Tag Archives: kid art

a new desk: before and after, and a mess


Frances' Room 2

Here’s a shot of F’s desk area from her baby days. We used the elfa system from the Container Store because we knew that it would easily grow with her, and it was definitely time to grow! The green Eames chair was just there for that photo, but F had a smaller green desk chair that she received as a first birthday gift from her grandparents.

You can see it buried there if you look closely. It’s underneath the avalanche of school items she brought home and her continuous collection of recyclable material. (Somewhat) in her defense, I had collected everything in her room into one place and dumped it all there so that the rest of the room was neat and orderly for vacation packing. Still, this area was driving me nuts.


These photos in the middle are crappy and ill-lit, but it was also after midnight on the day we had traveled home from vacation. I brought M along on my before-sunrise jaunt to the lighthouse, which meant we had been up in the 4 o’clock hour (central time) that morning. So naturally, 21 hours into our day, we decided to put together a new desk in a half darkened room, next to the sleeping birthday girl.


It took awhile, but mostly because we were trying to be quiet and we were also exhausted. We kept dropping things (loudly), and the drywall anchors for the magnetic strip didn’t work, so M had to raid the basement stash. I just piled all the mess up in the other corner of the room, and we did our best to get everything set up for the morning. I also wrapped E’s birthday gifts from her sister because she had passed out in her own bed before doing it.


I set up this little birthday chain of kids on top of the desk, and we left her other wrapped gifts on the desk.


She was still pretty sleepy in the morning – so sleepy that she didn’t even notice the changes at first, but afterwards she was really excited for the new space.


If you look back at the before photo, the desktop was about even with the top of the outlet to the right. It’s about 6″ higher at this point, and works well with the Eames chair that I moved back up here.

Desk 4

We raised the shelf on the left up, and added to pull out drawers to corral the art supplies. This allowed us to remove the bins that were always overflowing and took up a lot of precious work space. Now she has a ton more space to work on important projects, and it’s easier to see her supplies in the drawers. We have room for a third drawer if we get rid of that second shelf, but we’ll see how she uses the space she has first. We already had that shelf, so if it’s still functional, that’s great. 

Desk 1

We didn’t buy any additional art supplies because the girls already have plenty. My parents did buy the magnetic pieces and accessories that span between the vertical desk standards and add more supply storage that’s off the desktop. There are a few clear bins that have crayons and glues and erasers, some hooks for tape and triangles, these cute loops that hold her scissors collection – all of these just snap into the bracket – some magnetic glass topped containers that will be full of treasures soon, I’m sure… and plenty of fun magnets.

Desk 2

Desk 3

They don’t make the snap in magnetic bracket with the slots in a 30″ width, which is the width of the desk pieces on the right (where the chair is). But they suggested this magnetic strip which screws into the wall and is the same height as the bracket on the right. I picked out aqua and lime colored magnets, and couldn’t resist the birdie set either, right?


I haven’t changed much on the walls in this area over the last eight years, added a few things, subtracted others. This little desk area just makes me happy. I’ve been missing this kid this week – can’t wait to see her back and busy in this space.

Desk 6

PS – here’s the other gift she got – a tent and lantern for her mice!

Desk 5

what you’ve really been waiting for

The goddess Isis pinata.  Before:  In her former life as a hula girl…
…and After:  The Egyptian Goddess of Magic and Life (and chocolates and ring pops)
E worked on this while hanging out in my office the better portion of the last four days.  She’s in that time between camp and school – in an ideal world we would be able to take some time off to enjoy these last few days before summer, but no dice this year.  Saturday’s the party, so cookies are on the docket for tomorrow.  Stay tuned for some Friday finds.
(I really like the sandals she came up with – and there’s no shortage of scotch tape on this thing!)

what I did on my summer vacation

E’s been in a variety of summer camps over break and they are coming to a close this week.  She’s traipsed all over this city on foot and by bus, she’s been immersed in clay and fabric and water and food, and she’s learned to whittle with a pocketknife and start a fire and pitch a tent.  Most notably she’s survived the ridiculous heat we’ve suffered through this summer, and she’s got the stinkiest summer shoes to prove it.  Man alive.
Fashion camp was a big hit, and one of the things she made was this dress.  It’s knit with a hand painted top, and a purple skirt at the bottom.  And there’s a little purple cardigan to go with it if you’re so inclined.  She’s been fashioning new outfits out of tissue paper based on sketches she works on at night in bed.  One day we’ll get this house back together and maybe she can find some space to put her sewing machine up and make something a little less transparent.

Culinary Arts camp was also a highlight, and the Black Bean Brownies were the biggest hit.  Here’s the recipe if you are so inclined.  You won’t be disappointed – no flour, lots of fiber.  And DELISH.
Mexican Black Bean Brownies
Makes one 8”x8” pan
  • 1 can black beans (or 1 2/3 cup cooked dry beans), drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or chipotle powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
Add all the ingredients except the chocolate chips into a blender; blend until smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour into a greased 8”x8” pan and bake and 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until no longer gooey.
Let cool before slicing and serving.