Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ballet portraits

So my daughter attends a ballet studio which is fabulous, and yet also pricey. And every year they do a fundraiser because apparently they are a non-profit organization (which I still do not understand completely) and do not make enough to meet their costs.

I could not even consider giving more money to a studio after already paying its tuition, so I decided I would donate a painting for the silent auction instead.

I browsed the web looking for some inspiration and came across a photo:


I totally fell in love with it. The ballet studio she attends is very diverse, with many ethnic backgrounds and I love it doesn't matter what her skin color was, she is just dancing beautifully.

So I took that as an inspiration, and with a different color and a different medium (acrylics), came up with this:


I really like how it turned out, but I have to say I felt a LITTLE uncomfortable giving away a painting that looked so similar to the original artist's work with my name on it....

So I ended up painting a whole new painting. I changed the dancer - and with a similar idea came up with this:


I felt better about giving this one away, and I was happy that I got to keep the first one to put in my daughter's room!

I was, however, tempted to keep both of them! They worked so well together (I would not hang them like this, but you get an idea):


But alas, I did end up parting with it. I'm STILL waiting to hear how much it ended up selling for!
(I did not attend the actual silent auction as tickets to attend would have been $200 which is WAY above our date budget)

Before I gave it up, I tried this on a red wall in my house. It is interesting how it changes....


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall preschool crafts

Yep, I've been busy. One of the things I've been busy with is teaching my 3/4 year old preschool co-op.

We've done the schedule differently this year and I have been busy teaching 5 weeks of preschool in a row. It was a lot of work, but now I have at least 2 months off before I have to think about it again.

And I got to use all of the fun fall holidays in what we taught.

Topics we have covered:
Apples, Halloween, spiders, pumpkins, Veteren's day, Thanksgiving

Crafts of course are my favorite part of preschool.

We got to do lots of fun crafts - I didn't get pictures of them all, but here are a few I caught on camera:

Apple tree mosaics


Googly Spiders


Halloween sensory box

Haunted mansions

Crepe paper lanterns

Veteren's day flags

Indian corn husks

Turkey puppets

Leaf-feathered turkeys

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

trains, trains, and more trains....

More for this room:


It all started with this project:

I wanted to duplicate the plaids and lines in the bedding. And it worked... but seriously debating whether it was worth the painful detailing (they are really small trains). Especially for a perfectionist.

Which then I had to do this one because new brother came along:

Here is some closeups of the letters:

We better not have another boy anytime soon, cause I do NOT want to paint train letters again for a VERY long time.

And then I saw this being sold at Canton which is a flea market on steroids in the middle of now where Texas (which I totally recommend. It's a lot of fun). Seriously, the place is ENORMOUS. and I saw this little train a carpenter was selling and totally fell in love. It wasn't hard to paint - just a LOT of detail. It took me a crazy amount of time to finish it, but eventually it got done.


Here is some closer shots:

Hopefully this is the last rolling project for this room!

Pulling out! CHOO CHOO!

Boy's room paintings

So I'm finally posting my boys room. It has been a work in progress for a LONG LONG time. I'm pretty much done.


Here is what I started with:

My mom got my son this bed set for his birthday from Pottery barn:


I was really excited about it. Pottery barn has adorable stuff, but often the bed spreads are too much for me- too busy, too many patterns, or too many different colors. But I really liked this one. It's called railway express. (It's long since retired now)

But right before they cleared it out I used up a few giftcards I had been holding onto from my wedding (yes, from years ago) and bought the coordinating rug (which not only was on clearance, but was the last floor model which means I got it for a super deal) and lampshade. Also - I bought a curtain panel - which was WAY cheaper if you bought the double wide panel - which I did and just cut and hemmed to make two. Which worked out fantastically because I was able to take the extra fabric and put it on the coordinating curtain (which the people before us had left).

All in all, this room was decorated pretty inexpensively, which makes me (and especially my husband) happy.

Anyway, here is some more closeup of the bedding:


And here are the paintings I made to match:

(acrylic on canvas)


And again.... the finished product:


More to come on other stuff in the room!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Decorating kids rooms - part 2

So in the spring, I made THESE paintings for my sister-in-law who was having her first baby.

Her friend saw them, and wanted me to make some paintings for her own daughters' room. So I agreed - especially since she wanted to pay for them! This is the first time I've ever sold any artwork, so it was kindof fun.

She wanted something really simple (which was tough for me - I hate making things simple :) and something that matched her bedding.

It took me way longer than I expected, since this summer turned out crazier than I had anticipated, but they turned out. And I keep learning a lot - the more I do.

This was the bedding: "Tiddliwinks" from Target


And in the room:

And here are the paintings:

I used this iridescent pearl paint and I LOVED how the paint looked when it dried. It looked so cool. You can't really get the full effect in a picture, so you'll just have to imagine. It looks a little overpowering (almost fluorescent) in the pictures.

Oh and these are acrylic on canvas




After I finished the last one, it felt unfinished, like it needed a fourth (two pink, two purple). But I left it up to Melanie (my SIL's friend) and she liked it as a group of three, so it stayed how it was.

Here is the finished product in their room:


I really like how she hung them and how they look in between the purple curtains.

I can't imagine ever doing this for a regular profit - since it's pretty time consuming... but I did have fun doing it!

Decorating kids rooms - part 1

So this spring I surprised my sister-in-law with paintings for her nursery.

Surprisingly, the wood plaque took me longer than the paintings. Who would have thought?

Things I learned:

- cheap acrylic paint is CHEAP quality. Better to spend the extra $.50 per bottle.
- colors on the computer are not the same as in person (which is why I bought the matching lamp to match the colors. I'm glad I did)

She had gotten this cute bedding:



So I made these to match:

These is acrylic on canvas.



This is a wood plaque painted with acrylic paint, the star came was a cut-out from cardstock, and scrapbook letter stickers were the words. The whole thing was covered in decoupage. It would have been much easier without the stripes (which I had to repaint multiple times - due to wrong colors and not straight enough). Oh well, it turned out cute.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Barbie birthday cake

So for my daughter's birthday we did a "Princess and Pirate Picnic"

and who else to grace the party than Barbie herself.

When I finished the cake, I showed my daughter and she says "that's it? Just her dress?" Apparently she was expecting the Barbie mansion too.

Well, she had to be satisfied with just the dress, because that took quite a bit of work on it's own.

I watched the video HERE and it was helpful in the whole frosting process.


3 boxes of cake (yes 3 boxes)
At least 2 cans of frosting.
3 nine inch cake pans and one round pyrex dish

Cook all the cake, cool, and then frost. Easy peesy! Well, the video helps a little bit more than my explanation.

It was fun to make.


Tah Dah!! Bring on the little princess and pirates!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun Kids craft

I'm having mixed feelings about the summer ending. It's been a tough summer for a lot of reasons, but I tend to try to resist change. My oldest is going into kindergarten and I'm anxious how the transition will be. I'm sure it will be fine, but FULL day kindergarten is a big change for us. At the same time, not having three kids around all day will be kinda nice (esp. at the grocery store, etc)

Anyway, we did this fun craft on Elevator buttons and the kids loved it. They didn't even realize that they were actually learning while they were doing it too.

I got the idea from THIS blog:

They have always loved elevators and always argue about who gets to push the buttons. I thought it would be a fun thing to play where they EACH have their own elevator (hence: no fighting over the buttons). Plus - learning!

Different than the original, I had them write the numbers, cut out the circles, and glue it on by themselves. I knew my 5 year old would have no problem, but I wondered how my 3 year old would do, and he did great. I had to help him write the numbers, but he kept up and stayed focused on it the whole time. And it took a while. But it really works for lots of ages.



Final product: Glue on the numbers. Then go to any floor you want!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Apricot Curry Chicken

Don't you love when people start new blogs and then hardly write on them? Well hopefully I'll be a little more consistent.

I was itching to try something new tonight for dinner.

I had bought some apricots from Trader Joe's and they were way too ripe. We've usually had good success there with apricots, but this time around I knew no one would eat them. But I didn't want to waste them, so I looked for apricot chicken recipes.

I found this one for Apricot Curry Chicken and thought I would try it.

We aren't a curry family. I'm not a huge fan - and we can't handle really spicy. But it's good to try something new every once in a while.

But I didn't have several of the ingredients so here is what I came up with:


1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
Some white wine
7 apricots, pitted and halved
1/4 cup white sugar
1 14 oz can light coconut milk
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp AI steak sauce (wished I wasn't out of Worcester)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (more to taste)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (chopped)

Combine everything but the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer about 10 min.

Stir the chopped chicken into the sauce and cook (another 10-15 min)

Served over brown rice with veggies.

There was something in it that I didn't like but I couldn't grasp what it was - the white wine? the A1? or the sugar? Honestly, I think it may have been the sugar, but I don't know. It would have helped if my apricots were a bit more tart to balance it out, but I didn't have that luxury.

Overall it was good. My husband and kids ate it, which was a plus.


We served it with sauteed zucchini and Fairy Tale eggplant (love that name). Any veggies would do (you can't see the zucchini because we ate it all).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Craft room

What is a better place to start my craft blog than displaying my craft room? I finished my craft room last year (and sadly have not put it to much crafty use). But I love how it turned out.

Here is where it all came from:
Headboard: freecycle
dresser and desk: next to a trash pile
Suitcase baskets (love these things): freecycle
Silk flowers and picture frames: on sale at AC Moore
Bedding: on sale at Linens and Things (before they went under) with a 20% off coupon.
Curtain hardware: leftover from the people we bought the house from (we had to cut and paint it to match of course)
Curtains: made myself. Caught a Joann's 50% off sale. Didn't have a pattern so it was an adventure. Didn't turn out perfect, but good enough. I like the finished product.
Art work: my first try using acrylics! I really enjoyed it.





Eventually, I will paint the pictures in the picture frames. But for now, they are fine as pictures.


"One of the advantages of being disorderly is one is constantly making exciting discoveries." AA Milne


"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Scott Adams