Tag Archives: Molly the artsy corgi

Devotion Based on 2 Artworks by Mary Cassatt

In Mary Cassatt’s painting, A Young Mother Sewing, a little girl is leaning on her mother’s lap. Do you think her mother is working on a dress for her? We can imagine though, that she’d really like her mother to stop and come play.

Have you ever had to wait for an adult to finish something before helping you or playing a game? It’s hard to be patient at those times.

A second artwork by Mary Cassatt, called The Fitting, reminds me of a time like that for me.

The Fitting by Mary Cassatt, The Brooklyn Museum, public domain

When I was young one of the hardest times for me to be patient was when my mother hemmed my dresses. She began by measuring up from the floor with a wooden yardstick. I had to stand straight, with no drooping to the right or left as she placed pins at the right place. As she went round and round, checking, re-pinning, and checking again, Soon I’d start feeling wiggly, because I wanted to go play.

Have you ever had to be fitted for or shopped for clothes for a special event and thought the adults took too long? Did you feel wiggly and want to play?

Now I’m grown up, I know my mother was being careful because she loved me and wanted me to look my best. And when I look at The Fitting, I’m reminded of these verses from Psalm 139

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:1-5 NIV)

We are God’s children, and He uses the Bible as His yardstick to show us how to become more like Him, our loving heavenly Father.

Can you think of a time when the Bible helped you see a change you needed to make in how you treated friends or family?

Pinning is only part of the hemming process. In A Young Mother Sewing we see that hemming is done by hand and takes time and skill. It’s important not to get the stitches so tight they cause the cloth to pucker or so loose they fall out.

A Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt,1900, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, public domain

In the painting, I can imagine the mother laying her hand on her daughter’s head, encouraging her to be patient so the dress will turn out beautiful.

God has laid His hand upon us and encourages us to learn from Him. He knows us and doesn’t push us so hard that we get frustrated, but He also loves us enough to keep helping us make our lives more beautiful to glorify Him in the world.

Think of one lesson from your Bible that you can put into practice this week. Do you need to use kinder words? Do you need to be less impatient and wiggly when you have to wait for Mom or Dad to come play?

Let’s pray: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for knowing and loving me. You are always with me. Please help me become more like Jesus. In His name, amen.

Before You Go

Go here to learn about the painting, A Young Mother Sewing and how to enjoy it with your children. Go here if you’d like directions for a children’s art project based on Mary Cassatt’s paintings.

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

And be sure to visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope you enjoyed this devotion based on art by Mary Cassatt. If you’ve signed up for my newsletter, you’ll soon receive our May newsletter with more fun things to do.

in this photo Molly is learning to sit inside a hula hoop and wait patiently for me to say she can get up.





Let’s Look at Mary Cassatt’s Painting of A Young Mother Sewing

Although Mother’s Day is over, Molly and I hope you’ll join us this month as we look at one of Mary Cassatt’s beautiful and timeless paintings of mothers and children engaged in everyday activities.

In this post you’ll:

  • Find helpful vocabulary
  • Learn a little about Mary Cassatt and her paintings of mothers and children
  • Discover activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy her paintings
  • See a cute photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

Helpful Vocabulary

These words, shown in bold green the first time, will help you and your children talk more easily about different parts of the painting.

  • Impressionists: a group of mostly French artists, who in the late 1800s, began painting outside so they could catch the way colors changed in different lights. They worked quickly with dabs and dashes, (creating an impression of their subject) so their paintings looked strange and unfinished to viewers. The Impressionists held their own annual exhibits in Paris. The style also spread to other countries.
  • Genre art:  art showing everyday events and people
  • Composition: the way an artist arranges all the parts to create a painting
  • The Renaissance: the rebirth or revival of classical (Greek and Roman) influences in art and literature, refers especially to the 14th -16th centuries in Italy when such greats as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael worked.

The Artist

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) who grew up in Philadelphia, always wanted to become an artist. Despite her father’s objections, she entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts when she was 15. But women had separate classes from men, which frustrated Mary, and there were few museums in which to study great art. So, like many American artists, Mary traveled to Europe to study.

Even in Paris, Mary couldn’t attend the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, (France’s most prestigious art school), but she could study privately with Ecole masters and copy masterpieces at the Louvre. Many artists studied in this way.

Mary joined the French Impressionists just 5 years after their first exhibition in 1874. The only American and one of only three women, Mary continued exhibiting with the Impressionists until 1886

The men in the Impressionist group could go to cafes and travel around Paris and the surrounding countryside to find subjects to paint. Mary Cassatt and the other women couldn’t go to these places unless accompanied by a man. So they painted the domestic life of women and children, using their family members as models. Mary Cassatt is loved today for her beautiful paintings, pastels, and prints of mothers and children. In her Genre art we see the love between mothers and children in ordinary daily moments.

Though Cassatt lived the rest of her life in France, she never forgot the need for art in American museums. She helped Americans buy artworks to eventually go into these. Her own works are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago, and many other big and small museums.

The Painting

A Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt,1900, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, public domain

Let’s look at a painting called A Young Mother Sewing. Cassatt has captured a quiet moment in time—the mother is intent on her sewing, while the child is staring at the viewer.

Though it is a genre painting, Cassatt has used a Composition in which the mother and child form a triangular shape, drawing our eyes up to the mother’s face. That triangle, together with the background horizontal and vertical lines, makes a stable, balanced composition.

This kind of composition was very common with portraits of the Madonna and Child in The Renaissance. So, though the woman is just an ordinary mom doing some sewing, Cassatt has given her great dignity and importance.  To compare, here’s a Madonna and Child painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci,1499-1508, National Gallery, London, public domain

While using classical composition, Cassatt also employs impressionistic techniques:

  • She fills the painting with light. Where the sun hits, we see yellow highlights, and instead of black for shadows on the child’s dress, we see light blues and greens.
  • She dissolves the outlines of faces, hands, and fabrics, which is characteristic of much Impressionist art. If we look closely at the vase on the table, we see the pattern is barely indicated, and the flowers are just orange blobs.
  • Instead of a detailed landscape behind the woman, which we would see in a Renaissance portrait, we see just patches of paint to indicate lawn and trees receding into a shadowy blue distance. Compare that to the detailed background in the Mona Lisa, also by da Vinci.

    Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1516, Louvre, Paris, public domain

    Activities to Help You and Your Children further Explore A Young Mother Sewing

Before doing any other activities, ask your children to tell what’s going on in the painting and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and ideas. According to your children’s ages, work in a little of the new vocabulary, but keep it short and simple.

  1. Ask what colors and patterns they see. Mention how the striped pattern on the mother’s dress helps show their close relationship.
  2. Ask children in what ways this painting resembles a modern photograph.
  3. What do they think the little girl is thinking as she looks at the viewer?
  4. Is she asking her mother a question or maybe asking her mother to come and play?
  5. Ask children if they’ve ever come to you or another adult to ask a question or to come and play? What happened? How should we behave at such times?
  6. What do they think will happen next?
  7. Other things you can do is to have children find all the blues, all the greens, and so on.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Cute picture of Molly. In one of our everyday moments we’re reading a special book by Nancy Sanders about animal babies and their mommies. Here’s a link to my post interviewing Nancy about her adorable board book, Bedtime with Mommy.

Molly and I hope you enjoy learning about this special painting of a mother and child and will join us next week for a devotion based on another of Mary Cassatt’s artworks, The Fitting.

Children’s Art Activity for Mother’s Day

This month Molly and I are changing things up a bit, so you can make a cute card for Mother’s Day. In the next posts we’ll look at some beautiful paintings about mothers by Mary Cassatt, and next a devotion based on those paintings.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Vocabulary
  • Step-by-step directions
  • 2 Helpful hints
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • An art element and design principle to learn about
  • 3 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s get started!


  • card stock or construction paper
  • paint and brushes, markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • scissors, pencils, yarn or string, and glue
  • teabags


stencil: a paper or other material with shapes or designs cut out so paint, etc. may be applied through the cutout shape onto an underlying surface






  1. Fold paper in half and draw a cup-shape, making sure one side is against the fold
  2. While still folded, cut cup out
  3. Cut oval shape out of white or contrasting color and glue in place for cup opening
  4. Draw and color designs on front of cup. I made stencils for the tulips
  5. Have an adult use an X-Acto knife to make a small cut on the inner rim of the cup
  6. Thread yarn or string through the cut and attach a heart or other shape (like a teabag string and tag hanging out of a cup)
  7. On the inside left of the card glue a piece of paper over the end of the yarn. Decorate and write your Mother’s Day message on this paper
  8. On the other side of the opened card, use a glue gun, tape, or staples to attach a teabag

2 Helpful Hints:

  • When you’re making stencils, it’s helpful to fold the paper so the design is the same on both sides
  • When using the X-Acto knife, open up the card and work on a cutting board

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Use a real teabag string and tag instead of yarn
  • Make a pocket for the teabag
  • This card can be used for many occasions, such as birthdays. Just change designs and inner message.

Children may need help drawing and cutting out the cup and finishing it with a teabag and teabag tag, but there’s much they can do:

  •    Choose the color of the card, decorate it, and choose the flavor of tea to include
  •    Write the message
  •    Pray for the person
  •    Stick stamp and return address on envelope and put in letter box

An art element and design principle to learn about

  • Color—children will choose colors to make a pleasing design
  • Shape—learning to notice and work with shapes is an important skill that helps children in many ways, such as letter recognition and math skills.

3 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using crayons and scissors, and other art tools helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. When children make choices in creating art, it enhances problem-solving skills.
  3. Making art for someone else encourages children to think of and care for others

Clean up Hints:

  • Put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Wax paper under paper as you spread glue, keeps things from sticking in the wrong places
  • Have paper towels handy
  • Keep a wastebasket handy
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.

Cute Molly Photo

Molly loves when daffodils and tulips begin to pop up in the spring!

Molly hopes you enjoy making this Mother’s Day card! In our next post we’ll show you two of Mary Cassatt’s beautiful paintings of mothers and children and give you ways to enjoy these with your children.


Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit

Sign up now and don’t miss May’s newsletter, which will have lots of books and activities to help you and your kiddos enjoy God’s wonderful creation!

You may also visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.




Easter Painting Activity for Children

Here’s an Easter art project for children that uses fun and easy water color techniques to make a colorful cross picture for cards or framing.

The cross design reminds us that on Good Friday, Christ died for us so our sins can be forgiven, and we can become part of God’s family.

So let’s get started!


  • Watercolor paints, brushes, and small containers to hold mixed paint
  • Watercolor paper is best for the special effects
  • Heavy white paper still allows a nice design (I’ll show you how)
  • Coarse salt
  • Wax paper torn into small shapes
  • Plastic wrap
  • Other techniques to try: paint spattering, drops of lemon juice or rubbing alcohol, grains of rice, leaves

Directions if using watercolor paper

Note: once your paper is wet,  you have to have everything ready and work pretty quickly

  1. Work in a place where you can leave your painting to dry before moving it. Put a plastic table cloth under your work.
  2. Before wetting the paper, use masking tape to form a cross on your paper (keep it a little rough looking). The masking tape allows you to paint right over it. When the paint dries, and you remove the tape, you’ll have a white cross, with beautiful paint patterns all around it.
  3. Choose and mix 3 or 4 colors for the background in the small containers  (I thought mine were dark enough, but would probably make them darker next time. Watercolors dry lighter than you expect)
  4. With a large brush wet your watercolor paper all over with clean water  (don’t make it sopping wet, just a light layer or sheen)
  5. Brush the colors around your paper; drop some in with a brush or right from a container
  6. Let the colors move around and swirl together for a couple moments  (too long makes colors muddy and you need wet paint for the next steps)
  7. Sprinkle salt or rice around your paper
  8. Place a few pieces of wax paper or leaves around, overlapping them
  9. Scrunch up pieces of plastic wrap and place on areas of paint

Leave everything to dry (it may take several hours if you had lots of paint puddles). Once dry you can try spattering paint.

   Directions if using heavy white paper

  1. Form a cross on your paper with masking tape as before
  2. Decide what design you want for a background
  3. Choose and mix 3 or 4 colors as before
  4. Do Not wet your paper, but you’ll still need to work pretty quickly
  5. With your brush paint your design., allowing colors to mix and blend
  6. The salt, wax paper, etc don’t work well or even much at all on this paper, but spattering works just fine. 

Leave everything to dry an hour or more depending on how wet your paint was. Once dry you can try spattering paint. Old toothbrushes work well for spattering.

Once either project is dry remove the tape, and any papers, leaves, etc,. Brush off the rice and/or salt and enjoy your creation!!

Now mount your creation on colored paper for all to admire or on cardstock to send Easter blessings to family and friends,

AND remember, Jesus didn’t remain on the cross or in the grave, but rose from the dead on Easter morning!


Before You Go

Molly the Artsy Corgi and I hope you enjoyed this project. We’ll be back soon with more great art, devotions, and art activities! Sign up so you don’t miss any of the fun. And you can have even more art fun if you sign up to receive our monthly newsletter.

Children’s Art Activity Based on the Painting The Milkmaid

Let’s take the 6 main rainbow colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple and arrange them in a circle to make a color wheel. Color wheels help children learn a lot about mixing colors and how colors work together for paintings.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Vocabulary
  • directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Variations and adaptations for different ages
  • 2 art and design elements and principles children will learn
  • 3 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Molly Photo

Let’s get started!


  • White paper and 8 white 3X5 cards
  • Red, yellow, and blue tempera paint
  • White paper or plastic plate for a palette
  • Brushes
  • Pink yarn
  • Thin black marker
  • White glue, scissors, pencils (glue sticks may not hold the mice in place)


  • Primary colors,  the 3 colors—red, yellow, and blue—from which we make other colors
  • Secondary colors,  the 3 colors—orange, green, and purple—we can make from the primaries
  • Palette,  what artists use to mix colors on. Can be made of wood, plastic, or paper, and come in many shapes, but the kidney shape is kind of classic!


Paint the Primaries

  1. On the palette, pour small puddles of red, yellow, and blue paint, leaving space between each puddle
  2. Take 3 index cards and paint one red, one yellow, and one blue. Clean your brush in between colors. Explain these are the primaries from which we make other colors.

Now let’s mix the primaries to make the secondaries:

  1. With a clean brush, add a very little red to some of the yellow on your palette. Mix to make orange and paint another index card.
  2. With a clean brush, add a very little blue to some of the yellow to make green and paint another index card.
  3. With a clean brush, add a very little red to some of the blue to make purple and paint another index card.
  4. Allow the 6 cards to dry
  5. Now for some fun mixing—mix all the colors left on your palette to make a brown! Paint a 7th card brown.

Putting it all together

  1. On the 8th index card draw a drop shape as a pattern for your mice. Cut out.
  2. On the large white paper, draw a palette shape and cut out.
  3. Use the pattern to draw 6 mouse shapes on each card and cut these out.
  4. Cut 6 tails from the pink yarn
  5. Glue the mice in place on the palette with the secondaries between the primaries that made them. I like to have the pointy nose end of the mice facing in, but you don’t have to.
  6. Before the glue dries, tuck one end of a piece of pink yarn under the rounded end of each mouse and press down. Leave most of the yarn out for a tail.
  7. A little dab of glue on the end of each tail will keep them curled around
  8. Use marker or crayon to give the mice eyes, ears, noses and whiskers.
  9. Cut a brush handle from the brown paper, bristles from other scraps, (or use marker to color a rainbow on the bristles) and glue onto the palette.
  10. Glue the palette to a sheet of your child’s favorite color for display. And to keep as you learn more about colors!

Helpful Hints:

  • The painted cards may curl as they dry. Just flatten them under books.
  • To help prevent globs of glue on the mice, pour a small glue puddle on a paper plate and have children use their finger to spread the glue.
  • I’ll often put colored dots with marker for where to glue or print the primary mice, so there’s enough space between each for the secondary mice.

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Younger children may need extra help with drawing, cutting and gluing the mice, but encourage them to do as much as they can. Don’t worry if their mice look too thin or aren’t the exact right shape.
  • Many children enjoy seeing the different greens, oranges, and purples they can make by mixing differing amounts of the primaries. Encourage them to experiment. It’s lots of fun just to mix colors!
  • With younger children (preschool-2nd) I sometimes make a color wheel by painting children’s hands to print the colors. Start with the primaries, then mix these to make the secondaries. Messy but fun and a great keepsake!

2 art and design elements and  principles children will learn

  • Color—in this activity children learn basic information about primary and secondary colors. They also learn how to mix just a little darker color at a time into lighter colors.
  • Balance—as children place their mice on the palette, they learn to think about spacing these so their “picture” is balanced.

3 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Using pencils, brushes, scissors, etc. helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Discussing art builds vocabulary and social skills.
  3. This activity helps develop visual/spatial skills as children place the mice on the palette.

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Have paper towels handy
  • Wax paper under the mice while spreading glue on the back of them keeps them from sticking in the wrong places
  • Keep a wastebasket handy for trash
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles if needed, and lay them flat on paper towels to dry. Store with bristles up in a jar.

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit.

Next week our newsletter will have lots of fun ideas, projects, freebees, book reviews, and links to continue learning!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. Add link

Molly hopes you enjoy making a mouse color wheel! and we hope to see you back here soon for a new Kathy the Picture Lady art series.

Molly checked out the mice but her nose said they weren’t real. She’s real sorry she got the paper wet!

Glittery Angel Art Project Based on Fra Angelico’s Painting of the Annunciation

Angels surrounded the coming of Immanuel. The Archangel Gabriel announced His coming birth to Mary. An angelic host appeared to the shepherds on the night of His birth. Children will enjoy making glittery angels to display on a Christmas tree or table and remind us of the angels who sang at Christ’s birth.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Examples of angels done by 1st graders this year
  • Helpful hints
  • Clean-up tips
  • Variations and/or adaptations for different ages
  • Molly Photo

Let’s get started!



  • Inexpensive white paper plates—the kind with rippled edges (coated or foam plates don’t work with the watercolor paints)
  • Watercolor paints
  • A fairly large paint brush
  • Tissue paper—white or light-colored
  • A copy of Hark the Herald Angels Sing music
  • Scissors, pencils, glue
  • Thin markers, colored pencils, crayons
  • Gold paper for halo
  • Glitter
  • Optional, clothespin



  1. Wet paper plate all over with clear water (don’t soak it but make sure it’s wet)
  2. With a wet, but not dripping brush gather some paint and run the brush over a short section of the rippled edge. Allow the paint to run down onto the plate center.
  3. Repeat step 2 with other colors, swirling the plate a little so the colors mix in the center of the plate.
  4. Set plate aside to dry
  5. Cut an angel pattern from an extra paper plate (see photo)
  6. Use the pattern to cut an angel with its wings from the dry plate. Choose the part of the plate you like best.
  7. Cut a robe from colored paper or sheet music
  8. Cut a cape from the tissue paper.
  9. Glue the robe with the music to the angel’s body.  
  10. Glue the tissue robe on top of the music robe (Just glue both of these along the top so they look like fabric)
  11. Use colored pencils or thin markers to make the angel’s face
  12. Add a halo of gold-colored paper behind the angel’s head
  13. To add glitter, spread a thin layer of white glue wherever you want glitter. In a shallow box or over a large plate, shake the glitter over the glue areas. Allow glitter and glue to dry then shake off excess glitter into the box or waste basket

Examples of angels done by my 1st graders in art this year!

Helpful Hints:

  • It’s fun to swirl the paint on the plates, but stop before the colors become muddy.
  • You may have to experiment with several plates to learn how much water to use. (too much water and colors will be too light. Too little water and colors won’t flow and mix)
  • Rinse and partly dry your brush between colors

Variations and/or adaptations for different ages:

  • Younger children may need to watch once as an older child or adult applies the paint
  • Younger children may also need help cutting out the angel
  • Many children will enjoy experimenting and doing several plates.
  • Attach a clothespin to the back of the angel, if you wish, to hang on the tree

Clean up Hints:

  • Be sure to put a plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Wax paper under items you’re putting glue on keeps them from sticking
  • When using glitter, place a clean sheet of paper or a large box to catch the glitter. It speeds cleanup and you may be able to return the unused glitter to its container.
  • Have a wastebasket handy for trash
  • Wash and lay brushes flat on paper towels to dry so they keep their shape
  • Leave paint set open until paint pans have dried.

 Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide about how art benefits children cognitively, physically, spiritually, and socially, along with some fun and easy art activities.

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, patterns for Christmas projects, and coloring pages for kids. You’ll also find an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages. http://www.kathy-oneill.com/


Molly the Artsy Corgi and I wish you a joyous Christmas! May your angels remind you to celebrate the birth of our Lord, just as the angels did!

Molly and I will be taking a short break for the holidays, but we hope to see you back here for more great art and art projects in the New Year!






Interview with Children’s Author Nancy I. Sanders

Molly and I are pleased today  to tell you about a wonderful bedtime  story for children, called Bedtime With Mommy.

To help us, we’re hosting its author, Nancy I. Sanders, on our blog today! Nancy has written numerous children’s books, and her latest is called Bedtime with Mommy. Nancy is a Mom and Grandma, so she knows how important those last snuggles before bed are for little ones. Bedtime with Mommy is sure to become a favorite with your child or grandchild, so let’s meet Nancy and learn how she came to write this cute board book!

Welcome, Nancy, to Kathy the Picture Lady blog!

Q: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing.

A: I’ve always loved reading, so when my two sons were little and I began reading infant board books to them, I wanted to write books just like that. Little did I know that 35 years and more than 100 children’s books later in a variety of genres, I’d finally get to write a board book, too! The beautifully illustrated padded board book, Bedtime With Mommy (published by End Game Press) arrived just in time this fall to celebrate my granddaughter’s first birthday.

What a special way to celebrate your granddaughter’s birthday! I’m sure she loved snuggling in to read your book!

Q: What’s your favorite “Mommy” memory from your childhood?

A: I’m the youngest of seven children and grew up on a dairy farm. One of my favorite memories of my mother was when I was a preschooler. I remember waking up many times in the early hours of dawn when I heard my father leave the house for the morning milking as he headed up to the barn. I’d climb out of the double bed I shared with my older sister, tiptoe through another sister’s bedroom, and arrive at my parent’s bedroom. I’d climb into bed and snuggle with my mother, falling asleep for a short time in her arms before she had to get up and start cooking a full breakfast for our household of nine. I cherish that memory even today!

This is such a wonderful memory to cherish, and I bet it contributed to your idea for Bedtime with Mommy.

Q: Did you have a pet when you were a child?

A: Living on a 750-acre farm just a mile out of town, our barn became a drop-off place for unwanted cats, kittens, and dogs. My father had a policy about these unexpected abandoned pets—all were welcome! Twice a day during milking time, Dad filled up a huge roasting pan with dogfood and milk and all were well fed. In exchange, the cats helped keep the rats out of the hay mow and the dogs helped keep the groundhogs out of the fields. From Bassett hound to collies to a fluffy orange Angora cat, I have many happy memories of countless dogs and cats and we loved them all!

How fun to have so many dogs and cats to love!

Q: What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

A: It was seasonal. In the winter, I loved to ice skate on the pond and roast marshmallows with my brother and five sisters at the nearby bonfire. In the spring my oldest sister led us on hikes to visit the vernal pools to find the tadpoles. Summer days were spent digging up prized arrowheads from the ancient Iroquois trail that ran through our property. And in the Fall we’d climb the pear trees and wild apple trees to collect fruit for applesauce and tarts.

Ice skating was one of my favorite things to do in the winter, too! I grew up in Maine and we had lots of ice for skating!

Q: What were some of your favorite childhood books?

A: Oooohhh, I have so many favorite “friends” from childhood. Our house was overflowing with books. We even had a bookcase of books in the bathroom! Here are a few that come to mind: Charlotte’s Web. Winnie the Pooh. The Secret Garden. The Jungle Book. Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House series. Little Women. Freckles. Here’s a photo from my blog where you can see the childhood copies I still own today.

I love how you describe your house as overflowing with books!

Q: What is something not too many people know about you?

A: My husband Jeff and I play in a community orchestra that welcomes all levels of skill. (In the photo, we’re sitting on the left at the back of the stage behind the timpani.) Jeff plays the double bass. I played marimba in high school so now I’m one of the percussionists and help play glockenspiel, claves, the guiro, cymbal, timpani, and any other part a classical piece calls for. My favorite concert was when we performed the Nutcracker Suite a couple of years ago. I got to play the tambourine for the Russian dance!

As a percussionist, you have to have a good sense of rhythm, which I’m sure helps you when you write in rhyme!

Q: What do you like to do now for fun?

A: Writing is always my first choice for fun! But my husband and I also like to go camping at the nearby beaches or mountains. We also raise monarch butterflies in our backyard milkweed patch. I’m a Citizen Scientist and help track birds that visit our backyard. We’re right next to a riverbed that flows to the ocean and get some interesting varieties even though we live in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Raising monarchs and tracking birds sounds like lots of fun!

Q: What inspired you to write Bedtime with Mommy?

A: We have four grandkids and reading a book (or more!) at bedtime is a big deal. I wanted to write a bedtime board book about the special relationship a mother and child have. My hope is that this book becomes a favorite.

Bedtime with Mommy shows that relationship so well. I think it will quickly become a favorite bedtime book!

Q: Bedtime with Mommy has so many delightful pictures of mommy animals and their babies from all around the world. Do you have a favorite from the book?

A: The panda Mommy and baby are so sweet. The illustrator, Felia Hanakata did such a wonderful job. Plus I love the words:

It’s bedtime in the FOREST.

Bamboo stands tall and straight.

My mommy shares a bedtime snack

Before it gets too late.

 I hold my special Bible.

We find my favorite Psalm.

We read about God’s promises.

I’m peaceful now and calm.

Q: Bedtime with Mommy is written in rhyme. What do you enjoy most about writing in rhyme?

A: The best part about writing in rhyme is when you’ve worked hard over days and weeks on one particular stanza and filled pages with notes and potential word pairs. Then suddenly there comes that magical moment when you read the stanza out loud and it practically sings because the rhythm and rhyme finally metamorphosize and come together.

Q: I love how you weave prayers and songs into the story! And that the book ends with a human mommy tucking her child into bed. Do you have any suggestions for parents or grandparents to help children enjoy Bedtime with Mommy and share God’s love with little children?

A:  Bedtime is such a prime time to share God’s love on a daily basis. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or wait until everything’s perfect. It can start tonight. Just say a simple prayer as you tuck your little one into bed. Or choose a faith-filled book such as Bedtime with Mommy and read it to them before you kiss them goodnight. You can sing a praise song together as you’re helping them into their jammies. Or tape a Bible memory verse on the bathroom mirror and say it together as they’re brushing their teeth. And of course if you already have a bedtime routine, you can weave in all these wonderful faith-filled moments and more!

These are wonderful ideas, Nancy! I’m sure parents and grandparents will love them.

Q: You’ve written so many wonderful books for children. Can you tell us a little about any new projects you’re working on?

A: I just signed the contract for the next book in the series, Bedtime with Daddy! So be sure to watch for it next Fall in September, 2022!

Molly and I will be sure to watch for Bedtime with Daddy!

Thank you so much, Nancy for sharing with our readers about Bedtime with Mommy! While Molly and I snuggle down to read it together, would you tell our readers where they can learn more about you and your books.

A: At my website at www.nancyisanders.com.

And I love to connect with readers online! Here’s where you can find me on the Internet. Please follow me if you’re on these platforms and like my pages!

Blogzone (for writers): https://nancyisanders.wordpress.com

Christian Children’s Authors: https://christianchildrensauthors.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancyisanders

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancyisanders

Facebook Author’s Page: https://www.facebook.com/NancyI.SandersAuthorPage/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NancyISanders

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nancyisanders/

Amazon Author’s Page: www.amazon.com/author/nancysanders

Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teacher-Plus-Writer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/95924.Nancy_I_Sanders

Linked in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancyisanders/






Set Your Thanksgiving Table with a Devotion and Art Activity Based on Saying Grace by Jean-Simeon Chardin

Let’s set our Thanksgiving table with a cute children’s art activity and devotion that will encourage your family to thank God for all their blessings. 

As always, there’s a cute Molly the Artsy Corgi picture at the end with more things you can do.

The Devotion

Let’s look again at Chardin’s painting, Saying Grace, the moment when the children are thanking God for their meal.

Saying Grace, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1744, The Hermitage, public domain

Do you think this is a special day or a normal one when the mother has called the children from their play for lunch or supper?

What food has the mother cooked?

That’s right–just a normal day with a simple meal of soup, but the mother and children are taking time to fold their hands and thank God for providing for their daily needs, as Jesus teaches us to do in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:11).

You may need to explain that in the Lord’s Prayer, “our daily bread” symbolizes all our daily needs.

Read James 1:17 and ask children to list some of the daily needs and blessings God provides for them.

Read Luke 18:15-17 and point out that, like the people in the Bible, the mother in the painting is teaching her children that they can go to Jesus to talk with Him and thank Him for His care. They don’t have to wait until they’re older.

Invite your children to tell about a time they went to Jesus with a prayer.

Chardin could have shown the mother saying grace before the meal, but his focus is on the children, perhaps to emphasize that we are all like children, dependent on God, who made us. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture, and we must come humbly into His presence with thanksgiving and praise for His loving care.

Read Psalm 100 together.

We know we don’t need to fold our hands or close our eyes to talk to God, but the mother has taught her children to sometimes fold their hands like this for prayer.

We see this same position in the iconic Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer. It’s as if our hands become a church steeple pointing to God, which may just remind us that we can always look up to our heavenly Father who is good and whose love endures forever (Psalm 100:5).

Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer, public domain

Prayer: We praise you, Lord, that we are the sheep of your pasture. Thank you that we can bring every need to you, and you love and provide for us each day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

The Art Project, Praying Hands

Praying hands for thanksgiving table

This simple project will remind your children that their praying hands can be like a steeple pointing to God as we bring our praises and requests to Him.

It can be done with crayons in about 15 minutes, so could be a simple project to engage children as they wait for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. But I’ll also explain an extra step you can do if you have time and don’t mind a little mess.

 At the Thanksgiving table guests may write prayer requests or praises on slips of paper and put these in the bottom of the bag under the praying hands.


  • brown, white, or Thanksgiving-motif paper lunch bags
  • scissors
  • pencils
  • glue
  • crayons or markers
  • Tempera paint, a largish brush, and paper towels if you want to do the extra step


  1. Place a folded paper bag flat on the table with the folded bottom of the bag facing up
  2. Have child place his or her hand flat on the bag with finger tips pointed toward the top of the bag and their wrist at the upper edge of the folded bag bottom
  3. With a pencil, trace around the child’s hand
  4. Keeping the bag folded, cut in from the sides of the bag (just above the folded bag bottom) to the child’s wrist line. Then cut up and around the traced hand (through both thicknesses of the bag) and out to the bag’s other edge on the other side of the hand
  5. The child may then decorate or color the hands. Most want to add rings, fingernails, watches, etc.
  6. Open the bag
  7. To form the praying hands, glue the tips of the fingers together. (just a little glue so you can still put things into the bottom of the bag)

The extra step:

  1. Before opening the bag, fold the two hands away from each other and the bag bottom
  2. Spread a thin layer of paint on the child’s hands and help them make hand prints on what will be the inside or palm of their praying hands
  3. They need to hold their hand still, fingers together, and just press down gently
  4. They will also need to do each hand separately so thumbs and fingers match

Helpful Hints

  • When tracing the child’s hand, have them keep their fingers mostly together, although you’ll want to draw the lines between their fingers.
  • If you’re not sure how much paint to use for the hand prints, have some scrap paper handy and do a couple trial prints

Cleanup tips

If you decide to do the hand prints, as you finish printing with each of the child’s hands, fold a paper towel into their hand to hold until you get them to wherever you’ll wash up

Before You Go

Are you looking for a kid’s devotion for fall that’s all about God’s care for butterflies and us? Visit Devokids for a children’s devotion I wrote. It’s called, Get Ready, Butterflies! Winter’s Coming!.

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for you whole family!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly and I hope this devotion and activity based on Saying Grace has been a blessing as you prepare for Thanksgiving. We put them together so you and your children would have plenty of time to go through the devotion and make the craft before Thanksgiving.  

We hope you’ll come back next time for an interview with Nancy Sanders about her new children’s book, Bedtime with Mommy.

Saying Grace by Jean-Siméon Chardin

Our November artist, Jean-Siméon Chardin, lavished time and great care on still life paintings of foods and genre scenes of everyday children and families. So what better artist for November, when we in the United States gather for a special Thanksgiving feast with family and friends, and give thanks to God for His blessings?

We’ll look briefly at a couple of Chardin’s still lifes and spend most of our time on the genre scene called Saying Grace.

Read on to:

  • Learn a little about Jean Siméon Chardin (Shar dan)
  • Be delighted by his paintings
  • See activities to help you and your children explore and enjoy Chardin’s work
  • See a photo of Molly, the Artsy Corgi

The Artist 

Chardin (1699- 1779) was born in Paris and never lived anywhere else. The son of a carpenter, Chardin was apprenticed at about 14 to a history painter. Even though he never traveled to Rome or the Netherlands, Chardin could study the works of artists from all over Europe in the various private collections and art markets of Paris.

He went on to join the Academie de Saint Luc (Luke) and open his own studio. (Luke, the gospel writer, was once considered the patron saint of artists, so artist guilds were named for him). Membership in such a guild was usually required for an artist to sell his or her work to the public and to have apprentices.

Though he trained with a history painter, Chardin never had an interest in that type of art. He also resisted the highly decorative rococo style popular in France at that time. Instead Chardin painted still lifes and genre scenes of everyday French people.

Near the end of his life, when his eyesight was failing, Chardin did some beautiful pastel portraits, such as the one of himself working at an easel. Look closely at his eyes and see that he’s looking at himself in a mirror before continuing his self-portrait. Don’t you just love those enormous round glasses? And his curious head gear?

Chardin, pastel self-portrait at an easel,1779, The Louvre, public domain

Chardin’s warm, expressive paintings were loved and bought by collectors across Europe and today are in numerous museums.

The Paintings

In Chardin’s work we see influences from the still life and genre art of The Netherlands in the 1600s. Like Dutch artists, such as Maria van Oosterwyck (see my post about her in March, 2021), Chardin lavished his talents on making still lifes realistic. The many intricate shapes and the red accents catch your attention. His still lifes show off gleaming silver and delicate china. You feel as if you could reach out and touch the fuzzy surface of a peach or the ridges of a walnut sitting in its shell. In the Basket of Peaches the knife handle seems to jut out into our space, showing Chardin’s mastery of perspective.

The Preparations of a Lunch, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1756, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Carcassonne, public domain

Basket of Peaches with Walnuts, Knife, and a Glass of Wine, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1768, The Louvre, public domain

In Chardin’s genre paintings, we catch glimpses of the clothing and interior settings of middle-class French people. We see women check a child’s lessons, arrive home with food from the market, and children play with tops and blow bubbles—all things we and our children can identify with.

In Saying Grace, a mother is putting a meal on the table for her 2 children, who look like they’ve just stopped their play. Notice the drum hanging on the front chair. Chardin’s colors are warm and inviting—muted reds, warm browns, and a rich teal blue.

Saying Grace, Jean-Simeon Chardin, 1744, The Hermitage, public domain

Apparently the mother has just asked the smaller child to say grace, and she gazes lovingly at the child’s hands folded in prayer.

Activities to Help You and Your Children further explore Saying Grace

Before doing any other activities, ask children to tell what’s going on in the paintings and what tells them that. Enhance their observational and verbal skills by rephrasing words and adding new vocabulary. Here are some things to notice:

  • What do they think the small pot and pan in the foreground are? (Probably the pot holds coals from a stove or fireplace to warm people’s feet, and the long-handled pan carries the live coals to and from.
  • Encourage children to see how the reds on the smaller child’s skirt and hat are repeated on the chairs and inside the foot warmer. That catches our attention and moves our eyes around the painting.
  • What do they think about the little chair the child is sitting in? How will the child reach the table to eat?

Further Exploration:

This genre painting is so true to its 1700s time period in France, that you and your children may be interested to learn and discuss some of the following:

  1. Did they notice the very pointy shoes the mother’s wearing?
  2. Children may also be interested to know that the small child in the foreground may be a boy. From the 1500s to the early 1900s, little boys usually wore skirts just like girls. This made potty training easier, as pants of that time often had rather intricate fastenings (zippers weren’t invented until the late 1800s and only came into use in men’s and children’s clothing in the 1920s and 30s). So for a long time boys wore dresses until somewhere between 2 and 8. When they reached the age to wear pants, there might be a celebration of this milestone in growing up.
  3. Certain styles of hats, belts, less lace, darker colors, etc. all help art historians decide if a young child is a girl or boy. But since clothes were expensive to make or buy, parents would often hand down clothes as needed, despite style, so it’s hard to be sure.
  4. Children may enjoy looking at a couple other of Chardin’s  paintings of children  here and here
  5. Older children may enjoy researching clothing styles through the centuries. Here are a few questions to get them thinking:
  • How often were pointy shoes in style?
  • When and why did men begin wearing pants.
  • What are some other names for pants?
  • When was the zipper invented and when did it first get used in clothes?
  • What about buttons and pockets?

Before You Go

If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpieces for you whole family!

Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly’s wearing her French beret and posing with a pumpkin in honor of Thanksgiving and Chardin’s work. She and I hope you enjoyed this peek into the ordinary life of 18th-century France, and will come back next time for a Devotion based on Chardin’s painting, Saying Grace.




Interview with Annette Whipple, Children’s Author

When Winslow Homer painted The Country School in 1871, children had few books to learn from, but today things are much different.

Our guest today, Annette Whipple, loves to research and write books for children. Molly and I love her Truth About animals series.

The series now has 3 books, Whooo Knew, the Truth About Owls; Woof, the Truth About Dogs; and the newest book, Scurry, the Truth About Spiders. Lots of fascinating facts and colorful, up-close photos will delight children and adults.

Molly is excited to learn more about Annette and her beautiful books, so let’s get started!

Q: Please tell us a little about yourself and how you began writing.

A: I wasn’t always a writer. I began writing as a blogger because I wanted to share my daughter’s speech journey as she overcame verbal apraxia with others. Eventually, I realized I could be an even better writer, so I took some writing courses. Later I had some magazine articles published in magazines for adult readers. In 2014, I had my first idea for a children’s book, so I studied the publishing industry, took lots of courses, read a ton, and attended my first conference a year later. Like most children’s writers, I was an overnight success when that book idea became a book in 2020—The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide. (That was a joke! Writing for children is much more difficult than most people realize. It’s also a long, rather slow process.)

Q: Writing is a long, slow process, but we’re so glad you’ve written such fun and informative books! When you need a break from writing, what do you like to do for fun?

A: For fun I enjoy going for hikes or baking treats for my family. I enjoy movies, too! Of course I love reading—lots of kids’ nonfiction. 😊

Molly would love to taste some of those treats you make!! And I bet you do some of your research on your hikes and in your reading, too!

Q: What was the inspiration for The Truth About series?

A: The Truth About series began with the idea for a book about owls. I knew so much incredible information, that I knew I could fill a middle grade book. But I quickly realized it wasn’t working. I set it aside for a couple of years (while I finished The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide). When I returned to it, I completely changed the structure and audience. Now it’s a fraction of the length as a picture book! I was thrilled when Reycraft Books wanted to turn it into a series!

Those owl eyes are mesmerizing! I’m an art teacher and one class does an art project about owls, so I plan to have your book, Whooo Knew there for children to enjoy as they work.


Q: Please tell our readers a little about Scurry, the latest book in the Truth About series.

A: Scurry! The Truth About Spiders is a question-and-answer picture book. It includes tons of beautiful photography as well as humorous art illustrations. It’s packed with facts about our 8-legged spider friends.

Molly and I enjoy the question and answer format of your books. And we love the little creatures in each book that add humor!

 Q: Some baby spiders launch into the world on passing breezes. When does Scurry, The Truth about Spiders, the 3rd book in your series, launch into the world?

A: September 30, 2021—but the publishing world is experiencing all sorts of problems with the supply chain. So it may not arrive in bookstores or library shelves until a bit later. (Please be patient!)


Q: We love the up close and colorful photos in Scurry and the other 2 books. Do you have any favorite photos?

A: In Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls, I love this photo because at first glance, it looks like it could be the owl’s tongue—but it’s not!

Yikes! It’s a mouse! We see its little feet!


This puppy is irresistible in Woof! The Truth About Dogs.

Molly totally agrees with you !


And in Scurry! The Truth About Spiders, I appreciate how we can see all the silk threads from the spinnerets in this spread.

That’s fascinating. I’ve never seen such an up-close photo of a spider making its silk!


Q:  Woof, The Truth about Dogs also launched recently–in July. What interesting thing did you learn about dogs that you didn’t know before?

A: So much! But I probably most appreciate how much dogs explore their world through their sense of smell. I knew it was important before, but now I understand the science behind it, too.

Molly loved learning more about her doggy cousins in Woof!

Q: What suggestions would you give parents, grandparents, and teachers to help children enjoy your books?

A: Have fun going deeper to learn about any of the topics I write about. Here’s a guide featuring owl STEM activities, crafts, and books! https://www.annettewhipple.com/2020/10/owl-stem-crafts-and-books.html

Q: What advice would you give young people who might like to become writers?

A: Readers make the best writers! So read! Also…keep writing. Take classes and value others’ opinions! Also, check out this blog post about how kids and teens can get published. https://www.annettewhipple.com/2019/07/how-can-kids-and-teens-get-published.html

That’s such good advice, Annette. Molly and I hope all our readers are listening!

 Q: What are some upcoming books in The Truth About series?

A: Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs comes out in spring 2022 followed by Meow! The Truth About Cats. We’re really excited for these titles!

Molly and I are excited, too, and we’ll be watching for these 2 new books in 2022!

Q:  Where can readers learn more about you and your work?

A: Readers can learn lots by following me on social media or visiting my website at www.AnnetteWhipple.com.

Q: Where can readers find your books?

A: My books can be requested at any bookstore or library! Of course, they’re also available online, but I prefer to support small businesses.

Thank’s so much, Annette for taking time to visit Molly and me here on our blog. We and our readers have enjoyed getting to know about you and your Truth About series. I know 1 or more of these great books will be on my Christmas list to give as gifts!

Annette, Molly and I hope you’ll visit again when Ribbit and Meow come out! Molly said she might take a walk, though, while we talk about the Meow book!!

For Molly Fans: here are  ways you can enjoy great art from a Christian perspective, as well as get related devotions, art activities and interviews with children’s authors!

  • If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Just click the sign-up  button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!
  • Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, and coloring pages. There’s also an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.