I’m going to Britmums Live 2014

Carin britmums intro

I’m going to my first ever blog conference in June- Britmums Live. I’m really looking forward to it, even though I’m a little bit nervous too. I’m especially looking forward to meeting some of the wonderful bloggers I’ve connected with online since I joined last year. I just missed out on the 2013 conference and loved reading all the accounts, so I was determined to make it this year.

Name: Carin

Blog: Artfully Carin

Twitter ID: @artfullycarin

Height: 5ft 5ish

Hair: dark blonde/ light brown bob

Eyes: Blue

Is this your first blogging conference? Yes it’s my first ever, which is exciting and scary at the same time.

Are you attending both days? Yes.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014? Meeting some of the people I’ve connected with online since I joined Britmums last year, and finding out what this whole blogging conference thing is about.

What are you wearing? Something comfortable and grown up that hasn’t got stains all over it. Result!

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014? Building friendships and learning a few things along the way

Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before? It’s my first year so I have no idea what to expect, but I am trying to convince myself it’ll be all right on the night. There will be plenty of others who have never been before, so I should just relax and enjoy it.

Are you going to Britmums Live? Please say hi in the comments so we have a chance to connect before June!

Easter crafts: washi tape Easter bunny canvas

Easter crafts: washi tape easter bunny canvas

I was trying to purge my craft supplies in the garage when Aoife spotted some small canvases and my box of washi tape and asked if we could make something with them. Not one to turn down an art or craft opportunity with my kids, I said yes, then wondered what to do. But with Easter just around the corner, it seemed right we should make Easter crafts. I had been playing around with some Easter bunny drawings, so I decided to use them.

This is such a versatile project. It can be done on canvas or watercolour paper, depending on how you want to display it, and in whatever colours you fancy or have available. I resisted the temptation to stamp “Happy Easter” all over the canvases when we were finished because  I think they look good enough to have up all year (or at least all spring). 

I also think  a fluffy white pom pom would look quite cute for a tail, but I didn’t have any yarn or pom poms at home. Maybe you do?

Supplies:

* Canvas (watercolour paper would work too if you’d rather frame it)

* Acrylic craft paints

* Card (an old cereal box would do too)

* Selection of washi tapes and/ or other decorative tapes

* Print out of bunny template

* Scissors

* Adhesive (the kids used PVA glue, and I used gel medium)

* white pom poms or buttons for the tail (optional)

* Ribbon (optional)

* Stapler (optional)

Instructions

1. Paint the canvas in your choice of colour.

2. Lay down strips of washi tape on the card, making sure they overlap.

3. Turn the card over and trace the outline of the bunny. Cut out.

4. Glue into position on your canvas. You may want to add a thin coat of adhesive to the top too to keep the tape in place.

5. Cut a piece of ribbon to fit your canvas (if using) and glue onto the back of the canvas, then add a few staples for extra strength if you want  to.

6. Hang and enjoy!

We really enjoyed making this project. It was a fun and easy craft project for the kids, and I had fun with it too. Even though we used the same materials, they all have a distinct look and feel to them since we chose different background colours, layouts, and had our bunnies facing different directions.  I made the pink canvas, Aoife the yellow, and Kirby the purple. 

If you make one, I’d love to see it. Please tag me on Instagram, or leave a link in the comments below. Thanks! Have fun!

washi tape Easter bunny canvas 1

washi tape Easter canvas back

washi tape Easter bunny canvas pink

washi tape Easter bunny canvas yellow

washi tape Easter bunny canvas purple

Monthly highlights link party: March

Hi and welcome to the monthly highlights link party for March! The monthly highlights link party gives us a chance to reflect on, savour, and celebrate the goodness in our lives, one month at a time.

Due to popular demand, I’m changing it up a little this month- you can now enter a blog post with or without an art journal page! That’s right- everyone’s welcome.  All I ask is that you respect that this is a family friendly blog. To join in, please add your blog post to the link up tool at the bottom of the post. You have till 5.55 pm GMT on Thursday May 1, 2014 to join. 

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monthly highlights link party

March was a very good month. These are some of our highlights:

* Taking the kids bowling.

*Interviewing Jenny for the blog.

* Taking the kids to an open farm near us. Kirby loved the sheep, and Aoife loved the rabbits.

* Going out for dinner with a close friend I hadn’t had a chance to catch up with in a while. And a “bag-party” at another friend’s house.

* Being spoiled on mother’s day with lovely handmade cards, some quiet pampering and crafting time, and a home-cooked dinner.

* Alan having a couple of days off to use up his holidays.

* Getting featured on More Ink.

* Our alternative St Patrick’s day celebrations. The kids didn’t want to go to the festival in town so we went to the park instead, then played Pooh sticks at the rusty bridge near us.  It was a lovely day.

* A much needed social media fast. It was a great opportunity to pray, read, clean, and think. 

* The kids loving the trampoline they bought with their left over birthday and Christmas money.

monthly highlights link party march 2014

monthly highlights link party march 2014 (3)

monthly highlights link party march 2014 (4)

monthly highlights link party march 2014 (5)

monthly highlights link party march 2014 (6)

monthly highlights link party march 2014 (7)

monthly highlights link party march 2014 (8)

monthly highlights link party march 2014

How was your month? Please come and share your highlights in the linky below. 

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monthly highlights link party

Because I need a break

I have been in a bit of a funk lately and feel the need to take a break from most social media. At first I was only going to take a break from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but I’ve decided to take a break from the blog too. I’m tired and confused about a few things right now, and need to get my head straight.

I’ve given myself two weeks. I want to be back for the March monthly highlights (you can still join the February one here). I’m not going off the computer completely, but hope this will help.

Lots of love and see you soon, xo

the school run (the ordinary moments #7)

the school run

Our school run is not one of the prettiest around, but I love that time with the kids.

In the half an hour it takes us to walk to school in the morning, we usually go through a couple of lengthy games of “I spy” and “the alphabet game”, we practise the latest steps from dance class,  count buses, and talk about our hopes, dreams and fears for the day, week, or term. On the way home, we mostly chat about the day. I try hard not to ask too many questions too soon, and just listen. Aoife never stops talking. Most of the answers are there- in what she says, and in what she leaves out.

Kirby walks both ways now. When we walk back on our own, we take our time. Gates have to be closed, green TV and telephone boxes have to be drummed, pretend games and counting of this, that, and the other have to be done.

I’m not going to lie, the school run can be a pain. Some days it takes everything I have to push us out the door, or not tell Kirby off for stopping every 5 seconds on the way back. But most of the time, I really like it. When I’m organised enough to get us out of the house calmly and on time, it’s one of our favourite times of day. We can concentrate on each other completely. I don’t have other jobs that need to be done right that minute, and they don’t have friends or toys vying for their attention.

When Kirby starts school, their schedules will probably force me to start driving, but right now I enjoy this time walking with the kids.

school run

 

Linking up with Katie for the ordinary moments

the ordinary moments I mummy daddy and me

Artful memory-keepers: Jenny Frith

artful memory-keepers interview series

There are so many wonderful ways to document our lives through art. My ways only scratch the surface of what’s possible. So now and again, I would like to introduce you to other artists with an interest in memory-keeping in the hope that they will inspire you to find new ways to document life.

Today I’m very happy to bring you an interview with American artist Jenny Frith. Jenny is a talented illustrator, with a special interest in painting animals, and has just finished illustrating her first children’s book, The Rabbit Who Wished He Could Fly. She also makes amazing weekly diary style journal pages, often featuring the animals she loves to paint.

Please welcome Jenny!

artful memory-keepers: Jenny Frith

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:

I am a mom & a wife living outside of Philadelphia, PA. I work full time at an office job but keep myself busy with my artwork, pet portraits, illustration projects, and journaling.  I like making my art journals for my own personal pleasure and memory-keeping, but I love helping other people find and use their own unique creative outlet too.  The community in the journaling world is so warm and encouraging, and it is a gift to meet so many wonderful friends.

What’s your preferred medium?

I adore watercolors.  Maybe because they are relatively easy to clean up, but mostly because the colors are clean and vivid.   I also like using white ink, ephemera, and good old fashioned pens/pencils.  A good journal is one of my trusty tools too – Stillman & Birn is currently my favorite brand.

artful memory-keepers: Jenny Frith

What parts of your life inspires/ motivates you the most?

Animals.  I love animals.   Ever since I was a little girl, they have sparked curiosity and wonder in my heart.  I’m also inspired by memory-keeping, and the idea that you can make the world a little bit better right where you are, in your every-day life.

Do you work from photos or life/ memory?

Reference photos.  I will print out a whole bunch from different angles.  I’ll also ask photographers for permission before using their photos, or I will buy online stock photos to use.

artful memory-keepers: Jenny Frith

How often do you work?

I prepare my weekly journals every Sunday.  I’ll fill them in throughout the week.  I also sketch & blog up to 3 times a week after I get home from my day job.

How do you keep track of ideas? Do you keep an idea journal or do you draw things as they come up?

I scribble ideas in a small designated sketchbook that I keep in my purse.  Or I will jot the idea down on sticky notes.  I have a folder that I keep for reference photos too, so I tap into that when I need a little bit of extra inspiration.

jennys-sketchbook-0413-watercolor-daily-journal

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into artful memory-keeping, even if they don’t consider themselves an artist?

Make a goal to sketch an entry into your journal, 15 minutes a day for a year, even if the sketches aren’t as good as you would want them to be.    If you stick to it for a year, I promise you will surprise yourself.  It will change your creative life for the better.

artful memory-keepers: Jenny Frith

You can find Jenny here:

BlogFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramYouTubeGoogle +

Thank you so much to Jenny for sharing her work and process! As a mum of young children, I love her last tip to make a goal to sketch something for 15 minutes a day for a year. 15 minutes is such a small amount of time, yet makes such a big difference.

artful memory-keepers: Jenny Frith

 

the ordinary moments #6: Sunday is family fun day

the ordinary moments #6 Sunday is family fun day

kids bowling

We try, as much as possible, to keep Sundays free for doing stuff as a family. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way, but we try. We visit family, go to the park, go on outings, or just hang out together. 

Last Sunday, we took Kirby bowling for the first time. We used to go quite often, but haven’t for a while, so the last time we went he was too small to play and slept in the buggy the whole time.

I had a dismal game and got beaten by my three year old (I think I’ll try that ramp thingy next time too!), but we all had a good laugh.

Linking up with Katie for the Ordinary Moments.

the ordinary moments I mummy daddy and me

monthly highlights: February (link party)

Welcome to the monthly highlights link party for February! Please link up your art journal pages celebrating February below. I hope it was a great month for you. If you are new to art journalling and would like to give this a go, I posted how to make an art journal page using things you already own last month.

monthly highlights February 2014

I used one of Kirby’s drawings as the base for this month’s page, then used the same coloured pencils he used to fill in my doodles and writing.

Kirby surprised me recently. Until he turned three, he wasn’t that interested in arts or crafts. He enjoyed it on the odd occasion, but could take it or leave it. It was a bit of a shock after Aoife, who wanted to make art, craft, or bake every waking moment of every day at the same age. But I slowly got used to playing with cars, trains, and mega bloks, instead of with paints, feathers, and glitter.

But when Kirby turned three, something changed, and he began asking for it every day.

(I don’t think I’ve ever set up the table as quickly as the first time he asked!)

So my days are once more spent in the kitchen drawing, painting, crafting, cooking and baking with a little one by my side. And I have to say, I kind of like it!

monthly highlights February link party

 

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The ordinary moments #5: putting on a show

ordinary moments putting on a show

Pretty much every evening before heading upstairs to bed, the kids put on a little show for us. If Alan gets back from work at a decent time, we sit down and have a cup of tea and relax for a bit so the kids get to see him, and it almost always leads to them putting on a show.

We keep a little step in front of the window so Kirby can sit there and play with his cars on the window sill during the day, and so he can get up and wave bye bye to his daddy in the mornings (hence all the hand prints on the window..I feel like I’m forever cleaning windows!). In the evenings and on weekends, the step also becomes their stage.

Even though they do these shows pretty much every day, they’re never planned. Sometimes they sing, sometimes they dance, and sometimes they play instruments. But they are always very funny and have us laughing and cheering whoever is on stage. Kirby usually does his “doo whop” song at song at some point though, which has us crying with laughter because it’s so predictable. The kids take turns, but usually end with a joint one (Kirby copying whatever Aoife is doing). 

Ordinary moments, but extraordinary memories- I will treasure them forever.

putting on a show (2)

putting on a show (3)

putting on a show (4)

Linking up with Katie for the ordinary moments

the ordinary moments I mummy daddy and me

Easy Lent crafts for kids: paper chain

Easy Lent craft for kids paper chain

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday- the beginning of Lent. I can’t quite believe it. It seems like it was just Christmas! And Easter is late this year, so go figure!

My two are really excited about Lent this year.

Aoife is starting to get Lent now, and has been preparing for it for weeks. I even found her hunched over a piece of paper the other week, making a chart of all the things she could give up. She had some complicated rating system going on that only she could understand, and was very serious about the whole thing.

Kirby, not so much! But his sister’s excitement is rubbing off.

Lent is a long time for kids to visualise though, especially for preschoolers like Kirby, so I have been trying to think of some quick and easy Lent crafts for us to do that would not only help them understand Lent a bit better, but help them count down to Easter.

Old kids’ drawings and paintings to the rescue!

We cleared out their art drawer the other day and adapted an old birthday favourite… the paper chain.

Lent paper chain

I love this kind of craft because it’s so quick and easy, we always have more drawings and painting lying around than we know what to do with, and the kids love cutting and gluing.

If your kids can’t wait for Easter, you might want to make one too. It will save your sanity in the long run. You’ll dodge all those “How many more days till Easter?” questions like a pro. Forget “there’s an app for that”. In this case there’s a paper chain for that! 

How to make a simple paper chain:

1. Gather up some of your children’s old drawings and pictures that they are happy to part with and cut them into 46 even strips. Depending on their age, they may be able to  do this themselves.

Lent paper chain supplies

2. Shuffle the strips around a little so you get a nice variation of patterns and colours on the chain.

3. Glue the ends of the first strip together to make a loop, making sure the painted side is on the outside. Hold the two ends together for a few seconds to make sure they stick.

Easy Lent crafts for preschoolers

4. Carefully pull the second strip through the first loop and glue the two ends together to make a new loop.

5. Continue to do this until you have used up all your strips of paper.

6. Hang or drape the paper chain somewhere your children can see it. Then let them rip off a strip each day until Easter.

Lent paper chain

I didn’t do it this time since Kirby is still so little, but you can easily make the paper chain even more meaningful by writing names or Bible verses to each of the strips, and have the kids pray for that person, or read that verse that day.

Alternative

You can also cut 46 egg shaped pieces of the paintings, punch a couple of holes in the top of each egg, and string them together like a garland.