My husband loves our living room. I mean, he really loves it. He bought this house before we were married, and in all the spare hours he had before I came along he lovingly restored the hardwoods and tiled the fireplace. He hung beautiful arts and crafts style light fixtures and sourced craftsman-style furniture until the room was perfect. I have to admit; he did a really lovely job. He loves this room–which I erroneously refer to as “the front room”–as though it were a prize possession.
And yet our living room often sits empty. It has style more than function…and we have a perfectly lovely living room that boasts a cozy sofa and easy access to Netflix. We’ve also had this room blocked off since Josephine became mobile, due to things like sharp corners, a fireplace, non-wall-mounted bookshelves, and other things of such challenging-to-baby-proof nature. Unless we’re having a party or a cozy fire or putting up our Christmas tree we rarely use this room.
This seems a shame to me. And so, when Josephine and I started getting a bit antsy to have a great space for practicing art and crafts, I thought to myself what better than our arts and crafts style room? (note: husband does not find this amusing). I’ve done my best to find baskets and supplies that can blend in to the decor or be easily moved and banished should some such occasion come about that requires the use of this room (so far we’ve not had to put it to the test).
I’ve tried to keep our artwork a mix of Montessori-style, while taking into consideration my control freak tendencies and my inability to deal with paint on the walls or sand in my rugs. This means we still keep this room off-limits to Josephine unless one of us is with her. I try to open it up and create with her whenever she asks–which is usually once or twice a day.
We have a few baskets of “work” that I rotate. She adores her play-doh (so glad I invested in this more natural dough so I don’t feel as awful when she puts a giant chunk in her mouth). Another basket for stickers and paper. A wooden tray holds stamps and stamp-pad. And my favorite basket, which holds our watercolors and papers (is it bad that I always want her to choose this one? I’m taking a watercolor class in November and cannot wait!). I also have a jar of kinetic sand (which is super cool!), but our last sand session ended with a giant handful being flung across the room, so that one is relegated to the upper shelf for now.
I love the opportunity to create and expose daughter to art and sensory work. It’s fascinating to discover what she is drawn to, and how it changes from week to week. I’m looking forward to continued growth and development in our art projects together, and hope that creativity is something she cherishes.
Last week I found husband and daughter coloring together (these crayons are great for little hands!) and I feel
hopeful confident this room might growing on him. Can’t wait for our next party so I can show him how easily our arts and crafts room can turn back into our stylish arts and crafts living room!