Beautiful Thankful Quote by Elizabeth Gilbert
Creative Family Living

Looking Back and Looking Forward


Thank You

Sometimes I think I am the luckiest person ever to be doing what I’m doing.

I get to be creative and talk about kids’ art and creativity and try out new products and share ideas and resources with you.

And while it started out as a hobby and a creative outlet, it has turned into so much more.

The Artful Parent is my livelihood in so many senses of the word—joy, connection, service, monetary compensation, creative outlet, and more.

I feel so very fortunate!

It’s time for my annual year-in-review post* in which I talk about the past year (duh), favorite art projects, successes and failures, and new things we’ve tried. All in an effort to wrap up 2015 into a nice, neat package. And then I’ll talk a bit about what’s to come in 2016…

*I meant to post this at the end of December, but didn’t quite get it done in time. Oh well. It’s still relevant.

2015 in Review

The Artful Parent and The Artful Year Books by Jean Van't Hul


My second book, The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons & Holidays with Crafts & Recipes, came out in February and enjoyed a wonderful two-month blog tour. You can see many of the activities, blog tour posts, and interviews here and here.

The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity, my first book, has continued to do well and was published in French and Russian this past year with plans for Chinese and Korean editions as well. I love thinking about families around the world using the ideas from my book as they encourage their children’s creativity!

Kids Art Videos on The Artful Parent YouTube Channel


I started making kids’ art videos in 2015, inspired by the wonderful Ana Dziengel of Babble Dabble Do, and had so much fun with them. I stopped because of some personal life stuff that was going on (see below), but would like to get back into them again this year. Here’s The Artful Parent YouTube channel if you’d like to subscribe or check out the videos I’ve made so far.

Making and Using Our Own Scratch Art Paper


We continued to do many of our favorite art activities (sometimes over and over again) and also explored quite a few new and new-to-us art activities for kids. If you’re curious about what the most popular posts and projects have been this past year, check out my Best Of 2015 list.

Beautiful Thankful Quote by Elizabeth Gilbert


This part just blows my mind. I don’t usually pay much attention to numbers, but wow, there are a lot of people who come here for kids’ art ideas and inspiration. Thank you. I will continue to do my best to share information, resources, and activities to help you be the best artful parent (or teacher!) you can be while raising creative children.

  • The Artful Parent site has more than 1 and a quarter million page views per month
  • Almost 1/2 a million peeps follow my Artful Parent facebook page
  • 10,000+ folks check out what we’re up to day to day on Instagram
  • 30,000+ of you are subscribed to my newsletter (Um, sorry that I accidentally sent the same newsletter to you two weeks in a row. Oops! It just completely slipped my mind this week. I’ve since wrote NEWSLETTER in big letters on every Monday on my calendar so I don’t forget again.)

Sending Holiday Photo Cards


On a personal level, 2015 has been a year of tremendous change and transition for me. My husband and I separated. I hadn’t mentioned this before—just hadn’t been ready to before now—but you may have wondered based on a few of the photo-based posts I’ve shared recently, such as the holiday cards and the canvas prints.

I am navigating this transition as gracefully and smoothly as I can for the kids’ sake (and mine). It hasn’t been an easy year, by any means (it’s been so freakin’ hard), but it is what it is and we are all growing through it.


It’s no secret that I love this time of year. The New Year represents so much possibility. Besides reviewing the past year, as I am here for you, and as I do on a more thorough and personal level in my morning pages, I also think about goals and directions for the new year and make a new vision board.

My main goals for The Artful Parent are to focus more and more on being as helpful and authentic as I can be. I want to help you overcome your hesitations and problems around children’s art and creativity while supporting you as you build a strong creative foundation for your kids and family. Problems such as a lack of time in this busy, overscheduled world we live in. It’s not always easy, but we’ll work together on how best to raise our kids to be a generation of rockin’ creative problem solvers.

Are you with me? Let’s do this!


  • Reply
    January 6, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    thank you for all the great ideas you have and will still share, it’s for me still a great inspiration blog.
    And i try to wip ofer to your blog often to find a solution or paint recipy or make new plans.
    I’m whishing you much more crafting and fun to work with your children and on the school your working this year.

  • Reply
    Maribel Diaz
    January 7, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Thanks a lot for your generosity in sharing your fantastic ideas and thoughts. I will keep following you, to get inspired for my classes and my own children activities at home. I ask for more time for my kids and family for the new year and I hope to deal with my new life organization to become, all of us, happier and more satisfied.
    Go ahead and congratulations Jean, people around de world follow you.

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      January 9, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Thank you, Maribel! And I wish you the best of luck in getting the time, etc, you want for your kids and family in this new year.

  • Reply
    Megan @ The Art Pantry
    January 8, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing what you are going through. I wish you an abundance of joy, love, and new beginnings in 2016. You have been an inspiration to me for over 6 years now and I am so grateful for that.
    Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      January 9, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Thank you for your kind words, Megan! I really appreciate it. And Happy New Year to you, too!

  • Reply
    Rita Livesley
    January 21, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I come from a fine art background and with starting a family, work and life I just never made time for art.

    Your newsletter has been an inspiration for me to start making art with my kids and to stir the creative pot again.

    You are awesome!

    Wishing you and your family a year full of joyous growth and serenity.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful art ideas and your personal journey. Especially the moments that are personal, which makes your blog so authentic. Because of your post, I have done a vision board for 2016 for the first time in close to 8 years. I am also in transition to create an art space for my 3 year-old daughter. I didn’t have an artful environment while I was growing up and always wished I did. Reading your blog and your books, doing little projects with my daughter, and utilizing art again has slowly began to waken the blocked artist within me. Thank you for choosing to live your passion and showing us how to!

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