My Hands Make History (& Pretty Things)

my hands make history, handmade heritage, handmade historyI can barely believe the summer is over and this is the last post of our Handmade Heritage theme! This is a theme I hope we will continue to add to as there are so many talented artists reinventing history and reviving old arts. Lets take a second to praise all the hands all over the world that are making history right now, pretty awe inspiring when you think of it (if you have a copy of Cultivate Your Creativity you’ll remember the worksheet on this thought). As you might have noticed things have been pretty quiet for the last couple of weeks as I have focused on parenting more and working less. I wanted to share a bit of what my two hands were up to this summer instead of typing away or working on projects for big people.

All summer our family worked piece by piece on one main project: transforming my old office space into a bedroom for my oldest daughter Ila who will turn 7 in October. She had been sharing a room with her sister but they have very different sleep habits and since she is starting a new school in September I wanted to give her a fresh start in a more grown up space of her own. Out of necessity I had a budget of less then $100 but I had my own two hands + creativity and a very willing little helper. She chose a butterfly theme for her room (which is funny because her last room had a ladybug theme)and I went with it. Here is Ila’s all-growned-up room:

handmade heritage, handmade history, butterfly bedroom

We basically made everything in this room! I made all the dolls on the bed over the years + the garland, pompoms, curtains and rug. Ila made all the art on the walls-including the amazing collage over her bed. Here is the rest of the room:

handmade heritage, handmade history, butterfly bedroom

I redid the dresser + lamp + shelf and made the butterfly pictures but other then that Ila did all the art and helped refinish the boat (with a little help from me). I think the best piece of all is the triangle painting we just finished this week and I wanted to show how we went about making it so you could join in the fun. I bought a pile of these big canvases at an outlet store for $9 each and they were the best investment ever. They have endless uses-this one is part art part functionality since you can use washi tape (or plain old masking tape) to put up drawings and sketches. Ila thinks it is too pretty to cover up right now and I agree, she’s making me a couple for the living room now!

DIY canvas wall art for children, kids art tutorial, canvas wall art

This was SUCH a fun project! Just give a large canvas a couple coats of low VOC latex paint with a roller letting it dry between coats. Tape off triangles (or whatever shapes you like-this was fun & simple enough for Ila to tape off herself) with painters tape and paint them in with acrylic paint. Go thick! I love the texture Ila gave her painting by going crazy with the paints.

DIY canvas wall art for children, kids art tutorial, canvas wall art

Let dry and eat ice cream while waiting for the big reveal:

DIY canvas wall art for children, kids art tutorial, canvas wall art

I did 99% of all this fun creative stuff while Sela was napping or adventuring with Chris (my lovely man who put up all the shelves & made the bed frame) but she gets to join in all the playtime fun.

i really really really love my kidsThis parenting/small business entrepreneur thing is a wild ride-I am glad I took the time to adventure with my girls and make history with them. I never stop being amazed by how my hands create memories-small things like wiping away tears or holding hands to big things like creating spaces to grow up into or supporting our family with my work. I think our handmade heritages are built of these small moments and I feel very blessed to be able to be home and involve my wee beasties in my work.

What sort of history were your hands making this summer? I would love to know! Please share your thoughts or links to your projects and creations in the comments: )



  1. Joy says:

    I love it all, Jessika!!! The room turned out beautifully and lla looked like she had such a wonderful time creating her space with you… melts my heart!

    Wow! lla, you are an amazing artist and thanks for the lovely art tutorial… I’ll have to try it with my little guy – Jude. Wish you well in your first day of school (and the school year).

    • Jessika says:

      @ Joy-Ila says: “Thanks for the note Joy, you are very sweet” now she wants to write you a letter: ) We had a total blast making her room-now I think it is the most relaxing room in the house & have to stop myself from napping in her cozy bed: ) Please share pics if you & Jude make a painting!!!

    • Jessika says:

      @Erin-aw thanks sweetie! Ila is a sweet darling (when she isn’t being beastly;) When the kiddos get old enough to craft with it is a real transformation, Sela is almost old enough & I am so excited to make with both of them: ) Happy September!

  2. cinzia says:

    first of all, i love the title of this post! Yes, our hands do make history! your daughter’s room is beautiful. she’s so fortunate that you gave her so much freedom to create it! She is very talented. My hands make history when I sew up new quilts for my family and to sell in my shop. I imagine that the families who buy them cherish them and hold on to them as much as my own kids cherish the ones i make for them.

    • Jessika says:

      Thank you @Cinzia! I love the idea of your hands making history for other families to cherish and pass on, such a beautiful concept. I am totally in awe of quilters and will someday finish the quilt I started for my oldest when she was in my belly…its only been 7 years, it will happen right; ) Re: Ila’s room-I have decorated all her rooms myself but since she is older I thought she would be more invested in the room if she did most of the work. I was right! She keeps it so neat and tidy now instead of tossing things everywhere. I love seeing the pride she has in her own making: )

  3. Marian says:

    i was really moved by this post!
    Your girls are very lucky to have you and this room is just beautiful!
    I can’t think of a better memory for your little young lady than hand(lovingly)making her own room with her mommy!
    You really inspired me a lot!
    Happy school year!

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