Friday, March 13, 2015

The Artful Year and Melted Crayon Friendship Rocks

Chuck doesn't always enjoy making things with me.  (What? Yup.)  A lot of days he would just rather that we read books or race airplanes together.   And I'm really trying harder to let go and follow his lead.  But I love crafting.  So I keep putting out those invitations in hopes that he'll join me.  And on those special occasions when he's interested and involved in a craft... boy oh boy... those days are really magic.

The Artful Year
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We recently received a copy of Jean Van't Hul's The Artful Year to review.  Jean is an artist, mom of 2, and author of the amazing kids' art blog Artful Parent.  (She's also the author of another great kids' art book The Artful Parent. ) 

In her newest book, Jean shares a whopping 175 family-friendly crafts, and recipes!  The photos are dreamy and beautiful; the crafts span through all the seasons and holidays of the year; and the recipes look really, really yummy.  I love this book.  But those things aren't what I love the most about her book.

What I love the most about the book is her voice.  In the beginning she shares this beautiful quote-

"We need to be more intentional than ever as we carve out quality time together, celebrate in meaningful ways, build traditions and memories and create stronger families.  It's not about doing more.  It's about making choices, fostering creativity, and building family connection."  

Wow.  That just hit so close to home.  I don't want to just make things with Chuck.  Things eventually break down, get lost, or tossed away.  I want to foster creativity.  I want to build our relationship.  I want to make lasting memories.

Ok.  This was a super long intro, I know. But I just had to get that all out there.  Because it really is a beautiful, beautiful book.

Here's the craft that we chose to try out first from the book:

Melted Crayon Friendship Rocks

Melted Crayon Friendship Rocks- A craft inspired by The Artful Year

As you probably know, we recently moved to California from the East Coast back in July.  Chuck has missed his old friends terribly.  But slowly, slowly, he's meeting more children his age and friendships are beginning to form.  That makes my momma heart really happy.

I chose to make the Melted Crayon craft with him because (1) it involved fire... and that makes it super cool for kids and (2) we could make a bunch of rocks to give away to his new friends.  (Ah ha!  Here we are making memories and building connections.  Just like what Jean said!)

Here's how we made our melted crayon friendship rocks!

1.  First, I washed and dried the rocks the night before.  (Like our rock tic-tac-toe game, we simply used rocks that we collected from the beach.)

2.  We preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel crayons to make Melted Crayon Friendship Rocks

3.  While we waited, we covered our table with a dish cloth and a sheet of aluminum foil.  (This was supposed to protect the table.) Then, we ripped off the paper coverings from several long crayons.  (Make sure you use long crayons!  The rocks get hot and the wax melts quickly.)

4.  Then, we placed our rocks onto the baking sheet and baked them for 10-15 minutes.

child melting crayons on rocks for art

5.  I pulled rocks out one at a time and we drew on them with crayons.  As we drew, the crayon melted.

(As you can see, we wrote on them with Sharpie before putting them in the oven.  I thought I was being so clever.  Big mistake.  We had to redo our letters because they became covered in crayon.  So don't make the same mistake as we did.  Also, I made sure to consistently remind Chuck that the rocks were hot and he should NOT touch them.  He did pretty well till the end, when his finger accidentally brushed against one.  He didn't get burned, but he did have a little cry.)

Melted crayon rocks

6.  We let the rocks cool down and then I fixed our letters again with Sharpie marker

Aren't they just beautiful?

The Artful Year Review and some lovely melted crayon friendship rocks

And while we waited for the rocks to cool, I quickly took the crayons and drew on the aluminum foil that covered our baking dish.  It was still hot and the crayons just melted on them so beautifully.

Melted crayon art (leftover from melted crayon friendship rocks art)

Ok.  This is actually the last shot we'll ever take of these rocks all together.  Two of them are already off with Chuck's new friends.

Melted crayon friendship rocks

So I definitely recommend Jean's newest book  The Artful Year.  There are so many ideas in there and so many opportunities for making memories with your children.

Here are more melted crayon art projects that you may enjoy! 

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Happy making, friends!