Creativity Takes Courage


Creativity Takes Courage

The winds are picking up outside, the trees are swaying. I think my power is going to go out at any minute. I should be packing, we have a noon town-wide curfew. We are going to a friend’s house, to her basement. It’s Frankenstorm 2012. But here I am at my computer, creating one last post. Some words to think about this week while we have no power (they are predicting a 10 day outage).

I love this quote from one of my favorite painters, Henri Matisse. For me, creativity means stepping outside of the box and putting yourself out there.

Stay safe, my friends! (During the storm, I mean…not in your creative life!)

 

Candy Wrapper Halloween Banner


Candy Wrapper Halloween Banner

It’s now 5 days until Halloween, and my kids are at their breaking point with me. I brought the Halloween boxes up two weeks ago but they are still sitting in the living room untouched. Until today that is! I found a ziploc bag full of candy wrappers and remembered that I had meant to make a candy wrapper banner last year. So, despite thoughts of cavities/promoting junk food running through my head, I made the banner. And whadyaknow? It’s pretty sweet.

It’s a multi-step process, but not hard. It took me about two hours from start to finish.

Materials:

String (I used Divine Twine, but black string would be better)

Large Needle

Colored paper (mine is from Staples)

Scissors, pencil, double-sided tape

Candy wrappers (I also threw in a few muffin papers for extra green)

To make the letters, I folded the paper lengthwise into three sections. This way, I knew the letters would be the same height. I drew the letters freehand and cut them out. I used double-sticky tape to attach the letters to the black paper. Next, I laid out the letters and the wrappers. Then I started from the end, and wove my needle in and out of each piece. I made sure to pull the first wrapper (which will actually be the wrapper at the end, to the furthest right) far, far down the thread so I had enough room to add everything.

That’s it! I attached it to my fireplace mantle on the little hooks that I use to hang stockings.

I’m not much of a black + orange girl, so this colorful banner makes me happy. My kids will be so proud!

This banner would also look really cute (ok, cuter actually) if it said “trick-or-treat”.

Happy Candy Day!

 

 

 

Drawing Books for Kids


Drawing Books for Kids

I came across this Fingerprint book by Marion Deuchars and it sparked something in me. I loved making fingerprint animals when I was a growing up! I can’t believe I haven’t tried this with my kids. I am definitely adding this book to my Amazon cart for Christmas, I’m so excited.

I decided to do a little research to find the best drawing books that ignite creativity in the little ones. As you can imagine, there are many books on drawing out there. I wanted to keep the list short and pick just the ones that I thought would instantly excite the kids, with very few directions and good graphics.

I could not make a list of drawing books without including award winner Ed Emberly. I would spend hours as a kid learning how to draw from his books. I still have one of them on my shelf! Granted, it’s not the open-ended art experience that I promote in our house. But the kids do LOVE it, and it keeps them busy. Also, there comes a time in their young lives when they realize that they can’t draw something perfectly. This usually happens around the age of 7 or 8. I found that my girls would start to draw lots of hearts, peace signs and rainbows. I can’t tell you how much this drives me crazy. So taking out Ed Emberly can actually free them up and remind them that drawing is fun and that they should try new things. This book is also great for the reluctant artist. (Ages 4 and up.)

Fotoplay by Mj Bronstein is an art activity book that blends realism and fantasy. It’s rare to find a book like this that uses photos as prompts to spark the imagination. It’s smart and funny and gets kids to think outside of the lines. Great for road trips or vacation days. (Ages 5 and up.)

642 Things To Draw is the perfect inspirational sketchbook. With its collection of offbeat and clever drawing prompts, this book is perfect for that child or teen who loves to draw. Inside this simple book are blank pages with just a prompt at the top: A rolling pin, a robot, a pickle, a water tower, a hammock, a wasp, a safety pin, a kiss. I am getting this for all three of my kids (and will secretly fill some pages myself!). (Ages 4 and up)

I will keep searching for more great art books and share them with you again!

Ed Emberly Photos via Trula Kids.

 

Holiday Postcards from Late Night Cake


Holiday Postcards from Late Night Cake

Holiday Postcards are up on the website! I do love these new cards. I’ve thrown tradition out the window this year and just designed from my heart. I think the postcards are pretty & happy and they make me smile.

I am running a 20% off special until October 31st at midnight for all of you organized-plan-ahead type people. All you have to do is become a fan on my Facebook page.

I am also launching a new line of square postcards, perfect for Instagram photos.

Click over to Late Night Cake to see the whole collection.

 

 

Wall of Sight Words


Wall of Sight Words

My son is six and learning to read. To learn his sight words, we use little cards and put about 10-15 in a baggie next to his bed. Once he knows them cold, we tape them to his wall. Now that we have so many up there, we can make full sentences!

Me: The old fly can look this way and that.

Him: People who find number two like each other. (Fits of laughter.)

Me: Many old people walk into each other. (Uncontrollable laughter.)

Him: You can just walk there to do number two. (Wetting his pants with laughter.) 

As you can tell, every sentence for him involves ‘number two’ which I innocently taped next to each other. But I will take potty humor as long as there is laughter and learning!

Tip: Only put the words they know cold up on the wall, this way it makes playing the sentence game fun and not work. They are proud of their growing knowledge!

 

Why Art in School Matters


Why Art in School Matters

A little something to think about this week on the subject of art for kids (my favorite subject).

I came across an article in the Boston Globe about the importance of teaching art in school in this era of standardized tests. If you have the time to read the whole article, do it. It’s not long and it’s very good. Here are a few excerpts that I thought were the most profound:

………………………

“Art for Our Sake: School arts classes matter more than ever – but not for the reasons you think” By Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland

“There is a very good reason to teach arts in schools, and it’s not the one that arts supporters tend to fall back on…[that] art makes you smarter.

In a recent study of several art classes in Boston-area schools, we found that arts programs teach a specific set of thinking skills rarely addressed elsewhere in the curriculum – and that far from being irrelevant in a test-driven education system, arts education is becoming even more important as standardized tests…exert a narrowing influence over what schools teach.

We need the arts because in addition to introducing students to aesthetic appreciation, they teach other modes of thinking [and skills] we value.

Such skills include…reflection, self-criticism, [persistence], [expression] and the willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes. All are important to numerous careers, but are widely ignored by today’s standardized tests…which reveal little about a student’s intellectual depth or desire to learn, and are poor predictors of eventual success and satisfaction in life.

Those who have learned the lessons of the arts…how to see new patterns, how to learn from mistakes, and how to envision solutions – are the ones likely to come up with the novel answers needed most for the future.”

………………………

Ok, well this article enlightened and inspired me so much that I had to make a little poster to hang up on my wall and share with my kids. Pass this around to EVERYONE! And give your child’s art teacher a big hug when you see him or her to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Have a great week!

{update: this poster is now for sale!}

 

31 DIY Halloween Costumes


31 DIY Halloween Costumes

As a kid, Halloween was my favorite holiday OF-ALL-TIME!!! As a mom, I really find it hard to embrace. It’s so much work, the decorations are not that cute, and all I can think of the whole night is cavities. Of course, my kids are gaga over this one night (as they should be) so I try no to be so ho-hum.

Making costumes is one part I can really get into. I mean, look at these…they are awesome! One-Man-Band boy? That is just brilliant. And the Abercrombie model? Ok, I know we all wish we’d thought of that!

So here we go – 31 make-it-yourself costume ideas. I have links where I could find them, but most of these you could probably pull together without help because you are cleverer than you think!

Audrey Hepburn // Gnome // Octopus // Mummy // Charlie Brown // Jane Fonda’s Workout // Clark Kent // Cabbage Patch Doll // Rocket Boy // 80′s Aerobics Girl // Nacho Libre // Raining Cats + Dogs // Albert Einstein // Spaghetti + Meatballs // One Man Band // Dwight Schrute (from The Office) // Cotton Candy // Rin Tin Tin // Scientist // Scuba Diver // Russell + Carl (from the movie Up) // Bird Wings // Super Hero Girl // Tarantula // Tea Bag // Steve Jobs // Ratatouille // Waldo // Wilson (from Castaway) // Nerd Baby // Abercrombie Model

I did not make any of these costumes. I will share mine some other time.

Good luck + have fun!!

 

Small Paintings


Small Paintings

These small paintings are beautiful, aren’t they? I love this project. It is perfect for any age (we had ages 2 to 12 painting these sweet little gems), and the white edge is so striking and arty it just makes me happy. Truly, you could have the ugliest little painting but when that tape comes off it becomes a Rothko or an O’Keefe. It’s magical!

Supplies:

Watercolors (we used our awesome new set from Vilac)

Tape (I tried both masking and washi to similar effect)

Brushes

Sponge

Watercolor paper (cut to 4 x 6)

Tape down a piece of paper for each person (our border is about 1/4″). I put out newspaper but you could easily tape it to another piece of paper so it’s movable, or directly to your work surface. This is not a messy project, the newspaper was really there just to protect the table from the tape. We did several variations on the small theme: small portraits, small still lifes and small abstracts. (For more in depth instruction on using watercolors with kids, you can read my post here.) The only rule was to cover all of the paper with paint. (This makes for a more dramatic white edge!)

Once they are dry, sloooowwwwly peel off the tape. And then, voila! You have beautiful art to hang in your home.

Enjoy this project…and you should make one, too! Leave the supplies out for a day or two and make many paintings so that you can hang them all up together.

Via Red Bird Crafts

 

Wishes for Baby


Wishes for Baby

We had my SIL’s shower! She was her beautiful, glowy self. It wasn’t at my house, but I wanted to contribute something to the day, a keepsake that she could take home and cherish forever. I saw something, somewhere (Pinterest probably) that sparked an idea. I didn’t want it to be too much work for anyone (people at a party really don’t want to think, myself included). These WISHES were just right –  small enough so that you could write something quick, but sweet enough to save and read over again through the years. And an endearing way to decorate the nursery…perhaps?

You, too, could make these! Use wrapping paper (small, light patterns work best), rubber stamps, colored paper, or let the kids decorate each animal. Here are the animal templates:

turtle-bunny-bird // elephant-giraffe-butterfly

I used mini clothespins and ribbon to hang up the wishes. But you could also put them in a keepsake box or paste them in a book.

Now we just wait for baby!!

 

XO – In My Room


XO – In My Room

Ok, freaking out about this amazing furniture. I want every piece! I would have to get a new house, which is an obstacle I admit. Wow, though. Just beautiful.

Here’s a little bit about XO – In My Room. Based in Barcelona, Spain, the company was started by three brothers. (I love it even more! A family business is so cool.) Each piece is handmade from reclaimed wood and other high quality materials, and are named after and inspired by their own kids (10 between them). I love their vintage modern feel…I could stare at these photos all day! Is that weird?

via Babyccino Kids