Thursday, 10 March 2011

gannet, fairies, bunnies and other deadly creatures

Some of the latest master-pieces from my kids..

“Gannet” by Oliver (7) .. a work of art.

“Deadly 60 line-art” also by Oliver.

Deadly 60 is Oliver’s favourite wildlife programme, all about the world’s deadliest animals. He is also just a wee bit obsessed with the accompanying Deadly 60 trading card game. Oliver drew the above outline drawings from the photos on some of his favourite cards.. (clockwise from centre top) great white shark, nile crocodile, piranha, gharial, spectacled caiman, orca, alligator snapping turtle, clouded leopard.

“Fairy queen and king” by Cyan (5).

Cyan cut shapes out of a separate sheet of paper for the clothes on the fairies and stuck them down, then coloured them and drew on the other features, all her own creativity.

“This is four Mumm and Dadd” bunnies also by Cyan.

I love these guys!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

beach treasure mosaic mirrors

My sister Tressa and her boyfriend just recently moved home and the kids and I wanted to make a gift to take to their house warming party. Tressa loves the sea so we decided to make something using some of our collected beach treasures..

I thought we could make some mirrors with a mosaic border. I found these small round beveled edge mirrors cunningly disguised as candle plates for a £1 each! Exactly what I had in mind, don’t you love it when that happens!

The mirrors are about 4" diameter. I cut two 6" squares from 3mm plywood we have lying around. I then fixed the mirrors in the center using dual purpose tile adhesive/grout. I made sure to scrape off any excess around the edge. Ideally they should have been left to dry overnight at this stage but we were making them the morning of the party so I just left them for a couple of hours to dry.

I then got Oliver and Cyan to come and design their mosaic borders, using shells and sea glass from our collection. I also have some little tumbled glass mosaic tiles and they used a few of those too.

I was originally going to let the kids stick the pieces on, but I had a few concerns about this. I was not sure about the tile adhesive/grout on their hands as it’s not very skin friendly. Time was also an issue and I suspected it would be quicker to get them to work out their layout and then I would fix them after. I am so glad we did it this way, it is quite fiddly fixing the pieces on. I took photos of their layouts to refer to when I was sticking everything down:

Cyan’s design

Oliver’s design

I spread a fairly thick layer of tile adhesive/grout around the borders, working on a small area at a time, about half of one edge, to stop the adhesive drying too quickly.

Next time I make these (I am planning to make more for birthday gifts this year) I will make sure that the grout is up to the edges of the mirror at this stage. I didn’t – if you enlarge the above photo you can see there are gaps around the edge of the mirror. This meant I had to wait for it to dry and then go round and fill in those gaps which was a real pain, I discovered you can’t use the usual grouting method with these uneven objects!

Cyan’s mirror all finished

Oliver’s mirror all finished

Once they were all fixed and dry I painted round the edge of the plywood bases with white emulsion paint to tidy up the edges, I had scraped off excess grout around the edges when I was fixing the pieces on.

They turned out so pretty and Tressa loved them. I love both the kids’ designs – they are different but complimentary. Oliver was very proud of his symmetrical design and Cyan incorporated a little symmetry after Oliver explained symmetry to her, I love her combination of randomness with a little symmetry!

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