The Gift Project

We are now into the month of April and as promised each week  I will showcase a toy or an item I have made or bought for the children’s Christmas project in the Wanblee community. Since my life can be hectic, it probably is best that I start the project at this stage. I also am trying to use resources I have at home for some of the gifts. And with Earth Day celebration this month I feel I need to remember the 3 R’s – reuse ,reduce,recycle (refashion, remake, reclaim). Check out this blog where students are refashioning items rather than tossing them in the garbage.
The Native Americans are conscious of respecting and caring for the Earth. And I do know that clothing delivered to the Rez may be refashioned as a quilt, a jacket etc.

So with the 3 R’s in mind, my first gift is following the principles of reuse and recycle. I bought clementine oranges over the Christmas holidays and saved the container they came in. I thought this would make a cute doll bed for a little girl. I also found leftover sticky shelf paper in a drawer I was cleaning out ( trying to get my house organized since I have retired) and found a donated woman’s dressing gown in good condition in a stash of used clothing. I originally thought I could make a small girl’s dress out of the material but it had too many seams, a few stains and pockets that got in the way of that happening. But it certainly could be used to make a pillow, mattress and a bed skirt for a child’s project.
So  with the box in hand, I covered the container sides and bottom( inside and outside) with the shelf paper hiding nails and imperfections. Inside the box I used my 29 cent piece of felt and glued it to the sides .
I cut out my patterns for the mattress and pillow by tracing the box and adding a 1/4 inch seam allowance and measured the distance around the box for the skirt and elastic length needed. I already had polyester stuffing but could have used scraps of felt, fleece cotton  to fill the mattress and pillow.
I then went to my box of material scraps that I always keep for projects such as this one and cut out a piece of knit fabric for the blanket and the bows. The bows were used to soften the corners of the box and as a decoration but also anchor the bed skirt to the bed.
Well here you see the finished product.

Next week I will work on the doll and some doll clothes. I was saddened as I looked at the bed thinking that most kids on the Rez may not even have a bed and most likely if they did it would not look like this one.

On another note I said I might suggest some ideas for party favors from time to time. Well for one of my projects I have been saving cardboard toilet rolls.  ( My husband thinks he has a lot of work ahead of him if 300 plus are needed!) These I will fill with a small toy or candies, a pair of kids  socks ,underwear, bib -whatever. Just cover them with Christmas paper, tie a ribbon at the ends, frill the paper ends. And there you have a cute item to hand out to the children. I always reuse my Christmas wrap and ribbons if possible. In fact I prefer to wrap with reusable cloth bags making me think that you could also use scraps of material to wrap around the tube.

So join in the Earth Day celebrations and do your part to save our Earth. And if you can, make something you have on hand for a child. Good ideas can be found in the craft books on the shelves of your local library.

We would love to share your gift  ideas on the blog so send us your photos and tell us how you made it (pattern, your design). Our goal is 300 plus gifts for kids age 0-15 years so we need your help to make Christmas special for these kids. And the gifts do not need to be toys -mittens, hats, blankets etc are all great gifts.

Spring has finally sprung around here  -more rainy and sunny days now .“Sooo” I am off to get my cold tolerant garden seeds “sowed” today so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor later in the summer. Have a great day and Happy “Sewing”!


2 thoughts on “The Gift Project

  1. Now this is a project after my own heart. Love to recycle, I sometimes call myself “the Recycle Queen”. But I think Carol will give me a run for my money.. Collected wool skirts and coats, they make warm quilts,Penny Rugs, pin cushions, pet blankets, chair pads, etc. My boss gives me uniform scraps from the cutting table, they end up as quilts, dolls, tote bags, walker bags,kids shorts, aprons, mittens, etc. Flannel shirts, tees and sweat shirts end up as Teddy bears. Ladies denim dresses will make great quilts and diaper bags. beulahmae

  2. I think we both have grown up learning to use what is at hand and making the most of it. And because I care deeply about the world we leave to our children I want to find ways to do my small part now in protecting the environment for the future.

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