Warm Up with Wintertime Sewing

 To start off the new semester of Sewing Club, we stitched up some cozy wintertime accessories.
 I cut up some cute fleece into large rectangles, enough for everyone to get at least 2 pieces.  We discussed the stretchy side of fleece and how it's not only soft, but doesn't fray!
 A favorite project was the Hat Attack! from Sewing School.  The addition of pompoms on top are just too cute!
A super fun cowl was made from stitching two pieces of fleece together.

Did you know that if you sew one rectangle up on the long sides, you have a quick muff?!  Thread some yarn through it and tie it around your neck, then tuck in your hands. Ahhh....toasty warm!
 Wristwarmers are so much fun!  Click here for an easy tutorial.  This time, however, instead of leaving a thumb hole during the sewing process, the kids just sewed up the sides and cut out a slit to stick their thumbs through - much easier!
Stay warm this winter!

100th Day of School Fun

 Only three days left until the100th day of school.  My time has flown....

Last year, we had fun in 2nd grade building with 100 solo cups.  In fact, this activity continued throughout the year.
I've posted a few times about the 100th day here and here if you are looking for a few fun ideas.

Sewing with The Mitten

 What fun we had at Toddler Sewing Club last week!  We stitched up these adorable mittens inspired by Jan Brett's The Mitten, a winter favorite!

So much is going into this simple activity.  The kids are learning basic sewing which strengthens fine motor and focus skills, animal and color recognition, sequencing, and story re-telling!  Whew!
Materials are simple  - we used low-loft batting for the mitten, plastic needles, and lacing strings.  The Mitten templates came straight from Jan Brett's awesome website.  I copied the animal template onto cardstock.
 First, we read the book to the group.  We had several copies on hand for repeated readings and sequencing.
 Next, we sewed up the mittens.  I had them ready to go with a needle and thread attached to a set.  The plastic needles slide right through the batting and the kids really feel like they are sewing fabric.
 First time sewers had a little support from parents.
 Next, the kids colored the animals.  I ran them off on cardstock then cut them out and punched a few holes into each animal.  Older kids could easily do this step themselves.
 Lacing the animals together was a lot of fun.  Some kids really focused on the order of the animals from the story, while others just wanted to put them together.  If you are focusing on sequencing, it would be easy to number the animals before copying them.
Time to put the animals into the mitten!
As a goodbye, we gave each sewer a pair of small mittens of their own to take home.  They were so excited!

I'm sure there will lots of retelling of The Mitten this winter!

Recycled Draft Dodgers's been cold outside.  Our 100 year old house has so many cracks and drafts it's crazy!  I whipped up a batch of these recycled draft dodgers using Phoebe's old tights and stuffing them with old T-shirts.  They are the perfect length, plus super cute!
You can make them too.  Cut a pair of tights into two legs.  Then, stuff the leg with old T-shirts, clothing, or other fabric until it's nice and plump.  This is a great job for kids - mine had fun cutting up old shirts and stuffing the "snakes."  Next, handsew the opening closed.  I used craft thread, but any thread will do.  When you get to the ends, just tuck them under and stitch closed. You could add a little face at this point, but we were cold, so I just put them in front of the doors pronto. Wow - what a difference!

Stay warm!

Birthday Autograph Pillow

A personalized autograph pillow is a perfect gift for any birthday boy or girl.  Simple and cute, plus a lifetime of memories!

This little pillow was sewn for a fun sewing birthday party we hosted recently.  I used the pattern for the Secret Message Pillow in Sewing School 2, but instead of a pocket, I added a felt number 7 with a zig zag stitch.
The back is a cute coordinating fabric in lighter colors so that party goers could sign their names using fabric markers.
Happy 7th birthday, sweet girl!

I can't wait to make more of these for upcoming parties!

Sewing Birthday Party - Favors

These awesome pincushion favors that Mrs. Shannon made for our recent sewing birthday party deserve a post of their own!

She used short, wide-mouth mason jars and created a pincushion top using a tutorial like this one.  Then, she filled the jars with adorable button shaped soaps!  (She scored hers from Zulily.) You could also fill the jars with sewing supplies, buttons, or chocolate buttons.

The girls were so excited to receive their special handmade gift as they left the party!

Sewing Birthday Party!

 We hosted another fun birthday party for a sweet 7 year old girl.
 She loves making stuffies, so we decided to sew the Your Little Friend Doll from Sewing School.  I love this project because it is always cute and kids have so much fun making it their own.

 Careful thought also went into the face - should they use buttons, ric-rack, thread, or draw it with fabric markers?!  Decisions, decisions!

What fun!  I hope these girls keep sewing!

Stay turned for more sewing party details in my next post.

Batting as Fabric

This winter I have discovered a new fabric - batting!  Traditionally used in the middle of quilts, it also is perfect when stitching up winter crafts.  I used low-loft batting because that's what I have on hand, but I would think a thicker batting would give you better coverage.

Do you spy the batting above as the Santa beard and mustache?
It's pretty easy to work with and you can cut it just like regular fabric.  I also discovered that plastic needles slide right through it making it ideal for my upcoming Toddler Sewing Club project, The Mitten.  (More on that to come!)
The trick to sewing with batting, is that it can tear and be stretchy, so you have to think about how you can use it.   Like, I wouldn't make a batting purse and fill it with heavy things.
It's perfect for stitching up a sweet little snowman!

I'm sure we'll have fun finding more uses for batting this winter sewing season.  Do you have some ideas?!

Holiday Stitch-N-Snack

The Kids' Holiday Stitch-N-Snack workshop last weekend at Sew Memphis was full of holiday cheer and merry making!
 What fun we had sewing Santa pillows, holiday aprons, and little ornaments!
 While I had several project ideas, sewers were also encouraged to use the materials to stitch up their own holiday creations.

 Oh, did I mention the treats?!  Mrs. Shannon outdid herself this time!  I love how she put out the ingredients and an example then allowed the kids to "create" their own treats.
Happy Holiday Sewing!

The Little Spark: Blog Tour

I am so pleased to be part of the blog tour for Carrie Bloomston's new book The Little Spark:  30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.  When reading The Little Spark, I felt like Carrie was sharing her secrets for her own success - how she finds her spark amid all the chaos of everyday life.  The book is realistic and understands what it's like to have a million and one things going on, but yet the need to speak your creative voice, no matter what that may be.  Part journal, part cheerleader, part advice, The Little Spark will give you the inspiration and tools to start (or finish) your own creative journey.  I love the interactive element of the book - you can write down your thoughts right then and there.
My favorite spark is "Inner-Kid Care".  As a teacher and parent, I'm always fascinated by and careful with this precious gift of childhood.  It's that sacred time when a kid still has that creative spark where anything is possible.  When writing Sewing School, I wanted to nurture that in children by having the "nothing has to be perfect" rule and "Make It Yours" sections.  When exactly do kids loose this gift and become concerned about others and "perfection"?  Talking with Abby Glassenberg on the While She Naps Podcast, we mourned the loss of creative innocence.  In The Little Spark, Carrie calls for its return and encourages adults to find that wonderful bliss once again.  I think I conjure up my inner-kid spark each time I sew.  In fact, I feel myself getting perhaps a little bit "too grownup" when I haven't sewn in awhile.

So, you need this book - right?!  Carrie is hosting an awesome giveaway on her blog  until December 9.  So head over there and leave a comment.  While you're there, check out her book trailer, DVD, and peek at the posts from all the other bloggers on the tour.

OK, I'm off to sew and tap into my inner-kid spark!