Why Children Should Color Outside the Lines

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A dear cousin gave Jake this beautiful piece of art when he was born. We promptly hung it in his room.

Fast forward 4 years to this St. Patrick’s Day craft we were doing.  Jake spent a lot of time working on his project, putting the colors in rainbow order. He would add a few dots in different spots “for creativity”, and I was cool with that.

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Then I ran upstairs to get the babies, came back down and found this:

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At first I was very upset.  His picture looked so good and now he had ruined it. (Shamefully, in the back of my mind I was thinking “ugggh, I was planning to post this picture on the blog!”)  I started to yell at him, then I looked at his face. Full of wide-eyed innocence he said “I was seeing what happens when I mixed it all up” with such pride in his voice.  After all, we do LOVE the book Mix It Up!

I took a step back and the words “color outside the lines” kept flashing in my mind.  I had a choice- berate him because his art didn’t look like the cookie-cutter example, while squashing his creativity, diminishing his confidence (he is a perfectionist, so this risk he took was HUGE), and quelling his curiosity OR smile, tell him I loved all of the colors he used and proceed with a science experiment on how long it will take to dry. (For the record, he immediately deduced that we should put it outside to dry faster. Furthermore, I neglected to put paper under it, left it in the rain, and now have a green-stained deck, but that’s beside the point.)

This simple project meant as a holiday decoration reminded me of all of the the things I want for my son.

I want him to take risks and be unafraid of failure.

I want him to to express his creativity and individuality without pressure to conform.

I want him to think outside the box without repercussion.

I want him to be spontaneous and have fun without holding back.

I want him to try new things without the constraints of perfectionism.

I want him to act with passion not restriction.

In the end, it was a lesson learned for all. He gained valuable art, science, fine motor, and personal growth experience, and I learned to let go of preconceived notions and just let him be.

Life doesn’t have to fit neatly between the lines. Color it any way you want!

P.S.   I still despise paint and did not enjoy the mess, but it is so very worth it.

Tons of Fun

Pinterest Challenge Post-It

We completed our first DIY project in our new house, proving that even the unartistically inclined can create something pretty sweet. Since our babies didn’t have their own room in our old house, we decided to start our home improvements with making their nursery a priority. We broke the project into multiple steps over several days. It was a ton of work, but it didn’t feel like it because it was a ton of fun.

I searched Pinterest for inspiration, but in the end we designed this one ourselves. Since we didn’t copy another pin and had no instructions to follow, it counts as 3 points on the challenge.  (For more information, click here.) Here I will share the steps we took so that you can personalize and adapt your own dressers for any room in your house!

We started off with an old dresser that we received from somebody for FREE! It was in decent condition, but as you can see, it needed some work.

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Step 1: Remove the dresser handles. IMG_0593

Step 2: Clean it! We scrubbed and wiped down every nook and cranny to ensure a clean slate both literally and figuratively.

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Step 3: Paint the entire dresser one color. We chose a very light gray- it looks more white, but we decided we were okay with that. We used a rolling brush on the large flat surfaces and a regular rectangular paintbrush to get inside the divots, sides, and harder to reach areas. IMG_0599

Step 4: Paint all of the handles to match. You can skip this step if you plan to replace the handles with new ones (hardware store, Amazon, etc.) IMG_0855

 

Step 5: As everything dried over night, we focused on our design. This is a multi-step process:

  1. Choose an image. We used Google Images to find one that we liked.
  2. Download the image to your computer.
  3. Open a new canvas in photo shop. We made ours 20 x 20.
  4. Create a “new layer” in Photoshop and paste the image. Your image will appear very small. Transform/cut/adjust the image to fill the entire canvas.
  5. Save your new image as a pdf.
  6. Open your pdf. in Adobe reader.
  7. Click on File, Print, and select “poster size”. This will print the image over multiple pages out of your printer.
  8. Cut out the individual pieces and tape them together to create a large 20 x 20 image.
  9. Tape this large image to the dresser and use it as a stencil to trace your image.

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Step 6: Reattach the handles.

Step 7: Paint the images. We chose to do pink and blue for our girl/boy twins’ nursery. Be sure to paint the handles as they fit into the image. As you can see, some of our handles are half white, half pink. Do two coats.

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Step 8: Add the details. Since this design was very basic, all we added was an eye. Our giraffe (coming soon) is more in-depth.

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Step 9: Line the drawers. I bought sticky shelf liner on Amazon. It proved much harder to get it to stay flat than I imagined! IMG_0903

Step 10: The piece de’ resistance if you have young children- INSTALL DRAWER LOCKS so the kids stop pulling all of their finally organized clothes out of the drawer!

BONUS: This dresser also doubles as a great changing station for the babies. Attach a changing pad, organize a basket with diapering supplies and you are good to go!

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Stay tuned for the rest of our twins’ nursery DIY projects!