Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Next Martha?

I know this seems a little Martha Stewarty, and I really wasn’t going to post about it, but…I am. It started with a rant. Over the course of a day, the children in my house can go through upwards of 15 glasses. These glasses stuff the top of the dishwasher rack and are crammed in between the dinner plates and cereal bowls on the bottom rack. And most nights there’s a neat little line of them next to the sink - all the ones that didn’t fit in the dishwasher or were discovered too late next to the computer, bed, bathroom sink, or playset. This began to bother me. See, I only have three children, albeit there are many days when 5 or 6 roam our hillside. But still, in my mind that’s six glasses max. So I ranted. Why do you need a new glass EVERY TIME you get a drink of water? Why can’t you leave your glass at your seat at the table and use it AGAIN? If you’re going to get something besides water, can’t you RINSE IT OUT and use the same glass? Do you THINK THIS IS A RESTAURANT??? JUST WHO DO YOU IMAGINE WASHES ALL THESE GLASSES – THE HOUSE ELF? I know, psycho mom. But it’s not just about my issues, it’s about the environment, good stewardship, laziness, water rings on every table in my house, and so much more.

OK, maybe it is a little about my issues. I use the same glass all day long. I’ve mentioned before that I have dishware issues. My glass is a green stemware goblet that I am certain makes water (or any cold beverage) taste better. The people in my house have been trained not to put my glass in the dishwasher until I say so. I use the same glass all day long. Early in our cohabitation, my sweet husband was unfairly criticized time and again when he, in the interests of helping out, put my glass in the dishwasher only to have me screech, “Where’s my glass?” at 10 o’clock that night. Poor man, he’s had to learn to humor his sick wife. Anyway, my issues aside, the children do not need to dirty thirty glasses a day. They do not.

But when questioned about this issue during one of my crazy-lady rants, one child sheepishly explained, “I don’t remember which one is mine.” It was that simple. Nevermind that these children share germs on so many levels, the idea of drinking out of a glass that their sibling touched was enough to risk their mother’s wrath.

As Thanksgiving approached and I considered the nine children who would be dwelling here for a few days, I needed a solution. I also needed more glasses. So I set off for Goodwill. Mid-way through my evaluation of the many varied glassware options, I came upon a full set of small goblets. They were smoke colored and looked like “grown up” glassware. And they had a stem! The solution came to me just like that. I could make “wine glass markers” for the kids! I trucked my new set of 11 goblets home for just $5.

That night, the kids and I made the markers. They were very simple to make. We used bendable wire and colorful glass seed beads. I have a very part-time beaded jewelry business with a friend, so these supplies were readily available to me. You can find them at any craft store. We added charms for fun, but you could also just use different colors and patterns of beads and forget the charms. The wire and seed beads are very inexpensive. The other thing you’ll need is a pair of pliers and something to cut the wire. Here’s what you do –

1. Cut a piece of wire about five inches long. Place one bead on the wire and bend that end back on itself about ½ inch and twist it (like a bread bag twist). The bead will be trapped in the loop you created. Use the pliers to squash the end of the wire back on itself so there isn’t a sharp edge sticking out.
2. Have your children string on a pattern of beads on to the wire. If you are going to use a charm, string that on last.
3. Once you have about four inches of beads (it can be more or less – that’s no big deal, just personal preference), bend the wire back around itself, leaving the charm in the loop you create so it can dangle (or you can leave a bead in the loop, like on the other end).
4. Holding the loop and charm with one hand, twist the wire back around itself (like closing a bread bag) several times.
5. Cut the excess wire and use the pliers to squash the end back against the wire twist so that there isn’t a share end sticking out.

My kids chose their favorite charm and designed their color pattern to make their own personal marker. We made nine total water glass markers so that all of the cousins and friends who visit can have their own. They had a great time making them. I did the twisting and refereeing. Simple! And the kids love these beauties, so they’re motivated to use them. They proudly explain the concept to all our visitors, helping them choose a perfect marker for their glasses. Now whenever the kids get out their glass, they also choose a marker and twist it around the stem of their glass. We’ve since discovered when using identical hot chocolate mugs, you can twist the markers around the handle and prevent your sibling from inadvertently (or not) violating your mug.

An added bonus is that when an errant glass is discovered on the desk “RIGHT NEXT TO MY LAPTOP!!” I know who the criminal is.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this isn’t a safe project for very young children who still like to put anything that doesn’t move in to their mouths.

So, it is a little Martha Stewarty, but it works. And you can easily come up with a simpler marker – like using pipecleaners or real wine markers. The idea sprang from the wine sitcks my partner and I sell for “Busy Mamas Beading”, but feel free to claim it as your own. Or maybe you don’t mind washing thirty kid glasses every day. Your call.

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