fiber installation

I neglected to post a picture of this earlier, but I did think it deserves a mention:

6-9 year old class
This crazy installation is made up of yards of finger crochet from a group of girls who were first reluctant to learn and became crocheting fools once it clicked for them - fun!


The Candy Shop War book review

Hi! :-)
It's me again! Sorry I didn't do a review last week, I was so busy! Anyway, this week I decided to review the book The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull.


Summer, Nate, Trevor, and Pigeon are four friends who stop by The Sweet Tooth, the new candy shop in town, hoping to get some candy. They find themselves doing odd jobs for Mrs. White, the owner, in exchange for some of her mouthwatering treats. Once Mrs. White trusts them, she sends them on more challenging missions in order to earn some special, magical candy. Moon rocks, which help you defy gravity, melting pot mixers, that change your race temporarily ( I found that part a little racist :0 ) and shock bits, which allow you to stun an attacker, are only some of the marvelous candies that await them. The tasks get harder and more dangerous as the story goes on, and the kids don't know whom to trust. This story is exciting and dramatic, (after all, grave robbing and breaking into museums are hardly everyday activities) and I recommend it for grades 5 and up.

So that's it, hope you liked it!



drink in the garden

As usual I was having trouble deciding on a direction for my final assignment. I ended up dedicating this picture to a good friend who taught me how to make a mean margarita.

This is set in her lovely garden surrounded by her flowers.
Check out the amazing work of my fellow students here in the gallery


Another circus

Things are slowing down a bit around here, time for another change of pace and a new routine. 
Art Camp is over, and this year was pretty awesome. Just to wrap it up, I thought I'd post some pictures of our version of Calder's circus.
every circus needs a dinosaur act...

the greatest art show on earth

final installation for the art exhibit



checking in from art camp

 Here's a peek at some work from camp!
 We started with a simple flat wire sculpture. I really wanted students to get the feel of working with different gauges of wire (and realize the difficulties). Some kids strung beads and sequins inside their shapes, but I love the confident simplicity of this little house.
wiresculpture, Aine age 6     
circus parts, mixed media, Nora age 8
These are a few samples from day 2. We made a wagon, talked about movable parts, and started creating our "Acts" for the show. The glue gun was a lot more popular than wire, I'm sure Calder would have  appreciated one himself!


Calder's circus

Getting ready for another week of art camp...

I don't think I'll ever get tired of this video.



I'm getting serious about improving, (ha, who are we kidding) getting some computer skills, these days.  It's not that I'm going to completely change the way I work, I just want to stay on top of things, use my time wisely and make the most of my options, That said, it's a lot of fun!
As you can see I'm a total beginner, but I'm practicing with some images from my desktop, so kitty got to travel.

cat in the mountains (homage to Ferdinand Hodler)

At this point I'm a bit of a Skillshare addict. I had started a couple of classes before, and now that they've switched to a membership format, I get kind of dizzy with all the choices. I haven't actually completely finished and posted a project/assignment yet, but I've already learned a lot (I also learned the hard way to keep hitting "save" as you go along). If you're a newbie like me, you might be interested in this list of recommended free Photoshop tutorials I encountered today.  I have a collection of similar helpful links on a Pinterest board.
Have a good weekend friends!


Book Review for "Cold Hard Cash"

Hi! It's Louisa again. Today I'm going to review the book Cold Hard Cash, part of the Sammy Keys series by Wendelin Van Draanen. :-)

Not very many people take the expression "scared to death" literally, so Sammy Keys must have been pretty surprised to find out that she had literally scared someone- to death! And when this guy, an old guy too, pulled out bundles of cash from his pockets and begged Sammy to "get rid of them", she pretty much had to oblige, so she threw it out the windows of the fire escape. Nothing could stop Sammy from going back later to see if anyone had found the cash. And taking it. And spending it. And while she naturally felt guilty spending a dead guy's cash, she was so excited about finally having pocket money, she didn't wonder much about where it came from, and why someone was carrying thousands of dollars around in their pockets. This book has the perfect balance of old lady disguises, pool parties, bratty little brothers, dramatic mothers, excitement, police cars, charmingly sneaky old men, colorful cowboy boots and scruffy hotels.This is one of the many wonderful books in the Sammy Keys series, by the lovely Wendelin Van Draanen.
I recommend this for sixth grade and up, after a particularly scarring incident in third grade (let's just say I wasn't used to murder).  If this story sounds interesting, be sure to check out the rest of the books in this series, starting with Sammy Keys and the Hotel Thief.

another "fragile" idea

watercolor, gouache, colored pencil and collage


fragile flowers

and a field of flowers this time....
watercolor and collage
maybe this is my new approach to Illustration Friday, usually I spend most of the time trying to decide on an image :)
Have a nice day friends!


IF: Fragile

I've been working on a series of flowers in watercolor and collage that fit perfectly in this weeks theme over at Illustration Friday.


Can you tell I'm having fun with these?


happy holiday weekend

collaboration with Nora (8)
Kick back and relax!


"Behind the Curtain" book review

red is Ingrid's favorite color

Hi everybody! I'm Louisa, Tatjana's daughter. I am 11 years old, almost 12. Today I am reviewing Behind the Curtain, a book by Peter Abrahams.

Behind the Curtain is a mystery novel full of excitement, suspense, and humor. It all
starts when Ingrid Levin-Hill, a spunky, curious 13 year old, gets kidnapped, and stuffed
into the trunk of a car. From there, Ingrid is launched straight into the middle of a ring of 
kidnappers and drug dealers. I really liked this book because it was so exciting. I didn't want
 to put it down. In fact, I was so captivated  by Abrahams' intriguing characters and complex 
plot, I ended up finishing it in an afternoon well spent. I recommend this 
book for teens, pre-teens, and even adults looking for a marvelous tale filled with 
ransom notes,  con artists, and soccer balls. Well done Peter Abrahams!

Thank you for reading, and I hope you  enjoyed it. Also, don't forget to check out the first book in this series, Down the Rabbit Hole, by Peter Abrahams. Look out for another review next week!



heads up!

Tomorrow will be the start of a new regular feature: favorite book reviews. We will be profiling a favorite kids book every week, from picture book to young adult literature. 
Stop by and check out an exciting mystery series (with a strong female character), reviewed by Louisa (almost 12). We'd love to hear about your favorite books too, so leave us a note!


freeform fibers

This class was kind of funny too. I came up with the idea with older kids in mind, but the way it worked out we were a group of 6-9 year old's.  I had had great plans of room size fiber installations and free form crochet/knit/weaving projects, but for these smaller people we took it down a notch.

 These snakes were knit on an oversized "knitting Nancy". Although a few of the kids grumbled a bit about the time it took to make them, as soon as the eyes and tongues were added they were in love.

The girl faces were embroidered on a hoop, then hand sewn into  little pillows and stuffed.
By the end of the week everyone's patience and attention span had magically expanded and they were crocheting fools. (picture of the "magic tree" installation to follow later)