Project Inspiration: Freeform Weaving Boards

Freeform Weaving BoardHere is a fun and easy process-based creative project I did with several children recently. I offered the children 8 x 10 pieces of masonite board, yarn, and several random items such as feathers, silk flowers, jewelry pieces, various types of threads and fibers.

The children (some with my assistance) created a grid with yarn on the masonite by wrapping the yarn around the board both horizontally and vertically so that the boards are divided into squares. I instructed the children they could create larger or smaller grid squares as they wished.

I helped them tie off the yarn on the back to hold the grid pattern in place. And, then, the children turned the boards face up, and had tons of fun choosing the items to place on their boards. Some of the items were tied or secured onto the yarn grid lines, and some of the items were laced, woven, or loosely placed between the yarn lines.

I love the results! This project is an easy way to introduce sewing skills and fiber arts, and also allows children to work with materials of various textures.

Let me know if you try this project with the children in your life!

Exploring Cultural Diversity With Children

Exploring Cultural Diversity With Children

When planning my projects for sessions with children, I often tie in lessons of cultural diversity to introduce the children to artistic traditions and techniques from various people groups and various time periods in history.

Here’s a few culturally diverse projects some of my students have completed recently:


Tribal Twigs

I taught children how various tribes use colors and patterns to identify their groups and how the use of symbolism can mean important things to their tribe, such as family history, their place of residence, qualities that are important to them, and can be expressions of communication.

I encouraged the children to think about what is important to them – their favorite colors, their hobbies, their family. They each chose a twig, and decorated it with tissue paper, yarn, and paint.

Aboriginal Paintings

We discovered the amazing creativity of the Australian Aboriginal people through creating Aboriginal paintings using the dotted texture patterns found in some of the Aboriginal tribal artworks. The students seemed really excited to explore this fun way of painting with dots. We used q-tips, and some students were able to create dots by holding a small paintbrush upright.

Paper Mola Artworks

Another fun project was to introduce students to the amazing Mola textile designs in Panama’s fashion culture. I showed several images of the interesting patterns and lines displayed in various Mola pieces, and then had the children use that as inspiration to create drawings on paper. The students all jumped right into the project and came up with some very imaginative and exciting works of art.

Gift Certificates Available!

Give the gift of creativity for the Asheville area families in your life!

A Touring Art Nanny gift certificate is perfect for Christmas, birthdays, positive behavior rewards, older sibling gifts when a new baby arrives and a fun distraction is needed for big brothers or sisters, and random acts of kindness gifts for tired parents who need a break!


Whatever the occasion may be, A Touring Art Nanny Gift Certificate is an easy and unique gift solution, and may be used towards any of my creative services, including Art Classes, Parent’s Day Out Sessions, and Creative Childcare Experiences. The certificates are available in increments of $25. Contact me at for details on cost of my services and for information needed to order your certificates.

As always, stay creative!

Gabrielle Dearman

Top 20 Art Supplies for Toddlers

Parents and caregivers, I have heard you! Your little ones are ready to begin their artistic journeys, you want to be brave and offer them authentic, quality art experiences, but you don’t know what supplies to buy. I figured I better make an official list since this question has popped up multiple times in the past few weeks. Feel free to start with the first few and work up to the 20 as your budget allows. I just personally cannot function happily with less than 20 art supplies in my world, hence the generous amount of items on this list. 🙂

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1. Washable tempera paints in red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, black, and white. Buy good sized bottles (16oz +) that are economical and will last you awhile. Remember, you can mix colors, so 8 colors are plenty to cover basic mixing needs.

2. Watercolor Cake Set. (pictured) Repeat after me: “I WILL NOT BUY THE HORRIBLE WAXY CHEAP WATERCOLORS FOR MY PRECIOUS BABIES.” Most art stores have inexpensive cake watercolor sets that are far better to work with and last a lot longer than waxy ones. Note: These paints are not always washable, but you can just put Little One in an old t-shirt and paint in a zone that is easily washable. It’s worth it!

3. Variety Pack of Assorted-Sized Paintbrushes

4. Washable Glue Sticks

5. Washable White Glue

6. Crayola Crayons, I am partial to the 64-count boxes!

7. Washable Crayola Markers, “Bold” and “Classic” color boxes

8. White Copy Paper (great for simple every-day drawing needs)

9. Colored Construction Paper

10. A Big Variety Box of Plastic Cookie Cutter Shapes: These usually come in holiday and seasonal shapes, basic geometric shapes, animals, nature objects, letters/numbers, and can offer SO MANY USES! Other than the obvious use of cutting cookie dough into shapes, you can also use them to make special shaped bread and cheese snacks, use them in play dough activities, press the shapes in a plate of paint and print the shapes on paper, use them in sensory tables with sand or water, trace the shapes with markers or crayons on paper… and more!

11. Washable ink pads and ink stamps. Animals and shapes are my favorites!

12. Bottles of gold and silver glitter paint. Everything is better with sparkle, just trust me. This is a “safer” way to introduce glitter. It’s trapped in the clear paint, so it won’t get dusty loose glitter everywhere. Although, I honestly don’t see anything wrong with having glitter everywhere, but I know I may be in the minority on that issue. 🙂

13. Q-tips (great for applying white glue, and for a different paint brushing option)

14. Cotton balls (good for sensory projects)

15. Yarn, in various colors

16. Washable “Dot-Paint” Blotter Bottles

17. Colored Tissue Paper (start saving all that leftover tissue from gift bags!)

18. Clear Contact Paper 

19. Safety Scissors, child-sized.

20. Stickers, assorted kinds

PDF Flyer of My Services

Some of you have asked for a flyer that can be printed and shared, or shared with others through e-mail. YES! I do, have one. I have provided links to the file on all the pages on this site, but I will place one here as well:

Click Here for the PDF printable flyer of my services

Thank you so much for your support in helping me share my creativity with children all over the Asheville area. It means more than you know.


Welcome To The Journey

touring art nanny logo Welcome to my creative journey! I have a passion for bringing creativity to children across the West North Carolina area and beyond. I am offering various creative childcare and art class options for children from 1 – 10.

I am an advocate of staying creative, and fostering the growth and development of children while providing them nurturing care.

I would love to add your family to my childcare circuit! Jump on board and book a session today. Check out the page with descriptions of what I offer for Creative Childcare and Classes and then contact me at

Check back often and stay tuned for more news and information about upcoming classes, articles, and creative project ideas.

Thank you!