Watercolor Easter eggs

On one of my many pilgrimages  Target this week, I set out looking for an egg dying kit… a SIMPLE Easter egg dying kit.  You can tye-dye your Easter eggs, cover them with stickers or glitter, turn them into Star Wars characters…. Those vinegar solutions that result in such pure, pastel colors were no where to be found.

I’m sure there are homemade recipes that yield a similar result… Ones that involve pain painstakingly peeling beets, soaking them for days, and then dipping your eggs… all while you sip tea, knead homemade bread, and count the endless hours you have left at your disposable.


Cut to watercolors.  I already had them in the house and goodness knows I’ve seen many kids test the “non-toxic” label, so I can’t imagine that they’ll poison the eggs (Update:  I’m alive, not poison).

And I’m loving the results.  Depending on the amount of water you put into the paint you can go from a saturated, pure hue all the way to a light, glowing pastel.

If you wet the egg a bit, and then load up the brush it bleeds in a wonderfully, beautiful way.  Even when a heavy handed, 3 year old is wielding the brush the results are delicate.

I’m thinking I may try round 2 and dab with Saran-wrap.  This method creates a marbled look on paper that I’m pretty sure will transfer to eggs no problem.



Fun with forts and Engineering pitfalls

On these rainy, cold days we all start to get a little stir crazy… Am I wrong?  Along with social media, we’ve also given up t.v. for the kiddo this lent.  We always try to monitor screen time, but it’s just so tempting when you’ve been inside all day!

One coping mechanism as of late has been fort building.  It has been a learning curve for me.  Apparently, there is a reason I’m not a structural engineer:  I’m no good at building things that will actually stand!  So I googled around and came across the following visual on lifeasamama.com.

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This tutorial redeemed me.  I’m not sure I’m ready to actually begin a career as a structural engineer… but I can build a darn good fort now-a-days!!!


Art Room Week in Review


It’s been a long time since I posted art room pictures!  Here are a few random, fun photos from this week…

Preschool read “Little Yellow, Little Blue” by Leo Lionni and created these masterpieces by pushing a ping pong ball through yellow and blue paint.  The resulting pieces look very active…. and very green!


First Grade has been studying the art of America.  We’ve studied Jasper Johns, Peter Max, and Romero Britto.  These pieces examine size variety and repetition just like Jasper Johns’ “3 Flags”.IMG_5641

These koinobori and “Great Waves” were created by second graders during their exploration of Asian art.  We studied the culture and work of Japanese artist Hokusai.

And these 3rd grade desert landscapes just make me happy.  We studied  Georgia O’Keeffe’s use of color theory (specifically warm/cool colors).  We were inspired by her landscapes painted in New mexico.  O’Keeffe lessons are always a hit.  Her work is so like-able.  Kids always “oooo and ahhhh” at her work…and I always “ooooo and ahhhhh” at the work they create in response.



The joys of a cardboard box


IMG_5581I’ve recently had a surplus of boxes floating around school and the house.  Usually I just crush these bad boys and throw them in the recycle… but Ollie’s been REALLY into making things out of boxes lately… airports, fire stations, houses on fire, parking garages, cities… endless possibilities.

Constructing out of boxes alongside him has really been a joy for me.  A reminder of the little things.  A reminder to look at boxes (and life) differently, with an open mind.  A reminder that the simplicity can bring such joy.

So, I dare you.  I double dog dare you.  Jump into cardboard box architecture without hesitation.  You may find, like me, that you needed a reminder of the simple joys.

Need ideas?

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apartment therapy


Technology, Lent, and Life

It’s been such a long time!  There are many reasons I’ve been out of technological touch.  Busyness is first among the reasons!  Not sure I’m actually drawing breath some days.

But I’ve also made a concerted effort to take leave of technology.  I can get so caught up looking at other peoples’ family pictures on facebook… following stream after stream on instagram… I sometimes have to totally cut it out to remind myself of priorities.

So, for lent this year, I gave up social media.  This sounds so silly.  Just 10 years ago social media was not a part of my daily life.  But now… I don’t even want to know how many minutes, hours… I spend staring at a screen.

It was embarrassingly difficult to give up at first, but more recently, it has been liberating.  I have found myself reading every article in the paper, doing crosswords, and yes, taking time to write little notes on this blog (which is technically social media… and will automatically post to facebook… but I promise not to open facebook!).

I’m wondering if lent may overflow beyond Easter for me… I guess I never realized how all those minutes spent staring at a glowing screen add up to hours.  How those hours of extreme connectedeness make me feel somehow claustrophobic.  I had forgotten how free I feel with my phone on “do not disturb” and all that matters right in front of me.

Art room week in review

 Every have one of those weeks where you think it’s Friday… but then you realize it’s only Thursday?!  WAAAAAAHHHH

Well aside from that harsh realization it was a great week in the art room.  I’m loving the 4th graders Matisse inspired letter collages.  Some of the kids incorporated pop up paper cutting.  The “Y” in Brady to the left pops up and has a second, different Y underneath.  I love how kids take what you teach them, run away with it, and make it their own.

Third graders splatter painted in either warm or cool colors and let me tell you, there is no joy like that of a child splatter painting.  They literally giggle and smile through this entire lesson.  I kind of hate splatter painting just because it’s a mess… But the kids love it so much I can’t resist.   And these trees… First graders look at Van Gogh’s tree paintings and discuss his color use.  We then used mixed media techniques to create these babies.  The kids used chalk pastels to color the sky, and painted paper to assemble the leaves on the trees and grass.  I love how the chalk creates depth and allows you to see the line quality that is so unique to each student.  This lesson is a new one to me and I’m beyond happy with the results.


The other week I shared with you how kindergarteners created mobiles after viewing Mondrian’s art, and my love of taking 2-dimensional art and making it 3-dimensions… so this week another twist:  Matisse organic mobiles.  2nd graders learned about Matisse, his process and his use of organic shapes.  They created 2-dimensional organic shape collages.  After these were complete the students turned their collages into mobiles.

I think that this method keeps kids on their toes, makes them think outside the box and also… kids just LOVE sculpture.  It’s something about the construction… there’s a certain wow factor that sculpture allows.

So, here’s to a new week… Welcome Monday and all the new messes, art and fun you bring!

With love,


Art room week in review

 Finally… back to normal.  After feeling yucky, sinusy, soar throaty the past couple weeks, I’m finally feeling like myself!  WOOHOO!  Health is a funny thing.  You take it for granted.  You forget how hard it is to function day-to-day when you just don’t feel good.

So, this week, I am feeling very grateful for my health.  I need to remember what a lucky person I am to feel normal most of the time!

With that little note of gratitude… on to art!  The photo to the left is the beginning of a kindergarten painting inspired by “Press Here” by Herve Tulet.  This book is one of my favorites.  I love childrens’ books, but this one stands out amongst all the books I love!  It is interactive and magical.  I have never read this book and had one single student bored.  They “OOOOOOO” and “AHHHHHH” as each page turns.  We painted and stamped circles after reading the book and next week we’ll paint in with the primary colors.

Fourth graders started a collage lesson based on Henri Matisse’s book “JAZZ”.  We looked at how Matisse use lettering in his art; we compared his art to contemporary bill boards with lettering; and finally we started our own collages using the letters we know best :  Our names.  I don’t really know why, but kids LOVE creating anything that includes their names. This lesson is a crowd pleaser!IMG_3294

Third graders continued their study of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work with a focus on craftsmanship.  We viewed her fall leaf paintings and discussed how she utilized overlapping in her composition to create depth.  Then we drew our own leaves.  We used black glue (Black paint+Glue+Blender) to trace our lines. The final step was the paint with watercolors.  We learned about warm and cool colors as we painted.

This is a lesson that I repeat year after year because the results are just so lovely.  Each of these is unique and beautiful in its own way.    

And this boy…  I swear I saw him moments before I snapped this picture and he was clean!!  I asked him what happened to his hands and his answer had me laughing so hard…. “Ummm, Art?”  The way he answered me with a little apologetic question in his voice cracked me up.

Sometimes art just happens.  I county myself as lucky… lucky in so many ways.  Lucky for my health, lucky that I get to be a witness to art happening all around me… lucky to be sure.

With love,


Climbing and costumes…  

Like peas and carrots, right?  Well, maybe not exactly.  And I didn’t do both at the same time… just in the same weekend.

A good friend has a climbing wall in their home and we finally got around to bringing O.  It was so fun to watch him play around.  G was pretty proud of his little climber.

We may or may not have put fruit snacks on the top hold of each route… a little bribery never hurt a situation like this…

E44EE930-1F1C-445F-B995-7D8C9C9EE71FAnd costumes… SO FUN!  The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley has a movie costume exhibit and I went with a couple of friends to the opening.  It was as ritzy as we get here in Winchester:  Women in gowns, men in tuxedos, champagne…

It was really interesting to see costumes worn in movies.  Actors and actresses are all so little!  I swear half of these costumes were children’s sizes!  And the details… You really can’t see it all on screen…

I have a Jane Austen movie addiction and there were costumes from “Sense and Sensibility”!!!  I was pretty excited!  The exhibit is currently open, so I’d urge anyone to go if they have the chance.  I threw together a few pictures to share.

So with that… Happy Sunday.  Hope everyone survive the cold rain!  I hear next week the sun will be back in full force!

With love,


Where does pink lemonade come from?

 “Where does pink lemonade come from?”

“From pink lemons… OF COURSE!”  Bahahah

I just crack myself up.

This goofy little joke got me started on a painting… a pink lemon painting to be specific.

I thought it would be funny to paint a pink lemon… and what’s a pink lemon without a partner painting… a green pair.

I admit, the green pair isn’t quite so clever (I like to call myself clever… as opposed to silly… or juvenille…)  But I wanted to set off the pink with a light green.  And I actually sort of like the ridiculous pink lemon next to a regular ol’ green pear… it makes you ponder color choice a bit more.

This is actually more of a collage than a painting.  I started by painting paper in greys, pinks and greens.  I, then, cut out the fruit and other details like leaves.  I used modge podge to hold everything in place… and there you have it.

So what do you do when life hands you pink lemons?  Make pink lemonade… or paint it at the very least.

With love,