Posts Tagged ‘dreams’


…i believe you can get me through the nii-iiight… you guessed it! we created a dreamcatcher, and surprise: it’s WAY easier than i thought it would be! i wrote a guest post about our dreamweaving experience on allstate’s good hands community, so be sure to click over to check it out.

the weaving always looked kinda complex to me, but it so isn’t.

to clarify, it isn’t simple enough for my 4 year old to do herself, but she certainly assisted in choosing the branch from the yard to use for the loop…

and in choosing the colors and materials that held the energy she wanted in her bedroom.

check out our guest post on the good hands community to see a how-to and to find out why a dreamcatcher can be an empowering art idea for children.

sweet dreams!


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guest post: sweet dream mobile

i’m so very excited to have a dear friend and one of the most laugh-out-loud funny mom bloggers out there guest blogging here today — the awesome ms. hannah, from to the moon and back, writes here about creating a totally inspiring, whimsical, and heartful piece of art for her son:

sleep has always been a place of hardship, terrible stress and many tears for our almost three year old, j. and quite frankly, for his mom, dad and often little sister, h. it’s just oh-so-hard when your child is struggling with something out of their control; everyone’s control. we’ve been working through and around and in this place for a long time and {hopefully} have learned a bit about how to move forward and beyond. i’ve been visualizing a dream catcher or mobile of sorts that would symbolize the love, strength, and optimism we want to fill our son’s room and his sleepy little head with. i started by explaining my vision to j – a piece of art we could make together to hang in his room that would make him feel safe, remind him how much he is loved and help him through his trying nights. he was beyond excited. it was a rainy day so we geared up and headed out to find inspiration.

we found the perfect sized stick; and with just enough bend in just the right places for the base of a wall hanging. we headed inside to create the artwork and inspiration. without any specific pre-conceived thoughts I dug through our arts and crafts closet and came up with some materials: shrink film, ribbons, watercolors, finger paint, colored pencils.

h is a watercolor girl. she could play among their liquidy goodness for hours. ok, let’s be honest, minutes. like 32 of them, maybe. while she painted, I cut two sheets of the shrink film into smaller pieces to decorate. *the instructions on the shrink film are to use permanent markers – which can be a daunting thought with a 19 m.o. and an almost 3 y.o. but hey, what’s the worst that can happen?

before baking our shrink film I punched a hole in the top of each piece so they would be hang-able later.

watching shrink film bake and contort and form in the oven is just oh so cool. and voila!

h’s water color was just so vivid and great that we decided it should be our focal point. to add some texture I cut the paper into four pieces, punched holes in each and threaded with ribbon. (the ribbons re-used from a friend’s baby shower last weekend.)

j decided he’d like to hang h’s watercolor from the center of the stick and from there we choose ribbons to tie and hang in random order along both sides. (these iridescent ribbons, symbolizing the love and bond our family shares, are from our wedding in 2006 where they were hung all over an apple tree to shimmer and blow in the breeze.)

next we hung our shrink film creations. for this I opted to use fishing line to keep things airy and light. from the baby shower gift I re-used  two leaf shaped pieces of paper; punched holes in them and cut a few more to add.

we simply threaded the large ribbons through the holes in the leaves  to add a “feather” dream catcher effect – but in keeping with our nature theme, of course.

and there you have it. our whimsical, colorful, bad dream squashing, peaceful night evoking, sweet dream mobile.

and so far, so good. j went to sleep with a smile on his face and excitement in his eyes. the journey through parenthood and childhood is so challenging.  in so many ways. acknowledging j’s fears and angst around his sleep and showing him, in this way, that we are here for him and love him and will help him through this {I hope} will be just the boost his little body needs. and a little help from the best sweet dream mobile ever has got to sweeten the pot, no?

thanks for the opportunity to share with you, paintcutpaste fans!


thank YOU, hannah, for sharing such a beautiful and meaningful project with all of us! hop on over to hannah’s honest and hilarious blog on motherhood, to the moon and back, to read more from her and “like” her blog on facebook, too!


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herbal dream pillow

my daughter is a girl who dreams vividly. she has told me her dreams upon waking ever since her second birthday, always so colorful, odd, and fascinating! usually pleasant or funny, sometimes scary and dark. because dreams have been a big part of her life and our talks, we decided to make a dream pillow.

especially being a therapist, i am a person who feels that it is important to confront dream content — dreams are paths that lead to our unconscious world. dreams are a safe place to explore that which is potentially scary or dangerous. for this reason, i don’t find scary dreams to be unhealthy for a child to have, rather they are often essential for the child’s psyche to process information. however, all of us parents know that being afraid of the dark and/or having nightmares can be really horrible for a child. we do wish N “sweet dreams” when she goes to sleep, and we always hope that she has a peaceful night. it is in that spirit that we decided to make the dream pillow — for a peaceful slumber and to usher N into her own fanciful dreamworld each night.

we had a lot of rectangles of fabric leftover from the food flags we made. N has been asking to paint on them, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity. we set up our fabric paints, and i taped two rectangles of fabric to her art board.

then i wrote a list while N dictated the things she would like to see in her dreams: “mommy and daddy, owls, birds, flowers, trees, ladybugs…” after the list, we made a plan to put the images of the three of us on one side of the pillow, and a nature scene on the other side that would incorporate the other items.

N did a great job painting all of the things from her list onto the fabric. she had so much fun with it. we even painted on stamps to stamp her name onto one side of the pillow, and used a bird stamp for the bird image on the nature side of the pillow. N noted that the nature side of the pillow reminded her of our backyard, where we always have birds, we have a tall tree with an owl statue under it, and colorful porchulaca flowers.

that magenta guy on the branch is an owl, and there is a ladybug climbing the tree.

i hung the fabric to dry outside in the play house.

after it was dry, i ironed it on the backside, against a rag, to set the paint. then i hand-washed it in the sink with our natural detergent. (you could probably throw it in your washing machine, but i didn’t because these rectangles of linen had frayed ends so i didn’t want them to unravel.)

next we picked some lavender from our backyard to stuff into the pillow, as lavender is known to be an herb that helps with relaxation and peaceful sleeping. we used a few of the stems which were already dry for the pillow, and we hung the rest of the lavender harvest to dry to make sachets and such in the future. (you could also include chamomile, mugwort, valerian, or catnip, if you wanted other sleep-inducing herbs, but not all of those smell pleasant and you should research all herbs before using on or near your child.)

as a family, N, her dad, and i wrote our dreamtime wishes for N onto soft, handmade paper with sparkly and colorful pens. for example, i included “sparkly sunshine magic” and “hugs and kisses” on a couple of mine. two of N’s said “owls” and “mom & dad.” craig wrote “magical powers” and “exploring new places” as part of his wishes for her. we included these inside of the dream pillow, to infuse it with good intentions.

we also put a small amethyst stone inside of the pillow, as amethyst is said to have a calming and protective energy that makes is good for any type of dream work. it helps overcome insomnia and/or nightmares, and may help one to awaken refreshed and energized.


i sewed up three sides of the pillow on my sewing machine, and then N stuffed the goodies inside. i chose to keep the frayed edges visible on the outside to give it a natural feel, rather than sewing the painted sides facing each other and inverting the fabric. you could do it either way.

once it was all sewn up, we brought it into N’s room before naptime. she was sooo excited about it and loves the smell of the dried lavender!

as N knows this isn’t the sort of pillow she will lay on or even cuddle with, she chose to keep it on her headboard, right beside a little guy i made for her out of some of her old baby clothes. that way she can smell the pillow before going to sleep, as well as sleep knowing it’s right above her head. and speaking of old baby clothes, this project can be done with any fabric or any old clothes you may have. think about upcycling some of those old onesies with cute patterns. you can even skip the fabric painting step and focus on the idea of making this into a great sleep talisman or medicine bag.

while we’re on the topic of sending your children off to sleep in a peaceful way, and infusing their dreams with a little magic, i would like to recommend a wonderful bedtime book that a friend recently told me about, called starbright–meditations for children. it has amazing ideas for talking your child through soothing visualizations before they drift off to sleep.  this is just one of many dream-related art projects to come – stay tuned! sweet lavender dreams to you and yours!



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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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