Sunday, December 13, 2009

the tale of a craft

ben and i made this wreath yesterday. toilet paper rolls painted with some leftover paint from another project. it was supposed to be a fun little easy, mindless project. supposed to be. so before you think, "oh mary, you're so creative and do such fun projects with your kids"( which is what smug internal dialogue mary told me when i came up with this idea), let me tell you what really happened.

while ben and max played with play-doh, i got the supplies out. hoping max would stay content with eating/playing with the play-doh, i called ben over. but of course, as soon as ben started painting, max lost it, wanting to paint too. not wanting to deal with a baby using acrylic paint, i tried to distract him with a paint brush and his own, very hard paper towel roll. he threw the paint brush down and hit me in the eye with the paper towel roll. max literally screamed the whole time ben painted the tp rolls that i would hold on my fingers. the first roll i helped him paint (annoyed that he wasn't painting the whole roll completely), after which i realized, i liked how it looked half painted/ben style much better. so with max screaming we persevered. ben got tired of painting them, so towards the end, i fake ben-style painted the last few rolls. but only after i cleaned off the table, where he had painted it after managing to push back the four layers of protective newspaper i had put down.

after letting the rolls dry (and calming max down) i strung them on to the jute twine, fully expecting them to make a perfect wreath circle, which i could then hang up and be done. instead, because the twine was just that-twine, it instead formed a pathetic, droopy oval. really, really annoyed and contemplating throwing the rolls into the wood burning stove, i went and found a wire hanger that i untwisted and made into a circle. after several wimpy attempts at twisting the hanger back together and unsuccessfully searching for ben's plastic pliers to aid me, i taped the ends of the hanger together with electrical tape. of course i had to unwind and re tape it three times because it still wasn't "circling" right. i finally just gave up/settled and called it good enough. i them hung it up and went to get ready for mass. a few minutes later while i was getting ready, ben was talking to me from the bottom of the stairs. when i came around the corner to hear him better, he was swinging my precious wreath around. although i didn't threaten to break his arms if he touched it again, i didn't exactly handle the moment with grace.

lessons i learned from this little easy, mindless project:

1. projects are never as simple as i think they are going to be. especially with the boys around. if it's something that i really care about the outcome, don't do it with the boys, or at least not with max around. maybe i should just stick to reading crafty blogs and be content.

2. don't be so dang smug internal dialogue mary. otherwise, real mary has to learn the humbling lessons that quiet you. when i'm tired and my brain is fried, i shouldn't try to pass the time with a multiple step art project. that's the time for some pbs and a mommy time-out.

3. learned from amykarol- if you don't like the final result of your project, leave it alone for a little while and when you come back to it, you'll be less critical of it/actually like the outcome.


  1. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person with a smug internal voice that sets unrealistic standards for me to live up. This is why my blog is completely based upon cute pictures of my kids, because many of my projects don't live up to my silly self-imposed expectations.

    The wreath is really cute, though. I do believe you have inspired me to try a project with Melanie tomorrow instead of cleaning or wrapping gifts like I should. Thank you for inspiring my delinquincy. Only time (and potential blog photos) will tell if our project will turn out as I hope or not.

  2. The final outcome is great! Ben is a very bright boy, knowing that partially covering the rolls would give them a charmingly time-worn look.

  3. You have inspired me to save the upcoming empty toilet paper rolls for more than just to keep my blow-dryer and curling iron cords tubed in. :) Does Ben want to come and show Oliver how to paint so artistically? In the meantime, Ellie and Max can entertain each other with their fits! ;)

  4. elizabeth, i'm entirely sure your interal voice is a LOT more ambitious than mine. but your hands are more capable.... : )

    julie-always so kind.

    amanda, i secretly wish i had a need (or better stated-the skillz to use) a blow dryer and a curling iron. oliver and ellie vs. ben and max would be very, very cute i imagine.