Over the years, I’ve been blogging about people who I have found fascinating with their creativity, and I would like to highlight some of those posts here, to inspire you to continue to work on your creative projects.
For years, I thought that I needed permission or approval to do something creative. Not sure why. I would jot down ideas, keep a million plots for books twisted in my brain, have a shelf of half-completed projects in my house, but I didn’t finish them, and I certainly didn’t show any one anything. Then, two amazing people inspired me. My sister, who started a writing group and kept saying, “what are you working on?” I was in awe at her ability to just work. She said to me, “Ryss, if you need permission, then I give you permission to do projects.” I LOVE her for that. The second was a talk by [then] President Dieter F. Uchtdorf who wrote a talk called “Happiness, Your Heritage” in October 2008. It inspired me at a time when I needed a creative outlet more than anything else in this world.
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Happiness, Your Heritage,” October 2008.
Check out these great reads and I hope that you begin to create today!
And a final word on creation and this post, is our new tagline (that my middle daughter thought of for this site) –
Creating with my daughters has been enjoyable, but now that they are older – WOW! This is getting good. Stay tuned!
Just in time for Easter, and the COVID-19 Quarantine (and to break our World-wide fast), I thought it would be really neat to bring up this post (originally from 2011) on how to make those GIANT SUGAR EASTER EGGS, you know the kind that you can look into and see a whole world inside. My daughter is going to try this and we will post the results on Instagram.
Just a couple of notes:
The original post follows and the recipe for the Homemade Sugar Easter Egg is at the bottom.
Please post your picture of your sugar egg in the comments or tag us on social media so we can see!!
My husband’s amazingly creative Aunt Susan and her daughters made Easter eggs this year for my mother-in-law. Not just any Easter eggs, mind you, but the beautiful, sugar, peek inside to another world kind of egg.
I read a book about a sugar egg like that when I was little and it made such an impression on me. The book was called, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward
Those eggs are seriously cool!
So, Aunt Susan graciously gave permission to write about her AND sent her recipe to share. (She’s one of those women that blow you away with her abilities and talents!)
Maybe we should have a contest next Easter… 🙂
SUGAR EGG RECIPE
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp Wilton Meringue Powder
Placed sugar in large mixing bowl. For extra strength, or if you live in an area that has high humidity, add 2 tsp meringue powder to mixture. Mix sugar so there are no lumps in it. Make a well in sugar, then add water. Rub mixture between your hands & knead for about 1 minute or until well-blended & mixture packs like wet sand. Makes 1 large egg, 2 medium eggs or 3 small eggs. (These are SOLID eggs without scooping out the sugar to hollow them. You can reuse the scooped out sugar to make more eggs so you’ll get more than what is stated.)
To tint sugar:
Add icing color to water. Add color sparingly; lightly tinted sugar makes the prettiest decorations. Mix until color & sugar are well-blended. I usually just make mine white then make it colorful by adding the decorations to it.
HOW TO MAKE HOLLOW SUGAR EGGS (Note – I use the sugar I scoop out of the eggs to make more eggs.)
*Dust mold with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Pack sugar mixture into half egg mold, pressing firmly with heel of hand.
*To remove excess sugar, hold metal spatula at 45* angle to egg mold and scrape off excess sugar.
*Unmold at once by placing cardboard circle over mold and turning mold upside down. To loosen mold, tap top of mold with spatula. Carefully lift mold off.
This is what I do – cut the narrow end of the egg of both halves about 1 – 1 1/2 inches. This is what will make your opening to see your display inside the egg. You can keep this part of the sugar to reuse – just keep it covered with a damp cloth.
*Let egg dry for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then carefully pick egg half up holding it in palm of hand. Do not squeeze or move egg while it’s in your hand or it will crack.
*Use a spoon to gently scoop out soft sugar following the contour of the egg. Smooth inside & opening of egg with your fingers. You can keep this sugar, just put it in a bowl & keep covered with a damp cloth. Then reuse it to make more sugar eggs.
*Place egg right side up (so hollowed part can dry) on cardboard to finish drying for about 24 hours.
DECORATING SUGAR EGGS
Decorate the inside of your egg putting decorations in with royal frosting. Then put top & bottom of eggs together with royal frosting carefully handling the halves. Decorate the outside with royal frosting & decorations. Let dry. To store during the year, put in a box that has no light & keep in a cool place.
ROYAL FROSTING RECIPE
3 Tbs Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs warm water
Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 min at low speed with a heavy duty mixer or 10-12 min at high speed with a hand-held mixer. Makes 3 cups.
NOTE: I make my own flowers by coloring the royal frosting & making drop flowers on wax paper night before until they are dry & hard. Make plenty, they do store well if not used. I have even made little chickens before but haven’t done rabbits yet.
Again, we invite you to please post your picture of your sugar egg in the comments or tag us on social media so we can see!!
Check out these posts:
So, we are doing a grand re-boot to Tamarack Idea Factory – and what better time than during the quarantine time during COVID-19? Actually, these plans have been underway for a while. As my daughters have grown, they have been more and more excited about my creative projects and have begun to do some of their own. Now, instead of just a blog to celebrate creative ideas of people, homes, and families, we are working on some creative projects as well.
Jillian, my oldest is working on a Pop-up Bracelet Shop both as a school project, but also to earn funds for an iPad so that she can do more of her artwork. She’s also a phenomenal artist, musician, and cake baker/decorator.
Sofia, my second daughter is in a video production class at her school, is working on a novel, and is learning to knit. She is artistic, creative, an actress and is so great at creative play with younger kids. She will be posting her creative ideas on this blog.
Ruby, my youngest (pictured with some of her art) is deeply into seeing what creative concoctions she can make – imagine with me absolute quiet coming from the bathroom (so I know that something is up). When I enter, she has been mixing soap, shampoo, perfume, etc. to create a homemade brew of exotic smells. And that explosion of creativity continues with clay, chalk, paint, food, art – anything she can get her hands on. Just listen for quiet and you know that she is up to something BIG.
As for me, I have been keeping busy juggling work, family, and trying to write and create when and where I can. (More on that another time). For now, please consider supporting Jillian’s Shop. or enjoying some of these creative ideas while you are in quarantine.
Check out some of these great posts –
Homemade Books – A fun idea with old pictures, drawings etc.
Notebooks – why this worked, I can only attribute to the creativity in children, because they worked on this for HOURS!
No Budget Birthday Bash – So, a challenge from this post: you’re a creative person – create a party or a game ONLY with what you have in the house – you cannot buy anything.
When to follow and when to fly free! – another challenge from this one: do an art project with your kids and just let them do WHATEVER they want with the materials. You will be so surprised as you allow them to do this over time how honed their work and style get because of the practice!
Old Scrapbooking Items – Okay, here is a fun challenge for the quarantine that goes along with this post – what do you have that you can let your kids “go to town” on (aka be creative with)? Old sewing, crafting, knitting projects? Stamping sets? Jewelry making supplies? Come on, you haven’t done anything with those supplies in a long time, and your kids/grandkids are cooped up! Let them have something to do. Open up your treasures – they will be in HEAVEN, and you may find some peace during this really crazy time.
Please consider sharing the creative things that you have been doing while at home during this time. And enjoy the possibilities that are coming with this very unusual season!
We’re listening to an Army band playing a summer concert in a park. Right now they are playing a suite from Spielberg’s ET. It’s so fantastic. Makes me want to fly. Love John Williams. Love our military and our wonderful country that allows for so much creativity and ingenuity!!!
It’s just been a beautiful, fun, family day and as geeky as it is, I just wanted to celebrate families on this Fourth of July. Hope you have a great holiday!!!
What makes you happy in the summer?
One of the things that I admire most about my sister (and there are a lot of things) is that she has a TOTAL mother-heart. She and her hubby LOVE their family and they love to be together, which is wonderful, but can be problematic when you are trying to make your artistic dreams come true! Both she and her husband are incredibly creative people. Fiona writes novels and has a theater background (including acting, writing and directing) and is amazingly musical (songs just pop into her mind – wow!) Bret is an artist, I mean everything that the man touches turns into art! He does photography, draws, writes poetry, and is very musical. As a married couple, each has supported the other in their aspirations – he has a band, she a writing career.
But recently, they came up with a BRILLIANT idea. What would happen if they created together? What if they involved the whole family in creating together? That way they could work on their dreams, talents, and passions, but have family fun as well (and teach the kids valuable lessons about creativity). The solution? The Bret and Fiona Show. It’s a YouTube family comedy sketch show. They involve everyone, create original songs, write and produce, film and edit. It’s truly amazing to think about how much those kids are going to learn about the creative process!!!
Here’s their first season –
1. Family Band: in which Bret quits his job in order to start a family band.
2. We Have Cookies: in which Bret is unable to get his job back, but finds a silver lining in a bad situation.
3. Fiona Strikes Back: in which Fiona uses her musical ability to slap some sense into Bret.
4. The Mommy List: in which Fiona goes back to work and leaves Bret in charge of the home.
5. Staycation: in which Bret can’t stand being a stay-at-home dad and moves the family into a hotel.
6. Travel Agent: in which Fiona loses her job and only writing a song can bring her out of her sadness.
I put in my favorite videos, although they’re all fun and there are some holiday special songs as well. Check out all of their shows through the links above.
It led me to think for a long time about what I could do with my girls. What would be a creative activity that we could all do together? One that will be fun, teach them some skills, help us to learn to work together, and fit into our time and money budgets – but most importantly be something that I am passionate about creating. I think I’ve come up with the right fit, which I will write about soon.
What about you? What can you and your family to create together? With summer coming up, this is the perfect time to do something wonderful together!
Yes, that’s my children’s legacy! As my cousin once said, this is one in “a long line of sub-par theatrical productions”. We did plays, my mother’s family did in-home musical concerts, and I’m sure way back, there were theatrical productions by the pioneer players!
Just like the March girls putting on productions in Little Women my children seem to put on plays when they’re with their cousins. It’s wonderful!
Here are some shots at my in-law’s house of their last play –
What do you need to get all of this fun in your life?
Finally, my favorite part is to see all of the cute creative touches. Check out my favorite one from this last performance –
What’s the point of all of this?
and at the very least –
What shows do your kids do? Let me know in the comments.
This is just a reminder to my daughter that together, we can rock school projects!! Every time we work in a school project, she FREAKS because whatever we are doing is not how she pictures it in her head. The problem is, we usually can’t recreate what’s in her head because we usually don’t have the supplies to make “life size dolls” and “what-not”. So we have to use what’s available.
This week’s assignment was to make a shoebox type float (a miniature float for a parade) about the county in our state that she was assigned. Here is the rubric – She got Salt Lake county. She wanted to get something professionally store bought. The problem is, there aren’t a lot of SL county floats in the local stores. 😉 Then she wanted to build the whole thing out of Legos or put the float on wheels. (Great ideas, but we didn’t have the time or the supplies!) So, she was forced to use what we have at home (plus some styrofoam that I got at Walmart for $3).
And here is her float –
That’s one happy fourth grader!!
What school projects are you doing?
I have been so impressed by Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Dolls (see the video below) –
I especially loved the looks on the girl’s faces as they held and played with their dolls. One of the girls said, “They kind of look like they’re the same age as you,” and you could see that in their play. I think that the innocence of childhood is so beautiful and should be protected and nurtured. While I do prepare my children for the world that they live in, I am very careful in the way that I prepare them. I have had a very hard time choosing dolls for them and the girls and I have gone the rounds about which toys I’ll buy. In fact, I fell in love with Fanny, by Hollie Hobbie for that very reason, (see this post on my book review).
Sonia talked about the fact that her intention wasn’t to make a statement about the sexualization of girl’s toys, but as her work has become viral, it has created a debate and I believe that part of that is, as her husband said, “They really look lovely this way.” It’s true. There is a sweetness to the dolls. And, it does reflect a choice that the toy manufacturers are making. Based on at least some of the debate (and many of the mothers out there) it seems that a lot more people would also like to have dolls that are sweet and simple. I do love American Girl Dolls for that reason, but they are quite expensive, and this is a great way to save the expense, create, and teach some valuable lessons all at once.
It’s clear that Sonia’s main purpose was to make a statement about upcycling and reusing (as evidenced in her own words, but also in the name that she chose for the company). I am struck by the message that she has given both about choice and about creativity. Knowing that she can’t become a doll manufacturer on the scale of a toy company, she runs an etsy store and has created some videos encouraging others to create their own dolls. On her tumbler site, she encourages others to create saying,
I encourage others to recycle and upcylce old dolls and toys. Do it yourself, do it with friends, do it with children and others in your family, do it with strangers. There are so many plastic dolls already made that could still be played with and could inspire the creative minds of children with a little attention and creativity.
She also points others to some Do It Yourself videos on how to do a doll “makeunder”. The first is on how to remove the paint and change the face of the dolls –
and then she has one on what to do about missing feet and/or shoes, that one uses chemicals and is not recommended for children, but is interesting to watch –
I am so edified by this! I sometimes forget that I still have a choice and can fix the things that I don’t like in the world. We can change our clothes, toys, media, etc. and create things that are uplifting and wholesome in the world around us. Thank you Sonia for such a brilliant idea and for encouraging others to create as well!
So, two weeks ago, I wrote a post about summer creativity. Read it here. My girls went crazy after I showed it to them and they created an arcade of their own. They were busy for days. They created a bottle ring toss, a claw game in which you could win jewelry, an egg-carton game, and a few others (5 or 6 total). They found prizes from our thrift store pile, made tokens, and wrote out rules. Everyday, they asked me to put it up on Facebook so that they could have a “grand opening”. But, I kept putting it off.
One of my daughters, who is a total organizational/neat freak, decided that now (two weeks later) it was old news and has disassembled everything. (The other daughter didn’t mind, because her attention span is short).
The Arcade did have one day of fun though. My sister’s kids came and played with it for an afternoon and they all seemed to have an AMAZING time.
A word of caution, don’t wait too long. Kids grow. Kids loose interest.
But kids are also inventive, loving, and very forgiving. It is not too late to enjoy their childhood. Remember Stephen R. Covey’s metaphor of Emotional Bank Accounts (or EBAs)? He writes –
Remember the emotional bank account—similar to a bank account, you can make deposits or withdrawals from each of your family relationships. Make a conscious effort to make meaningful deposits in your relationships. When you make a withdrawal, apologize and correct the mistake.
See more on his blog here.
It reminds me of the 1957 song, Turn Around
Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two,
Turn around and you’re four,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.
So, I am sorry that I didn’t get pictures of the creativity. I am sorry that I didn’t follow through, but we will have more fun. Right now, I’m making this post is short so that we can hatch up new schemes of summer creativity. What are you doing with your children this summer?
Recently I ran across “the Dad that draws on sandwich bags,” David Laferriere, a designer and illustrator who creates art with a sharpie and a ziploc baggie, so that everyday when his kids open their lunches at school, they are met with something amazing!
In the video, he stated that “it was a way to kick-start his creative juices in the morning” which is such a win-win! Be creative, show love to the kids, become listed as one of the world’s greatest Dads. NICE!
My first thought today is, “in what ways can I creatively show my kids that I love them?” I know that whenever my Mom sent me a note in my school lunch, I relished it. Just a simple little, “Have a lovely day, my treasure. XOXO, Mummy” (My mom has a British background. 😉 ).
I am more of a mediocre artist, so as I studied this amazing Dad, I began to think about things that I like to do creatively and how I could use those creative juices in a way that would show my love? Kids are excited when they are the center of attention. What a great way to bond with them. I decided to pull out the old (and some new) poems that I wrote about them when they were toddlers, dust them off, add a layer of polish and see if it will make them smile. Here’s one –
Ruby in her red galoshes
In the wet and mud she sploshes,
In the tub when she washes,
At the table, munch and moshes.
Sploshes, washes, moshes –
Ruby loves her red galoshes!
Ruby spies pink glitter slippers,
Though this time she is much hipper,
As the shoe is much, much quicker,
And it matches the skirt with zippers.
Hipper, quicker, zipper –
Ruby loves pink glitter slippers.
Ruby spies the green high heel
Now, this is the real deal!
Matches it with a dress of teal,
Twirls and she gives a squeal!
Deal, teal, squeal –
Ruby loves mom’s big high heels.
Okay, it’s silly, I know. But there are a couple of things I want to say here about creation.
Why do we doubt our abilities? (Ok, maybe I’m making that statement too general. Maybe you are different and everything that you do is amazing. If so, that’s awesome! Ride that pony, keep creating!) For the rest of us … I’ve noticed something about a lot of my students. When I push the ones that have undeclared majors on what they would really like to study, they usually say something like interior design, or cooking. But they blush and say it under their breath.
Why is that, I wonder? I’m not judging them for cooking. I’m not thinking “How dare you want to major in cooking! Go back to the social status that you were born into – to be a stable boy. Your father was a stable boy, your grandfather was a stable boy, and so shall you be. There will be no dreams here …” It’s not happening. Usually, I’m wondering if somewhere there will be a pastry in it for me. 😉
When I went to college, I finally got the courage to take a few creative writing classes (which I reveled in) and some theater classes (which I loved almost equally). But, I was too scared to major in creative writing or theater. I’m happy with the path that my life went on, but I counsel everyone to study what they love. You will excel when you are doing what you love, not what just what you think will make money, because if you hate it when you’re doing it, you won’t make money in it anyway. Yes, you know that I’m right on this. Just think about “that” doctor at the clinic that no one wants to go to because he/she is a misery to be around.
For those of us who already have a path (college degree, work, family, etc.), practice your creative dreams! Practice on your children, who think the world of you, anyway (especially if you create for or with them). Practice on a blog that mom and only your most loyal friends will read. Dare yourself to perform at an open mic night, or a community play (you can pull off that English accent!) Practice on sandwich bags, or soccer fields as a coach (where you can create those magic plays that only you can dream up). But most importantly, engage your children with you in your creativity. It will give you opportunities to bond, to talk, to dream together. Each of my older daughters is now writing a book, as in “Mom, can I borrow the computer? I have to work on my book.” Then we read our writing to each other and discuss plot, character, settings, etc.
Maybe in doing this we and our children will become creators rather than just consumers, (that’s a win for kids who are glued to devices all day!) Maybe we can get closer to that child who is having a hard time. Maybe we can gain courage in our abilities and talents. Maybe we could be able to have that spark of inspiration fill our souls a little every day. Now, that would be awesome!