Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kids' art wall

The girls' Pink Kitchen (as we call our loft area) was falling apart and messy.

And the big, blank wall above it was calling my name, asking for a new way to hold the girls' artwork.

Ikea to the rescue. On my first trip to the brand-spanking-new Denver Ikea last week, I picked up three of these Dignitet cable systems. They can be used to hold up curtains and who knows what else, but I'm using them to hold my kids' artwork.

The package didn't give me a whole lot of insight into how I would get it up on the wall.

And at first the typical drawing-only Ikea directions didn't, either. But eventually I figured it out.

In addition to what came in the package, I needed some wood screws to mount the system on the wall. If I were going into drywall, this would have been a major pain. I'm not a fan of drywall anchors (even the new, easy screw-in ones -- I never seem to be able to get them in exactly the right place). What can I say? Not so detail oriented, I guess.

 I marked my holes and pre-drilled.

And then screwed the left part of the cable system into the wall. The next few steps didn't get photographed since they happened at about one in the morning. Such is life as a mom, right? I had to abandon the project to pick up the kids from school and didn't get back to it until really late at night.

Here's the final product: 

The artwork is held up by little metal clips that come with the cable system. Easy to change out, easy to re-arrange. Perfect for artwork.

 Scott even replaced the broken hinges on the Pink Kitchen's cabinet door. I'm thinking this kitchen should be good for another year or two before we re-vamp the space as a computer lab/homework area. In the meantime, we'll enjoy the girls' artwork and the ease of updating it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why, yes, I did bake two cakes in two weeks.

Double happy birthday to Callie. Not perfect cakes, but cute AND edible. My baking skillz are improving. Slowly, but surely!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I scream, you scream.

It's possible that my favorite part of planning birthday parties is designing the invitation. I kind of missed out this year with Brynn's birthday party because I was drowning in carpentry chores. So, I've been having more than my fair share of fun working on Callie's party which is coming up this week. The invitation (minus the time and RSVP details) is pictured above.

I also decided to do a coloring sheet for the kids, as well as name tags to make life easier for the person who will be giving them a kitchen tour and making a batch of ice cream with them.

And last, but of course not least, I thought this year's party deserved its own custom thank you notes. Pretty fun, right?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On a snow day

On a snow day, what does one do to entertain the kidlettes?

Well...we just received Callie's class list for Valentine's Day cards. And if you know me at all, you know I'm totally anti-commercialism and would NEVER buy Valentine's Day cards, especially not ones with characters on them. Thus, snow day (actually -4 degree day) becomes get-crafty-with-Valentine's-Day-cards day.

I'm not leaving the house today. In fact, I probably won't change out of my jammies today, and neither will the girls. So, we're making due with the supplies we have on hand. We've got a handy-dandy printer, some very old (purchased while I was in college, but never used up) white linen paper, a heart-shaped stamp and red stamp pad, some little jewels for embellishing, whatever glue we have on hand, and leftover envelopes from who knows what. Just the right ingredients for sweet (and simple) V-Day cards.

Brynn spellchecking her envelopes.

Callie got through her list very quickly. She has impressive penmanship for a five year old. Quite a bit better than her Uncle Nick, even. ;)

Cards waiting to be cut in half.

As you can see, this was not a stressful craft.

Wow, I love that girl. She just said, "I wish there were school today." The statement and the grammar both make me swoon.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Should I go artsy on it?

While I was working on finishing up the storage bases, I also refinished (and added an extra shelf to) this bedside table for Brynn's room. When Brynn's big room reveal happened on her birthday, I hadn't decided yet what I wanted to put next to her bed for a bedside table, so I just left it out and figured I'd get to it eventually. Eventually is here -- I decided to put a new finish on her old bedside table and put it back in her room.

At first, it was going to be a straightforward white finish. But then I was inspired by some tables at the Evergreen Cafe in Buena Vista. I was thinking I would do something similar on Brynn's table. But will it be too cluttered? Too much? There will already be a lamp, a clock, and who knows what else on top of the table. Dare I go artsy on it as well?

Here are the inspiration tables:

Here is the top of Brynn's table. What do you think? I need some feedback!

By the way, here was Scott's feedback: "Just put something little in the corner. It'll be like a little accent. Like a nose ring."


Monday, January 24, 2011

Artistic liberties

I'm pretty sure the tree I painted on the wall of Brynn's room today is not an accurate representation of any species of tree anywhere. Upon witnessing my work of art, an arborist would probably roll his eyes and sigh.

Artistic liberties, my friends. Artistic liberties.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A New Collage Wall...or, Still Moving Back In

I am not a fast mover-inner. I thought I would do a little each day throughout the summer and be moved back into my house by now, but I am coming to grips with the reality that such a well-planned approach just doesn't fit me well. I have no, as in very close to ZERO, spices in my spice drawer. I threw most of them out before we left San Pancho because the humid air has not treated them kindly. I cook daily. Usually twice daily. I have salt and pepper. And pretty much nothing else. Refilling my spice jars was on my list of things to July. Now it is nearly mid-September. Still no spices. The task seems too overwhelming.

Until yesterday, among the things that still needed to be unpacked and put away were the zillion photos pictured above. Since we are re-organizing our house a bit, this gigantic wall is now freed up to carry some photos. So yesterday, about fifteen minutes before I was supposed to pick up the girls from school, I decided it was high time to get those frames up on the wall. Fifteen minutes was not nearly enough time (surprise, surprise, I know) but the girls were actually really helpful at finishing it with me. "Hammer." Hammer. "Level." Level. "Small nail." Small nail. Callie just stood there and got me what I needed so that I didn't have to get up and down, up and down off of the step stool which would have been much better for my health, probably.

Anyway, the collage wall is done. And with one new photo, to boot! (Only one? After all those shots you got in Mexico? I know...procrastinator.) The canvas up on the top right came from Canvas by Demand, via Groupon for a great price. When I bought it, I was not really in the market for a canvas (although I plan to invest in several huge ones when the money is available) but this one was such a great price I couldn't resist. It is a photo I took of the girls and Libbie at Garden of the Gods last summer before we left for Mexico. I love it.

I think what I love most about the collage wall is that it now incorporates our wedding photos (the ones with the grey mats), plus Brynn's little kindergarten handprint, and my absolutely beloved ultrasound pictures. I really get teary when I look at them or even think about them. Those are irreplaceable images of my babies inside my body. They are fuzzy and hard to make sense of but to me they are sacred and I love that the girls and I can see them every day. To me it is an incredible reminder of God's grace and his wisdom -- that a child can be knitted together inside a woman's body. I will never get over that and I hope my girls don't either.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Chalk it up

Brynn is taking an art class this semester at Bemis Art School downtown. I'm SO glad she is. When my dad and his wife asked me, "What should we get the girls for Christmas?" I am so happy that I answered, "Why don't you pay for them to take an art class?" instead of, "How about a Wii game? Or anything Disney?" Because both of those would inevitably end up annoying me, but art classes...well, that's an investment in my kids' education. So the grandparents paid for an art class for the girls to take during spring break, and I decided to sign Brynn up for an additional class during the winter quarter.

I'm so impressed with the work Brynn's been doing in the class. The first week they did some Picasso-ish stuff (the class title is "Little Picassos"). Then they did some other abstract-ish work which included rubbings made off of the bottoms of their shoes which they cut into the shape of a fish and added to an undersea scene that they'd painted. It was pretty spectacular work -- especially for a six year old.

Last night, unfortunately, the instructor was sick and nobody called a sub for her (artsy people need a non-artsy administrator to keep things moving, don't you think?) so the class had a random sub whose specialty is clay, but he still managed to get some great work out of Brynn. She was apparently quite annoyed that the sub spent lots of time telling them what to do and didn't give the students enough time to work. Glad to see she's inherited my impatience. Here's what she did last night. Two desert scenes in marker and some kind of chalk -- I think they are fabulous! I like that the suns in the two pieces are different looking -- that she's not just doing one kind of drawing and sticking to it. I especially love the sun's nose, the difference in the texture of the clouds from the background and the flower on the cactus in the first piece. In the second piece I love the flying turkey and the hairy cactus. Because, as Brynn told me this morning, "You know, no two cactuses look a like." Right. Thank you, smarty.

Click on the artwork to see it full size.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Baby books hang over my head.

At first I journaled. Then I filled up a fill-in-the-blanks baby book. Then I started throwing everything "baby" into a drawer labeled with each kid's name. Then I went digital. I journaled and added photos. And fun colors and fonts. And digital yellow sticky notes from Dad. Eventually I switched from low-tech digital to high-tech digital and got serious about digital scrapbooking with Photoshop Elements. I even talked my dad into getting me a large format printer for my birthday one year, so that I could print my 12x12 layouts. And that was great, until Epson quit making 12x12 paper. Instead they were making it 11.75x11.75. Well, that's not what I really wanted. And I didn't want to print to bigger paper and trim it. Too much work. Yes, I hear the irony in that as I type, as if the rest of the scrapbooking process isn't too much work, also.

Then I started blogging. And I still scrapbooked from time to time, but it was so much easier to record thoughts and events here. But now Brynn's in kindergarten. That seems like a point in a kid's life which official baby book. Instead of bits and pieces scattered among hard drives, books, and drawers. Right?

So here's my current plan. I'm re-formatting her original layouts, the ones I did that covered from her birth through when I started using Elements, giving them fun backgrounds and formats similar to the ones I made later. I'm re-formatting old blog posts that have to do with Brynn, entering them in Elements so that they resemble the originals I made in Elements. And then I'm going to save them all as PDFs and upload them to...well, I decision is still yet to be made, but I think I'm going to use a service called My Pic Tales. It is a company that makes photo books like the ones sold by Snapfish, Shutterfly, and others, but it's geared toward digital scrappers like me. And, as photo books go, I think the prices are reasonable. In the past my favorite book company has been Blurb, and I still think they have great quality and offer great service, but they don't offer a 12x12 book. And, really, don't you think five years of babyhood deserves a 12x12 book? So far, Brynn's book is up to 54 pages (which is actually 27 pages, 54 sides) and I have only gotten through four of her blog posts. The rest are all pages I wrote before I started blogging or concurrently as I blogged. Many more of blog posts to reformat. Needless to say, you may not hear from me as often 'round here.

My Photoshop Elements skills are not great, but if I get this book finished I will think of it as quite an accomplishment. Then I will make a book for Callie and then I will never scrapbook again. Unless I get really fast and efficient at it.

Here are a few (unfinished) sample pages out of Brynn's book-to-be:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two artists?

I've thought for about four years that Brynn is artistic. My beliefs were confirmed a few weeks ago when I saw some of her artwork next to the artwork of her peers at school. Brynn loves art and she's good at it. I haven't seen the same desire nor the same ability in Callie. That is, until tonight. No, the artwork pictured above isn't spectacular by SFMOMA standards, but it's the result of her sitting down and creating something totally her own for the very first time. The desk where our blank paper and colored pencils sit is usually occupied by Brynn, so Callie has to go find something else to do while her sister exercises her creativity. Today, though, Callie took a nap for the first time in weeks. As a reward, I allowed her to stay up long after Brynn (who did not take a nap) went to bed. As soon as I told her that she could "stay up a little longer," Callie made a b-line for the desk and started coloring. She was being quiet, so I left her alone.

A while later when I went upstairs to check on her, Callie had colored one of the four sheets pictured above. That alone was unprecedented. The fact that she made three more and is still upstairs coloring is a little mind-boggling for me. It's now an hour and a half past her normal bedtime, but she's being so GOOD and doing something that she rarely gets to do -- how can I send her to bed? I will, as soon as I'm done with this post. But, for now, I'm reveling in the fact that my little girl who doesn't sit still has been sitting at a desk for over an hour. And she's being productive! I'm a very proud mama...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Paintings on the wall!

A couple of days ago I picked up some open-back frames from Hobby Lobby for the paintings I made for Callie's room. The frames were bright brassy gold when I brought them home, but I quickly painted them Ralph Lauren's "Aged Mint" color. It's a very close color match to Callie's new bed, and I'm planning on using it as an accent around Callie's newly-redecorated room.

I love Hobby Lobby's open-back frames. It's such a great program - the frames are fifty percent off about every other week and come in every imaginable size. You buy a frame for next to nothing (I think the 18x24's in the photo were about $15 each) and take it to the custom framing desk with your artwork. If you already have a mat cut, you can give it to them with your art or they can cut a mat for you for a minimal fee. They put the frame, glass, artwork, backing, and hangers together for free. You just pay for the supplies. And, the best part is they almost always have time to do it while you wait. SO much cheaper and easier than custom framing! The total cost of the frames and framing supplies in the photo below was $32. What a deal. Here's a photo of the paintings above Callie's new bed, and her new roman shade. (I made the roman shade after I screwed up her perfectly good roller shade - ugh.)

As a note...yes, Callie's room is orange. I'm currently seeking a more subdued shade of orange but am learning that there is no such thing as "subdued orange." That's probably why Callie likes it so fits her crazy personality. I think her room looks a bit like it's been colored with an orange highlighter.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'm not creative

But, if I see something I like, I won't hesitate to copy it. Sometimes that means painting furniture, sometimes it's retro-fitting window treatments, and sometimes it's just outright copying somebody else's work. I'm a bit afraid to post about this topic (and share photos) because my cousin, Heather, is a very good artist. Hopefully she won't see my measly work and snicker.

When Scott and I were in Savannah, we stopped into the Savannah College of Art and Design store where students and professors sell their work. Cottage Living magazine said it is a great place to pick up artwork, and I always follow CL's advice. While wandering through the store, I came across this bookcase full of artwork that I loved. I'd be happy buying any of the pieces, if only my bank account would allow it. Instead, I had Scott block for me so that the cashier wouldn't see the atrocity I was about to commit, I turned on my camera, and as slyly as I could, snapped a quick photo of the display without bringing my camera above waist level. After all, I have already found myself quite adept at copying other people's artwork; this time I'd have a photo to work from. Pictured above is the display at the SCAD store. While I adored the pieces with the dogs and cats (especially the Scotty dog on the diving board), I knew my abilities were not going to allow me to recreate any of those pieces. But, the pitcher of flowers? Now that, I could do. I figured I needed some cheap artwork in Callie's room and two pieces like that would fit the bill.

So, this week I started working on them. I think they came out pretty well. And it was really simple to do...especially considering how many different colors of paint we have hanging around our house. Between the tubes of acrylic in my art closet and the cans of latex out in the garage, I can make just about any color I want. Convenient, since I seem to spend much more time mixing paint colors than the average mom. Especially considering that I am NOT an artist. So, here they are. I still need to frame them, which will be another adventure in itself, since I plan to make the frames right here in our garage. Nothing's ever simple with me. For some reason, I always have to do it the hard way.