Posts Tagged ‘display’

a new masterpiece

one of my favorite art media combos is sharpies and watercolors. i just love the definition the sharpie provides, and how it just won’t budge with the watercolor. something about that satisfies me greatly. apparently it’s hereditary.

last year i created (and framed – all in one day! it was a miracle) some bird pictures for above our bed in the master bedroom. at least once a month, N comments on how she’d like to do the same sort of painting for her own room – “framed!”

sure, she’s used sharpies and watercolors together before, supervised.  we’ve framed her paintings in her room before. but this time (and this painting was made about three weeks ago) she had a vision, so i supported the execution, of course.

with beautiful watercolor stock, my black sharpie, and a palette of watercolors, she began her process.

she was excited about having used “mommy’s special marker” for this drawing.

"this is about a girl who loves her cat"

time to apply the color.

N is so smitten with the watercolor palette, like her momma.

then came the exciting part — framing it for N’s bedroom. she’s sooo proud!

hooray for art boosting kids’ self-esteem! gotta love that side effect that creating produces!


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sketchbook show

recently i blogged about the sketchbook project that i participated in through arthouse coop for the 2011 tour… or more accurately that N and i participated in, as she was indeed a major contributor to that sketchbook. i wanted to report some recent happenings about the project: 1) our book has finally been digitized for online viewing here and 2) the sketchbook project tour was just in san francisco, so we got to visit our book, and the books of some of our friends!

N was quite excited to go to the gallery to visit her art work, as was i! we received very special and official “participating artist” stickers to wear at the show. (stickers are very important, you see.)

the scene was really cool – stacks of sketchbooks and library cards to check them out…

and a loungy area where we could peruse the books of art.

N was very inspired by all of the work she was seeing, and asked to have her crayons and drawing pad, so she began to create right there in the gallery.

"check out this mandala, mommy!"

i highly recommend getting in on the action with the sketchbook project’s 2012 tour — sign up now. and check out the 2011 tour if it comes to a town near you where you can visit our book in person (and so many other totally amazing works!) or browse online.


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watercolor silhouette

oh, i have been wanting to try this for years, and i finally got around to it this father’s day! i remember thinking about doing this when N was just born, but (weirdly enough??) i kinda of wanted to wait until she had a substantial ponytail. ha! anyway, the timing was perfect for this custom, heartfelt, handmade, on-the-cheap dad’s day gift.

here’s how we did it: i took a nice profile photo of N against a white wall one day after preschool. i asked her to keep her chin up and give a little smile. (you should see some of the hilarious outtakes during this process… )

then i used my photo editing program to turn it to black and white, and pump up the contrast. (i use pixelmator because it’s free, works well, and i can’t afford to update my old version of photoshop to be compatible with my macbook. you can probably do all of this with any very basic photo editing program.) you may need to play around a bit with things like invert, posterize, and threshold to get the right feel for a simple black and white silhouette. i turned the inside of it white, so as not to use up all of my printer ink. here are some of my steps along the way:

i printed it onto contact paper sheets with my inkjet printer. (i made a small one and a larger one because i wasn’t sure which to use.) i caaarefeully cut out N’s silhouette. then i wiped any excess ink off of the contact paper with a towel before peeling it off and sticking it onto thick watercolor paper. i ended up using the large one for this project, with 11×15″ watercolor paper.

after it was stuck down securely (especially around the edges) i used a soft, fairly fat brush to wet the page around the edges of her face. then N chose blue watercolor paint (daddy’s favorite color) to drop into the water. (wet on wet watercoloring technique.)

i had to work fairly quickly so the paint would not dry out and create weirdness (which happened anyway along the bottom, but i’m okay with that.) when the painting was totally dry, i peeled off the clear contact paper. i was so happy it came off the watercolor paper in such a clean way!

peeling, revealing

we framed it in a simple and lovely matted frame. N and i were so happy with the finished product!

so was daddy! this image is going to hang in our family photo gallery in our stairwell. we like to mix art in with our photographs when displayed – and this one sort of counts as both.


hope all the dads and granddads out there had a beautiful weekend!



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rock picture holders

this weekend we took a long drive down highway 1 along the pacific coast, stopping at various beaches along the way. days like that remind me of how lucky i am to live here in northern california, and on this beautiful earth in general. nature offers some of the most amazing art inspiration!

one of the beaches we visited had amazingly colorful stones all over it. we spent hours wandering this beach, enjoying running from the chilly waves and collecting stones.

when we layed out our bounty at home, it was a rainbow of gorgeous rocks.

i can’t wait to ink some of these rocks – and i also want to learn to crochet around them like i have oogled over on one of my favorite blogs, resurrection fern. but today we opted for a simple rock craft – picture holders. easy peasy. all you need is floral wire (or any other type of wire, but i prefer this wrapped kind in dark brown) and a pair of pliers.

wrap the rock with the wire, then point the wire upwards.

now make a curlycue at the tip with the pliers – you can make a fancy spiral or just a little curl like i did.

wedge a photograph or a little piece of art in between the top spiral, and there you have a rock picture holder.

it’s sort of addictive once you start making these…

i think a collection of old fashioned hipstamatic/instagram/pictureshow images would look fabulous displayed in these. (yes, i’m obsessed with iphone photo apps.) but N’s tiny watercolor paintings make for an awesome exhibit.


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framed poster

you, dear readers, may recall the huge frame that N and i painted as a prop for her rainbow-themed fourth birthday party.

well, this lovely rainbow ikea frame was just calling to us for some original artwork to fill it. N was up for the task! we started by painting a lavender (N’s choice) watercolor wash onto a heavy weight piece of drawing paper. N wanted to background of her mixed media picture to be purple like her bedroom.

after the paint was dry, N wanted to draw a picture with pencil onto the page. she had an idea that she wanted to draw a porcupine wedding taking place under a decorated tree, with some animal guests.

after N drafted most of the picture in pencil, she got out our crayons and got to work coloring in this huuuge coloring page.

some of the areas were so large (like the tree trunk and some of the tree top.) that her hand got tired and she asked me to help out coloring “in the lines, mommy!” as it was progressing, the look on her excited face was priceless!

the details are fabulous, and i wanted to share a few…

dancing groom & bride

fox, mice, bunny wedding guests

mama bird, nest with eggs, and squirrel

N was pleased with the finished piece.

but even more psyched when it was framed in her bedroom!




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beeswax candles

it seems fitting to post this on imbolc/candlemas, as today is the celebration of the light shifting and spring nearing. one of the rituals for candlemas is to create candles. while we did this a coupla weeks ago, it is a nice day to share our eeeeasy (and satisfying!) candle-making activities.


we bought some sheets of colorful beeswax from a local waldorf-inspired toy store called playstore. i think it was $3 per sheet, and we got a few colors of wax, and they threw in wicks with the purchase. (each sheet we bought could easily make 6 candles the size you see pictured, which is about 4″ tall.)

N wanted to make her own candles for her waldorf birthday ring this year…. in her favorite color of course – purple!

all you do is cut the wax to the size you want the candle to be, and cut the wick to the height of the candle (plus a centimeter or so at the top.) then roll the wax around the wick.


and also super-pretty lit in a birthday ring! happy one two three four candles, my shiny daughter.


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rainbow birthday party

today is N’s 4th birthday – happy birthday to my sweet little artist! last weekend, per her request, we had a rainbow art birthday party. i was THRILLED at her choice of party themes, as i, myself, had a rainbow birthday party for my fifth birthday – the same year i coerced my parents into painting a rainbow on my bedroom wall and getting me rainbow sheets, while blasting “the rainbow connection” 24/7. anyway, i thought i’d share a few (well, quite a few) images from our party preparations and the party itself.

we created waldorf kite paper rainbow stars for window decorations for the party, using garden mama’s tutorial. N loved doing this, and now has them in her bedroom windows. (if these composite images seem too small to see details, click on them to open the larger version.)

another item we made for the party is a rainbow striped picture frame. i got a large, inexpensive, lightweight wooden frame at ikea, and we painted it so that it could be a prop in a “photo booth” area at the party, where i hung rainbow fabric as a backdrop and let the kids hold up the frame. a huge hit!

N and i also created shrinky dink nametag pendents for the guest’s gift bags. N had a great time decorating each kid’s nametag with colors or a theme that she knew they’d love. the nametags are necklaces that each child can wear on rainbow yarn.

the gift bags were filled with rainbowy fun toys and art materials, including some homemade snowflake (winter bday) rainbow crayons that we made like the heart ones from last valentine’s day. (you can see them in the post just before this one.)

for the party, we provided light snacks and cake, as it was between lunch and dinner, and we had 20 kids (plus parents) there! as a surprise to N, i created two different rainbow cakes. the first was a 7 layer ode-to-ROY.G.BIV cake, ordered properly according to the chakras, of course. i saw the idea on one charming party.

it turned out to be so awesome inside!

i made a second rainbow cake, which was a psychedelic swirly rainbow cake, just two layers. i saw this idea on omnomicon, but i did *not* make her sprite/weight watchers version. i just followed the cake box recipe.

on both, i kept the icing simple and just made cream cheese icing (1 8oz package of cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, and 1 lb powdered sugar, a little vanilla.) i had to triple that recipe for these 2 cakes. my talented baker friend over at bliss bakery created a dozen gluten-free, vegan rainbow cupcakes for our guests with dietary restrictions.

in addition to some good ol’ pirate booty, i made a rainbow layered fruit salad. i left out the candy – cake offers enough sugar!

since it was a rainbow ART party, of course we had a few art stations. one was a place where kids could create watercolor initial paintings, like N did when she was two years old in this post.

we also had a model magic table, with the primary colors of model magic, along with white. the kids had fun with this modeling medium, and it’s not at all messy!

we also had a table where i rolled out a large doodle roll sheet of paper and offered a couple buckets of crayons so the kids could work on a mural together.

we found that playsilks make for beautiful window decor…

and helped to warm up the entry area. (p.s. – this isn’t our home. it’s my friend’s condo’s clubhouse room.)

the kids had a ton of fun… and let’s be real. there was more running than art-making at the art party.

the birthday girl had the most fun of all!


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paper roll airplanes

all the credit for this one goes to N’s amazing preschool teacher! the kids made these at school, and you know i’m a fan of art made from recycled materials, with a particular penchant for toilet paper rolls. (what does this say about me? i don’t know.) check out these beauties!

to make these, all you need are toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls (cut into smaller sections, if preferred,) some wooden craft sticks, and paint. i love how they used the metallic paints at the preschool. these look so cool.

the group of them that the class made created a really cool wall display for this month’s unit on transportation. i love the cotton ball smoke puffs behind them! these would look cute in a playroom or plane-themed bedroom for a kid, too.

i just had to share… since they’re tp rolls and all. ah, it is easy to be green!


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drawing book

as of late, N’s days and evenings are filled with line drawings. she has found her “favorite pencil” (just a regular old yellow #2 pencil) and it’s pretty much her go-to art material these days.

in september, she began to crank out an impressive volume of line drawing, usually totaling 5-15 per day. she draws them at her “art desk” in the kitchen, usually while i am preparing meals. as she draws, she narrates what is happening in the picture, she does voices for the characters in the picture, and she describes each image to me in detail afterwards. this has almost replaced her magna-doodle habit.

the papers were stacking up on her desk, my desk, the dining room table, the kitchen counter… i put the date on the back bottom right corner of each one because each is just such a gem — way too precious not to keep and cherish forever. but how?!

"this cat is an artist all day & all night"

many of you have written to me asking how to store your child’s art. we display N’s art around our house in a gallery format in her bedroom and in frames around our house. we also create cards, giftwrap, and gifts out of N’s art. the rest we do store. i keep much of it in a large portfolio (read: two pieces of posterboard taped together on 3 sides) in the playroom closet. but these drawings were just coming too fast and too brilliantly to do that. so i got a cute binder at target and a 3-hole punch and created a drawing book in which to store these masterpieces chronologically.

my intention was that all of N’s drawings for the remainder of 2010 would go in here. you can see that by the title i put on the spine.

however, this book — the stack you see here in the photo below — is the product of just 22 days of drawing! (and my own sketchbook project‘s book has 3 little pages done. i think i should commission my little artist-in-residence to help me with that!)

a serious body of work for 3 weeks time!

most of them are with her trusty pencil, but a few get colored in.

cinderella & the prince

N makes all sorts of other art during the day, but no matter what, she cranks out the line drawings. she says she’s “writing a movie.” i think she’s well on her way to illustrating a cartoon, a flip book, or a children’s novel at the very least. i think i’m going to get her a spiral sketchbook next. have any of you tried that with your 3-year-olds?

how do you archive your child’s art? do you keep it all? aaaand, how do you get your kid to draw on the backs of the pages? (as green as we try to be and as much as N respects trees, loves using cloth napkins, etc., she cannot bring herself to draw on the back of her pages. suggestions?)


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circle series exhibit

oh, how i am loving my new wall art in the playroom/guestroom, so i just had to share… we’ve had these great cool-hued finger paintings that N made before she turned two framed on the walls for quite a while now. here are the old ones, which i do love…

the finger paintings will live on in my heart and N’s portfolio, but N was making these amazing concentric circle watercolors the other day that i adore.

she loved choosing color schemes and watching how the paint colors overlapped and interacted as she painted.

after she had made a few of them, it dawned on me that these are the perfect addition to the newly rearranged playroom. as soon as they were dry, they were behind glass and hung.

N was super excited to see them in her play space.





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illustrated summer fun

summer officially begins today, the summer solstice. what better way to ring in the season than to brainstorm with your little one(s) about all of the fun things you can do together in these beautiful, expansive months ahead?

when i saw this idea for summer fun cards on teach mama, i knew that N would be really into it. she used index cards, but i thought i’d check our stash of scrap papers to make these. then i realized i had a pack of blank index cards in our stash already, so it was kismet. white cardstock is good for illustrating, though you could do this with any papers you have around (think: brown paper grocery bags, used gift wrap, etc.)

N and i thought of all of the fun summery things we’d like to do together when the weather is warm and the days are long and there’s no preschool in session. i wrote these things on the cards in marker. then i passed them to N to illustrate any way she’d like, with some dry media: markers, crayons, and colored pencils.

here are a few of the finished ones that N drew. i drew on a few of the cards (not pictured below), as well… we had TONS! N loved learning about what illustration means by doing this project.

then i used a hole punch to make holes in the cards, and we strung our cards on colorful yarn. we hung them in N’s playroom….

…where we can be reminded of all of the potential…

that these long summer days hold.

happy summer! have a blessed solstice!



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art update

just wanted to post a quick little artsy update to show where some of our art projects have been integrated into our lives… you can click the links throughout to see the post noting how and when we did each project.

you may recall that for mothers’ day this year, we created handmade blooming paper for the cards. well, N’s 90 year old greatgrandmother (my nana) sent us a photo of her planting her seed paper.

and gwee (N’s grandmother/my mom) sent us a photo of her first sprout when it happened. (word still out on craig’s mom’s seed paper. we’ll have to get back to ya on that… hey, grandma? how’s it sprouting?)

gwee's first sprout & the plant today

speaking of grandmothers, gwee’s visit is almost here, and we know that by cutting our links off of our countdown chain each night after dinner. N has acquired some mad scissor skills through this project. hooray!

11 more days!

speaking of plant growth, N’s cosmos are growing in her fancy flowerpot! no flowers yet, but we’re waiting…

the medicine wand and natural imprints grace our den table along with some smooth stones we found at pescadero beach last month.

N still plays with her pet rocks and blarney stones on a regular basis. they live in her bedroom.

and she rocks the sandtray every coupla days. i’m sure it’ll see even more action when the weather warms.

the art gallery in N’s bedroom is alive and well… and expanding!

sadly, what is NOT alive and well is our terrarium. the plants rotted from overwatering. i opened the lid to get some moisture out, but it was too late. it is so stinky now that i’ve been avoiding cleaning it out, so it’s been sitting outside as a visual reminder to dump and scrub it, but alas, i have not after this long, and i may end up on the tv show, hoarders. i just don’t have a green thumb, but i am trying again and again.

hope that ladybug has noseplugs!

but there are expansions happening over here: like my newfound obsession with not throwing the toilet paper and paper towel rolls into the recycling bin, like ever (again, hoarders?) and instead creating cardboard leaves and petals.

and now we’re making larger wall creations for the playroom. (this one still needs to grow – it’s a work in progress)

(updated: a month later)

N is coloring in her coloring books every single day, for maybe 1.5-2 hours per day. i’m so not complaining because i can cook dinner and she has developed some meticulous coloring skills.

and the magnadoodling just does not quit around here.

"mommy in a blue dress she wore to a wedding and N in a dress that is blowing in the wind with leaves blowing in the wind"

somehow we still haven’t finished our lemonade from last week yet. (note to self. next time, use less sugar! i feel like i’m giving myself and everyone else diabetes over here! i’ve been diluting each glass of it.)

i’m happy to note that creativity is contageous: N’s dad, craig, gets creative with N’s food, just like i do when i bento and make cute breakfasts and lunches.

daddy's egg mango lion!

on a side note: my daily photoblog project with my fellow fotog friend, katie, is still ticking and clicking away. on there you will find that katie received one of our nest zest nesting orbs as a birthday gift, and the birdies have been visiting hers in colorado and pimping their homes! hooray!

photo courtesy of katie day weisberger

which other posts might you want updates on? i’m always happy to share how things are turning out around here…


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