Monday, 29 April 2019

An Accidental Journey Into Mindfulness

© Melissa Gaggiano
We had a true Autumn weekend. The world was grayish and we mostly stayed indoors. It was not a lost weekend, as we happily disappeared into the land of clay sculpting.

Inspired by the Japanese stories we've been following (Spirited Away, TotoroKamisama Kiss and even the game Breath of the Wild) we made prayer statues. It wasn't something that we planned on. It was one of those activities that happened organically.

The books we read, and films we watch have a way of reaching into our creative hearts. In turn the things we make reflect those ideas and images. It's a beautiful process.

Now we have a number of prayer statues around the home. There is even one in the garden. The youngest visited her prayer statue, right before school started, and I watched her passionately say a silent prayer. It was then my realization that this clay project quite by accident became a journey into mindfulness.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Play Clay, Hey!

© Melissa Gaggiano

The past six months we have been composting, and fantastically it really has cut back so much garbage waste. To give you an idea: before composting, on average we were going through 2-3 bin bags a week; Now we are averaging 1 bin bag a week.

In lots of tiny little things we find ways to save and reuse materials which would otherwise make it's way to the bin. For instance, the Big Bunny has recently been visiting and done his annual dump... of foil covered chocolate eggs. I have this funny habit of balling up the foil while eating said chocolate. And wouldn't you know it, I got the idea that these balls/cubes of foil could be used for beading. So guess what we're saving from the rubbish pile this year.

We love playing with felt. As materials go it's perfect for everyone regardless of what you're sewing skills are. It doesn't fray, is generally speaking tough stuff, and comes in so many cheery, bright colors.

My youngest will often be in the mood for sewing. Out comes the felt box and off she goes whipping together a jacket and pants (pictured above: I wish this came in my size.).

A huge part of the creative construction in my home has been centered on what can be done with paper and fabric. For some time my youngest has wanted to get more into clay exploration. So this week we finally made that happen with air drying clay (bought from Riot Art).

Our approach to clay play is the same for any other craft medium, which is fairly unstructured: Make what you want to make. If it doesn't work, try a different approach. If it still doesn't work, we'll superglue the broken bits later. I find the kids are more likely to persist if someone's not critiquing the crap out of their development. Having said that, some of the things that the kids want to make can turn into a collaborative event – this is when they want/need a little guidance. It's good for me too, just sitting with them, crafting away at something. We're creating memories together.

Right now I've got the clay pieces fast drying on heater vents. The clay will be ready to paint when school is out.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Bunny + Egg = Buggy

© Melissa Gaggiano

The Easter weekend arrived, and there were some last minute crafting activities.

I blew an egg, and turned it into a bunny. The knack is to not pop your eardrums in the process. The kids loved the result, and wanted to make their own.

We had a grand plan to attend a public Easter egg hunt, but holy bunny-egg, you should have seen the queue. The kids were a bit disappointed that didn't happen, but when we got home I hid the chocolate merchandise so they could find it 'again'.

For the egg hunt I made the kids Easter baguettes. I used felt, craft glue, needle, thread, scissors and a sewing machine. Technically these bags were a draft. Got it on the first go! 

© Melissa Gaggiano
© Melissa Gaggiano
© Melissa Gaggiano

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Cardcaptor Sakura Bunny Slippers + Other Wee Wonders

Yesterday afternoon the Autumn sun shone through the canopy with her golden highlights. This time of year it feels like golden hour all day.

Taking advantage of the sunshine window, the little one and I set up our craft gear outside. And we had a... crafternoon!

The little one made bunny faces, a fish, and a flower.

While I made a miniature bear slipper. I was inspired by Sakura's bedroom slippers, from Cardcaptor Sakura.
Cardcaptor Sakura

I had recently had an extended break from 'making' as my back muscles were not coping. I was experiencing chronic shoulder and neck issues. I'm recovering, and doing exercises to develop the back muscles. And yesterday marked the first time I had sewn something since my issues became chronic. It was physically difficult, but good for the soul.

This morning I made a second slipper so the Sakura bear slippers are now a pair. I also made a pattern, so that I can make more of these in future. The slippers would make cute charms, and they'd be perfect for dolls feet.