Paint Pants and Art Crushes

Do you have a pair of pants or a shirt that you always paint in? Or do you call them messy pants? I have a pair of jeans I wear without fail to my teaching sessions. Working with children (and sometimes acrylics) I’m surprised how few stains are on them. A small, bright red smear on my right hip is the only mark. Do I dare put more on? It seems wrong to do it on purpose– I’d like each spot to have a story.

So it’s a Friday night, and I find myself buying nail polish on Etsy. Did you see this on the front page?

Oh Splat! polish from KBShimmer on Etsy

I grew up in the 80s, so there is something in my inchoate development that is attached to anything splatter painted.  Couldn’t pass it by, really.  And those blots of color got me so excited, I decided to see what other painting accident-inspired stuff there was out there.  I do focus on Etsy*, but tell me in the comments if you’ve got something for the collection!

‘Splat!’ by pinkpicnic

Oh Splat White Glitter Nail …


Skinny Silk Ribbon Cord Bund…


Samsung Galaxy S3 Case, Mia …


Modern Confetti Oil Painting…


EC14 – Floating Multi-Colore…


Love jewelry / valentines…


1980s Paint Splatter Dress, …


Two-toned Red & Paint Splatt…


BONWIT TELL (Nature’s P…


Galaxy Earring – More Color …


Colors abstract 11 x 14, ori…


Southwest Color Palette Ford…


Vintage Postcard. Artist Pal…


Dan Bennett Ruby Dawn in Lim…


antique french paint set fre…


Fiori, Floral Splat Fabric i…


Treasury tool supported by the dog house

It’s easy to put this kind of collection together– in my case, memories and emotion help me pick the items because my brain can really start thinking about the Why.  Like looking for a particular color in a game of I Spy.

Mia Christopher (a Bay Area artist) showed some of her work at The Usuals, and I really wanted one of her paint-palette pieces.  She does have a shop on Etsy, and you can get friggin’ iPhone covers with her artwork on this website.  It’s all swirly and colorful, and reminds me of Wayne Thiebaud.  You know, art you want to reach out and scrape at (but don’t!)  She even had some of her work adapted for fabric at Anthropologie!

Mia Love in one of her painting-inspired dresses from Anthropologie. How cool is that? Image from

Sketchbook image from

Mia Christopher work from

Who wants to paint now?

*Let it be known that when I do a treasury, I start on the LAST page of the search.  I know I’d appreciate it if I was back there (I have been!)


Space Lockets

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending an art supplies swap, and got loads of strange stuff (old x-rays, glass balls, fake eyes, a BUTTON MAKER) to play with.  Something I randomly picked up (because it was so cheap!) was a bag of glass lockets you can put stuff in.  At first, I thought it was fun to put some glitter in it, because it would move around like snow in a snowglobe.  It also keeps Justin on his toes to know he could be glittered at any moment.  The poor boy lives in constant fear of glitter.  Today I finally sat down and tried my other idea: multi-layer space scenes.

I had so much fun painting these! I wish I had more than three to play with.  I made two, and listed them on Etsy for your perusal.  Here’s how I did it:

Tiny amounts of acrylic, sparkles and lots of concentration.  Most of the things I make don’t require expensive materials, just a good eye for tiny details.

This is the closed locket.

I painted on some very light nebulas first, then a few glitter atoms, some stars, more nebulas, then the sun and planetoid.  On the other side I painted a solid background with more glitter for stars.

I absolutely love them, and am wearing one until someone buys it.  I need to find out where to buy more of these lockets!

What We’re Making Today: Bugs, Worms and Birds!

“Bird crafts” were requested for this week, so I have FOUR crafts, two of which are birds and the other two related to birds.  First off, I’ve got a little wooden birdhouse that we can paint up.  I’m wondering if I’m tempting fate by using acrylics, but they look so good!  If this birdhouse is actually going on the market (outside, that is) we don’t want watercolors that will wash off.

A friend recommended this lightning bug craft from Apartment Therapy.  Lightning bug or firefly?  Either way, it was really hard to find a video of fireflies that wasn’t about Joss Whedon or Owl City.  I’d like to start incorporating my iPhone into my teaching so I can use videos as examples, or find pictures to use as models.  I haven’t been in California for an entire year, so I don’t know how common fireflies are.   Here’s a wonderful example:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • plastic eggs (ones that open)
  • LED tea light
  • pipe cleaners
  • duct tape
  • markers
  • stuffing
  • thumbtack
  • scissors

The egg is the body, the pipe cleaners legs and antennae.  The hardest part of this craft is the poking of holes, so let the grown-up do that.  The holes should be big enough that the child can push the pipe cleaner through, but not so big that they won’t stick without glue.  Six holes need to be punched in the pointed half of the egg, in two rows of three.  Poke two more holes in the round piece for the antennae:

Next, make the face.  You can do this with paint, stickers, or markers.  I chose Sharpies, since they go on very dark.

Legs!  Cut a pipe cleaner into six equal segments.  Push these into each hole and bend as necessary.  You can adjust these later when all pieces are together.  Cut two more equal parts, a little longer than the legs, and insert into the head.

Now for the light:  you can simply insert the tea light in, or you could put a little big of stuffing on the switch-end of the light to keep in in place.  It keeps it from rattling.

Last step:  make wings from duct tape, which requires no glue!  I made another change to the original tutorial here.  Cut/tear a six inch piece of duct tape and fold in half longways almost equally.  Leave a small tab of sticky side showing that will attach to the egg.  Now that it is folded, you don’t have to cut through a sticky side.  Cut the tape to look like two leaves attached at the base.  Or, get creative!  Stick the wings onto the egg.

To turn it on and off, you will have to open the egg, so make sure you don’t cover the opening with too much of the tape.

The next craft is quilled birds, from Family Fun.  This consists as a series of nested paper rings.  The lengths listed in the tutorial are very helpful, but it’s not necessary to be exact.  I’m going to use this craft as a chance to learn to measure and use a ruler.   You’ll need:

  • colored cardstock
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • toothpick
  • clothespins

I have nothing innovative to add, so go over to Family Fun and check out that tutorial.  Here’s my go at it:

If we have time, I bought some wonderful air-dry clay to make caterpillars.  I’m actually new to the idea of building up sculptures using aluminum foil and I love it!

Tear off small pieces of aluminum foil and roll into balls.  Make a good little pile of them, maybe 8 or more.  Take a little clay (start little, then add) and cover the foil balls.  Roll in your hands until it looks smooth and round enough.

Just put them all together and you’ve got a caterpillar!  I added some wires later for feelers.  After 2-3 days it will dry, so next week we can paint them!  I’m gonna buy a second tub of this stuff for myself.

Plastic Animal Art

I’ve been researching some uses for my giant animal collection.  Here’s a great list of the things I wish I’d thought of first!

Image from

Felieke Van Der Leest is an artist from Holland who incidentally grew up next to a zoo.  Her work doesn’t technically fall into my “wish I’d thought of it first” (WITOIF) category since she is also does miniature knitting and metalwork.  She is a true artist, and you owe it to yourself to check out her other work.

Crazy Couture on Etsy

By now this design is being copied all over, and I’m not sure if this was the original creator or not.  Yeah, I’ve copied it too, but just for meeee!

Image from The Sweetest Occasion

Everyone in my family owns one of these birthday candles now, thanks to The Sweetest Occasion.  She put a fantastic tutorial up, and I had a lot of fun making them.


Image from Design Boom

Wine stoppers that look like drunk animals.  Yes.

Image from House to Home

I’m obsessed with the fashion of organization (I have box collection) so I love these animal-topped jars from House to Home.

Now I need to go make something!

What We’re Making Today: Watercolor Hearts

I always practice whatever project I’ll be teaching, and I got this lovely idea from Art Projects for Kids.  We haven’t worked much with paint, so I’m crossing my fingers this will go over.    At least I had a great time with it!

From the same blog I found this ice cream activity, where the child brainstorms ice cream flavors, then decides what color they would be.  This time, I’ll be drawing the cones and scoops.  I’m not sure what I was doing there at the top…  And what are my flavors, exactly? Top to bottom: That’ll Stain Your Lips, Raspbery Jam and Looks Better Than It Tastes.

Bubbles!  No reason.

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