Children’s Spaces // A Favorite Book


Children’s Spaces // A Favorite Book

Before Pinterest, I used to collect books. Throughout my childhood, high school and college, my dad would buy me one big art book every Christmas. It started with Norman Rockwell, Paul Klee and Toulouse-Lautrec. As I got older, my tastes changed but my love for beautiful books did not. After marriage and children, I started buying my own big books and that’s when I started my decorating collection. I still covet beautiful books and have a growing wish list, but I must admit that Pinterest fits better with my budget!

This book, Children’s Spaces from Zero to Ten, is one of my favorites. I’ve looked through it countless times and always end up on the same pages, daydreaming of being a child again and living in these cozy, magical rooms.

I love this shared space for a brother and sister. It’s not matchy (a pet-peeve) and it’s got splashes of red (my personal obsession). The big window in between the beds creates a lovely divide, and the little lamps on stools are small and perfect. It has a graphic quality with Babar and the striped rug, but it’s cozy, too, with it’s vintage bed sheets and pillows.

The bed with the red velvet curtains is to die for, isn’t it? Who would think that red velvet could create such a light and airy feeling. But since the red is faded, and the bed is a more grown-up white with just a few splashes of pastels, it creates a warm + serene space that is timeless.

I think that my bunting fetish must have begun with this baby’s room. I love the simplicity, and the colors. It takes discipline to create a room that is so tranquil + calm, and that can grow with baby and her developing taste and style.

This is my favorite bedroom for a boy. The checked bedding with patchwork quilt is charming + homey and makes the antique bed feel quirky instead of old. I love the simple Swiss cross and blowfish clock. I can see a string of art appearing over time. It’s such a sweet and cozy little space.

Add this book to your Mother’s Day wish list!

xo, Bar

 

Underwater Photography by Alix Martinez


Underwater Photography by Alix Martinez

I am so proud of my friend Alix Martinez! She was featured on the NBC Today Show last week for her ethereal and beautiful photos of children playing underwater. I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Alix and her incredible artistic eye. I even hired her last year to take photos of my son’s birthday party (a job that she said yes to out of the goodness of her heart!) and our super swing (r.i.p.). I love the way she captures children. She really gets right to the essence of who they are.

underwater photography by Alix Martinez

underwater photography by Alix Martinez

underwater photography by Alix Martinez

Alix says, “I love when you can look at a photograph and you feel the child’s emotion and energy. I also love photographing children with things that they love: their dolls, trucks, even pancakes. These are the photographs you remember and are touched by later on.”

underwater photography by Alix Martinez

underwater photography by Alix Martinez

underwater photography by Alix Martinez

underwater photography by Alix Martinez

See more of Alix’s amazing scope of work on her website, read about her latest projects on her blog, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

I could look at these photos all day. Congrats my friend!

xo, Bar

 

Art for Littles


Art for Littles

Good morning! Today I am sharing yet another killer collection of simple art & play ideas for your little ones.

From top left: Spin art sun catchers from Meri Cherry // Rainbow color mixing from Simple as That // Credit card art from Housing a Forest // Hole punch art by Learn with Play at Home // Monster blow paintings from Raising Sparks // Styrofoam sculptures from The Artful Parent // Play with fabric scraps from Paint on the Ceiling // Easy weave bracelets by Willow Day // Clothespin caterpillars from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom // Scrap paper collage from Art Bar // Watercolor art from Blog Me Mom // Kandinsky egg carton art from Whatever

Have a great week! xo, Bar

 

Invitation to Paint


Invitation to Paint

Ever since my kids were very little, I have always put materials out in hopes that they would walk by, sit down, and get inspired. I just never knew until recently that there is a name for this philosophy! It’s called an “Invitation to Play”. I love this! It’s a term that is rooted in the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and is used often with Early Childhood educators. Now that mine are older, I still do this but less with toys and more with art.

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

This latest invitation was simple. I just taped a small piece of watercolor paper to the table with green tape. I put out a little still life, some watercolors and some colored pencils.

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ open-ended art exploration

invitation to paint ~ open-ended art exploration

This littlest artist decided to use some glitter glue and hearts that she found on the shelf to create her own abstract work of art. I like her thinking!

There are so many ways to create an invitation to play. Read this post by The Imagination Tree to get started, or search Pinterest where you will surely find one million ideas! One great Pinterest board is the Rockin’ Art Moms board that I happen to be part of. The other 11 members are well-versed in the Reggio language and they have a plethora of brilliant ideas.

xo, Bar

 

12 Easter Egg Ideas {no dye}


12 Easter Egg Ideas {no dye}

Here are twelve simple and gorgeous egg decorating ideas that don’t involve any dye. These very cool techniques include the use of sharpies, watercolors, tissue paper and tattoos!! So clever and mostly mess free.

1. Watercolor eggs from Nest of Posies | 2. Hand drawn eggs from Confetti Sunshine | 3. Watercolor eggs from Spoon Fork Bacon | 4. Marbleized Eggs from Camille Styles | 5. Tissue paper eggs from Creative Connections for Kids | 6. Watercolor sprayed eggs from For the Love of | 7. Tattoo eggs from Country Living | 8. Mustache men eggs from By Wilma | 9. Gold sharpie eggs from Waiting on Martha | 10. Black sharpie eggs from Obviously Sweet | 11. Rubber stamped eggs from Martha Stewart | 12. White sharpie eggs from Debbie Gonville Miller

You can see our dye-free eggs on Instagram, sometime in the future.

Have a great week!

xo, Bar

 

Parenting Test


Parenting Test

I found this on the internet and just had to share.

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How to Know Whether or Not You Are Ready to Have a Kid

(Posted by the UC Berkeley Parents Network)

MESS TEST

Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Now rub your hands in the wet flower bed and rub on the walls.

Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer

Obtain a 55-gallon box of Legos. (If Legos are not available, you may substitute roofing tacks or broken bottles.) Have a friend spread them out all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream (this will wake a child at night).

GROCERY STORE TEST

Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop at the grocery store. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

DRESSING TEST

Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure all arms stay inside.

FEEDING TEST

Obtain a large plastic jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a stout cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal (such as Fruit Loops or Cheerios) into the mouth of the jug while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

NIGHT TEST

Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8 to 12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 8:00 pm begin to waltz with the bag until 9:00 pm. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00 pm. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these, too, until 4:00 am. Set alarm for 5:00 am. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

PHYSICAL TEST

Obtain large bean-bag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10% of the beans.

Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT

Find a couple who already have a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their child’s discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training, and table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild.

Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

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Congratulations to all of you who made it through another week raising kids. High fives!

xo Bar

{my favorite photo ever is the one above of my husband who is just about the best daddy in the world. parenting with him makes me laugh until i cry}

 

A Year of Making


A Year of Making

It’s been one whole year of making from Art Bar on Small for Big! Today I am featuring a round-up of some of my faves. It is also a goodbye for me as I will be leaving my contributor position to focus on some exciting things happening here at home. Mari has been so generous and kind to give me this amazing chance to share my projects and crafts with a bigger audience. As a new blogger, she showed me the ropes and helped me find my voice. I will be forever grateful to her and her readers!!

#makeit2014

On another note, my hashtag project on instagram has been SO FUN!! Thank you all for participating. It’s awesome to see all of the stuff you guys are making. Bravo to you!! Above are some that I wanted to share with you. Keep tagging your photos with #makeit2014 as I will continue to share your handmade goodness!

row one: @mericherryla, @schaeresteipapier, @bmarcogliese

row two: @willowdaygram, @alldayalldamnday, @jesscornman

row three: @jesscornman, @mericherryla, @cdouglas9

row four: @willowdaygram, @giddyja, @simplybike

Love This {five}

And finally, another installment of the things I am loving on the interweb these days….

Love This {five}

1. Two women went on a canoe ride to the island. What they saw on the way back was unimaginable….and hints at universal principles yet to be understood.

2. A quick tutorial on drawing your hand in 3-D. The kids will love this!

3. Essential oils are what I’m buying for my one child who tends to be anxious and a worrier. I am so excited to try these!

4. Going on a road trip soon with your kids? This simple yet brilliant road trip game with keep them from fighting the whole way!

5. This article about toys made me both long to do what this mom did, and gasp at what this mom did. What do you think?

6. I want to buy this star light for my son’s room…i love this company!

7. Love, LOVE this dad. Read about his brilliant and creative way to stay connected to his 5-year old son while traveling.

8. A 13-yr old girl gives a heart-rending answer to Matt Damon about what she will do with her free time, now that her village has access to fresh water. Makes you think.

9. This 4-yr old has become an internet phenom overnight. She designs and makes dresses out of paper. I love her! If you haven’t already seen this, you might be living under a rock.

10. And lastly, these 100 calorie double fudge muffins literally look like heaven! Made with bananas and 1/4 cup sugar which you could replace with natural sweetener…they are healthy, too!

Have a great week!

xo, Bar

 

Make: Bird Nests


Make: Bird Nests

This week I wanted to continue with our theme of birds and share with you this totally cool bird nest craft. OMG, they were so fun!! The best part being the last step which is so satisfying and beautiful that we all gasped (I wish I knew how to type a gasp…anyone?).

There are bird nest tutorials all over the internet. I researched a ton about whether to use paper maché or glue, whether I wanted a full nest or a more delicate nest, and lastly….the nest materials. It was hard to make all of these decisions! After a rough start, we finally got the hang of it.

make bird nests from recycled paper | art bar

Materials:

~ Chopped paper – construction paper, newspaper, catalogs, magazines

~ Paper cutter or scissors (or a shredder would be best!)

~ Elmer’s glue + thick paint brush

~ One bowl of the size that you want your bird’s nest to be

~ Plastic wrap

make bird nests from recycled paper | art bar

How to:

Most of the tutorials online said to soak the paper strips in the glue or paper maché first, then spread them around the bowl. We tried this, but it became a goopy mess and the paper started ripping. So this is the technique we came up with. First, we cut our paper into strips about 1/4″ in thickness. The strips varied in length from 6″ to 12″. Next, we put plastic wrap on the inside of the bowl. We mixed glue with water (half and half), and brushed glue all on the inside of the bowl on top of the plastic wrap. We then took individual strips and arranged them criss-crossing around the bowl. After a while, we would paint on more glue which helped keep the layers down. We then added more paper strips, until about four layers were formed. Sometimes we would put the strips around, like a real nest. Other times just across so the pieces would stick out. When our fingers got too sticky, we wiped them on a wet paper towel.

We let the bowls dry overnight. Then….drumroll, please….we lifted the nests out of the bowl and pealed off the plastic. Voila! We had the most beautiful and delicate nests!

make bird nests from recycled paper | art bar

We played around with color, but loved the blues and browns most (with a hint of pink). I used a Paper Source catalog which is made from a really nice matte paper, and their use of color is muted and perfect. (If you don’t know about this catalog click here to get one for free! And definitely visit their online store.)

Have a crafty weekend!

xo, Bar

{nests inspired by this post}

 

 

DIY Bird Garland


DIY Bird Garland

Oh, how I wish I designed these birds! Aren’t they sooo cool? I found them on Etsy from Sabina at The Ink Nest. She has so many lovely birds to choose from I could hardly decide which ones to buy. (These are the geometric ones). They are $9 to download, which to me is a good price for an endless supply of pretty birds.

bird garland with Etsy templates | art bar

Here’s how I put this garland together:

I downloaded and printed out the birds on card stock. I cut them out and laid them on the table in the order I liked. I decided to put some wooden beads that I had dyed with jello in between the birds (fruity scented garland!). I then used a teeny hole punch to punch two holes towards the middle top of each bird. Lastly, I strung the birds with some twine.

bird garland with Etsy templates | art bar

bird garland with Etsy templates | art bar

I love the way this garland turned out…a perfect Easter decoration! Actually, I think these birds are an all-year round decor, don’t you think?

bird garland with Etsy templates | art bar

Have a great Monday! I’ll be back later in the week to share another bird related craft.

xo, Bar

 

Make: Painted Leaves


Make: Painted Leaves

paint leaves with water soluble crayons | art bar

paint leaves with water soluble crayons | art bar

Today on Art Bar Monday over at Small for Big, learn about the cool art supply that we used to paint these leaves on our vacation. Are you going on a trip soon with the kids? Don’t forget to pack a few art supplies! For other ideas about making art on vacation, check out these posts.

Happy Monday!

xo, Bar