The Joy of Crafts

Last week, Betty Bose, a Twitter star who uses recycled materials in kids crafts, posted a wonderful Christmas wreath made with puzzle pieces. It simply involved finding an old puzzle missing a few pieces, painting them green, gluing them to the rim of a paper plate and adding a red bow. It was something I could even imagine getting my two-year-old involved in. But oh drats, I didn't save the link. On Betty's site, this grandmother to nine had posted a Christmas tree made from puzzle pieces. I pitched the idea to my seven-year-old, but "no," she was decided. It had to be the wreath.

I discovered this morning that we didn't have any puzzles with missing pieces, so I decided to go to the Chaînon, a charity store whose proceeds finance a series of women's shelters. It's a great place to get cheap, preloved materials for crafts, but as I discovered today, it's no longer a well-kept secret. In fact, the three of us had to line up at the door this morning with the most seasoned of thrift shoppers--seniors. On our list: a few Christmas ornaments, a puzzle or two, and something red to make a bow.

Much to my chagrin, the puzzles were upstairs and took a while to find. I sensed my two-year-old might experience overload, as the second floor is also where all the toys are. I would have kept him secured in the stroller, but there was no elevator, so we had to take the stairs. I realized that I might have my hands full. My son is a runner and dodger, and for him, trying to get away from me is part of the fun. I kindly asked my daughter to watch her brother and keep him within eye shot. I estimated that the puzzle segment of our trip would only take a few minutes.

There were many puzzles, but most of them had between 500 and 2,000 pieces, which meant that the pieces were too small. In the meantime, my daughter had reported back. My son was being uncooperative, and when she finally caught him, he threw himself on the floor and refused to move. I told her that I would only be another second and to bring him back to me. Then, I found the perfect sized puzzle of an angry pink dog smoking a cigar and talking on the phone. And not a second too soon. My son suddenly voiced his reluctance to obey his sister in the form of a piercing screech, a highly effective attention-seeking ploy. Everyone turned and looked in his general direction. I saw an old man adjust his hearing-aid, as I rushed by. My daughter was dragging my son across the floor much to the visible disapproval of several elderly shoppers. I quickly took my giggling, sweaty children downstairs.

Has your child ever thrown a fit in a busy store? Please tell me about it.

We had the puzzle and a few Christmas decorations for my daughter's school tree. We just needed something red to make a bow. With my children more or less in tow, I checked ladies' scarves and men's ties, but found nothing red. From the corner of my eye, I noticed that my son had reassumed his position on the floor with his arms crossed over his chest. I knew that I had about 60 seconds before he would start screaming. As my daughter tugged at him to stand up, I grabbed a red fleece shirt and got in line at the cash. As I was paying, my son screeched. The two elderly ladies behind me put their hands over their ears, while a third woman grimaced and muttered something. I got my son in his stroller, and we left as quickly as possible.

Although embarrassing, our trip was well worth it. Both my kids helped me paint and glue the puzzle pieces. The fleece was the perfect material for making a bow because it didn't fray, and we had enough puzzle pieces to make two wreaths and a Christmas tree.

Final verdict: this was a great craft. Both my children were able to take part, and they were very pleased with the results. The next time, however, I'll visit the Chaînon sans enfants.

Related post:
Some Not So "Crafty" Undertakings


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