Liam's school had their annual autumn picnic on Sunday. Normally I would say 'we' had it, especially since as class co-ordinator of Liam's class I was involved in some of the organisation, but actually I didn't go - I was at home trying to re-write my essay for my master's project (which is driving me up the wall at the moment, but that's a whole other post!).
The autumn picnic is usually a lovely family day, with everything from sack races to sausage sizzles to home made soup to the craft table (the organisation and running of which is job of us kindy parents). This year it turned out to be the coldest day of the season so far, but a good time was still reportedly had by all.
Liam made this gnome and gods-eye at the craft table. Someone showed him how to do blanket stitch and got him started on the gnome and he did the rest himself, and the gods-eye he did completely by himself, having made his first one at the school's Spring Fair last year.
This is one of the things I love about Orana. All the 'hand work' they do. This year Liam has mastered finger knitting and French knitting in kindergarten, he brought home a little basket his teacher sewed for him out of his finger knitting, and is now working on the French knitting - two strands of wool at once too (for both finger and French). They don't learn to write until class one (next year), but this handwork is part of the way they prepare the hands and mind for that sort of handwork. And in class one they also start 'proper' knitting. I think they start with knitting socks or something, and progress to a hat at some point (maybe in a later year though).
I was never very crafty as a child - oh I learned the basics of knitting and French knitting, but I never actually completed a project. I all but failed 'textiles' (sewing, weaving etc) in year seven. I did do a short course in sewing with stretch material when I was about 18, out of which I got a few clothes and my still very basic sewing skills. But that's about it. So I love the fact that Liam is learning some of these basics right at the beginning of school, and will continue to do so through the years.
Meanwhile I, as you know, am going to knit a dishcloth. And I'm going to attempt to make Kaely a sleeping bag. She is fast outgrowing the one she's in now, and I haven't been able to find any in op shops (thrift stores), so I put a request for a size 3 sleeping bag on freecycle,* and someone responded with the offer of a pattern, and said she may even be able come up with some old bits of fleece for me to use. So I'm going to give it a go. I may just become a handy person yet.
*I find this a challenging part of the whole 'no shopping' compact - asking for things. A lot of stuff I haven't been able to find second hand, and while in some cases that can just mean we don't buy it, some things we really do need. Okay, true, we don't *really* need them. Mikaela could wear a couple of extra layers to bed (she won't keep blankets on yet) and we could move her to a mattress on the floor (she's not safe in the cot without the sleeping bag any more, she can climb out). But... we need them enough, if you know what I mean.
So, I decided to start asking for things on freecycle. That's the whole point, after all, of freecycle - to move things around to where they will be used. But I do find it challenging to ask for 'handouts', especially as there seems to be a general philosophy that it should be more for giving than receiving (for instance I think the rules say you can't put a WANTED on until you've put an OFFER on). So I decided that I would have to put an offer on for every wanted I put on.** Not that that's a bad thing - after all, I am also trying to declutter. But even then, I do find the asking a little confronting. See how I am going into this long explanation about how I put 'offers' on and not just 'wanteds'? I find this discover about myself sort of interesting.
** (Footnote to the footnote:) So far I've put on two wanteds and two offers and got requests for both the offers, but for the wanteds have gotten a loan (which is good actually - it's a mini tramp for Chris to work his ankle on, and we're happy to be able to give it back at the end) and the offer of advice on how to make the item. So if this goes on the decluttering could become a reality. I still need to find things to put up for offer so I can request boys size 4/5 PJs, long sleeve tops & long pants - which I am counting as three separate requests. I am sort of wishing I kept those bags of clothes I finally give to Vinnie's (charity) the other week though.