This DIY Mom Turns Everyday Household Items Into Creative Arts and Crafts Projects in New Book

Erica Domesek, the founder of P.S.- I Made This, released a children's book, 'P.S.- We Made This,' to inspire families to get creative with items they are probably throwing away.

Erica Domesek makes crafts at a table with two kids.
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Erica Domesek

If you step into Erica Domesek’s bathroom, you’ll likely find a huge basket with finished toilet paper rolls. Once the basket is filled, the Los Angeles-based mom grabs the cardboard tubes and gets to work on one of many crafts with her almost 4-year-old son. “Everybody knows in my house not to throw them away,” she says.

Issuing these kinds of directives is not unusual for the crafty mom, who is the founder of the lifestyle brand P.S.- I Made This. She grew up making art and it helped create some of her happiest childhood memories—whether it was sewing with her aunt or making a diorama for a school project.

So naturally, she wanted to offer her son the same opportunity to fall in love with creativity through arts and crafts. But she felt there was a lack of children’s books in that genre to help guide him. Any books she found seemed dated or only aimed at one specific age group. But following what she refers to as the “Big P” (aka the pandemic) and so much screen time, she became inspired to release P.S.- We Made This (available October 25), a children’s book offering creative and fun at-home projects that kids can do with their parents (or alone!). 

The book features more than 85 “simple out-of-the-box” crafts, recipes, and ideas for children of all ages, all using objects families have right at home. The first chapter, for example, features projects using cardboard boxes—a great idea for families who get a lot of deliveries. Other projects feature cereal boxes, paper plates, popsicle sticks, and, of course, those toilet paper rolls. These objects can turn into different projects, including a brick oven pizza, a karaoke machine, an ice cream truck, and binoculars. “It’s bringing new life into things that you already have existing at home,” she says. And for food loving families like Domesek's, the recipes may become favorites, like her butterfly cake and fishbowl cake.

But the book, which is meant for any type of caregiver, also brings attention to the benefits of arts and crafts in general. Domesek tapped Laurel Felt, a mom with a Ph.D. in childhood development and play, who explains how every project in the book can help children developmentally. “It’s the best way, in my opinion, to incorporate healthy development and make it fun in a creative way,” says Domesek. “From projects to play, let them use their imagination, and there really are so many takeaways.” It’s true: along with developing creativity, arts and crafts have also been found to help kids build fine motor, critical thinking, math, and language skills. Plus, research shows art can help alleviate stress. “It’s not about what the project is,” adds Domesek. “It’s what it can do for a kid.”

Of course, finding the time to physically sit down with your kids to work on these crafts together isn’t always easy. Domesek has learned it helps to mark that time on your calendar to make the creative bonding time actually happen. “Sometimes you have to block it out and you literally have to say, ‘This is our project time,’” she says. “For someone like me, who is on their phone a lot, I need to also make those mental reminders to be present. So I make these appointments and say, ‘OK, this is our date.'”

Her biggest hope is that the book will give creative families an opportunity to have fun making projects together, while offering a gentle hand holding for others who may be apprehensive about arts and craft. “I feel like this is my gift that I try to tap into to inspire people because I truly believe that families do need reasons to connect, put down the screen, to learn. And also, it really helps kids thrive,” she says. “It's kind of like my recipe for all of those things combined.”

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