This past New Year’s Eve I spent a good chunk of time cleaning blue food coloring out of my dryer. Because, if a container of blue food coloring goes through the dryer it not only turns the clothes blue, but also the inside of the dryer. Luckily for me and for all others involved, it came out easily.
The food coloring mess was a result of Julia’s most recent hobby, which, along with much of the tween world, is making slime. Although slime is usually made of Elmer’s glue, Borax, water and food coloring, liquid starch or a combination of contact lens solution and baking soda can be substituted. Julia also likes to experiment with cornstarch, shaving cream, liquid soap, hand sanitizer, shampoo, clay particles and whatever other ingredients she can find.
Our downstairs bathroom has become a slime lab.
Early on in the slime-making craze after Julia had distributed some at swim practice, a friend texted me and asked if this was going to harm her kitchen counters. Answer: No, although I wouldn’t leave it there for long.
It is, however, difficult to remove from carpet.
Slime is not Julia’s first craft obsession. Last summer she was into making clay charms. She learned the hard way that modeling clay cannot be baked, but polymer clay can. Prior to that, she discovered squishies, which I describe as stress balls, although she may not call that accurate. For a better understanding, it’s best to google squishies. While squishies can be purchased, they also can be made using foam and paint. We searched A.C. Moore for the best foam, but later discovered we already had it in our guest room, in the form of a Memory Foam pillow. After some relentless begging, I gave in and allowed her to cut up the pillow. Our next houseguest is in luck in that s/he will have a brand new pillow to use.
What Julia really wants to do is to sell her creations, but unfortunately she has yet to find the market for them. She tried selling duct tape items and squishies at my parents’ yard sale last year, but she only had two customers.
As a child, I obviously couldn’t search the Internet for ideas, but in some ways I wasn’t too different than she is. My friend and I created the “Neighborhood News,” a one page, typed sheet with information about our neighbors that we would sell door to door for a nickel. The “Neighborhood News” was filled with gems such as, “Joann Smith* shopped at Foodtown this week and Anne McKenzie saw her there.”
To earn a Girl Scout badge, I also started my own business selling wooden animals on a stick, made with the help of my dad.
While my entrepreneurial efforts didn’t translate into a career for me, I appreciate that my parents encouraged my creativity and now they encourage Julia’s. In fact, my dad supplies her with most of her Elmer’s glue.
On days when I get nostalgic for the time when Julia’s crafts didn’t involve paint or food coloring, I keep in mind a story my mom told me about Steven Spielberg. Spielberg once convinced his mother to cook 30 cans of cherries in her pressure cooker until they exploded, so he could film the mess.
While I draw the line at pressure cooker explosions, the story does give me hope that my laid-back attitude about messy creations is not in vain.
Or at the very least, the slime craze will end, right?
*Name has been changed.