May 21, 2011

No Elmer's glue, construction paper, or googly-eyes in sight...

Creativity, to me, is not the presence of a particular talent, but the desire to produce something of beauty.  Made in our Creator’s image, we have an urge to be like Him and make things.  Not being Him, our creations are poor, primitive imitations of what He has made in perfection.  A painting of a flower, no matter the artistic skill of the painter, will never capture the beauty of a flower entirely.  Talented photographers can’t even do that.  And though some people can grow beautiful flowers in elaborate gardens, they will never be able to speak them into being as our Creator did.  Yet in our limited abilities and pale reflection of His perfect creativity, we long to express something inexplicable from deep within and make stuff, flawed as it may be.
In our homeschooling and other aspects of our life as a family, it’s fairly easy to find creative things for my children to do.  I have found it just as easy to put off exercising creativity on my own.  My family is and should be my priority, but I’ll often use that as an excuse to not put time and effort into the smallest of project ideas that aren’t directly related to the kids, in order to be sure I’m not taking something away from them.   I have been wrong.
I had a list of simple little painting projects building up in my mind in recent weeks that I had been thinking perhaps, maybe, possibly I could do this summer when we aren’t homeschooling.  Normally when this happens the project list grows at precisely the same rate as the list of other things I think I should be doing with my time.  Like the dishes.  And the laundry.  And organizing or re-organizing the house.  And planning for the next school year.  And thinking up projects for the kids.
But in a rare occurrence of doing things differently than I usually do them, I took the plunge and began to put time aside for these simple projects.  I took to heart what I knew in my head of being made in the image of my Creator, and set to work on my humanly flawed but fun projects:

Terra cotta pots are easily painted with acrylics. This one is intended to resemble the look of my fake flowers.

A touch of paint on the basket, and a new face for this little shelf from plain wood to the painted-and-aged look I enjoy.

This was the lid to a hand-me-down basket that had been a bit too rustic-country for me, repainted to fit my girly-floral taste and as an homage to a fistful of flowers given to me by my sweet daughter.  Displayed like a large platter above our china cabinet, this quick makeover hides the original look and makes it more pleasing to my eye and more fitting with our home.
Just in case the kids forget where we keep the food.  This too was a facelift on a hand-me-down rustic item.  With some acrylics and a paint pen it was easily tweaked to fit our decor.
These clearly didn’t take much time.  And instead of robbing my children of anything, I realized I was doing for them what I try to do in the rest of my mothering: setting an example.  If they grow up thinking that projects of creative expression are things moms only do with their kids, they’ll stop pursuing it in their free time when they reach adulthood.  And that truly would be robbing them of something.


  1. I love the terra cotta pot. What kind of flower is that? The little shelfy thingy is cute!

  2. so pretty and yes, we are in His image and hence can do some creating.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, ladies! I'm not sure what kind of flower that is - I know very little about flowers other than loving the way they look and smell. These fake ones obviously have no scent, but their periwinkle color works quite nicely in my living room!