Monday, August 24, 2009

Craft Impaired

A friend recently laughed at me upon hearing the news that I was loving Soulemama's new book, A Handmade Home. "But you don't sew." Right. "And you can't seem to grow things." True. "And you aren't exactly crafty." Craft impaired I like to call it.

But that's why her books rock! Because even craft-impaired mamas like me can savor the inspiration and beauty and purposeful living she so carefully documents and shares.

It's not about the sewing, or the knitting, or the thrifting (no space on a boat for that little habit), or the canning food for a winter feast. It's about deciding to create and being mindful of how you spend your time... rather than mindless.

As a fellow tv-free, homeschooling, Waldorf-inspired, nature loving family there are many things we were already doing like keeping a Nature Table and open ended play things.

But I wanted to share two of my favorite Soulemama tips that I gleaned from her first book The Creative Family that have really opened up the creative spirit in our little family of seriously un-crafty people.

First, family drawing night. We tried it for the first time about a year ago and now Zach is hooked! Not only does he ask for drawing nights many evenings, but we all initiate them.

Zach usually picks the theme. I usually pick the mood music. And daddy usually picks the snack. Or at least has to make the snack :) And I found out something NEW about my dear husband who I have known for 14 years... he can draw! My pictures usually look about the same as Zach's, but D can do a decent sketch when he has the time and concentration.

The theme recently was The Jabberwock. Zach is obsessed with that poem lately and decided we all needed to draw our interpretations. Mine is the goofy red faced one in the back. Zach's is the leggy one up front. And Zach declared that daddy's green faced one "looked too much like Gollum (they finished reading The Hobbit not long ago).

And we put our own twist on things by expanding in to family story telling nights, ghost story nights, music nights, talk like a pirate nights --anything with a theme and there's unplugged fun to be had.

Another creative tip from the book was making a little "inspiration wire" for Zach to hang bit and pieces of things that he's in to at the moment.

I asked him about what was up there when I snapped this picture about a week ago. There's two photos of junk rigged ships "because those are the coolest monohulls and I want a ship like that one day but I want to design a catamaran one." And there is a photo of a Buckminster Fuller design "because I like that he made houses not be boring and I like that his name sounds like the dog." (we have a neighbor who's dog is named Buckley) And then there's the stamp we carved recently which he's just proud of. And a painting he made of a purple leaf "because fall is coming and we never seem to find any purple leaves."

What a simple, beautiful, crazy fun way to start a conversation with your child and get some insight to their amazing minds. Thanks Amanda!

So this week is the week of Inspiration for the Craft Impaired. I am going to post some of the fun projects we've been doing as summer winds down. And if I can do them with my boy, truly anyone can.


Lilia said...

Hi - I more or less stumbled upon your blog and think its truly inspiring. I'd like to correct you for a second though - you are VERY CREATIVE & Crafty. Even though you seem to dislike your camera, you take wonderful pictures, creatively entertain yourselves and your child in a small space and with very little (compared to most), and you write this blog which in and of itself is very very fun, inspirational & entertaining. So you ARE a crafty woman!

Joy said...

I think creativity takes on many forms, not just craftiness. You have a wonderful handle on giving Zach a creative childhood. We love both our family drawing and family game nights. :)

Michele said...

It must be a Kansas thing because I too am craft impaired. We are going to try family drawing as soon as my husband actually is at home...

Masasa said...

I am all about themes too!

Lily Boot said...

there you go - you're not craft impaired! :-) (I'm still waiting for your jeans by the way!) I too don't need to "make" everything SouleMama makes - I just find her focus and attention to looking for ways to connect with her children inspiring. My book hasn't arrived yet - everytime the dogs run to the door, I hope it's the postman with that parcel. I'm looking forward to your crafty week - and I love your husbands drawing of the Jabberwock. When my little girl was Zach's age she was so into drawing pirates and treasure maps - we have boxes of them. And you're right - family draw is the best. I'm seriously thinking about banishing the television - pop over to Sew Liberated and she's written about it today over at Progessive Pioneer. That's what I think you are - a Progressive Pioneer Afloat :-)

Little Lovables said...

I will need to check that out! And I don't sew or knit or grow things either, but there are still ways to be creative and crafty... and I think you have definately mastered it.

boatbaby said...

Thank you all for the kind words! I wasn't digging for compliments at all. Michele knows, because we've been friends since we were teens. But I drool over all of the fabulous crafty blogs you all have and get so much inspiration. Baby steps. Thank you for the encouragement!

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