Joy Dare :: Unframed Art

Unframed art is really prolific around here. There are stacks and stacks of the stuff everywhere you look. Messy art projects are not something I am naturally thankful for, but I’m trying to not let the chaos bother me,

But recently, all the children have been branching out extensively in their artistic endeavors.


Sophie is the queen of all art forms. She’s not afraid to try her hand at anything, and is generally quite pleased with the results.



Kinsley seems to show some aptitude in the sculpting department.


Our charming penguin family was a gift from my creative mom. The kids love getting these guys out each Christmas season. They like to imagine all sorts of “clever” conversations taking place between the three gourds.

And the art behind them is by my awesome brother. I asked for an Ansel Adams style crayon art piece, and that is what he made me.



Puzzles, another art form we are certainly thankful for.  Especially these two.

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Chalkboard Table

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For more than two years now, I have intended to do something with this coffee table, but never got around to it, until yesterday. It is a laminate surface, so I wasn’t sure if it would work to paint it, until I discovered chalk paint about a year ago. Boy, is that stuff wonderful!

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I used a DIY chalk/chalkboard paint recipe with sanded grout, and made it on the thick side, hoping to create a better writing surface.

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In between coats (I did two) I sanded it down to a satiny finish with 600 grit sandpaper. Normally I would wax my chalk paint, but as it turns out, if you don’t wax your surface, you magically end up with a chalkBOARD!

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The chalk goes on like butter (whatever that means) and it erases beautifully, and up to the point where I was uploading these pictures, I thought the whole thing was just pure genius. But as the kids continued to (very exuberantly) use the chalkboard table, I began to notice slight scratches in the paint. So apparently it isn’t working so well with the laminated surface. If I had to guess, I am thinking I shouldn’t have put it on so thick.

I have a (non laminated) train table to paint in the next few weeks, so I will see how the chalkboard surface works on that. Meanwhile, I just need to come up with a magic cure for the peeling paint on this baby.

Spa Day

Photo credit: ronnie44052

Yesterday looked pretty much like that.  Of course, since it was our first real snow of the year the kids wanted to go out.  Did they care that the temperature was 11 degrees and the windchill was far less?  Nope, they did not. 

Mama on the other hand, had no desire whatever to go out, so I did what any self respecting mama would do, and bribed my offspring.

“Would you like to have a spa day?” I crooned.  “Come hither….” I cackled.

I may have mentioned fizzy water and chocolate covered espresso beans. They accepted the bribe.

We started our spa experience by turning on our Spa station on Pandora, melting some Clary Sage and Clarity wax in the Scentsy warmer, and soaking the kids in a nice Lemongrass Tangerine bath, to calm and relax the children, and clear up any remaining belly or body aches after our recent bout of stomach bug.

The girls found it very relaxing. It did however cause them to speak with British accents.  I think I need to check the indications on those oil bottles again.

We did a rosemary hair wash and mask, and then everyone piled into their cozy robes and slippers.

We then indulged in a Geranium and Rose steam facial,

followed by a Lavender toner, a Shea Butter moisturizer and facial massage.

After all this, the girls inspected their faces and found that not only were they already more beautiful, but they were also looking “older”.  Hmmm…

We finished off our afternoon with nail clipping (generally a dreaded battle at hour house) and foot and hand massages.  Ahhh, so much better than snow!

Regardless of my best efforts, they still wanted to go outside at the end of the day. Sigh. At least they must have been among the most relaxed of children out playing in the snow that afternoon.

Sense of touch


A couple of weeks ago we were studying our senses.  On the day that we studied our sense of touch, I made these little sensory balloons, which were a blast for the kids!

I filled pairs of balloons with matching “stuff” so that the kids could match the pairs just be feeling.  I used water, air, rice, millet, and flour.

It was really interesting to see how they categorized what was in the balloons.  Sophie especially had to find some way to visualize.  She wanted to know what was in each balloon, and what it looked like. When I told her to try to just think about how each one felt, she still had to try to make visual comparisons… “this stuff is longer than the other stuff…” etc.  And she seriously never stopped talking.  Sometimes I wonder how that girl can think with the constant chattering!

Oh, I just realized that here we are, doing schoolwork at the kitchen table in our PJs!  How very stereotypical of us!

It started as a box

became a solar viewer.
At the end of our sun unit we made a safe sun viewer out of a box.  Even without a solar eclipse to view, the girls had a blast trying it out – and I had a blast watching them!
Then during our moon unit, the solar viewer box became part of a
 space shuttle
that Uncle Caleb helped the girls build.
Next the box became a
pirate ship.
Then parts of the box got cut up and made into Egyptian
paper dolls.
Aren’t empty cardboard boxes just the best toy ever?

Art – Thrift Shop Style

Art supplies are among the things that I will always scoop up at a thrift store. We go through it like crazy around here, and between Grandma and the thrift shop, we almost never have to buy any art supplies new…

Trux is completely involved in all art projects now, as part of his new “my do” mantra.  He’s actually not all that bad at it!

Visiting Papa

Once in a while, I pack a lunch, load the children into the car (a task requiring no less than three carseats, these days!) and make the seven mile journey to the office where Dan works with my dad, selling kitchen cabinets.

It’s certainly the highlight of our day.

The girls dress up for the event…

Trux, too – though he remains cool and unimpressed, throughout.

The girls work on some difficult floor plans…

mooch the trademark mints and sunflower seeds off of Granddad…

get held by as many aunts and uncles as happen through the doors…

and educe tickling from anyone:

It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.