Golden Ideas

Every once in a while I get an idea that is pure gold, I tell you.  Let's be honest here, most of my ideas are kind of "meh."  For example the idea to stack four laundry baskets full of clothes and carry them downstairs by myself with my two year old right in front of me as I walk down.  That idea almost ended up in the ER.  Or the time that I thought it would be a great idea to refinish our dining room table at 8 months pregnant.  "It'll only take a couple of dyas," I said.  "It'll be easy," I said.  "Almost killed me," I say now.  

But at the beginning of summer, I got it into my head that I wanted to do some "embroidery" shirts made out of gauze.  I kept seeing them all over the place and I couldn't get the idea out of my head.  So the idea festered until I saw the perfect excuse to make one on Project Run and Plays August Challenge from FrancesSuzanne.  The challenge was to make something and incorporate some type of handwork on it.  Wellwhatdoyaknow?  A good idea and the stars align.  
Though carrying out the idea was more difficult than expected due to the fact that when my children see me sitting down with a needle and thread, they inevitably take that to mean, "Oh Mom must really want me to sit in her lap and let me help her with that pointy thing.  Also it should probably go in my mouth, right?  And let me wipe my half eaten fishy cracker on that white fabric.  Theeeere we go."  
And give me some credit for the fact that I actually did most of the embroidery in the dark while we had a family Star Wars marathon.  Feeling like the force really helped me on this one.  Obiwan would be so proud.  ;)
I started with the First Day Dress bodice then drafted some short sleeves.  All of the fabric was white gauze from Joanns.  It goes on sale every once in a while and it's a great deal.  It is quite light weight, so it's perfect for summertime.  Around here August & September are still pretty warm during the day, so it's perfect.
As far as the embroidery goes, I kept it simple with straight lines and x's.  I may even add some more lines, it's a very soothing process.  I did all the handwork around the neck but it didn't feel finished, so I used my machine for the sleeves and bottom hem. 
Anyway, isn't it nice to check an idea off in your brain?  Now if I could only get that whole get the laundry folded idea to work.... ;)


and the livin's been easy....

We're about to get a little Lila-centric over here.  Well, to be fair, this blog is a little Lila-centric already (because she is my oldest/most cooperative model.) The next few weeks are extra special though, because my girl is starting school soon.  Curazy.

I think I'm more nervous than her. :)

We really tried to live it up this summer.  Snow cones, movie nights, and zoo trips galore.  I realize "live it up" probably means something a little more exciting to you.  But to us, we were living the good life.  ;)

This dress is a representation of our pleasant summer.  Not really sure why.  It just makes me happy.  It's probably the best thing I have ever made.  Bar none.  The cobalt, flowers, pockets, double layer skirt--all of it.  Plus the fact that I didn't rush through and I actually sewed it right.  Ya, that's probably why I like it so much.  ;)

Plus it's oh so cute on my precious five year old.  Life when your five is so good, or so I'm told.  :)

It's a geranium dress.  Fabric from Joanns. (old) I made a shirt out of it for me, but had just enough to eek out a bodice.  Man, I'm glad I save all those scraps!  (I have to justify my scrap saving to Superman.)

Anyway, I'm always so satisfied when I make geranium dresses.  One of the best patterns in all the land in my humble opinion--it never disappoints.

Hope your summer has been as pleasant as possible!


The End of Art Week

And so we reach the end of art week.  Traumatic, I know.  
The idea for Art Week started when Lila (my oldest) kept having break-downs when she didn't feel like her art was "perfect."  She's a perfectionist and a half and I was like, "seriously?"  I tried to explain that art isn't about being perfect.  In my mind it's about creating something.  Sometimes it's pretty, sometimes it's not.  We might think it's perfect, others might hate.  We might feel dissatisfied with it.  That's the art of creating, isn't it?  But no matter how much I tried to explain these concepts, 
Lila was still so frustrated.  So I showed her pictures from real artists and explained a little about their differing styles and suddenly, it started to click for her.  So I told her we'd study these artists and learn that "perfect" is all in the eye of the beholder.  And Art Week was born.  Monumental, I know
I'm happy to report that by the end of Art Week, Lila really started to love art and that was my goal.  I just wanted to broaden my kids' horizons a little.  That isn't to say that things have been all rosy.  My kids didn't just sit there and quietly do what I told them to do.  I mean, giving your kids paint is a dangerous game.  We still had our episodes.  Madelyn got into my purse and painted a chair at the University where we went to go looking at paintings.  
My baby wandered the gardens carrying q-tips, getting super dirty.
And sometimes Ezra was more interested in jumping into the nature than he was in painting it.  
But at the end of the day, whether or not it was a "perfect" experience matters much less than the fact that we experienced something new together.  For me, being a mom is about creating my own joy.  Showing my kids something that they didn't know or understand before brings a huge sense of accomplishment to me.  And when I can measure success in a "job" where it is sometimes extremely difficult to measure my success, I'll call it a win.
Thank you so much for following along!  If you're new, or catching up, you can catch all the action in these posts
or here on the #artweekforkids hashtag on my instagram account

And don't hesitate to start up your own art week with your kids whenever you'd like.   


Art Week: Day 5

Pop Art is so much fun!  Another day where you could go so many directions.  We opted for something fairly simple, but we still had a blast.  

The challenge for today is:  break the rules.  Not literally of course. ;)  I just mean dump out the crayon and markers and let your child create whatever he or she wants to.  

I started off by showing my kids Pop Art in the Andy Warhol style.  They were weirded out but kind of fascinated by it.  So as they were watching, I decided to turn them into popart.  I was trying to be quick, so I did it really fast in Picasa.  There are loads of tutorials on how to do it more professionally in Photoshop, but we were hustling, so I thought I'd share the steps just in case.  
  • Open your picture in Picasa
  • Click on the editing tools
  • Choose the 2nd paint brush 
  • Click the posterize setting at the center/bottom
  • Save and you're done.  

It's not exactly Warhol, but it's along the same sort of style and it was a fun quick way to show the kids a different type of "art."
Lila was not a fan by the way.  It really weird-ed her out.  
Ezra on the other hand....:) 
After that we rolled out a big sheet of paper (we used an ikea roll, but you can use the back of wrapping paper, craft paper, or just normal paper--whatever you've got) and the kids colored to their hearts content.  
The biggest thing I wanted to show the kids today was that they could let loose and have fun.  Kids live with so many rules today, sometimes it's fun to break a few...of the harmless ones of course. ;) 

Read more about Art Week here:

Don't forget to follow along on instagram tagging #artweekforkids to join in on the fun!


Art Week: Day 4

Today is Van Gogh day!  This one is super fun because you can take it in so many directions.

The main challenge is to paint a Van Gogh-esqu subject in colorful, big, bold strokes.  

I didn't focus on the life of Van Gogh (cuz wasn't he kinda crazy? or have I just listened to Starry Starry night one too many times?) so much as the style in which he painted in his later years.  Big bold colors and strokes.  

I let the kids finger paint the sunflowers we have growing in our yard.  It was super fun (and hot).  We talked about how Van Gogh created a mood in his paintings.  Flowers drooped, sometimes things weren't proportionate, trees looked like they were about to be blown over.  I love the post-impressionist style so it was fun to let my kids go to town.  
I stressed washable paints because we got paint everywhere, but look at the fun result.  :)  
As a side note, we didn't do this, but I think it would be super fun to stay up late and paint a Starry Night painting...my wheels are already turning for next year. ;)

In case you missed it, check these posts to find out about what art week is all about:

Follow along on instagram tagging #artweekforkids to join in on the fun!


Art Week: Day 3

Pack your paints, today we're going on a field trip!  It's Monet Day!  

You're challenge is to go to a garden and paint what you see in the style of Claude Monet.  

I talked to my kids about how Monet was from the impressionist movement (which meant nothing to them, of course.)  So I was forced to bust out my Clueless knowledge and be like, "It's like a painting, see?  From far away it's ok, but up close, it's a big old mess."  I kid.  No but really.  Google a Monet painting and show your kids how up close, you only see dots and it doesn't make sense, but as you look at the painting from far away, it actually looks like something.  

After that, let your kids paint their own Monet's.  
We lucked out because our local gardens just happen to have a pond with water lilies, but you and your kids can paint any landscape you'd like to.  :)  
We emphasized painting in a "dotty" style (as Ezra called it).  
And we mainly used blue, brown and green paint.  
This day was definitely a favorite for my kids.
While our paintings dried, we walked around the gardens and noticed colors and butterflies.  When we got home, I taught Lila and Ezra how to paint butterflies while Madelyn and Sophia napped.  Lila and her crazy tan arms put together a little how-to tutorial for your kids.  Enjoy!

Wanna see more Art Week posts?

Follow along on instagram tagging #artweekforkids if you'd like to join in!  


Art Week: Day 2

The fact that my kids have very limited attention spans forced me to narrow down which artists and how many artists we would be talking about this week.  I mean, when you've got a 5, 4, 2, and 1 year old, you've gotta lower your expectations keep it simple. ;)  

That's why today's challange focuses on Leonardo Da Vinci (specifically the Mona Lisa).  I let my kids look at the picture of Mona Lisa and list what colors they could see.  Then I let them pick those specific colors out of our colored pencil box.  No bright blues or pinks today.  Just simple muted tones.  Brown, black, dark green, navy blue, dark red, and a little yellow.  
As you show your kids Mona Lisa, talk to them about how people didn't have cameras in Da Vinci's day (this was a novel concept to my kids) so the only way they could remember what someone looked like was through pictures that they painted or drew.  We talked about how still you would have to sit in order to have your portrait painted.  And then we practiced the art of portrait sitting by sitting still for 30 whole seconds (also a novel concept for my children).  :)  
Then they got to draw their own Mona Lisa.  They were so proud of their portraits.  :)  I like to think Leo would be proud too...or appalled.  
And that was all for Day 2.  Like I said, nice and simple.  See you tomorrow for a field trip!    

See more Art Week posts:

and follow along on instagram tagging #artweekforkids if you'd like to join in!  


Art Week: Day 1

Day 1 is simple.  We busted out the chalk and went back to the days of the cave man er... more of a modern twist on the cave art.  Preeeeetty sure they didn't have bright pink chalk in those days.  ;)
Today's challenge/inspiration is to look at the origins of art.  I showed the kids cave drawings  and then let them make "cave art" of their own. (Outside of course).
We also talked about how people would have to use nature to show their art.  So we made designs out of rocks, sticks, and plants.  
I also let the kids mash up some of the leaves with rocks to make a sort of primitive paint.  This kept them very busy, but I think helped them appreciate how difficult it would have been to mix paints back in the day.  Also color is a bid thing here.  We talked about how early artists would not have access to "colorful" materials.  

And that's that.   It kept us busy for a good hour, and we even had some of the neighbor kids come chalk with us.  Spreading the art love.  :)  
Not sure what art week is about?  Check out this post and this post to catch up and follow on Instagram to play along!  See you tomorrow!
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