By Jill Hodge
This mom has a confession to make – it’s something my family knows well. My old elementary, middle, and high school teachers know it too. Heck, anyone who has come to my house knows it, and now you will too. I am a craft klutz. I do crafting projects with my 9-year-old daughter hoping for “oohs” and “ahhs” from my friends and family, and I get grunts and groans. You see, I have difficulty using basic art supplies like glue, glitter, and small stamps. When the arrival of a child into my life necessitated craft-making (at least at a rudimentary level), I came face to face with the certain knowledge that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. And no amount of DIY videos and step-by-step color photos in Real Simple magazine were going to change that.
As February comes along and Valentine’s Day beckons, my 9-year-old daughter and I decided to make two Valentine’s craft projects: a trinket box and Valentine’s Day cards. My daughter proudly announced that the trinket box would house her growing collection of Lalaloopsy mini dolls. For the trinket boxes, we set out for the friendliest of places for a craft klutz: Michaels. Now, Michaels can be either friend or foe. The laws of good crafting still apply even with all the fantastic help their tools provide. What are those crafting rules you ask? They are heavily guarded secrets passed down from one family member to another in those other-worldly craft king families. Shhh, I’ll tell you though. You have to have at least a vague idea of what you want to do. Yeah, pretty tricky stuff. Then, you must purchase the proper tools, and it can get more complicated than glue. Try sequins, sticky tape, and fast-drying modeling clay. But it seems that on our recent trip to Michaels, I was to fare well and find the very best tool a craft klutz can find: a heart-shaped paper mache box. I bought two – feeling optimistic that I wouldn’t totally ruin my box with some painting mishap. We could paint them. We could glue stuff to them. We could get out the stamps and try that awesome, ancient art of decoupage. Yeah, I had to try that. Of course I’m not speaking of the real decoupage technique; no this is some water-down craft klutz version where glue is smeared on unsuspecting used stamps. It could work, right?!
My daughter and I turned on some music. We spread out newspaper everywhere so we wouldn’t glue ourselves to any furniture, and we started. Do you know what happened? We liked it, we didn’t set off the smoke alarm, we bonded, we whimpered a little then fixed any mishaps, we compared, we contemplated, and we talked. We talked about current school crushes and the politics of giving out Valentine’s cards – all the important stuff of fourth grade. We had fun, and we didn’t hurt ourselves. I wish I could say that my daughter hasn’t gotten any of my crafting bad habits, but I did notice that she judged her artwork with subtle digs at herself. Questions came at me like, “mommy, do you think this is good?” It was at that moment that I remembered the flip side of my craft klutzdom. I don’t believe in judging artwork, in any way, shape or form. All art has meaning to someone. So I answered my daughter’s question with these words, “I love your trinket box, and so will your Lalaloopsies. It will be their happy home.” It was the truth. She countered with the proverbial, “I like yours better.” To which I said what I hope all craft klutzes say to their loved ones; it isn’t about the destination – the end product – it’s about the journey.
For the Valentine’s Day cards, I found a wonderful alternative to the standard TV cartoon tie-in cards on the market; for our card-making, I was superbly prepared with a pop-up card collection from Kiwi Crate. Made especially for craft klutzes like me, or parents who just don’t have time to hunt for craft supplies, Kiwi Crate has created a series of boxed ready-to-be-made crafts. In our Kiwi Crate was all the supplies needed (24 pop-up cards, whimsical Valentine-themed punchout designs, markers, wiggly eyes and jewels) to make one-of-a-kind cards for my daughter’s friends. Kiwi Crate helps you and your kids think outside the box while spending time together creating unique, imaginative themed art projects. Through their monthly subscriptions, you can get crates with projects as varied as Ocean Exploration, Growing Gardens, and Dinosaurs. Learn more about Kiwi Crate’s monthly subscription, limited edition crates, and specialty party crates at http://www.kiwicrate.com.
On this crafting journey, we had fun. We stopped time for a while, and we expressed ourselves. What’s next? Perhaps some Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day – simple stuff that gets me and my girl talking and having fun with absolutely no possibility of criticism.
Learn more about Kiwi Crate’s monthly subscription, limited edition crates, and specialty party crates at: http://www.kiwicrate.com.