I hope you're feeling better! Things are so busy here, preparing for Christmas, shipping orders from my shop, etc, that I haven't had a chance to breathe deep and fully process the tragedy in Newtown, CT.
There are so many wonderful, eloquent, thoughtful essays and articles out there about it that I don't feel the need to add more to the mix. Let it be said though, that I have not cried so much and so uncontrollably in a long time, probably since I was severely depressed a decade ago. This horrible event seems to be affecting everyone more deeply than previous similar occurrences. Probably because of the shattered innocence. My personal processing mechanism is to focus on the productive and the positive (which is why you've seen "regular" posts around here) so I've been trucking along, trying to deal as best as I can.
My lovely friend Rachael told me about ABC's Of Love: 26 Ways To Pass It On, a blog project she is working on along with other crafty friends, to encourage all of us to find simple ways to share love within our families and communities. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to channel some of my sorrow for the victims and their loved ones into a productive and positive endeavor. I decided to contribute B for Bookmarks, and share a simple project I worked on with a class of kindergartners on Friday, weirdly enough, at the exact same time I found out about the Newtown massacre.
The curriculum in Ben's kindergarten class is project-based. Their current project is "Fabrics around the world". They've talked about different fabrics, their texture and purpose. Because of my "expertise", I was invited by the teacher to do a little presentation and a project. We focused on quilts, patchwork and the amazing possibilities of fabric scraps! I had prepped a little project the previous day, and we made fabric bookmarks with the kids. They could either keep their bookmark for themselves, or give it as a gift -- and they unanimously chose gift-giving. So sweet!
Here are the 2 bookmarks I made beforehand and brought as examples:
The materials needed for this project are very straightforward:
- 2 scraps of fabric, 2 x 6 inch
- 1 scrap of quilt batting, 1.5 x 5.5 inch
- 1 length of ribbon, 4 inch
I cut all the scraps to size beforehand, and starched and ironed them flat.
In the classroom, we separated into stations and rotated the kids, so I only had about 8 kids at a time at my table. With the sewing machine all set up, we made bookmarks! The kids chose 2 pieces of fabric and 1 color of ribbon. We made "sandwiches" with the quilt batting, folding the ribbon and tucking it in at the top, and I zig-zag stitched around their bookmark. The last step was to trim the edges with my scissors to clean up the bookmarks.
It was such fun, and the kids LOVED it! I found out that on Monday, they had a gift-wrapping session where each of them wrapped their bookmark. Ben's gift is under the Christmas tree now, with a big "I love Mom" written in marker all over it.
This would be such a fun project to make in an afternoon. Stitching each bookmark takes only about 30 seconds. So if you prep a bunch in advance, you could let your kid(s) choose the fabrics and ribbon and assemble the sandwiches, then get through a whole bunch of bookmarks in just an hour.
You can then give these bookmarks to your neighbors, donate a stack of them to your library, give them as teacher gifts, the possibilities are endless! The part about this project I love the most is that it is a quiet activity (well, aside from the hum of the sewing machine) that you can do with your children, AND it promotes reading, another wonderful quiet activity that you can do with your children. I think at this point in time, we are all relishing these quiet moments with our little ones, hugging and snuggling them for as long as they'll let us.
I feel that now-familiar pinch in my heart and the tears welling up in my eyes, so before I start crying again, let me share photos of my morning in the classroom: me giving my presentation and the kids playing with various fabrics and choosing their ribbon:
If you'd like to participate in ABCs of Love: 26 Way To Pass It On, below are some ideas. You can link up over at imagine gnats, Rachael's blog. You can see her project, Z for Zip Code here.
ABCs of Love: 26 Ways To Pass It On