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ARTKIN blog — inspiring ideas for a creative life

How To Raise Creative Thinkers

Young child experimenting with watercolor

How do you introduce children to their creative potential? Color outside the lines? We’re taught not to!                 Success will come to the ones who are able to take the information and color outside of the lines. Knowledge is simply not enough to succeed. Research on creativity shows a so-called “fourth grade slump” across cultures. When children begin school,

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Non-Candy Valentine Printables For Kids

Lots of Valentine ideas for kids to print, give and feel good about!

NON-candy valentines? It’s entirely possible — And, why not have the kids make their own valentines this year? Here are some they’ll LOVE making and giving, even without the candy! Make your own valentine’s — It’s inexpensive, easy and fun to do together! Here are some of the cutest non-candy (and a couple candy because I couldn’t resist) Valentine ideas with free printables that I could find, especially

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Weird Valentine’s Gifts and Things to Do On Valentine’s Day

Weird gifts for Valentine's Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! I find that people (that means me) usually do the same things and give/get the same old traditional flowers and chocolates on this ‘day of love’. Well, this year I say phffpt to that! Let’s get weird! Are you just a little bit weird? do you read Conversation Hearts before eating them? Okay, I admit, that’s pretty normal — isn’t it? do you consult

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Fun Flowers For Valentine’s Day — Something Different!

Dead flower I Love You Not bouquet from Dirty Rotten Flowers in LA

  Valentine’s Day means flowers and chocolate to most people, even me! But, the cheapest rose bouquet is about $35 at that 1-800 number. Why does it have to be the same old (expensive) red rose bouquet? IT DOES NOT! You heard it here folks— I declare a creative boycott on same ol’ Valentine flowers! Here are some creative ways to say it with flowers on Valentine’s Day,

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14 Wacky Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Original date night idea?

Bored with the Valentine’s Day routine? Let’s get creative, shall we? While originally seeped in history, Valentine’s Day is now less about history and more about Hallmark. Drawing billions of dollars annually in chocolates and roses, many people share in the sentiments of Jay Leno, when he said, “Today is Valentine’s Day. Or, as men like to call it, Extortion Day.” That’s no reason we

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“Art Enriches Seniors’ Lives”–Provider Magazine article smashes the dementia stereotype!

Provider magazine article in July 2015 issue, author Barbara Balkin)

I was thrilled when the editor of Provider  magazine contacted me to write an article based on Artkin’s January post “Art With Seniors Enriches Lives”. Did you know those with dementia can use their remaining abilities to express themselves through art? I never pass up an opportunity to emphasize how important creativity is at every  age. ART is the catalyst for connecting, even when your older. So, get your tea

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A Fundraising Idea That’s Actually Fun!

J. Dandrea, M. Perotto, and S. Fornander running for Team Tina

What’s big and strong and runs all over? Hidden Springs Running Club in Boise, Idaho! The most challenging part of fundraising is coming up with an idea that your group can get excited about. Here’s a local group of parents that know how to have a good time and realize their fundraising goals at the same time. Hidden Springs Running Club in Boise, Idaho has

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Can Doodling Improve Cognitive Performance?

Doodling can help focus and creativity.

   Believe it or not, you can be doodling while learning stuff! I’ve gone to the other side. I’m now convinced that doodling and drawing during class and work meetings has advantages. I’ve come to understand why my daughter’s school work is often covered in doodles. She is  listening and learning, and doodling helps her focus! She’s a visual thinker — aka doodler. Up until now, I’d

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Fun Ways To Integrate Art and Math This Summer

Examples from nature of Fibonacci Spirals

Summer can bring ‘brain-drain’ to young and old alike. Be sneaky — enjoy your summer break AND integrate art and math. I bet they won’t even notice! Research shows that kids lose an average of 2-3 months of math comprehension every summer. Don’t let those wonderful little vessels of brainpower turn to mush! It will cost you ZERO! I’m figuring you have paper at home, right? (Don’t even get

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Have Fun With DIY ‘Car Art’

Kids painted this car with regular tempera paints and brushes (

Who hasn’t used a finger to write ‘Wash me!’ on a car’s dirty rear window? See, there are so many ways to be creative! No need to buy paint or pens — just head on out to the driveway and get busy doing DIY Car Art! (Yes, it’s crazy.) From this… To this…  Just washed the car? No problem. Scott Wade, internationally known ‘Dirty Car Artist’  advises,

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Great Apps to Organize Your Kids’ Art

Kids art on refrigerator via Artkin

Looking for great apps to save and organize your kids’ artwork? We’re busy. We only have time to click a pic and create another pile of papers. Or, dun-dun-dun! The abhorrent ‘tossing’ of the paper! First pre-school, then kindergarten, then lots more years (i.e., piles) of art. And, don’t even get me started on the dioramas and Valentine mailboxes. Yes, you know what I’m talking about! The

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What To Do For Mother’s Day- Ideas for Gifts, Activities, Recipes, and More

Asking yourself what to do for Mother’s Day? HINT: Pass this on to the powers that be, OR maybe help your kids flesh out their ideas a bit? When I think of my favorite Mother’s Day ever (with me as the Mom, that is), I always conjure up the image of my then 10 year old daughter leading me into our bathroom, saying ‘Keep your eyes closed

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Handpicked Pinterest Ideas Just For You

DIY hand painted glassware via

So, what do you really think of Pinterest? Addicting–waste of time–saves you time? Just when you thought you couldn’t handle any more social media. Does Pinterest bring out your materialistic side? No, just don’t GO there! Let Pinterest bring out your creative side. Use IT — don’t let it time-rob YOU! Here, let me help. I’ll take the hassle out of it for you. If you enjoy any part of being creative,

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Valentine’s Day Cards for You — from Artkin

Heart Mountain Free Printable Valentine Greeting Card from

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and you think, “Oh, how did THAT happen?!” Been there—done that! Dun dun dun…NOW what do you do? Quick! Print these hand drawn Valentine’s Day cards from your home printer for free! (Click on the Freebies tab at the top of that page.) Cards, love coupons, activities and printables! I’ve created these original art cards especially for my Artkin beloveds. Did you forget a Valentine

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DIY Valentine’s Day Crafts and Treats

Valentine's Day Blog

Looking for some DIY Valentine’s Day crafts that are different from the rest? But wait–wasn’t it just New Years?! Because our wedding anniversary is the day after Valentine’s Day, and my daughter’s birthday is two days later, Valentine’s Day sometimes gets lost. Oh my–Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Here are some of my favorite DIY Valentine’s Day crafts for you to print, paint, drink or eat.

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Art With Seniors Enriches Lives

My mother's first-ever drawing of a hand (with early-onset Alzheimers).An example of senior art.

Did you know that you have the power to enhance the lives of older family members by doing art or making music with them? My then 60 year old mother was showing the first traces of Alzheimer’s when she created her first-ever drawing of a hand in a beginning drawing class we took together in the 90’s. The class was great for her–took her out of herself and her worries. It was

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Food Art – Playing With Food

Art Toast Project Food Art by Idafrosk

Were you told “Don’t play with your food!”?   Times they are a-changing! This food art idea legitimizes messing with our food! Love that! I’ve discovered full-time food artist Ida Skiveness, better known as Idafrosk (‘frog’ in Norwegian). Her goal? To get more people to eat healthy, fresh food.  The Oslo, Norway-based photographer/artist says nothing goes to waste– she eats everything she creates. Ida explains, “It’s taking everyday ingredients and

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Do Your Kids Still Believe In Santa?

Santa caught in the act.

Creativity, Imagination and Believing. I just went through hell last month — my 11 year old found out we’ve lied to her about Santa —   she. was. FURIOUS… and the Tooth Fairy… and the Easter Bunny! Yes, she finally had enough with trying to hold onto that last bit of childhood fantasy and begged me to come clean. I did an ‘almost’ confession last year

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Tips To Color Your Free Printable Greeting Cards

Coffee makes a great paint for your Winter Cardinal greeting card by Artkin

Need some ideas for how to color your free printable greeting cards? Follow these tips and get inspired… Paper For Your Greeting Cards– Try different different types and colors of paper in your printer. cardstock is sturdy and stands up by itself – black print looks great against white paper! parchment colored paper will give an old fashioned look cut an 8 ½” x 11”

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Stress Less Holidays

Men and women handle holidays differently—and that’s all there is to it. There! I said it! When I was younger, I refused to believe there was a difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’. And, then I grew up (thank goodness!). This Thanksgiving, our daughter asked if we could put up the Christmas decorations the next day – much earlier than usual. My husband was home from work (he

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How To Create Some Kick-Ass Hot Chocolate

Yummy hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate shavings---an all-time favorite!

  That first snowfall meant one thing – it’s officially hot chocolate time! Just like beer during the hot summers, we crave hot cocoa in the winter. Which brings to mind… do you call it hot chocolate? Or hot cocoa? Is there a difference? Well, there is … Hot Cocoa -made with water, a bit of milk or cream, sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder -made from

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Fun Color Facts I Bet You Don’t Know

Colorful London telephone booths show how color can be used to liven things up.

                        Colors can dramatically affect our moods, feelings, and emotions. Color psychology has become a hot topic in marketing, art, and design. While feelings about color can be deeply personal, colors have different meanings in different cultures. Pure and innocent white in Western countries is the symbol of mourning in many Eastern countries. Your reaction

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15 Worst Gifts — Last Minute

Some of the very worst gifts ever!

If you really want to be a gift giving hero and give a wicked good gift, I admit, it can be a challenge. We don’t always hit our mark. Don’t be caught giving a ‘worst gift’! The goal is to create good feelings, not bad or sad.  Time magazine once wrote, “Gift giving is like good driving – everyone thinks they do it, but always sees

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Oil Pastel Technique Chart–the Basics

Basic oil pastel techniques-great for beginners!

A basic Oil Pastel Technique Chart great for beginners! Use these techniques to quickly learn blending, shadow, highlight and color mixing. Real art. Real easy. Use your new techniques to create an original keepsake art canvas! With pastels you don’t need gimmicks and are only limited by your imagination. If something doesn’t work for you… simply rub/scrub the offending area right back to the paper

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Are You Afraid To Draw?

not afraid to draw

Does the thought of drawing scare you? What makes adults so afraid to draw? Why do we stop drawing? Many of us became afraid in about the fourth or fifth grade; before that, we were UNSTOPPABLE DRAWING MACHINES! According to LYNDA BARRY, artist and writer of What it Is and its companion Picture This, “One of the reasons why we stop drawing, at least with kids, is

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How To Be a Gift Giving Hero!

Family and friends are everything!

Don’t know about you, but there are some folks in my life that I stress about when it comes to gift-giving.   As a thoughtful mom, wife, sister/friend, I understand how frustrating it is to want to give the best gift ever, yet be stumped as to what that gift might be. I remember my mom always saying, ‘I don’t need anything.’ Baloney! Everyone needs

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What the Heck is Creativity FOR Anyway?

Creativity is one way to express the love I feel for my beloveds. It’s amazing the things I can learn about people while creating with them, and the things they learn about me! Oh my! Picture this: It’s the weekend and you’re kicking back at home with friends, you’re feeling relaxed—everyone’s  pitching in with constructing (inventing?) some yummy appetizers. With all the wine your friends

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ARTKIN-what it’s all about…Artkin Blog

Create an original multi-image group canvas with Artkin.

Whatever my Artkin blog is about – creating art, food, living creatively, gift-giving ideas, family, diy projects — I hope it will lead you somewhere worthwhile in a positive way. And, somewhere worthwhile is a great place to be! I’ll hope to convey my passion for creativity and share ways I incorporate creativity into my family relationships and friendships as well.  If that, in any way,

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