August 2016

mask-making tutorial

31 Aug 2016, Posted by alanacherneck_0 in Uncategorized

I’ve been wanting to do this for some time, but kept chickening out because of the extreme-commitment/mess-factor. This is definitely up there on the high-maintenance-have-lots-of-paper-towel-ready-scale, but SO. WORTH. IT.

Masks are one of those things that are incredibly special. A true keepsake of childhood. A snapshot of their artistic state-of-the-moment. I love these, because no matter what the ability/developmental level, they always turn out beautifully and provide an enriching and memorable experience for everyone involved.

Here’s a break-down of how I laid out this 3-day learning invitation.

materials mask making

Part 1

mask collage


Part 2

When setting up this part of the learning invitation, think about it as though you are setting the table for a dinner party. Present materials in an inviting, colourful and organized way.

Paint the masks first with acrylic paint. I like to set up the paint with warm colours on one side, and cool colours on the opposite side. Give your child a “papa bear” brush, and a “baby bear” brush. Show how to be gentle with the brush (like you’re patting a new baby kitten), and how to rinse the brush each time so the colours in the tray stay bright and beautiful. Once the mask is fully covered in paint, allow to dry.  Finally, add elements like beads, feathers, ribbon, sparkles and anything else that tickles your fancy. I use a hot glue gun, and my child shows me where to add the pieces.

mask part 2

Once the masks are complete, show your child how they can wear their mask to become someone else. Dramatize well-known stories, write your own stories to be acted out, paint pictures of the masks, record yourselves… so many possibilities to extend learning.

Have you tried making masks with your child? What do they remember most about the experience?


what’s in a name?

23 Aug 2016, Posted by alanacherneck_0 in Uncategorized

Once upon a time, I was a teacher. I was a good teacher. I understood that children knew more than they could say. That they communicated through a variety of “languages.” I made it my business to teach them these languages: art, dance, drama, music, storytelling. I also made it my business to learn what my students were curious about. After all, we ALL learn through curiosity. And teaching was wonderfully exhilarating. Later in my career, I was introduced to the Italians’ approach to teaching young children – an approach that has its roots in the town of Reggio Emilia, and it resonated perfectly with me. Reggio-educators understand children to be STRONG. CAPABLE. INDEPENDENT. CURIOUS. They believe in the power of a beautiful, thoughtfully designed environment, and its influence on young learners. Brillante is an Italian word meaning “showy + sparkling in style.” This term pays homage to an approach that helped shape who I am as a teacher, mother + designer. I love creating beautiful spaces for little, beautiful people. Spaces that sparkle with delight. Spaces that ignite the imagination. Spaces that honour young learners as investigators, researchers, explorers + theorists. Spaces where your child can be an artist. An actor. A storyteller. A musician. A space where your child can be anything she imagines herself to be.  Your child deserves such a place. Here, your child will thrive.


from colour-phoebe to colour-fiend.

13 Aug 2016, Posted by alanacherneck_0 in Uncategorized

I didn’t always love colour. My husband used to tease me that he felt like he was living on a black + white TV set. I wanted to be safe. I stuck to neutrals: greys, blacks, whites. How can one go wrong with those? Monochrome is all the rage, right? Fast forward five years, and I meet Chandra Kremski. Uber-talented local artist and entrepreneur. We commissioned her to paint a huge 8×4 foot canvas  (pictured above) that would impact the rest of the design decisions in our new home.  Her painting was the impetus for my love of colour. After this piece was executed, I looked at life with different eyes. Colour EVERYWHERE.

This is my signature style. White walls, splashes of bold colour, organic textures. The key is to have those in balance so not to overwhelm the senses. Children LOVE colour. (Just think of the last time your kid chose a donut).


Children are FULL of colour. Why not create an environment that speaks to your child: engages her, inspires her, excites her? Through careful + thoughtful selection of materials, books + furnishings, this can be executed on ANY budget. We only live once, why not LIVE OUT LOUD?


Brillante_145 copy (1)

Brillante_074 copy (1)


Brillante_110 copy (1)

ps. here is a bad photo taken of my colour-dotted home office. see what i mean?

FullSizeRender (4)




from concept board to completion.

03 Aug 2016, Posted by alanacherneck_0 in Uncategorized

Do you want to create the playroom of your kids’ dreams? From concept to completion, I support you throughout the process – whether a consult looking for ideas, or a full-service installation.

Here’s how it all goes down.

  1. Meet with the client (on-site or via Skype/Facetime/Email).
  2. Set design objectives: style, budget, goals.
  3. Measure, sketch, measure, sketch.
  4. Concept board creation (this is the fun part for me! I get to source furnishings + artifacts to transform the space, keeping in mind budget, style + space requirements).playroom concept board
  5. Client presentation + approval. (Revise as necessary)
  6. Spec sheet presentation: I provide the client with all the necessary information, including website links, detailed prices, applicable discounts… The client chooses whether to shop for items themselves or to contract me.
  7. Shopping time!
  8. Installation: I assist the client in “editing” the current space (paring down toys, books, etc.) Final styling + presentation of space.

playroom inspiration


Does that sound like fun? It is! I love the challenge of working within a budget – finding deals within Winnipeg (and online) is a serious obsession for me.  Where are your favourite places to find deals on home decor + furnishings?