interview: amanda soule

by kath_red on 19/04/2008

in Books, Whiplash

Amanda Soule, author of the recently published book The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections and of the blog soulemama, has kindly answered a few burning questions about her book, her blog and parenting. [and read on for a chance to win a copy kindly donated by shambhala press]

The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule, published by Trumpeter (April 1, 2008)

Amanda’s new book is a little about craft and a lot about parenting – this book has made me excited to be a parent again.

Amanda: Oh gosh, that’s just about the best kind of ‘review’ words I could ask for! I do know that it is so easy to get dragged down by the mundane of our days sometimes. Surely it was my hope that this book could be one of those little reminders for us (yes, me too) of how amazing this time with our families can be. So, thank you!

Kath: Amanda you have just finished book no. 2 how exciting – can you tell me what this one is about – is it a follow on or completely different? there is so much more you could have included in this book – so I am really interested to see where you go next.

I think readers will find it to be a natural second book, though it is quite different from the first. It’s definitely more of a ‘craft’ book than The Creative Family, which is really a parenting book. The second book is full of craft projects for the family home, all with a focus on re-purposing. There’s some ‘lifestyle’ writing in there, as well as lots and lots of photography. I’m still in the process of working on that book, so it will be released in 2009.

Kath: Your blog has an enormous following these days – congratulations – there is obviously a lot of people out there attracted to your lifestyle choices and really interested in knowing more, and your writing style is so friendly and personal it really does get people interested. Do you find it overwhelming having so many readers commenting on your daily everyday life – on the state of your curtains and your children’s gorgeous creativity? your blog has come a long way since the early days when you started it as a homeschooling (unschooling) document? is that why you started it? and has it ever been a chore to keep it going? I know that you have said it has been an invaluable tool in honing your writing skills – do you ever feel it gets in the way of family life and creativity?

Amanda: Oh, thank you! Yes, it has grown quite a bit. I did start it to keep in touch with people, to record our days, and to have a ‘reason’ to write. It continues to be all of those things, and of course, many more now. In general, the number of readers doesn’t overwhelm me – I’m quite honored that so many people spend a few minutes of their day reading it. I don’t really pay attention to the stats much – none of that has ever had much importance in blogging for me.

Blogging fits rather nicely into my day – the time that it takes has found a place in my day that works – often at night when my babes are sleeping. Sometimes, though, I’ll start a few posts in one sitting, so it’s not even everyday that I’m doing the actual writing. When it begins to feel like a chore or I feel uninspired, then I know it’s time to do something different – a photo project, different kinds of posts, a guest blog, etc.

For me the challenges to blogging are a small few: Negative feedback never feels good, though it has become easier to let go of with time and frequency. And the biggest challenge I feel is wanting to have more time to respond to the lovely emails and comments I get each day. Truly – those words from readers are so meaningful to me, and I always wish I had more time to say ‘thank you’ individually.

Kath: Lets talk about the book. I love that it is really your voice that comes through loud and clear – good honest practical advice. Not preachy or overly sweet – just everyday stuff – you discuss a little about your days being filled with your children’s creativity – can you tell us a little how you structure your days – you homeschool the children – unschooling is that right? do you have a daily structure that you follow or does the day does take its own form?

Amanda: Our days don’t really have a ‘schedule’ per se, but I definitely feel a rhythm to them. I feel my role as ‘guiding’ that rhythm along – with a lot of paying attention along the way to feel out what’s working and what’s not working for us individually as a family at home. Every day starts out with each of us talking about what it is that we want to do most that day, and our day weaves around working together to make that happen. Today, for example, Calvin really wanted to build a new ramp for his bike, Ezra wanted to do a Sound of Music performance, Adelaide said she wanted to paint outside, and I said I really needed to wash all the windows (I know, sometimes it’s not always something very thrilling!). So those four things were our ‘focus’ for the day, with some of the everyday things woven around those – baking, cleaning, reading, writing, drawing, etc. “What” we do changes a lot with the season, and whatever outside activities we may have going on.

Kath: I really love how you talk about ‘slowing down’ and observing and nurturing and how it is the process rather than the end result that is important. Can you talk a little about how you have come to this … is the way you are raising your children a lot different than how you were raised? and what led you to your current parenting philosophy?

Amanda: I was raised in a fairly traditional home environment, but I think I always had different ideas about how I wanted to do things. Even before having children, I read lots of books on education and child development – it just really interested me as I was forming ideas about what I wanted for my children. That continued as my children were born – lots of reading and lots of talking to other parents. I took bits and pieces of what I liked from many different philosophies…and then just followed my gut, I suppose, about what felt to be the right thing for my family – and now, for each child individually. It feels a bit like a combination of knowledge and intuition – I’m sure many parents identify with that – both are important in parenting.

Kath: I am really interested in how this book is a little bit about parenting and a little about creativity but mostly it is about how it all comes together – and how much we learn from our children – what are the main lessons do you think you have learnt from your children?

Amanda: Oh, gosh. A lot! Rachael Carson said, “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” And that – children’s ‘seeing’ of the entire world for the first time is such a lesson for me in looking at things differently.

Kath: There are few projects in the book – not as many as i expected – but i wasn’t disappointed at all – there is so much else in this book and in a way i am glad it is not just another ‘craft’ book but a book about living. can you tell me how you chose the projects you did and which ones you were sad to have left out?

Amanda: One of the first things I said about this book when talking with my editor at Shambhala (who agreed wholeheartedly) was that I really didn’t want it to be ‘another kids craft book’ – there are so many wonderful resources already out there for that. I really wanted to focus on the why and how of creating with children, with some practical applications of that sprinkled throughout.

Craft projects won’t ‘work’, be successful, or even fun for parent and child if they aren’t done in a relaxed way that is supportive of children’s creativity. So, yes, the book does include more about that end of it all.

There were only a few projects that didn’t make it into the final book, and the only ones I was sad about were the pregnancy/birth related crafting projects. Looking at the book in it’s entirety, I don’t think they fit very well after all, but I do think I’ll find the right space for them sometime.

Kath: I love how you say ‘don’t be afraid of mess’ and to just ‘be in the moment’ it is so true that many creative ideas get stifled because we are afraid of the aftermath – can you tell me who cleans up in your house? you don’t talk about discipline in this book – which in a parenting book is very unusual – with your life style and slow pace there is no need to rush and hurry everywhere – which is usually the cause of conflict (in our house anyway) can you tell me what your discipline methods or style are – or aren’t?

Amanda: We all do a bit of the picking up. Of course, the older the children are, the more they’re able to do. Meaning, of course, that those over the age of 30, do a LOT of it. While I may not address ‘discipline’ head-on in this book, I do think our parenting approach comes through. I’m not sure that I’d ever really want to write a discipline book. The way we handle conflict is always evolving – I’ve read a lot of parenting books, I talk about parenting with many friends, and we talk about what we’re doing as a family too. As the children grow and as new challenges come up, the specific ways in which we handle things change – taking the best of what we like from the ‘advice’ out there, and listening to our hearts for most of it. My favorite parenting book is Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn. In times of need, I find a lot of comfort in their words.

Kath: How do your children feel about this book and being part of your creative project?

Amanda: It was really such a family effort to get this book (and the second one) out the door, so they’ve been a part of the process in many aspects – from inspiration to photography subjects to editors, in a way. They’re a little young, I think, to really understand what it all means, though they’re the first to jump up and down with me when the book arrived for the first time. Or when we spy it in a bookstore. I do hope that when they’re a bit older this book will be something they’re proud of, and something that will tell them a bit of the tale of these years of our family’s life together. I work really hard at finding the balance between sharing what we do, but not sharing too much of ‘them’ in a way that they might be unhappy with in later years. I suppose time – and they – will be the ones to tell if I’ve been successful at that!

get involved: theres a flickr group

My thoughts on this book: I love this book – if you have children then you need this book. If you only buy one book this year – make it this one.

More: see amanda on this online interview/tutorial about the book and one of the projects in the book – she might be embarrassed by this – I think she was a little nervous. but I thought it was really lovely

Win a copy of this book:

comment here about your own family creativity – comments will close Tuesday … and will be drawn wednesday.

Images: images in this post are from Amanda’s blog. The top image is Amanda’s embroidery, second image some freezer paper stenciling and the third image her children creating at the family table and lastly Amanda herself in the snow wearing her own snow beret.

edited: winner announced – chosen by my random number picker Laura Weber

When I was young, my mother was one of those hands-on get dirty have fun kind of Moms. From gardening to cooking to sewing, we would do everything together. Now that I have a child of my own and a hectic full time working schedule, I find myself drawn to same hands-on approach. My daughter and I sit down to bead, or make an old shoe box into a dog house, or bake, and it gives us time to stop our crazy schedule and enjoy each other – while creating something lasting (or in the case of baking, not so lasting!) together. Thanks, Soulemama for giving us some new creative ideas, and reminding us of what’s important.

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1 tiffany April 19, 2008 at 12:06 pm

I am mastering the art of embracing art/craft mess.
It’s amazes me how incredibly messy even drawing a picture can be!
I hope Amanda has some craft organising tips in her book, I cant wait to devour this book.

2 Jo April 19, 2008 at 2:37 pm

My 8 year old was always consumed by the act of creating, pouncing on ideas, bouncing around with her own – always paints, wool, glue, thread all over the place. My 4 year old has been harder to seduce with the world that I love and relate to … but today as I think of it – we all made creatures out of sticks and leaves… and he was excited about his ‘leafy sea dragon’…

3 Regina April 19, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Growing up we were always making something – from salt dough ornaments to accessories for our dolls to the big Easter Basket challenge. Amazing what you can do with construction paper, scissors and a staple gun to make an incredible Easter Basket! My 3 year old is fascinated by his crayons, and just now getting into the more tactile clay type things – before this he did not want his hands dirty. Am looking forward to lots of dirty hands projects to come!

4 Nanna April 19, 2008 at 7:33 pm

I love doing crafts with my granddaughter and niece and nephews. I always am amazed at how they come up with a way to do something different than the way I suggested.
Would love to have this book!

5 Mindy April 19, 2008 at 7:35 pm

Such a sweet interview. I am in love with the photo of the cat’s place setting and that sweet little *hi cat* sign. ~smiles~

6 Deanne April 19, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I’ve always loved arts-n-crafts, and one of the best parts of parenting has been sharing this love with my kids. They are so unihibited in their creativity that it inspires me.

I read Amanda’s blog regularly, and would LOVE to have a copy of her book!

7 melissa April 19, 2008 at 9:43 pm

this book reminds me of the kind of parent that I want to be. I hope that in reading it and implementing some of Amanda’s theories and strategies (we’re already planning an art night party and a banging wall), we can be a more creative and happy family!

8 Christy April 19, 2008 at 9:50 pm

I’ve been so excited about this book. I’d love to WIN a copy.

9 LisaW April 19, 2008 at 9:51 pm

My 2-year old twins are a bit young to really embrace craftiness yet, but I’m trying to condition them by having lots of creative playtime with play-doh, pipecleaners, and crayons.

I haven’t had a chance to read this book yet, and I would LOVE to win a copy of it!

10 Shannon April 19, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Growing up doing something crafty was a “norm”. Then when I married I tried to bring this into my stepchildrens life much to their dismay. It took me a while but I figured out that they equated arts and crafts time with me as the worst punishment they could be given:)

11 emily April 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm

We always make a mess when creating and have a great time too. We did some tissue paper and liquid starch art, one evening, covering a big cardboard box. This lasted for about 2 hours of fun, mess and togetherness.

Cleaning up after a project and making it a quick thing (as in, “we only have 15 minutes to clean up, or the ice cream will melt” (offering a reward or getting verbal praise, helps)) is essential. My kids are 4 and 6 and we can really hustle if we want to make the place look nice for ourselves.

12 Hilary S April 19, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Growing up, we always had access to all kinds of craft materials. When my parents first got married, they couldn’t afford many Christmas decorations, so they made their own out of blown eggs and egg cartons. That kind of creativity carried through our family life. We were very into paper folding as kids and once we all spent hours and hours making Moravian stars for our Christmas tree that year. My mom worked at a bead store, and a stained art gallery, so we learned beading/jewelrey making and stained glass making too. My sister and I both worked in art, she in photography and me in drawing and painting and have always had our own and friends art on our walls – my nephew is currently the artist on display in her house, and I can’t wait until my 1 year old daughter is old enough to start really creating things. We’ve already done finger painting and drawing, which I then turn into Valentines, etc. I remember having so much fun doing macrame, sculpting with clay or found objects, making dolls out of flowers, paper mache, and so on. I would love a copy of Amanda’s book – I’ve currently got my library to purchase a copy, and now I’m eargerly awaiting my turn to read it.

13 dulcet April 19, 2008 at 10:39 pm

I don’t know why I have so much trouble embracing the mess–my house is hardly ever clean. One problem I have with getting my kids involved in creating is that sometimes I am more excited than they are. On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes they don’t know when enough is enough. They want the paints in every bright color, then they want to add sparkles, then beads, then something else pretty. How can you teach them that sometimes keeping it simple turns out better? And the only project that I’ve gotten my soon-to-be 12 year-old invovled in lately was some embroidery. That was a surprise. He running-stitched the fleur-de-lis symbol for the Boy Scouts. I’m sure this book could help me out.

14 stacysews April 19, 2008 at 10:42 pm

My daughter and I love to do some sort of painting together – now that she’s older we’ll occasionally make a trip to the pottery painting store and make a few pieces.

15 Ingrid April 19, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Having a child reconnected me with two of the most important things from my own childhood: the public library, and spontaneous crafting. So I, too,am waiting for my turn to read Amanda’s book to come up at the library, and, messy though it may be, we’ve everything we need on hand to create whateve comes to mind in the course of our day. And I’m so proud, my 5-year old recently tried emboidery without any doubt about her ability to master it. She’s an inspiration.


16 Beth April 19, 2008 at 11:17 pm

My daughter is my inspiration. She is almost 11, and is so intuitively artistic! She can find bits and pieces of things, and make something out of them! Her imagination never ceases to amaze me. She has motivated me to get in touch with my own crafty side, and we have done some embroidery together, and I even made a permanent place for my sewing machine so it would be on the ready!

17 Wendy April 20, 2008 at 12:32 am

I only started doing crafty stuff once I grew up/got married… I find it a bit of a struggle to include my kids in it – don’t like the mess, mostly… I’d love to win a copy of this book, though… maybe get some tips on how to lighten up.

18 Beth April 20, 2008 at 2:05 am

I started my kids super early on arts/crafts and now that my oldest is four, I am always looking for new ideas. I am excited about this book.

19 Carey S. April 20, 2008 at 2:05 am

I think one of the best things about creating with children is to let them do it limitless. I put out a variety of crafty stuff for my children to work through and they come up with some of the neatest things. Just last night we had friends over to play and the mother was telling me how it has been months since she has let her children craft, draw or create. She said it was because of the mess that she never initiates it. I take a different approach. We have a craft cabinet with all kinds of little bits to get into and create. My children stay happy for an hour or so being free in their minds. That is the best play in my mind.

20 Jess April 20, 2008 at 3:05 am

My 2 little girls (5&4) are forever asking me to do something with them. Knitting, beading, painting, they draw button fairies all the time! too cute, i would love to get a copy of this book, i would imagine it will be a little while before it reaches the shores of little old New Zealand

21 Katy April 20, 2008 at 3:06 am

I struggle a lot with making adequate space for creative work with the kids, and so we are currently remodeling our “junk/guest” room to make way for my stuff, the sewing table, and a table for the kids where they can work on bigger projects and make messes! I always get inspired by Amanda’s blog and hope that this will lead me down a more creative parenting path.

22 Jeanne April 20, 2008 at 3:18 am

My daughters and I try to have an art day once a week. We’ve loved using the book Drawing With Children. I grew up with a mom who handmade so many things and I know I didn’t always appreciate them. Now it has come full circle and I’m doing the same. My girls always ask me to make bags for birthday presents and they chose the fabric and buttons.

23 furrybees April 20, 2008 at 4:02 am

I am having a great time doing the groundwork in preparation for having a creative family! The most fun has been enacting a kind of “craft by stealth” with my partner. If you had asked him before we met if he had a creative bone in his body, the blank look he’d give you would have been a good precursor to the confident “no!” that would surely follow. However, I know that we all harbour an inner craftisan and so have been slowly introducing him to the fun of creativity. We started conventionally enough with Halloween Jack O’ Lantern creations (which was met with doubt and a bit of grizzling) then there was Christmas Craft (which incurred doubt but also thinly veiled enthusiasm), but once there was the unsolicited suggestion to dye Easter eggs I knew we were up and running towards having a creative family. Now all we need do is create the family…

24 Emily S April 20, 2008 at 4:36 am

I was defnitely the creative child in the family, and this talent was fostered a lot by my father who is a carpentier. His love of trees and nature led me to spending a lot of time outside, building forts and furnishing them with found objects. As i look back, one of my first major crafting expeditions was building a bookcase for my shelf made entirely out of sticks that were interwoven with twine and rope. It was definitely not the prettiest of things, but i was so happy with it. However what i loved most of all was how proud my parents were and how much they encouraged me to keep on creating.

25 Mary April 20, 2008 at 4:48 am

My boys (3 and 5) are learning to sew with some great oversized plastic needles, burlap in fun colors, and embroidery hoops (they feel like they’re “doing what mama does”). They’ve embroidered coasters for family, bean bags for friends and potholders. It’s wonderful!

26 Marsha April 20, 2008 at 8:03 am

My daughter will be three (already! yikes!) in just a couple of weeks, and she loves to make up stories with my husband and me. These days the stories usually involve pirates or Mrs. Tiggy-winkle (or pirates AND Mrs. Tiggy-winkle–anything can happen in a toddler’s imagination, right?), and it’s such a delight to see my daughter come up with creative new additions to her tales.

27 alisa April 20, 2008 at 10:24 am

my son is dyslexic and his art and creativity helps with his confidence. He is very creative and thinks outside the box. My other son is also very creative and I enjoy watching what they come up with!

28 cloth.paper.string April 20, 2008 at 10:44 am

embracing creativity in the daily making of home is where it’s at for our little family right now. the making of meals, cleaning up sticks in the yard after the windstorm, the washing of clothes… creativity is where you least expect it sometimes…

29 Cara April 20, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Hurray for the freedom to make messes. That’s where the most fun comes out of creativity. I would love this book!

30 Kelly Darke April 20, 2008 at 7:24 pm

I have had this book saved in my Amazon wish list for a long time – I look forward to seeing it. I have two children, 5 year girl and 2 year old boy, and we are always creating art. I am an artist so we have tons of art supplies around – I am also in grad school to be an Art Therapist so I know how important art is in a child’s life. I grew up in a creative family that was / is very supportive and encouraging. I am very interested to read this book and the ideas about parenting.

31 Amanda April 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm

I am the creative free spirit in my family, so I guess it makes sense that I choose to unschool my kiddos. Art and creativity play a huge part in our day. Both children love to draw and paint. They put on plays and commercials. I have found that the memories created during these often messy creative moments far outlast the memory of the mess. I look forward to reading Amanda’s book, I am sure it will complement our lifestyle nicely.

32 Allison April 20, 2008 at 10:02 pm

I have gotten so much inspiration just from reading Amanda’s blog and devouring all the interviews and reviews about her book… I can’t wait to read the actual book. Just thinking about making creativity an everyday part of my daughter’s life has helped me be patient with her ideas (which are sometimes quite messy).

33 Mighty Sally April 21, 2008 at 12:10 am

This book looks amazing! I remember reading Amanda’s blog when she was working on this book and it’s great to see the finished product.
I am a new mom with a 9 month old and suddenly I am very interested in all sorts of family craft ideas. I can’t wait to have craft time when my daughter is a bit older. I believe that the time spent together will be the most memorable.

34 Joanna April 21, 2008 at 1:28 am

We have always valued handmade things in our house and the children expect that gifts will be handmade. In return the children make birthday cards and are starting to make presents for us. This is part of a sunday morning rythm when we check what is needed for the coming week and make it ready. We go through different crafts and at the moment everybody is getting something made out of clay as the children love using it at the moment. They see me making things and see it as the “normal” way to make presents.

35 Ter April 21, 2008 at 1:30 am

The greatest joy in life is to see my children excelling in creative pursuits. Creativity genes from my ancestry and my husband’s family converge in the most wonderful ways through my children. My son has been endlessly designing boats since his earliest days of drawing, and my daughter wows everyone with her knitting, sewing, embroidery, drawings and beaded creatures at the 4-H county and state fairs. I love how after I teach my daughter some sort of craft she takes off with gorgeous results. Having creative energy around the house, a painting studio, sewing + drafting room, and art supplies in the kitchen enables our family to have tools available for whenever inspiration strikes. It’s a great way to live.

36 Thien-Kim April 21, 2008 at 2:33 am

I definitely agree with Amanda’s “Don’t be afraid of a mess.” We love to paint here in our household. If I don’t feel like clearing the dining table, I’ll strip my toddler naked and we’ll paint the bathtub! It’s amazing what kids can create when you present them the opportunity. She also learned that it was fun to paint her own body! After we finished painting, we cleaned the shower walls together (what’s more fun that wiping down walls with dripping wet washcloths?). I highly recommend it!

37 Jos April 21, 2008 at 3:21 am

As a child we were discouraged to make messes. I struggle so much now that I am a mother to just let go and let my chidren’s creativity happen. I read Amanda’s blog and this interveiw and I just bawl (granted I’m pregnant with my 3rd child atm and I’m emtional). Besides feeling very lost in my own life right now I fear that my children have really missed out that the technology has taken over our lives (computers, my husband is a comuter tech we’ve always had computers around), the wii, the ps2, the xbox 360 the stupid giant big screen tv that we HAD to have. I just want to throw it all away. My kids are 6 and 3 right now and I feel like I don’t know them at all.

Despite all of that I am a creative person, I am an artist and a writer. It’s something that I don’t really share with my children, I’m hoping that this book will help me find some direction to change my life and my relationship with my children. I realize it’s not going to be like a magic fix but it should be help, a be a step in the right direction.

I look forward to reading your book Amanda (if she’s even reading this!!)

38 Verna G. April 21, 2008 at 3:32 am

My kids and I do something crafty every single day. They have baskets filled with a variety of craft supplies so they can pick what they are in the mood for. We all sit around the table together and create. Occassionally I will find something on the web and set it up for all of us to try. On Sundays, we try to bake something together. I would love this book for more inspiration as a crafter and parent.

39 Louise April 21, 2008 at 4:10 am

I have been trying in the last year to be more thoughtful of providing opportunities for my kids to exercise their creativity. I think if you aren’t in the habit of it, it can be hard to see where to begin, but I have to admit that Amanda’s blog was a huge inspiration to me.

Today we are having some kids over to make and decorate cookies – finally all my cookie cutters will get a workout :)

40 Carol April 21, 2008 at 7:47 am

My children are much older (15 and 12) so our together craft /hang out time is very different to those with young children. But we still do things together, yet respect each others alone time too. We cook, garden, craft , housekeep together – and although the crafting is more of an individual process now we still help each other out when necessary by giving advice, encouragement and practical help.
As my children grew up, I thought I would mourn the loss of our together time – but in fact I love how it has evolved. Depsite popular misconceptions, teenagers are great really. It is just a different approach!

41 suse April 21, 2008 at 8:45 am

As my children get older it’s increasingly hard to involve them in creative pursuits so finding the right motivation is crucial.

My youngest wanted a new knitted hat for winter so I suggested we dye the wool together and that way he could choose the colours and everything. That was my inspiration to find non toxic dyes and learn how to dye the yarn, resulting in publishing a tutorial on dyeing with food colouring and young children on my blog. My son was so thrilled with the process and the final result that he quite seriously told me he wanted a sheep for his birthday so we can spin the wool too.

(God, what have I started?!)

42 Amanda April 21, 2008 at 9:27 am

Nice interview! Thanks! I too love the “Hi Cat” photo from Amanda’s blog. I commented to my husband just now that I wonder if our kids will do that someday?! If they are are as cat crazy as us I am sure they will!

43 Heidi April 21, 2008 at 9:36 am

some of my favorite moments when I was growning up happened at the kitchen table; in the evening after dinner, my siblings and I would sit with my mom and make potato stamps, spoon dolls, and lots of other kitschy kid crafts. I guess those evenings really shaped me, because now I’m an artist who’s really looking forward to having her own creative family!

44 Emily April 21, 2008 at 11:38 am

During the toddler and elementary school years, my boys and I were creating art and crafty projects most days. Having wooden floors, or setting up a table outside, helped us avoid being overly concerned about the mess. Now they are 13 and 16 years old, and most of the projects I suggest are not enticing them. With some exceptions – anything with skulls involved is interesting to them, cake or cookie decorating, freezer paper tshirts, shrink art. So we still have fun with it, but not nearly as often.

45 Clare April 21, 2008 at 1:32 pm

My children didn’t like glue and paper and the usual crafty stuff, but both loved taking photos. DH takes photos as part of his job, so access to cameras was always encouraged, both have “an eye” and my son 13, shows much promise. DD has developed an interest in thread and fabric, and DS has found his medium in clay. Encouragement was always offered, even when it meant the use of a whole roll of sellotape!

46 Sally April 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm

My mum taught me to sew many years ago and now I’m teaching her lots of new craft techniques I’ve picked up along the way. I don’t have kids yet but can’t wait to teach a little the art of creative mess!

47 Larici April 21, 2008 at 8:32 pm

I’m just trying to introduce creativity to my own life first by learning to sew. My son is still too young (just 8 months). But when he gets older, I would like to have enough experience to get him involved in all sort of different creative activities.
I would love to have a copy of Amanda’s book as it would really help me to achieve that.

48 Hilary April 21, 2008 at 10:03 pm

In middle school, when we were reading Great Expectations, my mom and my friend Lucy’s mom encouraged us to make something to go along with the reading. We were both fascinated by Ms. Havisham. We decided to make her decaying wedding cake. Our mothers purchased cake pans and we baked, we iced, and we sprayed the whole thing with watered down food coloring in moldy blues, greens, and grays. We topped the whole thing off with little plastic bugs. Although completely fresh and edible, it looked ancient and scary. And we got to eat it with our class. Our mothers always helped us take our crafts in which ever wicked direction we dreamed up.

49 shelle April 22, 2008 at 12:48 am

I first want to say that was a great interview/ review of Amanda’s wonderful book. I am very inspired by the Soulemama blog, her work is infused with soul.

For me creating is so important and I want my kids to feel the power within themselves as well. I am most at ease creating in the kitchen, sadly this has yet to wear off on my two kids, they will help shape pretzels or rolls but that’s as far as we go. We love to create with wool fleece either soft forms or wet felting is great for the younger ones. My oldest likes making his own cartoons very inspired by calvin and hobbes. is a great resource for family crafting

50 Kara April 22, 2008 at 12:58 am

I recently had a baby, then stumbled across Amanda’s blog. She has re-inspired my creativity and inspired me to get crafty!

51 ariana April 22, 2008 at 2:07 am

I can’t wait to see this book! It looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with others.

52 Kathryn April 22, 2008 at 3:09 am

The kids and I spent saturday morning making felt creatures, yes is was messy, but when you’re relaxed about it, it all seems to work out. I love that my kids would rather make a big creative mess at whatever level their at than watch cartoons on Saturday morning.

53 sarahelizabeth April 22, 2008 at 5:43 am

This looks like an amazing book. Myself, I don’t mind temporary messes a bit. My mother was very creative so I guess I was raised with glitter permanently stuck to my dining room table :)

54 joanie April 22, 2008 at 12:58 pm

As a child from a large family I tended to lose myself in creating things, even from a very early age. My parents always gave me the freedom to do so, always left me to it, and were always enthusiastic with my results.
As a parent, I encourage my childrens’ creativity in a way that’s not dissimilar. I love to see what inspires them, what they come up with and not get in the way of their own processes. Often what they choose to do or make mirrors the things I do which is only natural, but I believe they are both so intrinsically creative that giving them the space and time to make & imagine is one of the greatest gifts I could give them.

55 Holly Hudson April 22, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Oh, my I would have loved blogland when my kiddos were young. I had 5 children in less than 9 years and loved doing artsy projects with them. Here are some of my highlights: boys love making gingerbread houses; the girls started sewing lessons as soon as they could read; boys & girls took kite-making classes (4/5 & 7 grade); pottery classes were a huge success for boys & girls; I owned a scrapbook store for 3 years, so they always had paper/scissors/punches/die-cut machine at their fingertips! Visit art & history museums and study the paintings. Take all available local community art classes at your: museums, art co-ops, summer school programs, scrapbook stores, private teachers, kind neighbors, & SENIORS. Retirees who love kids & art are a wonderful resource…ask around at schools, churches, neighbors & other seniors for referrals! As for messes, my kids had to pick-up or clean-up ten items each…..often that put a huge dent in what I was left with…vinyl covered-flannel backed tablecloths on the kitchen table & floor are a MUST. If you don’t have good furniture, then NO WORRIES & more money for art classes!!….to this day, we do not have good china nor a dining room set & who cares!
Love your kids. Holly

56 Christina April 22, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I just love Soulemama’s blog! I do not have children as of yet but I feel like Amanda is an immense source of creative inspiration with or without children;) My little sister (11) and my niece (7) are coming to visit me this week and I plan on planting sweet peas and tomatoes with them and rummaging through fleamarkets with them to find pretty pillowcases to make shopper bags with. I can’t wait for them to get here:)

All the best,

57 Kristen Addington April 22, 2008 at 8:45 pm

This book – and Amanda’s blog – have gotten me excited about one day being a parent again. I get so bogged down in all of the negative energy out there in the world for little ones that I often question whether I should have children. Seeing how much Amanda enjoys her children – and they enjoy her – it gives me hope that I might bring something into the world and it might be GOOD!

58 Jennifer April 22, 2008 at 8:48 pm

My one year old daughter is just now getting in to finger painting. Amanda’s blog is inspiring and I can’t wait to try her ideas with my little girl.

59 Sharon April 22, 2008 at 8:49 pm

Soulemama always leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy and wanting to give my daughter an extra hug. Thanks Amanda for your thoughts and photos!

60 Angie April 22, 2008 at 8:49 pm

I have been so inspired by Amanda’s blog that it has made me think differently about the little things in life. My girls and I have now made it a point to “tour” our neighborhood each evening after dinner and find things along the way. A rock, leaves, or just our togetherness. Also, family is truely important and it’s amazing the impact of the time we spend with out children that will stay with them forever. I love it when my oldest daughter (who is 8) tells of stories of things that we did together when she was 3 or 4.

Thank you so much Amanda for the inspriation that you have given to not only me, but everyone.

61 Kira April 22, 2008 at 8:57 pm

I just discovered your blog, via a craft newsletter I receive now and again. I am so happy they included your new book in their newsletter!!! I will be a loyal reader from now on! I feel like I ‘came home’. Thanks.
Thank you for offering the rest of the world a glimpse into such a beautiful family life! The fact that you share your gift with so many people is very inspiring. I love the reminders (and I need them often with three kids!) to live in the moment, and to take pride in the process, not the end result. Now if I could only unblock my creativity…..which I know is in there somewhere! You make it look very very easy. And it is, isn’t it?
Thank you for sharing your gift.

62 evie April 22, 2008 at 9:01 pm

I’m tapping into my crafty “soul” ever since I found your blog, Amanda…it’s always been there, just playing second fiddle to my 3 children. Absorbing your inspiring words and photos has reminded me of my own creative childhood and has re-awakened my creative connection to my family…it’s a habit that’s sticking and I THANK YOU.

63 Heather April 22, 2008 at 9:06 pm

I have only a few blogs that I check on daily, and Amanda’s is one of them. I have two boys, ages 4 and 7, who both love their TV and video games. When I was their age, I was only allowed 1 hour of TV a day (and we didn’t have video games until I was 10!). My mother believed very strongly that kids need to use their imaginations to create and play. Luckily for my boys, I agree with her, and I have put the same restrictions on my kids. We have family game night, which usually only consists of me and the boys (my hubby is a video game addict!), we have a “craft hour” twice a week where we create something. Sometimes I have something specific planned, but I usually just give them a box of items and we see what we can create out of what’s in the box.

The Creative Family is on my constantly growing list of books that I want, and I cannot wait to be able to read it!

64 Rashmi April 22, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I have two children ,I feel that making things from hand in any way or medium brings a sense of peace and accomplishment. When I was small, I learned to embroider , crochet and knit from my mom. I hope to teach my children some of what I learned to make memories with them of their childhood well spend creatively. I try not to guide much when my son is engrossed in any of his projects(even though the result is not what we had in mind).

65 Eileen April 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm

I so look forward to reading Amanda’s blog each day. Most of my friends work outside the home and have a very different lifestyle and parenting style than we do.

Crafting together is a big part of our day. Messes are a part of that but my kids know that messes are okay. They can always be cleaned up. Cooking with me, playing with play clay and painting are the current favorite indoor activities. Biking, climbing, bubbles, chalk painting and playing in the sand are the current favorite outdoor activities. It’s going to be a fun spring/summer!

Thanks to Kath for the great interview and thanks Amanda for sharing so much of herself with all of us.

66 Ashley Lee April 22, 2008 at 9:13 pm

I love to create things as a result of other people’s creativity. My daughter (almost 7) is working a lot with water colors right these days. My son (14 months) is really enjoying the fact that I am actually handing him a crayon or piece of chalk now. How truly rewarding to have your own children creating art in their own way and then have them present it to you.

Personally, I am currently working on birthday invitations for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. I thrive on birthday parties and being able to create.

I would love to get my hands on Amanda’s book and create more.

67 Hilary April 22, 2008 at 9:13 pm

My husband and I both got degrees in art, so I feel an enormous pressure to have a creative and artistically driven child. My son so far enjoys “art time” with Mommy, but I don’t want to put pressure on him! I am amazed when he sees me sew that he desires to try, so I am excited when art happens naturally for him!
I think children see what their parents do and so if he sees us love the arts, he in turn will love them too!

68 Mother Earth April 22, 2008 at 9:15 pm

I am charmed by amanda’s example of nurturing the creative side of herself and her family – lovely interview and blog you have here too!!

69 Jackie April 22, 2008 at 9:15 pm

That Amanda is something else…. This book is on my wish list, and while I feel compelled to go to every bookstore in town and tell them to carry this book, maybe I will first start by making sure all of my friends have it on their bookshelf. I love creativity and crafting and often find myself falling asleep at night thinking about fabrics, concocting a new quilt scheme, planning a new project. I have a toddler who is already showing her imagination and I can’t wait to try out some of Soulemama’s ideas with her!

70 katie April 22, 2008 at 9:21 pm

although my son is only 7 months old I have found a way to add art into our lives so far by painting with his feet and also food painting after he is done eating. I am eagerly awaiting the days when we will be doing more art and crafting inside and outside.

71 Julie Alvarez April 22, 2008 at 9:22 pm

I grew up with my father who’s an architect and my mother who’s a painter. Both are really good in what they do. I had no TV at home, and we were always painting, drawing, sewing, knitting, and playing with crafts all around. My house was always a mess.
Now that I have a daughter, I hold myself from putting everything in order, just to let her create in her everyday life. She loves drawing and glueing things…
Amanda’s blog is a treasure I found just recently.
Thank you for this interview!

72 Callie Moon April 22, 2008 at 9:23 pm

With two kids and the third on the way I’m always looking for fun ideas. We are currently planning to move from a townhouse to a home out in the country and I’m so excited to explore and create outdoors. My children amaze me each day and I love to watch them as they explore and discover bits and pieces of the world around them. It truly opens my eyes to more fully appreciate all the joys of this life.

73 Amanda April 22, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Ah yes, MESS. From reading some of the other comments it seems to be hot topic. I am striving to be a mom who is comfortable with creative messes and dirty kids, which I am coming to see in my circle of friends is rare! So far I am loving it, the cleaning and all. My husband is harder to convince that making messes is the best ‘good clean fun’ we can have. Amanda’s blog also inspired me to turn off our TV 3 months ago. And while it was tough at the beginning with a 3 year old and 6 month old, it is now just our everyday. I love the quiet, space and time it opened up in our days for creative MESSES! :-) Thank you Amanda for all of the inspiration & ideas & the time you take to share them with us.

74 Tracy April 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm

Creating and working with my hands has always provided a place of sanctuary and peace for me. I am finding that my five year old daughter turns to drawing and creating for comfort as well. We are in the midst of creating a family art area where each of us can retreat to alone or together. thanks for the insipiration

75 Heather April 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm

I love reading Amanda’s blog… it makes me feel so good to know that I’m part of a generation of mom’s who are rekindling the creative spirit within their families! My home is not fancy, but it’s full of beautiful things my children have created with me – and I think that’s the best “style” for us!

76 Heather April 22, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Our family creative time right now has been focused on imaginative play. It’s hard to tear my kids away from their ongoing doll play. I would love to win this book, I’ve gotten so insiped my Amanda to be playful and open and creative with my kids. Thanks for this interview with her.

77 Jennifer April 22, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Our family creativity is always evolving, and we are always looking for new ways to encourage us from becoming bored or lazy in artistic ways. From the kids preschool I learned to set art supplies out attractively, and now that we homeschool, I try to leave project starters around so that they can be picked up and furthered. Amanda always fills me with ideas and hope for the latent creativity our family must have!

78 Jill April 22, 2008 at 9:38 pm

My children are grown now, but my daughter has a little one and another on the way. I believe this book would be a wonderful addition to her family activities – and we both love the soulemama blog!

79 Jodi April 22, 2008 at 9:39 pm

I am so excited about this book, having watched the process as (mostly) a lurker on Amanda’s blog. I’ve yet to get a copy (and my daughter and I love creative projects), so I’m crossing my fingers to be the random winner. :-)

80 aprilm April 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

One of the hardest things I had to learn when crafting with my kids, is that it is their project not mine. At first I would be cringing when they added a little detail that was in the wrong spot. Now I’ve realized that the eyes don’t have to be glued to the head…in fact they look better on the belly.

81 Merrill April 22, 2008 at 9:40 pm

I feel like Amanda’s blog has helped me slow down with my kids. You’re so right about most of the conflict arising from hurrying! We have always enjoyed working on projects together, but lately we are really focusing on the process and not the product.
Thanks for the interview-

82 P-la April 22, 2008 at 9:41 pm

My son is “developmentally delayed” and I’m always trying to find something crafty that he is able to do. He loves to PUSH things, so stickers and pictures that have past on them are perfect! We are just now getting into rubber stamping because he can push on those. Messy but fun!

83 Krista April 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

My kids have never embraced creatiivity without a lot of “creative persuasion” from me. I fret, daily, that the majority of their genes come from their Kiwi/rugbywatching/competitiveve sport-dominated paternal side. I have read small excerpts of the book online and think it would help me a lot to read the whole book. I found the bits I’ve read so far to be very insporing and encouraging.

84 Carrie Guzzino April 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Amanda has inspired me to start a blog and to encourage every whim of my two boys when it comes to creativity. Our little one is already painting at pne and a half years, something I reserved till our first born was four. The clean up isn’t fun, but it can always wait. Thanks for reaffirming creativity in kids and in me.

85 sefchen April 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm

I love reading Soulemama’s blog in the morning. It inspires me for the day to come. I have three little ones. The older one is 6 and is constantly making things. He makes puppets, monsters, toys etc. My two little ones are 4. They are both autistic. They love to paint, on paper and on themselves. I have definitely learned that the mess just comes with letting my kids express their creativity.

86 Amy Webb April 22, 2008 at 9:44 pm

It was so nice to read the interview with Amanda. I read Soulemama every day! My son is only 14 months old, so a lot of “projects” are beyond him right now, but I try to remember to make time to just act silly and listen to music and let him play with his food and toys without worrying about the giant mess. (That’s hard!)


87 Robin April 22, 2008 at 9:45 pm

I have to boys who turn things into Art all the time. I am going down to the bookstore this morning to look for this book. Maybe it will encourage me to encourage them.

88 meg April 22, 2008 at 9:50 pm

at 1 and 2 1/2 my children are just starting out in all of thier creative endevors. At the moment our favorite things to do are make cupcakes: the older one helping with the actual cracking of eggs and measuring and pouring and the younger having the time of his life with a bowl of flour and a wooden spoon.

89 Liz April 22, 2008 at 9:53 pm

In our house we live by the mess rule! I don’t understand how you can let your children be creative if you are tidying up after them all the time. I never push my children to be creative, but if they show an interest then they join in with what I am doing. I also stand back and let them do their own thing and to find their own interests and creativity. I love the way the internet gives so many ideas of things to do with children – Amanda’s blog is one of these. Sometimes I worry though that at parents evening I am more concerned about the art and music report, than I am about the maths and english!

90 Kristin April 22, 2008 at 9:53 pm

My kids are so creative, at 2 and 5. My problem is slowing down enough to be able to be creative with them. It’s not something that comes naturally to me.

91 Heather April 22, 2008 at 9:54 pm

I love crafting with my little one. Still really struggling sometimes with the mess and really being in the moment. I can’t wait to get this book since I just love reading the soulemama blog–so inspiring.

92 Vanessa April 22, 2008 at 9:57 pm

Honestly, my family and I have been in a creative slump.
We have had a rough couple of years dealing with a few horrible
situations and our creativity was brought to a crashing halt.
We were always crafting and creating so not only has it been a rough
couple of years but we have been without our creative outlet as well.

We will be reunited this summer after a year apart and we are looking
forward to being together.
When I asked my seven year old what they would
like us to do together, the first thing that came to mind for them…
Make art and be a family we will!

93 Kim April 22, 2008 at 10:00 pm

One of our favorite ways to be creative is playing! We do lots of dressing up, imaginitve play, building with legos and blocks. It is just fabulous!!!

94 Sarah B. April 22, 2008 at 10:01 pm

My brother and I had older parents, which meant that they didn’t know to be “afraid” of things, and also meant that they believed in our independence from them, so we had a lot of freedom in our creativity. If we wanted to build something, we got out a hammer and nails and built it! If we wanted to paint, we covered the kitchen table in newspaper and painted They were there to guide, assist, and answer questions, and they certainly taught us plenty, but we explored a LOT, and I think turned out better for it. I’m determined that my children will have this same experience, down to the real hammer and real nails. :)

95 val April 22, 2008 at 10:05 pm

I dont yet have children, but an extended family through my friend’s children. I’m the “crafty aunt” and love to get creative and create a mess with the little ones in my life. Amanda’s blog has inspired me for almost two years now. Thanks Amanda!

96 Missy April 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Lovely interview — I can’t wait to read the book!

97 Tiffanie April 22, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Something I enjoy is that my kids like to color pictures in my journal. It adds a certain special feel to the pages as I look back over them later.

98 Carolyn April 22, 2008 at 10:09 pm

When I was little the best thing we used to do was dress up and play pretend with my younger brother, we were often some type of superhero. And of course, homemade playdo is always a winner.

99 Kristena April 22, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Well I tell ya, the children and I are busy being crafty with spring flowers and plants. Making food with the edibles, and sometimes stalks and things become new creations as inspired in the moment.

100 Amy Eileen April 22, 2008 at 10:11 pm

I have just recently discovered Amanda’s blog and am there every day now checking in to see what she has been up to with her family. I am truly inspired. My son and I are always creating something together from painting pictures to making birthday cards for the whole family. I would love to own her book. Some day I will! I truly believe that spending creative time with your children is a major part of parenting. Thanks for the inspiration.

101 Tara April 22, 2008 at 10:12 pm

My daughter is 6 and I only wish I’d had your book sooner!

102 amy johnson April 22, 2008 at 10:13 pm

A great interview to read! For me, as a mom of 5, the best thing I have learned is to “re-embrace” the little things. Things that have lost their sense of newness to me, things that seem basic or pared down can be enthralling to my kids, and in turn, to me again. I mean, seriously, I had forgotten how fun it can be to reach into a huge bowl filled with dried lentils we are using for art, and just squish my hands around in it! Or spray the hose up into the air on a sunny day and watch the rainbows. All great stuff to embrace.

103 Kelli April 22, 2008 at 10:20 pm

I grew up in a home where scissors, tape and paper were never to be found when needed. It’s silly, I suppose, but this is one of the main parenting promises that I made to myself—that my kids would always have access to plenty of paper, tape, scissors, markers and paint. And they do.

One of my favorite times as a parent is when I find my children busy with these supplies. It never matters what they are making, or that they are, indeed, making a mess. What makes me smile is that they are comfortable just sitting down and going at it, that I have helped them to become comfortable with creating. What a gift!

104 Mary-Jo April 22, 2008 at 10:22 pm

I love that my children are bringing out a more creative, imaginative side of me, it’s like a second-childhood for me in a way…I love being inspired by artistic people like Amanda. Thank goodness for the blogging world, it’s really changing my life bit by bit.

105 Leigh April 22, 2008 at 10:25 pm

In about 10 seconds I’m going to make sock puppets with my girls (“MOM, get off the computer!!”) At 8 and 4 they can make up stories for hours with all sorts of puppets they have made themselves.
Amanda – congratulations on the book and thank you for the years of inspiration (I love your blog in the morning with my tea).

106 Melissa R April 22, 2008 at 10:27 pm

A friend asked me how I teach Art to my child. Both of us have one child, homeschooled. At first I thought I had no answer… that I am not very artistic myself (as she was saying about herself). But then I started and kept going on and on with more and more input about where I get ideas, what kind of things I suggested for her to try etc…. and I realized that although I am not artisitic, I am creative and crafty. So I can’t draw, paint or sculpt very well. I can do so many other ARTISTIC things that I need to stop say “no, I am not an artisit”. I have been reading about this book for a few weeks now and hoping that my library would be purchasing it so I could borrow it soon, and planning to put it on my Christmas list. Amanda is inspiring in so many ways.

107 Nicole April 22, 2008 at 10:29 pm

My kids are such an inspiration. They have very few limits and while sometimes the ideas are a bit too grand, it keeps me going out on a limb a bit more. Just last week they brought me a cardboard box and asked if we could make a puppet theater with a curtain. they had picked out fabric, paper and back drops……it took us a few hours to work on, but it turned out great and they have been creating little “plays” ever since. So fun!!

108 Carole April 22, 2008 at 10:34 pm

I am so delighted to have stumbled on Amanda’s blog (I can’t even remember how…I think a divine little internet elf led me there), and I am eager to read her book! Thanks for your generosity, Amanda, in sharing your thoughts and ideas with us through your book. Thanks for featuring her here! I am definitely going to spread the word about The Creative Family!

109 Barb April 22, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I adore anything crafty … creating something of beauty where before there was none. Organizing cupboards & drawers by colours and categories. Taking a found object and reworking it into something fresh and new.
My daughter has Amanda’s book and I have enjoyed looking through it each time I visit her … would love my own copy.

110 Cary April 22, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Our family loves to create together. We will make anything that requires making: a book cover for an ugly book, a book case to hold a set of special books, a drawing to cheer each other up and other basic crafts with yarn, fabric, wood and paint! We love it all!

111 Laura Weber April 22, 2008 at 10:48 pm

When I was young, my mother was one of those hands-on get dirty have fun kind of Moms. From gardening to cooking to sewing, we would do everything together. Now that I have a child of my own and a hectic full time working schedule, I find myself drawn to same hands-on approach. My daughter and I sit down to bead, or make an old shoe box into a dog house, or bake, and it gives us time to stop our crazy schedule and enjoy each other – while creating something lasting (or in the case of baking, not so lasting!) together. Thanks, Soulemama for giving us some new creative ideas, and reminding us of what’s important.

112 katie April 22, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Well, “family creativity” for me means just me–I don’t have kids, unless you count my four dogs (and their idea of creativity involves figuring out how best to view squirrels out the window). Even so, I visit Amanda’s website regularly, and I’m often inspired by what she and her kids think up.

113 Charity April 22, 2008 at 10:52 pm

We just recently set up an “art corner”, with a child sized table and chairs. I love how one of my kids will just go over there and start creating without any push from me. :0)

114 Heather April 22, 2008 at 10:59 pm

My daughters and I draw and paint together every day and have for years, even though they are only 2 and 5. It’s good for my creativity, too, to be working alongside them on my own creative endeavors. Now my older daughter is sewing and embroidering with me and even helped me with my latest quilt! Creating with each other is central to our lives. I’m glad Amanda’s book is bringing that idea to a wider audience.

115 jenn April 22, 2008 at 11:00 pm

Checking Amanda’s blog has become nearly as habitual as checking my email! I absolutely can’t wait to devour this book and start some new projects and rituals with my three kids.

116 krista April 22, 2008 at 11:02 pm

my babe is twelve weeks old today and i so look forward to watching her growing creative self claim its space in our home. my boyfriend is an artist and an amazing cook, i am learning how to sew, i make collages, i write and i love to bake. already, she is teaching me to stop, notice, appreciate, breathe. and i read amanda’s blog for inspirational reminders and, honestly, just for the plain joy of her beautiful life.

117 esther April 22, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Getting over the messy aftermath has been so rewarding! It was such an obstacle to enjoying creative time with my girls (1 1/2 and 3), and now I can really enter into the fun and watch their young minds work. I think the main thing that helped me get over it was remembering that they aren’t little forever–it’s already speeding by so fast–and that if I worry about messes I’ll miss the best part. Amanda Soule’s blog was the main push behind this realization, and I am so grateful to have come across it!!

118 Molly April 22, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Inspired. This is a whole new world for me…one that I kinda knew about, but was unsure of how. After reading this – I can see that I just need to DIVE IN — How fun! Thank you.

119 Ariella April 22, 2008 at 11:06 pm

My 7 and 5 year olds and I buy tubes of professionally made marzipan and dye them and roll them into fruit or vegetable shapes. We originally saw this on Martha Stewart. The great thing about it is that for clean-up, you just eat it!

120 Lydia April 22, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Turn off the television!

I see what a differnence that makes for my three little girls and me. I get started on a project and invariably, they are right next to me whipping up their own creation. We center much of what we make around what we do- sewed pillowcases to match new slepping bags for a family camping trip, made a scarecrow for the garden, things in preparation for our travels and LOTS of creations for the 15 elderly neighbors on our street.

Looking for more great ideas and excited to spread the word. What a great Mother’s Day gift Amanda’s book would be.

121 Gabrielle Smith April 22, 2008 at 11:16 pm

I love reading the interviews and articles on this site – they always inspire me to get crafty!

122 Molly April 22, 2008 at 11:17 pm

My kids are 5 and 6 years old and we all love to craft. We always are looking for new and exciting things to do. I am afraid many of my ideas are quite stale now, and I would love to read your book to bring more energy to our craft times. I enjoy the Soulemama blog so much, I am sure I would love this book too.

123 MzTallulah April 22, 2008 at 11:18 pm

I’ll be having my first baby soon and right now my creativity consists of working on things for him/her – knitted garments, a quilt – and of looking for a new house to welcome it in! I would love to be able to be a stay at home mom like Amanda, but since that’s not possible, I will strive to be as present for my child as possible when I’m there, and hope to share many many hours of creative play with it in the future!

124 Stephanie April 22, 2008 at 11:25 pm

I must say that I came across Soule Mama by accident. I was actually visiting another blog that talked about her new book coming out. I have been rather enamored with the blog and the pics and it has really come at a time when I have been feeling a strong need for some type of change in our own home. My heart feels very strongly about living simply and taking time with my kids, but I often am sad at the end of the day as I feel we just didn’t connect the way I yearn for. The only crafting influence I had in my youth was my grandmother. She was a seamstress and taught me to sew. I lost the desire to be creative until I had children and then I began sewing again. Sewing led to the desire to do so much more and then I realized that I am not very creative enough to initiate crafts on my own. This has been a true stumbling block for me as I crave unique ideas and bonding experiences for my children. I’m very excited about reading Amanda’s book and have already started some embroidery with my children. Thank you for sharing your life! I’m hoping to start my own blog to remember all of the tiny blessings of every day that get lost.

125 Sharon April 22, 2008 at 11:27 pm

My sister send her kids to my house to make messes :-) . They know that I make a lot of stuff and have great “supplies” for them to have at.

126 heather April 22, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Really what I love the most about being a crafter with my family is challenging myself to let go of all my “up-tightness” and let myself and my daughter just make stuff. I tend to labor over how to do things right and whether to use my favorite fabric/paper/stickers/yarn for this or that. Reading Amanda’s blog has taught me a lot about allowing the process to take place naturally and letting go of control.

127 Brandy F April 22, 2008 at 11:35 pm

I have always loved creating things…and since I have had two children I work on letting them help create things too.. My son loves to pick fabrics out for his pjs and I let him help sew on them too…they’re not perfect but he loves the pjs because he help make them. I have a baby girl now and I love making little dresses for her. She loves to be in the craft room playing with all the fabric and fun stuff all over the floor!

128 jesica April 22, 2008 at 11:38 pm

I think creativity blossoms with ones surroundings and children are so imitative that they naturally want to be involved in whatever you are doing whether it is sewing or cleaning or cooking. I love just sitting back too and watching my children in their own world of make believe. The conversations they have with each other when they don’t know you are listening are priceless. For Earth Day we planted trees and the daily watering and care of the trees as made the initial planting activity live on much longer. I love having them fill up their water pails at one end of the playground and let them carry the water across the yard to the patch of trees. Other creative things we love to do is baking bread, family drawing time, playing with a few drops of food coloring in the bathtub, fort building and telling each other stories.

129 LJ April 22, 2008 at 11:39 pm

My son is special needs and we don’t do so much creative projects together as he’s limited to what he can do, however we live in front of the library and it is almost our second home. He’s just started an interest in books. His favorite story right now is Goldilocks and the three bears. Too cute how he likes to retell the story to me.

130 Amanda April 22, 2008 at 11:43 pm

I work in a library and we are anxious to include Amanda’s book in our collection. What a resource!

131 Josie April 22, 2008 at 11:44 pm

I have two little boys, 6 and 1, and they love making things especially if they can be messy while doing it! We just finished reading about volcanoes and make one with plaster and repetedly watched it errupt. My oldest loves making up his own stories and telling them to us. instead of listening to the radio in the car we take turns making up parts of a story. They’re so amazing and always keep me guessing as to what they’ll do next!

132 robin April 22, 2008 at 11:45 pm

I have been learning to knit, and teaching my four-year old how to finger crochet, so we can play with yarn together. I love finding ways to do a craft that isn’t boring for me or too challenging for the little ones.

133 Allison April 22, 2008 at 11:48 pm

I am so inspired by Amanda and her approach to parenting/crafting with children. My son is only 2 1/2 but through reading Amanda’s blog I have realized that it’s never too early to start crafting with children. We made his valentine cards for his friends when he was just 17 months old and this past Christmas when he “needed” more shepherds for his store-bought nativity scene that he received as a gift, we wen to the craft store and came home with wooden figures, pipe cleaners and material from the scrap bin and made a whole community of shepherds! I love learning from Amanda how to encourage creativity and learning through everyday moments. I loved this interview – it answered a lot of questions I myself have had about Amanda, her book and her style of household management.

134 Stephanie April 22, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Crafting and children are two things very near to my heart. My husband and I will be starting a family very soon and are so anxious to see what little masterpieces are invented by tiny hands.

135 stephanie April 22, 2008 at 11:57 pm

I try and incorporate creativity into every day. I want her to experience life and try to make even the simplest activities not seem mundane. We talk about everything we do and try and think of better ways to do them. I make her a part of chores and focus on different things each time. When we are cooking she helps me measure and talk about textures, colors and shapes.

136 Ashley April 22, 2008 at 11:57 pm

My Mimie was so creative when we were little. She gave each granchild the chance to explore her art and choose her own path. She always told us that before we started to stop, concentrate, and let our minds travel the tunnel from the left side to the right. Then, we were in the mindset to be creative. It works for my cousin and me to this day. We all chose our own ways: Elizabeth was sewing, crochet and knitting, my sister took up drawing, and I took up paper arts and sewing. It was such a huge part of me that I wanted my children to have the same amazing experiences that were place in my lap. So, every day since Lex was a few months old, we’d play. In water, with bubbles, sand, finger paints, homeade palydoh, you name it. We’d do crafts or art every day. Now that I have to work a little while, our weekends are so creative. He sits on the other side of my desk in his big boy chair and paints, colors, glues buttons to cardstock, and sometimes just watches me do my thing. It’s such a beautiful way to spend time with family, and I get to share my family legacy and pass it forward.

137 Karen April 23, 2008 at 12:01 am

I am getting so much inspiration from the blogosphere about being creative with your family. It’s an internal struggle having our house turned upside down into forts, caves, tombs, etc. and fingerpaint on the cupboards, but it’s so much fun!! I love the ideas!

138 Jessica April 23, 2008 at 12:01 am

We have been starting a crafty group with some of little ones, we’re having so much fun. I can’t wait to see this book! It looks beautiful.

139 Kathy April 23, 2008 at 12:03 am

After looking at her photos Amanda has inspired me to learn how to sew. For the past month I have been making bags, wall hangings, and I just completed a little girl’s dress, which I have to be honest, is pretty bad. But it’s a start. I feel lucky because my own upbringing was in a very similar style, but I guess I have just grown lazy with my own children. It takes work! Thanks for all the inspirations and ideas.

140 ErinM April 23, 2008 at 12:04 am

My daughter is 18 months and she’s teaching me creativity all over again. I’m trying hard not to worry about messes and doing it “wrong”…just live in the moment and think about cleaning up later..

141 DeerDominique April 23, 2008 at 12:06 am

What a fine interview!
I am so pleased that my daughter is getting to an age where she can focus for longer than 2 seconds, we are spending time drawing now mostly, she doesn’t quite ‘get’ paints yet. I’m really excited about the future of crafting with her. Learning to embrace the mess has been big for me, barely keeping up with the chores as it was… well you mamas know.

142 tziona April 23, 2008 at 12:07 am

I apire to do more crafts with the kiddies 4 and 2 years. Mainly its play doh, coloring in, and painting if the house is already a mess. One thing I have learnt is that its about the kids art and expressing, I had to give up on my concept of end product after a few times where the kids lost interest and I was sitting doing some craft……. I have to learn to let go…….I need this book:)

143 mamie April 23, 2008 at 12:09 am

we are just starting down the road to creativity as new parents but now at one i find i can let the twins explore their environment. i figure letting a few leaves and branches slip through those sharp teeth is not the worst thing and i am pretty versed on what can and cannot go into babies mouths plant wise. i want them to be as enamoured of the outside world as we are. the way they handle rocks and twigs is both fascinating and a reminder to get out of the house and play in the nature we have left.

144 Amanda April 23, 2008 at 12:10 am

if your kids like dinosaurs, this is a pretty fun activity and it can take as long as you want it to. what you do is get a clear container or bowl fill it most of the way up with water and drop some blue food coloring until you get your desired water color. then get a little toy dinosuar that will fit in the container and drop it in, or use a couple smaller dinos. then freeze it overnight and the next day set up your kids (outside is best) with a cup of warm water (we use hottub water) and an eye dropper and have them take turns dropping the water onto the ice. when we do this it can take them 2 hours but they love it. after they almost get the dino out, they go and put it in the hottub and think it’s the funniest thing.

145 Sherah April 23, 2008 at 12:14 am

I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. I am one of the many, many people who have been inspired by Amanda.

146 Blissed April 23, 2008 at 12:14 am

My sons have inspired much of my creativity in recent years, and we often work together. My 4-year-old is always asking for elaborate outfits — he thinks I can sew anything. (His confidence is flattering.) He often invites me to linger at preschool so we can explore the day’s art materials together, and has surprised me by reprising at home themes and techniques he spies on visits to the modern art museum. My younger one has only just discovered crayons. I’m going soon on a weekend holiday by myself to refuel, recharge and breathe, and this will be the book in my carry-on bag.

147 Patti April 23, 2008 at 12:16 am

Our family has always done creative things but since following Amanda’s blog and purchasing her book, we are definitely experimenting in areas that we never did before…sewing, knitting, cooking together, photography, creating our own books, collecting natural materials, finding new uses for discarded materials. There are baskets everywhere around the house with different projects we are working on. She has definitely inspired us to make positive changes in our lives, savouring time together, and finding a new appreciation for the world and community we live in.

148 Amy April 23, 2008 at 12:17 am

I haven’t started a family of my own yet, but i have memories and inspiration to draw on from when I was a little girl. My mother taught me to cross stitch when I was 7 or 8, and we spent hours doing silhouettes and paper cutting. Then there were all the Girl Scout crafts and activities. But more than anything, my mom inspired a vivid imagination – a world where Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were VERY real, where dolls could come to life, and where magical creatures lurked in backyard bushes. I can hardly wait to bring my own little ones into the world – crafting and creativity will be a big part of my parenting!

149 franticallysimple April 23, 2008 at 12:20 am

I love Soule Mama; it’s great to hear more of her.
We encourage creativity by turning off the tv. Our daughter can watch cartoons on Saturday morning, but that’s it.
We play together – dolls, stuffed animals… We tell stories and leave out crumbs for our house-brownie (fairy).
And art projects and inventions are a must.

150 Rachel April 23, 2008 at 12:21 am

my mom was really supportive of my and my sister’s creativity in a very natural and easy way. it was a lot about having things about that we could use and giving us the time to make and explore. i hope i will be able to continue that with my daughter as well, when she arrives.

151 deliarose April 23, 2008 at 12:21 am

I have 2 little girls and another one on the way. I am amazed how much my little bits of creativity rub off on my kids. I love to sew and really enjoy fabrics. The other day I caught my daughter stroking the textiles in the store. It was such a sweet thing to see. I am attempting to allow my children to explore with their creativity. I look forward to reading Amanda’s book!

152 sue April 23, 2008 at 12:23 am



153 EABL April 23, 2008 at 12:24 am

Great interview! I love the blog and would love to read the book. I like how many of Amanda’s suggestions also don’t involve spending a lot of money (as we don’t have a ton of resources:)!) I have a 15 month old and have been having fun with “recycled” crafts: using cardboard boxes to make houses and trains, making home made playdough for sensory experiences, using pots and yogurt containers for drums… There’s a lot you can do it you look around the house and try to get creative with it!

154 Andrea April 23, 2008 at 12:26 am

Great Interview. Have loved the blog for a long time, and am very much looking forward to owning the book.
I’m just about to have my own baby, and as an artist, am filled with ideas of how to be creative with him. Can’t wait. My own experiences as a child are a good jumping off point. My parents always encouraged our imaginations and creativity without even thinking that much about it. We did a lot of fort building, costume based creative play, and in the winter (which was long, being in Canada) my mom would give us boxes of odds and ends to add to our snow sculptures and also tempra paint powder so that we could colour our snowmen, snow animals and snow-cars.

155 Tanya April 23, 2008 at 12:26 am

What a great interview. I already used one of Amanda’s idea — the fabric basket bowl for my 15-month old. I did so much “crafting” w/my son when he was little, I sometimes feel like I am all crafted out when it comes to my daughter. Amanda’s ideas are so inspiring!

156 metromom April 23, 2008 at 12:28 am

I am an avid reader of Amanda’s blog and just love her whole attitude towards life! As for being creative, as a child and now with my two little girls I like to just use plain imagination. Why put on dress up clothes when with words and a bit of imagination you can have the most beautiful and perfect strawberry flower dress in the world? I hope we can continue to win the battle against “pre-made things” as the kids get older!

157 Carrie April 23, 2008 at 12:32 am

We love to be crafty at our house, but I’m still trying to get the “fear” of making a mess. I so want this book!

158 wayfarer April 23, 2008 at 12:34 am

my creativity started with my son when he was about a year i guess. First i learned to crochet, then i was drawn to fabric and now that he is 2, we build quilts together (he picks the fabrics and i put it all together). We do nature walks and paint also. I’d love to see what is inside this book for some more ideas!

159 suzy April 23, 2008 at 12:35 am

I don’t have any kids of my on yet, but when I do, my husband and I really want to be hands-on creative parents, much like Amanda and Steve. We enjoy being creative ourselves, with my sewing and art and my husbands music and we feel we want to share our passions with our children, as well as make sure that they have passions of their own.
When I was a child would do things like tie-die and collages with my dad, interactive learning with my mum and traditional crafts with my nana. I cherish those memories and I want our children to grow up with something more to remember than just watching Teletubbies. It’s so great to see Amanda’s book, I hope other parents are encouraged to take part in their children’s creative development!

160 Jenni April 23, 2008 at 12:39 am

My girl is 15 mos and we have been creating things since she was 10 mos or so with my help of course. I love crafting and know I would not have this passion if it were not for my own mom. I am so very thankful that she taught me the love of crafting! I truly hope that I can pass these feelings on to my girl too.

161 Leah April 23, 2008 at 12:42 am

We’re learning how to slow down and really look at and listen to each other.

162 Jesica April 23, 2008 at 12:43 am

Growing up my mom didn’t do anything crafty with me, but after having my own kids, doing crafty things with them kinda came naturally. It’s truely amazing what kids can do when given the oppurtunity to create.

163 gretchen April 23, 2008 at 12:45 am

I am awaiting the birth of my little girl, coming to accompany her two year old brother, and reading your blog gives me the chance to meditate and prepare for her arrival. Pregnancy and childrearing have been such creative times for me, so I found a kindred spirit in your words, photos and family. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with your family, for demonstrating such a healthy, wise, sense of being a mother and for some great ideas for decorating my daughter’s room. It is filled now with sunlight and my own embroidered hoops and will soon be filled with a painting by her brother.

164 Jennifer April 23, 2008 at 12:48 am

Now that my daughter is older, we tend to be creative together which is an amazing change. To go from a craft I planned for her to a project that evolves together, equally, from the two of us, is a wonderful experience!

165 Heather G April 23, 2008 at 12:49 am

I’ve always been drawn to creative activities. It has been fun to paint and create with my oldest. Now that little brother is no longer a baby I’m trying to find ways to have him join it. What was a little challenging with 1 is so much more complicated with 2 LOL. I’d love to win this book!

166 Bethany April 23, 2008 at 12:52 am

I am trying to find a balance between “getting things done” around the house and spending time fostering my kids’ creativity. I tend to get lost in the laundry, cooking, cleaning, schooling, etc… and end up with little time to just watch my kids grow and play.

167 Kim April 23, 2008 at 12:54 am

I love a good mess, but my son, who is 3, hates to get messy and his favorite “game” is the clean up game. He is an old sole in a little body. I am constantly trying to teach him that messy can be fun and that there are many ways to do something, you just need a little creativity. I love Amanda’s blog, I haven’t had a chance to look at her book, but look forward to checking it out.

168 erika April 23, 2008 at 12:56 am

Thanks for offering a free copy of the book!
I have a large family and am always looking for fun ways to keep them “unplugged” from today’s wired toys. We seem to be most content when we are all making things together. It does require a little planning and organizing. I’m excited to see what new things I can find in Amanda’s book.

169 Valerie April 23, 2008 at 12:59 am

I love watching my kids create – but have a hard time not directing the project so it turns out how I think it should! I am learning to step back and let it be about them and the process, not what I need it to be!!

Love to the Soulemama!

170 Sara R, April 23, 2008 at 1:01 am

As my son is only 17 months, we do what we can! He enjoys coloring and playing with my paper scraps. We spend time outside admiring the flowers and he picks a few to bring inside. I love that he likes color so much!

171 KK April 23, 2008 at 1:02 am

My creativity is currently in the planning & gathering stages. I have a million projects & materials just waiting for me to get cracking. But, it will all have to wait until our summer move is over. Then, I will have MY OWN SPACE in our new home to call MINE ALL MINE! I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to learning to sew on the machine my Mom gave me for my last BDay. Along with the million other things I want to accomplish in the next 2 years–when our next move rolls around!

172 Jessica April 23, 2008 at 1:05 am

Amanda has been so inspirational to me and was one of the major factors that led to my decision to quit my job and move towards educating my children at home. This has resulted in an overall re-focus. We’re painting, getting dirty, and simply “making our way” each day. I’ve been inspired to let the children do things I normally would have said “no” to before. Allowing my 4 and 6 year old to man the sewing machine and wield embroidery needles has been so much fun. It has all been a difficult and beautiful journey – that truly has only begun! Amanda’s book is on my Amazon wishlist, if I don’t win it here, I’ll surely be buying it as soon as I can.

Beautiful interview – thank you!

173 Carrie April 23, 2008 at 1:05 am

Now that my 2 year old is able to stay focused for longer periods of time, we are going to attempt some gluing projects with different varieties of beans. She is also my cooking buddy and we do lots of cookies and cakes together.

174 Sharon April 23, 2008 at 1:05 am

Our whole family loves creating together. My husband and I both have art backgrounds and our son is so content when we spend the day/weekend creating side by side. Painting, sewing, transforming odds and ends into masterpeices. I would love to get a hold of this book!

175 Grace Cogan April 23, 2008 at 1:06 am

I always like to find things that each of my children would be inspired to do. For example, my second son who is 8 is really into marionettes and puppets right now. I spotted a handmade marionette at a friends house and upon getting tips from her on how to make it, we now have a project that is in the works to make a marionette that my son will cherish! And the fascinating part is, the project itself is so simple that you would bop yourself on the head with your hand and say why didn’t I think of that!

176 Amy Myers April 23, 2008 at 1:07 am

I love crafting with my kids. They have the best ideas (and have even taught me a thing or two). Recently, we have been painting a lot of pots (with the beginning of spring and all). We now have a village of little shops they painted and smaller pots have been painted to look like the townspeople. Great fun!

177 sailorrain April 23, 2008 at 1:14 am

I have always been the creative one in my family. I was creating scrapbooks out of various things when I was 12…long before the world even heard of “scrapbooking”. I have passed this down to my 3 girls, who love all types of crafts. Just recently we moved from a kids “craft drawer” into a much larger “kids craft space”, which includes a desk and lots of boxes & baskets full of supplies for creative uses. This was inspired by a photo of Amanda’s children table in her own home. My 8 year old especially loves this area. I will even find her tinkering around in it in the morning before school! Gotta love crafts!

178 Kristi B. April 23, 2008 at 1:18 am

I’ve just heard about this book and I’m already inspired. I want to do more creative project with my kiddos before its too late and they’re all grown up. I want to inspire their creative side and see more of how they express themselves through crafts.

179 marymary April 23, 2008 at 1:31 am

I never would have guessed I would try my hand at cake decorating before I had kids. But when your daughter’s fondest birthday wish is a castle cake . . .

Sometimes it’s easy to think of my time at home with small children as a dichotomy between “getting things done” vs. taking time to play/interact/create with my children. Lately I’ve been trying to combine the two by having my children alongside me and more involved with my “getting things done” routines. Of course it takes longer to have a toddler “help” with the laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning — but then, my primary job is parent, not housekeeper, and this time together is so valuable. Approaching household work as a creative and cooperative endeavor makes it more fun and rewarding. And the skills my children are learning while we work together enrich their other pursuits and build their confidence and — I believe — creativity.

180 Sara April 23, 2008 at 1:32 am

I would love to see this book too. Lots of our creative projects come from ideas in story/picture books and non-fiction books too. The Tasha Tudor books are great for this.

181 Emmyjane April 23, 2008 at 1:36 am

I love Amanda’s blog because it inspires me to make gifts for kids I know. Her freezer paper stencils are a great idea and I know a few babies who will need custom t-shirts soon. Since I’m single and in my 20’s, my “creative family” is myself and my roommate. Last month we made combo crayons by melting down other crayons for her 2 year old nephew. So far, just practicing :)

182 Sarah April 23, 2008 at 1:40 am

Great interview!! We are part of a toddler art group (artful parent’s art group) and it has changed our lives. My two year old loves to be creative and I’m so excited to see Amanda’s book to get some more great ideas!

183 Ktd April 23, 2008 at 1:42 am

I have always enjoyed creating and since having children I am realizing it is something important to pass on to them…I am excited about this book!!

184 rebecca April 23, 2008 at 1:46 am

i’ve always made things out of other thing since i was little- creating little furniture and “gifts” for my dolls. my oldest son who is 5 has shown signs of my craftiness- cutting multitudes of things with scissors. wrapping toys with tape to make a “new” toy and endless drawings that are so complex that i cant bear to throw any of them away. i love watching my kids concentrate and then hear them explain in great detail what went into their creations. their little brains are so complex and full of such endless possibilities!

185 kort April 23, 2008 at 1:46 am

we are waiting for the weather to warm and the library to get Amanda’s book…our own copy would be such a treasure.

186 Stefanie April 23, 2008 at 1:46 am

My daughter will be two soon and loves to draw so my husband has equipment at work that can make coiled books. She has enough coiled art books that she should be set for a few years!

187 Nicki April 23, 2008 at 1:48 am

Do you know the books Hands? A wonderful children’s book that reflects our family. Guitar making, sewing, gardening, that’s the rhythm that we are trying to develop in our family.

188 Aimee April 23, 2008 at 1:50 am

We paint, build, pretend, squish our toes in mud and sand and love to get really messy, then jump into the tub! We love “Soulemama!”

189 saganaga April 23, 2008 at 1:55 am

Being a stay at home mom I do the laundry, dishes, meals, but they always need to be done again, nothing stays done. When I create (knit, sew, do paper crafts…), not only do I have fun & escape the humdrum of daily housework, but also once it’s done it stays done & there is a huge sense of accomplishment.

I enjoyed making our Christmas cards with my 2 young sons, coloring them in & everyone signing their names. I’d like to make it a yearly tradition.

190 Kari April 23, 2008 at 1:58 am

I am expecting my first child in June, and can’t wait to get him crafting. In the meantime I love getting simple projects together for nieces/nephews and friends’ kids. Magnets, stamping, and baking seem to always be big hits.

191 Amy April 23, 2008 at 1:59 am

My daughter is about to turn 2 and is loving all the handcrafted toys I’ve made her. I’m about to embroider a new flower for a new year on her birthday crown, which was inspired by Amanda’s crowns. I’m looking forward to future years of creating with her!

192 ssmast April 23, 2008 at 2:00 am

I would love to win this! I have already read it from the library, but I would love to own a copy!
Our family’s creativity is somewhat limited as my husband and I only have a 10 month old son–but he loves to get into everything. I have made him lots of little ‘bags’ with small, different feeling items in them, and let him take them out to touch, smell, etc. and he loves this. I have also just introduced him to the wonderful world of scribbling!

193 Harmony April 23, 2008 at 2:12 am

My unschooled children are always making new creations. This weekend they made lacrosse sticks from some salvaged netting and forked sticks while they helped/watched me build a raised garden bed for each of them. I have always crafted with them~ set them in the middle of a giant piece of paper before they could walk and dabbed paint on their tiny fingers and of course, I join in! I can’t begin to express the level of connection that comes from having opportunities to express ourselves wordlessly through art, crafts, music, creating together.

194 Laura R. April 23, 2008 at 2:13 am

I’ve been so inspired lately with the warm weather and everything turning green again. I try to incorporate a little artsy-crafty stuff into every day, be it going on a nature walk and collecting things along the way to display during dinner, or making cities out of play dough, or simply coloring. I try to include my children as much as possible in these endevors, although it is a bit easier to sew at night when they sleep :)

195 Laura Child April 23, 2008 at 2:16 am

I think the thing I love most about creative play and crafting with my kids is seeing the confidence it builds in them. I love to watch their little light bulbs turn on and literally see the creative energy come flowing out of them. The Soulemama blog has been a great inspiration to me to engage with my children and has helped me realize that they are never too young to create things. Thank you so much for that! It’s a wonderful reminder that this time is so precious.

196 Marcy Nelson April 23, 2008 at 2:16 am

I’m reborn to the crafting life after a long hiatus raising kids and dogs (without crafts!:( ) As a girl we made dolls, dishes, clothes, books etc. How much fun it is now to revisit this world! Knitting, sewing, and particularly repurposing are the highlights of my free time.

197 Sherry April 23, 2008 at 2:23 am

Amanda’s book seems so practical and inspiring . I’m so excited to read it. My kids and I are always looking for crafts that are real. I want to do creative things with them that will produce real results, not just some throwaway foam thing. Amanda’s interests seem so similar to mine: nature walks, knitting, sewing…. I know we will love this book!

198 Denise April 23, 2008 at 2:24 am

My children are older, and getting older by the minute. It hasn’t always been easy for us financially, and finding creative ways to be together, have fun, spend time hasn’t always been something I am good at. Since the world of online blogs has really taken off, I have spent many nights browsing through blogs, taking bits of information here and there, and often starting the next day, or free day, with many new ideas and inspirations.

I wish I had known the lure and endless opportunities of simple things like a fabric basket, full of scraps for my kids to use, play with, use for projects and more. Or the endless playing they would do when I created a “free basket” of toilet rolls, cereal boxes, egg cartons, etc., all for them to use as they please.

Like I said, they are getting older, and I look back and wish we had started these things far, far sooner. I would love an opportunity to read this book in its whole and gain some ideas to help make my last years with my kids as kids, and help us be a more creative family!


199 Laura Zarrin April 23, 2008 at 2:29 am

We are a creative family. My oldest son creates all sorts of elaborate battles stretching through 3 rooms using anything from paperclips to slippers. He has an entire “movie” in his head and acts it out. Apparently, no one dies in his battles, thank goodness. My youngest is the Project Master. He dreams up new projects and brings me along for the ride. My job is to facilitate and step in when necessary. Now that he’s six, I get to create along side him.

200 Jules April 23, 2008 at 2:31 am

I am not a crafty person by nature, but having children has been a great way for me to become not only crafty, but more creative. My boys love to help me create in the kitchen, play dress-up, and of course create art for our house. Would love to be inspired by this book!

201 Celeste Smith April 23, 2008 at 2:31 am

our creativity is a little less creative than amanda’s. we paint a lot on huge sheets of paper. i make tiny pallettes on paper plates for my 4-year old. we play with playdough a lot. and he loves to color and draw. my six year old is hard to coax into it. he’s too cool for school lately.

202 aimee April 23, 2008 at 2:32 am

We love this book and can’t wait to try the ideas..with two artsy parents, our kids get steeped in lots of hands on projects. My 7 year old today asked for a folder so she can keep her own collection of recipe/craft ideas. my main hope is that they will feel like they can do whatever they put their mind and hands to, and feel confident in their endeavors. I grew up with a mom who always told me how my creative endeavors weren’t good enough, so it’s taken a long time to dim the critical voice…hopefully my kids will always say “I’m a great artist!”.

203 Jenn April 23, 2008 at 2:36 am

I love watching my son learn by making art although at 1 and a 1/2 it’s not long before I’m chasing a paint covered boomerang through the apartment. He is becoming more focused and intent on everything he does and I can’t wait to introduce him to all kinds of new projects. Amanda has definitely been an inspiration and I can’t wait to read her book.

204 Misty April 23, 2008 at 2:36 am

My 16 mo old daughter is starting to “pretend” – she pretends to lay her head on a pillow and go to sleep or that the dog is chasing her. Looking forward to playing with her the way I remember playing as a kid – fort building, potion making, funny voices.

205 Layla April 23, 2008 at 2:37 am

My favorite times are when my son (almost two) and I are sitting quietly next to each other as I crochet and he pulls the yarn out for me to use and daddy paints. Of course, his favorite thing creatively, is making music and being as loud as possible. I’m learning to let go and enjoy his style!

206 Rebekah April 23, 2008 at 2:37 am

in our home crafting is a lifestyle that I want to instill in my little ones. They are a bit young yet to really get into it but I recently painted our outdated fridge with chalkboard paint and so my oldest can sit and scribble while I make dinner, he loves it! gotta start em out early, I look forward to when they are old enough to do more…
I love Amanda’s blog and can’t wait to check out this book I have heard amazing things about it!

207 Linda April 23, 2008 at 2:42 am

My 5 year old mastered finger knitting yesterday, she was so proud. I just love these simple joys. Amanda has been an inspiration. Thank you.

208 Marlo April 23, 2008 at 2:43 am

I really liked what Amanda had to say about taking pieces of parenting advice from many different sources, and adding them all together. i think that is why I like her blog so much, because she does what she thinks is right for her family and that makes them happy. I can’t wait to read this book!

209 Kathryne April 23, 2008 at 2:59 am

I have three boys 7,5 and2 and love reading everything you write. I find your projects inspiring and my children and I truly enjoy trying out so many different projects as a result.

210 Sus April 23, 2008 at 3:00 am

for our family (three kids age 11, 9, 7), crafting started early. my hubby and i are both do it yourselfers. we garden, we make things out of wood, i sew, i scrapbook, etc. etc. when i asked my 11 year-old how he started to be crafty too, he said, “i guess it was by watching you and dad. it made me know i can make almost anything.”

211 Coffechris April 23, 2008 at 3:00 am

I have been making creative items since 4 years old, great family traditions as my son does the same. The handmade thoughtful gifts are treasures. Have also used freezer paper appliqué the opposite of Amanda’s freezer paper stencil. Would love to win the book …..can’t wait. Thanks for the great interview and link to tv clip

212 Helen April 23, 2008 at 3:01 am

Lovely interview :)

213 Brooke April 23, 2008 at 3:08 am

I’m a mom who lives in Spain and I am really interested in this book. One reason is because there aren’t a lot of craft stores here so I’m interested in her idea of using things from around the house. Great interview! Thanks!

214 Crystal April 23, 2008 at 3:11 am

I ordered this book at my local bookstore, but would love to win a copy! I don’t know if it is in the book but my mother and I just made 35′-0″ of fabric “festive triangular bunting” for my daughter’s first birthday. The power of what we were doing didn’t hit me until my mom said, “Do you think this will make it to her wedding day and we can hang it at the rehearsal dinner?” as she sewed on the machine and I pinned the carefully selected triangular fabric scraps to the line…

215 MelissaS April 23, 2008 at 3:13 am

I love to create, and am lucky enough to have my own “craft room.” Right now my favorite project is rubber stamping, making greeting cards. My 4yo son is often content to “be busy” in that room with me, either working on a project of his own with scissors and paper, or using some of my supplies to make a card himself.
He has a drawer that we have filled with crayons, paper, glue, markers, paints, and a bunch of other materials. He knows he can go into that drawer at any time and with special permission, can use some of my tools and supplies as well. I love this time with him, and seeing his creativity emerge.

216 Jane April 23, 2008 at 3:14 am

I feel so uncreative reading all this! I do have an art time with my 12-mo-old each day – she loves to scribble, and then I take her scribbling and make a craft out of it (fold a boat, make a TP roll elephant, etc.) depending on the theme of the day – while she eats crayons or scribbles on the wall tiles with washable markers. And then she goes around showing everyone her artwork – she is very proud of it!

217 mandygerth April 23, 2008 at 3:14 am

My little one is only five motnhs old but already we are finding so many ways to “think outside of the box” when it comes to creative “toys” and playtime. I’ve made so many little things out of ordinary household items for him to play with. His favorite right now is large yogurt lids with permanant marker drawings of all his favortie things, mommy, daddy, baby, doggy, lights, etc., etc. I would love to win a copy of Amanda’s book, I’m a big fan of her blog. If I don’t win it, it’s on my Christmas list!

218 Wendy April 23, 2008 at 3:21 am

I would love to have a copy of this book. I’m looking forward to spending the summer with my kids, and would love to have some new ideas for activities that we can do together. I made my daughter some of the little books that Amanda talked about on her website and she loves writing in them.

219 sappmama April 23, 2008 at 3:22 am

You know, it’s just me now. My son is grown and I didn’t make things when he was younger, it’s a new thing for me. But I still find that it connects me to people I love, because I make so many things for friends and family.

220 Allison April 23, 2008 at 3:28 am

You never realize the power creativity gives to children and where it will take them until they get older. The ability to create or make “something” out of nothing and the satisfaction that occurs will have its rewards, not only in the material sense of a finished product, but the memories and the warmth those moments inspire. My daughters have come into their own, creatively, with one developing an affinity for painting and the other for the paper arts. My sons are younger, and each is finding his own creative voice. The memories that we share and the handmade treasures that I’ve kept surpass the spilled glue and speckles of paint that have long been forgotten. The experiences are what we hold near and dear to our hearts.

Congratulations on the book Amanda!

221 Vicky April 23, 2008 at 3:30 am

We are very much a creative family, perhaps because we have such a small house we are constantly surrounded by my art and sewing supplies…which, while very messy ensures that ‘craft’ is a very normal, everyday part of my childrens lives…I would LOVE to win a copy of Amandas book, she is such an inspiration to me with her wonderful mother ways

222 Debbie April 23, 2008 at 3:30 am

I make sure to always have a creative project going for my kids. It is usually on a table central to the house. It makes for spontaneous projects at any time!

Thank you for doing this drawing!


223 dorkyquilts April 23, 2008 at 3:31 am

I love Amanda’s site! My family has always been crafty; between us all we knit, crochet, quilt, sew, woodwork, carve, draw, paint, build contraptions out of cardboard and springs, play piano and ukulele, cook, and garden.

224 Lori April 23, 2008 at 3:34 am

I have always tried to encourage my 4 kids to create whether it is a gift or just something for themselves. Their favorites are baking and painting. We all love the ideas and inspiration we get from Amanda’s blog. The Creative Family will be an appreciated addition to our ever growing library!

225 Sally McEntire April 23, 2008 at 3:38 am

I’m very excited to craft with my kids. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing what will hold their interest, what is going to be a their level of ability and what is going to be fun for all of us to work on together. I want it to be fun and inspiring for them and not turn into frustration on their or my part. I’m very excited to read Amanda’s book. She has such a great air about her that I want to emulate. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas!

226 bethany April 23, 2008 at 3:39 am

My kids love crafting and we always make huge messes. I’d love some new inspiration!!!

227 suzanne April 23, 2008 at 3:40 am

I am so fired up for this book!
I am a firm believer in family + creativity = life
Last night my 7 year old daughter gave me a 1-hour art class. It was so fun to have her be my art teacher and to give me an assignment. She even graded my artwork and we had a wonderful critique session. Class begain at 6:00 p.m. sharp and ended one hour later. All of the art materials were ready at the kitchen table. She was a very professional, kind, nuturing, and inspiring art teacher. I have signed up for another class this week!

228 Caroline April 23, 2008 at 3:40 am

I love the idea of not worrying about the mess! I’m still working on this! I can’t wait to read this book!

229 angie callister April 23, 2008 at 3:41 am

i recently discovered amanda’s blog and have thoroughly enjoyed reading and “catching up” on her older posts. i would love to receive a copy of her book. i got married a year ago, we are planning on children soon. i am intrigued by the beautiful and simple way in which the soule family works. i love it! and i hope that i can be the kind of mother that amanda is; gentle, loving, teaching and encouraging.

230 Lauren April 23, 2008 at 3:41 am

My son and I like to make up fairy-tales, then we draw the story. It’s really fun. We stick with one story for a few weeks (he’s 2), then move on to another. I try to have it coincide with the season, or a holiday, or something like that.

231 tally April 23, 2008 at 3:42 am

My kids and I are always doing arts and crafts. We have a revolving kitchen art gallery, where there is always something new to look at. The last piece was a project of mini trees made from actual twigs we collected weeks earlier.

232 Megan April 23, 2008 at 3:44 am

I am beginning to the journey of getting ready for kids. Though we’re not expecting right now, I have been actively buying toys and fun vintage clothes – in the matter that we will have kids! I have loved reading Amanda’s blog and have especially loved seeing her role as a parent develop. I already consider myself a fairly creative person, but it’s inspiring that Amanda has said she found her creativity through her children – I am excited for this to happen for me to! I cannot wait to read the book – the little snippets I’ve seen/read so far are great!

233 Juanita April 23, 2008 at 3:48 am

I am a mama, wife, and scrapbooker. I thought that was my one true craft, until my daughter was born. Now, sometimes alone, often with my darling by my side, we’ve explored so many other crafts, mediums. And it’s been amazing! We paint, bead, sew, write…whatever seems to feel right on any given day. The sound of “Mama, let’s make a craft!” is the music that keeps the days flowing smoothly and happily. I’ve been wanting Amanda’s book so badly, but finances haven’t allowed that to happen yet…I’ll keep my fingers crossed I’ll get my nose in it soon. :)

234 travelinma April 23, 2008 at 3:50 am

I often think simple is best in this fast paced world. Dabbling in a number of crafts and mastering none…it is fun to see my kids create. It feeds the soul.
I have been visiting Amanda’s blog daily for nearly two years. She is an inspiration even to the most “seasoned” mother.

235 Shannon April 23, 2008 at 3:50 am

Now that the weather is getting nicer, I find it hard to concentrate on crafting inside as much as crafting outside. We have made a tee pee out of bamboo poles for our green beans to grow on. My daughter loves this! She likes to hide inside and have picnics with her dolly. We have also made some bird feeders out of pine cones and peanut butter, which is a great one because she can watch the birds from the front window eating. Cooking/baking has just recently begun to be a hit as well. It’s a little messy, but isn’t that the point?

236 hanna April 23, 2008 at 3:51 am

One of my earliest memories as a child is my mother rolling out metres of newsprint on our living room floor and my 2 sisters and I would paint to our hearts content from big jars of runny paint (boy we must have made a mess!). Incidently we’ve all grown up to be creative and artistic. I really want my children to have similar memories, encourage their creativity (and not worry about the mess!). Amanda’s book looks really interesting, i might just have to buy myself a copy when I have some pocket money.

237 kimberly/tippytoes April 23, 2008 at 3:55 am

We are finally at the stage where both kids can work a project somewhat together. My almost two year old son is getting interested in copying his sister’s projects, so we’re starting to shift art into more of a family activity. It’s fun.

238 Elizabeth April 23, 2008 at 3:59 am

I so love creating with my children….three boys ages 4, 2, and one on the way to be born this summer. Crafting with them and for them brings substance and magnitude to our days together. I love SouleMama’s blog and would love win a copy of the book!

239 Anabella April 23, 2008 at 4:01 am

Lovely to read more about Amanda!
Oh, how I wish I had this book when my son was (much) younger! But the nieces and nephews sure will benefit…

240 alyssa April 23, 2008 at 4:08 am

My family is working on making art more a part of our daily lives, and creating more space to do that – the physical and mental kind. We’ve been thinking for quite awhile about what the physical space should be, how it should function. Trying not to overthink it, too, and enjoy the process.

Thanks for sharing the interview. :)

241 ellen April 23, 2008 at 4:08 am

Amanda is just amazing. She has inspired me to actually set up a part of my home for crafting and make the time to do projects I never had the courage to take on before.

242 stacey April 23, 2008 at 4:15 am

i’m so excited by all the ideas amanda suggests! it is so easy to get bogged down with mommyness, her ideas are like the miracle cure. thanks for posting the great interview!

243 Alyson April 23, 2008 at 4:16 am

Thanks for sharing the interview! I try to keep pens and crayons and paper available for my kids any time the mood to be creative strikes them. I’m not always up for breaking out the paint, etc, with a 3 year old boy who likes to make messes – but I do get it out on occasion. We also love home-made playdoh around here, they come up with so many things to make out of that!

244 Lauren Horsley April 23, 2008 at 4:17 am

I have recently committed myself to “create something everyday” with my children. I love the idea of incorporating that concept into my childrens’ view of their life – it helps them to realize that they can contribute to the world around them and continually encourages self-expression. I’ve been scouring the internet and books alike for our daily projects so I’m anxious and excited to get ahold of this awesome new book! Hope we win it!

PS – Great interview – I have enjoyed Amanda Soule through her blog and it was fun to hear her answers to some of the questions I’ve always wanted to ask her myself!

245 erin April 23, 2008 at 4:19 am

we are big into watercolors here, as well as any project that involves gluing glitter to things:) i also have lots of help sewing and scrapbooking.

246 Kylie April 23, 2008 at 4:26 am

My children and I like to work with lots of found objects and their latest craft adventure involves making little sculptures from them. My daughter has also recently discovered how to tell a story through a series of pictures and we are going to staple these up into little books.

247 Toña April 23, 2008 at 4:32 am

I’m learning how to be crafty from my little girl (and folks like Amanda). These days we are into being crafty with felt. It is so easy to cut and you don’t have to sew the edges. My daughter is super into stickers too. Last week she made her own sticker book, so when she is given stickers at the bank or grocery store, she can put them all together in her special book. She loves carrying it around with her when we go on errands.

248 sara April 23, 2008 at 4:33 am

I am expecting my first child and so excited to start a family with some of these great creative ideas. I visit Amanda’s blog every day and it is exciting to see her book arrive.

249 Sara April 23, 2008 at 4:39 am

I love all things creative, especially those that I can include my 2 year old and 4 year old in. They love to paint, dig, collect leaves, read, all while pretending they are real life superheroes. Motherhood is grand. I am always trying to think of something new to keep their little hands busy.

250 Emma Kalmbach April 23, 2008 at 4:41 am

I love incorporating my 2.5 year old daughter into everything we do around the house. It’s so much fun to see mundane activities take on something magical when we add a little bit of creativity to it. Laundry is fun if you pretend that you’re hanging butterflies that will fly in the wind on the laundry line, taking a nature walk and exploring everything from flowers, twigs, to tracks made by animals in the mud make for exciting adventures that put a smile on both my face and my daughter’s. It makes me laugh when she is excited about doing something I think is boring and sometimes it’s the other way around, one thing is for sure and that is creativity makes every day fun and different.

251 Elzi de Voogd April 23, 2008 at 4:42 am

I admire Amanda’s way of life and would love to learn more about it! Especially because I have a special needs son. I wonder if we can start homeschooling him, but there is not much information available about that in the Netherlands.

252 tracey April 23, 2008 at 4:52 am

Crafting and creating was part of my childhood so it just seemed right to continue it with my own children. When they were small it was fun to see them have a go and enjoy the process and have their end results proudly displayed. The fun continues now they are older – sharing crafting moments with my daughter as she learns to sew, knit, crochet and follow her own creative ideas.

253 Tina April 23, 2008 at 4:55 am

I enjoy being crafty myself, and one of the big things that I feel like I can do for my children is model that behavior. Win-win! But, in addition to that, I try to be very careful not to steer my children into my perceived notion of what they should be drawing or creating. Sometimes that can be hard, “honey, don’t you think that your dog should have eyes and ears?”, but as long as I keep it in mind, I’m usually good. I also have recently been trying to point out the many examples of creativity and beauty in the natural world around us. That’s my goal for this summer. To start appreciating all of that a bit more. We’ve started our Spring with a bird feeder to enjoy our feathered friends!

254 Katy G. April 23, 2008 at 5:04 am

I don’t have children yet, but in years coming soon, I know I will. Right now, as a sister of six other siblings, some quite young, I LOVE learning about new ways to engage them– the youngest of my family and the children in the families of my friends.

255 Beth April 23, 2008 at 5:06 am

This book will make the perfect new parenting or mother’s day gift!!!!!!!!

256 mollie greene April 23, 2008 at 5:11 am

i think that the way our family expresses creativity has much to do with embracing who they are as people and allowing that to flow out of them and into their activities, whether that means enjoying my 5 yo being a musketeer for days. and days. and days on end, or allowing extreme paper messes that my 3 yo dreams up with a hole punch and a bottle of glue. as a parent i’ve been learning that the creativity of my children is a natural part of who they are and am fascinated with this natural aspect of it. when does it wane? how do we keep it from doing so? how did i manifest this creativity as a child, and how can i resurrect it?

fun interview!

257 Susan April 23, 2008 at 5:13 am

My daughter says that when they were little I made a big deal out of everything, but you know what, she liked it. If we collected rocks we painted them, Christmas ornaments were made by the kids with their imaginations running wild, we planted seeds side by side and everyone wanted to learn to sew, paint, crochet, cook, etc. Whatever it was the kids and I did it together, and it was my favorite thing to do. So many memories flash through my mind of them baking cookies together, building sand castles together, finding the best hiking stick, raising my kids and creating was really fun!

258 Rachel April 23, 2008 at 5:15 am

In a bit to save (in order of importance); the environment, money, and time in front of the TV our family have committed to not paying retail on non-essential items, and where possible purchasing second hand or forgoing the item. This has been a big change for us. We have transitioned well by getting into the age old art of craft, with many hours spend chatting together over projects, and project planning. We each share a newly found passion, embroidery is mine, can’t I wait till our Lucas is a little older, embroidery is a wonderful way to develop his fine motor skills. As a family crafting is providing so many more benefits than we expected! A health addiction!

259 Marie April 23, 2008 at 5:20 am

I am continually surprised by how inspired I am by my children. They motivate me to make clothes and gifts, as well as simpler creations made from lots of tape, paper, glue, bits of yarn, etc.!

260 Jen April 23, 2008 at 5:24 am

I have many fond memories of sewing as a child and already have my one year old son sitting on my lap at the machine. I hope that his interest continues. I can’t wait to get my hands on Amanda’s book – she really is an inspiration and reminder of simple pleasures sometimes forgotten during busy times.

261 Laurie L. April 23, 2008 at 5:29 am

Nothing my kids did or do is a mess to me…it’s all learning. I like to take time to look at details, the little things, and make them meaningful. Going for a walk we look down at the ground, up to the sky, stopping and observing. Enjoy the moments. Record them with projects, stories, pictures.

262 Kelly April 23, 2008 at 5:38 am

I’m not a mama quite yet, but am assembling crafty ideas and fun things to do with my kids already. I’m an avid knitter and that is something that I am looking forward to teaching my kids along with incorporating nature themes in our crafts. It’s going to be a blast, I can’t wait!

263 April April 23, 2008 at 5:40 am

This was such a lovely interview. Thank You.
We are about to have a large shift in our lives as we are moving to another country for a few years. We will have to give up our formal piano and guitar lessons, I am excited about this as it will give a chance to slow down and explore music in a new way. Since our piano is not coming with us, I hope to ease into playing music as a family and explore the variety of sounds simple instruments can add to the mix.

264 The Bird Bath April 23, 2008 at 5:41 am

Loved reading the interview…I’ve been fascinated by this book for some time. With three girls of my own I’m often thinking about many of these topics daily. Providing opportunities for each child to express themselves is a challenge and I enjoy it. The best experiences are those when we all contribute our own creativity to the one project.

265 coco April 23, 2008 at 5:53 am

my daughter has grown up watching me sew, knit, bake, cook, and has never had any desire at all to do what i’m doing. but she loves to “lend” me out to all her friends to make pillowcases, lap quilts, cool hats. i know that she will, once gone away (next year!) make her nest with her own hands. my husband always tells me how much i’ve made our house a home. he sees me everywhere and i know my daughter will remember her home as a place maybe a little smaller than most but a lot lot prettier.

266 Jamie April 23, 2008 at 5:59 am

That was quite a lovely interview. Although my little one is still just a toddler, we try our best to encourage his creativity, maybe too much. (You should see the “art” on our kitchen walls that he did with permanent marker. Haha.)

267 rosesmama April 23, 2008 at 6:00 am

Perhaps there is something about how to keep the chaos of creativity from overwhelming the house?

268 heather April 23, 2008 at 6:05 am

What I love is how my daughter (and now son) are a natural extension of my creativity within the home. They are as much a part of me as that creativity is, and between us, we ooze it. I beam when my daughter asks me to sew things for her. I absolutley can not stop smiling when I watch our children express themselves in various ways… dress up, art work, cooking, conversations. It makes it all worth it. I did not discover this part of myself until I stayed home to raise them. I slowed down and then my real/other self came out. What a gift!

269 Becky Jo April 23, 2008 at 6:10 am

Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the book!

270 Erica April 23, 2008 at 6:25 am

My son is 9 months old, and I’ve been devouring art/parenting blogs lately in anticipation of his ability to hold a crayon and paint with his hands. I’m also looking forward to collages, especially with tissue paper or the yarn scraps I always have to seem lying around from finished (and unfinished) knitting projects. =) Enjoying your blog!

271 Stephanie April 23, 2008 at 6:31 am

I like to keep plenty of materials constantly available to my children so that they can come up with crafts on their own. I think just watching me do my own crafts also gives them ideas on new things to do. My 4 yr old is very interested in sewing on my machine and learning to knit.

272 Alicia April 23, 2008 at 6:31 am

My little girl loves to watch me sew, and gets all my threads, floss and buttons out, or sits on my knee while I sew for a bit. She’s only 21 months, but I can see her absorbing the creation, it won’t be long before she starts pretending she’s sewing too. She loves all the pretty colours in my fabric stash, I can see many dolls outfits being made!

273 Marisa April 23, 2008 at 6:38 am

Oh, I’m in desperate need of some better inspiration, and this looks like the ticket.

274 Dawn April 23, 2008 at 6:54 am

It’s hard to find things for both my girls to do. There’s a 7 year age difference so, it’s very challenging at times because the oldest will finish and be done with it. Then the youngest can go on for hours. So it’s hard to find a balance with the crafts we do. Right now it’s painting for one and the other it’s handmade collected knick knacks.

275 gail April 23, 2008 at 6:59 am

I am embracing the gift of doing more with less. Having recently moved countries and not knowing the local craft hangouts, the crafting in our family is now done with what we have. I love that. grazie.

276 Ann April 23, 2008 at 7:00 am

My mother used to let me “bake” cakes-How I remember those cakes! They tasted like rubber, and I’m pretty sure they would have bounced if I’d dropped them. But we always had them for dessert, and none of my siblings was allowed to comment negatively.
When my own children were small, I used to let them take things from around the house and make whatever they wanted-collages, sewn things, whatever.
Today, I have my own daycare, people tell me I’m a fantastic baker, my children never take the “approved” route to the whatever end they’re seeking-and we have a wonderful time together! Our house and life is full of love and laughter, we have the privelidge of helping to form little minds and hearts together, and we are generally blessed! Creativity as a family helped to get us here, and it’s great!

277 Julie K in Taiwan April 23, 2008 at 7:04 am

I’ve heard so many great things about this book. Thanks for the interview.

My daughter and I have many craft adventures, almost every night she asks me to go into the art room with her, she has her own table and stash of supplies and we create side by side, each helping the other when assistance is required. I help her tie knots and such, she helps me find the wee little things I drop on the floor. I can’t wait until her little brother is able to join us.

278 Snippety Gibbet April 23, 2008 at 7:12 am

I try to keep my Granddaughter stocked with books and craft items, though she is on the other side of the country. Her mom is single and hardly has a moment to breathe, so I try to keep the crafting going from afar.

279 Maggie April 23, 2008 at 7:19 am

I do daycare for my two little grandsons. My heart’s desire is to nurture their creativity, imagination, and self-expression. I’ know this book has lots of practical and wonderful ideas and I would LOVE to have it!

280 Bree April 23, 2008 at 7:24 am

We spend as much time as possible outside — usually playing in dirt — so our creativity is often in the form of storytelling while playing. Other outside creativity include making up games to play together or drawing on the driveway and sidewalk. And my kiddos love to sing so we sing a lot of made up and familiar songs together :)

281 Sarah Thornal April 23, 2008 at 7:33 am

Somedays for us creativity comes in different ways. Such as trying to figure out how to fit my barely 3 year old boy and 1 year old twin girls into a grocery cart plus food. I have read Amanda’s blog for several months now and love it and have recommended it to several friends. I love her approach to life and have felt inspired to branch out and try new things on my own and with my kids. They love the interaction together and of course love creating. Keep going Amanda you are an inspiration!

282 Mom24 April 23, 2008 at 7:50 am

I think our family’s creativity is rather stifled. That’s one reason why I am hoping to win this book. We used to do a lot of artsy type projects when my youngest two were really little, but now that they’re just a bit older, I think I get more caught up in “oh let’s not make a mess”, and we don’t do as much. Win or lose, I need to change that. Thanks for the reminder.

283 Cristy April 23, 2008 at 7:51 am

Currently I spend a lot of craft time trying to minimise how much paint or crayon my one-year-old eats, but it is still so thrilling to see her discover new ways of making her mark on the world and expressing herself.

I would love to have a copy of Amanda’s book. I have enjoyed reading her blog for the last few years.

284 Molly April 23, 2008 at 8:07 am

I think being outside fosters our family’s best creativity. We love to take hikes in the hills near our home. Amanda is a constant inspiration to me!

285 Heather April 23, 2008 at 8:24 am

My girl is always making, and she loves scotch tape. Her favorite subject is robots, whether she’s drawing them or making them out of cardboard! And my two year old is never without a pencil in his hand.

Amanda’s blog is a daily inspiration. The Creative Family flickr group has given me so many ideas! I would love to have her book, I feel a connection with her. We are both crafty homeschooling mamas, and she has such a refreshing perspective!

286 Vanessa April 23, 2008 at 8:28 am

Three eyes, Four arms, Blue suns, and Orange grass-it all works for us. Kids are so much more creative if you let them go with it, and don’t give them ‘lines to color in’.

287 Eugenia Gina April 23, 2008 at 8:40 am

I really like Amanda blog, reading to her daily routines and her creative side give me support on my own side of live, rethinking again, rebuild again what I have done and will do with my daughter.. thanks Amanda!

288 daniela April 23, 2008 at 8:44 am

thank you for this interview, it seems never enough of amanda’s crafty ideas and positive take of live. we are a home learner family and love the outdoors. we do live in a city environment and that is sometimes a bit of a challenge as you well can imagine, so thank you amanda for your writing skills and taking the time to get this book to the publisher.

289 Debbie April 23, 2008 at 9:01 am

My 8 and 3 year children love the moon. Every month we make a point of going outside to look at the full moon and learn the full moon names and their meanings which were used by the Native Americans to keep track of the seasons.

290 Elaine April 23, 2008 at 9:12 am

One of my favorite lines about creativity comes from one of the Babar children’s books– when a character says with distain “I could do that!” the wise older elephant say “Great! Then DO!!”

We try everything, and try to enjoy those attempts that fail as much as those that succeed.


291 Shannon B. April 23, 2008 at 9:13 am

I have 3 daughters – ages 4.5, 2.5 and 3 months. I also run my own business from home and I’m finding that it really takes some serious effort to slow down and enjoy my precious babies. I’m scared to death that my kids will grow up faster than I can catch my breath and I’ll have missed it all. I would adore a copy of Amanda’s book. It sounds like just the inspiration I need.

As for our own creativity – we’ve really been kicking up our crafting lately….not so much in skill but in frequency as I find it’s the only way to get us to all sit down together and connect. Our most recent project has been preparing our garden – planting veggies and herbs, painting rocks to look like lady bugs, and filling a lantern with a tiny tea set of “flower nectar” (cherry juice) and “fairy cakes” (tiny star-shaped pancakes). We’re hoping to catch a fairy soon. ; )

292 janna rueda April 23, 2008 at 9:14 am

I’m very excited to see Amanda’s new book the creative family! I came across soulemama one day and I’m hooked on reading her blogs. I have three children of my own with another arrival in August. All of our days we experience a beautiful new journey. Children really awaken our souls in many ways, as if we have opened our eyes for the first time. Colors are more vivid, the air is fresher, and time doesn’t seem to matter (as long as we’re having fun!). We are pirates one minute living in a tent held up by chairs, bringing home our treasures from a nature walk, or building cranes an castles out of old boxes.
It’s refreshing to see others living their lives the same way that you live your own. Excitement over thrifting, aprons, vintage items, beautifully imperfected creations by our children, learning at home, homebirths, nursing, and natural living. Keep living a beautiful life Amanda!

293 kt April 23, 2008 at 9:20 am

I like the fact that my daughter and I like to do different creative things. She draws and paints, I knit and make softies. We have combined our efforts a couple of times and come up with some enchanting results. And I echo the “Yay for messes” feeling–seeing things all jumbled together can make you see materials differently and then have an “aha!” moment! Love Amanda’s blog and writing style.

294 Adriana Watt April 23, 2008 at 9:23 am

I just looked a friend’s copy of this book today. I was fascinated with all the ideas. Our family is creative, but cannot always preserve the memories. My mom visited last week and wrote a book with my son based on his questions about what would happen if it rained …. My mom and my son were so excited and my mom is going to formalize the book for him. I guess creativity passes through the generations.

295 Candice Stringer April 23, 2008 at 9:24 am

Each day I try to bring something creative out of my daughters. It’s natural for them and plentiful when I elimate the distractions from the home. I make every attempt to limit unnecessary noise from the house (electronic toys and t.v.). I also use many made-up songs to guide the children to a different activity – whether it’s “getting ready for the day” or going outside to play, snack, etc. This has given them the freedom to make up their own creative music! I love to hear their precious songs! My biggest challenge is not keeping to a schedule myself and wondering off to “get my stuff done,” which are distractions that are necessary, but need to be contained within a certain timeframe. Routine and rhythm…. trying to find out how to get these two elements in sync. Thank you for your blog and all your ideas! Be blessed.

296 Meryl April 23, 2008 at 9:27 am

Crafting with my kids has helped me dwell more on the purpose of crafting, and the fact that there IS one. They get so much out of it and I guess as a mother I feel it has transformed it from a guilty pleasure to a family affair. So even when I am doing something by myself, the kids are aware and take an interest in the processes involved, and the finished product. I’m liking it.

297 Stacy April 23, 2008 at 9:29 am

My husband and I lived in the bush in Alaska for many years and at Christmas time it would have been very expensive to have a Christmas tree flown in because there were trees around our area. We just used a Willow tree instead and created our own ornaments. We would put the willow in a 5 gallon bucket with rocks and water and by Christmas day it was blooming with beautiful white willow buds!

298 Tracey April 23, 2008 at 9:35 am

My 9 year-old daughter (who is a crafty genius ;). has taught me how to be free in my crafting. I was always incredibly scared to just “go for it” until I watched her for a few months and the joy that came from her spontaneous crafting moments was enough to show me that I could be that way too. Changed the way I viewed and tackled my creative projects!!

299 Christy April 23, 2008 at 9:52 am

We’re a family of craft grazers. The 2-minute attention span of my 3-year-old drives me a little crazy. Then I think about all the uncompleted projects I have stashed in the back of the closet. Ah. I guess it comes naturally. I find we do much better when I watch for him to open a door of interest and walk through it. And, of course, when I remember that it’s all about the process, not the end result.

300 Patricia April 23, 2008 at 9:57 am

Our family has our ups and downs with crafting. Last month was full-on crafting month, and this month with the great weather, not so much. But I love it that now that I have started knitting and sewing more consistently my older kids are picking up projects to work on on their own. My son was even planning to make a quilt for a school project, though in the end the computer was more compelling! So I really look forward to reading Amanda’s book, which so many blogs have recommended, for additional encouragement.

301 cc April 23, 2008 at 10:07 am

All of our birthday party games and decorations are hand made. From the pin the tail/bee/crab/flower/crown/etc games, to carnival style games, or even jewelry making. We try to do it all without buying pre-designed things. We come with a theme and plan it for months.

At our garage sales the kids have muffins, cookies, coffee, and lemonade to sell. All which they helped make. They even make their own change, with a little help if needed.

302 Vidya aka Mamameo April 23, 2008 at 10:16 am

Gosh, Amanda has been an inspiration of mine for some time now. Nowadays, my son and I often look at her blog for ideas on what crafts should be attempted for the day. It’s so fun for my son to see other kiddos being crafty! He is often laughing when he sees Amanda’s sweeties on the blog. I love trying new things and am often inspired by my son. But the best part of it, is making it a whole family thing! it’s so lovely indeed! Thanks Amanda and thanks Whipup!

303 Elizabeth April 23, 2008 at 10:16 am

I have such bright memories of creating at my grandma’s farm. She sewed with–and for–me. She taught me to bake and garden and string beads. We would make pictures from melted crayons (on a griddle, if I remember correctly). I’m sure we made a huge mess doing all of these projects, but somehow I don’t remember that. I just remember the thrill of pulling out the boxes and boxes of art supplies, or mulling through the cookbooks.

Now, with my own little ones I need to remember my memories. The mess? The hassle? The imperfections of crafting? They won’t remember. Their memories will be filled with the hands-on fun of exploring and creating…as a family.

304 Anjanette April 23, 2008 at 10:21 am

I am inspired by the photography alone! It is so wonderful to see not only the crafting unfolded, but the craft of the photography behind it.

305 chris April 23, 2008 at 10:28 am

mama always called me a knotcher- some Russian term that always meant I was making things with my hands. I am so happy to have made to incredible boys that love to make things with me- it doesn’t get much better than that!

306 Kristina April 23, 2008 at 10:38 am

We are southerners rudely landing in Iowa for the our first brutal winter ever! Crafting and drawing saved the days. Our favorite times are when we pick a theme or materials to work with and each of us – me the mom, and my artsy 6 and 9 year old girls – makes whatever comes to our minds.

307 Kari April 23, 2008 at 11:01 am

My daughters can spend hours just drawing pictures of their daily lives. When I comment that they are fine artists, you can tell they know it, they believe it. At what point, and why, does that confidence go away and self doubt sneak in? How can I stop that from happening, I wonder? Thanks for the inspiration Amanda, and your quiet example of motherhood.

308 Mecamo April 23, 2008 at 11:03 am

…the tiniest garden is often the loveliest…

Well, I can’t get children, but for sure they have changed my life and will be always a big part in my life. I am an educator/teacher, I have studied a lot of “smart” and “wise” things during my education about babies, children, teenagers, handicapped people and about people with emotional problems…But all that was nothing, I have learnt a lot of theories, yes, few were maybe important, but wasn’t always right or alive…Rules by Rules…words for words, but not alive…Then suddenly I was in the middle of it…the real ‘something”…a gentle touch….just a smile…just a hard critic…just a messy face…scratches on my arms and hands…just boggers on my sweater…just a high pich noise like an earthquake in my ears…just a warm breath a kiss on my cheek…just honest eyes full of light…always seeing myself thru their eyes…my little mirrors…tiny hands’re giving life shape…
What I like with/on children is: they always live in the moment and reminds us don’t to lose our spirit and take us mostly back to the reality.

“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun” (P.P.)

PS: Sorry for my bad English.

309 teresa April 23, 2008 at 11:31 am

oh! i am so excited, and can i still entered. it’s still tuesday here, just reading late after the kids are to bed.
my four year old boys are so into crafts all of a sudden and i don’t know where to begin. i was hoping your book would inspire me.
so far it’s lots of painting and nature hunts for us.
i have heard SO much about your book.

310 teresa April 23, 2008 at 11:33 am

oh! i am so excited, and can i still enter?! it’s still tuesday here, just reading late after the kids are to bed.
my four year old boys are so into crafts all of a sudden and i don’t know where to begin. i was hoping your book would inspire me.
so far it’s lots of painting and nature hunts for us.
i have heard SO much about your book.

311 angela franklin April 23, 2008 at 11:56 am

i stumbled upon amanda’s aite a few years ago and have been addicted ever since. my husband and i are working artists and have two creative kidlings. i get a lot of inspiration and ideas from soule mama and look forward to reading the book and introducing it to all of my parent friends who need an little kick in the arse.

312 Laurie April 23, 2008 at 12:47 pm

We had just enough snow melt to uncover our picnic table and a small bit of dry ground so we had an Earth Day Tea – face paint party today outside. We made face paint from adding food color to white clown paint and then made textured face paint or more like putty by adding face cream, cornstarch and water with some food color. All the 4 – 8 year olds in our neighborhood were painting all over their faces, arms and legs and dancing around on the melting snow on this sunny 40 degree day. Provide a small amount of supplies and just sit back to see what a couple of kids will come up with! Oh Creativity is so natural to them.

Does 9:50 pm in Alaska still count as Tuesday where you are ? How do time zones work in blog land?

313 Claudia April 23, 2008 at 1:28 pm

children are naturally inclined to creat things….all day long, my kids are pick, and ing up rocks, leafs, sticks, tape, paper, pens, all sorts of things, and inspect them, turn them over and begin making things out of them.

Their favorite place is their craft/art table and they never cease to amaze me with the things they come up with – the secret seems to be to let them run with it.

I am very excited about this new book and can’t wait to read it. Amanda’s parenting style and the way she integrates crafts and art into daily life’s events really speaks to me.

Thnank you for introducing her book here as well!!

314 suzy April 23, 2008 at 2:19 pm

I’ve been reading Amanda’s blog for over 3 years now – since before Adelaide was born! My own little one is not a year old yet, so we haven’t branched out into crafty activities, but we do lots of singing together, looking at seasonal picture books and playing with found objects. I’m looking forward to beginning more creative and imaginative play activities as he gets older.

315 sue brown April 23, 2008 at 3:02 pm

We try to do something creative with the kids everyday. Sometimes it can be so hard to get motivated and I know this book would definately help me out. We love to get messy and let the kids creativity and imagination shine through. I’m not sure if I have made the time cut off as I’m in Australia but I really hope I have.

316 Inês April 23, 2008 at 3:08 pm


I,m from Portugal and the mother of two wonderful boys. Since we live just the 3 of us, we call ourselfs the three mosqueters, and do pretty much everything together.
Right now we are working on a project which consists of “re arranging” a book about mothers. We are personalizing it and it will be the Mother’s day present for my mother, their grandmother. We hoppe she will have as much fun readind and exploring it’s surprises, as we are creating it.

Regards from Portugal,

317 Robyn Piotrowski April 23, 2008 at 3:35 pm

My 6 year old asks every day if we can make a project. So we keep all the supplies out and easily available. fFr his birthday we took his drawing of a nice pirate captain and on the inside of the card he wrote on a treasure map “Aaaargh, You are a Treasure Matey.APretty much all pary decor will we made my artist clan. Fun!

318 Karisma April 23, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Creativity in our household is vast! Or three girls have been painting, drawing, sculpting from the time they were babies. Now they are teens they are also enjoying the finer crafts of sewing and embroidery! We have been lucky enough to homeschool our younger two, both boys, they have the freedom to explore their own creativity on a daily basis! With such an artistic bunch we by no means manage to keep our house in a state of calm or clean! Paint and string, glue and mud alike all traipse through on a daily basis! The baby of the family at 9 just loves to create with dirt, leaves, sticks and even build habitats for insects!

319 Sally April 23, 2008 at 5:22 pm

We have a huge liquid amber tree in our yard and it has taught my children (and myself) so much about the seasons with its everchanging wardrobe. From the beautiful autum colours to the dropping of its leaves to the spring chartreuse buds that intoxicate the bees that make the whole tree buzz with spring life, to the explosion of the new leaves, we never cease to wonder at its delights and the awareness of the flora and fauna that surrounds us – Amanda has embraced these wonders in her blog and I look forward to seeing what is happening in their world on the other side of this most beautiful planet we all abide on.

320 Teresa in NC April 23, 2008 at 6:16 pm

I think one of the best things we have done to inspire creativity is to not buy many things that have batteries. Lots of open ended toys and plenty of paper, pencils, crayons, and other mediums to let the kids explore!

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