Goose Grease Book Club : Caps for Sale Lesson, Art Project

June 20, 2014

It is my pleasure to re-introduce our guest blogger Sandra Meadows with an awesome book-based art project for the little ones. Sandra has a delicious food blog, Meadows Cooks where she shares her love for food with healthy, unique recipes. I love this Honey Brioche Loaf and these Chocolate Scones look absolutely amazing! Sandra works at the Whitney Museum and we are so happy to have her expertise here on our blog. Here we go!

Always on the look out for new ways to engage our children in the arts and reading, Anna and I came up with the idea of an elementary school book club, where we focus on one story per week. We have each participating child read the story before we meet, and then we read it while everyone is assembled together. After we read the story we discuss certain topics about the book, the conflict, and the solution of the story. Once done with this short discussion we have the kids make a craft about the story.

For our first book, Caps For Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina, I decided to focus on the main conflict of the story: when the peddler finds that his caps have been taken by monkeys, into the tree. We made trees out of paper bags and glued the caps, made from coffee filters and watercolor paint, onto the branches. Here’s how we did it:

What you will need:

Brown paper bags
White coffee filters
Watercolor paint or food coloring
pipettes or droppers
Scissors
Glue

To assemble the tree, first cut slits in the open end of the bag toward the first fold. Stop at the fold.

Then place the bottom gusset of the bag on the table and twist the rest of the bag around itself to form the trunk of the tree. Then twist two or three slits together to form the branches.

To make the cap, place the coffee filter down on a tray and wet it completely. Then drop color onto the filters, forming circular patterns. Don’t worry if they run together. It becomes more interesting as the colors merge. Then draw ovals shapes on the filter and cut them out. Glue the ovals to the tree branches and enjoy the finished project!

Teach Kandinsky: Kids Art Lesson

April 30, 2014

I am so excited to introduce our guest blogger Sandra Meadows again with another fantastic art lesson for the little ones. Sandra has an amazing food blog, Meadows Cooks where she shares her love for food with healthy, unique recipes. I love this one on Brussels Sprouts and this one of Pistachio Lime Cookies is absolutely delicious! Sandra works at the Whitney Museum and we are so happy to have her expertise here on our blog. Here we go!

Last week I had the opportunity to do another art lesson at my son’s school, this time for the 3rd grade. Anna suggested I talk about Wassily Kandinsky and have the students duplicate one of his works. I thought this was a great idea and chose Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913 for its simplicity and beauty. Also, placing these paintings together on a wall makes an impressive display.

Background:
Kandinsky was born in Russia in 1866. He studied law and economics and became a successful professor at University. While teaching he began studying art at the age of 30. He pursued an art career moving from Russia to Berlin, Germany, when during World War I, the Communist official theories on art did not agree with his own. In Germany he joined the Bauhaus movement and taught at their school of art, until the Nazis closed it in 1933. He fled to France, which is where he remained, becoming a French citizen. He died in 1944.

Materials you will need:
Classical CD (I used Vivaldi’s Four Seasons)
Watercolor paints
Brushes of various widths
Watercolor paper
Pencil
Ruler
Cups for water
Paper towels for blotting and cleaning brushes
Do ahead: Line each watercolor sheet with 12 equal sized boxes in pencil 

Introduction:
Who knows what Abstract Art is? Kandinsky is considered the father of Abstract Art in the 20th Century Western art world. Originally, his paintings were mostly representational landscapes, until he attended an exhibit of Claude Monet’s Haystacks. He was amazed at how they didn’t really look like haystacks, but were so beautiful just as shapes of color. That was when he began painting abstractly. Abstract Art is when we use colors and shapes without making them look like real things.

Do you see colors when you hear music? Kandinsky believed that colors and shapes were the expression of music and music was the expression of colors and shapes. He tried to paint the music he heard.

Lesson:
Have the students write their names on the back of their papers (the side without the squares). Have them hold the paper horizontally and show them Kandinsky’s painting. Ask them to listen to the music and paint circles in each square, like targets, making sure to paint in the triangles that occur in the corners of the squares. Ask them to interpret the music they are hearing. Once they are finished, hang the paintings together on a wall.

*All photos by Sandra of Meadows Cooks. Image of Kandinsky’s painting was found here.

Goose Grease Craft: How to Dye Wooden Eggs and other Egg Ideas

March 26, 2014

Wooden Easter Eggs are back in stock! We have a great Easter Egg kit that comes with pastel paints, wooden eggs, and brushes. You can paint them with polka-dots, stripes, or solid colors.

This hand-painted set of Emotional Eggs are a great way to introduce your child to the different emotions! We designed this set for our daughter when she was two.

Alternatively, you can also purchase blank eggs and dye them with food coloring. Dying wooden eggs is just as easy (and fun) as dying fresh hard-boiled eggs. What you need:

  •  Boiling Water
  •  Some White Vinegar
  •  Many drops of food coloring
  •  Wooden eggs

Put the first three ingredients in a bowl, add the egg, and scoop it out with a spoon.  Leave it on a tray to dry. Voila!

Teach Jackson Pollock: Kids Craft

March 13, 2014

We are excited to introduce a new series of craft projects with our guest blogger, Sandra Meadows. Sandra works at the Whitney Museum and has a background in sculpture. She has a four year old son with her husband in Brooklyn and shares amazingly delicious and healthy recipes on her food blog, Meadows Cooks. You will find yummy dishes like these Single Serve Kale Frittatas, or simple Whole Wheat Rolls, and even a Mediterranean Butternut Squash and Sorghum Salad. Let the inspiration begin!

When Anna asked me to do a guest post on her blog I was so excited. I did this art lesson for my son’s Pre-K class and thought it would be perfect for the Goose Grease Shop blog. The lesson is on Jackson Pollock and I had the class make Pollock-like “paintings” with glue and yarn. It was super easy and the kids had a great time. Above is a photo of a finished Pollock painting called Autumn Rhythm: Number 30, 1950 – from the Museum of Modern Art. Showing a sample of the painter’s work will get your child going with plenty of ideas for his own work.

What you’ll need:
Heavy paper stock, like Bristol
Mod Podge or Elmer’s Glue
A thick brush
Various lengths of different colored yarn

First get all your supplies ready. You’ll want to place the yarn on the paper before the glue dries. Second, paint the entire surface of one side of paper with the glue.

Finally, place the paper on the ground and throw the yarn onto the paper, to mimic how Jackson Pollock painted, standing over his canvas. Place the painting on a flat surface until completely dry. You may need to pat the yarn down to get it to stick well. Here you can see Jackson Pollock painting Autumn Rhythm: Number 30, 1950.

Have fun learning and teaching your child about Jackson Pollock!

*All photos by Sandra Meadows of Meadows Cooks.

*Images of Jackson Pollock and his works were taken from The Art Book For Children: White Book published by Phaidon, 2005.

Peg Dolls: Our Recent Visit to Colombia, part one.

March 5, 2014

Juan is from Colombia, which is why we have reached out to the community in Bogotá for all of our doll-making needs. We were happy to complete another trip to Colombia in January, where we met with our carpenter, hired a couple new painters, and planned to have some boxes printed for our new packaging. It was quite a trip! This is the shop and the machine where our dolls are made. This machine is called a lathe, and the dolls are chiseled by hand from a wood called Urapán. This is a wood commonly used in Colombia and it is sustainably forested; for every tree used, two are planted. 

We added two new sizes to our range of child-sized dolls; the smallest sister and the smallest boy, completing our family of peg dolls.

We also brought a design for a new kid’s bus, which is now available in our shop.

Goose Grease Wooden Dolls Holiday Update

November 22, 2013

On Saturday, Nov. 23 we will be offering these Ornament Kits on sale at Brickyard Buffalo.

Between Nov.29-Dec.1, please use the coupon code THANKFUL20 for 20% off your order from our painted and unpainted Etsy shops.

We will be exhibiting at this awesome market in Brooklyn, NY on Dec.7 from 10am-5pm at PS.321, 180 7th Ave.

Beginning Dec.9, this Nativity Set and many other styles will be on sale at One Kings Lane. 

DIY Preschool Craft // Wooden Color Vocabulary Cards

September 19, 2013

We recently made this set for our four year old, and thought it was a great craft to share. What you need: 8 dominoes (or wooden pieces), paints and brushes. Simply paint a few simple, solid color images and write the color names on another domino. We chose to write the color names in black to make it a little more difficult, but you could also write the color names in the corresponding color for a younger child.

Free Shipping on our DIY Peg Doll Family Kits

September 3, 2013

Ever wondered what was inside our Family DIY Kits? This week they are for sale with FREE SHIPPING over at Brickyard Buffalo. Have fun!

Little Wooden People from Colombia

August 14, 2013

If you are visiting our page for the first time, you might not know that Goose Grease is a small company run by us, Juan and Anna, from our studio in Brooklyn. Juan is from Colombia, and as we started to get involved in painting little dolls, we began to source artisans from Colombia to help us fulfill our mission. These photos are from a recent trip over to the beautiful Bogotá. We design the shape of our dolls, and have them turned for us by carpenters from a small shop. We love visiting their shop every time we go there to see the new drums, beds, and salt shakers they are turning. And of course, our dolls. They carefully turn each doll by hand, carving it out of a piece of  sustainably forested Urapán wood, which is commonly used in Colombia. When one tree is used, two are planted. We are currently working with two local Colombian artisans who are helping us to paint our standard designs. We met with these women in our last visit and had a wonderful painting class, setting ourselves up with new projects for the year.

Raising our Prices, Raising our Standards.

July 9, 2013

To all of our faithful customers,

We want to let you know that as of Thursday, July 11, we will be raising the prices of our custom-painted, personalized dolls. Thank you all for placing your orders and sharing your feedback with us! The level of craftsmanship that goes into our custom-painted pieces has become more and more detailed and specific, and this requires from us more time to complete each order. You will be able to see our prices in our shop on Thursday. We are also happy to be introducing a new, Standard Set, which is intended for brides and grooms with a lower budget. Please keep in mind that the dolls we use for our custom and standard sets are hand-chisled on an electric lathe in Bogotá, Colombia. Each doll takes about 3-5 minutes to turn. We pay our carpenter a price per piece that is fairly and jointly agreed upon. Thanks again for your support!