Handicrafting is something that has aways given me great satisfaction. In the busyness of bringing up a large family, I always tried to have something I could put my hands to, if only for a few minutes at a time. So much of my day was taken up with doing work that left no visible evidence at the end of the it. Working on a creative project over a period of time produced something tangible and very satisfying.
The world our children are growing up in is the world of the instant, the quick fix. I made a list one time of everything I could think of that could be made instantly. It was significantly long but \’handicrafts\’ wasn\’t on it.
As with many other things, learning and aquiring certain skills is so much easier in childhood. When my older children finished homeschooling and started studying and then working, they had less time for other things. Handicrafts were one of those things that seldom got a look in but I know the skills remain and that they will return to them later on. I used to weave but I haven\’t set up my loom since my eldest was born. But the knowledge is still there and I\’ll get back to it again. In the meantime I\’ve developed other skills that are easier to just pick up and do as I have time – quilting and patchwork at present. I started a quilt for a daughter two years ago and I\’m still working on it but I know it will be something she will treasure.
This article makes an interesting point on passive entertainment, virtual experience and the lack of true creativity: Handicraft: The Ancient Tradition of Creating Things with Your Hands
Salt Dough & Origami have been all the rage at our place lately. We haven\’t had heirloom quality productions…yet…but I have always loved seeing my chidren busy with their hands, losing track of time and absorbed in what they are doing.
Moozle just had a birthday and she scored oodles of lovely paper and has been making dresses…
I thought these were really cute. They make pretty gift cards – with some double-sided tape on the back to hold them in place on various coloured background paper.
The dresses below were significantly larger & made with thicker paper to be strung together & used for bunting…
This video shows how they are done:
Salt Dough is a great handicraft for all ages and a good option if you have young boys. We were introduced to salt dough after I found a book when browsing in the craft section of the library & was really surprised at how creative it can be.
Later I found Dough Crafts by Isolde Kiskalt at a secondhand book sale which has been helpful to have on hand for ideas. Salt Dough is cheap to make – you can start with just salt & flour, some kitchen implements & away you go. We bake or air dry the dough & decorate with water colours (or just leave it plain) after it has dried & cooled. Then it may be varnished which helps longevity and protects the salt dough model against humidity.
Snipping with scissors gave the echidna (modelled off a hedgehog) his spines. The snout isn\’t quite long enough for an echidna but I thought she did a good job with the scissors.
Coffee beans were suggested for the eyes but we didn\’t have any. Some kitchen utensils that are very useful are: a garlic press (good for making hair), a sieve, scissors, skewers (for patterns on the dough but also to test if the dough is baked properly).
Salt Dough Recipe
2 cups flour (plain, \’all purpose\’)
2 cups salt
1/2 cup water
Mix the ingredients together & knead thoroughly – an electric mixer or food processor will give the best results.
The dough dries out very quickly so cover it up when not in use.
Salt dough may be air dried but it takes a while, depending on the thickness of the model. The dough will take twice as long to dry in an electric oven compared to a gas oven (microwaving isn\’t suitable).
The dough will crack if it\’s dried too quickly.
Update: July 2016 – this is Moozle\’s latest (ongoing) project using the abundance of leftover material I\’ve used on different projects. It\’s fairly slow work but she\’s been doing it while I read aloud: