A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: crafting with kids


Make your own DIY fake poop out of upcycled cardboard! Funny and practical, kids and fun parents LOVE this easy, green, hilarious craft. Great for pranks!

Greetings! For today’s Just the Tip Tuesday post, I’d like to share with you a simple pleasure that has brought my family much joy over the years. It is the art of making a fake turd.

This is a simple, green, and no-cost craft that is fabulous for children of all ages. It is important to note that I don’t typically enjoy crafting with children, particularly my own. However, this is so incredibly easy and the results are so entertaining that I just can’t resist.

For this craft, you will need only three things:

1. A bowl of water.

2. A cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tube. The bigger the tube, the bigger the turd. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking a wrapping paper tube would be super fun.

3. Two hands. If you are differently abled, one hand would probably suffice. I don’t think this craft would work though if you have hooks instead of hands.

The pretty girl is optional.

My lovely assistant will now demonstrate the steps needed to transform the cardboard into a turd:

1. Using your hand(s), rip the cardboard tube open lengthwise.

2. Submerge the cardboard into the bowl of water and move it around so it gets nice and soggy.

3. Now remove the cardboard from the water and start to form the fake turd with your hand(s). Squeeze the wet cardboard so that it will bunch up into a long, compact, moist, brown, wrinkly cylinder.

4. Be patient. It can take a minute or two of good hard squeezing to form the perfect turd. Here’s one that’s almost ready…

5. A few more squeezes and…

Need a cheap, easy, green, and FUNNY craft to do with your kids? Check out my POOTORIAL on making fake turds using recycled materials and just two other ingredients. HILARIOUS and practical. Kids (and fun parents) LOVE this.

Voilà! Pretty awesome, no?

Wait, here’s a close up so you can really appreciate the details:

Need a cheap, easy, green, and FUNNY craft to do with your kids? Check out my POOTORIAL on making fake turds using recycled materials and just two other ingredients. HILARIOUS and practical. Kids (and fun parents) LOVE this.

The best part? My eight year old daughter is able to complete this craft completely on her own. That’s what those in the Montessori community call “mastery.” Just look at the pride emanating from her masterful little face as she lovingly cradles her new fake turd:

Once you have a fake turd or two in your arsenal, it’s time to play. The choices are endless. Here’s one possible vignette:

A little obvious for my taste, but the kids sure like that one. Personally, I like the element of surprise. For me, turd in the shoe equals F-U-N.

Some other ideas for using your fake turds include dramatic play such as puppet shows and story telling reenactments of momentous bathroom events.

You can also craft with your fake turds. I’m thinking googly eyes and little outfits and hats would be a hoot!

Or how about mixing in torn colored construction paper during the turd making process to simulate dietary changes. What a safe and and fun way to explore what happens when we eat corn or beets or cupcakes with blue frosting!

And of course, there’s always good old classic family games like Turd Toss, Find the Turd, and Turd Tag. Let your imagination be your guide.

I hope this earth-friendly craft brings you and yours as much joy and satisfaction as it brings my family!



© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

If you enjoyed this piece, I have an entire Pinterest board called “Poop is Funny.” Join me there and let’s giggle together!

Follow Leslie’s board Poop is Funny on Pinterest.

The Best Family Craft We Ever Made (and Survived)

I don’t enjoy crafting with kids. Especially groups of kids. Especially MY kids. I know it is wrong to feel this way and I don’t care. When I craft, I craft alone.

Allow me to elaborate.

Crafting with kids is messy. This creates more work for me. I have enough cleaning to do without purposefully adding to the colorful array of permanent stains in my home.

Crafting with kids is frustrating. The kids never do what I want them to do with the materials and I have a problem with that. (Can you say “control issues”?)

Crafting with kids is too time consuming. Especially when you factor in the time it takes to remove something like decoupage medium from clothes, hair, and walls.

Crafting with kids can be expensive and wasteful. How many times have I shelled out moolah for kid-friendly knitting needles, latch hooking kits, sock monkey making supplies, an authentic full sized weaving loom, etc.? It would be one thing if they ever actually completed one of these crafts. But have they? Ever? No. No they have not.

Crafting with kids is bad for the environment. See above. Do we really need more nylon potholders, paper machéd Mardi Gras masks, or sock monkeys in the landfills? In addition, the amount of kid-generated dust-catching clutter in my home is surely not good for air quality.

Crafting with kids can be dangerous. Did I ever tell you about the time that Mini-Me ran my sewing machine needle right through her finger tip? No? Well that’s because it hasn’t happened yet. But it totally could if I ever got my sewing machine out of the closet and let her use it with me, which I never will because it is too damn dangerous.

There. Have I made my point?

Alas, being a crafty woman myself (as in one who likes to craft, not one who is clever and calculating), I do feel for my children when they get that urge to make stuff. And sometimes, when the stars align, I actually break down and do it.

One day last summer we spontaneously decorated a vinyl table cloth and it turned out to be the best family crafting experience we ever had.

Here, take a look:

family craft idea: painted table cloth

Isn’t that fabulous?

It was ridiculously easy too. And not too messy. Or frustrating. Or bad for the environment. Or dangerous!

Here’s all you need:

As you can see, I have absolutely no brand loyalty or preferences when it comes to acrylic paint. Use what you have… it will be fine. For some reason, acrylic paint bonds to the vinyl and doesn’t wash off, even when you are scrubbing melted wax or dried up three-day-old marinara sauce.

That two yards of marine vinyl will run you about $20 if you accidentally leave your 40% off coupon from Joanne’s Fabric at home like I did that day. Story of my life. Anyhooo….the reason I like this fabric is that it is very thick and heavy and doesn’t slide around on my table. Plus, it is waterproof, light-fast, antifungal, and antimicrobial! Shit, I should make play clothes for the kids out this miracle fabric. Oooh, slip covers for the couches! One word of warning – this fabric will melt if you put a hot pan or casserole dish on it, so don’t. Or if you do, just cover that melty spot with a pretty potted plant like so:

So here’s how we did it, step by step:

1.) Pick a palette of colors that YOU like. This is important. Don’t let the kids pick the paint colors or your tablecloth could end up looking like a Tampon Box went to the circus and got its face painted by drunk color blind clown with daddy issues. Trust me on this one. I’m sure the proper way to do art with kids is to let the kids choose the colors, but no, sorry, not gonna happen at my house.

2.) Using the main color (of your choice), paint big bold swirly tadpole-like shapes all over the cloth. I was trying to create a funky paisley print. But if that’s not your bag, I think big circles of various sizes would look very cool too.

3.) Let these shapes dry. That’s important. It doesn’t take that long. Go fold some laundry, or stir the stew, or eat some bonbons and take the Dr. Oz quiz of the day.

4.) Once dry, let each of your kids pick a shape to paint. I gave each kid a styrofoam meat tray and a few blobs of each color and just let them go to town… in that very small defined swirly tadpole shape. One shape at a time. Evenly divvied up between the three kids. We left a few shapes blank on purpose. Sometimes less really is more.

And that is it!

As you can see, I let them totally express themselves and didn’t try to micromanage how each finished paisley shape turned out. But that wasn’t stressful for a control freak like me because ultimately, I set the tone of the tablecloth with the color palate and the pattern.

My two boys each wanted to make one of their swirls into a whale… or maybe those are sperm. Sperm whales? Whatever. So cute!

Also, this project worked because each kid could do as much or as little as they wanted. The big kids could take their time and really enjoy making several different painted shapes, and the three year old got to briefly participate and then walk away as soon as it got boring. All I had to do (after painting the outlines) was wash brushes, refill paint blobs, and help with the hand washing at the end. Not bad.

I have to say, I love the way this project turned out. And no children or pets were harmed in the process which is also a bonus. As soon as I can find that Joanne’s coupon, we might make a few more so I can change things up with various seasons or holidays. This would also make a really nice gift for the grandparents to protect their beautiful antique table when the kids come to visit.

Make one and send me some pictures!

Happy crafting!


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

The Valentine Blues

Valentine’s Day is not my fave.

If you love someone, you should tell them all the time… not just on one over-the-top day. Just sayin’.

I told my husband this when we first started dating back in 1995 as part of my “I’m really low-maintenance… you hit the jackpot with me, pal” façade. Mistake. Big mistake. Now the man thinks he can just skirt through every holiday without giving me cards and flowers and candy and jewels. Dammit. I had no earthly idea that in less than a decade I would become an invisible vessel for grandkids and PTA sponsored fundraising. That changed everything. I am definitely no longer as low-maintenance as I was 10 years ago… and not just because of all the new hormone induced facial hair. I need some attention, fuckers. Is it me, or can you relate, ladies?

Maybe I’m just bitter because I didn’t get a single Valentine this year. Yeah yeah, I know, I’m being a hypocrite. That whole “T’is better to give than to receive” thing is a load of crap, sorry Jesus. I want to receive. And by receive, I’m talking about more than just a bean burrito dinner followed by falling asleep farting in our Snuggies watching You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (note to self: must reorder my Netflix queue to coincide with holidays more appropriately.)  Mama needs some romance. And for the record, “Are we gonna do it later, or what?” doesn’t really get the juices flowin’, if you know what I mean.

Unlike their bitter mama, my lovey-dovey kids really dig this Hallmark holiday. So, for them, I did my darndest to hide my “cupid-is-stupid” ire and rise to the occasion. Awwww. I helped them make their Valentine’s Boxes and cards and we even whipped up a fabulous and funky Valentine  Tree, which took near heroic measures since I absolutely abhor crafting with children. Don’t get me wrong, I love crafting. I’m crafty. I can make pretty much anything. Anything. Seriously. But bring a kid into the equation, and I’d rather donate a cornea or two.



Isn’t that just fabulous? Klepto and I decoupaged tissue paper onto an old plastic flower pot we found in the garage. I cut the branches off a big old fallen tree limb that was cluttering up my yard. And Klepto made a majority of those ornaments herself with crap we had lying around the house. My friend Jennifer says I have no right to be making fun of “Über Moms” when I have a homemade Valentine Tree like this in my house. But Jennifer, I gotta tell you, not only was I probably drunk as a skunk when we made it, but I am pretty sure I made Klepto cry five minutes into the decoupage process when she got bored and started to decoupage her hands to the table with the glue. So no, drunk screaming lunatics and Über Moms are mutually exclusive groups, in my humble opinion.

Speaking of being crafty… I am learning how to crochet. My BFF/neighbor Tammy (you remember her… the one who always one-ups me and tries to improve my recipes and then take credit for them?) gave me the most amazing birthday present last year. She cleaned out her overflowing craft closet and put together a lovingly recycled “Teach Yourself to Crochet” basket containing an instruction book, a bunch of crochet needles, some yarn, and a few handfuls of stale Easter candy that was calling her name a little too close to swimsuit season. Bitch. Anyhooo, the thought behind this gift was extraordinary. She knew that I had always wanted to learn to crochet and she gave me a gift to help me achieve that goal. That’s a good friend, ya’ll, stale candy or not.

The only problem with trying to teach yourself to crochet from a book is that it is really hard. I tried and I tried, but I just wasn’t getting it. Oh, I’m left-handed too, which makes everything harder, except making obscene gestures out my window while I drive. I do that with excellent dexterity and enthusiasm.

But you know what they say… when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. About a month ago, a lovely muse named Lara appeared on my doorstep. She and her groovy husband are my kids’ music teachers. They come to my house once a week and fill my home with song and love and a variety of talents. Lara can crochet like nobody’s beeswax. She sat down with me and showed me how to do some stitches and instilled me with confidence that crochet is really not that hard. Reading crochet patterns is not for pussies though. I still can’t really do that.

But Lara also taught me something phenomenal. She taught me that you can learn pretty much anything you ever wanted to know on YouTube. And the coolest thing about it is that you can start/stop/repeat lessons until you get it and not have to worry about annoying your teacher to death.

Want to learn how to use a Neti Pot? How about Body Party Math?  Would you like to rewire a lamp? Learn to do the splits? Be prepared to deliver a baby in the backseat of a taxicab? (Check out the giant rubber teaching vajayjay!!!)  Learn Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” dance moves step by step? (OMG, “The Spank It” and “The Pump Walk”… these are must-have-moves for any dance repertoire!!!)  Or hey, aren’t you the least bit curious about what happens when a goat licks an electric fence?  You can learn all this and more on YouTube.

Me? Well, after I mastered all that stuff, I taught myself how to crochet a heart for my sweet little girl. I even found a crochet heart tutorial for left-handed mamacitas like me! YouTube rocks, ya’ll. See? I did it!


Bet you didn’t know I was such a crafty beaver, did you?! Well I am. Get over it. Don’t worry, I can combine all my favorite things and still be the same slutty booze whore you’ve come to know and love.  Next, I want to learn how to make one of these:


No, it’s not a papoose in a canoe. It’s a hand-knitted vulva I found on the Internet. God bless you, Al Gore! Wouldn’t that be the most darling change purse?! Imagine the looks you’d get at church if you pulled that out when they pass the basket!  Or how about a set of vulva coasters or beer can coozies? See, with all this crafting to do, I won’t have time to feel sorry for myself that I didn’t get any Valentines. And for those of you who missed the boat this year, you have a whole year to shop. Buy me some yarn, would ya? I’ve got some vulvas to knit.


© 2022 The Bearded Iris

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑