Thanksgiving D.I.Y. Lazy Susan

I love to paint, and if you love to paint here’s one way you can relax today and avoid football and election talk.

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It’s a lazy susan for the table scape or the buffet.  I use mine all fall to place my oils and spices I frequently use while cooking-I cook everyday.  Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath on Friday/Saturday) takes me three days to prepare for it.  So as a native New Yorker I’ll say “Forget About It!”

Even though I’m a vegetarian-you get the idea.  So I bought the lazy susan at Target a few years back.  I saw some 2 weeks ago at Ikea by the checkout-very affordable.  First I prepared the surface by sanding off the protective sealant that it came with and doing a few thin, even coats of gesso primer with a sponge top brush.   After the gesso dried I used a flat wide brush to paint 3 coats of gold paint-again even and thin.  I waited for those to dry.  Then I used my Martha Stewart Craft Acrylic Paints to paint my leaves.  Voila!

Fall Sensory Bags-Pinterest DIY Tryout

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I saw this post on Fall Sensory Bags and tried it with My Petite Picassos Playgroup (ages 2-3) this week.  I used a Ziploc sandwich bag, hair gel from the Dollar Tree, red and yellow food dye, fake fall leaves, cinnamon sticks, and red and gold glitter. To seal them I used packaging tape.

I really like the fact the kiddos got to see the colorful leaves as we don’t have much of that here in Las Vegas.  Overall the activity went well.  I recommend only filling the bag 1/2 way with gel before adding your food coloring, glitter and fall items so it won’t be so full you can’t see through it.

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Rain Sticks

So I’m trying to play catch-up on Thanksgiving and fall crafts as I just started my blog this week. This past Friday night a friend of mine came over for Shabbat dinner. If you don’t know what Shabbat is it’s the Jewish Sabbath dinner that we have on Friday night. I cook from Wednesday to Friday a variety of Moroccan dishes as that’s my husband’s background and often times I try to invite a friend over and share in this tradition with them. I love this particular night of the week because it’s the one time a week that we as a family sit down for dinner.  My husband owns his own business and so the rest of the week it’s really touch and go as to what time he’ll come home. On Friday night we sing songs, we light candles, and we eat fresh baked bread. It’s really special and Ben loves it!  So this week my friend Man stopped by and she’s an art teacher as well. I asked her if she had any good ideas for a fall time craft as my curriculum had to have a last minute change for a playgroup this week.  She suggested rain sticks that she had been making with her art and yoga class. So I went ahead and took her advice.  My tutorial is below.


Using a hot glue gun glue a toilet paper or towel paper roll onto a piece of scrap paper.


Cut off the excess paper and roll up a piece of silver foil,stuff inside the tube.  The tinfoil slows down the rice from falling inside the rain stick.  Add some rice -just a half a handful


Glue a piece of scrap paper onto the other side making sure you’re holding your tube upwards so the rice and tinfoil don’t fall out.


Decorate with bingo markers or paint. My playgroup used bingo markers last night.  You can purchase them online my husband picked up a bunch in the casino last year.  They’re great for babies who are beginning to do art.

To finish I took a piece of yarn and some beads- strung the beads onto the yarn.  I inserted a feather into the beads and put a drop of hot glue to secure the feather inside the beads.  Then I took the two ends of the yarn wrapped it around the tube, tying them shut.  I put a couple drops of hot glue on the yarn that I had tied so it would stay in place on the tube.

This was such an easy, fun, and fast craft with the kids. They loved to shake the rain stick and hear the rice inside. It’s a great little activity for the little ones at your Thanksgiving dinner. And hardly cost any money!

Here’s a photo of all of Ben’s crafts from last night together.

Native American Vest and Headband

One piece of advice I would give anyone teaching children art is that to have successful projects you need to have a successful example.  I always make every project I teach before I teach it with the same materials and techniques so I can iron out any issues that may arise beforehand.  It also gives students an idea of how their project could look-however I stress to them that we are all different artists with different hands.  Picasso and Matisse made the same paintings for years-but each master artist made their paintings in their personal style.

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I have taught this project to kindergarteners before.  It’s fun, easy, and cheap.  It ties in multiculturalism, symbolism, recycling, wearable art, social studies, and literature (if you read Native American folktales with the project).My students loved this project and Ben was very pleased with his vest and headband today. To start I took the handles off the Trader Joes shopping bag, cut straight up the center of the front of the bag and cut off the bottom of the bag.  Then I turned it inside out so it would be blank and drew circles where I wanted the arm holes to be.  I cut them out and added fringe.

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I practiced writing Ben’s name with him in black Sharpie.  I’m hoping repetition will pay off and he will know how to write his name in a year or so.  This is a good for kindergarteners to practice writing their names and also for everyone to know who’s project belongs to whom.

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I drew a turkey and Native American pictographs I remember on the back of the vest. Ben used the Sharpie and Crayola markers to draw and color on the back.  He practiced making glue dots and added feathers to his vest.

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We used scraps to create a headband with feathers.  I can’t wait to see all the kiddos tomorrow with their vests and headbands-they’ll be so cute!

Feeling Thankful

This is the first year I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner albeit-a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner.  So to make the house warm and inviting I’m setting out decorations and thinking of cute ways to incorporate the art my children make into the home.  

One of my favorite projects I did with Ben was when he was one years old we created a platter together. I used a white dinner plate from the Dollar Store and acrylic paint that I found at Michael’s in different fall colors (true red, yellow, and orange) to create a keepsake that I would use for decades to come.

Using a sponge brush I applied a thin coat of yellow acrylic paint to Ben’s hand and made sure that I spread his fingers apart and carefully placed each finger onto the plate to make handprints. I didn’t bother washing off the colors in between because I worked from  light to dark and just by stamping his hand it took off so much paint.  I found paint pens at Target to write Happy Fall and Ben’s name and the year -then followed up with Mod Podge that is dishwasher safe. After applying three even, thin coats of Mod Podge you have to let it sit for 30 days before you ever use the plate. I personally am not using the plate for food I display it every fall with a little stand that I got at Michael’s. I used the same tech nique with the sponge brush and working from light to dark fall colors this year with both of my sons in a diptych painting we created.  

A diptych is a painting made of two components whether they are canvas or wood or paper.  We did my older son’s handprints and my baby’s footprints for this project. I stamped each of them equally on each canvas so I would have a good variety of shapes throughout the diptych. Afterwards I used a chiseled Sharpie pen to draw leaf shapes around their hands, adding veins to the leaves.  Inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night and his swirling lines I created some small wavy and swirly lines around the leaves to make it look like they’re dancing in the wind.

I may not have the crisp fall weather and foliage in Las Vegas like I did growing up in upstate New York,  but at least through art I can express the feelings the season gave me growing up.