Family Creativity

Taking Stock for Summer Creativity

May 21, 2009


As the school year winds down, I am starting to dream about how our summer will unfold. After a school year filled with demanding schedules, traveling, and obligations, we have decided to stay close to home this summer. I am dreaming about quiet relaxed days where we let the WIND, WEATHER, and MOOD guide our schedule. And of course, I am hoping for a lot of CREATIVE TIME with the petite ones.

I am currently taking stock of the creative goods around the house attempting to plan ahead for those quiet unstructured times on hot summer days. I have discovered that all the colored pencils are in need of sharpening, markers and glue sticks are long dried up, we are completely out of PAPER, and in general, the creative areas at the farm are a big unorganized MESS!

I have 4 short weeks, to tackle this re-organizing/re-stocking project. In addition, I would like to sit down with the kids to brainstorm and prepare for a few creative ideas of our own.

Here are some of MAMA’s ideas.

  • Read FUNNY poetry aloud on a picnic blanket under the Black Walnut Tree.
  • Make finger puppet theaters out of the cardboard boxes I have been saving.
  • Teach my oldest petite how to use the sewing machine.
  • Make a creativity “TO GO” basket so that when we hike/picnic we can grab it quickly.
  • Plein Air water color whenever we get the urge.
  • Let the kids experiment with a camera
  • Practice the flute OUTSIDE instead of INSIDE (when it isn’t too humid)
  • Go on a nature hike once a week, turn our treasures into something artful.
  • Teach the kids to prepare a meal from start to finish.

I can’t wait to see what the PETITEs want to add to the list. Oh, the possibilities!

Also, don’t forget…it is “A Beautiful Life” Friday over at The Inspired Room . Take a few minutes to check out all of the post links you will find there. It is a great weekend treat!

Easy Gift Wrap

February 3, 2009


One of my favorite EASY projects to do with the kids is to set them up to make their own gift wrap for birthday presents. This weekend, Julianna was invited to a party for a little boy in her kindergarten class.

Here is what we used for this project:

  • Plain White Craft Paper (I keep a roll in the house at all times)
  • Solid Color Ribbon
  • Stamps (we used two, one design, one initial)
  • Ink for stamps
  • Plain Cards or Card Stock
  • Markers/Crayons for Card

When making the paper, I let the kids go to town! They can choose any design, stamps, and colors they want. The messier the better as far as I’m concerned. When making the paper, I always take a minute to talk about what their friend might like. The children seem to get more excited about giving their gift when they have taken so much time to create a part of it! And the best part is that the paper is cheaper and more beautiful than store bought.

Here is how easy it is:

First we stamp the paper.

Then we stamp the ribbon.

The “handmade” card is totally up to them to design.

Simple Simon. We wrap the gift and send their beautiful creations on their way!

Valentine Surprises

January 28, 2009


I have a been waiting for our first official snowday to start the 2009 Valentine Card project with the kids. This year, I was very inspired by a project that Donna Downey created as a downloadable video workshop called “Layers”. After watching the video, I was ready to create something special with the kiddos using some of her wonderful ideas and some of my own.

Materials List:

  • Card Stock
  • Gesso
  • Stickers
  • Stamps
  • Rub-ons
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Modge Podge or Matte Medium
  • Alpha Cut-Outs
  • Pictures of Loved Ones
    (all purchased at Michaels)

We started by cutting a bunch of HEARTS out of cardstock. Then we painted them with Gesso in order to better hold the paint.

We picked our color palette.

And painted a couple of layers on each heart…we started with Yellow Ochre (let dry), then we added a layer of turquoise.

Once all the paint was dry, we layered with various stickers, rub-ons, pictures, and stamps.

To finish the project, we sealed each heart with Matte Medium and added some glitter to make them “sparkly”.

We finished eight yesterday and have about 20 more to go! SSSSHHHH…we want to surprise our loved ones. Finished product pictures in a few weeks!

Pillow Inspiration

January 22, 2009

My children inspire me every day. Here is a drawing that my youngest daffodil created a couple of weeks ago.


When I saw it, I thought it would make the perfect pillow.


I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Gramma’s Quilt Show

January 14, 2009

Gramma’s Quilt Show from Shawn Stratmann on Vimeo.

Gramma’s Quilting

January 10, 2009

I am so lucky to have this lady in my life. She is my Gramma. If anyone asks me who my hero is…it is Gramma. What do I love about her? EVERYTHING. Here is what makes her so special:


  • She is SOOO Smart. She does the New York Times Crossword Puzzle EVERYDAY. She is a competitive game player. Gramma plays Bridge, Dominos, Upwords, Scrabble and any card game you throw her way. She can seriously whoop up on most of us.
  • She is an excellent cook. When I spend time with her in the kitchen, I learn so much about the basics of cooking.
  • She is Active. At 82 years, Gramma still golfs and hikes. She does water aerobics twice a week and continues to travel.
  • She is a great story teller and I love listening to her talk with her thick New England Accent.
  • She is one of the most “artsy craftsy” people I will ever know. She knits, sews, quilts, crochets, embroiders, etc. etc.etc. She is so generous with her talents, always making amazing gifts for the girls and me.

Sweaters she made for the girls this year.

In November, Gramma’s quilting work was honored at the community where she lives. Most recently she has taken to paper pieced quilts, making quilts like this:


Here is a little glimpse of what she had to say about her work….

Gramma Interview and Lecture from Shawn Stratmann on Vimeo.

Isn’t she darling? Here is a little piece I put together to honor her work.

Gramma’s Quilt Show from Shawn Stratmann on Vimeo.


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