Originally, when Molly was younger it was enough to put a couple of scratches of paint onto a piece of paper, or make a handprint, or get her to write a few words.
Above: Perfect example of the blobs of paint on paper, collage a few photos and get molly to write a few words approach (dec 2002).
But as the years go by it gets more and more complicated, as Molly wants to do more and more stuff for Birthdays, Christmas and Mothers & Fathers Day herself. And sucker that I am, I seem to see it as some sort of creative challenge to come up with ideas for us to do for Louise.
Because I'm really not that creative artistically. And I really regret it. I would love to be able to fdraw, paint, sculpt or anything really. And I have the ideas in my head, just no way of getting them out using these crap, unartsitic hands of mine.
Take last Mother's Day. Molly had a scrapbooking kit given to her by an Aunt when we moved up here. But she's sadly never really done that much with it. So I thought we'd use it to make a nice collage. It took forever to do. Chaos everywhere.
Lesson #1: If it involves your child and lots of small fiddly bits it will take a long, long time and the clean up will be epic.
Or last Christmas when I decided that we'd done all the usual ideas of painted mugs, pictures and all the rest. I then had the bright idea of making a special book for mummy. Oh, god, what a nightmare that was. It seemed such a great idea - buy a blank book, get Molly to fill it with stuff. It was like pulling teeth.
Lesson #2; Never, ever try to get her to do presents she hasn't already shown great enthusiasm for.
Lesson #3; Always make sure it's easy to do over a short period of time.
So this year, I had another bright idea for Louise's birthday. This time I thought I'd almost bypass Molly altogether, although we did talk about what "we" were going to do for mummy's birthday.
The plan was originally to use Flickr's Warholizer to produce a couple of lovely framed photos for Louise. I got a couple of the better ones printed and framed:
But then I was in the Works yesterday and they do really ridiculously cheap canvasses and acrylic paints, and, despite never having used acrylics before and not having the slightest bit of artistic talent, I thought Molly and I could give it a go.
Today we decamped to Molly's room, banned Louise from coming in and set about making our own Warhol-esque reproduction of the photos. Molly has a little more talent than I do, but in truth, she's unlikely to be an artist when she grows up. So this was the result:
I'm particularly impressed how we managed to get all four images to be subtly different even though we were aiming for identical.
But all in all, we were justifiably pretty chuffed with ourselves on just finishing it.
Now, all I have to do is not let Louise see this for a couple of days until her birthday.
So no telling that you all saw it here first!