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