Color · five things

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

How’s your week been? Ours went by in a blink.

Truthfully, I think it’s gone by so fast because I’ve been in a bit of a fog. I injured my neck last week – wheeling a FREE TREADMILL home from where I found it 5 blocks away. I wish there had been a video, because it was HILARIOUS! All four of us were walking, I saw it and got excited, BB got REALLY excited and said we should bring it home, and Husband and BG ran away and acted like they didn’t even know us! It had wheels, so I pulled and BB pushed, and it really wasn’t very difficult – we laughed the whole way, people in cars driving by laughed and waved, BB pointed and did the crazy sign at me – while he was helping me push! It’s amazing we even made it home, we were laughing so hard.

Anyway, we were super proud of ourselves, but we both woke up sore the next morning, and I just haven’t quite recovered – a bit of pain and a bit of a headache for several days. I’m used to healing overnight – am I getting old(er)??? I’m feeling somewhat better today, so hopefully I’ll be back to normal by Monday and off on some other crazy adventure.

Here are a few things on my mind this week:

rainbow dresses 11. Rainbow Dressing. I loved this. So much. (Made me think about that time I did 31 Days of Color, doing projects in rainbow order and also trying to wear colors in rainbow order throughout the month – Monday: red, Tuesday: orange, etc. That was pretty funny.)



2. Consumers. A few summers ago, my mom and I went to see Austin Kleon (author of Steal Like an Artist) give a lecture at the Sacramento Public Library. His book talked about this idea, and he is quoted or “stolen” from for this Consumers book. A very interesting read. (via Swissmiss)

lego blocks quote

3. This quote. From Consumers book. From Maria Popova of Brain Pickings.

4. This Instagram. I love his drawings so much – sweet and funny and tender and beautiful.

5. This made me laugh. And also reminded me of this.

What are you up to this weekend? We’ve got a baseball game and a choir cast party, and that’s about it. There’s a rumor that Husband is taking the kids hiking, which means I might have several consecutive hours alone! I can’t even imagine. Whatever your plans, I hope your weekend is full of color and inspiration and tender moments and great laughs. Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.


art · Color · DIY · Kids

Class Art Project: Abstract Flower Garden

abstract flower garden unframed

I’ve got the painting bug.

Not the one that makes me want to paint walls and furniture at my house (although there are a few surfaces that could use a coat or two).

No, this time, it’s the art painting bug.

It started when I volunteered to help out with the Art Auction at my kids’ school. I’ve been volunteering weekly in The Girl’s kindergarten class this year, but there haven’t been a lot of chances to help in The Boy’s 3rd grade class. They need volunteers for PE, but all the PE times conflict with other commitments. I’ve gone on a field trip or two, but I’d love to do more, so this seemed like a good opportunity.

I scoured Pinterest for class art project ideas. This sent me down the path of art images and art websites and art tutorials. I got lost in the colors and the techniques and the beautiful finished pieces. (Check out my “(art) projects + inspiration” board on Pinterest – I’ve been going crazy over there.)

To pick a final project for school, I created a Pinterest board of ideas and shared it with The Boy’s teacher. Her favorites were my favorites, and we picked our final idea quickly.

abstract flower tutorial

The project inspiration came from Art is Fun, a great website that has lots of tutorials on drawing and painting.

I thought this project could be adapted well to a class project in which each student created a square, and then all of the squares would be assembled into a grid to make a “garden” of abstract flowers. (There are 25 students in The Boy’s class, perfect for making a square grid.)


I did a little practice before taking it to the 3rd graders. The Girl and I spent a couple of mornings painting little squares of paper to see how long it would take to dry between layers. (Most dried within 15 minutes.) I think she got the painting bug, too.

Here’s what we used:

water color paper (I cut the paper down into 4″ x 4″ squares, one for each student)

-acrylic paints (I used these “Bright Colors” from Michaels)

brushes of different sizes (larger for covering the background, smaller for detail work)

We worked on the project over the course of several school days, anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour. Working in these time frames allowed us to break it up into smaller steps and to allow the paint to dry between layers and before going back to add details, such as lines, dots, and swirls.

When the students were finished, I had them write their initials in white paint in the corners of their pieces. To make the initials as small as possible, I gave them toothpicks to write with. They practiced on construction paper a few times before finalizing on their pieces.

I LOVE how they turned out – each one unique, like the students who created them. I took some snapshots of their work and put them in a little slideshow below so you can see each one and appreciate the creativity and detail that went into them.

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Once they were all complete, it was time to assemble. I couldn’t find a piece of poster board large enough to fit the frame I had purchased, so I bought a piece of mat board at Michaels.

abstract flower garden - art auctio project

I arranged and rearranged the art pieces on the mat board, making sure adjacent pieces had different color borders and balancing the use of color throughout the piece.

I attached the pieces in a grid using acid free double stick tape.

I placed everything inside this frame I ordered on Amazon.

abstract flower garden framed

I LOVE IT!! I loved working with the kids on it, seeing their different ideas and styles of painting. I loved getting to be in the classroom, getting to know the kids a little bit more. And I LOVE the way it turned out – bright, beautiful colors, individual styles, and a really striking piece.

abstract flower garden unframed

It will be auctioned off to the highest bidder to raise money for our school. Both kids really want us to win, but even if we don’t, the painting bug has bitten our family, and we’ve got PLENTY of ideas and projects to keep us busy this spring!

31 Days · Being Mama · Color · Fall · five things · good life · Halloween

Five Things

photo 1

Hello! Happy Friday! It’s been a little quiet around these parts, but only on the blog. Life has been busy and crazy and FULL and wonderful for the last few weeks.

If you’ve followed along for a while, you know that I usually do 31 Days this time of year. I decided in September that with my schedule, there was no way I could make it happen. This was just not my year, but maybe next year will be. So what have I been doing? Here are a few things that have been on my mind this month:

1. Rummage Sale. The first weekend of October was our preschool’s HUGE Rummage Sale.

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In the week leading up to the sale, we transformed the MPR into collection central, with thousands of items being donated by the school, church, and local community. Over 75 volunteers worked long hours in preparation for this fundraiser, and it was a HUGE success! As in years past (see here and here), it was a CRAZY week of hard work, hilarious moments, exhaustion, and so much fun! I love the Rummage Sale, and I love being able to help raise money for scholarships and for aides for students with special needs. Another great one in the books!

Sunapee, HN

2. New Hampshire.

I just got back from a trip to New Hampshire. Adopted California Mom has invited us for years to join her in the fall when she goes to visit, and this year, Husband said, “Yes, you should do it!” And so I did.

It was my first visit to New England, and I am smitten.

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Now, I happened to be traveling during the fall foliage peak, which was definitely a highlight. I mean, I’m from Tennessee – I’ve done REAL autumn before – but this was unbelievable.

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I’ve never seen colors like this before.

New Hampshire in Autumn

We would be driving along, chatting away, and I would stop mid-sentence, forgetting my words to see another blaze of color before me.

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Aside from the natural beauty, I feel in love with the people (so friendly!) and the houses (such character!) and the pace of our days (calmer, simpler). As BB and BG said every night on the phone, “I can’t WAIT to visit New Hampshire!”

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3. Contrast. This word kept coming to me as we walked and drove among the beautiful color-changing leaves of New England.

This may sound silly, but I’m not a big evergreen fan. I am all about deciduous trees, but I don’t love the conifers. (It might have something to do with the painfully sharp needles that drop into our yard from a particularly unattractive one. Petty, I know. I’m not proud of this.) I realized, however, that the beauty of the changing colors was in part amplified by the contrast of these trees against their evergreen counterparts. A forest full of yellow trees would probably not take my breath away the same way one brilliant one does in a see of dark green needles. It’s the contrast that brings out the beauty. It provides a different perspective.

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The same is true about my time away. I love my kids fiercely and madly, but there was something wonderful about being away from the morning rush and the dishes and the laundry and the bickering. There was space to reflect and dream and plan. And I began to miss them – miss them dearly. Their phone conversations made me laugh harder and smile more easily. And when I returned, there was a level of patience that I haven’t known in several months. I was renewed and refreshed in a way that could only come from stepping back, from having time that wasn’t focused solely on them. Now I know it won’t be like this forever – my patience will grow thin and my nerves will feel a bit frazzled again – but I hope next time I will remember the difference the contrast made, and I will make time to give myself some margin so that I can once again return to them with a new perspective.

New Hampshire


4. That which is temporary. In addition to contrast, the changing leaves also stood as a reminder of things that are temporary, and that even those things have been filled with beauty, though fleeting. It reminded me of this mesmerizing video I saw a few weeks ago, and how there are things in our lives – even our lives themselves – that are not meant to last forever, but that have meaning and purpose anyway. It has helped me to remember to focus on the small moments, because they, too, are filled with significance and beauty.

5. Costumes. I haven’t done any sort of project in weeks, but I’ll start working on Halloween next week. This might be our last year with a theme (I said that last year and the year before), but for now, we’re all going to be superheros. We will each have a different superpower, and the kids and I worked together to design the symbols for our costumes. I’m pretty excited about it (you know I love Halloween) and am looking forward to showing you what we came up with. (Check out a couple of other past costumes here and here.)

As I was scouring the web for ideas on masks, I came across these. Aren’t they amazing? They are downloadable – you put them together yourself. I want to hang this one on the wall.

Move over, puzzles – I think I just picked up a new winter hobby.

What are you up to this weekend? We have family photos scheduled, a soccer game, and a fundraiser to attend. It’s western-themed. Which means I get to dress up. You know I’m excited about that. Also hoping to squeeze in a nap and some reading. Hope you have a fun weekend!