We Are Art {Art.com Has a New Look}

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I’m excited to share that I have a brand new partnership with the popular art-shopping- hub-o-the-web, Art.com.

we are art

Art.com *just* launched a radically new website designed to offer easy access to the world’s largest selection of handpicked art images.  If you’ve ever been to the site before, definitely pay it another visit — it’s a whole new experience. Very cool, lovely eye candy, and easy to use.

Isn’t this cute? You can find it, and other preschool-related happiness, in the preschool category on their site.

This new Art.com is filled with original content featuring art and design inspiration, curated collections by designers and tastemakers, social and sharing features and great new tools to help people find the art they love so they can love their space more.

What kind of art do you like? We all have different tastes in art, and mine leans toward whimsy, irreverence, and abstraction. 

The old Art.com site was a great spot to find the traditional art (still is!), so I was delighted to find some quirky surprises like this knee-high wearing deer.  Isn’t he funny?

I started a public gallery on the site called Happy Go Lightly where you can see more of my whimsical curated picks, including those I’m featuring here .

I was invited to choose one piece of art from the collection for my home, and the decision was so hard. Our house is tiny and most of our walls are already full of art, but there’s one spot in our dining area that is begging for something fresh. When I found a whole series of mixed media collage prints by San Francisco artist, Rex Ray, I knew I had to choose one for this spot.

I first fell in love with Ray’s work at Michael Martin Gallery in San Francisco and have since seen it all over town at The Slanted Door restaurant in the Ferry Building, Rosewood Hotel in Menlo Park, and Gallery 16. What attracts me to Ray’s work is his use of layered paint, textures, and color.

The room is currently swimming in blues and greens, and I think this will bring it all together.

All this talk about hanging art reminds me that I have a Pinterest board called “I Heart Art.” If your taste aligns at all with mine, you’ll probably dig some of my selections over there too. Art.com put this great video together that you’ll want to watch.

What kind of art do you love? Is there a spot in your home that’s begging for a piece of art? Where is it?

 

11 Classic Summer Camp Crafts for Kids

Sand casting camp paint cut paste

11 classic summer crafts that you'll remember from your own childhood...all in one place!

Now that summer is officially underway, I’ve been getting nostalgic for classic summer camp crafts. You know, the ones that you would make every year — things to wear, hang on your wall, and gift to your parents at the end of summer.

These projects are intended to take you back to your childhood, and maybe inspire you to bring some of this time-tested goodness back into your life this summer. I know that my 4-year old will enjoy tie-dying and sand casting, so I’m adding those to my summer bucket list.

What crafts do you remember from your camp days?

Tie Dye Camp

Tie Dye Tutorial, Home Made Simple. You could also try this one-step tie dye kit.

friendship bracelet camp honestly wtf

Friendship Bracelets, Honestly…WTF. For all the supplies you’ll need, I love this multi-pack of embroidery floss.

gods eye camp

God’s Eye, Make and Takes. For a colorful selection of yarn, you might like this bright 8-pack of tiny, soft yarn skeins.

Sand casting camp paint cut paste

Sand Casting with Plaster and Shells, Paint Cute Paste. Need plaster of paris? Amazon has you covered!

diy windchimes camp hands on as we grow

DIY Wind Chimes, Hands on: As we grow. Need brushes? You could try these silicon basting brushes.

Rain Stick camp Imagination Tree

DIY: Rain Stick, The Imagination Tree

Sand candles camp Child Central Station

Sand Candles, Child Central Station. If you need candle wax, this natural soy wax (in a 10 lb. bag) is an Amazon bestseller.

colored rice bottles camp plain vanilla mom

Colored Rice Bottle Art, Plain Vanilla Mom

Nature Impressions in Sculpey camp Plum pudding

Nature Impressions in Sculpey, Plum Pudding. Sculpey is a polymer clay that’s easy to use and bakes hard in your oven. Awesome stuff. And there’s a great deal on it over here.

Bell Shaker camp Mini Eco

Bell Shaker Instrument, Mini Eco

Papier Mache Bowl camp

Papier Mache Bowl, Art Projects for Kids

More Summer Crafts can be found in the Camp Mom: Summer Activities Pack

Camp Mom Widget

 

Watercolors in the Bath

watercolors kids bath

How does bath time go in your home? My 4 year old prefers the morning shower to a bath and my 22-month old, who’s mostly loved her baths, recently started giving us a hard time about bathing.

Over the last few years my husband and I have come up with all sorts of creative solutions to encouraging our kids to bathe. I wonder if you’ve tried any of these tricks?

    • Offer your kids water-resistant dolls with soap and washcloths for “Baby bath time”
    • Fill a bath-side bag with toys (rubber ducks, buckets, cups with holes in them, etc.)
    • Bubble bath
    • Craft foam in the Tub
    • Bubbles (for blowing) with bubble wands
    • Bathe in the dark with flashlights,/candles/glowsticks
    • Bathtub Crayons

This bath time invitation is just a simple Washable Watercolor set.

All you need is a watercolor box and a paintbrush. The box usually come with a brush, so this takes about two seconds to pull together.

watercolors kids bath

Little Rainbow dipped her brush in all the colors, individually and then mixed together. This is a new one for me, and it was so popular with my Rainbow that 4-year old Nutmeg asked if she could jump in too. She usually prefers to shower alone, so I thought this was the best kind of endorsement.

watercolors kids bath

Rainbow painted while her big sister washed the paintings away.

When they was done, the paint box was a mixed up mess, but I just rinsed it out and the colors sprang back to life.

The only trouble I had was with cleaning the paint. All of the colors washed away, except for the black. It came right off the tiles, but left a grey shadow on my white tub. It washed right away with a little bit of Bar Keepers Friend, my favorite porcelain cleaner. But the fun that was had (and the clean bodies that went along with that) was well worth a little elbow grease for me.

More Creative Bathtime Fun

Two of my favorite spots to visit for creative bath play are Growing a Jeweled Rose and The Imagination Tree

  • Crystal at the fun kid-friendly blog, Growing a Jeweled Rose, is the Queen of bath play. She has a whole category named Sensory Baths, that will keep your little ones wet and happy.
  • One of my favorite bath activities from Crystal is her glow-in-the-dark outer space bath. OMG — it’s ridiculously cool.
  • Crystal has an entire Pin Board called Play in the Bath
  • Anna at The Imagination Tree shows us how to make Shaving Cream Bath Paint. Her photos make the paint look like frosting.
  • Also inspiring are Anna’s Multi-sensory bath time photos, where she colors the bath water (and reminds us that the color will not stain our kids’ skin).

Do you have tricks for making bath time more fun (and/or luring your kids into the bath)?

 

10+ Messy Art Projects That Will Leave Your House Clean

Artful Parent Water chalkboard

messy art projects that leave your house clean

I can’t tell you how many emails, comments, and messages I receive with questions about how to set up no-mess art projects. A really good friend of mine recently told me that she loves my blog, but that my projects are so….MESSY. Eeek.

I’m not sure if you’ll believe this but the funny thing is that I’m afraid of messes too. Messes themselves don’t really bother me, but it’s the prospect of cleaning messes that often gets the better of me. I already have dishes to wash, clothes to clean and fold, and floors to sweep, so adding one more mess (that doesn’t really have to be made) is a hard thing to voluntarily add to my to-do list.

So I thought you might also enjoy a few tips for setting up “messy” art projects that will leave your house clean. Oh, and just in case you decide to shut that out mess-filter and your kids go a little nutty with crayons + walls, I’ll also include some ideas for cleaning that mess at the end of this post. Just in case.

Trays Teach Preschool

Place large serving trays or cookie sheets beneath small pieces of collage paper for easy clean-up. Read Using Trays in the Preschool Classroom for more clever early childhood education ideas from Deborah at Teach Preschool.

muffin tin mom starbucks cup paint

Fill Dome-lidded Starbucks cups with paint. The brush goes right into the straw holder. A brilliant solution to the otherwise spillable paint cups from Muffin Tin Mom.

mama smiles plastic bag

Mess-free painting in a bag couldn’t be cleaner, from Mama Smiles.

momtastic sponges

Add some paper and sponges to paint and ziplock baggies for more clean painting. From Steph for Momtastic. Steph is also the owner of one of my favorite blogs, named appropriately for this post, Modern Parents Messy Kids. 

Sharpie Tie Dye Shirts

Sharpie Tie Dye Shirts look like they’d make a mess, but it’s all done with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol. My daughter loved this when she turned 3. From Mom’s Crafty Space.

Contact paper and tissue paper are a classic combination for this easy and clean suncatcher that kids will have fun making (Tinkerlab). The Artful Parent is the Queen of suncatchers, and lucky for us she just assembled all of her Suncatcher posts into this post: Suncatchers and Stained Glass, 39 Ideas for Kids

the mad house tape

Tape off your drawing paper will keep the edges near the table clean, and will also create a nice, crisp border around the picture. I also cover our tables with a plastic tablecloth or butcher paper when using messy materials. From The Mad House.

paint in oatmeal container

Find out what Deborah from Teach Preschool placed in the Oatmeal container to make unique, active, and clean paintings.

clean-er finger painting baballa

Add paint to sponges for clean-er finger painting. From the Spanish-speaking blog Barballa — if you don’t speak Spanish, still check it out — the photos are beautiful and tell the whole story.

spaghetti worm painting chocolate muffin

Place painting projects inside a box, as Melissa at The Chocolate Muffin Tree did here. Read more about how they made these creative Spaghetti Worm Paintings.  You can also read how we made Rolled Easter Egg paintings (seen in the first photo of this post) here. 

Save larger cardboard boxes to create cardboard box splat paintings. This is good one for outside…just in case! (Tinkerlab)

One of my all-time favorite blogs, The Artful Parent, shows this simple way to paint with just water and a chalkboard. Check out Jean’s blog for more ideas. She’s a keeper.

magnetic tote family fun

Family Fun has this clever solution to storing art supplies — neatly – on a table, using magnets and a muffin tin.

Remove Crayon Stains Around the House

And when your heart skips a beat at that too-late moment when the house gets really quiet, DIY Life shares a gazillion cleaning suggestions for when your little cutie pies go to town with crayon on the eggshell painted walls, carpets, clothes, and flat-screen TV’s.

Do you have any tips for messy art projects that will leave the house clean?