Google+ Authentic Parenting: 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Positive Public Breastfeeding Experiences - Guest Post

Written by Samantha Grayson

This post is part of the Positive Nurse In Public Stories Series I started a while back. Negative Nursing in Public stories get so much attention, they even scare some mothers out of it. So I found it was important to share the great stories too.

Before I had my son I suffered badly from social phobia. The idea of getting my breasts out in public terrified me. However, i had always been determined that if i had a child I would breastfeed. After my son was born breastfeeding got off to a bad start and my son lost a lot of weight. Luckily a local breastfeeding advisor arrived on my doorstep 15 minutes after my health visitor called her and from then on I had no problems.

Because of my determination to breastfeed and because I was proud that I had overcome early difficulties I was not going to let other people’s opinions stop me breastfeeding in public. The first time I fed in public I sat alone on a bench and realised that there was a lot of people walking past. I have always been as discreet as I can when I breastfeed, and the majority of people walked past without even noticing me. The few that did notice simply smiled and walked past.

I found it to be a positive experience and I did not think twice about breastfeeding in public again.

The breastfeeding advisor that had helped me in the early days had mentioned something about extended breastfeeding. I researched it and it seemed natural. As my son got older I started to feel more conscious about breastfeeding an older child again.

I went to the dentist with my son when he was 18 months and started to breastfeed him in the waiting room. There was only one other woman in there. I noticed she was watching me and I thought that my first negative comment might be about to occur. I was all ready to defend myself, when she suddenly said, ‘Oh it is so lovely to see someone breastfeeding an older child in public. I breastfed all 3 of my children until they were 3, but I never dared to feed them in public.’

We had a really positive conversation and it was a joy to meet her. She was just the person I needed to meet to give me that little extra boost. My son is now 3 years old and I still breastfeed, occasionally public. So far nobody has given me a negative reaction.

About The Author: 
Samantha Grayson is a single mother to a three year old boy. She is a vegan, a minimalist and practises natural parenting and extended breastfeeding. Her blog can be found at I Hear My Voice.


Preserving Innocence

Written by Sheena Hill

I didn’t tell my 8 year old about the Sandy Hook shooting last week. It was a difficult decision: I thought about it a lot; I read the expert recommendations for what parents should say; and I cried thinking of the look on my sweet daughter’s face if I did tell her. I home school and we do not own a TV, so I felt confident that she would not hear about it from any other source. After hemming and hawing all weekend, I decided on Monday night, while she was so innocently telling me about a character in a book she is reading. I could not forever crush her innocence in one fell swoop and I don’t regret withholding the news for now.

Hearing about the incident would be the first real encounter with “badness” in her immediate world. She knows about evil and tragedy--because we are Jews and our holidays mostly celebrate times throughout history when we were persecuted and near extinction, yet were miraculously victorious over our foes. But her knowledge of these things is quite abstract and the reality of such times seems far away. I asked her once, what she knew of the Holocaust and she said, “Hitler was a bad man and he tried to hurt a lot of people.” Well, that is certainly the gist of it, but I know that in time, she will become privy to more detailed images of the true horrors of genocide. Still, I have hoped since her birth that she gets to wait as long as possible before she discovers all the facts.

I truly believe that it is my charge to preserve her innocence. It is my job as her parent. Archeologists have found that he reason we evolved into such intelligent beings is due to a long childhood to develop cognitive ability and gain mastery of skills. Additionally, she has such a pure heart and I don’t want knowledge of the bad things in the world to erode that sweetness. It is no secret that it is harder to be trusting and compassionate when you are scared or worried about vulnerability.

Last night, she chose a book about Ruby Bridges for her bedtime story. As I opened the book, I felt my heart sink and tears well up in my eyes. The story showed how families committed to integration n Louisiana in 1960 were harassed, taunted and threatened by families who did not agree with integrating the local elementary school. It told how Ruby attended school all by herself each day, because no other parents wanted their children to learn with her. I was afraid to read share this historical account with my bi-racial little one. I said to her, “This story tells of some scary things that happened to Ruby, and I don’t want to read to you about them.” She informed me that she was glad things weren’t like that anymore and that people feel differently now. I started crying, thinking of the recent examples I could share with her to disprove her na├»ve perspective. I explained to her that I was afraid that hearing about such bad things would make it harder for her to be sweet and compassionate, kind and loving. She scooted really close to me and said, “Don’t worry, Mama, the more I hear about bad things, the more I will be motivated to do good in the world.”

I realized that I cannot ultimately protect her from everything. I need to prepare her for the world, even though it is often a scary and confusing place. If I want her to truly be able to stand up for justice and righteousness and to have the strength to resist being discouraged, I need to provide her with the tools to protect her own pure heart. Simply having a pure heart alone will not protect her and it will not help others.

So what can we do to prepare our children to live in the world while still striving to protect their innocence:

  1. Prepare for the conversation by gathering as much information on the topic as possible. This prepares us to answer potential questions and create a complete picture for the child. Find some children’s books on the topic, so the child can learn more about the topic at their own pace and feel comfortable asking any necessary follow up questions. Always start by asking what they know about a given topic, to gauge what they have heard elsewhere or things that may be confusing or misinformed.
  2. Always start by asking what they know about a given topic, to gauge what they have heard elsewhere or things that may be confusing or misinformed.
  3. Give them full stories--just stating facts, with complete information and without lying or adding things we wish were true--by providing age-appropriate details. Start by identifying and understanding our own emotions and knowing when we will need to separate them from the topic, so the child can have space for their own reaction and not need to comfort their parent.
  4. Start by identifying and understanding our own emotions and knowing when we will need to separate them from the topic, so the child can have space for their own reaction and not need to comfort their parent.
  5. At the same time, be honest about our emotions with our children, so they can know that their emotions are normal and allowed. Be “unafraid” of whatever reaction the child has and validate their emotions; don’t not “shush” or minimize their emotions. Create a safe, supportive environment where the child can feel and express their emotions. Remember, some children will not have strong reactions immediately, so allow whatever emotions come naturally to them, but be prepared for the emotions to emerge after the child has spent some time processing the news.
  6. Allow for questions and answer them honestly and directly. (It is okay to return to the conversation numerous times as needed.)
  7. Reassure them and discuss how the news impacts them personally.
  8. Make our homes a safe space from the chaos of the world; a place where our children can always be themselves, have real conversations, and get their needs met.

It turns out, we have to communicate about tough things, even though I would prefer we only talk about beautiful things. She knows there are bad people in the world, who do bad things (sometimes for reasons we do not understand). Luckily, for my sake, she doesn’t need to know everything right now! But, I am confident that she can begin to be introduced to some things, like slavery or the Holocaust, because they are important for her to know about. That way, she can begin to develop her own understandings of them, which she will most likely work through for many years to come. Grabbling with such hard things can help her build her own understanding of morality, righteousness, integrity and goodness (all qualities I want her to possess). And hopefully learning about these tragic things will help prepare her to face the immorality that exists, and strengthen her to fight against it.

In her appeal to parents and teachers to begin teaching children as young as 4 or 5 about slavery, Kim Pearson reminds us why we can’t just ignore the bad things when we paint the world for our children, “through omission, an implicit message is being sent that this troublesome portion of our history is not important and that old atrocities should be buried quietly with those who suffered through them. Moreover, omission does not provide our young people the option of using the mistakes of the past to continue to build a brighter future.” Therefore, even though it is challenging for me, I cannot simply shy away from telling my daughter about certain things that make me uncomfortable or upset. Though I chose not to tell her about the lives lost at Sandy Hook, I owe it to my daughter to be honest with her about some of the horrors inherent in being human, instead of insisting on always keeping her sheltered. Anything less would be unfair to both of us, as well as the world I’m confident she will use her pure heart to build in the future.

About the author:

Sheena Hill is a busy mom and a certified Parent Education Specialist. As the founder of Parenting Works, she empowers and inspires parents by designing and facilitating education focusing on gentle discipline, communication, co-parenting and emotional intelligence. Her super power is helping families enhance family relationships and mitigate power struggles. She blogs for and is the author of Purposeful Parenting.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reflections on 2012: Looking Back at Some Favorite Posts

As the year is coming to a close we thought we would take a look back at some of our favorite posts and some of the most popular posts of the year. 

At the start of the year, Laura courageously shared the joys and scare surrounding the unassisted birth of her second child:Yemi. If you enjoy reading birth stories, this one is full of emotion and worth the read. 

It's not easy to hear our children shout "I hate you!" and in the post Feelings are like a compass I shared about listening and reflecting on feelings instead of reacting when my son was having a challenging moment. Phew - that was one tough moment!

There aren't many subjects more controversial in parenting than sleep and discipline so it's not surprising that some of the most viewed posts of the year had to do with those topics.

After the media started talking about baby sleep training this year, Sleepy much? 10 Ways to Resist Going Down The Crying it Out Path  was really popular for several weeks. 

Sadly, various incidents of parents shaming children somehow became a really popular in the media this year which inspired me to write Shaming or Showing the Way as well as Dealing with Misbehavior: One Valuable Word

Another popular post was Are you damaging your child by demanding obedience I shared six reasons why obedience is potentially damaging and why we may want to reconsider demanding it from our children at any cost. As a follow up to that piece I wrote over at Positive Parenting Connection If Not Obedience, Then What? where I talked about positive alternatives such as accountability, choices and being respectful.

For parents wishing to make a shift into more peaceful parenting, Laura wrote this post Seventeen Tips to Become and Stay a Peaceful Parent.  Laura also started a wonderful series on Mommy Overwhelm this year including:
How to Recognize the Signs 
15 Self-Care Activities that Take Less Than 15 Minute
Positive Parenting Affirmations for Every Day .
Plus I added Calming Meditations: Coping with Parental Stress to the series.

No matter how much preparation and good intentions, Parenting is tough and we all make mistakes so   so I wrote this post  Eleven Steps for Healing and Restoring the Peace After Being Harsh With Your Child and then this post Seven Parenting Mistakes Transformed for those moments when we feel the need to reflect and restore the peace.

Some all time popular posts over the past years are:

Barbie Dolls with Big Bosoms Bring Up Big Questions. Here I'm openly discussing my uncertainty on having or not having Barbie dolls in the house and how modeling good self-esteem may matter much more than one doll.

10 Things Not To Do To An Upset Child and A Couple of Things You Can Do: Laura reminds us that emotional outbursts bring out our inner child and unhinge a lot of discomfort and shared many positive, gentle ways to help our children when they are upset

Compliance vs. Cooperation: This post I highlighted 5 common ways parents talk when expecting compliance and 5 positive alternatives that foster cooperation without fear, bribes and threats!

When Gentle Parenting Doesn't Work:  Laura talks about the times when it seems like we get stuck with gentle parenting and don't yield the results we seek and how to move forward.

A huge thank you goes out to all of our our readers, sponsors and guest writers. Laura and I wish you all a very wonderful New Year and we'll see you on the Authentic Parenting blog and facebook in 2013!

So tell us, do you have a favorite post here at Authentic Parenting - what is it? 

Peace & Be Well,

Image courtesy of dan /


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Surf

As usual, you can still continue reading on Hobo Mama, or ad your own link below if you are Surfing. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.
If you have a great post that would look good in Sunday Surf, feel free to email a link to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.

If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 



Friday, December 21, 2012

Art Journalling group - lesson 2 - Collage

We're back with the art journalling class. I hope everyone had fun doing it! I know I did. Just a reminder, you can send me a picture of your work if you want to be featured.

Here's some results from last week's assignment:
Fabric markers on Calico covers

This is mine, I made the cover with bead and fabric scraps 
I also adapted the first page, I used tempera, collage and ballpoint

For next week, we'll be focussing on collage technique, a much used journal technique. It's quite easy, all you need is glue and magazine clippings, craft paper, fabric or whatever you find... (you can also glue buttons, receipts, ribbon, plastic, just be creative!). As always, you are not restricted to using only the proposed technique, you can add whatever your inspiration brings you to.

I'll add some inspiration later today, because I can't get onto my pinterest boards.

Here's a tutorial for mixed media, it's on canvas, but it would work well in an art journal too. (Christy Tomlinson)
Rommel Joson
Peter Clark
Find more collages from Mary Making

Make a collage or collage-inspired piece and send a picture to me by Wednesday 1/2/2013 by email (mamapoekie at yahoo dot com). I'm putting this assignment up for two weeks, with the holidays. Maybe it will be an inspiration and I will see some wrapping paper and gift tags in your work.

As usual, you can get your updates through Facebook and find inspiration on my pinterest 'art journalling' board, I keep adding onto the board, so check in now and again.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Modeling Positive Self Talk in Raising Confident Kids

By Theresa Harris, Founder, Thrive Art Online

‘Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative….’ Do you know this song? Some say focusing on the positive is the key to happiness. I happen to think it’s a great concept – one that’s become my mantra when teaching art to students and parenting my kids.

We want our children to have positive self-esteem. Why? When they feel knocked down – in life or on the playground – kids who have the inner strength and self-worth will be better equipped to separate other people’s actions from their own, and keep their heads held high. Our children are better than “good enough.” They are worthy of abundance.

Here are two ways parents can foster positive self talk in their kids to promote self-esteem:

1. Model it - Face it: Most of us have negative chatter cluttering our minds. The challenge is to interrupt it before we start spewing “verbal vomit” in front of our kids. This is easier said than done of course. I try to be conscious of positive modeling but I have at times missed the mark: I cringe knowing I have called myself “stupid” in front of my kids, modeling self-criticism rather than self-respect. Instead, what we want to do is make an effort to show our kids when we are proud of ourselves. When you do something you are proud of, let your kids know it! Show them it’s OK to celebrate a job well done – to be one’s own cheerleader – and to feel pride. When kids are empowered to pat themselves on the back, confidence builds from within.

2. Formalize It – In order to integrate the phrase “Articulate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative” into your family’s motto, write down behaviors that are supportive, and put them somewhere on the wall. Phrases like “be kind to self and others” and “think creatively” can serve as positive reminders in our homes every day. We do this at Thrive Art Online, by establishing a ‘judgment free zone’ for every art class. Check out our Parent Tip Video for more guidance on how to do this while creating art at home.

What a special gift it is to teach our children how to be gentle on themselves and empower them to work through the discomfort of problem solving and find their own solutions. Children can face all sorts of difficulties and challenges in life if they have unconditional self-love to come back to.

What kinds of things have worked well in your home? I’d love to hear your stories.

About the author: 
Theresa Harris is founder of Thrive Art School in Seattle and she just launched a Kickstarter project to gain support for Thrive Art Online, -an online video art program for kids. When she is not is playing legos and making messes with her two lively boys age 2 and 4, she loves to hike and paint with encaustics.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

10 Things Dads Can Do to Be a Part of Their Baby's Life (rerun)

Written by Ellen Spencer

Both parents are a very important part of their child’s development. The child is automatically attached to her mother because she does all the big and the small work for her child happily. However, fathers are generally left out and are unable to share a similar feeling with their child. We have a few tips to help fathers become an important part of the child’s life.

1. Spend time with your baby from day one
Get rid of the fear of your child getting hurt. Just get the knack of holding a baby right. There you are all set to carry your baby and spend some awesome time with your little one.

2. Look into your baby’s eyes
Studies say that babies not only look into your face, they look into your eyes, when you talk to them or play with them. So when you decide to spend time with your baby look into the eyes of your little one to get a better response and make a difference.

3. Common baby sounds
Common baby sounds such as Pa pa, Ma ma, Ba ba, etc. are very famous with babies. Babies learn to make these sounds because these sounds are easy. As you talk to your baby make these sounds to help your baby get quick control over her talking skills. This will enhance your relationship with your little one.

4. Get into some action
Cuddling, jiggling, holding, swaying, etc. fascinates your baby. They love these actions and always want more of it. While you play with your baby give her the security she needs and there you are creating that magical relationship with your little one.

5. Diaper changing time
Image: Iandeth
When you change your baby’s diaper, you're not only doing a great job as a father you also do a great job as a husband. Both your baby and you wife will know how much you love them and this will strengthen your relationships.

6. Play a caretaker’s part
Fix a day or two in a week to be the only caretaker for your baby - as far as your baby's feeding pattern will allow. By doing this your baby will learn to spend time with daddy alone. This activity of indulging in bringing up your baby will also give your wife sometime to relax.

7. Work as a team in bringing up your baby
Your baby needs the both of you. Help your wife in breastfeeding the baby; bottle feed your baby the pumped breast milk. Change her diapers and do every small thing to be an important part of her life.

8. Promise small things and stick to your promise
From the day your baby is born she becomes a very important part of your family. Make small promises like taking her to the park, playing her favorite game, etc. Do not forget to live up to these promises. These little promises are a very important part of your relationship.

9. Respond to your child
Weather an infant or a bigger child every time the child looks at you or calls out to you make it a point to respond to her call. By each small response you assure your child that you are listening to her and you are right there.

10. All the love possible
Your baby is too small to understand the material aspects of life and hence all she needs is love. You love your baby for sure, but expressing it is also very important, so express to let her know you love her.

About the author: 
Ellen is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on parenting and luxury. And her intense desire is to have a showroom of changing table. She is a health freak and very environmentally aware. These days she is busy in writing an article on inflammatory bowel disease.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Motherhood Poem

by Wendy Elizabeth Hart

Image: JMF 84

Mother. The word. I had to redefine it. Realign it. Take what was mine of it. Because the example left in my heart from growing up was so desolate, I wanted nothing from it.

Now I understand it. I demand it. For my babies. What was to be, for me. But never was, might never be. But that's ok.

Suffering has changed me, rearranged me, simply made me what I could not be with out it's exquisite bite; caused sleepless nights, seemingly endless fights, with myself and in the end...

Made me bend, made me extend to a place I had no idea I could go. So really, I am to be thankful for this handful of messed up tales, truly.

For there was no other road to the heaven I am in now. 


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Surf

As usual, you can still continue reading on Hobo Mama, or ad your own link below if you are Surfing. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.
If you have a great post that would look good in Sunday Surf, feel free to email a link to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.

  • Meditation changes the brain, studies show, so we made this mind jar or meditation jar for my daughter, and the smart little bugger said she'd be giving it to me when I get a little angry
  • More calm down activities can be found on this huge list by Creative Playhouse
  • Very interesting idea to perform regular 'play audits' to make sure you are offering your baby an exciting play experience every day, on Nurturestore UK.

If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 



Saturday, December 15, 2012

When Gentle Parenting Doesn't Work (rerun)

I often get questions like the following: "I have tried all the tricks in the book, but gentle parenting just doesn't seem to work for us. What do I do?"
Indeed sometimes it seems like we get stuck with gentle parenting and it doesn't yield the results we seek. The alternative can seem very enticing. So what to do when you get to this point?

Reframe the way you think about your child's behavior
It's easy to see your child as defiant, since that's the way we are programmed to see a child who doesn't cooperate with our every desire. If we try to see through what we think is defiance, we might find a happy and confident child who is just trying to find its way in the world.

Consider the words you use about your parenting

Image: Ha-wee on Flickr
"I can't handle my kids.", "They never listen.", "How can I get them to do X?", ...
If we analyze how we think about our parenting, it can become very clear that we're acting out of a position of dominance and coercion instead of one of nurturing and equality. We'll see that we are only trying to get them to do what we want.
Gentle parenting is about fostering authentic choice and individualism, which we can't reach when we act dominantly. Our children's authentic choices don't need to coincide with ours, quite on the contrary. We are only there to guide them on their path and help them along to make sound choices for themselves when they need us.

Step back and look at the big picture
It's very easy to get overwhelmed by the little things every day: your child doesn't want to get dressed, they wear mismatched shoes to grandmother's birthday party, they pull all of your neatly ironed clothes out of the closet. The little things can get the best of us... but it is important to see how futile they are.
If you take a moment to relax and look at the entire day, the week, or the year, you may find that you're actually doing quite well. That you are getting along fine and that most of the time you can find ways that please everyone.

Make sure your engine is fueled too
Probably one of the most important, but equally undervalued parts of peaceful or gentle parenting is making sure that you are fine too. A crippled horse can not draw a cart, so there's no way you can parent gently if you're broken, tired, hungry, depressed, lonely or what not.
By caring for yourself, you're not only doing yourself a favor, you're setting a great example for your child and you'll be more peaceful too. Find more about how to nurture yourself in these posts.

Remind yourself of your goals
If your child isn't cooperating with you, if every day seems like a drag, ask yourself what you're going for in the long run. Do you want to raise an obedient child, or a creative thinker? A follower or a leader? Someone who crumples at the sight of authority or someone who follows their dream?
Individualism can only be reached through error, so allow your child to make them, and create a safe environment to make them in.
Maybe a bit of 'defiance' and 'rebellion' or hardship is a small price to pay for raising an individual.

And when you do fail?
Sometimes even the nicest person can lose it. Kids tend to get under our skins and trigger all the painful emotions and unwanted reactions can happen. Maybe you yell, maybe you call your child something you regret, maybe you become aggressive or spank...
Peaceful parenting is not about being the perfect parent, it's about trying to get better at it. Working to overcome the hardwiring, change and daily practice. When we fail, the most important thing is to move on and try again, and not get sucked in a spiral of conflict and coercion. Every small effort is a step in the right direction, and this parenting gig is about the journey, not the end.
Read more about dealing with your mistakes.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Art Journalling Group: Lesson I - Make It Your Own

This is the first part of our Art Journalling Group.

In this weekly activity, we have all committed to create one page a week. Every week, we will be showcasing some of the work from the previous assignment and handing out a new assignment. Assignments will either be topical, technical or about the use of certain materials. You are welcome to join in at any time.

If you haven't signed up yet, commit yourself to this weekly journalling group by commenting on this post. If you are a blogger and you want to showcase your assignments on your blog, comment below so I can set up a linky for you to add your work, add your email in the comment below so I can send you a blurb and button to add to the top of your post.

Assignment outline

This week's assignment is pretty simple: get your journal and make it your own.
Your journal can be a notebook, sketchbook or any paper support you can make into a book. Maybe you want to get your hands into some bookbinding? By any means go ahead and try it! The only rules pretty much are that the support must be paper and held together, so go be creative!
Size is something you may want to consider if you want to be able to take it everywhere, a smaller size will be more convenient. If you will be working in the same dedicated spot, any size will do.

Now you've got your hands on your journal, put your mark on it.
There are lots of ways to make your journal your own, break it in so to speak. You can start by just writing your name in it, or your email address or phone number (you never know if you misplace it).
Another way to customize your journal is to tackle the cover. Wrap it in Fabric, in paper, sew onit, paint it, dye it... whatever tickles your fancy.

Some ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

dip-dyed using fabric dye

patchwork from sew mama sew

mixed media from sugar lump studios


Send me a picture of your work via email (mamapoekie at yahoo dot com) by Wednesday 19th of December.

Want to learn more about art journalling first? 

Here are 8 tips on how to start
Here's a tutorial on customizing your cover
Here's a patchwork journal cover tutorial for those who want to work with fabric

As always, you can find inspiration on my Pinterest Art Journaling Board

You are very welcome to let your children join in. That's the fun thing about art journalling, it's such a primal thing, even your children can do it, and they'll learn some new skills along the way. Get a journal for them to and enjoy journalling side by side. Set aside a special time every day/every week to do so.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

From Trash to Treasure: 10 Things Not To Toss and What To Do With Them

Often we carelessly throw away our trash, without even giving it a second though, but given the state of our planet, we really should. Lots of items that have served their purpose can still be useful and even turn into gorgeous things. Se here goes a list of things we should NEVER toss, and how we can repurpose them:

1. Mason jars

Keep them to store gifts

Make a snow globe
Or a calming jar

Or glass photo frames

Use them for storage

Hang them in your bathroom

Need more inspiration? Here are 24 ideas with mason jars on TipJunkie
25 more ideas on untrainedhousewife

2. Old T-shirts

Make new clothes for your kids, like this ruffle heart dress

Attack them with bleach pen for a very hippy effect

Make baby clothes

Toddler dresses

Haven't found what you're looking for? 15+ T-shirt conversions

3. Bottle caps

Decorate your table with them

Bottle caps might be something you never considered keeping, but they can give very nice crafts, photo frames, flower buds, wind chimes... you name it!

4. Buttons

Button wreath ornament

Some very pretty ideas with buttons on Craft snob

Dye them

Make a really cool bowl

5. Popsicle sticks

Popsicle ice crystal christmas decorations

6. Cans

Decorate them to hold stuff

By just spraypainting cans, you can have nice vases or tins to hold all your little stuff. Drill holes in them and create a dramatic candle holder or lightshade
Looking for more ideas? Here are 10 things you can do with cans on Crafty Texas Girls

7. Any fabric

Make this rag wreath! Here's a tutorial

Make a rag rug - Craftaholics anonymous

Make wall art
With fabrics scraps, there are so many great crafts that it would almost need a post entirely dedicated to this! With small scraps, you can create a gorgeous mosaic on canvas, you can cover your books, make stuffed animals...

8. Toilet rolls

Your kids can make these cute owls. 

Make some wall deco

Need more inspiration: here are 50 more ideas for crafts with toilet rolls

9. Newspaper

10. wine corks

Make a hot plate

For more inspiration: find 30 ways to recycle corks here

PS Go take a look on my Pinterest Clever Crafts board for more upcycling ideas