Children Books About Sewing

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I would like to tell you about three great children books which all have sewing as a central theme: How The Mole Got His Trousers by Zdeněk Miler (we have it also in board book edition), Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow and Bruno the Taylor by Lars Klinting.  In all three books the main character sets out to make himself some new clothes and the reader is taken through the process. My boys love all of them and they sparked quite a few discussions about making our own fabric and cloths. Last summer we even planted some flax seeds in our garden  – no, we didn’t make linen, but we thoroughly examined the plant.

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How The Mole Got His Trousers by Zdeněk Miler: The little mole needs a pair of trousers with big pockets for all his precious possessions. He learns to take care of the flax plant and how to make linen from it. The animals around him are helping with harvesting, spinning, weaving, cutting and sewing. This story is originally a movie. It was Miler’s first movie about the little Mole and is very worth seeing.

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Pelle’s New Suit by Elsa Beskow: This book is about the  little boy Pelle who outgrew his cloths. He owns a sheep and the book shows how Pelle cuts the sheep’s wool and how family members help him to comp, spin, color and weave the wool in exchange for him taking over some chores. And finally the tailor makes him a wonderful new suit.  The beautifully illustrated books by Elsa Beskow are a treat for all children (and parents)!

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Bruno the Taylor by Lars Klinting: The beaver  Bruno (or Kasimir how he is called in German) needs a new apron. He selects fabric from his stash, washes it, makes himself a pattern and sews the apron. At each step it is explained what is needed, including some sewing tips and at the end instructions for how to make an apron oneself. The Swedish author created a series of books about the beaver creating or crafting different things (Bruno the Baker, Bruno the Carpenter, and others) and each time the reader is taken through the process and left with accessible do-it-your-self instructions.

This post first appeared on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

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Se7en’s great parenting tips

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Here is a great blog about parenting: Se7en is a family of ten with eight wonderful kids, all home schooled. Their blog describes what gets them going and what they do. What I find especially inspirational, beside all those great crafting, cooking and adventure ideas, is the “look behind the scene”: all those fantastic parenting tips from a mother of eight. In one of my absolute favorite posts The Mother Person (as she calls herself) gives twelve fantastic Parenting Tips by the Dozen for Raising Se7en+1 Kids… Go to the blog for those tips – here are just the headlines:

  1. Everything looks Better in Daylight
  2. Enjoy the Moment
  3. Your Kids Need You, Not Stuff
  4. Set Your Kids up to Succeed
  5. Equal is Never Ever Fair
  6. Not Every Moment Has to be Picture Perfect to be Perfect
  7. Children are Short, Not Stupid
  8. Expect Great Things
  9. You Wish Your Kids Knew How to do Something
  10. What they Don’t Know They Won’t Miss
  11. Your Kids Are a Team, Treat Them Like One
  12. Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke

Simplify in 2015

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The good thing about those All-Good-Plans-For-The-New-Year type of post is that it is always interesting to see at the end of the year how much we accomplished. The New Year is already well on its way but still young enough to make big and hopeful plans and define a motto for this year: Simplify!

Since we moved to a new home and with three young energetic boys around laundry keeps piling up, the fridge gets emptied too fast, somebody needs to clean and cook, and boys need to be brought to and from school and extra-curricular activities. We have still boxes unpacked, still trying to find the right place for everything. We have many ideas for wonderful projects and excursions and want to invite our new friends. It all feels like a blessed chaos, but I would like everything to be a bit more organized, thought through, planed and simplified.

Thus, it is my aim for this year to get everything a bit straitened out. Just a bit more organization and simplification might bring some calm into out life so that we have more time to enjoy each other and the things we do. And I hope that by the end of the year we have found our way of dealing with chores, projects and things.

And here are the four big things we want to simplify:

  1. Simplify the house: declutter and organize. Although we tried to get rid of many things before we moved, we still have way too much stuff (does our nine month old baby really need 18 bodies and 15 pairs of socks?). So there is no question that things can and have to go. This will be a real challenge and I am realistic enough to know that this process will need many rounds. Furthermore, many things still need to find good practical permanent places. Thus, my plan is to tackle one area a month and be done with one round within a year. This month I organize and declutter the office.
  2. Simplify housework: getting the kids involved into cleaning and cooking. This is probably no simplification yet, because kids are kids and many things are done much faster by myself than involving the kids. But I consider this an important educational effort. My boys should learn that a nice and clean home is a communal effort (no, we don’t have elves coming in at night to do the laundry). This year I will teach  the kids how to clean the house and let them take over some duties. We will also develop chore charts and schedules together (we started on this already – see pictures – but it still needs to be improved).
  3. Simplify daily life: developing daily and weekly routines. This goes hand in hand with the previous point. It is much easier to get everyone to help, when the demand is part of a schedule or routine. This year we will develop a (semi-) fixed weekly and daily schedule so that everyone knows when it is pick-up time, reading time, chore time, etc.
  4. Simplify our family life: planning our weekends and time together. And of course we want to have fun!  49 weeks are still ahead of us, plenty of time for wonderful projects. Each month we want to try at least one new recipe, plan at least one trip to a new location, have at least on big crafting project and invite friends over as often as possible.

Well, these are our plans to simplify and I am curious to see how we’ll manage!

 

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This post appeared first on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com.

School

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Much has happened during the past year: we welcomed a new baby, we moved to a new city, we changed jobs and our oldest started school. I am still adjusting to all while trying to keep up with everyday life.  Packing boxes and managing four men (two of which are still in diapers) did not leave much time to craft or post about it. But a few things I did make and with a new computer at hand I can finally present them here.

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Among the few things I did make were things for our oldest who started school this year. We enrolled our son into Waldorf-school for which he needed some special things. It feels good that he can take something with him to school which I made for him.

A crayon pouch roll for Stockmar wax crayons and blocks:

  • You’ll need: cut two pieces of cotton fabric ca. 30×40 cm, a piece of woven ribbon ca. 70 cm length.
  • Sew the two pieces of cotton fabric right-on-right-side, leaving a small opening. Turn it inside out.
  • Fold the ribbon into half. Pin the closed end into the opening of the fabric. Close the opening with a top stitch close to the edge.
  • Top stitch close to the edge all around.
  • Fold in the two long sides about 5 cm and iron into place.
  • To make the little pouched for the blocks and crayons measure alternating 3.5 cm (for the blocks) and 2.5 cm (for the crayons) and mark the places with pins. Sew along the markings and secure the edges well.
  • To be able to get out the blocks more easily I added a seam along the edge in a distance about 1.5 cm from the edge.

Calculation stones:

This was a wonderful family project. We went into the forest to collect a dry branch from a beech tree and cut off 24 slices. We sanded the pieces and rubbed them with olive oil. To hold them I made a small cotton bag. I like to use French seams in bags, but I didn’t find a better way to male opening for a draw-string other than attaching an extra piece of fabric for the tunnel. I applied some numbers for fun. This wooden pieces are used in school to teach the first steps arithmetic.

Pouch for a  flute:

The third piece was a pouch for his flute. In Waldorf-school all children start to play recorder in first grade. It is a special pentatonic wooden recorder which apparently is easier to play than a normal recorder because it has less holes.  The pouch is padded with some thick cotton molleton.

Still missing is a bag for his needlework…..

This post first appeared first on tamtamtiger.wordpress.com and is a contribution to Creadienstag.

Games?

Our older son will enter school in the fall and we enrolled him in our local Waldorf School. One of the guidelines of the Waldorf education entails the exclusion of any screen time for children. That means, no TV, no computers, no games, no smart phones and such. The idea behind this is that (in general) media kills creativity and overwrites the emotional experiences of the real life with those experienced in front of the TV. Although I do enjoy a good movie once in a while (we don’t have a TV, though) and spend way too much time in front of the computer,  I do feel that our children can only benefit from a very limited exposure to media. Especially video games, I thought are outright evil. I still don’t think that playing video games is good, but here is a very interesting TED talk by Jane McGonigal about what makes gaming so attractive and how can we use the potential of Gamers, their optimism and enthusiasm, for the real world.

Well, thinking of it, I am a scientist and I “play games” everyday in the lab. Or, in the evenings, I “play games” in the kitchen trying our new recipes,  or at the sewing machine trying to sew a new garment.  Maybe we should all make a greater effort to teach our children to enjoy the sweet fruits of success when experiments give good results or sewing projects fit, and that we can get so much better at it if we’d only spend so many hours?

The gift of kreativity

Our oldest son will turn six in September and will start school in the fall. Right now we are in the process of trying to decide which school will be right for him. We have to decide and sign him up for primary school withing the next couple of weeks. This is a nice TED talk about education by Sir Ken Robinson. Really great is also this talk: click here.

As a side note: those TED talks are totally addictive! Don’t go their website if you don’t want to be clued to your screen for the next few hours…..