Thursday, March 6, 2014

I have moved!!

I should take a second to mention...I have moved!!  All of these posts and more can be found at 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 22, 2013

salt dough ornaments

I thought I would round out our flour extravaganza with an oldie, but a goodie...

Salt Dough Ornaments

Here is the thing...if you are interested in the thing (if not just head down to the recipe from Yooper Pasty).

Ok, the thing is, we actually did these last year.  I guess we are giving them as gifts this year.  I succeeded in baking them while failing at painting them.  I had a crazy mother Pinterest moment where I cared about them being done right and hid them from my then 2 and 4 year old children.  Ok, I am not that sad...I let them each paint one and then I declared I would do the gift ones and then I never finished on time for the holidays...oh, the horror.

Truth is Truman was hospitalized with pneumonia and I kinda just let everything go.  He is good we are officially giving last year's hand prints as this years gifts.

These ornaments are such a fun and easy way to start decorating season...I just had to share.  We did hand prints, but you can pretty much cookie cutter anything!  This year, we are going to totally use our Christmas cookie cutters.  Since I DON'T bake and all, we might as well use them for something.

So, here are the basics.  Sorry for my lack of pictures.


So, we baked ours on a cookie sheet and they were totally doughy on the bottom after 2.5 hours...we moved them straight to the rack and baked them another hour and they were fine.  I think ideal might be baking them directly on the rack...or if you worry about rack lines on the back, maybe an hour on the cookie sheet and the other 2 on the rack?

The only ornament that was finished last year...

Finishing the rest for gifts this year!

So that rounds out our dough fun and adventures!  I can honestly say, prior to this year, I only associated dough with baking (which I despise) and a big mess (which I despise).  Now, whole new feelings are emerging.  Watch out. Might want to buy stock in flour.

Happy Kneading,


we have also made recipes for paint, play dough and cloud dough.

flour power

We are continuing on with our quest to use up our HUGE bag of flour.

Last week we made our own paint.  That barely put a dent in it (the big bag of flour).  So, our quest to unleash the power of flour continues with a couple kinds of dough.  The Play kind and the Cloud kind...

The PLAY kind

We all know play dough.  I have always heard you can make your own.  I thought it was just an urban legend.  It's not.  As it turns out (per usual) I was just being lazy.  It's really quite easy.

Here is what you do...
(I chose Instructables  as my guide...there are hundreds out there.  Go ahead. Google it.  It will shock you how many people have written about making playdough...and yes, I am hopping on the bandwagon)

Take these ingredients and mix them in a bowl: 

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar

I doubled this recipe so each kid could have their own bowl...Truman's  bowl, of course, had to be John Deere Green and surrounded by tractors.  Oakley is a little less picky.

I easily could have halved it so they would each have their own half.  This is called irony as it relates to CLOUD kind where I halved it to save resources and really really, wished I would have made the whole thing.  But more on that later.

We combined the above ingredients in to a bowl and the kids took charge of their own stirring.  It's funny the empowerment that comes with stirring ingredients in a bowl.

Then you just stir and cook it over low heat until the dough forms.  It is ready when it is no longer sticky.

Put to the dough aside to cool.  Oakley helped it along by pounding it with spoons.  This is totally optional, but might help with the hundreds of "is it done yet?" questions.

When it was ready, we flattened it out and made little bowls.
We made six bowls from the first batch and it was plenty.  We have the second batch ready to color another day.

Then this very brave mother let each kid squirt some food coloring into the bowls.  This very risky move, but we made it out all right.  No counter tops or clothes were injured in the process.

I folded the colors in.   Once the food coloring soaked in they helped kneed the dough until the colors were right.

Then play time!  (aka the mommy's magic moment).  They made snakes and played long enough for me to finish getting dinner together.

 ...and that, my friends, is how you make your own play dough.

The CLOUD kind

If you didn't think the play kind was easy...well, you are in for a major treat with this one.

Holy cow, even in my laziest of lazy moments, I will forever keep this treasure in my back pocket.

Literally, all you do is put a couple cups of flour into a big bin and dump some oil into the middle...and the kids will do the rest.  Once the flour has soaked up all the oil, you are left with a perfectly wonderful combination of the two.  It is as easy to mold as it is to crumble.  It is also a snap to clean up.  It was 3...yes, THREE hours that my kids were engrossed in this amazing dough...and they only fought 4 (yes, FOUR) times over it (which I consider miraculous for three hours).

They were pretty darn excited about this one.  They literally squealed when I poured the oil into their "volcanoes" 

I think the thought of sticking their hands in oil got them a little giddy!

We got out cookie cutters for some fun with shapes.

Oakley took the job of molding the dough very, very seriously.  She also may have been tired of being photographed.  I don't know...but trust me, she really did love the dough.

Now, I halved this recipe and really came to regret it.  Eight cups sounded like too much.  My kids loved this dough so much that I really wished I would have made more.  In fact, all four fights were over the quantity of dough available and who had more etc etc...

   They loved the play dough.  But they LOVED the cloud dough.  I think partially because it was new and different and the texture is super fun!

Have fun playing in your pantry!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Gone Wild!

It all happened in a flash.  

I knew I had a big 2' by 4' canvas and I knew I wanted to expand my holiday selections this year.  I was staring at the blank canvas trying to piece together one of the thousands of ideas running through my head when it just kinda hit me. 

 If I turn the canvas upright, it is about the size of a kids life-sized tree....

...and from there I grabbed a pencil and within minutes had this sketch complete.  

The idea was so strong in my head that I managed to get the complete sketch done in utter chaos.  Our dog went nutso while I was accepting a package from UPS, I was in the middle of feeding my kids lunch and answering questions from the dryer repair guy.  Yet, I was compelled to make it a priority to clear off a corner of the kitchen table to get this idea our of my head and onto paper.

Here is how the flash of an idea became "Christmas Gone Wild":

The first few strokes of the paint brush are always to full of potential!

Due to the size, I had to work from the floor much of the time.

I started adding animals...

...this gave the painting some life, but something was feeling a bit off.  It just wasn't popping the way I wanted.

So, I made the somewhat painful decision to step back and change the background to a more vibrant shade.

It was worth it.

Then, I started he details on the animals...and they began to live!

Time to decorate the tree.  I had planned on all circles for bulbs, but decided various shapes would be more interesting to look at...

...and of course, our squirrel tree topper!

At this point, the plan was complete.  I brought the painting out of the studio and into my kitchen to further assess it in better light.  It was looking ok, but I couldn't help but to notice that there was too much dead space.  The poor squirrel was lonely.

I cut some paper in the shape of birds and a raccoon to see how the new composition would work.

Then I grabbed some paint and got to work, right there on my kitchen floor.

That pallet sitting there on the carpet, that is what we artists like to call a hazard...especially with a three and five year old running around.  What can I say, I live dangerously.

Feeling better about the details, I was tempted to call it done.  But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing...

Surely more Santa hats should fix it!

So, here we are...before I go completely overboard with adding stuff.

Christmas Gone Wild!

My kids love this painting!  When I sell it, I will have to sneak it out of the house!

My favorite part of creating Christmas Gone Wild came during an early morning studio session.  I thought I heard little footsteps upstairs.  Sure enough a tiny voice started softly calling "mommy" from around the corner.  When I told  him to come into the room, this was the instant reaction:

Just what I was hoping for.  
Christmas Gone wild instantly connected with his imagination.  A piece of art that captures the magic of Christmas!

Christmas Gone Wild by Tracie Davis 20132'x4' acrylic on canvas

Interested in the ORIGINAL Christmas Gone Wild?  please click here.

If you are interested in a full print of Christmas Gone Wild in large sizes with custom framing options, this piece is listed on Fine Art America.

I know not everyone has a place on their walls for 4ft of Christmas and prints with these proportions would require custom framing.  So, I decided to use the square bottom half to create a unique art print that is equally as magical and easy for framing. 

click here to purchase

(or to simply lean it on a shelf!).

8x8 prints matted to fit a 12x12 frame
12x12 prints matted to fit a 16x16 frame

More holiday art can be found in our "Happy Holidays Shop"

Thank you for checking out Christmas Gone Wild!  

Happy holiday decorating,

All tiny by design art can be found at

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

free paint!!

Well, ok.  Not TOTALLY free...but odds are that you have this stuff on hand and if not, it is super inexpensive.

So, we will call it free paint.

Part of what I love so much about art is mixing colors to make different textures and effects.   Watching my kids discover the joy of this at such young and pure's magical!

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon a facebook post (which I shared on my tiny by design page) for making your own paint.

Around that same time, I had purchased a ginormica bag of flour for the Christmas cookie baking extravaganza with my kids and their Nana.  I am awful at baking so I didn't know that they didn't need a ginormica bag of flour.  Since I am indeed awful at baking,  what on earth would I do with all this flour??

I think you see where I am going with this.

For the recipe you need:
some kind of bottle to hold the paint
(we got ours on amazon - 6 bottles for $10)

A more economical way would be to save dressing and ketchup bottles.

This recipe is so easy...everything is equal!
1 cup of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water

and mix it up!

We doubled the recipe and were able to fill 6 condiment bottles just over half way.

I purposely made our paint a little runny (like pancake batter) to make it have good flow on the paper.  Next time I might thicken it...I would have liked the paint to be a little more opaque.

add food coloring...let their imaginations go wild with color mixing!  Encourage 2-3 kids like to add so many that we end up with a lot of brown and black.  Today, most of our paint was made using 2 colors.

Shake it up!

They loved the colors!  The sky is the limit here!

Even my three year old could paint "all by himself" ...and that is a BIG deal in his little world!

Create fun textures.

This is the first time he has really shown interest in using a paint brush!

Oakley loved mixing the pretty colors.

Truman just loved squirting it!

and the great news....

We are now on day two, they have been begging me to paint more and the paint is in perfect condition!

...and did I mention the fun in finger/hand painting!  

We ALL got lost in swirling our hands around in the paint.  

I am also super pleased to report that the cleanup was a snap!

The greatest part of this project was discussion between the three of us on making your own things vs. buying them.  I don't know about you, but my kids are already getting caught up in the hype around toys.  I am starting to hear the "I want, I want, I want" over everything they see.  It was really nice to have a good (and fun) talk with them on using resources, making our own stuff and enjoying the experience more than the "thing".  And that, my friends, is the recipe for mommy magic!

Added bonus, by the way, is the couple of hours that they were occupied yesterday...and they are still painting right now.  Also mommy magic!

happy day,

p.s. when the paint drys, the salt makes it a little glittery...added bonus!

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