Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Can't say I didn't try

A couple of weeks ago I posted an entry called The Cobbler's Kids which detailed my guilt over not being crafty with my son.  Today I wanted to post a bit of an update on that entry.

After thinking about it more, and having two Saturdays pass by, I realized that while many of those excuses i posted may be true, the more underlying issue is time.  We just don't have a lot of time to be crafty on the weekends.  I work outside of the home from 8 to 5, then once I get home it's dinner time.  After that we have a very short window to play, then the bedtime routine begins.  Saturday is my day alone with my son because I am off on the weekends, but my husband works until 1:30 on that day.  That would be the perfect time for me to break out the supplies and craft away with my four year old.  However since it is the perfect day for me to get things done, once karate class is over mid-morning we are then running around doing errands.  Or going to some event (birthday party, train show, grandma's house, etc).  By the time we get home, I'm usually cleaning the house instead of making more of a mess.  Then Sunday is typically family day where we go hiking or over someone's house for dinner.  It's just a little tough to carve out that time to focus on a project.

But this past weekend I did carve out the time and I had THREE projects I wanted to work on with my son.  I was so excited on Sunday morning, I couldn't wait to get started.

Project #1: Easter Egg coloring!
Well, that was more of his own project since he doesn't need too much guidance there.  He loved coloring them, and even when I thought he was done, he ran back into the room to dunk the eggs one last time.

He's very intent on getting them perfect.

Project #2:  Easter Bunny Lollipops.  Or as I like to call them: The Demented Easter Bunny family.  
This was a project that I found on Pinterest and I couldn't wait to make them for my cousin's kids.  I thought CD would love to make them as well, but after getting him to help sort out the different pieces that we needed (I used a paper plate separated into quarters and told him how many of each material to put into each section) he totally lost interest.  I think I got him to bend one pipe cleaner ear, and that was it.  The Cat in the Hat was more interesting to him than these bunny lollipops.  

Project #3:  Embroidery Floss Easter Eggs.  
This was another Pinterest  project that I couldn't wait to do.  And another project that completely did not interest my son.  Once he saw the water balloons, all he wanted to do was blow them up.  And pop them.  I thought he may like the idea of dragging the floss through the stiffener so I suited him up with rubber gloves, and that was the last time I saw him.  Well at least for an hour, then he kept coming back to see if they were dry so he could pop the balloons trapped inside the newly formed eggs.  

So, perhaps my projects were wrong for a four year old, but it just reinforces the fact that it's not entirely my fault that I am not very crafty with my son.  But that is okay.  I took him to a train and toy show the day before, and afterwards he told me I was the "best mom ever."  That compliment will erase the guilt any day of the week!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The cobbler's kids....

You know the old tale about the cobbler's kids that have no shoes?  Well, that is how it is in my house when it comes to crafting.

Every night my four year old son goes to bed at 8:00 and my husband follows pretty close behind (sometimes even earlier), so that is when I get started in the craft studio.  It's a chance for me to pass the time instead of watching television on the couch while snacking on bon-bons.  I have a room full of supplies that I love to experiment with. Fabrics, ribbons, beading, paper, yarn, even stuff for candle making!!  But I never get the urge to pull those things out and just sit down to craft with my little boy.  I guess it never really hit me until today when pinned a fun Easter craft onto my Pinterest page for making embroidery floss Easter eggs and I thought to myself "will we really end up doing this?"

So, I sat down and listed all of the possible reasons why I never craft with him.  I'm putting it out there to help me overcome these perceived obstacles and realize I'm missing out on some awesome mommy-son fun time.  Please, don't judge!

The mess.  I am far from a good housekeeper, that's for sure.  But something about purposely making a mess on my dining room table and then realizing I need to clean it up before dinner seems daunting.  I am actually thinking about the after instead of the during.  This probably all started when I first let him finger paint.  Oy.

Boredom.  Whether it is him or me, one of us inevitably loses steam mid-way through and has no desire to finish.  This happens a lot while building Legos.  We start off nicely, with him helping me sort out the different colors and handing me the pieces we need.  Then next thing I know I'm the one totally engrossed in building the Starship Enterprise and he is completely engrossed in The Cat in the Hat.

Frustration.  I will admit that this may be the biggest obstacle to our crafting time.  I take for granted that my son is only four, especially since he talks like he is 40.  So if we are trying to follow instructions to get a specific end result I get a little frustrated when he takes some artistic liberties (or simply doesn't listen to me).  I remember at Christmastime we had some snowman ornaments with adhesive backed pieces which stuck to the white base.  I don't know how many times I would stop him and say "no, that doesn't go there, use this instead."  So what if his snowman had an arm sticking out of its head and a carrot where the arm should be. It was his project and I should have let him do it.  But I'm a control freak and not ready to let him nurture his inner Picasso.

Imagination.  Some crafting projects require imagination and sometimes I just don't have any.  This is also why we don't play house or dress up or any other fun things that a kid likes to do.  I leave that to his dad, who is very good at playing "Army men" for long chunks of time.

Territorial.  Occasionally I need to get something done during the day up in my craft room. The little guy follows me up and loves looking around at all the "stuff."  Then he starts touching it.  And wanting to make things with it.  But it's my stuff!  I need it for a future project!  I swear!  Last night I watched an episode of Hoarders and realized every time the person said "oh I need to keep that in case I ever do such and such"  I have boxes of supplies from crafting projects that I haven't touched in years.  But the minute my son wants it, I say "oh no mommy is going to need those again if I ever decide to make a feather covered tiara with pipe cleaners and rhinestones" (you get the point here...)

Electronics.  This is the worst one to admit to, but I'm putting it out there.  My son and I are both addicted to our electronics   On a Saturday morning it is not unusual to find us sitting side-by-side on the couch with our iPads playing foolish games. Sometimes he looks at mine and asks what different words are laid out on the Scrabble-like game board (I justify this by saying I'm helping him learn to spell). Or he asks me to help him achieve a certain goal in his building game.  But I realize this foolish addiction has got to stop, for both of our sake! Now please don't think all my kid does is sit on the couch and play games, that's not true at all. He has a lot of toys that he plays with, he has karate and swimming classes that keep him active, and when the weather is nice we hit the park.  But his time with his iPad it is definitely time that would be better spent on a project.  At least once mommy gets that first cup of coffee in her system.

So, I wrote this post to lay it all out there and realize I need to start getting more crafty for FUN not just profit.  My son needs it.  I've been feeling really guilty about it and it's time I take action, especially when he told his teacher that I should come into class and make a craft with his friends.  I can't come up with a single idea of something I can make with a group of three and four year olds!  Last year I went to his class and taught them how to make lollipop ghosts with tissues and pipe cleaners at Halloween, but that isn't  going to fly this time around.  Looks like I'll be "pinning" a lot more and testing them out with my son on the weekends....NO EXCUSES THIS TIME!  And to keep me honest, I'll post pictures of the end results.... no matter how messy they come out!

If you have any great toddler craft ideas (that can be done with a large group, and with little mess or prep) please comment!

Let him alone for just a few minutes....

Mess in the making


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Necessity is the mother of invention

I know towels that hang from the stove handle aren't a new "invention" and there are lots out there.  But it's new for ME and that's what is important right?

It drives me crazy when I have a towel hanging from my oven and it slips off.  I usually just have them there for aesthetics, but it's still frustrating to always be fixing them so they look "just right."  I've been meaning to whip something up that will stay put and match my kitchen.  Here is the first pass and it met half of my requirements (my kitchen is more green and burgundy but I wanted to try my idea out with some ribbon that I had on hand).  A few more tweaks and I'll love the outcome! I did do a search on Etsy and there were similar items, but nothing that I saw quite like this with the ribbon along both edges.

I'd love to hear what you think.  Is this a product you would be interested in?  My goal is to also use some fabrics instead of ribbon so the possibilities for matching color schemes is greater, plus with fabric the towels become more functional.  Many of my fun ribbon prints do not hold up very well to repeated washings.  However I do think some lined with my favorite New England teams (Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins) would be adorable for a sports fan!  

So, is a new product line for Joatmon Creations born again???

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My reputation precedes me

Today my four year old needed to take something to preschool for their "Leprechaun Trap."  Apparently the class has a pint size pixie wreaking havoc on their classroom at night.

At first I made the little guy a new bow tie to wear, thinking that would be intriguing to him if he saw it in the trap.  "Oh no, mommy.  That's much too big!  he is only this size" (squeezing his thumb and index finger within an inch of each other).  So back to the drawing board!  We searched through all of my craft items and my son, "CD", was picking out any small green supplies that he could find, whether they would be appealing to a leprechaun or not (but then again, who am I to determine what a mythical creature would enjoy, right)?

Finally he decided that maybe the leprechaun needed a new bed.  So we searched around for the perfect sized gift box.  We found one that formerly housed jewelry, so it already had the padding which served as a mattress.  We then added a green speckled bed spread and a felt pillow, which he helped me sew (he handles the pedal while I maneuver the material through the machine).  Finally he went through all of my miniature pieces and picked out two items that served as stuffed animals for the new owner. It was pretty cute and I was proud of him for coming up with a different idea.

He brought it to school today and the teachers told him how much they loved it.  He then said "maybe some day my mommy can come into school and do a craft with us all!'  As he told me this idea he ran up to me and gave me giant hug around my legs with a look of pride in his eyes.

So...tell me, how can you resist that?  Now to come up with something to make with a group of 4 year olds!

The bow tie I originally made for the Leprechaun

His new bed and "stuffed" animals