Thanksgiving always provides the moments of being thankful for those in our life that make us who we are. We can celebrate those in our lives with delicious food and good company. There is nothing more easy and simple than just pen and paper. I find this exercise is an easy way to dress up the table, be spontaneous and get some drawing practice in. 

You will need:

  • pen, but any drawing material will do.
  • paper the size of a placemat. 

You can spend a moment making these before company arrives to set up your table. You can also provide your guests and family with blank sheets of paper to make their own placemats. This is a GREAT activity for kids. Here are some examples. 

placemat drawing.jpg

Drawing the basics.

fork goes on the left.jpg

The reminders.

fancy table scaping.jpg

The formal and the fancy.

giving thanks.jpg

Giving thanks.

There was nothing precious or fancy about this paper. It was in our oversized paper pile. Should you find yourself with some larger pieces of paper you could even make a table cloth out of it!

May you all have a beautiful Thanksgiving!


Even when one doesn't think of themselves as an artist, there are a lot of people out there doodling with their pens in the background of phone calls, meetings, waiting rooms, and so on. 

With the academic year upon us here I thought I would share one of our routines around here. If you have a drawing tool, and a paper bag, then you are set to go. First I will give a disclaimer that our household uses reusable food storage containers for our lunches. One of our kiddos eats on the go from time to time, so I was wondering what the best alternative would be for those moments a child can't be toting around various mason jars of many sizes. We arrived to the sac lunch paper bag with food items folded in paper towels, or just placed in the bag. 

It's easy to make these unique and add a personal touch. The kiddos also enjoy drawing their own. 


It's easiest to decorate these when they are flat before you put food in them. If you happen to have paint out for your next projects, you can pull out a few bags to use up that leftover paint. These will take paint just as easily as painting paper. Do make sure you are using non-toxic paint, and not putting it on surfaces that will come in direct contact with food to be safe. The other beautiful thing about this is to not be too precious about this. The lunch bag is not going to be a masterpiece, so don't spend more than a minute on it. It's just a lovely way to say hello, I love you, and brighten someone's lunch! My offspring even use their bags more than once until it has lost it's functionality. It's lovely having the perks of a disposable lifestyle, but we try not to be wasteful.




This playful doodle is something that is best to do when you are cleaning up painting, and you have just enough paint you don't want to waste. I did this as a regular drill when teaching a workshop this past summer. It's a great way to warm up, and possibly surprise yourself.


I like to make my doodle purposeful, so I take a piece of scrap paper and fold it in half for a potential card. Then with my left over paint make the same shape over and over. This can be any size, any color, but at least a dozen is a good number.


Then with a few parameters one can begin.

In this case these were my limitations:

  • I had 1-2 minutes to finish all the swatches. 
  • I used the same drawing medium for the entirety of this exercise, a pen.
  • I left the subject wide open, but you can do something like abstract only, straight lines only, objects only, food, etc.

Then go for it! The purpose is to get your hand and mind moving without getting bogged down, or too precious. You may find a source of inspiration. If nothing else, you will have goofy card to send to a friend.