I’ve had a lot of fun sewing these little 25-minute totes for my kids, and now for a couple of their friends – they’ve been an easy go-to birthday present, paired with a drawing or card from Pearl. I’ve made a button version for Pearl and an owl version for Everett, and packed them up with books and art supplies for Christmas presents. They were a big hit!
Since then I’ve sewn a frog version with ribbon handles for Pearl’s buddy Ellie, and a rocket-ship applique on outer-space-worthy star fabric for her very best friend Rowan.
But now I am starting up a new round of my tote-sewing for Craft Hope’s project 16: the littlest warriors. Jade of Craft Hope has teamed up with Melanie – a friend whose son Pierce has battled leukemia for three years – to collect totes and soft hats and beanies for children fighting cancer.
You can make hats or totes from any pattern for children of all ages, babies through teenagers, and send them to Melanie (all info here). She’ll distribute them to the patients who need hope the most… a colorful, happy surprise present to make the days at the hospital a little shorter.
As Jade shared, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer every weekday, and 7 children die every single weekday, too. But there is hope. Pierce, who’s now four and a half, had his last chemo treatment on February 11, a day he’d been counting down to. As Jade wrote, he is winning! My mom is a cancer survivor and the kindness of friends and strangers alike has been a huge gift to her, one I am humbled to give back.
So this isn’t a Valentine’s Day post really, except that it’s about love. I have some Valentine’s posts and free projects to share here, here, here, and here. But the one I hope you’ll also take a look at is here – my simple kid-sized version of the Purl Bee’s 20-minute tote. It’s easy and you can stitch up two of them from contrasting third-yard cuts of fabric and two yards of twill or ribbon, if you’re so inclined. The deadline is March 12 and all details are over here. My goal is to sew and send five bags with little surprises inside, hopefully more if I have the sewing time. If you want to team up on shipping bags or hats from Portland, let me know!
Wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day, and of course a happy
152nd 153rd birthday to Oregon! Here are the valentines Pearl made for all the kids at her preschool, using some fun things from Collage…
…and writing her name on the back of each one! This was a fun and easy little Everett’s-nap project this weekend. She did everything herself except cut the paper up.
Speaking of Collage, they are having their grand opening party for the Sellwood store on Saturday, February 18! And our next PMQG meeting is this Thursday, February 16 at PNCA. We have some fun stuff planned this month, and I hope to see you there!
Happy New Year! I hope that your 2012 has been a good one so far. I just made a collage of my craft projects from last year and wanted to share it over here…
Lots of sewing! I think my favorite things I made are my denim wrap skirt, Everett’s birthday banner, and the plaid Pendleton blanket for my mother-in-law. I also love my Denyse Schmidt improvisational blocks, and I hope that I’ll actually get to piece them into a bed quilt in 2012. If you’re looking for truly spectacular finished quilt projects, check out people’s mosaics and posts on the Modern Quilt Guild FB page. (All of my quilting time went to Quilts for Quake Survivors, so my contributions were all just parts of a beautiful whole, so no finished quilts to show this year – I’m ok with it!)
Speaking of Quilts for Quake Survivors, I wanted to post an update over here, too. We are winding the project down this week after donating 30 quilts to survivors of the earthquake in Japan (March and April) and raising $2825 and counting for Mercy Corps’ relief work (May-now). A HUGE thank-you to everyone who has donated fabric, pieced blocks, joined or sashed quilt tops, sewed backs, basted, quilted, tied or bound quilts with us. We are so grateful for your beautiful work!
If you are interested, please go to our page on the Mercy Corps website and donate $150 (shipping is on us). You can donate to ANY cause you’d like the money to go to, not just Japan. Just state your preferred cause in the subject line. Mercy Corps will distribute the funds according to your specifications on their back end. Then you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the donation confirmation number and the number of the quilt and your shipping address. We will send you a confirmation email and ship the quilt within 48 hours via USPS. Also – if you’ve already donated $150 or more for end of year giving, you can send us the donor number and we’ll gladly send you a quilt as a thank-you.
After this week, we’ll donate any remaining quilts to Bradley-Angle House, a shelter here in Portland, for the women and children there. Thank you to everyone who has supported QfQ!!
I have a few more little things to share soon… like my favorite new hot chocolate recipe, and the finished 25-minute book and toy totes for Pearl and Everett (which were a huge hit on Christmas morning!). I’ll see you when I have a chance to upload some more photos!
I recently got a review copy of Jessica Strand’s new book, Holiday Crafting & Baking with Kids, and I love it. It arrived last Tuesday, and we immediately planned a couple of very fun crafty playdates for Wednesday and Friday with two of Pearl’s best friends!
The first project I saw that was right up her alley was the O Christmas Tree soft felt ornaments. Our Christmas tree desperately needs more cute, unbreakable ornaments – Everett has just started walking and he’s very good at it! This project is not only very 3.5-year-old friendly, it didn’t require a single extra thing from the store (I have a crazy stash of felt colors). Perfect.
We started with the kids (Pearl and her buddy Kirin) choosing the felt color they wanted for backgrounds. I traced a large jar lid and cut the rounds out with pinking shears, then asked what kind of decorations and shapes they wanted to add to their first ornament. The rule that worked well was that they could pick all their preferred colors, shapes, and sizes of felt pieces, but that I did the cutting and pinking. Then, once they’d placed everything just so, I glued the bits down and we cut out new rounds to decorate. It worked super well, and in just an hour or so, they had made six ornaments together! Here are Pearl’s. Two are similar to the ones in the book, but I really love that free-form circle one – she had a great time digging deep into my button jar for favorites to arrange…
Kirin made these three. That giraffe is spectacular (a collaboration between him and his mom!).
Then, a couple days later, Pearl’s friend Rowan came over for ornament-making part two. In the meantime, I’d made it to the craft store for googly eyes – Pearl announced that she wanted to make a Christmas present ornament that was looking at you. So she did.
Rowan made some great ones too – I liked the pipe cleaner hangers!
Holiday Crafting and Baking with Kids is an adorable book. Jessica mentioned in her introduction that she worked on it with her ten-year-old son Lucian, which I thought was so cool. They came up with 26 projects total, covering Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s – everything from table decorations, gift wrap and cards to garlands, cookies, and gifts. It’s so nice to see a book that’s meant for younger kids and bigger ones – so many of the kids’ craft books I have are still a ways out from my 3.5-year-old. This one is recommended for 4 and up, but many of the projects are very do-able for the preschooler. We want to try this one next:
Who knows how much Pearl’s snowflakes will look like the ones on the page, but I think they will be awesome – she was really excited to find special sparkly pipe cleaners at the store to bend and twist! The other projects she wants to make are the paper snowflakes, the brownie gift jar, and the happy New Year paper poppers.
After three weeks on the east coast visiting family, I got to sew today for the first time since mid-November! Oh, I missed sewing so much, it’s good to be back. Since time is always of the essence around here, I wanted to make a nice instant-gratification project, and also cross something off my holiday gift list. After a quick and lovely trip to Cool Cottons for two yards of bright-colored webbing, I was revisiting the Purl Bee’s 20-minute tote tutorial and cutting some fabric to make little presents for Pearl and Everett!
I made a few tweaks to the Purl Bee’s version (exact details in a minute). Since these are for little kids, ages 1 and 3.5, I sized the bag down a bit. I also lined mine and added box corners, just because I like those things in bags. The first one I made is for Everett – owls, lined with cheerful yellow gingham, and with one of my way-back tags sewn in.
Here are my changes, in case anyone else wants to try a kid version too: I sized all the dimensions of the bag down, using two 11″ x 12″ pieces of fabric (one set in outer fabric and one in lining – you can basically make two bags out of 2 contrasting third-yard cuts of fabric), and two 18″ lengths of webbing for handles (one yard total per bag). I followed their directions for the most part, but streamlined a bit since no raw edges would show, and added box corners 1″ in from the bottom corners of both lining and outer bag layers before sewing them together. I sewed the tag into the lining, then sewed the bag and lining together around the perimeter with a small zig-zag stitch. Done!
The finished bag is the perfect size for bringing a few kids’ books and toys along for a playdate or car ride. It’s not super strong, just two layers of quilting cottons (I wouldn’t lug groceries or free weights in it or anything) but it’s perfect for a child to carry around. Using interfacing or home dec fabric would make this a much sturdier grown-up-style bag. You could also add a patch pocket, a little zip bag on a ribbon, or a button closure…
Here’s what I’m going to use for Pearl’s version – buttons on the outside, dots on the inside. Love that bright blue webbing! For my sources – I got the webbing at Cool Cottons today, the button print is from Bobbin’s Nest this spring, the dots are Katie Jump Rope from Purl Soho (2007 or so), the owls are a Japanese import (also 2007-ish), and the gingham was a yard sale find.
Speaking of fabric, this is what else I got at Cool Cottons! So, so happy they still had a nice selection of Lotta Jansdotter left. I got enough gray to make a skirt, one yard of the yellow, and half-yards of the two smaller prints on white and the orange.
This weekend is shaping up to be awesome and busy. I’m really excited for the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Sale – hope to see you over there one of the two days, I will be doing the rest of my holiday shopping! Portland Modern Quilt Guild will be hosting an all-day sew on Saturday (free to members, $10 non-members), yay! And my friend + fellow PMQG member Heather will be teaching a super cool glass etching class (1pm, $10) at the Portland Bazaar on Sunday!
One more bit of news on the PMQG front: I’m so honored to follow the amazing Christina as our guild president for 2012! Heather, Petra, Nancy, Ale and I will be the new officers and I am so excited to be on the board with them. Hope to see you at our December 15 meeting at PNCA – it’s a holiday potluck with lots of treats!
I’ve been deep in a big non-crafty project (more on that in a minute), so I officially threw in the towel and didn’t make a thing for Halloween except chicken pot pie for dinner that night. Thank goodness for kind friends lending us cute hand-me-down lion and monkey costumes! So, no cool holiday or costume crafting this time around, but we had a lot of fun riding a train AND a boat at the pumpkin patch, parading with the little kids in the neighborhood, and trick-or-treating with Pearl’s best friend (also a lion).
I did spend a little time crafting non-Halloween things on Halloween itself, ironically – I finished up two ultra-simple wool draft snakes I started the day before to guard the drafty doors in our 1950 house from the suddenly chilly weather. This one, at my front door (which is a vintage style with a tilted frame base), didn’t work as a single snake… so I stitched up a second snake and sewed them together along the seams. Here’s a better photo of the fabric (Pendleton’s sagebrush pattern, from the Woolen Mill Store).
I love the one I made for the back door, which was all blue and orange Pendleton by-the-pound wool scraps left over from other projects, pieced together into a long row and top-stitched. That one makes me happy to look at. I’ll definitely write up a tutorial for both styles in the next few days if anyone else wants to make one, they are a nice simple instant-gratification project!
Speaking of happy crafts, Everett turns one next week (!!) and I’m working on a second round of birthday pennants for him – I just finished a name banner like Pearl’s and now I’m making another set in the same blue and orange to decorate the rec room for his little party. A November basement in the gray Pacific Northwest can use all the cheer it can get, so I’m excited to make another set. (I kind of think you can’t have too many pennants.) I will post all the photos on his birthday (next Tuesday!). So far the plan is pennants, cupcakes, and a 1 shirt and pants. He is fun to make things for!
And speaking of non-crafts – I am so happy that Multnomah County banned the toxic chemical BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles last week! After two valiant tries for broader statewide legislation that were each blocked by industry pressure, this local victory protecting kids in our county is awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who helped get us here, especially the 1,050 people who signed the petition I started on change.org (and the 20 of whom signed in person at our pediatrician’s office!). I was really proud to testify in front of the county commissioners at the public hearing last week and hand-deliver the petition, and we gave them a standing ovation when they voted 5-0 in favor of the ban. The Oregonian also spotlighted my letter to the editor on the BPA ban and the Safe Chemicals Act on the editorial page and printed it in full on their My Oregon blog, thank you!
I have a book review post planned for tomorrow and then I’ll write up draft snakes, birthday projects and anything else good I find a few minutes for after that. See you then!
I sewed something I really like as a gift last week and now that it has reached its recipient, I can post about it (now that the kids are asleep, and I’m not…)! I made a cozy lap-size blanket for my mother-in-law with some of the gorgeous plaid blanket-weight wool I bought for $5 a pound at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store a couple months ago. It’s perfect for reading or just hanging out on the couch on a fall afternoon.
I trimmed the remnant evenly on all sides (so it measured about 42″ x 52″) and edged it with the 1″ navy blue wool binding Pearl specially picked out for her Grammy ($1 a yard at the WMS). I used my Sesquicentennial blanket as a binding-style template and bound it with simple folded corners, double-stitching it – first around the inner perimeter to catch all layers, and then doing a second victory lap close to the outer edge. The WMS gives you a “Hand-Tailored with Pendleton Woolens” tag with a fabric purchase, so I got to sew that in as a finale and it’s beautiful. I will definitely be making more of these – they are awesome. Hello, Christmas!
There is a little more excitement around here to report, too! I was really appreciative that Beth from NW Kids Magazine contacted me a few weeks ago for a craftivism feature she was planning, and included an interview with me in the October/Halloween issue (which I picked up at the Children’s Museum last week – yay). Thank you so much, Beth!
She asked me lots of questions about my thoughts on craftivism, the community Quilts for Quake Survivors fundraiser I’ve been working on with Daniela, and my day-to-day and favorite things to do in Portland with two little kids. She also included the POW! ZAP! Magnets from World of Geekcraft as a free project extra in the issue, so please jump on that – a kid at the safety scissors level of crafting should be able to have a lot of fun with that one, with help from a mom, dad, or older sibling.
Speaking of Quilts for Quake Survivors, I’m so happy to say that QfQ is going strong and we are unveiling new quilts every M-W-F for the next month, thanks to Daniela’s fabulous photography and posting. Each quilt is $150 (“bought” via a direct donation to Mercy Corps) and you can choose any quilt you love, email us with your receipt, and we will ship or deliver it to you (US addresses only, international shipping will be extra, it’s out of pocket for us so I hope everyone understands…).
The other thing that is super awesome is that thanks to Mercy Corps, they’ve modified our fundraiser page so that you can designate your donation to go to any of their relief efforts you’re most drawn to (which Daniela had already said on our blog posts, but now it’s official). So if you’d rather make a donation to their crucial, current efforts in Somalia, Pakistan, or elsewhere, that’s great. Our hearts are always with Japan, but we know that Mercy Corps’ efforts have been global and we are proud to support them worldwide. There are 8 quilts still available (and counting!) and 3 have been sold in the last couple weeks. Just a peek…
Thank you to everyone who has donated fabric, pieced, sashed, quilted, tied, or bound our community quilts for sale. We love you!
The last week has been a busy one and I just finally had the chance to sit down and write about a few things I’ve been up to lately…
First, a super thrilling Quilts for Quake Survivors update! After beautiful contributions from many, many generous quilters jumping in to quilt and bind as the last leg of our collective bee, Daniela has been tirelessly taking photos of the gorgeous finished quilts.
Check the QfQ blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new quilts for sale. All you have to do is make a $150 donation to Mercy Corps (for their work in Japan or designated for any other disaster relief that speaks to you),
email us at email@example.com with a copy of your receipt, and the number of the quilt you want to buy! We will ship it to you via USPS with our deep gratitude. Special thanks to Nancy, who not only donated the lovely quilt top for Pretty in Aqua (below) but also bought it AND Lawn Chair (above), generously supporting Mercy Corps’ crucial work in Somalia.
Thank you Nancy!!! And thank you Daniela for the luminous quilt photographs.
Back to my house, I slow-roasted another 10 pounds of tomatoes from our garden and really wished I had one more oven rack. Wow, those are amazing (and so easy – I followed the recipe I linked, but with herbs of provence instead of coriander, which I don’t like).
Then I taught my wool baby quilt class at the Expo on Saturday (and visited Renee’s lovely Dressing the Part quilt again!). Thanks to Michelle who helped from start to finish, and the lovely folks at the Woolen Mill Store who had made the best kits ever, it went great. My version of the quilt pattern I designed is above,
there’s my class (a sell-out of 20 very nice people!),
and here are just a few of the quilt tops people made with the beautiful wool colors and patterns. I loved how individual everyone’s projects were – whether they were meant for a grandchild, a wall hanging, or a car quilt for chilly months.
It was super fun and I am excited to teach the class again at the Woolen Mill Store on Saturday (October 1 from 1-3:30, $40 includes all fabrics you need, and 2.5 hours means you should walk out the door with a finished quilt!). Speaking of the WMS, their amazing 30-80% off sale goes through Friday and I am so excited to buy some good things there tomorrow.
Then we drove down to Oregon City with Pearl and Everett for a (half) day trip. It was beautiful, a perfect late-summer-early-fall day on the river, and I took a bunch of photos. I think Oregon City deserves its own post but for now I’ll just share this one of the Willamette River from the bluff over the old Blue Heron mill, and this Western shirt pattern I bought at the library used-book sale for Everett. Can’t wait to sew this one.
On Sunday Andrew and I got a babysitter and I wore my favorite vintage Lilly Pulitzer dress out to the new Trader Vic’s! I can highly recommend the 1944 mai tai (they also make a virgin version if you don’t drink) – it’s divine. We also got crab rangoon and fried shrimp and it was pretty killer all the way around.
Then we went over to the Driftwood Room in the Hotel DeLuxe (Sunset‘s pick for best hotel in Portland!) and that was otherworldly. They’re running happy hour from 2 pm to close right now so all the delicious food and cocktails are on special. Really hoping to make it back soon…
I spotted this truly amazing Yoda-dinosaur terrarium at Powell’s for Cooks and Gardeners on Hawthorne (I was buying The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving for my Food In Jars class coming up, I can’t wait!) and got to talk to Megan and her co-workers about it. It’s so awesome! I wrote it up for Geekcrafts today, if you are also fascinated by this convergence of so many good things at once.
And to come full circle right back to quilts, here is my Habitat challenge quilt block. I’m not completely happy with it, to be honest, but I think it will look really cool in our PMQG collective quilt pieced in with everyone else’s blocks (which I liked better!). I wanted to take the “challenge” part seriously and push myself to use just the prints given. Solids were allowed, but that’s so my default that I thought I’d make myself do something different, even if it kind of overwhelmed my eyes.
I used Christina’s excellent double disappearing 9-patch tutorial for the four mini-blocks at the corners, and then added the necessary width and height to bring it to 12.5″ with an impromptu 2.5″ cross in the center. Then I turned off the sewing machine, unplugged the iron, and ran out the door to the meeting!
See you next week (or hopefully even sooner!)
I’m so happy to be today’s stop on the Sewing for Boys blog tour with a review and giveaway (read on!). Shelly and Karen have created a fun collection of 24 projects to make for the boys – or girls – in your life, from newborn to age 7, from pants and shirts to hats, belts, and Lego bags. There are full-sized paper patterns included for all the clothes projects, and thorough instructions and diagrams throughout. Be sure to check out the Sewing for Boys flickr group for tons of inspiring photos of reader-made projects!
I have my heart set on making the Treasure Pocket Pants for Pearl (as a good hand-me-down for my little boy Everett), but when I saw the To-Go Artist, I knew that would have to be my first SFB project and the one to show over here with my book review. (It didn’t hurt that Daniela designed the airplane fabric for this one – love it.)
My nephew Julian turned 10 (!) this year and though he’s a little too big for the clothes size ranges here, I knew he would love a portable mini-art studio.
I did a few adaptations to make it more him – left off the shorter crayon holder in favor of a larger one just for colored pencils,
kept it to one main solid fabric with a bright peace-sign print instead of using three different ones, and added a 10 applique on the front.
I also did a few things that made it more me – made a quick handmade binding tape to edge the top of the notebook holder instead of top-stitching,
and used a snap (with a button cover) instead of Velcro since I didn’t have any handy. I also added this little tag, which resurfaced from 2000 or so when I moved my craft room. (This photo also shows the truest color of the solid green canvas I used, a home dec fabric from IKEA that I also sewed Pearl a set of curtains with.)
Here’s another look at the inside. The only thing I wanted to do, but didn’t, was top-stitch the whole perimeter to finish as the instructions mentioned – I love top-stitching, but with up to six layers of thick canvas layered in a few places, my universal needle was not happy. So I hand-stitched the opening with invisible thread and it worked very nicely, it’s not quite as defined but it works. It’s plenty sturdy with all that canvas, especially once I pick up a hard-covered sketchbook to add…
So, on to the giveaway! Wiley sent me my review copy and has generously donated another copy of the book for me to give away to a blog reader, and I’m adding a piece of the print I used (Alexander Henry’s “peace” from 2005, which I bought around then at Michael Levine in LA and just cut into for the first time for this project!). To enter to win the book and fabric, please leave a comment on this post by next Thursday, September 22 (midnight PST), mentioning your favorite craft project you’ve ever made for a kid, and I’ll let Shelly and Karen pick the winner then!
Even better, for locals: Shelly will be signing books at Modern Domestic tomorrow night, September 16, from 6-9, and at Powell’s Books on October 22. Don’t miss Wiley’s author blog and tomorrow’s stop on the blog tour, True Up!
Our living room is my favorite part of the house, and I’ve been making a few new projects for it lately. Pearl and I had a terrarium-fest on the picnic table the other week and whipped up seven new terrariums (me – 5, her – 2, and I have to say hers are really awesome) so I wanted to come up with a new place for them all. I had a group of them on the dining room table for awhile, but then I moved them to the fireplace mantel in front of the big mirror there, and that seemed like the spot they really deserved.
We mixed in some plants in pots, little dishes of pebbles and shells, and three vintage deer that usually go on my Christmas mantel, and I love how they all hang out together. Pearl is also a fan, and I feel like it really brings the room something new and simple but beautiful (to me, anyway). There are five more terrariums we made, two big ones and three tiny ones, in the kitchen too. I’ve never been that good with houseplants but I love succulents and moss, and making little worlds inside glass is pretty much the best thing ever. Also, my vegetable garden is right out the window, so it’s kind of a nice feeling to look over and see everything growing there too.
I’ve also been on a mission to make some new pillows for our favorite couch, a 60s office sofa we found at Hawthorne Vintage that looks like it came straight out of Don Draper’s reception area. So I started playing around with a symmetrical cross pattern pieced from two super-soft Pendleton wool flannels. I tried a huge-scale cross that dominated the front from edge to edge, and one that was more tightly pieced (which broke up the plaid too much, I think), but then I settled on this simple framed cross version that really appeals to me. I love efficient patterns that don’t take up too much fabric but pack a visual punch (probably why I adore Log Cabin quilting so much), and I like the contrast of the bright plaid with the softer background.
The back is a piece of the striking Pendleton San Miguel blanket fabric (which I love too, and keep flipping around to the front so it shows). I think they really harmonize together. So, I’m really excited that I’ll be teaching this Cross Pillow class at The Woolen Mill Store, Saturday, August 20 from 12-2. The class is $45 and includes all the materials to make your own pillow – a 16″ pillow form, zipper, and three wool fabrics (there’s also another colorway for the front you can choose, a softer light brown and blue plaid with a cream background). Just bring a sewing machine with an invisible zipper foot, or rent one of theirs, and you’ll leave with a pillow for your couch that afternoon!
Speaking of classes, I also wanted to mention that PNCA has generously offered one $50 gift certificate for a blog reader to be used towards my Log Cabin Quilting class (July 16 + 17 from 10-4, regularly $195 before the discount). If you are free next weekend, and want to treat yourself to two days of piecing, quilting and designing, I’d really love to have you in the class. The first person to comment or email me will get the code which can be used for registration on the phone or online (I’m also posting this on my Facebook page). Thanks so much to everyone else who has signed up already, I think it will be really fun!
See you when I get back from Sisters…
Kathie Sever and Bernadette Noll recently sent me a copy of their amazing new book, Make Stuff Together, and I’m today’s co-stop on their blog tour along with the lovely Rachel Hobson! Make Stuff Together has 24 projects to create as a family, with tons of encouraging, helpful advice on crafting with kids of all ages, attention spans, and skill levels.
Each project, as Diane pointed out in her review, is broken into three sections so there are natural stopping points and kids can take a break before diving back in the same afternoon. The emphasis is on recycled and reclaimed materials and meaningful, personalized projects, and Kathie and Bernadette offer some intriguing thoughts on sparking and supporting kids’ creativity without overwhelming them or taking over.
How did you two collaborate on the book? Did each of you create certain projects independently, or did you team up on most things as a pair/with families?
Bernadette: For pretty much all of the projects we came up with the list together – we knew we wanted to really stay focused on things that worked towards building family connection. Then Kathie would sew and I was sitting right there writing. Writing up the instructions as she called them out and writing the text as well. It was a really nice process and a good way too for us to make sure we kept from getting too sanctimonious. We’re both good about calling each other on that one!
How old are your kids now?
B: Kathie’s kids are 7 and 10 and mine are 13, 11, 8 and 4.
Wow, that’s a great range for doing all kinds of projects. I’d love to hear your suggestions on the ones that are the most accessible to younger kids – my daughter is 3 and loves to make things, but some of the more advanced projects are obviously further out for us.
B: I’d say the napkin rings would be a good one to do with littles. Or, you could do the flags as a toddler project as well and let your little one do the embellishment on the white fabric. And in some of the others, perhaps have her sit on your lap and do some of the sewing? That’s how my kids all started sewing – by starting first on my lap. And of course, any of the burlap projects are good because you can do the hand sewing on the burlap, which is a really simple fabric for littles.
Do each of you have a favorite project from the collection?
B: I love the appreciation banner. To me this is one tool that can really transform family dynamics. If we are getting too cranky or overwhelmed, the appreciations are a great way to turn that around. Also, if I feel I, or someone else, is getting too “poor me” the appreciations can really bring us to a whole new attitude. AND, I also like the appreciations because it can help me as a parent get more of what I actually do want.
Kathie: My CURRENT favorite project (I’ve had many over the couple years this has been coming to fruition) is the game board and caddy.
I always forget what an amazing tool simple board games and card games are for just being with your family. Summer reminds me of these simple pleasures – and about the evolution of my own parenting skills as I learn to sit with a frustrated child who is losing a game instead of making it a “teachable moment”… plus checkers and backgammon (a game that Bernadette introduced me to) are just damn fun.
My favorite has to be the lunch tote, a hiking-ready bag with lots of compartments and cool bits and pieces. It’s at the top of the dream-project list for when Pearl’s past the burlap and safety scissors stage – I think she would rock out with that one.
Thank you to Kathie and Bernadette for the interview, and be sure to head over to Rachel’s blog for a book giveaway today! Also, they have some cool events coming up, including this one right here in Southeast Portland:
Cafe Au Play Portland, OR July 19th 10:30-noon
Kathie’s heading to Portlandia with a little crafty book signing at Cafe Au Play. Which looks like an amazing family place! Play, craft, eat and childcare all in the same place? Heaven. And even heavenlier with Kathie there signing our book!
See you there! I’ll be the one in the black and white Ramonster dress, which I snapped up the first time I met Kathie (we were booth neighbors at a way-back craft fair in LA… I think 2005?).