Playful French Industrial Picks of the Week


Remember when I posted about style and the evolution of your voice? And I how I came to coin mine as “Playful French Industrial” (because Moody Modern Peasant Weathered Playful French/Russian Industrial with a touch of Bohemian just seems waaaaay to long. ha!)? Well I thought I would share with you some of what’s inspiring me over here from time-to-time. (You can always find what I’m pinning in my Playful French Industrial board too).

Take for example the amazing vintage industrial organizer shown above. Want one. And those hanging baskets. LOVE.

Gloria Rodriguez

These school girls really speak to me. Like they are about to turn the corner and come upon another wall painted completely in red. And then a blue one…like their world is made up of solid primaries. I love the weathered look to the stone too. I find I like bright primaries with a bit a wear and tear. 66-9th-Ave-EcoFriendly-Apt-7-kitch-eating

And how about this inspiring dining room?! I love the playful elements that are allowed to dwell here amongst the sophistication. And that floor to ceiling pin board. I mean really?! I NEED to have one.


If you don’t know of Sonia Delaney and her patterns, you should look her up now. So lovely. So inspiring. a74e604108183a1e76ee5facc9882d4d

I had to throw our little puppet in here. He’s a favorite around here and with all the kids in our online Kids Craft Camp. He just makes me smile to see him wiggle and dance. It’s like he’s meant to join these super cuties in their production below. I love each one of these tots for diff reasons and love to think about what they were thinking of when this picture was taken. I’m quite sure the second white rabbit is thinking “Yeah mr. cone hat here to my left thinks he’s the star of this here production, but I’ve got skills just waiting to explode out of me. Just wait, you’ll see.”


Something about this little darling in her messy creative space below has me inspired and wanting to make. I read something somewhere about allowing a bit of “squalor” in your spaces and I’m all for that. I love a bit of clean minimalism here – but then joined with a jumble of beautiful mess there. If you came to my house you’d see exactly what I mean (it’s a crazy mess most days and sometimes I love it. Other times I want to clear it all away and have open spaces and empty palettes like the yellow wall above. I’m creatively manic like that).


Oh and I want to dress like her.


Playful French Industrial resources from top to bottom: great work space | yellow wall | creative dining room |Sonia Delaney print |wooden bead puppet |cutest performing group of little ones darling girl in creative study

Playfully Made By You!


It’s so exciting and inspiring to see all the things you and your little ones are creating from my book Playful! I’m going to start doing rounds up for your to be equally inspired! Like how cute is Meta’s little fair maiden and knight? I love how they each made it their own. And that pom-pom fringe!! I happen to know that Henrik is very much into nights so this makes me especially happy to see.


I love Evie’s wooden doll face necklace via Nicole (fabulous Playful photographer!). How cute is it with her dress?! These necklaces are so easy to make. I think they would be fun birthday party craft.


This sweetie Miette (I’m crazy about her name!) made the fair maiden wands herself with only a bit of help from mom April. And I love how she made two. Each girl really needs two wands don’t you think?

And I’m head over heels for the cardboard brownstone at the top of the page made by Sydney and her mom Jessica. So elegant, simple and lovely. And that wreath!!!


Please keep sharing your inspiring Playful crafts! Just tag them in IG or FB with #playfultoysandcrafts and you never know – they might end up here or on my Facebook page! And be sure to check out the hash tag #playfultoysandcrafts to get inspired yourself. Some great Memorial Weekend project ideas for you!

Join me for a Local KIDS CRAFT CAMP this Summer!

Mer Mag's Kids Craft Camp Info

I’m so excited to share that I will be holding two KIDS CRAFT CAMPS this summer. If you’re local (Utah County) we’d love to have your little ones come and create, play and craft with us!! It will be held in our new shared Hinterland Studio in Springville, UT.

We have lots of fun stuff in store including collaborative group projects, individual crafty creations, exploration of art and materials and loads of playful fun! The curriculum will be different from the online camp (save the camp teepees which will be one of things we’ll make on the first day of camp) so if you’ve taken that one, you can still attend this one with new and inspiring art and crafts in store for your little ones.

Mer Mag | Kids Craft CampMer Mag |Online Kids Craft Camp

The two CAMP DATES to pick from are:

CAMP 1: June 22-26, 2015 and CAMP 2: July 27-30, 2015

Camp hours: 10am to 1 pm. (You can drop off and pick up but if you feel like your child needs you there for a bit that is fine too). Bring a sack lunch for your kiddos but I will also be serving a light snack and a drink (let me know of any allergies). There is a drinking fountain so water is always available.

Have campers dress in clothes you aren’t afraid to get a bit messy. We will be working with paint on some days, etc.

Pricing: Each 4 day camp is $150 per child. (there is 10% sibling discount after that)

If you’re interested please email me at merrileeliddiard at asap as spots are filling up FAST! Please include the names and ages of each child as well as any allergies, considerations, special needs and so on.


Mer Mag |Online Kids Craft Camp

Oh I’m so excited and I hope your little campers can join us! And if you’re not not local no sweat! We still have our online KIDS CRAFT CAMP full of fun videos, DIYS, templates and inspiration to keep your kids busy and inspired this summer!



Simple Scenes: Back in the Saddle


It’s Monday! which means we’re back in the saddle and trying to get our ducklings in a row before summer is here. CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE? It’s been drizzly and rainy so I’m happily in denial. I know you’re already scheming of what to do with little bouncy and bored kiddos so be sure to check out our online Kids Craft Camp! And if you’re local (Utah County) I’m super happy to share that I’ll be putting on a REAL LIFE ARTS CAMP for your littles too! Like for reals! So much more on that soon!!


So for now just pass along productive Monday thoughts my way (and sleepy nap thoughts for this squirly one) so I can get everything done for you all so very soon!!!





images via instagram. follow my comings and goings here.

Doddles, Dears and Weekend Links

Sketching | merrilee

I’ve been working a lot of fun illustration projects lately so if the blog seems quiet that’s why! I can’t wait to share so many of them with you but in the mean time, here’s a peek and some fun sketching I’ve been doing for a project in the works. Like did you see this fun Hanna Anderson shoot from Brittany? That sweet little dear just came out of my paint brush and ran straight to her to give her nose a little smooch.

Brittany With Dear | illustrated by mer

It’s also raining today. Which equals perfect craft afternoon weather! so I think I’ll be making a few of these with the little Miss. I can’t hide that I’m only a little bit crazy about having a girl who will go nuts for these. She’s super into pink too (I’ll have to help her learn the value of all colors on the spectrum but for not it’s pretty cute and my girly side is cool with it).

Oh and did you see we had a winner for our Macaroni Challenge? It was so fun seeing all that you came up with. The entries were so great. Like this insane pasta noodle crown. Are you kidding me!?

If you’re feeling crafty I might also suggest stamping up a storm with either flowers, geometric shapes or make and array of funny faces!

Happy crafty weekend friends!



A Doll to Craft With



For the longest time I’ve wanted to create a doll (or softie) that was large enough for kids to make crafts for not – so not only could they they make say cardboard wings for themselves for for their little friend as well! Last year I made a cloth doll for Miss M’s birthday and played around with making it on the large side. She’s smitten with her and I’ve since found that not only do toddlers love this size but older kids as well. Miss Lulu here was immediately lost in a world of imaginative play with this little friend here.DollandWings4

So I’ve decided I’m going to make a limited run of dolls in this size for your little one too! Each one will be unique and the perfect crafy companion! I’m seeing kid and doll duos with leaf crowns, macaroni necklaces, tea party cakes, lion masks and more in the very near future!



photography by Chaunté Vaughn 

Macaroni Challenge Giveaway: Make Pasta Noodle Wiener Dogs


I love seeing what you all are making for our Macaroni Noodle Challenge!! So much fun is happening! Remember our Modern Mommy + Me pasta necklaces? Well I had to get one more project in as I’ve had Manicotti Dachshund Dogs on the brain ever since this challenge began. So we finally made some and the kids are nuts about them!


NoodleDogs3_MerMagMaking these is super easy and pretty self explanatory. Basically you –

  1. Download and print the Weiner Dog artwork, found here. I would use a thick cardstock. Cut out the heads and tails.
  2. Using craft paint, paint as many manicotti noodles as you want dogs. Let dry.
  3. Using cardboard or a thick fiber board (say from a cereal box) cut out two long strips for the dogs legs (Just measure using  your manicotti noodle).
  4. Fold over legs for the front and the back.
  5. Glue on legs using a hot glue gun (low temp if kids are doing this themselves). Let dry.
  6. Glue on the dogs head and tail using the glue gun as well. Let dry.
  7. Color in a cheek if you wish! Now your Dachshund Dog is ready to play with!


NoodleDogs2b_MerMagThese two…this pretty much sums up their relationship. Which is awesome.NoodleNecklace5_MerMagOh and we also kept the Macoroni necklace momentum going when we made more pretty things with friends Meta and Maja Coleman. I made another sweet necklace for this cherub by stringing a long line of painted macaroni noddles together and then folding them over one another to create three dangling layers. I then tied it off and added a string up top to loop around the head.NoodleNecklace2_MerMagNoodleNecklace3_MerMag

And as we definitely don’t suggest using these necklaces as teethers, she sure is cute here. (she still puts everything in her mouth! I thought that was supposed to be over by now…sigh).NoodleNecklace_MerMagNoodleNecklace4_MerMag

And remember! You have until Mother’s day to join us and the Rockin’ Art Moms in this Macaroni Challenge!!!

BONUS: Everyone who joins us in the challenge will be entered in an amazing Rockin’ Art Moms Gift Basket giveaway. The winner will be selected at random from the entries and announced on Instagram and the Rockin’ Art for Kids Facebookpage on Sunday May 10th, 2015.

Dreamy Prize basket giveaway will include books from the Rockin’ Art Moms:


Playful (from Me!)  // The Artful Parent and The Artful Year from The Artful Parent // Tinkerlab from Tinkerlab //150 Screen Free Activities for Kid from Fun at Home with Kid // Happy Handmade (ebook) from MollyMoo


And if you haven’t yet check out our Instagram hashtag #themacaronichallenge for fun ideas. And if you missed these, be sure to check out these other creative pasta craft ideas and join is in noodling around!

Macaroni Frames // Pink Stripey Socks

Art Assemblage with Kids // Art Bar

Painted Macaroni Necklaces // MollyMoo

Modern Pasta Necklaces // Mer Mag

Pretty Pasta Pendants // Pysselbolaget

Pasta Sculptures with Preschoolers // Meri Cherry

Macaroni Pom-Pom Flower Necklace //  Willowday

Pasta Art Activities for Kids // The Artful Parent

A Modern Macaroni Masterpiece // Handmakery

Stained Glass Pasta // Babble Dabble Do

Pasta Drawing Prompts // Picklebums

Painted Pasta Art // Learn Play Imagine

Mosaic Art Project for Kids // from Buggy and Buddy

Macaroni Mosaics // Tiny Rotten Peanuts

Spaghetti Tower Marshmallow Challenge // Tinkerlab


And to recap, here’s how the challenge works: Create your own unique pasta project (or do one of our projects) and post a picture in one or both of these two places:

1. The Rockin Art for Kids Facebook Page

2.  Instagram using the hashtag #TheMacaroniChallenge 

Challenge ends on May 10th, 2015. During this week the Rockin’ Art Moms will be sharing some of our favorite projects on our Facebook Pages.

Print a Bouquet of Flowers for Mother’s Day!


I’m sharing a printable bouquet of flowers for Mother’s Day over on Julep today! It’s a fun and easy craft for kids of all ages.  Add a recycled paper tube holder as a vase painted by your little one and you’ve got yourself a sweet handmade gift.


Make a Modern Macaroni Necklace this Mothers Day!

Pasta Necklace | Mer MagMother's Day Pasta Necklace Craft | Mer Mag

We’re re-thinking the macaroni Necklace this Mothers Day and coming up with few modern versions! Miss M and I had a lot of fun playing with pasta and we love our necklaces. In fact I love my necklace so much that I wish it was more durable than manicotti pasta noodles! I have a few other necklace ideas for our fun painted pasta and hope to drop a few more of those for you throughout the week so keep watch for those.

Jon helped me put together this sweet little video with Miss M. I love how it shows her working through stringing the noodles, scooping and sorting through the pasta noodles and making decisions. All important developmental milestones for a 2 and half year old. But you don’t have to be 2 1/2 to get into this! All my kids are totally on board – and I’ll admit that I’m a bit obsessed too!

pastaThere are so many ways to color pasta – such as dying it naturally (which I want to try next!). We painted ours using various types of paint. For the dark teal blue ones we spray painted a group of  various noodles together. My boys thought this looked like the coolest thing ever. I agree that it was really was fun to see the transformation. Playing with Pasta | Mer MagWe also hand painted some of them which all the kids really got into (especially the younger two).Playing with Pasta | Mer MagI chose to stick with just three colors. I’m a big fan of limiting a kids color palette. I think it helps them when making artistic decisions and plants little design seeds into their creative minds by not overwhelming them with too much information (although a rainbow of colors can be equally beautiful if done right so definitely play around with that at times too). Playing with Pasta | Mer MagBefore stringing the pasta noodles you can have your little one work on coordination exercises – such as having your toddler scoop from one bowl to the next. Encourage preschoolers to sort out colors, make groupings, do counting activities and more. The sound and texture of the pasta is really a fun sensory experience.

Playing with Pasta | Mer MagPlaying with Pasta | Mer MagAfter playing around I gave miss M a bit of ribbon to string on the pasta noodles. We taped off one end of a ribbon to make a point so that it was extra easy for little hands to work with.

Playing with Pasta | Mer MagMother's Day Pasta Necklace Craft | Mer MagMiss M made the sweetest necklace and we even made a few pasta bow hair ties for her little piggies. DSC_0218DSC_0268Mother's Day Pasta Necklace Craft | Mer Mag(on Miss M: Bonton Favori Flouced top and Olive Juice Kids Cotton Spring skirt in Kiwi. on Me: Baggy Muslin Abaya Linen dress)

I had been eyeing the manicotti noodles for a “mommy necklace” and she helped me put it together. Was so fun. I really think she loved seeing me with one too! A sweet little Mommy and Me moment for us.

Mother's Day Pasta Necklace Craft | Mer Mag

And if you don’t have any little ones around, don’t worry, you can still totally get into this. I’d totally sport a pasta necklace at a get together with friends right?Mother's Day Pasta Necklace Craft | Mer MagPlaying with Pasta | Mer MagThis year at Alt Summit 2015 I met a great group of ladies that are equally passionate about encouraging kids to create – The Rockin’ Art Moms! It was so cool to chat with them about (more…)

More from the Banister House


I’ve been working on catching up from our Disneyland trip (will share more on that soon! including what we recommend doing when you go with your family!). I thought I’d share a few scenes from the Banister House (our newly purchased historic home) such as this great one of Miss M dancing away on Easter morning (she ditched her Easter dress for this tutu and we just went with it).FireplaceBanisterhouseMerMag

We also have a great deal of work to do in the bathroom (floors need help, new tub, vanity, sink, fixtures, etc.). But it’s got a lot of potential. My favorite aspect of it is the fireplace (seen above) which was from the original cabin kitchen (the back part of the house was an 1860’s cabin which was built onto in 1897 in a revival gothic manor giving inhabitants more room to grow). I look forward to long bubbly soaks in a claw-foot tub with a once again working fireplace. Dreamy right?! Now to find the perfect tub, tile (the wood floors are shot in the rest of the room :( ), vanity, sinks and more. Any suggestions on great places to find these items? I’d love to here. Oh and this room also houses our washer and dryer…so it’s good it a somewhat decent size room because it’s got a lot of tasks it has to perform for our little family! PasadenaAntiqueCenterMirrorFind_MerMagAfter our trip to Disney we drove through our old haunts in South Pasadena (where we lived 3 yrs again and where little O was born), stayed with my uncle and went to the Pasadena Antique Gallery. This was my first time there! And I’m obsessed. I already want to go back. I found this vanity mirror there and managed to get it home in one piece (not an easy task with three rowdy kids but we did it!).