Crafting with My Kids

November 3, 2012

in DIY & Crafts, Family & Friends, Kids, Parenting

Because of the encroaching cold weather, paired with my older daughter’s clear need (and desire) for focused, quiet projects that are somewhat challenging (in a good way), I recently headed to my friendly small-town Walmart to stock-up on crafting supplies for the kids – embroidery, hand-sewing, and art supplies, along with… food dye for homemade candies and play dough. It’s gonna be a long winter! But looks like it’s going to be a fun one.

Here are some of the things we’ve made/been working on so far:

Homemade play dough is glorious.

We made this homemade cooked play dough, using  this easy recipe from Clean. My girl and I made it this past weekend. My kids absolutely loved it.

I am especially pleased with this embroidery floss organizer, below, that now holds my daughter’s new embroidery floss and needles, her old jewelry supplies, and the expanded selection of hand-sewing thread.

Josie's second sewing and embroidery kit.

It’s cute, right?

Here’s the first incarnation of her sewing kit:

Her sewing kit.

As you can tell, it’s been expanded considerably since I first gave it to her a year ago – there’s also crochet yarn (something that didn’t catch yet  – although she’s been doing lots of finger crocheting as a part of first-grade handwork curriculum at her Waldorf school), and some cute quilting pieces for her to practice with (and buttons – not shown).

Embroidery, I must say, is something both of my kids got immediately hooked on – the three- and the six-year-old both. And while I myself had never embroidered before, very basic embroidery was real easy to figure out (thank you, You Tube), and I was able to show my kids how to do it without any trouble.

Here’s the list of the embroidery supplies I’ve gotten to get them started:

  • thick embroidery needles – easy and safe for little fingers!
  • cross-stitch fabric NUMBER 11 – the Walmart didn’t have a great selection, and available number 11 had the widest distance between the holes (I say, with little kids, the wider, the better). I didn’t necessarily mean for us to cross-stitch specifically, but the fabric, with its marked holes, is absolutely perfect for every kind of stitch for the little ones.
  • embroidery rings for each child (I got two medium ones, one really small one, and one bigger one)
  • a small selection of embroidery floss (about 15 different colors)
  • embroidery floss organizer, which’d go insane without
  • floss spools – I’ve gotten paper ones but I really should have gotten the plastic ones, which they also had, to keep our floss from tangling.

I didn’t feel like using any patterns at this point – I just drew whatever they asked to embroider – things like flowers, trees, and letters – directly on the cross-stitch fabric with a number two pencil. Like this:

Cyrus embroidering a tractor with me.

Course, a little boy’s embroidery project must include machinery.

I found it to be a wonderful form of bonding, too – embroidering with my little guy as he sits on my lap while I help him with his stitches is one of the sweetest thing we’ve done together.

My daugther and I also recently made this felt monster out of an old sweater the day after Halloween, when I kept her home from school to rest and come down from the sugar high:

We did it! A mother-daughter    post-Halloween collaboration.

Although this is obviously not Etsy-level (the most complicated thing I sewed recently was this floral headband for my baby), I thought the project was absolutely terrific for a little girl because she got to participate in every step of the process.

It started with her conceptualizing her future monster by drawing a few prototypes. I then drew a “life-size” pattern based on her drawing on a separate piece of paper and cut it out. Next, we traced the pattern on the doubled fabric with a shard of soap (which is SO MUCH better than chalk), and cut along the line with my proper fabric shears. Finally, we pinned the two pieces together all the way around and my daugther hand-stitched everything along the edge, leaving a small section open so we could turn the monster inside-out and stuff it with cotton balls (I later sewed up this opening neatly from the outside).

Such a great project for a little girl!

The torso of Josie's felt monster. She's sewing it with my help.

Here it is in the making – the white thread was used to create a temporary straight stitch to hold the two sides together while she put the stronger permanent stitches all the way around.

And then there was this:

Josie fondling her almost-finished diy tutu.

A really awesome no-sew tutu skirt – a little girl’s dream come true (I found the inspiration here). The tutorial of my own version coming up soon!

You know what else I really love about it all? I love how it shows my kids where toys and clothes come from, just like living on a farm and helping in the kitchen shows them what it takes to put food on the table.

All in all, it’s been real fun – my daughter even declared that I was really good at teaching crafts (which is hilarious, because I am not crafty at all). How often do I get to hear that?

I’ve also found this website which I can’t wait to explore for more ideas (especially this one). Gotta keep up with my cool-mom reputation!


1 Tori November 4, 2012 at 8:56 am

Wish I’d seen this before I bought 2 tutu type skirts off Zulily for my niece. But this could be a fun project to do with her when she outgrows those.

2 Sofya November 4, 2012 at 9:14 am

And that will happen pretty fast, too! I would say the total cost is about $10.

3 mamadragon November 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Love the little monster your little girl made. My girls have been sewing donkeys. I do not know why they choose donkeys, but it is fun to watch them work out how to draw out a pattern and build these things. I love your idea to use cross stitch fabric, that is perfect! I shall have to buy some of that when we are int town next.
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4 Barbara Martin January 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Hi Sofya,
I’m a 69 year old Gramma. You are a delight to read. Thanks for sharing your talents and sweet personality with us. I just happened upon your website today and look forward to visiting again.
God Bless You and your loved ones, and Thanks! for sharing you with all of us out here. . .

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