Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Tag Archives: #sewing

One Of The Most Perfect Gifts For A Toddler!

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Everyone has heard the adage of buying presents for children only to find out they prefer the box.  Well, from experience, it is true.  So today, my good friends, I am here to tell you about one of the most cherished gifts your child will get from you:  An item to bond with, to sleep with, a source of comfort, homemade with love.  Yes, you will beam with pride when other parents ask you, “Where did you buy that?”

From me to you:  Make a pillowcase!

Back in the day, I made a Teletubbies pillowcase for my son.  He loved it – he treasured it for a couple of years.  My other son was meanwhile enjoying the store bought 101 Dalmations bed set, just so you know he wasn’t neglected.

Go to your local store where materials are sold such as WalMart or JoAnns, and you will find a whole new world of options:  Animals of all types (real and cartoony), holiday themed prints, fairies, princesses, flowers, specific sports teams, and copyrighted Disney characters.  What did I find for my boys?  Dinosaurs and construction equipment galore.  Jackpot!

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Worried about your sewing skills?  Don’t be.  I’m not an expert seamstress.  Out of all the things one can sew, a pillowcase is probably one of the easiest, even if you don’t have a sewing machine.  If your work is not up to par, your child probably won’t notice.  But just in case, here is a handy tip from me to you:  Don’t sew ALL the edges together or you will be left with a pillowcase malfunction.  Handy tip #2 – buy a “travel pillow” – it is the perfect size for a toddler, and you’ll need even less material.

A yard of material is dirt cheap compared to your limited selection of pricey bed sets, and you can almost bank on the idea that toddlers don’t know that bedding should match, and really, why should it?  Where is the fun in that?  Live a little!

Alternatively, if you are “one of those people” and just can’t function without the matching set, you can take it a step further.  I actually made (er, um, yeah) dinosaur blankets.  Okay – I didn’t MAKE the blankets.  I bought really cheap blankets and then covered one side with dinosaur material and used a plain blue cheapo material on the other side.  In retrospect the plain blue material was more difficult to deal with since it was very stretchable.  Tip #3:  If sewing is not your thing – don’t buy anything too stretchy.

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My dinosaur blankets each have a large seam running down the middle because often material is sold in smaller widths than can cover an adult sized blanket – did my kids notice?  Nope!  However, after a couple of weeks, one son complained of something pointy in the blanket.  Oops – it turned out I had sewn in one of the pins I had used to keep the edges together.  Tip # 4:  (I think you get the point, yuk, yuk.)

That same young man is now an older teenager.  Out of the numerous pillowcases I made for him, he still has (in his closet) what is now an old, raggedy pillow with the construction print pillowcase.  He is not willing to part with it.  It is a keepsake of his.  Oh my gosh, how worth it is that?

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So pick a print, apply your skills and give the gift of a pillowcase!  Tip #5: Don’t forget to include a pillow.

Since you may not always be able to find what you are looking for at your local store, I am including some affiliate links for themed materials that are always available online:

Outer Space Fabric

Unicorns and Such

 
Tell me how it goes. . .

 

Wendy Knuth

Author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books

 

Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments Are The Best!

I love my Christmas Tree!!  Many years ago when my husband and I were celebrating our first Christmases, we didn’t have much for the Christmas tree.  We bought some ornaments from a neighbor kid for a school sales drive.  We bought bright and shiny hanging balls and tinsel.  We bought a unique ornament here and there, which of course would be horribly expensive if you bought enough in one season to fill up the tree.  I’d have to say for the first several years of our marriage, our Christmas trees just had a manufactured feel.  Memories of purchasing ornaments from K-mart just don’t warm the heart.

After my Grandmother passed away, I inherited all of her numerous ornaments which I LOVE!!!  Most of them are handmade.  The woman could sew.  There are angels and stockings and snowflakes and Santas; all the typical ornaments you would think of for Christmas.  I also have mice, geese, trains, drums, teddy bears and little wreaths.  I recognized and remembered the felt angel I had made as a Camp Fire Girl with sequins and nylon material for the styrofoam head.  And there are really unique ones, such as Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow, Raggedy Ann & Andy, items you wouldn’t associate with Christmas but they are adorable.  I even have a Batman ornament and Robin ornament.  There are so many – enough to fill up the whole tree.

As a youngster, my mom would always cook popcorn on the stovetop.  Does anyone remember the labor that went into quickly moving the pot back and forth over the burner as the popcorn popped so it wouldn’t burn in the layer of oil?  My mother gave my brother and me a needle and thread so we could make long strings of popcorn for the Christmas tree.  I’m sure we ate more than we put on the string but it was great fun.  We also made chains with links made out of cut up strips of colored construction paper.  Cook that popcorn with your children, and link those links!

Since we have had our two boys, they have added to the collection.  They made ornaments in school and at home.  I still have a Kirby ornament made out of pipe cleaners, er um, chenelle sticks (they loved the Kirby Airride video game at the time).  Yes they made paper chains.  There are styrofoam balls they glued sequins and shiny glitter to, with unfolded paper clips as hangers.  There is an ice cream cone with a glued on ball.  There are simple ornaments that are paper cutouts that they drew on with crayons.  They may not be the most artistic but since they are from my boys, they are the best and I hang them with pride!

So when the Christmas tree goes up, and I start hanging the ornaments, I am flooded with memories.  My Grandmother made this with me as a little girl, here are the ones my sons made when they were young, and yes, my best friend bought this as a present for my first son and my first Christmas as a mother.  Now the tree is not just a Christmas Tree, it is a Memory Tree, truly a Family Tree, full of history, each ornament with its own story.  Make those ornaments, keep them, remember them, hang them, relive the memories and retell the stories.

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