Tag Archives: downtown

Flowers, Week 3

They’re growing! And we’re starting to get compliments on them! Is that sad, that every year I wait anxiously for the flower-related compliments? Maybe a little sad. OK, pics!

Flowerpots with sweet potato vine, petunias, coleus

For comparison: Flowers, Week 1


Tuesday Crafternoon: Bubble Wrap Printed Photo Frames

Bubble Wrap Printed Photo Frames

Bubble Wrap Printed Photo Frames

This week at Crafternoon we made bubble wrap printed photo frames. It’s easy and the results are wonderful! We had 47 children from ages 1 to 8 over the course of the afternoon, and all 47 frames were beautiful. Here’s the quick and easy step by step.

First, gather your materials.  You’ll need:

  • Wooden photo frames (I got ours from the local craft store).
  • Paint and brushes. We used craft acrylics in eight different colors. They do stain, but they dry fast, are cheap, and come in gorgeous colors. We wore smocks!
  • Bubble wrap. We used the kind with small bubbles since our frames were small.
  • Masking tape, to secure the bubble wrap to the table
  • Little cups to put your paints in.
Materials for bubble wrap photo frames

Materials for bubble wrap photo frames

Start by painting your frame with a thin coat of paint (so it dries quickly). You can paint it all one color or mix it up.

photo frame

Next, secure your bubble wrap to your work surface with some masking tape. We used pieces of bubble wrap about 12″ square, but just go with something a bit bigger than your frame. Paint all over the bubble wrap with other colors of paint.

Paint all over your bubble wrap.

Paint all over your bubble wrap.

bubble wrap with paint

Finally, take your photo frame, painted-side down, and place it into your bubble wrap. Press gently to lift a print from the bubbles.

Place your frame on your bubble wrap

Place your frame on your bubble wrap

Press gently to lift a print

Press gently to lift a print

Carefully lift up your frame to reveal your print. If you want, you can paint on the bubble wrap some more and lift another print! Or, just let it dry and you’re all done. You can seal the frame with a water-based sealer like Mod Podge once it’s dry, if you like.

Lift  up your frame to reveal your print

Lift up your frame to reveal your print

Here are some of the 47 frames that our Crafternoon kids made yesterday! Aren’t they all beautiful?

Tuesday Crafternoon: Cosmic Watercolors

crafternoon sign

Today at Crafternoon we made Cosmic Watercolors. It’s easy and really fun, and all you need are some basic household materials:

Liquid watercolor (or watered-down acrylic paints) in six or seven colors
Rubbing alcohol
Big paintbrushes
Pipettes or medicine droppers
Watercolor or paint paper
Little cups
Metallic paint

Completed cosmic watercolors

Completed cosmic watercolors

First, put three colors of liquid watercolor into separate cups. We used blue, blue-green and purple. These will be your background colors. In additional separate cups, mix a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol with a squirt or two of paint to tint it. We found that some of the paint colors acted sort of weird in the alcohol (the pink ended up with a brownish layer on top) but it didn’t cause any problems. We made pink, yellow, orange and green alcohol.

liquid watercolor background colors

Liquid watercolor background colors

tinted rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol tinted with liquid watercolor

Brush-paint your paper with the watercolor or watery acrylic. Cover the whole paper or close to it, and get it nice and wet. We used half-sheets of Strathmore paint-pad paper, because it’s nice and sturdy but less expensive then watercolor paper.

cover your whole paper with paint

Cover your whole paper with paint. Get it nice and painty!

Once your paper is colored with watercolor, load up your pipettes or medicine droppers with colored alcohol and drip-drop it all over your paper. The alcohol reacts with the water on the paper, pushing it around and creating “cosmic” effects. The wetter your paper, the more the paint will move around. A lot of the kids who did this activity went really wild with the rubbing alcohol. After they finished dripping it, we used paper towels to soak up the excess and reveal their cosmic creations. They were beautiful.

Drip your tinted rubbing alcohol over your paper using a pipette.

Drip your tinted rubbing alcohol over your paper using a pipette.

A drippy specimen

An especially drippy specimen

Blot up the excess paint and rubbing alcohol with a paper towel.

Blot up the excess paint and rubbing alcohol with a paper towel to reveal your cosmic watercolor creation!

After we mopped up the excess paint, the children added “stars” to their paintings by dipping Q-tips in silver paint and stamping them on their artwork.

Completed cosmic watercolors

Completed cosmic watercolors

PufferBabies Play Group — Wednesdays at 10:30

Did you know that our own “Miss Susan” (Susan Blanton) was the original creator of Mother Goose Time at both the Staunton and Waynesboro Public Libraries? Now we have our own brand of baby time here at Pufferbellies with Miss Susan at the helm. Each event begins with a brief program of rhymes, songs and clapping. Then, grownups can chat and enjoy coffee while the babies explore a basket of toys and books that we provide.

PufferBabies play group meets every Wednesday at 10:30 here at Pufferbellies. The program is designed for “lap babies” and crawlers. See you there!

PufferBabies play group

Crafternoon: Watercolor Spray Paints

Today at Crafternoon, we made watercolor spray paint art. We were inspired by this post at Artful Adventures.

We started with watercolors in tubes (found at our local art-supply store), which we diluted with water in little spray bottles (found in the travel cosmetics section of a local superstore). Then, we used a variety of objects to mask areas of our heavy watercolor paper — string, crocheted lace doilies, metal washers, coins, plastic stencils, s-hooks, foam letters and shapes, etc. We sprayed and spritzed. When we got pools of paint, we picked up the paper to let the colors run, or blotted the pools with paper towels. Then we sprayed and spritzed some more.

The spray bottles were challenging for some of our younger artists (kindergarten age) to manipulate. Next time, we might try putting the paper on an easel so that the children can hold the bottles upright rather than pointing them down at the table. We’ll have to change the way we use our masks and stencils, but that’s OK.

Here’s a look at some of our masterpieces!

Watercolor diluted with water in travel-size spray bottles.

Supplies: stencils, coins, s-hooks, washers, wrapping paper, foam letters, etc.

We hung our artwork on the line outside to dry. Yay, 70-degree days in March!

American-made toys at Pufferbellies – felt crowns by Dream Child Studio

Amanda at Dream Child Studio handcrafts these gorgeous crowns from wool-blend felt. They’re soft enough to wear all day, and adjustable to fit many different head sizes — from toddler to “big kid.” The workmanship is really impeccable, and the crowns are even sweeter in person than in the photos. We’re so happy to be working with Amanda and bringing her lovely creations to the little ones of Staunton.

Flower crowns by Dream Child Studio

Felt crowns by Dream Child Studio

American-made toys at Pufferbellies — DIY Bubble Gum Kit

Who doesn’t love BUBBLE GUM? I’m so glad to have found this excellent, made-in-the-USA bubble gum-making kit from our pals at Copernicus in Charlottesville. It comes with all the tools and ingredients you need to make more than a quarter-pound of bubble gum, which you can flavor any way you like. We recommend this kit for ages 8+, with adult supervision for the microwaving part. Science kits are a great way to get kids and grownups interacting (and learning something new!). The kit also comes with a sheet that has all kind of fun gum facts — I learned the difference between chewing gum and bubble gum, and that bubble gum was invented in 1928. See? We’re totally learning stuff, here.

Copernicus Bubble Gum Kit - made in the USA. YUM!