Wednesday, November 25, 2009

book week: Amanda Soule's Handmade Home

I'd like to tell you that Tsia and I made this paper mache bowl together as a family project the way Amanda Soule does with her children, and the way she intended it to be done in her book, Handmade Home. But I have a confession to make: I got a little carried away and completely took over this project.

You see, we started out doing the paper mache part together, but Tsia decided the paste was too messy and she didn't want to get her hands sticky. So we compromised, and I did the pasting while she handed me the strips of newspaper as I needed them. We did lots of chatting during this time together, but the crafting was being done my Mom, not kid and Mom. (I was expecting her to really get involved in this part--any tips for overcoming the goopy factor?)

Well, once I got this involved in making the bowl, a vision emerged and I knew exactly how I wanted "our" finished bowl to look. I thought it would be really pretty if we covered the outside of the bowl with brown craft paper and then painted the inside a bright color. So of course when it came time to paint the inside I wanted a neat edge (that was part of my vision, after all!), which meant that I had to paint the top portion and Tsia was left to paint only the bottom (under my very close supervision).

And then I just had to touch it up a bit. But I didn't get too weird about it, did I? Oh no, not me. I mean, at least we spent time together while I got my obsessive-compulsive groove on, right? Or that's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

The instructions for making the bowl and the recipe for the paper mache paste are both in the book, and I really had no idea how simple it is to make the paste! Tsia and I are still marveling that our bowl is made out of only paper, flour, water and salt. Sounds almost edible, doesn't it? Oh, except for the paint. But that's it!

Anyway, I admire Amanda's dedication to her family and the crafting she does with her kids. They spend lots of time creating and exploring and just being together. I admire Handmade Home for inspiring us all to spend time making things together, being together, and making things that will be useful when we spend time together as a family.

For our next project I'll try to loosen up a bit on the control aspect. Maybe we'll do a little repurposing, the way Amanda encourages you to in the book, and make something that we can do together.

Without getting our hands too messy, that is.


  1. I got a little carried away and completely took over this project.

    I do that all the time and it makes me feel like a bad parent. Nice bowl, though.

  2. Laura9:38 AM

    My daughter wouldn't do paper mache at that age either...she hated both the goop and the newpaper. Along with one other child, she refused to help her kindergarten class make a paper mache cow--fortunately the teacher was fine with it. The teacher just gave them other things to do, as you did with Tsia. After a year or so my daughter was more able to deal with messy hands, but it has only been recently (she's 12) that she has been able to handle newspaper!
    Giving up the vision/control to your daughter is harder, but it will come with practice. Good luck with that!

  3. Marina9:38 AM

    Me too! I feel so guilty about it, but I can't seem to let a project go and be just about the process. Other people's homes are filled with messy kid art proudly displayed - it looks wonderful and tells me their kids are getting more freedom to experiment than mine.

  4. Thank you for this post! It's nice to know that I'm not alone in how I feel when trying to craft with my son. I told my mother-in-law that we would make place cards for Thanksgiving dinner -- which seemed like a cute idea at the time. I tried but it was just too messy (paint!) and it wasn't what I envisioned. Maybe I'll try again this afternoon and let go of my own ideas.

    You did make a beautiful bowl!

  5. We made stiff fabric ghosts ( Halloween. I thought my kids would love helping, but the 'goop' factor got to them, and they ended up helping with everything *but* the goopy part. *sigh*

    I'm terribly OCD about crafting sometimes also, so I've had to do my own version of the project beside them so as not to micromanage their project. lol

  6. If you really *want* to get Tsia to embrace the goop-factor, I'd suggest starting out with some baking projects because there the goop is tasty. You can cream your butter and sugar by hand, or knead bread, or just lick the cake batter bowl clean with your fingers.

    Or have her help you make a big, pretty, clothing-saving smock.

  7. This absolutely cracked me up - this is me all over except mostly I don't pretend we are going to do it together, I try and furtively do craft by myself and then get caught!!

  8. I'm glad I'm not the only one...great story Liesl!

  9. Hahahahaha! That is so me. And now I want to make a bowl JUST like yours (alone). It's gorgeous!

  10. it is very easy to get the "control" on. as my older girls get older, i tend to walk away so that I don't unintentionally take over. on friday my oldest daughter made things out of kitchen clay and they turned out lovely. when they are done she wants to paint them. I look forward to seeing the final project. She complained about the dough a bit though because of the texture, it can get sticky etc and some kids just don't like that.