Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Delight in Handicrafts

“The points to be borne in mind in children's handicrafts are: (a) that they should not be employed in making futilities such as pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like; (b) that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not be allowed; (d) and that, therefore, the children's work should be kept well within their compass.”  Charlotte Mason

Last summer I was looking for a handicraft that I could do to occupy my hands in my quiet times.  I had an idea what I wanted to do and found these delightful, felt bird patterns that you can download for free.

“What a good Christmas gift these would make,” I thought to myself.  “Wouldn't my Christmas tree look pretty with all the birds I see around my house all year, hanging from its branches?”  In the evenings I began to sit down with my patterns and felt, sewing these pretty birdies for friends, family, and myself.

On the second evening my son asked if he could have a piece of felt to make a toy mouse for his kitten, Whiskers.  Without any pattern and very little help from me, he produced his first cat toy. She loves her toy mouse!

Just seeing me work with my hands inspired his desire to do the same.  Often, introducing a handicraft is as natural and effortless as modeling the behavior.  I enjoyed thinking about the person I was making the gift for as I worked on it and so did my boy.

Later, I found a pattern for these adorable, lavender, strawberry sachets.   I bought dried lavender to fill them with, so every time I sat down to sew, the lavender scent wafted around me, increasing my sense of peace and well being.  They were a quick project that I could complete in one or two sittings.  You can leave them next to your bed for a restful sleep or put them in your drawers when they are finished.

In the past we have done many different handicrafts.  It has been challenging finding ones that interested my boy who has always resisted crafty projects.  Here is a list of some of the things we have done in the past.

  • Learn to sew a button
  • Take apart old appliances to see how they are put together
  • Soap and wood carving
  • Whittling
  • Sewing a pouch and bean bag
  • Leather work
  • Weaving on a loom
  • Making a bench, birdhouse, and ramp for toy cars from wood
  • Collecting seeds from produce, making and decorating seed packets, painting paint sticks as garden markers to go with the seeds for a gift
  • Learning to knit
  • Learning electric circuitry with Snap Circuits and creating many projects
  • Creating video movies and stop action films

The key to handicrafts is that they should be useful skills that will bless others and yourself through life.  You never know when a handicraft could become a business.  My sister sells her handcrafted Mason jars and has a very successful growing business, Kelly's Creative Outlet.  You can see what she has to offer on Etsy!


  1. Your tufted titmouse, chickadee and woodpecker are darling. I love the hen in a nest that you made for me, along with the strawberry sachets. They are gifts that I will always treasure!

  2. Thank you Kelly. I am glad you like them.

  3. I just love those birds! :) I love working with felt, too. I wish there were more hours in the day!

  4. Me too Catie! The nice thing about them is that they take so little time to do them. I keep a basket with all of the supplies together and then I can do them whenever I have a little moment.

  5. The birds are just beautiful. I'd pinned these patterns when I first saw them about a year ago but never actually got around to doing anything with them. You've re-inspired me!

  6. You will get so much pleasure from making them!


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