Beauty is in the Eye of the Artist’s Mama

I’ve always felt that art cannot be judged as being good or not good because art is an expression of one’s own freedom, flavor, emotion, etc. So there’s no one-right-way to do things, in my book. I feel like children’s art in particular is special because little minds, unfettered by the adult knowledge of reality or expectations, can create the most beautiful pieces.

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Being a toddler artist is hard work! 😉

Now that being said, I have become that mama that beams with pride at all of the wild scribblings and finger paintings of my baby and thinks they’re the most beautiful works of toddler art I’ve ever seen. Yep, that’s me with the big treasure chest full of colorful scribbles that I plan on keeping forever and ever and ever!

After about 20 scribble-art papers, I came to realize, I couldn’t remember the fun details of the day when he had made each particular scribble. So when I got J to paint with a paint brush for the first time, I decided to save the work in a more special way that would not just disappear into the ever-growing stack of scribble masterpieces.

J's first paintbrush scribble

J’s first paintbrush scribble

Dwayne says it already looks like some sort of pre-historic pterodactyl skeleton. Can you see what he’s talking about? (A little creepy!) Well, I decided to cut out the shape of a cute little bird. If you look closely, you can see where I traced out the shape and cut it out already.

I was really lucky because I was able to position the shape at a place where the paint scribble allowed for a perfect color-change for the beak.

Scribbles allowed for a distinguishable beak

J’s scribbles allowed for a distinguishable beak

All I had to add was an eye and the shape of a wing! I pasted this cute little bird onto some scrapbook paper I had lying around and added some paper grass and pipe-cleaner legs. I used a decorative edge scissor to cut a scalloped border across the top.

Jay's Birdie

Jay’s little paint scribble bird proudly displayed on the fridge.

We’re in the process of hanging a clothes line in J’s room to start displaying his especially nice works of art (which, to his mama…is like ALL of them.) Until then, my fridge space will just continue to get buried with J’s creations.

Jay's Birdie

Now as for my own crafts, I’ve got a few WIPs (Works In Progress) and hopefully I’ll get to complete them soon so I can show you what I’ve been up to!

A Little Old Lady

Just finished working out…I really feel like I’ve got it all together, like a powerful Jedi, when I manage to work out amidst cooking, cleaning, potty-training J, semi home-schooling J, chasing after the dog and squeezing in crafting time! JEDI JAINY!

Anyway, even with all the business in my life, my mind always has a way of wandering to the people I am missing. Today, it’s my gram-ma. (In my language, Malayalam, we call our gram-ma’s “Ammachi”, pronounced UH-muh-chee.)

Although she passed away, I’ll never forget the way she made me feel…like I was just too precious for words. She was only about 4.5 feet tall but full of fire…with a bright twinkle in her eyes. She’d always stock up on my favorite snacks when I came and keep feeding me sweets, even as I got older. Every time she gave me a kiss, she’d inhale my whole cheek! That’s LOVE.

One of those times I was missing her, I let it inspire one of my random doodlings. So here it is…hopefully it gives you a pleasant memory of a special little old lady in your own life…be it your ammachi, neighbor, friend or other family member. Make sure you give them a big hug and inhaled-cheek kiss next time you see them!

Fancy art is nice, but sometimes crayons and markers just feel GOOD.

Fancy art is nice, but sometimes crayons and markers just feel GOOD.

Maybe, I’ll use this doodle to inspire myself to write a children’s book. Lol…yes, add that to my list of things to do. I’m clearly not busy ENOUGH! 😀

<3 Bibs

Bibs were my very first project when I started sewing. I got tired of seeing the super baby-ish bibs in the stores and wanted to see some more fun and diverse fabric patterns being used! So, as my motto goes…if you don’t like it, do something about it.

Over the years, for some strange reason, I’ve really LOVED making bibs. Too bad my own child would rather run around naked than ever wear a bib. So naturally, when one of my besties (Pie) got preggers, I knew bibs were in her future!

PieandJain

Pie and I having brunch in NYC

(Pie is not her real name. I’ve called her Pie for over 10 years now so barely have a recollection of her real name anymore. But when you’re a lovely “Pie”, what else matters?)

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few shots of the bibs and matching burp cloths I made for the baby…

BibFabrics

Bib Fabrics: Apples and Pears, Bright Turquoise, and a Sesame Street pattern

I selected gender neutral fabrics since we don’t know what sex the baby will be. Who says it has to be all pastel yellows and greens?

Even the hubby pitched in with these bibs and burpcloths! Boy do I love this guy!

These are double-layered bibs and burp cloths. The undersides have a soft cream-colored terry cloth which is great for absorbency as well as post-meal clean up.

BibSet

Bib with Matching Burp Cloth

Part of the fun and beauty of a handmade gift is in the packaging. I used a pretty burlap ribbon with a small cream bow to present the burp cloths.BurpCloths

I love using bright and happy colors for babies!

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The blanket that these bibs and burp cloths are on, is part of this gift. I crocheted this blanket using a double-crochet stitch and finished it with a scalloped border using the Lionbrand pattern for Purely Square Baby Throw to get me started. I’m slow with yarn so making a blanket is a very time-consuming task that I’ve only done once…and this is it right here, along with the completed bib/burpcloth set. A true testament to my love of Pie and that little baby in her belly. 😛

The Forever Blooms

We just moved in to our new home in October, and I’m pretty much STILL unpacking. It’s a lot of work but it’s fun unearthing all sorts of little trinkets and treasures I forgot I had. I recently opened up a box and found some old acrylic paintings I had done when D and I were “newlyweds”. They’ve been locked up in the box for almost 4 years so I forgot they even existed. I decided to change them up a little bit to better fit our home.

Well, my apologies because I really should have taken a picture of them, BEFORE I started modifying them…oops.ArttoModifyEach painting used to have a small maroon and pink bird on it. They were just “okay”, so I decided to erase any sign of their existence with a bit of black paint.

I knew I wanted to replace the birds with some flowers but then I had a stroke of genius thanks to Pinterest. Instead of painting on new flowers, why not create fabric blooms?! Not only would they add dimension to the art, but I could also incorporate fabrics I used for throw pillows in the adjacent room…Double WIN!

I first created a template for my flower petals – Folding a sheet of paper in half, I drew half of a flower-petal shape against the paper fold’s crease. I cut it out and then unfolded it to get a nice symmetrical flower petal template. I repeated this with a smaller petal size so I could have a double-layered flower which could incorporate two different fabrics.

Every flower needs its petals.

Using a template, I cut out several flower petals from two different fabrics.

Once the petals were cut out, I paired up one big petal with one small petal, and holding the two petals together, ran some needle and thread through them. You end up with a string chain of the petals.

Fabric Flowers Step 2

Create a string chain of the petals

I made sure that the needle went through both ends of the smaller petal when creating the chain.

Example of a petal string chain when using only one layer of fabric

Example of a petal string chain when using only one layer of fabric. (This was from when I first experimented with making this flower using just one fabric/layer.)

Once you have your chain of petals, you pretty much just cinch up the petals the way you want, and join the two ends by stitching them together however you see fit. To help make the flower more sturdy, I flipped it over and stitched the back corners of the petals together.

Fabric Flowers Step 3

Secure the back of the flower by stitching the bottom corners together.

I also used my scissors to trim the top of the petals until I liked what I had. Here’s the resulting flower!

FabricFlowerCompleted(Let the “Oooh’s and Aaaah’s commence!) But seriously, the number of uses for fabric flowers are countless! They would be great for hair clips/headbands, wreathes, clothing accents, artwork, gift packaging, general decorating, etc. However, if you were to use a fabric flower for a purpose where it would be handled often, I’d recommend using a fray-stopping solution, like Fray-Check to secure the edges of your flower. Also, this flower can be modified in so many ways, such as the number of petals, number of fabrics/layers, colors, petal shapes…the possibilities are endless!

This lucky crafter FINALLY got her hands on her very own glue gun. (YESSSSS!) It’s a super basic mini gun but there’s nothing like hot glue to get a girl excited and ready to stick things (anything and everything) together! I broke-in my new toy by gluing a small square of felt as a backing for the flower. This provides a better surface to attach the flower to my art.

HotGlueBacking

Here are my newly modified pieces of art, with the flowers in place:

PaintingsModified

I just need to hang these up now!

Modified PaintingsI’m in love with the pop of color and the dimensional effect these flowers add to the art. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself adding these sweet little flowers to a few other things around the house. Can a girl have too many flowers? I guess I’ll find out! Fabric Flower 1A flower that will never wilt….forever in bloom – This is the flower for me.

Fabric Flower Art 2

I leave you with one of my more recent favorite quotes – “Be the kind of woman, who, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil says “Oh no, she’s up”.”