The Mother of Invention

Seems like it’s been a loooooo-oooong week. Anthropapa was out of town for a few days, and then when he returned the kids promptly got sick. SillyBilly’s been on his nebulizer again, and he couldn’t go to his school’s Hallowe’en fair. As a result, I did not make and therefore do not have pictures of the red-tailed hawk costume that he commissioned and I designed in my head.

Now Napoleona is sick, with a wicked cough and, tonight, a fever that sent her to bed at 6 pm.

While SillyBilly had to stay home from school so I could monitor him, he wasn’t so sick that he had to stay in bed. So, what to occupy a six-year-old who can’t go outside to play?

Papercrafts, of course.

First, he declared he wanted to make a book. He’s done a few in the past, but was a bit unclear on the concept: he’d draw some pictures, then staple them together in the middle, making it impossible to see what he’d drawn.

So, this time I convinced him of the need for advance planning. I explained that we could staple the sides of some paper together, or sew them up like a real book. Guess which one he chose?

SillyBilly chose a bunch of construction paper colors, and I showed him how to measure along the side and make pencil marks so that the holes would line up. This proved beyond him, so I did the marks and he punched the holes. We did the sewing together. Then the book needed a spine. Out came the ruler again, and he cut out the appropriate shape and we taped it on:

Then I advised him that it might be good to plan out where the words and pictures will go, and to make a light mark to divide the pages. I showed him the various illustrations in our Complete Beatrix Potter book, where some have square borders while others blend into rounded shapes with no lines. Also we looked at the different layouts: half image, half text; several small images here and there; and so on.

He decided this will be an “encyclopedia of cars” and began doing some drawings, but then he pooped out. We’ll see where he goes from here.

Later that day we decided our house needed some holiday sprucing up. So, out came the construction paper yet again.

SillyBilly and his sister have been drawing lots of spooky scenes lately, positively littered with ghosts, mummies, and haunted houses. We don’t especially emphasize the scary part of this holiday, but they seem to have a natural fascination.

And I mentioned to him that every Hallowe’en, Nana still hangs up a spider ornament I made when I was a girl. Since we didn’t have the materials to make that craft (though we do now — don’t worry Nana, I’ll be sure to post pictures!), we decided to make flat paper spiders. It snowballed from there:

SillyBilly made the spiders and ghosts, I made the jack-o-lanterns and the haunted house.

The ghosts bear some resemblance to one Muppet or another:

While the spiders are just happy to be here:

What’s next? Well, we were talking about Dia de los Muertos, so I think we’ll be making some tissue paper marigolds and possibly some paper calaca masks or clay calaveras. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of honoring our ancestors on this day, something shared by both the Mexican culture and the pagan/Wiccan religion (where it is known as samhain). I may just clear away our autumn nature table and put up some pictures of loved ones instead.

And maybe I’ll get around to that red-tailed hawk costume, too.

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Filed under Crafting, Health, holidays, Napoleona, Nature tables, Parenting, SillyBilly

12 responses to “The Mother of Invention

  1. There are so many great ideas in this post! I’m glad you mentioned Dia de los Muertos; my daughter is studying Spanish this year and I’d love to observe this day.

  2. Alida

    I’m sorry the kids aren’t feeling well. I hope it doesn’t last. We are doing El Dia De Los Muertos too!

    Our kids are fascinated by the morbid and macbre it seems. At first I was dismayed, now I just go with it. Turn it all into a science project.

    Enjoy the coming week 🙂

  3. Although we don’t celebrate Halloween (it’s neither a South African nor a German thing), the ghostly is a big topic in our house too. Witches and spiders everywhere.

    Hope your people feel better soon. I love your haunted house. You have a talent.

  4. I love the happy spiders!

  5. That’s so beautifully done! Dudelet also loves making books but he’s never done anything anywhere near as elaborate. Lovely!

  6. mominmadison

    Great craftiness. Hard when it comes with not feeling so hot. We plan to celebrate Dia de los Muertos this year, and have been working on some fun little clay skulls. I love the colorful artwork associated with that holiday. Great photos.

  7. Hope your kids feel better soon. You should SO be homeschooling, you would be so great at it.

  8. I would LOVE to see the redtailed hawk costume!
    Wonderful crafts-The paper wall hanging is too friggin cute!
    I’ve been thinking about Dios de los Muertos myself. I collect Mexican ceremony masks and it would be so fun to make some!
    Hope your kiddos feel better soon!!!!

  9. Eve

    Love the decoration, it’s wonderful! That ghost has so much personality, it should have a name. ;o)

  10. I love the wall hanging, esp. the blue house with Mysterious Things in the Windows.

  11. Nana

    It’s nice to see you have such a good eye for arts and crafts. And that you are passing along this gift to my brilliant beautiful grandchildren. I guess taking you to just about every art museum in the greater SoCal area when you were a kid was a good idea after all. 🙂

  12. Thank you everyone. I will post pictures of our Dia de los Muertos decor and the costumes as soon as I charge the camera batteries that died just as I was starting to take pictures of our calaveras 😦

    Unfortunately both kids still have lingering illness and SillyBilly was significantly worse today. Hopefully we can have a restful weekend.

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