A conversation with my 3 year old (when his best friend/big brother wasn’t home)

Him: “Let’s do something fun.”

Me: “What do you want to do?”

Him “Play the wii.”

Me: “No, we could make cookies.”

Him: “No, that’s boring.”

Me: “You could make a painting for your room.”

Him: “No, that is boring.”

Me: “We could make playdoh.”

Him: “No, that’s boring.”

Me: “We could melt crayons and make hearts for Valentines.”

Him: “No, that’s boring.” Me: “Okay, what is not boring?”

Him: “Playing the wii.”1.10crayon-01

I got out the crayons and decided to start shaving crayons and melting them anyway. This the face sitting across the table from me as I played.1.10crayon-02

He watched me shave the crayons (with an old cheese grater).

He watched me lay out a towel, then wax paper, then pour the shavings on top, and then cover it with another piece of wax paper and another towel.

He watched me iron it just until the crayons melted.1.10crayon-03

And his pout turned into a grin and my idea wasn’t so boring anymore.1.10crayon-07

This is a bit messy of a craft, but fun nonetheless (the towels I used did get stained just fyi). Several people have asked me about how I get my kids to do craft projects. Well, sometimes it is easy. Sometimes it takes me starting it out by myself before they realize how much fun my idea is.1.10crayon-11

I will say my initial idea was cute hearts in various shades of red. Big Brother wanted to add blue. I’d like to say I agree without hesitation, but I usually hesitate. I told him, “Hearts aren’t blue.” He responded, “Mommy, hearts are whatever color you want to make them.” I could stick to my guns and have cute hearts hanging in the window or I could give in to the blue. I gave in. Encouraging his creativity and imagination are more important than picture book designs.1.10crayon-12

I cut out hearts to hang in the windows…he cut various shapes, strung them and wanted them hanging in his room.1.10crayon-13

And on a totally random note…look what I found online!

9. MargaretsHopeChest

Yep, my quilt for the Margaret’s Hope Chest Craft Hope Project. It was my first quilt ever and I am pretty proud of it…even if it looks a bit sad and ugly in this photo among all the hard core quilts! Some little guy or girl is warm today. Pretty cool. The next project is making scarves for college students that have aged out of the foster care system. I don’t know how to knit, but hopefully I can figure that out soon to get a scarf there by the Feb. 14th deadline. Check it out here!

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  • Shannon Phillips - I think that your quilt looks awesome. I lived in Grand Rapids for 5 years so I know that it can be a very cold place. Someone is surely snuggling up in their very beautiful work of art made with the hands of an amazing woman of God!

  • Jo - Hey ashley,

    I have a question! I did the hearts last night! BUT! It IS suppose to be a double sided heart right? Like wax on top, melted crayons in the middle and then wax on bottom and then cut the shape of your heart? When I did it I thought um… this doesn’t look right. But maybe I did it correctly.

    Thank you!

  • Susan - Cute idea! I’ve done it before, but never thought of cutting it into heart shapes and hanging…we just have blobs!

  • AshleyAnn - Jo – that is what I did. There is probably a more ‘correct’ way to do it, but I was just trying to occupy my 3 year old!

  • Erin - I like the convo you two had…boring

  • Moriah - How do you come up with these great ideas!? I love this one!

  • Jo - Lol! :) Great, thanks for responding!!

  • Jo - BTW- did you happen to make the curtains hanging in the picture above? Or just buy them? I love white curtains, but i never can find any thick enough!!

  • tiny twig - LOVE this project! it’s now officially on the docket for next week. :)

  • AshleyAnn - The curtains are a shower curtain from Target that I cut in half!

  • Brooke - Oh I totally understand – my 3 year old loves the Wii too. Crafts just don’t compare, well until you get them started, like you said :) I love those crayon hearts! Super cute.

    Love your blog.

  • Kelly - We just made these this last weekend and they are hanging from from the chandelier over our kitchen table. And our’s aren’t all red and pink either. My boys added orange, green & blue :)

  • rachel denbow - our sons are of the same opinion these days. Trying the crayon project soon!

  • Michelle - My childhood best friend and I used to do a similar project–we used an electric griddle and laid wax paper on top. Then we drew on the paper using whole crayons, which melted when they touched the hot griddle. Probably more dangerous, but less messy for sure!

  • Jodi - you should have your own tv show.:)

  • Kaitlyn - Thanks for the great idea! Super simple and quick. We made ours today. They look so neat in the sunshine. Keep those ideas Rollin sista!

  • Jen - I think this is my new favorite project. I love the hearts against the window – such a beautiful look! Definitely going to have to break this out the next time I babysit!

  • stephanie - ah! i see my quilt too!!

    love all the crafts that you do that involves the kids….and i think the blue heart looks pur-ty ;)

  • maegan - I love the melted crayon project! I used to do it when I was little. I plan on doing a VERY simple crocheting tutorial (I am no expert) on Monday if you want to stop by. Those are the plans.

  • Nicole - I have a question that might be considered silly: Do you take the wax paper off after you melt the crayons? I want to do this for my bedroom, lol.

  • AshleyAnn - Nicole – you leave the wax paper on. I suppose if you were able to make it really thick you could peel back the wax paper. Ours have wax paper on the both sides with the melted crayon in the middle.

  • Emily Bergquist - You have just inspired me in multiple ways and I am so thankful for your blog! And by the way, I love the blue in the hearts, it gives them a wonderful Eric Carle look!

  • Nicole - Awesome! Thanks so much.

  • linda geertsen - Hi Ashley!

    I just knew it! I know we are meant to be friends. So, I was browsing the collage of thumbnails and saw that the MY quilt is to the left of YOUR quilt. Coincidence? I think not. We are meant to be friends. :)

    All kidding aside. Thanks so much for the guiding me to Craft Hope. I LOVEd every second of the experience.

    If you are wondering, I did “quilt” the top together–the quilt squares happen to be of the same fabric. It looks just like one piece in the photo.

    Thanks again!


  • Deb - Just wanted to let you know I’m another mama who likes to be crafty with a 4-yr-old boy who likes wii. I do the same thing to try to entice him in… sometimes it works, sometimes not. Thanks for ideas and for pointing me to Craft Hope!

  • Jenn Chushcoff - I just discovered your site- fantastic! Thanks for sharing these ideas. (Love your photos too.)

  • Candace @ NaturallyEducational - These are beautiful and I love the story! Do you have a dedicated craft grater? I imagine you must!

  • Must Make Monday – Valentines « The Handmade Experiment - [...] Under the Sycamore‘s rainbow hearts garland is so pretty and we love kids crafts around here. [...]

  • Emily Flippin Maruna - HI,

    Great post! They look so cheery! I’ve written about it in a Must Make Monday blog post on Valentines – http://wp.me/pkcUM-Cx


  • MES PETITES MAINS // magazine » L’atelier du mercredi : Valentin/Valentine - [...] guirlande de cœurs cirés chez AshleyAnn mais aussi chez Jill. Ne soyez pas effrayés par l’étape « j’écrase les [...]

  • ~ Junkyard Jennifer - My kids and I made these today. Thanks for the great tutorial! They were a lot of fun and I love how colorful they are hanging in our windows. (Hoping to take pictures to post tomorrow.)

    ~ Jennifer

  • Scenes from our Valentines Day | maryfaith365.com - [...]  Wax Paper Hearts. I intended for this to be a project I could do with the kids, but it really ended up being mostly a project for me. The kids did enjoy watching me make them and melt the crayon wax with the iron, and I thought they turned out to be a fun valentines decoration! [...]

  • Makridou Angela - Brilliant, creative ideas.

  • You Melt My Heart - [...] lots of variations recently, but was inspired to make a Valentine’s version after seeing this post on The Crafty [...]

  • ??? ??? ???????? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ??? ????? | ????????? ?? ?? ???????! - […] ?????? ?? ??????? ? ????? ??? ?? ??? ???????!  ashleyannphotography ?? ??? ????? ?????, ??????? ????? ???! ????? […]

  • Crayon Project – {Partial Fail} Sassy Mouth Photography | Sassy Mouth Photography {The Blog} - […] also includes growing plants (from seeds!!) staying on top of chores, and lots more. This crayon project seemed easy enough, and I had all the parts, plus a box of old crayons from when Lilly was little. […]

So I have gotten a lot of emails asking questions about my ‘studio’ space and wanting a photo tour of my craft room. I smile whenever someone asks about my craft room. If there is one thing Chris could add onto the house right now, he’d probably add on a creative studio space for me. He knows how much I’d love it and I think he’d kind of like to sit down for dinner at a table that doesn’t have paint and Mod Podge splattered all over it.

My kitchen craft room


A bit scary, huh? Typically I am picking up so fast that everything just gets shoved in and the curtain closed. This is actually a bookcase we bought at a garage sale for $5.00 about 6 years ago. We added molding to the top and I made a curtain out of a vintage tablecloth to hide the disaster on the shelves. I have good intentions of keeping it organized, but obviously that isn’t happening. A creative mess. Someday it will be a cutely organized creative mess. Someday as in when the boys are older.


So half my creative stuff is downstairs in the kitchen. The other half is upstairs in my daughter’s room my sewing room.


My grandpa built me a craft armoire like this one several years ago. To fit it into this space we had to remove the crown molding and take off the doors. A table pulls out for sewing, but to sew I have to move the ladder with the quilts and the crib. The sewing machine is about a foot from the crib which means I can’t sew during naps or at night when she is sleeping. Needless to say that is why I Mod Podge more than I sew! I keep everything fabric related in this area.1.10craftroom-09

Is this an ideal set up…no. Is it convenient….no. Does it work for what I have available right now…yes. I think in most areas of life we make it work for what is really important to us. I’m making it work….and dreaming of having a space like one of these someday. (I am a pretty content gal, but I have to admit there was some major coveting going on seeing these beautiful craft rooms!)

Apartment Therapy’s motherload list of Creative Craft Rooms

Apartment Therapy’s second motherload list of Creative Craft Rooms

Soule Mama’s Studio v.2

Heather Bailey’s Studio

Karen Russell’s Scrapbook Room/Office

Meg’s Craft Room

There are so many more, but I am trying to stay on task with some projects this week, so I better stop. Do a google image search for “craft room” and just look at all the beautiful spaces that come up.

Google Reader stopped ‘reading’ my blog, don’t subscribe.

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  • christina larsen - I’m not even that “crafty”, but I would love to have an organized space to do fun projects. Wow, those were amazing.

  • ashlee - this is how my stuff is spread most of the time! right now i share a room with mercy:) thanks for sharing…i personally want a room like meg with all those amazing windows!

  • Lisa Johnson - I confess to occasionally picturing the sunny corner bedroom in my house transformed into a dream craft room with a place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place. But, for now, it is occupied by 2 lovely daughters and filled with polly pockets, dress-up clothes, doll-house decor, and their huge collection of crafty things, and atleast for the next several years, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Thanks for sharing your real-life solutions. I think the bookcase curtain is brilliant!

  • Tess S. - wait a second… didn’t you meet Meg from whatever?! i was expecting a post filled with glorious pictures of your 2 sweet faces!

  • jessica ast - I always thougt, I was the only person having the kitchen table problem. now, I feel in good company ;-). on the other hand, one of my best excuses for not being creative does not work anymore – as you do an awful lot of wonderful projects without having a craft room. thanks for sharing.

  • Shanalea - I feel your pain. I am in the process of rearranging my house because of one more child and have no idea where to put all the things that are coming out. A family of 6 takes up a lot of space.

  • the inadvertent farmer - As much as Heather Bailey’s makes me swoon…Meg’s is more my style!

    I love that you have some of your supplies in your kitchen so they are close at hand when inspiration strikes! Kim

  • Susan - I love when you post pictures of your home! It is warm and whimsical. Anyway, I will be back several times to look at these pictures for lovely inspiration. :)

  • tiny twig - i love that you work with what you have! i can’t imagine having a whole room dedicated to crafting…but maybe someday. i really do prefer just sitting on the ground and sprawling out anyway, though. :)

  • Jessica - It is sooo refreshing to see someone as creative as you using your kitchen table and random storage! It gives a mother of 2 like me hope that using my kitchen table can still CREATE beautiful things. :)

  • Jamie - Ha! That’s pretty much what my crafting space looks like. Wherever it will fit!

  • Mandy B - So should we be expecting a “save the date” four pack of treats sometime soon? Or is this a big “hint, hint” for Chris for Valentine’s Day?

  • Alba - as long as these works for you… and you are a lucky girl ;-) but craftroom is a box lol jajajaja

  • Nikki - I LOVED this post! My craft room is all over the house too–my sewing table is in a corner of my living room, my fabric and supplies are in a dresser in our only basement room (where my youngest son also sleeps,) my sewing/craft books are in the cupboard of our entertainment center and my scrapbooking stuff is in our closet. HA! It’s nice to know there are other women who are happy to “make do” too :)

  • candace - i love how practical and creative you are!

  • indiana - What are those cute orange and pink pompoms up in the room? I would love to do something like that for my babies room. Do you have a post on making these?

Finally the sun shining was matched with warm weather. Our yard is still soggy, muddy and WET…but it was warm and beautiful outside.

So I had the choice:
1. Keep everyone inside, clean and dry
2. Throw on the rainboots and go have some splashing fun..which would mean early bath times

You know I chose the second – these pictures are so much more reflective of my life than all those sweet baby pictures last week!

Biggest Brother                                                              Big Brother                                                                  Littlest Brother1.10mudpuddle-031.10mudpuddle-05

No diving board…Littlest Brother’s old push car will work.1.10mudpuddle-06

He saw his brothers jumping in the puddles and I ran chasing him to get his boots on instead of his ‘good’ shoes…he beat me to the puddle.1.10mudpuddle-111.10mudpuddle-15

And after all that it just makes sense to go ahead and just sit in the puddle…right? Boys. I love them.1.10mudpuddle-20

For those wondering why Baby Sister wasn’t in the mess…she was sleeping. Her time will come.

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  • Jeannette Swan - You are so fun! Never really would have crossed my mind to let everyone run wild in puddles! I need to get everyone rainboots so they can!!

  • christina larsen - Love the pics, it looked like a lot of fun. However, my favorite pic was the first one. The reflection in the puddle, was amazing. I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  • the inadvertent farmer - You just made my morning, those have me grinning from ear to ear! Isn’t this just what life with kids is about? Those unscripted filled with pure joy moments? Thanks so much for sharing, Kim

  • ashlee - your such a fun mom!!

  • Kelly - My parents have pictures of my sister & I doing something very similar when we were about that age. And I remember it. It doesn’t rain here often enough to accumulate puddles but when it does you better believe I send my kids out to jump in them! You definitely made the right choice! :)

  • annalea - fun! but i am so desperately craving warm weather now. still 28 degrees here. i will use your photos to dream up playtimes for the spring.

  • elizabeth holder - Just wanted to say I love your photos – and each time I look at your pictures I hope to someday take pictures as great as you do.
    Thanks for inspiring me and sharing.

  • susie whyte - laughing so hard…the older boys huge muddy water splash is perfection. little brother’s muddy, dripping water on his face…classic. little sister really missed out. :)

  • Rachel - Wonderful pictures…just wondering what the settings were on your camera? My action shots always have at least one blurry area and yours were so sharp!

  • Rachel - looks like so much fun!!!

  • emily anderson - just wanted to say how much ya’ll remind me of my lil’ family. i am a mother of 4, aged 5 and under (my newest one is just shy of 3 months). so, it’s always fun to read other peoples blogs who know what your life is like…ya know?
    love the pictures…totally love them.

  • emily anderson - oh, forgot to add that i have 3 boys and 1 sweet girl too! :)

  • Melissa - Ahhhh – I wanna play to
    Super fun!
    Great photos!

  • Shannon Phillips - Nothing like a brood of boys to show that puddle who’s boss. Wear are the photos of your new rain boots Miss Ashley? I was hoping to see a self portrait of you making some splashes. ;) I love your photos as usual.

  • mandi - oh- what fun! you guys found an AWESOME puddle!
    you better believe little sister will be out there- my daughter has always been a mud hound. we are serious about puddle jumping around here!

    side note: when my son turned 2 we had a mud party. hands down, favorite party. all the kids were nakey by the end, rolling around in mud- so much fun!

  • Kristen - I love these pictures! Especially the last one of your little boy sitting in the puddle as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Very cute.

  • Pamela-Marie - I just found this blog, and I love the way you let your kids have such fun. No fuss about mess etc. Well done you!
    Pamela-Marie from The UK.