watercolorart

Every mom has days when she feels inspired. After a couple early morning hours cruising Pinterest, and a quick trip to the crafts store to gather cool supplies, it’s a breeze! And there are those other times; times for just family and lazy summer afternoons, times when you want low muss-no-fuss times, but still you are hoping for high impact. We had one of those the other day, my girls and I. Here is what we came up with!
his project requires few supplies , so it is also easy to take on the go- to the beach house or family cabin.

Family rating: Ages 3-100
Bonus: This technique is especially pretty, framed as wall art. Choose complimentary colors if you have wall art in mind.

What you will need:

First Zoe drew her original art design. White color crayon was a little too tough to see on  the card stock, so she switched to pale pastel. I helped her outline some art until she was pleased with the general look of her drawing.

Next she chose different colors of watercolor paint and had a fun time painting over the drawing and discovering how vibrant her crayon drawings became. She kept switching colors and ended up liking the chalkboard effect of different colors combining to make a lighter black. Framed in black, this artwork looks awesome on the wall!

Get the whole family involved, create and discover your own chalkboard effect amazing art!

bravingbacktoschool

The start of school year is exciting. New backpacks, new lunch bags, new schedules, new resolutions for moms like me trying to work a little more, stay healthy, find time to exercise and time to shop.. and for some (maybe most moms, I think) there is some sadness, too.  I should know…6 years further along now than my very first year as a mom of school-age kids, and I think I have finally figured it out. Here’s my best advice on how to be brave and rocking a smooth start to your school year!

1. Wake Up Early
Not a morning person? Get over it. It’s the only way to survive and stay sane. Be the first one up, have some coffee, plan your day, meditate, shower, just get your groove going first.
2. Wake Your Kids Up Early & On Schedule
It’s true, all that grown up stuff about being consistent and waking up slowly, your family will be better by doing this. Happy music, a good breakfast, and plenty of time to wake up and get going should keep them perfectly alert and ready to work by the time school starts.
3. Embrace What’s New
Talk about what is going to be new this school year, and make sure you include something for you, Mom. A book club, a yoga class, an online course or a new creative project that feeds your soul. Something new and different, talk about this with your kids and what new things they will be tackling at school. The more you talk about it, the more comfortable you will all be. New school, new schedule? Do a trial run. Drive the route to school, walk the schedule on campus. New lunch hour, food plan? Try this at home first. Test out new snacks, sandwiches , even a new schedule during your week of school.
4. Play, Play, Play With Your Kids
Ditch the lists during the last couple weeks of summer. Don’t succumb to the back to school rush. Play outside longer, go to the movies, play in the pool- just be playful while the kids around to appreciate. Your dog won’t appreciate your playful spirit once they are back at class . ( Trust me. )
5. Practice
Without too much preparation, talk about school and any sensitive scenario’s you think you’re kids might encounter, and then talk through how to handle them. What to say if.. role play and consider different situations and what the appropriate response might be. Anything goes here, from a tummy ache, to a forgotten lunch, to no one to play with and even the not so nice kid on the playground.
6. Talk Tech With Your Kids
First off, make sure they remember your phone number and the best place to reach you by phone in case of emergency. Many school nurses will encourage an older child to place the call to Mom, make sure they know the back up plans too in case you don’t answer. Talk tech limits, cell phone in the car, before or after school? Texting? Tech time before homework? Set the limits in advance.
7. Share The Love
At home, not on the school sidewalk ( yes, my kids are older now). Start by telling them how much they’ve grown this summer, compliment them on new skills, remind them how much they have grown since the start of school last year. Hold them tight, and sneak kisses if you can during this conversation. Your words are empowering and will build their self esteem, remind them ( and you) how ready they are to go back to school, and above all, be brave! Set a great example.

nightlight_lanterns_new

There is something about that magical bedtime hour. I love to peek in on my girls and breathe in their bedtime summer scent, strawberry shampoo fresh from the bath, with a fading scent of chlorine from earlier in the day. It’s sweet to see their summer smiles, content from a lazy day of just hanging out. We enjoyed making these lanterns and they cast a cool, cozy glow onto their bedroom ceilings at nighttime. Olivia, my almost ‘teen declared them “ adorbs!”, and I know Zoe had a blast painting. Zoe’s lantern glows steadily through the night, and she loves the pink glow it gives her room. This is a super easy, adaptable craft, perfect for summer sleepovers!

Summer Glow Nightlight Lanterns

Family Rating-5-100 ( Picky preteen approved, some supervision for young children)

Time: 1 hour total

What you will need: 

-1 Large Mason Jar with a wide mouth top ( Make sure your lights fit inside before starting!)

-1 Strand of Battery Powered LED Lights ( rummage through your holiday stash!)

-Paint – I LOVE  and used Kid Made Modern, Shimmer Shine Paints from Target

-1 Decal – I used some decals we had leftover from a wall design pack. Check unused stickers or decals from previous projects , or you could paint a finished design with acrylic.

Instructions:

Wash and dry your mason jar. Paint your jar to the very top. We used 3 coats of paint, placing on the patio to dry in the sun in between each coat. The paint we used was acrylic and has a very cool shimmer to it! The paint color looks shimmery solid by day and is super cute,  and glows nicely with a see through effect by night.

This project was a lot of painting, but my girls enjoyed the effort. Once dry, decorate with a decal , or make your own cutting outline shapes ( think smiley face’s, peace symbols, etc.) out of larger decals or stickers. You could also try painting an outline shape with a dark color in acrylic paint.

Fill jar with a strand of battery powered LED lights. If you don’t have any on hand, you can easily find them at your local craft store. Bright white are always the best!

Late nights and lazy mornings, savor the simple things this summer!

perryman_1_new

We are all about soft, summer T-shirts in our house. Perfect for hanging out, swimsuit cover up or a sleepover. To fill a hot, summer afternoon I lured my girls to the craft table to design their own wearable art masterpiece.

We used two different techniques here, Bleachy T’s ( the orange Love design by Zoe) and Sharpie Designed Watercolor T’s ( Zoe’s flowers and Olivia’s yellow T-shirt, with all-over chain design) The Sharpie watercolor t-s are perfect for every age, I simplified the project for Zoe by using the flower technique, you can use any circular shape or just doodle a design, simplify it for younger ages. The Bleachy T’s use a bleach pen, sold in the laundry supply aisle at most stores. The pen doesn’t drip and is easy to hold, so crafters as young as 5 and 6 could do this with very close supervision. I found the softest t-shirts ever, discounted at Target. I suggest a small or medium adult size T-shirt if you are making a child’s beach cover up or sleepover T-shirt.  Step by step, here are both techniques, Bleachy T’s and Sharpie Watercolor T’s.

perryman_2_new

Bleachy T’s 

Family Rating-5-100 ( Picky preteen approved, close supervision for young children)

Learning: Inspiring project, design your own wearable art

Time: 1 hour total

What you will need:

1 Bleach Pen: I used Clorox, and it was very easy to handle.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide (standard)

1 Cut piece of cardboard, covered with a plastic shopping bag to slide inside T-shirt

1 Small spray bottle to mix peroxide and water

1 Bright or dark color T-shirt to contrast bleach design

Instructions: 

Pre-wash & dry your T-shirt. Try your shirt on and look in the mirror to double check the area where you would like to place your design. I gently marked the corners of the area with a pencil, just to make sure it would be properly placed and visible when worn. Wrap shopping bag around cardboard and secure with staples. Slide cardboard into T-shirt and make sure your entire working area for design has thick cardboard behind it so the bleach does not leak onto back of shirt and stain.

Practice writing or drawing with bleach pen on newspaper or colored paper. The pen requires a gentle, constant squeeze. Even though Zoe’s grasp is not very strong, she was able to hold a constant stream.  Draw a design or write your words, leaving T-shirt space between design or letters. When the bleach soaks in and sets it bleeds a bit and the lines become thicker, so allow for extra space.

Check out your finished design and when satisfied, place your T-shirt, with cardboard still tucked inside, out in the full sun. Leave in the sun until you reach the desired effect of wider, bleached strokes. See the picture where the wet bleach line is still visible but the area around it has begun to bleach and stain? That is the effect you are looking for. In the Arizona sun it took about 10 minutes, but hey, it’s really HOT here!

Remove cardboard, and spray design with water bottle mix of 1/3 hydrogen peroxide to 2/3 water. This mixture will neutralize the bleach. Place in sink and spray with cold water spraying up toward the neck of  the T-shirt so you are not washing the bleach into the rest of the t-shirt. Once rinsed, wash and dry as normal. I love looking at this T-shirt and seeing Zoe’s authentic writing and artwork, truly a piece of wearable art!

Sharpie Designed Watercolor Ts

Family Rating: 5-100 ( Picky preteen approved, close supervision for young children)

Learning: Inspiring project, design your own wearable art

Time: 1 hour depending on how elaborate design is. Zoe’s watercolor flower design took about 45 minutes

What you will need:

 Instructions:

Pre-wash & dry your T-shirt. Slide shirt on and double check area where you would like to place your design. I gently marked the corners of the area with a pencil, just to make sure it would be properly placed and visible when being worn. It’s especially important to do this with young girls, as these designs are circular and need to positioned appropriately for chest placement. My older daughter Olivia, chose to begin her design in the shoulder area and continuing it all around the back of the shirt, and extending the chain onto the front. To simplify the design for Zoe we decided to do a group of flowers, each based on a circular design. Zoe’s jar top was smaller than Olivia’s.

Place the jar top underneath the shirt where you want to place your first circular design. Smooth the shirt and extend it over the sides of the jar lid. Secure carefully with rubber band and test for stability. Begin drawing your design. Olivia used squiggly lines that reached outward. Zoe drew and outlined several layers of a flower. Leave space between each line and color for designs to bleed. You could first draw your design with a dark colored sharpie and color-in, but my girls chose to draw and go! When the circular area was full as desired with design, put down your sharpie and switch to a small paintbrush.

Paint the alcohol on top of your sharpie design slowly in the same stroke style as your design. Watch the color discharge and set. Continue until your design has the watercolor effect you desire. Continue the same process until your design area is complete. Olivia wrapped completely around the shirt and spent a couple of hours on her masterpiece. Zoe and I simplified the project, she drew and outlined 4 flowers, and connected the stems. A simple idea with an awesome effect. Dry in the sun for half an hour, and then run in the dryer for 15 minutes just to be sure design is set. Wash and dry in cold water. Just to be safe, I washed each T-shirt alone the first time.

Enjoy an afternoon of art and simple the savor things this summer!

perryman_1_new

We are all about soft, summer T-shirts in our house. Perfect for hanging out, swimsuit cover up or a sleepover. To fill a hot, summer afternoon I lured my girls to the craft table to design their own wearable art masterpiece.

We used two different techniques here, Bleachy T’s ( the orange Love design by Zoe) and Sharpie Designed Watercolor T’s ( Zoe’s flowers and Olivia’s yellow T-shirt, with all-over chain design) The Sharpie watercolor t-s are perfect for every age, I simplified the project for Zoe by using the flower technique, you can use any circular shape or just doodle a design, simplify it for younger ages. The Bleachy T’s use a bleach pen, sold in the laundry supply aisle at most stores. The pen doesn’t drip and is easy to hold, so crafters as young as 5 and 6 could do this with very close supervision. I found the softest t-shirts ever, discounted at Target. I suggest a small or medium adult size T-shirt if you are making a child’s beach cover up or sleepover T-shirt.  Step by step, here are both techniques, Bleachy T’s and Sharpie Watercolor T’s.

perryman_2_new

Bleachy T’s 

Family Rating-5-100 ( Picky preteen approved, close supervision for young children)

Learning: Inspiring project, design your own wearable art

Time: 1 hour total

What you will need:

1 Bleach Pen: I used Clorox, and it was very easy to handle.

3% Hydrogen Peroxide (standard)

1 Cut piece of cardboard, covered with a plastic shopping bag to slide inside T-shirt

1 Small spray bottle to mix peroxide and water

1 Bright or dark color T-shirt to contrast bleach design

Instructions: 

Pre-wash & dry your T-shirt. Try your shirt on and look in the mirror to double check the area where you would like to place your design. I gently marked the corners of the area with a pencil, just to make sure it would be properly placed and visible when worn. Wrap shopping bag around cardboard and secure with staples. Slide cardboard into T-shirt and make sure your entire working area for design has thick cardboard behind it so the bleach does not leak onto back of shirt and stain.

Practice writing or drawing with bleach pen on newspaper or colored paper. The pen requires a gentle, constant squeeze. Even though Zoe’s grasp is not very strong, she was able to hold a constant stream.  Draw a design or write your words, leaving T-shirt space between design or letters. When the bleach soaks in and sets it bleeds a bit and the lines become thicker, so allow for extra space.

Check out your finished design and when satisfied, place your T-shirt, with cardboard still tucked inside, out in the full sun. Leave in the sun until you reach the desired effect of wider, bleached strokes. See the picture where the wet bleach line is still visible but the area around it has begun to bleach and stain? That is the effect you are looking for. In the Arizona sun it took about 10 minutes, but hey, it’s really HOT here!

Remove cardboard, and spray design with water bottle mix of 1/3 hydrogen peroxide to 2/3 water. This mixture will neutralize the bleach. Place in sink and spray with cold water spraying up toward the neck of  the T-shirt so you are not washing the bleach into the rest of the t-shirt. Once rinsed, wash and dry as normal. I love looking at this T-shirt and seeing Zoe’s authentic writing and artwork, truly a piece of wearable art!

Sharpie Designed Watercolor Ts

Family Rating: 5-100 ( Picky preteen approved, close supervision for young children)

Learning: Inspiring project, design your own wearable art

Time: 1 hour depending on how elaborate design is. Zoe’s watercolor flower design took about 45 minutes

What you will need:

 Instructions:

Pre-wash & dry your T-shirt. Slide shirt on and double check area where you would like to place your design. I gently marked the corners of the area with a pencil, just to make sure it would be properly placed and visible when being worn. It’s especially important to do this with young girls, as these designs are circular and need to positioned appropriately for chest placement. My older daughter Olivia, chose to begin her design in the shoulder area and continuing it all around the back of the shirt, and extending the chain onto the front. To simplify the design for Zoe we decided to do a group of flowers, each based on a circular design. Zoe’s jar top was smaller than Olivia’s.

Place the jar top underneath the shirt where you want to place your first circular design. Smooth the shirt and extend it over the sides of the jar lid. Secure carefully with rubber band and test for stability. Begin drawing your design. Olivia used squiggly lines that reached outward. Zoe drew and outlined several layers of a flower. Leave space between each line and color for designs to bleed. You could first draw your design with a dark colored sharpie and color-in, but my girls chose to draw and go! When the circular area was full as desired with design, put down your sharpie and switch to a small paintbrush.

Paint the alcohol on top of your sharpie design slowly in the same stroke style as your design. Watch the color discharge and set. Continue until your design has the watercolor effect you desire. Continue the same process until your design area is complete. Olivia wrapped completely around the shirt and spent a couple of hours on her masterpiece. Zoe and I simplified the project, she drew and outlined 4 flowers, and connected the stems. A simple idea with an awesome effect. Dry in the sun for half an hour, and then run in the dryer for 15 minutes just to be sure design is set. Wash and dry in cold water. Just to be safe, I washed each T-shirt alone the first time.

Enjoy an afternoon of art and simple the savor things this summer!

perryman_1_new

I am loving the bright colors this summer season! Who can resist a burst of color to decorate everyday fabric?  When my girls were little, a new box of Crayola crayons would rock their world and they would draw for hours. Next it was the upscale crayons.. .metallics and brights, until they graduated to markers, and then Sharpies! So I could not resist this display of NEON Sharpies calling to me from the end aisle at Target. I know my girls still love to draw and color.. it’s just now that they are ‘tweens it is much cooler to call it doodling. And what better to doodle on then fabric to make some wearable art!

School’s out and my almost teen has a white pair of Converse that she wore for school. Doodling on uniform shoes is expressly forbidden so I knew this project would have extra allure. Since Keds are in style again, check the sale shelves of your local Target for their stylish store brand of basic summer shoes that need extra flair. Zoe, my ‘tween, joined the fun with a simple canvas bag perfect for a trip to the Farmers Market, local library or summer adventure.

Neon Summer Fashions

perryman_2_new

Family Rating- 4-100 ( Picky preteen approved)

Time: 1-2 hours or less, your choice!

What you will need:

-Neon sharpies ( Best display/ assortment : Target

-#2 Pencil ( For little ones, you can assist pre-sketching designs for them to color , also use stencils for little ones. Some easy ones to make at home perfect for this project include smiley faces, hearts, and peace symbols. Not feeling too inspired? Bust out a box of cookie cutters!

- Fashion Fun Items: Old plain canvas shoes, if white or gently worn, soak in oxy- clean for a few hours to remove soil and prep fabric. Canvas bags work great too, don’t forget to slide a piece of cardboard, file folder or folded brown grocery bag inside the canvas bag so the Sharpie ink won’t soak through to the other side.This also makes it easier to doodle and draw on!

perryman_3_new

Instructions:

  1. Prep canvas materials if gently soiled, soak in oxy clean and hand scrub, rinse and dry in the sun.
  2. Sketch designs if desired or plunge in and start doodling.
  3. Stop for a snack mid-session. We made bowls of popcorn and pink lemonade, because it’s summer and we weren’t in a hurry. You shouldn’t be either!
  4. Stop and join the fun. I didn’t do this and regret it so we will do this again.
  5. Admire your artists work and snap a pic, for when they outgrow their of wearable art.
  6. Oooh and ahh appropriately!

perryman_4_new

Savor the simple things this summer!

mandalas_1_new

A mandala is a sacred space, often a circle, which reveals some inner truth about you or the world around you. I thought this would be an awesome project for my girls and I , after all it’s hot here in Scottsdale, and we’re already looking for a little peace.

I stumbled upon some sweet neon Sharpies on display at Target! Perfect score for fun, summer projects, and with this easy trick, the process of making your own Mandala is easy, and offers some relaxing fun.

mandalas_2_new

Easy Make Mandalas

Family Rating- 4-100 ( Picky preteen approved)

Learning: Shapes/ You could do a little math- sigh.. we didn’t!

Time: 1-2 hours or less, your choice!

What you will need:

Instructions: 

  1. Use a dinner plate to trace your circle onto white paper.
  2. Carefully cut your circle out.
  3. Fold the circle in half once and then in half again. You should now have a “ pie” with 8 folded sections or pieces.
  4. Draw a design on one section (the first) of your pie. For smaller kids, keep the designs larger and simpler. Start from the inside of the crease maybe with a circle, and then draw your design out to the edges of the pie. Larger designs are faster to color. The more intricate for the design, the more coloring patience required.
  5. Fold the design over onto the next piece of the pie so the drawn section is on top of the empty pie piece and ready to be rubbed onto the empty pie piece next to it. Use the wooden spoon to rub the design off, until it appears on the next portion. Re-trace if needed and keep rubbing off your original design until it is transferred to each section of your mandala.
  6. Go over your transfer lines with a dark pencil and color. Don’t forget your color choices are a big part of your mandala, and expressing yourself and your emotion. Talk about what emotions colors represent or the thought behind your color choices.
  7. Mount on black card stock or colored paper. We used glue stick. Hole punch and hang for effect and for fun !

mandalas_3_new

The Mandala project was fun, the coloring process was relaxing- it made for a great group activity . For extra flair and fun these would be a great accent to hang from your children’s bedroom ceiling, in front of a window for extra color  or above a child’s bed!

Happy coloring- go find your sacred space and savor the simple things this summer!

smores_1_new

Everybody loves a sweet treat once in a while, and this treat delivers sweetness in marshmallow moderation, and is easy to take along on a summer adventure.

A family favorite, this is a big hit for little and big hands alike. Fill a full size jar with a family serving, or mini jars to take along at the beach, park or pool. The smaller jars fit nicely in a mini cooler.

I gathered my girls to help make this fun summer snack.

S’mores Snack In A Jar

Family Rating- 4-100 ( Picky preteen approved)

Learning: Hmmm… I think my kids did more taste testing…

Time: Quick mix, set time a few hours.

What you will need:

1 Box of Honey Teddy Graham Snack Cookies

1 Container of MallowBits ( Hard to find! Target baking aisle)

1 Bag of Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Chips (Or Carob Chip)

Nuts- Extra option for added protein, but be mindful of allergies if preparing for guests. 

Note: This snack would be easy to recreate using a gluten-free or healthy cookie, and carob chips. 

Instructions:

My girls are not big graham cracker fans, unless we are talking S’Mores. This snack is lower in fat than most chocolate cookies, as the portions are small and the chocolate drizzle light. In this case, the small servings deliver big flavor. Extra bonus: it is easy to grasp for little hands!

Once her hands were clean, O, the big sister shook the Mallow Bits on top of one tray of the chocolate drizzled, still wet cookies. Zoe preferred her batch without marshmallows. Nuts would also be great to add here for extra protein.

Let the trays set for the afternoon in a cool, dry place until the chocolate hardens.  Once dry, break up the cookies and fill mason jars. Add a scrap of summer ribbon and you’re off! Enjoy S’Mores in A. Jar, and savor the simple things this summer!

smores_2_new

smores_1_new

Everybody loves a sweet treat once in a while, and this treat delivers sweetness in marshmallow moderation, and is easy to take along on a summer adventure.

A family favorite, this is a big hit for little and big hands alike. Fill a full size jar with a family serving, or mini jars to take along at the beach, park or pool. The smaller jars fit nicely in a mini cooler.

I gathered my girls to help make this fun summer snack.

S’mores Snack In A Jar

Family Rating- 4-100 ( Picky preteen approved)

Learning: Hmmm… I think my kids did more taste testing…

Time: Quick mix, set time a few hours.

What you will need:

1 Box of Honey Teddy Graham Snack Cookies

1 Container of MallowBits ( Hard to find! Target baking aisle)

1 Bag of Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Chips (Or Carob Chip)

Nuts- Extra option for added protein, but be mindful of allergies if preparing for guests. 

Note: This snack would be easy to recreate using a gluten-free or healthy cookie, and carob chips. 

Instructions:

My girls are not big graham cracker fans, unless we are talking S’Mores. This snack is lower in fat than most chocolate cookies, as the portions are small and the chocolate drizzle light. In this case, the small servings deliver big flavor. Extra bonus: it is easy to grasp for little hands!

Once her hands were clean, O, the big sister shook the Mallow Bits on top of one tray of the chocolate drizzled, still wet cookies. Zoe preferred her batch without marshmallows. Nuts would also be great to add here for extra protein.

Let the trays set for the afternoon in a cool, dry place until the chocolate hardens.  Once dry, break up the cookies and fill mason jars. Add a scrap of summer ribbon and you’re off! Enjoy S’Mores in A. Jar, and savor the simple things this summer!

smores_2_new

ice_chalk_new

My girls are growing older and I am always looking for projects that bring us together-whether for a few minutes or a few hours, it’s never to late to make memories and spend time together. This project is oh so easy–and guarantees some summer fun. For younger children, and in this case my daughter Zoe, this project also delivers a sense of accomplishment!

When my daughter Zoe was little, her vision therapist reminded me to make sure to include Zoe in as much food preparation as possible.  She shared this  because so many parents of children with special needs prepare food and serve it to their family, forgetting that some children need an up close view to understand the process of how food is made. So take your time and let your kids do all the work, learning the process of making ice chalk and feeling proud of their accomplishment.  There are lessons for all to be learned along the way.

We divided this project into two-parts-first we had a fun inside activity for the hot afternoon and the next day, some icy cool creative fun for the hot Arizona morning sun.

Cool Ice Chalk

Family rating: Ages 3-100 ( Picky Preteen Approved!)

Creative Learning: Measuring, Pouring, Learning Sequencing, and Sensory Fun

Bonus: Make a chalk mural for Father’s Day- and photograph the mural and the artists as a gift for Dad!

Parent Prep: Take it outside for mixing, or lay down newspaper if you have little ones. My daughter Zoe is 11, and she sat at the kitchen table working on a large plexiglass cutting board I use for crafting. The mixing, measuring and pouring is big fun, so step aside and let them mix!

icechalk.

Gather your supplies. You will need:

Instructions:

You will use one plastic cup for each chalk color. Each cup will fill about a third of the tray, so reduce as needed to accommodate your ice cube trays and desired colors. I am approximating measurements here, but don’t worry, you really can’t mess this up.

First add about 1/3 cup of corn starch to a disposable cup. Next add about 1/4 cup of water. Stir until it changes from thick and lumpy to an easy stir, like “stirring milk” is how I explained it to Zoe. Next add between 1/4-1/3 cup of paint color and mix. You want the color to be vibrant! Pour right away, or re-stir again before pouring. Let your little ones pour into the ice tray. Zoe’s hand is shaky but the ice cube portions drain into one another, so it’s pretty impossible to mess up. Bonus: A little mixed paint color makes tye-dye designed ice chalk. If it takes you a while to fill your tray, re-stir each cube before freezing. Pop in the freezer. I froze the first batch and emptied like colors into ziploc bags, we refilled the trays and emptied them again the next morning.

When you first begin using the chalk it is hard to see, the more it melts the easier it is to work with. Zoe’s big sister quickly found a technique to outline her picture and placed colored cubes around her art to start the melting process early, her flower turned out fab!!

Zoe loved drawing with the chalk and enjoyed the cold feel of the ice and even the messy process. The girls and I had a fun time drawing and made a patio mural for Father’s Day. I was glad I lured Zoe’s big sister O,  outside and away from her tech toys ( part of my master plan) but I had to laugh as she grabbed her phone at the end and posted her chalk art pics to Instagram. It was cool, I admit!

As our last creative effort, we all plopped our hands in the messy chalk paint and signed our art with individual hand prints. Great summer fun!

From our creative home to yours, enjoy- and savor the simple things this summer.

cookie_new

When my girls were younger, craft projects ruled the weekends.  Seasonal crafts, painted pictures, and glitter messes filled long afternoons. Little girl painted poster projects have evolved into doodle pads and gel pens as my girls are now ‘tweens and enamored with their tech toys. Believing still, that creativity fuels creativity, I am determined each weekend to set aside time away from the lure of our ipads and streaming movies. I want us spending time together -and for this there is nothing better than a cookie conversation; creating sugar cookie art.

I pull out the mixer early Saturday morning as I finish my coffee. The patio french doors stand open, letting in a slight  cool breeze as the Arizona morning sun spills onto the kitchen table . It lingers, casting a glow that warms and awakens. I put my 12 year old daughter in charge of gathering, measuring and mixing the basic ingredients, and thirty minutes later the dough is chilling in the fridge.

After lunch, the real prep begins. Pastry paint brushes and bright food coloring are chosen and drops of color are added to small bowls of egg yolk to create “ paint”. Sugar sprinkles in every bright spring color stand at the ready. Once the shapes are cut, each cookie is painted before the sugar is added.

Today my girls are fashion designers, choosing the best color combos for shoes, shirts and pretty purses. Spring is on the scene with mini butterflies painted in pink and covered with blue sprinkles.

The girls are content to work side by side, happily using their hands to create. We talk about summer, flip flops, hot days, ice cream and bathing suits. The girls giggle, and tease and lay their cookies next to one another -calling dibs on their works of art, as they look forward to the instant gratification of dessert when the first batch is done.

I look at them like this, chatting and helping one another as I sit next to Zoe and I imagine what they can’t- my girls grown. I wonder if these lazy afternoons spent making cookies will hold  special memories for them someday.

Later at bedtime, I pour Zoe’s milk and she chooses some of her mini cookies to snack on, carefully selecting her own handmade creations.  She tells me what fun she had, “ making cookies” with her sister and I realize then, that I have given her a gift I never imagined. Her big sister, has been starting to retreat from Zoe’s world of Barbie’s and make believe, preferring to write and draw, listening to her music in the quiet of her own bedroom. This afternoon spent making cookies. . gave Zoe the gift of “play” side by side with her sister… again.

My Mom’s ( Adapted ) Old Fashioned, Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Recipe

What you will need:

Instructions:

1. Mix the shortening, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Mix completely, adding the sifted flour, baking powder, and salt and mix just until the dough is combined. Divide the dough in half in a flattened circle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for approx. 4 hours.

2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle cutting board with flour , roll out the dough to ⅛” thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut into your favorite shapes. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, on parchment paper, until cookies are a delicate golden color around the edges.

3. You can decorate with colored “paint”  before baking, ( remember when mixing your colors that you are starting with a yellow base- so add food coloring choice to your base. I use eggbeaters for this . You can then add colored sugars or sprinkles before baking  or frosting after.

Hints & Tips:

I give each child a floured cutting board to roll out dough and cut . ( A pizza peel works in a pinch too!) We cut on floured cutting boards and move the cutout cookie to a parchment covered cookie sheet for ease in decorating. The girls have a blast decorating their cookies.Keep dough chilled removing enough for each batch, just before using. It works best when chilled.  Zoe prefers to snack on the mini cookies, so arrange each sheet by cookie size and keep an eye on the smaller cookies as the bake time will be a few minutes less.

There are lots of great cookie cutter theme shapes online- shop around and enjoy the fun!