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Crafty mamas with little ones... how do you do it? (XPosted)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am beginning to make a concerted effort to get more crafting and making into my day-to-day life to help combat lots of things (mainly that nagging feeling that comes with staying home- that I don't PRODUCE anything.) I'm happier when I am making.

But my sons are 3 and 1. Today was the first day I tried bringing out the sewing machine with them awake and around. Admittedly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! But I have a lot of learning to do to make our crafty days go more smoothly.

I think a lot of it has to do with organizing my materials more effectively so that it isn't so likely that the 1 year old can end up pulling down a shoe box of miscellaneous small crafting items on his head. (Yes, that happened today.)

But do you other crafty mamas have any tips?

(Xposted in the toddler forum.)
post #2 of 13
When they are in bed. But my boys go to bed very early compared to most I find. They are in bed by 6:30PM usually, so I have plenty of hours in the evening to do it. The only prob. is I'm usually so tired, I have no will to get anything done. I always feel so excited to do crafts during the day when it's hard, but when I have time in the night, I just want to sit around on the computer or TV. But typically I get stuff done in the night as it's when I have the most time. I have gotten to the point with my 2 and 4 year old that I can get some stuff done during the day with them around. But I have a huge amazing craft table (that dh built me last year). It's high enough the kids cannot pull things off the top (I have to sit on a stool to reach it). Before when I did everything on my dining room table I always had to push everything to the center and stack stuff if I ever walked away from it.
I guess crafting is such a big part of my life that I just incorporate it and my kids and hubby know this is what I do. The hard part for me is getting started on something and then having to stop in the middle of it if the kids need me...I just want so bad to keep going and finish it.
post #3 of 13
I also do mine in the evening (DD is in bed 6:45-7pm, so I have time -- if I'm not too wiped) and a bit during the day. Sometimes DD just seems to need me to ignore her -- she plays better and is in a better mood afterward if I have something to occupy myself instead of hovering. But I've only got one, and she's old enough to start being independent (2.5). I don't know how things will work when DS comes along.
post #4 of 13
I think having it all set up and ready to go helps too. I'm a knitter now and have lost all interest in sewing but that was always my hangup. I would try to sew during nap and just spend most of nap time getting my stuff out and organized/cleaned up enough so that I had a space to sew/cut.
post #5 of 13
my boys are up late every night with their dad, which means that in the morning I can work on stuff while everyone else is sleeping. I've set up my sewing machine upstairs, where the boys don't go, in a small corner just so it can be completely out of reach. I also suffer from insomnia, so when I'm up at 4AM I'm either on here or crafting!
post #6 of 13
i usually do this kind of thing with my boys under foot (4 & 2.5 years). if the little one is fussy/clingy it just can't happen, but when they're both happy to play or "help" then i can. or i put on a movie (seriously). i guess i started sewing when they were awake, about a year ago or maybe a bit less, so they were just barely older than yours are now.

the older one likes to play with my pins. he will arrange them in the pin cushion or in felt or paper. the younger one plays with empty spools and bobbins, buttons, etc which i understand wouldn't be a great idea with a one-year-old, but fabric scraps or little bits of ribbon/trim could be really fun. i used to have scarves in a plastic "wipes" case, so something like that could hold those items - or an empty kleenex box, so he could stick his entire hand in and see what he pulls out.

my boys also just watch me and talk to me, which was unthinkable when i started, because they're quite wild, but now they're interested and will slow down with me while i work for an hour or so. when they get bored with what i'm doing and with the sewing-related things i've given them, they move along and do something else.

the other thing to remember is, the more you do it, the more they will get used to it and it will be like doing any other grown-up thing with them around. i think it's good to share our interests with our little ones (and really good to have time to focus on it without kids around too!).
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
So I think what I am figuring out (thanks to all of your replies!) is that:
  • I need to have a PLAN for ONE HOUR. What exactly do I hope to get accomplished in one hour with both of them around? I can't just have "craft time" to see what happens, or else I will get frustrated. I like to craft organically, moving from one thing to the next as it suits me, but that can wait for after bedtime. With them awake, I need to say, in this hour, I hope to get the elastic in these pants and cut the pieces for the next pair."
  • I need to have things easily accessible and already set up. This is harder as we live in 750 square feet. I'm going to have to think on this one.
The trouble of crafting when they are awake, though, is worth it to me-- I want them to be part of it before they can even remember not having been part of it. I want it to be part of their lives, and know that it is part of mine!
post #8 of 13
My youngest is 3 and has lost interest in the sewing machine and messing with my stuff. Both my girls are always full of ideas of things I should sew for them and are crafty too so I know what you mean when you say you want it to be part of their lives too.

My machine is in a cabinet in our living room right next to the tv. I rarely close the cabinet and fold the machine away so it has become a normal part of the furniture. Right next to the machine are the drawers with my notions, patterns and bobbins and threads.

Everything is to hand if I want to sew. What takes time and is something I don't do so much when everyone is awake, is tracing patterns and cutting fabric.

I have trouble getting my serger out as I need to put that on the kitchen table which is often covered with dishes or the girls creative output.

Today I cleared the table completely so that I could get the serger and the cutting mat on it at once! I made a quick skirt for my 6yo from a thrifted denim skirt with a yoga waistband.

It took me about half an hour because I had thought about it before i started and got straight to cutting and sewing. Using the existing hem saved time too. The serger was already threaded with blue so was good to go without re-threading too

Plan what you want to do in your head (for days and days!) then get the things together bit by bit. Cut in the evening when it is quiet then sew during the day when you can.
post #9 of 13
DD doesn't let me sew on the machine while she's awake, but she's pretty good about letting me do handwork. So I try to save things that need to be hand-sewn for when she's awake and keep a few hand-sewing projects around for that.

Then I can use the machine after they go to bed or during naps. Although to be honest, I'm usually exhausted at that point. For example, right now I have DD's Christmas jumper mostly cut out and waiting to be sewn tonight, and here I sit with my brain completely fried after a super busy day, unable to do anything but hang around online message boards. So realistically, I actually get most of my sewing done on the weekends while DH plays with the kids.
post #10 of 13
I was thinking about this post some more the other day and I came back to post what someone else already has. But just wanted to reinerate that crafting a big part of my life. I do it because its the one thing I do for myself. I enjoy it, it makes me happy and it's me time. So I want my children to get used to it. I want them to see me do it regularly and they can help and also know when to leave me alone when I'm doing it..and to leave my stuff alone. I don't just want to have to do it when they are sleeping, so that is why i've been incorporating it more when they are awake too. But again, my kids are slightly older and I have the availability to do it more now. Not too much, but some.
post #11 of 13
Originally Posted by esaesa View Post
I think having it all set up and ready to go helps too. I'm a knitter now and have lost all interest in sewing but that was always my hangup. I would try to sew during nap and just spend most of nap time getting my stuff out and organized/cleaned up enough so that I had a space to sew/cut.

I BARELY sew anymore sadly..it's just to much of a pain! My xmas sewing projects are nowhere near being done b/c of that
I love being able to grab the needles and do a row here and there...take it with me to drs. apt ect.

I have the kids on the same nap time...Yup I NEED THAT! and I do take time to eat slowly, watch a show and knit...If I was at work I would get a 1/2 hour break...I'm taking mine...ok maybe I get into it and take longer
post #12 of 13
I have to cut out without the kids around. So nap time or after they go to bed then I cut out a bunch at once- because it is really the worst part of sewing. Oh- same with winding balls of yarn by hand- horrible if the kids need something in the middle of a hank.

I usually sew on the dinning room table- which is a part of our living room where the kids play. I have all of my crafting supplies upstairs and just bring down what I need or make a million trips up and down the stairs- but then there is just less for them to get into.
post #13 of 13
I turned to knitting because it's easiest to pick up and put down. I don't have an area where the sewing stuff can be left out, unless we don't want to use our kitchen table for a week.
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