Art with Kids: Puffy Paint

One of the art activities that my kids and I have enjoyed the most so far has been puffy paint.  It is super easy to do- basically a mixture of water and flour and food colouring.  We made up four different colours and made our designs on paper plates because they were nice and sturdy (though any thick paper or cardboard would work as well).

puffy

I only had one squirt bottle and tried using old ketchup bottles for some of the other colours.  We weren’t a fan of those bottles as the mixture tended to glob out onto the plate.  I’ve invested in some more squirt bottles with a finer tip for future art making as they worked a lot better!

Once the design is on the plate just pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds and the design will “puff” up.  The kids loved this part the best- waiting to see how their art would look once puffed up.

love

This is one art project that I think will become a constant in our repertoire!

 

Karen

Photo by Karen D. Miller

Travel Friday

Where: Dresden, Germany- 2006

Inspiration:  This photo is full of lines and slopes.  Shades of green and hits of colour.  Lots to look at and capture here.

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Every Friday in 2015 I am sharing a photo that I have taken somewhere that we have travelled. My goal in looking back at these travel memories is to rekindle the inspiration that caused me to take the photos in the first place.

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Karen

Postcards from Newfoundland: Gros Morne at Twilight

I’ve just completed a new small piece in my Postcards from Newfoundland series. It is called “Gros Morne at Twilight” and it captures the fantastic night skies that can be found as the backdrop to the stunning mountains of Gros Morne.  Like all of the pieces in this series, it measures 7″ x 5″ and was designed and hooked by me using a variety of yarns on rug warp.

This one is getting sent out to Newfoundland along with two others I’ve posted previously.  My stock for the Harbour Grounds coffee shop in Corner Brook is severely diminished so it is time to replenish!  I took a slight pause between larger pieces to make this one and now am back to my larger works for my August exhibit.

Look for this piece to be on display and available for purchase at Harbour Grounds soon!

 

Karen

Photo by Karen D. Miller

Travel Friday (two days late)

Where: Fogo Island, Newfoundland- 2013

Inspiration:  Those colours.  Need I say more.

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Every Friday in 2015 I am sharing a photo that I have taken somewhere that we have travelled. My goal in looking back at these travel memories is to rekindle the inspiration that caused me to take the photos in the first place.

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Karen

Spring Cleaning

This is definitely the mantra that has been guiding my Spring cleaning this year.  I’ve decided to embark on an intensive cleaning and organizing of my house, room by room.  It is extremely slow going as I try to fit it into little snippets of time here and there through the day.  Sometimes I think I am crazy taking this on- it’s just one more thing to do while I continue trying to make lots of art towards my August solo exhibit.  But as I’ve progressed from one room to another, I’ve decided that it is totally worth it.

To begin with, the house needs a good cleaning.  It was a long, long winter and there is always a desire when the good weather comes to get things clean.  And when I say cleaning, I mean pulling out the furniture and cleaning behind it, washing down walls, washing down floors, peeling stickers off the floor, etc.  All the things that I don’t do on a super regular basis.   To be perfectly honest, I’m not a total neat freak.  I maintain the base level of cleanliness that you need to live.  I really believe that having a fulfilled life with lots of time with my kids and time or the things I love, is much more important than a spotless house.  Trust me, I subscribe to this wholeheartedly.

But even I have to admit that sometimes the house does need a good, thorough cleaning.  Even more than that, though, is the constant need to remove clutter.  I will fully admit that there used to be a time when I thought it was great to have lots of stuff.  I had knick knacks on every shelf and decorative doodads here and there.  If I had an empty space I felt that it had to be filled.

Now that kind of thing drives me crazy.

I have learned that clutter and “things” affect your life in a number of different ways.  First, there is the time involved in dusting and cleaning and organizing all that “stuff.”  It takes so much longer to clean a room if you have to move things out of every corner to vacuum, and lift a million things off of a shelf just to be able to wipe a cloth across it.  Second, there is the visual effect.  Clutter kills creativity- I am absolutely sure of it.  There is so much more opportunity for creative thought if when you look around your house there is empty space for your eye to fall on.  And since I live and work in my home, having organization and a lack of clutter is even more important.

This is not to say that my house has become totally minimalist- far from it.  But I do embrace the concept that not every empty space is crying out to be filled.  In fact I now strive for empty spaces.  I also no longer believe that everything has to be held onto for a lifetime.  If it is no longer my style (and I think my style has changed substantially over the years.  I’m so over primitive and old and so into contemporary and modern and colourful), or if it isn’t loved by someone in my home then it goes to a new home.  Simple as that.  I want my house to be filled with the things that I love and that hold meaning for me.  And what I have found is that more often than not the things that I am keeping fall under three categories:  1.  Photos of our family- this is my favourite thing to decorate with and hang on my walls  2.  Things that my kids have made- I would much rather fill a shelf with pottery that my daughter has made than a bunch of mass produced knick knacks from China and 3.  Things that we have collected in our travels together as a family- these things have meaning attached to them that is shared by the four of us.

Of course with kids it is hard to avoid some degree of clutter.  Awhile back my husband and I struck a deal- if I took on the hassle and legwork of selling the baby and kid stuff that we no longer need then I could keep the money to use towards making more art.  A perfect win win!  So over the past year or so I have been selling things that have been outgrown.  Things that can’t be sold or aren’t worth the process of selling have been given away.  Instead of feeling sad that those “things” are no longer a part of my life, I have been feeling happy that getting rid of them has freed up space in our lives for more fun and memory making.  Gone are clothes and toys and equipment that have been outgrown or are not played with.  I really do believe that kids can have too many toys.  It is always amazing to see that when you remove those that are never played with how they suddenly discover new favourites that were hidden behind all the others!

I posted a link on my facebook page the other week to an article that was discussing how baby boomers are now downsizing and finding that their kids don’t want their “stuff.”  One theory was that the next generation isn’t into the same style as their parents (which is probably partially true).  It also suggested, though, that younger generations are not as “stuff” focused and want less things in their homes.  I really believe that to be true.  I think we as a society are slowly learning that the production and consumption of mass produced “stuff” is no longer sustainable and it no longer desirable.  Stuff doesn’t equal happiness- experiences and memories are what are important.

And so the cleaning around here continues, but each day I feel better that I am getting everything clean and am getting down to what really matters in our home.

 

Karen

 

 

 

 

Photo by Karen D. Miller

Now at Harbour Grounds…

I was thrilled to find out yesterday that my “Gros Morne Vista” piece had sold at Harbour Grounds coffee shop in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  It had only been hanging for less than four days!  I have such great support out there.

Now on display and available for purchase is my piece “Icebergs on the Horizon.”

 

Enjoy your day!

Karen

Travel Friday

Osterlars Church, Bornholm

Osterlars Church, Bornholm

 

Where: View from the Osterlars Church on the Island of Bornholm (Denmark)- 2006

Inspiration:  I wish this was the view from my window right now.  Those vibrant greens are fabulous.  There are layers of different shades of greens and repeating patterns of shapes such as the rectangular gardens.  And of course the building itself is spectacular.

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Every Friday in 2015 I am sharing a photo that I have taken somewhere that we have travelled. My goal in looking back at these travel memories is to rekindle the inspiration that caused me to take the photos in the first place.

********************************************************************************************************

 

Karen

Photo by Karen D. Miller

Travel Friday (on a Thursday)

Where: Quebec City- 2013

Inspiration:   I’m a sucker for cobblestones and New France style architecture.  Not to mention fresh croissants.

 

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Every Friday in 2015 I am sharing a photo that I have taken somewhere that we have travelled.  My goal in looking back at these travel memories is to rekindle the inspiration that caused me to take the photos in the first place.

********************************************************************************************************

 

Karen

Such a Thrill!

Sometimes I share things on my Facebook page because it is quick and easy and then it takes me a couple of days to get it up on the blog.  This is one of those things so some of you may already know this but I’m sharing for those who may not!

I got the biggest thrill this week.  I stopped off to pick up a copy of the new City of Ottawa Galleries guide so that I could see my upcoming listing in it.  As I was walking towards the display I registered that the colour of the cover was different- last year it was blue- so I knew the new one was out.  But it took me a few more moments to register that it was my art on the front cover!!!!  I had no idea that was going to happen and in fact I didn’t even really think about the fact that it was a possibility.  I had my little guy with me and we both did a little happy dance and he pointed at it and said “It’s mama’s art!”   It was a very special moment.  🙂

I grabbed a couple of copies of it and then headed off to meet a friend for lunch and proceeded to excitedly show it to her.  Such a great day.   I really love the cover- I think they did a great job.  I love that I’m going to encounter this book all around the city in different locations for a whole year!  Such an honour and such a thrill!

brochure2

And of course inside is my actually exhibit listing.  They used my Ghost Trees piece on the English side and Through the Trees on the French side.  Seeing it in print makes it so real!

I’m going to do a blog post soon about what I have been working on to get ready for this exhibit (August 20-September 22, 2015 at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Ottawa).  This has also been a week of paperwork- lots of applications, proposals and the like being filled out and mailed off.  Busy but great times!

 

Karen