BY NOUR HABIB World Scene Writer
Monday, October 22, 2012
10/23/12 at 8:42 AM
This story originally contained an incorrect name. The story has been corrected.
A cute painting of your baby's handprint. A Mother's Day card your daughter brought home from school. Pieces of pottery the kids made at summer camp.
As these precious crafts start piling up, you may wonder what to do with them. And is it all right to get rid of some?
Marnie Fernandez has a family full of artists. Her children, ages 2 to 12, are constantly making crafts, bringing home artwork and building creative Lego structures.
With so many projects, it's important to be selective when deciding what to keep.
"Since we have four kids, if we were sentimental about everything, it would totally get all over the house," she said.
Her husband, Shane Fernandez, is an architect, and is generally the one who decides which pieces have artistic value.
The couple keeps a folder filled with each child's work in a drawer, which they clean out regularly.
"It's hard for me to clean out anything they do," Shane Fernandez said.
But both know it's something they have to do if they don't want to end up with boxes of each child's artwork overtaking their house.
The pieces they save are things they either deem to have artistic or sentimental value. Sometimes, they save pieces just because their children put so much effort into them.
Shane Fernandez said keeping the best of your children's work means that they will have a nice box of memories when they grow up. His mother saved much of his work from when he was young, and he was happy to receive them as an adult.
Missy Bruns, a mother of two boys, said she also just saves her favorite pieces, many of which her children make with her.
One of the pieces Bruns saved was a canvas she made that shows her son's first footsteps.
"My favorite things tend to be the things that I have a memory associated with," she said.
Bruns also saves works that reflect her kids' interests. For example, she made a collage out of the Star Wars-themed birthday cards that friends had made for her oldest son's birthday.
Although Bruns agrees that some pieces should be thrown away, she recommends that parents keep their children's artwork for a year, so they can see how their skills and interests evolve. She uses a folded poster board, stored under the couch, as a portfolio to save the year's work until she is ready to sort through them.
From kid craft to decor
But both families also get creative with the works.
In the Fernandez house, the children's work can be seen throughout. Walls are filled with frames holding drawings and collages. Bookshelves are lined with shadowboxes. Pottery pieces are on display in their children's rooms, often serving dual purposes as decor and storage devices.
"We use a lot of the kids' artwork as our artwork," Marnie Fernandez said. "It's personal; it's economical."
She said it is simple to turn your children's artwork into home or office décor. An inexpensive, plain frame can be used to display drawings or collages brought home from school.
Lego structures that take so long to make can also be turned into artwork, either by being displayed on a shelf or placed in a shadow box.
Marnie Fernandez said artwork can also be repurposed. A Valentine's Day box that one of her sons made now holds art supplies in his room. Some of her oldest daughter's art has been turned into toys for the little one. An art camp helped her kids incorporate some of their old work into rugs and pillows.
They've also turned some of their kids' drawings into magnets, which can then be used as locker decorations, Marnie Fernandez said.
Bruns said another good use of children's crafts is to turn them into gifts. Easter-themed pottery pieces went to close friends, homemade Valentine's cards were mailed out and Bruns once used crafts that her kids made to make care packages for soldiers during the holidays.
These parents said whether you put your kids' artwork on display, use them for gifts or repurpose them around the house, it's important to show interest and appreciation for their efforts.
"That gives the child a sense of self-worth," Bruns said.
Nour Habib 918-581-8369
Marnie Fernandez and her kids Josie, 2, and Nicholas, 8, are shown with some of the crafts-turned-artwork the kids have made and that now decorates their house. Some of the examples include foot painting, Legos, hand tracing and gathered items in a shadow box. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
A hand-tracing turkey is framed as artwork in the Fernandez home. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World