I’ve created a monster

by | Mar 20, 2017 | a slice of life, Artistic Endeavors, Watercolors | 41 comments

My boys were really little when I started my business, both in diapers, in fact.  As a stay-at-home mom and new entrepreneur, one of the things I enjoyed most was getting out of the house and going to Hobby Lobby.  I would just meander, usually pushing one cart and pulling another (one kid in each cart or two kids in one cart and the other cart for purchases.)  I know it was a spectacle, but I had to find a way to make it all work.

It was that point when my boys began disliking Hobby Lobby.  Even before they could read, they could recognize those capital orange letters.

So, we’ve made a joke out of it.  Every time we drive by, I’ll ask if I can stop in there for about an hour to look around and they’ll throw their heads back and sigh out a big, “Nooooooo!”

Well, I tried this old routine on them when I picked them up from school a couple of weeks ago.  Marshall played his part perfectly, but Calvin surprised me.  “Yes!!  Can we please go?  I want to look at art supplies!”

I looked through the rearview mirror at him with a quizzical expression.  “You really want to go?”  He begged me to go.  Now, I wasn’t prepared for that and with homework to do and dinner to make, we really didn’t have time.  Calvin also didn’t have any idea of what he needed.  He just wanted some art supplies.

Like mother, like son.

I told him we could go another time, because mommy loves art supplies, too.  He was disappointed, so I suggest we take an inventory of what he has and we can figure out what he still needs.  I also told him I could give him some of the student watercolors I was using when I started, since I’ve switched to professional watercolors now.  These student ones are so much better than the “kids watercolors” he was using.  We actually made some color wheels together and I ended up with all of these beautiful shades and he ended up with mud.  He looked at his wheel in disappointment and said the green looked like “garbage green” and he was right.

So, I gave him the Windsor Newton student set I used for a few months.  And he wanted all of the loose tubes of student colors to fill the empty half-pans in the palette to make sure he had all of his colors.  And then he noticed my travel brushes and my watercolor journal and my miniature ruler and he wanted all of those things, too!

I’ve created a monster.

I had to draw the line somewhere, because an eight year old really only needs so many art supplies, but I did give him supplies that I didn’t use or need and I told him we could buy a few new things, like a watercolor journal.

It’s been so special.  We’ve been painting watercolors together most days and he even “took” a cloud study class with me.   His attention span is a little short, which is to be expected, but then he went on to paint a landscape while I worked on more clouds.

He’s been so excited about it that he carries his art bag with him to school on Mondays, when they have art, so he can use his own supplies.

I tend to be someone who likes to dive right into “the good stuff” in a project as well, but I’m learning through these classes that there is so much value in all of these exercises.  I have a long way to go, but I do see improvement.

And I see improvement in Calvin’s work, too.  He took his watercolors to my mom’s house when she was watching them for a couple of hours to give Jeff and I a chance to grab a nice dinner for our anniversary (it’s been 18 years!) and the landscape he painted was good!  The sky was darker on one side and lighter on the other, so it looked like a storm was moving in.

With having two boys, there is a lot of rough and tumble, but I love that we can have these quieter moments together, too, when we can bond over a hobby we have in common.

(Jeff said he really liked the velociraptor in the barn, but I told him to keep his commentary to himself.)


  1. Diane

    I like this post. I remember when my children were younger and I was younger and taking college classes. Art and photography. I loved it when they sat with me and did their art too. Sometimes I would let them take a few pics with my camera. I hadn’t thought about that in years until I read ur post. Sniff sniff. ;-(. Happy sad. Sad happy. Enjoy every second of those kiddos. They don’t stay little for that long.

  2. Arli

    So great that you can share the excitement of creating art together!

  3. Carol

    Jeff is too funny!

  4. Brenda

    A few years ago my daughter was the VBS leader and spent a lot of time going to Hobby Lobby. It got so bad at one point that she couldn’t drive down the street without a meltdown in the backseat! I’m glad you are encouraging your sons his love of art. I hope your trip is going well and your having a blast!

  5. Elizabeth A

    I have had the same moment with my daughter and photography. While I am not yet ready to hand her an expensive camera, learning the basics on a point and shoot has been fun for her. Enjoy these moments!

    • Deanna

      I got a point and shoot when I was 6 then my dad gave me a 35mm camera when I was 8. He taught me to develop my own pictures in the darkroom at that time, now I’m 43 and have basically done photography my whole life.
      Starting young is great, you can always look for a used camera from B&H so the first DSLR won’t be too expensive!

  6. Pam from Maryland

    I’m glad that the nearest Hobby Lobby is a hike for me.. .. otherwise I would always be there..! 🙁
    Love the “new artist” being birthed in the both of you. .Blessings…

  7. Pamela Jones

    My Mom would have “school” during the summer for myself and my four siblings. We would do reading , writing, math & art projects!! This was all done on old school desks that she had bought for that purpose. We looked forward to each day! This is a fond memory for me. I still love to do art & crafts to this day. Thanks Mom!

  8. Cindy

    I so miss this creative time I had with my kids when they were growing up. Although my daughter and i do scrapbook and paint together still, she is 4 hours away and those times are few and far between now. With my grown son, non-existant…boohoo. i was always known as the craft mom. When we had play dates the frends always asked if we could do a craft. Now i sit here crafting alone, waiting for grandkids to olay with. Fantastic painting by your son.

  9. Gloria

    He is going to be quite the little artist

  10. Suzan

    How fun to be able to share an interest in painting with your son! Several years ago when my granddaughters were about 9 and 12, I took them shopping for watercolors and watercolor paper. We were doing a special “Grammy camp”. We got home, set a vase of flowers in the middle of the kitchen table and started painting. When one of the mommies came in the house she was amazed at how quiet it was and how the girls were concentrating so seriously on their paintings. It remains one of my favorite days I have spent with the girls.

  11. Andrea

    So fun! We love Hobby Lobby!!

    One of my sons is a true artist and the others can do art if they take the time. I had a very talented artist friend come to teach art to them each week when they were younger (because I am NOT artistic….maybe creative, but not artistic). He was good, but he was a little hard on them….especially the ones who weren’t as gifted…so a few of them got burned out with art. Fortunately, they blossomed in other ways, some artistically, but not watercolors 🙂

    I have only been following your blog for a little while, but you are truly talented in a number of different artistic ways!

  12. Karen Harrison

    When we moved into our new-to-us home, my son was 3. Poor little fella got dragged all over town with me on my daily trips. One morning we got in the car, and he said with a huge sigh, “What’s it gonna be today, mom? Bed, Batman and Beyond or Hobby Bobby?” I said, “Both, if you’re lucky.” He just shook his head and sighed again.

  13. Candice Hope

    This was awesome! My soon to be 8 year old is also showing great interest in Art. I have to say though the Velociraptor in the barn made me laugh out loud! It’s like you all live in my house with my son! Too cute!

  14. Penny

    What a wonderful way to encourage your son into doing something he enjoys. Thank-you for sharing it, and Jeff’s comment was a nice addition. I hope all is going well.

  15. Cathy Whiteway

    You are such a great story teller! Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Cathy Whiteway 🙂

  16. Kathy

    Calvin holding his painting hit me right in the heart. Your photo captures the loving pride, both his & yours, of him sharing his work which brought me to sudden tears. Mine are grown now, 25 & 22, one chose art as a career. Melancholy struck. Miss those young years sometimes and cherishing their creative projects along with their pride of accomplishment. To all you young mom’s out there, trying to catch just a moment for yourself – don’t blink. Thank you, Marion, for being a great mom – and sharing your tenderness with us all.

    • Katy

      Kathy, this sentence: “To all you young moms out there, trying to catch just a moment for yourself– don’t blink” made me break down and sob. That is me. I have a 2 year old, a one year old, and just found out I’m having my third. There are days that I would kill for 5 mins for myself. Your comment put it all in perspective. Thank you for reminding me that this time is fleeting and precious.

  17. HippiesChick

    This post today was funny timing for me. I needed some unusual colored Bandana’s for a quilt. Someone suggested Hobby Lobby. We don’t have one nearby so I went on line. They have a lot of colors and designs, all for $0.99. So $30.00 later………….

    • Kimberly

      Oh dear. I did NOT need to know about the variety of the bandanas! 😐

  18. Angie M

    That is the sweetest thing. It’s wonderful that to have a child take an interest in something that you love as well.

  19. Susan

    I too remember the days when my daughter would cry at going to Hobby Lobby, Joann’s or any fabric store. Those days are no more. She actually loves these stores now, so much so she decided she might just have a sick day from school so we can go.

  20. Chris Moore

    This is THE perfect post! A few posts back-the China announcement maybe-a very aggressive poster made a very nasty comment about Marian having no time for her children. Well, read this Sister Woman! Things look just fine in the Parson’s household to me. And maybe it is time for you to apologize!

    Love this post and the veliciraptor!

  21. Sue Pagels

    The first thing I saw was the velociraptor! I think that is adorable! I too have fond memories of my niece spending the night and every time she did, we always did some kind of craft together. So much fun and creating such wonderful memories!

  22. Barb

    Oh, I’m just so jealous when a “beginning” 8 year old artist is better than I on my BEST day! And I just want to mention I found your painting of your grandma (from an earlier post) so special. It just made me smile.

  23. Taffy White

    I’ve been an art Teacher for 25 years! Truly one of the best experiences in my life! Kids have so much to share and to see them be creative in a world of technology is always amazing! The best projects are almost always the simplest (think weaving potholders for Mom) we’re even going to paint a piece of furniture for our fund raiser this spring! I LOVE the velociraptor in the barn, he’s invited to my art class any day!

  24. lynne richmond

    Oh my gosh…… i love the large reddish building next to the barn with the velociraptor (which i thought might be the garage, but don’t quote me on that!!)…. i thought the larger building was a barn at first; but the window placement made me rethink the whole thing….. anyways, the black roof is terrific against the red….. LOVE it …. and the variation in the sky colors….. wow…. from a manger drawing in december to painting in march….. what will be next???? bless you for encouraging his skills!!!! lynne richmond

  25. Sandy

    better save all these for when he is older – and maybe famous! i love his eye and especially the raptor 🙂

  26. Rebecca

    For my girls, when they were little, the big “Noooo” was to the suggestion to go to Home Depot. Now it’s to any reference to an antique mall. I took that same Michelle Wooderson watercolor class last fall and loved it — she’s a great instructor. (I was also inspired to buy quite a few supplies.) You seem to be doing really well keeping up with a sketchbook and practice. I wish I could be more disciplined about it, I tend to blame my lack of productivity on all the running around I do for my 12 and 15 -year -olds’ activities. But I don’t think that’s really much of an excuse — especially since I spend a lot of time at a stable surrounded by beautiful scenery. I do occasionally bring out my little sketchbook, but then I get very self-conscious that someone may actually want to look at what I’m doing. Very silly. I’m in awe of how much you do.

    • Marian Parsons

      I get a little self-conscience about it, too. When you’re sketching, everyone wants to peer over your shoulder! I was sketching at the Great Wall and kept saying, “This is just a sketch for reference. I’ll finish it later.” That seemed satisfactory.

      Just do it! 🙂

  27. Kimberly

    Marian, Calvin is actually quite a good artist, especially for his young age (he must get that from his Mom!), and with further practice, I can see him becoming quite the artist. Watercolor is such a difficult medium to work with, so it’s good he’s starting young with it so he can’t discourage himself from working with it (like I’ve done to myself). I’m impressed with his landscapes, and his imagination. Best of all is that you are taking the time, and offering him patience and guidance in pursuing art. Wish even one of my parents had bothered to take even a small interest in me as a kid.

  28. Julie B.

    Tell Calvin I think the barn scene is GREAT! Good work! (Really, that is super for an 8 year old!)

  29. Kay

    I use to go to Hobby Lobby a lot. Spent hours in there until I developed a nasty heel spur 🙁 So now its online visits to Hobby Lobby.

  30. the uncommon pearl

    Such a precious time with your son! Soak in all those moments. They go by fast, and while things do change as they get older, your shared love only deepens.

  31. Louise davis

    I love his buildings! He has that nice loose style that many of us strive (and struggle) to achieve. He definitely has a talent. Keep him going!

  32. Greer

    Sounds to me like there are some genes rising to the surface . . .

  33. Naomi S.

    Calvin definitely has some talent to develop. You are such a good role model, too, for doing what you love. And for not being afraid to try and try again. He’s a lucky guy to have you for a mom!

  34. Michele

    You are not creating a monster, you are parenting for his future, and your future too! I sure didn’t do everything right and had my share of indifferent parenting days, but I’m so glad and grateful that I gave my son (now in his thirties) attention, space, and most importantly, respect for the interests he was developing. You are investing in his belief in himself as a competent person. And you are setting up the framework for good relationships with him as an adult. We still have shared interests – his apartment is furnished with many antique pieces and enjoy the selection process together. We share books and films and frank discussions of same. I’m sad when I see adult kids who are still at the eye-rolling stage with their parents because their common ground is so sparse. Celebrate it!

  35. Eleanor

    Love this article/blog. Thanks for letting us watch you learn.

    My dad use to say…. “It’s better caught than taught”. What your kids see you do will affect them more than what you say. So cool to see how they are “catching” your love of art.

    Lately I’ve been sorting through old files and looking at my kids artwork from years ago. I thought I would remember who drew or painted what, but now I’m wishing I had written the names and dates on the backs of all of them.

  36. MaryLisa Noyes

    When my son was an infant I started making my own cards. The space I carved out was a closet in our laundry room. It grew from there and both my kids are very creative. My son is an adult and is writing music and my daughter draws and sews as she is becoming a Veterinarian. Creating is our outlet and I always have them that opportunity. So glad you and your son are sharing that love.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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