Learn to Draw

Wanted to share a neat web-site my daughter and I use from time to time.  There are free drawing lessons available to you and your children! You also have several options to take classes for a fee if you wish (we have not).

Visit Drawspace to see the levels of drawing instruction provided.   I think your 7th grader and up would do very well with these lessons.

*Please pre-view the many galleries of member drawings before you let your child look through them.   Occasionally you could find something objectionable in a gallery so I encourage you to either disregard this feature or use with discretion.


Home-made Playdough!

Whip this up in 5 minutes and keep them happy for a whole hour!

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

a drop of food coloring

Mix all but the last ingredient in a small saucepan. Cook over a very low heat until it turns into a dough – don’t leave it, it’ll will stick to the bottom of the pan! Knead the dough until cool enough for kids to touch. Add a few drops of coloring and knead until evenly mixed.

I have the kids ‘work’ on a plastic place mat at the table.  Just add some toothpicks, little toys, dull knife and let the creativity happen!

With Art In Mind

This year I used the book “With Art In Mind” from BJU Press as my guide for art lessons with Jordan and Jesse.  This book is very well suited for mixed media art with 4 – 8th grade students. The boys completed 12 lessons (one per week during our 3rd quarter) to meet our NY state requirement for Art.  While they worked we listened to lessons from “Classics for Kids” which helped to fulfill our music requirement as well!

“With Art in Mind” is a collection of 60 lessons divided into seven categories such as “Colored Markers/Crayons”, “Tempera”, and “Cut or Torn Paper”.  We took some lessons from each category.

I explained what they were to do and often completed one of the projects ahead of time as a sample.  The book also gives 2 or 3 examples of the completed project.  I chose projects that could be completed with basic art supplies we have at our home.  I’m offering a few photos of what they accomplished:

Bubble Aquarium:

Illuminated Letter:

Chalk Animals:

Torn Figures:

Abstract Still Life;


I was surprised at how Joshua (4.5 years) became interested in doing his “art” and began to ask “Can we do Art today, mom?”.  He was proud of his pictures too!

Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

Welcome everyone who is visiting through Tiany’s Holiday Open House or Lilliput Station’s On-line Christmas Party….it’s great to have you here and meet new friends!   

Last year I posted about one of our favorite Christmas traditions – Gingerbread Houses!  You can read all about it here complete with photos!

Today I want to share an easy craft with you that I enjoyed making last year with Jesse — Cinnamon Dough Ornaments!   You can find many recipes for Cinnamon Dough Tree Ornaments on the web but I’m posting the one we used at the bottom of this post and you’ll know it’s "tried and true".

 Gather your ingredients and then just mix them with a big spoon.   Next you’ll hand knead it about 2 minutes to get it to form a ball that can be rolled out with my rolling pin.  It smells so cinnamony delicious and so did my hands!  It was fairly easy to work with.

Now the fun part starts — we used a bell and star cookie cutter:


After we cut them out Jesse used a drinking straw to make the little holes for putting the ribbons through.  You can air dry them for about 48 hours or do as I did and bake them for 1 hour at your oven’s lowest temperature (mine is 180F).   After an hour I flipped them over and baked another 1/2 hour.

Once they were totally cool and dry, Jesse used a mixture of 2 parts school glue to 1 part water and "painted" them to try and give them a "shiny" finish.  It looks like it sealed them and made them a bit darker but not shiny.  I suppose a modge podge or acrylic spray would make a better finish.  

We like the simple look of these but one web-site suggested using white paint to decorate them, it would look like frosting.  I think they would be real cute cut out into gingerbread men!  

Here’s the recipe we used:

1/2 Cup cinnamon
1/3 Cup applesauce (smooth, from a jar)
1 TBL white school glue

Mix all together well.  It will be crumbly at first.  Knead together to form a "dough" ball.  If’ its too crumbly add a bit more applesauce and if too wet, more cinnamon.  (I did not have to adjust either ingredient, it worked fine as is for us.)

Roll out on a cinnamon sprinkled surface and cut out with cookie cutters.  Re-roll your scraps.  We got 15 ornaments.  Don’t forget to make little holes for hanging them.    Let air dry or bake on a cookie sheet in a low temp. oven.   THESE ARE NOT EDIBLE.

And homeschooling mommies — this counts for Art class this week!   Let me know if you make them — I’d love to know how they came out.



As far as other Christmas traditions,  we also enjoy a special Christmas morning breakfast.  I’ll post about our menu soon.

Thanks for stopping by….May God bless your Holiday Season!  Visit more open houses at Tiany’s blog!


What’s Christmas without snowflakes?!   Even in the warmest of climates you can have snowflakes by cutting out your own to decorate with.   Daves Snowflake site has awesome snowflake patterns you or your older children can cut out.   These make the most delicate and pretty snowflakes…

Kayla downloaded 9 of the patterns and cut these out to hang in her sunday school room at church.

We cut out a bunch one year and hung them on our tree when we did a red and white theme.  They were so pretty!  I think they would look great fastened together and hung across a mantel or something.   You can just print the templates out on plain printer paper.   Have fun and if you post a picture of  yours,  leave me a comment so I can stop by and see them!

Draw Today

Draw Today is an art curriculum using charcoal pencils.   I think its geared for 6th grade – adult level.  Last year, at our co-op, my 2 oldest children used this program for Art Class.  (I was not the art teacher for this semester)  My DD was in 7th grade at the time (12 – 13 yrs) and my DS was in 4th (10 yrs.).   The program teaches the student to make a grid and then draw an outline in the grid, square by square.  After you are happy with your outline you go on to shading it in with the charcoal pencils.   The 1st picture (for all students) is the horse (below) done only in black and white. 

My son had a hard time with it.   He is not artistically inclined but has normally enjoyed art of different mediums (under a different teacher) such as painting or drawing with colored pencils. Draw Today was not his thing.  He worked the whole 9 weeks on this horse.  A few other 4 – 6 grade students had trouble too and it bored them.   (I think that these children would probably enjoy it and produce nice work when they are a few years older.)

On the flip side, my daughter really liked it.  The mom who was teaching art (also an art major) told me DD would help other students who were having trouble.  After completing the horse you have your choice of a few profiles you can do.   You keep progressing onto more complicated outlining and charcoal shading.  She went on to do these two charcoals:  

(President Lincoln would be a level 2 and Mona Lisa a level 3 because she has 3 tones of shading.)

As you can see, a child who enjoys this type of art can end up with a nice "masterpiece" once they master the techniques.   (I really need to get those framed!)

I found you can order this kit to do at home from Rainbow Resource (my favorite home school supplier!!) for about $40.00.  The kit includes the instructions and the materials you need.

I have seen plenty of books for the elementary level art class.  They are easy to find right at your local library.    For me, finding art for a soon to be high-schooler has not been as easy.   I hope my little review on Draw Today has been helpful to you if your searching for an art project for an older child.   DD is working on a level 4 drawing now and perhaps I’ll post about that in the near future.

Free e-book from Yes You Can! Publications

                                    DON’T MISS OUT!

A fellow homeschooling mom is developing a new resource about teaching art to our children.   She has a special offer for us  good through February 15th!!!   It’s easy. I just took a quick, 10 question survey about teaching art to my children at home.   For doing so I was given a FREE e-book valued at $14.95 entitled "Artful Advent". 

  Read more about the survey and the Free e-book below:

And receive a valuable bonus: free!


    * Homeschoolers, take our quick survey — before the deadline — on your most pressing question about teaching art in your home

    * Receive a limited first edition of our ebook to be released this fall, Artful Advent, valued at $14.95, yours at no cost now!

Here is the link to get you to the survey: 

The survey is only available until 12:00pm February 15th, 2007 so don’t delay!

Her web-site is YesYouCanPublications.com

What are the benefits
of your bonus Artful Advent?

  • Download now and keep for Christmas — no need to buy our product in the fall
  • Fresh approach to celebrating Advent
  • Complete; for all ages; nothing else to buy
  • Confidence to teach about art (even if this is new to you!)
  • An overlooked free source of rich art images: I’ll show you where
  • Quick-view summary to print and use as you enjoy the glorious story of Christmas in art with your children

  • An opportunity to win a free copy of our upcoming resource The Art of Seeing: Your Art Questions Answered

I just love a freebie!

Win An Art Program!

      Mamaduso  is having an Art contest where you have the opportunity to win a one year subscription to an on-line children's art program called geeArt16.   She would like your opinion about teaching children art at home.   Hurry! Hurry!  The contest ends on Dec. 6th!

      DS6 and I went over to the geeArt16 web-site to check it out.  He certainly did enjoy interacting with the animated characters.  I know he would love to go through this program just because he loves working at the computer.  Click on the link above and it will take you to a FREE sample lesson.  The sample lesson is on movement in art and has several interactive steps that your child participates in while going through it.  You will want to have hi-speed internet to take advantage of it at its best.

    The geeArt16 program looks like its geared toward about grades K – 4th.  The parent has nothing to prep except having materials ready to do the hands-on activites.  I like that.    My son wanted to try the activity suggested at the end of the lesson using the computer.  When we used our Paint program in Windows we weren't able to copy and paste his drawing so it didn't work quite right; however, when you subscribe to the program you get Corel Draw software.  Nice bonus!

    If your looking for a new and different art program this one is worth checking out.

Edible Playdough and History?!



    So just how does edible playdough and history come together?  It has to do with DS6’s project for History this week and my desire to try this recipe.  We finished reading Lesson 26 in Mystery of History (Gideon) and  the activity for the younger set was to sculpt a clay pot.   DS6 looked around in the craft cupboards and could only find bits of colored clay so I asked if he would like to mix up some playdough to use for his making his pot.  With an enthusiastic "YES!", he and I mixed together the following concoction:



                             1 Cup honey

                             1 Cup peanut butter

                             1 – 2 Cups dried powdered milk


Knead thoroughly.   Add more powdered milk to your desired consistency.


I think he was more excited about eating it then creating with it.  I know my 2 older kids were hovering over him waiting for a taste too!  Truth be told, it didn’t make for a very beautiful "clay" pot:




However, he did enjoy scooping it up with pretzels afterwards!  Mmmm.


If your little ones can have honey and peanut butter then you might like to try this recipe for a fun change from the normal playdough.   Be sure to set out some vinyl placemats and utensils to poke and play with it and if your sculptures don’t turn out quite right – eat them!


There you go – Art and Snack time in one, how’s that for a time-saver?!


For 7 more homemade playdough and clay  recipes check out this site:








Fall Art Project with Oil Pastels


One thing I've noticed about art, if you have a less then enthusiastic child you can pull out your art supplies and start working on something yourself and more than likely  they will soon be at your side wanting to get involved.  That's what happened with todays project.  I received the instructions through an e-newsletter from Miller Pads and PaperWith their permission, I am re-printing the instructions for you .  Don't be put off by the long list, its quite easy to do and NOT messy!  After the instructions is a photo of my 6 year olds' finished project.


Night Falls on My Pumpkin Patch

instructions provided by Miller Pads & Paper


Materials Needed:

Black Construction Paper

Orange, Green, Brown & White Pastels or Crayons.

This is a simple but beautiful art project. I prefer pastels for this project, but other mediums will be fine. Each student needs one sheet of black construction paper. If they have never drawn a pumpkin have them practice on white paper with a regular pencil. Once they feel good about their pumpkins they can do their final pumpkin on the black construction paper.

1.  Draw a horizon line across the paper in green. This will separate the night sky from the pumpkin patch. Draw your main or closest pumpkin in the center near the bottom of the paper. This pumpkin should be your largest pumpkin, so it will appear the closest.

2. Now draw several other pumpkins, getting smaller in size as they get closer to the horizon line and outside edges of the paper.

3. Next fill in the pumpkins with orange.

4. Draw a moon up at the top of your page. It can be a crescent or full moon. You could also add stars in your sky. Perhaps you’d like to add a tree with an owl sitting in its branches, on the outer edge of the picture. For the tree you will need light brown for the trunk and branches and Owl.

On each of your pumpkins, use a white pastel to create light shining on the side of the pumpkin facing the moon.

5. Now connect each pumpkin to a vine. Draw the vines in green and add leaves. The vines can be created with thick lines of green. The lines can be wavy, corkscrews at times!

6. Use your own imagination and add other details you might see in the fall from your pumpkin patch. After you finish this picture you might want to experiment, and draw another pastel picture, they beautiful and fun!

7. To finish off your picture, take an aerosol hair spray (inexpensive brand is great).

Hold the can approx. 12″ away from the picture and spray the picture, waving the spray back and forth to cover the drawing. Let it dry for 20 minutes or so. Now make a Orange or Green Frame for your picture. Or you can purchase a nice frame for it. Hang it for all to admire this fall! Be sure to put your name and date in the bottom corner.

**** Because this is a pastel picture, you don’t need as much detail as you would in a pencil drawing. Use your white pastel to create highlighting. Go out in the evening when the moon is out and notice how the light from the moon shines and reflects off the objects around you. This will help you to know where to highlight your own picture.




Sorry, my photography is not the greatest but you get the idea.  I think DS6 enjoyed  this because it was a neat effect on the black construction paper. We used oil pastels.   Look closely in the top left corner to see a little owl in the tree!  Be sure to let me know if someone at your house makes one and especially if you post a photo of it so I can stop by your blog and take a look!


*Click on their name: Millers to visit their web-site full of art and office supplies.  Subscribe to their art newsletter by clicking  here and sending them your e-mail address.  The latest issue also includes a color theory class.