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Myself the Elf Christmas Countdown

Excited to share with you our original, Myself the Elf Christmas Countdown!  A project dreamed up for our Modish Mini Makers art workshop ~ On Holiday: making + creating to give!  A handmade treasure that can be used year-after-year for a traditional holiday countdown and also for teeny-tiny treasures!  Love how they look so much like their mini makers! Take a peek!

This week I’m guest judging the KIDSCRAFTS101 WEEKLY CHALLENGE over on Instagram!  Simply tag all your kid crafts, #kidscrafts101.  Just follow @kidscrafts101, co-hosts @redtedart + @incredibusy, and guest judge @handmakery over on IG!  Tag all your #kidscrafts101 throughout the week and I’ll feature a collage collection and highlight the makers on Sunday!  Truly hope you’ll join us, such a fabulous way to celebrate creativity + craftiness + childhood + a colorful life + connection thru community!  It’s absolutely a fantastic + fun-filled + fabulous adventure!  If you haven’t yet joined Instagram, it’s incredibly easy!  I’ve met so many wonderful people locally and throughout the world on this platform.  Here’s a peek at a few inspiring IG feeds to follow to get you started!


  • 3D countdown calendar with 25 mini drawers
  • Patterned papers
  • Clear packaging tape
  • Light chipboard and single ply cardboard
  • Pencil + Scissors + Ruler + Utility knife for adult use
  • Handmade patterns to personalize
  • Duck tape
  • Paper + papier-mache + bowl
  • Paint- tempera
  • White glue + glue stick + hot glue gun + hot glue
  • Wooden paint stir stick
  • Embellishments- pom poms, glitter foam, colored felt sheets, buttons, and more!
  • Printable and tiny chocolates


ONE  Trace box fronts as a stencil onto patterned papers and cutout individually.  The 3D countdown calendar with mini drawers becomes the patchwork sweater of the elf, so think about a color scheme and overall pattern to unite the flow of the sweater design.  This process is a bit of a labor of love but children enjoy becoming textile designers and picking papers to personalize patchwork sweaters.  It can also be a relaxing time to indulge in conversation over holiday jingle!  Paper pieces can be glues sticked  on and reinforced with a layer of packaging tape over the top, which also finishes off the individual boxes with a glossy sheen.

TWO  Using a single ply cardboard create a general head and neck.  The neck and shoulders should equal the width of the top of the patchwork sweater box to keep it all in proportion, and to make it appear united as one.  To make the portrait more dimensional, fold a triangular piece of light-weight cardboard in half to create a simple nose.  Use masking tape to hold in place.  Use single ply cardboard to create a winter hat or ear muffs that will overlap the head.  Add a simple, yet personalized hair style also using cardboard.  We saw clever hair styles from braids to pigtails, buns to bangs, this really was the ticket to personalize the elf to look like the artist.  Create simple arms branched off the box sides that round upward with simple mittens.  Paper mache the face and neck as one piece.  Paper mache the hat and hair as one piece.  Dry overnight.

THREE  Paint pieces separately.  Artists can mix their own skin tones for their Myself the Elf Christmas Countdown.  Hats and earmuffs can be painted colors to compliment the patchwork sweater.  A neckline to the sweater, mittens, and scallop can be created using easy to cut felt in accent colors to compliment and simply hot glued.  The head was attached with a wooden paint stir stick to the back of the box base, using hot glue, and reinforced with white duck tape so it looked crisp and finished off, yet secure and stable!

FOUR  General lip and eye shapes can be precut to keep a general proportion.  You can observe, the eyes became a bit exaggerated, but we thought it added to the fun of these little elves.  Artists can modify their individual pieces.  It was exciting for artists to discover and closely observe the parts to an eye including the iris, pupil, highlights to bring a portrait to life, and of course the eye lashes.  Lips can be colored using colored pencils and it’s great to use handheld mirrors to observe the details of the facial features. ADVENT-FINAL_web

The Myself the Elf Christmas Countdown was filled with a sweet chocolate kiss and a square message (cut from the printable above) that suggested a festive activity for the day!  I’m happy to share the above printable, just email me at hello@handmakery(dot)com!  This was a list collected from a wide array of  wintertime activities online and a few brainstormed.  We decided to not add numbers on the boxes so this sculpture could be used year round.  Believe me, a child knows which boxes still have chocolate and exactly how many days there are until Christmas, the mathematics and absolutes of childhood!

FIVE  Embellish.  Small pom poms can be used to accent necklines.  Large pom poms can highlight hat tops.  Buttons can be added to patchwork sweaters.  Pipe cleaners and metallic wires can connect and dazzle earmuffs.  It’s amazing how much these Myself the Elf Christmas Countdowns looked like their mini makers!  One of my favorite additions were freckles, rosy cheeks, and of course a snowball on the mitten!

Love these ear muffs and all the sparkly + shiny details, and the cool color scheme!

The overall size is rather grand!  As you can see, this little maker shares many similarities to her Myself the Elf.

A peek at our holiday tree that lights up our studio!

Here’s a peek at the Kidcraft101 Weekly Challenge Winner Collage guest judged by @weewarhols last week on Instagram!  Look forward to having you join us this week!  Remember to tag all your crafty creations #kidscrafts101 on Instagram and follow @kidscrafts101, co-hosts @redtedart + @incredibusy, and guest judge @handmakery!

Looking for the Top 10 Absolute Must Have Art Supplies for holiday gift giving!?!  A must read created by my amazing + art friend, Meri Cherry!

Looking for an amazing children’s art book to inspire making and creating throughout the year?  Add Art Workshop For Children to your holiday wish list!  Learn more about this amazing book by joining Barbara Rucci’s Book Blog Tour!  Take a peek at a few art projects we created, inspired by this new book!  Hope your holiday is full of pure magic this season!

Discover HANDMAKERY on Instagram + Facebook + Pinterest + Mailing List!

Art Workshop for Children


Join us!  Today we’re celebrating my dear friend, Barbara Rucci of Art Bar Blog, and her #1 New Release, Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with more than 25 Process Art Experiences!  Beyond excited to highlight two inspired projects from this book that we themed under an Art Bar Dessert Party: Cakes + Doughnuts with young artists in our own studio!  Here’s a creative clip to give you an idea, just how beautiful Bar’s new book is for creating a creative childhood.  To get the inside scoop, juicy details, chance to meet the maker and all her magic, dive in here!

Barbara invited me to join her book blog tour that will feature 26+ amazing kid + art bloggers.  Over the summer I had the honor to preview and endorse Bar’s new book, Art Workshop for Children.  I was on a three day camping trip, and basically couldn’t put this incredible book down.  After returning, completely inspired, I preordered it on Amazon and spent all fall anxiously awaiting its arrival!  When my book arrived on October 15, it felt amazing to finally have it in my hands.  It’s truly a gem that will shine in our studio for years to come.  Beyond amazed at all the 25+ creative workshops, simple in both setup and supplies!  Bar basically delivers a rich, open-ended, studio experience, keyed into unleashing a child’s creativity.  Bar unfolds an easy to follow, beautifully visual layout, that guides one towards expressive exploration and artistic discovery in a studio, classroom, or home.

I selected two projects out of Bar’s book to bring to you today, celebration style!  In our art studio, we created a delightful dessert party for children to celebrate Barbara Rucci’s journey, as she’s been creating this book over the last two years!  I’m so proud of her!  Way to live your dream, Bar!  Thank you for gifting the world your beautiful book!  You are such a gift to everyone you meet!  So thankful to be your friend, so thankful for your book!  Take a peek at our Art Bar Dessert Party: Cakes + Doughnuts, inspired by two of the workshops in Art Workshop for Children!  You can buy this incredible book anywhere books are sold!

Discover Barbara Rucci of Art Bar on Facebook + Instagram + Pinterest + YouTube + Amazon



  • Cardboard boxes in different sizes (we used tiered wooden boxes)
  • Tempera paints
  • Jars
  • Brushes
  • Pompoms
  • Glue
  • Colored paper


Absolutely adore how Art Workshop for Children simply guides on supplies to gather, how to prepare your space, the process, observations, and variations for next time!  Take a peek!

Workshop 8: STILL LIFE with DOUGHNUT


  • Still life object-  We jumped on Bar’s suggestion, “a doughnut for its simple shape, bright colors, and yummy deliciousness” special ordered from Sweet Coloradough and placed on specialty plates from our personal collection!
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolors
  • Brushes
  • Glass of water
  • Damp sponge


Again, absolutely adore how Art Workshop for Children simply guides on supplies to gather, how to prepare your space, the process, observations, and variations for next time!  Take a peek and order your book today!  You’ll LOVE everything about this incredible resource!

A little about artist + author, Barbara Rucci:

  • Author to Art Workshop for Children.
  • Beyond passionate about kids and art.
  • Graphic designer.
  • Art teacher.
  • Mom to three whippersnappers.
  • Shares her home in Connecticut with her husband, three children, dog, and fish.
  • Explores her passions everyday.  Her blog is a place where she cultivates her love for art experiences, sharing simple tips and ideas to bring creativity into lives.
  • Showcases the most creative artists, curates the best crafts, and shares the most amazing creations from her studio.
  • If you want to dig a little deeper, you can read this interview she did for Hello, Wonderful, and see her home on Design Mom.

Bar’s philosophy: Create a happy place!

I believe that every child is born an artist and that somehow, they lose the ability to think creatively when they reach adulthood.  Art Bar Blog will encourage and teach moms to find their inner artist by providing their kids with simple ways to express themselves and problem solve.

My wish is to create moments in childhood whereby a child can experience flow, a single-minded immersion in an activity that creates a feeling of spontaneous joy. From this kind of focus comes success, and from success comes praise from others. Praise from others (peers, teachers, coaches) in childhood is the key to adult happiness. Ahhhh…so simple!

My goal for my own children is to create memories of a home filled with art, music, books, crafts, games, baking, singing, dancing, dress-up, movie night, dog hair, cartwheels, fireflies, kisses, hugs, tooth fairies and smoothies.

A personal review of Art Workshop for Children written by Ami Maes, Founder + Creative Director of HANDMAKERY

Art Workshop for Children is an essential ingredient to a creative childhood, overflowing with hands-on experiences to spark the creative soul of every child while instilling the confidence that EVERY CHILD IS AN ARTIST.  Barbara’s inspiring vibrance and creative brilliance shines bright as she mixes up enriching artful experiences, while capturing the essence of authentic art making at its purest form.  Art Workshop for Children is an essential for every creative environment as it captivates enriching, open-ended and engaging experiences for all walks of childhood.  Each manageable workshop is tried and true, within a collection of genuinely genius artful settings that will strengthen and build a strong foundation for a creative mind and passion for self expression that will last a lifetime.  This gem is one you’ll open again and again, overflowing with fundamental experiences that adapt and grow with every child.  Art Workshop for Children contains a diverse approach to authentic, hands on, stimulating, valuable experiments tied to individualized outcomes that will make every child as artist feel successful, proud and original.  Art Workshop for Children is the seed to plant to grow a creative minded child and mini maker.  Focused on a collection of simple supplies, this resource is what every caregiver desires to nurture a colorful and creative childhood, while gifting the knowledge and experience every child desires to shine with confidence.  The layout is beautifully designed with structure, style and simplicity, capturing an inspiring yet manageable setup focused around a self guided framework to foster the whole-child.  As a mama to two children and a children’s art educator for over 20 years, Art Workshop for Children will be an essential resource to my collection that I will use consitently within my maker’s space as it provides an open ended foundation with endless possibilities.  As modern makers with a passion for children and creativity,  I couldn’t imagine a better book to add to a creative collection!  Thank you Barbara Rucci for inspiring and captivating with complete eye candy.  You are truly a passionate and miraculous maker, we’re so lucky to have you making this world a more art filled place with confident and creative minded artists!  This book is truly one of the best art resources I’ve come across, can’t even wait to own it and share it!  Thank you for all you do, thanks for being YOU!

Be sure to check back in on the Art Workshop for Children Blog Tour 2016 to get sneak peaks, interviews, and giveaways!  Thank you for following along and be sure to get your copy of Art Workshop for Children before they’re sold out on Amazon!  Jump on over and say hello to us over on Instagram, would love to connect!

Ice Cream Truck Sculpture

Warm weather brings childhood memories of an ice cream truck sounding and strolling neighborhood streets.  In our recent workshop ~ BEEP BEEP! SWEET TREATS, artists created ~ Ice Cream Truck Sculptures!  Love that we still have a few days to celebrate and soak up summer!  The workshop week was spectacular and our mini makers were beaming to exhibit their one-of-a-kind creations.  Along with an ice cream truck, each artist also created a mini picnic table and  handmade sweet treats for imaginative + interactive play!  Turn it up and take a peek at our short + sweet clip to an ice cream truck melody, highlighting the wondrous week!

You may have seen our Collaged Ice Cream Cones created with children in our outdoor art studio for a recent downtown event.  My friend Bar Rucci, over at Art Bar Blog was a huge inspiration in creating these paper sprinkled + cherry topped cones.  Take a look at her fantastic process creating Paper Mache Ice Cream Sundaes and Cardboard Ice Cream Cones!  Here’s a little secret, Barbara has a beyond inspiring book coming out this fall which I’ve had the opportunity to preview (cover to cover) and preorder ~ Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with more than 25 Process Art Experiences.  All I can say is reserve your copy today, it’s truly one of the BEST BOOKS for creating with children that’s ever hit the printing press.  Personally promise it will be a studio go-to and gem that you’ll open again and again!

On a side note, Handmade Charlotte just shared the cutest + tiniest + tastiest treat, Gingerbread Ice Cream Trucks!  Maybe you’ve also seen Hello Wonderful’s DIY Pretend Play Ice Cream Cones using plaster?  Just a wee bit in love with both ideas!

Enrollment is currently underway and filling quickly for our 2016/17 School Year {mixed-media + hands-on} Art Workshops.  Follow our artful adventure on Instagram and Facebook, would absolutely love to connect, collaborate, and create community through children + creativity!

Camping Under the Night Sky

Happy Summertime!  Hope you’re enjoying some much deserved outdoor time with family and friends venturing in the GREAT outdoors!  We’re definitely soaking up and savoring summer and heading into the mountains for camping getaways!  Excited to share with you these outdoor + camping + canvas + landscape paintings created in our recent children’s workshop, SPRING IS IN THE AiRTIST!  This mixed-media painting was inspired by one of our favorite wanderlust painters, Katie Daisy and her beautiful piece, Let’s Sleep Under the Stars!  Take a peek at Katie’s inspiring paintings and our painting process with children!  Thank you @katiedaisy for your painterly inspiration, adore your style, whimsical spirit, and passion for the outdoors!

Creating In Our Outdoor Art Studio

On First Friday, we celebrated our fourth year making and creating at the annual Family Block Party in downtown Carbondale, Colorado!  This year we were inspired to paint and embellish ice cream cones, as we’re heading into an ice cream theme for our upcoming workshop: BEEP BEEP! SWEET TREATS!  This workshop will be focusing on retro ice cream truck sculptures, sweet treats, and more!  There are just a few spaces if you’d like to join in!  Here’s a peek at our upcoming summer + school year {hands on + mixed media} art workshops for Modish Mini Makers!  My magical + mama + maker-friend, Bar over at Art Bar Blog, created an amazing DIY~ Cardboard Ice Cream Cones, which inspired our paper ice creams for this downtown event!  Can you believe in just four hours, young artists created over 115 of these lovely ice cream cones as take-home treasures!  The evening was like running our own ice cream parlor as it buzzed with sweetness!  Join us over on our Instagram for more daily inspiration!

As the ice cream cones were drying, each unique piece created such a colorful + eye-catching + delicious backdrop!

You can take a peek below at our stations and setup within our outdoor art studio, but head on over to Art Bar Blog for the supplies and process on making your own Cardboard Ice Cream Cone, it’s truly a happy place!  The possibilities are endless!  Art Bar is a must-follow + favorite + colorful-creative on Instagram, stop by her collection and say H-E-L-L-O!  You’ll find so much clever-colorful-crafty-creativeness!

Springtime Owlets

Excited to share with you~ SPRINGTIME OWLETS, recently handcrafted in our 6-10-year-old workshop: STITCH + SEW!  Over on our Instagram, we’ll be sharing with Red Ted Art’s @Kidscraft101, as they’re featuring #fabriccrafts for their weekly theme!  Anyone can enter, simply tag your weekly themed photo #kidscrafts101 over on Instagram.  Then the dream team trio- @redtedart + @babbledabbledo + @incredibusy, along with a special surprise guest, will then judge and announce the winners!  This project was definitely a fabric favorite, as each artist designed, constructed, and hand stitched one-of-a-kind soft sculptures.  Take a peek at our creature collection of springtime owlets that just hatched in our studio!

Lummi Sticks + 5Point Film Festival

You may have seen on our Instagram, we partnered with 5Point Film Festival while they were on tour in Carbondale, Colorado!  The festival ran Thursday-Sunday with an exciting array of inspiring films and community events.  5Point stands for balance, commitment, humility, purpose, and respect.  They lineup 4-days of  inspiring programming, and gather special guests, athletes, filmmakers, and our community together in one – 800 seat venue!  On Saturday, following the Youth Adventure Films (free for 12 and under), we squeezed in some adventurous art making with hundreds of local children!  Between the arts + crafts, the much-loved annual ice cream social + community picnic, and all the overflowing inspiration from the outdoor adventure films, you’ll see many beaming smiles!  Thank you to all the local families that came out for this festive afternoon!  We were honored to be back at 5Point making + creating with young artists!  Thank you for inviting us to create LUMMI STICKS with children in our outdoor studio 5Point Film, so great to be back for another year.  Take a peek at how we crafted these simple sticks with just three simple steps!


Excited to announce HANDMAKERY’S online registration for (hands on + mixed media) SUMMER + SCHOOL YEAR 2016/17 ART WORKSHOPS!  Early enrollment is encouraged as space is limited!  Take a peek into our adventurous + artful workshops for children and upcoming art-filled community happenings!  May’s First Friday and Family Block Party are just around the corner, hope you’ll be joining us: Creating In Our Outdoor Art Studio: Summer Lovin’ Style!

Be sure to stay in touch and connect on our Facebook + Instagram + Pinterest!

Art Studio: A Place to Make + Create

Excited to share with you our art studio, the place where we make and create!  Most often we are featuring DIY projects that we’ve created within our School Year + Summer ~hands on + mixed media~ Art Workshops with children.  A few weeks ago, my superstar-art-friend Meri Cherry (yes, that’s her really name…don’t you just love it), over at Meri Cherry Blog mentioned that she was thinking about creating an artful roundup, featuring art studios + creative spaces!  Honored that she invited us to join in!  As some of you know, HANDMAKERY was recently invited to join a group of 20 international bloggers focused on creating art with children, the Rockin’ Art Moms!  It has been amazing and truly inspiring to connect with this fabulous group of women!  We’re so excited that you’ll get a chance to not only peek into our studio, but you’ll also get to say h-e-l-l-o and peek into the studios + creative spaces of some of our favorite Rockin’ Art Moms!  Enjoy the tour!

Wall Hangings

Excited to share with you our whimsical + wondrous WALL HANGINGS that were handcrafted in our MODISH MINI MAKERS workshop, making and creating with 6-9 year old artists!  You may have seen a few photos of the process in our collection on Instagram!  This project was tons of fun!  Such an exciting process experimenting with a wide array of materials + supplies and watching it all come together!  Do take a peek!

Autumn Art Outdoors

Happy Fall!!!  Isn’t the weather gorgeous?!?  What a beautiful time of year, maybe our favorite!  The last few years we’ve celebrated Oktoberfest in historic Downtown Carbondale | Colorado, creating Autumn Art in the Outdoors!  This year we will NOT be at Oktoberfest, but wanted to spread the word on this event as we’re excited to announce that the Town of Carbondale Recreation will be continuing the tradition of pumpkin carving and making art with children!  Please come out to support this local event and know we’ll be there in spirit!  Here is a peek at our booth, last year and in Fall of 2013, creating festive HARVEST CROWNS + WANDS!  Happy Oktoberfest!  Hope you are following us on Instagram + Facebook!