Archive of ‘art’ category

Children’s Book Covers as Art

reflection in the ace hotel

My husband and I recently returned from something unprecedented.  We hopped a train and headed into New York City without the kids for two whole nights.  It was an amazing feat and hadn’t been done in nearly seven years!  We indulged in afternoon beers, scrumptious oysters, explored nooks and crannies in the Lower East Side, ate one amazing meal after another, drank even more amazing drinks and meandered slowly through museums without any frantic, emergency trips to the bathroom or animated games of I Spy.  It was glorious.  (Don’t worry, the kids were with their grandparents and they enjoyed many new delights including their first taste of soda pop and ice cream bars for breakfast.  Thanks Grandma!)

We also visited The Strand bookstore for the first time.  I don’t know what took me so long to explore this incredible place!  If you’ve never been, it is absolutely worth a visit.  Especially if you have an interest in anything because The Strand will have the book about that topic that will blow your mind. Basically, everyone should see this place. (If you follow me on Instagram you already know about my trip and you also know about the wickedly naughty t-shirts at The Strand.)

I meandered over to the children’s section and asked the clerk if they had a books on the book cover art of children’s books.  There is little I love more than picture book art.  The emotions expressed in the drawings and the magic and saturated colors at the heart of children’s books are some of favorites.  I already have one book about book cover art but was hoping to find another.  Wouldn’t you know the clerk found me not one but two books about children’s illustration!  Both out of print and both around $10.  I was floored and so was she, frankly.  She was so excited for me I almost hugged her!

children's book art books

She also suggested I write another book that includes cover art beyond 1960. She was awesome. If she had suggested it, I would have started a collaboration with her.  She was seriously great and a fellow book lover.

My new books are so beautiful and I’ve admired them a whole awful lot since we got back from The City.

cover art book inside

It also reminded me that I never shared an easy, little project I did a while back to spruce up our walls.   Actually the word ‘project’ is a pretty fancy one for what I did, which is basically cut up some of my favorite book jackets and frame them (I know, it’s a little sacrilegious).

book cover framed as art.jpg

First of all, as soon as we get a new picture book in our house, I remove the book jacket and file it away. Sounds kind of silly but the book jackets just get ripped off the book or torn to bits anyway so I started saving them.

It was only natural they end up on the wall at some point.  And, I’m so pleased they did! Easy-peasy, happy wall art.

Book Jacket for children's art framed for the wall

The Valentine’s Day Countdown of Love

valentine's day countdown

Hello February!  It’s time for a countdown to love.

I’ve been sitting on the idea of an advent-like countdown to Valentine’s Day for a while.   The boys love our Christmas advent calendar so much and I love Valentine’s Day so I thought I’d combine the two loves.  I saw something on Pinterest (way back when) that used sewn paper hearts filled with candy as Vday cards.  Of course, the last thing we need around here is more candy.

Instead, I opted for different loving activities;  love the earth by picking up some trash, love a friend by telling them a joke, love the cat by giving her a treat,  love your ears and make up a song, etc.  The activities are really simple and easy to accomplish. I think one of the most involved activities is “love your tummy: make something sweet to eat”.  My intent is not to make life more complicated or hectic but to slip a small something loving into our day.

Ta-da the birth of the Valentine’s Day Countdown of Love!

Of course, I woke up this morning surprised to realize it was actually February 1st.  Seriously, where did January go?  Sheesh.  I quickly made this up this morning.  14 different paper hearts sewn together with love-based activities inside.

love messages for valentine's day countdown

Next, I rolled up and tucked the messages between two pieces of pretty origami paper and used a heart cookie cutter to trace a heart.

valentine's day countdown

valentine's day countdown

I used the traced heart marking as a guide for sewing the hearts together.  I love sewing on paper. Feels like I’m a sewist gone rogue.  So naughty.

valentine's day countdown

I made 13 hearts in regular origami paper and 1 in silver paper.  The boys get to trade off who opens the day’s heart to reveal the day’s activity but the silver heart is saved for the Valentine’s Day itself.

valentine's day countdown

The boys were definitely excited about ripping open the hearts and it took them a long bit of negotiating to decide who got to go first.  (Everything is a learning opportunity, isn’t it?  Even when mama is a little “done” with learning opportunities.)

valentine's day countdown Let the countdown begin!

valentine's day countdown

handmade print exhibit

hand-printing exhibit

Yesterday was a mostly grey, dreary day but so super exciting for me, personally.  That is because yesterday (drumroll) I along with three of my students hung our very own handmade prints up for display!

The exhibit was a result of the hand-printing class I taught at the end of last year.  We covered stenciling, hand-carving stamps and screen printing.  It was obvious that what we were making deserved to be showcased.  hand-printing class

The lovely folks at the Main Street building I use to for my classes, agreed to let us display in their big front window facing the town’s main street.  Whoever was available gathered yesterday to hang them up.  We are gangbusters, aren’t we? I am just a wee bit proud of this endeavor.  By that I mean, I’m hugely proud.

prepping for the exhibit

We started by putting all of the prints in embroidery hoops and glueing them in place (I illustrate at the end of this tutorial). Then someone had the great idea to tape two back-to-back making them reversible…with different prints visible from inside the building and outside the building.  Genius, right?

the prints from hand-print exhibit

Look at all those amazing prints!  Really, it was such a pleasure to be involved in such a creative and energetic making process.  Many of the prints are very subtle and soft and I think reflect the quiet, everyday, imaginative moments for many of us.  In the window they hang pretty quietly as well…but so beautifully.

exhibit collage

I am not going to lie, I’m craning my neck every time I go by and smiling every time. And, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one finding reasons to admire the window.  Sometimes we are just moms making it happen and then sometimes we are rockstar screen printers displaying our hearts out! Remember how I’m looking for courage?  I think I got this one.

My Booth at the Arts Fair

Ooh.  It is crazy how fast a week can go!  I really meant to post this days and days ago. Between teaching two nights a week and gearing up for participation in the town-wide yard sale, we are all a little pooped and a little behind over here.  Truthfully, my husband was the one in charge of our yard sale this Saturday and he was, in fact, “very proud of me for mostly letting him do it”.  Thanks honey.  I rarely score points for butting out but I did it… mostly.  It’s only because I was still reeling from the craft fair last weekend!

Speaking of, here’s a little picture of my booth.

booth for Arts in the Park 2013

I was situated on a great little corner of our main street, right next to the beer garden.  I was aiming for a bright and cheery booth that would look inviting, friendly and homespun.  On the right hand side, I had my aprons, bags and skirts.  It’s hard to see but behind the dress form is a hanging white wooden rod where I was selling aprons.

front view of a happy stitch booth

My penguins, owls and ninjas were the first to greet anyone.  The booth looks a little more bare than I would have liked, I wish I had more time to make things if only to flesh out the booth and make it look a little more abundant.  But, it drew a great crowd and I was a fantastic time.  This was my view from behind the booth at one point.

a happy stitch crowd at the arts fair

It was so nice to be surrounded nearly all day long by my amazing, supportive friends and their children.  Can you tell I was next to the Kettle Corn stand?  I think every kid in town ate their weight in Kettle Corn that day, including my own kids.

I labelled everything with both a price tag and a pretty moo card, that way everyone that bought something went home with my business card making it easier for them to get in touch with me later.  I really like the feel and quality of moo cards, I used some of the designs they have on hand for these mini cards because I wanted them done quickly but you can also make your own design, which is probably what I will do when I run out of my current supply.

craft fair tagging from a happy stitch

For all my reservations about craft fairs, this was a great one. I loved being out on a beautiful day, showing folks what I make.  I was surprised and delighted that my boys were excited for me.  In the past, I don’t think it was all that interesting to them but this year they were into it.  C said to me, “Mama.  I want to buy all of your things!” and my husband had to gently explain I would be able to just make it for him, at home. Of course, some of that sweet little boy excitement made me nervous as they ran like bulls in a china shop ready to knock over my tent.

me at my booth-a happy stitch

The highlight of the arts fair, by far, was when a group of half a dozen tweens and teens were hanging out talking to me about how they love to sew (yes, my heart was melting).  We were discussing their sewing machines and how they love to make pouches and pillows.  Their parents were lingering outside my booth waiting for the long sewing conversation to end and these girls were taking the conversation so seriously.  They just wanted to talk about their making so badly.  I could have tucked each one of those girls under my arm and taken them home.  I didn’t but I could have.  They were super awesomely adorable and amazing.  Sometimes adults don’t know how to respond when I tell them I teach sewing and make things; I can watch their eyes gloss over with uncertainty and the silent question “Do grown-ups do that?” but these girls had pure adoration in their eyes.  I might be hanging with the tweens more regularly if this keeps happening.

backyard ART camp :: 12 breathtaking artist-inspired projects {and one beautiful giveaway!}

our little family is back from vacation in the woods and I can’t wait to share all about it but first it’s time for the wrap-up of backyard ART camp.  I can hardly beleive it is over!

it has been a spectacular six weeks!  Jane and I are so excited at the incredible collection of artist-inspired projects that have amassed through this collaboration.  so many amazing bloggers came together and generously handed over some of the best artist-inpired projects for kids that I have seen in one place! BAC roundup collage

from top left to bottom right:  found object art with me;  pointillism  with Jane ;  Christo-inspired fabric scrap project with crafting connections;  kiddie kandinsky with my life at playtime ; rousseau-inspired wall installation with the crafty kitty ;  collage art with  Miranda Makes ;  rock sculptures with simple things notebook ;  river rock drawing nne  with  Gypsy Forest ; Gaudi-inspired mosaics with Mon Petit Lyons;  Jackson Pollack-inspired art with  small + friendly;  Rothko-inspired fabric project with feathered nest studio; and Charley Harper birds with tara from girl like the sea

we covered some serious ground, didn’t we?  one of my favorite things about this collection of positively one-of-a-kind projects is that they span such a wide range.  some take little more than one hour and involve a simple rock hunt in the backyard while others take days of preparation and planning.   and yet each one provides a beautiful platform for an open-ended artistic experience for a wee one.  and, if I do say so myself, it seems like quite a few moms have a pretty good time of it, too.  making art is a pretty universal good time and as so many of the projects have illustrated, it’s also such a good way to connect with our kids.

when Jane and I started backyard ART camp we went into it with a shared desire to bring the joy of art and making to our kids but also to, you know, fill up the hours and hours of summertime that suddenly appear when the school bell rings at the end of the year.  and, in a flash that school bell is starting to ring in the start of a whole new year.  it’s hard to believe that summer is over and the school year is gearing up again (I know it’s started for many but we don’t get going until next mondays).  but the art and making doesn’t have to end!  be sure to check out our Pinterest board where we have gathered all the projects and inspiration to save any projects for any other day that needs a boost of inspiration.

and, on top of that,  we are giving away one of my absolute favorite books on kid art…The ART treasury by Rosie Dickins.  every project in this book includes a mini-biography of an artist and an easy but beautiful way for kids to emulate their style.  we’ve used it many times in our house and it’s a spectacular way to introduce artists as well as creativity to kids.

the art treasury book giveaway for Backyard ART Camp

to win the book, leave a comment below or on Jane’s blog telling us YOUR thoughts on backyard ART camp or suggestions for next year’s backyard ART camp.  what would you change? what would you add? what did you like?  for an additional chance to win like either my Facebook page or Jane’s and leave a comment here telling us you did that.  you can even enter a third time if you subscribe by email to our blogs, just be sure to leave a comment telling us you did!  if you already do those things, let us know and we will add you to the pool!

hey, but wait…there’s one more way to enter!   and, this is the most fun way…link up YOUR Backyard ART Camp projects and leave a comment letting us know what you made.  we can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

okay, so that’s four ways to enter to win.  the linky and giveaway will be open from now until next monday, September 9 midnight EST.

good luck and happy art making!

‘); // ]]>

backyard ART camp :: rothko-insired art from feathered nest studio

BAC button 2-1welcome to our final week of Backyard ART Camp.  yes, you read that correctly, the last week, it’s a little sad isn’t i?.  there are only two more projects to go!

Jane and I hope that you have been enjoying these creative weeks of summer as much as we have.  the boys and I are on vacation right now (gotta love my team of robots for posting this for me.  good work robots!).   I did, however, pack us a hug bag of supplies so we could undertake as many Backyard ART Camp projects as possible.  I can’t wait to share our results with you!

are you making too?  do share with us, we want to see! use the hashtag
#backyardartcamp if you share anywhere other than flickr. Be sure to follow our Pinterest board where we are gathering all the projects in one place.

but now, let’s get to today’s project…Mark Rothko inspired fabric art from Jennet, of Feathered Nest Studio.
Rothko Inspired Fabric Art

doesn’t it look stunning!?  Jennet is one of those people that is always inspiring; she makes me want to do more crafting with the kids, to focus, to make and to share.  she has a great big heart.

she shares so many beautiful and simple craft and art projects to do with kids on her blog.
Kid crafting with feathered nest studiossuch as her watercolor bird mobiles, stained glass paper birds, watercolor painted wooden birds, and upcycled cardboard kitties.

recently, Jennet started her own art series on her blog, Art School, in which she
showcases different art projects, mediums, and techniques.  she’s already done several beautiful projects and I am sure there will be many more to come.

Aside from kid creating she is also does beautiful embroidery and has some of her works on display in her own art show.
Embroidery by feathered nestJennet, is a graphic designer, with her own spoonflower designs, and an etsy shop where she sells super cute stuffies.  you are sure to swoon over all of it.

thank you so much Jennet for joining us today.  head on over to see her Rothko art project, it’s a beautiful project filled with a variety of fun steps for children to learn, explore and create.

want to see what everyone has been making so far this summer?  it’s quite an inspired list:

be sure to check in on wednesday for our final installment of Backyard ART Camp projects with tara from girl like the sea.

happy making!

backyard art camp :: yummy dessert art from sanae

backyard art camp 2013

we have a scrumptious way to finish up week six of backyard art camp….dessert art inspired by the artist Wayne Theibaud!  coming to us fresh from the wonderful Sanae Ishida.  If you are like me, Theibaud might not be a familiar name but his artwork most likely is.  he is the artist that draws gum ball machines and delectable sweets.  perfect for introducing kids to art, right?  Sanae’s backyard art camp involves making fruit pizzas and then asking her daughter to draw them.  be sure to check it out (and set aside some time to explore her lovely blog while you are at it.  you won’t regret it.) BAC-Thiebaud1

leave it to Sanae to come up with something so perfect, too.  Sanae is seemingly capable of sewing anything and makes the most amazing clothing for herself and her daughter. her blog is a visual feast in the most tasteful and sophisticated way possible.   more than likely, you are already familiar with Sanae and her seamstress talents.  if not, well then, you’re welcome.   if you followed the summer Kids Clothes Week you might have stumbled upon the fantastic collaboration Sanae did with her daughter…her daughter sketched out what she wanted and Sanae created it!  now that is one superstar sewing mama!

lechat1 of course, she doesn’t just sew clothing.  Sanae is interested in all manner of crafts and creativity in many forms.  plus, her tidbits of conversation shared with her daughter are hilarious.


Jane and I are so excited to have Sanae’s project join backyard ART camp! dessert art.  suites me just fine!

hard to believe we have already covered so much ground, isn’t it?  nothing has made me happier than seeing all of these extraordinary projects come together.    are you just finding us?  here is a list of every project so far:

know what is even more amazing than that? there is still more to come from these fantastic bloggers. (yes, indeed, there is more!):

have you been creating with your kids too?  don’t forget to share with us,
we love to see what you’ve been making! use the hashtag #backyardartcamp if you share elsewhere, too. be sure to follow our Pinterest board where we are gathering all the projects in one place. happy art making!

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