Arts and Crafts, Creativity, School Projects

School Projects – we rock!

This is just a reminder to my daughter that together, we can rock school projects!!  Every time we work in a school project, she FREAKS because whatever we are doing is not how she pictures it in her head. The problem is, we usually can’t recreate what’s in her head because we usually don’t have the supplies to make “life size dolls” and “what-not”. So we have to use what’s available.

This week’s assignment was to make a shoebox type float (a miniature float for a parade) about the county in our state that she was assigned. Here is the rubric –   She got Salt Lake county. She wanted to get something professionally store bought. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of SL county floats in the local stores. 😉 Then she wanted to build the whole thing out of Legos or put the float on wheels. (Great ideas, but we didn’t have the time or the supplies!) So, she was forced to use what we have at home (plus some styrofoam that I got at Walmart for $3). 

And here is her float – 

Why does she doubt? Our mixed creativity ROCKS!!! She did most of the float and I just helped with some basic ideas, but she put it together. 

Then she told me that next time she freaks out to show her these pictures so that she can remember that using what we have can work well, especially when we use our creativity!!!

That’s one happy fourth grader!!

What school projects are you doing? 


Arts and Crafts, Creative People, Creative Play, Creativity, Toys

Creative People: Sonia Singh and the Tree Change Dolls

I have been so impressed by Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Dolls (see the video below) –

I especially loved the looks on the girl’s faces as they held and played with their dolls. One of the girls said, “They kind of look like they’re the same age as you,” and you could see that in their play. I think that the innocence of childhood is so beautiful and should be protected and nurtured. While I do prepare my children for the world that they live in, I am very careful in the way that I prepare them. I have had a very hard time choosing dolls for them and the girls and I have gone the rounds about which toys I’ll buy. In fact, I fell in love with Fanny, by Hollie Hobbie for that very reason, (see this post on my book review).

Sonia talked about the fact that her intention wasn’t to make a statement about the sexualization of girl’s toys, but as her work has become viral, it has created a debate and I believe that part of that is, as her husband said, “They really look lovely this way.” It’s true. There is a sweetness to the dolls. And, it does reflect a choice that the toy manufacturers are making. Based on at least some of the debate (and many of the mothers out there) it seems that a lot more people would also like to have dolls that are sweet and simple. I do love American Girl Dolls for that reason, but they are quite expensive, and this is a great way to save the expense, create, and teach some valuable lessons all at once.

It’s clear that Sonia’s main purpose was to make a statement about upcycling and reusing (as evidenced in her own words, but also in the name that she chose for the company). I am struck by the message that she has given both about choice and about creativity. Knowing that she can’t become a doll manufacturer on the scale of a toy company, she runs an etsy store and has created some videos encouraging others to create their own dolls. On her tumbler site, she encourages others to create saying,

I encourage others to recycle and upcylce old dolls and toys. Do it yourself, do it with friends, do it with children and others in your family, do it with strangers. There are so many plastic dolls already made that could still be played with and could inspire the creative minds of children with a little attention and creativity.

She also points others to some Do It Yourself videos on how to do a doll “makeunder”. The first is on how to remove the paint and change the face of the dolls –

and then she has one on what to do about missing feet and/or shoes, that one uses chemicals and is not recommended for children, but is interesting to watch –

I am so edified by this! I sometimes forget that I still have a choice and can fix the things that I don’t like in the world. We can change our clothes, toys, media, etc. and create things that are uplifting and wholesome in the world around us. Thank you Sonia for such a brilliant idea and for encouraging others to create as well!

Arts and Crafts, Summer Creativity

Summer Creativity – Cardboard

Summer Creativity  Cardboard

A while ago, I wrote a post on a book that had captured my imagination when I was a kid about a girl with a cardboard box and all of the things that she did with it. I imagined all of the things that I could do with a cardboard box – if only my mom would get one large enough for me!  Through the years, I used boxes for dollhouses and furniture and sets for carport plays.

Recently, I found this video about a little boy’s imagination, and I was ASTOUNDED!!

(I know, I know, I am late on the trend, but after showing the videos to my girls, they ran out to make something. What a great change from the “I’m bored” I’m already getting this summer!)

What a kid! What a great dad to allow him to build it all!  I also want to shout out to the filmmaker for seeing such amazing potential in the creativity!

If your kids are bored this summer, what could they do with some cardboard, tape, and a little imagination?

Art, Arts and Crafts

Totem Pole Artwork

Students and teachers at my daughter’s school recently did a project in which they took the 7 habits of Highly effective people and corresponded each habit with an animal and the animal’s strengths or talents.  The result was a beautiful totem pole.  I couldn’t tell you which habit corresponded to which animal and why, but I was so impressed with the level of work that was put into this project that I wanted to share it with you.

There’s an Owl at the top, a fish, an eagle, a fox, a bear, a chipmunk, and a beaver.   Well done teachers – incorporating art and creativity with this program.


Arts and Crafts, Creativity

My Childhood Creativity Bears Fruit

A homemade board game 

So, when I was young (ten or eleven) I made a board game. I spent hours on it. I used anything available to my 1985 crafting self – hot glue gun, fabric, cardboard, and letters that were like Iron-ons. Styrofoam squares with earrings pushed in were the game pieces. There were cards for good and bad consequences. I also took pictures of members of my family and cut out their heads and pasted them on cartoon bodies for a token to receive as part of the game. It made so much sense in my little eleven-year-old brain.

We played it as a family once. My older brother said it was stupid, and once that word is said to a neurotic, pre-teen crafter, the magic is gone and the item loses all value. I wanted to throw it away, but my mom held onto it for years. She’d pull it out every once in a while, I’d roll my eyes, beg her to toss it, and then she’d store it again, saying that it was hers and that she loved it.

Yesterday, she showed it to my daughters…

Well, you understand that I’m trying to raise them to be creative, and I guess for a four or seven-year-old, crafts made by an eleven-year-old look great (even ones that were made in the ’80’s).

My oldest daughter insisted that we play it, my husband was a fantastic sport, and it was easy to make up any rules, long since forgotten. We actually had a fun time, as it was so simplistic that my girls could enjoy it, and let’s face it family board game time can be really fun! (Except late night Monopoly when sleep is sparse, tension is running high, and someone is going bankrupt. The pieces are gonna fly, my friend!)

After we played, my brother’s family came over and the kids ran off to play another round of the game. My niece and my daughter have decided to create their own games now. My niece is planning on improving mine with cool, creative ideas 😉 and my daughter is planning one called, Count Your Blessings.

It’s so nice to see them, full of ideas, but it’s even nicer to know that little eleven-year-old crafter girl may not have been quite as lame as I thought she was. 🙂

Arts and Crafts, Creativity

Picture Clock

A friend of mine created a clock on her living room wall. She used pictures for the numbers and bought the hands of a clock from a craft store. Wow! Creative Decorating.


(She hadn’t finished putting all of her own pictures in yet, so I’ll try to update it when it’s complete.)

Arts and Crafts, Outdoor Activities

Daisy Crowns

When I was a girl, my mom taught us how to make flower crowns by tying the stems of dandelions or daisies together. It’s a great way to get some outdoor creative time and get rid of some of those flower-weeds. (Make sure to have your child leave a long stem so they can tie the ends.)

Today, my niece came in with a new twist on that old tradition, using the spring tree blossoms or “popcorn popping on the apricot trees” and it looks so lovely!


Enjoy the spring flowers while they’re here (and the time with your kids while you have it!)

Arts and Crafts, Creativity

Crayon on Canvas


Just saw this at a friend’s house the other day. A friend of my friend had just finished her student teaching and was given this unique piece of art as a farewell gift.

I was so intrigued by the work that I decided to share it here.

It’s very simple to do, (so I was told, I don’t profess to have made it) –
• Glue crayons to canvas.
• Blow hot air from a hair dryer over the crayons.
• The heat will make the wax spread, creating this fabulous piece of artwork.
• PS – note that they glued the crayons so that you could see the name of each color.

Simple, unique, beautiful, creativity. My favorite kind of crafting!

Art, Arts and Crafts

Elementary School Art Show

Two weeks ago, my daughter’s school sponsored an Art Show for families. There was an Art competition, and displays of student art work. The school is fortunate enough to have an artist-in-residence who was able to work with the classes. My daughter is in 1st grade, and they made these amazing paper mâché hats.

I’m just posting pictures below for you to see the scope of the work. It was such a lovely activity and so great for the children.










Arts and Crafts, Holidays

Christmas Creativity

This Christmas, I observed adults and children alike being crafty. Here are some fun, zany observations from Christmas 2012 –

I am always amazed when my daughters and nieces will busy themselves for hours with paper, glue, knock-knacks and do-dads. Simply with things I had on hand, they came up with homemade presents to give – this year, it was jewelry boxes.


Note the intricate detail 🙂 – the buttons that framed the ‘S’ for my daughter’s name. The way they covered the oatmeal box with fabric and then trimmed it with ribbons.

Sure, I had oatmeal packages on the shelf for a week or two, but it was a small price to pay for creativity, cooperation, and hours of time when they were busy in activity that didn’t involve electronics. (And just imagine how much I got done while they were busy at it! Babysitting is a dream when you open up your craft supplies and let them “have at”.)

Another Christmas idea was from my cousin, Jana. She is fantastic at coming up with neighbor gifts. Never is my diet ruined by Jana! Some examples of previous year’s gifts include:
• A Christmas plate for Santa’s Cookies
• A small card game
• Winter window decorations

Each year, it’s something fun and this year, I thought that she was especially clever.


Wrapping paper – very handy! I used it right up.

Family friends of ours are never short of ideas for crafts. This year, they figured they better build a Chimney for Santa to come down. Look at the size of that thing!


Complete with very detailed logs –


Finally, I wanted to close with creativity to the extreme. We found this Lego fireman on display at a Toys я Us store this Christmas.

That took 170 hours to build and over 21,000 Lego Bricks. So impressive!

I love what creativity and group synergy can do! Now, let’s get going on those Valentine’s Day crafts.

Oh, I forgot one – my three year old figured out how to make jewelry from twine and buttons. You can’t buy the joy and satisfaction etched on her face, due to figuring that one out!