I am a shameless thief

My husband has been getting on my case lately.    He says that I am an artist and therefore I should describe myself as such. This is because I invariably make excuses as to why I am NOT artistic or creative when people complement me on being either one of those things.  After all, I rarely come up with any ideas all on my own. I am a shameless thief of ideas, projects, and activities.  I am much more comfortable with being an idea thief than I am calling myself an artist; an innovative idea thief to be sure but an idea thief nonetheless.

Where do I get these ideas from? Ye Olde Internet.  I regularly look at blogs like DesignSponge, Ohdeedoh,{frolic!},swissmiss, Oh Happy Day!DesignMom, notmartha, instructables, and Underthesycamore for ideas.  Well, and I also check out blogs posted by other homeschooling moms I know.  Remember: shameless thief!


I first saw this idea posted by a lifelong family friend who also homeschools.  A quick Google search yielded directions: Plonk your rocks on a cookie sheet, heat them in a 200°F oven for 15 minutes and then handle them, well, like hot rocks.  This was part of a “Hot, Sharp and Generally Dangerous” activities day at our house that was a huge hit.  Give them hot rocks to color on with crayons:

Do you know, no one burned themselves?

A bit hesitant at first. Okay, putting this crayon on the rock? Okay?

Oh! I get it!

Again, stealing borrowing a concept from Gever Tully of Fifty Dangerous Things and The Tinkering School, I gave my eldest a pocket knife to shave bits of crayon for the classic crayon-and-waxed-paper art project.  My youngest used a pencil sharpener to create whittled up bits of crayon.

Nibsy moved quickly from trepidation to confident crayon whittler.  Trust and confidence are beautiful things.

Once we had enough crayon shavings, I gave Nibsy a hot iron to melt the crayons herself.  Again, once she got over the initial shock of being handed something that could potentially burn her, she handled it like a pro.  We have an intended purpose for the crayoned-wax paper, which is a post for another day.

Now part of the reason that I waste time on scour the internet for ideas of creative things to do with my children is that they enjoy being creative.  At this point, they fairly EXPECT to be doing something artistic every day.  Which is great, right?

I have realized that in doing this, I am teaching them that it is a perfectly natural part of being a human being; this expressing themselves creatively through art.  I would never, ever discourage them from describing themselves as artists.  So how come I don’t feel comfortable describing myself along those same lines, being a human being and all that?

That is a very good question indeed, and proof that being engaged in teaching children is a gift to all parties involved.

And please NOTE: readers are most welcome to steal, borrow, copy or whatever you want to call it, any of the ideas I’ve posted here.



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3 responses to “I am a shameless thief

  1. Ed

    All artists are shameless thieves Babe.

  2. Thanks for writing. You never know if another persons technique or idea will lead to a better one had by you. keep on truckin’… Also, if you haven’t watched Enter Through The Gift Shop you must watch ASAP. gives a whole different take on art. Ed would like it too. I watched it on hulu for free. Create, create, create.

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