How an organic artist saved my weekend!

The organic artist by Nick Neddo
The organic artist by Nick Neddo, delivered by amazon

I love amazon! Without amazon, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get this fantastic book so easy.

When I was researching some recipes for ink made from natural, non-toxic ingredients, I stumbled upon Nick Neddo and his book “The organic artist“. I received it today  – and it is awesome!

Neddo really goes into details on how to use nature to create your own art supplies. There is much more to discover than the obvious ideas like berry ink or clay.

Here is an overview of the content:

  • Charcoal
  • Pens
  • Inks
  • Inkwells and paint dishes
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pigmentss and Paints
  • Crayons
  • Paper
  • Printmaking
  • Sketchbooks and Journals

I read the part about berry ink this morning and it answered my questions on why my own experiments didn’t work out as intented. The book would have spared me some anger and frustrations…

I already got some new ideas on what to do next 🙂

beautifully illustrated tutorial on how to produce acorn ink
beautifully illustrated tutorial on how to produce acorn ink

The book is for adults, but I think it’s really easy to adapt some of the ideas for children. I’m sure I’ll try a lot and I’ll let you know what happened!

One sad thing is, that I don’t have a bigger garden or field. There are some tutorials in the book that require an outdoor firecamp e.g.

If you’re interested in this book, please use my affiliate link, this helps me keeping that blog up and running! Buy that book at

The author Nick Neddo is an artist who creates beautiful illustration of nature, made with nature. You can see more of him on his website: He is also an instagram. His feed is great, he shares not only his artwork, but many everyday outdoor pictures.

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Shaving cream marbled paper art project for kids

Did I ever tell you how much I love my kids’ daycare? I love the teachers so much!

Just today I discovered some new art they created with the kids:

shaving cream marbled paper art / craft

My son loves to experiment, that was one of the first informations I got as feedback when he started daycare when he was 14 months old: When he got some pencils and paper, he didn’t (or at least not only) try to draw some lines. Instead he tried what else you can do with a paper and a pencil: roll it, drop the pencil when using the paper as a slide, and stuff like that.
He’s four years old now and this somehow didn’t change. He sometimes draws an object, but most of the time he draws totally non-representational.

So when they can do such experiments with a beautiful and artsy outcome at daycare, he’s delighted. And Mommy too 🙂

What did they do here?

The teachers put some shaving foam / cream in a box or something like that. Than the kids could add a little fluid color and stirr cautiously. Small pieces of paper were placed on top of the foam, so the foam pattern would be printed onto the paper. Voilà.

Such a fun way to build great art pieces! And the mess… Depends on the surrounding and the kids tendency to destroy furniture, but it should be ok 😉 No really, I think this is not a big deal. In any case, you could opt for some water soluble colors.

Ok, you want a complete guide? I just found one by Kelly (thank you for the picture!) from “Typically Simple”. And it’s pretty cool, she made some easter egg craft with this marbled paper.

This weekend I’ll decorate the easter eggs, so I think I’ll try some shavingcream easter egg craft.

I wonder if you have some other ideas for art with shaving cream? Please share your thoughts in the comments! Also, let me know if you’ve written a cool blog post about this, so I could share it here.

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In case you don’t like eating cabbage…

Today I’m telling you about an artistical project on which I worked some time ago. Uh well, long time ago. To be honest, those works are from July 2005. I was engaged in shadows and that’s how I ran into the fascinating structures of cabbage.

The knobbly surface creates deep ridges and crates, where the light vanishes whereas it shines at the tops. The  branches of the veins bring some regularity that give the eyes something to fix on.

I lateron continued this works and ‘resorted’ them with digital image editing. Today this might be a matter of seconds, but at that time I spent days searching for filters and effects, finding the composition I searched. Here are some examples:

The game with the blur was unintentional by the way. I had problems with my vision at that time, but didn’t know that. Today I’m wondering how I could produce so many photography series and show them at exhibitions without having one single well defined picture among them. And nobody noticed!  I even had good grades (at least in photography) in my final exhibition for the first state examination. But please, in case you’re a teacher and you wonder why the photographies of your students miss depth or definition, please consider that the student might need (new) glasses.

Did you ever work with cabbage in your art?

Oh that reminds me: Last year I saw a great picture at Art KARLSRUHE. An artist created walls of (artificial) salad. I almost bought a 1m² piece, but I feared dusting it. Yep, that’s the main reason I didn’t buy it. I would have hanged it in the kitchen and dust and fat from cooking would have ruined it. I don’t remember the artist right now, but only two days to go until the art fair reopens their doors, so I guess I’ll see some more works by this artist.

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An artspoon full of sugar chalk

Rocket, drawn with sugar chalk

Two weeks ago was the 4th birthday of my son and he asked for a rocket themed party. The reason he likes rockets is a big poster by Hervé which we bought for him in the Comic Museum of Brussels 3 years ago and which hangs in his room. I’m happy it’s not a fireman party he wanted and so I threw myself into party preparations with enthusiasm. That means I spent several nights at Pinterest, just to buy some paper plates with rockets on it.

So far, his or his friends birthday parties went like this: Kids were sent to the kids room to play while parents were having their own party in the living room. Very relaxed and just the way I like it. Unfortunately there was some crafting activity at the last birthday he was invited to. The results were pretty cool, but now he wanted me to craft rockets with his guests. Uhm…

Space drawings with sugar chalk

A few days before the birthday party I had the idea to draw a colorful space scenery – with sugar chalk on black paper. Clever as I am, I decided to test that beforehand. (always do that before you want kids to do a specific activity)

What is sugar chalk? It’s just plain chalk (like school chalk) which was put into sugar walked. That way the color gets more intensive and the chalk is easier to handle on paper. It’s not so dusty due to the moisture and sticks better to the paper. But anyhow, you should fixate the picture in the end, e.g. with hair spray.

It’s really easy to make your own sugar chalk!

Ingredients für sugar chalk: water, sugar, chalk. That’s it!

Recipe for sugar chalk (magic chalk)

1 jar with wide opening

100ml water

1 teaspoon sugar

Fill the jat with water, add sugar, stirr. In case you take more water, just add more sugar as well. I took the triple portion on the picture. Then you add the chalk and wait for a couple of minutes. Done 🙂 When you have enough jars, you should consider taking different jars for each color, so the chalk won’t get dirty. But it’s not a big problem, don’t worry. When you’re done drawing, you can put the chalk back into the sugar water and keep it for some time(but not too long). But make sure it’s a chalk of good quality, so it won’t dissolve.

Draw on dark surfaces, like black paper.

A jar of sugar chalk

By the way: I had problems as the color fixated on surfaces where I only wanted to have it temporarily oder not at all (like the kids table) and I couldn’t get rid of the stains at once. So be careful!

Ready to get started

My little artist was very motivated, but – as always – just to test the different effects and results. He’s more of an explorer type… So he draw a “color casserole” 🙂 It wasn’t as productive as I expected, but the baby was with us and distracted him. He didn’t get into the flow and stopped drawing after only a quarter of an hour.

Artists at work.
Space made with sugar chalk

Oh. By the way. The chalk is not edible and I recommend to keep babies from tasting the chalk. Because… well… it tastes like sugar and my baby liked it and would’nt stop eating… (yup, I expect to be nominated for the “mom of the year” award anytime soon).

I hope you’ll have lots of fun drawing!


PS: I didn’t offer this activity at the birthday party. I sticked to my opinion that they should keep themseves busy without the help of adults. It was a great party 🙂

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