When Things Don't Go As Planned (and Egg Carton Art)
by Diane Cretin
I have been thinking about how I react and how I might react in a more positive way when things don't go as planned. Covid 19 made everyone make adjustments. It might seem odd, but I actually don't mind working from home. Many of my job duties have changed, but most of them can be done from my house. Since my husband is working from home 100% for now, I get to see him more and can even eat lunch with him. Since I don't need to "dress up" to go to work most days, I save that time and check out my gardens each morning. This time of year is glorious to me - new blossoms on garden plants, flowers blooming, the anticipation of fresh vegetables and fruit. My yard and gardens fill me with joy. Do you have something that fills you with joy and enables you to escape the confines of your house in a safe manner? I pray that you do. If not, I pray that you find solace in zoom calls and phone calls. If you don't live alone, I hope you realize this is a (hopefully) once in a lifetime chance to reconnect with your family and friends in ways that you may have been too busy to do before we sheltered in place.
I will tell you that I did not plan on homeschooling my 8 year old granddaughter Olivia this year. Doing so has been a challenge while continuing my job duties. Olivia is an extrovert and delights in being with others. I am an introvert who can work on a project by myself happily. I prefer connecting personally with just a few people at a time so I can focus on those people. Large groups exhaust me while they energize Olivia. My heart has been sad for her as she remains in isolation with only adults.
Knowing this and living in community with Olivia is one reason I volunteered to do a weekly blog post where I aim to have part of it appeal to the life of children. I try to pick things that Olivia can enjoy working on with me. She is very creative and this lets her express her artistic side. Plus we get to spend a different type of quality time together.
What do you do when things don't go as planned? Do you get frustrated? Cry? Whine? Or do you say, "Well, let's look at this another way!" I advise the later although I have certainly done the first at times.
Last week I encountered things not going as planned when I started the actual work of making things for this blog post. I knew the craft part was going to be making things from egg cartons. I did research, saved pictures, and had Olivia tell me what she thought would be fun to make. Here are some of the pictures of what we thought we were going to make.
But here's the thing - look at the shape of these egg carton pieces. They are shaped more like a square. They looked normal to me. But when I started cutting up the egg cartons I have saved for months, I realized none of them were shaped like this. All of mine were more circular and they didn't have a solid wall where they connect to the adjoining space. So it was now Thursday afternoon and I realized I needed to adjust my plans.
I could still make some things Olivia and I had selected, but I also needed to pick or design other projects. I found a picture of faces, which gave me some ideas. I decided to cut out some shaped and see where my mind went from there.
Here are the end results.
Olivia liked the thought of making masks. I wanted some flower options; one that would appeal more to children and another adults might enjoy more. We both wanted to do wall hangings. We put tempera paint in half sized muffin trays. I got some foam paint brushes from Riley Street as well as a few more paint options. The best thing I did was get white. That let me make custom paint colors. For example, I mixed white with magenta to make two other shades of pink.
I cut out the shapes we needed, which took hours. Olivia saw a leftover piece from some things I cut out and said, "Look! This could be a chair for a hatchimal (small plastic animal figure). So I cut out more "chairs" so she could have chairs for a number of her hatchimals. Then it was then time to paint. Olivia focused on painting the chairs and three of the masks. I focused on everything else.
After allowing the pieces to dry overnight, Olivia matched up some of her hatchimals with some of the chairs. She was absolutely delighted. This was a great reminder of the flexibility that is helpful during the times we live in. It can be helpful for those of us who are adults to try to emulate children. Olivia had no hard and fast preconceived ideas, so she was open to the wonder of shapes. She will probably use her hatchimal chairs more than anything else we made. Looking at her chairs also reminded me that things don't need to be perfect to be enjoyable. The edge of her red chair has a few places with no paint. My first inclination was to put a little red paint on my finger and touch up the edge of the chair. But there was no need to do that. Olivia sees the beauty of what is painted, not what is lacking. So I strive to be more like Olivia. Working with egg cartons is not an exact science. You need to let go of any thoughts of perfection as well as thinking that everything will be symmetrical. Each piece is unique and that is actually part of the beauty.
Some of my paint ideas did not work out at first. It ends up that some of the paint I borrowed was not tempera. And it was old and runny. So I ended up not having any yellow or plain blue to use although I did have glittery blue paint. It worked painted over the top of other colors. I also had a glittery orange-ish color to use. Olivia loved the glitter look! Sunday morning I told my daughter that "everything looks better with glitter on it." Casey said, "Those aren't words I ever thought I would hear you say."
These are the pieces we made to use for most of our flowers.
These pink flowers would be easy for younger children to make. You simply cut out 4 sections of an egg carton as one piece and paint them. We chose two shades of pink and added the stem and leaves. In the interest of time, I took pictures before pieces were glued down, so your stem would be flat on the paper. I like to glue onto cardstock or poster board for the flower pictures.
I originally painted these pieces orange but when they dried I thought they looked dull. So I painted over them with red, then added the orange-ish glitter paint on top for the petals.
Making the masks was fun. I poked one hole on each side (at the 3:00 and 9:00 o'clock positions) with a kebab skewer before we painted. Olivia painted three - one for her, one for her mom, and one for her stepdad to-be. She gave them each a teal covered dot on their nose so you could tell they were a family. I thought that was so sweet. I painted the middle mask (I love blues and greens) and the red mask. Olivia asked if she could give the red mask to her best friend.
After painting, you need to reopen the holes with your skewer. Then push a toothpick through the holes, pushing enough yarn through to grab. Tie off the yarn of the inside of the mask, then trim off any excess near the knots. I knotted the yard three times so the knotted area would not slip back through the hole. I got Olivia to model her mask.
These next pieces are what we are going to use to make our wall hangings. We are not using bells, so we are not calling them chimes. We ran out of time to finish these before I needed to finish the blog post. I will make two hangings from the pieces on the left and Olivia will make one from the pieces on the right. We will use beads between the pieces. You can see the pictures that inspired us below our pieces.
I want to do something like this later this summer. But I need to buy a flat of eggs at Costco to get the material to work with. Isn't this amazing? I would hang a picture similar to this on a wall.
Have you come up with any ideas of what you would like to make? I hope you decide to get creative.
And remember God is trustworthy when times are troubling. I leave you with some Bible verses.
Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Isaiah 44:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.