Tuesday, August 22, 2017
This was a mistake. With the space I have, and the attention they require, 3 most the most I can handle. Possibly the most they can handle, as well. There was more squabbling this time - for space, for machines, for attention. Just for the fun of it?
But we still got a lot done.
The girl who started doll making last time finished a total of 15 dolls. She's going to sell them at the local farmer's market during Labor Day weekend, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. (It is West Philly, after all). The second girl made a tote bag/birthday gift and helped with clothing for the dolls, and her little sister (the quilter), made accessories and a very large bag to carry them.
The fourth girl, who only did the second week, wanted to make a dress. She showed up with 2 different fabrics, one for a dress for her little sister and one for herself. Since we didn't have patterns to fit, we just took her tank top and drafted a pattern from that.
I think we all learned a lot. They learned about sewing and the best ways to drive me crazy. I learned a lot about patience and how loudly I can bellow without scaring the neighbors and yet still be able to freeze 4 girls in their tracks.
Not sure if I'll be doing this again next year - we've been talking about moving, and it might put us out of range, but it's still a possibility.
I learned enough to know that I'd do it again, just a bit differently next time.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Two of my campers are sisters, 9 and 11. The 9 year old wanted to make a quilt. She'd made a few small patchwork pieces in the after school class, but she wanted something big enough to sleep under. I said sure, thinking, "She's 9, she'll realize how much work it is and find something else to do."
Nope, not this kid. It may be a little wonky-shaped, and some of her fabric choices weren't the best -- but at 9, I would have mixed fabrics with abandon, too -- but it's a quilt, it's big enough to sleep under, and she did it in a week. I'm really proud of her!
Some of the squares got decorated with patterns from my embroidery machine, which was in use as a reward for good work. Others have pockets, or drawings, or drawstrings from a pair of PJ pants so she can practice braiding.
Her older sister, who for a year has fought the idea of hand sewing, decided she wanted to make these hand-sewn felt dolls she'd found in a book. Because she learns best by repetition, she's now made 8 of them, and she intends to sell them at the farmer's market in a few weeks. The third student didn't have a specific project in mind, and decided to join in on the entrepreneurial project by making clothes for the dolls.
And because they're kids, in addition to the sewing and inevitable eating, there was some goofing around. It's not sewing until someone falls into the box of stuffing and can't get out.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
It's been interesting. In a mostly good way.
I don't have kids. I've never particularly wanted them, and this week has reinforced why that was the right choice for me. It's also made me realize that kids -- particularly smart, creative ones -- are pretty cool, so long as you can give them back at the end of the day.
There are 3 campers this session, 4 next time. They're all from my after school class, my favorites, the ones who worked hard and actually wanted to be there. Which doesn't make them any less than what they are, which is 9-to-11 year old girls, stewing in their own pre-adolescent hormones and with more energy than they (or I) know what to do with.
Tonight she's paying the price. She's been out cold like this on the bookcase for over an hour, with no sign that she's moving anytime soon.
Actually, I feel pretty much the same way.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
I'm not sure if I've posted about these particular dolls before, but if I have, now there are more.
I made the first African doll for a co-worker at a former temp job. Her granddaughter was looked after by a neighbor from Liberia who wore traditional clothing. She wanted her granddaughter to have a doll that looked like her caregiver, and to grow up knowing that friends -- and dolls -- come in all colors and costumes.
I posted a photo of the doll when I made it, and it sold before I turned it over to my co-worker customer. Thankfully there was more fabric, so I made her another.
After that, I made more and listed them on Etsy, and when the original fabric sold out, I found some authentic wax print fabric at the thrift store, and reached out to my sewing friends for any scraps they might have on hand. (Being sewers, they had scraps and were happy for them to find a home that wasn't theirs).
The doll on the left isn't actually authentic fabric, but I loved the pink/gold/brown combination. The green/white and pink/lime/black are real African textiles.
I don't always take these to craft shows because they list a little higher than the standard dolls, but when I did my a recent show in Swarthmore I took the 3 pictured here, and the green-and-white one in the center came home alone.