In my front entry, I have a row of pegs, each labelled with a child’s name. The parents hang clothing and, more problematically, bags and backpacks, on these pegs. It’s problematic because the bags are often too wide for the space between the pegs. They overlap, they intrude on each other. Too often when I hunt for something in one bag, the adjacent bag falls to the floor.
It’s untidy, it’s inconvenient, it’s a nuisance. I’ve wanted to do something about it for a while. And hey! Why not now?? I have time — I’m on holiday! I have space — my very own Craft Room!!! I shall make a set of bags. They don’t have to be fancy: if they’re all the same, their very uniformity will decrease the visual clutter, and if they’re crafted to fit the space, I won’t have the inconvenience of falling bags. They can go back and forth between my house and the child’s. Perfect!
I want the bags to be sturdy, so I’m thinking denim. Durable, can be washed zillions of times… but, given that I need to make five of these things, potentially pricey. Denim is not the cheapest of fabrics. So, I figured, buy a couple of pairs of second-hand jeans from Value Village to use for fabric! Two pairs of VV jeans will be cheaper than a couple of yards of denim from Fabricland, right?
HOWEVER, if you wander over to the housewares section, there are sheets! blankets! shower curtains!, and what are they if not big lengths of fabric? Maybe there would be something durable enough. Worth having a look, at any rate. When I got over there, I discovered a rack of actual lengths of fabric! Even better, they had denim. I scored two types: about 5 metres of pale blue denim, and 2 of a darker blue, patterned denim.
For $7.99. A dollar and change per metre! A screaming deal, by any standards.
I had one false start, during which I realized that you need to finish the top edge before you assemble the bag. Oh, and one blown-out needle. There is a reason there are needles specifically designed for denim…
But it didn’t take too long before I had a method that worked, and…
I now have five of these, and they fit the space perfectly. They’re narrow enough to fit neatly between the pegs, and deep enough to hold a change of clothes, several diapers, a bottle, and maybe even a few small toys.
I’m a sucker for those foamy stickers. We have tubs of them littering my craft cupboard. Red, white and green Christmas foamies in stockings, trees, snowflakes; pink, lilac, and yellow ones in Easter bunnies, tulips, and eggs; primary-coloured party-themed foamies — cakes, hats, and sunbursts. Fun!
Most recently I picked up a bucket of Sea Creatures foamy stickers.
Which, of course, obliges me to find a craft for them. Something a wee bit more creative than slamming them onto a piece of construction paper, not, of course, that the kids object in the slightest to this as a craft. They would be thrilled to take home page after page after page of stuck stickers. Most of them piled up in the same three square inches of the page. Woo!
It’s me who craves … something more. I have no idea what, though.
If you’ve ever wondered how I come up with the crafts I do — the majority of which I make up on the fly — come with me on an annotated tour of Mary’s creative process. It starts with gazing…
I consider the tub of brightly coloured fish, whales, dolphins, frogs and turtles. Hmmm… They all swim. They need water. Water! Let’s make water. We can make something waterish and then stick them to it. They can be ‘swimming’ in the waterish.
And we can make something watery with… plastic? That’s nice. Light shines through plastic. I could use paper sheet protectors, I have a couple of boxes of 50 of those. Light shines through the plastic, but it won’t through the foam. That’ll be a nice effect. Sort of silhouette-y.
And for the colour… how about blue tissue paper torn into bits and glued to one side of the plastic? Or maybe shoved somehow into the sleeve? Nah. Too hard to get the tissue distributed evenly inside the sleeve, and they’d probably only crumple the plastic all to heck trying. Gluing is better, and if I water the white glue down a bit, I’d get a lovely shiny translucent effect…
Except the only tissue I have on hand is orange. Boo. Not that, then.
Paint, maybe? Hmmm… the tempera beads up on the plastic. Acrylic paint works like a charm, but it also stains
like a bugge rather badly. So, not acrylic. Back to the tempera…
Which means I can’t use the plastic. What can I use? It needs to be transparent, to give that watery feel. Transparent, or translucent. Translucent, translucent… (I am opening doors and drawers in my kitchen as I mull this over)… Waxed paper! Ha!
And, yes! Tempera sticks just fine to wax paper. Paintbrushes apply it too liberally, though. The light won’t shine through, and the kids will just saturate the paper. We’ll produce nothing but sodden blue wax paper shreds. Fingerpainting? No, same problems. How about sponge painting? Ooo. That might work. Because you dab with sponges, see, instead of scrubbing (as toddlers do with paint brushes). Dabbing is less damaging to the paper. Ha! Sponge painting, then!
I have no sponges. I threw the last bunch out when I forgot to wash them and they went moldy. I remember now.
Well, then… paper towels! Half a piece, wadded up a little, dipped in a small dollop of paint, and dabbed on the paper.
All toddlers can wad and dab! (Why does that sound vaguely disgusting?)
And it works like a charm! Tape the wax paper to the table so it doesn’t slide. Dab one side of the paper with blue and green tempera. Flip the paper and stick on your sea creatures foamy stickers.
(Total time elapsed in “creative process” getting to this idea? About 4 minutes.)
Pretty cool, huh?