Posts Tagged With: artists

Visit a Street-Artist!


Who wouldn’t love to capture themselves in cartoon? I want to share an inexpensive, and really fun, idea for a wonderful memento of a city visit. If you live in a big city, or have plans to go with your kids, perhaps you’ll try a visit to a street artist!


Captain and I had a wonderful time last year in the great city of San Francisco! We were lucky enough to go with Captain’s two Grandmas (the “Grandma Patrol”) and we stayed in a lovely hotel and got to experience many wonderful sights. One thing we did was to stop at the stand of a street artist, who sketched our portrait, capturing us in all of our pink-cheeked, freckled wonder. The experience itself is delightful, especially for us mountain-dwellers, for we sat surrounded by the powerful smells of coffee, flowers, baked goods, and salty ocean air, mixed with the exhaust of passing busses and cars, all topped with a slight whiff of urine. There were people everywhere, going by with intense briefcases, baskets of apples, rolls of paper, and flowers in their hair. There was a single man’s black leather shoe in a bush, as though placed there as a little sculpture of imagination. I still think about that perfect shoe in that exquisite bush. Fantastic!!


We only paid $20 (including a tip!) for the sketch & matte frame, and the experience itself was priceless. Even though we live in a remote forest-cabin and relish the excitement and energy of city visits, I think that someone who lives in a place large enough to support street artists would enjoy doing this with their kids. If I could, I would do this one time each year, just to see the little cartoon face of my daughter change with age, the seasons and the particular artist who sketched for us. Our artist was a wonderful man, who told us all about his life and artwork. Doing street-sketches is how he earns money to live and to pursue his true artistic endeavors. He was quiet and reserved at first, but when I asked a few questions, without prying, we ended up sharing all kinds of interesting things about our lives and travel. Oh how I love people!!!

IMG_0691So if you get the chance, go out and support your local artists, in whatever form they choose to express themselves, earn income, and make memories for our families. I would like to wish our artist, who would rather his name not be mentioned, good travels and let him know that a couple of pine trees are waving to him from the Sequoias!

Cheers, Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Kid’s Project: Make super cute felt pillows! Plus, a little lesson on the artist Piet Mondrian


Captain’s pillow is on the left, Mom’s on the right.  We LOVE how these turned out and gave them to each other as a present

This is a really fun indoor project, perfect for a cold (or warm!) winter’s day.  They turned out so charming that we decided to make them again in the fall, assembly-line-fashion, for some sweet Christmas presents for family.


You’ll need: a pack of colorful felt, pillow stuffing, scissors and a hot glue gun.

First, choose your colors for your front and back of the pillow.  We simply took a 8.5×11 piece and cut it in half.  We both chose to have our front and back pieces the same color, but you can mix and match anything you want.  Plug in your glue gun to get it warmed up. Decide on a design, but encouraging younger kids to stick to simple shapes is helpful, as the felt can be difficult to cut with intricate designs.  This is also a great time to talk about the artist Piet Mondrian (see below).

Cut out your design pieces and decide how to arrange them on one piece of the background. Mom’s (or another adult) job is to glue the pieces on with the glue gun.  Admire them!  Then the adult will make a line of glue, about 1/4 inch from the edge, on the back panel.  Leave a gap on one side for stuffing the pillow.  Press the designed front onto the back and let it dry (this happens pretty quickly).

Now it’s time to stuff the pillows- yay!  Glue the gap closed and voila!

Just making wild pillows is fun all on it’s own, but a mini art lesson can easily be introduced at this time, if it’s appropriate for the kids. You can make one more pillow together in the style of Piet Mondrian, and learn a little bit about the artist as well.  Here is our lesson:

Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian was born in the Netherlands in 1872. He was influenced by many artistic styles, and even helped found an artistic movement called “De Stijl”. He died in 1944, and created about 250 paintings in his lifetime.

The paintings that Piet Mondrian are most famous for are rectangles of white and primary colors, dissected by black lines. He did not always paint this way, however. Mondrian’s first paintings depicted scenes found in real life. They were done in a style similar to impressionism. As his style grew and changed, he stopped using any colors besides the three primaries: red, yellow, and blue.

Mondrian became friends with some other artists and together they began the movement called neoplasticism.  They called it “Di Stijl” after the first name of a journal that Mondrian and his friends started.  Both “neoplasticism” and “Di Stijl” are correct terms.  They believed that the essence, the foundation of all things, could be found in the simplest form: straight lines and primary colors.

Try a Mondrian-inspired pillow!  Use white felt for the background and make simple squares and rectangles in red, yellow and blue. The colors really pop on the white background!

Visit for more on felt pillows and we’d love to hear your felt pillow ideas here on kartwheels!

Cheers and happy pillowing!  Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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