About a month ago, I started running out of ideas for things to do with my 3 children over this very long Summer. Coincidentally, it was right about that time that I discovered the show Craft Wars on TLC. It’s the one that’s kind of like Project Runway but with weird art projects instead of clothing design. **Here’s where I feel the need to give my obligaTORI shout out to Tori Spelling for bringing this show to life and for inspiring me to come up with new ways to incorporate the name Tori into everyday words like she does with all of her branding. (You’re welcome for the title of your next book, Tori)**
Anyhow, the show was an instant hit with my kids and we watched several episodes while they attempted to create their own similar masterpieces from our meager stash of art supplies. (What? You don’t have a Michael’s Craft Closet like the contestants on the show?! Um, no, but we do have what I like to call the Michael’s Craft Bucket and it seems to do the trick.) The problems started arising when the kids ran out of episodes to watch and started coming to me for their ‘Pop Craft’ and ‘Master Craft’ challenges. They weren’t looking for me to say, “here’s some popsicle sticks and glue, now go make a frame, kids.” Oh, no. That would have been too easy. They wanted me to make weird requests like those on the show.
I tried to indulge them with challenges such as make a toilet out of leftover wrapping paper and used gift cards or make a fully functional kitchen out of toothbrush holders and unused diapers, etc. Luckily for me, my kids have great imaginations so they actually pretended they were able to accomplish these ridiculous artistic feats. But, pretending only goes so far so when they finally asked me to let them make something real, they decided they should create some DIY office supplies for their Grandma’s new office. Each child could have the same tools, but could choose their own specific supplies and their personal methods of decoration. Much to my relief, they liked the idea. So, we headed to the store and purchased some basic office supplies and took them home to see what embellishments we could find in our Michael’s Craft Bucket.
My daughter decided her theme would be SPARKLES because obviously nothing says, “I’m a professional” like sparkly office supplies. She chose a tape dispenser, a calculator, highlighters, and a large painted clothes pin that could be used to hold a stack of papers together. My son went down a more practical route and decided that he would use paperclips and scrapbook paper to create his supplies. He chose a mousepad, binder clips, a pencil can and post-it notes. We fired up our glue guns and we were ready.
My daughter and I kicked things off by hot gluing “jewels” around the items she chose (except for the highlighters, which we painted gold with garnet glitter on top to add our signature Seminole flair). NOTE TO SELF: next time forget the glue gun and just get some glue dots so that no one, namely mom, gets burnt in the process.
While I was busy burning myselfcreating jeweled masterpieces with my daughter, my son was creating paper clip chains to decorate the cup and an unused acrylic frame which he turned into a post-it holder. (I have to hand it to him, he had an inventive way of incorporating his paper clips into the design while still having some leftovers to use as they were intended – too bad I’m still awful with a glue gun so there were definite visible glue strings; the judges would not be pleased).
A few burns later, “we” moved on to making tiny paper rolls to insert into our plain pens, followed by decoupaging similar papers onto the binders and mousepad. I use the word “we” loosely here because the older kids eventually became deserters of our craft war, leaving my 21-month-old as my closest lieutenant. I know it is hard to believe, but an almost 2-year-old is not the ideal soldier in times of war.
So, as Commanding General of my troops, I pulled out the biggest weapon in my arsenal: chalkboard paint and some wooden letters we could turn into initial-style paperweights. This was all it took to coerce my children into returning to battle.
Not everything turned out quite as planned that day, and the kids did abandon me momentarily, leaving me to use my toes to attempt to encourage my toddler to go to sleep on the couch instead of eating glue while I finished on one foot, but all in all, we had fun playing out our version of Craft Wars. It kept us busy for an entire day and I think Grandma enjoyed the fruits of our labor. If only Tori Spelling could see us now! I wonder which crafter she would choose?