One of my favorite things about the holidays is making fairies with children. Every student in my class (20 in all) makes a fairy. The boys (and a few girls) are not inspired by fairies, so they make elves. Or angels. Whatever the fairies are called, they bring joy to the season.
Our book was inspired by projects like these fairies. Because families sometimes wonder how their five, six, or seven year old made such treasures. Every little fairy/elf/angel is unique. Reflecting the unique voice of the child.
How does it work?
The directions, with many photographs, are all in our book. What the child makes and what I make depends on time and the child. Some children show great independence and want a lot of creative freedom. Other children enjoy having my attention for each little step. I do have a plan for creating twenty child-made fairies. I am working on a post for sewing fairies with groups of children. For now, though, I want to share my secrets for working with one child at a time. Because I get to make these with family, too.
What the child does:
- chooses felt and pipe cleaner colors, yarn, sequins, wings
- sews the decorating felt band on the hat, adds sequins and decorations galore
- sews up the back of the hat
- adds beads and bells to the top of the hat
- winds thread (pants or tunic)
- chooses petal skirts
- tries hat on to see how it all looks together
What the adult does:
- makes the body
- draws the face
- cuts the felt
- threads the needle and ties knots
- demonstates (models) the first couple of stitches and how to add sequins
- lets go of expectations :)
- folds hat in half when decorating is done, sews an anchor stitch at the bottom
- models sewing up to the top of the hat (one stitch)
- knots thread for clothing
- models first steps for winding thread (pants or over-shoulder, under arm)
- holds wings until they are attached with winding thread
- clips tiny amount so petal skirts can scoot up the legs
- glues hair and hat on fairy/elf/angel
Of course, this all changes depending on the age and personality of the child. And it doesn't have to be done on the same day. Take breaks. See the little bits of felt and thread come together to create a magical keepsake.
One of our favorite things at the recent craft fair was hearing from families whose students left us five or even ten years ago. "We still have our fairies," they said. On the tree or the table or the mantle.
We still love our fairies :)