rainbows all around…

today was an extra active day here at our house…

we read some great books and then everyone wanted to take a turn doing our art activity; there’s nothing like a little painting and printing to start off a long weekend in lockdown!

this activity is super fun and easy and great for all ages.  kids as young as 18 months can even give it a try (with a parent’s help, of course)- and even the teenagers in our house had fun with it.


  • an old cd or large jar top
  • washable liquid paints
  • paintbrush
  • lots of paper
  • scissors


  • cover the shiny side of the cd with generous amounts of paint
  • we painted large stripes of each color for a more “rainbow like” effect
  • flip the cd over and print on the paper
  • twist cd on paper to create a swirled effect
  • allow to dry thoroughly and then cut out round prints
  • use as notecards or gift cards or even fancy to do lists

ebru art with a twist…

a traditional and familiar art form here in turkey; no one is quite certain of exactly when and where the art of ebru first developed.  ebru art has been mentioned in texts found in turkmenistan and samarkand dating back to 13th century and in those from the iranian area of herat from the 14th century.  the oldest remaining actual example of the art though, is from 1447 and is currently housed in the topkapi palace museum. 

during the ottoman era, papers decorated with ebru art were often used for official purposes such as government documents, property deeds, or personal checks.  the intricate patterns made each paper noticeable and recognizable.  it is likely that this was a type of precursor to the complicated designs that are still used in modern day currencies as part of anti-fraud measures. 

traditional ebru work is done by first preparing an oil-based liquid in a large rectangular dish.  drops of ink are then dripped into the gooey liquid providing the color for the artwork.  the artist then uses various utensils that range from a needlelike tool to thick and thin brushes the spread the paint and create different shapes and patterns.  finally, a paper is laid on top of the solution and gently removed with the designs now transferred onto the paper.

the whole process is actually quite complicated; the base liquid takes two or three days to prepare, the paints are quite finicky, and creating proper designs takes patience and practice. 

over the past couple of weeks, we have been rediscovering our arts and crafts closet here at home and we were thrilled to find a fully stocked ebru kit that alegra received as a birthday gift last june! we immediately pulled it out and got to work- and we had so much fun!

everyone took a turn creating and it was great to see all the different possibilities of color combinations and some of the designs that we came up with were absolutely stunning! 

here are some of our ebru creations:

this ebru work also reminded us of another; super fun, way to do ebru- with SHAVING CREAM! i highly recommend doing this outside on a less valuable surface because, let’s be honest, it is a good way to make a big mess… but it is so much fun, and the results are actually really pretty.  shaving cream ebru is a fantastic way to introduce the art to smaller children.  this is also a perfect process art project for toddlers- they get to get messy with paints and explore colors and patterns galore!

there is really no right or wrong way to do this; gather your materials and just start creating… check out alegra’s video below for some inspiration 🙂


  • large sheets of white paper
  • liquid paints
  • shaving cream (make sure it is the foam kind, not the gel)
  • brushes of varying size and thickness


  • squeeze and spread shaving cream all over your paper (use your hands!!)
  • add drips of paint as desired
  • use your fingers or brushes to create designs in the shaving cream
  • allow to dry fully before moving
  • shaving cream has a tendency to fall off the paper once it is dry so saving these projects can be a bit tricky- be sure to take a photo!

**for those of you that would like to try it, the ebru set we have at home is for sale here**

elmer the elephant…

happy saturday everyone!

here are some printable elmer the elephants to get you starting on your saturday activity!

and here is a picture of all elmer’s friends after they decorated themselves for”elmer day”!

remember to just use whatever materials you happen to have on hand and enjoy yourselves! there is no right or wrong way to decorate your elmer…

we’ll be sharing ours soon and we would LOVE to see yours too- so send us pictures when you are finished!

making perfect playdoh at home…

ever since i learned how, i have been making playdoh at home.

the process and the product are BOTH entertaining and somehow, i find it to be more fun to create with playdoh that i have made myself…

this recipe makes enough for two children; simply double the amounts if you happen to have a full house!

adding glitter and food coloring is always a great option too. if you don’t have food coloring; a couple drops of paint will also do the trick…


  • 1.5 cups flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • embellishments


  • mix all the ingredients together and knead well
  • add more water or flour as necessary
  • embellishments are up to you- glitter, food coloring, child-friendly paints
    • all work great and are safe for children of all ages (especially for younger children who sometimes want to see how their playdoh tastes!!)

painting and printing on a rainy day…

after a whole week of beautiful sunny spring weather, we are actually kind of enjoying a slightly cooler rainy day today. 

we knew the weather was going to change so we saved a whole bunch of indoor activities for today… we’re planning on baking, doing some fun and easy art activities, and working on our concert pieces for piano.

here is a super easy art activity that uses household objects… all you need is a big sheet of paper and some different colored paints. there is no right or wrong way to do this; so just gather your materials and have some fun!


  • large sheet of white paper
  • one paintbrush
  • different colored guache or tempera paints
  • any objects you would like to use for printing
  • paint dishes (paper plates work well)


  • choose one color and paint the whole sheet of white paper in that color
  • allow the paint to dry slightly
  • using different objects and different colors, print shapes all over the paper
  • trying to stick to a pattern is fun; or you can just go wild with printing!
  • allow all the paint to dry completely
  • you can use your printed paper to write postcards or as wrapping paper

send us pictures of your printing-

email deniztogar@gmail.com OR @strongrootswildwings on instagram

we’d love to see it and repost on instagram!

cubism for kids…

the tate modern museum in london defines cubism as, “a revolutionary new approach to representing reality invented in around 1907–08 by artists pablo picasso and georges braque. they brought different views of subjects (usually objects or figures) together in the same picture, resulting in paintings that appear fragmented and abstracted.”[1]

kidsz’s child oriented definition explains that cubism is, “a style of art which aims to show all of the possible viewpoints of a person or an object all at once. It is called cubism because the items represented in the artworks look like they are made out of cubes and other geometrical shapes.”[2]

many early cubists painted and drew in monochrome so that their audiences would focus more on the geometrical shapes than on the colors represented in the art.  however, picasso soon changed this trend by introducing color into his cubist pieces.

here are some of picasso’s well-known cubist works[3]:

ask your kids to describe the shapes they see in each one; the three musicians work is especially geometric…

you can also visit tate kids for some great information on picasso and his other works-

this week’s art @ home project helps to introduce children to some basic cubist ideas; particularly the notion of fragmentation and abstraction in art, and also focusing on geometrical shapes (part of alegra’s e-learning this week).

while painting, we also talked about warm and cool colors; painting the inside of the heart with warm colors and using cool colors for the outside.

here is an easy way to remember the warm and cool colors using a color wheel:

all the materials used are simple and should be easy to find even during these times of social distancing.  we used watercolors but markers, colored pencils or pastels will work just as well.


  • a4 white paper
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • black marker
  • watercolors
  • paintbrush
  • water cup


  • draw a large shape in the middle of your paper- we drew a heart but anything will work- some ideas might be a flower, butterfly, tree or even a soccer ball
  • use the ruler to draw 4-6 straight lines from one side of the paper to the next; criss-crossing your main shape (more lines will make painting harder, but might be fun for older children)
  • use a black marker to outline all the lines
  • decide which parts will have warm and cool colors and start painting!

[1] https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/c/cubism

[2] https://wiki.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Cubism

[3] https://www.pablopicasso.org/

creating with toilet rolls!!

who knew that toilet paper was so important?!! well, we all know now, that’s for sure! and if you, like most of us, went out and bought a whole bunch before social distancing measures started then i bet you have more than enough material to complete this fun, easy and colorful project!

the weather this week in istanbul has been terrible; cold and wet and downright depressing.  so, we really needed a bit of color.  with our mornings and early afternoons occupied with e-lessons and schoolwork tasks to be completed we needed some relaxing art to help fill the dreary afternoons…

these toilet roll sculptures are super easy; smaller children will need help with cutting the rolls into small circles, but many children can actually complete the whole project unassisted. we painted our sculpture with watercolors, but any type of child-friendly paints will do.


  • square of cardboard for the base
  • lots of toilet rolls
  • scissors
  • liquid glue
  • paints (and a water cup, if necessary)
  • paintbrushes


  • cut the toilet rolls into as many pieces as you’d like- make some thinner and some thicker for a varied look
  • using lots of glue, stick the toilet rolls to the cardboard base
  • continue “building” your sculpture adding more rolls to the top and sides
  • allow the glue to dry fully- we left ours to dry overnight
  • paint each separate toiler roll and then the cardboard base- there is no right or wrong- we decided on rainbow colors with a black base; but the sky’s the limit when it comes to color!!

(you might find that a second coat of paint helps to make the colors extra vibrant)

giacometti figures at home

for this week’s e-learning art class, alegra’s class has the task of researching the famous artist. alberto giacometti, one of my all-time favorites…i especially love his iconic sculptures of tall, skinny figures walking through life!

the children’s assignment is rather straightforward and simple, they are to research giacometti’s work and create a slide presentation of their finding.  then they can use materials from around the house to make some sort of a human or animal sculpture.  all this got me thinking about a wonderful sculpture project that is relatively simple and will be a great way to cement their research with some active, arty work… and is a fantastic way to spend a rainy afternoon at home this week!

to start with, and to remember giacometti and his art, alegra and i sat down and looked through the giacometti exhibition catalogue from the retrospective show at the Pera Musuem in 2015. we also found a lovely short video from the pera museum that you can access here : https://youtu.be/ddmUkINHjKQ  and another from the tate modern in london that is found here: https://youtu.be/M58oMKBO7S0

like many artists, giacometti’s art and interests shifted over time, our sculpture project is representative of some of his later work in the 1950s and 60s.  during this time abstract art, with less human figures, was very popular. rather than following this trend, giacometti chose to reintroduce the human figure as a form of art and used his bronze sculptures of human figures to represent how people move in space but are often alone; even though they may want very much to interact and communicate with others.

next for the project….

materials you will need-

  • Wire (pipe cleaners will work too)
  • scissors
  • aluminum foil
  • air dry clay
  • cardboard square
  • black paint and paintbrush (optional)


– alegra and i also made a short video to make it a bit easier to follow….you can find it here…

  • first, cut two pieces of wire, one a bit longer than the other
  • bend and twist the longer wire into a loop creating a “head” shape at the top and legs and feet at the bottom
  • use the shorter wire to create arms by wrapping it around your sculpture’s “stomach” area
  • you should now have a tall skinny human figure- a stickman sort of sculpture
  • next take tin foil and wrap it all around your sculpture tightly, making sure to squeeze it a bit so it will stay put
  • finally, stick two pieces of airdry clay to your cardboard square and press your sculpture’s feet firmly into the clay
  • for the optional part you can paint the whole thing (cardboard and clay included) with black paint for a look that is even more like giacometti’s famous dark bronze figures
  • allow everything to dry fully…and enjoy your own personal giacometti inspired creation!

ps…here is a picture of five year old alegra sketching at the Giacometti exhibition in Istanbul 🙂