Friday, January 23, 2015

Graham's Surprise Christmas Gift!

My daughter, Graham, loves art, music and anything creative. Plus, she is eleven, so she also wants "cool" ways to express her self.In an effort to keep that expression appropriate, I wanted to create a space for her to be creative and thrive. 
She loves to paint, draw, sing, write music... create. In an effort to keep the painting, drawing and all things messy out of her room (and noise), we moved her art supplies into the little attic off of her bedroom. She loved having her own space and I loved keeping the paint away from the carpet/walls. We just had one tiny problem. The insulation, plywood floors and cold attic were cramping her style and "stifling her creativity". So... what's a mom to do? (No way am I letting the paints back into the bedroom with wall-to-wall carpeting). I put a lock on the door to the attic, called my handy man, rug guy and husband (in that order). I told Graham, we had a rat problem - why else would we lock the attic? Gross. She wasn't about to mess with that.  

The week before Christmas, drywall went in, was puttied, painted and an indoor/outdoor carpet was cut to cover the plywood floors. Her new art room and Christmas gift was taking shape! I scooped up paints, canvasses, oil pastels, markers, drawing books, colored pencils, regular pencils, charcoal pencils and art supplies galore. I gift wrapped a pack of pencils, some construction paper and a pack of water colors and carefully placed them under the tree. She marveled at them... what were they? Was it an iPad? Could it be the music speakers she asked for? What on earth could be so beautifully wrapped and carefully planned? She was giddy. Until she unwrapped them. Pencils. Wow. "Thank you mom! These are even sharpened!". I have to say, I was grateful for her reaction and a little sad that she thought that was the big gift. 

Still, she was appreciative and so was I. After a whirlwind of paper, gifts and boys running around with their new toys, I let her open her stocking. At the very bottom was a tiny beautiful lacquered box tied with a red satin bow. "Hmmm", I said in my best Santa voice. "Wonder what that is?" She opened it and found a key. Her eyes were so big and she immediately ran upstairs to her "rat infested locked attic". She flung open the door to find this.....

I painted the walls white so her bright art would pop in contrast. I bought a $10 hollow core door at Habitat for Humanity and added metal brackets for support for the perfect work surface. I chose to leave it unfinished in case she wants to paint it herself.
 I scoured HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Michaels for art supplies on sale.
 I filled the place with everything from colored pencils to Modge Podge. 

 A moving cart from HomeGoods works for extra storage and since it's on wheels, it can maneuver around for different projects. 
 With two eye hooks and some silver (spray painted) clothespins, I created a drying spot for her masterpieces. 

  I found a real artists easel on CraigsList that came with professional paints and brushes. Thanks to a seller's hobby that never took off, I racked up! 
She loves her new art studio (and as a bonus, it doubles as a spot for homework and guitar practice). We added a portable heater for the cold months and with her new speakers, she fires up her tunes and goes to work! You can do a lot with a tiny attic!
bye bye birdie...
-H

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