lovely work I could never do! By honest craftymom (and parent to a genuine crafter) Zoe!

In my recent Tablet magazine piece about why I don’t read mommyblogs, I didn’t even TOUCH crafting blogs. Dear sweet heavenly apron strings, I admire those crafty mamas’ work beyond all measure, but the notion of doing most of these projects? It would be like asking me to hotwire a Boeing airbus.

I do subscribe to a mailing list created by a mom who blogs at Kids Craft Weekly; her projects are not only creative, but also seem to be aimed at actual children and can be done by actual all-thumbs parents. I’ve done a couple of projects with the girls — the Kids Craft projects lean toward kid-classics like tissue paper, glitter, glue, leaves and toilet paper tubes. That’s about my crafting speed.

I have no issues, only props, for mamas who make awesome crib quilts and nifty toddler outfits and spiffy toys and hats. What I am ambivalent about: Sites that purport to be about crafting with your kids, but are much more about product than process. You can imagine these moms gritting their teeth as their kids go freeform instead of coloring within the lines of the template they’ve painstakingly created, or grabbing the knitting needles away from the grade-schooler whose stitches are sub-par to “tidy them up.” You know what I mean. The photos that illustrate these projects are invariably styled within an inch of their lives, utterly design-mag worthy. Again, no complaints if you’re honest about this being a project for YOU, a praise-deserving talented adult; uncool if you’re lying about your kid doing it/forcing your kid to do it in a way you find acceptable/cleaning up your kid’s work instead of celebrating the kid creative process.

Illustration: I was looking at a Site That Shall Not Be Named recently — the mom, who has mentioned in the past that she has issues with her kids not doing the crafts exactly as she’d envisioned them, had just finished ripping up gazillions of t-shirts into thin strips to make a (completely awesome) hooked rug with a giant mongo crochet hook. Lo and behold, the next post was about her daughter making a delightful woven placemat (photographed oomphily with against a white tile table with a weathered tile floor visible beneath it, with two serene latte bowls resting upon it) with the remaining scraps of t-shirt fabric. The post contained a phrase that read like a parody of itself: “I honestly didn’t really know what I was doing when I made a little loom out of cardboard and string”…

To quote the Church Lady: Reeeaaaaaaaallly?

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