8 Tips for Doing Arts & Crafts With Kids

Doing arts and crafts with your kids is always messy. Just take it easy! But if it makes you stressed and uncomfortable, use butcher paper or newsprint to cover surfaces and to catch drops of glue and bits of glitter and paper. Use materials, like markers, adhesive, that are washable. Then take a relax. When you and your kids are finished, roll the butcher paper or newsprint up and easily discard the mess. Don’t present your kids any firm examples of the result of crafting. You should present various options, so your kids can use their imagination to create. Their idea is more important than how they execute it. Choose crafts which are suitable for your kids’ age, capability, and strengths. If the crafts are complicated, break them into steps and just introduce which ones your kids can do. You don’t need to keep your kids’ crafts forever. Crafts take

12 practical ways to organize kids’ craft supplies (part 2)

Mason Jars It’s easy to use mason jars to store your kids’ craft supplies and it looks quite good when arranging them together on a shelf! They are colorful and lovely enough so that you don’t need to paint them if you don’t want to. Recycled Food Jars It’s not only mason jars that can be used to store craft supplies. Any kind of jars like sauce jars, jam jars, pickle jars that can be washed and dried can be repurposed into storage for beads, buttons, etc. Ribbon organizer It is always a problem for us to organize the ribbons because they get tangled and look limp whenever we try to untangle them from each other. There is a great idea to solve the problem; a shoebox with holes punched in it for the ribbon to come out! This helps your kid to pull the length of ribbon as they

12 practical ways to organize kids’ craft supplies (part 1)

It is happy for parents to see their children involved in crafts – cutting, pasting and creating works of art. But the mess they make isn’t as pleasant! If you don’t have a proper home for all your craft supplies, everything will be dumped into a big basket or box. As a result, when your children want to craft the next time, they just need to dig through that basket or box to find the suitable supplies for their work! So, the solution is organizing the craft supplies of your kids. Here we have 10 practical ways to organize your kids’ craft supplies. Salt and Pepper Shakers for Glitter Glitter seems to be the messiest among all craft supplies. There is an excellent idea of using glass salt and pepper shakers to store glitter in so you and your kids can see the colors from outside. Teach your kids just

How to Introduce Crafts to Kids

All kids are curious and creative – two qualities that go wonderfully together! It’s obvious that they’re naturally inclined towards arts and crafts. Whatever your children’s age, it’s never too late to introduce them to crafts. Let’s learn how to introduce crafts to kids naturally and effectively. Start with a favorite story A favorite story or book of your children is a good idea for a starting point. There are many crafts based on famous children’s books such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Horton Hears a Who, Pete the Cat. If your children have their own favorite characters, start with crafts which are based on them. Look at your children’s interests Some kids go through phases of intense obsession. It could be about cars, trains, trucks or even Spiderman. A scrapbook is a great idea for your children to cut out pictures of trains from magazines

Brazilian Handcrafts

Brazil’s culture has been influenced by an array of other cultures such as Indians, Africans, Portuguese, Europeans, Middle Eastern and Asian settlers. Although, their marks on the culture can be seen through the plethora of fine art creations and markets that sells crafts in the markets in the country. As history would have it, small handicrafts did not receive much recognition in Brazil, if anything they were commonly ignored by most people, regardless of their social ranks. Although, this has been changing in the last decade. These previously ignore handcrafts have been gaining popularity due to how it celebrates the culture locally while also solidifying traditions that were misplaced throughout the years form the generational lineage. Moreover, artisans have been slowly gaining more significance in Brazilian culture. The new professional of creating these small handcrafts has been giving people, mainly women, a new source in income in a job that

The Craft Tour of Brazil

In a recent blog we described the Gift Brazil mission, our focus is on trying to shine a light on artisan craft in Brazil and to make it available to the world. Brazil is a very big country. It is the biggest country in South America and the entire Southern Hemisphere and only Russia, the USA, Canada, and China are larger. If you got in your car in Porto Alegre in the very south of Brazil and started driving north to Belém you could keep driving for a week – assuming you stop the car to eat and sleep! But we have made a commitment to ensure we visit every state in Brazil during 2014, to meet local artisans and to work with the local artisan associations so we can personally find some great craft from all across this enormous nation. It will be a challenge because many parts of the country are impassable

Apiaí: reinventing pottery

As part of Gift Brazil’s Great Craft Tour, we visited Apiaí, a small town located 320km from São Paulo city surrounded by lush Atlantic rainforest and one of the most important and traditional pottery hubs in southeast Brazil. Apiaí wants to make its priviledged location and outdoor activities more known to tourists, that is not what we came for: we wanted to know more about the the pottery history in the town and the people making it, employing a mix of techniques inherited by indigenous tribes and African slaves. During the eighteenth century, the region surrounding Apiaí – also known as the Ribeira do Iguape Valley, or simply Rbeira Valley – was populated by former African slaves that had been freed or escaped their captivity. The fugitives then married local women and became farmers, who also produced their own clay pots, crockery and decorative objects. Way before the African slaves arrived,

Craft brings hope to Jequitinhonha Valley

There is a  major stigma of poverty and serious social, economic and environmental problems in the Jequitinhonha Valley. But the region, despite all its difficulties, is also one of the richest of Brazil in terms of culture and craft production. Located in the northern state of Minas Gerais, the Valley is home to some 80 small towns that in the heyday of mining attracted immigrants from all over the country, after the wealth of mineral resources in the area, including gold and diamonds. Today, centuries after all the predatory mining that took place, the region suffers badly with lack of opportunities. The typical drought and blazing sunshine does not make things easier for the local families – husbands often have to seek farming work in other places during the dry season, which can last as long as eight months. Faced with the arduous job of looking after the home and

Caning unites craft and architecture in Brazil

We have already talked about the cobogó, the ever-present concrete feature created in Brazil back in the 1920s as a solution to ventilate rooms, nowadays a decorative item in its own right and available in many graphic variations. When we found an example where cobogó met caning, we loved it even more. São Paulo-based architect Cícero Ferraz da Cruz created a new type of cobogó inspired in the chair weaving patterns of caning resulted in a project that unites two elements full of Brazilian character.  The cement pieces formed the beautiful panel of 5 x 6m seen above, now on display at Farm, a Brazilian womenswear chain, where caning was also used for the shop façade. Caning, a traditional type of chair-weaving craft deriving from peeled bark or skin of the rattan vine,  is very commonly seen in Brazil as a main feature of chairs, tables, bed headboards and other items. The

The Arraiolo rugs of Diamantina

The Minas Gerais city of Diamantina was a center of European culture with a thriving economy during Brazil’s colonial period. Gold and diamonds attracted hordes of explorers from all parts of Brazil and beyond. However, once the mines were depleted, work opportunities were few and far between – similarly to what has happened in the nearby Jequitinhonha Valley. Also in Diamantina, craft played a very important role in the local economy. The wool rugs of Arraiolos, a small town in Portugal, are made with a needlework style that is inspired by Persian carpets, since the Middle Ages.  But it wasn’t until quite recently that this craft style became known – and made – in Brazil. Known simply as “tapete arraiolo” in Brazil, the rug-making technique was introduced in the 1970s through to an initiative of the then archbishop of Diamantina, who sought to create work for the impoverished housewives of the region. Maria de Fátima