Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Art of Being Adorable

Well GOOD MORNING! It's 10 AM and I see you've arrived on time for our first annual Clothesline Art Show, Sale and Auction! And what a fine day it is for this event! Last week's rain has cleared away and the oppressive heat went right along with it. God must smile upon art shows for little kids! Okay! You look anxious to get started. Why not go right ahead and park your car wherever it's convenient and then join me over at the ticket booth. I'll be here every step of the way to make sure you have the best experience possible without missing a single thing!

I see you brought your purse. Good. You are going to need it! We are featuring three spunky little artists today who hope to fill their wallets to bulging with sales from things they've worked hard to produce over the past three months. You don't really think they just sit in front of Sesame Street like a trio of potted plants on the days grandma babysits do you? Oh my, no! We have entrepreneurial things to do and you are going to find that out as soon as you have your tickets in hand. "Tickets?" you ask? Well, yes! Tickets. Plural. Today we are charging not only for admission and programs, but also to park, rent a shopping basket and enjoy a personal guided tour of the kids' pumpkin patch. You'll want to take advantage of all these offers! And, for your convenience, extra large TIP JARS are everywhere
 Brielle, one of today's talented artists, is the first to arrive. She brought mommy and daddy with her.

Almost ready? We're waiting to make sure all tickets are sold before we enter the first gallery. While we watch daddies wrangle over prices with our astute little gatekeepers, allow me to point a few things out. Our artists are wearing personalized visors so you can easily identify them. You will pay them directly after you've made your choices from among the extensive collection you'll see ahead of you. The main gallery includes ten matted works from each artist in a range of media. Are most of them abstract? Well, yes! Yes, they all are! At least this year. But that's actually a good thing! Nonrepresentational work fits nicely into anyone's decor and after today you won't have a single square inch of empty space on your walls! Trust me!

Okay, grab your purse! Looks like it's your turn! Here we go! The boys are big on collecting tickets and opening the gate one at a time so customers feel appreciated. That's right, hand Sae your ticket and step right in! Wow! Look at what's strung along the fence! A veritable rainbow of color and a selection beyond your wildest imagination! Note that each piece has a tag attached to it. Those tags state the title of the work, the media, date of production and most importantly, name of the artist. Many also show a mini-photo of the artist in action, creating the very piece you'll want to add to your collection. I call them "certificates of authenticity." Don't want anyone thinking that grandma crafted everything herself while the kiddoes took naps do we? Go ahead. Fill your basket. I'll wait right here until it's time to move ahead to the next gallery!

What? You're hungry? Well good! Our "Starving Artist Buffet" is modeled after the gallery-hopping rich and famous who are much more likely to spend when introduced to delicate little plates of appetizers and a slender flute. Those amenities make them look like they know their way around the world of fine art. Please help yourself! We offer crab stuffed tomatoes, gourmet deviled eggs and  mini bagels stuffed with dill, cream cheese and lox. And when you're done nibbling, please come back to top it all off with an artist palette cookie. But be mindful of the "starving artist" image! We are here today to spend money, not to eat!

Let's move on to the outdoor sculpture gallery now. Today we feature two areas....clay work, seen above, and an exciting visual undersea wonderland of painted and glittered paper fish that hangs from beneath the deck umbrella. The boys made the sharks. Aren't they great? Ferocious! Grandma cut double shapes from large white paper and the kids painted them, applied glitter (liberally, very liberally!) and then added an eye (or two, or three or four...or even more!). Then grandma whisked the pieces away to staple the shapes together, stuff them plump with tissue paper and complete with streamer accents. You'll want one of those for sure! And everyone has just the right spot for a tropical fish. Brielle made pretty pink and yellow ones. Better reel in one of those too!
Feel like spending even more money? Yes! You are truly the customer of our dreams! Let's make a stop at the gift shop! Not only lots and lots to choose from, but an eager sales staff awaits helping you. Remember our hand print potholders? Here's how we made those. Check out the pencils! Here's how those came to life! Paper chains? Got em! And how about a nice notepad with picture of the artist to go with your pencil? Those have hand painted and glittered covers and are limited in edition. You won't find them anywhere else! Better grab a few! And those red-ribboned cupcake boxes, like the one Nick is offering you? Selling fast! They hold peanut butter cookies - ones freshly baked yesterday when all three kids spent the day with grandma getting ready for our event. That's when we made and bagged the popcorn, too!

Yes, I know these kids are child prodigies, but it was actually grandma who made the ticket and gift shop booths. The perky little birds perched atop the roof have only one message: Buy lots of gifts and don't be "cheep" about it!

Bagging and baking. Here's picture proof that these busy little bees popped corn, bagged it up, and then made sheets of peanut butter cookies to sell. Their inventory of art work has been piling up for months, but the food we sell has to be fresh! Brielle loves to bake. She patiently fork-pressed every one of the cookies on her sheet!

Wow! Here's one of many overflowing shopping baskets! This one belongs to Nana, Bree's indulgent paternal grandmother. She snapped up drawings and paintings matted in pink, as well as the potholder that reads "Bree + Nana  = (heart button!)"                                                    
Today's show has been a roaring success. But wait! We're not done yet.........

Our event posters are truly limited, one-of-a-kind editions and everybody wants one. The only fair way to sell them is by live auction. And, if you are fortunate enough to be the winning bidder, we have a once-in-a-lifetime offer for you! The artist will autograph your poster for only five dollars extra! Let the feeding frenzy begin!

Okay, so a few things happened here today. Every single art patron had already spent every single penny they had before the auction began. That left grandma as the only solvent bidder in an audience that gleefully drove up the prices and then backed off to leave me as the winner of them all. Today the posters hang in the kids' bedrooms because I donated them all back, something I suspect was anticipated all along! I guess grandma isn't the only "con artist" in the family!

And so, our first annual Clothesline Art Show, Sale and (unconventional!) Auction enters the family history book in the chapter on learning success stories...for several reasons. Certainly one of them is comprehension of the value of money. Daddy does a good job teaching the twins how to sort and count it before dividing equally and stuffing it all inside wallets to use later for saving, shopping, and donating in appropriate percentages.
Another reason is the satisfactory experience of teamworking alongside siblings and cousins toward a well organized goal. There's practice, too, in the art of compromise along that journey. But most importantly, I heed the advice of educators who proclaim that children succeed best when significant adults show an active interest in what they accomplish academically. I think we managed a nice step in that direction today. Thank you for joining us!


  1. Your Clothes Line Art Show was fabulous and you made a very good tour guide explaining everything to us! Please tell the children that this Grandma says they did a great job of everything! And Grandma did amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO glad you shared this, wish we could have joined you!

    And I think you are so right. Children who are surrounded by the attention of adults -- be they parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles or even better all of the above, really seem to excel! You are helping them to build a wonderful future! PS Glad it cooled off a bit!

  2. Oh my gosh! I can't stand it! You are amazing, how do you have the energy and everything is so cute! Honestly, you have outdone yourself and every grandma in the whole USA! WOW!

  3. Sheesh yea what she said ....

  4. I second...or third what Connie said. How do you find the time and energy and inspiration. This is a fantastic family event the kids will be sharing (and repeating, to be sure) for generations to come. And this: "...children succeed best when significant adults show an active interest in what they accomplish academically." Well, I think you've done far more than simply making a step in the right direction. This is LEAPS and BOUNDS.

    I love your grandma style! You're amazing!

    Thanks for linking to GRAND Social!

  5. What a wonderful day - great memories.

  6. This whole idea is fantastic! I would like to make those cookies for my daughter's art party this Saturday. Any details you can give me would be really helpful! (Is it sugar cookie dough? Did you use a cookie cutter or shape the dough? How did you pipe on the frosting?)

    Thanks. I understand if you don't have time, but I would love the help! My email should be attached to this message, but if it's not, you can find me at

  7. Hi Heidi!
    I did respond to you personally, but there might be others who would like to make the art palette cookies. I bought the cutter on ebay from a great seller in California who shipped it immediately. The sugar cookies come out a perfect color so no base frosting is required. The paint blobs are royal icing, on the thick side, dropped from the tip of a teaspoon.

    1. Thanks! I didn't get the email, so I'm glad I checked back! I'm making them right now.

  8. I featured this post at Thanks so much for your help with my cookies. They don't look as nice as yours, but they were a hit at the party! Have a great day! (Please feel free to grab a feature button!)

  9. Wow, love this idea! And love the way you wrote about it. Very cute! I came from Heidi's post, she was featured on my blog this week :)
    I would love for you to link this up to my party!

  10. This is absolutely wonderful! We have storage bins full of artwork created by my children, with my most prized possessions featured in our house. Such a great idea to share the artwork with family! I am in the works of planning an art show featuring my three little artists and was wondering if you had any pointers for me! We are hoping to donate the money to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital since we've spent countless hours there this past year! Thanks for your suggestions!

    1. What a lovely idea to have your children use the proceeds of their sale as a charitable donation! Wish I had thought of that!
      Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members will be thrilled to attend your show and hand over their money! Your kids will feel very proud to have their art on display!
      As for pointers, I'd say that matting the pieces with colorful scrapbook paper makes everything look professional - and "expensive!"
      You could also have your kids make cookies - like the art palette ones - and sell them at individual little stations like the ones I made in my Sugar Bug Bake Sale post.
      I also like having an auction - if your kids are old enough they could run it themselves.
      Best wishes on your event! I think it will be a big success - you almost cannot go wrong when grandparents are customers of kids' home made projects!

  11. Just had to come back and read this again -- and see how much they have grown in 2 short years. You -- you're still amazing!