I would share them here.

We have collected little twigs from the garden to make the base of the bonfire, this year we glued them on with a hot glue gun as last year we have to wait a long time for the PVA glue to dry. The children have used the red leaves from a Schumacher tree to simulate the flames on the fire, we waited ages for the leaves to change colour this year.

They marked out the shape of the fireworks with glue and covered them with glitter. Then to make the fireworks look 3D, we have collected the seed heads from some of our herbs, like fennel and dill and sprayed them with spray glue and glitter.

They can either be glued on like the photograph above or the stalk can be poked through the paper and taped down on the back. This then creates your 3D firework and you can use as many as you can find.

We only had a few left in the garden but enough to create this pretty display. Some of the seed heads look like little stars bursting out of the page.

Here is a close up of my sons picture so that you can see the stack of twigs making the 3D bonfire, the leaf flames and the seed head fireworks close up.

Here are both completed works of art waiting to dry. Not only a bright and colourful way to cheer up the wall in these very dark grey days but also 3 dimensional. Leading up to fireworks day they have also done some related junk modelling and made these lovely rockets from some old bottles.