Sewing together

Ella and I have embarked on a slightly more structured homeschooling journey this year.  While I’ve always had a Waldorf-inspired home, with lots of song, outdoor time, natural materials, open ended creative play, and child involvement in homemaking, this year we’ve been making time to do more formal Waldorf “school” which usually involves circle time, a story, and crafting or handwork.

Last week, I came home from the library with Amy Karol’s book Bend the Rules Sewing, and flipped through the pages with Ella, who instantly wanted to create something.  Napkins seemed like the easiest idea until I realized that the hem would provide a challenge to me (I am really quite new to sewing and don’t like anything smaller than a 1/2″ seam allowance!).  So we decided to create a place mat together.  Nothing is more fun to this five year old than to be let loose in mama’s fabric bin.  She held up endless combinations of background and accent material, until we narrowed it down to a purple plaid and turquoise floral!

It was Ella’s first time using an iron, and she was somewhat hypnotized by the process.  Over and over the fabric she would go, smoothing it out just so, and then flipping it over and doing it all over again.  I cut the pieces to size, she ironed and ironed and ironed.

Ella sews2

Piecing the place mat together was relatively simple, so she and I worked the sewing machine together, with her on my lap.  After an hour or so, we had it finished!

Ella sews

It’s a tiny bit crooked, the seams are definitely not even, and heck, it’s not even centered!  But we created it together, it looks beautiful on our table, and I didn’t even let my creative control freak side get the best of me!

What are your favorite crafts to do with kids?


** Joining Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On today.  Head on over there for more crafty fun!


In the wake of the Newtown, CT tragedy, it has felt somewhat trivial to imagine sitting down at this computer to share crafts or stories about my children; like everyone else, I’m just trying to make sense of this senseless tragedy.  Yet when I think about the ways in which I bring peace and joy and love into the world, it is through creativity.  I love to create, to share my love of the arts with children, and to teach others how to engage with their creativity.

These days, it seems like I am doing nothing but creating.  We are blessed with a Winter Solstice baby; on Friday, Ella will celebrate the return of the light AND her fifth birthday!  I’ve been hard at work on her handmade birthday gifts and also a few Christmas gifts  (which I know I will not finish in time – the sweet Little Oak knit sweater, for instance.)

After making a birthday crown for Everett, I was really inspired to do the same for Ella.  I roughly followed this tutorial for sewing guidance, and did a lot of hand stitching and free-form cutting.  I’ll share a better photo on her birthday, but here are a few details:

Crown1 Crown2

Ella has some very clear ideas about her birthday party, for instance, she wants 5 kids to attend since she is turning 5, but my own parameters are this: simple and sweet.  I’m imagining a craft, a story, cake, and a very short treasure hunt.  Weather permitting, I think these little gnomes will be hiding outside, waiting for their new human friends!

Gnomes1 Gnomes2

(If you’re interested in a little tutorial on how to make these little gnomes, let me know.  They are really fun and easy to make!)

What kinds of crafting are you up to this week?


***Joining the fine crafty folks at Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On!

Hand sewing

There is something so sweet and satisfying about hand-sewing.  I am a very beginning sewer (like, I still need the instruction manual to operate my sewing machine). But somehow the idea of stitching something by hand seems infinitely more do-able. I can pick it up here and there, it makes no noise, and it is something I can do with two kiddos underfoot. Perfect!

So this week, in the spirit of keeping calm, crafting on, I worked on two little handsewn projects.

The first was from a sweet little tutorial over at Clean.  Ella was excited about the idea of a treasure hunt, and these little pocket eggs can be filled with whatever kind of treasure you wish!  She created the adorable triangles and cut out the hot pink egg herself!

The second project was for a new baby friend of ours.  A lovely little baby sister for Ella’s best friend.  I tried my hand at my second Waldorf baby doll, using an upcycled t-shirt for the body and hat.  She is so soft and squeezable!  I would add a bit more wool to the head next time, so the chin skin doesn’t pucker so, but I’m totally in love with making these little dolls.

Happy Crafting!