I’m pretty sure the first time I tried my hand at batik I was in middle school. Mrs. Brown taught art at my middle school and her husband taught my 9th & 10th grade art classes. I am so grateful for the passion they each taught with and poured out into their students. I’ve heard art classes are being cut at many schools. It is hard for me to imagine any of my school years without art class. In high school and college, the art room was my refuge. I had my own little studio spot on my high school campus, where I ate many meals alone simply because I could. It was my favorite place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of high school. I am so thankful for those years, for my fellow art students and for the opportunity to create on campus.

I digress.

Last year I bought the book Art Lab for Kids. I’ve posted about it previously. It has become my go-to for quick ideas that teach more than what many consider the basics of art. Last week I taught the kids about batik. Normally, you do batik with hot wax and dye. Neither of those work very well with my daughters. The boys could have handled it, but the girls…not so much. Anyway, I took the basic instructions for creating a similar project using glue and paint from the Art Lab book.

We used canvas and paint we had on hand. The book has better instructions and tips. Ours was basic – draw with glue, let it dry, paint over it all, then wash the glue off (or just wash the paint off the glue if you are tired of washing glue!)

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We just used standard Americana craft paint.9.14batik-059.14batik-079.14batik-08

I had the best intentions of joining the kids for this project, but someone kept needing help with water or paint. I might need to find a way to sneak away and do this one on my own! Actually, it really makes me want to do real Batik again. I don’t miss high school, but I do miss that dedicated daily time each day for art. I’m going to need to figure out a way to dedicate a certain time slot each week to art again – I think that sounds like a great idea.

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  • angie - hi Ashley… it also makes me sad when I hear of art being cut from schools… kids really need that creative outlet… I love all of the projects that you do with your children… this looks like a really fun one to try! thanks for sharing!!! have a great day :)

  • Sherry - Cute project! We did the same project in scouts and used leaves to trace aroudn with glue, then painted. I had the boys use cotton/broadcloth as the base. It was much easier to wash out the glue. So fun to see such creativity taking place.

  • Gris fleur - Creativity ! Last week I was at a meeting at school for my High schooler. The IT tech guy was almost having a heart attack explaining us how greeeeeat it was that the kids could use their laptops in every class. Till I got a heart attack hearing a mum asking this : ” I do hope they also use their laptops in art classes “. I stood up and asked if somebody in the room knew what a brush, a canvas or even a colour was …. SO SO SO terrifying !
    Anyway, I love your room for the kids so full of light that they can only want to create !
    ps sorry for my bad english but I’m French ;)))

  • Lisa | Winter Heights - Love this! And I agree, setting time aside for art is a great idea. I’ve been forced to do it as I’m working to open an Etsy shop and it has been truly rewarding.

    Hoping your lovely family is doing well!

  • Chrissie - This looks like so much fun! I might use it for a project for my daughter’s kindergarten class. Could you possibly tell me what kind of fabric you used? It looks pretty stiff, like a canvas? I would guess that would make it easier for the kids to paint it… Thanks for sharing, I love this!!

  • Jenny B. - Awesome! It is so funny that I was just thinking about batiking after it was a quiz answer on some silly Disney Channel sitcom last night. I actually had no idea it was with hot wax and dye. I did it with a group of 5th graders when I was student teaching, and we did the glue method, so I thought that was THE method. Ha! :) I loved high school art class too. There are still songs on the radio that when I hear them, I am instantly transported back to Mrs. McNair’s art room. Life Is A Highway (the original) is one. :)

  • Risa West - Love your blog! Thanks for sharing this and the book recommendation. We just started homeschooling this year. My daughter is a tiny bit younger than firecracker. I was in band in HS but love art so much now that I’m an adult. Really anything creative makes me happy. So I have loved that I can include as much creativity in her education as I can. Please keep sharing what/how you homeschool. It’s helpful to see what someone else is doing, sometimes overwhelming with how many options there are, but still helpful to see how others do things.

  • danielle - Ah, I really like your space. With wood floors painting is always a bit dicy. Is this space attached to your house or a seperate space? I really need to do more art with my boys!

  • Amber - Is that last batik by chance based on your camping trip this summer? I see mountains : ) Love that idea: batik with glue! I have done it with the wax and dye and a quicker version is ideal for my kids as well! Thanks for sharing! Keep up the great work Ashley!

  • meg duerksen - i was the same way with art. i can’t imagine not having that outlet every day in high school especially.
    and also… it’s too bad you don’t have a cool sunny place to do art with your kids in… heh heh heh. ;)

  • Amy Espinosa @the little farm diary - Sounds like so much fun! Our girls are both so artsy on their own EVERY day that I forget to do group art projects so our little dude gets some art too. Thanks for the much needed reminder!

  • Steph - Very cool! My daughter is a toddler but I could do the glue portion, perhaps spelling her name or drawing a favorite animal, then letting her paint it.

  • Melissa - Your willingness to do messy art with the kids inspires me to do the same and quit worrying about the mess! Also, I have searched the blog trying to see if you posted about it but had no luck finding out; from where are those shelves along the wall in the back?

  • Courtney - That big table in that bright room! Can I move in?

  • AshleyAnn - Melissa – they are from IKEA

  • Ashleigh - I am impressed that you do so much with mess! I have tons of art supplies for my own girls (2 and 3) because they love to paint so much. But I almost never pull them out – hating the mess!
    You’ve inspired me. This week I am going to do it!
    Thanks!

Chris taught the boys how to play Capture the Flag a little while back. Since then my oldest has been dreaming of having a bunch of friends and their dads over to play an “epic” game. He and Chris planned. They mowed paths in our field. They drew out the course. They invited friends. And they decided this Labor Day weekend would be the first annual game…to be followed by many more in the years to come. My oldest said he is looking forward to the day that his friends can take on all the dads and win.  I told him to watch out….I think the moms could take them all.

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Those that endured the heat and wore pants were thankful….they could get off the mowed paths for more covert attacks.9.14capturetheflag-029.14capturetheflag-039.14capturetheflag-04

The little girls were going to watch…then they couldn’t help from joining in the game. (that is not my daughter on the far left, its her friend. They are a month apart in age….just in case someone was wondering when her hair grew and got curls!)9.14capturetheflag-059.14capturetheflag-06

This summer I read Moment Maker by my friend Carlos Whittaker. We’ve only sat down for one meal together, but he and his wife have been such an encouragement to me for so long…I claim them as friends! Anyway, I shared this quote on Instagram and wanted to share it here:

“As you are creating moments, don’t take the process for granted.

Don’t let the moment happen without realizing that the intention that comes before the moment is what makes it all meaningful.”

The Capture the Flag night was a summer highlight for my son. He may not recognize it, but part of what made the night so great for him was all the time he spent with his dad planning and dreaming. It was the intention going into the night that made it meaningful for him…for us.

I talk a lot about how photography helps me see the little things that make up my days. When I look through my camera, I notice things that I miss otherwise. As I was snapping a photo of Carlos’ book for this post, I noticed someone added a doll among my deer. I left her there. She makes me smile now.

9.14capturetheflag-07

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  • michele - I love this post because it has many hidden treasures that may not be revealed for years to come.
    It also reminds me of one of my favorite songs.

    CINDY MORGAN
    How Could I Ask For More?
    “There’s nothing like the warmth of a summer afternoon
    Waking to the sunlight, being cradled by the moon
    Catching fireflies at night, building castles in the sand
    Kissing mama’s face goodnight and holding daddy’s hand
    Thank you, Lord, how could I ask for more?”

    Please keep recording these beautiful memories and thank you so much for sharing them with us.

  • RachelC - What a fun idea and holiday tradition!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh wow – now I’m going to have to go get that book! It sounds wonderful.

  • Jessica R - It has been bugging me for a few days how I know the name Carlos Whittaker. I finally pieced it together – he works at my church! What a small world. I had no idea he had a book. Off to Amazon…

  • Amy Rendziak - It’s been awhile since I have been able to catch up on your blog. Sitting here tonight I again saw the white sheets with the little blue “flowers” and again thought “OMG! Ashley and I have the same sheets!” Then, I thought that sounded kinda stalker-ish. ;)

    I love your blog!

8.4sleep-01

He was running a fever. My ‘mom-gut’ told me it was nothing major, no need for a doctor’s visit or concern. He needed rest.

He took a long nap in my bed. Peaceful. Content. Safe.

Not for a second was I worried that his fever would turn into something else. I wasn’t worried that the fever would never go away. I didn’t think twice about it.

And then, I did.

I sat on the bed next to him and just wept over him. I thought of so many moms in Liberia and West Africa. I thought of the fear that must wash over them right now at any sign of childhood illness. How a fever to them could be their greatest fear. I thought of their pain. I sat and watched my feverish son sleep peacefully. Ebola was not a concern. I was not worried that he would wake up and begin throwing up and then start showing signs for a disease taking 1000s of lives. I wasn’t worried that I was going to lose him. It feels unfair -  a mom should not worry death looms at the sign of a fever. My little guy woke up. Fever gone soon. He was back running around, jumping on the trampoline, playing with chickens and just being a kid. And I was just being a mom enjoying him. And I wept at how easily I take so much of my life for granted.

My heart is aching for my friends in Liberia. For the people of West Africa.

I think about my new friends in neighboring Ghana, about their villages, about their communities.

Everywhere I look people are hurting. Some are on tv. Some I saw yesterday. Some are reading this blog.

Some I know their hurt. Others face pain silently.

The world is full of those that want to take down others – whether with guns, words or actions.

Often those wanting to take down others are hurting as much as the ones they want to take down.

I can’t stop the Ebola outbreak. I can’t fight cancer for a friend. I can take my heart break and find a way to use it. I can be one that builds others up instead of taking them down. I can be one that doesn’t dig to find that one terrible thing about someone. Instead, I can search for the good and celebrate it in the people around me. I can look at the simplest parts of my day with gratitude. I can choose to look and listen to the cries of the world around me and help my children see those things too. I can choose to see. I can choose to love. I can choose to let that love take action.

Today I am going to find an action of love to take and I am going to do it.

Everyone-Poster_grande*Poster found at Help Ink

 

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  • Rosa ML - You are so inspiring, Ashley… Thanks for your words.
    Greetings from the south of Spain, where some people also suffer in silence, like everywhere else.

  • Kirsten - I was JUST NOW despairing over all of the hurt in the world and feeling completely helpless. Thanks for the timely reminder…and encouragement that I can do something, even if it is a little something.

  • Arifa - You have such a beautiful and courageous heart. I love your blog.

  • Birdy - You are so right with this thought! I also give Ebola quiet a lot time this days. I wished so often to be a doctor myself and go and help… but this won’t happened so I think about different ways to help… But to fight against Ebola seems to me mostly impossible.

    How are you helping?
    Love to read about this thoughts as well.

    Wish you a wonderful weekend and hopefully your little boy get well soon!
    http://lasagnolove.blogspot.de/2014/08/have-wonderful-weekend_29.html

    Love from Germany and the -fatcatconnection-
    Birdy

  • Lisa | Winter Heights - Thank you for this! I love finding areas in my life to be more and more thankful…and on the flip side encouraged to pray and act for those experiencing pains I cannot fully fathom. Another lovely post, thanks Ashley.

  • Mary Kate - I wept as I read this. Thank you for the reminder that we are so blessed in so many ways.

  • Kingsley Moore - Thank you… for always inspiring and reminding me, for using your platform as a change agent. You change lives. :) kingsley

  • rebekah - Thank you for being brave enough to share your heart. It’s refreshing and inspiring. I have often thought of the people facing battles silently…When we ask God to give us a heart like His…He blesses us with the beautiful burden of loving others and seeing them as Jesus sees them…sees us. I thank God for your desire to spread the love. Thank you.

  • Jen - Having spent x3 days in the children’s hospital with both my 1yr old and 3yr old fighting a fever I know exactly how you felt…
    When the doctors admitted the kids they suspected typhoid as we had just spent some time travelling in India as a family – my husband and I were also sick….thankfully a few days of observations and tests later they confirmed it was ‘just’ the flu. What a relief for us, but as you say for others round the world and used to be here in our country the flu can kill…let us be mindful.

  • jenny - this brought tears to my eyes… thank you for putting it all back in perspective. it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and forget how lucky we are especially when it comes to the little (yet big) things. you have such a good heart. i feel lucky to get to be inspired by you :)

  • Emily Betzler - WOW! Thank you for this inspiration and perspective today. Keep on doing what you do!!!

  • Jenny - This is beautifully written! My heart just breaks thinking of what other people are enduring! Bless you, for reminding us to count our blessings and be a blessing to others!

  • Amy M - Its hard to grasp all the things that most of us take for granted are such a struggle for others. Thanks for the reminder. <3

  • the inadvertent farmer - Thank you for sharing your heart with us today. This world that seems so evil and overwhelming at times is certainly a better place because you are in it, thanks for choosing love. Kim

  • Ilse - You just made me cry. Great post.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - So, so true. spread that beauty – you have a gift at it.

  • Faith - Thanks for such a beautiful and inspiring message. Bless you and your family.
    It’s not easy to think about all the pain and suffering and injustice in the world. But I need to think of these things and do my part to make it stop.

  • Cheryl - As a mom with a child with a chronic illness, I understand a mother’s fear that her child could be taken from her at any time. I have experienced my child being so ill that his doctors feared they might not be able to save him. It is a daily struggle of injections, medications and all the other things that are necessary to attempt to control a disease that is trying to kill my son every single day. We won’t let it. We will fight, and because we have good medical insurance and great doctors, we have the tools to do so. My heart breaks for mothers who have no way to save their kids, no way to protect them from disease and all the other bad things in the world.

  • Jamie J - I’m not normally one to cry easily, but these same exact thoughts have been flooding my mind lately and I just cry. Images of little ones in urine-filled diapers hiding out in mountaintops in 115-degree heat desperate for food and water — what if that was my toddler? The sicknesses and evil going on in parts of this world have left me feeling almost “guilty” for being so fortunate to live free from that. I just pray for them. I don’t know what else to do. I can’t grasp why things have to be so miserable, scary for so many people. This post just really hit me bc it shares the same thoughts I’ve been having so often these days.

  • erin - You have no idea how much these words spoke to my heart today. Thank you so much for putting this on your corner of the Internet. It was much needed for me, personally.

  • Theresa - This is so powerful to me. My fiancĂ© was supposed to be leaving for Liberia this week to finish his PHD research but it was too dangerous. Luckily the friends that we have over there have not gotten the illness but it is a daily fear that I feel like most people are forgetting about. Thank you for bringing this up to your other readers.

  • Michelle B. - Thank you for these words.

  • meg duerksen - well this breaks my heart. i am trying to hold it together every time i think about liberia. i am a mess inside. its so messy. so broken. so scary. God be with them.

  • Tracy A - Love your heart friend. Someone told me recently, “your life makes an eternal difference.”–and yours does, too. Thanks sister!