From the category archives:

guest mom

Oversize Balloon 101

May 3, 2011

Note from Design Mom: Hello from Amsterdam, Friends! Today, Celeste is here to keep you company while I’m away from my desk. Enjoy.

Hi. I’m Celeste from on-hand modern, a blog about creative family life.

Right now life is: planning a birthday party for the boy who is turning five. We love balloons (see here, here, and, oh how about here), so it seems only natural that at some point we should have a party based on the classic French film “The Red Balloon”. Some of the details are still up in the air (a weekend in Paris would be tres authentic, oui? alas, not exactly in the budget) but there is one thing that’s for sure: what’s a Red Balloon-themed party without — yes — big round red balloons!

Over-sized round balloons (like the one in the film) are everywhere these days — on blogs, in magazines, at parties. Here’s what you need to know about buying them for your next birthday party, family photo, or other event.

What Size:

For truly round balloons with a lot of visual impact, look for 24″ or 36″ balloons.

Where To Buy (locally):

I haven’t had much luck in my area, but for those of you with Zurchers stores in your neighborhood I have heard rumors that you might find them there.

Where To Buy (online):

If a single balloon (or two) is all you need, try the adorable shops darlybird or Sweet Lulu where they are available for purchase individually in a variety of fun colors. Expect to pay around $4-5 per 36″ balloon, plus shipping.

For larger quantities it makes sense to buy from a wholesale supplier. Car dealers (yes, car dealers!) have been buying from these guys for years. I found this website and this one to have competitive prices and be the easiest to navigate, but you can also try searching the Web yourself for “dealership + balloons”. I was able to get a package of 25 (24″) balloons for about $25 shipped (about $1 per balloon) from one of these sources.

Hope that helps a bit! How about you? Have you ever used oversize balloons before? Any other tips new users should remember?

P.S. — Sunshine and big balloon bouquets to all of you, and thanks to Design Mom for having me!

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Note from Design Mom: Since we’re still traveling for Spring Break, I’ve lined up a few guest moms to join me this week. First up is Molly. She’s sharing last minute fantastic Mother’s Day gift ideas.

I’m posting this in the hopes that my kids, or husband really, will take a cue and get me something hip this Mother’s Day.

Clockwise: Two tone tote in hemp and olive ($89) by Infusion, Spun vase ($175) by Heath Ceramics, Geometric notebooks ($17, set of 3) designed by Tamasyn Gambell and available at The Vitrine, Bow dress ($95) by Three Little Ducks, Hand poured soy candles in reusable pots ($30) by Perch!, Faceted hanging tray ($60) by Pigeon Toe Ceramics

Find more from Molly at her blog Charlotte’s Fancy.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Today’s second Valentine’s Day project is these adorable heart leggings from the always creative Susan Petersen.

Still trying to figure out what your gold heart loving daughter is going to wear to her Valentines Day party? Don’t worry friends, I’ve got you covered.

Supplies needed:
Leggings, I got mine from Target for $3.50
Fabric paint, I used DecoArt So Soft metallic
Sponge brush,
Freezer Paper

Click here for all of the instructions.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me.Rachel is back with another great find for us today. This one would make a sweet Valentine gift. Enjoy!

As knitting and crocheting fill the fashion world with new twists on centuries-old crafts, Tanya Aguiniga takes it a step further and adds knotted rope to the mix with her Unraveled Cotton Rope Necklace line.

Click here to see more gorgeous knitted jewelry.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Today, two Guest Moms have great Valentine’s Day projects for you. First up is this mix CD and cover from Danyelle Matthews.

Valentine’s Day has always been a favorite holiday for my children. We have enjoyed creating valentines together over the years but as they’ve grown older, they have become more opinionated about the over all design. My oldest son, Easton, is in fifth grade. This is most likely his last year for handing out valentines to his classmates and he wanted to go out with a bang. Easton had two specific rules regarding this years design:

1. Nothing too mushy
2. No pink

While brainstorming, Easton and I determined that most kids his age love music which lead me to the idea of creating a mixed CD. I designed a simple CD sleeve that Easton could assemble himself, with space on the back to write a custom playlist.

Continue reading for the complete playlist and free CD jacket printable.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Rachel has fantastic taste and I love the find she has for us today. Enjoy!

I love furniture made from recycled objects, especially when the original pieces provide a bit of character and nostalgia to the furniture. It’s good for the environment as well, reducing the amount of new waste we put into the earth. Recreate is an interior design company from artist/designer Katie Thompson that specializes in the creation of recycled furniture pieces, utilizing what most people would see as discarded “junk”. One of my favorite pieces is the Ammo Crate Sidetable.

Click here to see more images or this super cool side table.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Today Dani is sharing three terrific painting projects with you. Enjoy!

This is such a thrill for me to step out of my life as a full-time mom for a moment and share some painting ideas here on one of my favorite sites! I hope that these art projects inspire you to go out and buy your children some paints and canvas and encourage them to express their own unique creativity. Since my first son was born almost 6 years ago I have looked forward to providing each of my children with opportunities to create through art. You will see that these projects are not complicated (or expensive) and only require a few simple materials.

My sons Liam (5) and Lance (3 ½) created 3 simple Abstract paintings to share.

Click here to see all three painting projects.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Today’s post is from Ashlea who is sharing five tips on how to be a little more French. Enjoy!

I bet I’m not the only one pining for an extra suitcase I can just snuggle up in and hitch a ride across the Big Pond with the Blair family. You too? Reality is that I’m not moving our nest overseas anytime soon. Sigh. Sooooo I thought it would be a hoot to enjoy my vision of a very French day in a kind of northern-Michigan-in-January-meets-France kind of way. How ‘bout a little joie de vivre to kick the winter blahs to the curb, lovelies?

Click here to see all five of Ashlea’s tips.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Here’s a really cute project from Destri of The Mother Huddle. Enjoy!

I am just in the beginning phases of decorating my little girls room and after tallying the cost of everything I wanted, I found my eyes to be a little bigger than my pocket book, dang it. :) So I made a list of everything I wanted in the room, and decided which items I could make myself to save money for a few key items. This project came from that list. Let’s get started!

Click here for the full Alphabet Art instructions.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Here’s another great project post (so cute!) from Khali Whatley of Little Lovely. Enjoy!

Living in France for a year is bound to be an amazing adventure for the entire Blair family. The Blair children will make lots of wonderful memories, so I created memory boxes to help them remember their time abroad. They’re really simple and a cute alternative to journals.

Click here to see the full DIY.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Today, Sarah is sharing her story of growing up in France. Don’t you love this themed family photo? Enjoy!

In 1989, my parents became Christian missionaries and moved our family to France. I was seven, and my younger siblings were five and three. At the time, we had no idea how this decision would change our lives. We just knew that something exciting was happening!

We spent one year in language school in a small town in the southwest of France, but I don’t remember much about how I learned to speak French. In the mornings, we gathered in a special classroom where we were explicitly taught French. My teacher knew precisely two words in English: “shut” and “up”. But somehow, I magically spoke the language pretty fluently by the end of that school year. In fact, it became so natural that my sister, brother, and I started using “Frenglish” around the house. When we transitioned to outright French, my parents tried to outlaw the use of it at home…. they claimed they were worried we would lose our English. (But I think maybe they were just jealous of our flawless accents!)

Click here to read more about Sarah’s adventures in France.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Today, you’ll hear from Chassity of Look Linger Love. Enjoy!

I’m pretty honored to be visiting today to give my girl Gabrielle a hand in the midst of her move. I’m not so great at the lifting and unloading of boxes, but I thought a little fashion preview for spring would be a welcome break.

Even though I’m in Charleston, SC where the weather is usually warm, it’s been unseasonably cold lately. So if you’re like me, you and your kids are desperate for a little sunshine. And Little Bean is looking like a breath of fresh air with some sun sprinkled in. I’m just adoring their one piece outfits for girls and those little patchwork pants for the boys.

{ BTW, have you visited their sister store Baby Bean? It’s full of the most delightful one of a kind vintage daywear. My 14 month old daughter just got a couple of their dresses over the holidays. }

Click here for Chassity’s full Spring Preview.

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Note from Design Mom: While I’m busy with the move to France, I’ve got a crew of talented Guest Moms filling in for me. Enjoy!

My first featured guest is Khali Whatley who writes the inspirational blog Little Lovely where she shares lovely ideas for little people. She regularly posts ingenious DIY projects like these scratch Valentine cards and this kid’s castle made from recycled materials. I’m delighted that she created this sweet game with my kids (and the long plane ride!) in mind.

Click here to see Khali’s full DIY post.

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The younger me as Little Orphan Annie.

If you feel a little self-conscious about becoming someone else for the night, here are a few tips to help you shed the jitters, and have a good time.

Karaoke.
My husband was Billy Ray Cyrus last year, and he became Billy as soon as Achy Breaky Heart came over the speakers.

Phrases!
If you are playing someone from a book or movie, skim-read it for dialogue or re-watch the movie. IMDB is also a good source of quotes from movies. Or call that one friend that knows quotes from everything. This year my Judy Jetson has been practicing: “Outer-galactic!” and “Far-Out!” For the cowboys, check out cowboy sayings. For the pirates out there, pre-plan your phrases on this site.

Theme-dress.
If you and a buddy or your family all dress as a theme, you can take that to an extreme. You can speak in like dialect/accent/language!, act out a scene, improvise a scene, the sky’s the limit.

Dance!
If your costume comes from an era like the 20’s, 50’s or 70’s….brush up on your moves and dance in character when the music starts at your Halloween party.

Hide.
If you are too shy, get a mask so that nobody knows it’s you.

Dressing up and getting into character for the night is fun for someone like me who enjoys playing a role, but I know it’s not for everyone. Maybe a few of these tips will help you loosen up and get into Halloween this year.

Thanks for having me! ~Kristy

Find more from Kristy at her blog Glass Posse.

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It crept up on you right? Your kids look at you disappointedly when they realize you have not planned a Halloween costume for yourself (or maybe even for them! whoops!).
A few last-minute winners that I have seen over the years:

Be a color:
Dress solo or as a group — green-earth theme, orange/white/yellow=candycorns, a rainbow, a flag, school colors! If I were pink, I’d wear this beard. Grab every piece of clothing you have in one color, this is educational for young ones too! While you’re at it, sort your closet by color…it looks pretty!

Crayons:
Kristie made these crayon costumes (seen above) for her family with paper. Gotta love paper crafts that you can do the night before!

Subway Train Sign:
Natasha did not make this last minute (also see above), but if you have a piece of felt, a magic marker and a glue gun, you could make a less-than-perfect version of this costume. For a full list of the subway lines, click here.

Get Literal:
Plastic spiders are plentiful this time of year. I witnessed a couple glue a ton of them to t-shirts and proclaim themselves Spider Man and Spider Woman. Another fun use for plastic spiders is to stick them in your hair or ears or other creative places.

My friend Helen velcroed a babydoll to her butt to become a Babysitter. Brilliant!

Blacked-eyed P’s — You guessed it, a letter P on a t-shirt and a black eye, you have to do this as a pair to be peaZ.

Find more from Kristy at her blog Glass Posse.

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Haunted house image here.

My Dad is a dentist, so when we gathered our treats for Halloween to give away to the neighborhood kids, not only did we have the sweets, we also gave out toothbrushes with my Dad’s business address and phone number. A tiny part of me thought it was lame that my Dad did this, but most of me thought it was a pretty great idea. I had never gotten a toothbrush on Halloween before, I thought it was original.

When we got home, we would sort through our findings, trade with our siblings, your favorite for mine….until everyone was super satisfied. My faves: Kit Kats, Peanut M & Ms, Snickers and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Those are still my faves, but I developed a peanut allergy after I finished my pregnancy with my second child, so now I am just mad when I see all of my faves in my kids pumpkins.

This year my daughter’s school is sponsoring Healthy Halloween. Without knowing all the details, I have been thinking about alternatives to sugar treats, and junky plasticky stuff. Ideas….GO!:

-MEMORY game-using classmates photos or halloween images on back of cards
-Slap bracelets (they’re back!) I’ve spotted them at Oriental Trading Co. and Claire’s Accessories

-Homemade Halloween Bookmarks

-Homemade Necklaces
-Instruments…we have a beloved maraca made out of a witches head.

-My favorite idea (probably for a small group of children as opposed to handing it out to the neighborhood):
Halloween Music CD

My fave halloween tracks:

Justin Roberts:
Maybe the Monster (Meltdown!)

Thought it was a Monster (Yellowbus)

Harry Connick, Jr. Songs I Heard Album:
Spoonful of Sugar, Jitterbug, Land of Oz, Candy Man

Oingo Boingo:
Who do you want to be?

Weird Science

When the Lights Go Out

Barbra Streisand:
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

Ding-Dong, the witch is dead

Laurie Berkner:
Chock-o-lot in my Pock-o-lot

What are your favorite candy alternatives?

Find more from Kristy at her blog Glass Posse.

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This is me as the “Book Witch” and as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. I did the makeup myself(!).

A few years ago, my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and I planned a Halloween Surprise for her class. I was to come in as the Book Witch and read some Halloween stories to the children. I love surprises so much, so I did not tell my daughter anything about this, and I wanted to be unrecognizable to her and her classmates.

My mind immediately turned to the Broadway production of Wicked and the green makeup that Elphaba wears. I emailed a makeup artist friend of mine to see if she could give me some tips on how to transform my face into a witch. She suggested I visit Alcone, a makeup company in Manhattan. I zipped over there and waited in line for the makeup artist of The Little Mermaid to plow through her very long list of needs, and felt quite sheepish when all I asked for was Elphaba Green. Unfortunately they did not have that green, so I settled for more of an emerald color of Kryolan’s Aqua.

I also wanted to have a prosthetic nose, but I am allergic to latex, and could not find any noses that were latex-free. Instead I picked up some wax and glued some warts onto my face. The other important element of the Book Witch Makeup was Mac’s Pigment in “Push the Edge”, which is a purple color. I used it to accent my cheeks, lips and eyes. I had purple going on with the hat I bought at Ricky’s and the purple gloves. As for the costume itself…I just threw on all the black clothes in my closet and sprayed a little black in my hair.

I brought my books along in a vintage Samsonite, bright pink train case, as opposed to a cauldron or black basket or jack-o-lantern. I wanted to be less witchy and more booky because some parents had expressed concerns about Witch Lore and I didn’t want to give the wrong message to the impressionable young children. The teacher is convinced that my daughter didn’t recognize me, and I am pretty sure none of the other children recognized me until little sister landed on the scene, suddenly it was pretty obvious who was under all that makeup. My daughter insists she was never fooled. She’s been known to lie.

My Top 5 Halloween Book Witch Read-Alouds:

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
Room on the Broom Book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting
The Ugly Pumpkin by Dave Horowitz

The Halloween Play by Felicia Bond

Last year my daughter wanted me to be Maleficent to her Princess Aurora. I purchased the costume and staff and was disappointed with the quality of the frock. I spruced it up by stuffing the foam-shaped Antlers with poly-fil and putting a back on them, then twirling some purple cord around each point, but I knew what would really sell the costume would be my face.

I studied graphics from the film, but mostly studied a Golden Book Version of Sleeping Beauty that we already had on our bookshelf. I ordered the Aqua color that was closest to Maleficent’s turquoise hue and then I was all set. I had the purple pigment from Book Witch the year before and the black paint from my Mrs. Incredible costume already in my stores, so I didn’t need to buy anything else. The photo at top was taken after my third try at applying this makeup, and I think it turned out really well: red lips, yellow around the eyes, purple eyeshadow, exaggerated eyebrows, and that sallow, turquoise skin. Spooky.

Great makeup can make a costume go from good to great, or can be the costume itself. Just looking at those aqua colors I had a few ideas come to mind right away: silver-ghoul, dark blue-blue man group, Violet — that girl from charlie and the chocolate factory who turns into a blueberry, yellow-banana…use your imagination and make sure you practice before the night of Halloween!

Find more from Kristy at her blog Glass Posse.

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When the store-bought costume is not doing it for you, you gotta take things into your own hands. When I decided; “I am going to be Mrs. Incredible,” and I found Disney’s Mrs. Incredible costume online to be UNcredible, I needed to take matters into my own hands.

I pulled up an image of Mrs. Incredible from the Pixar film and compared the two side by side: What? Horror! I was amazed at how lame Disney’s offering was.



The boots were not tall enough, neck too thin, and where are the gloves? I started staring at this cartoon picture and trying to figure out how my non-seamstress self could make my own costume.

I ordered black gloves, black briefs, black tall boots and a full-body red unitard. I stopped by the fabric store to get some orange and black stretch fabric to add to the waistband and neck of the unitard. I also picked up some felt and glitter to create the “i” graphic on the chest.

My sewer friend whipped that orange waistband on the briefs and the black on the outside of the neck. I spent an evening burning my fingers (literally) glueing that incredible logo together. The last thing I needed to do was order the black makeup from Ben Nye, and voila! I had a much more incredible costume then the store-bought, and for around the same price.

As an added bonus, I already had a short sassy hairdo similar to Mrs. I, and the big booty to boot!



I know this is a good costume because 4 other friends have borrowed it. I have also worn it for school appearances at my daughter’s schools and sometimes the prospect of wearing that costume again someday in the future, is all the motivation I need to do my morning workout.

This year I have used the Mrs. Incredible Model to put together 2 costumes that I am pleased-as-punch about.

My daughter will be Olivia Pig, from the Olivia books by Ian Falconer. Her outfit is modeled after the illustration on the cover of Olivia Counts. Each piece (striped tights, striped shirt, white blouse, jumper) will be worn the rest of the year as separates and together for upcoming holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day). I had no guilt purchasing these items as they will be worn again! (Unlike the Judy Jetson store-bought catastrophe that looks cute but wears MEH, that my other daughter insisted upon purchasing!)

I had to make the ears and for fun I made a duct-tape purse to go with it. I enjoy having a little hand-made bit of the costume, preferably one that does not involve me sewing.



Also this year I have used the Mrs. Incredible Model for
my own costume. I chose to be Cruella Deville, circa 1960’s. I bought each piece off ebay: red boots, red gloves, black vintage dress, white furry coat, wig. After studying the cartoon drawings of Ms. Deville, I decided to get some green jewelry as well. My good friend etsy helped me find just the right set of earrings and a ring.

So, there you have it! Incredible Costumes, to make your Halloween the most memorable!

Find more from Kristy at her blog Glass Posse.

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Welcome Kristy Glass!

October 26, 2009


Photo by Rachel Gundersen

I’m so delighted to have Kristy Glass with us this week! I have only briefly met her in real life (and under odd circumstances, where we had to whisper quick hellos), but I’ve been exchanging emails with her since I started blogging and feel like she’s an old friend. Here’s Kristy’s introduction in her own words:

————————-

In a recent audition, I was interviewed to see how much I knew about entertainment, celebrities and pop culture. I was asked if I read US Weekly or “the blogs”. Sadly I could not answer in the affirmative. “Then, what is your favorite blog?”

“DESIGN MOM!”

Thanks for having me.

I’m an urban mom of two daughters, thanks to my husband of 11 years, who pushed me to finish college even though I was being lured away by that intoxicating world of the theatre. After graduating in 3 jam-packed years, I pursued my dream of ACTING in Washington DC. There I had a lot of great success, including doing 2 different shows while I was pregnant with my first baby! 5 weeks after her birth, I was back in the theatre one last time in DC before picking up and moving to Queens, NY in 2002.

I am a working mother and I strive to spend as much time with my children as possible. I do not have a nanny. My career has now expanded beyond theatre to singing, recording, modeling, baby wrangling and tv, which basically means, I am a professional job-seeker. I have dragged my babies (now children) to 90% of my auditions and they have even accompanied me on a few jobs.

My interests include blogging, writing, photography, makeup, working out, church service, journaling, networking, reading, online grocery shopping, MACing, and knitting for the lovescarf project. I spend hours a day riding the subway to make sure my children are dropped off and picked up at their respective schools on the upper west side and lower east side (remember, I live in Queens). I attend suzuki violin lessons twice a week with my daughter and practice with her for an hour most days. I have recently discovered the iphone, jogging and Raisenets made with Cranberries (not in combination).


As an actor, one of my favorite holidays is Halloween. I pretty much know who I am going to be for Halloween by January of every year, and enjoy spending the rest of the year finding just the right details to make my costume complete. It’s contagious, my whole family is into it. I hope I can add to your holiday this year, and if not, maybe you can start planning Halloween 2010 in a few months!

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Who doesn’t love their child’s drawings? Many children express themselves through art far better than the written or even spoken word, so the attachment is understandable. Yet who among us hasn’t thought about chucking every last piece of art when the pile coming home from school, added to what is created at home, threatens to take over every inch of the refrigerator door and fill every drawer in the house?

Here’s the million-dollar question: what is worth keeping and what gets tossed (during the night and placed in the outside garbage under mounds of food scraps so there is no evidence of the cruel mommy who doesn’t think every piece of her child’s art is beautiful and worth saving)? Here’s what I do:



1. Display the Art
Even for just a day. If your child is proud of their artwork, show it off. Right now, we use simple magnet clips on the side of the fridge. For a cleaner presentation, this company produces frames that open on hinges, allowing you to swap out your child’s art easily and often. Just last week I came upon this ingenious DIY frame with the same purpose and I like it even more. A cute little clothesline like this works famously too.

2. You Save, I Save
Each of my children gets their own “treasure box.” They are allowed to keep anything they want in their box, but it must fit in the box. New art often replaces old art in their boxes as they constantly work to make sure the lid stays on the box. I also have my own acid-free “treasure box” for each of them and hold myself to the same rule — I can’t save more than what will fit in the box. I save only the most special drawings. They are usually the ones with good stories attached, or where it’s obvious my child has spent more than her usual attention span, and I always save “firsts”. Like the first time my child drew a circle with arms growing out of the sides and called it “mom” instead of the typical scribbles.



3. Preserve with a (re)Purpose
Preserving your child’s art in an acid-free box is one thing, but using it as inspiration to create something else takes preservation to a whole new level. My children love seeing their art come to life as “softies”, handkerchief embroidery, carved pumpkins, personalized neckties, t-shirt transfers, and Christmas ornaments. I will admit the time I spend creating with their art might partly be my way of making up for the fact that I throw the majority of their artwork in the trash. If sewing is not your thing, this company creates sterling silver pins out of your child’s art and this shop will turn their art into a sweet little pendant, both perfect for gifting.



Whatever you decide to save, make sure to write the child’s name and date on it.Also, remember to record and attach “the story” if it has one. It’s all going to be vital information down the road. You always think you’ll remember, but you won’t.

Thanks to Gabrielle for having me here this week. I’ve had a great time sharing with all of you! I hope you’ll take the time to create, preserve and share your family heirlooms.

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