Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Making things from boxes
This was what the little Teacakes made one day during half term. We have the most beautiful book that I've blogged about before called Green Crafts for Children by Emma Hardy, which detailed this lovely idea of making a shoebox house and some furniture. In the week running up to half-term we'd spent time looking through the book to decide what we should make and happily we all plumped for the same thing. And with advance warning of what we were going to do I was able to go out and buy special papers for them to cover things in (if only I'd remembered to get them some little matchboxes too, as we ended up having to de-box the contents of my make-up bag in order to make drawers and sofas).
They made all the items for it together, but Zebra-girl was in charge of picking the colour-scheme, decorations and sewing a pillow for the upstairs and Dinosaur-boy selected his choice of fabrics and wallpaper and made sofa cushions for the downstairs. I love it when he sews as he concentrates so intensely that his breathing sounds like Darth Vader's.
We had such fun, but, like many of the things in the book, they look so perfectly made that the children aspire to a greater level of neatness than they are currently able to master without help. I often find that if they are shown an initial image of what something might look like then they are reluctant to deviate from it and their expectations around what the finished item should look like are far more perfectionist...which means that they insist on my being over-involved in measuring everything out properly, rather than experiencing the unbridled fun and creativity of more haphazard cutting and sticking. So in some ways I wish that I'd kept this wonderful book to myself and just used it to suggest ideas of what they might make...but they now love looking through it too much to hide it.
On Sunday Mr Teacakes gave Zebra-girl a cardboard box as a treat (it's so odd how universal it is that nearly every child's eyes light up at the offer of an old box) and she took it off to her room and closed her door (we found out later that this was because we may have objected had we seen her scissoring holes into the box risking possible injury in the process). She happily beavered away and made this lovely theatre. She made a long hole at the top so that she could drop scene changes in and another hole through which she could dangle characters on strings.
She then attached semi-circle boxes for an audience to sit in. And finally she wrote a script for Little Red Riding Hood and made characters and lots of different background scenes to go with it. On completion she invited me to learn some lines and help act it all out to Mr Teacakes and Dinosaur-boy and the audience in the stalls. It nearly made me cry seeing the care and imagination she had used in making it.
And just in case you're wondering...the scene you're viewing is when Little Red Riding Hood's mother asks her to take some food over to Grandmother...just before things get messy with the wolf.
Myself, I have made nothing from boxes, but I did make this cushion as a custom order for a friend's niece who lives in France. Here it is on Zebra's bed just before it went off to it's new home.
On Tuesday I woke with the sudden urge to de-stash. I have no idea why, but I went through my fabric drawers and edited it a little...then a couple of hours later I put lots of it back, but those things that I already have lots of, or just never seem to get round to using, I have listed on Etsy...just in case you're interested. There's some enormous pieces of suiting that might be good for clothing or bag-making, as well as some quilting-weight cottons that include prints by Tilda, Sandi Henderson, Joel Dewberry (some of these are measure a metre or thereabouts) and a couple of other bits and pieces. They are all in perfect condition, but as they've been in my fabric drawer they don't have that new-fabric-look like they do when they've been cut fresh from the bolt.
This week has been a week for things going wrong: fabrics being sewn back to front and general clumsiness on my part, but I have finally finished the quilt that I've been working on for the last day or so and it is now drying. To be blogged....
Hope you're having a lovely week.
P.S - And hurrah! Lovely Mr Teacakes has made me a new blog banner...I had made the last one myself without any help...apparently that much was obvious. I'm so pleased with this new one...much better.