Gifts from the Kiddos- Canvas Artwork

kiddo artwork

Do you remember picking out gifts for your adult family members when you were a kiddo? I do, and most of the time it was snoring boring. Adults just didn’t want things that I thought were fun to give! It’s a wonderful thing to teach children the joy of giving, and I discovered a way to get my children super excited about family gift giving this year— We took a couple of days out of our week to make gifts.

Alright, so the thing about homemade gifts is that while they are often fun to give, they’re not always so fun to receive! Of course, loving grandparents will cherish anything their grandkiddos gift them in earnest, but I wanted to make it easier for Lucy and Juniper’s family to really use and enjoy the gifts the girls made for them, so we settled on the things I’ve been most in awe of as far as their kiddo talents go: abstract paintings!

kiddo artwork

The girls always love to paint. Give them a store receipt to paint and they’re thrilled, but give them an easel and a canvas? Suddenly their inner Matisse comes out! Such a thrill for them to do, and a joy for me to watch.

Below are the paintings the girls made over the course of two days. They’re really special paintings that I’d totally hang on my wall, so I’m certain Lucy and Junipers grandparents, aunts, and uncles will as well! Right now I’m working on framing them up to look very polished and much like something you’d pick up at a boutique or artisan market. Some of the frames will be natural, some stained dark, and some painted white. I was able to find quite a few small scraps of wood from my workshop to fashion the frames, so I’m pretty happy about that!

kiddo artwork

A lot of you have asked what kind of process we do when we let the kids paint, so I wanted to talk a bit about that. We used acrylic craft paints for these primed canvases, and I didn’t bring out all of the paint colors we have in our home. I selected the colors that I put into little glass bowls, and then they could choose from them as they worked on their canvases. Since they painted the canvases over the course of two days, I was able to have different paint colors for each session. For the first paint session I gave them pink, orange, teal, and brown. The second day they were able to use shades of green and blue and browns, but then we finished up with some pink and yellow per their request.

The reason I restricted the color scheme may be obvious, but I wanted to have finished paintings that would coordinate well with the gift recipients’ homes. The girls would’ve chosen wild colors and create a brownish mashup after all of their blending (I’m looking at you, Juniper!), and something like that wouldn’t be as special hanging on the wall, even if it is framed.

kiddo artwork

 

As far as their technique goes, I did try to guide them when they painted the large canvas for our living room (mostly because it was such a huge space for them to work with), but this time around I just let them go to town, occasionally suggesting they try a certain color of quit when it looked nice, but literally every time I made a suggestion it was ignored! Ha!

I did ask them not to dip a brush with one color of paint on it into a bowl with a different color of paint. I spent quite a bit of time washing and drying brushes as they painted, but we tried to designate certain brushes for certain colors of paint. That didn’t always go over very well. They were little divas telling me to wash their brushes. But hey! At least they listened and didn’t make all of the bowls of paint brown from mixing.

We will eventually talk about mixing paint and I can teach them about making new colors after blending, but right now they’re not too interested in learning. They just love the process, so I give them some parameters so they can create something really lovely with their efforts.

kiddo artwork

I will say, the first day we painted, Juniper had a little meltdown when we finished up. Poor thing! She was having so much fun. However, she was ready for a nap. I learned from that experience and the next day we began painting after she woke up from her nap and had enjoyed a little snack. Much better!

Taking Time Out + A Giveaway

famous footwear giveaway

Before having children, I got to the point where I had felt the magic of the holiday season slip away. I told myself that everything would be more magical with a little kiddo taking it all in for the first time. And I wasn’t wrong. But I hadn’t considered one very important detail… all of the stress that comes with making the holidays magical for my children!

This past week has been the height of my holiday stress, as every beginning of December I’m finishing up holiday blog posts for A Beautiful Mess, and invariably finishing the secret handmade gifts I plan to give my girls for presents. But this year every stress has been magnified as we’re still in the midst of renovating some major family living spaces at our house.

famous footwear giveaway

This past week I had planned to make Christmas cookies with the girls, letting them decorate gingerbread men however they wanted. At just the thought of this “fun holiday activity,” I had begun to stress about how their little hands would manage to squeeze out icing, and wondered if they’d find the experience fun or frustrating. But then I stepped back for a minute and realized that all of these activities I feel compelled to do are meant to be fun, and if it’s stressing me out, I needed to dial it back a bit! So what did I do? I put myself in a little holiday time out and decided to do something for me.

I spent yesterday evening in the kitchen by myself, while the kiddos watched tv (the horror!), and I made my favorite ginger spice cookie recipe that isn’t necessarily a fan favorite in our house. I was feeling pretty good about things, when I decided to multi-task and head to the garage to work on sanding and painting something or other. When I came back in the house, I realized while I was gone, a batch of cookies had burned in the oven!

famous footwear giveaway

And I realized my holiday time-out had actually been a fake out. I was struggling to take the time out to just do one thing for myself, without feeling compelled to be productive simultaneously.

Are you feeling me? Do you struggle to take time out for yourself each holiday season? Since I sort of failed at my holiday time out yesterday, I’m going to put a cute outfit together (with my new Famous Footwear boots), and head out for a cookie exchange party, then I’ll hunker down tonight with a cup of hot tea and the holiday movie of my choice: The Family Stone.

famous footwear giveaway

I’ve teamed up with Famous Footwear to encourage you all to please, take a step forward and give yourself a break this season! It will all be gone in a flash, and you’ll wish you hadn’t let yourself get so stressed out. Maybe a new pair of shoes would help? Which is handy, actually, because Famous Footwear would like to give one of you a $100 gift card to spend on a pair of shoes to take you somewhere FUN this holiday season! Head on over to my Instagram to enter the giveaway.

I snatched up my must-have shoe for the season at Famous Footwear, which I’ve been wearing with almost every outfit when I go out these day. They’re a stretchy sock-boot style by Naturalizer, so they’re not hard on my feet. They have a lot of other boot styles that are tempting me as well! Go check it out, and good luck on the giveaway!

famous footwear giveaway

Kitchen Shelving + Holiday Table Decor

DIY open shelving wall

At long last, I’m ready to share the full tutorial+tips for building this wall of shelving! I built this entire thing completely by myself, and yes, you can too! I was able to use construction-grade pine lumber, but a lot of elbow grease and a few tricks helped make them look much nicer. I shared the entire process at A Beautiful Mess, so head on over to check it out if you’re keen!

Another fun project I shared at A Beautiful Mess this week is this fun mandarin tower table centerpiece. This craft was a huge hit at our house, as Lucy was able to make one without any help from me (shocked my socks off!), and the girls loved plucking mandarins from the tree to have for a snack.

fruit tower table decor

fruit tower table decor

We’re hosting a gathering on New Year’s Eve, and I think we’ll make a couple more towers for decorating our snack spread. They look so fancy, but they’re simple and economical to make.

open wood shelves kitchen

Same for my shelving system! Well, okay, so it’s not exactly simple. But as far as woodworking goes, this is pretty straight forward. If you end up building something similar in your own home, I’d love for you to share it with me!

We’re very eager to finish up the last details of the kitchen project, which seems to be dragging on and on. It’s so tricky when you’re working on two spaces at once. We also have just finished up the living room completely (!!!!) and I’m sooo excited to share that with you very soon. Home renovations are exciting, but man, they are all-consuming. I’m ready to finally decorate for the holidays and take a little breather from all the drywall dust everywhere!

DIY shelving system

DIY open shelving wall

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