Tuesday, January 10, 2012

D.I.Y. Project Week - inspired by Mollie Makes Magazine

I am a teacher at a San Francisco high school.  Between the 2 semesters we have an interim course period of about a week where teachers can teach a class to 18 students.  The courses range from Iron Chef, Dorm room cooking, Physics of Sledding and Yoga.  This was my first year doing the program.  Inspired by Mollie Makes Magaine http://molliemakes.themakingspot.com  I created a D.I.Y Project Runway class to teach students how to sew (basic sewing machine use) and make accessories.  We started with a coffee cup cuff, moved on to a wallet - inspired by one one of the articles in Molli Makes.  Then I let them loose to be creative and use a variety of magazines and books I have from Tida Finnager's books to, yes, Mollie Makes magazines, and Altered Couture.  I am so proud of my students.  90% of them have never sewn before in their lives!  I had 15 girls and 3 boys. 

Note:  Because I didn't get permission from their parents to use their images, I am only going to show their products.  Cheers!
Coffee cup cuff.

This student took a tank top and used it as a pattern and created this bag.

Clutch with applique.

Drawstring bag all done by hand.

Zippered bag.  Hey, I never showed them how to set a zipper...they figured it out themselves!
There were more things that they made Infinity scraves, messenger bags, belts and all but I wasn't able to get pictures of those.  I had 5 days to teach them to sew and though not everything was done with a 'professional' eye the students learn something and had fun with it.  In the U.S. or at least in California, many schools do not teach home economics anymore.  One funding is not there for it.  Secondly, no one is coming out of college to teach home economics anymore and you have to have credentials to teach it in the public schools.  So, I thought this would be a great way to get young people into something different - thrift it and make it.

This project was done on mostly donations.  I got a lot of the fabric and notions as donations from parents and the community.  Teachers and parents and students lent their sewing machines.  Of all the sewing machines we had one worked the best an old 1960's Singer.  Amazing, right?  All the others kept breaking down and were too sensitive for use. 

Now with that said, I plan to do this next year but get another teacher to help me and we may break it up to more crafting and will include sewing, knitting, embroidery, jewelry making it but the premise will be thrift it then make it.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

The Wednesday after Christmas I went for a walk with a good friend and her 2 month old daughter.  We often walk together to get exercise and keep up with each other in many ways.  As we walked we encounter two very uplifting things.  One a family had set up on a deciduous tree a small plastic bucket with mail tags and permanent markers.  The sign asked:  What are you thankful for?  Both my friend looked at all the fluttering  tags with expressions of thankfulness.  We added ours.  What a wonderful way to celebrate our lives and share our joy of life no matter what is going on in our lives.  This simple mode of expression was a beautiful gift that this family could share with their neighbors.

We advanced to an eatery and had a nosh.  While we sat in the sun - yes we were wrapped up against the chill but the sun warmed us - a monarch landed in the bush next to us.  He/she wondered below the canopy of the leaves and the then boldly emerged to stand for its photo op.  What a beautiful reminder of how precious life is and how strong even a simple creature like this butterfly is.  This butterfly is probably one of the early arrivals of flocks of migrating Monarchs braving through ancestoral memory the migration from southern climates to come north and start life again.  Many do not make it but those that do remind us how strong we can be in life's journey to survive and thrive.

Best wishes in 2012 to you all.  May your days be filled with creativity, love, hope and joy.  No matter what the world (media, politicians and other unhappy souls) say or do, don't let anyone steal your joy and share it that joy.  Happy New Year!