Saturday, March 01, 2014

    The Death of Craft

    I believe in hands-on discoveries, and worry that a neat home smacks of boxed-in expression.

    When my kids were younger we did a lot of gluing and sticking and painting. 
    Gathering leaves, creating montages, creating cities and empires of sticks. 

    Wishing the same joy for every child, I used to gift art and craft items ..

    I gave gifts of meaning.  Of mind & creativity.


    I hoped they were appreciated, but I sometimes gnawed on nails and wondered, as I do,
    why I can't conform?  Birthdays are fraught for me, any gift-giving occasion really. 

    I think too hard and then wonder if I screwed up.  And I don't like to give a gift that isn't
    loved - I find it hard to gift and forget - I like to know how that gift is going .. and perhaps,
    if you hate it, can you like, give it back? 

    Because I freaking loved it and I wanted you to love it too.

    We all know I have ishews with gifts.


    Anyway, when the youngest went to kinder last year, I happily donated all the things
    we didn't do anymore but had lots of life left in them - stamp sets, all our pretty papers
    ( leftovers from a job in the paper industry, oh, you know, a DECADE ago?! ), and I got
    GREAT joy when I saw some of those distinctive offcuts used in the children's take-home craft.

    An Easter chicken hatching from a Stardream Metallic egg is not a vision easily forgotten.

    That's the gift I like to give.


    So then, why was I so inwardly shitty this year when the kids got an annoying artbox for
    Christmas in the family Kris-Kringle?  Isn't that the very gift I would give?


    The drive home, where they nagged from the backseat to get into their new present as
    SOON as they got home, PLEASE MUMMY.  And I was grumpy and said no - "tomorrow".

    I'd spent like 3 days cleaning my house so it resembled my dream of Magazine Feature. 
    It's never this pretty.  And my kids are freaking animals.  I knew the paint would be
    acrylic ( and it was, it always is ) and I just didn't 

    I just wanted my pretty house for one more day. 

    It was my gift to me.  I didn't want to ruin it.

    Cranky Mummy, boo.  Grinch.
    Is that how others felt when they received my well-intentioned gifts?


    (  ^  Note: this is a recent art smock/ paint set purchase I made from IKEA.  Because I am a sucker :) )

    Anyway, I did let them, but outside, and I couldn't even karcher off the stains off the deck
    later on.  The fancy new Christmas clothes that weren't changed out of first are now daggy
    around-the-house-clothes.  Stained.

    But I dont like being an ogre, so normally my house is a Lego pit, and there's stuff everywhere.
    I still believe in imaginative play and my house suffers for it.

    And so it was today that I made Play-doh.

    But oh, not the normal kind, this was a fancy-schmancy new kind - no cook -
    just cornflour and HAIR CONDITIONER.  I had to try that, didn't I?

    It made my hands smell like apples :)

    And much joy was had.

    And to tell the truth, cleanup was better than regular playdoh .. the cornflour turns to
    powder and so all the mess picured involved no chisels or swearing .. just a wipe and a brush up.


    No-Cook Cornflour Playdoh:

    1 cup hair conditioner ( I used a no-name variety, it cost a dollar )
    Pop that in a bowl
    Add a few drops of food colouring
    Start adding cornflour a cup at a time.

    The recipe I used said i'd only need two cups, but to add more if the mix was sticky.
    I seriously used about 4 cups in the end - which was almost the entire contents of a
    brand-new 500g bag.

    Apparently it wont last very long, but to be honest, you want that stuff out of your house
    before long anyway, right?  I am predicting it will last as long as my patience, and that's
    a win for everybody :)

    Enjoy! x

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