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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | crafts

With My Hands

Sometimes, a book comes across my desk that sparkles like a gem, attracting my attention, insisting that I stop what I’m doing and read it. This happened when With My Hands: Poems about Making Things arrived last week. I thought I’d take a peek. Next thing you know, I was closing the last page of the book, sighing with contentment. And then I knew I had to read the book all over again.

I’ve been interested in making things since I can first remember. Whether I was creating a pegboard town with my Playskool set or helping my grandmother make pie crust or giving my grandfather a hand in his shop, or sewing small items to decorate my Barbie doll house … I still feel best when my hands, mind, and heart are busy. When creativity is awake and satisfied.

This book will serve as inspiration, recognition, and encouragement. It will awaken a dormant maker and help a persistent maker sit up and feel good about what they do.

VanDerwater’s poetry is understandable. It reads out loud well. It is often brief. Her word choice is palpable … I find myself cheering her selections.

The illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher are brilliant. From the first spread, “Maker,” with the art based on fingerprints (I can do that!) and a hillside of clover, to the last spread “Shadow Show,” with its example of a shadow puppet that echoes spirals, the inspiration for art-making is full of detail and subtle ideas to launch your own work. I particularly enjoy those spreads where two disparate poems are united by the illustrations. That provides inspiration, too!

My excitement level after reading this book was high. Much like the Olympics create possibilities in young minds, this book encourages the can-do spirit.

Poetry? Give the different forms a try. Craft with words. Origami? Leaf pictures? Making a piñata? Tie-dying? Soap carving? The subtle humor in VanDerwater’s poetry and the Johnson Fanchers’ art keeps readers’ spirits high.

Parachute

“I cut a parachute from plastic
tied my guy on with elastic
threw him from a window (drastic)
watched him drift to earth—fantastic!”

The Army Guy tied to the plastic parachute, drifting down to the boat featured in the next poem … this is the kind of poetry everyone can enjoy, the inspiration everyone needs.

With My Hands: Poems about Making Things
written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Clarion Books, March 27, 2018
978-0544313408

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Hands-on History for Spatial Learners

Making HistoryWhen I was in elementary school, I was never more excited than when the teacher told us we could make a diorama or a miniature scene of a pioneer settlement. The concept, planning, and building were thrilling for me. Even though my finished work seldom approached the dazzling display I could see in my head, I learned a great deal about history, engineering, science, and cardboard from my forays into building a small world in three dimensions.

We know that some kids learn best this way. They are not only hands-on, but they are spatial and visual learners, people who learn best by seeing and doing.

If you know children like this, they’ll be delighted with Making History: Have a Blast with 15 Crafts (written by Wendy Freshman and Kristin Jansson), published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

With a short historical lesson, thorough supplies list, excellent photographs, and step-by-step instructions that include a call-out for adult involvement (using scissors or a hot glue gun) your favorite kids can make a Makak Generation Basket or an Ice House (model) or a Día de Los Muertos Nichos (a small shadowbox with skeletons depicted on them for the Day honoring the Dead).

metal repousse pendant

Introducing a Metal Foil Repoussé Pendant, the authors share that Alice and Florence LeDuc formed Hastings Needlework in 1888 to create and sell embroidered household items that were treasured by many as artwork. Bought by influential families and featured on magazine covers, their needlework was known worldwide. The Minnesota Historical Society has more than 800 of their patterns in its archives.

With metal foil, a foam sheet, and household supplies such as a pencil, pen, and scissors, your students can make a necklace or box ornament from a Hastings Needlework pattern, included in the book and thoughtfully supplied online.

Paul Bunyan Action FigureFor your visual and spatial learners, building a Twister Tornado (did you know that the Mayo Clinic was founded as the result of a tornado?) or a Paul Bunyan Action Figure is a sneaky but effective way to make learning memorable and engaging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Scraps Book

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life

Sometimes I want to walk right into the pages of a book, know everything the author knows, share their lifetime of experiences, and be able to emulate their creativity. Scraps: Notes from a Colorful Life makes me feel that way. I’ve even enjoyed the feeling and texture of the paper because I want in! For […]

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