Category Archives: craft project

Not A Box

Every Halloween, I get a longing (and a cold sweat) to make a homemade costume out of an old box from the garage.

When I was a kid, we didn’t buy expensive costumes. We rummaged through closets and junk drawers and toy bins and made costumes. But alas, my 21st century, shopaholic kids aren’t interested in such out-of-the-box, made-from-a-box pursuits. Instead, they wait eagerly for the pop-up Halloween store to open its doors, and they spend gobs of money on overpriced, over-muscled, and over-commercialized costumes, like Superman, Obi-Wan-Kenobe, Optimus Prime, and Max Steel. (I have no idea who Max Steel is either, but his costume is collecting dust in one of my many messy closets.)

It’s not that I’ve never tried to make one of the kids a Halloween costume from a box. It’s that I’ve never ever succeeded. This year, Dylan and Riley are dressing up as Captain America (shield sold separately!) and a Hot Wheels racecar driver (the yellow one!), respectively.

I’ve accepted my fate. I’m the Mama of two boys who don’t want to wear a costume made out of a box.  Or am I?

A funny thing happened recently.


Do you know who’s inside that box?

Riley! Riley who drags boxes from the garage into the house when I’m not looking! Riley who uses tape, paper towel rolls, pipe cleaners, birthday candles, and glue (so much glue!) to turn boxes into space ships, grocery stores, and monster crushers! Riley who dreams up the wildest, strangest, and most out-of-the-box ideas into which to turn a box!

I blame the fact that I didn’t connect these dots sooner on Minecraft. (To be clear, I blame everything on Minecraft.)

Riley has to dress up as a storybook character for the costume parade at school, and he can’t wear his Hot Wheels racecar driver costume because we don’t have a Hot Wheels book (thank God), but he can be a racecar because of this


Not a Box is a book about a rabbit that insists his box is not a box. Rather, it’s a racecar or a robot or a pirate ship or a hot air balloon or a tugboat or a space ship…or anything he imagines!

The way I see it, this is my last chance to make a homemade costume before Riley’s old enough to figure out that costumes made by mom aren’t cool.

“Riley,” I asked tentatively one night (while hand-feeding him marshmallows), “how about Not A Box for the costume parade? We could take a box from the garage and turn it into a ‘not a box’ racecar. What do you think?”

Silence. (Not Minecraft silence, but thoughtful silence.)

“What do you think?” I asked again.

“Okay,” he said.

“Okay?” I asked.

“Okay,” he said.


Holy crap! One of my kids said I could make a costume out of a box!


Be patient, Mamas. Dreams do come true.




Filed under boys, craft project, Crafty Mama, Halloween

Risky Business (and a craft idea)

Being a Crafty Mama to two busy, little boys is risky business and often results in a Disappointed Mama who knows full well that she sometimes tries too hard but can’t stop herself from trying again.  And again.  And again.

Some (pretty awesome) homemade Halloween costumes that were never worn come to mind.

Homemade card making sessions are also full of peril.  Just last week, there were fights and tears over glue and stickers when we made Mike’s Father’s Day cards.  I couldn’t help but pester Dylan about how lazy his handwriting has become after being out of school for just one week, and half way through the project, he whined, “I don’t want to do this anymore…I’m tired.”  It was explosive, but we got her done:

Stickers of Daddy’s favorite things!  (Yes, those are beer stickers.)

There have been some crafty successes, too.  My potty training charts were well received by both kids:

Some of my chores charts have received two thumbs up, too:

One of my finest crafty accomplishments was Dylan’s “Cars 2” countdown calendar:

On the eve of our Legoland Florida adventure, I’ve embarked on a craft project that will either be one of the best or worst ideas I’ve ever had.  I’ve made travel journals for the boys (after Legoland, we go to San Francisco in July and Boston in August).

Here are the covers (I offered them crayons and markers to decorate, but they declined):

Inside each three-ring binder is a cover page for each trip and a folder for scrapbooky things we collect along the way, like tickets and maps:

Each day, the boys will fill out one of these journal pages with questions about their day and space to draw a picture (I’m packing markers and, of course, I’ll help with the writing).

They sell photo pockets for these binders, too, so I’ll print out some pictures when we get back and add them to the books.

I’m almost always more enthusiastic about these projects than the boys, so I’m hopeful but cautious.  Sadly, a Mama’s craft projects can only be rejected so many times before she develops a thick, protective skin.  Who am I kidding!  I’ll be heartbroken if/when they reject these travel journals.  Mike will shake his head (again) and wonder why I did this to myself (again), and in a fit of rage, I might light the journals on fire or throw them in the hotel pool.   (I’ve never done anything like that before.  If it happens, I’ll ask Mike to film it.)

Whether or not my boys accept or reject these journals, if I can inspire just one Mama out there to get crafty with her children, then my efforts – and potential pain and suffering – will have been worth it.  I’ll report back soon with either two beautifully decorated travel journals or a police report.

Okay, gotta go.  As Dylan would say, I have “so too much” packing to do.

Do you get crafty with your kids?  Do they like it?

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Filed under craft project, Crafty Mama, Uncategorized, vacation