Crafts for the Uncrafty

Crafts for the Uncrafty

Crafting With Rabid Monkeys

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Erin asked if I wanted to set up a crafting afternoon for our kids, so they could make gifts for their grandparents (and anyone else who might prefer a fingerpainted snowman to, say, a Dyptique candle, which would be no one, but that's besides the point). We started a Pinterest board to find projects that seemed doable without looking too much know...crafts. Our goal was to make things that the recipients might actually enjoy, as opposed to things that they feel obligated to display in perpetuity because said thing was made by a child.

This entire post is going to come with a massive caveat, and the caveat is this: If you have children under the age of...I don't know, I've only been a parent for five years. At what age do children start sitting still? Five-year-olds don't, in any case. So here's the caveat: if you have kids aged five or under and decide to make a fucking wind chime, please be aware that you will end up being the one making it. (My five-year-old did, in fact, bead his very own wind chime strand...and then picked it up to show it to me, at which point all the beads fell off, transforming a happy crafting afternoon into a trauma likely to halt further beading experiments for two years, at minimum. Because that is what happens when you try to force a five-year-old to make a fucking wind chime.) (My two-year-old, in contrast, applied herself with spectacular concentration and perseverance. Except what she was concentrating on and persevering in was ensuring that every single piece of berry bunny cereal, including the ones she dropped on the floor, were eaten.)

Crafts for the Uncrafty

The Season Of Lazy Is Upon Me

bohemian outfit for a renaissance faire with wings

Bag (similar) | Skirt | Blouse (similar)

The overt purpose of this photograph, taken at last weekend's Renaissance Faire, is to show you the wings that I am wearing. But before we get to that, I think that you should be aware that as relatively serene as I appear in this image, approximately five minutes after this was taken our daughter commenced what was literally - LITERALLY - the most epic meltdown she has ever had. And she is two years old, so we're talking about a serious achievement.

See, what happened was that we did nothing at all, and this made her so furious that she decided to do a sort of full-body whiplash-thing while cracking her skull against my eye socket and chin (over and over) while I tried desperately to calm her via the delivery of things with sugar in them and an uncomfortably loud public rendition of Part Of Your World, and while passers-by looked on in what was unquestionably horror mixed with intense judgment of our parenting skills.

Crafts for the Uncrafty

Beach Party

crop top and hat at the beach

Santa Cruz, California

Halter | Skirt | Hat | Sunglasses

My friend Elise is one of those people who will invite you and your kids over for an afternoon of flower-wreath-making for no particular reason, just because she happens to have everything you need to make a flower wreath on hand. She knows how to draw those pretty cursive chalkboard stencils that you see outside restaurants and at kids' birthday parties. She has drawers full of crafting supplies, and she actually uses them.

Crafts for the Uncrafty

Paint The Rainbow…With Q-tips Cotton Swabs

simple craft using q tips and paint for toddlers and kids

Here is my attitude towards crafting: I am thrilled to do it, but only if it’s easy. Massively involved, multi-step crafts involving expensive and/or specialized supplies are just not my jam. My kids have just started to get really into art (although my 1 1/2 –year-old is mostly interested in applying things like paint and glitter to herself), so I’ve been trying to come up with fun (and easy) little projects for us to do in the afternoons, during that terrible, horrible interlude between 4PM and dinnertime when things can go real bad, real quick.

The key to navigating the Witching Hour (which is actually two hours): keep those tiny hands busy, and away from things like full boxes of cereal, dog food, permanent markers in shades that look really pretty when applied to white walls, and your favorite jacket.

Crafts for the Uncrafty

The Great Pirate Party

what to wear for a pirate party

Alright, so I went into this birthday a little nervous. Because talk about a high bar; Goldie's party in August was silly-fancy. (Seriously: as much as I loved it, it was obbbbbviously a bit much for a one-year-old, and I felt the need to explain to our guests - many of whom haven't known me for long enough to be aware that my children's parties have historically included pathetically lopsided cakes rather than expertly crafted mini-bundts - that I was responsible for exactly none of it). Despite my awareness that what kids need to be happy is the permission to eat ice cream and run around like lunatics (and really not a whole lot else), I wanted to make sure that Indy's fourth birthday (!! cannot stand it) felt special, too...while still being manageable to plan and set up, because we just wrapped up a whole lot of travel and are more than a little busy at the moment.

We came up with the pirate theme (which I later adjusted slightly into a Goonies theme just because everybody loves that movie, Indy included - even if he doesn't know it yet) largely based on the fact that Indy bought a pirate sword at the Renaissance Faire we went to a few weeks ago. Slightly random or no, it ended up being a really cool theme, and the party was easy to organize (whew), relatively inexpensive (win), and fun for both kids and their parents (double win).

The Food: Oh, Trader Joe's, I love you so much. I bought literally everything (mac and cheese balls, a selection of pizzas, lemon squares, brownie bites, and pumpkin cookies) from the store and just heated up whatever needed heating half an hour before our guests arrived. For the cake, Indy decided that he wanted a Ladybug cake (go figure). Fine by me; Baskin Robbins does ladybugs very nicely.

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