Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Getting Crafty

I could write a whole lot this week about my kids getting completely sick and having to stay home from school these past days while P is away on a mandatory quiet retreat (he's a divinity school student/ seminarian). I could write about my adventures with back-up emergency childcare and single parenting/working parent dilemmas, especially when one lives near no family. I could write about fevers and vomit and hacking coughs and goopy noses and boys who can't sleep because they feel so lousy. I have quite a bit to say on those aforementioned topics but I just can't face writing about it because I am totally mired in it enough already.

So instead, I decided to concentrate on my family's recent attempt at getting crafty. Now I know there are numerous blogs that document some amazingly talented folks who sew and paint and design and construct. I like to read some of those blogs every once in awhile and can find them to be 1. inspiring and/or 2. totally cringe-worthy given some of these bloggers' McGyver-like abilities to take scraps from Goodwill and create the hippest kid's outfit you've seen while simultaneously whipping up a batch of homemade sweet potato biscuits, carving an eco-friendly and toxic-safe baby chew toys, and capturing on film (with perfect light and composition) their gorgeous children digging organic rutabagas from the garden that these offspring will happily eat at their next meal. I am far from one of those bloggers and my kids still try to maintain that ketchup is a vegetable.

I have modest talent and creativity, but I am getting more interested in making stuff for my kids. I've been addicted to Etsy and have tried to buy mostly hand/homemade gifts for the past year. I've always liked handmade lettering and computer graphics. I loved making the pink shirts for boys and others.

This summer I adapted a talented blogger's felt birthday hats and had fun making homemade birthday crowns out of craft foam and ribbon for recent celebrations.

And I guess I can't forget about our annual tradition to make the boys' Halloween costumes. Love those colored sweatsuits, glue gun, fake fur and fabric paint!

Truthfully, I don't consider myself a big project mom but admire those who are. In our house, we tend to have spurts of baking pretzels and cookies and dabbling with origami, but for the most part, with painting or clay forming , I sometime cannot summon the energy, and I just want to hide when the boys get into their big paper airplane making phases. I appreciate their interest, but I'm just not keen on trying to decipher those directions and making the correct folds. C, however, picked out a new craft book last week (a reward for a certain number of stars he earned for good exits from the house in the morning and school in the afternoon--behaviorism at its best) that instantly became his new focus. For the next four days, when he wasn't in school, he was studying directions, cutting pieces out of the book, experimenting with his own folding, and learning the joys of Elmer's glue and paper clips. Yesterday, he put the finishing touches on his paper triceratops that he has named Boulder. I have to admit that I was impressed.

And while C was carefully constructing Boulder (future paleontologist, perhaps?)-- I was following through on my newest craft attempt, one I had been thinking about for some time: freezer paper stencils. So on Saturday, each of my boys will receive a hand stenciled t-shirt from me for Valentine's Day. I would like to say I found each of the shirts at yard sales but alas, I ran to Old N*vy last weekend. The stenciling was tons of fun and not hard, although I need to work on my X-acto knife skills. It was incredibly satisfying peeling that homemade stencil from the shirt to reveal the design below (it's the I Love You sign in ASL)...


Jennifer said...

Wow, cute pics and great crafts. Pretty amazing stuff during a difficult week.

Anonymous said...

zach told me this week he wants to be a paleontologist. do you think these two have some sort of secret communication going on?

Terra said...

Love the Ts!

Andrea said...

Crafting is so much more rewarding once they're old enough to read and follow the directions with no help/parental intervention other than getting the glue down off the high shelf...! And I don't know how anyone who can pull off those fabulous halloween costumes can call herself non-crafty!! You misunderestimate yourself. Love the clever (and it is so satisfying, isn't it, especially after the scary part when you think it won't work!!)