Wednesday, November 30, 2011

review: Babba Box

I have never done this type of thing before. I was approached by a company called Babba Box. They asked me if I wanted a free sample of their product to review on my blog. There was no obligation to review this product or to like it. The only thing I received was a free Babba Box and this is my experience with it, and what I thought about the product.

Readers of both still life with circles and still life everyday have asked me how I 1. have time to do crafts with my kids, and 2. how I am creative. I always say that I prioritize creativity in our house, which is an answer that isn't exactly fair. Everyone wants to prioritize creativity, but moving from wanting to doing is really difficult. I have shared pictures of our art studio on this blog and the other, but I forget how much stuff we have. You want glue? We have it in stick, Elmer's, glue dots, tacky glue, superglue, mod podge. You want to color? We have markers, crayons, pencils, paint. It has taken a few years to build up a stash of art and craft supplies. And it is expensive. If you want to create homemade cards, for example, you need to buy the box of cards, the stickers, the markers, the glue, the stamps, the stamp know depending on what you want to create. So when someone asks me how I have time and energy to do crafts and the creativity to do them, I forget how much footwork already went into creating crafts. I just go into the studio, pull out the supplies and do it. If I don't feel like cleaning up, I don't. It's the art studio, it is supposed to be messy. I have bins that I sweep everything into. But what if you don't have an art studio with all kinds of papers, art supplies, glues, craft sticks and what not and whosits? How practical is my advice to just make time if every time you want to do a craft, or a project, you need to run to Michaels and buy everything?

When I opened the Babba Box, all this immediately came to me. The Babba Box is an absolutely brilliant idea. When the marketing people at Babba Co. asked me if I'd like a free Babba Box to review, I wasn't sure it was my thing. It sounded like a great idea--the Babba Box is a monthly subscription for $29.95. You receive the box every month. There is a theme. For November, the theme was "Gratitude" (perfect theme, obviously. We had already been talking about this a ton around our house.) The Babba Box focuses on four areas: Create. Explore. Story tell. Digital. But, you know, I am a pretty creative person who creates crafts around themes all the time. Why would I need a box to do that every month for me?


Sorry to scream, but when I received it, touched it, opened it. It was magical. Everything was right there. The ideas, the instructions, the space to expand on the crafts or activities. As I said, there are four areas: Explore, which helps the child (Babba Box is aimed at 3-6 year olds) interact with the outside world. Story Tell, which is a book. Digital, which is the computer/interactive portion of the box. and Create, which are the arts and crafts section. We received three crafts. I should say, that the box above was so detailed and easy to understand that I immediately got what everything was. The crafts came in a bag labeled "Create" with detailed instructions on the craft and get this--all the supplies you need for that craft. And an abundance of the supplies. If it tells you to glue something, there are little glue stickers. That was a revelation and something I thought made this box worth it alone. The Babba Box includes only the pieces for that craft. So cool.

This month, the gratitude crafts were a Gratitude Serving Tray, Thank you cards, and a Trivet, perfect for the Thanksgiving table. We actually busted open the Babba Box the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so we could use our crafts for our Thanksgiving meal.

Our first craft was the serving tray.

Alright that picture stinks because the flash went off, but the craft was really cool. A tray with green paint to paint your hands and make a handprint tray. Thomas hates stuff on his hands, so he didn't participate in this craft. He only dipped his finger in the paint.

The next craft, he loved. And actually, I was so impressed with Babba Box. I was impressed when I opened the box up to begin with. The design is beautiful, well-organized, stylish and just really creative. The second craft was Thank You cards. Beatrice wanted to make a card for her teacher. But both children focused on this for well over an hour.

The other sections were really awesome as well. The book was focused on gratitude for the earth. Just a well-illustrated, well-written book. We have read it every day since we received it.

Beezus' favorite part of the Babba Box was the Explore section, which gets you to explore your outside world. The Babba Box this month included a gratitude camera. BEA's OWN CAMERA! The child is supposed to take pictures of things for which she is grateful. She took pictures around our house, of me and her brother, outside, micro pictures, macro pictures. It is a disposable camera, so it is virtually indestructible. The bag included the camera and a really cool tri-fold frame where you can glue your pictures. They called it a gratitude journal. This Explore activity was just such a creative and simple activity. We haven't taken the camera to get prints yet, but the cool thing is that later we will develop it, Bea will write descriptions of her pictures. It is a craft with many layers.

All I can say is that I think the Babba Box is just a brilliant idea, a perfect gift for your family or another family, for Christmas. I would not review this product if I didn't like it or endorse it 100%. I think it is a great fit for parents who are crafty and not crafty alike. But particularly if you are stuck month to month with new crafts. I particularly like it because we try to focus our crafts and art with the seasons and the holidays, and this gets me out of my rut, plus all the stuff fits into one little box I can put in the studio. I know I would never have thought to make a trivet, for example. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that Babba Box is highly recommended by me as just a great, all-around addition to a home with kids.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

magical thinking

I am trying to sketch out a painting 3' x 4'. I want to do a kind of poster/guerilla art piece that is about grief that is startling and true and people like. I have no idea what to paint. I like my grief girl paintings. I just am not sure anymore. I am also thinking that it would be cool to do a more stylized mizuko jizo on a white background. I am stuck right now. It is AEDM and I have been doing Art Every Day. I thought I would share one of my sketches from my art journal, which is one of the ideas I was toying with for a painting.

It is called Magical Thinking.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am honored to be included amongst this group of grieving artists in a show this January at the Mulberry Arts Studios in Lancaster, PA. There is a community project wall and you can participate. There is a reception on Sunday, January 15th, from 1p-4p. I hope to see everyone there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

super daddy

If I had a little sign that I hung on my door, it would say, "Gone Campin'" Our family and TracyOC's family headed out yonder in the hills and camped the shit out of a Pennsylvania State Park. It was awesome. But I didn't get much any writing done, no drawing. I do have a fierce kink in my neck which is making me feel like Frankenstein, but that is neither here nor there, and probably more a result of sleeping at my mother's house last night than camping.

Tonight, however, I had to paint my husband's birthday card. In our family, we draw and paint cards for each other. Even my husband for me. They are the best. I love that our family does this for one another. And surprisingly enough, my husband started the tradition. The first year he did it, he drew a little stick family and it said, "I love you." And then it has blossomed from there. Today is my husband's 39th birthday and since he doesn't read any of my blogs anymore, I thought I would share his card here. He really does do this. I have this picture of Beezus, age 22 months. We were absolutely grief-stricken during this time, so this type of thing would raise our spirit for the entire week. Seriously.

So here is his SUPER DADDY card.

Happy birthday, Sam, in the off chance you see this! You are the best daddy in the world.

Monday, November 7, 2011

days 4, 5, 6 and 7

I think I am going to change all of these to ink. They will just look better. The theme is Things Found Under Car Seats.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November, the goddess of creative chaos

November has become a being feared and revered. She is a bitch goddess, relentless, demanding and often leaves me in a state of awe and gratitude. As I embark on my second Art Every Day Month (AEDM) and my fourth National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I beg of you to be patient with my unanswered emails, my confusing and surreal tweets, my angry status updates. For AEDM this year, I'm finishing my Sketckbook project, or rather starting it. I'm not painting this year, or rebinding. Just a sketch a day that might be inked, or might stay pencil. My theme is "Thing Found Under Car Seats." It is purposely light. I am making it surreal, hopefully funny. But first few pages are the straight man jokes. Here are the cover and first page.