Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thomas and friends crafts- Thomas with recycled box- DIY tutorial

My son Avanesh's ongoing phase is of Thomas and his friends like most 
of the 2 year olds. Hence we are doing lots of Thomas and friends related craft and art projects. I have shared one already you can see it here.This one is a part of the series.In our afternoon creative activity we made a model of Thomas using recycled  cardboard boxes and paper. 

This is how we made it. 
You will need empty boxes - one long and wide, one half its size and one very small 
Blue, black , red  card stock
Felt to make the funnel
Thomas's face 
pens, scissors ,glue

First we hunted  around the  house for  empty boxes which will fit perfectly. With the exact construction plan in my mind I arranged  the boxes accordingly to show how we are going to make it. I highly recommend talking to your child about how, why and what to do to construct something. This way the kids can develop curiosity, analysis and creativity.  I involve Avaneesh in everything- cooking, painting,  decor projects - everything creative.

I  cut the paper telling him to remember which part it belongs to. We got to work to glue everything together. Avaneesh helped me glue. We covered the blue paper to the big box. Then the small perfume box to bottom so that the wheels won't bend and it still looks/feels as if it is  running on wheels. 

After gluing the wheels it was hard to keep him away from the model. I  somehow managed to glue the funnel and face to the train. He made a siren from the old glue stick part. I drew the patterns of Thomas on the model train. Some cotton went in the funnel to 'create' smoke. 

Joining Calling all crafters, DIY ers and Too cute !!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gift wraps and packaging

Wrapping gifts is one of most happiest activity during festive holidays or birthdays. It gives me immense joy thinking how the person receiving will feel when he/ she opens it with anticipation. Like me I am sure many people love the feeling of opening the wrapping and packaging to peek/ know what's inside. The gift doesn't matter the feeling behind it matters. If the gift is hand wrapped with lot of consideration to design and decoration it makes the gift so special. I seldom of keep the gift wrapping- whether is the lovely wrapping paper, pretty box or the gift topper . I keep them nicely folded in a big paper bag where I collect all of them. Some I have for years. I have forgotten what gift was inside but I love to reminisce  the sentiment with which it was specially sought and gift wrapped ( keeping in mind what would like )

I am always on lookout for easy but stunning ideas for adding the extra zing to the gift wraps. I found these gorgeous flowers which can be made at home in few minutes. 

Lia Griffith has beautiful detailed tutorial about how to make flowers which you can use for gift wrapping or for making a wreath or any DIY project you can come up with. The tutorial for the beautiful long stemmed paper rose with metallic paper can be found here. 

Another stunner from the immensely talented lady. These flowers are made of tissue paper. Its hard to believe , isn't it? The simple pain tissue paper that we use and throw without bothering to look at it can become something so beautiful!! You can find the tutorial here !! 

The lovely Lia Griffith has tutorials for many more flowers and that's not all she has craft tutorials, creative inspirations and free printables for holidays, kids, parties , decor and weddings. You will find food recipes as well !!!

All the image are from Lia Griffith. Subject to copyright. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

India themed table decor for summer

It was India's independence day last Friday. So I thought we should celebrate. When one lives outside his own country it becomes all the more necessary to teach children about their homeland.  I did a tri-colored tablescape for breakfast. The color theme was - Saffron, white and green which are the colors of the flag along with  Ashoka Chakra in center.

 We collected the flowers from our walk. Luckily there were flowers in the park fallen from the trees that match the theme perfectly. I believe no tablescape is complete without flowers.Flowers are the cheapest, simplest and easiest way to freshen up any table decor. I floated them in a handmade Turkish bowl. 

I was looking for natural , healthier and lighter choices for the food. 
For saffron/orange I had the choice of oranges / mandarin or Cantaloupe. I choose Cantaloupe. I love to make scoops of it. 
For green, there is grapes or kiwi. I choose grapes. For white I thought of using either marshmallow or banana. I went for bananas- much healthier and natural I thought. 
For the Chakra I used lemon slices. 
I put the fruit on skewers and made fruit salad. 

For the juice I made orange juice, lemon juice and Kush sherbet.
 Khus sherbet is sugar syrup made by using extract of Khus or Vetiver Grass is a well known Ayurvedic cooler.

My 2 year old loves baking. A day before we had made cupcakes. We had made the flags the few days back. I showed him how the flag looks like and then gave him stripes of paper to glue in that sequence.He then glued them to dowels.  I drew the wheel in the center. The bunting of tri color we had made earlier. I cut the shapes and sunny boy glued it to the ribbon. Incorporating my little boy in decoration/craft projects makes it really fun.  

I did this before sunny boy got up. He was so surprised and happy to see the display. He enjoyed eating and playing with the flags. Seeing him so excited and happy made it all worth it.

Joining party at BNOP, Home Sweet Home, Home and Garden !!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wat Pho- Temple of the reclining buddha

We had been to Bangkok last year sometime when Avaneesh was 1 year old. Compared to now it was quite easy to go any place which is not kid friendly or has nothing to do with kids. Now we have to think and research if there is anything for kids before we go anywhere. Although I must admit he loves to see beautiful places and things. 

Coming back to the topic we went to the beautiful Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok. It features the largest single Buddha - the famous reclining Buddha - measuring more than 160 feet in length. 

The image of the reclining Buddha is made of stuccoed bricks and gilded with gold leaves. It is 46 meters long, 15 meters high at the head end and 3 meters at the feet end. The The 3 m high and 4.5 m long feet of Buddha's sole (in the last pic below) are inlaid with mother of pearl. They are crafted with 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha in Thai- Chinese art style.

The gorgeous wall mural is made with gold and ink in the Hall of the Reclining Buddha in the temple. The great wall mural is composed of a coordinated series of paintings illustrating the life stories.

       The intricate mural are some 200 year old and are made all through the top on a 100 feet tall wall. The doors and ceiling look stunning with beautiful patterns made in combination of either black & gold or red & gold.

Some features I attracted to and saw everywhere in the Wat Pho were beautiful metal bells, stone statues,Chinese guards, Foo dogs,  ballasts from ancient trading ships from China, Miniature gardens to name a few.

The roof and entrances are heavily decorated with carved images with multiple tiers.  Ornamented multiple tiers style of roof is reserved for roofs on temples, palaces and important public buildings. Two or three tiers are often used, but some royal temples have four.  Dynamic visual rhythms is created by layers of roof - smallest at top , larger in the middle and the largest at the bottom.

In the inner large ground of the temple were images of 1000 Buddha  from different temples which were ruined.We ventured in other parts of Vihara-  Chedis of four kings, Thai Massage school, Ordination Hall, Pang Nak Prok and some more.  

It was hot and humid on that day. We were exhausted by the end of visit. We had kept one day of our trip to the city to view only temples. There are around 400 Wats in Bangkok. We saw only a few. This was one of them. 
 Wat Pho was on our ' must visit' for long time. 

Joining Travel Tuesday!!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thomas and friends paper craft

This is project one of the Thomas & friends DIY  craft/ games for & by kids. We had bought a Thomas and friends magazine from London. I haven't seen them here. 
So since 'Thomas mania' is ON in our house I thought of making a puzzle with the magazine cover. 

I cut a cardboard in the size of the magazine cover. Then I asked Avaneesh to spread glue on the back of the cover and on the cardboard.  I pressed them together. With a xacto knife I cut it in squares.

Avaneesh likes puzzles. So it is big hit with him since it has both Thomas & friends plus a puzzle. 

Paper puzzles are easy and cheap to make. All you need is picture/s of your child's favorite character , cardboard( I recycled one from some packaging),  glue and sharp scissor or xacto knife.
You can also use carton of child's favorite cereal/ food or photos to make a puzzle. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pencil sketch

When I saw a photo of this Rajasthani old man , there was something intriguing about him. His eyes, his wrinkles, his turban or his mustache.. Something which compelled to draw his sketch that very moment. I haven't sketch much recently so I just had to challenge myself to sketch him. I was surprised at the result- it felt like ' wow! I can still sketch well. I thought I had completely lost touch'. 

I am happy I challenged myself to do this. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tibetan treasure

Traveling to Tibet has been a long cherished dream for me. Mysterious land with abundant natural beauty, tradition and culture. I am fascinated by the local Tibetan lifestyle- their traditional clothing, wooden houses with beautiful intricate Buddhist carvings, hand painted furniture , unique clothing and costumes. 

Till the time I actually visit the place I am managing my urge to travel by collecting antics from Tibet. This is one of my beloved item from that region. I saw this neglected in a dusty dark corner hiding underneath a small carpet in an antics shop. I loved it instantly. I did a bit of check for authenticity and it was mine for only $20.

The shopkeeper didn't know much about it except that it is scripture storage box from Tibet. It was used a box for storage of the pages of a Tibetan Buddhist Sutra, or other complete text. Inside the box are beautiful Tibetan symbols- auspicious symbol of Lotus flower and tiger. The symbols are made in Buddhist line art.   

Some of these boxes are painted directly on the raw wood while few are covered with leather and some like the one I have is covered with cloth before being painted .Gesso was used to produce raised decorations. Brass corners and iron ring hinges on the sides and top were done as a decorative element. 

It sits happily on my old chess board as a centerpiece on the table. I create wooden vignettes since I have a toddler at home. Its quite practical as it wont break or hurt him if it is picked or fell down from his hands. 

Joining the party at BNOP, Inspire Me tues !!

Monday, August 11, 2014

laughter therapy - Illustration with watercolors and ink

I did this illustration of the smile or laughter technique since I see so many grumpy faces around:)

I have met/seen many moms who are so stressed out by their daily life or work. They frown and yell at their kids even toddlers. I know toddlers in their terrible two mode can be too much to handle for some. But then if children will not be naughty, throw things around, run around like whirlwind or typhoon who will. I get stressed too and when I do I just fake a smile not letting him know that I am stressed. I think a Mom should always be happy around her kids so that they would learn to be happy, jolly, less stressed. After all parents are their role models. 

We all fake smiles, don't we at work or while meeting some friend or stranger. So why not in this situation.. why burden their growing minds with stress. When you start smiling that itself starts easing the stress, making you feel better and better. This idea is also used in laughter clubs which were originated in Japan and later spread all around. I never laugh heartily alone( that's crazy) but a giggle or chuckle also helps..Just smile and just expand it till you relaxed. There are other benefits too!!

For more fun ideas to keep laughing read this wikihow articles: Laugh

So keep smiling and be happy!!

Joing party at PPT and IF!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Beautiful summer in London

We recently came back from a beautiful month long holiday in London. The summer in London is glorious..clear blue skies, pleasant air, lovely people, parks, greenery and so many things to do with kids. So much better than the scorching unbearable heat in Dubai. 

This time we decided not to take any camera other than the ones in the mobile phones. The basic idea was to just chill, relax and enjoy the time with family instead of posing with superficial smiles and expressions for the camera apart from the fact that we have been there before. But for Avaneesh this was first time. We wanted to see London from his eyes. The idea was to make 'real' memories. We did take few pictures for my daily journal(my other secret mommy blog:))

I am so happy that we made that effort and succeeded..We would just go to Hyde park , Regent park, Greenwich park or any kid friendly place and just lay there watching the birds and squirrels and our son playing with pigeons. All places in London were educational and fun for him. Some I would recommend for a 2 year old would be ( within London) - the London zoo, London bridge, aquarium, Greenwich planetarium, transport museum , London eye, National museum and the big bookstores are some of the must-see. Once outdoors we talked about everything which was different from life in Dubai. The different plants, flowers, post boxes, telephone booths, shape of taxis and buses, statues, doors, carvings, rain and even puddles, how all these happen/ work and what they are made, which nursery rhythm/story is linked to it etc. Basically I want him to observe small details, learn and enjoy. I think it worked. 

That's my idea of perfect holiday- just me and my family. I love seeing the world from my 2 year-old s eyes. It makes me feel like being a kid one more time. 

Linking to TT!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Paper Plate fish Aquarium

I had seen paper plate fish aquarium on the net and really loved it. They look so easy to do and pretty as well. So in the afternoon activity Avaneesh made a fish aquarium from a paper plate. 

For this activity I collected things which are leftover in the house - paper plates, paper and  cereal. Avaneesh was excited to see all the items. He was even more excited to see me cutting fish. He said lets make a fish pond. When I cut first one. He said its Mamma fish. So I cut out 3 fishes- big, medium, small - Daddy, Mamma, Baby.

He choose the colors to color the fishes.I made sure he paints the medium (mamma) fish in pink. He painted it with pencils and sketch pens.  We talked about the aquarium in Dubai mall and about plants inside the water. I drew the eyes and mouth on the fishes.

After he was done coloring all three of them. I told him that its time to paint the water for the fish. I gave him blue and white on the plate and asked him to spread it around. He made circles and shapes around the plate.

While the paint was wet I told him to glue the fishes and the grass to it. Then I gave him the honey pop cereal to him. Avaneesh does not like it anymore. I gave him only 6-7 at a time, so that he does not get into throwing-the-ball game mode and lose concentration. He started fixing them one by one. I wish I had some sea shells as well...He fixed them all over also in between the fish. We talked about the bubbles and coral under the sea.  

This is how it turned out!! I put a double sided sticky tape on its back and pressed it to the wall. 

This was done in June. He was 2.5 yrs. I think older kids should be able to do even better job. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Science experiment : Volcano Eruptions

Every family has some or other family activity which they do as a tradition or regular fun activity on weekend. I have been thinking about it for quite some time, just couldn't think what to do. I definitely don't want it around food. I wanted it to a fun activity- something educational, exciting, fun for us(adults) and Avaneesh as well. I have found our family activity for weekends - science experiments!!!!

We did a volcano experiment. For this science experiment, I used a tall plastic glass and kept it on oval plastic plate( only shape in plastic plate I had) I taped the glass with the plate using a masking tape. We spread a plastic sheet on the floor and kept the 'volcanic mountain' in the center. Then I put a few spoons of baking powder and poured vinegar over it. Bubbles started rising and it started overflowing from its crater. 

Avaneesh loved it and was very excited to see the volcano eruption.  I told him abut lava-molten rock. Why and volcano happen, how the mountain expands, smoke, gas and clouds coming out of the volcano. My 2.5 year old got so interested in volcanoes and watched videos with great interest about volcanic expedition and eruptions. Now he gets excited whenever he sees volcano or anything in the shape of a mountain with a crater in center. He says I am going inside the volcano(expedition)

I did lot of research on the net before starting this experiment. 
I suggest reading these two detailed posts on this topic : sciencebob and chemistry.about
Be cautious with science experiments around toddlers, I let Avaneesh only watch the experiment.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Planetery science: Making a solar system display with clay planets

My son got interested in planetary science just after his 2nd birthday in January. It was end of his fire engine obsession and beginning of stars and planets obsession. He knows names of all planets, sequence,their colors and relative sizes, their moons etc. (I read planetary science websites and books everyday to keep up with his questions.. ooh these never ending questions..sigh) 

So early in June, I had made planets from air dry clay. I made them in relative proportion of their sizes. Over the coming days in our afternoon activities , Avaneesh had painted them as per their colors. Then I kept them in a box on his table for many days. He would play with them everyday.

After a month. I thought we should glue them on to a board so to make him understand how planets rotate around themselves and around the sun. So I cut a big circle from a Styrofoam board.It was hard to keep Avaneesh away. He was jumping with excitement. I drew orbit around a imaginary sun in the center. Avaneesh kept on saying Where is Sun? I told him that you will paint it later lets first just put these planets all in place.  

 I put glue drops on the orbit circles and told him to press the planets in place. He placed all the planets in sequence. 

Then I made a big ball from the extra clay I had and gave it Avaneesh that this is Sun. He was happy to finally have Sun in the solar system. 

We also talked about how planets go round and round around the sun and around itself. Then I told him that imagine this is sun and we are planets. Avaneesh and I went round around the table and then going around the table going round ourselves. Oh my God, my head started spinning. I stopped Avaneesh as well. 

Linking to Science Sunday!