I started off as a textile designer, and while I left that profession behind, I never lost the desire to make things. Having children exposed me to the world of arts and crafts, and rather then suffer through it, I embraced it with a vengeance. It probably all began with my son’s passion for Neil and Art Attack. We bought him a toolbox filled with a range of stuff to make more stuff. On Art Attack days, he donned his apron and enthusiastically made things alongside Neil, while brilliantly imitating his British accent.

By the time my daughter came along, we had transformed our basement ‘dungeon’ into the Art Room. It’s a space that gives us the freedom to generate tons of stuff without worrying about collateral damage. It has a fabulous paint-stained table, and a bookcase filled with supplies; anything from dollar store items, recycled goods, great art supplies and questionable bits with hidden potential.

At some point, I ventured into the world of teaching arts and crafts to children, and found I loved working with them. I saw how valuable it was to give them an opportunity to express themselves without any pressure or judgement. Somewhere fun where they could hang out for an hour, learn something, and leave with a creation they were proud of.

This blog arose from the desire to share project ideas, experiences and inspirations with others. It’s also about encouraging children and adults alike to make and create. We don’t need a special reason or a perfect outcome. The journey just feels good.

bella manu

64 responses to “About

  1. I love the dungeon. How lucky are you and your kids!!! And the bookmarks are adorable. Thanks for the cute post (oops. I think I’m on the “about” page, but I got here from your bookmarks. Patsye

  2. Hey Bella,

    I’m Stephanie, the new curator of the Vandalist column on Torontoist. I’ve been looking through your Flickr photos and I love your devotion to local street art. I’m not sure yet what pieces I’ll be using for this week’s Vandalist but I really like your recent photos of the animal stencils. I was wondering approximately where they are in the city and if you know how long they’ve been around for. Thanks! Also, if ever you see some street art you think is particularly special feel free to email me a shout out.


  3. Hi Steph,
    Congratulations on being the new curator, and thanks for your comment. I have emailed you my reply about the photos.


  4. amy @ kids in the studio

    Thanks for leaving a comment over on my blog so I could find yours! I’ll be looking through later on today when I have a bit more time… so nice to find another kids/art blog for inspiration!

  5. Lynn

    Let’s see, it’s 4:00 AM & I’ve been up sketching since around 11:00 PM. How fortunate that during a break I stumbled on this great blog. I am looking forward to lots of reading & learning from others. Lucky me!

  6. What a great idea for a blog. Thank you.

  7. amanda

    Do you have any objection to people pinning your content on Pinterest?

  8. Love this blog. Thank you for sharing – and thank you for visiting mine. Hope you return and enjoy the stories. Today I am off to Chinatown in San Fran and hoping the sun comes out.

  9. We were very artsy craftsy, especially when the kids were little. Shrinky Dinks, pisanki, and Sculpey. I watched them graduate from pony beads to glass beads. Now the kids are mostly doing their own illustrating, and I kind of miss those days and those projects. What a fun blog you have!

    Thanks so much for stopping by Writing Between the Lines!

    • So glad you stopped by Naomi. I think it’s wonderful that your children remain so creative. We need creative thinkers out there! BTW I have no idea what pisanki is, so I’m on my way to looking it up. There’s always something new to learn.

  10. Madoqua

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my Asterix story. I am enjoying our site, especially love the dungeon!

  11. What a great discovery! Beautiful blog.

  12. you sound like me minus just a few years! you have a wonderful blog! 😉

  13. mique123

    Hi Bella! Thanks for linking up to my special About Me Pity Party last week. I loved reading about you. I want an art room/dungeon! How cool. In CA we don’t have basements. 😦 Darn. Thanks again for linking up.

  14. Hey Bella! you have interesting and beautiful posts. I wish I also have “The Dungeon”, every artist would want one.:)

  15. Being June

    I truly wish I would have had an art dungeon when I was a child. You are giving your family an amazing gift. Consider yourself followed.

  16. Love your blog, looking forward to reading more posts. Nice to meet you 🙂

  17. Hi artclubblog, good news!

    I have nominated your blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

    The rules of that award are at



  18. YourHobby

    Hi, so glad I found your blog, you have some very interesting crafty Hobbies, cheers, Graham…..YourHobby…..

  19. OMG! I love your blog!

  20. How much fun is your blog!?! Thanks for visiting mine!

  21. Make Something Mondays

    I’m checking your blog out for the first time, and I think I’m in love! Your posts are awesome and I really enjoy that it stemmed from your children and your art room basement. I would love to have my own art room, but in an apartment set up, that isn’t going happen. Thanks so much for sharing your work. Keep it coming!

    • Thanks so much for your kind comments! It is great having a designated space to make things, but most of the time we just end up at the dining room table, making a big mess.

  22. Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I appreciate it very much. 🙂

  23. You’re welcome! I hope you have a lovely weekend. 🙂

  24. Robin

    I stumbled upon your blog and I absolutely love it. I homeschool and my weak points are arts and crafts, but you make it seem far more exciting than traditional construction paper and paper plate elementary crafts, yet doable! Thank you so much. From the perspective of my very unartistic brain, your blog is pure genius.

  25. Great idea – a art dungeon. I used to do Art Attack projects with my children when they were young, in my own living room. Really enjoyed it but need a good clean up after the the “attack”. 🙂

  26. Cardboard Express

    Hello there! I just wanted to say that you have an incredible blog! Your content is refreshing, intelligent, and apt.

  27. I do a small bit of crafting with my grandson and would love to have a special room like yours. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful talent with everyone.

  28. Hi!! I’m so glad to find another crafter like myself who isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with paints, glue and suchlike! I found you through pinterest, something about watercolours and glue on circles, always a good mix, haha! I’m following along now, lovely to meet you 🙂 Oh, and Neils Art Attack was my kids favourite programme too (secretly mine as well, 😀 )

  29. Hi. I would love to be able to share a photo from your sandcasting blog post in our social media and link back to your entire blog post so people would see the complete instructions. Love the idea of crafting outdoors at the beach.

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