Shrinky Dinks and other Hurricane crafts

What to do with yourself during a tropical storm and immediately afterwards? My first time around about 40 years ago was in Kingston, Jamaica, where I was a Peace Corps volunteer. During my first year there, we were hit by 2 fierce tropical storms. I had never experienced rain like that; I don’t even remember the wind. My home was a repurposed garage in the back of a large yard. I had a small living room, small kitchen, cozy bedroom, and serviceable bathroom.

I spent the few days during each storm making crafts and maybe sewing. The only thing I remember was making stuff with the collection of seashells I’d had. They are long gone …

With this memory, before the onslaught of Hurricane Dorian I ran to Michael’s with the goal of getting some stretched canvases – like the one I’d used for the button hamsa (June 27). The price was right, buy 1 get 2 free. I’d already picked up two shadow boxes. My creative thoughts were on my mother’s buttons.

I also remembered the fabric paints at Michael’s aimed for these products, too. I know my way around this Michael’s because I worked there when they first opened. Yes, I had a short-lived retail adventure (maybe I’ll write about it). In general, I enjoyed working because it’s a neighborhood store and customers I knew from different parts of my life – my kid’s school, Girl Scouts, museums, ushering, and more – were surprised to find me there! It was fun learning about their projects.

Once I got home, lunch was first then I got out a recently acquired t-shirt. A few weeks ago, I attended a recent CBD trade show (I don’t think I shared my thoughts about this adventure). Who would have known how diverse this market is – so many products, so many ways to ingest this substance. Swag is a fun takeaway from trade shows, from cheap tote bags (more than you can imagine), to pens, and some t-shirts – they are all now distributed to family and friends.

The CBD logo is on the back

One t-shirt from the Smplstc CBD company ( was adorned with an anonymous black city skyline on a white background. Hmmm, I thought I could fill the pattern in with fabric paint. And so, I passed an hour filled with moderate gusts of rain and wind coloring (I stayed in the lines!).

I did not color it in!

After the threat of H. Dorian had passed us, a co-worker (and a real artist) came over for a crafts day. It was a good way to relief the tension brought on by waiting for the storm. We are thinking of making this a monthly venture. Shrinky Dinks were the object of our day. Here’s more about their origins if you’ve never heard of Shrinky Dinks –

This child-oriented plastic craft has been adopted by a number of artists for their own purposes. The first time I remember being aware of them was then I saw Kiowa artist Debby Ahtone’s broaches. The two I purchased are based on the significant 19th Kiowa century ledger paintings.

I should have put a measure, these are about 2″ each

A number of years ago, I remembered Debby’s jewelry and thought I’d give it a go. I hijacked my daughter’s Klutz Shrinky Dink book. (you can find several versions on Amazon). I made a number of pendants – back to the hamsa I love so much, and also the pomegranate, a symbol rich with meaning to women in many communities. I incorporated them into bead necklaces which I wear often.

Kaitlin came over last Thursday, and we went in our own creative directions. She was motivated by images from Greece and ancient Egypt. I went back to the hamsas and pomegranates and also had flower images on a recent calendar from the National Folk Museum of Korea in mind.  Off we went. Kaitlin dove in and freehanded her images directly on the plastic – if you try this, remember the plastic shrinks at least 3 times smaller than the original. I first made templates which I then traced onto the plastic.

Korean Crysanthemum
Egyptian Beauty

Kaitlin used her huge store of markers to color her pieces. I used my daughter’s colored pencils and also tried the markers on the second round. After the designs were made, we cut them out, put them on foil-lined cookie tins and into a 325 (F) pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes. Turn on the oven light to watch them so they’re not in for too long.

Here’s what we got! Kaitlin made me a window charm which is in search of a window. I shared a hamsa with her. Who knows what we’ll do next month! Creativity with friends is even more enjoyable.

In closing, we know how incredibly lucky our region was last week. Our thoughts and hearts go out to the many, many victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

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