Saturday, January 1, 2011

Somehow I missed out on the childhood joy of Shrinky Dinks...

So, as a child, somehow I missed out on the joy of Shrinky Dinks. One year ago, my sister-in-law remedied this at my request. Armed with my first set of Shrinky Dinks, I began to create. I had high expectations... I wanted them to look professional... I wanted to use them in my jewelry making.

I had been making jewelry using my photography, applying my original images to polymer clay and then covering them in resin. Alas, my colored pencil Shrinky Dink creations did not have the look I was hoping for. What did I expect from a product created for children?

I even bought a book, which had some pretty cool ideas!

But, as I searched Etsy, I saw other Shrinky Dink jewelry. There must be a way to print my photographs onto this amazing shrinkable plastic. Finally, I found my solution. Now I am about to reveal a trade secret here...
I found Grafix brand ink-jet printable, white, shrinkable plastic that could be fed through my printer.

After much experimentation with color/contrast adjustment (the pigment becomes more dense *read "darker"* as it shrinks), I had found my material. How fun! Now I can make anything into jewelry and you can too, with the help of Photoshop, a printer, and shrinkable plastic!

So, now in addition to my polymer clay photography jewelry (pendants and earrings), I can create fun, extremely lightweight earrings. In a recession, it is always fun to seek product lines for all budgets. :)

Designing custom fabric for educational quilts

Over a year ago in August 2009, I posted about my desire to find a company that would print onto fabric. I had just discovered, the answer to my wish. It is difficult not to get carried away designing fabric! I even hope to use some to make dresses for my little girl, and I used some of my test swatches to make her soft, fabric blocks for Christmas (pictures to come in a future post).

However, my initial desire stemmed from the amount of time I spent piecing together individual educational quilts for classroom teachers. Finally, I have designed fabric, had it printed, and made a new line of quilts that will be more affordable for teachers and for parents! My color wheel quilts have the vividness of my collage quilts, but without the laborious job of piecing them together or edges that might come up over time and with years of use.

I FINALLY posted my first one on Etsy!!!
With this activity, the child selects items that you provide to them (in a container or basket); the items are of different colors/shades/tints, and the child categorizes them on the matching portion of the color wheel. This material is designed so that you, as a parent or teacher, may provide your own materials from your house or classroom as objects. You may also wish to change the objects often or encourage your children to find objects to add to the box. Although I designed this educational material for a Montessori classroom, it is appropriate for lessons within a Montessori classroom or your home. Even very young children are curious about our colors in the world around them; this lessons capitalizes upon a child's interests. In Montessori primary classrooms, young children receive lessons in the primary and secondary colors with Box I and Box II of the Color Tablets. Although Maria Montessori, a pioneer in early childhood education, designed beautiful materials which are still relevant today, the Color Tablets are a rare exception of materials which were potentially more attractive to children in Montessori's culture (than they are today). In my experience as a Montessori Primary Directress, children rarely choose to return to these materials after their initial lessons. I this designed this Color Wheel Categorization Quilt as an extension of the traditional Sensorial curriculum. In using this material in my own classroom, I find that it draws children back to the color materials; children choose the color wheel quilt on their own, thereby giving the teacher continued opportunities to explore primary and secondary colors with the students. Included in this set: Color Wheel (measuring approximately 10.4" from flat side to flat side and 12.25" from point to point across) - there is quilt batting inside and the back is solid black; BOX AND OBJECTS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THIS PARTICULAR LISTING. Please note: Materials are an original design and cannot be reproduced for sale. Images and Text - Copyright 2010 by Amy M. Kuhl Cox
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