Monthly Archives: February 2012

Tips for New Clubs

For your first project, choose something relatively easy and fairly quick to complete.  The reason for this is severalfold.

First, when learning a new skill, some children may be nervous or a little fearful.  They are worried if they will be able to do it, and, if so, do it correctly.  So, the project needs to be easy enough for all your students to thoroughly succeed.

Second, some children can become easily bored if they have not yet learned to stick with a project to completion.  So, for these children the project needs to move along fairly quickly.

Third, we want the children to begin, work, and complete a project and feel that sense of “I did that!  Wow!  I actually made something pretty or something useful or . . .”  If we can give them the confidence to plunge in, and get them to the point of completion, it will be icing on the cake if the finished product is attractive or useful enough to make the accomplishment that much more exciting.  There is nothing like the experience of watching children glow over an accomplishment that they did not deem achievable an hour before.

If we start children on skills that are too difficult or time-consuming, they may feel a sense of failure or experience the feeling that “It is too much for me.  I’ll never be able to do all that.”  Instead, we want them to feel good about their club and what they are learning, and we want them to be excited to come back next week.  It is an old adage, but a true one—success breeds success.  We want our children to become competent, and competency comes by becoming competent one skill at a time.


Boys Doing Girls’ Things? Girls Doing Boys’ Things? So What’s With That?

We get these questions often.  “Can boys do some of the things in the Keepers book?  Can girls do some of the things in the Contenders book?”  Our answer always is, “Why, of course they can!”  Now, if you asked, “Can the boys wear girls’ dresses and the girls play football?” our recommendation would be “No way!”

We firmly believe that our great Creator made males and females, and that males and females are different.  Oh, you probably already knew that too.  Males were and are strong protectors of their families and providers for them.  Females were bearing their young and were at home with them.  Men hunted and women cooked what the men caught.  Men cut down trees to make homes, and women lived in the homes men built.  Men went off to war; women stayed at home and took care of the young.  There is a pattern here since creation, a good pattern, and God has not changed His creation, and we do not believe in changing His pattern, but that does not mean we place labels on what girls or boys can and cannot do.  It is not the doing that brings the confusion; it is the role switching that is the problem.

For example, my husband is an excellent cook.  Whenever we have large groups of people over, or just our large family over, he cooks.  There is a funny story to this.  Just last year I heard one of our granddaughters telling another that it was a good thing that Grandpa knew how to cook because Grandma didn’t.  I spun around and said, “What?  What did you just say?”  She repeated it.  I asked her why she would say that.  She replied that she had never seen me cook.  Well, that was true from her memory’s standpoint.  She was fourteen and for all the Sunday brunches and holidays, her grandpa had done the cooking!  I then informed her that I cooked the rest of the week!  I did know how to cook!

Now I want you to know that I am married to a very strong, masculine man who is a leader.  There is no doubt about it, and he is a wonderful cook and baker too!  Plus the man knows how to read and understand instructions, and I struggle with that.  I need to be shown how to do something.  Many years ago, about thirty-five or so, I brought my needlework to my husband because I could not figure out the stitches.  He taught me how to do needlepoint.  He taught me how to thread my sewing machine.  He is every inch a man, but he knows how to do things well, even my things.

I have a daughter-in-love who recently built a closet.  Yes, she studded it in with 2x4s, hung the drywall, and taped and finished it.  She then painted it and installed organizers, etc.  This same woman is a great cook, very feminine, and artfully skilled at all forms of needlework.  Oh, and a few months back she built her husband a computer workstation, which is absolutely beautiful.  I said, “Where did you learn to do this?” because I know that I could not do that in a million years!  Her dad taught her how.  She was the oldest of two children, and one summer he was building a shed, and she was his right-hand girl.  She grew up in an atmosphere where she was free to learn many things, and this has not harmed her in the least.  Why?  Because she knew who she was and what she was going to do in life.  She was going to marry a godly man and have children and continue to walk with and serve the Lord.

Thus, at Keepers, we do want to reinforce the masculinity of males and femininity of females.  We do want to reinforce God’s roles for men and women.  We could not put 200 skills in one handbook, and so we did do some dividing and some overlapping.  It is far better for boys to learn how to do home maintenance than to embroider, but there is nothing wrong with learning how to sew a missing button on whether you are a boy or girl.  So, yes, feel free to mix things as you would like to do.  Your children are your children.  They are yours to teach what you wish to teach.  The handbooks are wonderful guidelines and full to the brim of good things to do with your children, whether in a group setting or a family setting.  Have some fun!  Enjoy!


Joy of Needle Felting

Felted Animals

Felted Animals

We did needle felting last spring with our girls, and little did we know how much they would like it, and that they would simply take off on their to create more and more needle felt projects.  The girls made pin cushions.

Recently, Jeff and I went to a birthday party for one of our younger granddaughters, Lizzie.  The siblings usually make presents for each other, and I was totally amazed at all the needle felt animals Lizzie received.  These animals were soft and very nice and quite realistic for children to have made.  The brothers and sisters had worked through a book on needle felt animals and were just delighted to show me the book.  I was amazed at the level of instructions.  Here, I, as an adult had thought, “Who would want to do this?”   My grandchildren loved doing it, and a couple are going to purchase a felting loom, and I didn’t even know they made such things!

Pin Cushions

Pin Cushions

What can I say about all this?  Crafting sparks creativity.  Crafting teaches a child to follow directions, and see something begin with a few basic materials and turn into something quite delightful.  All of them spend an occasional afternoon needle felting.  They make gifts and they are teaching other children how to do it.  How wonderful!  Children teaching children!  Can it get better than that?  Oh, and I must be honest, one of them taught me how to needle felt snowflakes!  Grandkids teaching Grandma!  Now, that’s good, isn’t it?

Wool Pets

Wool Pets

We have added that wonderful book to our selection of needle felting goodies.  We have also added wool roving in a number of colors as well as a simple tool.  You can view all here.