I Drank the Pinterest Koolaid and This Is What Happened

Monday, July 1, 2013

I held off joining Pinterest for ages because I knew it would suck me in like a black hole.  Because I knew I would find my tribe there.  My Type A Martha Worshipping OCD wacknut tribe. 

And so it came to pass. 

About the same time I drank the Pinterest Koolaid, our awesome sitter brought over an empty plastic mayo jar one day because she really wanted to make a calm jar (aka Glitter Jar aka Time Out Jar aka WTH Were You Thinking?! Jar) with Bear.  Then she came down really sick and wasn't able to come for over a week, and Bear didn't want to wait. 

Because I'm the kind of person who has things like glitter glue and glycerine lying around - and by "lying around" I mean "in clearly labeled matching totes" - Bear knew that I knew that we could make it any time.

What do you mean why do I  have that stuff? Because... um... in case the zombie apocalypse comes and we need to, uuuuum, make motivational posters! And global warming dried out the gel frosting tint and we need artfully decorated cupcakes to distract them from our brains!  You know - reasons.

Anyway. I had the stuff and a small child bugging me to doooo eeeeet.  Because it would totally help him be calm and don't I want him to be calm so let's make the jar because then we'll all be calm and it will be awesome

I know. I can hear you laughing at me. SHUT UP.  I know

It was late winter. I was delirious with cabin fever.

There are a gazillion bloggers out there who write about this project in an adorably earnest way.  They talk about color schemes for the glitter and calibrate the viscosity of the jars to optimize settling time.  These are the same bloggers who photograph their children holding the are you freaking kidding me with glass mason jars finished project, smiling calmly.

If that's what you're hoping to find here, I cordially invite you to visit Pinterest and seek out a different kind of mommy.  This is more of a cautionary tale.

Shall we begin?

First, get out all the stuff.  Once the glitter starts flying around, you don't want to turn your back on the kid.

There are a number of variations on the ingredients across the interwebz.  I know. I read them all.  This is what I settled on:

Glitter glue
Regular glitter
Food coloring
Dish soap
Clean lidded jar
Really strong glue

I can't stress the last one one enough - one blogger recommends E6000 (a kind of super glue), another says she glue gunned it.   I wish I'd tried either of those.

I was trying to get some sensory work out of this, so I let him squeeze the glitter glue.

Stirring between each step is optional, though I think it's a good idea.  I did it partly to gauge how much glitter I was going to let him unleash and partly because he just really likes to mix stuff.

Food coloring: as always, a little goes a long way.

This is what it looks like after you dump in the regular glitter - it just floats there.  That's where a few drops of dish soap come in.  It breaks the surface tension and lets the glitter sink into the water.

I took this picture mainly to show what the glycerine looked like in case you're looking for it.  Craft bloggers would have you believe it's easy to find in great big bottles.  I tried to 4 stores with no luck.  I finally broke down and used the 2oz bottle I keep with my cake decorating supplies.

I took this picture to show how much glitter gets out even when you're really, really trying not to make a mess.  And in case you were curious - yes, my child did just discover the fine art of photo bombing.  And like any 5 year old boy with anything annoying, he thinks it's awesome!

The finished product. You can get a sense of how much color you might want to put into the water.
I do think coordinating the water color and glitter color is a good idea.

This is why you use glitter glue and glycerine - the increased viscosity creates cool patterns.

I really debated what kind of glue to seal the lid with.  I had not yet discovered E6000 and after accidentally melting another plastic craft project I wasn't sure a glue gun was the right call.  I decided to try Elmer's.  I figured if I could still open the lid in a day or two, I'd seek out a stronger alternative.

Cut to the next day.  That's right, I said the next goddamn day.  Because in Bear's world, sometimes you've gotta resort to calculating the life span of objects in hours.

I heard a noise.  I went to look.  We played the "what happened" game.  I figured he had been frustrated or angry, hence the chucking of the jar.  He said no.  I started naming emotions (#YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf!) - he was thrilled to inform me that the emotion he'd been feeling was curiosity!  As in: I am curious how Mommy will react if I fling this as hard as I can!

If you ask him, he will gleefully re-enact the jar's flight pattern and show you where it hit, where the lid popped off, the trajectory of each bounce and where it finally landed.

I put him in the time out chair, which happens to overlook the spill.  I walked into the next room to count to ten and take deep breaths and all that jazz.  While I calmed down, Bear kept up a lively status report regarding the actions of his 13 month old brother.  Highlights included:

- Mooommmyyy!  Dude is walking in the glitteeeeerrrr!
- Moooommmmyyy! Dude is eating the glittteeerrrrrr!
- Moommmmyyyy!  Dude is making glitter footprints all down the haaaaaallll!

It's been 6 months.  I'm still finding glitter.

In case you're wondering about stain removal, of course I tried all the things. Yes, that one.  And that one.  That one, too.

Eventually, we named the stain Where The Zombie Died.  I put a throw rug on it.


  1. This is seriously the funniest thing I have read in - about - EVER. Trust me, someday you too will look back on this and laugh. I hope. :-)

  2. omg you have a talent for making this fun to re-live with you...and although I know how it really felt at the time, and every time you find more glitter in your washing machine because your feet took some to bed with you...you would be the only person that gets this...I am jealous...I miss glitter messes, paper snowflake parts that break the dishwasher (don't ask) and unidentifiable non-marked items stuck in the sump pump...(it is a hole..it has water...I had boys...need I say more?) I miss it horribly, so please, as your mornings seem endless remember they never ever come back again...(except when afternoon comes) love, a.m.

  3. I pictured this happening when I first saw the project. In my house it would have hit the wall for maximum splash, as have countless shampoo/bubbles/juice bottles. I think he does it for fun. I will never never NEVER tempt him with something as cool as glitter in a jar. I applaud you for bravery though. And optimism.

    1. It's the optimism that bites me in the butt every. single. time. : )

  4. That was hysterical! God love you for doing the project because it will always be a good memory (to a point)!

  5. And the best part is when you see a sparkle of green glitter on your husband's face?

  6. You're killing me. I can see this EXACT SAME THING happening to Team Stimey. Think of it this way: at least it wasn't a glass jar so you only had to deal with glitter and glue and ugh instead of shards of glass as well.

    I dare you to make another one.

    1. Bear asked to make another one before we'd even cleaned up the spill. I got some E6000 and I'm almost ready to try again, but I'm having trouble convincing my husband : )

  7. Hilarious! Thought prob not at the time. Using terms like surface tension and viscosity? Only you!

  8. So sorry your carpet looks like a descendant of the incredible hulk and a fairy puked all over it, but your writing style and the situation has me laughing SO HARD my stomach hurts!!!! I've never come across any of your posts before, but I'm hooked ^_^ Are you by any chance also on the spectrum, no offense meant, my wife and i are both aspie, and your quirkiness is so uniquely familiar and comforting LOL Have a great day, thanx for sharing this(piss my pants Funny) story! ~Amber

    1. LOL! No, I don't happen to be on the spectrum, but I do have significant anxiety, compulsive and sensory issues. You can see the social piece clearly on my husband's side of the family, so with that combo our kids are no surprise.

      It took my son being diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and anxiety disorder and a therapist helping us with his compulsivity and rigidity for the light bulb to go on for myself... I just thought everyone needed everything they owned to be perfectly organized and were consumed with how wrong their socks felt : ) Now that I understand my own challenges better I'm grateful that I share so many of them with my son, because it helps me help him.

      Thank you for reading!

  9. Where have you been all my blogging life?!?! I am dying of laughter here!! Not at you...totally not at you but because I can sooooo see that happening to me and my kiddos. I've been tempted to do the glitter jar too and now I'm REALLY debating it...I'm totally adding you to my Handbook list

  10. Oh, Michelle! "Where the Zombie Died!" This post is freaking hilarious! LOVE it.

  11. Love the post. I could see that happening at our house as well. Just as an FYI, glycerine is usually in the medical supply section, tucked away on some bottom shelf, looking exactly like the (different) items on either side of it, in a blink and you missed it kind of way.

  12. Hahaha, I tried a variation of this project, except the post I read recommended using a plastic water bottle (instead of glass) and we had to buy multiple kinds of super glue before we got one that truly kept the lid on :) I am NOT crafty so I had to buy all the supplies just for this project (I had to ask a friend where you buy things like glitter glue!) and I ended up more excited about the end result than my toddler did (which was good, because we had to keep letting the bottle sit for the glue to dry, and then Daddy would try to get the lid off and Hey! Look at that! It came off again! Let's go buy another kind of "super" glue .... by the time the lid stayed on, my kid didn't care too much). But hey, maybe someday he'll dig it! :)