Pin It

The Creative Family

by Tiffany in Book Reviews, Crafts

One of the MOST important things I want to do for my kids is to create opportunities for them to to useCreative Family their imagination and ingenuity to “create”. Albert Einstein once said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

I fully agree with his statement. I have accomplished so much in life because I actively nurtured creativity in life and in business. When I worked in marketing there was nothing that served me better….my job was to imagine a company brand, marketing materials, a PR campaign, collaterals, and then create what I saw in my mind. I still have my portfolio with all of my concepts and designs. I knew I wanted my children to feel the same empowerment that I did from being able to visualize something and then make it a reality.

Our home by design is a haven for creativity and artistry. We have paints, soy and beeswax crayons, sketching pencils and instruction books, stencils, beads, clay, play dough, beeswax, sewing supplies, costumes and face paints, henna, decoupage materials, cross stitch and knitting supplies…we are always adding to our “creation station”.

Yesterday I read a book that really resonated with me. I couldn’t put it down! It is The Creative Family – How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule. It is full of advice on how to easily encourage a creative atmosphere and it has many simple projects for the whole family to do. It also gives many ideas for inspiration. I loved her ideas to use kids artwork to make thank you cards and Christmas cards, I loved her idea to use beat up vintage children’s books for art projects, and I loved her ideas for organizing everything. I will be making our own inspiration wire like she shows in the book, which is filled with beautiful color photos of her home and her family’s projects. My favorite tip was hands down the one where she suggested taking shirts with paint/marker/food stains and dying them. I hadn’t thought of that! There is also a chapter devoted to being resourceful and not wasteful. It has many planet friendly ideas.

One tip that I fully endorse it to buy quality art supplies for your kids…not the cheap stuff you get at big box stores. Yes, it does cost more but their creations are worth it. After all, we don’t like using low quality tools when we have a job to do. That is one reason I like soy crayons so much…they color smoothly and evenly unlike chunky, splotchy petroleum crayons. Quality watercolors are steadfast and won’t fade like the little Crayola sets you can buy. A good wooden handle, animal hair paint brush will last for a long time as opposed to a cheap plastic one. A good place to look for cheap but high quality materials is at yard sales and estate sales. I know I am looking for children’s desks this summer. Even if they are in bad condition I can paint them and give them a makeover.

Among the projects outlined in the book…a pencil roll, felt blocks, a pair of pants from an old T-shirt, freezer paper stenciling, embroidering your children’s art on clothes and pillows, making memory books, and making bedtime bags….plus much more.

I think it would be hard for anyone to read this book and NOT be inspired by it. I know I will be referring to my copy for a long time to come.

Make sure to check out my review of Amanda Blake Soule’s second book… Handmade Home!!!

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

14 Comments on The Creative Family

  • Angela

    I will def. have to get this book. I have never thought about just dying those clothes that get stained. Thank You for the info!!!

  • J

    I grew up living many of the principles of that book, and frankly, I can’t imagine a childhood any other way.

    Also, my mom and I always tie-dyed the shirts we stained. Always. It’s kind of cute to see it being presented as a practical solution :)

  • LaTara

    You know I am really trying to get into having a Creation Center in my home. I think we do a great disservice to your kids when we don’t encourage them to be creative and imaginative. I know as a child it was not invited much in my home other than with my Barbie dolls.

    I will be picking up this book. Thanks for the review.

  • Everyone has been talking about this book lately it seems. I’m definitely adding it to my wish list!

  • I wanted to add, you would probably also like this book Great Yarns for the Close-Knit Family. It combines knitting and children’s stories, perfect for creative families. :)

  • I had this book on pre-order for a YEAR on Amazon before it came out, and I think it was well worth the wait!! It’s fun, well written, and really has some great ideas (and now you don’t have to wait a year for it anymore, LOL)

  • I ordered this book a few days ago at someone else’s recommendation. My husband commented, “we already ARE a creative family.” It sounds like the book has much to offer even the most creative. :) Thanks for the pointers on art supplies, Do you recommend any online providers? My goal is to make my daughter a really nice art supply box for Christmas. I have only ever known Crayola.

  • what is the brand name for the water colors and the ‘good brushes’?

    where can I find them

  • PreSchool Mama

    Lovely suggestions! I’ve been getting a little lax about creativity in my home, and this is just the sort of push I needed. I feel terrible about it since my son is such a creative little boy, and I am falling behind a little on encouraging that, thanks to the hundred commitments that dog my day. Thanks for the wake up call!

  • Jane @ Kidzarama

    Our creation station is a little wanting at the moment, with a lot of our craft stuff in storage.
    But I’m slowly unpacking and the kids are loving each new addition.

    Thanks for letting us know about this great book, Tiffany :)

  • Amanda has a fantastic blog as well, for any of you that don’t already know about it. Such a peaceful place to visit (at She’s a super nice lady.

  • Another creative and fun idea is to hold a “CHAIR-ity”Auction
    Have local artists find old chairs and breathe new life into them by painting,reupholstering etc and sell them at a silent or live auction and have all the proceeds go to charity.My Son and I just hosted one for the local food bank,and now tonight my daughter’s school got in on the action and are submitting
    chairs painted by their own little artists and are selling them tonight at the school’s annual art show(proceeds from chairs to charity)
    The art teacher was very grateful I came to her with this idea,as even the boys ,who generally hate art, really enjoyed this project.
    This is a win win project;It raises funds for a worthy cause and helps to keep reusable items out of the landfill!
    P.S. one person even made a chair out of old skis!

  • Kristen

    Thanks Tiffany! I picked up this book at my local library and I love it. My boys and I created one of the projects this weekend. See the results on my blog at

  • Nadine

    I have been searching for a book like this FOREVER! I just placed my order on amazon for it! I have a degree in Child Development and I am a BIG believer in open-ended EVERYTHING- reading, art, play, etc. People think I’m crazy because I push away the coloring books in favor of markers and plain paper. Another book I’d like to recommend is Einstein Never Used Flashcards. I’d love to give this book as a shower gift to parents but it’s just one of those things (MY soap box I suppose). Thanks for this WONDERFUL site!