Crafting with Kids

So here in Central Florida it’s been raining nonstop since Friday.  Personally, I love rainy days as they tend to have a calming effect on me which makes them the perfect companion to a good nap.  But as a stay-at-home mom/author busy working on her next novel, I don’t have a lot of time for naps.  If I lay my head down it needs to be for hours, not minutes.  Unlike my husband, cat naps have never worked for me.

But rainy days mean something totally different to a child.  “I’m bored.  There’s nothing to do.”

“Read a book.”

“I’ve read all my books.”

Television and video games are not an option for boredom in my house.  “Clean your room. Do a load of laundry.”

That’s when the whining began.  Apparently, I was going to have to be more clever.  “I’ll bet you can find something in your room to do.  With all those toys you have?  Show me how creative you can be.”

Well that was the wrong thing to my say–at least to my daughter.  She hurried back with the bright idea to make a dress for her American Girl doll.  “Will you help me?”

“Of course,” I replied with a smile.  How can I not?  It was my suggestion in the first place, right?

Oh, the projects we parents can get ourselves involved in.  Sewing is really not my thing.  While I’m the creative sort, I prefer writing and drawing, neither of which entails being stuck by a pin.  Safety first is my motto!

But not hers.  And it doesn’t seem hand-stitching is her thing, either.  (Darling girl takes after her mother.)  After showing her how to size and cut the skirt, turn it inside out and sew the hems, she became roiled in frustration.  “I can’t do it!”

“Yes you can,” I replied patiently, though this was beginning to feel more like my rainy day project than hers.  “You just need to give yourself time.  You’ll get the hang of it.”

I didn’t want her to give up.  While she complains I turn everything into a “lesson,” I did want this to be a learning experience in patience and tolerance and practice makes perfect.  I’m a parent.  We all do this with our kids.  (Don’t we?)

The final product was primitive to say the least, but the fabric’s cute!  But when we couldn’t get the contraption to slip on–not up her hips or over head–I decided to cut the back.

“If you cut that, you’re sewing it back together,” my daughter warned me in no uncertain terms, then crossed her arms over her chest as if to underscore the point.

I laughed.  What else could I do?  She’d worked so hard on this thing and here I was about to slice it in two!  That’s the part you can’t see in the photo.  Hmph.  Guess I’ll just have to take my chances on that one, won’t I?  And I proceeded to cut.

She glared and I chuckled, tickled it had come to this–as if this would release all of MY frustration over this crafty little project of hers!  Besides, once back in school she’d forget the whole thing, anyway. 

Wrong.  American Girl was Saturday.  My Twinn doll was Sunday. 

Isn’t that pretty?  It’s her Christmas dress. 🙂 At least I’m still smiling!  It’s back to school Monday!


Posted on October 10, 2011, in Blog Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I bought my daughter one of those loop rug things that I did all the time as a kid. We went through several rounds of “show me” and “I can do it myself” which are the two catch phrases common to all projects we tackle together. Finding the right balance for us involves much patience and the knowledge on my part that it won’t be long before she doesn’t want my help with anything at all.

  2. Oh, Diane, that was the cutest picture ever of her in that little dress. And what patience you must have to sew and teach her how to sew! I hate sewing machines and would prefer to hand sew but even THAT isn’t my fave. And just the other day my daughter and I bought about 12 required patches that I have to sew onto her Girl Scout sash! AACK! Not looking forward to that one. Maybe I’ll try to teach her to sew at least one?

    • Like you, I did Girl Scouts (for years!) yet I don’t have a crafty bone in my body! But I do have good intentions and sometimes that will buy you a volunteer or two with oodles and noodles of creative genius!

  3. Wow I’m impressed! That’s a pretty awesome craft project. My daughter also constantly wants to do crafts with me, which, like you is great unless I’m trying to write. Also, despite the fact that I was a Brownie leader for two years, I’m incredibly un-crafty. It’s painful.
    Such a cute dress!

  4. Oh, what a fun project for you and your daughter. I would love to make doll clothes but I’m afriad I’d have your daughter’s patience. 🙂

    Up until age 13, our youngest son enjoyed arts and crafts. I taught him how to knit and sew, and put him into every art and craft workshop we had time for. He even spent three years in pottery classes and made some wonderful items we still display in the house.

    By the time he turned 14, though, he’d discovered cars. My husband lost the use of his garage to our son and his friends who spent hours and hours being grease monkeys but at least it kept them off the streets and out of trouble. 🙂

    • Unfortunately, neither of us have much patience either, but we lack in calm we make up for with passion and fervor — not to mention competitive determination!

  5. I just recently lived this day. Very cute blog.

    • Thank you! At the end of the day, it’s about the time spent together. Besides, I’ve decided perfection is overrated (and constantly remind my children when they pick at my dinner prep!).

      What? So I don’t always remember the buns, that’s still food on your plate! 🙂

  6. Such a cute project!!! Looks like you guys had a fun project!

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