Flames of Desire

No, it’s not the name of my new romance novel. It’s this…Flying Wish Paper by Hux Creative! Write a wish on the special paper, ignite it, and watch your wish float away, granted. Does this kit actually work? Or will the fickle realities of wish-granting manifest themselves? Our brave yet tempestuous heroine, Katie, tempted cruel fate and tested the kit in her dining room. Take it away Katie!

I have to admit, I was skeptical. When I read the instructions for the Flying Wish Paper and it specifically says “best used as an indoor product,” I wasn’t sure how it was going to work and not burn my house down. Armed with my kitchen fire extinguisher, I pulled my son away from his homework to be the official tester, and we got started making wishes.

flying wish paper kit contentsThe kit contains 15 sheets of Flying Wish Paper, 5 paper platforms for your wishes, a special mini pencil, and a set of instructions. It retails for $12 at our local Paper Source. The first part of the kit is easy enough. You think of a special wish and write it on the Flying Wish Paper, which closely resembles tissue paper. If you choose, you can slide the Wish Platform (more on that shortly) under your Wish Paper to help you write more easily. Our Wish Platform had a gorgeous picture of blossoming cherry trees on it, but there are many other images in different kits to choose from.

writing the wishOnce you have written your wish, crumble the Wish Paper into a ball about the size of a marble. Next, carefully unwrap and smooth out the paper so it is flat, albeit crinkled from being smashed into a ball.

wish paper crumbleOnce the paper is flat, roll it into a tube using the darkened circle on the Wish Platform as a guide. The tube needs to be open enough to allow the Wish Paper to easily burn, just like a chimney. Stand your Wish Paper upright on the Wish Platform and you are ready to send it to the heavens!

wish paper chimneyThis is when I became a little nervous. I was going to light paper on fire inside of my home. Rather, I was going to let my son (who was thrilled to have full parental permission to strike a match indoors) LIGHT PAPER ON FIRE INSIDE OUR HOUSE! It took a few tries to stand the Wish Paper on the Wish Platform without it toppling over, which also made me nervous.

My son very carefully lit a match and touched it to the Wish Paper, which instantly started to burn. When it was nearly done burning, the Wish Paper suddenly lifted off the Wish Platform and flew up to the ceiling, still slightly smoldering. Just before it hit the ceiling, the flame extinguished and the ashy Wish Paper floated slowly down into my son’s waiting hands. It actually worked! Color me surprised!

But wish-granting has its ugly realities. One of the problems we instantly encountered was the charred remains of the Wish Paper, which caused quite a mess of black ash over our hands and dining room table. Our mess was easily cleaned up with some damp paper towels and by washing our hands, but if you aren’t careful, the ashes could get everywhere and leave a dirty black trail behind.

wish paper ashI was also fearful the burning Wish Paper would fall over, (or off!) the Wish Platform. Well, it did fall over during one of our tests. It left a small burn mark on the Wish Platform, but thankfully nothing else happened.

wish paper burnFlying Wish Paper is a fun activity that my son and I thoroughly enjoyed doing together. There are numerous fire concerns and it is definitely something parents can’t let their children do on their own, but I highly recommend it. It’s a whimsical and thoughtful activity for kids to really think about what their deepest wishes may be. It would be awesome for magic spells at a Harry Potter program too (and so would this)! Just keep paper towels handy to clean up the ash.

As far as my wish coming true, only time will tell. All I have to say is my Mega Millions ticket is purchased, and I’m ready for the next lottery drawing.

Projects Projects Everywhere, Redux

the project projectQ: What do I do with my kid’s art projects? They’ll be upset if I toss them out, but I’m being squeezed out of the house by an army of cardboard creations!

No, this isn’t a question from a blog reader. It’s the question I ask myself the eve of every curbside recycling pick-up. You see, our home studio overflows with art projects. Which I consider a very good thing. Bring on the creativity!  But eventually, space runs out and reality rears its ugly head. My house overflows with paper, tubes, and boxes connected with sticky webs of tape. The shelves are packed, and I haven’t seen the top of my coffee table in 7 days. Worse, we don’t have any room to make new projects!

Alas, I have a few unpleasant options to choose from:

Option 1: Toss the projects. This usually backfires because my kids routinely root through the recycling bins for building materials, resulting in “MOM! Why did you toss my 10 car tissue box train!?!?” Or they catch me carrying the stuff to the trash and plead with me to keep the 45 pieces of pipe cleaner jewelry that have been hanging on the living room doorknob for 5 weeks.

Option 2: Have the kids decide which projects they’re ready to toss. I sit the kids down and tell them how proud I am of their projects. I explain that it’s time to let the shoe box fire station go because we all need to be responsible and keep the house orderly. My kids of course understand and don’t argue with me. They dispose of the projects and even offer to tidy up their rooms as well. Um…in the spirit of full disclosure…I must admit that I’ve never actually had any success with Option 2.

Option 3: Wait until they’re not looking / asleep and sneakily dispose of the projects. This is what happens most often I’m afraid. However, it’s surprisingly difficult to turn your back on an oatmeal container cat staring dolefully at you over the rim of a recycling bin hidden in the backyard. And then there’s the inevitable “Hey, where’s the swimming pool I made for my Shopkins?” A ferocious interrogation ensues until you finally confess you tossed it because you had to clean up. Even while you’re rationally defending the tidiness of your household to the indignant artist, you secretly feel like a horrible monster for tossing your child’s creative vision. Sigh.

In 2014, I blogged about one solution to project clutter. It’s a customized project book made out of an inexpensive photo album. You can read about it here.

project bookLast weekend, however, I came up with another solution! I created an Instagram account dubbed “The Project Project.” Now anytime a project needs recycling, I just upload a photo of it to Instagram.

the project project screen shotThere the project remains, forever validating my kids’ imaginative musings. It’s a fun gallery documenting their tremendous creativity AND a digital representation of one less job for Mom the Recycling Cop. Bonus! Grandma and Grandpa can follow our Instagram to see what those clever grandkids are up to.

the project project train table

The Project Project hasn’t been running very long, but I can already see and feel a difference in the house. Projects are recycled without a fuss because they’re not getting tossed out. They’re simply changing into something that can be seen and shared with others. Also, I love these projects! I honestly feel bad when they have to go. Now I can revisit them all the time.

Want to see a truly FANTASTIC Instagram art project? Check out this fashionista mother and daughter crafting team!


adaptationIn the world of crafting, just about anything can be adjusted, changed, or redone according to your budget, staffing, and audience. In fact, adaptation is one of the things I love about developing craft projects for kids. Today, I’m going to show you how I took a simple project and made it even simpler and less expensive for a large-scale event. I’ll throw in a couple hints about running large-scale event tables to boot.

Our event table had a Lightning Thief theme. So for our project, we went with these winged sneakers made out of stiffened felt, glitter glue, glue dots, and paperclips (you’ll find the original instructions here):

felt wing sneakers croppedThe project was already easy to assemble, but since we needed to produce 200 pairs of wings, the art supplies were a problem. We made 4 cost-saving changes:

  • We made the wings out of card stock instead of stiffened felt
  • We replaced the glitter glue with metallic markers
  • We used tape instead of glue dots
  • We scavenged paper clips from various office stashes, rather than buying new ones

Oh, and I adapted the original project template to include more pairs of wings. Instead of 4 pairs of wings per sheet, there are 6 (the adjusted template is here). I turned a couple copy paper box lids into trays housing small, medium, and large wings.

tray for wingsNotice how we just did a rough cut of the wings (meaning we left each pair on a single strip of paper instead of cutting them out individually)? This is event pointer #1: Prep Up to a Point. Rather than cutting out 200 pairs of wings before the event, we let 200 event participants cut the wings themselves. This definitely saved us prep time, and spared us some wicked hand cramps. Another event pointer? Present the Project.

example shoesAlways have an example of the finished project on the table, so matter how simple it is. That way, you can show kids (and their grown-ups) exactly what they’re aiming to create. If you’re lucky, they’ll be able to get started the project just by looking at the finished version (which will also save you having to explain it 200 times). Next event pointer: Set Up a Self-Cleaning Table.

self-cleaning tableEvent tables get crowded quickly, and supplies fly everywhere. However, I find that when supplies are on paper or plastic plates, the plates actually encourage people to return the supplies to their proper places. I don’t know what is it – the plates are wide and flat? They’re super obvious? Impossible to toss something at and miss? Whatever the reason, with plates I spend 75% less time cleaning up the table. And that’s huge when you’re staffing a table for 4 or 5 hours. Pointer #4: Table Skirts are a Good Thing. 

table skirtTable skirts are an inexpensive way to make your event table look more finished. They also hide all the unattractive supply boxes you need to stash under your table, as well as your purse or backpack. OK. My final event pointer. Costumes are Awesome.

dr. dana in chiton

You want your table to get attention and a fair amount of traffic, right? Well, there’s no better way to get it – and show your team spirit – then wearing a costume. The above outfit is recycled from an event I did in 2011. Katie’s costume was borrowed from the Lewis Center for the Arts’ costume shop. But we totally could have rigged something up with sheets too.

Your costumes don’t have to be fancy – even a color-coordinated t-shirt will do. But I will say the more you dress up, the bigger an audience you draw (as well as event photographers! We’ve definitely ended up in local papers, blogs, and Facebook because of our costumes).

How did our adapted project go over? Really well! Check out these truly amazing shoes…

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Adults were encouraged to make wings too! I absolutely LOVE this guy. Even if was rooting for USD at a Princeton Tigers football game.

awesomeAnd speaking of adaptation, people made a couple project adjustments of their own at the event! A lack of straps on the backs of one’s sandals? Quickly remedied with tape:

Not into the paper clip part of the project? Tape, once again to the rescue:

baby shoesSome skipped the shoe part and simply taped the wings to the backs of their shirts!

wings on backDo you see how the wings are attached to the back of the shirt with black masking tape? That’s another project modification we came up with. Kids without socks (or kids who might be bothered by the paper clips rubbing their feet) were offered masking tape to cover the section of paperclip inside their shoes. It worked great, and it gave the wings a little extra reinforcement too.

Thus, to summarize my 5 event pointers:

  1. Prep Up to a Point
  2. Present the Project
  3. Set Up a Self-Cleaning Table
  4. Table Skirts are a Good Thing
  5. Costumes are Awesome

And just in case you missed them in the slideshow, here’s someone who TOTALLY rocked the project. The colors! The matching lines! The placement of the wings! Perfection.

high heel shoesLooking for other event table projects that have worked for us? Check out these pom-pom cannons, Cheshire Cat grins, magic quill pens, and Digitopolis’ number mines. You’ll also find more ideas on our Simple Projects Pinterest board.