31 December 2011

Portable Easel and Sketchbox

I had this idea, of Spud owning his own portable easel that housed a sketch box, for a couple of months. I searched high and low for one locally, that wasn't too big, too plastic-y, or too expensive. I found all kinds of things online but they were in the US which meant too expensive to ship or they wouldn't ship at all.

Finally, at good old Opus, I found the Sooke Mini Table Easel for $25! I filled it with 3 Niji waterbrushes (these are genius for al fresco watercolour painting! They hold the water in the brush handle, simply squeeze), 25 Sharpies (so many colours! and they don't run when you paint over them), 2 bamboo mechanical pencils, kneaded eraserwatercolour pencils, all of which were chosen for their portability. And a sketchbook with heavy paper that can withstand a lot of water without getting wrinkled. 

I love it because he can use it at home, but we can take on adventures and document what we see. Our first adventure was on Christmas Day. It was a wee chilly. Next time we will bring gloves.

Here is Hubs practicing the new ukelele that Santa brought, at the same time! Art and music on Christmas Day. Wouldn't have it any other way.

25 December 2011

Santa Ornament 2011

I recently posted about Santa's habit of adding an ornament to our tree. Look! He did it again ... that's one cute Robo-Santa!

 Thanks Santa.

Santa's Cookies 2011: Toblerone Shortbread

OK, I'm not really a "Kraft" kind of girl but this recipe just looked so darn easy AND delicious, I couldn't resist. And they are both those things: easy to make and so delish! Santa only left crumbs behind. They must have been good.

The recipe we used, unchanged, is here.

Cookies for Santa of Christmas's past posted about here, here and here.

Happy Holidays!

More cards, from our Christmas's past, here and here.

24 December 2011

Living Room Sleep Over By the Tree

Spud: "This is the best morning, ever!"

Wish this could be a Christmas tradition: a family sleepover on the living room floor, dozing off to the Christmas tree lights, waking up with a movie and breaky in "bed". Maybe when Christmas Eve lands on a weekend, and we aren't travelling, and we aren't entertaining the next day ... so once every 14 years? You're on!

23 December 2011

Makes Me Happy: Holiday Lights

This year we did 2 light tours! Just can't get enough of driving around, as a family, with cocoa, Christmas tunes, and of course a pre-mapped out route on our gps. This house was a highlight with 50,000 lights! But they are all wonderful. Some of my favourites are when a string of houses in a row does it up tastefully and together they just make the whole street so pretty. It's hard to capture that on camera.

We also took in the winter solstice labyrinth this year. It's not a particularly spiritual event for us but I LOVE it. It's so warm and pretty and always takes way longer to walk through the whole thing than I think is even possible — it's just set up in a standard sized gym and it took us about 15 minutes to complete. And there's something sort of cool about participating in a ritual so old — it makes me happy to think of ancient people finding warmth and comfort on the longest night of the year in this way.

09 December 2011

Classic Paper Chain Garland

This is such a classic decorating project and very well suited to little hands, I can't believe I've waited this long to do this with Spud!

I repurposed some card stock I had leftover from a work project and we made patterns and textures using metallic silver pens and red felts. Add one eager child, a cutter for making paper strips, some glue, and voila!

08 December 2011

Friday Night Short: Back to the Start Stop-Motion

Well, it's not actually a short, it's an ad. But it's an ad worthy of movie night for sure.

We will also be watching the "Making of" video which you can find on Colossal: Art & Design. Thanks to Julie for this one!

>>Friday night is movie night in our house and we like to start with a good short or two. To see others we recommend check out some previous posts here.

07 December 2011

Santa Ornaments

The halls are decked! We had a busy weekend re-organizing our apartment to make room for some serious decking! More to come on that later. But the best part is always trimming the tree. For me it's about rediscovering each ornament, each one with a memory attached to it. And me telling the stories behind them and Spud saying "I know Mom, you told me that last year" and me saying "And I'm going to tell you again next year too so get used to it." Ha!

Santa hangs an ornament on the tree each year, always of himself, because he knows how much Spud loves him. This is a welcome addition to what was a rather adult looking tree before our Spud came along.

The Airstream-esque trailer is an absolute favourite as campers and trailers are a current obsession of our dear Spud's.

This one, another favorite, which could easily be mistaken as coming from the big guy himself actually came from a dear friend Wendy-bee during Spud's obsession with trains ... she always knows the perfect gift.

29 November 2011

DIY Felt Angry Bird Charms

The inspiration for these came from Kids' Crafternoon: Felting. Scroll down to those incredibly cute zombies. Spud liked the idea of making those charms, or backpack buddies as he calls them, but he wanted to do some Angry Birds instead. It was remarkably easy to modify the instructions once we printed out some reference images from the web.

It worked out well; he was so jazzed about having mini stuffies that he was willing to learn new sewing skills to make it happen. And he is awesome at threading needles ... must be those young, fresh eyes. Now he wants to make ALL the birds AND the pigs. And a sling shot. And building materials. Phew.

28 November 2011

Kids' Crafternoon: Robot Stuffie

I had an opportunity to review these 2 great books, on Ohdeedoh today. Kids' Crafternoon: Felting and Beading edited by Kathreen Ricketson of whipup. Above is the fruit of Spud and my labours this weekend. I'll post another project here tomorrow.

25 November 2011

Wee Science: Investigating Acids and Alkalis

For the past couple of weeks Spud's class has been involved in presenting science experiments. Each student has been given a unique experiment on which to practice: Spud's topic was on acids and alkalis.

We had a ton of fun preparing for the experiment leading up to the big day. First Hubs and Spud made an "indicator" out of chopped red cabbage. They boiled the cabbage in water and then ran it through a strainer. The colour turns out simply stunning and makes up for its rather smelly nature. Next, they froze the indicator in an ice cube tray.

So what makes this an "indicator"? Well, it changes colour when added to other liquids. The colour it changes to depends on the acidity of the liquid you put it in. So the next step is to prepare 3 liquids: one with lemon juice and water (acid), one with just water (neutral) and one with baking soda and water (alkali).

And look at the pretty colours! You know it's a neutral when you add the indicator cubes and the liquid remains purple. It turns pink when you add it to an acid. And it turns blue when you add it to an alkali.

I sat in on the presentation and saw a couple of the others too. As you can imagine, it was all seriously cute. At the end of each presentation Spud's teacher asks the class to offer up "2 stars and wish". In the creative world, this is called a "feedback sandwich" (shout out to Sparks!). It essentially means you find two good things to say about the presentation and one bit of constructive criticism. So can you guess what the one wish was? Consistently for each presenter? "I wish that your experiment had blown up". How awesome is that? Gotta love the 7 year old set.

Leading up to presenting day, Spud didn't seem nervous at all (which made me wonder if there was a baby switch at the hospital or something). But the day before his presentation, he started to complain of nervousness. I felt so bad for him. I can truly empathize. But I desperately didn't want to put my issues on him. The only thing I could think to do was give him some strategies for coping. Number 1 was "practice". "The better you know your stuff the easier it will be", I told him. Number 2: "get a big hug from a loved one". I told him that hugs actually physically squeeze out nervousness. Before dinner we had some time for cuddling on the couch, including some nervousness-squeezing. A couple of minutes later I saw he was writing a note, but I didn't think too much about it, until after dinner when I saw the note placed on his experiment gear waiting at the front door for tomorrow morning.

It said "Don't forget you had a hug".

21 November 2011

"The Robot Dress"

Just got the sweetest note from the incredibly talented Naomi, of Teacup Dinosaur, who made this simply adorable dress for her simply adorable daughter using some of my Robot Gear Garden designs. I love the detail she's put into it. I love how not-girlie the fabric is and how girlie the dress is. I am SO gushing right now.

To learn more, pay Naomi a visit.

(Images: Teacup Dinosaur)

17 November 2011

Top 10 in Tea Towel Contest

What does this mean? Spoonflower makes the top 10 winning designs available for sale! To see all 10 click here. I love the winning one a lot! But I'm also excited to get mine in the mail.

Floating City Art Project

Spud was home last week from school and we kept busy with all sorts of projects. Here's one we found on Art Projects for Kids. It was a quick and easy mixed media project that grabbed his attention. "I'll only do it if I can make it into a floating city!" "Go to town!" I say.

I love his stormy background. Here's mine ... not nearly as interesting ...

· Watercolour paper
· Watercolour pencils, brushes, jar of water, rags, glue and scissors
· Patterned paper, cut in circles, for the balloons
· White pastel,  to use as a resist, for the clouds
· Sharpie (we blow dried the pieces dry before adding Sharpie marker)

16 November 2011

Makes Me Happy: Giant Trees

We took some time to appreciate the towering trees at Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island this past weekend. This one, the tallest of the bunch, would tower over the leaning tower of Pisa.

14 November 2011

Granny Square Blanket Done!

I have to say I'm digging how the colour scheme turned out! And I've found it a good home ... baby Lukas who recently reached his 1 year milestone. With winter coming up he can layer with this blanket in his stroller or car seat. It's far from perfect but it WAS made with love. Hope he likes it!

Thanks to Spud for modeling it for me in between playtime stints at Madrona Beach this weekend.

11 November 2011

3 Dozen Date Night Questions

I've done it. I've put together a list of 3 dozen date night questions inspired by a post I did on ohdeedoh. I included a bunch of links with thought starters for making one's own list. Which I've now done. And I know I'm being a geek about it but I'm looking forward to taking it on a test run.

Why you may wonder? We LOVE talking about our obsession, our son. And do and we will. And we talk about current events when either of us have been listening to our favourite CBC radio shows of late. But there's something that really appeals to me about taking some time to take stock — about our past, about what's happening right now in our lives, and about where we want to go. And have some fun with it. I hope this inspires someone who is similarly inclined ...

  1. What is the grossest thing you’ve ever had to do? The craziest?
  2. If you could bring a fictional character to life in order to save the world right now, who would it be?
  3. If you could keep only one memory of your past what would it be?  
  4. What historical event would you like to have been a part of?
  5. How has the world changed the most since you were a kid? What do you wish hadn’t changed?
  6. What is one of the most romantic times we’ve had together?
  7. Complete the sentence: “I’m sure my mom and dad wished I would have…”
  8. What is your favourite memory of the two of us together before babies? Second favourite?
  9. What is the most disgusting food you’ve ever tasted?
  10. Who are the friends that you wish you still had?
  11. What do you think is my most embarrassing moment, since we’ve known each other?
  12. Who do you want to forgive?

  1. What would each letter in your first name stand for if you made an acrostic out of it?
  2. In what ways do you like to be shown appreciation?
  3. How would you describe an ideal day? Ideal weekend?   
  4. What is your greatest fear? What other fears do you have?
  5. Lately, what has preoccupied your thoughts?
  6. What kinds of gifts do you like?
  7. What is the best compliment I could give you?
  8. If you were a geometric shape, what would it be?
  9. What’s your favourite kind of meal? What’s your top 5? Top 5 desserts?
  10. What’s your favourite restaurant? What are your top 5?
  11. What things stress us the most? How can we change that?
  12. What one thing on your bucket list could you do this week if you put your mind to it

  1. Who do you think will go senile first, you or me?
  2. What does romance mean to you?
  3. If we had two days alone together, how would be your ideal way of spending them?
  4. Would you ever consider wearing matching outfits?
  5. What could I do to best help you in the next 30 days?
  6. What would you do right now if you found out you had one day left to live? What about 6 months?
  7. In what way would you like to grow in the next year?
  8. In what way would you like to see me grow in the next 6 months?
  9. What kind of old person do you want to be?
  10. If you could change one room in our home what would you do with it?
  11. What’s the first thing you would do if you won $10,000? What about $100,000?
  12. What do you look forward to the most?

10 November 2011

Spoonflower 2012 Calendar Tea Towel Contest

Here it is. My latest project I was talking about here. And it's entered in a Spoonflower contest this week. You should see all the amazing tea towel designs! If you want to vote (that would be awesome!) hop over here.

UPDATE: Contest is closed. This design came in the top 10!

07 November 2011

Floss Wrapped Twigs

Having fun crafting with sticks and stones and hey, why not? And I'm sharing a little trick I learned below ...

So, where did all the ends go? Want to know the trick? 

Maybe this is obvious to everyone but I was surprised and tickled when Hubs taught me this clever end-hiding method. Here's the step-by-step.

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