Blog Header

Loved It! Eco Dollhouse Camp!

Last year’s Eco Dollhouse Camp got rave reviews, so I’m doing it again at the Agoura Hills Rec Center. Design your own 3-story house – to decorate and fill with sustainable furniture!
I’ve got a full line up of unique, creative and eco camps planned for this summer! Check them out and join me.

I am so excited to be doing field trips again!
Creating with a class of students during a field trip really resounds the “Art Fun for Everyone” motto in my head! Next week I will be visiting Oakwood School with all my eco art materials to make Arthropods with 2nd graders! Giving students a unique art experience where they create a physical project that they come up with is applying the learning they have culminated over a number of weeks to flush out their animals- yes, Arthropods are animals! They’re thrilled to KNOW that they need certain components to make their creations real , a certain number of legs, eyes, and even body structure because they’ve learned all about them. What a creative hands-on way to bring that learning home!
Learning is listening, reading, writing and of course, making!

Learning fun, here we come.

Jemma W.

Happy Mother’s Day!

On Mother’s Day, I focus on play. I’m looking forward to spending the day with my family, where everyone else does the actual “work!”  I’m envisioning lots of outside activities — with plenty of room to run off energy and minimal clean up necessary.   Maybe we’ll fly a kite?  Or, take a hike — even if it’s just around the neighborhood!   Arts and crafts in the backyard.   A picnic lunch.  With my “To Do List” on-hold, this is the day I soak up why I wanted to be a mom in the first place.   To reconnect, to laugh and to wonder at how the baby girl I held in my arms is growing into her own.   

I hope you have a joyful Mother’s Day!

Warm Regards,

Alora C.

Sustainability Planner

Earth Loving Family Fun

Last Saturday I hosted a Family Art Day at CMATO – my fav local contemporary museum. Participants from age 4 to 80+ worked together to create three canvas cast-off collages using some of the CReATE collection of materials I provided. We glued and painted, explored and played.
It was so good to be together, talking trash (literally) and all things mother earth. Everyone was in-tune to the Earth Day message and talking about what we can do to help our planet as well as the fun and frolicking spirit that art moments allow. The common ground we shared for a few hours fed our spirits and the colorful canvases brightened our hearts.
I love that CMATO provides Family Art Days where art and connection are always intersected.

Jemma W.

Owner/ Founder

Happy Earth Day

I am always amazed at how our earth regenerates itself.  How even after a devastating fire, the green returns the following year.  Or how after a strong storm, the next day will be bright and sunny; bushes that bowed down the day before, now standing tall.  I think, too, of weeds cropping up in sidewalk cracks.   Nothing seems to keep that life force down.  How resilient mother earth is!  How persistent.   This earth day, I’m thinking about ways I can be a little more regenerative, a little more life-giving.   Like, planting an herb garden, so I won’t buy herbs in plastic wraps or throw out half of a large bunch from the farmers’ market that I never seem to finish. In my backyard, I can just snip what I need.   I also think love has a regenerative property, that grows exponentially, like so many things in the natural world.  We humans need love to grow!  So, I’m going to work a little harder at spreading that love around.

Happy Earth Day!

Warm Regards,

Alora C

Sustainability Planner

Can’t Wait For Spring Break Camp!

Time is flying by! It’s already time for Spring Break and that means Camp CReATE’s Spring Break Sampler!
I am really excited to spend the week with community kids and creating. I’ve got a great week planned with a new project each day as well as plenty of time for open ended eco-art, my personal favorite! I cant think of a more fun way to honor Mother Earth than to spend time using our imaginations and expressing our creativity through the reuse of recycled materials! We’ll be painting rocks, making a cardboard T.V, make mason jar terrariums and of course, slime not to mention painting, taping, gluing, building and generally making whatever comes to mind. Let’s create!
No artistic experience is necessary. Click here for a detailed description of each days session.

See you Monday<

Jemma W.
Owner / Founder

Tips for a Greener Easter

Check out these easy eco tips for baskets, fillings and eggs:

  1. For baskets, think reuse!  Take a basket you already have and place a dish towel, large cloth napkin, or piece of fabric, inside; then fill with Easter treats.  Or, invest in a sturdy basket your children will use year after year, preferably made of a recyclable material. You can also make eco-friendly baskets by weaving your own out of paper grocery bags; or make smaller baskets by weaving ribbon through plastic berry baskets. 
  2. The grass — think biodegradable.  Try shredding craft paper or recycled tissue tissue paper.  (Even better if you can re-use scraps of paper or repurpose some of those St. Patricks Day decorations!). Or, line the basket with real wheatgrass — you can grow your own (it takes about 7 -10 days) or purchase it.  You can also place a green cloth in the basket.  Edible easter grass, is another alternative, though I can’t vouch for its taste!
  3. The eggs — please don’t buy more plastic eggs!  I know it can be tempting, but this year, consider hiding more decorated hard boiled eggs than the plastic variety.  If you’re looking for an egg you can fill, opt for paper or wooden eggs.  Or,  hide something else altogether (e.g. clementines) which children can “trade-in” for candy with mom.   If you must use plastic eggs, consider those that are made from recycled plastic.  If you already have plastic eggs — keep reusing them!  And if your kids are aging out of Easter hunts, consider checking with a local church if they will accept donations of your cleaned plastic eggs.

Above all, have a happy Easter!

Warm Regards,

Alora C

Sustainability Planner

For the Love of Egg Dyeing

With Earth Day coming up, I’ve been thinking about how to have a greener Easter.  I keep thinking about all those plastic eggs.  I admit it, I have a bunch too.  Over the years, the hardboiled eggs have been increasingly replaced by those candy filled plastic eggs.  Yet, when I think back, my fondest Easter memories are of the fun we had dying eggs with my mother, grandmother and sister.  How proud we were of our free-form creative exploration.  We learned about color mixing when we dipped it into multiple colors.  We discovered how to make half-n-half or rainbow eggs — and learned who had the steadiest hand (or patience) to hold it there just half dipped in.   As a mom now, my daughter and I love dyeing eggs together.   With clear wax crayons, we’ll write an invisible message on the egg and watch it appear in the dye.   As the kids get older, the hunt is over in a matter of minutes, but egg dyeing, that’s an activity!   

What to do with all those hard boiled eggs?  Below is my go-to egg salad recipe: 

8 large, hard boiled eggs, chopped.

½ cup mayo

3 tabs shallots, finely chopped

1 ½ tabs fresh tarragon, chopped

2 tea white wine vinegar

Salt & Pepper

Finely chop the eggs (you can use an egg slicer, fork, or my favorite: pastry blender).  Add all the other ingredients and stir.  Cover and chill for 30 minutes or so, for the flavors to blend.  You can make a sandwich with any type of bread, but my personal favorite is rye bread for this recipe.  You can also make mini-sandwiches for appetizers/snacks.  

Warm Regards,

Alora C 

Sustainability Planner

A Vision In Wood

As part of my Spotlight on wood I look at what artists are doing with it. Last week I saw a piece at CMATO {California Museum of Art, Thousand Oaks} during our collaborative Family Art Day that really struck me. It was a piece by Charles Arnoldi, a local artist out of Venice Beach, California who among other materials, works with wood on a larger scale. I loved reading about his approach to wood as a material. He works with bulky sheets of wood, veneering pieces together, then paints them and either before or after that process uses a chain-saw to carve into and through the veneered slab to create sturdy, abstract works that wow the eye!

See for yourself! You can see this work now on view at CMATO in The Oaks Mall. A few of his works are on display as part of the Landscapes through the eyes of abstraction exhibit.

-Jemma W.

Thursday, February 17th, is Random Acts of Kindness day. I wish kindness were the norm. I believe kindness towards another begets kindness in turn.  We can start small to make a difference. 

Jonah Larson’s journey began with a fluke.  Faced with a bag of crafting supplies, 5-year-old Jonah found the crochet hook and began to teach himself how to crochet.  A self-proclaimed “rascal” in school; crocheting turned out to be just the thing to calm those disruptive impulses.  

His speed and skill at a young age attracted the attention of the media and before long, he became a sensation.  He has used his fame to give back, by building a school and a science center in Ethiopia, his birth country.  Jonah likes to say “crochet brings the world together one stitch at the time.”

Read more about Jonah on his website here.  Learn more about Random Acts of Kindness Day here.  

The great thing about kindness is, it can be big or small in action, a smile, a home cooked meal, a few words of kindness on a slip of paper for someone else. Maybe, if I look closer, kindness is a norm, just not always noticed.

Alora C.

Sustainability Planner