FAVORITE KID ART SUPPLIES THAT MAKE IT EASY

February 21, 2018

My post on how to actually do some art with kids covered the big picture motives of why the pursuit is worth it and some ways of thinking that help make the whole endeavor more pleasant.

That post naturally begged this one which has some more practicals. We have found some kid art supplies (some for just drawing, some for full blown projects) that make it all much easier, like in some cases stupid easy.

Also as a side note, I continue to become more devoted to purchasing only furniture that is either slip covered or leather!

Art made with kid art supplies

DOODLE BOARD: I just love this thing. My toddlers practice drawing and writing letters all the time because they can do it on this thing anywhere (sofa, dining table, floor, their bedroom). Because unlike pens, markers, crayons, they don’t need supervision to stay on the paper or be still at a desk. I think because of these my kids are kind of advanced in writing because they can practice so much. (OR BECAUSE THEY ARE MY BEAUTIFUL PRODIGY ANGEL BABIES.)

STICKERS: I’m all about those sticker books that have a bunch of stickers and then pages of scenes they can place them into. They end up on things other than the book, but kids stickers graciously have weak adhesion, so they come right off of everything.

KWIK STIX: REVOLUTIONARY for painting because this threat level = unprecedentedly low. It’s paint in a marker-type form. They say it dries in 90 seconds, but in my experience it seems even faster.

PIPE CLEANERS: All day, baby. Because they are no mess and a chance to get to try sculpting forms of art instead of the normal 2D stuff.

SIDEWALK CHALK: Don’t forget this old classic! It is a super easy way to get the creativity happening or practice writing in a very stress free way. The other thing I love about keeping chalk around is it holds kid’s interest for quite a big age range. (I mean, I find myself liking chalking with the kids.) I kind of insist on buying the type that come in a bucket so it’s simple to clean up and store. (That linked one is a bucket type.)

PAINT WITH WATER BOOKS: These are your friend. There’s a little paint brush that holds its own water (mine has never leaked) and releases just the right (small) amount. I don’t know what kind of NASA tech is going on with these pages, but when you brush over them with water, the page get painted. Kids can “paint” with these anywhere and there’s never a mess. And they are inexpensive.

WATER COLOR BRUSH PENS: Similarly, these are brushes that hold water inside them, so you can watercolor while having completely subtracted the cup of water (and its spills) from the equation.

And lastly, mr. clean erasers. We all understand.

For basic supplies, my favorite crayons are crayola (they really are the best), the best tempura paint is blick, and for markers I like these with a million colors for $8!

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INSTALLING HEX TILE

February 19, 2018

I LOVE THE LOOK OF HEX TILES. For our powder room’s white walls, I thought doing an intricate hex tile pattern with colored tiles would give it something special and be a statement to build the rest of the room around. I shopped a lot to find color tiles and they really just don’t exist in many colors that are ready to order.

Home Depot has the merola line of hex which comes in white, black, a nice seafoam green, and a not that great light blue. I decided to order all my white tile from home depot and then I would custom order some colored tiles to create my pattern. I found a company willing to make tiles the exact size and finish as the home depot ones. I don’t fully recommend the company I used, so if you want to know who it was message me, but I have some more things I’d say to someone before working with them.

The colors I got custom were navy, wine, and mustard yellow, and then also the stock light blue at home depot. I started experimenting with patterns.

INSTALLING HEX TILE

This was my favorite look I came up with using three colors. I did not like how mustard played with the others, so I didn’t use it. I knew in advance I might not use all the colors, but ordering took so long I wanted options right away.

I know in a picture this floor looks really cool, but in person it wasn’t quite right. The blue isn’t really a navy (it’s just how the photo is edited) and it’s like a bright medium blue that isn’t as nice.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that this floor was too “bad pizzeria,” so I decided to try a two color pattern.

INSTALLING HEX TILEINSTALLING HEX TILE

This was my favorite two color iteration, which was better without the too bright medium blue. I quite liked this one, but I had a feeling it was skewing too ice cream parlor. (Why are all my descriptors food related?)

To save time I had preemptively ordered some black hex in case the color tiles I ordered crashed and burned, and then I wouldn’t have to delay and could continue with black and white immediately.

I tried some black designs.

INSTALLING HEX TILE

This was the hardest decision of the process because I do like things about both the colored and black options. The best thing about the colored was it was unique and looked great in a photo. The black was still cool and maybe “safe” but more versatile.

I have come a long way at not agonizing over design choices, but this one was expensive and difficult to change, so I labored over the decision. After much ado, I chose black and white! The reasoning that finally swayed me was that I thought the colored tile could feel dated. Like it would almost appear like maybe an old, original tile to the house and we just made it work. The black and white looks vintage inspired, but still completely modern. Which with all the work of renovating, I want the finish product to feel fresh and not at all dated.

Of the two black and white options above, I liked the “dots” on top more than the “diamonds” one on bottom, so I put it out over the whole room.

INSTALLING HEX TILE

I loved it in just the corner where I sampled it, but once it was everywhere it was really fussy and (bad) victorian feeling.

We pared it way back and just did some dots throughout the room and I felt really good with it. We went through so many variations, but that gave me confidence that the one we ended up with is what I would like best.

Very happy that decision is over! Time to install!

INSTALLING HEX TILE

My sister in law Jamie is the tile whisperer and she laid the thin set and grout to perfection. Then we started cleaning the grout which was a huge job.

I bought the more expensive grout option thinking it would be nicer, but Jamie commented it was worse to work with than the less expensive ones she’s used. And we found it much more difficult to do the grout cleaning step.

Maybe this is partly par for the course for the intricacy of hex tile, but David spent twelve work hours cleaning the grout. The left is an uncleaned side and the right is the after.

INSTALLING HEX TILE

This bathroom is small and the more complex options overwhelmed it. And seeing the black grout in, I’m really pleased I went with a very subtle pattern because the high contrast of the grout around every tile is a significant presence of pattern all on its own.

It looks so crisp with the baseboards back on!

INSTALLING HEX TILE INSTALLING HEX TILE INSTALLING HEX TILE

Everything before AND after ordering tile will total about six weeks. And then JUST getting this custom tile took five months. So this project has been super delayed by this element, but the actual work time to transform the room will not be long.

The wait is over! Now the fun part (well I think it’s all fun but) – accessorizing and getting the room functional again. Final reveal soon!

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CINNAMON APPLE BREAD

February 17, 2018

So very filling, this is a power breakfast. Do it for a time when you need something good and hearty (breakfast or snack). Start the day with this and you can’t miss.

Also, bundt pans. They are a different game than other pans. You really have to let this thing cool and everything inside set up for a bit for it to hold its shape and not be too piece-y when you turn it out. They’re always so pretty in the end, so I deal with the extra wait time.

On a seasonal note, we are approaching that last stretch of the slow months where feeling cooped is taking over. The thing that helps me get through that time is doing something that feels beautiful in my home. Maybe a pretty crafting session. Or, I don’t know, a lovely baking project. See below.

Cinnamon Apple Bread
Serves twelve

6 apples, peeled and sliced thinly
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups wheat flour (white flour works too!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups applesauce
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup apple juice
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place apples in a bowl or gallon plastic bag with cinnamon and brown sugar and mix to coat. Pour apples into base of a greased bundt pan.

In a stand mixer, stir together wheat flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Add applesauce, butter, apple juice, eggs, and vanilla and mix until an even batter forms.

Pour batter over apples in bundt pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover with foil and bake 30 more minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly before turning out and slicing.

CINNAMON APPLE BREAD
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 6 apples, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups wheat flour (white flour works too!)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup apple juice
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place apples in a bowl or gallon plastic bag with cinnamon and brown sugar and mix to coat. Pour apples into base of a greased bundt pan.
  3. In a stand mixer, stir together wheat flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg. Add applesauce, butter, apple juice, eggs, and vanilla and mix until an even batter forms.
  4. Pour batter over apples in bundt pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cover with foil and bake 30 more minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly before turning out and slicing.

Inspired from Sugar-Free Mom.

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Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2018