Friday, March 04, 2011

Rock on!

Last month our family watched "Exit Through the Gift Shop."  We loved it.  In fact Gracie was bound and determined to become a street artist when she grew up.  I tried to explain that while the art was fun and the story was great, vandalism isn't a good thing.  But she was smitten.  Her obsession with Banksy finally wavered a bit after she saw his recent Charlie Brown street art.  Oh, ho, ho -- you mess with Gracie's beloved Charlie Brown, and you've crossed the line buddy.

Aaaanyway...  All that to say, the kids were majorly inspired.  Now of course we would never in a million years damage anyone's property.  But we wanted to do something artsy.  Something stealthy.  Something public.  Then I had a bright idea...  We spent an afternoon making these guys:




I picked up a big sack of rocks, washed them, and painted the base colors.  Then Isaac, Gracie, Lily, and I each claimed a color and decorated them with as many faces and expressions as we could think of.  48 rocks in all.  A few close-ups:










A couple of days later, we stuffed our pockets, hit the town, and stuck our little friends in fun places.

Artsy?  Check!
Public?  Check!
Stealthy?  Check!
Fun?  Double check!!
And in no way damaging.

Hopefully we were able to spread a little happiness to anyone who stumbled across these little guys.  Here are some of their landing places...  Hope you enjoy them too!
























 
** Check out ROUND TWO **
** Check out ROUND THREE **

113 comments:

  1. Guerilla street art to brighten someone's day? Yes please! This is incredible. I must do this.

    I think I might even try it with my wife's 5th grade class. Can I mimic this idea?

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  2. wOw these are SO good!

    guerilla art is fun:
    I like to give away origami bookmarks to people reading books when I'm on the train:
    it makes me feel fuzzy inside when I have made someones day:
    you just did that for me ^_^

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  3. Hooray - These are brilliant! Scope for more of them in the future, do you think...?

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  4. What a fabulous idea! I bet the kids had a blast leaving the lil guys in fun places!

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  5. Jennifer saw the rock at the library, and later saw it in lost and found. :(

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  6. last name WIN, first name EPIC

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  7. Your oldest is 12, did you at least try to get into the grey areas of public art vs. mere 'vandalism' or did you keep it pat and surface-level? I'd think your oldest at the least would be able to contemplate the complexity of the issue ... while I want my kids not to wreak real damage for the fun of it, I also have no desire to inculcate an abiding or overweening love of property for its own sake either.

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  8. Hilarious! I love it. What a fabulous idea and sneaky way to make random people smile.

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  9. This is awesome, awesome, AWESOME! Thanks for sharing!

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  10. This is a great idea! Haha sure made my day. Very artsy if I so say so myself.

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  11. This is SO COOL. The best. Thanks, Z-kids, for brightening my day!

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  12. Wonderful and bright! I love them! The facial expressions are terrific and again I thank you for sharing. The one rock on the manhole cover reminds me of a chalk drawing I saw a few years back that had a big squiggle spiral and around it said: Black hole, do not step! Needless to say, I took the detour around the black hole!

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  13. FANTASTIC idea! might adapt this as an art project for my class!

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  14. so very rad! good art. good job!

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  15. "I tried to explain that while the art was fun and the story was great, vandalism isn't a good thing."

    Thanks so much for teaching this lesson! And it has led to some great problem-solving and a fun visually appealing project. Kudos!

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  16. Brilliant idea, might do something similar soon!

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  17. This is just wonderful!! I LOVE the whole thing!

    It must've been great fun doing the painting, and then the most exciting day out while you secretly placed them all over town.

    As a Dad, you've inspired me! (And made me feel a bit bad for being so un-inventive!)

    I hope you won't mind if I do something similar with my five-year old... I'm in Wales I won't infringe your territory. :)

    P.S. I LOVE the whole blog too.

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  18. I think this is a really good project, fun and well done.

    However, in as much as graffiti is vandalism (and I'm not sure it always is) couldn't this be described as littering?

    I've been accused of as much in the past for laying out set designs for films, even though I explained that I was going to clear everything up.

    Hope that doesn't sound like I'm being difficult, I think there's just an interesting thing here to think about.

    Good work.

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  19. An amazing idea. This is excellent!

    To commenter John, concerned about littering:
    heck yeah! Littering with FUN!

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  20. These are just so incredibly amazing! What a great idea!

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  21. This is a great idea! My 4 year old loves art and I think I just found us a rainy day project. Thanks for your creativity.

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  22. this is adorable! so inspiring to see you all creating art as a family :)

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  23. This blog is giving me SO Many ideas for my preschool art projects!
    Thanks!

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  24. Awesome.. unfortunately when the word vandalism was mentioned the first thing I thought of was someone throwing the rock and causing some =/

    I have a bad headache, so I should go take a nap and relax.. wasn't a great first thought.

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  25. Thumbus upicus

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  26. Now, John, it's not littering if the object in question is natural, like a rock, or bio-degradable, like a rock is, eventually. :b

    As for this idea, it is truly fantastical and your little guys are marvelous. You got to spread art to the masses and not break any laws doing it! :D

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  27. I seriously love this!!!! Will definitely adopt the idea to entertain myself & daughter and bring some art into our community. Thank you for sharing!

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  28. How much better can you explain that vandalism is bad but art is good! Love it! Thanks for sharing!

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  29. This is a fantastic idea! It's so simple but so fun and effective.

    We need more positive, happy ideas like this in the world. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  30. JUST WONDERUL!

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  31. WOW!

    This is really wonderfull!

    I've posted in my blog: http://kaliangorabehera.blogspot.com/2011/03/rock-on.html
    Sorry but it's only in basque...

    Keep working artists!

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  32. AMAZING!! This brightened my morning coffee! I am thrilled that your kids are being allowed to explore their art side. Children are capable of sooooo much more than we as adults let them achieve! I get excited and happy seeing that someone "gets" that art is essential to life and a happy child.

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  33. Love it! Like many people I have a weird relationship with street art. On one hand I find it so much more interesting and expressive than commissioned public art (which can be too sanitized to be moving) the other hand holds my deep disgust for vandalism and disrespect for private property. This is beautiful. Thank you for growing such cool young artists.

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  34. Wonderful! This is fabulous art and it made me smile!

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  35. Beautiful works! I will show this to my 11-year-old son who also wants to be a street artist!

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  36. Loving the whimsy of it all!

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  37. Oh Gracie, you are my hero! :) Spreading smiles is one of the greatest things you can ever do. Congratulations on doing so in such a creative way! You "rock"! ;)

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  38. Love this idea! Inspired!

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  39. Awesome idea! I think I must do something similar :)

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  40. Z-Kids, you are so creative and positive. I thought I would pass along another cool Random Act of Craft. Check out The Toy Society http://thetoysociety.blogspot.com
    People all over the world make small toys, put a note on them that says "Take Me Home I'm Yours" and anonymously drop it somewhere. Send a picture and location of your drop to The Toy Society and they will post it on their blog. Be sure to put the email address for The Toy Society on the note so that the finder can contact them and when the toy is found. If they do, then you get to find out who found it and how special it made them feel. Keep up the good work Isaac, Grace, Lily and Elijah... you are amazing.

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  41. I think that this is such an awesome project!! So totally cool!!

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  42. This is fabulous! Thanks for posting. Tomorrow's plan: find and prepare rocks.

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  43. This is amazing! I love it! :)

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  44. You guys are a beautiful inspiration! I can easily envision a world-wide movement happening with this! Shall we?! I would love nothing more than to find one of your rocks peeking at me in the produce section! XO

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  45. Thanks for the smile. Do you think you will continue? I will follow your blog in hopes that you will. Way to go!

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  46. Besides being a great idea, the faces on the rocks are fantastic. Gifted art! Great execution! I love it!

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  47. What a terrific idea! Way to go guys! What a family fun project! I’d love to see some of the peoples faces light up when they come across one of these guys!

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  48. lagabbergirl3/7/11, 12:56 AM

    Re: 'could this be considered littering'...my son painted this garden clay bird in our backyard w/washable paint one day. It took a few long rainy days to wash off the paint. This would also be an idea if anyone is worried about 'leaving a mark'. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  49. great! great! great! and even better with kids! love the idea! some colourful spotts in the greyness of many peoples everyday life =)

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  50. I love this! It would totally make my day if I ran across one of these. Part of me hopes everybody that found these left them so others could enjoy, but the other part hopes people took them home so they would always have a little sunshine on the bookshelf!

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  51. >I bought a big sack of rocks
    >bought
    >rocks

    Uh, these rocks are cute but doesn't that fact show you all may have missed the point of "exit the gift shop"?

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  52. Geez, I really LOVED this!!!!!! You guys are great and so are your parents!!
    Love from Spain!

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  53. What a fun idea!!!

    What kind of paint did you use? Acrylic?

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  54. Love, love, love it! What a fantastic idea! I'm sure your kids had so much fun doing this!

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  55. WOW! Lovely, This is fun! I like the colors and the faces :-)
    Nice pictures too.

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  56. Very cool! we had a Mars party one year when Mars was close to earth, and drew alien eyes on rocks and threw them in the bay. One turned up on the beach two years later!

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  57. This is great, Just great.. you shoudl check out Katie Skoloker's blog she is also a street artist that does Positive vandalism, Nothing is perminate but it's all great too.. Maybe give you and your little ones some new ideas!

    it's www.colormekatie.blogspot.com

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  58. This is too cute! What a great idea!!

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  59. Wonderful whimsey! Great photos too!

    Marilyn

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  60. This is totally cool. You guys are awesome!

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  61. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  62. They are painted and that is art. If you think leaving rocks in town is vandalism I think you need to find a dictionary. Perhaps you need it to learn to spell anyway.

    I think it's a fantastic idea. I'm sure it put quite a few smiles on folks faces if only for a short while. :) It did mine. :)

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  63. Love it! So fun!:)

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  64. Thanks for the comments! The kids and I had a lot of fun, and we're happy folks are finding this post enjoyable :)

    I wanted to let you know about a small text edit I just made. Originally the post said that "I bought a big sack of rocks," but now I've changed it to "I picked up a big sack of rocks." Now, it doesn't change the fact that I did indeed buy them. But on a lot of sites that were linking to this post, people were getting really worked up by that minor detail and missing the fun that followed. So I thought I'd remove the distraction.

    But for full disclosure... "Who buys rocks?" Yes, I bought rocks. We were under a foot or two of snow at the time, and there's no way I'd be able to find 50 good rocks until it melted. I wanted to do the activity while the kids' excitement was still fresh, so I bought a giant bag of gravel at Home Depot for a mere 3 bucks. (And it did actually pain me to buy rocks)

    So that's all. Simple enough. But I wanted to be honest about touching up the text in the post.

    Thanks again for chiming in! We'd love to know if you try out this fun activity too :)

    Z-Dad

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  65. Absolutely wonderful! I live in Brighton, UK and the beach here is covered in stones, would love to see a few of these funky fellows lodged amongst them. I have a friend who actually knows Banksy, I am going to see he if could let him know about your project. :)

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  66. Mad Max loves this! His Mommy is an art teacher at YES Prep a charter school for MS and HS students. You should check out his blog. He featured you and Gracie's art! http://madmaxandfamily.blogspot.com

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  67. This is great. Wish you guys lived in my area. I would have loved to have stumbled upon one of those.

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  68. Adorable! That is so cute!

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  69. Hahha, fantastic!!! What a great idea and it makes everyone happy :D My friend sent this to me saying we should do it and I totally agree it would brighten up anyone's day XD Great idea!

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  70. Huge! HUGE!

    This will be the next big thing for kids and what a great idea!

    Set up the data base for tracking and trading the rocks now before some horrible corporation does.

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  71. so wonderful

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  72. awesome dad award for sure. very cool.

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  73. So awesome.....saw it on Facebook - prepare for this to go viral if it hasn't already....

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  74. Very cool. I've just had one of those "I wish I'd thought of it." moments.

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  75. This is really cool. the renaissance.....feels good to be alive! thanks for sharing :)

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  76. That is great - I'm showing it to my aspiring teenage artist.

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  77. You made me smile!
    I wrote a post about this on my blog.

    Maybe you can start a movement?

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  78. That is just wonderful and a few good lessons for the kids.
    Can I ask what sort of paint you used?? plain acrylic/craft paint???

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  79. What a wonderful idea! Fun and non-destructive. I'm sure you made many peoples day

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  80. Hi, great idea. I started drawing little faces on rocks a few years ago to keep kids going while on hikes.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/80r6/sets/72157621334973546/with/3860235661/
    Now all the kids want to make them too. I like the idea of coloring the entire rock.

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  81. That is completely awesome and delightful. I think something similar must be done in our neck of the woods...

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  82. I'm painting rocks as we speak.

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  83. I love this idea so much! I told my kids about it and we just had to do it to. Thank you so much for the inspiration. It was a great rainy weekend project for us here in Seattle. Check out our silly rock adventure at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Renton-Rocks/206236592721425#!/pages/Renton-Rocks/206236592721425

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  84. fabulous fun, brilliant idea.Great photos too!!!

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  85. Completely fabulous and inspiring!

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  86. seriously awesome idea!! and so cute!!

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  87. blah, blah, blog3/19/11, 11:36 AM

    I followed the link from the Bunch newsletter and must say: This is a great idea (it rocks?) and your four children are delightful artists.

    Thanks.

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  88. <333333333!!!!!!!!!

    Odal

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  89. incredible idea. I reposted your story:

    http://bwillackers.blogspot.com/2011/03/guerilla-street-art-for-kids-im-in-love.html

    great work!!

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  90. John, (II think this is a really good project, fun and well done.

    However, in as much as graffiti is vandalism (and I'm not sure it always is) couldn't this be described as littering?)

    Techniquely you might be right, however the children were painting nature, not property! The pleasure these creative pieces brought to those who found them, is absolutely priceless and delightful!

    Thanks for such a great project! This might just be a summer project for my class of Pre-K class to paint and distribute in their area. My class live in an area about 50 sq miles that will = 50 sq miles of smiles, That makes me:o)!

    PS. Old Bat Cadet thanks so much for the FYI
    Z-kids you all absolutely ROCK, thanks for this smiles!!!

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  91. That is a really creative idea! I love how you turn simple ideas into something big!

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  92. This is a fantastic idea! I love it! Thanks so much for sharing with us all!

    Arabella

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  93. I like it ! for my school and for a Scavenger Hunt at a birthday party. The children paint rocks and then, an adult hide them in the garden or house. The children must found them. And then, they go home with their art's rocks.

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  94. You guys rock!

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  95. My kids and a bunch of their friends love this idea and we'll be making some rocks in a couple weeks. What kind of paint did you use????

    Also - I linked through to your other site and wanted to thank you for sharing your list of favorite books. We are working our way through your list of books now, there were only a couple (the Wiesners) that we'd previously read. It's been wonderful to discover so many new treasures! We read Black & White 4 times the day it came in the mail, and I've been exploring the alternate titles by many of the authors listed. Amazing! Many thanks!

    Jennifer

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  96. This is so awesome! What a wonderful idea, I can't wait to try something similar with my kiddos. Little colorful surprises are always the best.

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  97. I do this too... But I crochet them instead of painting... Then I leave them on the beach with my blog address black Sharpied on the back, and hope that someone logs them in. It's SO MUCH FUN to stick around and watch as people pick them up! Here's a link to my latest "pebbling" if you wanna have a look: http://www.curiouspebble.com/2011/05/lovely-day-for-pebbles-after-all.html

    I love that your KIDS wanted to do it! Mine love going with me, but don't actually crochet (yet). Maybe I'll have them paint a few next time...

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  98. The Daily What (hilarious exchange between Bebop-Rocksteady and Doctor Goatbiscuits)

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  99. Hello!
    I am a girl from Latvia, 20 years old and I make very similar stones! I had this idea a few months back, wanted to make people on the streets happier or just surprised. I paint the stones with nail polish (so that it doesn't wash out) and use plastic eyes to make them seem more realistic. Some of them are painted with patterns and stripes, all I can think of.
    Anyway, finding out that you and your kids make the same thing as me, is quite interesting. I'd like to share my rocks with you, I take photos of them before I leave them on the street. :>
    You can contact me on ei-by@inbox.lv, it would be really nice!
    Thank you for this great find.

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  100. Thanks so much for the idea! My kids and I borrowed your idea and painted rocks to put around our neighborhood in anticipation of the annual arts festival on July 4th. We had a great time deciding where to put the rocks and wondering how many people would see them before someone "adopted" them and took them home!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/taviamcgrath/sets/72157634448153259/

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