Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun with Fabric - fun for whom, exactly?

You know those moments where you hit upon a great idea and say "I will set the world on fire with this one. I must act upon it immediately", even though the better part of you is saying, "Sleep on it first, for the love of God. Sleep on it"? Yeah, those moments are such fun to look back on with the knowledge of experience.

A bit over a month ago I was innocently emptying my second graders' backpacks and found a form asking for volunteers to teach enrichment classes after school one day a week for one hour. Because I often do this mundane backpack emptying task while the girls are doing homework while I make dinner while it is indeed cocktail hour, I feel there must have been an adult beverage present when I said to my husband, "I should do this. I can teach a class to 1st and 2nd graders where we can make no-sew projects and I can work down some of my stash. We'll call it Fun With Fabric and dadgumit it will be a blast and a half. Sign me up! Girls! New spelling word to work on - dadgumit. Now where is that wine bottle?" To DH's credit, he hid his eyeroll well.

Flash forward, three classes now under my belt out of the six scheduled and I wish to kiss the feet of every teacher, dance instructor, Girl Scout leader, Sunday School teacher, etc my daughters have had, do have, or will have in the future. And I only have 12 kids, all girls, mostly very sweet and sometimes well behaved if a bit quick on the potty humor, all very enthusiastic, many of them, including my own two, really loud, all competing for my attention and magical scissors for one hour and I wonder if I will survive the next 3 classes. I truly do not know how teachers do it, and I am in desperate need of ideas for teacher Christmas gifts which will show my true adoration.

Anyway, despite being a bit overwhelmed by the intensity of excitement from my adorable students, I do have to say it is going fairly well, even as I am certain I won't be running the class again this school year. Or possibly ever. The first class we made fabric frames, where we wrapped fabric strips around a wooden frame and then jazzed it up with some jewels. Note how fabulous my sample is.

Here is where I should be able to say "Note how adorable and stunning Paige's is", but alas I cannot, because the project was so very special to her that it has already been lost. Suffice it to say mine was better anyway.
We also made some refrigerator magnets out of the same materials (fabric and jewels) using small tiles that were my kitchen backsplash in a former life. Reduce, reuse, recycle, peeps! Even if it means having to redo your entire kitchen so that a few kids can have a craft project! Note Eva's gorgeous creations:

The second week, we made Halloween placemats from fabric strips (maybe I should have called the class "999 things to do with fabric strips") woven together that I then ironed between two pieces of Heat n Bond vinyl. Each girl got to pick a pumpkin, ghost, or witch hat to decorate it with, too. I do not recommend this project, adorable as it is, for a group of twelve 7 and 8 year olds. Too much waiting for turns with me and my iron to get the vinyl on, clearly every last one of them had had an entire bag of candy for lunch, and weirdly, not one of them knew how to weave. What are my tax dollars going toward at this school anyway? Is the art teacher focusing solely on having the kids use her lifesized Alex Rodriguez cardboard cutout as a model for sketching? (Totally kidding Mrs. D. We adore you and forgive your Yankee-loving transgressions. In theory. ;) ) But really, am I the only one shocked that they didn't know how to weave? Mental note: check investment portfolio to make sure I am not heavy in those potholder craft kits.

In any case, they turned out cute despite all the insanity. Admire them here as best you can in this fuzzy photograph, because I will never run this particular project again.

Today, day three (we're half done! Happy dance!) we made tooth pillows from fleece. After last week, I shuddered to think how many of them might not know how to tie a knot. That wasn't the biggest problem, though. The problem was that most of them have lost all their teeth already. When I told them I was 8 before I lost my first one, I thought I would have to scrape them up off the floor. Lucky for them, the tooth pillow will make a lovely gift for a friend or younger cousin. They turned out cute, with minimal fussing, but unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of one. You'll have to take my word for it.

So now I have three more classes and am not sure what projects to do next. Any suggestions? Sanity tips?


Lisa (Barriault) Guimond said...

I remember back in college suggesting you could put the English major to work by writing for Reader's Digest with your witty comments. That was so 1990. Thank you for providing another modern way to enjoy your humor and keep up with your activites.
You are a brave woman to volunteer for just one afterschool activity, but six sessions? Bravo to you! I hope DH is waiting at the door with your adult beverage when you return home. These crafts look so easy that even I could do them. Next time we visit my mother I will be diving into her scraps stash, glue gun in hand. Thank you for the inspiration.

Beth at Quilting Hottie Haven said...

Aw, Lisa, you are too sweet. I do recall your insistence that I should be sending stories to Reader's Digest - this is really so much easier, and no rejection. Love that this post is inspiring some of my not quite so crafty friends to wade through some fabric and do some of these projects. I wasn't expecting that, and it makes me happy.

Unknown said...

Beth, you are truly a hoot! Love this!

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