Meet Cassi of The Crafty Crow

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Cassi headshot Cassi is the mama, artist, and crafter behind the ever-popular kids craft blog, The Crafty Crow. Here she shares her wealth of experience with us, including tips and materials for crafting with kids.

***Note:
Readers will have a chance to win a wonderful little needle felted bunny, handcrafted by Cassi, at
the end of this interview.***

JEAN:   So, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you
get to where you are now as the homeschooling mama of three, with a popular
children’s craft blog, and your own crafts featured in several books?

CASSI: 
Well, my love of handmade, homeschooling and computers are the ties that
hold it all together and a divorce and being a single mom of three is what
propelled me forward. I started blogging 5 1/2 years ago just wanting to
communicate with other people who shared my love of crafting, I had no idea of
the opportunities it would lead to. I always think of that saying, "Do
what you love, the money will follow," well, I'm doing what I love at
least!

JEAN:   Everyone loves your blog and looks to it for
ideas to do with their kids. What made you start The Crafty Crow?

CASSI:  I
started it for my own needs, one place to keep all the kids' craft ideas, and
thought there were probably others out there who would like the same thing. I
also love the crafting community and wanted to be able to bring attention to
all the talented people out there.


Cassi Crafty Crow Mus     
Cassi Crafty Crow Workshop For Children


Cassi Crafty Crow Art For Small Hands  
Cassi Crafty Crow Mary Making 

A selection of crafts featured on The Crafty Crow from (clockwise
from upper left) Mus, Atelier pour Enfants, Mary Making, and Art for Small Hands

JEAN:   You post several times a day on The Crafty
Crow
– with multiple crafts from different blogs – often united by a theme. Are you scouring the internet all day to find these?
How do you choose what to post?

CASSI:  It
seems like I am always on the computer! I have about 500 blogs in my feed that I
read through every day plus I'm always looking at new sources and going through
archives. I get lots of submissions too so there's always something new to
share. I keep all the ideas in files and many of them are compiled by theme.

My posting framework is loosely based
on the calendar with seasons and holidays. I make themed posts when I have
gathered enough variety of ideas to make it interesting and then the rest is
what I feel like at the time :) I try to post at least 3 projects a day and
include something for each of the age categories. My own little whimsy is that
I like the posts to look nice together so I make choices that coordinate with
each other.

JEAN:   How have crafts featured in your family’s
life and homeschooling? What are your kids especially into?

Cassi craft modern Cassi’s workspace and her craft modern house – kitchen,
dining area, living room


CASSI: 
Well, my house is decorated in craft modern! You'll find shelves full of
fabric, piles of old and new craft books, coffee filter flowers, jars of
buttons and ribbons, children's art on the walls and a dining hutch filled with
paper, paint, colored pencils, markers, glues, felt and more. We have always
incorporated a lot of hands-on projects in our homeschooling since it's a great
way to learn plus it's fun. The kids do a variety of crafts – we try things
from The Crafty Crow and they help me with tutorials.


Cassi embroidery pillow
An embroidery of one of her son's drawings made into a pillow (the
pattern for this is in Pretty Little Pillows by Lark).

We started our biggest
crafting endeavor two years ago when we began making all of our gifts for
Solstice. The kids have to make at least 11 gifts each so there's a lot of
planning involved. The idea wasn't terribly popular at first, and it takes a
lot of work, but it has added so much meaning to our holiday I can't imagine
ever doing it any other way.

Cassi nature art 

JEAN:   Any tips for parents who want to make
crafting with their kids more of a priority?

CASSI: 

  • have supplies on
    hand
  • keep art materials
    on the table, coffee table, kitchen counter or wherever your family tends to
    gather

  • start making stuff
    yourself, many kids will want to join in
  • weather
    permitting, take crafting outside – everyone will enjoy a lot more artistic
    freedom when they don't have to worry about making a mess
  • for specific
    projects, collect everything you will need in a box; when you’re ready to do
    that project all you have to do is pull out the box and you're set
  • don't have any
    expectations for a certain result, just enjoy the conversation and camaraderie

Cassi boat making


JEAN:   What are your favorite craft materials for
little kids? What should we all keep in stock at home?

CASSI: 

  • For the youngest
    kids use non-toxic and easy to clean up art materials. Experimenting with
    different media and sensory experiences are most important at this age. Homemade play
    dough, finger paint with pudding, and watercolors from food coloring are good,
    simple and inexpensive activities.
  • Keep a
    well-stocked recycling bin – newspaper is great for protecting surfaces but
    it's also fun to paint on; cereal boxes can be used as structures (buildings,
    blocks) but can also be cut apart to use as tag board; glass bottles can store
    small items but they can also be made into vases, lanterns, snow globes, etc.
    Set out a bunch of recyclables and see what the kids can create. There are lots
    of ideas for crafting with recycled materials on The Crafty Crow.  
  • I love my roll of
    white butcher paper from Costco! I mainly use it to cover surfaces for drawing
    and to make patterns, but it has almost endless possibilities and it lasts
    forever too.
  • Clear contact
    paper and clear packing tape for making stained glass art and laminating.
  • Mod Podge – I love the smell of Mod Podge in the morning ;) but, use in a
    well-ventilated area! 
  • Sharpies, because
    they stay permanent on so many surfaces – I guess that's the bad thing about
    Sharpies too! These are markers for older kids you will need to use caution.
  • Felt – craft felt
    is fine for cutting and gluing but use wool and wool blend felt for sewing
    projects.
  • Colorful tissue
    paper for decoupaging and making flowers.
  • Oil pastels
    because they are just so darned smooth and beautiful! They're messy too but
    it's worth it to me.
  • Painter's tape -
    tape down work surfaces and watercolor paper, use it for masking and to hold
    glued pieces together while they dry. Removal is clean and easy and it can be
    reused too.
  • Everyone should have
    child-friendly but good scissors, white glue (I like Tacky Glue because it
    holds quickly and since it's thick you won't get big pools of it on the
    artwork), watercolors (I like Prang), and crayons/markers/colored pencils.
  • Some sort of clay
    whether homemade salt dough, polymer, or the real thing from the craft store.
  • This will be my
    last idea, since I could go on and on, but take a walk
    outside and see all the things you can find to craft with: rocks, pine
    cones,
    sticks, leaves, flowers, acorns, seeds, feathers, etc..




Cassi felt story book house


JEAN:   Your own creations have appeared in several
books. How do you make time for your crafting? Do you have anything you’re working on these days?


Cassi watercolor drawing CASSI:
  My
own crafting has really taken a backseat to my work for The Crafty Crow,
homeschooling, and maintaining a household, but I always have several projects
going on anyway, they just take a lot longer :) Right now, I am crocheting two
different blankets, needle felting some little animals for gifts, drawing
mandalas and still doing my watercolor drawings. It's very difficult for me
just to sit and not have my hands busy with something so I always carry some
sort of project with me, like crochet, drawing or embroidery, and do a little
bit when I can. I usually do some in bed at night too to help me decompress
from the day. As far as professional projects, I have several that I'm working
on but I don't want to jinx anything by saying something too soon, I'm
superstitious that way :)

JEAN:   Thank you, Cassi! We are lucky to have you scouring the internet for inspiring children's crafts to share with us! What a resource you are creating! And I hope you continue to carve out time for your own crafting.


Cassi bunny giveaway 

Readers who leave a comment by Friday, July 9th
at 12 midnight EST, will be entered into a random drawing for this wonderful little needle
felted bunny, handmade by Cassi. Here's what she says about him:
He's a little needle felted gray bunny (the base of the bunny is 1 1/2", height is 2 1/4" and the orange part of the carrot is 1 1/4"). The bunny, his collar and carrot are all made from 100% wool, and everything except the collar is organic wool. He's pretty solid but not meant for rough play.

The random number generator picked #117 so Sonja wins the bunny!

this lil' bunny is adorable!!


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Comments

  1. Emily says

    Really fun to read about the woman behind one of my favorite websites. Thanks for the article!

  2. says

    I agree with Emily, it’s always fun to learn about people on blogs, especially as I read Craft Crow daily.
    I absolutely adore her kitchen! WOW! xx

  3. says

    Does blog life get any better than this – The Artful Parent AND the Crafty Crow together in one post… I’m in heaven! Wonderful interview, which I’m going to enjoy reading again :-) Thanks so much Cassi and Jean!

  4. erica says

    love the crafty crow – great interview:) and adore that lil bunny – he’d look perfect in lil one’s nursery!
    thank you:D

  5. Molly says

    I want my house to be craft modern too. Maybe someday, eh? Great interview as usual.

  6. August says

    I feel so inspired! My crafting has become almost non-existent since my daughter was born but it’s still in my heart. Keeping supplies out and visible is a great idea, and I plan to start carrying small projects with me so I can work on them during downtime instead of playing of playing on my phone;)

  7. says

    what a great interview! i follow the crafty crow daily… i’m envious of that kitchen space – how inspiring! cute bunny, too. ;)

  8. Karen says

    I am a big fan of both The Artful Parent and The Crafty Crow so imagine my excitement to see Cassi featured here! I am amazed, and inspired, by you both!

  9. Maureen says

    Nice interview – she has a great blog/website. Thanks so much, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  10. says

    I love Cassi! She’s so amazing for helping us all in this way. I love her own art and the ideas she compiles. I use them all the time with my kindergartners. Thank you for this great interview. Inspiring!

  11. says

    I just love both your blogs! You are both such an inspiration for me to get creating with my kids! Thanks so much for the giveaway. We are big bunny fans here so it certainly would get some love.

  12. says

    Who doesn’t read and love the Crafty Crow? Funny because I had just gotten done reading Cassi’s latest post in my Google Reader, and went to yours :).
    I LOVED the picture of her “craft modern” house. She really is an inspiration!

  13. lizabeth says

    SOOO inspiring! i want to turn my kitchen/dining room into such a magnificent craft area!

  14. Nancy says

  15. Ann says

    I was clueless to the Crafty Crow but will head over right now to check it out and likely bookmark it after your blog. Thanks!

  16. Kari says

    Never heard of the Crafty Crow before, but totally got sucked in looking at the great simple ideas posted today. Thanks for sharing the site and the interview!

  17. Kristin says

    Thanks for sharing! (And I didn’t think to get butcher paper from Costco…thanks for the tip!)

  18. Andrea says

    Thanks for this interview! I am a follower of Cassi’s blog and just love having all the craft ideas at my fingertips. . . This lovely bunny would have a warm home at our end.

  19. says

    thank you for posting my sons “jacket pocket treasures” (and link to MUS) :)
    if you like to see more jacket pocket treasures, please visit:
    http://jaszakschatten.blogspot.com/
    or better empty your jacket pockets (or someone else’s) and mail us the treasures :)
    greetings joscha

  20. Pichet says

    Thank you for letting us know about Cassi’s blog. I also have many blogs on my reader :-)

  21. andrea says

    i would love to know more about that little felt house sitting in front of that beautiful watercolor (?) painting!!! is that from a book? so pretty. my daughter gasped when she walked in the room and saw it!
    i love your interviews! thanks for doing them! so informative and inspirational!

  22. Linda says

    I am a preschool teacher who tries to stick to process oriented art. I have been so inspired by both of your sites! Please keep it coming!

  23. Katie R says

    Two of my most favorite blogs! What a delightful interview to read. I have bookmarked it for the advice and will be returning to it again and again, I’m sure! The tiny felt house is lovely as well, and quite inspiring.

  24. Amanda says

    Thanks for another great interview! The Crafty Crow looks like such a wonderful place for inspiration!

  25. says

    I love the workspace! How inspiring to have all your craft supplies so easily accesible. And beautiful to look at, too.

  26. says

    I am a big crafty crow fan and it is great to put a face to the person behind it. Great interview and some great tips!

  27. Amy Fields says

    Love the interview!! Jealous of all that space, but maybe someday…. Would love to win the bunny. It would keep my two house rabbits company!!

  28. says

    So inspiring! Thank you for the wonderful interview. I have 3 kids too and finding time to create, paint, draw, and blog can be very challenging. I love the idea of surrounding yourself with art and crafting materials!

  29. Sarah Oster says

    Love reading about crafty homeschoolin’ mamas. Thanks for the inspiration and the great giveaway!

  30. says

    I love crafting with my son – but we don’t have a cool craft room like that! It is amazing! Now I’m ready to go remodel my dining room… :)
    Thanks for the interview!

  31. says

    Great interview! So much fun to read about the woman behind the blog. We’d love a little bunny like that around here. :)

  32. says

    Well, I stopped back to compliment you on your blog and to say thanks for the “painting around a hole” idea. As you predicted, that was a huge hit with my 4-year-old son today.
    I’m also a fan of The Crafty Crow and so it was great fun to read this interview. Thanks for that. As for the wool-felt bunny, we’d be happy to give him a good home!

  33. says

    Awesome interview – I have never seen Cassi’s face until now! I pretty much gave up my whole blog subscription list when Cassi started TCC and I’ve never regretted it. It’s a one stop shop for all the best ideas around the internet. Love it and so grateful to Cassi!

  34. deb says

    Thanks for the interview. As a working mother of a toddler I appreciate the inspiration… Perhaps I can try some art activities on the weekends. On another note, Cassi looks familiar, did she ever live in Portland Oregon?

  35. says

    That is the sweetest little bunny ever! Reminds me of the bunny my dear daughter had when she was small. So cute!
    Great interview too! Thanks for doing this!
    Hugs,
    Gina

  36. says

    So, so, so love The Crafty Crow…my Delicious is filled with her links! Cassi is a total blessing in our home; lots of fun times creating because of her inspiration!!
    And this is from one very non-crafty mama.

  37. says

    The list of necessities is wonderful because so often I’d like to do something with my daughter but don’t have the supplies! My daughter spotted the papier-mache birds above and demanded that we do them tomorrow. So I guess I’ll be out getting some supplies! They look like a perfect rainy-day craft. Thanks to Cassi for all her hard work and her wonderful blog!

  38. says

    Thank you for interviewing Cassi! Crafty Crow is my first read in the morning before my son wakes up and helps me creatively kick start my day. It was lovely getting to know more about her and it doesn’t surprise me that she’s such a sweet, inspiring person in real life. Thank you for the giveaway too!

  39. says

    Wonderful interview. I am a daily reader of the Crafty Crow – my children and I have done so many crafts featured there.

  40. Carole says

    I love The Crafty Crow and enjoyed learning more about Cassi. We have four wild bunnies around our house these days and I’m sure my boys would love the beautiful one made by Cassi.

  41. Dawn says

    That bunny is so cute and I am always reading the Crafty Crow, it is a great resource for a busy mom who likes to Craft with her Kids.

  42. Naomi H says

    I’ve followed Crafty Crow for a while and it’s so nice to see the person behind the work. Her house is amazing!

  43. Beth says

    I love Crafty Crow! I am even more in awe now that I know that you are a single mom AND that you homeschool.

  44. Sue says

    Crafty Crow is a great site! As an early childhood teacher, I check it often for inspirational ideas.

  45. says

    The Crafty Crow is always one of the first places I visit every morning. Thanks for the peek into your home!
    Jen

  46. Robynn says

    Wonderful article. It’s great to learn a little about the person behind Crafty Crow. Thank You

  47. Maddie says

    Such a cute little bunny! :) I would love to own him! Thank you for the great work!

  48. Leelaine says

    Thanks for helping one recycled daycare teacher (ie babysitting grandma) with inspirations for crafts. I especilly like these projects because of the latitude allowed for inspiration and experimentation by my grandaughters.

  49. Anne in NC says

    I read the Crafty Crow everyday and enjoyed getting to know the talented woman behind it! And I’d love to win that sweet bunny — she’d look so cute in our nature tray. Thanks!

  50. Dawn says

    I was a very “crafty” child and I wanted to share the joy with my dear daughter…but I’m a full time out of the house working mom. Your blog inspires me even when I’ve had a long day and motivates me to take the time to be crafty with her.
    Thanks!

  51. Lesli says

    You both are so inspiring! My two toddlers LOVE arts and crafts and I’m always referencing you both for ideas! Thank you!

  52. Alisha says

    Cassi’s website is the best. I’ve been visiting it every day for the past week. My kids love the crafts we’ve been doing. It is my #1 favorite website. Keep it up Cassi, Thanks for all your great ideas

  53. jody says

    I am a HUGE fan of Crafty Crow – I check it out daily (with 4 small kiddos). Love it. And Love reading this interview & seeing her crafty room (drool!)
    A great lady w a gift to bring crafting into the every day world of being a Mama…THANK YOU!!

  54. Janet says

    Thanks for the great interview with Cassi. I eagerly follow both of your blogs in my eternal quest for drop-in toddler crafts.
    I also appreciated Cassi’s tips for making crafts with children more of a priority, especially “project in a box,” crafting outside and focusing on the fun we have together rather than the end result.
    And… what a cute bunny!

  55. Susan says

    I love that bunny – so cute! And I’m a huge fan of The Crafty Crow. Thanks!

  56. says

    What an inspiring post, thanks. I love both of you blogs. I hope one day that my creative fun will be posted on her site!
    Thanks, Karen
    Sippy Cup Central

  57. says

    congrats on a wonderful and inspiring interview! I love the craft modern look ~ I think you should write a decorating book on the topic!

  58. says

    I really enjoyed learning more about Cassi and found it very inspiring.
    I would love to win the bunny esp. since I’m one on the Chinese zodiac. :)

  59. says

    I’ve loved and respected Cassi from the moment we “met” on line. What a fantastic interview! She’s quite spectacular… I’d be thrilled to hold something she created in my hands. My daughter would make sure that bunny had a lovely home.

  60. shanna says

    LOoks like another great blog to add to my list!
    Thanks for another interesting/helpful interview:)

  61. says

    I love the Crafty Crow! I have it on my feedreader and it’s my daily go-to for crafts for my homeschool. It came in particularly handy on the 4th of July! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win something that she made…what a treasure! Oh and that pillow is just gorgeous! I love the colors!

  62. Natalie says

    It’s so nice to finally see the face behind the website I’ve been visiting for so long! I am always visiting TCC and my kids and I have made so many wonderful projects inspired by your site. Thanks for the interview and thanks for The Crafty Crow! :)

  63. Elisha Leonard says

    I do a home daycare/preschool program that focuses on art and nature. My friend turned me on to the Artful Parent site several weeks ago and I have been checking in on it regularly. I love the ideas and the interviews! I have found several other sites that I love through the interviews and recommendations from this one. Now I will be adding the Crafty Crow to my list! Thank you for all the wonderful ideas and inspiration!

  64. karen says

    I enjoyed the interview! Crafty crow is my go-to blog for planning crafts for my little ones, and I enjoyed her bella dia blog also!! Thanks for the chance to win the darling rabbit, and thank you for your wonderful blog, also!

  65. Buzz Griffin says

    Just finished reading all of these wonderful comments about Cassi and Crafty Crow. Many of them brought tears to my eyes. I’m so, so, so proud of her and what she has accomplished. I love her dearly. Thanks to you all.
    Her Father, Buzz

  66. Mirah says

    Aww, what a lovely little bunny and lots of great tips for doing art with the tots! Thanks

  67. bryssy says

    It’s so great to learn about “the woman behind the blog.” The Crafty Crow is one of my go-to blogs for inspiration! Thanks!

  68. says

    What a great interview with Cassi. She has such wonderful ideas and projects. The glimpse into her craft modern house is beautiful.

  69. Jen N says

    What a great interview! I check out the Crafty Crow every morning – it is such a wonderful resource, and Cassi sounds like an amazing person.

  70. says

    I love Crafty Crow and have it delivered to my email box it is so easy to read that way. I really love Cassi’s crafts. I would love to see a list of books that her own crafts are featured in!

  71. Jill says

    I’m always so inspired by Crafty Crow! We have been doing lots of crafting this summer. Loove the little bun bun!

  72. says

    Fantastic interview. I love the Crafty Crow. My kids and I have had so much fun with the ideas shown there, and I have to share it with teachers and Guiders and anyone I can think of. I have a daughter who is ga-ga over bunnies and I would love to win this one for her :)

  73. bethany says

    I LOVE The Crafty Crow. It inspires me to craft with my kids more often. :) Thanks.

  74. olivia says

    Thanks for such a lovely interview of the author of one of my favorite blogs! And what an awesome giveaway

  75. says

    I love The Crafty Crow, great interview! The bunny is totally adorable and I know he’d love to come live with our family. ;)

  76. jen says

    I love the crafty crow! So much inspiration in one place. Thanks for all your hard work cassie!

  77. says

    I knew I knew Cassie from somewhere – The Crafty Cow! She has an amazing site. Just recently she featured a cool craft of Tissue Paper Window Collages. I can’t wait until September when my students to try that in our classroom!
    The needle felted bunny is adorable and I would love to win!

  78. says

    I am always inspired by projects found on Crafty Crow. I loved reading about Cassi and her work space is amazing, I am so jealous!

  79. says

    Aw! How precious that Cassi’s father has commented here. :)
    I had never heard of the Crafty Crow until now. I don’t know how that happened, but no matter. I’m hooked on the Crafty Crow now for sure! We’re homeschooling for the first time this fall, and I’m sure all the craft ideas will come in handy. Thanks for all you do, Cassi! And to Jean for introducing me to her.

  80. OnTheSlowRoad says

    Her craft room is so wonderful. I love her stuff and enjoyed reading more about her. What amazing idea.

  81. Andrea says

    Awesome suggestions on how to be ready for projects (getting the box of supplies ready — brilliant!). Ands beautiful crafts, and nice, thoughtful, down to earth interview — thank you both!

  82. [email protected] says

    What a wonderful interview…makes me want to go clean up my craft room and get started again! Thank you

  83. says

    Great interview – The Crafty Crow is one of my favourite blogs that I visit everyday. And I loved reading Cassi’s Dad’s comments – what a proud Dad!

  84. Tisha Smith says

    Love this CUTE bunny!!! (And how cute that Dad “Buzz” left a comment too!!!….don’t know many blogging men MY Dad’s age.)
    Tisha

  85. Lisa P says

    Our little bunnies are school age now and while I was looking for an online interactive art instruction website I stumbled through many links to this wonderful interview. Thanks for the reminder that our art instruction portfolio will not be complete without crafts!

  86. says

    Cassi’s Dad (Buzz) commenting is my favorite! What a super dad you have, Cassi! No wonder you turned out so well. :)
    The bunny is something anyone would be glad to carry around in their purse so they can show it, stroke it and just look at the ‘genious’ of the craft in it.

  87. says

    I really love the Crafty Crow and I am always excited to see when I have a letter in my inbox! I love this bunny and would love to have a chance to win her, but I especially love your interview! Thanks!

  88. says

    Great interview! Crafty Crow is such a wonderful resource, I would love to see more pictures of her house! Thank you for the opportunity.

  89. Mary Ann says

    As a “retired” homeschool mom, I admire how you are able to find time to be so crafty! And I absolutely LOVE your felted creations. Your kids are so lucky to have such a creative mom.

  90. Alia says

    I am inspired by The Crafty Crow everyday. Even when I don’t have time to make the crafts that day I look at the blog with my kids and we make a wish list of things we will do in the future. Thanks to Cassi and al the crafters she links to.

  91. says

    I love how there is so many crafts in her home. I would love to go to her house and just look at all the art. My mind would explode with creativity by just seeing all the different things she and her family have made.