Fall art exploration: Painting with chestnuts

When I was little, I walked with my dad across the University of Oregon campus just before school started. I held his hand as we meandered under the centuries-old trees and kicked the crackling fallen leaves. I often stooped to pick up acorns and chestnuts.

I’d find them in my pocket all fall and winter long—little treasures squirreled away.

Even now I can’t resist picking them up. I run my thumb over the smooth shell like a worry stone and remember those crisp autumn walks with my dad.

The other day, on one of those cold but bright fall mornings, my girls and I took a walk. It was just chilly enough for me to be grateful for the furnace baby strapped to my chest, and Peeper stopped every few steps to investigate something or other while Finn waited impatiently.

We approached a chestnut tree and the mess of nuts, shells and leaves surrounding it. Squirrels scolded us overhead while Peeper picked up a handful of chestnuts and talked about how pokey the burst-open shells were.

We brought a bunch home and started a “special project,” as she has taken to calling her art endeavors. We incorporated the treasures into our fall art crafting—take a look and you and your little may love painting with chestnuts, too!

Process art with autumn treasures and painting with chestnuts: a fun way to celebrate fall! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Glitter marble painting: Kid crafts

Glitter gets a bad rap: It sticks to everything, makes its way into every crevice in your house and can apparently scratch a kid’s cornea—yada yada yada. But I am a Glitter Cheerleader.

I love the way glitter catches the light. I wear a craft project’s collateral glitter with pride, even days later. (Doesn’t glitter in your hair or on your blazer just say, “I’m a mom of a preschooler and I’m not afraid to flaunt it!”) And I love the way Peeper gets so freaking excited whenever I suggest we do a glitter art project.

The other day, when I suggested we try something new—glitter marble painting—was no exception. Her face lit up like a glittered disco ball.

You've tried marble painting, but what about GLITTER marble painting? Your kids will love this easy process art! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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Baby footprint crafts [tutorial]

I’m a big fan of craft projects in general, and I’d seen all those adorable baby footprint pins—butterflies, suns, flowers, you name it—but I had a rough time the last time I’d tried to make something cute with my kid’s feet.

I was an exhausted new mom with grand ideas of making gifts for all Peeper’s relatives. I had bought a big carton of plaster of paris, disposable bowls and straws. I set everything up. I had planned it perfectly: Peeper was as well rested as she’d get, so I was ready.

The result was a disaster. We got plaster all over the kitchen and mashed circles that looked more like a relief map than a Christmas decoration. Peeper was dunked in the bath immediately, and the extended Ryan Gregory clan got nothing under the tree from us. (Wah-wahhhhh.)

For Mother’s Day, a friend helped me recover from my fear of baby print crafts. The results were adorable—cute enough to make in triplicate. (One for each grandma and one for me, of course!) Instructions below

Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I’m going to scan one and make a greeting card of it, too.

These would make a great gift anytime. If you make one, take a picture and send a link. I’d love to see it! And comment below if you have any pointers on getting foot- or handprints. (I belatedly saw this link with tips.) As you can see, I have a bit to learn on that front.

Baby footprint tulip art 

Ten Thousand Hour Mama baby footprint art1. Squeeze red acrylic paint onto a plate and spread it out a bit. Dunk your baby’s foot in the paint and stamp it once or twice on a piece of cardboard to get rid of excess paint.

2. Holding the canvas steady (or better yet, getting someone else to hold it still), lower your baby’s foot onto the canvas. Roll it a bit back and forth to ensure you stamp the whole foot.

3. Repeat the process with the other foot, stamping them with the heels and balls of the feet touching and even overlapping a bit. Let the stamps dry.

4. Squeeze out some green acrylic paint. Put some on a brush and dip the brush in water. (This will give a pretty watercolor effect.) Paint a stem and leaf.

5. Swoon.

6. Sign the masterpiece on behalf of your little one. I wrote Peeper’s name and “Mother’s Day May 2014” on the side of the canvas.