Friday, January 21, 2011

Guest Author Lois Winston

Lois is the author of the humorous Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, and joins us today on her blog tour for Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. This first book in the series was recently released to starred reviews from both Publisher’s Weekly AND Booklist, who says,

“Winston has hit a home run with this hilarious, laugh-until-your-sides-hurt tale. Oddball characters, uproariously funny situations, and a heroine with a strong sense of irony will delight fans…”

Also, Anastasia has her own blog here. It’s well worth checking out out.

A quick note before I turn it over to Lois – she is traveling today and so will not be able to respond to comments right away. She’ll check in as soon as she can, and there are book giveaways detailed at the end of the post, so be sure to comment to enter!



by Lois Winston

Glue Gun-full sizeI believe that people are born creative. Just watch any baby or toddler exploring his surroundings, and you’ll see what I mean. Unfortunately, most adults start squelching that creativity (Don’t touch!) in their children early on. Eventually that innate creativity is so suppressed that it’s nearly impossible to retrieve. So why are we then surprised when our kids prefer to sit around for hours, staring at a computer monitor or TV screen?

Solving problems and resolving conflicts require creative thinking. Creativity needs to be nurtured in order that today’s children grow up to become tomorrow’s leaders, but too many outside forces are at work, influencing our children to “color within the lines.” Now think about this: people who color within the lines never learn to think outside the box. It’s that outside the box thinking that finds solutions to the world’s problems.

One of the ways we can help our children continue to grow their creativity is to encourage them to craft, beginning at a very early age. The first step is to have creative materials around the house for children to use. Keep ample supplies of paint, glue, markers, chenille stems, craft sticks, pompoms, and other basic craft materials handy for those “I’m bored; there’s nothing to do” days.

Instead of buying another video game for that next birthday party or special occasion, buy craft kits. Keep a few kits on hand for rainy days, for when your children’s friends spend the night, or just for an impromptu surprise. Encourage children to make gifts for family members’ birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. instead of buying gifts.

Remember that your children’s efforts don’t have to be perfect. Always praise the attempt and encourage children to continue creating. The act of crafting develops small motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Creativity helps grow our brains. By encouraging your children to craft, you’re giving them an incredible foundation for future endeavors.

All it takes for children to learn to love crafting is an environment in which they can satisfy their creative nature. Nurture that inborn talent, and you’ll help your children grow into creative adults that just might wind up solving many of our planet’s problems.


lois2010-small file Lois Winston is an award-winning author and crafts designer. Her latest book, ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in her Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series, was recently released from Midnight Ink. In celebration, Lois is on a blog tour the month of January where she’s giving away 5 copies of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. Everyone who posts a comment to any of the blogs where she’s guesting (you can find the schedule at her website -- and Anastasia’s blog -- will be entered into a drawing. If your email isn’t included in your comment, email her privately at to let her know you’ve entered.

In addition, Lois is also giving away an assortment of crafts books to one lucky person who posts a comment to Hearth Cricket today.


  1. I agree completely -- even schools seem to have a hard time encouraging creativity (well my kids school) it is hard to grade creativity but it is easy to grade a state curriculum test.

  2. Great post and good advice. My kids never had a "I'm bored day" because I kept a shovel and broom in the corner, and I had a list of tasks to quickly unbore them. Best of luck in this crazy business.

  3. I'm so glad that my daughter, she's five, is inheriting my crafting gene. I always have a project on the go, and she loves to visit Jo-Ann's to pick out a new craft kit.

  4. Great post. I remember having arts and crafts in school and it was the best class ever.

  5. Thanks for stopping by, everyone, and thanks to Lois for a great post! I agree that nurturing the creativity of children is vital to their development. I love to buy craft kits as gifts for children -- girls and boys. Of course one reason is because they're so much fun to shop for...

    Looking forward to sitting down with a cup of tea and Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun!

  6. Thanks for the reminder to have crafty stuff around for kids. My daughter is only two and I tend to think "oh, she's not old enough for that yet" but I really need to just find some age-appropriate activities and let her get to gettin'. :)

  7. Hi Everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I've been on a cross-country flight most of the day and just arrived home. I'll wait until tomorrow to pick a winner for the crafts books giveaway just in case anyone posts later tonight.

    Cricket, thanks again for inviting me to visit at Hearth Cricket.

  8. Before I lost my job with the local school district because of my health issues, I subbed for five years in all levels and worked for nearly two years in an autistic classroom featuring kids who were autistic, non-verbal and violent.

    At least here, creativity was highly encouraged at all levels of public education. Sate tests are mandated because folks buy into the notion they are necessary. I don't. I also don't accept the idea that schools should be run like a business.

    If you don't either, or are just not happy, let your feelings be known at the local and state level. The politicians won't fix anything if you don't let them know something stinks.

  9. Thanks for the suggestion, Kevin. Unfortunately, with what has happened to the economy over the last few years, the arts are the first courses to get the axe in most school systems. It's a real shame.

  10. My sons are creative, though not exactly in a craft sort of way. The two oldest, when they were 15 and 16, designed a wagon with runners to be pulled behind their snowmobile and used to take hay to the horses and cows on our farm. We sent their design to Farm Journal magazine and they won a prize. Now, they come up with all kinds of creative solutions to problems.

  11. Don't even get me started on the subject of Arts in the public-school system. With all the evidence out there that points to music and art as *prime contributors* in learning math and science skills, you'd think that the Arts would be the last thing on the chopping block, but no -- sometimes I think they'd cut out all instruction altogether, if it interfered with the Sacred Cow of Sports. Grrrrr....

  12. Millie Lill, your sons are a perfect example of why it's so important to encourage creativity.

    Meg, I hear you! It's amazing how short-sighted our school systems are.

  13. Many years ago I transcribed tapes of interviews with children that a student was going to use in her thesis on creativity in children. Some were more willing to talk than others, but it was quite interesting!


  14. Sounds fascinating, Sandra. I wonder what her thesis presented.

  15. I try to keep, at the very least, crayons, color pencils, markers, construction paper, and what not around the house for the kids to use. My son has gotten into sketching since last October and we bought him some sketch books and pencils for Christmas. 'Santa' brought them both a couple craft kits for Christmas. We usually cannot afford more than a couple things a year in the way of craft sets, unless they are cheap dollar store or dollar tree items, but we make sure they have something to do to let their creativity out. They have both shown an interest in knitting and cross stitching and are learning plastic canvas, as I have been given an assortment of plastic canvas pieces and books recently. I can't wait to see what they do with those!