3 Steps to Painting Wooden Plates

1. Grab your wooden dishes and add a solid coat of acrylic paint to each one. Kids can do this at almost any age! This step takes about 2 minutes for older kids, and about 10 minutes and 2 shirts for younger kids.
2. Add simple stripes along the edges and polka dots to the middle, (by dipping the eraser of a pencil in paint.) 5-10 minnutes, depending on who is holding the brush.3. When that dries, paint or spray a layer of varnish over them for durability. You are done. In 10-20 minutes, you have a new set of whimsical dishes!*Use clear glass plates on top when you eat.
Sorry for the gross hot dog picture; we had a firepit night tonight!



The kids and I have been working on "poetrees" to aid our writing on certain subjects. It's a fun way to encourage artistic brainstorming, for kids who aren't old enough (or excited about) outlining or list-making.
Choose your topic, which can be written on the tree trunk, and brainstorm on the leaves or branches.
The Artist-child decided to write a poem about herself. Her leaves were descriptions about her appearance, personality and interests: natural, horsey, artistic, and so forth.

For our sketchbook work, we did "free draw." The Artist chose horses. Again. NatureMan and Dash drew monsters, using a library book as a guide. They claimed their pictures are not yet ready to be "published." I worked on the human body.


Desert Landscapes with watercolor and black crayon

These scenes are extremely easy, and you need only a few basic art supplies:

white paper

red, orange, and yellow watercolor

black crayon

Paint a simple sunset (which can include the sun, or just layers of red, orange and yellow.)

Draw cacti and other small plants, and then go over all of the foreground in solid black.
(Below, one of my children, who shall go unnamed, could not stick to the color scheme. He is a *unique* little rascal!)

It creates a beautifully contrasting landscape.


Magazine transformations

Today we did a magazine transformation challenge.
I cut the heads off (or faces out of) magazine pictures (it's as fun as it sounds) and then let the kids "fill-in-the-blanks."


The other magazine transformations are here. I also used the chopped off heads on other papers, for the kids to draw on hair and bodies. It's a good get-you-started art diving board. The artist got fairly elaborate with hers, even drawing in background scenes and writing a story to go along with it.
Little Lad's Before shot

and After (uh oh, my little man looks like Hitler!)

Several more "After" products:

Have fun with your kids every day!


mixed media painting on canvas

Just experimenting with mixed media
For Art Night awhile back, I had bought several extra canvases on clearance at Hobby Lobby. I've decided spring break is definitely a good time to get workin' on them.
I like the simplicity of this. I drew and painted the face and neck, and used layered paper for wings, and a paperdoll body. Anyone who feels the need to create will understand..


I cut my books

Okay, yes, we've been through this before.
I. Cut. Books.
Yes, yes, I do.
I've heard people say before, "I really wanted to make an altered book, but when it came right down to it, I just couldn't slash the pages."
Well, I don't have that problem. I rip, slash, and gouge out whatever I don't want. And, before you see me as a merciless book-killer, let me justify myself. The book below was lovely, old and torn, fraying apart and worn. It may have been loved...but then was left, abandoned, forgotten. It was crammed with many other treasure-books into a plastic tub at a thrift store, and sold for a quarter. So, I could cram it right back into my bookcase and leave it there, soon-forgotten (too many pages were torn to actually read the book,) or I could give it new life and purpose. This is its second chance, people!!
I call it "Youth." You can see that Youth, of course, has wings. She sits seemingly bored where she is, hair carried by the gentle breeze...while the real treasure lies just beyond, in Home and companionship. Yes, I'm just that deep.

shoebox dioramas

The older kids have been working on the dioramas of their latest stories . As always, The Artist wrote hers about horses. No surprise. :-)

Nature Boy's story is about pirates. I suppose the lighthouse and flamingos are all wrapped into the story....? We'll see. He isn't finished with it yet, and I'm curious what else will be added. They had to finish and revise the stories before starting on the dioramas (I didn't want them finding a cool picture of a Disney character and sticking in the box, just for the heck of it.) Dash has also started one (dictated to me) that is about aliens in outer space. Don't the stories match their personalities so well??Perhaps I should write my own story and make a shoebox. It's tempting!


Making a mini-book from an old hardcover

Have you ever come across an old classic, worn and falling apart? I loved the front cover of this book, and picked it up at a flea market. The pages were falling out, and the spine was destroyed. It could have been kept, untouched, on a shelf for display, but I believe this book deserves attention.
So I cut it up.
Yes, book-lovers everywhere, you can cringe. I LOVE all forms.
I cropped the front and back covers into perfect little squares, cut pages from the book the same size, along with some scrapbook paper. Then I poked holes through all and bound it with ribbons, a charm and button.
Naturally I had to paint on a bit, too.Voila. Beautiful mini-book.
This one was sent off to live with another mixed-media-art-fan-friend. :-)

Time Flies

Sometimes I get the urge to alter something other than books and clothes. This goes hand-in-hand with art therapy... how do you express what you're feeling? Words can't always do justice.


Altered couture

After looking through Somerset Altered Couture, I was inspired to reuse some embroidered fabric. One evening I whipped up some small bird embroidered pillows. The lace edging is actually a pocket. Small pearls and decorative buttons are sewn here and there, and one clump together in the corner. I like how it turned out, so it flew off to live with a friend.