Around Town: Paint Nite

Around Town: Paint Nite - Mom's Night Out


Had the immense pleasure of attending my first “paint nite” a couple of weeks ago. It was actually my Christmas gift to my sister-in-law. A mom’s night off to drink wine, chat, and do something creative together. I booked spots in a class at Raw Canvas in Kensington. There are several places around Calgary that offer similar things {even found one for doing “rustic sign painting”, which I would love to try}. I picked Raw Canvas because a friend had attended a paint nite there.

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Painting With Nature

Painting with Nature ~ Activities for Preschoolers ~ By Bubblegum Sass

Sammy and I recently had quite the fun afternoon painting bits of his nature collection and then painting with bits of nature. For quite some time now, he has kept a nature box, where he stashes away things he finds on our daily adventures, from twigs & leaves to stones & moss. Feathers have their own special place. The actual box where he stores all of this is overflowing and so I knew that some arts & crafts projects were on the horizon.


DIY Paintbrush for Kids

DIY Paintbrush for Kids ~ Clothespins & Cotton Balls ~Blog Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass

We’ve been moving Sam away from nap time the past few weeks because his nighttime sleep was getting pretty crazy. He gets quiet time in his room instead of naps, which he is growing to like more and more. No naps in the afternoon can make for long days though. I recently whipped up this little activity for him to try out just to break up one particularly long afternoon.


DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers

DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass

Ok. So I have to admit that I actually did this project with Sam well over six months ago, back when he was a toddler. Somehow I didn’t get around to posting about it until now. Go figure.

This is a simple project for you to make when your creative time with the kiddos needs a little refreshing. Sam was getting bored with the typical paint options, so I put together his own little paint roller to add some fun.

DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
Here are the supplies you will need for this project:

  • empty toilet paper roll
  • bubble wrap
  • scissors
  • tape
  • paint tray (we have cardboard trays that I saved from something, but use whatever you prefer, as long as it is wide enough for the the toilet paper roll)
  • canvas (or paper depending on what you want to paint on)
  • washable kids’ paint
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
Simply cut a piece of bubble wrap large enough to wrap around the toilet paper roll. Fold a couple pieces of tape under the edge of the bubble wrap to secure into place. Using your paint tray, pour in your child’s choice of paint colours {Sam wanted every colour}.
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
Once the paint is in the tray, it’s time to play. Have your child experiment with placing the paint roller in the tray to “pick up” different colours. When there is paint on the roller, have them try rolling it across their canvas.
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
The bubble wrap roller creates very interesting textures. Your child might like rolling it across the whole length of the canvas, or they might enjoy using it more like a stamp. Let them explore with it.
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
TIP: If colours start to get too muddy on the roller, simply give it a quick rinse and start over. Sam also enjoyed using some of his previously painted canvases and rolling new colours on them. They are some of my favorite paintings now.

DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass


After thoughts:

The toilet paper rolls are a nice size for the little ones to use, but you could also try empty paper towel rolls. And of course, I hope the the bubble wrap is inspiration for you to try other materials too. It’s fun for them to see what textures different things create. Here are some other DIY Paint Roller techniques to consider:

  • glue yarn around an empty toilet paper
  • stick those foam sticker shapes onto an empty toilet paper roll
  • cut your own shapes/designs out of craft foam sheet & glue to roll
  • glue leaves (or other natural objects) onto an empty toilet paper roll
  • glue buttons onto an empty toilet paper roll (just thought of this one & really want to give it a try)

Also, just a note to mention, that at the same time I was writing this post, my friend Kerri was experimenting with bubble wrap painting on FABRIC!! You can see the results of her project on her newly started blog Soham Design.

When We Were Artists

Hubby and I are determined to get our basement under control over the coming weeks. We had our first day of clean-up last weekend, in which a truck load of junk was hauled to the dump and a car load of reusable stuff awaits a trip to the thrift store. Yes, success! Still a lot more to tackle, but starting this process felt great.

Even better were some of the treasures that were rediscovered down there, including these, bags of baby dolls dressed in Corporate Reich uniforms. A blast from our art school past! Hubby and I traveled from thrift store to thrift store to find all these dolls. Then we designed & silk screened the fabric, and cut & sewed each individual uniform.

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

Corporate Reich Baby Doll Uniforms ~ by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

Good thing I hang onto to stuff, because I managed to find a copy of our artist statement in one of my old sketchbooks. It’s full of terms like “globalization”, “dehumanization”, “corporate dream”, “corporate ladder”, and “maximum conformity”. Basically the baby dolls represented children & innocence, which are burned to fuel the “corporate dream”, in a world where human power is a natural resource, and so often mistreated. (I can send you a full copy of our statement, just leave a comment).

I dug through our old photos and found pictures from the exhibition itself, entitled Our Little Children, which was held in February 2004 at the University of Calgary’s Little Gallery. Yes over a decade ago, and we still have all the dolls lingering in our lives (but no for much longer)

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

The dolls that we dressed in uniforms were put into a pile on the gallery floor. Other dolls, without uniforms, were burned & dirtied with charcoal and then suspended from the ceiling to act as burnt embers. Benches were set up and viewers were invited to sit around the crackling “campfire”.

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

Besides the installation in the gallery, we put a lot of effort into the other details, along with much help from friends & family. The invites for the show were actually matchbooks. We purchased boxes of blank ones and spent a weekend sticking our own custom stickers to them and signing our names to the inside. These were handed out and left around town.

Our Little Children ~ Art Exhibition by Sarah Springer & Marcus Riedner ~ 2004

I also sewed Marcus and I matching outfits for the opening of the show using leftover fabric from the baby doll uniforms; a skirt for me and I shirt for him. It’s hard to believe we were that cool! But art school does that to you. My brother Aaron also silk screened our Corporate Reich logo onto t-shirts, which we wore into the ground. In fact, hubby still wears his as a “work-shirt” (out in the gardens & on the farm).

The entire project was actually quite a large undertaking, when you consider that this wasn’t done for a class, but just because we thought it would be “awesome” to do an art show together. Ahhh… young love. Our good friend said to me at the time, “if you two can survive this project together, not kill each other, you’ll be together for good.” Looks like he was right. Good thing too, because hubby and I have a tendency to take on big projects, like starting our farm business.

As for the baby dolls sitting in our basement, they are waiting for the snowstorm craziness to stop in Calgary & then they will be dropped back off at the thrift store. Cycle of a doll’s life, I guess.

Blast from the past

Postcard R for Raglan by Bubblegum Sass
R for Raglan

I’ve been thinking about past art projects, in particular, mail art. Years ago, when hubby and I lived in B.C., we started a postcard exchange with several of our friends from art school. It was a really fun way to keep in touch with each other and I loved receiving random surprises of wonderful artwork in the mail. I kept all the postcards that we received, with the intention of displaying them somehow as a larger piece of art. Sadly, they are still just sitting in a shoebox, untouched, but not quite forgotten. One day perhaps…

Postcard V for Vest by Bubblegum Sass
V for Vest

Back in those days, I was horrible at documenting everything, so very few of the postcards that I made were properly scanned before I mailed them on their merry way. I thought I’d share a small sample of ones I made for an Alphabet series (you’re probably not that surprised to discover that I’m the type of person who likes to make art in a series). Each postcard was a different letter of the alphabet (and I really did manage make it through the whole alphabet, although don’t ask me what I did for the letter X). Of course there was a theme to the whole thing… fashion. The definition of each word represented was written on the back of the postcard.

Back of postcard G by Bubblegum Sass
Back of postcard for letter G

All of the postcards were made on inexpensive card stock, using water colour paints, rubber stamps, and graphite pencil. The first step was to lay a light wash of water colour in a fairly random pattern. Once dry, I would make my sketches in simple pencil and then go back in with the water colour to bring out certain areas. Then I would begin creating textures and patterns with rubber stamps & ink. Finally, I would bring out particular details of the drawing and patterns by filling them in with graphite pencils. It all involved just a lot of experimenting with layers and colours.

I really don’t get much of a chance to do any mail art these days, but sometimes I get the hankering to. I started a Pinterest board quite some time ago, dedicated to inspirational mail art. With close friends moving across the country and our inevitable move out to the farm in a few years, I’m thinking that we might have to resurrect the postcard exchange real soon. Besides, think of all the great stuff that Sam could start making into postcards. Fun times and exciting mail await us…

Postcard T for Tiara by Bubblegum Sass
T for Tiara

Little hands making rainbows

Last month, while Sam was teething and in need of some serious distraction, I decided to try out some finger painting with him. I’d seen random ideas for doing finger painting with babies on Pinterest and opted for the plastic bag method (as trying to clean up a teething, grumpy baby would only lead to more rage).

Baby finger painting suppliesI used a large freezer bag, some acrylic paint left from my art school days, packing tape and a piece of board intended for an artist palette. I wanted to be able to place it on the floor, so that Sam could get “into it” a bit more than making him sit up at a table.

Baby finger painting prepI squeezed some paint into the freezer bag (next time I will use more paint so it’s easier for him to squish it around). Then closed the bag up nice & tight and taped it down to the board.

Baby finger paintingThen I plopped it down on the floor in front of him. He wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. I showed him how the colours squished & moved around. Eventually he got interested in touching each colour and was soon squishing a bit on his own.

Baby finger painting 2(Getting more into it)

Baby finger painting 3(I love his chubby little hands!)

Baby finger painting 4

Overall it was a nice activity. Quick set-up and clean-up (just pulled the bag off the board and tossed the bag into the garbage). No mess on the baby (I recommend you ensure that baby’s nails are clipped short to avoid ripping holes in the bag). And lots of fun to watch him explore. We will be doing more of this soon, for sure.