I’ve been away from here, Internet-land, I apologize. But in my defense, I have been spending the time well…
I’ve been crafting. A lot. And reading about crafting. A lot.
But I’m having SO MUCH FUN! Especially with The Beanlet.
I found this book at JoAnn’s called Sewing for Children which I was SO EXCITED about when I saw it. About a month ago, I had an idea to build my own “Make-a-Doll” & “Make Clothes for the Doll” kit that I would then wrap up for Beanlet for Christmas as a project we could do together. I can’t imagine giving her a cooler gift than time with me doing something we both like to do together. So I’ve been thinking about that idea and how really what scares me about the crafting of that particular project is the clothes. I want to be able to make a lot of different clothes for the doll. So when I saw this book, Sewing for Children, with two adorable felt dolls on the cover, I HAD to pick it up.
I’ve read it cover-to-cover twice already. And made copies of six of the patterns to wrap up for Beanlet under the tree. I’m having to totally refrain myself from busting the book out RIGHT NOW to show her. I can’t wait.
But the best part is the amount of confidence it gave me in my own abilities. Just a little bit of felt manipulated just a little bit and stuffed makes the cutest stuff ever! I got the book on Friday. Bought felt (you can find great stuff in remnants and in the kids craft section they have sheets of a bunch of colors for 29 cents each) for about $20 over the weekend. Then on Monday I flipped through the book again and picked out patterns and made copies. I also traced the templates onto cardstock so Beanlet could jump right into cutting out the fabric.
Then I had to hide everything because Beanlet was coming over on Tuesday 😦 But after our obligatory trip to the library, on the way home I asked her what she wanted to do when we got home.
Beanlet (B): don’t know
Me or Mom (M): you want make something?
B: I don’t know how make something.
M: you want learn how make something?
B: Make what?
M: don’t know — maybe doll, maybe toy, maybe clothes, maybe monster? whatever you want make.
B: I want make toy!
(For the uninitiated: Sign language, especially ASL, has a “cave-man talk” quality to it. This conversation is roughly verbatim signs. I’m not fully translating because it’s more fun to me to remember it this way when I can)
So when we got home, I was totally stoked because Beanlet wanting to craft with me makes me feel All Full of Happy like nothing else on the planet.
(aside: it is NOT an easy task to describe sewing terms in sign language. We do A LOT of indicating and pointing and pantomiming and describing. A couple of time we took a break to draw pictures to explain what we were trying to express – but it was totally worth it)
So, here’s my favorite part of the story:
I asked Beanlet what toy she wanted to make. This was a hard sign language conversation to have. But eventually I got that she was describing something full of water with a funny shape, like a vase. Racking my brain, I started asking questions about it trying to figure out what she wanted to make. She kept telling me it was like one a boy in her class had. Then I told her to draw it.
I kind of started to see something. “Like for science?” I signed. “Yeah!!!!!” She was getting excited too. She even vocalized that some, which she’s been starting to do more and more.
So I drew a beaker with water in it on a piece of paper (I am a pretty crappy draw-er but I can do simple diagram-like stuff decently). Beanlet got excited now and tried to copy what I had done on her piece of paper. But she started getting frustrated with her drawing not being exact like mine (at least I think that was her frustration). Simple enough solution: I ran my picture through the nifty HP All-in-One Machine. May the Almighty Whoever/Whatever bless that little machine.
So then we each cut out our little beakers and I had her get the felt box. (the old one, not the new one, she doesn’t know about and can’t reach the new stash–though I’m itching to get at it with her)
I grabbed some white and blue for mine. She wanted the same. Fine no prob. We each got a square of white felt and put the cut out “pattern” onto it with one pin each. I showed her the Special Sewing Scissors which she’s only allowed to touch with Mommy for now and that is only for fabric. We have plenty of other types of scissors for paper and other stuffs. The Big Purple Scissors (as she knows them) are a treat so she’s extra careful with them and knows the rules.
So after the white outlines were cut out. I cut across the “water line” on the paper beaker and pinned the bigger section down on the blue felt with a single pin. Beanlet was confused, but went along with it. So we took turns with the Big Purple Scissors again.
Then I showed her how you put the blue on top of the white and she asked if we used glue (making monster faces with felt you use craft glue or at least we did/do) and I said “no, sew”. It didn’t take much goading on my part to get her to pick out two colors of embroidery thread and I had her watch me thread the needle (we used tapestry needles that were pretty sharp so the eye was huge and relatively easy to thread). And we sewed.
I’m so proud of us.