Creating at home, a few easy and flexible autumn activities / by Lauren DeMarco

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As far as values go, creativity falls into a "top 3" spot in our home, up there with kindness and gratitude. I value creativity above order and efficiency and material goods and convenience. I can even choose creativity over health at times, skipping breakfast for an extra 20 minutes to sew or ignoring neck pain when I am "in the flow" of creative work.

Staying true to this value might mean screen printing with very damaging ink in our dining room or neglecting social engagements. It might be moving some bins in the garage to get to that special spray sealant from a locked cabinet, even though it's entirely inconvenient.

This weekend we decided to go for it with a bunch of pumpkins and some cookies. Right there in the kitchen/dining room. I have every art supply from every medium in the house and Chi was encouraged to do whatever she wanted to decorate her pumpkin. We laid out some drop cloths (AKA old, fugly canvas fabric) and she decided on "painting a spooky face".

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She had a really great time and asked for more and more colors throughout the process. We used simple plastic plates as palettes and a few cheap brushes. We used various inexpensive acrylic paints and they were perfect.

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Chi was confused as to why I didn't want to make my pumpkin spooky. Frank did a carved face which was super cute and festive. I sealed our painted pumpkins with a spray from Wal-mart or some hardware store. So far, so good with the paint staying on.

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I don't really care for these yucky, packaged cookie kits but Chi convinced me in a moment of weakness and they were fun to put together. Again, I created next to her, giving her freedom and a few of her own cookies to do on her own. She mirrored me for the first one or two but then got creative with the materials.

We set our pumpkins on the stoop, ate a cookie each, and then took a 2.5 hour nap with the crisp fall air coming into the open bedroom window.

Don't be afraid to make a mess or to make something unattractive! I know my daughter will look back on her childhood, think of the paint brushes in the dish drying rack and bits of thread stuck to our socks, and remember our joyful days creating together. I am prouder of this than most things.