Made by Joel it ain’t…

I absolutely adore those fantastic blogs that share such inspirational ideas of great things to craft with or for your kids (think ‘Made by Joel‘, ‘Inchmark‘, ‘Hip Hip Hooray‘).  In fact I’d go as far to say I have a slight addiction to said blogs.  I gaze at their beauty, gawp at their good ideas and sigh at the pretty photography.  All the time thinking how I must try harder to be perfect.

The sad reality is though that I’m not perfect (is this therapy?).  And when it comes to crafting with my kids I’m anything but.  I’ve always wanted to be good at arts and crafts and since having kids I can hardly pass a craft shop without popping in for some googly eyes or transparent paper for our bulging craft cupboard.  So the enthusiasm is there and the desire is there, so how come my shoe-box aquarium (above) looks nothing like Joel Henriques’?

Well firstly this was made with the help of Elias (aged 4) and Lioba (aged 2, who also had a tummy-ache).  The bits I did, I did whilst ensuring the glue wasn’t poured onto a little sister’s head and that the same little sister didn’t rub her eyes whilst her hands were covered in paint and glitter.

Unlike Joel’s beautiful aquarium (which I could happily live with in my house until after the kids have moved out) this aquarium will be lucky to last a week before it comes to an unfortunate end — it doesn’t fit with my ideals of interior design but the kids feel some pride in having helped make it and I feel some pride in having done something with them on a rainy afternoon.

I think the lesson I’m trying to teach myself here is … I don’t think I can live up to other peoples’ standards.  It’s unrealistic.  These people are obviously amazingly gifted and also have great natural light in their homes (I want to believe their photography is down to the luck of light in their homes rather than yet more talent!) so I won’t compare myself anymore (well for today at least).

If you would like to do a craft that doesn’t look beautiful but is super easy and your kids can get involved in then here’s what we did ….

  • Took an old show box and cut a rectangle out of the top.
  • Cut 3 slits along one (long) side of the box.
  • Used the cut out rectangle to cut out some fish (and a vague octopus).
  • Kids sploshed paint on sea-creatures whilst I painted box blue (inside and out).
  • Cut up some green felt as sea-weed (could use magazine tear-sheets, fabric, coloured paper, wrapping paper) and stuck it to the back of the aquarium.
  • dotted glue everywhere and covered everything (including non-aquarium related stuff) in glitter
  • once glue had dried on fish used pva glue and glitter to sparkle them up
  • stuck buttons on fish as eyes

NB: this is where the kids bailed out — I was amazed their interest lasted so long.

  • I then tied clear fishing line to halved lollipop sticks and threaded them through the slots so the line hung in the frame.
  • Stuck the fish to the lines with tape.
  • Put some green wool on the floor as seaweed.

Hey presto!

-Mo. x


Comments (8)

Courtney in London
January 27, 2011

Okay, I have to say… I think this might be even cuter than the one Made By Joel!! What a cute idea.
And I also agree with you that crafting with kids is not always how it appears on all the perfectly styled blogs. But some times the most basic craft projects are the best. At least my kids seem to enjoy them more if they are dead simple.

January 27, 2011

Agreed! As much as I love Joel, his doesn’t even have glitter!

And, as with all things, kids crafts included, the joy is in the journey, not the destination.

January 27, 2011

OK, I’m glad I saw this post, because this aquarium is totally cool! I love the shimmery sea weed, and button eyes. And the rope is a fantastic idea! Nice!

Also, indeed, it’s about having fun with the kids, developing creativity, and even recycling a box. So nice work!

And yes, Portland is pretty good for natural light. Usually overcast, which is perfect for photography.

Have a great day, and keep having fun!

Emilie in Paris
January 27, 2011

I think your auquarium is lovely, it looks like a lot of love went into it!

January 27, 2011

It´s beatiful and an easy idea. Thanks!

Esther in Amsterdam
January 28, 2011

Very cute, and I do think it’s perfect in every way, and so are you! x

January 28, 2011

I just read my husband this post and he said he should take a photo of our messy house this morning to make you feel better! You are sweet to mention inchmark, but perfection it aint! I just take photos of the pretty bits! (Love your aquarium.. I think my kids will love making these!)

Cris-cuadro infantil
January 28, 2011

I love all of Joel’s proposals!!! Fun & easy to make!
Thanks so much!

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