Holiday Postcards // New Designs


Holiday Postcards // New Designs

I have added three new designs to the website. Visit Late Night Cake to order your postcards for the holidays (and make your friends jealous because sending a postcard is way easier than stuffing envelopes).

And while you’re busy getting Christmassy and fixing up your house this weekend, listen to these Holiday Playlists from me to you.

Thanks, friends!

 

Homemade Wrap // Part 1


Homemade Wrap // Part 1

My mind is racing these days. How could it not? It’s THE HOLIDAYS, which in theory are supposed to be warm and cozy and a time to give and share with family. Don’t get me wrong, I was actually one of those kids growing up who forced her parents to buy a big tree when they just wanted a mini with less mess. And I would decorate the life out of that sucker with as much handmade goodness as I could fit. I have always loved Christmas. But it’s just not simple anymore. Gifts to buy, gifts to make, when to fit in Christmas with all of the different relatives, what food to cook, recitals, teacher conferences. What am I forgetting? Christmas cards, stocking stuffers, decorate the house. I have not yet perfected ‘planning ahead’, so late nights are my December standard.

What this means is that I have to channel my inner child. The one who just wants everyone to be happy, and who can’t wait to share stuff she’s made. I can do it! And not only that – you can, too!

You might think it’s crazy to make your own wrapping paper during this time of stress (there, I said it). But for me, I still have at least one child who would spend all day making these papers, so it’s actually not any work for me at all. And I get to wrap all of the teacher gifts with this beautiful art, which always makes them smile.

Here’s how to do it: Buy a roll of white paper. Put out sharpies, watercolor, markers, rubber stamps…whatever you have around. Clear the dining room table, and create! Circles, stripes, flowers, patterns…it’s that simple. The bubble wrap printing is a little more involved, I wrote about that here. Perhaps save that for another time.

Here is a link for the cute teacher gift tags.

May the force be with you…and keep smiling, it really does help the mood. ♡

 

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade


Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Every year, we are lucky enough to see the Macy’s parade from my dad’s apartment. It is a complete and utter luxury that we try not to take for granted. A slice of Americana that is so festive and unique. Our favorite part by far is watching the marching bands. Top bands from all over the country are invited to represent their state. This year they came from High Schools and Colleges from Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Texas. The NYPD marching band is always there, and this year the US Air Force band marched. Listening and watching these bands always gives us goose bumps.

A little back history on how the parade got started: In 1924, Macy’s was already a leading department store in Manhattan. As a way for its immigrant workers to celebrate their new American culture, Macy’s organized their first parade. That first year there were no oversized balloons marching down the sidewalks. Instead, live animals were borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. For various reasons, including the safety issues of parading live animals, the parade began to feature balloons in 1927. Goodyear Rubber and Tire made the balloons, the first of which was Felix the Cat. Balloons are inflated the night before the parade outside of the Museum of Natural History, and the public is invited to watch (another fun parade event).

If you aren’t one of the lucky few who has a friend or relative living along the parade route, Time Out New York has some great tips on the best spots to view the parade.

Oh, and another of our favorite parts…the cheers that errupt for the pooper-scooper men who follow behind the horses!

Let the holidays begin.

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2012


Holiday Gift Guide 2012

As you all may know by now, I’m not as much into “stuff” as I am into “make”. But I thought I would share my own holiday wish list for my kids. Santa always brings books, that is a given. Clothes are necessary for growing kids – why not make them cute? Art supplies are a must (after food, shelter, clothing & books). And games are a healthy addition to the playroom and good for the brain.

So here we go. Let’s start with books! (To read a short review on each book, visit my Pinterest board.)

Read:

Stuck – Oliver Jeffers / The Frank Show – David Mackintosh / My Travelin’ Eye – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw / I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus – Jack Prelutsky / Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School – David Mackintosh / Same, Same but Different – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw / The Night I Followed the Dog – Nina Laden / For Just One Day – Marc Boutavant / I Know Here – Laurel Croza / The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School – Laurie Halse Anderson

{A little side note on picture books: My kids are 6, 10 and 12 (soon to be a teen!)…but I still read picture books aloud to them all. It makes them better writers!}

Some of these toys & games may be on the expensive side. I believe in buying one good toy that will last through all of the childhood years, rather than 5 or 6 toys that will break or lose their interest.

Play + Wear:

1. Colorful Magnet Game  $32 good for the brain  2. Wooden Doll Pram $110 made in Denmark  3. Cursive Magna Tab $19 sensory reinforced practice  4. Oeuf NYC Polka Dot Hat $48 for kid or teen  5. Organic Anorak Hoodie $62 for boy or girl  6. Little French Suitcase $38 pretty storage  7. Cotton/Lambswool Turtle $84 stripes for boy or girl  8. Artists Blocks $25 create 6 different paintings  9. Boiled Wool Slippers $44 warm + cute and last forever  10. Polka Dot PJ’s $52 little or big girl  11. Boy’s Red T $39 will be his fave  12. Tegu Magnetic Blocks $70 innovative  13. Faces Memory Game $14 everyone is different  14. Sled & Helmut $39 outdoor winter fun  15. Orange Jump Rope $32 from nautical rope  16. Alphabet Blocks $20 beautiful

My favorite way to inspire creativity is to simply put out a medium (paint, pencils, collage…) and some plain paper and let the kids explore. But sometimes it’s nice to have a pre-packaged craft, especially during the holidays.

Create:

1. Learn to Knit Kit $62 merino wool + patterns  2. Japanese Washi Tape $18 so many possibilities  3. Neon Twine $12 bracelets galore  4. Sketchbook $12 everyone needs one  5. Marled Yarn $8 pom-poms are calling  6. Le Pen $2 each doodling + writing thank you notes  7. Liquid Water Colors $30 vibrant + gorgeous  8. Chalkboard Laptop $52 iLove this  9. Table Top Paper Holder $34 for big drawing  10. Multi Ink Pad $17 stamp the day away  11. Alphabet Stamp Kit $35 words as art  12. Button Factory $19 rainy day activity  13. Watercolor Pencils $37 make cards  14. Kraft Paper Roll $26 d.i.y. wrap

Phew! That was fun.

Happy Shopping ♡

 

 

Owl Collage // Recycled


Owl Collage // Recycled

Sometimes I wonder who is having more fun making stuff…me or the kids? I love collage! Come to think of it, as a graphic designer and quilter, I am constantly collaging. And existentially speaking, isn’t life just one giant collage of accumulated experiences? Some pieces are way in the back, hard to make out, while others are the focal point – bright and clear. It’s all about layering.

This project has many steps, but don’t be turned off. Once you have accumulated all of your collage bits, and have cut out the owls, you’re home free.

Supplies:

Cardboard (I used cereal boxes)

Metallic Tempura Paint

Pencil and Scissors (for tracing and trimming owls)

Owl template

Collage bits (old painting, old holiday cards…)

Round labels (eyes)

Elmer’s glue

First, we painted the cardboard (painting on the dull inside of the cereal boxes, not the shiny outside, so the paint would absorb and dry faster). When dry, I traced the owls and cut them out. Next I used my paper cutter to cut the old paintings and cards into squares and strips. I cut triangles for noses, and we used round labels for the eyes. I had the kids glue on their collage bits first, then put the eyes and nose on top at the end.

The kids didn’t want to stop making these. In fact, we have left this project out for more than a week and they are still making collages!

I hope you jump in and try collaging. I swear it’s not only fun, but strangely cathartic (in an existential way ♡).

{Best for ages 5 and up. Using the paper cutter is for adults only.}

 

Hurricane Sandy Relief // Ways to Help


Hurricane Sandy Relief // Ways to Help

I am an eternal optimist, and I truly believe that people are good. The devastation from hurricane Sandy has left tens of thousands of people without the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter. The people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have been working together, and working tirelessly, to help those who need it most. Donations have been pouring in, but more is needed.

Let me start with some art (of course!). I just love how small, grass-roots efforts within communities can create such beautiful graphics to promote their fundraiser and raise money for needy people. Necessity really is the mother of invention, I always say, and creativity abounds in times of need. It’s awesome.

Here are many ways in which you can help, from volunteering, to donating money or goods, to setting up your own fundraiser:

Help Masbia soup kitchen feed 600+ relocated seniors in the Park Slop, Brooklyn area. For only $6 you can feed one person a hot, nutritious meal.

City Meals on Wheels feeds home-bound elderly New Yorkers and they need to replenish their warehouse. They could also use volunteers to help deliver food.

City Harvest uses donated food, which they call rescued food, to feed the 1.7 million New Yorkers who are currently living in poverty, giving food to nearly 600 community programs.

Occupy Sandy is a coalition of people and organizations who are establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. They have created a unique way to help by setting up a registry on Amazon, making it very easy to get goods delivered directly. They need things like flashlights, ziploc bags, brooms and toiletries.

Operation Shove-it Sandy is a Facebook initiative helping victims in Staten Island. they eliminate the middleman and distribute supplies directly to victims.

Recovers.org is a recovery organizing site that allows people to offer/request assistance for their community. You can donate and help out specific neighborhoods.

The bungalow community in the Rockaways were hit hard. They have set up their own website, RockawayHelp, where you can give help and get help.

The residents of Hoboken, NJ, have been displaced and/or have lost most of their belongings due to flood waters. Many businesses were completely flooded. You can donate to RebuildHoboken.com and help that struggling community.

The most helpless victims of all are the animals. Help assist local rescue groups by donating to Best Friends Animal Society.

Tunnel to Towers is a non-profit that was set up for a fallen NY fireman after 9/11. Donate now and help with a door-to-door initiative based on Staten Island. It’s also serving Brooklyn and Long Beach on Long Island.

NY Cares needs gently used or new coats as part of a citywide coat drive.

If shopping is your thing, you can buy these items and 100% of profits will go to hurricane relief: New York State of Mind necklace with serious swag, amazing I Still Love NY t-shirt, clever + graphic Heal Hoboken t-shirt, coolest Print Aid NYC posters. And this gorgeous NYC Calendar can be yours for $24 with 30% of proceeds helping the relief effort.

Do you love yoga and live in NYC? Get on your mat and help make a difference. With a stellar lineup of rockstar teachers, join them for classes on Thursday 11/15. 100% of proceeds go to The Mayor’s Fund.

You can by diapers for the littlest Sandy victims.

None of this sounds good? You can go to Volunteer Match and find something that suits your needs!

And there is always the Red Cross.

Do you want to set up your own fundraiser? It’s easy with sites like Indiegogo, First Giving, and Crowdrise.

Let’s all do something right now, TODAY.

{Bake sale poster via A Cup of Jo}

Parenting // Discipline Less + Understand More


Parenting // Discipline Less + Understand More

Every once in a while, I come across something that I really feel like I need to share. This chart was created by Carol Tuttle, author of the book The Child Whisperer, which I have never read. I wish I had had this book when my girls were little to add to my parenting-book library. I’m now starting to buy the how-to-deal-with-teenagers variety. But I still have a six-year old and this chart has worked brilliantly twice already! I won’t bore you with my child’s almost-tantrums and how I avoided them, but suffice it to say that within 30 seconds of reading this chart I realized I had a sensitive little boy who wasn’t being heard by his busy mama.

I say we all print this out and hang it in the bathroom (the place I hide when I can’t take one more child crying…or the place where husbands might read it!).

Good luck mamas! And happy monday from your friend Bar ♡

 

Color Study // Liquid Water Color


Color Study // Liquid Water Color

color study with liquid watercolor ~ art making for all ages | art bar

color study with liquid watercolor ~ art making for all ages | art bar

Aren’t these paintings so pretty? I had a little art class with the kids in the neighborhood to try out these color studies and they really got into it – creating some stunning pieces. To read the full post, hop over to Melanie’s blog You Are My Fave. Her blog is just lovely, with a winning combination of the cutest ideas + photos + writing. And not only that, she is so nice! Today I am a guest on her blog and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you Melanie!

 

Self-Portraits: What They Reveal


Self-Portraits: What They Reveal

I recently did small paintings with the kids, which I wrote about here. One of their “assignments” was to paint a self-portrait. I helped them a little bit by drawing the proportions for them lightly in pencil. This way, they all had the same starting point. I had them use a black sharpie to draw their face and hair, and then use watercolor to paint the rest.

I revisited this project often over the course of a month, inviting their friends and other neighborhood kids to make one whenever they happened to be over at our house. I wanted a collection of self-portraits because there was something that was beginning to fascinate me. As I watched these kids (ages 5 to 12) draw in their facial features, they all had a different innate style. Some drew their mouth gigantic, some so small they were hardly there. There were noses and eyes in all sizes, too. I began to wonder…were these drawings arbitrary, or did they mean something? I did a little research and here is what I discovered:

Eyes: Large eyes indicate intellectual curiosity, a vivid imagination, and sensitivity. Small eyes show organization.

Nose: A large nose shows decisiveness, an idealistic mind and bossiness. A small nose shows kindness and sensitivity.

Lips: A large mouth show emotional availability and a sensitive nature. Full lips indicate a confident, spontaneous, risk-taker with a charming nature. Thin lips indicate a measured and selective person who appreciates subtlety.

Forehead: A large forehead shows an ability to learn and digest information. A smaller forehead shows a person who acts first and thinks afterwards. An average forehead means you’re intelligent and able to see two sides to every story.

Of course we should take this all with a grain of salt. They could have been copying their neighbor (ha)! But interesting, nonetheless.

 

 

If I Had a Store // No. 1


If I Had a Store // No. 1

I dream about owning a shop, oh, just about every day. Pinterest has allowed me to live out my fantasy, without buying merchandise or paying rent. Are you crazy about Pinterest like I am? You can follow me and my obsession if you’d like. If you are not a pinner (I envy you), well then you can enjoy this post.

mini dachshunds // most beautiful hats // melamine plates //  stainless mixing bowls // perfect pom-pom yarn // paper pom-poms // vintage school chairs // art supply display // glass pendants // floral napkins // bed linens // rainbow dresser

I’ve labeled this post No. 1 because I’m quite certain I will be adding to my store in the near future!