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Old 01-21-2013, 11:45 AM   #1
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Default Any tips for stamping when you have young children?

I have not done much stamping unless I go to a party or stamp camp. I do have quite a nice collection of supplies fairly well organized.

I was wondering if anyone might have any tips for me on finding/making time to work on hobbies? I have a 9yo with down syndrome, 4yo and a soon to be 2yo my 14yo is gone at school during the day the others are all home. My husband is not very good about making me any time for myself. I take the dog to agility training once a week for an hour and that is pretty much it.

I get up before 6 everyday and usually have at least one young child awake with me. I am usually in bed around 9:30 my days seem pretty long and tiring.

I would love any ideas anyone can share. I don't want to just not stamp until the children are older. I know I just need some sort of plan...maybe those FLYlady 15 minute goals.

Thanks.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:03 PM   #2
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Here aRe a few ideas:
- get some cheap stamps for your kids to use. Put them in a special tote or box, give them some cheap ink pads, paper, and let them go!
- also keep child-safe cheap supplies like glue sticks and scissors. Also, wet a paper towel, fold it and put it on a plastic plate for cleaning stamps. Dye based inks wipe clean with just water!
- make it very clear that your supplies are off-limits, and they only stamp in the designated area.
- ask them to make special cards with you. Say, grandmas birthday card. You make one, your kids make one, and send them all!
- let them look through your magazines & catalogs to see what they like, then let them re-create it.

Relax, most of all! they'll have so much fun with their own stuff, you won't need to do much supervising.

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Old 01-21-2013, 12:29 PM   #3
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I have a three-year-old granddaughter who LOVES to be in my craft room. I got her some animal stamps and SpongeBob stamps that are pre-inked. I have a pile of paper that is just for her. So far it's working great and she hasn't asked to use my stuff since she has her own.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:39 PM   #4
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The above ideas are great! Since it was recommended that you have their creations sent out, take a picture of the children with the cards and put them in a book. A little gift to yourself and the memory will keep them enthused about "their" hobby.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:58 PM   #5
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When my kids were younger, my DH was good about setting aside a Friday evening or Saturday morning and made some special plans with the kids, whether it was watching a movie together or a breakfast/lunch outting or just running errands. It needed to be scheduled so it didn't get overlooked. I got a solid 2-3 hours to spend by myself to stamp or watch a movie without interruption. Honestly, I spent most of the time missing everyone, but embraced the opportunity for a little "me" time
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:00 PM   #6
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I feel your pain! I do most of my stamping after the kids go to bed, which only works because I am used to living on very little sleep. I have little ones (my oldest is 3), so here are some things I've tried:

1) Stamping images ahead of time to color while they play. I love the relaxation of watercoloring, so I find it soothing to watercolor while they are playing.
2) Making up "card kits" to assemble while they play. I cut and prep all my layers, stamp my images, grab any embellishments I want to use, etc. and then put them into a container or ziptop bag. When I have a few moments, I can assemble a few cards and feel accomplished!
3) Jot down ideas, visit the SCS gallery, or blog-hop during the day when I can't get to my supplies. If I only have a short time to stamp, it helps if I have a design or sketch in mind when I sit down.
4) Look at challenges (on SCS or blogs) and decide which ones I want to try. I may not get to them for a few days, but just having them in mind helps me focus on what I want to accomplish and start thinking of ideas. It also feeds my creative-outlet needs because I'm focusing on something I plan to create.
5) Be as organized as possible. I say this with a laugh because I'm in the middle of yet *another* reorganization of my craft room right now! But I'm reorganizing because I realized it takes me too long to gather my supplies and see what I have. If I have limited time, I want to be able to run in, grab what I need and get to work.

My husband is very good about trying to help me carve out time for myself, but I'm a stay-at-home mom and he works long hours, so it's still very hard to find the time. However, I am a much happier mom and wife if I've had my "creative" time, so I don't feel like I'm asking for anything selfish or luxurious by asking for a little stamping time. Maybe you can schedule an hour or two just for stamping on the weekend while he watches the kids, or ask a family member or friend to watch them?

It isn't easy to carve out time, and it sounds like you have your hands full. Just try to enjoy whatever time you are able to find to be creative!
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:03 PM   #7
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I don't have any children, but I have two nephews and two nieces, ages 8, 6, almost-2, and infant. When the infant is with my sister, usually the almost-2 toddler sits on my lap and colour with markers. Once in a while I have to help him open a marker. The older two kids already know how to stamp and colour on their own (they know to close the ink pad's lid after every time they stamp; they know to put the stamp back with its set before getting out a new stamp. The two older ones have been stamping with me since they were probably 2 and 4.

It was a learning curve for me. Over the years, I have learned that it is helpful to have multiple clear blocks (if you are using clear stamps) so each kid doesn't have to wait for the other one to be done. Also have the very smallest-sized block that you can, because with the younger ones' less-developed coordination, they get ink on all sides of a larger block.

It is also helpful to have an easy-to-open ink pad, like Versafine Onyx Black's hinged-lid ink pads. Tim Holtz's ink pads are also easy to open and close, but the lids are not attached. I would never try to have them use a SU! or CTMH ink pad with the more complicated lids. Otherwise, every two minutes one of them is saying "can you help me open the pad?" Also, specifically with Versafine Onyx Black, it is good for water-based, kid-friendly markers like Crayola's washable markers. AND it is a nice, satisfying DARK and rich black. They love this ink pad because it is (obviously) VERY superiour to the usual (very crappy) ink pads that come with children's stamp sets (like Melissa and Doug's stamp sets).

With the almost-two-year-old, he sits on my lap (because he doesn't want to sit in his high chair like a baby, he wants to be like the big kids) so he is easily distracted by what I'm drawing or colouring. I admit that I haven't been stamping while he's around (only when he's napping). In my defense, I only visit these kids two or three times a year, and so my stamping time with them is limited. I know that if I stamp with the two-year-old on my lap, he will REALLY notice the ink pad and will want to play with that too (yikes!). Also, currently he is distracted by what I am drawing, and helps me to colour in what I've drawn.

I'm guessing (I'm not a mom, so just guessing) that if you can teach your two-year-old that he can colour only on his paper and not yours, you'd be good to go.

Also, just in case it's not obvious, we all stamp on copy paper, NOT cardstock while I'm there!!!

Again, if I were with them a bit more, I'm thinking I can progress to the point where I can make "real" cards even with the two-year-old on my lap.

Edited to add: Also make sure that the table top is easily wipe-able (like glossy tiles) OR make sure to use a tablecloth!! In the earlier years we used a plastic (Crayola brand??) covering.

Also, encourage them to use markers or crayons (or coloured pencils, if you are sure they are co-ordinated enough to not stab themselves or someone else), NOT watercolours, where the cups of water can easily be spilled!!

Edited AGAIN to add:
It also helps to cut down on my stress level to think that if they ruin my ink pad (which they haven't) another pad is only $7. And same with the stamp sets - specifically we were stamping with sets that cost $15 each, so I kept thinking if I need to replace any set, it's a maximum cost of $15. The older kids are good, but the toddler loves to peel them off the sheet (these are clear photopolymer stamps) and stick them back on. Of course I help him get the placement right, since his co-ordination is not yet spot on. Once in a while I'll have to look for a particularly tiny stamp, but have always found them.

It also helps at the end of each day, to go pull the stamps that are not sticking well and wash them so the next day they are still sticking quite nicely. Again, if I were with them more, I'm reasonably sure I can get the older ones to wash the not-so-sticky ones themselves.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:44 PM   #8
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My sis-in-law and I would fill up a page with cute line art stamps and give them to the kids to color.

I still don't like the kids near the glues and tapes though, my glues are expensive to have a child waste it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:51 PM   #9
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I love working with kids and start them at about 3-4! You will be amazed at what they can do. I did learn some things the hard way though. Never leave a 4 year old alone to teach themselves with black ink (chuckle). Teach them to stamp first. How to apply the ink properly and more importantly how to keep the ink closed when done. They work hard to please you. The little ones can't color well so sponging works great. Die cuts are good too to let them decorate. They like the big shot but I spend some time so they know they have to make a sandwich. I let them use my stamps. I don't mind ink on the block for mistakes.
Boys like animals and landscape type things- something easy maybe like a tree that they can easily sponge their sky and ground. They like brads too- easy to decorate with.
Watching the pride they have when complete is well worth the effort.
I've also recently had the privilege of working with a 23 year old severely handicapped young man. I used the same method and let him create something wonderful with a wolf, a few trees and some sponging. His beaming smile made it so rewarding to work with him.
Have fun with it- take some time as they learn and in a few short sessions they will work independently and take care of your craft supplies too.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:30 PM   #10
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You have gotten some great ideas. I would add stickers to the list. Little kids love stickers and peeling them off is great for their fine motor skills. I used to set my two up at a little table while I worked at my desk. They were good for about a half hour. We called it art time.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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Here's another idea: There are some bloggers who post cards that can be made quickly. Here are a couple I know of:

This one posts 3 minute cards on Thursdays: Crafting Clare

and another posts some 10 minute cards: Confessions of a Left-Brained Stamper

I hope this helps!
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:40 PM   #12
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Definitely give them their own supplies. That's what I did when DD was younger and wanted to stamp with me. She's older (10) now and uses all of my regular things. We have some "multiples" of things such as adhesives because we have our own desks and it's easier that way.

Right now, HL has their stamp stuff all 40% off, so their washable kids pads would be about $2 IIRC. You can give them odd colors of card stock, DP that you don't like as much, etc. to play with. It is a good way to get rid of the stuff you may not ever use, too. If you don't have a big stash, pick up some inexpensive stuff at the store. I never minded her using my stamps because they'll clean.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:51 PM   #13
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I have two granddaughters, 2 1/2 and 6 months that I love to watch on my day off for part of the day so my sweet daughter in law can have some time for herself. Ask Gramme for some time, I bet she will say yes! And then you can plan like fairsinger in the post above. Happy crafting...stay at home moms need their crafts.......Jeanne
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:06 PM   #14
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My 2 and 5 year olds love to craft with Mommy. The Big Shot is fantastic - they can cut their own shapes from my scraps and hearts, leaves, etc. to make easy cards with the Nesties. I do have to help them remember how to sandwich it each time though. Embossing plates give them texture that they love. We make ATC cards for Valentines, Halloween, Easter, etc for all their friends, giving them lots of excuse to use my machine and I get to play as long as they are right beside me. They love to sponge embossed panels and do repeated stamping to create backgrounds. They are very excited when Mommy uses them on her cards! They are able to colour pre-stamped images. The only part I really do is supervise and put on the adhesives which are too expensive to waste.

To be honest, because my kids know are always welcome to craft when they want, I've never had a problem with them touching my supplies. They are often quite happy to colour with Mommy quietly on a rainy day. My only concern is my 5 year old has noticed Mommy's markers are nicer than his...
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:35 AM   #15
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I carry the stamp set I'd like to use around all day, looking at it every now & then and mulling over ideas whilst doing the mundane tasks. Then, when I get a chance, I have an idea of what I'd like to do and get right on it!

Well, it usually works anyway!
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:50 AM   #16
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I guess I am in the minority because I don't even attempt to stamp when my kids are around My three are 7, 5, and 3.5. I find it very stressful and I end up getting very little done. I would rather just focus on helping them with their crafts instead of trying to work alongside them. I think that can be a personality thing though, so definitely try it out to see if it works for you! I have stamped images and colored them while my kids are coloring or painting, so that is a great suggestion. I usually stamp after they go to bed, but it sounds like your days are long enough.

My husband works every weekend, so I do usually put a movie on in the late afternoon and get a little "me" time. Have you tried speaking with your husband about carving out a little time to yourself? Maybe he could take the kids out to visit someone or just for an easy activity so you could get a bit of time to yourself. I know it is easier said than done. Good luck and I hope you find something that works for you!!
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:28 AM   #17
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My boys were never crafty, but I shared the hobby with a friend whose boys also were not crafty. So, we all had play dates! The moms stamped and the boys played. You have a lot on your plate. I hope you can find a way to find some time of your own. Everyone deserves a little downtime.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:47 PM   #18
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I'm not sure I should be offering advice, since I don't get much stamping done these days with my 2yo and almost-4yo boys. They seem to be getting crazier by the day! Anyway, the times I do stamp are usually late at night after they are in bed and the chores are done, before the little one wakes up to nurse around midnight. I find it's just easier to stay up till then rather than fall asleep and have to wake up again to get him. Luckily he still has an afternoon nap, so I'll try to get supper fixed in the morning so I have that time in the afternoon to do other things with my older son. This is what I'm doing right now! He loves to do art so I often set up a 'sacrifice zone' in the dining room for him to work in while I do something at the kitchen table. One thing I find helpful is putting one of those vinyl tablecloths on the floor under his art easel, one with the soft backing so it doesn't slip. I never bother washing it, just let it dry and fold it up. When my little one was smaller I tried him with painting and he just wanted to eat it, so when he wanted to join in I would put him in his highchair with the tray on and put a squirt of ketchup and squirt of mustard on the tray for him to squish with his hands. Sometimes he would like to finger paint on paper with it. You just have to make sure not to let the stuff sit on their skin for too long, they can be a bit strong. The other activity that keeps him occupied for many minutes is playing in the kitchen sink with some cups- of course I have to make sure I put down several towels under him first and remove everything off the counters.
And then of course when times get desperate there's TV... bad I know but I'm sure we've all resorted to that from time to time I often let the boys choose a favourite show if they get their jobs done, especially when they need to calm down. This is the only way I can have a shower too.
And even worse, I've been known to get some stamping done while one or the other is in a time-out in their room... Bad me! It's amazing what you can get done sometimes in 2-5 minutes!
Hope that helps somewhat, I know you've got your hands full. Good luck!

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