I started The Artful Parent on this day, six years ago, with a simple introductory post in which I said:
In this blog I plan to write about the Toddler Art Group, about my daughter's art experiences, and, above all, about my attempts to parent in a way that encourages creativity, art, curiousity, and learning.
While the Toddler Art Group is no more, the rest still holds true.
I took a small step into the unknown, starting a blog and writing that first post, and then just continued taking steps, some easy, some hard, some backward, but most forward.
I know that I've said this before, but when I started this site, I had no idea what it would become, how much it would come to mean to me and my life, how many people would read what I share here, how many heartfelt thank yous I would receive over the years, how many, "Wow, that's such a cool idea and my kids' loved it!" I'd hear.
I had no idea I'd still be writing about children's art 6 years later and having more and more ideas rather than fewer. More enthusiasm for the subject, rather than less.
A few highlights & successes from this past year:
- Readership has doubled in the past year (with readers in every country in the world).
- The Artful Parent book, which was released last April, now has 57 5-star reviews on Amazon, has made Amazon's 2013 Best Books of the Year list, and has received the Family Choice Award.
- I finished The Artful Year eBook series, a great big fun project.
I had no idea what a blog even was when I first decided to begin one. I just knew I wanted to write about children's art and creativity, to share my enthusiasm for the activities we were doing at home and with the toddler art group, and I wanted to create a space that was real.
As much inspiration as I have received from magazines over the years, I have often felt that the material was less-than-realistic. The arts or crafts presented as kids' art was sometimes obviously not, the kids in the photos were overly clean (with one cute dab of paint on the nose for effect), and the activities ranged from the overly simplistic to the "who on earth would actually do that?"
The Artful Parent is a place where we can be real about kids' art and parenting. It's true that I try not to feature my neverending laundry pile in every blog post, and that I try to focus on the positive here more than the problems, so the version of reality that you see here might be a bit edited, but still, it's real.
The only ulterior motive I have is that I want you to make art and creativity a bigger priority with the kids in your life.
I love that I can be myself and share what I love and you still come! I truly find this incredible. I feel so lucky, so blessed, to be doing what I love to do from the comfort of my home and with my family as my partners.
Thank you for reading The Artful Parent and helping to make it what it is today!
I wish I could meet each of you, give you a great big hug, and say thank you in person. (And then sit down together with your kids and do a superfun art activity.)
Instead, I'm going to resort to the traditional blog fallback and offer some giveaways. That and a virtual hug (can you feel it?).
The 11+ Giveaways
I have an amazing line up of giveaways for you, most from my sponsors and most involving art supplies or other creative family living items. Really awesome stuff! You're welcome to enter any or all of them!
P.S. While I've always done giveaways the old school way here (just leave a comment), I've decided to give the Rafflecoptor widget a try this time to make it easier on myself. You still just leave a comment or answer (check the rafflecopter for the question), though!