Thursday, April 16, 2009

Crafting projects

As our baby is growing and becoming a little more independent, I'm finding more time for crafting projects while I have her playing beside me. Having a child also brings out the desire to create beautiful things for her - sew clothing, make natural toys, bake healthy teething snacks, knit hats, quilt blankets - hopefully some items that will become special heirlooms to be passed on. I'm also doing a lot more reading these days, and have come across a variety of great books on handmade life, including crafting that revives these kinds of traditional skills. Making these items is satisfying in so many ways - saving money, creating beautiful long-lasting artful objects to be used around the house, spending relaxing time working with your hands on a concrete task, and it can be done with kids helping or creating beside you. At this stage, Maya "plays" along beside me, unwinding balls of yarn, playing peekaboo with fabric scraps, inspecting pinecones, testing out the feel of a pencil in hand, and teething on soft wool pieces.

Two books I've found inspiration in are:

The Creative Family, by Amanda Blake Soule (she also writes a wonderful richly inspiring blog with gorgeous photography, about her handmade home and creative life with her 4 homeschooled/unschooled kids - Amanda Blake Soule has also written another book, The Handmade Home, due out in August this year.

Bend the Rules Sewing, by Amy Karol is another book that has simple, funky patterns for small projects like baby blankets, child's clothing, bags, and more. I'm currently working on a small quilt using one of her patterns - the secret to making quilts look "antique" is to wash the fabric after it's sewn together, creating a wrinkled look that is quite attractive to the vintage-lovers eye.

So, I've dusted off my sewing machine and the first project was to create a small quilt piece for my cousins who are expecting their first child in May. They have requested all interested family members to send in a quilt square, to be incorporated into a family quilt. Nice idea! Here's a photo of mine. Next, my own quilt and a few baby summer clothes and knitted cap for Maya, and then the crafting will have to take a break as garden season arrives in full force.

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