Tiny Houses

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We just finished up our all-school auction project. Last year I made a quilt with the kids, with the children each dyeing a piece of fabric. I paper pieced that quilt and it took many, many hours. So this year, we decided to try an art project instead. Since I’d always wanted to make a quilt of little houses, we decided to make a project with tiny wooden houses, each cut from balsa wood in varying shapes. The finished piece is 36″ x 48″, so each house had to be around 2″ wide and tall to allow 386 houses to fit on the wooden background.

Once I’d cut the houses, I passed them along to our school art teacher Kelley, who had each grade use a different technique to design their houses. Techniques included Pollack splatter painting for the youngest kids, Kandinsky houses with pastels for pre-K, Mondrian houses for kindergarten, plus pointillism, tissue paper overlays, paper mosaics, acrylic and sharpie, and black and white Zentangles. Some of the houses were representational and some abstract. Kelley did an amazing job with the kids and we were both surprised at how much detail they were able to get on these small houses. Then I painted the background with acrylic paint, glued each house on with wood glue and varnished the finished piece. I think that all of the individual and unique houses coming together in one project is such a sweet metaphor for our school community.

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The Week in Pictures

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I’ve been busy sewing for Quilt Market, which takes place at the end of October, so I don’t have too much to show you now. But here are a few photos that I posted on Instagram in the last week. Above you can see a big stack of my Garden collection and a peek at what I’m sewing for my booth.

I also worked with my third grader’s Brownie troop on their scarecrow to display at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which was such a fun project. The girls used Mod Podge to paste photos of themselves to a plastic pumpkin head, then I added (many) layers of polyurethane to make it waterproof. The girls made fake badges, which we laminated and sewed onto a vest. The girls wrapped dowel rods in yarn to create colorful arms, then we added flowers growing out of the concrete base and “planted” the scarecrow in a terracotta pot. I hope it will survive a month outdoors!

Sewing School 2

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Today I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing by Amie Petronis Plumley and Andria Lisle for Storey Publishing. I’m sure you already have their first book, featuring fun hand-sewn projects to get kids enthusiastic about sewing. This book is the follow-up with thirteen basic lessons on machine sewing, plus 20 projects. The thing I love most about their books is that the kids actually made the projects pictured in the book, which allows children to understand that imperfection is part of the learning process. They will have plenty of time to feel guilty about not living up to unrealistic standards of perfection later in life.

I worked on the Welcome to My Room door hanger with my 8-year-old daughter yesterday.

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We decided to use felt for the project and really the whole thing could have been glued together, but the point was to practice using the machine! My daughter had the idea to add a pocket so people could leave her notes. Then she suggested that we braid some yarn for the hanger, but we found a bag of finger weavings and decided to sew one to the back. I even let her use the rotary cutter to slice through the heavy-weight felt, though it required a little extra pressure from me. This industrial wool felt is thick, but I tested a sample, lowered the tension, and set the machine to a zig-zag stitch, then she sewed the project pretty easily.

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She wanted to add a photo to the opening, but she plans to also use it when she has very important messages to share with the family, like Keep Out or Dance Party Today! 

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We had lots of fun with this project and I think the book is an excellent way to get your kids started with machine sewing. You can see the blog tour schedule here.

Kid’s Clothes Week

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It’s Kid’s Clothes Week this week! Even though I rarely sew for my kids anymore, I enjoy following along with this seasonal sewing challenge. Above is a dress I made for my daughter a couple of years ago using Nani Iro fabric.

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Quick Crafty Round-Up for Kids

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Japanese Flying Carp from Squirrelly Minds.

Animal Candle Holder from Bloesem Kids.

Cork Bear Mirror from Hellobee.

Circle Watercolor Painting from Small for Big.

Balloon Hovercraft from Mini Eco.

Friendship Bracelet from Honestly WTF.