Tag Archives: collaboration

A Creative Epiphany

Oh my gosh, we just discovered a new show.  And in kid-world, anything that keeps the same goshdarn show (whichever it might be) from being on repeat over and over again is definitely something to celebrate…


We have Amazon TV, and they just released a series called “Creative Galaxy,” about art and creativity for kids.  I’d love to say that they gave us money to blog about them, or at least a stuffed animal or a visit from a character or something, but they didn’t, so this is all our own experience.

So Creative Galaxy is about a little alien named Arty (of course), and his sidekick Epiphany (which, I told Myla, means “a good idea”), and they go around the galaxy “solving problems with art.”  Okay, it’s just as perky as any typical kid’s show, but the cool thing about Creative Galaxy is that they introduce the style of certain artists (sort of like I’ve done with Myla with our own projects   in the past), and explain what the artist was trying to do with their art.  They talk about Pollock and his “action painting.”  And they have lots of clips of real kids showing how to do simple fun crafty projects.

The only down side to this show in OUR house is that it gives Myla a million crafty ideas that she wants to try ALL RIGHT NOW!  But that’s okay.  We pick and choose, and then we get crafty.

Recently, I expanded Myla’s craft area, since it had started completely taking over both the living room and kitchen tables.  We used things we already had around the house, and now it’s easily accessible to her, and right next to my office area (since I work from home on my computer).  She loves that there is enough space to sit on top (she REALLY gets into her artwork!)  so we don’t even need space for a chair.  There are office organizers for her pens and paper, as well as the bins next to it for other craft supplies like paper plates, foam, stickers, and paper bags.  Perfect for all sorts of craft time!

art area

There’s nothing more that Myla likes than a stuffed animal.  I think she may actually be addicted.  I may have to look for some sort of help center for wayward stuffed animal addicts, actually.   So inspired by the show, Myla decided one day that she wanted to make her own “Epiphany” doll.

Epiphany is Arty the alien’s little sidekick.  We’re not sure what he…or she…really is, exactly, but Myla thinks he’s cute.  She started by drawing the shape onto a piece of felt.  Since she wanted it to be stuffed, I showed her that she had to have a front and a back piece.  Then she cut little arms & legs out.  I had her help me sew a simple stitch around it on the sewing machine (I often have her put her hand on it to help guide it), and then came her favorite part:  the stuffing!


When we do spontaneous projects like this, the rule is that we have to use things we already have, or we can’t do it at all.  I happened to have some little pompoms on a string, which were a bit wonky, but worked well for the little puffball on his head.  Thankfully (despite being a perfectionist) she seemed to like it just fine.  It bothered me a little, but I always let her have the last word on when it’s “done.”


She wanted him to look a little more like the photo, so we got the paints out to color the eyes and spots.


And there he is, the final little Epiphany character!  Created (almost) entirely by a 5-year old!


Sure he’s a little wonky and imperfect.  But the fact that she made him (almost) all by herself is something she’s VERY proud of.    There are some times that the final piece doesn’t look like how she imagined and a wailing pitiful freakout ensues (we’re working on that), but I think it’s good for her to see the outcome of her decisions, whatever they may be. Simple decisions, when she can make them, make her feel more involved, like she had some sort of say in what we’ve created, and makes her more emotionally invested in it.  Sure, I could’ve made her a doll, but would she learn how it was made?  No.  She’d just get the benefit without the effort.

I don’t always indulge her in dollmaking–actually I often steer clear of it, or we’d end up making a dozen dolls a day.  But on occasion, and with some boundaries, it’s fun to see where her creativity takes her!

These few weeks. Jeesh.

ks stuff

It’s been a mad couple of weeks, you guys.  I know I’m quite late posting this week, and I’m sorry.  And I’m sorry that this post isn’t all that exciting.  I’ll try better next week.  This has just been a very trying couple of weeks in my personal world…

The good news is that thanks to the encouragement of my awesome mother in law (whose visit was a VERY bright part of this past week), I have been battling the giant pile of kickstarter reward packages like a BOSS.  Checking, double checking (’cause I’m obsessive like that), printing postage, and sealing everything up, and FINALLY getting them into the car and to the post office.  I’d like to think that I didn’t mess a single thing up, but I’m smart enough to know that’s impossible…  But still!  I took the plunge, crossed my fingers that it’d all turn out well, and loaded up the car.


As you can see, Myla helped me by doodling on a couple.  (I’d have her draw a doodle on more, but once she gets going on a scene, it’s like Picasso’s “Guernica,” and she won’t let me change the envelope out til she’s completed and entire scene.  But there are a random few that have been doodled on, so that’s cool.)

I really tried to make these packages something I’d be proud of, something I’d love to get in the mail myself.  I wanted to show everyone HOW MUCH I appreciate all the support for our little venture.  It still blows my mind that complete strangers logged on to pledge, no matter WHAT the amount, and for that, I’m so grateful.  You guys helped me make a dream come true!  Our little weird and wonderful book is out in the world now, and that’s amazing!

My mother in law (always playing devil’s advocate) asked if I was prepared if anyone might not like the book.  And the answer is uh…..NO?!?!   I hadn’t even considered that.   Because it doesn’t really matter, in a way, does it?   It’s made with love, and I put my heart into it, and that can’t be TOO wrong, can it?

SOoooooo.  The past couple of weeks have been very personally trying.  And school is out.  My usually-sweet munchkin has started methodically pushing my buttons.  The husband will be back from deployment soon.  I am, generally speaking, worn out.  I am exhausted.  I am tired…But I react to stress by keeping busy.  I do projects like a madwoman.  I do try to cut myself a LITTLE slack–let the standards go just a little bit on the house and such.  I try to find relaxing moments where and when I can.  I try to always save an hour or two in the evenings just to watch a show and draw.  That helps a LOT.

The book we made is filled with all kinds of interactive pages.  It’s my hope that people will get out their art supplies and share those pages with someone, and doodle right there in the book.  I hope they do.  And I hope that if they do, they share their pictures with me, because I’d LOVE to see them!

I’ve already heard from a few people who’ve gotten their packages, and I’m so excited!  In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away, I’ll “just keep swimming,” I’ll keep my chin up, I’ll do my best to stay on top of things.  So I apologize for this week’s not-so-exciting post, but I appreciate the low-stress and supportive nature of this blog.  You guys are awesome, and I believe that.

So if you’re one of those people that are treading water this week like I am, don’t despair!  It might help to know there are others out there going through the same thing.  And no matter what it is, no matter how big or small, I think we all deserve  a pat on the back for hanging in there and doing the best we can (even if our standards are usually better).  Because, DANG!  Some weeks are rough.


The State of Stuff

bugle dino

People ask me sometimes if Myla and I still do our collaborations, and if we will do them forever.  I’ve come to learn that kids’ fancies are fleeting, so I do my best to just encourage her and do the best I can to support whatever she’s into at the moment.

Lately, what she’s been into has fallen into two categories…namely, Stuff Stuck to Paper and Paper Creatures.  I’ll attempt to describe them, because given a brief moment alone, and she’s furiously scissoring and coloring a creature, with her brow furrowed, and a very faraway look of concentration on her face.   In case you labor under the belief that we ethereally flutter around an immaculate house, doing artsy art thing in a perfectly-styled art room designed by artsy art professionals, I will share this photo of what our kitchen table looks like most of the time:


I admit to claiming responsibility for about 20% of the mess that constantly grows in this table (usually concerning school-related paperwork).  I have cleaned it and straightened it and battled it in full gear, time and time again, and I have just given up.  It has finally won the battle.

But see the look on that kid’s face?  That one of absolutely overwhelmingly engrossed concentration?  I’m okay with that mess.  Plus, I can sit on my end of the table and just draw in my sketchbook.  Win-win, if you can handle a messy kitchen table.  (We’ll see what happens when the husband gets back from deployment and might like a place to–oh, I dunno–EAT, maybe.)

In any case, here is what she’s been up to:

Stuff Stuck to Paper

The things she’s been creating come from out of nowhere.  A scrap of paper, a bottlecap.  Left unattended near her, they are at high risk of being glued or taped to a page and made into a “project.”  I have had to give her very good reasons why it is not a good idea to GLUE scissors to the page just for a projects’ sake.  But for the most part, I don’t mind the random things.

Sometimes, when she’s glued or taped food to the page, I’ve either secretly smuggled it to a temporary holding area (in the garage) before secreting it out to the trashcan (0nly after taking countless photos, of course) to avoid an onslaught of ants, or (as in the case of the Bugle-dragon above) I’ve sprayed it with a multitude of layers of varnish to hopefully keep ants at bay.  She’s also glued or taped a birthday candle, bottlecaps, and pieces of plants, creating a little scenery (or what she calls a “project.”)


She’s made birds with Bugles cracker beaks, and carrot parrots…


Once, I gave her a bowl of dry mixed pasta to make “projects” out of, and she made this little crab for me:


I once showed her some doodles by InkyGirl on Instagram, and the next morning she drew this:


Paper Creatures

The other thing she’s been doing is making “creatures.”  These are things she builds out of paper to be “toys.”  (Because, you know, she doesn’t have like a million ACTUAL toys.  Heheh)

Here, she frantically cuts up tiny pieces of paper and usually tapes (because she’s got no time to wait for glue) or glues them together to make some sort of creature.

paper creatures

(From left to right: Mouse from Cinderella, a talking tortilla, Unikitty, a cow, a porcupine, and a lion.)

Sometimes she cuts out & colors all the pieces, and other times she markers them…


(Catbus from Totoro, and her green catbus friend)

They’re fully realized characters, since they almost always have backsides, too.


I showed her how to use metal brads once, and she created all the pieces, cut them out, and had me help her put it together…


Other times, they are full sheets of paper (with backsides, too) that are like “dolls…”


She voraciously made this dinosaur finger puppet for me, which is pretty gosh-darned cool.  It even has a tail!


So those are exciting.  And she’s been obsessed with these paper things.  I’ve had to stock up on construction paper and tape, something I didn’t need to do when she was voraciously drawing.  But that’s what she’s into.  And that’s cool.

But the other day, I wasn’t feeling well, and I lay on my stomach on the couch with my sketchbook, and she dragged her marker box, scissors and tape into the room and started making paper bats like a madwoman.  And then she suddenly looked up, climbed onto the pillows over my head, and stared at my sketchbook, watching me draw.  I was playing with colored ballpoint pens, drawing Napoleon Dynamite.


“Are you using shading?”  she asked.

“Yes I am,” I replied, and I showed her how layers and layers of colors can look like they’re mixing to make other colors, and that darker things look like they’re behind.  Sort of like when we played with pointillism.

“I’m going to try that, too.” she said.  “And I’m going to make it look SO REAL.”  So I watched her look at the photo for references (or what she calls “estructions”), and drew her own version:


I was blown away!  Shading, “realistic” features.  So exciting, and pretty darned awesome, for a 4-year old!  She really took her time with it, focusing very hard on looking at the picture and trying to draw it the same way (making me instantly recall the Napoleon Dynamite quote: “It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It’s probably the best drawing I’ve ever done.”  Hehehe.)

Yesterday, I had a doodle of Wonder Woman in my sketchbook, and she tried her hand at it again, and again–I’m blown away.


It’s so cool to be able to see your kid change and grown and learn new things.  Sure, it’s a little sad to see a beloved phase go by, but my mom always said, “enjoy whatever phase she’s in, because the next phase might be a rough one.”

So while we still doodle the occasional heads from time to time (and I’ll be sure to keep giving her the option to), it’s so great to see her trying new things!  Believe, me, the collaborations have changed our lives so much for the good that I’m going to keep trying them with her, and it’ll be fun to see how they look once she’s a little older.  Maybe she’s ready to let me draw the bodies to HER heads now…

Whatever the case, I’m just glad for it.  All of it.  Messes and ants and all.


FINAL DAYS of our Kickstarter!


I cannot tell you how very excited I am that our Kickstarter campaign has been a success!  We made enough to print our book!  I made a stretch goal in the hopes of printing our little animal storybook, and we made THAT goal as well!  Woohoo!   Everyone seemed to be completely confident we would make it except me, so I cannot TELL you how amazing this whole thing has been.  I am jumping up and down in my head with excitement!

So I’m gonna go wild and set ONE FINAL GOAL in the last few remaining days of our Kickstarter campaign.  I want to see if we can make it to $24,500 to add more pages to our book!  If we can make this goal, I will include an EXCLUSIVE PRINT available ONLY to Kickstarter backers who pledge $25 or more!  This means if you already pledged and we make goal, you will get your reward AND the exclusive print!

For those of you that follow us, you know Myla is a big giant part of the creative process, and she decided we should create two smiling lemurs hugging (I suggested teddy bears or dinosaurs, but she was insistent on lemurs–so yeah, lemurs are pretty awesome, too!), as a “thank you” for all of your support.  I’ll actually be working on painting it soon, in the hopes that we can make our goal.  This print won’t ever be available on the Society6 print shop, but will ONLY be available to Kickstarter backers!

So please spread the word, and let’s see if we can make this last stretch goal happen!  Thank you so much!

Here There Be Monsters

From time to time, people ask if our 4-year old or I get tired of collaborating together when we draw, and so far, the answer has been a resounding “heck NO!” But to change it up a little so that we DON’T, we’ve done a few animals….and every once in awhile, we’ve started throwing some monsters in there.

Now, I’ve written about the monster doodles before, but since then, we’ve sort of expanded the process a bit.  First, they start out with me drawing a monster head, and our daughter (just like with the “people” collaborations) would draw the body & any additional scenery on them.


Several of them end up in the water, for some reason.


Following her art direction, many of them end up patterned and pink.

pinkSometimes, she gets a little elaborate with them, like this one who fell down while rollerskating…


This one, who needed a helmet before he could hop on his bike…


Or this one, who she insisted be in a rainstorm.


They’re often influenced by her little world, like this creature which came about not long after her first visit to a circus…


This one, which was of a cat-monster tossing candy to her at Halloween (that’s me in the yellow-striped shirt, picking her up)…


Or this one, which happened around the same time we made a gingerbread house for the holidays.


But the process itself REALLY started getting fun when (instead of drawing on the head I had pre-drawn) she and I started taking DIRECTION from eachother.    “Let’s make a monster!” she’d say, and I’d get out a pen.  “First step: it should have lots of eyes,” she said.  So I drew lots of eyes.  “Wings for ears.  A bird beak.”  Each time, I’d draw from her prompts in my own style.  Then when it was her turn, and she’d follow my lead.  “It should have antennae,” I said.  “Pteranadon wings.  And a dragon tail.”


Or she’d tell me, “It should have hair like Great Grandma’s (we were visiting her at the time).  LOTS of noses.  Glasses.  Lots of down-pointing teeth, and horse ears.”  Then I would tell her, “A snail body with stripes and lots of legs.”  And she would add the extra details (like a decorative mouse flashlight and a bed) on her own.


It’s another fun little exercise in collaborating with the kid.  And secretly, I know she enjoys practicing the rare moment of getting to “boss” me by telling me what to draw!  She is still a bit rigid sometimes, and insists that I “didn’t do it right,” and I insist that when you work WITH someone, there IS no “right.”  That you have to work WITH people, share their ideas, and just have fun.  It takes some getting used to, because I can see those same perfectionist tendencies in our daughter that I have–wanting things to be “just so.”  But it’s GOOD to step out of your comfort zone, and it’s GOOD to share.

So give it a try!  Sit down for a bit, take your kid’s direction, and let ‘m tell YOU what to do for a moment–just to see what happens….It doesn’t have to be with drawing; try letting them tell you what shapes to glue down, what clothes to put on, or how to decorate cupcakes.  And show me how it worked for you!


Once upon a time, our daughter commented that an artist’s work we saw in a shop wasn’t so great because “it looks like scribbles.”  In an effort to try to expand her creativity, it occurred to me that other than the rare kid’s book, there isn’t much out there to explain different kinds of art to kids in a way that makes sense in their little world.  I guess kids try so hard to learn how to draw things literally, that it’s difficult for them to understand why anyone would INTENTIONALLY draw something unrecognizable!

We had learned a little about Frida, and how she “painted her dreams.”  Then I taught her to “dance” with the paint, like Pollock.  Like their work or don’t, but each one of them was important to the history of art for a reason, and I think helping someone else make sense of that reason is a fun challenge.

So I saw another opportunity in Picasso.  Picasso was a fine artist, and actually drew quite realistically, but what really set him apart was when he expanded on the idea of breaking up the face into its most basic SHAPES.  He also played with the idea of seeing if he could show different perspectives in the same piece.  Could she be turned to the side, but also show both of her eyes?  What would that look like?

This was fun, because it didn’t take a lot of prep work.  When our daughter came home from school, I had a plate full of shapes that I had cut out of construction paper  waiting for her, along with some glue.


“Picasso made shapes into faces,” I told her.  “Let’s see if we can make a face using only shapes.”  So we happily cut and pasted.  At first she balked a little.  “Your dress looks strange,” she questioned me.  “And why are her cheeks two different colors?”  Because, my dear, we’re trying to mix things up a bit.  Picasso-style.


I told her it didn’t have to be perfect, and it didn’t have to look EXACTLY like the thing you were trying to draw.  It was just supposed to be a fun experiment.  What would it look like if you used shapes for the eyes instead of drawing them?


She couldn’t help herself, and finished some additional spots in pen.  And although she struggled with the need for symmetry, she was able to step out of her comfort zone a bit and enjoyed trying something new.


We left the shape plate on the table, and she created a rabbit the next day.  (I KNOW those mismatched ears were killin’ her…)


So, like we did with Pollock and Frida, I showed her a drawing of Picasso I had done, and she drew a body for him.  She put him in stripes, gluing little shapes down onto paper, just like we did.  And while that may not have been Picasso’s medium, the basic idea is there, I think.

Besides, I think Picasso might have actually had fun with construction paper and glue.


So if you’re looking for a fun kid project that also teaches them about art, give it a try!  And I’d love to see what you come up with over on the Facebook page!

(OH!  And if you’d like to see more artsy artwork from both me AND the kiddo, I’m on Instagram now!–@busymockingbird.  But more about that later…)

How We Doodle


Apparently, a lot of new people have joined our little campfire.   I’d like to say “Welcome!”  Come have a seat!

I’ve been getting a ton of new questions about how the kid & I doodle our little doodles.  I’ll start off by saying this didn’t begin intentionally.  I didn’t plan this out.  As I described in the post, my “art life” was very separate from my “mom life,” and that’s how I thought it had to be.  When our daughter first hovered over my sketchbook & asked to draw on one of my drawings, it was a lesson in letting go for me, and allowing her to be a part of something I have always been very passionate about.

But based on the comments I get on external blogs (probably because they don’t always link back to my original post, which describes the experience), I think some people misunderstand the process.  Or maybe they don’t.  In any case, I thought it’d be fun to walk you all through one of the pieces we did.  Maybe it’ll give you some ideas to doing it yourself!

First off, I love drawing from old black & white movie stills.  For some reason, the far-off looks, the black & white imagery–I don’t know why, but I could draw those all day.  I like playing with the shapes, changing them a little, slightly altering them, and sort of abstracting the shading a bit.  I work in ballpoint pen (because I love it, and I’ve used it over the years and years and years).  This time, I worked from a picture of Bette Davis.  Probably this one.

(Now the very first time, this was as far as I had gotten before my daughter asked to “help.”  Later, I started just drawing faces & heads because she kept asking for them.  Plus, that’s my favorite part to draw anyway.  So when she asks to “draw the body,” I choose to let her.)

I’m always curious what she’s going to draw.  I can give her ideas, but she usually will decide what it’s going to be AS she’s drawing it.  This was quite nerve-wracking for me in the beginning.  It was HARD to let someone take something you worked on into a completely different direction.  Did I always handle it with grace?  No.  When she drew lines across the faces of some of them, I silently clenched my teeth, did a mental gasp, and squinted my eyes.  But you know what?  It all turns out fine in the end.


For this one, she drew this funky crescent-shaped body, and said, “She’s a slug.”  Um.  Okay.  You turned her into a SLUG?!  Some of the ones we had done were easy to collaborate on…a dinosaur, a bird, a dragon.  But a SLUG?  I kept any judgement to myself, and instead, decided to laugh with her about the lady with the slug body.

Thankfully, I’m always up for a challenge.  And over time, doing these doodles with our daughter, I often think of my part as translating her ideas to make sense to grownups.  It’s a fun challenge to try to figure out a way to make her kid-doodle potentially exist in a 2-D environment.  For those curious as to who did what, the basic idea is always hers.  She did the body, the antennae, the flower, and the sunshine on this one.  Nowadays, she even gives me guidelines:  “Don’t forget, mama–her wings should be BLUE.”  Or, “That’s not a cracker, she’s holding BREAD.  Could you please make sure you color it to look like bread?”  In the end, we’re both always pretty surprised at the result.

So after she decides what it’s going to be and does her doodles, I do my part.  I color in with markers (sometimes she helps).


I used to use plain ol’ Sharpies for base color, until Jerry’s Artarama sent me a HUGE box set of my favorite Prismacolor brush-tips.  (big shout out to Jerry’s!  Woohoo!)  So these days, when I get to this step, I use those instead, and I love love LOVE the color blending you can get with them.

I add some white highlights with acrylic paint or sometimes watercolor.


Now’s the fun part.  How the heck to make this look like a slug, as opposed to a random, crescent-shaped doodle?  I looked up some slug references, and did the best I could to fit those patterns into the shape she had drawn.  I think the little “lip” underneath is what finally made it feel more “real.”


A little more acrylic for the background.  I added a little hopscotch grid to sort of put her in some sort of context.  I don’t know why, it just felt right.  And because plain ol’ grass gets boring.  I did a little fine-tuning to bring the lines back with ballpoint pen.  Often, I go back over the lines she and I both already made, to bring them out a little more.


And there you go! I called it “Slugs Need Hugs.”  One time, playing outside, my daughter said it would be hard to try to give a slug a hug.  When I finished this one, I felt a little bad for the little slug lady, trying to play hopscotch, while most likely being unable to perform the required “hopping.”  She seemed in need of a hug.


As for any meaning or symbolism in using Bette Davis and then drawing a slug?  There is none.  AT ALL. I just like to draw faces.  She just felt like drawing a slug.  I usually alter them enough that I don’t always remember who they started out as.

As for my daughter’s drawing skills?  I understand that I’m her mother and I while I can see all the beautiful, wonderful magic in the way she draws (and while her teachers have commented on how focused and detailed she is at drawing), I am the first to admit that maybe her drawings themselves aren’t particularly masterful.  But, you know?–for that matter, neither are mine.  Anyone focusing on that aspect is sort of missing the point.

So what IS the point?  To me, it’s about enjoying the experience more than the end result.  It’s about combining the “internal” life of an artist with the “external” life of a parent.  It’s about helping your kids express themselves without limitations.  It’s about sharing your passion with someone else.  It’s about taking that thing you love and placing it in someone else’s hands, and trusting that everything will be okay.

Exquisite Corpse

exquisite corpse-ee

For those who have never heard of it, “exquisite corpse” is a surrealist game played with either words or drawings, in which several artist collaborate on a piece by only being able to see the tail end of what the previous person contributed.

When I did the collaborations with my 4-year, a few people commented that it reminded them of the “exquisite corpse” game, in having to elaborate and expand on someone else’s work.

By chance, a coordinator with Exquisite Corpse Festival contacted me about doing a page for a potential comic book idea with the same premise–picking up where the previous person left off, and elaborating on it.  They thought the idea of me working with my daughter fit in well with the project, and might make for an interesting page.  I thought it sounded fun.

When the time came, I was surprised to get not a drawing to elaborate on, but a snip of text.  It was something that sounded like a large creature confessing to a therapist of some sort.  …And that was it.  I had no idea what this creature was supposed to look like or anything.  No clue of what had happened before it.

So I started by just drawing a dragon head.  I tried to make him sort of expressive…if he was confessing his tale, he’d probably be pretty personable, right?  I wanted to make him very “foresty” (maybe just because it’s autumn, and I wanted to use the colors), but that’s about as far as I got.  I wasn’t sure WHAT to do with him next.

I showed our daughter.  It was strange–it’s nothing at all like what we usually do.  But we love experimenting and having fun drawing together, so I was sure she’d come up with something cool.

Sure enough, she drew a big circle body and looked at it for a minute.  Then she added some zigzag lines.  He was in an egg.  “He’s hatching!” she said.  And certainly, he was.  Awesome!  I decided for my part, to have him telling a story about an “awkward phase” he had gone through.  That way, it didn’t matter WHAT he looked like in previous pages.  Pretty unintentionally clever, kiddo…!

Now,  we’ve been playing around drawing monsters, which are quite fun.  We’ll see what comes of it.  After all, it’s all just one big surrealist experiment, right?


(What looks like a pink arm on this red & blue one is actually…um…an udder?  Apparently, they just learned about milking cows at preschool.)

monster 3

(This little purple fella is combing his beard)

monster 2


First off, I want to give a great big THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to everyone who participated in our little contest!  Win or no, I think it’s amazing how wonderful it is that everyone was able to connect with someone else for such a wonderful experience.  Myla said as we were looking through the over 200 entries: “I’m so very PROUD of those people!”  And I am, too.

I sent each entrant a personal message of thanks, and our own doodle of the contest head, just for them.  Myla & I spent a long time sorting through the entries, and I have to tell you, she was SO excited at what everyone had done.  I mean, visibly excited and thrilled.  It took a lot of honing down to get her to narrow it down–she wanted to pick them all.  And since it was SO very difficult to choose, I decided to not only pick one winner…but THREE.  I pretty much let the 4-year old take the lead on choosing, and I respected each of her choices.  So, without further ado, here are the winners, in no particular order (since the prize is the same):


Now, when our kid doesn’t win, she gets upset.  (She was actually a little upset at first that she couldn’t win THIS contest.)  But I’ve taught her to say “I really really wanted to win, but I’m very happy for you.” 🙂

Telling a wonderful story was not factored into our decision, but in the spirit of stories, I will tell you some tales of the winning pieces.

  • The girl and her robot were created by Christine Kenney and her 6-year old son Desmond.  Since the collaborations post, Christine had been meaning to try this with her son, and hadn’t found the time until the contest idea came up, and they enjoyed it a great deal.
  • The next (very colorful) piece was created by Susan Garver and her 5-year old Eden.  Eden saw the woman as a unicorn with a flower friend.  Later, when adding the final touches, Susan remembered the loss of a family friend’s child, whose favorite color was “rainbow.”  She finished it with her in mind, and hopes to eventually give it to the family.
  • And finally, Laurie Silverstein passed this drawing back & forth to her older daughter.  The story goes that when her daughter was around 4, she was happily singing “zip a dee doo dah” in a grocery store cart, and then suddenly burst into tears at the thought of being a mommy…It occurred to the little girl that her own future kids might starve because she “didn’t know where the stores are.”  Years later, the daughter got a shoulder tattoo that said “zip a dee doo dah,” to remind her, I suppose, that it will all be okay.

There were so many beautiful stories that weren’t told, and so many beautiful pieces that weren’t chosen, from ALL OVER THE WORLD.  Teachers sharing it with their classes, nurses collaborating with patients, families doing the project at a family get-together.  Friends adding to the piece from far away to combine a single piece.  I sincerely hope it was a fun and fair experience, win or no, for everyone involved.  The most amazing thing to come of the Collaborations post, for me, has been hearing about all the wonderful ways the post has inspired you all to do similar projects with your family & friends.  And that’s the best thing of all, in my book.

So thank you again to everyone who entered!  They were all so beautiful and we are all so very proud.  Thank you SO VERY MUCH!

And please, go check out all the beautiful entries on the Facebook page!

Your’e So Lovely!

It’s SO amazing to see all the beautiful entries coming in from all over the WORLD for the contest…and even more amazing hearing all the wonderful stories of the fun you all had creating them!  Don’t forget, Monday is the last day to enter, so let’s see what you’ve got!

contest 3s contest entries5 contest entries4

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