Archive for the ‘just for kids’ Category
Ok. I am officially giddy over this post.
We’ve been up to a little something here in the studio…me and the
elves kids have been feverishly creating a little Nutcracker world, and we’re all a bunch of giddy little sugar plums over it.
I’ve been wanting to make these for a while, and I just couldn’t wait any longer. This weekend we were decorating gingerbread houses and watching the Maurice Sendak version of the Nutcracker with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. And the kids were glued. We’ve been acting it out ever since!
So we made this Puppet Theater set. I say “we” because it was really a joint effort. The kids would play, and I’d draw it out, and we’d imagine together what all the characters looked like.
Here’s a little video of us putting these together. It’s taken with my iphone (note to self…always hold the phone horizontal, not vertical when making movies!)
I’m getting a little obsessed with imovie. I used it for the first time last night making this…and um….I can see a lot more of these in my future. So super easy and fun!
So. This is what we’ve done. we’ve made the these PDF downloads (like the Peter and the Wolf Puppet Theater kit that has been so, so popular) and I’m including the story and music clips below so that you can act out the story right here! There are 13 characters…enough for literally hours of play.
1) Not all characters were created. I had to stop somewhere!
2) These should be cut out by an adult. They do have tiny parts, and so give yourself some time to carefully cut
3) This is a DOWNLOAD only. Instructions are included in the download for printing, brads, etc.
You can purchase the PDF download here.
So…are you ready? Get out your dolls….and play along!
THE NUTCRACKER SUITE(Simply play the music below each image while you are dancing to the scene with your paper puppet dolls)
Clara’s family is having a Christmas party. She and her little brother Fritz dance and decorate the tree. Soon Clara’s mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives and gives her a special toy nutcracker. Fritz pretending to be a soldier, breaks the Nutcrackers jaw and the doll is broken. As Clara cries, kind Drosselmeyer ties his scarf around the Nutcracker and fixes him.
CLARA DANCES WITH HER NUTCRACKER
Clara Dances with her Nutcracker. Relieved her new toy is fixed, Clara dances with the Nutcracker and pretends he is really a hansom prince.
THE MOUSE KING AND NUTCRACKER FIGHT
Clara falls asleep and shrinks to the size of the toys. The Mouse King appears and the Nutcracker comes alive to defend Clara. The Nutcracker fights bravely, but after a long battle the Mouse King knocks the Nutcracker to the ground. Clara throws her shoe at the Mouse King and distracts him long enough for the Nutcracker to kill him.
CLARA AND THE PRINCE DANCE
Pas de Deux
The Nutcracker becomes a hansom prince and dances with Clara.
TRAVEL THROUGH THE SNOWY WOOD
The Nutcracker Prince and Clara travel through a snowy forest on the way to his Kingdom. Snow fairies and the Snow Queen dance all around them.
ACT II: LAND OF THE SWEETS
Clara and the Nutcracker Prince arrive in the Land of Sweets. Sweets from around the world come to dance in turn for Clara, and thank her for defeating the Mouse King.
WALTZ OF THE FLOWERS
SUGAR PLUM FAIRY
Drosselmeyer joins Clara and the Prince as everyone dances together. Clara and the Prince are crowned rulers of the Land of Sweets. (In some early versions Clara stays in the Land of Sweets and the ballet ends. In others the prince takes her home, or she wakes up in bed with the doll in her arms realizing it was all a dream. Pick the ending you like best. I’ve never seen two identical productions. )
Wasn’t that fun? I am feeling like I’m 7 again…all tingly and magical. Gosh, I love this music!
I had so much fun making this….I might even add more characters next year, but this, I think, is plenty! And look! They even can double as Christmas Ornaments when you are done. Or for practicing your ballet positions in your spare time!
Really. Paper Toys are so under rated. These kept my 5 year old boy busy all weekend. Gotta love paper dolls.
Well, we’ve also made these haunted houses, and I figured I should document it and let you in on some fun too!
So far this month, we’ve made about a dozen of these…so many that they have even stapled them together and turned them into “Haunted House Book” collection. Each page sports a new variety of spooky things in the window. This is hours of entertainment for sure!
You can download the PDF download that I made here, and follow the instructions. But just to prove that it’s simple and easy, here are some picture ‘how-to’s’
Cut out the template and trace onto black paper
Cut out the black paper (with yellow underneath to make a really cool candle it window effect!) We’ve traditionally just mounted these on white paper…so either way works!
Remove the yellow paper, and cut out the windows with an exacto knife
…and then draw spooky window creatures!
There are really endless options with this template, so have fun!
And here is Ian saying “ONE picture mom. Just one!” What? I like to take a lot of pictures? No.
Have so much fun!
Here’s the download for ya:
Bonjour mes amis!
All things French have been on my mind lately.
I’m typing this blog post while my husband is grading papers, and we are both listening to Julia Child’s TV re-runs (Jacque & Julia to be exact) of how to make Vichyssoise from Potato Leek Soup. (Oh! How I love that woman. I could listen to her voice all day.)
I’ve been a lover of the French language and the cultures of all French speaking countries since I can remember. As I child, I loved hearing my dad speak the language to me, or to others he met who could actually speak back to him! I started taking French lessons at school in 5th grade, and now that my daughter is in a French Immersion Elementary school, I’m starting to resurface my love of all things French!
And then just last week, I finished illustrating a book (Harper Collins, April 2012) on a Canadian family’s move to France and the lessons they learned while adopting the French culture of food and eating. More on that later…but I’ve been absorbing myself in French food, French books, French music…
And since our pocket books and life with little ones prevents any sort of travel these days, absorbing myself in the culture has been my travel bug medicine. At least for now!
When I started making paper dolls, it was a huge hit. But I kinda fell off the bandwagon (easy to do!) but these are seriously so fun and such a great play time activity, and I am reintroducing paper toys again. With the holidays brewing, I hope to have more!
But these are making me happy. Since I have resigned fashion design to a hobby in my next life (that and like a whole strew of other things I want to get my hands in), designing paper clothes will just have to do. It’s really so much fun!
This collections is called “My First Trip to Paris.” Addie asks about going to Paris or Switzerland someday, and while I know it won’t be any time soon, I do dream of big hair bows and blue and white stripes. These children are picking up food and flowers from the market, playing with the street monkey and his accordion and getting read for their first painting class.
Each clothing collection now comes with a set of dolls, boy and girl…or you can just get the whole set of dolls and clothes I’ve made over the years.
**These paper dolls are PDF downloads only, so no shipping, just print them out on your own and voila! In the shop here. **
This week on Project Run and Play, the theme is BOYS!!! And you can go and vote for your favorite BOY outfits. I am a little biases, and I’m voting for these Children at Play patterns. Talk about amazing! Those flannel PJ’s I am SURE are going to be just as cute on my husband…I mean really? I want some too!
So go and vote soon! Loving it all you guys…I am getting inspired to make more fabric by just watching what you all make every day. Love you all!
When I was gathering all my little inspiration pieces for my Quilt Market Booth, I knew I wanted to find and fix up a wooden doll house and wallpaper it with my designs. I had a really strict budget, so I looked at everything from Craigslist to discounted amazon deals. I just couldn’t really seem to find the right one! And weeks went by, and my weekly peek into thrift stores and my local classifieds produced nothing. And then…I found it. Forty bucks landed me this old (HUGE!) wooden dollhouse, furniture and an entire bucket of barbies.
There was A LOT of work to put into it, but that was just what I wanted: A fixer-upper. There were plexi glass windows to pop out (they were cracked, chipped and painted), trim to paint, floors to scrape and polish, and a good 3 coats of paint on the outside to hide all the dings and poor paint jobs over the years. And that still hasn’t made it spic-and-span. There are more touch-ups to do, but we finished it enough for Quilt Market. Horray!
Little did I realize that it would take 4 people on and off for 2 weeks to make this turn into the Doll House of our dreams.
Because the Children at Play collection nearly didn’t arrive in time for market, I decided to design my entire booth with paper. Oh, those were scary days! A fabric-less booth for a fabric show? It was time to get creative. And wallpapering a vintage dollhouse seemed to be one of my ways out of the mess I was in.
Thankfully, the fabric arrived at my doorstep a week early, but the dollhouse was still a head turner!
At the last minute, because there are so many rooms, and I wanted to show off the wallpaper job that Lindsey spent hours doing (we literally cut strips and glued into place each print…and most rooms boast crooked corners and frames!) we decided to light it up inside. My Grandmother has the most fantastic dollhouse, and it’s lit up, which makes all the difference in the world.
But we didn’t have ceiling space to spare, so we found these IKEA L.E.D lights that are flat and have a long cord with a switcher attached. Ba-Bing!
This dollhouse was rather well loved when we got it, and there are some parts of it that we just won’t ever really be able to fix, but that’s the charm!
This is my favorite room of the house. The study. I seriously wish I could have that as wallpaper in my own house! Meadow in Green is one of my favorite prints. And making this dollhouse with the Children at Play designs on paper was so much fun! I spent hours matching the colors to the fabric, but it was all worth it! And as you can see…don’t look too closely…this house was in such bad shape, it’s going to take a few more weeks to get it proper for close-up photos! Part of me wants to keep is just as is to always remember the crazy sleepless nights in the weeks before market. Like a token, you know?
There were some parts of the house that were un-salvageable. Like the wool fabric that was glued to the gorgeous hard wood floors? We Old-Englished some of them, but the main rooms were completely defeated. Thank goodness for discarded carpet samples that happened to be edged in the exact size of the house!
There is still decorating to do…curtains to add…picture frames to put up….and paint to touch up. But I don’t even have curtains up in my own house yet! Or picture frames for that matter! (They say it takes a good year or so to really move into a house, right?)
So thank goodness for colorful, lit up dollhouses that 3 children can play in at the same time. We’re having thunderstorms and rain all week, and this dollhouse is getting just the attention it needs!
Sorry for the gap in posts…I’m still here. I’ve been fighting off some kind of nasty bug that’s keeping me from doing anything more than the absolutely necessary (like reading Divergent and taking too many pictures of my soon to graduate from Kindergarten baby).
But I’ve wanted to post this picture for a while. The other week while I was getting ready for market, Addie came into my office, and announced (fully dressed for the part) that she wanted to be an artist, a sewer and a mom when she grew up. And then she asked if she could work with me.
This happens a lot. I work mostly at night, but for the past while, I’ve had to squeeze in what I can during the day. And more often than not, Addie wants to be there right by my side. Stitching is so easy for her to do! It keeps her busy for a long time. Just a hoop, a full skein of embroidery floss and a large dull tip needle (like a darning needle). With no agenda, she just goes in and out, and soon finds herself making a picture. Even Ian, 5, is into it.
Do you let your kids embroider? It’s a great little pass time that is easy to let them learn on their own, and it’s super non-messy:) I dont’ have a picture of my kids embroidery, but all you need is to get them started with a good knotted strand, and let them at it. If you can teach them to go “in” on the same side they went “out” they are pretty great on their own!
And more about stitching: Many of you have asked about when my new stitching patterns will be available. The patterns (iron-ons and PDF’s) will be available at the end of June. If you are interested in wholesale, you can pre-order by emailing me. More info coming soon!
This afternoon, my next door neighbors came outside with some brand new ducks, just a few weeks old, and ooooooohhh….let me just tell you how much fun we had! I’m really regretting that I didn’t have a camera, because it was just so darling so see my kids playing with baby ducks while filling up a play pool full of water. Cold water too. Have you ever seen a baby duck shiver? CUTEST THING EVER.
So, being inspired…here’s a sweet little Easter Present for you. In case you need some extra play this weekend, you can DOWNLOAD IT HERE.
Free ninety free.
And be creative! These dolls could make a really cute stage play using THIS.
And if you want more dolls, and more clothes, you can go HERE.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend. I will be conducting the children at church on Easter Sunday while they sing, and I am honestly just really looking forward to it. I love Easter. And singing with the children. Is there a better combo?
This weekend was snowy (Bleh!). Friday was 72 degrees, and we were enjoying every second of it. Then a good 5 inches of snow dropped on us, and we’ve been bundled up in the house all weekend.
Spring, and I tend to forget this every year, is like that. You never know when those ‘inside’ days are going to hit. And I wanted to have some fun.
So, I made a puppet theater for the kids. And it was so much fun to make, I’ve decided to post it here so you can play too!
Peter and the Wolf is a long time favorite in our house. I grew up listening to the record and my husband, who is 1/4 Russian himself, grew up the same way. Our children were listening to this story before they could even talk! It’s just such a classic. You know the music, right?
In case you are unfamiliar, Serge Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf (the first symphony for children by the way) in 1936. It’s a narrative symphony about a boy (Peter) and his animals as they encounter a wolf from the nearby woods. Here’s a fantastic 1941 recording for you.
Peter and the Wolf Recording with Basil Rathbone (22 minutes)
The story goes like this:
One day, Peter opens his gate to play out in the meadow beyond his house. He meets a bird, and soon his duck and cat come to join in the play.
Grandfather locks the gate and tells him to never go out there again. But, Peter paid no attention. “Boys like Peter are not afraid of Wolves.”
Peter is inside the gate, but his friends, the bird, cat and duck are still out by the pond. The wolf swallows up the duck in one big gulp and goes after the cat and the bird who are up in a tree.
Peter gets a rope and climbs over the gate and into the tree where he ties up the wolf and catches him.
A hunter comes and sees the wolf and is about to shoot when Peter cries out that he has caught the wolf. They tie up the wolf and take him to the nearby zoo.
In the story, the duck is still alive inside the wolf’s belly as they parade heroically to the zoo….and our version, we like to say that the wolf spits up the duck and they all parade together.
And that’s the story! But the music is what makes it. I can’t get it out of my head. And it’s so good for children!
Last Christmas, my husband’s parents made us an incredible hand carved collection with all the characters and the book and CD in a hand painted wooden box. We have spent the past year acting out this story at least once a month. The children listen to it over and over again, using the characters to follow the musically narrated story. It’s been such amazing play for the kids, I’ve wanted to do something similar for YOU! But I’ve not been able to come up with how to do that. I nearly came up with a paper doll version, but it didn’t seem to be as fun.
But with paper puppets, the body parts move….and can be played with even outside the stage. Hours of fun.
So here’s what you need:
A Paper Stage:
This is a FREE download in hopes that you can use it for more than just Peter and the Wolf. You can cut it out and fit it to any kind of box, but a cereal box works great. The stage is very close to a full size sheet of USA standard paper (8.5 x 11 inches). So find a cereal box that works with that size. The crown of the proscenium is easy to tape on, or even better, fasten on with brads so you can change it out and replace it with others that title the performance.
Download the Stage HERE.
Peter and the Wolf Characters:
I debated on this one….I wanted to make it completely cost free, but since it is rather elaborate, I’m charging just a small fee: $5.50 for the entire set. I plan on making more stories, some of which will be more simple will be a free download.
You can purchase the full PETER AND THE WOLF set HERE.
Other Household Supplies:
Small brads (these are used for scrapbooking and are smaller than normal brads used for school or office. You’ll find them in any craft store that sells scrapbook materials).
Safety pin (to pre-poke holes before fastening with brads)
Sticks for puppeting These are found at any craft store, wooden skewers used for barbequeing work as well. Popscicle sticks are going to be too wide, so don’t try.
The Disney animated classic can be viewed on You Tube HERE.
Another favorite version is here, but there are lots more.
But feel free to LISTEN OFF THE BLOG for free whenever you want. (It’s not the best recording out there, but it is the best FREE recording out there. But the voice of Basil Rathbone? Fantastic!)
So there you go! I really hope you like it….in fact, I’d LOVE your feed back on this one. Please comment and tell me your thoughts….I have been wanting to add this kind of thing to my shop/blog for a long time.
Is this something you’d like to see more of?
Can you think of other favorite (copyright free) stories that you’d like to have characters of?
Would you prefer a PDF download, or a KIT with all supplies included that you can purchase and have mailed to you?
I can see this as a collection you can keep adding too….some with just black and white print outs that children can color themselves, some more elaborate and entertaining.
I’d love to know what you think! I can’t think of anything out there quite like this….so spread the word and we’ll see if I can’t get more little “performances” put together. It’s the perfect creative play, and I can promise you it’s going to be a big hit at your house. Tell me how it goes!