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One of Claire’s innate qualities is her creativity. It doesn’t matter WHAT she’s trying to make more beautiful–hair, cookies, pillows, artwork, the yard–she is fascinated by the creative process. I love that about her.

I also love that along with her unique ability to see things for their potential, she seeks to share that gift with others. This past Christmas, she handmade all of her siblings, and her twin cousin, their very own present. They were all delighted that she’d taken the time to make something one-of-a-kind for them and she beamed with pride that her hard work was appreciated.

However, there is a downside to all the creativity, and that is chaos. When Claire sews herself a new dress, there are scraps of fabric, bits of thread, pins stuck in the carpet (gulp!). Our kitchen table AND desk AND fold out table are covered with errand paint marks from her artistic endeavors. Our pool table cover has more than a few nicks and scratches and glue patches from her creative time.

I try to be supportive of my kids’ interests, but where my sanity and their crafts intersect, there is sometimes tension. I.E.–I don’t do well with messes, and when Claire crafts, they’re EVERYWHERE.
It’s probably hypocritical of me to whine about messes when I make my fair share of them. I like to think I’m as creative as Claire in my own respect. It’s just that my canvases are often a lot larger–I have an entire house to paint, dress, and redo. The other difference is that I know if I make a mess, it’ll eventually be tidied up. I’m self-motivated by my urge to keep things minimal and tidy. The kids have not yet discovered the joy of putting things where they belong, so they know where they’ll be the next time they look for them. Hopefully someday they’ll come to appreciate why I had them learn how to clean and organize.
“Don’t Go Inside (unless you are a cat, or mom/dad, or if I give you permission).

When Claire and I had gone head to head one too many times about her overflowing fabric pile and the bead art splayed out on the pool table, Jack came up with an ingenious solution. We have a large machine shed where we keep our tractor and hay bales, but otherwise, it is largely vacant. The previous owners had built a room, and other than storing a few things in it, we weren’t using it.

It’s a rare thing for a child with six siblings to have a space of their own, but that is exactly what Claire got. It was dusty and needed to be cleaned up, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Claire so motivated to tidy up and make a space her own. She wiped down the shelves, hauled out junk, built herself a table, took unused chairs from the garage to her new craft room, and decorated like there’s a permanent party going on.

She’s itching for the weather to get warmer and for there to be more sunlight later in the evening–when she opens the big doors at the south of the building, it gets decent natural light. Claire, and any invited siblings she allows graciously into HER craft room, spend hours out there with her collection of craft supplies, a walkie talkie so I can call them in when dinner is ready, doing whatever makes her happy.

I have noticed a decrease in clutter around the house, and pride as she talks about the projects she’s working on, hoping someday to be able to sell them in her own store. Yes, some of my things have gone missing–goodbye paint brushes. It was nice to know you, fabric scissors. Maybe she’ll let me borrow my hot glue gun once in a while–but sometimes, a girl needs her space to do her own thing. So glad we could give her the opportunity to create her heart out in her own corner of our slice of paradise.


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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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