How a Crafting Fail Turned into Something Useful

Last weekend when the girls were begging me to take them to Michael’s to pick up some crafting goodies, I decided we should challenge ourselves to use some of things we already had at home. I took to the attic and found boxes of sticker mosaics they had never finished, bags of beads just begging to be strung, and an old Martha by Mail beading kit.

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I’ve had it for at least 10 years. No joke, I moved this from our NYC apartment, to our townhouse in Union, and then to our house in Westfield. I think I may have attempted it once years ago but it was way too much of a pain in the a$$. Not to be one to give up (even if it takes me 10 years!), I decided to attempt this simple fish. (Please note: this is a kids’ beading kit. But by Martha standards, I think that means that most grown adults will still have trouble doing it.)

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My kids have made a bunch of these kinds of crafts before but none of us had ever attempted anything with beads this small. Well, let me tell you, they suck. I got through the second step and decided to bail. Yup, that’s right. I quit in front of my kids.

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But all was not lost because I figured I could use the beads and wire to make something I’ve needed for a long time: wine charms. Those are the little rings of beads that you can link onto a wine glass stem so I don’t mix up my reisling (yum!) with someone else’s chardonnay (no thank you).

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Once Sophia saw what I was up to and how easy it was (just twist the end in a loop, stick on some beads and make a hook on the other end), she jumped in and helped me.

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Surely, they are very “homemade” looking but I guess that just means that everytime I use them, I’ll remember making them with Sophia. (She even thinks we can hang them on juice box straws for kids’ parties!)

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I even used one of the little bead boxes from the kit to keep them in.

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So Martha Stewart, it’s not what you planned but I think it came out a little more perfect than you could ever imagine.


Sue at Home

P.S. I mean, what was I going to do with that little beaded fish anyway?

crafts, Decor, Family, Home

A Name Plaque for Lily or How My 4 Year Old Taught Me a Lesson


After our trip to Aruba this past February, Lily and I brought back a few pieces of coral from the beach so we could make a custom sign for her room. Luckily for Lily, it’s pretty easy to find pieces of coral that look like L, i, l and y.


All we needed was a simple board that I picked up at Michael’s, some craft paint I had on hand, and some heavy duty glue.


Lily picked a pretty sea-colored blue to paint the base. I’ll admit: I was twitching watching her paint it. I know the point of it was for her to do something fun and creative but the perfectionist in me was having a hard time watching the bristles of the brush bend backward.


After painting the board, I pulled out the Gorilla Glue — the master of all glues. I was ready to take over for this step because that glue is no joke and I was sure that Lily would glue her hand to her face if I let her do it. (What is wrong with me that I can’t trust her to do anything on her own?)


The packaging on the glue warns that it expands but…it just kept on expanding. And expanding. And expanding…


…until the glue that I put behind the Y gooped out so much the shape of the letter was almost unrecognizable. I mean, sure, it looks a little like that frothy, foamy stuff when a wave crashes on the sand so it’s kinda still close to the theme but it’s not quite what I was imagining. (Notice that Lily’s paint job is perfect and it’s my gluing job that totally sucks.)


I was so mad at myself for screwing it up. Immediately, I started planning a way to fix the project. I figured I could slice the coral off the board with an exacto knife (or even a saw!) and then we could try again on the other side. But when Lily came to see if it was dry, she was thrilled with it. I apologized for putting too much glue on it but — get this! — she thought it looked great.


In my demented mind, I wanted it to come out just as I had pictured it but to her, it was a just a cool project she made with her mom. And that made it perfect. (No matter how much glue was oozing out!)

So…into her room it went. Her “perfect” custom-made “Lily” sign made with coral that we found on the beach in Aruba.


And I must admit…it looks absolutely perfect.



Sue at Home

P.S. Read more about Lily’s room here and here.