Friday, February 13, 2009

Play Time Comfort

Play time is very important, and as we grow older, it becomes even more important and precious. We plan to play; it has to be scheduled in between work, the laundry, cleaning the house, and buying the groceries. And every now and then, even those times that seem like play, come out of some kind of responsibility. But play is play, and it should be enjoyed no matter the circumstances.

One of those responsibilities where I get to play while on duty is helping out with crafts at the Teen Center at our church. Once or twice a month, a couple of us crafty-type people think up something for the kids to do. Making cards, decoupaging clay pots with pictures from magazines, decorating cookies, painting picture frames, we’re always trying to come up with an easy but not too “childish” project for these teens. It’s a bit of a struggle for me because I make everything a struggle for myself. I can’t just relax and enjoy doing some crafts, I have to worry about if it’s too difficult or if it’s too easy or if the kids will like it. But come to find out, these kids love to do any kind of craft. I could have them trace their hands and make a turkey out of it and they would enjoy it.

I tend to tell people that I’m only crafty if I have directions on how to do it in front of me. I said that to the Teen Center director, but she’s so desperate for volunteers that she didn’t listen and just sent me emails saying when she had scheduled craft day. Luckily, there’s another lady who helps out, but she, too, describes herself as direction-driven. But for women who say they aren’t really crafty, we sure come up with some good stuff. So, this little responsibility has been very good for me in an unexpected way—it’s let me embrace my crafty self.

So, it’s play time! We’ve decided to let the kids make scarves out of fleece and embellish them to their hearts’ content. Fleece is the perfect material for this because you don’t need to hem it, just cut and go. Even the fringe is easy. This serves double duty, by the way: they get to do a craft and they get something they to keep them warm this winter. I decided that part of my stress comes from not being prepared. I have ideas and pictures in my head of what they could do, but I never actually play around with it and come up with a sample for them. I haven’t worked with fleece, so I decided I should try it out before I let the kids loose on it.

I gave myself permission to play first and work out what I wanted. I even sketched out what I was thinking first. Then I tried out different supplies and different techniques. I wanted to show them how they could appliqué a shape on with an easy buttonhole or blanket stitch, in addition to just gluing stuff on or painting on it. I had a great time, just look:

Trying out different things on a scrap piece.

I ended up doing hearts instead of flowers.

Close up of the hearts

I’ve realized that there needs to be some time between idea and finished project for some experimentation and play. I always tried to skip that middle part and would end up frustrated that I wasn’t getting what I wanted immediately. I just needed more play time!

And to brighten your day (and mine), a few pictures of Cosette


Kathy said...

I think the scarf with the hearts is lovely, and you're right about adults needing "to play", too.

I'm sitting here trying to come up with a caption (my idea of playing) for that last picture of Cossette. It is priceless!

Betty said...

Play! That's what I need to do. I like your fleece scarves. And, Cosette really looks bored in that first picture. She's so cute!

Dianne said...

Cosette is becoming one with the sofa ;)
I love her

the scarves are pretty, the hearts are a great idea

your drawings are lovely too

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that the teens who do the crafts will be crafters later in their lives, and that's a gift you're giving them. I wish there had been some kind of group that I could have learned knitting from when I was a teenager. We were lucky to still have Home Ec in those days-I hear that a lot of schools don't have it anymore, and where else will kids learn to do things that will help them later in life, unlike, say, trigonometry? ;-)

Cosette is adorable, as usual! :-)

fiwa said...

I think that scarf looks great! Your craft time sounds like fun - and I'm sure they enjoy anything you come up with. What's that saying - we're each our own worst critic?

Hey - I saw some stuff about making felted wool with sweaters from Goodwill on this blog: - if you are interested. I thought it sounded like fun.