Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the window

The children's rooms at CHOP all have large windows along one side, overlooking the central atrium, outside or, if you're very lucky like us, the emergency room. It spawns a lot of thought that I hope I'll write about...For many, especially in the oncology ward where long stays are standard, window decorating is big. I wouldn't say ours is an artistic triumph, but is organically growing, and Marian heartily approves.
Audrey's panel is on the left. She's getting quite adept at backwards writing.
The center is mine, I guess. Our What a Wonderful World silk scarf and Mare's name.
I'm documenting the making of the right panel below. Coffee filter watercolor flowers and painted-by-Marian vinyl window clings. Both new-to-us projects that you should try, too.
Art therapist Jennifer introduced us to coffee filter flowers. I think they might be a hospital standard, since we know another charming 6-year-old getting a bone marrow transplant in Minnesota who wrote about them on her Caring Bridge site. I know I've seen coffee filters in craft applications before, but I've never indulged, probably since I'm not a coffee drinker, so they weren't handy. I thought their allure was "hey, here's a round circle of white paper that you already have". But more impressive is their durability when wet, awesome for wet painting with young 'uns (look at how wet this paper is!), and (I know, surprising) filter quality: color travels on them in cool ways, even separating into its components. A very tie-dye effect. Materials:

Washable surface. Your painting turns out two-sided, which is awesome for windows, but also means bleed on the bottom. So make sure you can easily clean what you're working on. A paper towel or another filter underneath works, too (plus, cool effects).

Coffee filters. The grande size is great, if you can find it, but everything works. Since they have distinct ridges, crumpling up the filter first helps you to flatten it out before you start. Just go ahead and embrace it, like nice crumply linen pants :)

Watercolor paints. I have to admit this project was twice as cool because Jen brought us amazing metallic watercolors. They cover everything with great bitty mica-like bits of sparkle and I cannot believe I, with an eye out for all things new and kids'-art-related, didn't find them myself. One (there aren't many) upside of being in sterile isolation is that everything has to be new. So the watercolors are now ours!!! Prang brand metallic watercolors. You must find them.

Brushes & water. Oooo, guess why? Bigger brushes are better because you want to splash on a lot of color.

Process: Use plenty of water to work up a generous amount of paint, and let the colors run together.

another option: washable markers.
The same water base that makes them wash up nicely also makes water a great solvent for these markers. I think this is a good technique for children whom you don't really trust with paint, but want to give them a chance to play with color--call it pre-painting :). Draw a line design or just scribble, then use a big brush to spread water around. Once you get the filter paper wet, the color will slowly spread by itself. Or brush vigorously (I love that word), and accelerate the process.

If you were holding these in your hands, you would get to enjoy all of the good shimmer :).

Seriously, get yourself some Prang metallic watercolors. Who loved this project most of all? My mom and I. Giddy.

Plenty long, this post. So vinyl clings later.


Courtney said...

It's weird, but all the things that Mormons just don't have hanging around their houses, actually have some pretty cool uses. Along with coffee filters, I've seen some pretty neat ideas with tea bags (empty ones of course).

What do you get when you cross a snake and a kangaroo?

A jump rope!

sallyavena said...

These also make great butterflies. Just scrunch them and add a pipe cleaner. Spray with glitter spray glue and make it shimmery. These were a 'B' staple for pre-school days in our house.
(You can also get a neat effect with markers and a spray bottle-much more 3 year old friendly)

Mary Anne said...

I guess this not new to me at all, after working in a preschool in North Carolina and then with Grace's Fine Arts Preschool this year. She actually just brought home one of those coffee filter things today. It looked tie-dyed. But the last ones we did on a parent-involvement day were snowflakes, so we also cut them up. No limit to the creativity there . . .

Carol said...

A little box with a "wee" friend is on its way from Delaware right now for Marian. I'm imagining it may even arrive today :-)

Anonymous said...

We read that you like jokes so here are a few from the first graders at Oak Flat in Newville, PA.

Knock Knock. (Who's there?)
Banana. (Banana who?)
Knock Knock. (Who's there?)
Banana. (Banana who?)
Knock Knock. (Who's there?)
Orange. (Orange who?)
Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

Why did the spider get on the internet?
 Because he wanted to make a web page.

Why did the girl faint at Zoo America?
 She saw an elephaint!

Why did the orange stop in the middle of the road?
 He ran out of juice.

Why did the rooster cross the road?
 Because it was the chicken’s day off.

What does a frog eat when he goes to McDonald’s?
 French flies and a croak.

Will you remember me in 10 years? (Yes.)
Will you remember me in 1 year? (Yes.)
Will you remember me in 1 month? (Yes.)
Will you remember me in 1 week? (Yes.)
Will you remember me in 1 day? (Yes.)
Will you remember me in 1 minute? (Yes.)
Will you remember me in 1 second? (Yes.)
Knock Knock. (Whose there?)

A mom went to pick up her son at karate practice. When she got there, she didn’t see the instructor. She asked her son, “Where is your instructor?” He replied, “He went home sick with the kung flu.”

Why did the skeleton cross the road?
 To get to the body shop.

Knock Knock. (Who’s there?)
Police (Police who?)
Police open the door its freezing out here!

What do you call five toads stacked on top of each other?
 A toadem pole

Why did the princess kiss the frog?
 Because he was so smoooooth

Why was the skeleton too scared to go into the graveyard?
 Because he didn’t have the guts.

Knock Knock. (Who’s there?)
Dwane. (Dwane who?)
Dwane the bathtub, I’m dwowning.

What song does an American dog sing?
 Yankee Poodle Dandy

Why can’t you have a conversation with a goat?
 It is always butting in.

Why is the letter “t” important to a stick bug?
 Without it, he would be a sick bug.

What happened to the toad who parked illegally?
 The toad truck came and toad him away.

Why did the chicken join the band?
 Because he had drum sticks.

What animal never stops talking?
 The yak.

What is a mouse’s favorite game?
 Hide and Squeak

Why did the cat put the letter “m” in the freezer?
 He wanted the ice to turn into mice.

What bug can tell time?
 A clockroach.

Why can’t you tease snakes?
 They don’t have a leg to pull.