Tag Archives: arts and crafts


Do you know what’s stupid? Even when you buy a ginormous box of crayons, it only comes with ONE black crayon. This doesn’t work very well for two little girls who have a daddy who has black hair. This doesn’t work very well for most people who draw in general. You need black for outlines and shading. Black runs out really quickly no matter what color your dad’s hair is, but it runs out especially quickly around here. My kids fight over the black crayon. But you can’t buy just one black crayon. You have to buy a whole box of crayons.

Do you know what colors run out the quickest in the crayon box? I remember this from my own crayons and observe it in my kids’ crayons. The “pure” colors go first. The kids quickly use up the “red” red, “blue” blue, “yellow” yellow etc. There are a trillion different shades of red in a giant crayon box, but I personally know that the red labeled as “red” is the one you reach for when coloring Elmo or lips. Many of those other shades of red don’t even get touched. It’s frustrating because you get so many freaking crayons, but all you want is the pure red crayon you ran out of the first week you got the crayon box. You’re stuck with these off-color shades for months!

That’s why I’m not buying giant boxes of crayons anymore. All those shades look so exciting when you open that giant box of crayons, but they are lacking. Before you know it, you are crying because you want black and all you have is 50 shades of grey (do you see what I did there?). From now on, we are buying 24 packs or less of crayons. We already have a giant crayon bucket so we don’t exactly need a million shades of each color. Most of them are still there, if broken. What we need are replacement crayons. The 24 pack provides all the best colors without overkill and it’s not as big of a crayon commitment. It’s like $1.24ish, so getting another box of crayons when the black runs out is no big thing.

Seriously, though, the big box of crayons needs to start coming with like 5 each of the primary colors and maybe 10 black crayons and THEN all those other shades. That’s what we need for coloring: The basics PLUS some extras. When there are more extras than main colors, it just doesn’t work.



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Another Rare Moment of Crafting

I don’t craft much, and yet in the last month I’ve posted about my gallery wall project and a Rice Krispie Barbie dress cake. What’s the deal with the crafts lately, self? Will I suddenly be a pinterest-worthy individual?

Doubtful. Birthdays just bring it out of me.

Every year, I make the girls shirts with their names, ages and sister status (big, little, middle, baby, whatever) on them with iron-ons. Last year, Rose pretty much ignored hers because it wasn’t a blue dress, but Lily gets a kick out of hers and was anxious for Rose to turn 3 so they could wear their new name/age/sister status shirts together. Of course, they don’t go by their real first names on this blog and I have poor Photoshop skills, so you get this wonky illustration of what the shirts look like.

I love that the numbers make them kind of resemble team jerseys. I’ve been meaning to make myself one, but I kind of don’t want my age on my chest at this point.

The girls picked out their own shirts this time. When we got home, I realized Lily’s shirt wouldn’t show the letters well because the shirt and the iron-ons are practically the same color. Lily wouldn’t listen to me about it and insisted that she wanted the dark pink shirt AND the dark pink letters! So, we’re going to have a whole year here where you can’t tell what Lily’s shirt says. I spent $10 and an hour custom-making a shirt you can barely read! Oh, well. It makes her happy.

Meanwhile, we have this new kid here who couldn’t be left out of the tradition even though she is not yet a whole year old. What do you do in that situation?

My girl is zero!

Nothing makes me happier than looking at the backs of the shirts… or at least nothing would make me happier if you could actually READ Lily’s shirt.

Lily’s shirt says “Big Sister”.

These shirts were pretty cute last year, but three kids in matching shirts is a definite improvement. I highly recommend three girls over two girls to everyone.


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Evolution of an Engineer

Last year at Lily’s preschool art show, we were amused when we discovered that Lily labeled her creative project as a “decorated cereal box”. All of the other kids were calling their equally unimpressive decorated cereal boxes as things like “food and drink machines” and “bat caves”, but Lily insisted her decorated cereal box was a decorated cereal box.

And it was.

But I was never more sure that she was going to be an engineer than at that moment!

This year, I was very surprised when I saw her art projects and saw THIS explanation next to her “invention”.

WHOA. I guess the future engineer DOES have some creativity in there after all. Perhaps she even has quite a bit of creativity. Although when I pointed out the difference between last year and this year to her preschool teacher, she told me that Lily had originally said she “didn’t know” what her “invention” did. After Lily heard some of the other kids describe their inventions, she came up with this elaborate description. Even engineers need some creativity. I mean, they do invent new machines and stuff, and that’s exactly what our little engineer did here.

Lily's "wall" invention

I’m trying to decide which answer a like better– the run-on sentence “wall” machine or “a decorated cereal box”.


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Dream Big

When I opened the girls’ box of 64 crayons, I gave them hopeful instructions not to dump the box all over the table.

My husband scoffed in the background.

Him: “Like that’s going to happen.”

Me: “I know… but maybe if I warn them they’ll keep the crayons in the box.”

Him: “Unrealistic expectations! It’s like the time you tried to talk to Lily about racism and expected her to understand you.”

Me: “Well… it could happen.”

Dream big, everyone.


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Jelly Bean Man

At a recent preschool event, the teacher announced that our children had artwork hanging on the back wall and we could go claim it. I went up to get Lily’s artwork and scanned over all the names to find hers. Her name wasn’t up there, but I knew right away which piece of artwork was hers– not by the drawing but by the caption.

It says “It’s a person Jelly bean. Jelly bean is stomping. Sad Jelly bean.”

Lily keeps coming home from school announcing that she’s drawn or painted jelly bean people. She’s drawn them at home before, but they’ve never been as elaborate as this. When I saw the word “jelly bean”, I figured it had to be Lily’s. I suppose drawing jelly bean people could be all the rage among the preschool set right now, but I took my chances and took the drawing off the wall. Sure enough, a teacher came up to me and went on and on about Lily’s jelly bean drawings and how each little jelly bean has its own story.

I think the big jelly bean is stomping the little jelly bean and the little jelly bean is sad, but the little jelly bean is smiling so I’m confused. The big jelly bean is frowning, but I don’t see how the little jelly bean could be stomping it.

Who knows. I can’t wait to bring home more jelly bean art at the end of the semester!


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Young Authors: Toy Story Friend Book

I have TWO epic posts on hold right now waiting for scanned pictures and a chance to retake a video. Stay tuned for those. For now, another book I helped Lily write:

"Jessie has a ponytail. Woody doesn't have a ponytail."

I was later informed that I got this wrong. She meant that HAMM put the money in with his foot. When I was writing this book for her, I tried to clarify if Andy put the money in because I didn’t remember him doing anything with his feet. She was pretty insistent then it was Andy. Later she changed her mind and now she keeps telling me I “wrote it wrong”.

And here she forgets the book is about Toy Story. I think the book is more hilarious when she changes subjects.

But not actually jumping rope, trust me. She later got very mad at me because the boys at circus camp did not have cake at camp.


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3 year old Authors, Part 2

This was the first book we created and the illustrations are even worse than usual. I was absolutely exhausted when I drew this for Lily and was lying on the floor and actually nodded off momentarily mid-picture a couple times. It’s the most disoriented I’ve been parenting since Lily was a newborn. I have no idea why I was so tired, either! After we finished the book, I napped on the couch while Lily watched tv next to me. Then Lily got her hands on the book before I could scan it or take pictures and colored and drew all over it.

It says "Animals at the Zoo" under there somewhere.

We've never been roller skating and it didn't rain. By the way, Lily drew "rain clouds" on the rest of the pages.

Originally said "The End".


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3 Year Old Authors, Part 1

I’m hoping this becomes a regular series on the blog. The other day, Lily asked me to help her “write” a book. My “helping” involved asking leading questions , writing down what she said and then drawing pictures to go with it. The result, I think, is pretty hilarious. We ended up “writing” two different books that day and I hope many are to come.

This was actually the second book we wrote that afternoon. She said she wanted to write a book about our house.

She was very upset that I wasn’t able to fit the garage on the cover.

Stellar drawing, as usual. I managed to get the garage in that one! Lily thought it was very important to depict that there are butterflies in her room and ladybugs in Rose’s room.

Lily thought including the tv was VERY important. For hours after I drew it, she kept flipping back to this drawing and saying “Look, Mommy, you drew the tv! I watch tv when I’m tired.”

I wish she’d take a NAP when she was tired, but I suppose that ship has sailed.

We have swum in that pool exactly two times EVER, but I guess it’s made an impression on her. She was the one who described it as “QUITE a big pool”. I will credit her love of “Peppa Pig” for that one.

The octagon window overlooks our porch where our front door is. A tall person could look in it. Is this not the most insane place for an irregularly shaped window ever? You can’t open it. You can’t put a curtain on it. It’s the bane of my existence. Be gone, octagon bathroom window! That doctor kit was right next to us, so it was heavy on her mind. Actually, she talked about this a ton for days while we waited for Thiago’s birthday party.

Get ready, this next page will make you die of cute.

I asked what else was in our house and this is what she said. She insisted that I draw us drawing. It’s so meta.

Stay tuned Thursday for another poorly drawn collaborative book by Lily and me. And please, if you ever make a book like this send it in! I’d love to publish more of them on the blog and submissions are always welcome (and originally the point of the blog, but it’s sort of taken on a life of its own since then). Please send toy play pictures, mommy cartoons, Toy WTFs and books by 3 year old authors to creativekidsplay@gmail.com.




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Forcible Drawing

Long ago, I made the mistake of drawing Lily some of her favorite cartoon characters. I’m no expert, but my Boots monkey bears enough of a resemblance to the real Boots monkey that she obsessively asked me to draw it again. Ever since then, whenever crayons or chalk come out instead of my kids drawing, I am forced to repeatedly draw Dora, Boots and a few other characters.

Things I'm being forced to draw against my will

Some of my characters are better mastered than others. If you can call ANY of them “mastered”.

Now Rose is in on the action and I really feel like I’m being accosted with the two of them after me to draw. Drawing should be about THEM coloring and drawing, but somehow it’s become this event where crayons or chalk are physically forced into my hands and small people are yelling “Draw Dora, Mommy! Draw Dora, Mommy!” over and over again, even if I just drew Dora 2 seconds beforehand.

Even my husband is being forced to draw these characters.

I should stop trying so hard because my kids recognize THESE as the characters!

Rose is particularly forceful and will find paper and a crayon and carry it across the house to find me, interrupt whatever I’m doing and “force” me to draw for her. She demands Dora, Boots, Elmo and Baby Elmo (a slightly smaller Elmo from a time I accidentally drew two of them) over and over again, to the point where I get an exasperated tone with her and refuse. “NO! I JUST drew Dora. She’s right here. I am not drawing her again! Go do something else! Or better yet, YOU draw Dora!”

Seriously. I thought the KIDS were supposed to draw, or at least color what I draw for them. Instead drawing is about watching Mommy create poor-to-mediocre imitations of tv characters and family members.

Someday they HAVE TO draw their own Dora, right?

If I have to draw Dora one more time, I’m going to scream. Not only is it boring and repetitive, but my inability to get her freakish pumpkin head the right shape irks me to no end. Why can’t I get her chin right? And MORE seriously WTF is up with her freakish pumpkin head to begin with?


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Accidental Pig Artist

The other day while we were constructing a family of styrofoam cup people, Lily became determined to add a dog to the mix.

The family was us. I’m the one with the long red hair. The dog she wanted me to create was supposed to be our dog Lumpy. I couldn’t figure out how to accomplish this. The cups just looked wrong as a dog. I’d been saving an egg carton to make caterpillars, but I couldn’t figure out how to make one look like a dog without a nose sticking out. So I anchored the bottom of a styrofoam cup to the egg carton to make… a pig.

Crap, it looked just like a pig when it was supposed to be a dog. What now? Well, I thought, maybe it would look more like a dog after I covered in it tissue paper.

Nope. Still a pig.

So then I decided to give it some dog ears. I tried to make big floppy dog ears out of tissue paper, but Lily got upset because Lumpy doesn’t have big floppy dog ears. He has little folded triangle ears that he’s shy about showing in pictures.

So I made little floppy triangle ears and…

Pig. I mean, there’s no way that’s not a pig. If I had covered it in pink, you’d all be in awe over what a brilliant pig sculptor I am. Too bad it’s supposed to be a dog.

I apologized to Lily that I didn’t know how to make a dog and she said “It’s ok, Mommy, we can pretend it’s Lumpy. It looks like a pig, but it’s Lumpy.” And I was overly proud of her considering her recent inability to see pretend like her decorated cereal box was a bat cave.

I added a pom pom to the pig’s Lumpy’s nose in an attempt to make it look more dog-like, but he’s still a dead-on for a pig.


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