Archive | April, 2011

Bad Parenting

25 Apr

What would you say if I told you I never take my kids to the doctor? Not even for annual check-ups? Or that I don’t make them take their vitamins? That I let my daughter eat as much fast food, chocolate and candy as she wants? Kool-Aid instead of water? It’s shameful, I know.

What if I told you my kids go to bed at 1 a.m.? That they spend most of the day sitting, in chairs or on the couch? That they don’t watch much TV but can spend as much time on the computer as they want?

What if I admitted that not only do my children not get enough nutritious food, sleep, or exercise, but that they also aren’t given time to play with their friends during the week? And don’t even get me started on art projects. Way too messy for this house.

Are you judging me yet? Maybe just a little, right? Because you might believe that things like annual check-ups, nature walks, broccoli, naps, finger-painting and socialization are super important for kids. Maybe even vital.

So do I.

But tell me this: When did it become satisfactory, normal even, to enforce these rules upon our children but give ourselves a pass? How many parents do you know who do all of those things for themselves? Are you one of them?

What would we be like if we took care of ourselves the way we take care of those adorable little people who run our lives? Happier? Healthier? What if we held ourselves to the same standards?

No Mom, you may not have more chocolate because you will ruin your dinner.

Dad, you may watch one show before bed and then it’s lights out. You know the drill; bedtime is 8 p.m.

Mom, you’ve got playdates scheduled two evenings this week and an art class on Thursday night. The only rules are to share with your friends, wash your hands after using the potty, and HAVE FUN.

Gosh, even as I was typing that last paragraph I was mocking myself. “TWO playdates a WEEK? HA! That would never happen. I’d be lucky to fit in one a MONTH.” For myself, anyway. For my kid? Two a week is easy. Standard, even.

Why are we always last? Because we put ourselves there. But as anyone who has flown on an airplane knows, someone needs to be there to put an oxygen mask on your babies in the event of a decrease in cabin pressure. And if you haven’t put yours on first, there’s a decent chance you won’t be up to the task.

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Springtime Felt Finger Puppets

7 Apr

Felt finger puppet bunny chick pig

I love springtime. I love pastel Easter eggs, bunnies, chicks and little piggies. (Pssst… I love bacon. But don’t tell that to the little pink one on the right. He already looks a little high-strung.)

I also love felt – soft, comforting, colorful felt. I have lots of scraps left over from when I made my daughter a felt “paper” doll set, so when I saw a photo of felt finger puppets in Kata Golda’s Hand-Stitched Felt: 25 Whimsical Sewing Projects, I decided to give it a try.

The book has patterns for a little mouse, but I wanted to make Easter-themed felt finger puppets instead. So I did these freestyle. The bunny, pig and chick are three different sizes; all three can fit on either an adult finger or a child one.

Felt finger puppet bunny chick pig

All you need are some felt scraps, embroidery thread and a needle, scissors, and peace and quiet for about 30 minutes. Because that’s about how long it will take you to make one of these little guys, once you get started. I just used a basic running stitch, the whip stitch, and the satin stitch for the eyes, the bunny’s nose, the inside of the pig’s ears and his nostrils. Stitch the face details first – I think freehand stitching makes for a fun and interesting expression – then attach the front and back pieces and whip stitch them together, leaving the bottom open. If your creation has ears, attach them when joining the front and back. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you like. I vote simple.

(Note: If there’s interest I’ll try to create a basic pattern for these. Just post in the comments if it’s something you would use.)

These would make a cheerful addition to an Easter basket or even a springtime flower arrangement. So hop to it! Felt finger puppet bunny chick pig

I Spy a Super Quiet Toy

2 Apr

I Spy Bag

Ahhh, do you hear that?

No?

It’s the sound of a child quietly playing with a favorite toy – a toy that doesn’t have flashing lights or music so loud you have to put a piece of tape over it to muffle the sound. That is my kind of toy.

I Spy bag

Don’t get me wrong. I believe a child’s work is to play, and play often and with joy and exuberance. It’s not the child I am hoping to silence, but the toy.

And one of the best quiet toys I’ve found is the I Spy bag. A while back I did a swap with a fellow sewing mom – her son received a crayon roll and my daughter an I Spy bag. This toy has lived in my diaper bag for well over a year and it hasn’t lost its allure. We bring it out at doctor’s appointments, car rides, and cart rides.

I Spy Bags

Recently I bought a new sewing machine (the Brother CS6000i Sew Advance Sew Affordable 60-Stitch Computerized Free-Arm Sewing Machine), which I love so far and would recommend if you are in the market for an inexpensive hobby machine. So I decided to break it in (and end my four-month sewing hiatus/babymoon) by sewing vinyl. Smart, no? I quickly found myself Google-ing “how to sew vinyl without driving yourself to the madhouse and destroying your project” and discovered this tip for sewing with vinyl. Hooray!

Essentially your standard I Spy bag consists of fabric of your choice (fleece from Jo-Ann), a vinyl window (I went with 20 gauge and also found it at Jo-Ann), clear plastic pellets (hmmm… Jo-Ann), and a variety of trinkets to be found among the pellets (fine, Jo-Ann was having its big weekend sale and I went a little overboard). I found a variety of tutorials on the bags using both cotton and fleece and tried it both ways. I found the fleece easier to work with since there aren’t fraying edges to contend with.

I Spy Bags

Here’s my ultra-basic tutorial sans photos. Use your imagination!
1. Cut two matching pieces from your fabric. Mine were around 6″ by 8″ to give myself some room to mess up pink the edges.
2. Trace a shape in the middle of one of your pieces and cut it out. This will be your window. It can be any shape but let’s face it, rectangles are far easier to sew around than circles.
3. Cut a piece of vinyl (larger than your window with at least an inch to spare around each side) and, using the tip above for sewing vinyl OR a teflon foot, attach the vinyl to the fleece. Be careful with your stitching – you do not want to end up with a bazillion poly pellets buried in your carpet or scattered across the floor at Costco. I double stitched for added security.
4. Cut the excess vinyl.
5. Place the two pieces of fabric wrong sides together and stitch around three sides. Fill partially with pellets and trinkets, sew the fourth side together. Don’t stuff it with too many pellets or it will be difficult to find the trinkets. At this point I added a second row of stitching around the first one, and used pinking shears to pretty it up.

These would be a fun addition to Easter baskets, don’t you think?

I spy bag

I Spy bag