I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Mom's Gotta Do What a Mom's Gotta Do

While I do consider myself a fairly creative person, I also have "issues" with craft stuff - if it's messy, sticky, fiddly, downright annoying or takes more than 10 minutes to see a finished product, I can't cope. I did go through a phase where I did some cross-stitching, but projects bigger than 2" x 2" annoyed the crap out of me. I also went through a pottery phase, a tie-dying phase, a collage/mod podge phase, a mosaic tiling phase, a glass painting phase, a hair clip making phase, a flower pen making phase, a photo album covering phase and several other short-lived craft phases. For a while there my glue gun was my bestest friend and occasionally my worst enemy.

I have a heap of creative, crafty friends. The Baker's Wife, for one, totally amazes me with her ability to make cool stuff on nearly no money. Similarly Jewel can make cool stuff out of scraps of random bits of paper she finds all over the world. Recently (thanks to the loveit/hateit relationship I have with facebook) I re-conncted with an old friend, Claire. Among other things she is famous for being the person who taught me the basic know-how of baby care and early toddlerhood, the person who sewed almost every one of my kids bunny rugs (material used to swaddle babies with), the person whose name I stole for one of my own kids, and an all around talented crafty person. She now writes a blog about her endeavours, Matching Pegs. Her blog totally makes me feel like a craft retard, but at least I can look and go, "oooohhh!!!" and feeling insanely jealous and yet again find myself wishing I knew how to sew.

A couple of weeks ago DD2 came home with a library book called "Making Maracas," and like the title implies it's a how-to of basic maraca making. It outlines a (simple?!) 3 week procedure for making these things, and it involves balloons, papier mache, coffee beans, scissors, various pieces of dowelling and a few servings of Prozac. Why in gods name you wouldn't just buy a freakin' maraca for $2 is beyond me, but then there are crazy people in the world who, you know, knit socks and stuff when K-Mart sells perfectly good ones which do not involve 3 weeks and therapy. Thus far I've managed to fob off DD2 on this project ... because, and there is no nice way of saying this: there is no bloody way in the world I am making even a single maraca. She has a better chance of getting me to become a saleswoman for stinky stuff than getting me to make a maraca.

So I was feeling a bit guilty about my lack of crafty parent-ness in general when DD1 asked me to play play-doh with her. I quite like play doh, actually - in addition to being kinda fun, it's basically a clean "project" and is a good occupational therapy game to play with my sensory kid. I was all for it until she told me that all her play doh had dried out...and then in a flash I realised that crafty redemption could me MINE, ALL MINE! I vaguely remembered reading that you can actually MAKE that stuff. A quick Google search, finding the cream of tartare (left over from a bath bomb making phase) and 10 minutes later we had four colours of play-doh. Simple to make, easy to use and frankly a lot easier than a stupid bloody maraca - and DD1 and I were in play doh heaven.

Of course, I couldn't resist the urge to get a bit of professional practice in (yes, that would be a tiny play doh rose you are looking at):

...and DD1 reminded me of why I do these things in the first place...


2 cups of plain flour
4 tablespoons of 'cream of tartar'
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 cup of salt
2 cups of boiling water
food colouring

Just pop it all in a mixing bowl and mix until it comes together - you may need to get your hands in there a bit, and I added a scrap of flour to make it a bit drier.

Once it came together, I separated it into 4 lumps and coloured each with some food colouring (use gloves, it can get a bit messy!) You can also add glitter (for sparkle) and clean sand (for texture).


1 comment:

Claire - Matching Pegs said...

Hi Em,
It may surprise you to hear that I also loathe most "crafty"gifts for kids. I am well known as someone that loves a handmade object, and so lots of people give my kids these presents.

It is actually hard for the purchaser to tell, wihout openeing the box, but these prepackaged crafty gifts that are marketed at kids are usually put together with cheap, inferior materials that are ofen not suitable for the purpose (like glue that doesn't actually stick, or paintbrushes that are so thick and floppy that no detailed painting is possible.

Top of my list of disappointing craft gifts would be the "pottery wheel" Amelia was given a few years ago. Made of plastic, and battery operated, it never went faster than a microwave turntable. Turning pottery is hard when you have all the proper equipment. This kit was a pathetic exercise in frustration, but worse, it was a huge piece of useless landfill.

Home made Play Dough is a great example of what is good about crafting with kids. It is cheap and not wasteful (especially when you store in in an airtight container in the fridge for a year or so) and encourages imagination.
Good quality, washable paints and felt tips (crayola anyone) with good quality brushes are the best gift for any kid.
The best crafty gifts for kids can be found in the art supply stores, it's the good quality stuff for adults.

Clearly you are creative Em, but just frustrated by stupid junk - just like me!