Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Not So Scrappy Paper Ornaments

Taking down the Christmas decorations can be kind of a disappointment.   To keep my little ones and myself out of a January winter funk, we leave a few winter themed decorations up including these paper ornaments we made to replace the Christmas glass ball ornaments that had adorned our dining room. 

Cardstock Scraps(colored or with a printed pattern) at least 6” long
paper cutter or scissors
hole punch
head pins
jump rings
jewelry making pliers
decorative beads
ribbon for hanging

1.       Cut your cardstock into strips measuring the following dimensions:
(2) 6” x 1”, (2) 5”x1”, (1) 4”x1” If your cardstock is blank on the back side you can double the strips so you have color or printed pattern on both sides.
2.       Line up the ends of your strips and punch a hole in the middle of the short side and about a quarter of an inch from the end.  Line up the strips to the other side and punch a hole in the same way.
3.       Stack your strips lining up the short ends starting with one of the largest strips, then a medium strip then the smallest, then the other medium strip and finish with the other large strip on top.  If you have strips with different patterns on their opposite sides consider how you want them oriented.  My paper had different patterns on the front and back so I configured them up so that the patterns mirrored the center strip.

4.       Secure the ends with a staple.
5.       Gently slide the opposite end of the paper strips so the ends line up and they bend into a nice curve.  Secure with a staple. 
6.       Slide some beads onto a head pin and bend a circle in the end of the head pin using round nose pliers to hang it from a jump ring. 
7.       Thread the jump ring through the bottom hole and hang a bead from the bottom.  (The same can be done for the top of the ornament or you can skip the bead and just thread ribbon for hanging.)
8.       Thread ribbon through the top hole for hanging.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Photography is Drawing with Light

This photography experiment I tried with my boys was inspired by a book we borrowed from our local library, Sam and the Firefly by P.D. Eastman.  It’s about an owl who befriends a firefly named Sam who can blink his light on and keep it on so Gus, the owl, teaches him to write words in the sky.  The story goes from there, the firefly plays tricks on people writing “free show” over the movie theater and changing the “hot” sign on the hot dog sign to “cold”.  It’s not the most amazing story, but it’s cute and the idea of drawing with light was fun.  Sam the firefly eventually uses his new skill to save the day by stopping a train before it crashes. 
I received a new camera for Christmas so one night at bedtime I had the boys bring their new flashlights to their bedroom with them.  My camera is a single lens reflex camera (SLR) that allows you some creative control over the shutter speed etc.  I set the shutter speed at about 4 seconds and turned the automatic focus to manual.  The boys took turns writing letters in the air, drawing shapes, and dancing.  It’s not that easy to write backwards so I wrote some words and flipped them horizontally on the computer later on.  My husband tried outlining the boys with the flashlight which turned out pretty cool too. 

Zigzag from head to toe

  On a side note I realized that my writing with light looked just like my normal hand writing.  This is intriguing to me since I wrote in the air using wide sweeping arm movements, completely different muscle groups than writing with typical pen and paper.  But when I look at these words written with light I totally recognize it as my handwriting.  My husband who is much more mathematically oriented than I am also found this interesting.  “The math in that is beautiful,” he said. 

Smiley Face
Circle using your arm as a compass