Friday, July 25, 2014

Spin Art

We just got a Melissa and Doug Swirl 'n Spin. Oh. my. goodness.  So much fun. I've always felt a little "eh" about spin art, but after seeing Ethan's process, I may have changed my mind. Not only was he enjoying the art, but he was experimenting: What happens if I.... I wonder what it will look like when I...  He tried so many things I wouldn't have thought to try on my own. (See the photo where he drew lines with the paint.

Lately, the creative in myself has been wanting to get back to some more "hands-on" projects. Different mediums, etc. I want to spend time experimenting with art and seeing what sticks. This spin art has done just that for Ethan, and it's just been so fun to watch!  (Pretty sure you can tell how much he enjoyed it when you look at that face!)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Recycled Can Herb Planters

I've been wanting to grow some herbs for awhile, but we are overrun with rabbits, so anything I would plant needs to be out of bunny's reach. That's been a bit challenging. I have been avoiding putting them up on a table...that always just seems to get in the way.

I originally saw this idea on a post from The Micro Gardener, and I knew right away that I needed to try hanging my herbs this way.

I created them the totally lazy  easy way and didn't even need a drill.  I hammered a nail against the bottom of the can to poke drain holes (three for each can). I used an old fashioned can/bottle opener (you know, like this) to create the hanger holes on the side of the cans. I used two sizes of cans, although I found that the best was the 12 oz cans were probably the most successful.  Sorry I didn't take any "process photos." I was rushing ;)

I spray painted them with white Rustoleum spraypaint, choosing white to help avoid cooking the roots of the plants in the sun.

I was able to pretty much buy the herb plants and slip them right down into the cans. Again, it was much easier with the larger tomato can than it was with the soup cans. Either way though, they are happy, smell great, and are looking fabulous.  They do require frequent watering however, since the planters are so small.

Anyway, bottom line? Love them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Growing Sweet Potato Vine

We started with a sweet potato perched inside a Mason jar full of water. Now we have a lovely beginning of a sweet potato vine, planted and ready for summer.

I held the potato in place while Ethan filled the planter with dirt. (PS. I lined the coconut husk planter with a grocery bag)

And there we are...loving the great outdoors.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Comb Painting

Painting with a one dollar comb.  It's amazing how fun changing up your tool can be.  :)

He does good work.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Preschool Vacation Packing List

We recently went on a long weekend trip. I knew my do-it-myself preschooler would insist on want to choose his own clothing to bring along with him. To empower him to make his own choices as well as maintain some order (I mean, he may want to bring 20 t-shirts, but we only have so much trunk space--and Mom has multiple pairs of shoes to pack), I made this little illustrated packing list using Microsoft clip-art and Microsoft Word. 

How easy is that?!!?  Above each clip art, I put the number of each item that he was supposed to bring (great number reinforcement, right?). 

The list worked perfectly and definitely helped him to feel like a big kid, in charge of his own packing process. We will certainly use these illustrated packing lists again!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Foil Mixed Media Collage

This project was a definite winner with the 3 year old! 

I drew some inspiration from Piikea Street's Modern Tin Art that I found on Pinterest. 

I started by cutting out a piece of cardboard (think cereal box) and had Ethan cut slits around the edges (boy loves to use scissors). We then randomly strung yarn through some of the slits. After, we covered it with foil.

I gave Ethan paint and some glitter glue which he spread around with a paint brush. He then asked to add stickers, so away he went.

He is crazy proud of these pieces. I can see why. They are quite different, and of course, shiny and sparkly! I love mixed media pieces because they are really good for supporting creativity. Win.

Friday, March 21, 2014

DIY LP Record Box

I have a small stack of LP records at home, but I've never had a good way to store them. My best solution has been putting them inside a milk crate...which really isn't a solution at all. In fact, it's a really bad, eye-sore of a solution. 

In an effort to do some clean-up, I went online and searched for a storage solution. Granted, I didn't want to spend a lot of money, but so many of the reviews for such things came back saying that the product didn't live up to the user's expectations. They were flimsy...hard to assemble... Sigh. On reviewer said the purchase was in essence spending $15 on a cardboard box. 

So, I went back to the drawing board. Did I have a cardboard box? I discovered that a simple diaper box was exactly the right size. Hallelujah!

I taped the flaps up tall with packing tape, and covered the box with contact paper. Contact paper can be a tricky thing. If you look at the back of my box, there are quite a few bubbles. I really just focused on keeping the front side especially clean.

If I were to do it again, I'd use a darker colored Contact paper. The white shows through the box design a bit. But, it's what I had on hand. 

For me, the box worked out perfect. I really just slide it in and out from under the turn table's table. ;) I will admit that if you would prefer a lid, or you will be moving the box around quite a bit, this may not be the solution for you.

It's wonderful to see my records looking so cozy!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Oliver's Tree by Kit Chase

I'm not one to pre-order items, but when I saw Kit Chase had this lovely book coming out, I clicked the buy button without a second thought. It arrived yesterday, and is just wonderful!

I'm a big fan of Kit Chase's work. You can see more of it in her etsy shop, Trafalgar's Square. We have a number of her whimsical illustrations in our playroom, and I just adore them. (Or follow Kit on Twitter @KitChase).

Oliver's Tree did not disappoint. The illustrations are fantastic, and the story is a beautiful tale of friendship. Also, the dust jacket and pages are so sleek and high quality (the book is also available on the Kindle, but I can't help but feel like this is book that you must have in print). This book is truly a wonderful addition to your collection, especially if you're a sucker for illustration.

I can't wait to show my son that the friends on the pages of the book are the same animals in the prints on the playroom wall. But we'll have to wait until Easter for his three year old opinion.

You can buy Oliver's tree on Amazon. Do it. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Creating an Artistic Living Space

When we moved into our current home, I had one decorating goal in fill the space with a variety of different (affordable) art. Pieces that I really loved. A good variety of things that were inspiring. Somewhere in between reality and a perfect world, I wanted to expose my little guy to art not only by going to galleries, but by having pieces to appreciate at home. 

I've been following Tobi Fairley since watching two of her great interior design courses on Creative Live. In her courses, I learned a lot about making thoughtful decisions about interior spaces. She recently posted a Tobi TV episode on her blog called Being Smart with your Art. Her post really hit home to me...she was explaining exactly what I have been trying to accomplish. How amazing is it when you have some validation that you're on the right track!

My condensed version of "Tobi's Top Tips for Using Art That's Smart":
1. Use a mix of media and art types
2. Bring in things that have meaning- even children's artwork!
3. Buy original- take note to up and coming artists
4. Mix in some "decorator art"

Make sure to read her post in more detail and watch the video. Great stuff!

For me, I'm enjoying a mix of things like artists I've discovered through blogs or Etsy, DIY art, my own art pieces, kid art, student art, some fine artist prints, and a few pieces of "decorator art." It's a nice eclectic mix, and all pieces that I love looking at every day. I have things scattered all over our home, but I thought we'd take a look at the living room.

I love these pieces...none of which will break the I wanted to share them:

The rest of the wall prints are family photos, a small oil painting I bought on a trip, and a spin art Ethan created from melted wax at the Crayola Experience

If you want to seem more about the living space, you can take a peek at Living Room Mood Board. Also, gotta mention how much I adore my Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan. It's so lovely.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow Ice Cream: A Review

With all the crazy snow this year, I decided we'd try out some snow ice cream. I mean, even Paula Deen says it is amazing can be done has a recipe for it online. We used about 8 cups of snow, 1/2 cup of sugar, a cup of milk, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Ethan loved collecting the snow, adding the ingredients, and mixing. Neither of us were real excited with the final product. The taste was there, but the texture, not so much.

As much snow as he was eating outside, I thought this would be a winner, but you can see how impressed he was...even with chocolate syrup. Next time, we'll stick to eating snow and icicles.

Ever have good experience with snow ice cream? 
Maybe I should have followed Paula's recipe? 

Touch of Easy DIY Modern Art

Tape resist painting is all over Pinterest. In fact, I did some with Ethan when he was just a baby that you can check out here. I have to say though, I was quite inspired by these tape resist paintings hung above the bed--so that's what I set out to do.

The canvases I got at Ollie's for $2-3 each. I also got some gold spray paint (the cheapest I could find...I think that was maybe another $2)...and some acrylic paints...the cheapest thing the craft store maybe another $3 there. My total investment for the whole project was under $15. Not bad for three painted canvases!

I spray painted the canvases with the gold paint, and once they dried, Ethan helped me with the tape placement (we used blue painter's tape). Then we painted the canvases together. 

We only used one coat of paint. I liked the brush strokes and seeing some of the gold peeking through. We removed the tape before it was dry to try and avoid chipping any paint. Some paint did seep under the tape and I resisted my urge to touch up the areas with gold paint in an attempt to have something a bit less polished.

I love the paintings above the bed. I hung them with Command Strips, which made hanging them at a level height much easier than using nails. That's it! Totally easy! :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Experiment Journal- Hot Water in the Polar Vortex

It's been a fitting year for a movie entitled Frozen to be hit the big screen. "Do you want to build a snowman? It doesn't have to be a snowman." 

Near zero temperatures and a toddler who wouldn't admit that he was bored out of his mind, lead for desperate measures--an activity that would entertain for more than five minutes. On this particular day, I wasn't sure that it was even possible. So I asked Ethan if he wanted to do an experiment and journal about it. His ears perked up.

My husband boiled the water and put it in a coffee travel mug. To really make it a good learning experience, we also took out a travel mug of cold water. We threw the cold water in the air first. Of course, it spilled out like normal. Then we threw the hot water and watched it turn to a cloud of super fine snow. 

Remember BE CAREFUL. We were wearing heavy winter clothing, including gloves, and we were very cautious of the direction of the wind, etc. Our mugs had handles and were not breakable. You can read an explanation of the science well as read a cautionary "do not try this at home" tale.  (Don't want to tell you "I told you so.")

So then we came inside and drew what we had seen. At first Ethan just drew crazy all over the page, but after watching me draw mine, he quickly flipped his paper over and started drawing "cups and water." It was a good way to be entertained, as well as a great chance to talk about what we had seen. He was especially excited that we were drawing in our journals about science experiments like Sid the Science Kid.  

Going to have to be on the lookout for some more experiments. The journal was a real hit!

Here's our video too..just in case you wanna check it out :)

Enjoy! Be careful, and stay warm out there!


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