sharing my life, my artwork & making art with kids


Being Grateful


A month ago our family was challenged to make a list of 1000 things we are thankful for. The list is AMAZING! It was intriguing to listen to the itty bitty details of gratitude from a child's point of view. There are so many blessings in all of our lives, the big all the way down to the very tiny. These blessings help us enjoy and carry on each minute, each day of our lives.

I love this free Give Thanks Banner from at Second street.

Simple Fall Leaf Garland

This leaf garland is easy to make and so colorful. You can create whatever colors or shapes you like.

To make about 3 yards of garland all you need is:
  • GOLD felt: 1/2 sheet (8 x 11")
  • BLUE felt: 1/2 sheet
  • ORANGE felt: 1/2 sheet
  • BROWN felt: 1/2 sheet
  • YELLOW embroidery floss
  • needle 
  • scissors

Kernels in a JAR

I am not very ambitious this year for Thanksgiving decor(but I do like to get my pie-making on!). I spotted a photo on Make and Takes- which was for a centerpiece... not a shelf (like mine). I didn't even add a candle, I filled up two vintage jars, put their lids on and called it good. Sometimes life is so wonderful when it's simple, right? 

Be Grateful. Give Thanks. Enjoy Life.



I absolutely love pumpkins - the color, shape, nostalgia, Halloween decor, and of course the many pumpkins desserts I can make or eat! Yummy. Our kids like to place them all over our porch during Halloween and Harvest time.

I'm going to be terribly honest and divulge that sadly, our garden this year  was almost completely unprofitable (frowny face). It was our first garden in Idaho since we moved from Oregon. Clearly I do not have a green thumb. 

Luckily, we were able to drive nearby to the Sutton family farm and buy their pumpkins. Yay! They are gifted gardeners and have many varieties of everything! Here are just a few of my favorite "Pumpkin Pretties" scattered throughout their lovely farm. Compliments of S. Sutton herself- she has a lovely eye for mixing natural objects and antique together.

Walk around, enjoy their farm as we did...

love the pumpkin-head scarecrow


Halloween "Sushi Roll" Garland {felt tutorial}

H A L L O W E E N . I S . H E R E !

I try to celebrate and decorate for Halloween in a "non-creepy" style for my kids- and for myself. We tend to make a few art projects & crafts each year to add to our Halloween decor. Lately I have a fetish with tissue paper and felt. Have you noticed? I spotted this lovely felt roll idea on the cover of Green Crafts for Children by Emma Hardy  and decided to make a Halloween garland instead. 

We made a birthday garland as a family (picture at the bottom of this post) and it only took an hour. This is the one of the easiest garlands you can make. You could make felt roll necklaces or bracelets too. I've seen a few wreaths covered in beautiful felt rolls for many occasions- These felt "sushi roll" projects are endless! 

Here is how I made this felt. Halloween. sushi roll. decor.

{sushi roll TUTORIAL}

Items needed:

  • material scissors
  • long needle 
  • 3 yards of yarn (or bakers string would be lovely!)
  • 10 - 8" x 11" black felt sheets
  • 5 - 8" x 11" white felt sheets
  • 5 - 8" x 11" orange felt sheets

  •  Cut felt sheets into 1 to 2-inch wide strips. (However wide you like) Cut the short length of sheet- 8 inches across.

  •  Layer 3 black strips and 3 orange strips and roll up. There will be excess.

  •  Cut off excess. ( I keep the excess for other fun art or sewing projects.)

  •  Make sure the needle and yarn goes through the middle of "sushi roll" so the roll won't slosh around.

  •  Repeat with alternate color. So easy right?

I wanted to hang my Halloween sushi garland across my front window outside, but my son (8 yrs)  "advised" me that it would get dirty. So it's inside on the wall. Wouldn't it be great outside though?

Another colorful garland we made as a family for birthdays and year-round kid corner decor. Now you know why I call them SUSHI ROLLS- look-a-likes! 

I think I'm going to make one for Christmas, hmmmmm...


Creating Your Own Painted Placemats {TUTORIAL}

I wanted to have my kids create table mats that could last a long time and remind them of "Family Good Times." So I asked them to think of a favorite family activity or a favorite food that we all enjoy. Then when they looked at them while sitting and eating at the dinner table they could remember the good experiences we have as a family! I also wanted them to create something with tissue paper (not achooo paper) and paint. I am completely obsessed with tissue paper and acrylic paint because the paint comes out so bright and colorful! I loved how these turned out, and I'm going to have my kids paint mine and hubby's too! This simple art project will last a long time for wonderful memories at the dinner table. 

This art project was featured in my favorite issue of The Sandbucket Issue 5 magazine. Visit Sandi's amazing blog at

There are so many possibilities, so let's get started.


Materials Needed:

  • pencil & eraser
  • blacker permanent marker
  • white tissue paper (gift paper)
  • acrylic paint & brushes
  • 11 x 17" hot seal laminate pouches (found at a copy & print store)
  • clear glue stick (optional)

Step 1:  Draw with pencil first on the tissue paper (tip: draw very lightly so the paper won't rip if you want to erase).

Step 2:  Trace your pencil drawings with black permanent marker.

Step 3:  Paint your drawings (tip 1: Paint lightly, so you can see the black outline. tip 2: Don't let your paint be so thick that it makes the paper rip. Make sure the tissue paper is not sticking underneath onto the surface as it is drying.)

Step 4:  Cut (adult help) out the paintings from the  tissue paper and arrange on inside the pouch. (tip 1: Dab a very little amount of glue stick to the back side of each object so they won't move. tip 2: You can cut along the black lines tight, or you can leave it as a sheet of tissue paper like we did for our 2 1/2 year-old. tip 3: Touch up artwork with permanent marker.)

Arrange your creation however you like. I took ours back to the store where we bought them to be hot sealed because it was included in the price (I kept my receipt).

As you can see, just about any age can paint their own. She has a lot of fun using her fingers and hands to paint!

Ages 2, 7, and 10 years old

Bon Appetit - Eat up! 


"En Plein Air" Kid Painting- a.k.a. Free Paint Time!

"En Plein Air" is French, meaning to "paint outdoors", but to me in my world, it is to create art "without rules" or any "preconceptions." I always have a project in mind when I give my kids or students art materials. My own kids sometimes just ask "Mom, can we just make an art project without having you tell us what the theme is?" Oh yeah, that would be nice right? Why didn't I think of that? 

So... one "to do" we wrote for our 
Family Summer BUCKET LIST:

  • Buy blank white canvas!
  • Paint whatever you want!
  • No Rules!

I didn't exactly make time in the Summer for this type of painting. Turns out it is a great idea for when the older kids are in school! I loved watching the facial expressions of my 3 1/2 year-old -choosing colors, brushes and paint and whatever entertained her cute little mind...

A therapeutic painting exercise for all ages... even adults.


Didn't ya know?


What is hiding in our Starry Night? Take a closer look...

Take a closer look! Inspired from The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. Definitely not what you think... 
What do you see in the painting? How many are there? Do you feel like we're playing "I SPY?" Yeah, I totally set you up! 

I wanted to create a collaborative, but individual, art project for the 4th-graders to incorporate their own hands- designing them with various lines and shapes, just using black and white permanent markers on cards stock. Excellent art exercise for shape, line design, and hand tracing for any age. 

I've always liked The Starry Night painting since I was a youngling, so I thought this would be a good introduction for other kids to become familiar with famous artwork. 

  • The kids used 3 different tip sizes of permanent markers...  

  • I painted a simple version of Starry Night and then adhered each hand with Mod Podge (using plastic wrap and a book on top to help dry flat).

  • I painted a light wash (water added) of acrylic paint of a similar color on top of the hands so each blended into the painting. You can see below there are some hands painted and some not yet. (Yep, the bold black hand really doesn't blend in because the wash of paint mostly shows up on white paper)...

This is one of our favorites "hands" down! 

As you can see this hand project could be made into any painting you like. 

Be creative. Paint. No boundaries. Have fun.