Over the years, I’ve been fascinated with handcrafting for and with kids. I’ve poured over some beautiful blogs and books by many a crafty mama. Amanda Soule from soulemama has been one of my all time favorites. So has Ginny from smallthings. I’ve stood in awe over how these very busy women juggle so many creative projects all while beautifully mothering their large broods of adorable kiddos. And I love the idea of giving of yourself (taking the time to utilize whatever amount of creative ability you do or don’t have) to create a gift for a loved one. Especially when that loved one happens to be your child. Natural toys are quite the rage now, but I think something is still missing when we buy that organic toy off the shelf or online. And I’ve bought many! Developmentally, kids certainly benefit more from a toy made with natural textures rather than plastic. But there is also something very soulful about a toy that you the parent has made for them, despite every imperfection the toy may exhibit.
After holding onto Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee for almost three years (yikes! how did that happen???), I finally took the plunge to sew a doll for our youngest Sprout last Christmas. What held me back? I think it was a combination of not thinking I had enough time and also a bit of fear. Fear that I couldn’t do it. Fear that it wouldn’t look as beautiful as the dolls I see in Nova Natural Toys or Bella Luna Toys. But, time was of the essence because last year out daughter had just turned seven and I knew she probably wouldn’t be playing with dolls much longer. Meg’s instructions in this book are great for beginners and so I dove in to create her Mi Amiga doll. I ordered supplies from A Child’s Dream and bought the yarn from a local yarn shop. It wasn’t as hard as I’d thought, although I did have to backtrack and repeat a few steps. Our Sprout had been wanting an Indian doll, so I created the doll with that in mind. I winged it and made the Indian dress from felt and used some scrap yarn for a headband. Overall, it turned out well except that Kaya started loosing her hair after a few days of being played with so I had to go back and secure it. She is one of our daughter’s favs though and I’m glad that I made the effort! I’d encourage all of you parents of Littles to take the plunge and give handmade holiday toy making a try. Just knowing that you made something for them will be special to them in itself.
What sources have you enjoyed for a handmade holiday? Some of my other go-to books have been:
Toymaking With Children by Freya Jaffke
made to play! by Joel Henriques
the creative family by Amanda Blake Soule
I’d love to hear of some other goodies if anyone wants to share!