Art for Kids: Inspired by Georgia O’Keefe

I have been inspired lately by the amazing works of Georgia O’Keefe. What a master she was! I found a great book at the library to show to my kids, Through Georgia’s Eyes.

I can’t wait to go through it together and roll up our sleeves and try a few projects.

My one absolute rule when doing any art project with children is that I must try the project myself first. I like to it out because it is just darn fun and to see if it works and what I might need to change or tweak to get it to work really well.

The first project I found was on the amazing art teacher’s blog, Brightest Crayon in the Blog. She has so many creative ideas posted and I fell in love with her take on a Georgia O’Keefe painting project. She didn’t provide any instructions other than using black glue at the end so I knew (to keep my sanity) I would have to try it first.

I didn’t take any pictures of the process, sorry! It really is an easy project.

I used:

  • watercolor paper
  •  liquid watercolor paint (pink, purple, blue, green)
  • acrylic paint (purple, black)
  • white craft glue

First, I used painters tape to tape my watercolor paper to the table. I then sketched a loose flower with pencil. Pink and purple watercolors were used to fill the flowers with a wet-on-wet technique. After the flower had dried I used blue/green to paint the background. I then used a fairly wet acylic paint to add some texture and depth to the flower. I used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.

I mixed a small quantity of white craft glue with black paint and added a touch of water (to make it easier to squeeze out). I outlined the flower and made a few swirly additions. I had a blast and I liked the end result.

My next project came from another great blog, Artopotomaus. Please check it out by clicking on the name. Here is what I made:

For supplies gather:

  • watercolor paper
  • assorted colors of tissue paper
  • black sharpie
  • white glue (watered down)

I sketched out another loose flower with a pencil and then went over my lines with a black sharpie. Next I used tissue paper to ‘paint’ the flower with color. I just ripped and applied with watered down white glue. After everything was dry I filled in any white gaps with oil pastels, and voila, another great project!

I am just itching to try these out with my kids and see what they create. I will post a few pictures of their ‘take’ on the project. Happy creating everyone…


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The Fun of Paper Paste

Oh – the fun of playing! We should all do it more. I spent my  morning playing with paper paste. A little bit messy, easy and the best part…fun to do with kids. Wouldn’t you like to try?

I have a goal for my valentine’s day projects this year, I want to include as many handmade materials as I can create. Using paper paste and paint together on paper allows you to make your own decorative paper with texture and designs.

I found a great tutorial at My Handbound Books – Book Making Blog on how to make the paste and use it to paint the papers. The recipe is simple, just water and flour, cooked over a double boiler. After it has cooled you add your paint and away you go!

Grab your supplies: heavy paper (I used watercolour paper), paper paste, paint (I used crafter’s acrylic), paint brushes and water.

I also used crayons and oil pastels to make a few designs on the paper before layering on the paint and paste. You can skip this step if you want to.

Now all you need is a few items to drag through your paste and paint. I chose a cork, popsicle sticks, a serving fork and a toilet roll.

Oh and a cup of tea is always an option. This is fun right?

First I started doodling some designs over the paper. This helps create a layered effect. I tried some with the layering and some without. Kids love doing this part.

Add a dollop of paste to a container and add a bit of paint, mix really well.

Paint on the paste paint mixture and grab a tool to make some designs. Sorry for the picture quality…

Now set your paper aside to dry, preferably away from your cat. A few of my papers have kitty cat paw prints on them from curious felines. If you paper really curls up just turn it over and iron with a low iron to make it flat.

And then it is up to you, cut, paste, collage, make cards, a garland or just a pile of pretty hearts.

If you are looking for a few more ideas for Valentine’s Day projects check out a few of my other posts: Valentine’s Eye Candy, DIY Valentine’s Cards Using Collage, and DIY Valentine’s Cards.

Thanks for stopping by…

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Valentine’s Eye Candy

Well hello there. I have been very busy today in my workshop working on new Valentine’s Day projects. They are coming along but still have a little way to go. In the meantime here is a little eye candy to gaze at:

I love this abstract rose print from Martha Stewart. So whimsical, creative and looks totally doable as  well. I like the idea of using it on wrapping paper too.

That Artist Woman is one of my favourite art resource blogs. Take some time to check it out. I really want to try this Valentine book that she created. I love the layers of paper in the middle and the text. She is a treasure trove of creativity.

Ooooh, where do I start with this little project? Just looking at it makes me want to run out to the nearest dollar store and get a bag full of match boxes. Too cute. Check it out at Inchmark.

There are so many creative projects out there I wish I could squeeze a few more hours out of the day to try them. What do you think? Do you want to try any? Leave a comment with a link to your Valentine’s Day project, I would love to see it. Keep crafting.

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DIY Valentine’s Cards using Collage

My newest art obsession, collage, has inspired a few more Valentine’s Day cards. Don’t you just love how a pile of scrap magazines can be transformed into a pile of color and form? It really blows me away…check out my past post about collage: Inspired By Collage

OK, let’s get going! Gather your supplies, they are simple, simple, simple!

Rip out a bunch of colourful magazine pages, grab a pair of scissors, card stock, a glue stick and some blank cards (I used water-color cards as I like the texture of the paper – but any card will do).

Next, rip pieces of the magazine and start gluing down to a piece of card stock. Check it out:

Now do more, it really doesn’t take very long!

I went to the recycle bin and grabbed an old cracker box to cut out some templates of hearts to trace onto the collage so each heart would be the same size. You can skip this step if you want a more free-form look…I love free thinkers!

Trace your template and cut out.

And that is what I did. I used my glue stick to attach it to the card and then cut out a few plain colored  hearts and added them. 

I folded the small hearts in half to give them more of a dimensional look then grabbed a black pen and doodled some antennae on. Anything works. Here are a few more examples:

Now that was fun! Time to go and make a few more…

Let me know what you think, comments really make my day!

This post is linked to Today’s Creative Blog link party, check it out!


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DIY Valentine’s Day Cards

I am starting to feel the love! I have been searching the web for some Valentine’s Day inspiration and I have found some really neat ideas. The pinks, the reds, the lace, the glitter, I want it all.

The past couple of years my kids and I have handmade the cards they give to their friends for Valentine’s day. This year I wanted to try something different using two printing techniques. First of all, because I love homemade prints and secondly, you can make a whole whack of them at one go. I am nothing if not practical!

I knew I wanted to do heart potato prints. If you haven’t done them before run and get a potato, you will love it and it really is the easiest.

Cut the potato in half and use a pencil to draw your shape. Take a small, sharp paring knife and carve away the excess potato. I used a paint brush to put on my paint and experimented on scrap paper quite a bit before printing on my cards.

I tried regular card stock but found it too slippery and non absorbent. I switched to watercolor paper and the results were better because of the paper’s texture.

For my other method of printmaking I tied some scrap wool around a wooden block. Again I used my paint brush to smooth on the paint and stamped away.

I love the graphic quality of the stamped paper.

Next I cut a heart out of scrap paper and traced the shape on the stamped paper and cut out my hearts. And then I put it all together. I am happy with the way they turned out. Handmade, unique and organic looking. I can’t wait to make a bunch with my kids this weekend.

What do you think? Are you feeling the love yet? Any plans to make homemade Valentine’s this year?


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Inspired by Collage

Over the past couple of weeks I have found myself drawn more and more to collage. My Pinterest board is full of them. There is just something magical about cutting up a magazine, a scrap of paper, junk mail or other items and putting them together in a way that expresses yourself. Adding paint and other mediums to the work transforms the page and changes the way the viewer sees. Here are a few of my current favourites:

This collage, Black Eyed Sue, by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson is so full of energy and color, I love it. She also has a DVD, Collage: An Overview of the Creative Process. I really want to order a copy to find out how she creates her work.

This portrait collage, “T.I.”, by Ian Wright is so visually compelling that I find it hard to look away.

Donna Downey is an incredible mixed media artist. She produced this work during a four-hour drive using stack of old magazines, a pair of scissors and a glue stick.

She has totally inspired me to give it a whirl. Time to get my own dusty pile of magazines, clear off my work table and cut and paste. The whole process  reminds  me a bit of my favourite grade in school, kindergarten.

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

We had our first skiff of snow here in Toronto today and the kids are over the moon with excitement. Me – not so much. But to get myself in the mood I have been researching snowflake crafts. Here are a few I really like:

  • I love this wreath. So easy, so colourful, and cheerful.
  • The above wreath is so colourful, so easy and cheerful. Click on the picture for the link.
  • Now this a creative way to use junk mail!
  • Stamp a snowflake with household items. I like the black background but a dark blue or purple would look great too.
  • I love the texture that the yarn creates on these. Easy enough for kids to do too.

This has given me a reason to check out some thrift stores for doilies.

  • Now this has given me a reason to find some doilies. So beautiful!
  • siven me a reason to start a hunt for doil
  • I tried this one on the weekend with my kids and it turned out really well. I will post some pictures of our version soon.
Is anyone else busy with snowflake crafts? Leave me a comment with a link, I would love to see it. Happy creating…
  • I have to admit that I have attempted this project twice without any success. As my patience and skills with a protractor are lacking I have set this one aside for the time being. It is stunning though. Has anyone else been busy with snowflake crafts and project? Leave me a comment with a link!

  • I have to admit that I have attempted this project twice without any success. As my patience and skills with a protractor are lacking I have set this one aside for the time being. It is stunning though. Has anyone else been busy with snowflake crafts and project? Leave me a comment with a link!

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My Newest Art Discovery…

Oh boy! I discovered Jill Connor on Pinterest and absolutely love her work. Check out a few of her amazing tissue paper collages:

Don’t you just love these? The colours, the images, the whimsical artistry. What can I say, I am a fan.

It inspired me to try a few with my kids. We grabbed some Bristol board, a stack of tissue paper, and a bottle of Mod Podge.

And that is how we spent a rainy Sunday afternoon. Fun. Even with all the tissue paper bits that have travelled everywhere. And the Mod Podge that spilled…

Now its my turn, I want to give it a shot. Her art really is that good. Check out her website:

What do you think?


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DIY Birthday Party

photo courtesy of

Before I had kids I would fantasize about hosting their birthday parties. Oh what fun! Balloons, streamers, cupcakes, icing, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, giggling children and happy smiles.

Hmm…it’s still a fantasy for me. I have hosted my share of birthday parties and this is what I have learned, throw ‘perfect’ right out the door where it belongs.

Let’s be honest here, birthday parties for kids are highly controversial. Everyone has an opinion! Just mention that you are planning a party and the unwanted advice comes flying your way. I used to really get caught up in the whole party hoopla. The ugly truth of competition, the worry that your kid won’t enjoy it (I just blew up 30 balloons damn it!), and just the stress of trying to make everything perfect.

The last two birthdays I have chosen to just focus on what I really want, a day to celebrate the gift of their life. Isn’t that the whole reason we do this?

Loot bags are one of the touchiest areas of birthday parties. There are so many different camps, “It’s all junk”, “Why do we have to give these things?”, “Great, what do I do with all this crap?”, and on and on. This year I wanted to eliminate the plastic and get a bit creative. Normally I am running into a party store at the last-minute and picking up the pre-made loot bags. There is nothing wrong with this – I just wanted to do it differently this year.

And this is what I came up with:

I wrapped up the loot with craft paper, grabbed some glittery ribbon and made a felt gift topper to finish it off. It was fun, yes, I actually had fun making the loot bags. Crazy I know.

I have twins and I wanted the invitation to show a bit of both of them. I am the opposite of a card maker, I am not exacting, I have little patience and I can’t deal with intricate details. I let go of my imperfections and gave this a try:

The girl’s and I had spent some time on Pinterest looking for  the perfect cupcake recipe. We found it, the cutest and easiest (I hoped) recipe for owl cupcakes. And they worked! It was the first time I made their birthday cupcakes from scratch.

OK, they look a little wonky, and they are definitely not perfect, and finally I realize that isn’t the point, is it?

How do you navigate the birthday battle field? I would love to hear any tips or experiences! I love comments, they make my day…


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Make Your Own Wine Bag

We were lucky this weekend to be invited over to our wonderful friends house for dinner. Now this wasn’t the usual come-over-for-dinner invitation, these friend of ours are very generous and Shannon is a gourmet cook.

So after enjoying a lazy Saturday I went downstairs to find a couple of wine bags to bring our hostess gift over in and lo and behold I couldn’t find a single bag. My husband offered to run out and pick up a few but the clock was ticking and I knew we would be late.  I spotted some craft paper and sheets of felt and gave myself a shake. Get crafty! So I did.

Super simple, super easy and I had fun trying to do it as quickly as I could. Just wrap up the wine in the paper, tie a ribbon, and bust out a few felt flowers, and voila…

I even remembered to take a few pictures before we scrambled out the door. How nice is that?

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