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Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Stroke of Genius

After seeing the movie Four Christmases over the holiday, my husband joked about how the film depicts his family perfectly. We are a part of what I like to refer to as the "modern-day" family; the many members and many commitments often lead to a somewhat complicated and often very busy holiday.

So how does Mom (aka me) shop for the modern-day family? It is a task that has daunted me every birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, etc. Lucky for me, a solution presented itself after I had kids. One word: artwork. Grandparents love it and I have more artwork than I know what to do with. As an added bonus, I have discovered that children create art in all forms...on post-it notes, on the grocery list, on my school-work, the list is endless. Yes, a scratch and a scribble, and in my book, it is fit to be tied with a bow and presented as a gift.

Back in November, I discovered that a local pottery painting studio in Berkeley, Brushstrokes, offered a number of different ceramic ornaments that could be painted in honor of the holiday. Need I say more? It was perfection. And so, I dutifully packed up the kids and journeyed over to Brushstrokes almost on a weekly basis until the week before Christmas. Given that my 3 year old artist is a bit temperamental and often times easily distracted from the task at hand, we had to allow for a signficant amount of leadtime in order to have the project completed before the holiday.

A few photos from our escapades:

Lucia was a trooper through most of the sessions, as long as I came prepared with plenty of snacks and allowed her to spin the pottery wheel endlessly.


Here is Giancarlo hard at work on a train Christmas ornament. He was really great to paint as many mugs, ornaments, and other knick-knacks as I placed in front of him. At times, I felt like I had a bit of a sweat shop going.

Some of the fruits of our labor: a coffee mug, a train Christmas ornament, and a tile.



All in all, wonderful gifts and the grandparents couldn't have been happier.

-Francesca

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22 comments:

amanda said...

love it! and your kids are ADORABLE!! we have a place like that around here too and i have gone a few times.makes me wanna go back now though!

Minxy Mimi said...

Those are great gift ideas...there is a place like that here in my town too, I must check it out. I love your kiddos and their names! If I had a girl, Lucia was a name I was thinking about! I also answered your questions on my blog!

Misty said...

That is a GREAT gift idea. I've decided next year we're definitely doing homemade gifts. Because well, even though we stuck to our budget very well this year it just still seems too ridiculous! Your kids are absolute dolls.

Cammie said...

That is adorable. I wish MY mom would love something like that for Christmas....she is more of a "I will take a gift card to Macy's" kind of girl.

Brooks said...

That is wonderful. I have not gone to the pottery place around here since my oldest was little! I need to go back. Thanks for the post! Their artwork is beautiful!

forever folding laundry said...

Sooo cute! I love it. GC is a natural! Gary took the boys one year for Mother's Day to make me painted tiles and I love them (they're hanging in the kitchen). I think you handled your gift challenge brilliantly!!!

Counselormama said...

This is a great idea, especially since the clean up is there, and not in your house, such cute pics!

Chris Bowers said...

That place looks very cool! I'm a sucker for homemade coffee mugs!

By the way, I have succumbed to your persistence and will give your good idea a shot on Worth a Thousand Words. It was my intent at the beginning, however, I wanted to build up a bit of a following first. Thanks for stopping by!

Kimmy said...

OMG! Those are great gifts!! I just may have to take a drive out there with my little one!! WOO HOO! Thanks for the tip :o)

rachel said...

Homemade gifts are the best! That was such a good idea to break it up a bit- I would have been tempted to have one super saturday of gift making and the kids would have revolted for sure! I need to be more organized- they turned out so cute!

Deb said...

1. Your children are adorable. I need to put an extra syllable in it to accurately convey how cute they are- they are adoradorable.

2. I love the paint-your-own-pottery places. There is one in Hot Springs, AR called Picasso's Cupboard that we love whenever we visit.

LisAway said...

What a fantastic idea! Art that will stay around for a while, at least. Fun.

Heather of the EO said...

Brilliant! I love the photos. Your writing is so good! You're too funny. Well no, not TOO funny. Very funny. A person can't really be TOO funny right? Well, then again there's always Jim Carrey and he can be a little overly funny sometimes, bordering on a bit scary...

Forget it. I'll stop. I just like you!

Kristina P. said...

Your kids are completely adorable! Love the mug.

Kim Layton said...

What wonderful gifts! We have always made many of our gifts. A fun gift for birthdays are picture frames decorated by the kids. We put shells around them and a put their photo in it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! You happen to live in one of the prettiest area in the United States!

Monica said...

I, too, LOVE the mug. Just wait till the kids get in school then you will begin to receive art yourself for gifts. I STILL get it. This year the 14 year old made me a pencil cup/jar thingy in pottery class.

Jill said...

Beautiful mug! Do you have a budding artist in your midst???
We do personalized gifts, too. Our girls decorated giftbags. We went through Shutterfly for custom calendars and mugs with the girls' pics on them.

Peaches said...

So cute!! I am totally copying your idea for next year, however I think I'll start the kids working on next Christmases projects next week.

G-man is a slang term for someone who works for the Federal Government, which my hubby does, however do not miss our favorite baker's double entendre in that he's a University of Georgia fan and used their symbol for the cake!! And believe you me, it was DE-lish!!

Hope you enjoyed your holidays!!

Heidi Ashworth said...

Very cute but what do you get grandparents with 39 grandchildren and all the handmade artwork by the under five set they could ever want? Please hurry--you only have until next Christmas to come up with something. You know. For me. B/C I'm lazy that way.

Helene said...

That is such an awesome idea!! There's a place like that near me in Lodi and I've taken the kids there a few times and they always have so much fun! I'll have to remember that next time a family member's birthday comes up!

BTW, I took Bella to see the Nutcracker here in Stockton. When she's a little older I may venture out to Sacramento or San Francisco (my sister said there's a really great Nutcracker Ballet there!)

Carol said...

Everything turned out beautifully. And I know the grands were thrilled to get them.

Abra said...

That mug totally rocks! And how cute are your kids???
ADORABLE!