Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Summer Vacation

Two proud boys in their Red Sox shirts, displaying handwork

Inspiration has come lately in the form of a book by Portland blogger Amanda Blake Soule called The Creative Family. A fabulous resource for parents, I am thinking of this as a great new parent gift and have already recommended it to our Ashwood Waldorf School kindergarten teachers. Soule is a homeschooling-artist-mama with some Waldorf inclinations, and offers lots of encouragement for the idea that creative time as a family is time well spent. Let your children see you being creative, see you striving with a new project, sit down and draw together, take an art to-go bag with you on your travels about town, and let the laundry wait! Soule's writing is clear and comes to the heart of the issues that we face as artists and parents, the project ideas are accessible and well-described, the photos are beautiful, and her blog is wonderful as well.

Soule suggests keeping art supplies handy to where your family hangs out. Well, duh, of course this makes sense! So this inspired a little redo in my kitchen. My boys eat (a lot, many meals large and small every day...ah, summer) at a kitchen bar on two stools. I spend a lot of my time on the other side of the counter, using that same space to prepare food. I bought a little rack to hold fresh, clean white paper, with two shelves above (one for each boy) to hold works in progress. Add some new markers and pens, a bunch of sharp (!) pencils, colored pencils, and cups to put it all in, and voila---supplies at the ready!
Same picture, including some very tame counter clutter:
Here's Sylvan working on sewing a little pillow that he drew, a project idea from the book:
If you are heavily into representation, let me tell you that it depicts a sky (here, at the bottom) at sunset, two mountains with a gnome in between.

In other sewing news, Jonas brought home his knitted doll, named Nicko (after a character in the series that begins with Magyk).
Nicko needed some clothes and I am novice enough as a seamstress that I found it challenging; Jonas was mostly patient. But today, thankfully, Jonas spent the day with his crafty friend Ella who can zip things out on her sewing machine like wild! Jonas's hands at work on some trousers:
So if you're looking for some crafting, lifestyle, and family inspiration to help you through the summer...check out Amanda's book!


  1. I like that idea, "let the laundry wait". Works for me, kids or not!

    Will be on a train Thurs AM...on my way to visit Martin's family for the weekend. Can we set up a phone date for next Thurs, the 19th?


  2. thanks for commenting on my blog. That little strawberry doll I made a few years ago for our nature's staying here :)
    I love the idea of Soule Mama you described to put utensils where you 'live'... I did as you and put some paper and pencils in the drawer of our table...

  3. Iris, this is so lovely - I am going to do the same! How nice to have that shelf of paper and the drawing things right on the table. Of course easy access will make it so simple to get going. I am now considering getting this book based on your recommendation! Thanks for telling more about it and for providing this bit of inspiration.

    I would so love it if you would take photos of Jes's shop! I so wish I could be there too to see it! thank you so very much you sweet lady for your thoughtful suggestion! Why can't we be neighbors????
    Emily xxooo