Archive for the ‘Crafts for the Craft-Challenged’ category

She’s Crafty!!

October 20, 2008

Well, the Beastie Boys certainly did not write that song about me. I am not crafty in any sense of the word, especially in the sense that would matter the most to my kids. Like most little kids, my girls love to do crafts. My oldest is always asking to do projects. I’ve tried from time to time to come up with some, but they never quite work out to my or her satisfaction. I am just Craft Challenged. I should have realized this when I got a “C” in fifth grade for art; I still contend that it was partly the teacher’s fault because she always took up art homework after I left for reading class in another room.

I did ok in art class in high school, and I had to create a few pieces from scratch as prop mistress for the drama club. I do give credit to Mr. Williams for anything I accomplished because he was an excellent teacher. There might be a few projects that I could recreate with the kids, but we just don’t have the materials for many of them. That is one of the most frustrating things about looking through crafting sites and magazines. Even though the kids receive a huge box of art supplies every year for Christmas it seems that we’re always missing some necessary item. It’s just like when I tried to make finger puppets with the kids last week. The directions just said to use glue, but apparently regular old Elmer’s glue doesn’t really hold up on felt. We really needed fabric glue. Finger puppets with staples holding them together just don’t look as nice.  And it seems like when we do have the materials, the finished projects never look as nice as they do in the book or magazine.  I am convinced that it’s a scam; no children ever created the examples they put in those books.

I just have to accept that I am Craft Challenged. This is hard for a homeschooling parent to admit because, you know, we’re supposed to be making scale models of the solar system out of recycled garbage while our three-year-old composes an ode to the planets on her Suzuki violin. That won’t be happening at our house, because I am Craft Challenged. And our recycled garbage goes in blue bins in the garage. And my kids won’t start any music lessons until they at least know how to read and only if they show a very strong desire. And I doubt that any of them will learn the violin. And I am Craft Challenged.

I know that I can not be the only Craft-Challenged parent out there. So I thought that from time to time, if I actually came across a simple craft that worked for us, I would pass it on. Us Craft-Challenged people have to work together to overcome the whining that starts when kids get tired of being given lots of open-ended projects that basically consist of handing them a bunch of paper, crayons, glue, and foam shapes and then walking in the other room.

So, I proudly pass on Craft for the Craft-Challenged #1: Simple Jack O’ Lanterns

Materials- orange and black construction paper, pencil, glue, scissors, and crayons

1. Draw a big pumpkin on the orange paper. (If you can’t draw a basic pumpkin shape, there’s not much I can do to help you with that.)

2. Cut out the pumpkin. Cut small squares and triangles out of black construction paper for eyes and noses.

3. Have kids glue on black shapes (or googly eyes, buttons, or anything else you have) and/or use crayons to make faces on the pumpkins.

Uncrafty Tip: If you manage to draw a decent pumpkin, before you give it to the kids to decorate, take your construction paper pumpkin and lay it over a sheet of cardboard or heavy stock paper (I’ve used the backs of note tablets and boxes that soda cans come in) or even a another piece of construction paper. Trace around the pumpkin shape. Then cut out the cardboard pumpkin and save it as a stencil for anytime you need it. I’ve made a handful of cheap custom stencils this way, especially for Valentine’s Day.

We did this craft yesterday. I made three pumpkins for each of the girls to decorate (easily thanks to a home-made stencil). If I had the time and inclination to figure out how to get digital camera pictures loaded on the computer I would attach a picture of the three-eyed jack o’ lantern DD#2 created, but you’ll just have to take my word for how cute it is. In the meantime, we plan to tape them up in our front window today as Halloween decorations.

So there is hope. If I can manage to pull off a craft that half-way works, so can you.