Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Easy and fancy bow for a little girl's gift

Buy an inexpensive spool of nylon net in the bridal department at Michael's and pull from the spool alongside your ribbon.  I used five wraps for this one.  (Ten loops, after cinching in the middle with a chenille stem.)

This gift is a tin full of hair ribbon sold on the spool, with a pair of scissors.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kids and spontaneous joy

I was walking through the mall parking lot this morning when a little girl got out of the car with her mom.  The little tyke was singing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" from the movie Mary Poppins, belting it out with Broadway gusto.  Everyone within blocks was grinning like a fool.  A lady near me said, "That little girl sounds happy."  I whistled the tune all the way home.  Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring! 

Note to parents:  All we have to do is expose our kids to music, art, dance, stories and joy.  They will absorb them with no prompting, and radiate them into their world.  Did you learn nursery rhymes from your grandma?  Start there. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Babies Making Babies

I tweeted this today, but wanted to explain a bit more.  I discovered this activity completely by surprise, and apologize for the misleading title of the blog-- but you will see that it's the perfect title.

I was amusing my grand daughter with a ball of modeling clay when she was just a very young baby; before she could form words.  I said, "This is our ball."  She understood "ball."  Then I said, "Now let's make the ball into a baby."  I pressed my thumb into the ball to form recessed eye sockets, allowing my thumbnail to carve little curves to resemble closed eyelids.  Then I made a smile with my thumbnail and pinched up a little nose.

I was rewarded with a surprised smile of recognition that I have never forgotten.  My grand daughter could point to her own eyes, ears, nose and mouth even though she could not form the words, so she could understand the process of carving facial features into a ball of clay.  I handed the ball to her and said, "Bye bye, baby.  Now it's a ball again," and smoothed the surface.  Then I said "Can you make the baby's eyes?"  At first she just smiled, but I showed her that she could press her tiny thumb into the clay and make eyes.  "Can you make the baby's mouth?"  She pressed her index finger into the clay, making a much more convincing mouth than the one I had made earlier.  "Where is the baby's nose?" She remembered how to pinch the nose.  I am grinning now, remembering how pleased she was with the "baby" she had made all by herself. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Passion versus Paying the Bills

I'm off to my day job tomorrow morning after a heavenly sabbatical.  I'm also reading "Crush It," yet another fervent sermon about living your dream.  ("Crush It" explains how to earn a living via social network marketing.)

The author, Gary Vaynerchuck, was nearly crowded off the shelf by the mob of social networking business gurus.  If there's money in it, there's a book deal in it.  Regarding the quest for income, Vaynerchuck has a bit to say about one's DNA, by which he means personality. 

He would clearly not approve of my DNA, even if he had a lab analysis.  I love to draw.  I have always loved to draw.  I especially adore drawing pictures for little girls to color.  If you knew me personally, you would laugh to think I might "crush" anything.  I don't even  kill bugs if I can figure out how to scoot them back outside.

It will be fun to see if Kat Green can find a way to draw pictures for LOTS of little girls via my beautiful web site, designed with great love and talent by my amazing daughter in law.  If you are reading this, you are observing my journey, and I want to hear your thoughts about art, kids, passion, creativity or anything else that's on your mind.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Art Materials

I tried "Aqua tone" colored pencils, manufactured by Derwent, in England.  This is a great tool for drawing fine lines or filling in larger shapes.  They're expensive, so they would be a special gift for a child who loves art.  (I found mine at Michaels.)  A suggestion:  Just buy the three primary colors at first, and let the child experiment with blending them to make all the other colors.  If you'd like, you can add pastels or earth tones, and possibly black and white, later.

Something fun for your girls to do this summer!

Keep those clever little minds occupied this summer!  Let's have a contest. 

First Contest:

What do you think the princesses, fairies or big sisters are saying?  Choose a picture and write something about it!  Your child can write the story on the blank page facing the coloring page in any of the Kat Green "color and keep" books, then type it here on the blog.  (If she is not a typist yet, Mom or Dad can transcribe.)

Don't have a coloring book?  That's OK.  Download one of the FREE coloring pages.  Be sure to describe the picture so we know which one your child is writing about.

We'll publish all the great stories and include the first name only of the author AND send her a free coloring book!

Second Contest:

What do YOU think a fairy, a princess or a big sister would love to do?  Send your idea and Kat Green will draw a special picture just for you!!  You'll get the original drawing to color, your idea will be posted on for other little girls to download and color AND we'll send you a free coloring book!

Know what?  I bet the stories and picture ideas our little girls come up with together will make the best, most amazing, most beautiful and most fun story EVER!!!  (Whispered to Mom and Dad:  They will also be developing skills without even realizing it!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Does Art Influence Young Kids?

I have heard the following story since I was a young mother myself:

Hanna, a mother of grown sons, often lamented to her friends that each of her boys, in turn, went to sea as soon as they were old enough. 

One day, a group of her friends gathered in her living room to work on a quilt.  As the women chatted about their grown sons, who were merchants, farmers, teachers or builders, and their growing flock of grandchildren, Hannah became quieter and quieter.  She had no daughters-in-law to visit or shop with, and no grandchildren underfoot.

One of the women noticed that Hannah seemed excluded from the conversation, and, knowing of Hannah's sorrow and worry over her seafaring boys, tried to change the subject.  "Hannah," she said brightly, "I love that wonderful painting over your mantel.  Have you had it very long?"

Hannah's long-time best friend spoke up before Hannah could reply.  "Oh heavens," she said.  "That has always been there.  It was a wedding gift."

Suddenly Hannah and her friend exchanged a startled glance.  The painting was a dramatic seascape featuring a beautiful ship in full sail on high seas.  The women made the connection between the painting and the absent boys at the same instant, as best friends often do.  

I don't know if the story is true, but I do believe that a quiet half hour spent coloring with a little girl might be a valuable opportunity to chat about the pictures and perhaps share values that just might stick.  The blank backs of the pictures could serve as a spot for the child to write something about the picture, or to draw a picture of her own.  


The fairies were actually first.  The first thing I wanted to do when I rented my little studio was to paint a flock of fairies.  I can’t explain why, exactly.  I love to draw, and I especially love to draw people.  All my multiple thousands of doodles are fanciful, stylized, idealized women who are neither young nor old.  There is something of the fairy in each of them.  Again, I am not an art psychotherapist although I have worked as a research assistant in the field.  I don’t know where that impulse came from.

But something that resonates with me is John Steinbeck’s short essay on creativity, tucked into his novel East of Eden.  He believes in the spark of joy that occasionally comes to us as a compelling idea. He explains that this is the miracle of the individual human soul, which can become dampened or extinguished by conformity to the collective.  Steinbeck writes, “If the glory can be killed, we are lost.”

We are not lost!  Little girls will always have the good sense and perfect faith to fly away with the fairies.  When I sent photos of my fairy paintings to my good friend Judy Christensen, former owner of “Imagine That,” a children’s bookstore in Riverside, California, she said she had a whole section on fairies-- a hands-down favorite with her little customers and their parents.  Another close college friend, Jeannie Vincent, told me her local public library hosts an annual fairy tea party, a hugely popular event that she attends with her granddaughters.

It was Judy who recommended the miniature fairy books as party favors, and Jeannie who confirmed that fairy parties are indeed afoot.

Some of the fairies in the "Fairies" coloring book are blending into their background as if only a child can see them.  My thought was that fairies live deep in the woods where adults seldom notice them, and represent a magical bridge between the observable and the spiritual.

If we could fly (and flying is so universally embedded in our mysticism, it is surely important), my visual idea was that we could swoop and soar, but we might also float and hover, part of and yet apart from the forest and meadows.  All of my coloring books are printed on only one side of the page.  My hope is that the blank pages will beckon to your inventive little girls, and that they will spread their own beautiful wings.


I am a doodler who studied art for five years and covered every random piece of scrap paper with silhouettes, as if possessed, for the rest of my life.

I think it's interesting that we are so strongly magnetized to idealized female figures.  Little girls flock to the Disney Princesses as if tugged by an insatiable hunger, and I have noticed a genre of video games that feature fantasy females that appear to be designed by and for men.  If a pretty girl is like a melody, it’s a melody that we all seem to know by heart.

I have drawn so many princesses for little girls who love their ball gowns, their bling and their impossible hairdo’s, another coloring book drifted from my pen as if by its own volition.  Because I believe children absorb most of their values unconsciously, I wanted to make sure my princesses were good mentors for the little girls who might be coloring them.  These princesses are readers, sewers, musicians and equestriennes in addition to their routine royal diversions.

I’m not on an anti-digital soap box, but I do know from experience that children want their mothers, their grandmothers, their big sisters or babysitters to sit with them to color.  In fact, my 21-year old nephew tells me his 18-year old tech-savvy girlfriend still loves to color, and my sister says her college senior still adores coloring books.  Coloring princesses could be something that teenagers, moms and grandmas might actually enjoy as much as the youngest girls in the family.  I hope all little girls and the adults who love them will have a grand time hanging around the palace with these fantasy princesses.

Big Sisters

I was the oldest girl in my family, and my oldest child is my only daughter.  Her oldest is also a girl, and I have a son whose oldest is a daughter too.  We have lots of big sisters in our family.

I would not have paid much attention to any of this, except that I was writing a letter to my granddaughter Abby, to congratulate her on the birth of her baby brother, and it reminded me of my baby sister, who was born when I was nine years old.

She was “Baby Norma” to everyone in our family, long after she towered over us, a long-legged, broad shouldered competitive swimmer who played in an auditioned youth symphony.  I tend to express my feelings in pictures, so I drew some pictures of my happy memories taking care of Baby Norma as her big sister.  It was my job to bathe her and put her to bed every night.  I loved rocking her to sleep, singing the songs our mother had taught us.

That reminded me of my daughter Sharon as a little girl.  She was also nine years old when her youngest baby brother was born, and no little kid ever had a more devoted big sister.  I drew a picture of Sharon bringing treats home to her brothers; something she never failed to do if she had a special outing with friends.

Sharon's daughter Lauren inherited her mom’s gift for nurturance.  Lauren spent countless hours lugging her baby brother around on her hip whenever he needed comfort.

I drew this too, called the collection “Famous Big Sisters in My Family,” and popped it in the mail.
My college buddy, Terri Thayer, who had been my roommate when I was studying art, grabbed me figuratively by the lapels (I was wearing a tee shirt, so you know this is metaphorical) and told me all little girls should have this coloring book when a new baby is born or adopted into their families.

That was the genesis of Big Sister.  I hope the drawings will help little girls imagine the special bond that will bless them and their families for the rest of their lives.