Last week's session at The Little House in the Park was all about eyes, to tie in with the latest exhibition at the Holburne Museum

The activity that Matthew and I loved most was the printing - proper printing with blocks, rollers and printing ink. I did a printmaking course years ago and had forgotten how satisfying it is when you peel the paper back and reveal your bold print.

We made the blocks by cutting out and gluing bits of cardboard and paper straws onto some thick card. When the glue had dried we rolled ink on and then pressed the paper on top. 

Most people are unlikely to have proper printing kit at home, but this works pretty well just with normal paint too, applied with a brush or sponge. In fact that's now on my ever-growing list of things to try with the boy... 
 
 
We were back at The Little House in the Park on Friday, celebrating the summer solstice with some seriously sunny crafts.

First we used fabric paints and pens on yellow t-shirts to make summer tops. Sorry, you really can't see in this picture but think yellow/orange/red paints with printing blocks of suns etc and you get the idea. All the kids loved doing their t-shirts - so easy to do. Just a shame I let Matthew wear his later when he was eating spaghetti bolognese for tea... *sigh*

The collage on a stick is meant to be the sun (clearly). It would have worked better if I'd cut the gold card into more of a sun shape first but frankly I was just feeling too lazy.

To make the poppy, first we got a cotton wool ball and spiked it on top of a willow stick. Then we wrapped some black material over it with a rubber band, and tied some wispy bits of black wool around for the stamen. The petals are four pieces of red crepe paper, sort of stretched at the top and taped at the bottom. Then we got a long thin strip of green crepe paper and wound it round and round the stick to make the stalk. Looks pretty good, I think. 

But my favourite thing is the simplest - the oily sun that Matthew's holding up. We cut sun shapes out of orange sugar paper and then just painted oil onto them - not all over but in dabs. When you hold it up to the light it's so effective - you can just about see in this pic. Now I'm trying to think what else might work well using this oily technique. Hmm... Any ideas? 
 
 
Ta-dah! Homemade Christmas cards this year. (I am turning into Kirsty Allsopp.) 

I wanted to try and think of something easy that Matthew and I could make together. We bought a big sheet of dark green card and hunted out some biscuit cutters to print with. First we used a big snowflake with white paint (Matthew did all of the printing for that one), and then when that was dry we used a small Christmas tree with green paint (he lost interest with that one... plus maybe I was being a bit too controlling. Ahem). 

I cut the sheet into squares and glued it onto white card. They're not quite how I pictured them, but not a bad joint effort. Who knows what added sophistication next year might bring? 
 
 
A few paintings from The Little House in the Park using autumnal colours. We were supposed to be doing leaf prints, but Matthew was in the mood for swirls and handprints so we went with that. I really like the swirly ones - they look like fireworks.