water painting

One of Wren’s favorite activities is painting. She loves to paint when she’s at school and in the basement of our nest too. She refers to the entire basement experience as “weasel!” because of her easel. I don’t dare correct her because it makes me laugh every time she stands at the top of the stairs and yells, “weasel!”

But when we’re upstairs, away from the bottles and tubes of color, she loves to paint with water. My brother and his family gave this Japanese water painting set to the little birdie for Christmas and it’s proven to be quite a hit. It’s quite popular with this Mama too because all you need is water. Easy clean-up!

So how does it work? It’s simple. Just dip the brush into a small amount of water and paint a stroke on the “magical” surface. The brush strokes become black and then disappear within a few minutes, leaving the canvas clear for a new painting. Voila!

P.S. I’m amazed at the little birdie’s fine motor skills: the way she holds the brush? Wow. We have Montessori to thank for this.

Child in Snow

Hey there, lovelies. I just had to share this image Child in Snow with you from Montana artist, Ria Cody de Neeve. I received a print of it for my birthday from my sister-in-law, Emily. Isn’t it wonderful? There is so much I love about it. The whimsy, the imagery, the mixed media technique, the ode to winter fun. Love love love.

The artist shares that she seeks “to create images which inspire hope and connection to ourselves, each other, and nature.” A girl after my own heart! Yes, I’m inspired.

losing what’s left of my mind

You know you’ve lost your mind when…

  • you walk into the bathroom only to stand and wonder why you were there in the first place, sit back down at your desk and remember that you have to pee. Once is excusable, but twice in one morning?
  • you can’t find your to-do list that’s supposed to help keep your head on (mostly) straight because it somehow ended up inside the pink tutu that is balled up on top of the printer.
  • you think it’s a good idea to teach your toddler to unscrew caps in a desire to encourage fine motor skill development, only to find that she’s perfected her skills on a bottle of green paint that is now “all gone!”
  • you think the idea of a good time is shoveling snow at 9:45 p.m.
  • yesterday’s coffee is perfectly acceptable.
  • you trade in your old books on feminist art theory for a Winnie the Pooh lift-the-flap book.

you used up all the glue on purpose

Chris asked me the other day how I would know when I was finished with my entry in our local Goodwill’s Reinvention Convention. I would just know, said my former art major self. In reality, I decided I would likely be finished when I used up all the glue. On purpose! This indicator reminded me of the night I went into labor with Wren. Chris ate my last Tum’s (for once in 39 weeks, his heartburn trumped mine) and I joked, well, I guess this means I’m going to have the baby! Wren was born the next morning, bringing a not-so-subtle end to my voracious Tum’s habit.

So… I used up the rest of my glue today and I’m delivering the artwork soon! Have you voted yet? Disclaimer: their site is NOT very user-friendly and I’ve already grumbled to them about it so my sincere apologies.

on green

I’m really excited about this: my entry into Goodwill’s Reinvention Convention! In exchange for a $20 donation to Goodwill this past summer, I received certificates to spend at our local Goodwill store on whatever I wanted. Like a mini shopping spree with the idea in mind that I would upcycle my finds into something. What fun! And it’s all for a good cause. The finished pieces will be on display this coming Friday, October 8 at a gallery in downtown Traverse City. Everything is for sale and all the sales benefit Goodwill. Isn’t this cool? And here’s where you come in, dear readers. You get to vote for the winner! The catch is that each vote costs $1 and you can vote as many times as you like. Yes, that’s right, it’s a popularity contest. Sort of. Another fun thing is that you can vote online here. Now! When you vote online, the minimum donation is $10 (10 votes) so vote early and vote often. Please and thank you!

So here’s what I did. I bought a bunch of old t-shirts and then cut them up. Then for about two months I stared at the pile of them, not exactly sure what I would do with them. As you can see, Wren was a big help. Eventually I decided to create an abstract meditation on the color green. Chris thinks the piece (almost finished!) reminds him of an aerial view of fields, which wasn’t my intention, but I can see that. What do you think? I’m going to deliver the finished piece this week. Yahoo!

So when you go online to vote (please and thank you), click on the picture of the pile of t-shirts, which is on the first page of the artists. I think when you hover over the photo, my name (Ashlea Walter) shows up. I believe you can vote through this coming weekend and if you happen to be in Traverse City, come on downtown and check it out!

Can’t wait to see what everyone has done with their stuff. I will take photos of the pieces on Friday night and show you some of my favorites… woot woot!

Have you voted yet?

scribble on, little birdie

At Wren’s well visit today, her doctor went through a checklist of behaviors she should be exhibiting by now. Feeds herself? Yes. Sleeping through the night? Yes, sort of… 3-6 words? Does “apple” count? Scribbling? Yes!, I chuckled. Who knew scribbling was a developmental milestone? What fun!

A while ago I bought a box of chunky “Beginners” crayons for little hands, but the first time I introduced them to the little birdie, she had no interest except to put them in her mouth and try to peel the paper off. Sigh. But this week a yucky cold hit our nest and we’ve been feeling like doing a whole lot of nothing. But that got old. Quickly. So I pulled out the crayons and taped some paper to the table and we got to work. Scribbling! She walks, she talks, she scribbles. Seems like just yesterday she was just a squishy baby.

And yes, she still nibbles on the crayons too. Gotta put that new molar to good use, right?

Please check back again soon. I’ve started about six posts in the past two weeks and hopefully will publish them soon. Falling ahead with tomato jam, anyone?

Scribble on, dear readers. Scribble on.

WPA art posters

Isn’t Maurice Merlin’s piece from the late 1930s timeless? I spent a few moments between work e-mails and phone calls perusing the Library of Congress WPA posters in their digital collection. Now there’s a fun place to get lost for a while! Have you ever found yourself there? When you have a few minutes, click on over.

When I typed in “summer,” it revealed this lovely poster, which tugged at my heart strings. The illustration of the children. The idea of FREE art classes, including lithography!? Sniffle. Excuse me while I grab a Kleenex. Enjoy your afternoon!