The end of term that is. Indeed, the end of the school year.
[Rant alert, feel free to skip the next 3 paragraphs if you want less opinions and more sewing.]
I’m not sure I should admit this as I risk looking like a callous human being, but I get annoyed with the expectation that everyone should get their child’s teacher a present. When did that happen? I don’t ever remember a present being given to a teacher by me or on my behalf. (Maybe I just come from a mean family). Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with people giving presents if they feel they want to. I’m just annoyed with the expectation that everyone will and the pressure this puts on parents, some of whom will, by law of averages, be hard up, stressed, time poor, busy, forgetful, unorganised, etc. I had a discussion about this with my teacher friend. She reckoned it was a good thing, because teachers work hard for long hours. I also think teachers work hard, for long hours and are deserve a higher status in the society we live in, but I have this idealist streak that reckons that they should be recompensed for their efforts in their paypacket, not by me feeling I have to buy them a box of chocolates or I will be the one parent in the class that hasn’t bothered.
So, why the rant? Well, partly cos I like to put the world to rights, but mainly, because I happen to have made some presents for people who work in schools and I want to make it absolutely crystal clear that it’s not my intention to put any pressure on any other parent or carer to do the same. Last year, I was the busy stressed unorganised parent who did nothing. Actually, without going into details, I was also quite cross with the school “system” at that point and feeling quite let down in certain ways and frankly rewarding anyone associated with that system, culpable or not, was not top of my list of priorities.
However, this year, there are several members of staff that have worked extremely hard to help my nearest and dearest and shown great patience and care, both to myself and my offspring. Staff that keep me informed, listen to me and change what they’re doing due to my feedback. This time last year the thought of school related things had me in tears more than once. Now I feel we’re really getting somewhere. And I genuinely want to say a really big thank you to several people who I know have worked really hard. Which means saying thank you to a couple more as well, to satisfy my children’s sense of fairness too. And me being me, I may have got a bit carried away with the “oh I could just do this” plans. Which is a refelction of my crazy tendancies to give myself complicated tasks that I don’t really need to be doing.
Ok, ok, enough justification, onto the sewing.
Back a while ago I went on a screen printing workshop, cos it sounded cool. Once I started planning what I wanted to print onto which fabric, I realised that I wanted to print LOTS OF FABRIC, because I could, and when would I get that chance again? But I only had limited space on the screen for my designs and I wasn’t sure I wanted lots of things that were all the same. So, I printed some stuff for me (which I haven’t made up yet, partly due to complicated project critical path reasons, partly as it’s for me, so there’s no deadline) and also some stuff to make into gifts. So that I could print lots of fabric and not have to have everything I own with the same design on (see, it’s a lot more selfish than it appears at first glance).
I’ve already blogged about the small tote bags I made. These were fairly straightforward and were made before the printing. Well, I’ve finally made the storage boxes that I planned too.
dandelions in action
They’re made from some green linen I got in a bundle and dyed a slightly bluer, less in your face shade of green. They’re cubic in shape, with 5 square sides (and an open top). The base is plain and the upright sides alternate between the two designs of a big dandelion and a three smaller dandelions in various stages.
Filled with stuff
I added little handles to them after seeing something similar online. I lined them with scrap fabric, each one is different.
The first two I filled with home made mini scones (which the kids helped make), home made strawberry jam (which I had to reboil as it didn’t set the first time, so annoyed with myself for all the wasted time and effort (and jam, as some was inevitably lost in the process)) and some clotted cream. See, I told you I was going a bit OTT. These are not actually for teachers, but for the long suffering office staff. I spend a lot of time in the office one way and another. They went in at the beginning of the week, as they were for sharing. I forgot to take a photo at the time, but one of the bags got given back and I was too embarassed to explain it was part of the present, so I kept it.
Ready to go
Today all but one the other’s went in (for complicated reasons, the kids don’t actually break up until Tuesday). They had some homemade biscuits in that the Girl helped with (her brother was too tired) and one had a cake in and some dog pull toys the boy made out of scraps for his dog owning favourite teacher. (Instructions from this tutorial.)
Dog pull toy
Just in case you’re wondering, to make my boxes I drew a square template out the size I wanted each side to be. Then I cut one piece that was 3 squares long (plus seam allowance) and 2 single squares (plus seam allowance). I interfaced them for added strength (particularly as I was using mainly linen and polycotton!).
pieces cut and ready to go – you can just make out the purple pen lines which show the top piece is 3 squares side by side.
Then I sewed one side of each of the small squares to the middle third of my rectangle to make a net. Remember to press these seams now as it’s quite tricky once the box is assembled (ask me how I know).
Next the 4 side seams need sewing (you can work out what those need to be right, right?). I pinned these and sewed each from the top into the corner. In order to release fabric at this bottom corner to make the side seam easier I first cut the square side piece on the diagonal and also snipped the seam allowance of the rectangular piece.
trimming before turning the corner
Anyway, side seams sewn and you get a box. Make 2, sew right sides together around the top but leave a gap, turn, press, topstitch around the top and Bob’s your Uncle.
Hmm, that wasn’t the clearest explanation ever, so ask away should you want more details.
I think the boxes came out pretty cool and I’m secretly pleased I got to keep one. I hope to go on another one of their courses sometime but the next couple of date’s they’re running aren’t good for me. Still, that leaves plenty of time to come up with more ideas and also play with some other things in the mean time!