Thursday, September 29, 2011

"That bug is Ca-Razy"

Let me tell you a little bit about Ms. Aileen and Ms. Sarah.  They are amazing.  Just simply amazing.  The things they come up with for these kids are wonderful.  Yesterday, I wrote an R-I-Y for the ladybug craft and today I got to carry it out with our little friends.

On the way to school, Adalai said "Mom, this is way better than a regular day because today, instead of leaving when you drop me off, you get to stay!"  (Please remember that, cutie pie, when I drop you off to 7th grade and decide to hang out all day).  We sat the 7 children down 4 at a time.  Do the math.  What does that mean?  My daughter did it twice. :) We laid out the bodies, wings and heads and poked our little holes for the brads.  I had the kids pick out 6 buttons for the spots, then 2 googly eyes for the eyes.  It was so fun to see how excited yet attentive these little 3 and 4 year olds were.

It's great to see kids get excited about art!  It's great to see them put 5 spots on a wing and 1 on the other, instead of classic symmetry.  It's great to see them mull over closely which buttons to choose, and then take such pride after they've finished.  I hope they never lose that!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

R-I-Y Mommy-style: Ladybugs

I am fortunate enough to have my daughter enrolled in a phenomenal preschool with a more-than-phenomenal set of teachers.  This week is "B for Button" week and I was honored to be asked to lead a kiddie craft!  The theme of the class is ladybugs so anything ladybug related is welcomed with open arms. As my debut of crafty momma, I decided to do a simple craft that tied in all the themes!

1 Black Paper Circle
1 Black Smaller Black Paper Circle
2 Red Paper Half Circles
6 Black Buttons
1 Brad
2 Googly Eyes

And here it is.  An R-I-Y in pictures:
B is for Button Brads!

B is for Buttons!

Step 1: Draw circles for bodies, heads and wings.  (hint: always use alcohol related items when crafting for kids.  Notice beer glass)

Step 2: Cut red circles in half for wings.

Step 3: Attach Head and wings to body with brad.

Step 4: Glue on some cutie pie little googly eyes and some cutie buttons and you are good to go!

A super simple, cute craft for kids!  Easy and manageable for preschool class (I'm assuming, anyway) and not a lot of prep time.  Simplicity is the way to go!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Restore-It-Yourself-Lettering Tutorial

Alright, readers and faithful followers (ahem, all TWO of you. Tell your friends and add some more as I shamelessly self-promote), time for my very first R-I-Y post! Simple though it may seem, here is an easy way to craft your own initials.

-glue gun
-cardboard (from toy boxes, pizza, anything Trader Joe's related, trash...)

Step 1--

What's that you say?  Your daughter turned 4 and you have about 100 Polly Pocket boxes?  Well, pick one and trace your letter and begin to cut!

Step 2--
Grab your glue gun and get ready!

Step 3--
Cut a scrap of fabric about the size of your letter and glue letter to it, right side down.

Step 4--
After gluing right side down, begin to shape fabric around letter, leaving 1/2" space to fold over edges.

Step 5--
Fold extra fabric over edges and glue to letter.

Step 6--

Admire your lovely, super cheap, upcycled legit letter and place it proudly in your home!

And there you little cutie pies have it!  A super easy, very crafty, uber "green", upcycled and restored household craft.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Early Entrepreneurship

I guess if I'm expecting you to read this and spread it to the masses, I owe you an explanation as to why I'm here. I am a crafter by heart, seller of all things sellable and entrepreneurial by blood.

Like most people, my parents influenced me more than anyone. I tried to argue that fact for a long time but just couldn't convince myself, much less anyone else, otherwise. With southern etiquette in mind, we'll start with my mom.

Growing up, our favorite outing was Mary Jo's in Gastonia. Seriously anyone who's anyone has heard of this. If you have not, leave my blog, search the site and come back to me when you're finished. It's that amazing. We would walk around the store and the GLORIOUS then-Gaston Mall. We would see purses. We would see jackets. We would see dresses. We would buy nothing. Instead my mom would pick an item up, examine it and say "I could make this" and then walk away, determine in her sweet little heart to fashion whatever we'd seen. So we would head to Mary Jo's, pick up a pattern and fabric and get to work on whatever it was that had caught our eyes. My mom made baby dolls, Easter dresses, Christmas dresses, blankets, scarves. You name it, that woman made it.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, my dad and I had our own little crafting business on the side. My dad had begun his own plumbing company when I was a baby and entrepreneurialism ran in his veins. When we weren't busy cutting copper pipe and playing with caulk guns, he and I began weaving together potholders. Glorious nylon potholders. I'm not sure how it all got started but I remember clearly scouring the isles of the Shelby WalMart (years before it was "super", and years before I boycotted) for extra nylon and cotton and hooks. We would sit up in Sesame Street sleeping bags, watching the Wizard of Oz and weave till I could weave no more. On Saturday mornings after eating at Fred Kiser's Minit Grille and nearly OD-ing on sweet tea, we would take our card table outside and sell the heck out of those pot holders on the sidewalk! My poor mother was mortified. "Lane, don't," she'd say. Because seriously, who wants a potholder for a dollar? But people did. They lined up to get these babies, I tell ya. My memory may or may not be a little off but this is how I'm choosing to remember it. Let me have my moment.

Fast-forward to today, as I throw my little peanut a Princess Party for her 4th birthday. Soon after the invitations went out, I began getting email after email asking what Adalai wanted for her birthday. My answer to everyone was: craft supplies. Anything and everything. Daily I'm asked, after "Mommy, can I watch a cartoon?" and "Mommy, can I have a snack?", "Mommy, can I make a craft?" And heaven forbid I deny her this right! Thankfully today she received crayons, markers, paper, 3-d animal crafts, halloween crafts, tracing paper, play-doh and.... a potholder weaving loom.

My eyes immediately darted to my dad, filled with tears of nostalgia and excitement, knowing he would feel the same way I did. Of all things to receive, Adalai unknowingly received a gift that was so precious to me as a child. So tonight, well beyond bedtime, she and I sat up and, in honor of Poppa, made a potholder. As she wove and I supervised, I told her the story I just told you. She definitively asks "So, can we sell this one?" Like "Okay, mom. Let's get the ball rollin'. We've got a business to start." I told her it might be a good idea to keep our first one and pass it on to Poppa. But I assured her we would be selling them at some point. Afterall, we've got to keep the family business alive!

So now, I'm afforded the opportunity to pass along a very special memory to my child. Something that I truly believe helped shape who I am today. And now my little gal snoozes away (no seriously, I can hear her all the way in here), excited for tomorrow when we can get to work with "the boys" and get this show on the road!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cleaning House

I did it! I really, really did! On Saturday (don't judge me that I wrote a blog like I was about to clean immediately and then put it off for over 24 hours), I had no kids and got to work! I stopped, like any fun-loving, over-stimulated, attention-deficit adult would, and got on pinterest about every, oh, 5 minutes or so. My task seemed amazingly overwhelming!

After about my 3rd break, there was a knock at the door. A couple of neighborhood kids came by, asking if they could hang out. I told them I was kid free and cleaning so I wasn't too much fun today. They stared blankly. Then said "Ok, well, can we help you clean?" Um, YES. So they did! They moved markers, party supplies, stamps, helped themselves to tomato sandwiches, and took out trash. It was unbelievable.

Later during the day, as I was admiring my clean table and room, a couple more kids stopped by. And suddenly, we had ourselves an art class! We sat down and wrote poems and drew pictures and took turns teaching (with the help of a nicely re-purposed chalk board) how to fold paper and draw people. Who knew what an amazing outcome cleaning up an incredibly overwhelming room would be!

When I joined Crown Town Handmade, I thought a lot about "crafting for the greater good". No, I did not post it as an ad campaign on PBS or anything. But I know that it starts somewhere. Kids need outlets. Adults need outlets. And when we find what that looks like for us, it's amazing to share that space and integrate those aspects of our lives with others.

The moral? Yes, it may be overwhelming. No, you may not want to do it (a universal "it"; Whatever is haunting you). Pinterest may oh-so-softly whisper your name and beckon you away. But there is a purpose. You are gifted for a reason and it's so you can give back part of what you've been given. The first step is movement.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Getting Started

Ok friends. This is it. We are getting it started. No more sitting around, ignoring the fact that I want to do crafty things or I need to do a blog or I could do this or that or whatever. I am getting up and doing it.

Part of my problem is trying to do to much. Happens to me all the time. My dad used to tell me (and probably still would) that I had "too many irons in the fire." Moral of the story? Try to do too much, you get burned.

This is what I have to work with. My big, disturbing, uncontrollable mess of a craft room. It is the personification of my busy heart, mind, body and spirit. Everything a jumbled mess, thrown onto a table, so if you walk into the house you can at least be fooled into thinking there is some order.

So last night, I went to a member workshops with Crown Town Handmade. The entire night was about blogging. We talked about what to blog, how to blog, how not to blog, why to blog, when to blog, how much to blog, blah blah blah. But there was one thing that was said in passing by Nikki from Not Made in China. She said "Everything is a decision". She was primarily speaking concerning your blog. Your font, pictures, logos, whatever, matters. It hit me much deeper than that, however.

That is a sentiment I feel I must adopt in my daily life. "Everything is a decision." Getting up and going for a run is a decision. Eating eggs and fruit for breakfast instead of cookies is a decision. Getting my head in the game and once and for all cleaning out my damn craft room is a decision.

So today, I'm doing it. I'm cleanin' house. Kickin' organization's ass and takin' names. I'm going to get my life in order and figure out how to live up to the name of my soon-to-be-thriving little business: Restoration.