The Artful Parent is 6 Months Old!

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Tomorrow is The Artful Parent's six month blog anniversary! I started it on January 21st, winging it, as I seem to do with so many things these days. I barely knew what a blog was at that point, but knew that I wanted to write about and share my passion for art and kids. Now, almost 200 posts, and many friends later, I feel like this blog is changing me and my life in a wonderfully positive way. Thank you everyone for reading, commenting, sharing, caring. I really appreciate it.

Now, just for fun, here's a bit of a recap of the past 6 months:


Here's my hello world post from day 1.

On day 2, I posted my Top 10 Art Materials for Toddlers, all of which I still love. I'll have to make up my top 20 list though soon, because I have so many good ones to add, including liquid watercolors which I recently discovered thanks to MaryAnn F. Kohl and Julie Liddle.

We did Salty Watercolors with the Toddler Art Group (see also here and here) in January, a fun and messy project full of sensory experiences, and also painted hearts for Valentine's Day.

And here's an early post on How to Make a Trip to the Art Museum FUN for Your Child – as you can see, I hadn't broken out of my writing-a-magazine-article style yet.


In February, I started interviewing other artful mamas and art educators. First, I interviewed Susan Striker, author of Young at Art, on the developmental stages of children's drawing. Then, I interviewed SouleMama, everyone's favorite blogger mama, and author of The Creative Family. And MaryAnn F. Kohl, author of Scribble Art and Preschool Art.

February was a list month. I posted My February Ten, a list of things that made me happy during a long and dreary month, including a heart appliqued onto a shirt for Maia–the first time I got out my sewing machine in a couple of years. Also 7 Tips for Making Art with Young Children and 101 Resources for Art and Parenting.

It was also organization month. I posted about organizing and storing Maia's art, framing some of it, and re-doing the art studio.

We were all sick in February with the flu, croup, etc. and I found out I had skin cancer (and got it removed) but amidst the sickness, we celebrated Maia's half birthday with half a birthday cake. Maia and I had an artful day somewhere in there, and I also shared some of my childhood art. Oh, and cherry pie. Well worth it's own blog post. We did fabric transfers with the Toddler Art Group, but think we met just the once that month.


In March, I interviewed Barbara Zaborowski, preschool teacher, on authentic art for children. I also interviewed artist Laurel Frankstone on her art and on raising two creative daughters, Kristen Marra on unschooling the arts, Montessori Mama on Making and Teaching Art, and Dana Lee on her artful life.

I wrote a post about art vs. craft  and one called Do You Need an Easel?, both of which generated a lot of great comments. My spring organizing continued into March with hanging Maia's art, and re-organizing the studio.

Some fun artful activities from the month: I first did sculpey nature prints, which I loved and raved about. We also made rainbows in a bag (a fun color mixing experiment), played with puffy paint, dyed easter eggs, and dyed playsilks with Kool-Aid.

With the Toddler Art Group, we made collages with felt, feathers, and pipe cleaners, did some more puffy paint, and tried our hand at spin art.

I also started doing some making and crafting myself. First, some bean bags, then some altered clothing and a funky chicken shirt.


April started with my 31st Birthday, then a post about my other love, gardening.

I revisited the easel question with 6 Ways to Encourage Continued Interest in Your Children's Easel, and then posted How to Start a Children's Art Group in response to several e-mails I had received.

Some April artfulness included an artful day (!), making more sculpey prints and then using them as molds for playdough fun, a papier mache eggmaking popovers from Pretend Soup, a musical evening, some shirts for Rocky Bear and Mama Bear, and some Birds and Beads for a New Baby.

I interviewed Lori Pickert of Camp Creek Press on art the Reggio way and Ginger Carlson on Nurturing Creativity and Curiosity (here's part II of Ginger's interview).

With the Toddler Art Group, we did some super fun texture painting, painting and printing on canvas, watercolors and oil pastels, and crayon leaf rubbings.


In May, the Toddler Art Group's paintings were displayed at our local bakery, followed by an informal reception for the little artists.

I also first tried freezer paper stenciling! And again. Then started an etsy shop to justify continued freezer paper stenciling. I asked you all for help in choosing a name, and received so many great suggestions (thank you!), but in the end decided to stick with The Artful Parent. I also started mixing stencils and appliques, something I've continued and enjoyed.

We took a beach vacation in May and (for the first time) I took a break from the blog. With the distance that provided, I posted some thoughts on blogging.

I also interviewed Sharon Lovejoy on gardening with children and posted a tutorial on handmade paper shapes by Tracy Hildebrand.

Some May artfulness included trying watercolors and saran wrap, making big beads with Maia, a big bead caterpillar, and a new dress and crown for Maia.

With the Toddler Art Group, we had a messy party, made plaster of paris sculptures, then painted them, and did the watercolors and saran wrap project again. We also said farewell (temporarily) to one of our founding members.


In June, I had a bit of a "where's the art?" crisis, and you responded with a bunch of ideas. I also talked about how my blog depicts just a narrow slice of our life. And I started teaching a toddler art class.

Some artfulness this month has included puppet shows, a pole bean and morning glory tent, picking strawberries and making shortcake, and painting rocks.

With the Toddler Art Group, we had a tea party and made suncatchers and we did some large scale splatter painting.

Okay, so I started this post intending to list just two or three favorite posts from each month, but it ended up getting way out of hand. I know I should edit it down more, but we're on our way out the door for a weekend of camping and biking.

Have a great weekend! And thanks again for joining me on this blog journey.

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  1. molly says

    Happy 6 months! You know it was the Top 10 Art Materials for Kids post that got me to your site and I’ve enjoyed reading every day since. Have a great weekend outdoors with your family.

  2. says

    happy 6 month blogiversary! I don’t comment much but I absolutely love this blog. my only child is almost 2, and i’ve tried many of your ideas with him. you’ve inspired me to organize frame his art as well. I would love to start a toddler art group, it’s something I think about a lot… maybe some day I’ll actually try to do it.
    Looking forward to many more of your creative posts :)

  3. andreamcmann says

    Happy anniversary!!! I don’t think you got “out of hand.” I enjoyed reading through the list, and got to read some posts I must’ve missed when I was on deadline or something. Also, those who are new to your blog will enjoy this list. Happy Weekend! :)

  4. says

    Congratulations on six months! I love your blog. My favorite posts have been the interviews. Looking forward to many more Artful Parent posts. Have a fun weekend.

  5. says

    Wow! Congratulations! I’ve been reading you since almost the beginning. I love your blog and talk about it to others all the time.

  6. Amy says

    Hi Jean, Happy blogiversary! I have really enjoyed the inspiration and look forward to more! Love, Amy

  7. planningqueen says

    Congratulations on 6 months of blogging. I find so many ideas that you post so inspiring and they always ecnourage me to do more art with my kids.

  8. Linda says

    Happy Blogiversary. Both my husband and I discovered your blog right after the birth of our daughter (now 10 months). It has been a really inspiring source for us. Thank you and I hope we can celebrate many more months years!

  9. Laura says

    Congratulations!! I love your site. I only discovered it about a month ago but am really enjoying visiting here. My son’s birthday is January 21st too!!!
    I use your ideas here with my own two kids, my preschool class my Brownie Troop so you are enriching the lives of many kids through your gift here!!
    Laura in Illinois