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This Forsyth County paper flower artist found a new outlet for her craftiness: DIY projects for kids
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These Spider-man and Pikachu decorated bookmarks are one of several projects that Forsyth County resident Preksha Khare has created for local families to make while at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic (Photo courtesy Preksha Khare).

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Preksha Khare expected to stay busy with her work as a professional crafter. The Forsyth County resident is the owner of Craftworm Creations specializing in handmade chic flowers created out of paper.

When the pandemic brought Khare's business to a halt, she found a new outlet for her crafting: online video tutorials of easy-to-make projects for kids. 

With her own kids as costars, Khare guides viewers through a new child-friendly craft each week. The videos last between 3-6 minutes and provide step-by-step instructions. She posts them to her Instagram and YouTube pages. 

Each project is designed to be quarantine-friendly, as well, using basic supplies that can be found around the house.

"You have scissors, you have paper, you have glue at home," Khare said, "and that's all you need to start a craft with."

For project ideas, Khare uses her own childhood for inspiration. She grew up enjoying crafts. She made bookmarks and hand puppets and paper "fortune tellers." Khare has published videos on how to make all three, but with "a new twist," she said. The bookmarks are decorated like Spider-man or Pikachu. The fortune tellers play a game of "which Disney character are you?"

"I thought, how can I make it exciting?" Khare said. "How can I make it new?"

Khare also uses her own children for inspiration, too. Her son, Ayaan, is "obsessed" with the kids show PJ Masks, so Khare has a video on how to make a mask like the main characters wear.

"That's the only thing I'm thinking about: what would my kids like," Khare said, "or what would they play with?"

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Preksha Khare, with her kids Ayaan (left), and Aarika, has used her crafting skills to produce video tutorials on easy-to-make projects for kids and families while at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic (Photo courtesy Preksha Khare).

Khare's craftiness was a mere hobby until a few years ago. When her daughter, Aarika, turned 1, Khare decided to decorate the birthday party with paper flowers. Khare learned the craft by watching videos online and was hooked. 

Two years later, the owner at Aarika's daycare asked Khare to make paper flowers for an event --- and paid her. 

"I was not expecting that," Khare said.

Encouraged, Khare set up an online presence, including a shop on Etsy. That's where Neiman Marcus, the legacy department store company, discovered Khare's floral creations six months later. They contacted Khare and hired her to make 25 two-foot flowers for the background in their spring catalog photos. Neiman Marcus liked the flowers so much, they hired her to make more for another photoshoot.

Khare's craft business quickly took off, with orders from near and far to decorate nurseries and weddings and company events with her flowers, until the pandemic began. 

"Just like that, this thing happened, and everybody was at home," Khare said. "I was not able to work or anything."

With schools closed, Khare's shifted all of her focus toward helping her kids. Khare planned to design some craft activities for them, but she saw even more potential in the art videos her daughter enjoyed watching.

"I thought, let's do the same concept," Khare said. "Instead of art, I can make crafts."

Khare decided to test the idea on Aarika's first-grade class at Whitlow Elementary School. She designed a hand puppet project and recorded Aarika hosting the tutorial. Khare edited the video and sent it to Aarika's teacher and classmates. 

The next week, Khare received emails from parents with pictures of Aarika's classmates making the hand puppet.

"I got a really good response," Khare said.

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Preksha Khare's daughter Aarika Srivastava, 7, a first-grader at Whitlow Elementary School, poses with some of the hand puppets designed by Khare. The Forsyth County mother and professional crafter has been releasing tutorials for easy-to-make crafts that kids and families can do at home during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo courtesy Preksha Khare)

The effort is more regimented now. Khare schedules the projects a week out in advance to allow herself time to record and edit the videos. The next project is a doctor-themed "thank you" card, Khare said.

The experience has helped Khare appreciate her own children's creativity and take joy in their sense of accomplishment after every completed project.

She hopes her videos do the same for other parents and families.

"This is a great way to show people how we can utilize this time," Khare said, "and spend time with your own kids, have fun with your own kids at home."