Posts Tagged ‘chalk’

first day of school chalkboard

it’s back-to-school time again! this time of year brings so much nostalgia for me. while N doesn’t start kindergarten until after labor day, i realize that many are starting this week and next, so i wanted to share this simple little idea with you all for that sweet first day of school photo op.

my first day of kindergarten back in the day, age 4.5 (nope, my mom couldn't get me outta terry cloth clothing)

a couple weeks ago, the kind folks at decoart sent us a box of awesome free art supplies(!!!)

among other wonderful things (all of which i will share in the coming weeks with a giveaway at the end) were two bottles of chalkboard paint. score! we decided to create a first day of school sign. we found a really smooth, hard particle board (like the kind you’d see on standard clipboards) in our stash, and decided to paint it with the chalkboard paint. first we applied one layer horizontally to the board and let it dry for an hour.

then we applied another layer vertically to the board and let it sit for 24 hours. on the bottle, it says to dust lightly with chalk to condition the board, and then clean with water.


N and i thought it’d be fun to create a frame for the board out of pencils. i hot glued them around the edge of the board (breaking and sharpening where necessary to get the proper measurements.)

N wrote “kindergarten 2011” on the board to show the year of school she is heading into. (do not adjust your screens – it is not 5011 and we are not in the future. 2s and 5s can be confusing to a 4 year old. 😉 )

she practiced her first day of school pose that we’ll do in a couple of weeks. this is not only a fun chalkboard to play school with, it would also be a neat tradition to break out the same chalkboard each year for the quintessential first day of school photo.





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art around our house

all of our days are artful… but not every day includes an “art activity” to share with you, per se. here are some of the creative and lovely things that have been happening around our house thus far this week that are worth a visual share…

chalk drawing al fresco

mushroom spotting

portraits in frames

momma's inked rocks in process

impromptu pen drawing on the grocery list paper

gathering flowers & herbs in the backyard (with matching pedis a la momma)

coloring mandalas

"hey mommy, i made a bear out of rocks!"

chillin' with a ladybug

flowers & the potential of unpainted wood

take time to notice the small things & happy creating!


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pastels aren’t just for baby clothes

the other day i decided to bust out the pastels on N… oil pastels and chalk pastels, both. just because they are called pastels, doesn’t mean they’re always pale and muted — these art materials make vibrant marks!

if you’re not familiar, oil pastels glide across a page much like a really slick, smooth crayon might. (kind of like N’s creamy crayons, which we love, but they’re more narrow. kind of the diameter of a crayon.) they smear and blend together really nicely, unlike crayons.

chalk pastels are like a higher quality chalkboard chalk… they have a finer dust particle that makes a total mess for really pretty smudges when blending. so we just spent the morning playing around with these new materials, which are usually reserved for mommy, so that made it exciting for the little one.

oil pastel image of a person & duck (labeled!)

N made a few cool pictures with each medium. with the chalk pastels, we practiced smudging and blending colors with our fingers. some kids (uh, and adults, including me) may not enjoy the dry, dusty feeling of the chalks, or may become frustrated by the way their picture changes, smears, and becomes littered with fingerprints while working. other kids (and adults) really delight in this sort of mutable material. chalk pastels are great to use for learning how to mix primary colors together to make secondary colors.

flower study in chalk pastels

i brought the chalk pastel piece outside (without her) to spray it with a fixative spray (see link at the bottom of this blog for product info.) if you make art with the chalks, it will continue to smear and smudge unless you use some sort of fixative on it, but be sure to spray it where there’s good ventilation and away from tiny lungs.



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season of the yeti

in the autumn of 2007, N began to speak. at 7 months old, she said dada, then cat, then mama (yeah, i ranked after the cats) then bye bye. several weeks later, within her first set of 15-20 words spoken was the word YETI! we have this great book called tibetan tales for little buddhas and in it there is a story of a monk who, despite his fear, helps a yeti get a splinter out of his foot, and the yeti is kind to him in return. for some odd reason, we began to read this book to N when she was teeny tiny, and she reeeally was fascinated by the yeti, and had a deep grumbly voice reserved just for when she growled “yeetiiii” even at just 10 months old.

the yeti from the book is apparently being nice here and giving fur to the monk to keep him warm

the yeti from the book is apparently being nice here and giving fur to the monk to keep him warm

in december 2008, N saw rudolph the red-nosed reindeer claymation cartoon for the first time. to this day, she will have you know that the story is really about the “abominable snow monster” and not so much about some misfit reindeer.

the abominable snow monster in rudolph

the abominable snow monster in rudolph

sometimes people are confused about yetis… i understand them to be the same as bigfoot or an abominable snowman. either way, N has always been obsessed.

this month, N has taken to doing some great yeti art (after being re-inspired by seeing rudolph again) which i wanted to share here:

brown furry yeti

brown furry yeti

yellow yeti

yellow yeti, who i adore

"this yeti is running to his birthday party"

"this yeti is running to his birthday party"

there were five other yetis of different colors, two of whom were “carrying cakes to the aqua yeti’s birthday party.”

i also got into the yeti art this year, and created this little felt yeti for N’s holiday stocking. hee hee.

momma-made felt yeti

momma-made felt yeti

also, we ordered these “yeti for bed” pajamas for her for christmas! love them!

from chasing fireflies

from chasing fireflies

so i suppose this isn’t an art activity-with-your-toddler sort of post, but my reason for sharing it is to say that whatever whim or seemingly random fixation your child may have, support them in exploring it to the fullest! you never know what deeper meaning is beneath it for them. additionally, for a figure such as a yeti, which can often be seen as scary or dark, it is important to stand with your child and walk them through these curiosities – together – rather than abolish their interest in it completely. each of us holds light and dark within us. if these golden opportunities arise, go into and through these darker places with your kids, as there is wisdom there to be gleaned. this goes for nightmares, as well. learn more… try not to abolish the “bad” but to move through it and get curious about it. art has the power to hold these seemingly negative energies and to allow your child to befriend them. little ones can create the image, control the image, manipulate the image, dialog with the image, and ultimately gain mastery over it — how empowering! all of our children will certainly will face darkness in their lives in some way, so why not give them tools by using safe metaphors, like the beloved yeti, when they pop up?

thank you, sweet yeti, for your gifts.


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