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Returning to what I love

  It’s been over a year – the longest of my many absences over this blog – but I think now it’s time to come back. Again. A few things came together over the past few days that have helped me to overcome an all to familiar running excuse in my brain, that I’m too busy and what is the point… The point is that I love being creative and love sharing that passion with people. Mostly, it would seem, with my kids.  The point is also that “busy” isn’t a destination – it’s a roadblock, one that I’d like to overcome.

Why now? We’ve done so many fun crafts and events over the past year and I’d love to  share them here and to use this to push me to stay inspired.

So – let’s start at the end – what brought me back? 

1. Last week my little cutie fell on her face with her hands caught behind her back and in the blink of an eye a very busy Easter weekend and work week ahead was hurdled aside.  Through the blood and tears and the five loose teeth and broken palate, through the sleepless nights, liquid diet and multiple medications for infections and pain, and through the eyes of everyone that looked sadly at her broken face – my Kate smiled. Her crazy beautiful spirit shining through – and her words to me as she wriggled out of my hand for the tenth time today to walk faster than I was comfortable? “Mom- I just want to have some fun”… Right. Life isn’t about the cautions and the issues and the what ifs … As much as I want to hold tight and slow her down – she’s right – life is about moving forward. So I thought for a nano second in that moment – what am I holding back from? Ah yes- this. Then I ran to catch up – within a hand length so I could catch her if anything happened 😉

2. I am reading my kids the best book right now in a series called the Magical Animal Adoption Agency – by Kallie George. It’s brilliant and despite few actual images, I see the pictures she writes about coming alive in their heads. We finished book two tonight… I flipped casually to the author flap- She’s an awesome author I thought – must be British … Nope! Imagine my surprise – She graduated from the same university as me, and lives in the same small part of the world. It’s possible. She chose to pursue creativity in a world over crowded with mediocre authors and she rocked it. Huh. Possible. Right here. 

3. The final push was our Matty – I think he’s always the final push for me.  This kid.

This weekend when we were all sharing what we wanted to do with our days off – Matty predictably started talking about two craft ideas he had.  Tonight we embarked on the second of his ideas – and he led the way – our six year old- instructing the rest of us on how to make cherry blossom trees. At one point I recorded him because he talks like he’s leading a class most of the time – check it out  

With a kid like this how can you not stop and smell the … Blossoms? 

Hoping to be back for real. Even if no one reads this except us with a big glass of wine in 20 years when these cuties are grown… I think it’ll be worth it. 

If you do read this – thanks 🙂 

what I love about Sculpey/Filmo

I will admit to never having bought into the play-dough “extras”.  The ‘hair salon’ or ‘road builder’ or ‘baking’ plastic making machines that made tiny pieces that you needed to put together meticulously.  Painful.  Hard to clean up.  Yelch. The most fun part for us (or maybe more me?) has always been making the actual play dough. I wrote about it last year with an easy recipe.

Our kids are good with the cardinal rule of colour separation in the play dough world and they like to create with it – but they never want to put their creations away.  So we have zip lock bags (keeps the dough from hardening) of little masterpieces and half containers of colours…  I will often find rotting play dough (the home made kind does rot after a time) and that’s not any more fun than finding the lunchtime surprise that stayed in the bottom of a backpack for a week too long …

Which brings me to my love of Sculpey.  You can bake it and it hardens to become a fun creation that turns a crafting moment into a pretty fun playmate (and doesn’t rot).

sculpey elephant sculpey unicorn turtle design

On this particular day Matt was on a sea animal bent – and this was his sea turtle (having already completed a whale, shark, sting ray and dolphin) and the girls wanted to make unicorns and elephants.

Filmo or Sculpey (I don’t have a personal preference over brand) are great – but much harder in texture than play dough. It requires kids to roll the clay in their hands in order to soften it enough to mold.  The whole rolling motion (and the patience factor) can be a learning curve but they sure are proud of themselves when they get the hang of it.  It’s a good little skill builder.  I think it’s still a little tough for a 3 year old to roll and warm all the colours so I help the girls by making balls for them and then they shape them into heads, bodies, feet, eyes, unicorn horns etc.  They pick the colours and body parts and they shape and stick together – I’m just the grunt work girl.  Matt will not have any of his mom’s interventions … his creations are all him.

I showed you our veggies that we made using FILMO last year for our veggie garden signs.  And this year we’ve made little bugs and butterflies for barrettes, tons of animals and recently some bunnies and duckies.  Matt’s is the bunny in the middle below.  The girls wanted nicely rolled balls to work with and make their faces and bellies and ears etc – Matt just took a hunk and went and built his own bunny. I love all three and how they each represent our kids’ personal styles (Kate has the bent ears and Charlie’s are straight with perfect little pink inserts in the ears)


Packages of Filmo and Sculpey say different things about cooking temps and times – but I follow one simple rule of thumb when baking 275 degrees.  15 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness of your creation.

After we finish and bake them – they cool really quickly and the kids will often play with their newly created pals.

Just an idea if you’re looking for some spring break indoor play.  It’s great for a rainy day – and I think girls and boys love it equally as long as they get an idea to make something really cool that appeals to them.  You can get clay like FILMO or Sculpey at almost any craft store.

Tomorrow while the girls and I make beads from clay, Matt is determined to make a hockey player… we’ll see how it turns out!

sculpey play

proud momma

I think every parent has those moments.  The ones were you feel like your heart might explode out of your chest with love and pride for that kid.  It’s the same kid you were yelling at yesterday to clean up his toys or move a little faster or not to hit her sister. In that moment, there is just this overwhelming feeling of HUH.  We either did something right, or this kid is turning out okay despite us, or something.  It’s your kid.  And she rocks.

It’s funny how those proud moments are rarely for the things you expect, or plan out in your brain (or at least that’s how it goes for me).  I am glad that our kids try new sports, are able to sit and be creative quietly, are interested in learning.  But I’m PROUD of them when I watch them share with each other when they think no one is looking.  When they pick each other up, cheer each other on, and respect each person’s need and right to be included and loved.

So today, at our parent teacher interview for Matty, who is in kindergarten, I was surprised by what got to me.  We’ve been working hard on reading and his prayers and math and his french – so I thought I wanted to hear about his progress and what he needed to work on.  In reality I just needed to hear that his teacher gets him, and sees some of what we see in him.  I was proud beyond words when she spoke of Matthew’s character, his kindness, and his inclusive disposition.  His little report card was awesome.  But my favorite part wasn’t getting all the right ticks in the boxes – it was this:

matt report card

I’m also weirdly proud of him for how much he loves to play with boys, AND girls. Because he doesn’t judge.

matty unicorn

I’m proud that he finds so many situations to wear his hockey helmut, and feels that it’s totally appropriate to do so.  Because that speaks to his individuality.

matty in hockey helmut matty hockey hemlut2 matty hockey helmut

I’m proud that he explores, asks questions (a LOT of questions), and always has the time to explain things to his sisters.  Because that means he is curious and open to new possibilities.

matty experimenting

So much more – but we could all gush forever and I will spare you.  Thanks for sharing this proud mom moment with me.