One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to make gingerbread houses with my daughter.
It all began with one gingerbread house kit, when she was quite young. Over the years, we’ve expanded. First, we added more candy (of course!) Next, we created a snow-covered yard out of frosting and pine trees made out of green frosted ice cream cones.
One year, we were inspired by a bag of licorice scottie dogs, to add a dog house out of graham crackers. Soon after, our little house began to grow into a small village, with graham cracker shops.
It is such a creative, fun project with no end in sight. It’s the kind of project that can grow with your child as their manual dexterity and creative expression matures. In the early days, it was probably a 20 minute project. Just this past weekend, I think we spent 3 hours on the “village” spread out over 3 days — and we’re not even done yet!
Which brings me to what I cherish most about his project: the time spent with my daughter. I love that we are building a tradition — and all that snacking candy sure is a good lure!
I am so grateful for yesterday’s very happy Halloween. It was so sweet to celebrate again!
With the close of Halloween, Thanksgiving isn’t far away. Thankfully, pumpkins also make great fall decorations! A neighbor of mine used to decorate her lawn with numerous faux, jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. The day after Halloween, she would simply turn the craft pumpkins around and instantly transform her lawn into a Thanksgiving scene. Along the same lines, I often head to the grocery store on November 1 and pick up several real pumpkins for fall decorations. Depending on where you keep your pumpkin (inside/outside, sun/shade, temperature, etc.), an un-carved pumpkin can last awhile. Place a piece of aluminum foil or paper plate under it, just in case it starts to rot.
Here are a few more tips for a sustainable post-halloween:
Compost your jack-o-lantern or place it with lawn waste (remove candles/lights first).
Donate that candy to the dentist’s office!
Save those decorations! They can be used again next year. Could you just buy new stuff next year? Sure. But you’ll be helping the environment if you can reuse what you’ve got instead of trashing it.
Add your kids’ halloween costumes to the dress-up-bin; donate costumes to a local charity; or pass them off to friend or family member with younger (or at least smaller) kids than yours.
Halloween might just be the kid-friendliest of all holidays. I recall loving Halloween as a child —what could be better than free candy? What’s more, I loved wearing costumes on Halloween, and the creative role-playing they spark. There’s something about Halloween that’s just pure fun. As an adult, I feel that Halloween brings out the kid in me again.
After Halloween was “called off” last year, everyone is eager to celebrate this year. Below are a few small tips to reduce waste and have a spook-tacular Halloween:
Organize a kids costume swap! It’s not too late! The best way to keep stuff out of landfills is to find a way to reuse them. Get together with a bunch of friends and swap last year’s costumes Every kid gets to enjoy a new costume and there’s no waste.
Need a last-minute costume? Head to a thrift shop and scare up a costume there. Lots of inspiration awaits.
Don’t buy new non-recyclable, plastic-pumpkin, candy totes. Instead, go green with an old pillowcase or double up some paper grocery bags. Both can be decorated — now you have a pre-trick-or-treat activity and a candy tote. You’ve just helped the environment, and you don’t have to store that plastic pumpkin in your garage all summer long.
Tap into your inner make-up artist — forget the non-recyclable costume masks and instead use kid-friendly make-up. It’s also easier for little kids to see when their vision is not obstructed by a costume mask. That means make-up is safer for kids and the environment.
Make the most of your pumpkin— when making Jack-O-Lanterns as a kid, I loved squishing the gooey slimy insides between my fingers. It might just be the original, natural slime! But that’s not all, the pumpkin seeds can be toasted for a snack! Check out how easy it is!
Most of all have a happy, safe Halloween! Alora C. Create Studio Sustainability Planner
Over the years, and the time I have spent in the presence of kids and parents creating. I have come to deeply understand that everyone is creative. Most people, kids excluded, don’t think so. I see creativity as a thinking muscle in our brains.
Creative Entrepreneur Chase Jarvis hosts this interview with Brene Brown, a renowned shame researcher, and professor about among other things, creativity, a subject they both know well. My friend recommended I watch it. Doing so I see that we are all in agreement- We are all creative. I invite you to watch the video and then I say, let’s own our creativity!
Now that fall is just about here it’s the perfect time to get your friends together for an afternoon or evening to get crafty! I can bring all the fixins to you to create Pinterest-inspired seasonal projects to display!
We have all missed time together, connecting, laughing, and bonding. Making projects together is just right to make that happen. Learn about my Pinspired offerings and make a date with me to CReATE!
Now that kids are getting back to school I am excited to be getting back to hosting enrichment classes! As September unfolds I will be bringing my eco-art sensibilities and lots of hands-on fun throughout the Conejo Valley.
As always, my theme is recycling through art. To start the school year I am offering Eco-Art Explorations for preschoolers, as well as Hand Sewing Explorations, Cardboard Board Explorations, and Recycled Art Fun with different prompts and projects for each theme, each week!
Stay tuned here. I will be sharing more details about these classes and the places kids can participate.
As part of an ongoing connection with CMATO, Join Jemma Wildermuth virtually, at The California Museum Of Art, Thousand Oaks this Saturday from 2-3 pm for a Family Art Day event with a continued exploration of Junk Journaling- it’s like scrapbooking with photo’s stickers, stamps, and Junk Mail! It’s fun for the whole family and a great way to reuse-creatively!
Using clear condiment bottles has been perfect for the variety of uses I have needed, not just for camp weeks but for Messy Toddler Art fun, Enrichment classes, and even birthday parties. They are the main squeeze!
I just wrapped up our Eco-Art Camp week where we put school glue and primary paint colors to good use as we created camp projects.
As I cleaned the bins of tools and supplies after the camp week was done I was reminded of just how fun the squeeze bottles are for kids. They are easy to use and clean too. I catch myself recommending these bottles to families often so, why not here? Parents, I highly recommend getting your hands on some of these inexpensive reusable bottles to use with kids for glue, paint, homemade craft recipes like: d.i.y. puff paint, sidewalk chalk paint, glitter paint and they are also great for just water too!
I have saved a few paint style recipes that I have used at the studio to the #30daysofreuse board on our Pinterest account. Try them out this summer.
You can pick up these reusable plastic squeeze bottles locally at your nearest Smart and Final as a six pack and individually at Target and Wallmart. Get squeezy!
Together we CReATE. One of the things I really enjoy is coming up with ways to connect with the enclave of surrounding cities through creativity. City organizations like parks departments, libraries, schools, YMCA chapters, our local museum, and many more are exciting connections I love to make, bringing art to their communities through creative reuse. I love figuring out with the organization what experience to provide.
Coming up, we have monthly Family Art Days that connect with current exhibits at CMATO, Westlake Village’s upcoming Annual 4th of July event, as well as summer camps with CRPD, The City of Agoura Hills, and The City of Malibu. Information about these events is listed on my Happenings Page.
As we reopen I look forward to making more connections to bring eco art fun to everyone. Learn about other events and experiences I have worked on in recent times through the Together We CReATE page. If you know of an organization that would be a good connection, send them this way, after all, as the sayings go, two imaginations are better than one and, creativity expands when shared.
Jemma W. Owner/ Founder This photo series was taken at a Family Crafternoon with the Thousand Oaks Library 2019
I love being able to sew on a machine. Machine sewing is a wonderful skill to have. Once you have the basics down you can really try your hand at most kinds of sewing projects; making pillows, clothes, toys, accessories, and more! I teach machine sewing in the spirit of how my grandmother taught me, working with kids to establish a basic understanding of the machine and how it helps the sewer express their creativity.
I offer two levels of classes for sewers; Beginner and Project. Once sewers take my beginner class, they can explore how to make what they want to make in the project class. Sometimes what they sew stems from an idea they have, or it’s a project we find together through my sewing resources, and sometimes, they like to “wing it”, making what comes to mind at the moment. That was the kind of sewer I was as a kid.
Whatever kind of sewer kids are, I love being a part of their process of self-discovery as they sew with me. Machine sewing is a great skill that empowers the creativity of the sewer to sew their world and what goes in it. They can use it throughout their lives.
The project pictured here by 7-year-old Heidi started with an inspiration to make a stuffed baby. Then the baby needed a mattress, a pillow, a blanket, and of course, a little stuffed animal. Because Heidi had taken basic sewing with me and now is a project sewer she has the basic skills she needs to create whatever she dreams up, and here, she did.
It was fun to watch her process, her independence. She knew what she wanted to make and how she was going to do it. That is my dream for kids. Learn about my machine sewing classes here. Let’s get your creative kid sewing!