I was compensated by Duck Brand Products for this post.  All opinions and statements are completely my own.

table runner diy leaf runner

Middle school can be a cold and lonely place.

Everything is changing.

Friends are growing up and moving on and the lunch room is full of pitfalls you have to navigate while holding a tray full of wheat crust pizza and the homework stacks up faster than you can finish it and you may or may not have discovered that boys are cute.

And the emotions.

Oh…..the emotions.

The roller coaster has officially left the building.

table runner helper

The other day I walked into a room to find two middle schoolers bent intently over a sketch book drawing and outlining and doodling and creating.

I paused and stopped to watch.

It was a thing of wonder.

The colored pencils danced and hovered and dipped and literally flew across the paper.

table runner project tracing

“What are you drawing?” I asked out of curiosity.

One of the twins paused and blinked, put down her pencil and looked up at me in surprise.

As if the answer was obvious.

As if it was a question that didn’t even need to be asked.

“It’s our feelings, mom,” she said.  “We’re drawing our feelings,” she added with another blink and returned to sketching.

table runner project fal


Of course.

At last I understood.

All those emotions needed a home.

They needed a safe place to be recorded with colored pencils and saved and tucked away.  Through the storms and roller coasters and ups and downs of friendship and boys and homework, those incredible middle schoolers of mine had discovered how to work it all out….

….and let all those blank pages do the talking.

table runner assistant

Maybe that’s why I believe in art and art classes in middle school so strongly.

And it’s why we create at home.

Why we tape and color and draw and scrapbook and glue and draw…,

….and then start all over again.

It’s why there are tiny scraps of paper everywhere and glitter on the table and hearts drawn on sticky notes decorating the hall.

And why there’s a project around every corner.

Don Diamont, Cindy Ambuehl, Joel McHale, Mark Feuerstein, Adam Scott at PS Arts Express Yourself 2015

But what about the others?

What about the kids who don’t have a mom who writes a blog and happens to have a master’s degree in Pinterest and loves a blank canvas better than chocolate brownies?

Who would be their voice?

Who would speak up for them and find a way to bring art back to the classroom?

I’m honored to be part of the movement to bring back art education for every one.  So proud to be part of PS Arts 2015 and an ambassador for Duck Tape Brand.  This incredible event was hosted in partnership with Cindy Ambuehl from The Agency to bring awareness to art education and to enrich and improve the lives of children through art education.

This event helps to remind the artist in all of us….that creating is everything.

That it’s music to the soul and life and hope to those in challenging circumstances.

And that sometimes art is found in the emotions….

…..tucked away in the pages of a sketch book. 🙂

And now….here’s an easy Thanksgiving project for the artist in all of us.

diy table runner

DIY Leaf Duck Tape Table Runner


Duck Tape

leaf pattern to trace

craft paper

freezer paper

table runner duck tape

Apply strips of duck tape to freezer paper.

We used two rolls of duck tape to make this runner.

Have you seen the new patterns of Duck Tape?



table runner DIY

Flip freezer paper over and trace the leaves onto the back of the paper.

It will be a little wrinkly.

No worries.

All the wrinkles will disappear when you peel it off.

table runner project diy

Cut out the leaves out of Duck Tape.


Lots of giggling is necessary when cutting out leaves.

table runner craft paper

Cut a strip of craft paper to use as your base.

We cut ours about 12 inches wide.

Perfect size for our table.

Don’t worry if it’s not exactly straight.  Your leaves will cover up all the un-straightness.

table runner leaft

Peel the freezer paper backing off of the leaves.

Then stick them onto the craft paper in a random pattern.

Have fun.

Enjoy the art.


runner DIY

table runner diy leaf runner

Here’s the finished project in all it’s glory.

Brought to you by art and creating.

Extra giggles included. 🙂

PS  A giant shout out to Cindy Ambuehl and Duck Brands for reminding all of us the importance of art and creating.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Love it!!! I, too, believe that is arts in schools is so very important. Not only do they give us a creative outlet, they teach us tolerance and love. We appreciate more what makes each of us special and unique. Thanks so much for this post.

  2. Image for Michelle Rudis Michelle Rudis

    What a great and imaginative table runner and awesome photos of your daughters! I'm sure, just like Mom, they have wonderful imaginations and love creating. I am an artist myself and love that you support bringing art back to school! Rally on, my amazing friend!!

  3. Image for Betsy Betsy

    Karianne, once again you spoke to my soul. My grandson just entered middle school this past September and he is being bullied big time. My heart aches for him and my daughter and son-in-law. As a parent you are never sure of what to do........do you talk to the school and maybe make things worse or do you step back and hope that you've given your child the skills to handle it themselves. All of us at some point in our life have been bullied but with social media it has reached a new high. I read one home decorating blog where people post pictures of rooms they have updated in their homes and I am appalled by the nasty comments people make (and these are adults). How do we ever fix this?

    1. Image for Kris Kris

      Betsy--I am so sorry to hear about your grandson. I have a 7th grade son and I understand the fears that go along with having a middle schooler. I just read a book called Planet Middle School by Kevin Leman (if you aren't familiar with him, he is a Christian psychologist and author and his books give humorous and down-to-earth advice--your daughter may find it to be a helpful resource). I, personally, would both talk to the school and help give my child tools to handle the bullying. Maybe have him meet with a counselor in the school. The biggest things that I have found that have helped my son have been encouraging him to be part of a group (he has a group of friends from elementary school and they have maintained their friendships--no, they aren't the popular group, by a long shot, but bullies seek out kids who are alone), as well as (gasp) not allowing him to have a phone. At this stage, he doesn't need one, and I think that many kids don't have the maturity to be using them. No Facebook account, either (he's 12 and legally he can't have one till he's 13). I know that sounds hard core and Luddite-like, and each situation is different ... that's what has worked for us. My son will be allowed those things when he gets older--the timing doesn't feel right to me right now. When it comes to finding groups ... my son is in band, and that tends to be a tightly knit group of kids. After-school clubs, sports, or youth group at church are all good places to meet and get to know kids. I watched a PBS program once about pre-adolescent and adolescent boys, and the thing that struck me was that they need an area in which they feel they are competent or perhaps excel. What is your grandson good at or what is he interested in? Find something that he considers to be fun and consider having him take lessons to improve his skill in that area. Confidence in one area of life tends to spill over into other areas. I don't know if you are a praying woman, but I think God's help is the best help of all. And ... there really are parents out there who encourage their children to be nice to others and take kids who are being picked on "under their wings"--I bet your grandson can find some kind kids. I hope I was helpful!

      1. Image for Kristin @ Pink Camellias Kristin @ Pink Camellias

        Kris, I agree with you about having a place - it's so important. I have three boys and my oldest started band in 6th grade. He is now in 10th grade and is in marching band - the kids are so nice in band. My 6th grader started in band this year, and he will keep with it is well. We all need a tribe!

  4. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Everyone needs a medium where they can let their emotions shine through. Some people sing, some people dance, some people do both such as a heart wrenching interpretation of "Away in the Manger". Artists, musicians, craftsmen all do what they feel deep in their soul. You create!! You feel the need to express yourself and what comes through is YOU!! Your daughters are lucky they have such a good example. You rock!!

  5. Image for Bluwatergal Bluwatergal

    Thanks for sharing the giggles Kari Anne and for believing in the importance of Art in schools :) Not every home has crafty supplies and the opportunity to be creative, so it's important to experience it in school. This project is so creative and I'm going to try it with my sister at Thanksgiving. There's sure to be lots of laughter at our house too. I'll send you a picture! {{hugs}} Bwg~~~

  6. Image for Jessica Jessica

    I love this post! It makes me so happy to see people encouraging arts in schools! Every child learns differently and needs various ways to express themselves, and art/music is huge for those who think "differently" than traditional pen-and-paper learners. I am just so thrilled to see you share this with others!!

  7. Image for Kristin @ Pink Camellias Kristin @ Pink Camellias

    What a cute idea! I've always kept tons of arts and crafts supplies around. It can get messy, but that's ok. My middle son liked working with Duct Tape for awhile - he even made a duct tape wallet. Now, he's into making guns out of popsicle sticks, wooden rulers and clothespins. Hang on through middle school. It's a wild ride, but once you get to the other side, it's not so bad!

  8. Image for Sherry Fisher Sherry Fisher

    Our daycare kids love to sit down and write and color and paint and draw and stencil and sticker and cut out and glue and glitter and mold clay and create! Kudos Karianne....did you really meet Don Diamont (giggle).

  9. Image for Cindy Cindy

    YAY! Bravo! I so agree with this!!! Art was my favorite class in school-ALWAYS! It was my time to be me:) Your beautiful lil' mini thistles look just like you:) Great project too!

  10. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Yep couldn't agree more! Art is important for a well rounded person. Your girls are adorable. Love that they were drawing their feelings! The leaf runner is cool too. Duct tape has come a long way!

  11. Image for Lindsey Lindsey

    Having a daughter who just began middle school this year, appreciate the reminder that the paint on the kitchen counter and glitter in the floorboards are a good thing.

  12. Image for Laurie Laurie

    Love this post with it's giggles and creativity. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Brag About It! - I'll be featuring your post at the next party! I hope you will be able to join us - Party Starts at Monday at midnight. Hope to see you there! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ~Laurie

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