Let’s Make Art

About a month ago, I joined the Let’s Make Art community by purchasing a subscription to the Kids Box. This is a small business based out of Missouri. They offer free art tutorials online and sell art supplies. They have several different subscription boxes. We got the Kid’s Box which comes with four watercolor projects, along with a few extras. We will get a new box each month.

While the tutorials are free, the subscription box sends you the supplies each month to complete the projects. One thing that drew me to it, was that the supplies are enough to do each project three times! That was perfect for our family of three. We have done each project together as a family fun time. At the start of each video, the artist Nicole leads us in a mantra.

I am brave. I am kind. I am creative. Let’s do this.

The first painting we did was a leprechaun hat. One thing I noticed while doing these projects is that I am much more likely to follow the tutorial instructions exactly, while my husband and daughter are more likely to put their own spin on each project.

The next project we did was a horse. Two of the pieces of watercolor paper that came in the kit had the outline of the horse sketched on it for us. My husband sketched his horse himself. If you don’t have the kit, you can download outlines from the website.

During the next project, we had a bit of a hiccup. We had a 7 year old with a full-blown tantrum when her painting did not go exactly as she planned. She got frustrated, but eventually was able to finish both hers and her daddy’s paintings. Nicole is very flexible in her instructions. She encourages free thinking and positivity while painting. We just had one bad day.

One of the extra projects in the box were two papers that had this Color Your Life rainbow drawn on them. After the meltdown, my daughter and I colored these papers. I didn’t realize until later that there was actually a tutorial with Keenan for these. Keenan is the camera guy who talks to Nicole throughout the tutorial videos.

The last watercolor project we did out of this box was the lighthouse scene. When you order the subscription box, you get all of the tutorial videos at once, so we did them in the order that my daughter selected. If you are just painting along at home with your own supplies, a new tutorial releases each Friday.

The last part of the box was this small postcard which came addressed and stamped. All of the postcards will go to one family. We received information about the set of sisters who would receive this month’s postcards. There was a mini-tutorial. We will put the card in the mail tomorrow!

Overall, it has been a fun way to spend time together as a family being creative. I ordered a special edition Spring box with acrylic projects and our April box should be arriving soon. We will have plenty of art projects to keep us busy. The other subscription boxes include watercolor projects for adults and art journaling. I highly recommend checking out Let’s Make Art!

Bibliophile

I love reading. The older I get, the more I read. Books teach us so much about the world and other people’s lives. In 2020, I read 42 books. I hope to read even more in 2021.

I track the books I read in Goodreads. I am a pretty generous reviewer. I give most books that I read a 4 or 5 star rating. But I also refuse to read any books that have below a 3.8 average review on Goodreads. I figure that I will never have enough time to read all of the books that I would like to in the world. I might as well spend my time on ones that most people agree are worth the time.

As a lover of lists, I sometimes spend more time adding books to my “want to read” pile than the actual reading of books. My want to read shelf on Goodreads is 3x as large as my read shelf. I recently purchased the book, “Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany” by Jane Mount.

This book makes my list-loving heart happy. Jane Mount is an artist who is known for painting people’s “ideal bookshelves.” You can order a piece of her artwork to include a stack of your personal favorite books. She paints all things bookish. She wrote and illustrated this book to talk about all things bookish.

The book has many different spreads with both information and artwork. She has spreads on all different categories of books, such as children’s picture books, cult classics, books from different time periods, historical fiction, romance, history, dystopia, graphic novels, poetry, cookbooks, memoirs, and on and on and on.

It is perfect for adding on to my never ending to be read pile.

She also has spreads about other interesting bookish topics, such as famous and interesting bookstores and the cats that inhabit them.

There are spreads about libraries and books recommended by various bookish people. There are spreads about iconic book covers and books made into great movies. There are bookish quizzes and much, much more.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in all things bookish. Cheers to another year of wonderful reading. Have a happy new year of books!

JAMNOLA

The lack of travel posts on my blog over the past several months makes me sad. Thanks Covid-19! But today, I did go to an awesome place in my hometown of New Orleans. It is called JAMNOLA. The JAM stands for Joy, Art, and Music and it is an artistic celebration of New Orleans culture.

It is a guided tour through themed rooms which are each full of unique, colorful, and truly NOLA art. I highly recommend checking it out. It is fun and they encourage photography and fun selfies. It is a great place to spend an hour.

Much of the art is made with reclaimed materials, such as the lanterns in the feather room (made out of Gatorade bottles).

There were paintings, fun wallpaper, or other art installations on every wall and floor.

There was a room made up completely of recycled Mardi Gras beads and the reflective mirrors from parking garages.

The bling bayou was super sparkly of course.

This whole room was hand painted.

The crawfish themed room had lots of fun photo opportunities and the coolest wallpaper.

The costume room had lots of cool stuff inspired by Carnival.

The garden of legends had huge statues of famous NOLA musicians, from Irma Thomas to Louis Armstrong to Lil Wayne and more.

JAMNOLA is a uniquely New Orleans experience full of color, joy, and music.

Quarantine Activities and Lists

I love lists.  I love categorizing things and working my way through a list.  I spend more time planning a trip than going on it.  I spend time adding to my to be read book list, sometimes, before reading the several hundred books that are already on it.  I can’t help it.  It’s who I am.

During this time of social distancing at home, I’ve come up with a few ways to have fun with lists.  The first one has been very popular on my social media.  My daughter and I have been Disneybounding from home every day with clothes in our closets.  I first Disneybounded on our most recent trip to WDW earlier this year.  (There is a blog post on it, if you want to check it out.)  For those outfits, I purchased some clothes and accessories to go along with things I already had in my closet to make the perfect outfits for the park. 

For this challenge, we have just been working with the things we already have.  Working our way through lists of Disney characters has been both a delight and a challenge, as we see what we can come up with.  Once we are done, I’m going to put all of our pictures together in a Shutterfly book to remember all of the fun we had.

A long time ago, way before my daughter was born, I worked my way through watching each of the top 100 movies as listed by the American Film Institute.  We’ve been having family movie nights each day.  Usually, we sit around forever trying to agree on a movie to watch together.  So, I came up with a fun challenge to mix it up.  

I wrote down a list of movie genres on small slips of paper and put them in a bag.  Every few days, we draw a new genre out of the bag.  Then each family member is challenged with coming up with a movie for us to watch that meets that category.  So far, we’ve done sports movies, action/adventure movies, animated movies, classic movies, and we are currently on superhero movies.  Once we are done with the genres in the bag, I’ve got even more ideas up my sleeve to keep it going as long as we want.  It’s fun, and each family member gets a turn to pick the movie, so no arguing about the best choice.

Another list that my daughter and I have been working our way through comes from the Usborne book, Step-By-Step Drawing Animals.  My daughter and I are drawing each animal in the book, following the simple instructions.  Together, we sit down and draw the animal.  Then we decorate the background and add them to our stack.  When we have worked our way through the entire book, I plan to connect our drawings somehow into some kind of book for our memories.  It’s a fun activity to do together, and we can see the different interpretations we each have of the same animal.

The list that I have been working my way through since the very beginning of this quarantine is watching the Cincinnati Zoo’s daily home safaris.  It started as a family activity that we did together.  The three of us would sit down to learn about a new animal at the zoo each day.  My family eventually started to lose interest, so we got behind schedule.  I’ve started watching them again on my own, but I am still catching up for time away.  Learning about all the animals is fascinating to me and makes me wish that I was a zookeeper.

a grainy pic of my TV

What kind of fun, new activities have you been doing during quarantine?  Is anybody else working their way through a list?

Bible Journaling through Art

I have felt less than inspired by the most recent Bible study book that I had been working through. So a few weeks ago, I decided to just go straight to the source and spend more time directly in the Bible, rather than in other’s interpretations of it.

Awhile back, I had done a study of Proverbs and used this coloring book as I worked my way through it. It has both journaling space, the entire text, and pages and designs to color inspired by verses. There is also a Psalms version available.

I thought about buying a journal Bible that was intended to color, but thought it might be a bit much. Too busy and too thin of pages.

If you read my gratitude post a couple of months ago, you may remember that I was trying my hand at art journaling in place of a regular gratitude journal. I decided to do the same for my study of the Bible.

I already had this cute journal with lined pages that I bought a long time ago and never used. I am going to read my way through the Bible and write down the verses that speak to me in that moment in this book.

I have read the Bible cover to cover before, but decided to read a book at a time in a somewhat random order this time. I’m letting the Holy Spirit guide me to which book to read next.

Each day, I read a few chapters from the book that I am currently working on. I pause to copy down any verses that stick out to me in that day’s prayer. Once I have read a few chapters, I switch to the art journal.

The art journal is just a regular sketchbook. It is actually the same one that I was using as my gratitude journal.

I choose one verse or idea from that day’s reading and spend a few minutes drawing a picture to further reflect on it. This is not serious art by any means. It is just a humble little sketch that lets me spend a few more moments focusing on the message.

Here are a few of my entries so far (not all of them). I started with the Gospel of John.

Next, I read the Book of Ruth.

I followed that with the letter to the Romans.

I’m currently making my way through Isaiah.

Sometimes, my drawing is not related to a particular verse, but rather just a message that I am concentrating on after my reading.

You obviously do not need to be an artist to engage in this form of prayer. If you are looking for a new way to connect with the word of God, maybe give art journaling a try!