Weekends Are For Crotcheting

Weekends are for recycling (or upcycling) old material and clothing into a fun new crotchet rag rug.

It’s far from being done yet, but I got a good start on it.

What have you worked on this weekend??

Rejoicing in the journey-
Bethany Stedman

If you like this post please consider buying me a cup of tea (Suggested: $3 a cup)

Nurturing Creativity in Children

Todays post is from my friend, Kara. I met Kara a few years ago in Prague and knew right away that we needed to be friends – She’s a photographer, a foodie who’s interested in health and nutrition, a world traveler, and she practices yoga. Kara has spent the last year living in the states and is currently working on moving back to Prague. I will be looking forward to seeing her there soon!

Happy child with painted hands

(Photo from Foundationphasewales.com)
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ~ Pablo Picasso
Children have an endless supply of creative energy. I see it when my nieces originate their own songs and dance moves; when my friend’s son takes a stack of white paper and a pencil and writes his own adventure stories. Children can make something out of nothing. Because they don’t care what people think they can authentically explore their uniqueness. I wish I had the imagination I did when I was 5!
As we grow up it seems that in our (American) culture, imagination and creativity are seen as childish and therefore we need to “grow up” and “live in reality”. Personally, I am passionate about art and allowing imagination and creativity to grow and I have my own mother to thank for that.
I grew up with an incredibly artistic and talented mother. She was born and raised in New York City and spent much of her childhood attending ballets, Broadway, piano and guitar lessons and spent her evenings writing poetry. Naturally, from the time I was very young she instilled a deep desire to explore my creative side and not feel pressured to think only “inside the box”.
If you want to encourage your child’s creativity start here:
Remember that creativity is not just a project or after school distraction. Encourage your kids to see the value in art. Take them to a museum, a gallery, a cooking demonstration. Allow them to witness others living out their unique talents. Ask the right questions. Find what kind of art your children like and take the time to explore that with them.
As an artist, I can say that I need my space in order to create. As much as you want to encourage your child, don’t hover or feel the need to monitor at all times. Allow them a safe environment to explore. Honestly, they don’t need us to tell them how to draw, build or design something. If anything, we can learn so much more by watching them! Also, refrain from giving judgment or too much critique. Remember that art is as unique as people are, and despite how you may want to react, your child needs to feel that what they offer to the art world holds value. Love them for their willingness to try, not the end result.
Offer guidance in whatever ways you can. If you enjoy cooking, bring your child into the kitchen with you and offer them the opportunity to participate. If you play an instrument, share your love of music. Whatever it may be, don’t hold back. Art is meant to be shared.
Lastly, it’s important that originality is cultivated. The greatest innovators have always been those who thought differently from the rest. Just think how different our world would be if people like The Wright Brothers, Pablo Picasso or even J.K. Rowling were not encouraged to be themselves, original and full of imagination.
To see a few young artists’ creativity, check out the International Child Art Foundation’s gallery.
Here’s a fun family art project that everyone can participate in!
Using an old toy chest, a cardboard box, etc you and spend time with your family making a family keepsake box; something to hold your mementos for years to come.  I love using recycled materials and craft supplies including glue, stencils, markers, paint, newspaper or used colored tissue paper  and gift wrap.
Get creative and cut out a variety of shapes and use lots of color! Let each family member design and contribute something that expresses who they are. The best part is deciding what to include in the keepsake box. My family has placed old movie ticket stubs, vacation photos, souvenirs, foreign money, music CDs that we all like, anything that reminds of quality time together. Ours even has a jar of sand and a small sombrero from a trip to Mexico. Take pictures of your family during this project and use those as the first memento to go in the box!

(Photo from Foundationphasewales.com)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Children have an endless supply of creative energy. I see it when my nieces originate their own songs and dance moves; when my friend’s son takes a stack of white paper and a pencil and writes his own adventure stories. Children can make something out of nothing. Because they don’t care what people think they can authentically explore their uniqueness. I wish I had the imagination I did when I was 5!

As we grow up it seems that in our (American) culture, imagination and creativity are seen as childish and therefore we need to “grow up” and “live in reality”. Personally, I am passionate about art and allowing imagination and creativity to grow and I have my own mother to thank for that.

I grew up with an incredibly artistic and talented mother. She was born and raised in New York City and spent much of her childhood attending ballets, Broadway, piano and guitar lessons and spent her evenings writing poetry. Naturally, from the time I was very young she instilled a deep desire to explore my creative side and not feel pressured to think only “inside the box”.

If you want to encourage your child’s creativity start here:

  • Remember that creativity is not just a project or after school distraction. Encourage your kids to see the value in art. Take them to a museum, a gallery, a cooking demonstration. Allow them to witness others living out their unique talents. Ask the right questions. Find what kind of art your children like and take the time to explore that with them.
  • As an artist, I can say that I need my space in order to create. As much as you want to encourage your child, don’t hover or feel the need to monitor at all times. Allow them a safe environment to explore. Honestly, they don’t need us to tell them how to draw, build or design something. If anything, we can learn so much more by watching them! Also, refrain from giving judgment or too much critique. Remember that art is as unique as people are, and despite how you may want to react, your child needs to feel that what they offer to the art world holds value. Love them for their willingness to try, not the end result.
  • Offer guidance in whatever ways you can. If you enjoy cooking, bring your child into the kitchen with you and offer them the opportunity to participate. If you play an instrument, share your love of music. Whatever it may be, don’t hold back. Art is meant to be shared.
  • Lastly, it’s important that originality is cultivated. The greatest innovators have always been those who thought differently from the rest. Just think how different our world would be if people like The Wright Brothers, Pablo Picasso or even J.K. Rowling were not encouraged to be themselves, original and full of imagination.

To see a few young artists’ creativity, check out the International Child Art Foundation’s gallery.

Here’s a fun family art project that everyone can participate in!

Using an old toy chest, a cardboard box, etc you and spend time with your family making a family keepsake box; something to hold your mementos for years to come.  I love using recycled materials and craft supplies including glue, stencils, markers, paint, newspaper or used colored tissue paper  and gift wrap.

Get creative and cut out a variety of shapes and use lots of color! Let each family member design and contribute something that expresses who they are. The best part is deciding what to include in the keepsake box. My family has placed old movie ticket stubs, vacation photos, souvenirs, foreign money, music CDs that we all like, anything that reminds of quality time together. Ours even has a jar of sand and a small sombrero from a trip to Mexico. Take pictures of your family during this project and use those as the first memento to go in the box!

Copy of P1060925webKara is a believer in living life creatively and holistically. Her passion for art has led her on many adventures through the years and she now enjoys sharing her creative gifts with aspiring young artists. Kara’s interest in a holistic lifestyle was fueled after years of being frustrated with traditional, Western medicine which caused her to step into the world ofalternative medicine. Shortly after making a few basic changes to her lifestyle, she saw results and now feels empowered to share with others the benefits of preventative, natural medicine. Her personal goal is to live as physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy and thriving as possible, 100% of the time and encourage others to do the same. You can follow her thoughts and travels at her blog: karabess.wordpress.com

If you like this post please consider buying me a cup of tea (Suggested: $3 a cup)

My Kitchen’s a Mess But My Bread Basket is Full

“I can’t do it all.” The words sound like a broken record rolling off my tongue – I’ve heard them so often – I’ve said them so often.

IMG_5116I am fully aware of the fact that I can’t do it all. I have heard it time and time again. I know that we are finite and our time is finite. But, why do I still feel guilty when I can’t get it all done? Why do I still feel guilty when my kitchen is a mess and there are toys all over my living room, even when I baked all morning and my bread basket is full?

Even though I know that I can’t do it all, I still WANT to do it all. I still hate that I can’t do it all and every day I fight against my own limitations. I fight to try. I know that I can’t do it all but I still try to do it all – some days I even plan to do it all. I plan on doing the dishes, picking up the house, getting all the laundry done, making three healthy homemade meals, taking care of my son, spending time with my husband, reading and commenting on blogs, writing blogs, responding to emails, working on the book I’m writing, watering the plants, and on and on and on. Instead of accepting my limitations, embracing them and striving for the attainable, I put everything imaginable on my to-do list and strive for the unachievable. I sabotage myself.

And then when the dishes don’t get done, I haven’t showered in three days, and the laundry isn’t finished I get depressed. I feel like a failure. I am flooded with guilt. And with the guilt comes hopelessness. When I begin to focus on all that I have NOT accomplished I become overwhelmed and paralyzed, and I forget to focus on all that I HAVE accomplished.IMG_5114

What if instead of focusing on my failures I began to focus on my successes? If focusing on the fact that I didn’t do the dishes today (or most of this week) brings guilt, would focusing on my successes (however small they may be) bring encouragement and motivation? If focusing on my failures makes me feel hopeless, would focusing on my little triumphs make me feel hopeful? That’s what I need today and good dose of HOPE. Do you?

So here’s my little list of successes for today:

  • I made sourdough zucchini and apple muffins
  • I made meatball subs for dinner completely from scratch (I made the bread, sauce and meatballs)
  • I went to the post office
  • I went to the BIO store (Czech version of a health food store)
  • I made the bed
  • I spent yet another day nursing my baby on demand and playing, reading and singing with him
  • I spent time with my husband and had some really nice talks with him about life and work
  • I read a few blog posts
  • I talked with my mom for a bit and made some plans for our trip back to the states this summer
  • I wrote this blog and took these pictures

IMG_5113Ok, maybe it’s not that much, but it’s something. I can’t do it all, but I can do some things. I choose today to focus on the things I have accomplished instead of focusing on my failures. I’m not a bad homemaker, just an imperfect one – but aren’t we all?

What were your little triumphs and successes today?

Rejoicing in the journey –
Bethany Stedman

This post has been entered in the Mom’s 30 Minute Blog Challenge carnival at Steady Mom. Check out the link for lots of other great posts.

If you like this post please consider buying me a cup of tea (Suggested: $3 a cup)