Iris or Inkblot?

Iris Inkblot

Is it a smushed iris or Rorschach Inkblot test?

This smushed iris turned into a Rorschach test as my 4-year-old told me that it looked like a bug. Yet another Valentine’s day craft I did with the kids to create sachets for the cousins. This craft is great because it’s so simple:

arrange flowers on muslin and tape with masking tape

Placing the Flowers Tape the flowers

flip over and smash with hammer

Smash flowers Peel back

The flower pigments bleed through the muslin in neat patterns. I then outlined the flower pigments with a permanent marker.

Any craft that involves smashing rather than precision is fun for adults and kids alike!

The flower pounding idea comes from an HGTV quilting show I saw a few years ago. These directions explain how to prepare the fabric for dying, which I honestly didn’t do, so I’ll be interested to see if the flowers fade much.

After we made the flower prints, I cut and sewed them into heart-shape pillows before filling them with fresh-smelling herbs like parsley, rosemary, lavender and peppermint.

Herb station

The local health food store has a wall o’ herbs and spices in jars so you can smell them before you buy them, and then purchase a pinch or a pound. I could spend all day opening the jars and smelling the herbs. We went through a lot of mustard seed. It doesn’t have much of a scent by my little person loved the way it looked I guess, so she wanted lots. I set her up with jars and bowls and spoons and she made a huge mess mixing herbs.

Valentine Sachets

After we stuffed them with the herbs, I sewed them up and hot glued some ribbons to them. I made one for my nephew…not really a boy gift but I was at a loss. My friend Melody suggested I rename it a “stinky pillow” so boys would like it.

Finding easy-to-make crafts for boys is hard. Most books target girls and suggest you use boy-ish fabrics or colors to transform it, but they really aren’t intended for boys. Anyone know of good books out there where there is more than one craft to make for the male set?

Make It Like a 4-year-old!

Valentines 2008

Can you tell which valentines I made? My 4-year-old and I have been busy making valentines to give out at preschool. We actually create the valentines instead of buying the Dora or Transformers valentines at the store.

At this point my 4-year-old doesn’t even know you can buy pre-made valentines at the store. I’ve kept this little secret from her for two reasons: 1) Valentine-making is a great art project for the kids, something to keep them busy while I work on jewelry; and 2) I love to make valentines. Funny, since I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. My husband and I don’t do dinner, flowers or candy. We don’t even give each other cards.

But I could sit all day with scissors and red paper and make hearts.

With 20 kids in the class, that’s a lot of valentines for one little person to make. I do my part to pitch in, but I want the valentines to look like she made them. So I get to create like a 4-year-old.

Besides being just plain old fun, creating like a 4-year-old is actually a good creativity booster. No need to be perfect. Hearts can have missing parts or be lopsided. If the whole thing falls apart, put more glue on it. Now more. Now even more glue. It’s very freeing to use supplies in excess and not care if the end results with match the preconcieved notion in your head. So give it a try. In case it’s been a while since you were 4, here are some tips:

1. Put all the stickers in one spot

2. When painting, use the brightest colors you can possibly find.

3. One color is good, but 5 colors are awesome. Mix all the colors together, then paint. Who says you can’t have brown valentines?

4. Use entirely too much of everything: too much glitter, glue that covers the whole paper and seeps onto the table cloth.

5. Use enough paint to cover 10 valentines on a single heart. Let the paint run down your arm and drip on your pants. Now that’s real painting.

5. After you finish each valentine, say, “Isn’t this the most beautiful valentine you’ve ever seeeeen?”

One last tip: wear a smock and cover the table with a vinyl tablecloth. If you really get into it, things can get messy.

And, in case you were wondering, I made the valentines on the right.