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!

Sewing School DIY Supply Kit

I've been asked to give a quick and easy list for all the necessary supplies to compliment the Sewing School books.  Giving a book plus some supplies is the best - immediate sewing!  Without the supplies, it's like getting a remote control car without the batteries.

It's a good idea to put together your own kit and don't purchase a pre-made adult-sized one that is filled with tiny needles and skinny thread that your child will have trouble with.  Trust me, I've been through that frustration!

If you have a copy of Sewing School, there is a wonderful supply list in the introduction, but if you're waiting for the book to come in, this list will get you started.

Sewing School must haves:
craft thread
chenille 22 needles
LoRan Needle Threader
straight pins with large, round heads
good pair of scissors just for sewing

Fabric and other supplies:
felt squares
fat quarters of cotton fabric
notions like buttons, ribbons, elastic, trim

*Pretty much all of these items may be found at your local fabric/craft supply store.  For ease, I linked to Amazon above so that you may get a visual.  For more information about the various supplies, please see the "In the Child's Sewing Basket" located in the sidebar.
As for storage space, be creative!  There are lots of cute containers out there on the market or you could use an old purse, fishing tackle box, or even a tool box.  The important thing is that the container is big enough to fit all of the supplies (not including fabric) that your child will need for sewing.  The more organized, the more successful their sewing experience will be.

If you live in the Memphis, TN area, I have some official Sewing School kits that I've put together available for sale at The Cotton Museum, The Trolley Stop Market, and Sew Memphis.  You can even get it online at the The Cotton Museum!

Second Grade Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from my second grade class!  We had a lovely "Day of Thanksgiving" that I wanted to share with you.

Of course, we made yummy Oreo turkeys!  The kids joked about "eating the whole turkey" all day long.
 Making Thanksgiving Story Bracelets was a big hit.  They loved how each bead represented a part of the story and talked about how maybe they could write similar stories for Christmas.  I'm hoping they do!
 The kids were so super excited to make Woven Placemats.  
Since they are old enough, they followed along while I guided them through measuring, cutting, and weaving.
 I cut out the strips, but they did the rest and were so proud of it!  The placemats stayed on their desks all week.
 Currently, we are working on counting up to make change.  This wonderful Thanksgiving Feast activity was perfect!  I tweaked it a bit to fit my needs.
Hope your Thanksgiving is full of friendship and fun too!

Sewing Machine for Kids Buyer's Guide

If a sewing machine is on your child's wish list, I have a few tips on purchasing a machine that will get them started.

Whatever you do, please, please don't purchase a "toy" machine.  That will lead to frustration and sadness.  I recently saw this one that is "threadless."  It reminds me of a story Andria tells about having a sewing machine that used glue instead of thread when she was little.  Fun, but ultimately a disappointment.

The main feature that I look for when purchasing machines for kids is a drop-in bobbin.  I have found that this makes sewing soooooo much easier for kids. 

You know I love the Janome Sew Mini (don't pay more than $50, it often goes on sale at Hancocks!), bur I realize that it's not the ideal machine for everyone.  It's a good starter machine, but if your child is older or you would like to sew on it as well, purchase a full-sized machine. 

Happy gift giving!

Thankful Bunting

You'll want to make this quick and sweet bunting for the Thanksgiving season.  It makes me so happy!  This is the perfect addition to your mantle or doorway and can be made with a package of those fall silk leaves that are so easy to find right now and materials you have around the house.
It was a family crafting session at my house this weekend.  Look, the project is Dad approved!  Everyone drew on a square of card stock something they were thankful for.  We had a nice little chat as a family and came to the conclusion that we are very blessed indeed.
Next, it's time to string it all together.  I used skinny ribbon (3/8 inch wide) but yarn or wider ribbon would do here too.  This is a good project for a plastic needle, but any wide-eyed needle will do.

To sew the leaves, I cut little slits in them, however, if you were using a sharp chenille needle, you could sew right through the leaves.
Holes were punched into the card stock for easy threading.  Yes, fabric or other materials would work well here.  Like all Sewing School projects, the possibilities are endless!
Hanging on our mantle.  I am so pleased with this little project and know that it will be a memory maker for our family for years to come. 

I am making these as part of a Toddler Sewing Club at my school this week, so I'll be back to show you results from that.  Sewing with 2's and 3's is always an adventure!

Toddler Sewing: Thankful Bunting

 What a super fun time we had at Toddler Sewing this week!  Wish you could have joined us. Have no fear, here's some pictures to get you going and creating some Thankful Bunting with your little crew.

Before getting started, we read a few Thanksgiving themed books and talked about all the wonderful things big and small that we are thankful for.
 The full tutorial for making Thankful Bunting is here. Materials Needed:  card stock, crayons, silk leaves, ribbon about 3/8 inch wide, plastic needle, scissors, hole puncher.  Before starting, cut your card stock to about 8inch squares.  Punch holes along the top of the card stock squares.  Next, cut 2 slits into the silk leaves so that you can thread them.

Ok, let's get crafting!
 First, draw and color the card stock with things that you are thankful for.  Many families made individual flags for each family member. Some drew handprints which was quite cute.

 Crafting together!  This was totally a parent and child activity.  I love how everyone got involved and had fun.
 After the flags are drawn, it's time to sew it all together.  Little ones do so well with plastic needles to help guide through small holes.
 Let children find the holes and then "pull, pull, pull" the ribbon through.
Thanksgiving memories being made!  This week, we had a great group filled with grandparents, uncles, babysitters, and moms.  The kids were so proud of their accomplishments and had fun learning a new skill.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sewing Club Gives Back

 It has become a wonderful tradition to make a gift for others during our last Sewing Club session.  This year, we worked in pairs to make these sweet Scrap Fabric Crosses.  They will be given to the Grace-St. Luke's Episcopal Church's pastoral care and passed on to individuals who are in need of some TLC.
 The kids were paired up in multi-aged groups and had fun working together to make these special crosses.
They are so simple, yet satisfying to make.  Plus, they are a perfect way to use up scraps!  We pre-made the crosses with sticks for the kids.  A full tutorial may be found here.
Once complete, the pairs worked together to write a quick note to attach to the cross.
 I love the concentration and care that went into each cross and card.
I can't believe that the first session of Sewing Club is already finished!  We are already thinking of fun ideas for our next session which begins in January.

Halloween Stitch-N-Snack

 What a fun time we had at the Halloween Stitch-N-Snack at Sew Memphis last weekend!  I had a hard time editing my photos, so I just decided to share all of them.
 We started our day with a favorite book to get us in the mood and then made Jack-O-Hoops.  This project was the only "have to" of the afternoon.  I love giving kids the opportunity to make what they want to make.  Let the materials inspire!
 After a little sewing, fun treats were made and devoured!  Sugar leads to more creating.
 Quick costumes like the fat quarter cape and superhero mask were made.
 Halloween fabric inspired bags - with a button closure!
  Even moms got into the spirit and stitched up little handbags for themselves!
 But it was the treats made by Libby Shannon, my partner in craft, that sealed the deal.
Yum! Who wouldn't eat this skeleton?!

Want in on the fun?  We'll be hosting a Christmas Stitch-N-Snack on December 7 at Sew Memphis!

Tiny Ghost

 The Pocket Pal pattern from Sewing School makes a perfect tiny ghost that fits in your pocket.   Boo!