Why I feel called to craft: Part 2

Why I feel called to craft

The stories my mom would tell me about my grandparents and great grandparents, etc, shaped my narrative and formed my identity. My great-grandmother, Marilla Zatelle, painted porcelain, sewed her own clothes, and was truly a force of nature–it probably helped that she was 6′ tall. I remember visiting her in the hospital before she passed away at age 97 and knowing that I was Danish stock like she was.

From left to right: Dorothy, me, Carl, Zatelle, my mom Kim

Her daughter, Dorothy, my grandmother, even though she has passed on continues to be my artistic muse and great human being icon. She was pretty much an angel on earth with a wicked sewing room in Los Angeles, California. I dedicated my book, Craft the Rainbow, to her and even wrote an entire article about her and Carl, my grandfather, in volume 3 of Kinfolk Magazine about their wellness routine. They are legendary for their subdued natures, gentle kindness, endless generosity, and health regimen (no sugar! though I remember Grape Nuts in all natural apple juice as a real treat).

Dorothy at her piano. This was definitely in the 90s.

This is Dorothy and my sister, Caitlin. 

Going back to the beginning

But let’s get back to that sewing room. Dorothy and Carl built their house in 1951 in Bel-Air. That’s Bel-Air before Fresh Prince, so the houses weren’t Kardashian proportioned or bedazzled. Dorothy was infamous for protecting her newly done hair with a grocery bag when it rained and other such resourceful tricks that come when you’re a product of the Depression. She taught me to sew and whenever we’d come up to visit from Orange County, sometimes for days at a time, I’d churn out all sorts of doll clothes for her Shirley Temple dolls. For one Christmas I sewed her a green drawstring bag with lace tied at the ends and filled it with all sorts of nuts…because that’s what I could get my hands on. She said she loved it, but I still cringe at the thought of nuts from who knows where.

Her sewing room consisted of fabrics that she had collected from all around the world piled in a beautiful yet simple armoire. I remember feeling in awe of her collection. And her ribbons! Gah! And buttons?! They were extraordinary. Thinking about her sewing room now, I can see how it’s MUCH easier to make thing when you have a designated place to create. I’m working on that concept for my own house.

Dorothy sitting on the first platform.

My mother

Now, let’s talk about Dorothy’s daughter, my mom, Kim. She and her two sisters and brother grew up in LA, but the way she describes it seems much more of a quaint village than a major city that happened to make movie magic. For example, Dorothy played the violin for Hollywood music scores, my aunt and uncle were in TV shows and films, and their friends were in this show and that. My mom attended the Academy Awards with a friend. You know, stories like that that I only find out as an adult.

But their real talent was dancing. My mom and her sisters all left home when they were 16 to go dance at the School for American Ballet and the subsequently, in the New York City Ballet. The long story short is that my mom got injured after about a year and moved back to LA where she started a modeling. She says she walked into Seventeen Magazine and walked out on the cover of the January 1969 issue. Again, quaint neighborhood vibe? I don’t know. It’s hard for us to understand that mentality now that everyone and literally their dog aspires for fame.

Fast forward to her career in interior design, calligraphy, music and more to when she becomes a mother of four in five years. I’ve mentioned it before, but this magnet on our fridge growing up really does describe my mom the best: “A creative mess is better than tidy idleness”. And thus, we grew up in constant messes. My mom let us try all the things and would encourage us to think differently. How is everyone else doing something? Then do something else.

My childhood

Our school reports were pretty epic. There wasn’t a three ring binder in sight. We figured out clever ways of binding the books according to what the subject was. For example, for my report on Claude Monet (another artistic hero to this day), I made a cover out of cardboard and cut it out to make it look like a painter’s palette and secured it together with a paintbrush. I mean, it did get to the point where I was jealous of those three ring binders, but I see the magic of it all now.

When I was in kindergarten or first grade, Mom opened a beautiful shop called En Provence on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar and it was one of my first experiences off all encompassing magic. A true wonderland. Like old houses in Provence, she plastered straw into the walls and hand painted everything! It was a gift and furnishings shop and I think it must have been the most well-curated experience. The furniture was made and painted by my uncle, Dean Bradshaw. You can see a glimpse of it in the picture above of my grandmother. That bed was created by him as well as the paintings. But life became a bit much with four kids and so she closed up shop after 4 years.

My first Craft Club

When I was about 10 or 11 and I started a club called Crafts for Holidays. I’m not so much proud of the name, but what can you do. The club was modeled after my mom’s church group where they would get together monthly and make or do something. So, for Halloween we made can tin pumpkins. We sponged on paint in a variety of oranges and painted on faces. Then for Thanksgiving we appliquéd  turkeys onto corduroy pillows. For Christmas we turned a string of pinecones into reindeer complete with a red pom for Rudolph. I don’t know if my friends were into crafting, well I know they weren’t because the club didn’t last too much longer.

ANYWHO, I tell all this because it makes more sense how I arrived at what I do now knowing who I come from. I mean, I wasn’t aching to start a craft-based business at first. In fact, I never would have entered my brain. I was much more involved in music (I played the cello growing up) and tennis (I was on my high school tennis team) than I was in the arts. I wouldn’t even say that I did it as a hobby at that point because I was really into getting good grades. But because my childhood foundation was laid out in making, just like that industrious lot who came before me, I can see NOW how it happened.

This is my grandfather Harvey Sessions, who I didn’t mention at all here, but the photo is so good I had to include it. 

And because of that I’m very interested in continuing my grandmother’s legacy and carrying out the mission that I’ve identified along the way. I’m compelled to do it and I find a great need to do so, especially since we are more addicted to screens than ever. There is power in handmaking. It connects us to our bodies and souls and for me, my family.

Stay tuned for part 3 next week! 

The House That Lars Bought: Bathroom tile is in!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Floor & Decor. All opinions are 100% mine.

Floor & Decor

In addition to all the projects we’ve been doing here on Lars, Paul and I have been getting our new house in order. We’ve been busy to say the least. We bought the house with literally nothing inside. The previous owners had torn everything out on their way to renovating it to sell. We stopped them mid-reno and bought it which means we had A LOT of work to do to get it into move-in conditions. Mind you, that’s coming from two people who are not very…how do we say…handy.

THANKFULLY, we partnered up with Floor & Decor to give us the kick in the pants we needed to get something in speedy and something within our budget.

Bathroom Tile

Our goal was to get something in ASAP so we could move in ASAP. We bought the house in June and ended up moving in mid September. It was a slightly longer timeline than we were hoping for, but turns out, there’s quite the construction boom right now and getting contractors in has been tough! Anyone else renovating and experiencing the same thing?

Requirements for our Bathroom Flooring

I looked far and wide for bathroom flooring options with the following requirements: 1) couldn’t have a long lead time 2) had to be within our smaller budget 3) had to be nice and functional. I went back and forth on what to do and in my google searching I organically came across Floor & Decor. Turns out, they have stores across the country, one probably by you! I took many trips to go visit them in person (it’s nice to see everything not just online, you know?!) to get a sense of what I wanted.

What I was Looking for in a Tiled Bathroom

At first, I was really into the idea of doing a black and white checkerboard bathroom because I LOVE the look and feel of it. But after lots of feeling it out, I decided to do something less contrasty so I could take my time in designing out each bathroom and not have to feel married to the one look.

What We Went With

After another trip, I decided to go with a classic white–glossy white herringbone ceramic tile in two of the bathrooms upstairs and a white and grey basketweave in the main floor bathroom. They are both classic yet contemporary enough to feel modern yet historical.

Always in Stock!

Both had a lot in stock (and seemed to be a popular choice!) so when I realized that I had measured the rooms wrong (math is not my strong suit!) when the tile guys were installing it, I drove straight to the store and bought more on the spot. So handy! For 3 bathrooms, I spent I think about $300 in product, which I was pretty stoked about!

Sealing the Tile

Once the tile was installed, my beloved former landlord, Richard of 1900 North Carpet and Tile Cleaning, came over and sealed the tile, which adds another layer of protection to the surface, which gets a lot of water and dirt, as you might imagine coming from a toddler. He’s the best in the business and I will recommend him day in and day out.

Anywho, I had such a great experience with Floor & Decor that I really am glad to talk about them. It’s such a great resource! The quick timeline allowed us to get into our house and start enjoying our time together. I mean, look how much fun bathtime is?! Ha! And I’m LOVING how much light this bathroom gets.

This post is sponsored by Floor & Decor. Thank you to our sponsors who allow us to make beautiful, original content!

Our Great Artists! Course is live now!

A tool for parents and kids

If you’re like most parents, screen time is both your saving grace and your worst enemy. This Great Artists! Course is the perfect after-school activity that can replace some screen time while still allowing you to get some work done. Or if you are homeschooling, this course can be your art class! I have so much respect for teachers and parents who are homeschooling, and I’m eager to help out in the best way I can: by taking something off your plate. 

This hands-on learning course is full of crafting based projects, videos, printables and more that will simultaneously keep the kids creative and busy. The Great Artists! Course will teach them basic art principles and art history, all while making truly beautiful art for your home. The course program is so in-depth that you can honestly just log your child in and let them learn. All of the teaching components are done in the course itself (featuring a guest teacher, yours truly). You can be as involved as you want! If you’re a working parent, let your child’s Great Artists! Course time be time that you can use however you need to. If you’d like to be more involved, the classes are honestly engaging enough that you’ll learn something new. Honestly, you might even make something you can be proud of!

The Details

When we started out planning the Great Artists! Course, we designed it with kids ages 6-13 in mind. That’s a pretty wide age gap! We are confident that the projects are realistic and simple enough for young kids, but interesting enough to engage the older kids too! All of the projects are customizable. So if you need to tweak things a bit for your classroom, feel free to. It includes instruction on six famous artists, projects, supplies, and so much more. As we were planning this course, we wanted to make this a real resource you can feel good about. Because of this, we designed it with essential Learning Objectives in mind.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

In the Great Artists! Course, your child will:

  • Develop a love of art and history through relatable hands-on projects
  • Learn basic principles of art and design that they can apply to their own artwork/projects
  • Create multiple art pieces that develop fine motor skills, color pairing skills, concentration, and listening
  • Study Art History, including the lives of artists from different cultures, backgrounds and art movements
  • Develop a greater understanding of global cultures 
  • Be encouraged to think introspectively about their own lives, homes, and passions to help them cultivate self-understanding to expand their creative mind
  • Learn to initiate creative play

Art is something I feel really passionately about. Art can be therapeutic, it can train critical thinking skills, and help your child visualize creative solutions to problems they face. Art became real for me in my childhood classes about great artists, and led to my life-long creative projects.  Which is why I feel so passionate about offering this resource to your family! Whether or not you are an art-lover or a professionally trained art teacher, the Great Artists! Course can help your child develop the tools they need to enjoy art and make it.

FAQs about our Great Artists! Course

Click here to find answers to all of your questions, including what the course cost covers, what artists the course includes, and more!

How to Display Your Picture Hope Coloring Pages

How to display adult coloring pages

How to spread hope

Join in the global cheering trends (clapping for healthcare professionals, rainbows in windows, etc.) with your own coloring pages from Picture Hope. Picture Hope is a downloadable/printable coloring book filled with inspirational artwork from artists all over the world! This global collaborative effort was inspired by the plight of children in need, and we have decided to donate all proceeds from this coloring book to charities. This time around, we’ve selected the humanitarian organization Save the Children. This excerpt is from their homepage: 

“The biggest global health crisis of our lifetime threatens children in every way. Your support can help children in unsafe households, help protect and prepare doctors and health clinics in refugee camps and help support distance learning in the face of school closures.” 

Try to imagine what this whole thing would be like without the internet. Now try and imagine it again without running water or a safe place to call home. Talk about perspective!! I don’t say this to depress you – rather, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that I need to turn OUT and show love however I can. For me, that means picturing hope. How to display adult coloring pages gallery wall

 

How to Picture Hope and Share:

Once you have thoroughly enjoyed coloring your masterpieces, the art of displaying them is a way you can spread some cheer! 

At home: simply the act of coloring by yourself or with family can be a way to relax, get some creative juices flowing, and spend quality time together. 

In the community: Share love with everyone who sees your pages! Tape them up in your windows, post photos online (tag us!), frame them on your gallery wall, send them to friends via mail (we <3 snail mail). This will spread encouragement to people who might not even know.  Trust me – they need it. We all do. 

Around the world: Your donations go directly towards helping children in desperate situations. Healthcare, safety, food, education, and more are threatened by the global pandemic and YOU can help without having to leave the safety of your home. 

We have made it easy – click this link, donate however much you can/want, starting at just $10, download the coloring book. Then, make your own masterpiece and the world a little brighter all in one fell swoop! Now that’s a way to spread some cheer. 

floral botanical folk art coloring pages

How to display your coloring pages

We want to challenge you to display your Picture Hope coloring pages in clever ways! Use #PictureHope and tag us so we can feature your ideas. This is about spreading the word and the HOPE as far and wide as possible. Save the Children is a coronavirus charity we are passionate about helping, and we can’t do it without you!

Here are some of our ideas:

  • Tape your coloring pages up in your front window for the neighborhood to enjoy!
  • Create a giant gallery wall you can add to all the time
  • Create frames for your coloring pages out of washi tape
  • Mix your coloring pages in with poloroids and photos of your other social distancing activities 
  • Compile all your Picture Hope pages together in a colorful book!

 

How to display coloring pages How to display coloring pages gallery wallHow to display coloring pages

We can’t wait to see what amazing display ideas you come up with!

Click here for other ways you can help Coronavirus relief charities.

Mother’s Day Gifts the Kids Can Help With (and a sale!)

Mother’s Day gifts the kids can help with

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

Our Mother’s Day Activity Pack comes with everything the kids will need to make mom tear up with joy this year. Just print it off on your home printer and let your kids get busy!

Plus, this new activity kit is included in our Mother’s Day sale! Click here to find all our Mother’s Day printable gifts for 15% off!

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help withMother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with mothers day coupons

Since mom might not be able to go out to the spa, or get brunch with friends this year, these colorful coupon cards will make sure May 10th is still MOM’S DAY all day. Sometimes an hour of quiet time, or a very long nap, are the best gifts in the world.

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with Mother of the year awardMother's day activity pack coloring pages for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

After suddenly become the homeschool teacher, 24/7 chef, and endless entertainment with all her kids at home – mom’s everywhere deserve the Mother of the Year Award.

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's day gifts the kids can help withMother's day activity pack for Mother's day gifts the kids can help with #1 mom ribbon

Click here to see the full set!

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

Other Mother’s Day Projects

Whether you are slipping these projects to your children to surprise their mom with (along with breakfast in bed, of course!) Or you are still trying to find the perfect grown-up gift for your own mother. Here are our favorite projects from Mother’s Days past, pulled straight from our endless archives.

Mother's day gifts card with paper flowersmother's day flower cake toppers printable

Have you been eyeing our new paper flowers e-book but you’re nervous to try a whole bouquet? This Flower Bouquet Mother’s Day Card is the perfect first project! Slip in just a few paper flowers to the card vase to make it pop.

Or even easier, cut out these Paper Flower Cake Toppers and bake mom something sweet! Or top a tower of crepes with the flower toppers for an amazing breakfast in bed.

Mother's day gifts card with gift cardMother's day gifts card with gift card and paper flowers

These cards are both designed to attach a fun gift card so mom can treat herself! This blog post is a helpful reminder to check in on the emotional health of mothers you know. Especially brand new moms! The best way to really show your gratitude this year to let moms around you know you are there for them. Checking in on them sincerely and sending a gift card for a fun surprise is the perfect Mother’s Day combo! We now offer gift cards to our shop. So mom can pick out her favorite art print or start a new project!

May 10th is coming quickly! Check out our full Mother’s Day shop here!

DIY Apple Paper Lunch Sack for Back to School

Show your love with this DIY teacher’s gift

Did you ever hand your schoolteacher an apple? I don’t actually think I gave them apples, but I definitely did my fair share of brown-nosing teachers when I was in school. For most of the sixth grade, I ate lunch in the teacher’s lounge. I thought I was so cool. Those of you adept in middle school sociology know that this made me very uncool. Regardless, thanking the teachers in your life is an important thing to do! They do an incredibly important job, and now more than ever I recognize their value. Maybe you can send Junior to class with a teacher’s gift in an adorable DIY Paper Lunch Sack.

DIY teacher's gift for back to school

Homeschool? Hooray!

Shout out to any parents homeschooling for the first time this fall. Your students are certainly the apples of your eye, and they couldn’t have picked a more loving teacher! If you’re hesitant to dive back into the fray, relax for a moment with the kids and make this easy DIY Paper Lunch Sack! The activity itself is fun, relaxing, and great for connecting as a family. An added bonus is how excited you all will be to whip out your custom lunch bags!

Regardless of how your family approaches education, many of you are heading back to the books in the next few weeks. I apple-aud you! (If you are still deciding what to do, our 78 favorite homeschool activities might help you decide!) After the never-ending summer of heat, I’m tempted to head to a classroom myself for a dose of that frigid A/C. I hope this cute bag we came up with will make the first day of school special. And it’s honestly so simple and affordable. It’s super easy and is a great way to get into the school season. I’ve also used these DIY Paper Lunch Sacks as custom gift bags for teachers, friends, neighbors, whomever! We even have a cute video on our YouTube Channel to show you the ropes. (Have you subscribed yet?!) How ya like them apples?

DIY apple lunch sack for back to school

We were partly inspired by Rebecca Thuss’ cute paper cherry to create the adorable leaf perfect for topping the bag.

How to make your DIY Paper Lunch Sack

Materials:
Instructions:
  1. Draw an outline of an apple near the base of the lunch sack
  2. Fill in outline with red acrylic paint
  3. Add a curved line to look like a shiny reflection on the apple with white acrylic paint
  4. Cut out two leaf shapes from white crepe paper
  5. With black acrylic, paint leaf veins on both white crepe leaves
  6. Glue both crepe leaves together with floral wire sandwiched in the middle. Makes sure to leave enough wire on the bottom to poke leaf into bag
  7. Twist top of lunch sack and insert leaf
    DIY apple lunch sackDIY apple lunch sack for back to school for a DIY teacher's gift

Photography by Anna Killian

30 Sidewalk Chalk and Hose Activities

Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Sidewalk Chalk Activities

  1. Yellow Brick Road – Jasper adores this one! He takes some of his pull toys down the windy road and even stops for bugs.
  2. Color match rainbow – We gathered all his toys in baskets and lined them up according to color on each arc. Admittedly, he likes to bulldoze them more than anything…he’ll get there. This one might be more fun for me.color match your toys to the rainbow with sidewalk chalkcolor match your toys to the rainbow with sidewalk chalk
  3. Add your own pizza toppings – This was fun for mimicking shapes. I drew a “pepperoni” and he immediately followed suit…kind of! I was impressed!add toppings to your pizza with sidewalk chalk
  4. Add your own ice cream sprinkles – This one might be better for older kids. Draw the shape of the ice cream and have them draw in their own flavors and toppings.
  5. Picnic Table – Jasper has a TON of fake food and we set the table and ate a meal. It was also good for food identification. draw a picnic table with sidewalk chalk
  6. Superhero photos – Draw a city landscape and put that cape to use! Mostly fun for us moms who want a cute photo.make a skyline superhero with sidewalk chalk
  7. Holding balloons – Draw a set of balloons and have the child extend their arm to reach them. A classic!draw balloons and pose for a picture draw balloons and pose for a picture
  8. Silly walk zone – Anyone familiar with Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks? Same idea, but spelled out in chalk. Fun for funny prompts!
  9. Leap Frog – Draw out some lily pads and jump like a frog.draw a leap frog on your sidewalk
  10. Crab walk – Get down on all fours!draw a crab walk on your sidewalk
  11. Butterfly wings – Another Instamom moment that we live for.butterfly wings with sidewalk chalkdraw butterfly wings on your sidewalk
  12. Paint a bouquet –  A little twist on sidewalk chalk, especially for those who don’t like the chalky feel. Combine cornstarch, water, and food coloring in a cup and grab some sponge brushes. Get outside and paint a little bouquet. Paint anything really, but flowers are always lovely.make your own sidewalk chalk
  13. Ice Cream Stand – Leave out chalk for passerbyers and have them add in their own flavors.draw an ice cream parlor on your sidewalk
  14. Classic hop scotch – Can’t go wrong with a classic!
  15. Mow the lawn with your hose – Draw some green grass and have the hose mow it down with the water.draw a lawn with sidewalk chalk and mow it with your hosedraw a lawn with sidewalk chalk and mow it with your hose
  16. Road map – Jasper’s favorite thing right now is cars or “vrooms” and so we had to draw a city map for them. He took to it immediately!draw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalk

Once you’ve “erased” your drawings from the sidewalk with your hose, it’s time to get wet! Here are some of our favorite activities using a hose.

Hose activities

In my growing-up years, a hose was an incredible toy/tool that could be anything – except when temperatures were soaring and the rubber hose was too hot to touch, burning little hands, or when it was too heavy for my little-kid arms, or when the hose would kink, stopping the water flow ending the fun (which happened all the time). Kids these days need never experience these pain points with the old yard hose; new technology from Gilmour solves these hose challenges with its ergonomic design, collapsible tubing, and kink-resistent hose.

My household has a busy toddler who is constantly on the run and two adults trying to #WFH, so our lightweight hose has been indispensable. Keeping everybody happy and engaged is no simple task. Here’s a list of ways you can use a hose to play, clean, and learn. Have some fun!

PLAY

  1. Water hose jump rope – use the water as the rope. It only requires one person using one hand to swing the hose around, and it will keep big kids and little kids entertained for as long as they can jump! This is a great way to wear the kids out without getting too worn out yourself.
  2. DIY Splash Tub – many community pools are currently closed, but you can still go swimming! Find a large container like a storage tupperware, add a little water, and let your swimsuit-clad splash around. You’re the coolest parent of the year. This is also a great way for kids to learn some swimming basics, like how to hold their breath underwater, how to blow bubbles, and the mechanics of swimming strokes in a safe environment. Never leave your kid unattended.
  3. Draw with chalk – then erase again and again! If you are feeling water-averse, this is one fun way to use your hose and not get wet. Today, we drew castles and flowers and bugs and cars, then washed it away so we can draw again tomorrow!
  4. Water tag – is great fun and WILL tire out rowdy people. Designate one person as “it.” Give them a hose with the mandate to “tag” someone else by spraying them. Whoever gets tagged is now “it!”
  5. Limbo – hum the little tune and hold the hose level! The stakes get higher when there is a threat you might get wet. You’ll find “How low can you go?” gets pretty intense.
  6. Watergun carnival game – even though summer carnivals might be delayed this year, you can throw the best bash in your own backyard! Set up a series of items on a flat surface outside and take 5 steps back. Grab your hose, and knock down as many items as you can in 30 seconds using only the water spray!
  7. Slip-n-slide – take a tarp and lay it out on a smooth area. Place the hose at the top of the tarp and squeeze out some dish soap to lubricate the homemade slip-n-slide! The AquaArmor hose shines when used here, as it can go from round to flat in an instant. This means if you slide over it, you won’t get hurt and the hose won’t kink.

CLEAN

  1. Trick the kids into bathing more – if your youngins want to play all day and never come in for a bath, compromise with a waterhose shower! DIY your way into an outdoor shower head: poke holes into the bottom of a clean tin can or an old rubber glove. Tie it from a tree limb and put your AquaArmor hose spout down into the can or glove. Grab some shampoo and stand under the water and scrub-a dub dub!
  2. Keeping the lawn green – a certain little boy in my house loves to water the lawn! It’s the funniest thing – he will go play and pick up the hose (the AquaArmor doesn’t weigh much) and stare at the lawn as he waters like he’s the dad in a 90s sitcom. Boy Meets World, anyone? He also thoroughly enjoys chasing the dog with the hose on, watering the grass with every step.
  3. Pressure washing – the AquaArmor has a special nozzle that is designed for multiple uses, so you can finish up your spring cleaning with a splash! We haven’t gotten much rain lately so the sides of the house are preeeeetty dusty. Remind me to add this one to my “honey-do” list!
  4. Washing the car – is one of my favorite chores, and surprisingly, the fam likes it too! Use the hose frequently throughout the wash to keep your ride sparkling!

LEARN

  1. Water table diorama – if you’re up to it, here’s a science lesson for the family. Fill a tray or big tupperware with sand and water. Place the hose at different locations and periodically change the pressure flow. Observe how the sand erodes away and creates new shapes, rivers, and even canyons!
  2. Garden – simply buy some seeds or new plants, put ‘em in a pot outside, and make a watering schedule with your little ones. This simple task teaches responsibility, helps provide service for the family, and the experience of growing something totally counts as a science lesson. Toss in the word “photosynthesis” and you’re good to go.
  3. AquaArmor Mental Math – set up math problems that are appropriate for your child’s capability and write the answers on the sidewalk with chalk. If you have a little learner who is learning numbers, call out a number and have your child spray the corresponding chalk numeral that you have written in advance. This game works for harder math problems too! Even kids (and parents) who don’t like math can have fun with this crowd-pleaser.

Would love to hear your favorite activities with sidewalk chalk and a hose. Spill it!

This post is sponsored by Fiskars. Thank you to our wonderful brands who allow us to make beautiful, original content for you! 

We’re having a ….

Ha ha ha! Yes, I’m very thrilled to have another boy–I love my first one so much and he brings me so much joy, how could I not?! I mean, am I disappointed that I won’t do smocked dresses or be able to actually shop in baby boutiques (let’s be honest, they’re not made for boys)?! Of course! But I love the idea of two little rascals.

I have this feeling that this new boy will be the complete opposite of Jasper–dark haired, solemn, shy, obedient…hahhaha! We shall see!

How’s the pregnancy going?

Well, thank you for asking! I had a terrific pregnancy with Jasper so I expected the same, but it has been different. Thankfully, I’m not super sick (except the typical first trimester nausea), but this time around, I have the weirdest symptoms.

For one, I didn’t want sugar until like last month. What a blessing! No treats. I wish it would have lasted. But the desire is back and I’ve since made up for lost time.

Second, and for those of you not interested in female anatomy and systems, tune out, my pelvic floor is not being nice to me. I’ve had problems since Jasper was born. I couldn’t walk and certainly couldn’t run. I tried to do a race in October and the day of the race I could hardly walk. Every time I mention it to my doctor I’m told the same thing (do you kegels) but that hasn’t worked and I have a hunch there’s something more to it.

Then all of a sudden two weeks ago I could hardly walk again. I’m definitely a stereotypical waddler who looks very pregnant, but again, I have a hunch is treatable. Anyone know of an awesome pelvic floor doctor? TMI????? I know.

Lastly, NOSE BLEEDS. What the heck? I’ve never had them before but I have had them nearly every night for like three weeks. So stinking weird.

Other than that, this pregnancy has flown by but mostly because work is insane–especially the the Great Artists! course–renovating a house, and trying to move in tomorrow. Am I going insane? Yes. Most definitely. Send help.

Gender reveal balloon arch

On another note, because of the upcoming baby boy, we made a new balloon arch kit in shades of blues for your own gender reveals (nothing is worth detonating fire over!) and you can find it in the shop now!

Love to you all!

Women Who Work: Lulie Wallace

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

When did you know that art was your jam? 

As early as I can remember, I have always loved arts and crafts.  I wanted to be drawing, sewing, pasting, creating a lot more than I wanted to do homework. I loved the piano as a child and feel like I have always been somewhat of a creative problem solver.

Why is it important to you to create? 

This answer has really changed since becoming a mother. I consider painting and the ability to paint a giant gift. I used to just paint because I enjoy it and because it was my job and way to make money, now it really is an outlet for me as a mom to go to my studio and make art. There is still so much for me to explore in painting and I love that.

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you and your work?

A lot of people! The first people to come to mind are my boss, Beth, in college and my favorite professor at College of Charleston, Professor Peacock. I worked in a gift store that carried paper products, bags, jewelry from so many neat artists and graphic designers and I know that was pretty influential in what my eyes were taking in. My professor in college was also hugely encouraging, not just to me, but I feel to all of his students. He pushed you, but also could find something positive to say about anything you created. It is wild how gigantic just encouraging someone in their field of interest can be. I heard of different colleges where art students were criticized by professors and that hurt to hear because with a little encouragement, people can make/do some amazing things!

Although I currently paint in my studio alone, for about 10 years I worked right next to other artists. I think this was incredibly influential on my work ethic and style of painting. It is so much fun and motivating to paint right next to other artists. They were also amazing people to live life with on a daily basis…win/win!!

What’s your advice to women wanting to pursue the same thing?

One of my greatest pieces of advice (that is almost the hardest to achieve) is to hone in on your style…work, work, work, work, and work on it some more! People say, “I could never be a painter” but my mentality really is if you wanted to do it so bad that you worked your butt off at it, then you could do it!! My other piece of advice is to find a mentor/apprenticeship/job of someone who is already successful in their craft. I think that is huge!

bright and happy home design

You can find Lulie here:

@luliewallace on Instagram

luliewallace.com 

(All photos were found on her site)

Women Who Work Interview Series

This interview series was inspired by our Women Who Work print by Libby VanderPloeg, found in the Lars Print Shop!Artist art print Women Who Work

Women who Work art print by Libby Vanderploeg

You can see our previous interviews:

Indoor and Outdoor Family Activities During Social Distancing

Outdoor activities for the whole Family

Below you’ll find enough outdoor games to fill plenty of the social distancing hours we all have left. If you are missing some of your normal family activities, think about how you can recreate them yourself! Set up an outdoor movie since the theaters are closed, with this inflatable movie screen. Can’t visit an art museum? Draw the biggest sidewalk chalk mural your neighborhood as ever seen!

Keep your games going by putting an unexpected twist on a classic activity. Every tried paint twister? Put washable paint on the twister circles in corresponding colors, get your kids in clothes they can get messy, and then play the game! It’s hilarious to watch, and the whole family will want to join in by the end!

 

Some of the activities above will look familiar but some may look new! Like this rainbow colored egg and spoon race set. All the fun without any of the cracked egg mess. If you haven’t tried Spikeball yet, now is the time! This sporty game is so fun, and perfect for the older kids and adults in the family. And we cannot talk the Scandinavian yard game Kubb enough! It’s one of those games that everyone in the family can be good at, and it keeps everyone in suspense! Kubb is our favorite outdoor game on the list.

We recently updated our office chairs with this colorful set from Article, and they have already been put to use in ways we didn’t expect! First we set them around the yard and daydreamed of having a “quarantine party” with everyone sitting 6 feet apart. Is that breaking the rules? We didn’t really do it, but it sure is tempting! But even without being able to invite friends over, these have been the perfect chairs to pull up when the family wants to play a game together!

Because these Selvti chairs from Article are water-resistant, they are as good inside as out! We keep them on hand in case someone requests an outdoor game of giant scrabble or an indoor game of Codenames. The timeless mid-century design and updated materials make them stylish enough to use in the dining room or our office conference room, but light enough to pull outside when needed! They are easy to wash, and we are obsessed with the color choices. There is a version with armrests as well!

If you are in need of some bright new chairs to gather the family together, Article offers free ground shipping on orders over $999. For orders under $999, Article offers a flat shipping fee of $49 (or $19 for small shipments). Article even offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so you can try out your new furniture in your home!

outdoor family activities during social distancing

Now after gathering all of these outdoor games ideas, we are planning a mandatory game of musical chairs with our quarantine team.

Family Crafts and Projects

Since Tie Dye is having it’s time again in the fashion world, get a kit and try it out with the whole family! You can find a white t-shirt here in everyone’s size and have them here in no time thanks to Amazon Prime.

This color-your-own kite set it so clever! And if you’re feeling ambitious you can hold your own family chalk festival.

For more quarantine craft ideas to keep the kids busy, click here!

Indoor Family Games

Indoor Family Activities During Social Distancing

I have been needing some indoor games to get Paul to stop roller skating around the house. Ha! Kidding.

All of the games below are family-friendly and thumbs-up approved by members of our team.

 

Puzzles for all ages

Puzzles have honestly been our life-savers. It’s nice to have an ongoing project you can work on whenever you have a spare second, or need to wind down for a few minutes. Keeping on going on the coffee table has kept the entire family entertained in quarantine. The puzzles below are pretty enough we don’t keeping them out at all times!

 

Other Quarantine Activity Ideas

For our other social distancing resources, check out these links!

Quarantine Creativity: Flower drawing challenge

78 Creative Quarantine Homeschool Activities For Kids

Creative things to do during your Quarantine

Creative challenge to do with your kids at home

Coloring Books For All Ages (and a Sale!)

Coloring pages have proved themselves to be the perfect activity for all ages with all this new time at home. After launching Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, so many of you have been filling your time with color, hope, and creating with your family members! We were floored when 64 artists from all over the world came together to create hours worth of coloring, and for a cause that impacts us all! ALL profits from Picture Hope are currently being donated to Save the Children Coronavirus Relief Fund. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for that amazing charity. Through our “donate what you can” option, when you download your own Picture Hope coloring book you help directly with reaching that goal. Once that goal is reached, we will pick a new charity to donate to!

You are all racing through Picture Hope so quickly we are already prepping our next coloring page project. Keep an eye out!

Coloring books for all ages

Stree Relief coloring book for adults flowers and cactus

Sale Alert

Our exclusive coloring books – Flowers and Cactus – are currently discounted at their lowest price ever! Use code COLOR25 at checkout for 25% off our Flowers and Cactus Coloring Books! (Through Wednesday 4/29.) In addition, this discount code applies to all of our individual coloring page downloads found here!

Printable Coloring Pages

Coloring Page downloads for social distancing at home

Browse our coloring page options to print off at home! Our collection includes this Mother and Daughter coloring page. Print it off just in time for Mother’s Day! All individual coloring pages are 25% now with code COLOR25!

Our Favorite Supplies for Coloring Pages

Coloring Books for Adults

Below you will find other stress-relieving coloring books for adults! We love this collection of coloring books inspired by artists, nature, and joy!

 

Coloring Books for Kids

We count these coloring books as art time, geography, history, and more during homeschooling! Our team handpicked these coloring books for kids to inspire learning and a love of the world around us. Order your kid’s their own and cross homeschool time off your to-do list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special delivery (again!)

We originally made the video for my first pregnancy, which resulted in a miscarriage. So then we used it for Jasper (see here!) and adjusted the month. This time around, we don’t have to adjust the month! Bonus! (unborn baby–I still love you even though you’re already getting hand-me-downs!).

If you’re interested in seeing the making of this video, you can see it all here!

The video was done by stop motion wizard, Trisha Zemp (she even has a stop motion school now!) and the lettering by Jill DeHaan and the illustrations by Lexi Nilson and flower illustrations inspired by our coloring book here.

Behind the scenes of our birth announcement video

Having a baby during COVID

Having a baby during COVID-19 hasn’t been much of an adjustment for me other than I try to stay even more away from people because I’m high risk. I’m also finding that I’m in good company with a lot of friends who are also having babies during this time (thank you stay at home mandates 😉 Yes, I can’t bring anyone to the doctor with me, but there’s nothing that has been too crazy…yet.Behind the scenes of our birth announcement video

High Risk Pregnancy

As you might recall, Jasper’s birth was a bit of an adventure. Long story short, which you can read here, I got eclampsia during the birth (seizured!) and so I’m just being MUCH more cautious this time around by going to a high risk OB and taking a baby aspiring a day, which pretty much is the only thing that doctors suggest in this situation to help mitigate it from happening again.

How am I doing right now?

So far, my energy is GONE! Like, really gone. I used to be able to work at nights and now it’s REALLY tought to stay awake past 10:30. My other two pregnancies I saw a lack of ambition and motivation during the first trimester and the same thing definitely applied during this one–but add that to a pandemic and being a business owner, buying a house, renovating a house, and I’m DEFINITELY running on survival mode. Thankfully, the nausea ended two weeks ago so at least there’s a silver lining!

As for that good parts–we are thrilled to be expecting a baby! My hunch is that it’s a girl, and everyone I’ve talked to has mentioned the same thing. I don’t know if it’s because they know how much I’d love one…probably…but I still have the hunch, and usually my hunch is correct so we shall see!

ANYWAY, that’s our happy news. Which might explain why I’ve been MIA on Instagram and such. Stay tuned for lots of baby design on the way!