7 Fun Surfaces To Paint On

So I’ll be honest with you. If you’ve been following my blog, you might have noticed, it’s been somewhat quiet around here. Life with a baby and a 3,5 year-old is pretty fun, but tiresome. If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about. If not, well, you sure have heard of it… or you’ll have to believe me. So, my activity, not only on this blog, but overall in doing creative stuff is somewhat lower than I would like it to be. But I know it will come back.

Not only is it the life-with-kids part. Here comes the being-honest-with-you part. We also have had a rather somewhat difficult situation at home, which included our finances. So as a result of all these things, we’ve been rather doing low-key things around here.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Low-key can be good. Can make you do fun stuff. And that’s why I want to share with you a few things in the coming time, what we’ve done, all very cheap, easy and fun. I hope you will enjoy them!

Well, I felt like I should write a broader introduction since I haven’t written for a while, but let’s talk more about what you’re here for.

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Painting can be fun, right? I don’t know about you, but we love painting. Ever since Liv was a baby, we started painting with edible paints on paper and in the tub, and she loved it ever since. Nowadays, I rarely “prepare” something as a painting activity. She has her own paints, pencils, brushes, etc., and a little desk for her “work” in our workroom. She comes and does whatever she wants with them whenever she feels like it.

But from time to time, it can be pretty fun to paint on something else, rather than on paper. So here’s some ideas!

Plant pots

This was a wonderful summer activity for us. We have actually painted on a few, some in my parent’s garden, some at home on our balcony. Some were “washed clean” again by the rain, but that’s ok. The experience, the fun are important, not the outcome, or as in this case, the lasting of it.

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(Btw, no, that is not a filter on the photo, my phone just took it as it is… I guess it doesn’t handle too much light.. but now it just feels like summer, doesn’t it?)

Rocks

We have painted on rocks numerous times. Especially in summer, again. So simple. And you have the additional fun of collecting the rocks and picking for example only flat ones, or whatever you choose are the ones you want. Or, for example, going barefoot through a stream, then finding a nice big rock and leaving a message behind… (Liv was here) ;-)

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Cardboard, boxes and cardboard boxes

Cardboard (boxes) are great to paint on, similar like paper (of course), yet you get a different feeling somehow. Of course, you can buy a lot of pretty storage boxes at stores like IKEA or any other shop, really. But when you think about it, there are actually a lot of boxes lying around that you can use. Whether it be from some kind of food, or a box from shoes or something else you bought. We recycled and reused a lot of boxes lately for different purposes. And it’s really nice to add a little touch to them with paint (and paint over those ugly inscriptions and images to hide, of course).

So this is Liv’s new box for her art stuff.

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Small box from phone, I think… For small things to put away.

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Boxes from a warm drink tasting similar to coffee, except it’s not coffee, but something plant-based. I used to drink it a lot after giving birth, when I wanted to have a placebo feeling of drinking coffee, but tried to drink minimum of it. Now we painted on the boxes and made toys for Sebastian out of it.

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(No, that’s not supposed to go in it. That’s one of my weights for sewing. Funny though she tried to put it in..)

A piece of cardboard. Liv’s first drawing of a figure. (If you want to know, it’s actually Tefiti from the movie Moana, coming out of the water. You can even see her green heart. Haha, who would have told that would be my daughter’s first figure drawing…)

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Also a piece of cardboard. Liv can put on shoes by herself by now, but she still has trouble deciding which shoe goes on which foot. I made the shoe steps drawing around her actual shoes and then tracing her foot on it, Liv painted the base on which we glued these on.

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Wooden boxes from fruits

Similar to cardboard boxes, really.. You buy fruits like oranges or strawberries or whatever in it often. And what do you do with it? We like to paint on it.

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Tea-set

I’ve written about this on a post earlier, but I wanted to include it here in this list, since it was such a fun experience! Liv was very interested in pouring into glasses some time ago and we had this old tea-set, which we never used, so one day we decided to decorate it a bit and leave it for Liv to play with.

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Fabric

This too, I have written in a separate post, when we made with Liv a shawl for my mother. Liv loved doing this… We should absolutely repeat that some time soon.

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Eggs

Now I know, Christmas is around the corner and I’m talking about painting eggs, right? However, even though, it’s something usually done before Easter, you can totally do it any time in the year… right? This was actually on Liv’s bidding. She found paints for painting eggs and really begged me to do this for a few times. I always told her, not right now, because she would come up with it just before we had to go to sleep, or before we had to leave for somewhere. But then finally, the time was right for once and we did it. Who cares it’s middle of autumn… It’s fun to do any time of the year!

Crap, I have however forgotten to do some photos of this, so I’ll have to add those lateeer… sorry for that :-)

Now, I know, all those are nothing ground-breaking. But, as I said in the beginning, we went very low-key, so they’re all things you probably got lying around at home. It might feel refreshing though to look around and see stuff outside the box what you might use.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve had some fun surfaces to paint on! Anything goes! :-)

 

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DIY Colour Sorting Bowls With Acorns

I’ve been in love with colour sorting bowls like this one (especially those with acorns) for some time now and I wanted to buy some long ago for Liv on Etsy. I would not mind the price (since I think it is good to appreciate people who do good stuff, honest crafts with a good price… (but that’s another story)), but when you add shipping costs to it which are more than the item itself, it gets to be a pretty expensive toy. So let’s make one ourselves, right?

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I was looking for nice wooden bowls for a long time, but they were usually quite expensive. Or at least those I found. But then I came upon these metal ones at a H&M Home sale for about 2-3 euros. Though they are different than what I originally had in mind, they are OK too and so I just went with it. I like them enough to wanna use them and at least I’m not sorry to paint them over.

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So when Liv’s birthday was coming up, it was finally time to get them done.

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It was also a good time, because I’ve noticed she started to be interested in sorting, and sometimes even by colour. ;-)

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I bought the wooden acorns here on Etsy. At least the shipping for those wasn’t too much, since they could be sent as a mail-package. Love them, by the way! Just the size I wanted, beautifully made.

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It was important to me to get some eco-friendly and kid-friendly colours for the whole project. Luckily they were not hard to find, they had some at a paint shop near us. They didn’t have a big range of hues, though, just some basic ones so I did a little mixing at home when painting. I actually played around for quite a bit to get a shade I was satisfied with.

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Funny thing is, about a week later after I made those sorting bowls, my mom told me she bought me some wooden ones, because she knew I’ve been looking for some for quite some time. They are really beautiful though, so I’m sure we’ll find a use for them too! :-)

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Also, a month later I saw some wooden bowls at IKEA, that I could have used. But, meh, whatever. It’s done now. At least those from the sale were cheaper, ha.

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Anyway. Liv really liked them. It only took me a bit of explaining why we’re not going to repaint them (just now), since she saw the bowls before I painted them… She caught me unprepared there. Well, I guess it does have it’s downsides if you do painting projects with your little daughter on different things.. It can get hard to explain when and why we paint sometimes on some things and when (and why) not.

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She loves the acorns. And she added some buttons to the bowls right away. Sweet girl and her love for buttons. They don’t match the colours quite, though, when she’s in a colour-sorting-mood and she doesn’t acknowledge as pink being similar to red yet. Not even light-green to the darker green bowl. But that’s OK. I still love that she’s just playing around with it from time to time, with whatever improvements she comes up with!

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Painting On A Tea Set

So today we’ve had a fun activity with Liv! She was not at all in a mood to go anywhere anymore in the afternoon, so I came up with this funny idea- yes, as you may have guessed it (since the title says so)- Let’s paint on our tea set!

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To explain things a little bit. Liv once got a tiny tea set from her grandmother, but it stayed at their house and is by now broken most of the parts (not by Liv, though!). Once we got the fun idea to make a picnic at home, while Liv’s friend was staying here… that was sooo great. We needed a tea set for that. So I took out an old retro tea set, which I don’t know why I have still not gotten rid of, and I’m not going to miss if it should break. Needles to say, the picnic in our living room was a huge success. Ever since, the tea set stayed on a tray for Liv to play with whenever she wants.

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The tea party/ picnic we had with our friend (and dolls and stuffed animals).

I might wanna add, I kind of like the fact with this tea set that she’s playing with something real, in the spirit of Montessori pedagogic.

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Nevertheless, it was always bugging me, that the chocolate brown tea set (though I do like the retro touch) is kind of boring for a little girl. Not that I’d think a child has to play only with bright, colourful, happy-looking toys. Not at all. Still, I thought they were boring.

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So here we are, Liv just refused all my suggestions where to go and what to do and bugs me about watching something on the computer (we don’t have a TV). And suddenly I come up with this idea, start taking out the colours and prepare the whole thing, and Liv gets immediately hooked. And I’m happy.

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I admit, though I know she likes painting, I was a bit surprised how much she was into the whole thing. She was sooo committed to it from beginning till end.

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I also admit, I did not think this activity quite through, since it was more of an act in the moment. I had only 3 colours I found at home that could paint on ceramics. One of them a dark royal blue, which was not too visible on the dark brown tea set. As a paradox though, this was the colour that Liv was most into in the end, end she ended up painting it everywhere. It was also the one colour of the 3, that does not really go down by washing. Our hands (and Liv’s belly, since I tried to rescue her shirt last minute from getting very blue) are still pretty blue.

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Yep, we also didn’t get changed for painting. My bad, I should have foreseen it. But Liv just got so hooked so quickly, grabbing immediately a brush and starting to paint as soon as I got it out, I didn’t want to interrupt her anymore. It seemed to be ok in the beginning, she was pretty calm, painting only on the set. But in the end… well, what is there to add. :-)

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Of course, we were not going for something “aesthetically perfect” here. Although, I pretty much love the outcome (and it’s pretty perfect to me, but then I guess, who wouldn’t love the work of their child)! I really wanted to leave her to decorate her tea set. I only added here and there something, more for the sake of encouraging her to paint and try different things, rather than trying to make something really.

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Liv really liked the fact that we were working with special colours, with special brushes. She really got the hang of that word.

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Oh well. So much fun. So much happiness. From such a crazy idea. I should really try to come up with more activities that are like this. But try to be more prepared next time, haha.

My DIY Working Space and Pegboard

Today I would like to share with you a little part of… well, one could almost say a little part of me. And it would probably be more right than I would’ve thought when I started to write this sentence.

When we were buying this flat we are living in- btw, our first (and probably last?) very own appartement- it seemed at the beginning like I would have a whole (or almost whole) room to myself, so to speak. To sew, to create, to work in. Now it seems it has pretty much shrunk to “just” a corner… Ok, it is still pretty much half of the room. Ok, let’s admit, half of the half room, Liv has started to occupy with her stuff. Her toys, her books. It’s pretty much where she plays the most. Which, by the way, I find terribly sweet! Even though, it takes up “my” working space.

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Nevertheless, I love my working space. And not only because Liv takes up half of it. (haha, there’s an unintended pun in that sentence.. :-)

A lot of love and detail has gone into creating this little corner of mine. Though it may not seem so, but it was not quite as easy to do as I thought when I first started playing with the idea of making it what it is.

I really loved all the pegboard walls that I saw on the internet before. So obviously, that was where I wanted to go with my corner.

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Here’s how it looked when it was fresh up on the wall

Finding a pegboard in a home improvement store (you know, the kind of Home Depot, only we have others here in Europe..) was the easy part. The hard part was to actually find accessoires to go with the peg board. Not that I couldn’t find any, just that they were usually going with a special other kind of pegboard-ish walls. Which were different than what I wanted, usually out of metal. I did not like them. And they were much more expensive. And, of course, the distance between their holes were different from the cheaper pegboard that I bought. Which was my main problem. So I had to improvise.

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I looked up Amazon, but they don’t always write the distance either, and I didn’t want to buy something blindly. Only one day after I was looking for them already for some time, luck smiled on me a little and I found those hooks that would fit- in a store after all. Pity, I don’t remember anymore where it was.

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To go with this, I bought the RIKTIG curtain hooks with clips from IKEA. The forms on which the ribbons and laces are wrapped around, I cut out of a thick paper.

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Btw, I had NO idea I had so many ribbons and such. The ones hanging on my wall are just a part… There’s another box full of ribbons, laces, bias tapes, rubber bands and so on, hidden away in a closet opposite to the desk, because they didn’t fit on there anymore. And I thought it would be just one row on the pegboard!

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My all-time-favourite part on that pegboard is this DIY threads-holder, my father made for me! It’s just pure awesomeness. :-)
I saw such on the internet before, so I showed him some pictures, asking him if he would help me do this. We also looked up Amazon and Ebay, if it wouldn’t be easier to just buy one, but they were too expensive (or too crappy) for my taste. And I really wanted it to be wooden, which not all of them were.

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So he made this. And it’s PERFECT. He even added those cute half-sphere embellishments on the sides, because he knew I would like that. :-)

The only thing about it is, again, I have too many threads. I had no idea I had sooo many. So only about half of them are up on the thread-holder.

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The rest is hidden in the big bin on the FINTORP rail, I bought at IKEA. There’s also two small bins, also bought at IKEA (either potholders or candleholder, I’m not sure as they can be used for both, but I think it was the first one). They hold the smaller tools that I use frequently. Like my Aqua-marker, other marking pencils, seam gauge, fabric glue, tweezers, fabric puncher, etc. You get the idea.

Underneath the thread(holder) there are 3 little bins attached to the pegboard. There are small things, that I need most frequently, like needles for the sewing machine, pins, marking chalk, and my Walking foot (when I’m not using it).

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Then there are a few big tools hung upon the pegboard. I had to make the hooks for those just out of some metal strips, as I couldn’t find anything proper. Well, ok, honestly, it was meant to be a temporary thing, until I find some other hooks. But I’ve stopped looking since these work just fine.

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I have this lovely little hanger on the desk, holding all my scissors. It was a present I got some time ago, meant for jewellery. Again, this was a temporary thing, but I’ve grown to actually love it like this.

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And then there’s the shelf above the pegboard. One of Liv’s favourite parts about my working space, really. Because it has all the buttons (and other small closures or embellishments or such things). And I let her play with them. She would ask to go on my arms, then she chooses which ones she would like to play with and I put them down on the floor for her to study them. Or do as she likes. She also likes the big bin with the rest of the threads, because I let her play with those too.

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I used the magnetic knife rack from IKEA (GRUNDTAL), which I put on the bottom part of the shelf to hold the glass bottles.

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Having a baby came in handy here, since I was making the whole thing at a time when Liv was already eating mushed food, so we had a LOT of glasses from baby food. :-)
I just had to get the labels (and glue) off (there was a lot of scrubbing with a metal sponge and nailpolish-remover, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought) and I spray-painted the tops red.

I thought I’d have to add magnets on top of the bottle-tops… I even bought a few samples to try out which would hold. But it turned out the tops are holding just fine by themselves, since they are metalic (and therefore magnetic). Lucky me.

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My little helper… she loves sewing and crafting with me. She also loves to sit behind the sewing machines. And play around with the thread tension arms of my overlock. And then I can wonder why it’s not working as it should.

I added an ornamental (painted polystyrene) moulding to the shelf, which I didn’t plan to, because it wasn’t after all very pretty with the magnetic rack all being visible. Luckily I had some left, which I bought as a test to the pegboard, where I also added an ornamental moulding, to make it look a bit like a framed picture.

Yep. That’s about it. Yeah, except I painted the pegboard with some red colour we have still left from painting the room. And I cut out my own stencil (by hand, into a thick cardboard…ouch, that evening my fingers really hurt…) and made a pattern on top of it. Yeaaah….now that’s it, really.

As I said, I love my little corner. The pegboard and everything made my working process so much easier, it’s great to have the most common used things right at hand. And I like things to look kind of special. But most of all, it helped me so much to have things organized, easy to work with, easy to find…

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Oh, and I’m pretty happy to add those little babies to the list, which my husband (with Liv’s help) put up only a few days ago! Adding a little industrial/ steampunk vibe to my work area. Finally I have some light over my big desk, where I draw, cut and do all the stuff when I’m not sitting behind my sewing machines!

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Here are my other helpers. Love them. And I thank oh-so-many-times-all-heavens (and my father) for my overlock… makes life (sewing) SO much easier!

Haha, a friend always told me in University I was a romantic. I never wanted to believe her. Me? A romantic? Noooo. Now when I look at this corner of mine and how it turned out, I must confess, I probably am somewhat of a romantic after all. :-D

Where do you get all your (creative) work done?

 

(Btw, if anyone should wonder, none of the above was given to me, I am not making advertising or promotion to IKEA, Singer or anyone else. Simply stating my work of progress, if anyone were to find it useful.)

 

Best Art Happens Off-Canvas

We have had a busy last week, always going somewhere, so I think both Liv and I were quite relieved to stay home on Friday afternoon and have a nice calm afternoon-evening. So after she had her daytime-nap we went on a little meadow near-by to our home, trying out our new kite for the first time! I mean not only the first time for our new kite, but for the first time for Liv too. :-) We’ve been really looking forward to this ever since the end of summer. Sadly, I didn’t get to make a photo of it, since I was running around for the most of the time with Liv on my one arm and trying to hold the kite with the other. She really wanted to hold the kite, but she’s not such a great runner yet, so I had to carry her around. Anyway, it was great fun and the kids (we went with a friend who has a girl too) loved it.

After that we went home. And how to end such a nice, calm evening better than with painting before our bath.

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For some time now we have started to use paper and different colours, which I bought in IKEA last time I was there. I didn’t really mean to use them for some time yet. But I was always really sorry to have to wash away all of Liv’s creations, so I thought -well, why not try it this way? After all, she doesn’t eat the paint anymore. (And I’m there with her all the time anyway in case she would want to try.) So here we are.

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In the mood for some blood? :-)

Liv does really like it. However. Somehow, she always paints only for a few minutes on the paper. Then she gets much more interested in pouring the paint out of the bowls, mixing them, and such. I don’t blame her. It is really fascinating, how the paints flows down the bathtub, mixing together… There is a certain kind of perfection in it. Natural perfection. So. As much as I would like to have some of Liv’s art creations conserved for years later, her best art always happens off-canvas (or off-paper, if you will).

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Isn’t it in real life sometimes (often) just like that? Best things in life happen outside of the paper… outside of cameras… you can’t really capture it.. :-)

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Liv cleaning up after painting. How Montessori, isn’t it? :-)

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Baby’s First Art

My little Liv loves to paint. Drawing too, but painting is always a bit more exciting.

It all started in December last year, a few days after Christmas. She was 9 months old then. I wanted to have our first painting experiment for some time already, but that day was like made for it. It was snowing all day long and we couldn’t get outside. So in the late afternoon/evening we were getting bored at home and that’s when I finally decided to try it out with her.

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I put out big papers (actually 2 layers to protect the floor) on the floor. And made our own edible paints.

That joy in her face :-)
That joy in her face :-)

The recipe?

1 cup of flour
1 cup of water
food colouring

Liv had to try the paint with all her senses… Touch, of course. Taste.

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One of my all-time favourite pictures :-)

Sound. Of the bowls, banging them together.

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I usually mix the flour and water in a big bowl and divide it then into 3 smaller bowls, where I add the food colouring. I have found 3 bowls to be the ideal number so she has something to mix and choose from, but not to get too overwhelmed with too many choices.

After our first experiment I tried to put her into our bathtub to paint just right before bath-time in the evening. That way it would be easier to clean anything that gets painted on and also her. She was soooo dirty after the first time. :-) Had to paint with her whole body.

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Ever since, she is painting in our bathtub.

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Starting out pretty clean… to get all messy like this…

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And she loves painting. She loved it from our first attempt. And nowadays she even knows where the painting-stuff is and she asks rather regularly to paint. And as a new addition, she loves to clean the bath tub herself after painting. :-)

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I have a new appreciation for (post)modern art. I really do. Suddenly I find all kinds of perfection in wet paint running down, spluttered paint around… and such.

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