Sharing Authentically

This post originally appeared here on Crafting Connections, and I am reposting it here just to keep a record for myself. If you don’t subscribe to Crafting Connections’ email list, you really should. Their emails in my inbox always brighten my day– and usually help me remember to pause, breathe, and enjoy the world around me.

sharing

Making things by hand is a great way to teach our children to share. I don’t mean the kind of sharing that is about letting others play with our toys or taking turns (although this is, of course, important). Crafting handmade items allows for a deeper level of sharing; it is the giving of our authentic selves to the world and others. Handmade– whether it is something baked, sewn, or painted– means the maker’s thought, energy, and care went into something that didn’t exist before. By creating, you are sharing a part of the real you.

By gifting handmade, we are saying to the recipient, “Here is a piece of me, for you.” It is an act of love (and courage– what if the person you give your creation to doesn’t like or value it?). I think teaching this type of authentic sharing to our children is one of the most important lessons we can instill in them. My little guy and I love to surprise our favorite people with a fresh baked loaf of apple bread, a thumbprint tree painting, or a quilted table runner he picked out the fabrics for and I sewed. He’s become such a little maker that when we need a gift for someone, he asks what are we going to make, not what are we going to buy.

sharing authentically

So in the spirit of sharing authentically, the little guy and I talked it over and decided to share this project for a Heart Snack Mat with you. He loves his for snack time and it would make a great gift for any little one or just as a table decoration for any age recipient. We hope you enjoy it and the process of crafting together!

Supplies:

  • one 20 x 9″ piece of cotton fabric
  • two 10 x 9″ pieces of different patterned fabrics (or one patterned and one solid colored cotton fabric)
  • one 20 x 9″ piece of felt (we used eco-fi felt because it is durable, washable, and wool-free– we both have wool allergies)

1) Start by taking your two 10×9″ fabrics and placing them right sides together. Sew along one 9″ side, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Press your seam open.

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2) Put your sewn together fabric piece face down on your 20 x 9″ pc of fabric, right sides together. Put these on top of your piece of felt, so you have felt, 20×9″ piece of fabric right side up, sewn fabric right side down. Pin the middle so your layers don’t shift. Draw and then cut out a large heart, making it as large as will fit. Pin around the edges.

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(I decided to cut my heart so the two sides would be asymmetrical in terms of the fabric patterns. The back fabric is one piece of the fruit fabric.)

3) Sew all three of your layers together, leaving an opening to turn everything right side out. Clip with scissors in on curves to reduce bulk and make seams lay flatter.

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Once turned right side out, make sure all corners and edges have been pushed all the way out. Iron. Top stitch around your heart, being sure to secure the opening closed.

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front of snack mat back of snack mat

4) If you want, you and your little one can add any decorative quilting stitches you like with embroidery floss. Then have a snack!

snack mat in use snack mat in use2 with vase

**Depending on the age of your little one, there are numerous points where he or she can help and be involved, starting from picking out your fabrics. We chose these fun organic cottons, one in a green crosshatch and one a coordinating fruit print. Your little one can cut out the fabric, layer the fabrics, pin, and sew. Use your own judgment and knowledge of your child to decide what to involve them in, but remember sharing the work gives your child a sense of responsibility and pride. Plus it is fun for the both of you and makes wonderful memories!

Thanks again to Andrea and Danielle for inviting me to their blog!

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3 thoughts on “Sharing Authentically

  1. Jennet,

    Having been on the receiving end of your beautiful surprise gift packages, I can say from experience that they make you feel loved, cared for and special! I think what you are teaching your children is so important, and as you are a talented, kind, loving and caring person, they are learning these traits by watching you!

    Thank you for all your kindness, you will never know how much it has meant to me and to my mom.

    Love,
    Maureen

  2. As someone who has been on the receiving end of one of your beautiful shares, I have to say you are doing such an important thing teaching this to your children. I cannot tell you how receiving those packages from you brightened my day (as well as my mother’s!). It means SO much when someone not only takes the time to send you something special, but something they made, it makes you feel wonderful and loved and cared for. You are such a lovely person, talented, kind and giving, and I know that your children are learning all these lovely traits from you. The world would be a much nicer place if there were more people like you in it.

    • Maureen, Thank you so much for the simply lovely note! It means a lot to me to have you say such nice things. Thank you so very much. 🙂 I hope you and your Mom are both doing well. love, Jennet

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