STL: fostering creativity with Melissa from ISLY

Hi everyone! It’s the last day of Share the Love. Remember to enter yesterday’s pattern giveaway and check out that post to see if you’re a winner of one of the previous giveaways.

Today we’re welcoming Melissa from I Still Love You. I love Melissa’s blog because of the awesome refashions she posts – she’s great at taking dated thrift store finds and giving them a fashionable modern flair. Plus she includes awesome illustrations showing you exactly what she did. In addition to sewing and other crafting, Melissa shares gorgeous calligraphy printables, and she even teaches a calligraphy workshop. Everything on her blog is beautiful and modern, and I’m happy to have her here today! Thanks Melissa.

I devote a fair amount of time on a daily basis on creativity. It’s a huge part of my job. I love it, too. As Penelope has gotten older, she’s become increasingly more curious in my work and where she fits into that part of my life. Sometimes it means I find her cutting up my stuff, getting into my calligraphy ink or trying to tinker around with my sewing machine. I love her, but that’s frustrating. I want to support her curiosity for the creative process, but I don’t want her touching my stuff!! I feel like a teenager, “Stay out of my room! Stop using my stuff!” Obviously, our relationship isn’t like that, but I certainly have to hold my tongue when she depletes my entire collection of baker’s twine or washi tape. Annoying: yes. Devastating or worth damaging our relationship: Not even close. fostering-creativity-melissaesplin-1

My solution to this problem has been to amass good, legit art supplies just for Penelope. They’re just hers and only hers. It has worked wonders to our relationship and her creativity. She has 3 pairs of her own scissors, her own washi tape, markers, baker’s twine, paper, paint, etc. It’s all hers to share or hoard as she desires. Since we’ve done this our creative time together has improved 10000000 fold. She respects my space and explores her own. This has worked so well, I’m working on converting the utility closet next to my work space into a studio just for her. I think working side-by-side would be amazing. When we go to the craft store for my supplies, I let her pick up one or two things for her craft collection. They’re never expensive supplies, but they always get her little brain going with what she can do or make. That’s the goal.


Penelope made the above Pteranodon while at the sitter’s yesterday. I’d say it’s pretty fantastic (definitely going in the keep collection). Other ways I’ve been able to encourage her creativity, I subscribe to Kiwi Crate (love that they don’t use the K on Crate, it shows they’re legit). They ship craft projects along with all the needed supplies to my door, monthly. With that, we make structured projects (making musical instruments, games, etc). With her other supplies and any left over supplies from her crate, we have unstructured make time. I think it’s important to have unstructured make time with Penelope. She (and all kids) have the wildest imaginations with zero inhibitions. It’s important to foster that in order to nurture her creativity. I’ll make something and she’ll make something, then we’ll talk about it during and after we’re done. To encourage creative conversation here are a few prompts I use and you can, too:

  • I like what you’re doing! Encourage her to be confident in her make process whether it’s technically “right” or not.
  • Tell me about your painting/drawing/creation. Never ask: What is it? – it questions her ability and pressures her to make representational work and can deplete confidence.
  • How did you do it? This encourages critical thinking about the creative process.
  • Can I make something like that? Respect her creativity and treat her as an equal. Get on her level when making.

I’m no pro or expert, but I’ve found these things have fostered great creativity in Penelope, and I hope you can benefit from my informal learning.


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    Heidi says

    Great tips, Melissa!
    My son has similar tendencies as Penelope. He has a craft drawer of his own-mostly paint, paper, markers, etc, but I have been wanting to create a little space for him as well with a table and place to organize his crafts. I love that you let Penelope pick out her own stuff. I need to branch out with more legitimate craft supplies.

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