Tag Archives: sewing

Time to Sleep

When my oldest son was very young, I discovered the picture book Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming at the library. It was such a fun book that we purchased our own copy and used it every year.

Time to Sleep follows a number of animals as they realize that winter is coming.  The leaves are falling and the days are shorter, so Bear decides he must tell Snail that it’s time to hibernate. Snail, then, must tell Skunk, who in turn must tell Turtle, and so on until Ladybug hears the news. The story comes full circle as Ladybug goes to Bear’s cave and wakes him up to tell him… it’s time to sleep.

We made the story even more fun by creating a craft to go along with it. Here’s what we did:

Using felt squares found at the craft store, I made each of the animals depicted in the story. I cut out two pieces of the basic shape of each animal and sewed the sides together (leaving a small opening). My son then stuffed them with fiberfill, and I sewed them shut. We added googly eyes and noses to the animals that needed them.

Next, we found a cardboard box about 12″ deep. I turned it upside down and cut a hole in the bottom of it.

Then, we read the story again. As each animal went to “sleep,” my son put them in the hole in the box. The last one to go in was the ladybug. Not only did we have a good time reading the book and making the craft, but my son learned about hibernation and had hands-on reinforcement each time we read the story. We actually used the same book, box, and animals with all of my children (I don’t know how they lasted so long), and it was fun to reminisce each time we got them out.

For us, Time to Sleep was really time for fun!


Summer is just around the corner, but we usually continue with school through June and most of July. Though much of the children’s free time is spent swimming at the pool, we also have fun trying new hobbies and working on crafts together.

A couple of years ago, we were involved in a 4-H sewing club, and the girls made some neat items — from little handbags to hats to toys to doll clothes. One year, when my son John was in the club too, every student designed and sewed their own quilt square; the teacher put all the squares together, and we gave the quilt to an elderly friend at a nursing home. We’ve haven’t done much sewing since then, and this summer would be a great time to start again.

Not long ago, as I was browsing through websites, I stumbled upon a sewing site for kids. If you have a child who is interested in learning to sew this summer, or if you lead a 4-H or homeschooling sewing club, be sure to visit Kids-Sewing-Projects.com

This site is so user/teacher/homeschool friendly that it’s worth a look even if you hadn’t considered adding sewing to your student’s day. Here you’ll find sewing lessons for preschoolers, beginners, and intermediates, organized to gradually take the student from simpler lessons to more difficult ones. If you find that your child is enjoying sewing, you can purchase a curriculum ebook featuring over 100 pages of lessons and projects.

What’s more, this site presents several ways for the kids themselves can be involved. They can enter the sewing contest to win a gift certificate and an ebook, or they can simply share their current projects on the “Your Projects Page.” There’s also a page for asking questions, and the author of the site will try to answer them for you.

Ready to get started? Just click on Kids-Sewing-Projects, and see what your child can do!

The Josephina Story Quilt


If you have a young or reluctant reader, The Josephina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr is a great choice, especially for girls. Written for readers in grades 2-4, it’s part of Harper Trophy’s “I Can Read” series.

In The Josephina Story Quilt, Faith and her family are headed west to California with other settlers in a wagon train. Before they leave, Faith convinces her father that she needs to bring Josephina, her old pet hen. Along the way, Josephina causes some problems, such as startling the cattle and horses and falling into the river while the wagons are trying to cross. She does save the supplies, however, as she alerts the settlers to a couple of robbers who have come to take their blankets.

As they travel, Faith’s mother gives her a bag of fabric scraps and encourages her to create quilt squares to commemorate different parts of their journey. Faith sews one representing a wagon wheel and another for the desert they crossed. When Josephina finally dies of old age, she sews one for her hen — a pine tree representing the place where the hen was buried. Her patches are finished when they arrive in California, and in her new home she completes the Josephina Story Quilt and remembers their adventures on the trail.

This book has short chapters, making it a great choice for readers who are just starting out or may be struggling. And there are so many ways to use it in your homeschool. After reading The Josephina Story Quilt, you might:

  • Have your student design a quilt square commemorating a recent event in her own life. Did she go to a birthday party? Maybe the square will feature a cake with candles. Did she give a music recital recently? Have her design a square featuring a music note. Did she plant a garden? A square with a flower or vegetable would tell that story. Have your student color it in with crayons or markers.
  • Have your student learn more about the pioneer days. Why did people leave the homes they knew to travel West? What dangers did they face other than those discussed in the story? How long did the trip take?
  • Start a sewing project with your student. It can be as simples as sewing yarn through holes made in a piece of felt or as complex as choosing a pattern and using a sewing machine.

Books are a great starting place for enrichment activities, and The Josephina Story Quilt is no exception!

One of Those Days

bandaidEver have one of those days? Recently, we’ve had one, this one involving a lot of injuries. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working through some back problems, so I started the day with quite an ache to deal with. My oldest, John, had a sore knee from playing basketball the day before, so he woke up achy too. Nevertheless, I was determined we would get our schoolwork done.

I called for my daughters to get out of bed, and moments later eight-year-old Lillie came into the kitchen crying. She had fallen off the ladder of her bunk bed and bruised her arm. We tucked her arm in a sling for the day, which made her feel a little better. It wasn’t even breakfast time yet, but I already knew it would be hard to get our schoolwork done. Still, we kept going. Not very well, but we tried.

We almost made it to lunch time and the end of math when five-year-old Luke began to cry. I turned (slowly – my back was still hurting) to see what happened.

“I poked myself in the eye…” he said through his tears. I held him for a minute, and then he continued. “We all got hurt. My eye, your back, John’s knee, Lillie’s arm…”

“We’re re having a rough day, aren’t we?” I agreed. “But Cassie’s still fine. And in a minute, we’ll head out to sewing class for the girls, and we’ll all feel better.”

Luke recovered fairly quickly, and though we didn’t quite finish with school, it was nearing time to go. I pulled out some fruit and bagels for a quick lunch in the car, as well as other items we needed to take along. John grabbed one of the bagels and spread it with cream cheese, and we all headed out the door. With my aching back I was moving slowly, and by the time I reached the van everyone else was already inside.

As I was about to shut the sliding door on the side, John suddenly moved up from the back seat and pulled a piece of the bagel from his mouth. He looked at it for just a second, then threw it out into a bush.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He got out of the car and started searching for the piece of bagel. “I just lost my tooth!” he said. “It got stuck in that bagel.”

“Was it loose?” I asked.

“Yes, it was a baby tooth,” he answered. “Look, my mouth is bleeding.”

Though I probably should have shown more compassion, all I could do was laugh. What a conclusion to a day of mishaps!

Photo by AMagill

Daddy’s Night

If you’re like me, you have some extra projects you’d like to get to. Perhaps you like to sew, crochet, scrapbook, or write. And if you’re like me, you have a hard time fitting it into your schedule as a homeschooler.

I like to think that I can spend a couple of hours every night after the children are in bed working on projects. This sounds like a lot of time and a good plan, but it rarely works out. Evening activities such scouts or church mean that the children go to bed later than planned; by the time they’re all tucked in, I’m usually too tired to work on anything. Fortunately, we still have our weekly Daddy’s Night.

 It all started a couple of years ago, and it’s one of my favorite traditions. On a Friday or Saturday evening, we rent a movie or borrow one from the library. Then, when Dad arrives home from work, I disappear — to the bedroom, the study, or the store – wherever I need to go to do what I need to do.

 While I’m gone, Daddy steps in and takes over. He makes supper, usually something simple, such as frozen pizzas he can top with extra cheese and pepperoni. The children enjoy creating the pizzas with him – they’ve come up with some creative topping designs.  One of the children spreads out a towel on the floor of the family room to use as a tablecloth, and the pizza is served as the movie begins. Dad usually provides a special dessert, too– ice cream or honey buns or popcorn.     

 Sometimes Daddy decides to take the children out instead — maybe for supper and an extra-thick milk shake. But whatever they do, I can relax and enjoy the bit of free time, knowing that all are well-fed, cared for, and making special memories with their dad.


This is the first year in many years that we haven’t been part of a 4-H club, and I do miss it. But I liked it better when someone else was in charge.

Last year, our 4-H clubs met once a month at a local church. The girls were all set to join a sewing club, so we needed another topic that the boys would be interested in.  One of the dads worked second shift, and since our club met in the morning, he would be available to teach them about small motors. My oldest son was so excited.

But the dad’s work schedule changed, and we soon found out he wouldn’t be able to teach after all. Because many of the boys were also in scouts, a couple of us moms decided to pick an activity they could use towards a merit badge. Woodworking sounded ideal – that is, until I became the leader. I didn’t know anything about woodworking.

To make things even tougher, our club of boys ranged in ages from 5 – 14. So once a month, I had to come up a do-able project for all, the supply list, and the instructions.

We had an hour and a half to put each project together. And we did!  Before each meeting, I made a prototype of the project, getting help from my husband or neighbor. Most of the projects worked out, and I think many of the boys learned some things. I know I learned a lot – and I’m much more confident using power tools!

We’ll probably look into 4-H again next year, though if I’m a leader, I’m going to pick a subject I know.  4-H offers so many different areas of learning, that I’m sure I can find one. It’s not just about woodworking or farming or raising cows; it’s about entomology, photography, fashion design, biology, painting, baking, leadership, citizenship, community service, public speaking, pet care,  and so much more.