Posts Tagged ‘crafty’

camera bag

Mckayla’s elective this year is photography.  I love all of the last minute surprises.

Oh, Mom there’s a $40 Photography fee.

Me:  Of course there is. 

Oh, Mom, I need a film camera for photography class. 

Me:  What? Do they even sell film camera’s anymore? 

Thankfully, Dave doesn’t get rid of anything and still had his camera.


At 5pm, right before a large cubscout parent meeting being held at our house:

Oh, mom.  I need a camera bag.  By tomorrow.

Me:  How about that one in the closet?

Mom!  That’s MASSIVE!!!  I need something smaller.

Me:  Of course you do.  I guess I could make you one.

That would be wonderful!

So I cannibalized the massive camera bag.  I took all of the foam insert pieces out and rearranged them into the smallest configuration possible to fit the camera.  I sewed a slip cover for it and then asked Mckayla if she’d like the actual bag out of felt or material.

camera bag

Her:  Definitely felt!  Can you put something cool on it?  How about a camera?

The wonderful thing about felt is that you don’t have to do all of my least favorite things about sewing like hemming and ironing.  I found a simple canvas bag and used its general construction as a pattern.  I measured and cut and sewed and then, because I obviously can’t measure or  cut accurately, did the whole thing over again.

When I was finally done with the purse, I added a long handle so that Mckayla could wear it like a messenger bag.  If you look real close, squint your eyes and tilt your head sideways, you can see the whale decorative stitch I used.  I’m a little bit worried about the felt holding up to the abuse of a teenager, so all the seams are double reinforced and the whale stitch did just the job.

camera bag

The final step was constructing the flap of the bag.  I cut and recut the flap a few cetnimeters at a time, maybe a dozen times until I was satisfied.  I thought about using velcro, but settled on a button.  I went through my grandma’s button box until I found the perfect size and shape button.  I sewed the button on, cut a whole in the felt and called it done.

camera bag

Then I went to town decorating the front.  McKayla and I poured over the internet until she found something she liked.  Dave had the ingenious idea to leave the top portion of the camera decal unattached in order to make a small pocket to carry film.  Sometime around 1 am I finished it.

camera bag

Mckayla:  This is so awesome!!!!  All the other kids are going to have store bought cases and I’m gonna come to school with this!  They’re going to be so jealous!  I’ll tell them that could have one too for $20.  You could have a nice little side business, selling kindle covers and camera bags.

Me:  What?!

Her:  Okay, what do you want $25?

Me:  That would make my labor something like $4 an hour.  That seems totally worth it.  I’m only making this one.  Consider my camera bag making days are over.  I’m retiring.



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When we lived in California, we were part of a homeschooling art class.  It met a friend’s house.  The kids learned how to use many different types of media in a very non-stressful, nonacademic format.  Well, McKayla did, the boys usually spent the whole time engaged in Nerf warfare. It was very informal but informative.  It was the highlight of our week.

Mike is my social butterfly.  More than anything he really misses the weekly get together with his best friend.  A few months ago he asked if we could start our own art class.  I can draw a pretty darn amazing stick girl, dress and pigtails included.  That is where my artistic ability ends.  We brainstormed all of the things that we knew how to do and people would be willing to learn.

Mike:  Cooking?

Me:  Sorry, I don’t think our kitchen is big enough to handle a brood of boys.

Mike:  Nerf warfare!

Me:  No. How about a book club?

Mike:  BORING!  How about crocheting?  You could teach us to make a stuffed animal.

Me:  I don’t think I could teach boys to crochet.

Mike:  cake decorating?  Then we could eat a whole cake every week!

Me:  Sorry, not my expertise.  How about a painting the treehouse club.  I could teach everyone to paint?

Mike:  NO!

Me:   How about sewing?

Mike:  Okay, we could try that.

I sent out an email on the various email groups we belong to. The first meeting we had 5 boys ages 6-9 and Marshall.  We made a pillow case.   Mike would like you to know that he did not choose a pink pillowcase for himself, but made it for his sister for her birthday.


The first class was a learning lesson.  I thought we could cut the pillow case out and sew the whole thing.  The attention span of a group of young boys is not that long.  Trying to direct a group of kids who have never sewn, was chaotic to say the least.  All I can say is, I am so thankful that my mom happened to be visiting during that first class.

Marshall made his brothers coordinating pillow cases.

After the class Mike and I talked about what we liked and what we didn’t.

Mike:  I want to play more! 

Following this lead, we decided to cut the sewing time down to 30-45 minutes and then the boys could play until everyone was ready to go home.  Honestly, I do very little teaching.  It’s more of a play date masked as a sewing club.  Everyone brings their moms, so the adult to kid ratio is 1:1.  Most moms have a basic knowledge of their sewing machine and can sew a straight line.

Week 2 we cut out a patchwork pillow.  I provided square templates and the boys cut out squares.  Then they played.

Week 3 We sewed together the front of the pillow.  What I really love about this project is how forgiving the patchwork was.  Yes, corners might not actually meet up, but if seams aren’t very straight, it’s hard to tell.  Even the boy whose material looked as if he gnawed it rather than cut it with scissors had a pillow that looked amazing at the end!

Week 4 we sewed the back and front together and stuffed them.  The hardest part of the whole project was the hand sewing to sew the stuffing closed.  Boys don’t particularly have the patience or fine hand eye coordination for a hidden stitch.  While the boys played this week, Jake and another sibling made tiny pillows.

Week 5 We lost a few families and gained some new ones.  We tried our hands at sewing a pattern.  The boys decided they’d like some new jammies. Actually, they’ve been coveting army and baseball fleece that they’ve spied at the fabric store and this was the best project we could think of to use it for.   I chose a Simplicity So Easy Pattern.  JoAnne’s only had ONE pattern so I ended up making my own patterns for the boys to cut.

This week we finished the jammies.  They turned out amazing!  I think my favorite part about the sewing class is seeing the individual boys.  I love seeing which fabric each boys chooses.

The twins have also been bitten by the sewing bug.  Jake was lucky enough to be given one of the boys extra pirate material and we whipped up a pair of jammies together today.  I pressed the pedal and Jake guided the material.

Nate also wanted a pair of Jammies.  We didn’t have enough pirate material, but I did have a pair of Dave’s pajamas which have been waiting far too long to have a hole repaired in a rather unfortunate spot.  He was very excited to have a pair of Daddy pants.  Nathaniel was not even remotely interested in guiding the material.  Instead he pressed the foot and I guided the material.  It was definitely an adventure.

Our next project will be a quillow (A quilt that turns into a pillow).  I think we will do this one.  I know there are much easier patterns, but I need something that will not only interest the 7 year-old but also challenge the 13-year-old.  Hopefully this isn’t something that will frustrate everyone.

Do you have any ideas for some sewing projects that a boy would love?  I’ve scourged the internet and have come to the conclusion that sewing is not only primarily done by girls, but also for girls. If we wanted to make tutus or dolls or an easy dress, I could find hundreds of patterns and ideas easily. Alas, I don’t think a pink tutu clad doll would be very appealing to these boys.   I’m thinking of designing some kind of nerf gun carrier, maybe a messenger bag.  Please give me some ideas.  I don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

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