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Archive for the ‘craft’ Category


It’s Octoburst time!

Last year’s activities were so engaging that we went back again and again and again. The boys loved the hands on activities, the performances, and the book swop. Each time we went, we spent hours at the Esplanade, and even then I had to drag them away when it was time to go home. This year’s Octoburst promises another fun-filled, activity-packed programme to treat your kids this Children’s Day.

Held annually at the Esplanade, Octoburst provides a host of activities – free and ticketed – for children to explore a world of endless possibilities through the arts. This year there’s also a cute new, colourful mascot called PIP that will make its appearance at Octoburst.

PIP! Looks like a cuddly, colourful merlion to me (Image taken from here.)

Among the ticketed events, there’s a Sensory Walkabout where children will be guided to notice the textures around the Esplanade and use these as inspiration to create a whole new city.

Go on a sensory walkabout (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

There’s My Bright-Light Idea workshop where you and your child will transform a piece of cardboard into a brand new night-light that you can bring home.

An upcycled lamp (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

And if crafting is not your thing, join a ukelele workshop with your child and learn to play an instrument together. There are also several shows, including Casa by La Baracca Testoni Ragazzi, which tells the story of a grown-up and a child who meet, get to know each other and start to build. Building turns into play, and little by little, they build a story, a structure, a roof, a house. Sometimes the little one pretends to be the grown-up, while the grown-up pretends to be the little one.

Building with pipes (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

The one I’m definitely not missing is the Dance Appreciation Series: Introduction to Swan Lake by the Singapore Dance Theatre. I like this series of performances and think it’s great they present ballet in an accessible way to children. We’ve gone for Nutcracker, and the Introduction to Ballet Classics, but the boys’ favourite so far has got to be Romeo & Juliet! I’m hoping Swan Lake will be as good and they boys will thoroughly enjoy the show. It’ll also be Alyssa’s first ballet related show, so I really can’t wait!

Swan Lake (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

There’s actually one more show called Spot that plays with light and challenges your children to notice things they normally wouldn’t have, but’s sold out already. If you are interested in the other ticketed events, you should book your tickets quick.

Besides these, there are plenty of free activities! So many that you better take a look at the line up and plan your time if you hope to catch all the ones you are interested in! You can print out this festival guide to help you along. Some of the highlights include A Pipe-ful Play Garden by Playeum where you can grow your own little pocket garden and together with other kids, build a living and ever-growing pipe-maze! I think the kids will love this, and I’m hoping the haze will go away this weekend so we can head outdoors to try this activity.

There’s also Doodle City where the kids can add their own touches to doodles by the Band of Doolers, Book Stop where you can bring along a pre-loved children’s book to exchange for another book, Happy Stamping activity with over 200 stamps to choose from (and which kid doesn’t love stamping??), storytelling sessions, and the chance to let your kids watch an angklung performance by Sri Warisan Angklung Ensemble.

Stamps galore! (Photo credit: Esplanade Theatres on the Bay)

There’s lots going on, and there’s no better place to spend the Children’s Day weekend with your kids! See you there!

Octoburst is on from 9 to 11 Oct at Esplanade Theatres by the Bay. The activities take place at various locations around the Esplanade.

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At a Baby Bjorn event they gave out a canvas tote bag that I’ve found to be almost the perfect size. It fits all the things I need when I go out with Alyssa – diapers, changing mat, extra clothes, etc. It’s sturdy because there is no seam at the bottom. It’s made of a single piece of cloth that’s sewn together at the sides. That also makes it very light, which is great because some diaper bags feel quite heavy even before you put anything inside. The length of the straps are also just right. Long enough to slip off one strap past my elbow while the other is still on my shoulder, yet not so long that when you hold it in your hand the bag touches the floor.

But when we got caught in the rain in Malaysia I realised the one flaw of the bag was that it wasn’t waterproof. In Malaysia I had to stuff my bag into my Mum’s oil-cloth bag so that it would stay dry. I decided then and there that I would try to make a waterproof version of that tote.

Initially I was thinking of oil-cloth or vinyl-coated cotton, but Spotlight didn’t sell those. So I went for waterproof canvas that’s meant for outdoor furniture. There was a nice range of patterns and I was tempted to go for a bright red in a geometric print. In the end I decided to stick with the classic and easy-to-match black and white stripes. If it’s good enough for Coco, it’s good enough for me.

The waterproof canvas frays easily though, so instead of regular seams I sewed French seams. I love the clean finish!

I also didn’t anticipate having trouble making the gusset. I thought I could just hem up the bottom bit and everything would line up properly. Only as I was doing it did I realise the method I had planned out in my head was flawed. Thankfully I remembered seeing a pattern somewhere that had squares cut out at the bottom corners and tried that method. It worked! At first I didn’t realise they had to be squares though, and cut out a rectangle, only to discover that the seams did not line up. I then had to expand the cut-out into a larger square, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because now the bag has a wider gusset and my things fit even more comfortably inside!

I’m so very pleased with my tote. I tried putting a couple of drops of water on the bag and they just rolled off. Perfect for the coming rainy season and for our upcoming holiday to Hong Kong. I don’t have to worry about Alyssa’s things getting soaked anymore!

Making square cut-outs at the bottom corner to make gussets

Making square cut-outs at the bottom corner to make gussets. Note that this is a single piece of cloth, folded in half before cutting out the squares.

Makes a practical, wide gusset. And I love how the stripes lined up perfectly just as I wanted!

Makes a practical, wide gusset. And I love how the stripes lined up perfectly just as I wanted!

My beautiful French seam, if I may say so myself haha! It's the first time I did it!

My beautiful French seam, if I may say so myself haha! It’s the first time I did it!

Looks neat on the outside too

Looks neat on the outside too. Except for the fraying, waterproof canvas is very easy to work with.

The finished product stuffed with all the baby things.

The finished product stuffed with all the baby things.

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My pet peeve about changing mats is that most, if not all, changing mats are folded wrong. The OCD part of me gets very grossed out by how changing mats are normally folded. It’s usually folded in thirds along the width with either:

(a) the part where baby’s head rests being folded to the middle where some poo/pee might be found, or

(b) the part that touched the butt (and the poop or pee) being folded up to the middle, and the part where the baby’s head rests being folded onto the exterior of the changing mat (which touched the changing table and picked up all the yucky yucky germs from all the hundreds of other babies!)

Why is it like that??

I’ve thought for a long time, since Asher was a baby, about making my own changing mat, and I finally got around to it. I couldn’t stand to wait any longer because I have been using this tiny changing mat that came with the diaper bag Thomson Medical Centre gives out. Not only is it folded the conventional way, Alyssa’s legs and arms are also sticking out. I cringe whenever I see her hands touching the changing table.

I spent quite a long time searching for the right materials. I was initially thinking of oil-cloth, vinyl-coated cotton, or PUL fabric but Spotlight didn’t carry those. In the end I went with waterproof canvas that’s meant for outdoor furniture for the exterior. I considered using that same fabric for the interior but decided I wanted vinyl as that would be easier to clean, but Spotlight didn’t sell that either. However, one of the staff members had a great idea to buy a cheap mattress protector and cut out what I need. To make the mat a little more cushy, I added a layer of flannel and ironed on some interfacing to give it a bit more struccture. Then I finished it off with black binding for a more polished look, and made straps with velcro to hold everything together when folded.

My raw materials

My raw materials

Voila! Here is my ‘Head-Butt’ Changing Mat. The head part folds to the head part, the butt part folds to the butt part. Never shall the twain meet. And big enough so that even if Alyssa flings her arms out, it’s still on the mat. Yeaaahhh. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

The exterior made of waterproof canvas

The exterior made of waterproof canvas

Fold lengthwise people, lengthwise!

Fold lengthwise, people, lengthwise!

Folded in half

Folded in half

Folded up!

Folded up!

Criss-cross stitching to reinforce the strap

Criss-cross stitching to reinforce the strap

It completely covers the changing table. I love it!

It completely covers the changing table. I love it!

I was going to print the words ‘Head’ and ‘Butt’ on the changing mat, but decided against it because it would look tacky if the words started to peel off. The strap side is the head side.

The perfect changing mat, in my opinion :)

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My boys really love playing dress up and role-playing. I have box full of random pieces that they regularly play with – clothes I don’t want to wear anymore, extra caps, scraps of cloth from costumes made during my schooling days, scarves, and other such things.

There are also a few pieces that I specially made for them to play out specific characters. Last year I made a Darth Vader and Yoda costume for the boys (need to go dig up those pictures!) that they still play with even today. The same cape and head piece has been used to turn them into Darth Vadar, Darth Sidious, and even Magneto.

With their new found liking for Marvel superheros, Ellery specially asked for a Captain America shield. I had some cardboard lying around so we made one! He was so happy :)

wpid-wp-1411233406145.jpeg

Waiting for the paint to dry. Mighty pleased that I painted that star free hand!

Mr Captain America

Mr Captain America

Ellery also had a bit of a How to Train Your Dragon craze and wanted dragon wings. That was quite easy so I fashioned out a pair in under 10 minutes. He loves wearing the wings with a stripey tail we bought from Australia that surprisingly became such a well-loved plaything.

Wings on!

Wings on!

Super happy dragon

Super happy dragon

Just a few days ago the boys suddenly decided to be pirates, and there they are all decked out in pirate gear. The swords they received at Jo Claire’s party, Ellery’s headscarf from another event, Asher’s headscarf an old singlet of mine, and their bling was from Jon’s university orientation performance that I’ve kept all this while that made for perfect pirate jewellery.

Arrrrggghhh

Arrrrggghhh

I wonder who they’ll decide to be next! One thing is for sure, before you throw out stuff, think about whether it’ll be a good item to add to your kid’s dress up box. It might just find a new lease of life there.

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Road to Easter

I was looking for something to do in the lead up to Easter to make the occasion memorable and meaningful for the boys.  I stumbled upon this e-book called A Sense of the Resurrection by Amanda White that provides a guide for activities leading up to Easter.  There are 12 days of activities that you can do consecutively or spread out over a longer period.  I found it almost exactly 12 days before Easter, so I started immediately and have been doing one activity everyday with the boys.

A Sense of the Resurrection

I like that the activities are short and simple, and that you end up leaving reminders around the house so that Easter and Jesus’ love and sacrifice are never far from your mind.  For example, they decorated glass bottles and filled it with essential oils.  Every time we smelled the scent we would remember how Jesus died for us.  And they made chimes from yoghurt containers.  Each time they heard the containers rattling, they’d say, “Hosanna!”

Each day there is a theme, a reading list taken from the Bible, a craft activity, and a colouring sheet which can be assembled together with colouring sheets from other days to make an Easter bunting.  For the reading list, I usually just find the equivalent story in the kid’s picture Bible so that it’s more engaging for them.

The kids have been enjoying the daily Easter activities, and I’m so happy to see that they are learning little nuggets about Easter that they didn’t know about before.  Each activity is not very deep or complex, but there is always a simple key message for the kids to remember, and they have!  Hopefully it will not just be head knowledge, but something they will learn to internalise over time.

There are still a few days to go before Easter.  You could always check out the e-book to extract parts you think are suitable for the remaining few days.

Easter 1

Easter 2

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The Party

We held the party at Temasek Club’s De Happy Ark.  We had gone there for my nephew Adam’s first birthday and thought it was a good location for a kids party.  There’s a very decent indoor playground, a party room for food, and a kids pool just outside.  Asher really enjoyed himself then and asked for his party to be held there.  It has the added convenience of being really close to our house.

Got there earlier to set up the banner and the various activity stations.  Had made Asher and Ellery take a nap before the party so that they’d not get cranky halfway.  It was a miracle that Asher napped.  He hadn’t been napping well, if at all, for the previous few weeks, and immediately after his party day he continued his poor napping habits.  It was only on that day alone that he napped on time.  I had been prepping him the whole week but was still skeptical that he would actually do it.

Banner up!

Banner up!

Craft station to make wooden and paper planes

Craft station to make wooden and paper planes

Wooden plan was Del's idea.  Cute huh?

Wooden plan was Del’s idea. Cute huh?

Anya was the only one who tried all the stations I think!

Think Anya was the only one who tried all the stations!

Jane making a plane with Kaizer

Jane making a plane with Kaizer

Dawn & Austin.  Austin does some great colouring!

Dawn & Austin. Austin does some great colouring!

I think the kids had fun running around the playground and playing with the riding toys.  After I put up the pinata, the boys were the ones who naturally gravitated towards it and knew instinctively what to do with it.  I had to stop them and tell them to wait for the actual  game in case my pinata burst before the game began!  I wasn’t sure yet how strong the pinata was.

Joanie going for a ride

Joanie going for a ride

The sign says "Please do not climb" haha

The sign says “Please do not climb” haha :)

Del & Adam

Del & Adam

Daddy corner

Daddy corner

My brother & my cousin Lincoln!

My brother & my cousin Lincoln!

Family shot!  One extra child - Josiah! :)  He was such a good boy to hold Lincoln so well though.  Ellery looks like he's been caught red-handed irritating his cousin (although in his defence, Adam was already crying :) )

Family shot! One extra child – Josiah! :) He was such a good boy to hold Lincoln so well. Ellery looks like he’s been caught red-handed irritating his cousin (although in his defence, Adam was already crying :) )

The string turned out to be the weak link.  I hadn’t tied it securely enough around the pinata before paper marche-ing over it.  Josiah had given such a powerful hit that the pinata came right off the string after the second hit!  We ended up tying it by the tail.  In the end the pinata was quite strong and Jon needed to help give it a good whack before it broke open.  I had only done 2 layers of paper marche and it felt quite thin.  Was surprised it was as strong as it was.  Starch is quite surprising.

Josiah's powerful whack!

Josiah’s powerful whack!

Asher's giving it his best shot

Asher’s giving it his best shot

It was fun to see the kids rush for the goodies.  I was particularly impressed with Kaizer because he went for the choicest pick of the toys.  He has some allergies so he knew he couldn’t eat the wafers and jellies, so he focused on the toys and got a pretty good selection of stuff :)  Most of the other kids went for the snacks.

Cheong ah!

Cheong ah!

Divvying the spoils

Divvying the spoils

Airplane hat anyone?

Airplane hat anyone?

Tearing it up after

Tearing it up after

Ellery was easily content.  He found one jelly and asked to eat it.  He then spent the next 15-20 minutes sucking on it!  He couldn’t get the bottom bit out but kept on trying anyway.  When it comes to food that boy sure is persistent.

Slurrrppp

Slurrrppp

Enjoying their treats

Enjoying their treats

Asher was mightly pleased with the cake.  Thankfully most of the guests said the cake tasted ok.  I was a little worried it wouldn’t taste good!  That’s the risk with making your own cake and trying a new recipe all at the same time!

Added the wafer bits to add some interest to the cake.  Not sure it was a good idea though.

Added the wafer bits to add some interest to the cake. Not sure it was a good idea though.

Happy Birthday to Asher!

Happy Birthday to Asher!

Happy brothers :)

Happy brothers :)

Most of the kids

Most of the kids

Eyeing Joanie's cake

Eyeing Joanie’s cake

After more playing we eventually moved outdoors for some swimming.  The weather was fine and I was glad the kids could have some outdoor time.  Most of them were very happy sliding down a slope at the pool.  But Asher and Jo Claire had their own plans.  It almost seemed as if they were on some romantic date.  They’d swim together, follow each other around.  At one point Asher asked, “shall we go to the deep end together?” Haha!  It was very cute :)

Martinna with Evan, Jonathan, and Titus who liked hanging out with the other two

Martinna with Evan, Jonathan, and Titus who liked hanging out with the other two

Titus would wait for Jonathan before sliding down

Titus would wait for Jonathan before sliding down

At first...

At first…

...then...

…then…

...and

…and then

Splashing good time

Splashing good time

Overall, a good party and Asher was one happy kid!

IMG_9110

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Oh how I love my little boy.

Still as active as he was in the belly.  Still as chatty as ever (if not more so).  Still quite emo.  Still has one of the most infectious laughs and smiles anywhere.  He’s grown so much this year, and surprisingly matured more in the last few weeks (a lot to do with his change of school too I think, more on this in another post).

But he has grown.  And he’s still my little boy :)

My big little boy who still likes to cuddle with Mummy, who likes to wrestle with Daddy and his brother, who is so curious, who can be such a home-body sometimes, who loves military things just like his Gong Gong, who very often still pretends to be a dinosaur to the amusement/annoyance of those around him, and he’s still oblivious to their opinion.  Still innocent that way.

Just four.

Yes there are many things one could say about how four-year old kids are big, grown up little people.  But for today, I’m remembering and cherishing Asher’s smallness, youngness, pureness – childness.

———————————————————————————-

The Preparation

We settled on a plane theme this year because he’s been going on and on and on and on about planes, in particular the B2 stealth bomber, ever since my father introduced it to him.  He’s also into Transformers and in recent months more into the Decepticons, who tend to be planes, rather than the Autobots.  So it was quite a no brainer.

The things we prepared this year were a B2 stealth bomber T-shirt (made from scrap black fabric and a faded Transformers T-shirt), a Starscream plane pinata to knock out of the sky, and a B2 stealth bomber cake.  There was much less work than for last year’s dinosaur themed party because I didn’t include any cookies in the goody bag, so there was much less baking involved.

Bumblebee had faded away. B2 takes over!

B2 bomber boy

Most of the preparations were done at night after everyone else had gone to sleep.  But I did try to involve Asher where I could.  I think its a little more personal, meaningful and fun when he helps out.  Then it’s not just me pottering about and gearing up for party day.  It helps build some excitement.  And I’d like to think Asher would feel good that he had a hand in things.

Mixing the water and flour

Cutting strips of newspaper (classifieds are perfect for this)

The pinata was my biggest endeavour.  And way fun!  I remember playing with a pinata when I was maybe six at a family friend’s house.  They were Mexican and the pinata was a standard at their parties.  I remember clearly that first time how much fun it was and since Asher was born was waiting for a time when he’d be old enough to play with a pinata at one of his parties.  The time had come!

We used a balloon we received from a birthday party we attended 2 weeks before as the core.  We made the paper marche glue together.  Asher attempted to stick some of the newspapers, but he found it much to sticky for his liking.  Reminded me of when he was a baby playing with some sticky dough.  In the end, to my great great great great (times infinity) surprise, Jon stepped in to help!  Shock!  I would never ever expect that he would ever help in any of our craft activities, cos…he’s Jon!  But he did!  And he said it was fun!  And he then told me about how he used to play with paper marche very often as a kid, using it to make houses and other stuff.  I. Did. Not. Know. That.  Maybe it’s hard for you to comprehend my shock.  But if you know him and what he normally does on a day to day basis, you’d be as shocked as I.

Of course I lavished him with praise.  Positive reinforcement right?

Jon amazing me with his paper marche savvy

Over the course of the next few days I worked on the frame and decoration of the pinata while watching too much rubbish TV.  I was pleased with the result though!  Kids are the perfect excuse to do all kinds of craft you wish you did when you were younger :)  It was a good example of recycling too.  Asher likes to ask to recycle all sorts of scraps, so it was nice to show him what you could do with the scraps.

Frame made with cereal boxes and a KFC brouchure :)

Asher was excited to see the pinata coming along, and eager helped with stuffing goodies into it.  Also  squeezed a spelling activity out of the banner making.  Had to help him quite a bit though.  “Happy Birthday” is quite long and not all of it easy to sound out.

Stuffing the pinata with balloons, which turned out to be impossible to blow up. Hadn’t thought of the practicality of it when I bought it, just thought it was a nice colourful addition to the loot :)

Decepticon logo for Starscream

Filled and ready to be whacked

Helping with the banner

Pleased as punch to be turning four

The last big thing was to do the cake.  This we did one day before the party.  Asher had given specific instructions several weeks ago though.  He wanted a B2 stealth bomber cake.  The inside would not be chocolate, it would be plain cake (“vanilla?”, “yes, vanilla”).  The outside would be covered in chocolate.

Thankfully the B2 is quite an easy shape to replicate.  It’s flatish, and has a simple zigzaggy pattern.

(Source: http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/b2/b21.html)

Well, at least it looked easy.  I had baked two rectangle trays of simple vanilla sponge cake, and the general idea was that it would have to be cut in a triangularish shape, then with the scraps piece together the rest of the wing and the tops.  I spent longer than expected mulling over how to maximize the amount of cake while still making sure there was enough cut out to make the rest of the plane.  And there was no room for error cos we had to deliver that cake that night!  Thankfully in the end the dimensions were fairly passable.

Assembling the cake

After adding the ganache

There was a little piranha next to me throughout the assembly process though.  Whenever there was a little scrap I didn’t need, it would suddenly disappear in a flash.  I suppose that way I had less crumbs to clean up.

ummm yummm yummm

All that was left were the party packs.  We went old school with the stuff.  Besides some very cool (well, I think it’s cool anyway) gummies I found on Amazon.com, which had among the various designs Asher’s favourite B2, we stuffed the bags with snacks that kids’ parents would have eaten when they were kids.

Airplane gummies.  Check out the B2!

Old school party pack – colourful round wafer, coklat krim wafer, white rabbit, parachute men, airplane gliders, and the gummies

Newspaper goody bags – I always feel party bags are such a waste cos we usually just throw them away! Of course, the proper bags are much hardier and nicer looking :)

We were all set for the party!  More in the next post!

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I was very inspired by an entry I read in An Accidental Homeschooling Mum.  Alicia had gone into an in-depth study of the impressionist artists.  I’d really like to try out her activities with the boys one day because I really like the work of the impressionists.  It always reminds me of the museums we went to in Chicago and Paris, in particular, the Musee d’Orsay.  I loved, loved, loved that museum.

In an attempt to do something similar with Asher, I decided to embark on an Andy Warhol project since the Artscience Museum was holding an exhibition on that famous pop artist (it ends on 12 Aug 2012).

It started with a search through the library catalogue to see what books looked appropriate for his age.  A lot of them were quite detailed and wordy, and probably better suited to older kids.  But I managed to pick up a few that he enjoyed.

Books we read

I also searched for some pictures on the internet and printed them at a shop because we don’t own a printer at home!  Asher was very happy with our gallery especially after he was more familiar with the names of the pictures.

Our Gallery

We then tried our hand at some Andy-ish art.  As mentioned above we did an art activity from My Art Book.  It involved using photographs, transparencies, construction paper and glue.  Really very simple, but an attractive result.

I had to first find some photos of the boys and had them printed at a photo printing shop (I need a printer!).  It was difficult to then find a photocopy shop willing to photocopy the pictures onto a transparenccy.  Many were too afraid to try even though the transparencies I bought stated they were safe for use with regular copiers.  I thought it very strange because I remember photocopying things onto transparencies when I was in school.  One very smart vendor said, “then go to the same shop you did it at!”  But, er, Uncle, I’ve been out of school for a long time…

It was a good lesson in perseverence because Asher tagged along to a few shops before we found on willing to take the risk.  He has now learnt the word ‘perseverence’.  Now, when he successfully does something he at first thought he couldn’t, he’d say proudly, “Mummy!  I persevered!”

Initially Asher was not too keen on our activity, but when he saw how the coloured paper transformed the look of the pictures he became enthusiastic.  He did all the colour choices and the positioning.  I only helped to hold everything in place while we glued them papers down.  He was very proud of his work and brought Jon to see it the minute he came home from work that day.  Unfortunately some parts got quite scratched.  I didn’t realise how fragile the transparency prints were.  Initially we were not careful and scratched off some parts of the prints.  But I suppose you could think of it lending some rawness and authenticity to the work!

Asher’s take on Warhol.  He calls the bottom right one ‘the green monster’ :)

I did the same project with Ellery two days later.  He’s too young to put everything in place properly, but he made all the colour choices for the different parts.

Ellery’s take.  I think the bottom right one looks quite scary!

A week later Asher did his version of the Campbell Soup cans.  I bought two cans of soup from the supermarket for him to handle.  We looked at the pictures in the gallery, then he embarked on his work.  The first time he just painted a big mess of colours which he eventually said was dinosaurs…hmm…  It was only on his second go that he focused more on painting Campbell Soup cans.  He was quite happy with his work, but I could see he was more thrilled by the first activity.

Asher’s Campbell Soup cans

The grand finale of our Andy Warhol Project was to go for the Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes of Fame exhibition at the Artscience Museum.  We headed there today after church.  I was very excited because this was the goal from the start of the project – to go for the exhibition with Asher able to appreciate some background of the artist and the art.  I was going to bring Ellery because he had also become familiar with  a few of the paintings, but he was napping so soundly and I didn’t want to let another weekend pass us by (we planned to go last week but couldn’t in the end).  Jon stayed with Ellery, so it was just Asher and me as we explored the Artscience Museum for the first time.

Here we come Andy!

Beautiful water lilies surrounding the museum

Pretty purple lily

I was adament about going to the museum on a weekend because that’s when they hold a special silkscreen printing workshop as part of the Children’s Season.  Asher did not really understand what silkscreen printing was from the books, partly because there were only brief descriptions of the process.  I wasn’t too sure of what it was either, so this was a good opportunity for us both.  He chose to do the silkscreen print on a t-shirt so I bought a plain white t-shirt from the gift shop for about $13 (they don’t allow you to bring your own t-shirt – I asked hehe).  The workshop is actually free if you do the printing on paper, but I thought it’d be more fun for him to wear his creation rather than just stick it on the wall, or in some corner to be forgotten.

Asher wrapped in a plastic apron listening to the explanation on silkscreen printing

Waiting for his turn

Pleased with the result

The exhibits were good.  There were many pictures we saw in books that we didn’t see there, and many pictures we saw there that we didn’t see in the books.  But it was exciting to spot those we recognised, and learn more about those we didn’t which we liked.  I appreciated how they had catered for the kids by putting some explanations in more kid-engaging language and at kid height.  There was also one part of the exhibition which showcased the paintings Andy Warhol did especially for children.  These were also placed lower so that children could have a better look at them.  There was another part which showed Asian artists’ take on Andy Warhol’s work which I thought was quite interesting.  For example, Jahan Loh did a series of paintings on luncheon meat :)  No photos allowed so I can’t show you any.

At the end of our excursion I asked Asher which were the parts he liked best and he said the silkscreening, and two works we had never seen or read about – silver clouds (an interactive work with silver pillow-shaped balloons filled with helium that floated around the room), and the endangered animals series (a series of ten paintings of endangered animals).

Little Andy

Asher (being a dinosaur) & I outside the museum

Changed to show Daddy his work

That brought an end to our Andy Warhol Project.  We came home to flip through the books to spot what we had seen in the museum, then it was off to bed for the boy.

Some of the paintings we saw at the museum

What next? :)

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Several weeks back Asher’s school had a project for parents and children to do together to promote bonding.  The aim was to use recycled cardboard to make something, and then there would be an exhibition of all the art work at the end of the month.

So as I thought about what to make, I saw the work from other parents slowly trickling into school.  The most common were cars, houses and castles.  I had made houses for Ellery’s birthday party so wasn’t keen on doing that again.  Something interactive was what I was going for, and one day while talking to Asher about Transformers it dawned on me – Transformers armour!  He was very excited by that idea!

In my blurness I forgot which pictures I had downloaded from my camera and which I hadn’t, and accidentally deleted a whole bunch of pictures showing him doing sticking and painting.  The irony is that I hadn’t deleted pictures from my camera for weeks prior to that!  But as I’m the kind who like to keep some pictures of precious or fun memories in my camera, I still have a few photos :)

We used cardboard that came from the packaging of the kid’s IKEA chairs.  I had kept that for almost a year thinking it might come in handy someday (see, it pays to keep some junk!).  I also used rafia string which was used to tie some boxes of I-can’t-remember-what.  Had to use masking tape to piece some parts together, and it was all decorated with acrylic paint.  And for reference of what the characters looked like, I used his Transformers waterbottle.  Asher chose to make Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee.

Then, because he said girls cannot use the armour (though I tried to convince him otherwise), we decided to make something for the girls too – a hobbyhorse.  For that we used more IKEA cardboard and the inside cardboard of a roll of wrapping paper.  As for the horse hair, I saw the newspapers that we had painted the armour on and thought they’d make lovely hair since there were paint marks all over!  We cut it into strips and stuck those on.

As cutting of the cardboard required a lot of use of the penknife, I did that on my own and attached the pieces together with the rafia.  I also cut out the horse head, but left the sticking for Asher to do.

Optimus Prime before

Optimus Prime (back) before

Bumble Bee before

Bumble Bee (back) before

Hobbyhorse before

So the next day after school we painted the armour and decorated the horse.  Asher did most of the work, except some stylistics that I helped with.

I think the end results are really quite nice :)  The shoulder straps were a bit too far apart and kept falling off, but he didn’t seem to mind.  I was thinking of his bigger sized classmates, but in the end it was too wide for them too.  The kids were really excited when they saw it though, and Asher’s teacher had to talk about Transformers for a while in class and everyone had a turn to battle with one another :)

Bumble Bee after

Optimus Prime after

The horse didn’t receive much attention from the big kids, but Ellery liked ‘riding’ around on it as he’s into horses now.

Hobbyhorse all adorned.

So overall, a fun project, and we’ve new dress-up toys!  I hang the armour on hangers on the back of our armchair in the livingroom for Asher to play with whenever he wants.  Aidan has come by for a fight against the Decepticons (read: Jon) too :)

Asher dressed Ellery as Bumble Bee

Little Bee

A quiet moment for Optimus

Sword fight with Popo

Autobots sparring

Heather playing with the horse

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Crayola Crisis

THIS is the real reason they make washable markers!

Imagine my surprise (and horror) and amusement when I walked out to see Asher all decorated after nursing Ellery.   On his part he was mighty proud of his work.

The thinking behind all this?  We were going to Changi Village to try and see some of the airshow stunts.  He coloured himself so that the aeroplanes could see him and would not fly into him! :OD

As it was, even though they were washable markers, the darker colours could not wash off completely.  If someone looked at him closely they’d think we abused him cos he looked like he had greenish/bluish/blackish/reddish bruises all over him.  Thankfully he coloured his nose yellow.

Boys.

But this must be the male equivalent of girls getting all messily dolled up with Mummy’s make-up.

I couldn’t help laughing every time I thought of it for the rest of the day.  Parenting can sometimes really be so so so funny!

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