Quick and Easy Jack-O-Lantern

So back on Monday we introduced you to Red Ted Art, and just reading the interview again made me feel inspired. Red Ted’s cover article, Satsuma Lanterns, immediately grabbed my eye. ‘Round these parts, we call Satsumas mandarins or Clementines, which I happened to have none of. But because we live in California and we’re all fancy and stuff, we do have some regular oranges, so I decided to make an Orange-O-Lantern!

It was quite simple to make! Take your orange (or citrus fruit of your choice) and slice off the top:

Using a spoon, carve out the innards. Now if you’re using Clementines or any easily-peeled citrus, this part will be easy. If not, your result may look like this. Which I have decided to go at with my immersion blender and make some nice, pulpy orange juice.

Once you’ve done away with the insides, carefully carve a face into the peel. Maggy used little nail scissors, and I think those would be most helpful with thin-skinned Clementines, but with regular oranges (and no nail scissors), I just went at it with a small knife. After you’re done carving your face (the Orange-O-Lantern’s face, I mean), then pop in a tea light and you’re done!

I was going for the goofy, toothy grin, but from this angle he looks a little bit like a cat. Go figure. Now I’m off for some fresh, fresh OJ. Happy carving!

The Moms Love Red Ted Art

One of the best things about blogging is all of the wonderful people you get to meet along the way and all of the wonderful sites you get to see. Red Ted Art’s blog is devoted to “Bringing colour and art to children’s hearts,” and if you don’t come away from that site feeling inspired and excited about kids and art, I’ll send you $500. Okay, not really, but I do guarantee you’ll love what you see there. Maggy at Red Ted Art is an artist, a blogger, and a mom, and I recently got the chance to interview her. And now, dear readers, I’m thrilled to introduce Maggy and Red Ted Art to you!

Mum and Red Ted!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name is Maggy and I am a mother of two – a little boy, who online we call “Red Ted” and a little girl called “Pip Squeak”. I am Austrian, married to an Englishman in the UK.

How did you get started in your art career? Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught?

I guess I would use the term “self taught”, as I never had any training. I have always been “crafty” and am passionate about creating things. Red Ted Art started off as a stay -at-home hobby business creating bespoke artwork for children. This was based on a set of three pop art teddies I made for Red Ted when he was born. I then started a blog to keep friends and family updated on my latest artwork news. From there “suddenly” an arts and craft blog was born. I realised that in order to attract readers, I couldn’t just talk about myself and my artwork, but would have to offer something. So I now offer book & game recommendations, crafts for children (2yrs-12yrs) and tutorials for adults (teens – no age limit!). Oh and a cheeky weekly photo that has nothing to do with anything, save for that I like photographs!!

Four Teds

How did you come up with the name “Red Ted Art”?

Our pet names for the children at home are “Little Bear” and “Little Mouse” (these sound the same in German: “ Baer” and “Maus”; as we are bringing them up bilingually). Combined with the original set of three teddies, of which one is red, a friend of mine in Australia came up with the “Red Ted Art” idea.

What inspired you to start blogging? When did you start?

“Officially”, I started 19 months ago, when I was ranting on about artwork and painting and talking to shops to sell them for me. In terms of what you see now “Red Ted Art”, the craft blog, I started that in February. So around 8 months ago.

Where do you get your ideas for your kid’s craft and stART projects?

The stART (story + art = great stART), is actually a term coined by Michelle over at A Mommy’s Adventure.  There is also a lady called Zoe who does crafts on her blog called Playing By The Book. I simply loved their idea of combining books with crafts, as I am passionate about both myself. So I did a series of stART projects – taking inspiration from books we were reading (e.g. “how can we make a watch” or “how can we make a penguin”). At some point the process changed round. I would see objects and things around me and “oooh, that could be a Giraffe” and then I find a book to go with it.  Which is partly why you will now find me calling those articles “Kid’s Craft” now. As it is more about the craft, than the book (though we still like to add a sneaky book if we can!). If I am stuck for an idea, I will go back to a favourite book for inspiration! Some ideas I ponder for weeks (like I am mulling something over for “Harry, The Dirty Dog” and the idea for Poppy Flower Husk Snowflake prints came to me month ago, as I was walking to a playgroup).

Super-Cute Monster Cards

What would you like to tell our Moms about children and art?

I am passionate about getting people to have a go. Crafts and art is such a special “childhood memory” time, as well as helping develop all sorts of skills such as motor skills and confidence. But for me fun is the primary goal and learning something that happens by the by.

Also, I would like to say, to just give it a go and not be “embarrassed” about your skills. Your children will love anything you draw or paint with or for them. They will not be judging you. If you say “you can’t” they learn to say “I can’t” from you. So instill confidence in your child by having a go together.

There are lots of easy crafts on my blog to get you going: like Loo Roll Watches (that’s toilet paper rolls for you Americans), Googly Eye Painted Stones and Monster Cards . Each take little time. Are fun and the kids LOVE the result!! I also do a monthly “Get Crafty” feature, where I bring together 25 odd craft ideas of all sorts of skill levels under one theme – you should usually be able to find something to get you inspired on there!

Thanks, Maggy! I’m going to go be creative now…