I've been in the very slow process of updating the kids' playroom and have been looking for some items to add to a future gallery wall of artwork and photographs. I saw a mini version of a similar project on pinterest, and loved the idea of creating something that was personal, quick and cheap for each of the kids. Below are the almost-finished products of the color stories I made for the kids (Hou's is on the left, Leah's is on the right). Ultimately these will be matted and framed and hung in the play room, but these could easily be hung as-is. I loved how these compilations just "felt" like each of the kids' personalities: Hou quiet and deep; Leah sweet and sensitive. Here are directions to make your own color story project!
-Mat board, poster board or other thick, white card stock paper: I knew I wanted mine to be large, so I purchase these 16x20 sheets of mat board from Michaels for $4.99 each.
-12 paint chips: This number could increase or decrease depending on the size of the art desired. You can also cut the paint chips to be smaller if you want to create a smaller finished product.
-Black pen or marker for captions
1. Make a brainstorm of the 12(ish) categories you wish to include in your color story. I knew I was creating two of these, so I ended up coming up with 24 total. Think about the colors in the life of the person you are creating your art for. There were some mutual categories I wanted for both of the kids (the color of their eyes, the color of their favorite foods, etc), but then there were some that were unique to each child: Leah's favorite sparkly shoes, the color of Houston's first bedroom, etc. I snapped a picture of my list and brought it with me to the hardware store to look for paint. This was so helpful to keep me focused, and also sped up the process so I didn't feel like such a creep swiping paint samples.
2. Head to your favorite local hardware store to grab your paint samples. Like I said, I was going for 24. I had grand plans of traveling the city to various locations for fear of being "caught" but ended up at Lowe's where really… no one cares. It helped having my list because I could browse and grab quickly. I also liked the convenience having so many colors to choose from. What I feared being stressful was actually one of my favorite parts of the project. I couldn't help smiling to myself remembering all of these vivid moments from my kids' lives.
3. When you get home, spread the colors out and arrange them in different "spreads" until you find the story that looks the best. If you have a good idea of which color goes with which category (or the colors are different enough), you won't have to worry about remembering their caption later. However, if you have some colors that are close, you may want to label them on your organizer before you start mixing them up too much! Once you've found your final arrangement, plug in that glue gun!
4. Optional: while your glue gun is warming up, you may decide that you want to align your color samples a bit more accurately. I made some quick guidelines with my ruler, but wasn't going for perfection here (I wanted the kids to know that I made these after all). But since I was making two of them to hang somewhat close to each other, I didn't want them to be completely free-handed (read: "utterly crooked").
5. Get to gluing! I started with the four corners and sort of eye-balled it from there.
6. Once your paint samples are glued on, it's time to get writing. I was a little nervous about this step, but ended up just diving in. Heck, I was almost done and I couldn't wait to see the end result. I used a fine tip pen (size .45mm line) for writing. One more tip: don't drink "dark magic" coffee before attempting.
2. Mash the bananas into a thick blob of slime. My kids love this step, but I equally love getting out a little aggression at the end "just to make sure they're totally mushed" of course.
Want something quick and easy to make that a) you can do with your kids without losing your mind, b) uses up those brown bananas on the counter that you swore you were going to use for your healthy smoothie resolution, and c) are prepped and cooked in under 20 minutes? Boom. You're ready for a Smith-family favorite: 2-ingredient cookies featuring ripe bananas and oats. And if you're really brave and feel a little Rachel Ray-ish, you can even add some of your own "extras" to give these healthy snacks a little more zip.
2 ripe bananas
1 cup of oats (rolled or quick-cook); we love these Bob's Red Mill extra thick rolled oats because they taste more "oatsy" if you will. They're a little trickier to use to hold everything together, but I'm magical and I make it work.
*Optional extras of your choice: chocolate chips, dried fruit, cinnamon, etc.
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Peel the two bananas, and scoop out a cup of oats. Throw 'em in the bowl.
3. *Optional: Add the extras of your choice. I LOVE adding a handful (*cough, or two, cough*) of chocolate morsels and some dried cranberries. Who doesn't like chocolate, and I like how the cranberries cut the sweetness of the bananas.
4. Ball up 12 gooey chunks of banana goodness. This can be a bit tricky with the thicker oats, but you really just have to get it onto a greased cookie sheet in a general lump. As you can see, the Smith family does not suffer from OCD. Just throw 'em on there.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will not really change much, but the bananas will get toasty and the oats may brown up a bit.
6. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. They are ready to eat now if you have people like Mr. Smith in your family who just can NOT wait. Personally, I like to leave them in the fridge for awhile to stiffen up a bit. Or save them (if you can!) to eat with your morning coffee. Believe me. It's so worth it.
What do you think? Do you have any good additions we should try? Try them and let us know what you think!
The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters. ~Audrey Hepburn