Category Archives: Paper Crafts

Looking Back at Advent

It feels like a week ago Advent began, yet it is already over. We have really enjoyed all of the little things to do getting ready for this time, the time to honour the child-like, the precious, the innocent and the equal-ness of all people.

We began with an advent calendar that I picked up from a local bookshop here in Berlin. It is really the most sweet thing. The little picture below shows what Miss K called the doctor’s house – as you can see, when we opened the window, there was an advent wreath with four candles burning in it. More on the advent wreath later.

Advent Calendar - Mrs Winter Creates

Advent Calendar – Mrs Winter Creates

Miss K and I made about 5 large sheets of stamped wrapping paper early on in Advent. I carved out some stamps from corks and we used plant-based watercolour paints to do our work.

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

The paper we used was filling in some boxes we had sent to us, so it was a great upcycle kind of activity.

We also got to work on a very German custom of making cookies and giving them as gifts. The first batch were chocolate, but we also made vanilla, ginger and winter-spice cookies. Our neighbours and the mail-man got a little bag each (wrapped in our home-made paper).

Cookies - Mrs Winter Creates

Cookies – Mrs Winter Creates

I also bought a very simple advent wreath for our table. I set the candles on it by forcing a sewing needle into the bottom end of each and then poking it through the wreath (which has a straw base inside).

Warm light - Mrs Winter Creates

Warm light – Mrs Winter Creates

During my school’s winter market I was able to buy some very beautiful ceramic decorations. I wanted to make some myself but ran out of time, so this was a blessing.

Ceramic Christmas decorations - Mrs Winter Creates

Ceramic Christmas decorations – Mrs Winter Creates

Heart - Mrs Winter Creates

Heart – Mrs Winter Creates

Miss K, who has her birthday in November, took some convincing that the candles were not birthday candles (‘Marmelade in der Schue’ anyone?) and did not need blowing out. In the end she learnt the word ‘candle’ and was able to make the leap.

Smiley season - Mrs Winter Creates

Smiley season – Mrs Winter Creates

In the last few days of Advent, as the little wax figurines of Mary and Joseph came closer toward the Christmas tree, Miss K became really excited that Mary has a baby Jesus in her belly. She was so careful not to touch the figurines. Finally on Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph stood under the tree and a baby Jesus was before them.

We ate our dinner and Miss K and I went to see if we could see the first star in the sky. When we came back there were presents around the tree.

Christmas Tree - Mrs Winter Creates

Christmas Tree – Mrs Winter Creates

These last few weeks have been very special and quiet. Now snow finally lines the streets and we all stay indoors and enjoy the quietude. Wishing you all the best for the new year!

Painting with pomegranate juice

It’s been some months since I have written and I hope you don’t mind the wait while we have been moving countries. We are in Berlin now and enjoying the remarkably great weather since July. I’m back into my teaching (and loving it! If you are a pedagogeek like me, you might enjoy my education journal that I keep), Miss K is enjoying Kita tremendously and our family has finally settled into our new home.

Before we left Australia a few of my posts for Mrs Winter Creates were put on hold because of the move. I’d like to share one of them with you now, fully written some 3 or so months ago. It is about a subject close to my heart – natural pigments. I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to blogging more here about the projects I’ve been focussing on in our new apartment.

I am so excited to share my newest project with you.

It could also be considered one of my oldest projects.

About 15 years ago when I was studying fine art at university, I began experimenting with fruit juice (mainly pomegranate, tamarillo and berry juices), calc, alum and rust to create abstract and minimalist paintings. I saw the transformation of their colour as alchemical and at the time I did not fully understand the chemical reasons behind the colour changes, thinking it rested solely in the oxidisation process. This whole experiment is something I have been meaning to get back to since that time; recently I have been taking the time to do so.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

I am working with a number of different ripeness’ of juice and rind of pomegranates in the process and have also used lemon juice in parts of certain paintings to gain some colour variation. In these paintings I have strong lilac, purple, yellow, pink, browns, prussian blue, cobalt and magenta. I remember being able to get a green as well, but as of yet I have not rediscovered this process.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

I prepared some of the paints about a week ago and have kept them in the fridge to preserve them. Once Miss K goes down for the night, I sit and experiment; it is like a meditation. Sometimes Mr Winter and I sit together working, he reads or draws and I glide a wet brush against watercolour paper with intention.

I like to sit and watch the colours change. Many begin as pink or red; they dry and a hint of a future hue appears. The paint pools in a corner or edge, there is a grain of seed flesh that creates punctuation to a field of colour. Subtle variations of hue can be observed in every dried mark, that is the beauty of plant based colour. It leaves me in awe and in love.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

These paintings do change with time, they become more muted over the years and tend toward a yellow-green as they mature. The change itself speaks of a natural transformation of organic elements, yet a strong impression remains. I considered preserving the paintings against UV rays and other ageing elements, but this would be dishonest to the process; and the process is central to the work.

Painting with pomegranate juice - Mrs Winter Creates

Painting with pomegranate juice – Mrs Winter Creates

I love natural pigments and dyes. I would probably be quite satisfied dedicating my life to learning about and using them, though I believe soon enough my teaching and philosophy itch would set in.

 

Colour and collage for a toddler

Drawing is a fairly new discovery for Miss K. At this present point in time she is not much interested in using walls, furniture or people as a canvas, although there are signs of this blossoming soon. I take full advantage of her partiality to paper. We have been making a family artwork recently and I wanted to share our creation thus far.

colour and collage

colour and collage

We have been using the Stockmar and Aretemis pencils, that I love so much. Ripping paper is fun and when I showed Miss K that using glue, these ripped pieces could be stuck onto the existing artwork, she enjoyed doing that very much.

Toddler colour and collage - Miss K pulling off a piece of collage to place it elsewhere

Toddler colour and collage – Miss K pulling off a piece of collage to place it elsewhere

It’s on a roll of paper that I hope will one day be completely covered in our efforts. It is so lovely to watch her discovering how to use the pencils.

A detail from Miss K and our joint colour and collage

A detail from Miss K and our joint colour and collage

Actually, it feels really good not to draw anything in particular. Miss K lets us know when we should draw and when she prefers to work alone. This reminds me of a post by Janet Lansbury in her blog post ‘Why Not Draw For a Child?‘. It’s all experimentation and we are all playing. I think Schiller would be pleased.

Miss K doesn’t seem at all phased or intimidated by what we are doing and in the end I feel she owns what is happening on the paper. Actually the artwork has been on the table for a few days and she comes back to it whenever she feels is right, beginning by asking me to open the pencil case.

Miss K placing down a collage piece. She also discovered that her toy car does not draw, although it makes rather satisfying sounds when used on paper.

Miss K placing down a collage piece. She also discovered that her toy car does not draw, although it makes rather satisfying sounds when used on paper.

Please post links to your family actives below to share with others. I’d love to get some more ideas too!

 

 

 

Watercolour Paeonia

Among a cacophony of longer-term craft projects I have going at the moment, I decided that I would like to do some watercolour painting. I needed something a bit more instantly gratifying and I’d seen some photos on Pinterest of beautiful flowers that I wanted to have… desire is one of my most motivating feelings, I’ll admit.

It’s my birthday today actually, and I have received some lovely cards. Nan sent me a little something with which I bought myself watercolour paper on Saturday. I got painting pretty quickly and these are my 4 favourites. Enjoy!

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_IGP7464

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Fairytale envelopes

It seems that with the tidal wave of birthdays and of course Yule in the last few months, I had run out of home made envelopes. Actually, this happened some time ago, which has sent me scrambling to find and/or make something at the last minute a few times – not good with needy baby.

So tonight I sat myself down and got to task. I had a whole heap of pages from some german fairytale books that had fallen apart. The bonus of being a teacher is that you get this kind of stuff if you are a bit nosey. I hate to throw out anything useful and it helps if it is beautiful. I am, I’ll admit, a hoarder of paper…

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

I use a template that I bought at MUJI, though there are so many available on the net that you needn’t go out and buy one.

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

The fantastic thing about fairytale books is that there are often words or pictures on both sides, so that there is a little beauty on the inside of the envelope too. Maps can also be really good for this reason.

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

I also use a bone tool to get the edges nice and crisp. I use to use the handles on scissors and that also works just fine as long as they don’t draw colour onto your paper. Whatever you use it has to be blunt and hard.

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

Handmade envelopes out of vintage fairytale book pages

So now I am ready to send some snail-mail or give a few birthday cards to my friends and family. For people who I know appreciate this kind of thing, I also like to give these as gifts with some great quality paper and perhaps a few stickers or some lovely twine. Goes down a treat.

Now back to a very perplexing, antique children’s dress pattern I’m trying to crack…