mama scout lab e-course

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{poem} & happy halloween

hist wist
ee cummings

hist whist
little ghostthings
little twitchy
witches and tingling
hob-a-nob hob-a-nob
little hoppy happy
toad in tweeds
little itchy mousies
with scuttling
eyes rustle and run and
whisk look out for the old woman
with the wart on her nose
what she’ll do to yer
nobody knows
for she knows the devil ooch
the devil ouch
the devil
ach the great

Monday, October 29, 2012

{art lab} finding art in the street

We like to look. And spend a lot of time in the alley ways around our house hunting for things, recording textures, and even hanging poems on trees. When I ran across Carla Sonheim's tutorial on blob hunting, I knew what our next alley adventure would be (and that I had found a great new resource).

We headed out with our creativity journals and looked for shapes that were made from stains, cracks, leaves, shadow or anything that caught our fancy. This exercise required that everyone really look past the actual items they were seeing in the road to the primary shapes that were revealed. 

I was happily surprised at how much we got into this. Despite the fact that we were just going to collect the shapes (and then go inside with art supplies) they stopped to draw what they saw immediately. 

In fact, I was unable to participate as much as I had planned because I was ping-ponging back and forth as each kid wanted to show the magical scenes they were discovering under their feet.

This reminded of a water painting project we did a few weeks ago. 

These sorts of things seem so simple, but are really a linchpin of our curriculum. By just learning to slow down and look, and then imagine, kids' worlds are rapidly expanded. 

They begin to make new connections and see fresh possibilities in even the most mundane circumstances. 

Schools will not teach your children to see maps in paint spills or dancing men in sidewalk cracks. As this is not a quantifiable skill, you will not see it on any worksheet - which is why it is so imperative for parents to provide this type of experience for their children as much as possible. 

This is not about raising dreamers, it is about raising thinkers. 

Thinkers and doers who will create technologies, write novels and plays, and discover scientific breakthroughs because they are able to look at disparate information in unique ways. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

kick your family's creative quotient to the sky!

Hey! Guess what? I am offering two labs in November!

You can read all about the month long family e-lab here. That is a "master class" in big, creative living. When I wrote it, it was like writing a thesis on my family and how we have evolved over the years into a (fairly) cohesive unit of creatives. I promise if you take the lab and participate in the prompts, your family environment will be transformed!

The holiday e-lab is a ten day intensive lab. You can read about it here. In this lab, we will write, make, and share in order to discover and implement our ideal holiday. Setting intentions BEFORE the holiday is in full swing, will help us create a simple, slow and meaningful holiday. 

I would love to see you in either lab!

wishing you wonder & awe,

Friday, October 26, 2012

{art lab} japanese paper marbling

A recently mini obsession around here has been suminagashi, or Japanese marbling. 

I originally organized to do this with some friends, but knew my kids would love it too. We had done the shaving cream and paint marbling in the past, but this is even more fun!

Basically, what you are doing is putting drops of ink onto the surface of the water and then manipulating it by pulling a toothpick through, blowing on it or gently tapping the tub.

After you have a design you like, you set your paper onto the surface of the water and like magic all the dye is transferred. 

I bought the ink online(link below) and a stack of dish tubs from the dollar store. I also ordered some special rice paper but as it did not arrive in time, we used plain old computer paper and it worked perfectly (watercolor paper and card stock were NOT good paper options). 

Kids are amazing at this! In fact, I think I liked my kids' designs even more than my friends' designs (shhh!). They were so unrestrained with color and really swirled the water around. My 6 year old was so good he even gave his Grandma a lessons while she babysat him. 

So, what to do with all this paper? We have been making it into little books and journals, doing origami, covering the inside flap of books, making paper garlands, writing letters on it and more. 

Just having a stack of it available in your art area is wonderful. 

And this would be a perfect gift for any art minded kid! 

Have you suminagashi-ed before?

This is the kit I used and I was very happy with it. We marbled well over a hundred sheets and I still have tons of ink left!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{writing lab} word tickets

For my young writers' workshop this week, I bought a roll of 2000 tickets to use to make word tickets. (I originally read about this idea for collection words in the awesome book Poem Crazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Wooldridge)

We meet at the library, so I first asked the kids to go find a random book - any book to bring back to the table. We then spent about 20 minutes scanning pages for "big ticket" words. We wanted to find words that were exceptional, or funny or just sounded good.  Each writer filled an envelope with words and took a long strip home to continue the hunt. 

The words can be used as prompts or kick starters before or during the writing process. Several of the kids really got into it and found so many great words; it will interesting to see how many make it into the writing they share next week.

Monday, October 22, 2012

5 reasons to take your kids camping


I am facilitating a 10 day Holiday e-Lab!

If you are interested in setting intentions, slowing down and getting creative this holiday season, click the picture below for more information. 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

make a cereal box theatre

If you are coming over from Erin Goodman's 10-Day Family Re-Change - welcome! 

I am so happy to have you visit my little corner of the web. Look around, sign up for my newsletter or email me about anything. 

Erin asked me to think of a crafty project that would involve the whole family and could be done indoors during a cold or rainy spell. One of our favorite activities is to make a cereal box theatre. This craft is open ended and can be made with whatever you already have around the house. You do not even have to use a cereal box, any box will do. 

Here are the basic instructions for constructing your theatre.  

We painted our theatre with acrylic paint and then used hot glue to attach the marquee, scrap jewelry, and buttons. I also hot glued the curtains to the inside and added clothes pins to the back to hang scenery.

For puppets we usually draw something and stick it on a Popsicle stick. You can also make clothespin dolls or just use little stuffed animals. I made a little pinterest board with some additional puppet ideas too. Check it out here

Sometimes it gets sticky trying to decide what sort of puppet show to perform. Here are a few ideas:

-write your own little play

-act out something from a favorite book (we were inspired by this book.)

-let your puppets sing and dance to opera or country music

-act out a well memorized fairy tale or nursery story (even older kids will get a kick out this)

-do a stand up comedy routine with your theatre

-recite poetry

-act out a beloved family tall tale

-perform silly, improv based shows with the audience yelling out what to add or change

-download a sound effect app for your smart phone and see what story you can make using silly sounds like water rushing or door bells ringing

We like to invite others to our shows too. You might want to make tickets and little programs for your audience. 

I am facilitating a 10 day Holiday e-Lab!

If you are interested in setting intentions, slowing down and getting creative this holiday season, click the picture below for more information. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I am in the woods and at the sea for a few days, connecting with my family and trying to clear my mind. This has been a very busy fall with lots of new opportunities for me (and my family). I am eager to get quiet and think about what it all means. 

I will see you in a few days. 


Here are a few old posts you might have missed:

play a record with a needle

15 things to do outside

write a letter

play with fizz and color

Monday, October 15, 2012

monday mission :: how to slow time

1. go somewhere else, where you have no responsibility (it is good if you can walk there)

2. lay down your body, your agenda and your mind

3. stop doing and start being

4. settle in and do not leave. go further and stay longer than seems reasonable

5. look and listen, wonder and wander, jump and cart wheel, laugh and sing, wrestle and hug

meet me on Facebook to share how your family "slows time."

Looking for some creative family connection?

I am offering 2 options in e-Labs this November. Both are registering now and beginning to fill up with some amazing women!

My "master class" Family e-Lab  is 30 full days of prompts and open ended creative invitations for your family that will carry you into the next year with your spark lit and ready to go!

I am also offering a 10 day Holiday e-Lab that will help you set intentions and create the slow and creative holiday that is perfect for your family. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

magical scribble drawing (and a book review)

I recently received a review copy of Art Lab for Kids by Susan Schwake and love it! I have given this (and other books in the Lab series) as gifts, so was so happy to get my hands on a copy for myself. 

The book has a lab featuring a different art technique for each week of the year, covering: drawing, painting, printmaking, paper art, and mixed media. Some of the ideas you might have heard of, but there are many new-to-me ideas (gelatin printing, contact paper insects, fingertip painting...). 

I am sure you will be seeing more of our experiments from this book on the blog. 

We are not too big on prescribed crafts at Mama Scout headquarters, so books that offer a new technique that the artist can then apply in whatever way makes sense to him/her have high currency here. 

Art Lab for Kids could easily serve as an amazing year long art adventure curriculum for homeschoolers and other creative families. Working your way through the book would certainly fill your house with so much art and color!

For our first project, we made scribble art, which sounds silly but was actually great fun. 

Each person covers a piece of paper in loose scribbles and then sits back to see what images or shapes might be hidden in the tangled nest of lines. 

We then traced and embellished our found images.  Some of us cut them out and added them to new backgrounds.

What I love about projects like this is that each kid approaches it so differently (which is also why I shy away from step by step craft projects). One kid was amazing in all the things she immediately found, but had no interest in turning them into another art piece. The hunt was enough. 

Another kid immediately found a whale and then created a landscape for him to be jumping from the water. 

My youngest child (like me) had a harder time finding many images, so was content with a bird head. He cut it out and added it to a face that was also a galaxy. 

Listening to him describe what he was making was so poetic. And I think if we did not do so many projects like this, I would miss out on these secret pockets of magic and tenderness that are deep in his mind. 

Check out my Holiday Lab and Family Lab if you want to get creative and connect with your kids. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

make:: the biggest snowflake ever :: (review & giveaway)

I just received a review copy of Side by Side: 20 Collaborative Projects for Crafting with Your Kids by Tsia Carson and am smitten. (Read to the end!! I have a copy to give away!)

The book is broken up into three sections. The first, features crafts that you can do with your children. The second is brilliant because each project is presented with two companion projects at different levels, so your child and you can work next to each other on independent projects that share a skill set. And the final section offers a few projects to do outside the home. 

As soon as I read the book, I knew that my kids would want to make the giant newspaper snowflake

One of Carson's tips for working with kids is to transform a typical craft project to something really big. I love this idea and can see how it might be applied to a myriad of projects around here. 

To make the snowflake, use making tape to tape double-spreads of newspaper sheets into a huge square. Carson recommends a 12 foot square but it works at any size. Ours was about 7 feet (four double spreads wide and tall). 

Fold the square into a triangle. Then fold in half as many times as you can. 

Round off the top. 

Cut your designs into the paper. (We made ours with guides to follow since there were 3-4 people cutting at a time).

The book offers templates, but the general rule is to cut away a lot of the snowflake from either side, without cutting all the way through. 

We had to take turns opening it. Each kid got to open one fold until the whole thing was revealed. We were so impressed with how great it turned out. 

So enamored with this huge beauty, the boys asked to hang it up in their room. It barely fit on the wall, but I can not think of a cooler piece of art!

Not only are the projects unique and engaging (how about a huge seed self portrait on the ground at the park?), but her philosophy is worth reading too. She offers great reminders on working with children on creative projects. 

This would make a great gift for a crafty family with several children!

Would you like to win a copy? Just leave a comment here and like me on FB too if you would. I will pick a random winner on Friday, October 19th. WOOO HOOO! Good luck!


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