artsy fartsy,  Bug

The Crayon Dictator

coloring is hard work

Baby Bug is a vicious dictator of the crayons. She rules her subject (me) with an iron fist. No one can question the authority of the Crayon Dictator. She tells me when I’m going to color, where I’m going to color and what color I’m going to color with. She even tells me which end of the crayon I can use. No wrong-end coloring is going on during her watch. Nosireebob.

“Dit down, Mommy,” she commands.
“Orange!” she says, handing me the orange crayon.
“Pumpkin!” she says, hovering over me with the next crayon in hand.

I’m usually happy to oblige. I like coloring. I can think of way worse ways to spend my time. Like listening to Barney sing for example. So I sit there at her little IKEA table and happily color an orange pumpkin. Just when I get the outline done and have started shading in the sections, she takes the orange crayon out of my hand and hands me magenta.

“Pink, Mommy. Cur pink!”

Alrighty then. We now have an orange-outlined pumpkin with pink sides. I can roll with that. I’m creative. So I ask her for the green crayon because my bright pink pumpkin needs a bright green curly stem. Noooooooo, I can’t color with green because she is coloring with green. Of course! “GoooReeeen” is for Baby Bug. All the time with the green.

Until suddenly we have no green crayons left because she has taken them all over the house with her and lost them. I have found green crayons in my shoes. I have found green crayons in my car, melting on my leather seats. My little dictator has a thing for green crayons. I think I’m going to have to order those boxes of crayons that only come in one color (in green).

I get stuck coloring a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. Like all day long, a lot. And since I’m bored out of my skull ever the entrepreneur, I thought up a get-rich-slow plan. I do that when I’m stuck somewhere…. I decided that Baby Bug and I could make wrapping paper and sell it in my Etsy shop. I’ve been hatching this plan for months.

I know this idea is not really going to sell well for anybody who has kids who can color wrapping paper for them but it might be a fun gimmick. Who knows. It’s fun to wrap presents in silly colored-on sheets of paper. They’re colorful and unique. It’s sort of eco-friendly too. We were going to color anyway, so this way the many many sheets of paper are being reused instead of littering up my refrigerator or being smashed into the trash can.

I’d only charge a buck or two and I’d design some really neat packaging for the sheets of wrapping paper to go in. I was supposed to be working on the packaging design and have some samples up in my shop before I posted this but I don’t. (update: this was completed during today’s nap.)

Why? Because I was coloring pumpkins and pink kitties and doggies and bugs. And also because Baby Bug only takes one nap a day and it is never long enough for me to get all my projects done. So instead I will just share the joy of coloring with the dictator. As you can see, I do rebel and get my own designs in here and there.


I always wanted to be a textile designer.

B Bug Wrapping Paper

And…. We’re live!

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In other news: Guess who’s actually blogging? She took a lot of convincing, believe me. I’ve been nagging her for months. Well, she has finally crossed over to the dark side. Please go say hello but whatever you do, do not give her your instant message screen name. She is trouble.


  • witchypoo

    The crayon dictator! I love it. All of my gifts were kid decorated, although I admit to using stampers, glitter glue, and crazy markers as well. Now I have no little ones to play with me. I passed my supplies on to a young family. I hope they have as much fun as I did.

  • Lexi

    LOL….I’ve actually done this when I was in a pinch and didn’t have anything but xmas wrapping paper for a kid’s birthday. C’mon, Jordan, let’s make some wrapping paper, quick! I’ve also been known to wrap things in the Sunday comics.
    I mean, I could’ve picked up paper while at Toys’R’Us, if I had $5.99 (per roll) to spend on such things.

  • familymclean

    Kaitlyn is your newest follower, she climbs up on my lap and demands, “more baby, beach”. That means come on mom get to the BB pics, shes my friend. So we come hang out here and she chats to BB.
    Was pretty excited to see crayons so we are off to color.

  • OMSH

    Visually these are two of my very favorite photos you’ve ever taken. It just catches my eye. Love it. Sweetness and all that.

    And yes, I AM THRILLED that bethany actually is blogging. I do believe a good many of us have been beggin’ for some bloggin’ love from her!

  • Elizabeth Z

    I discovered the secret weapon for one-colour kids, in my general vicinity. The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse has a giant drawer full of gently used crayons, fifty cents for a handful. You are free to pick whichever ones you want. Now, this specific source may not be useful unless you are in the general vicinity of Oakland, California (and if you are, go buy sample cuts of tie silk for fifty cents the roll! Save me from going back and buying more!) But there may be a similar artistic junk recycling place.

    We’re good on green, but my daughter has a crayon roll (made from tie silk, of course) containing nothing but purple.

  • Gretchen

    Very good. I’ve used the kid colored paper for wrapping as well. Sometimes they want to color both sides of the paper – so the inside is a surprise.

    Love the pictures – what a cute Dictator you have!

  • BeachMama

    Darnit woman does your creativity ever end?? Seriously, I love the paper and if I just had an ounce of your creative gene I would be one happy BeachMama.

    And hooray that Bethany Actually started a blog, how fun, I love her photos almost as much as I love yours. Off to stop in and say hi.

  • Mama_Bear

    What a fun idea! HA HA! Make some Xmas paper! (just leave red and green crayons I guess). See what BB does then.

    Where do you get the butcher paper? I need some of that!

    SAJ says: this paper we are using now we got at IKEA. (link) It’s really nice and thick. I do have another roll that is much bigger and much cheaper from Smart and Final but it isn’t as nice.

  • amy

    Great idea on the wrapping paper!

    While working with the mentally disabled at a day program one boring day I got a big piece of quality poster board and started doodling with a few of the clients. When I got bored with my corner I would twist it around so we all got a fresh perspective. With lots of colors and all of our doodles it really did turn out to be quite the masterpiece!

    This was years ago and wish I had framed it. Sometimes bright colors, imagination and time make the most impressive art!

  • Little Sister

    My nephew is a Crayon Dictator too! It took us condescending adults a little too long to figure out that “Color!” was not a substituted noun, but a command verb… Oh boy!

  • Meems

    You’re creating beautiful artwork together. Major bonding time, even if she is a little bossy. I love the idea of creating wrapping paper.

  • Laura

    I want some.. but the link isn’t working!!!

    SAJ says: That was weird. I think when I went in to lower the shipping, I accidentally clicked away and that made the listing inactive. I’m distracted like that. It’s fixed now.

  • Michelle

    Wow! I’ve been gone for several days to camp with my twin girls and their 4th grade class, and look at all of the cool stuff I missed! Love the BB wrapping paper, and the “About the artist” on the back, is adorable!!!! I wish I had one ounce of SAJ’s creativity! I’m left handed, so from what I’ve been told, that’s a start ;o) The pic of her holding the crayon is too cute too! Like mommy, like baby :o)

  • Kuky

    That is so freaking cute! Isabelle does not let me draw, it’s more like drive by drawing. She’s constantly turning the pages. I can’t get a drawing in.