blog, shop

Brown Astronauts and Mermaids with Natural Coils: Representation in Art

So if I’m being honest, I didn’t create kids wall art featuring children of color on purpose. I didn’t start my creative process thinking, children’s walls ought to be more multiracial. When I created these pieces, I was thinking… Here are some fun prints! Oooh this unicorn! Cute astronaut kid! Sweet mermaid!

African-American Mermaid and African American Astronaut
In our family, a little snippet of diversity occurs every time we sit down for dinner. And we encourage learning about and respecting other cultures and backgrounds beyond our shades of brown and white…

Inclusivity in baby room and kids room decor
But it wasn’t until I had kids that the purposeful inclusion of multiple races was so important to me–books, dolls, figurines. This inclusion often means buying two dollhouse families to make sure family representations can include more than one shade or ethnicity. Or more recently, I bought a car track set for my two year old and had to purchase an extra car driver, a black girl, because all of the pictures on the car track and the two car drivers that were included were white.

pen&thimble family
(This is the only picture I could find with all of us in same frame)

 

Even as a brown mom with inclusivity in my mind, it wasn’t until I was trying to come up with listing titles and tags on Etsy that I realized that I needed to make these searchable for parents like me, looking for diversity in their kids’ rooms. And then despite being of multiple races, growing up in a multiracial family, and raising my own, I had trouble coming up with the search terms I wanted. (Huge thank you to my community of awesome Facebook mamas and friends for supplying me with a great list!)
African American Mermaid with natural hair

Now that I’m in multicultural art sales, I realize that there still isn’t a lot of art with kids that look like me or my kids’ friends. Or maybe I haven’t quite found the right search terms. But I hope to change walls one framed piece at a time. And now I have a purpose. A purpose that wasn’t on purpose is now my purpose!

PS. This new art is now listed in my Etsy shop. Already mounted in a 12 inch square frame, behind glass, and ready to be hung up with a nail or command strips! (Only $80 +shipping.)

PPS. I highly recommend The Barefoot Book of Children to start conversations about diversity–skin color, foods, customs… Have you seen it yet? We love it! Look for it at your local library or bookshop!

blog, shop

I Heart You, Valentine! DIY Heart-Shaped Crayons

Do you have a toddler? Kid? Then perhaps you have a lot of broken crayons in your house too? Turn those broken crayons into Valentine’s Day gifts with my simple tutorial. This is seriously a no-fail, simple activity. Low on time-investiment and high on super cute outcome!

Supplies:

1. Broken crayons (I used multiple brands and sizes)

2. One silicone heart mould tray

3. Oven

4. Baking tray

To Do:

1. Peel the papers off of your crayons if they still reside there.

Next task: Find a use for these pretties!
Next task: Find a use for these pretties
"Those crayons are nakie!"
“Those crayons are nakie!”

2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

3. Break crayons down further to fit into the moulds. Great stress relief — snap! snap! crack!

Heart tray + broken crayons
Heart moulds + broken crayons = Meant to be

4. Put broken crayons into moulds. There does not appear to be a right or wrong way to do this. I stacked some vertically, others horizontally, and most were a little of both. I piled them as high as the top of the moulds.

So exciting!
So exciting!

5. Place your heart moulds onto a baking tray and place in oven for 15-18 minutes. We have a baking tray that is too gross to use but have not parted with it yet, so I used that in case there was spillover. There was no spillover.

6. Take tray out of the oven after 18 minutes and put it on the stovetop to cool. The crayons in all but two center hearts had completely melted after 15 minutes. I would not exceed 18 minutes of oven time.

Melted Crayons
Melted Crayons

7. After an hour of cooling, pop those hardened hearts out of the mould.

Look good enough to eat! But don't!
Look good enough to eat! But don’t!
Pop out so cleanly!
Pop out so cleanly!
I'm obsessed with these fun colors!
I’m obsessed with these fun colors!

That’s it! Now you have fantastic gifts! I’m going to give one to Phee’s friends along with a Valentine’s Day sticker sheet! Simple, fun and satisfying to make, and a cute way to share the love with the littles on Valentine’s Day and beyond!

blog

Hop-ons

Sometimes you just know when a person has a four-legged family member. A few golden hairs of a jolly Retriever cling to their pant leg. They proudly wear the telltale sign of someone who didn’t leave the house without an exuberantly celebrated goodbye.

In my house we, sadly, do not have a dog yet. But my daughter has been obsessed for a long time in her short life… Her first word was “puppy.” Yes, “puh-pee” before “mama” or “dada.” She still calls her beloved, ragged, seen-way-better-days, Elmo doll, “Momo.” She’s abbreviated the title of her third-favorite person, grandma, to “ma.” But “puppy” has always been a two-syllable word, expertly enunciated. It is important.

“I hold this puppy to my heart…unless Momo is around…”

She clearly wanted us to know that she *really* likes puppies. I had already gotten the hint when she’d grin widely and stick her chubby little baby hand in any ol’ dog’s mouth. Which was shocking because of both the danger aspect and the fact that any human nearby got a scowl at best. No scowls for dogs. No frowns for puh-pees! She loves dogs so much, she offers her own hand as a chew toy. (Stop doing that!)

“Your mouth area with the teeth seems to be riiiight…near here.”
“My hand in your mouth?”

I fully intend to support my daughter’s love of animals…and future as a lion-tamer or one of those people who put their heads inside alligators’ mouths. (Stop doing that!) But until we can get a bigger home and mama has access to all of the allergy medicine ever made, we’ve put a moratorium on adding a four-legged friend to our family.

But luckily, I sew. I’m doing my duty to get my family ready to one day add a furry friend to our fold…

When I take my daughter to our weekly music class and see the pet-hair hop-ons clinging to the sweater sleeve of another caregiver, I nod knowingly, grin, and pull a piece of thread trimmed from my latest project (or the one before that?) off of my daughter’s leggings. We have hop-ons too.