When I was very young — 3 years old, perhaps — my mother bought or was given a book about crafts for children (a Web search indicates that it came with the My Book House set). While I remember making one or two of the crafts in the book, I mostly remember looking at the book over the years.
The one project I remember doing with my mother was the Indian Designs project. It involved soaking a square cut from brown grocery bag in warm water, squeezing the water out and letting it dry while stretched out. When it was dry we cut it into a bear skin shape and decorated it with “Indian” designs. I remember the rough feel of the paper after it was dried and can almost even smell the wet brown paper bag. This may or may not have been a school project, but I do remember having that pretend bear skin sitting around my bedroom for years.
Some of the crafts in the book seem complicated and requiring materials not found in an average person’s home (for instance, Bunny Doorstop which calls for basswood, whatever that is and a coping saw (again — whatever that is). Others involve only a few materials (for instance Paper Tearing).
I held onto this book first, because I thought I might be able to use some of the ideas with my students (never did) and second, I thought that I might use some of the ideas with my own children (again, never did). Now I hang onto it because I remember poring over it as a kid, dreaming of the day we’d make A Moving Picture Show in a Box or Valentine Hats or Scottie Caps.
So, joy? Maybe a little. It’s a keeper.