Friday, April 26, 2013

Painting with Oscar

Oscar is 2 and a half. Generally he has a very short attention span – occasionally he will play happily, for a long period of time, alone with his trains, cars or lego. However if I give him a set task, it doesn't always last too long, painting included. Here are some simple tricks that I've found help with painting/drawing and other creative pursuits.

I don't focus on the product. It's about the process.  I've learnt never to expect Oscar to make a 'frameworthy' or even fridgeworthy artwork. If he only wants to paint with water and watch it dry then I let him. Ditto if he feels like sticking every single sticker on top of each other or ripping the paper up. Sometimes he simply likes to watch the water in the jar change colour as he washes the brush. Which of course leads to discussions of how yellow and blue make green.

In the picture at the top he simply painted the entire page brown and announced "It's the garden mum". Yes, our garden does contain a lot of dirt!

We work side by side. This is how we paint most of the time. We discuss what we are painting and colours. I generally keep it abstract and messy so as not to cause discouragement by comparison. He concentrates for longer when he has a buddy to discuss what he is doing.

Read a book first. Then keep it open for inspiration. Oscar loves doing this. Current fave book to paint is The Little Red Hen.

Expect mess. Embrace it. Yes, occasionally an art session has ended in impromptu body painting. I try to be prepared to chuck as all in the bath afterwards!

Mix it up. We have a couple of different types of paint in our cupboard – pictured above is a watercolour palette from Ikea, but we also have goopier, messier paints ideal for finger painting or stamping. Sometimes we just use crayons or textas or pencils. Then of course there are play dough sessions, a love of scissors and tearing, gluing bits and pieces ...

I also like to vary the scale at which we paint, sometimes we have a poster sized sheet of paper to cover together, sometimes we have our own little postcards, sometimes I'll cut out different shapes to colour.

Most of all I want to make sure it is enjoyable, never, ever forced.
Do you have any tips for getting creative with a slightly hyperactive 2 year old?

Here are some links I'm keeping up my sleeve for future crafting. All found via pinterest.

A spinning top pencil
Painting with balloons ... as long as I can stop Oscar from popping them first!
A tapestry table
Sticker resist with watercolours
Tape art
A tissue paper window

I also love these canvases that Sam and Bella created. I think it is fabulous that Andrea used abstract art for inspiration (Kline and Miro).

Previous Oscar art can be seen here and way back here.

Monday, April 22, 2013


I haven't been painting or embroidering much for some time now.

This pregnancy has sapped my energy reserves, leaving little time for such pleasures. However, now that I'm somewhere around the halfway mark I can feel a little inspiration starting up again. It's taken longer than I expected this time, I daresay because I'm already chasing after Oscar and Nora.

Here are some recent creations and an awesome piece of inspiration. Hopefully I'll be doing a little more in the future, because I truly do enjoy making silly little things.

1 A quick teapot sketch – I was painting alongside Oscar.
2 A Japanese magazine/book (which as all the writing is in Japanese, it took a bit of googling to identify – I think it can be attributed to Naoko Shimoda). How wonderfully inspirational is that felt creation?
3 Some chunky chain stitch embroidery I'm working on occasionally (a prints charming panel).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

An Autumn Wedding Weekend

On Friday we wandered down to Berrima to prepare and relax. On Saturday, my lil sis Tess got married to her groom Joe. On Sunday we drank coffee, ate cake and explored.

Oscar LOVED the maze at Harper's Mansion. I LOVED the organic apples from the local markets.

ps How cute is my grandma in the flower crown the morning after?

update: official wedding photos can be seen here.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nature in the home

With this only being my second post for this series, I'm proving to be a fairly flakey contributor – but I truly admire the way it reminds us all to keep our spaces beautiful and stop to cherish nature.

Yesterday was my birthday. My thoughtful sister Tess brought around this lovely piece of raku pottery she made herself filled with leaves from her garden.

mint, maidenhair fern, geranium, rosemary

Linking to Lou at littlegreenshed

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The worst mum award goes too ...

Just when you're starting to feel good at being a mum. When you've had multiple days that tick all the boxes – creativity, communication, social activity, healthy food, successful quiet time, lots of running round and exploring, nights with sleep – that is when a seemingly little misdemeanour by a 2 year old can undo it all.

This morning, I put the little lady down for an early nap. I stocked the little man up with a bowl of strawberries, a dvd and a sippy cup of milk, normally enough to keep him enthralled for a good ten to fifteen minutes, and I hopped in the shower. As I was washing the conditioner out of my hair I heard a slightly alarming thump. Upon exiting the shower, it was the smell that told me all was not as it should be. The overwhelming smell of nail polish.

I walk out to see Oscar's favourite blanket with a telltale Oscar shaped lump crouching beneath it. I lift the blanket up to see it coated in purple and blue nailpolish, nailpolish that spills onto the floorboards and covers the majority of Oscar's foot.

Oscar looks at me seriously, "I'm just painting my toes." Sigh. He'd climbed into my wardrobe and discovered my nailpolish collection.

I know it could have been worse. Yet, every time something like this happens, I feel irresponsible, ashamed, alarmed, guilty. I think to myself, why didn't I shower last night? Because we all know a two and a half year old needs constant supervision. Sometimes, you just can't quite do it and that's when the bad moments happen. In those ten unsupervised minutes. And you feel like the worst mum ever.

ps you'd think I'd learn, I've had similar incidents involving blueberries and carpet, broken jewelry, baby wipes, handcream, flour, textas and the couch ... 

Naked Oscar jumping off the couch after eating a few too many easter eggs.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


The invitations have been sent. My mum did the writing and addressed every envelope by hand. My sister did the illustrations.

The hens and kitchen tea have been hosted. Poor Joe had his bucks.

The count-down is on for Tess and Joe's wedding. We are cutting hearts, from old books and spare invites, which my mum has sewn together, creating a curtain backdrop for a photo booth. Already this wedding is looking set to be beautiful, don't you agree?

Linked to Em's crafty stills.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Botanic Gardens

Sometimes, there is nothing nicer than exploring a beautiful place with your family. Hope you've all had a beautiful Easter weekend.

ps photos of Nora on the same day