Maybe you’re tired of seeing all the cool and creative ways to decorate for Halloween. I know I am — but only because I won’t have the time or energy to do any of them. Don’t get me wrong — I love Halloween for it’s wonderful mish-mash of adorable and terrifying. And I had grand plans for our family costumes this year. Papa and I skipped dressing up last year, so I wanted to make the extra effort to do it all together, while JJ still wants to be seen in public with us. There are only so many of those years left. But on our trip to Target to get JJ’s initial costume request, they didn’t have his size. So he wore me down asked politely, and we got something different. Back to the drawing board for Papa and me…
My Halloween mojo had been dealt a mighty blow. Yet JJ was helpful putting out our gargantuan pumpkin collection, and even assisted in picking out real pumpkins at the local nursery a couple weeks ago. We were getting back on track to the true Trick-or-Treating Spirit.
And then the other day, out of the blue, he asked, “Daddy, can we paint punkins?”
Quicker than you could say “I’d better take advantage of this before he starts asking me to play basketball or fix a car” we were down in the basement, rummaging through Craft Mountain, hauling supplies upstairs, and embarking on our little project.
I’ll tell you up front — these aren’t the most creative pumpkin painting or decorating ideas out there. I didn’t consult Pinterest or click through a slide show on iVillage or pick up Martha’s latest mag. I had to grab this opportunity by its ornery horns and make do while JJ was in a crafty mood!
We set up in the kitchen, covered the table with newspaper, got out all our (acrylic) paints, brushes, cups of water, paper towels for cleanup, paper plates for mixing colors, and turned our shirts inside out and backwards. These little pumpkins and gourds you can get from any supermarket or nursery are a great size for toddler hands. And the painting part is great because no cutlery is involved.
It was JJ’s second week of preschool, and while reviewing the calendar for the next week I noticed something that made my heart skip a beat. “TUESDAY: DRESS UP AS A CLOWN DAY.”
I had known it was going to be Circus Week all week (OMG, how fun is preschool?!?), with visits from clowns, balloon animals, and a tumble on the Tumble Bus, but somehow I’d missed this little detail. Thus, on the eve of Dress Up As A Clown Day, it became Daddy’s Making a Homemade Clown Suit the Night Before…Day, er… Night… something.
As soon as JJ was in bed, I morphed into full-on Designer Daddy mode. I giddily sent out a tweet, void of my frequent sarcasm: “Making a clown suit for Circus Day at preschool tomorrow. Now THIS is what I signed up for!”
I dragged all my bags and boxes of unused crafts out of the basement (organized craft supplies are for wimps and people with their own talk shows), grabbed a Diet Coke, shut my office door and set to work.
I know you’re probably here for the cute pics of JJ as a clown (we’ll get to them), but I thought I’d first share my “process,” in the off-chance any of you ever need to whip up an emergency clown suit.
It’s kind of a step-by-step, except without the easy-to-follow part. I was making it up as I went along…
DESIGNER DADDY’S DIY CLOWN COSTUME:
STEP 1: Dump all your crafts onto your desk.
Okay, this isn’t ALL my craft stuff, but is a bunch of what I thought might come in handy.
- Glue gun (Essential adhesive extraordinaire. Works for pretty much anything but Styrofoam)
- Elmer’s glue (the old standby)
- Big-ass buttons
- Pipe cleaners
- Foam paper (my new favorite craft thing)
- Clown nose (duh)
- Clothes that already look kinda like clown clothes (Stripes, polka dots, plaids — the more garishly colorful, the better. C’mon, you know what clowns look like.)
Some of the best things about being a child are the boundless energy, unbridled imagination and a future filled with endless possibilities. The best thing about a child’s art is that it contains elements of all these things… and that every work is a masterpiece.
In honor of Father’s Day, I asked my dad friends to submit their kids’ artwork. Whether it was something recent, something old, or commissioned specifically for this collection, the only requirement was that the papas be proud of it. What I received was an avalanche of awesomeness. Drawings. paintings and sculpture bursting with energy, imagination and endless possibilities. And lots and lots of color. If you know me and my design work, you won’t be surprised if I “borrow” a color palette or two for future projects.
Curating this collection was no small feat, and after considering several options, I chose to group them by subject matter. This creates a nice mix of age, gender and medium in each batch. I realize there are a lot of pieces here, and that most of you probably get bored at art galleries (I know I do)… but please look through the entire gallery. This is spectacular work with some very hilarious, touching — and even rage-filled — back stories.
So welcome to the inaugural* FATHER’S DAY PROUD PAPA GALLERY OF GREATNESS (brought to you by Starbucks). Enjoy the exhibit, and please touch the artwork — it’s even more awesome zoomed in!
Artwork credits key:
Title of work
Artist name, age
Father of artist (links to their website/blog)
Artist’s (or artist’s dad’s) description
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HANDS + FEET
pencil, crayon on paper
While he clearly got some help writing “Hola,” the hand trace and vibrant, Latino colors are all him. Definitely going to nick this palette for my next logo project…
Still at a loss about what to get Dear Old Dad for Father’s Day? Yes it’s the thought that counts, but Dad can recognize a cliched gift when he sees one — especially if he’s the creative or handy type. So forget the grill, take back the tie, hide the hammock… here are three great books to get your favorite father’s creative juices flowing. Or at the very least something to read on the can.
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FOR THE CRAFTY DAD more here >>
It’s been a while since I’ve gotten full-on, down-and-dirty, non-work-related crafty. But when I heard about this contest being held by Life of Dad, wherein you had to create art from Cheetos, my interest was peaked. When I found out the winner received an all-expenses paid trip to Dad 2.0 Summit (the King of all Dad Blogging conferences) I got my CHEESE ON.
A dad what-now conference? You see, I had a lot of fun the first year or so of Designer Daddy. Alas, then my energy/interest/well of ideas started to dry up. Serendipitously, I got hooked up with a group of Dad Bloggers on Facebook, and energy/interest/ideas were renewed and energized. Yes, it’s sometimes a time-waster (What on the internet isn’t? Except for this site, natch.) and obviously a sounding board for blogging ideas. Yet the group has also been an online drum circle, bar crawl and bitch session rolled into one.
All that to say, it would be awesome to attend Dad 2.0 Summit next year, to meet some of these men in person and get even more psyched about writing, networking, parenting, and all-around man-bonding. Plus Cheetos!
Here’s my Cheetos Mix-Ups offering…
My creative process: I thought about “Mix-Ups” and that led to “mixing it up” which led to drinking a cocktail, which then led to an old school, party time DJ MIX TABLE! And yes, those are crushed Cheetos (the puffy variety) as the “background.”
more here >>
Being a parent of a toddler is hard work — no one who’s ever seen, heard or smelled a toddler would argue with that. But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as we modern parents tend to make it. Respite can come from an unexpected place…the toddlers themselves.
Looking to lessen my own stress and find some solutions, I recently completed a Parenting Preschoolers class, taught by the fine folks at PEP. In this class (and the many others offered), instructors champion a philosophy that expands how most of us view a child’s role in everyday life. And it doesn’t include a remote or an iPad.
Nowhere is this more apparent than PEP’s CAN DO KIDS FAIR. This annual event (for children 3-10) showcases PEP’s ideas on parenting, putting them into live, kid-operated action. This year’s Fair took place just a couple of weeks after I completed my class, so it was a great opportunity to practice all these new Daddy skills… and hopefully spend a Saturday afternoon getting JJ good and tired.
I’ll admit it was overwhelming at first. Held in a nearby church’s education building, every room on every floor was packed with parents, kids, instructors and volunteers busily trying or explaining a different activity.
We headed to the first of three floors, and not surprisingly I led us to the painting station. I was a little shocked to find it wasn’t full of easels and finger paints. I was even more shocked to watch my three year-old not only roller paint, but also drill a hole in drywall and then spackle over it. Yes, I used the words “3 year-old” and “drill a hole” in the same sentence. It was pretty amazing — and a little frightening — but he was flanked by a PEP volunteer and Papa, and was being given simple, clear instructions. And he was, of course, loving it.
On a cold, rainy day not too long ago, I had a brain fart of forethought, gathered all the hats from all over the house, and declared it henceforth be known as (cue trumpets)… Silly Hat Day!
In all honesty, I needed a break from playing superheroes (or coloring them, or watching them on TV). And it actually turned out to be more of a Silly Two-and-a-half Hours, but it was nonetheless a fun diversion during an otherwise dreary day.
Let the silliness commence!
Last December I undertook the gargantuan (some would say unwise) task of doing 1 post a day — complete with an original doodle/graphic — as an online Advent calendar of sorts. While it was fun and enlightening for me (and I assume a few readers, too) it took up a WHOLE lotta time. And time ain’t something in abundance come December.
So this year I’m going recycled/retro and sharing some of the cards I’ve designed in Christmases past. While that may not seem very “Daddy”-related, the fact that I’m scaling back on holiday blogging is due entirely to my very celebratory three year-old, and all that he entails. Yeah, I’m really tired a lot.
I’m not necessarily going to do 12 — or go in chronological order — but today’s Days of Christmas Past (DoXP) post is my first ever original Holiday card of the modern era (post-college). The year was 1999 so it was not just pre-Designer Daddy, but pre-Design Nut. However I think you can see the seeds of design nutty days to come.
Another interesting (only to me, probably) fact: this illustration/collage was printed out on my own little Epson and adhered by my (and Papa’s) hands to the cards, which had also been cut and folded by me. I was young, poor and crafty… and this was the LAST year of such nonsense. That’s why God made professional printers.
In an attempt to discourage JJ from yanking ornaments off our tree, I gave him a Christmas tree of his very own. I pulled out my collection of superhero ornaments and together we put them on this nifty little tree. I even set it up outside his room on a piece of white foam paper — it looks like snow and keeps the table from getting scratched. How smart and crafty of me!
I went in the kitchen to fix dinner, leaving him to undecorate/redecorate to his heart’s content. A few minutes later I heard a telltale “Uh-oh”...
…and went to check and this (below) had happened. I realized I should have told him that these weren’t like his other superheroes, and that the arms and legs didn’t move. So I did, put poor Iron Man with the other toys in the “to be fixed” pile, and went back to making dinner.
I’ve had this post in my “draft” queue forever… JJ’s had a renewed interest in spelling which reminded me of this early (and hilarious) attempt to understand how it all works.