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Meri Cherry has moved!

12 Apr

Hi Everyone! Meri Cherry has moved! Please update your bookmarks to http://www.mericherry.com. Current subscribers will receive an email notice to confirm subscription to the new web address. Be sure to confirm your subscription to my site to continue to be notified of new posts. Thank you so much for reading along! – Meri Cherry

Hanukkah Dreidel Wall Art

24 Nov

wallart2Hanukkah is right around the corner.  We are very excited about this in our house.  Recently, I came across a stack of Gigi’s old paintings and thought the colors were so pretty, it might be fun to make something out of them.  We have piles and piles of art so I didn’t feel bad cutting these up.  I had seen a post on the amazing, Art Bar Blog, where Bar used her child’s artwork to make a garland and thought it was so clever.  Those piles can really accumulate quickly and there’s only so much art work you can hang.  So, this dreidel wall art seemed like another great way to use children’s art work to create something long lasting and beautiful.  We will definitely save this frame and bring it out year after year, just like our hanukkah dreidel garland from recycled paper.

Hanukkah Wall Art from Your Child's Art WorkFirst step is to cut out the desired shape from your child’s art work.  I made a template of the dreidel first, on card stock, and then just traced it all over Gigi’s art.  At first I was going to make a garland as well, but thanks to the magic of Instagram, I took some suggestions on what to do with the dreidels.  My childhood friend and amazing graphic designer behind Silver Hollow Creative, suggested I create wall art from the dreidels.  So, after cutting out a ton of dreidels, I found a clear shadow box frame and glued them to the top of the frame.  She also suggested I use liquid gesso to seal them to the frame, but I didn’t have any.  Instead I used glue and water and I must admit, that was a pretty big fail.  The glue dried really yucky in between the dreidels and I had to scrub it off with water and a paper towel.  Oops.  It still looks really pretty and if I ever have time I will go over it with the gesso.  You can also glue the cutouts onto paper and just insert them in the frame.  I really like the clear look of the frame when you hang it up.  It has a bit of stained glass appeal to it.

Hanukkah Wall Art from Your Child's Art WorkI love that this project is a collaboration of mother and daughter.  I’m thinking we can do mini versions, sans glue and water coating, for the girl’s grandparents as hanukkah gifts.  Any frame will do and the cutout possibilities are endless. Happy holidays!

Hanukkah Wall Art from Your Child's Art WorkHanukkah Wall Art from Your Child's Own ArtHanukkah Dreidel Wall Art

Art Adventures in Outer Space – Spin Art Murals on Tin Foil

23 Nov

Art Adventures in Outer Space with 3 and 4 year oldsForgive me upfront for including a million and one photos but I couldn’t help myself.  This project was so beautiful from start to finish.  Our Art Adventures Class took us to outer space this week and we had a blast! Each child was given a different size cardboard rectangle wrapped in heavy duty tinfoil.  I duct taped the edges on the back to keep it secure.  We talked about all the things we might encounter in outer space and then the kids were invited to use different materials to create their outer space murals.  There was foam paint, which you can also make from shaving cream and tempera, confetti of different types, lots of tissue paper shapes, gold and silver paint, gems and felt strips.  I demonstrated how to use the materials first in front of the group.  I taught the kids to squeeze the magical space glue first so that all the other materials would be able to stick on the mural.  Some kids followed suit, while others went straight for the irresistible foam paint we got straight from outer space!

Art Adventures - Outer Space Muralouterspace3Art Adventures - Outer Space MuralArt Adventures - Outer Space Muralouterspace13Art Adventures - Outer Space MuralAfter we applied all of our space details to the tinfoil background, we applied our spin art planets that we made the week before.  Spin art is so much fun for kids!  You can see how to make spin art here. To prevent the sides from curling up and to remove the drying factor, we covered the spin art paper with clear contact paper and trimmed the edges.  If you ever need anything to dry quickly, this is a great way to take the drying factor out of the equation.  Plus, the art looks like it’s been laminated, which is really nice sometimes.  Some kids added felt strips around their planets and asteroids.  The felt added a great 3 dimensional effect.

outerspace6Art Adventures - Outer Space Muralouterspace10outerspace11outerspace15Art Adventures - Outer Space MuralThere were so many oohs and ahhs during this entire process.  I heard things like “Wow, mine is so beautiful!” and “Meri, take a picture of my outer space.  It’s so cool!”  If I had to do it again, I would make all the cardboard backgrounds no bigger than 9×12 or so.  I made some boards really big, and it wasn’t really necessary.  Overall, it was a fantastic exploratory experience with a bonus gorgeous end product. Happy Art Adventures!

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Contact Paper Mural – Enjoy the Journey

17 Nov

Contact paper holiday mural for toddlersThis invitation to play is about enjoying the journey, something my dad often reminds me of after hearing stories, good or bad, about my girls.  On a tray, I set up dreidels cut out from Gigi’s drawings and paintings that we’ve accumulated piles of.  I added some gold tinsel, gems in different shapes and glitter glue.  I put it all on a table next to a taped up piece of clear contact paper sticky side up on the wall.  We use contact paper all the time and often have an ongoing mural in the making in our play area.  This one was especially fun because of the dreidels.  We’ve been reading a lot of Hanukkah books, gearing up for the holidays in a couple of weeks, so dreidels are the hot topic in my house right now.

dreidelmural6I had everything ready for when the girls woke from their nap.  Gigi immediately found her way over to the table.  She grabbed a dreidel almost immediately and started looking around.  I didn’t anticipate this to be a cutting activity but the first question out of her mouth was, “Mama, where’s my scissor?”  I was a bit hesitant because I thought she would decapitate all the dreidel stems but then I reminded myself to enjoy the journey.  Art with toddlers is all about the process.   Whenever I’ve tried to force a specific outcome from a project it totally fizzles and leaves both Gigi and myself feeling unsatisfied.  So, I gave her the scissors and watched.  She happily cut slits in dreidels for almost 10 minutes and then placed them strategically on the contact papered wall.  Then came the paint dots, which I also hadn’t anticipated.  They just happened to be on the table.  She loved this part.  Each dreidel got painted and so did the contact paper itself, which I thought was so cool.  In between each step Gigi sang “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel…I made it out of clay” and danced around the table.  It was awesome.  Talk about enjoying the journey.  This little girl was in art heaven and I loved every second of it.

Dreidel Mural on Contact Paperdreidelmural3Dreidel Mural on Contact PaperThen little d came around and made here way over to the paint dots, which she uses daily now.  She loves these things.  If you don’t have a set, I highly recommend them.  There’s a reason they’ve been around forever.  They are awesome!  I keep them out on our art table permanently and both my girls love them, sometimes a little too much, as you can see below.

Dreidel Mural on Contact PaperDreidel Mural on Contact PaperThe last steps were the glitter glue, gems and tinsel, all great fine motor building and muscle strengthening activities.   The whole process lasted about 40 minutes.  I’d say that’s pretty amazing for a two and a half year old and the sign of a really good time.  So yes, Dad, we enjoyed the journey.  Thanks for the reminder.  I hope you do too. x

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Art Adventures – Reggio Inspired Self Portrait Shadow Boxes

7 Nov

Reggio Inspired Self Portrait BoxesThere are so many things I love about this project I’m not sure where to begin.  I just love it! I really wanted to do a self-portrait for my art enrichment class called Art Adventures.  When I researched ideas, so much of what I saw didn’t quite capture the essence of the child or it was too difficult for three and four year olds.  I was so inspired by a recent Reggio workshop I took, that more than anything, my goal was for the self-portrait to feel authentic to the child.  I am really proud to say I think we achieved that with these self portrait shadow boxes.  They took a lot of work for 25 kids, which I’m not sure I’d repeat, but if you just have one or two kids, this is an amazing project done over two 45 minute sessions and it is so worthwhile.

Reggio Inspired Self Portrait Shadow BoxesFirst, each child mixed and named their own paint from the primary colors and different variations of white.  This part was so much fun.  Many of the kids added their own names to their paints or referenced their favorite shows, places or toys in the titles.  I had complete attention from every student as they waited patiently to choose their colors, mix them, and then finally name them.

Reggio Inspired Self Portrait Shadow BoxesAfter mixing the paints, we talked about self portraits and I demonstrated on my own photograph how I could find different shapes in my face that are unique to me.  Each child was then invited to find the shapes in their own picture that was already taped to different tables throughout the room with a piece of 12×12 acetate over it.  I also taped their names under the acetate so they could trace the letters if they wanted to.  Each child was given a sharpie and off they went.  It was so interesting to watch how different kids approached this task.  Some worked diligently to find every shape in their picture, while others scribbled back and forth over their face.

Reggio Inspired Self Portrait Shadow BoxesWhen the kids returned for week two I explained that we were going to travel on many adventures over the year, and we needed to create a passport to help us get to all the places we wish to visit.  We discussed the art style of Jackson Pollock and looked at photographs of his work.  I had all of their boxes set up on a big tarp outside ready to be splatter painted.  I had received a bunch of packages not too long ago that came in these great white priority mail boxes, but you can use any cardboard box.  I had pre cut a 9×11 rectangle in each with an exact knife to create the shadow box. I invited the students to splatter away, which everyone did with gusto.  They all started with splatter paint only, and then over time different kids chose to paint their boxes directly with the brush.  We used the paint they created the week prior, which added a fantastic layer of interest to the project.  Some kids only wanted to use the paint they created, while other kids were happy to go back and forth sharing the shades they really liked.

Reggio Inspired Self Portrait Shadow Boxes When everything was dry, I taped the photograph of each child in their box.  I printed the photos in black and white which made a nice contrast to the colors of the paint.  With an exacto knife I cut little x’s on the top of the box and then weaved a short piece of rope through the x’s and tied a knot on each end.  This created a little handle so the kids could hold their boxes with ease.  I tried using a rubber band, but it was too skinny and a bunch broke.  Finally, a little too late, I realized you could easily do this with a pipe cleaner which would have been way easier.  Oh well.  The rope looks really nice.  Lastly, I taped the acetate over the whole in the box and the shadow box was complete.  I hung each one in the hallway at school with pushpins.  Seeing them all together looks beautifully dramatic.  I think this may be my favorite art project of all time.  I can’t wait to make it with my daughters when they are a bit older.  If you try it, please shoot me an email.  I’d love to hear how it went for you.  The response from the families at school has been really special.

Reggio Inspired Self Portrait Shadow Boxes

Spin Art Sun Catchers

26 Oct

spin art sun catchersI am totally in love with these gorgeous spin art sun catchers.  You can do them jack o’ lantern style or plain.  Either way, they are so much fun and so pretty in the window.  My daughter and her sweet friend Sadie, from play group,  just loved making them.  Thanks to Sadie’s amazing nanny, Danielle, for brainstorming the idea with me!

Spin Art Sun CatchersYou will need a clear contact paper, cardboard, bio color paints, and a salad spinner.  I got mine from Ikea.  Cut a circle from cardboard to fit in the salad spinner and cover it with contact paper.  I cut a square of contact paper first and placed it on the cardboard.  This way I could trim off the excess easily to make a circle.  Place the cardboard in the salad spinner and squeeze some bio color paints on top.  You can use nancy bottles for easy squeezing or just squeeze directly out of the bottle.  Cover the spinner and turn as fast as you can.  This part is really fun for the kids!

Spin Art Sun CatchersSpin Art Sun CatchersSpin Art Sun CatchersOpen up and admire your masterpiece then set it aside to dry. I used bio colors to make sure the paint would adhere to the contact paper.  I’m not sure if it would work with plain tempera but definitely worth a try.  When the sun catchers are dry you can peel them right off the cardboard and place them on the window.  They look beautiful!  Everyone loved this project, even this little monkey.

Spin Art Sun Catchersspin art sun catchersSpin Art Sun Catchers

Crafting Community 2013

9 Oct

Crafting Community 2013You know those times when everything in your world just lines up and it feels like magic happens?  Some call it synchronicity.  Others call it God’s work.  Some just call it coincidence.  Whatever you want to call it, that’s what I had the pleasure of experiencing this past weekend.  I had heard of Crafting Community several years ago via Karen Kimmel’s website and immediately wanted to go.  My cousin Er sent me the link when the tickets went on sale a few months ago.  I talked about it with Ev and we decided that for my birthday, this past Monday, I could either save for a camera or we could go to Crafting Community, an incredible crafting weekend event in Palm Springs for families of all ages.  After a lot of thought, I actually decided on the camera.  I have wanted one for so long and I’ve really out grown my iphone.  I follow Crafting Community on Instagram and would whimper every time they posted a new pic.  I knew I was going to miss something truly exceptional.  Well, this past Friday I got an email from a special friend saying she had tickets to this cool event in the desert that she couldn’t attend and was wondering if I wanted the tickets as a gift.  As I read the email I thought, no, this can’t be what I think it is.  I checked the link she included and sure enough, it was for Crafting Community.  I nearly died.  I screamed “Ev, Ev, you’re not going to believe this!”  Even writing about it now, I can’t believe it.  I am a believer in synchronicity and the power of prayer.  I have written morning pages from The Artists Way almost every day since I started, 4 years ago.  I pray and pray and pray for things daily in my writing and I am so blessed to say that so many dreams have come true.  Of course, I didn’t specifically say in my morning pages, please someone gift me tickets to Crafting Community, but, I did pray for my life to be filled with art and creativity and love, and that is just what I got.  Ev stayed home with D because they were both a little sick and Gigi and I had our first mother daughter weekend.  It was truly magical from start to finish and I will be forever grateful to my friend for the tickets and to the universe for hearing my prayers.  If you’ve never heard of Crafting Community or The Artist’s Way, please check them both out.  I can’t say enough about either one!

Crafting Community 2013 The weekend started with craft tables of all kinds.  Gigi’s favorite was the felt board station.  They had tons of felt squares cut up and felt boards you could put your cut outs on.  Gigi sat and practiced using the scissors throughout the weekend.  She was fascinated by them and totally proud of herself every time she made a cut.  All the stations were totally amazing.  I could have sat for hours at each one, but that’s not really in the cards with a toddler.  Next year I will bring the whole family for sure and hopefully I can steel an hour or two while Ev watches the girls.

cc28Splendid and Converse were both sponsors, so Gigi got to design her own sneakers and there were beautiful decorations like the ones below, everywhere.  You got to make them and beautiful baskets with gorgeous strips of Splendid fabric.  Just looking at it was enough to make you high.

Crafting Community 2013Crafting Community 2013 Saturday night there was a big disco where all the kids danced around with glow sticks and glow in the dark glasses.  Gigi went berserk.  This girl danced her little butt off for almost an hour.  This was definitely a highlight from the weekend.

Crafting Community 2013Crafting Community 2013 On Sunday the crafts were out again in the “making things room.”  They had a station by Confetti System that was totally awesome.  You got to decorate your own lamp shade with tons of the most beautiful fringe you ever saw.  Todd Oldham was there as one of the sponsors too, which meant lots of KidMadeModern supplies everywhere.  Gigi loved it because she recognized them from home.  We are big fans of all his art supplies, which you can find at Target.

Crafting Community 2013Crafting Community 2013This smile says it all.  We had a blast.  Thank you so much Karen Kimmel and Crafting Community for a weekend we won’t soon forget.  Our whole family will be there next year for sure!

Crafting Community 2013