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Kathie Sever from Ramonster has been on our editorial board, and she’s done a ton of other wonderful things for Sew,Mama,Sew! too (like this awesome Colette Macaron Dress pattern review and our Skirt Sew-Along). Kathie and Bernadette Noll have been friends for years and they’ve been working on a book for years too. Make Stuff Together: 24 Simple Projects to Create as a Family evolved from their work as artists, writers and from their crafting with children through Future Craft Collective.
We’re big fans here at Sew,Mama,Sew!; Kathie and Bernadette know art and craft, and they get kids and families. Make Stuff Together is a thoughtful, helpful, creative look at crafting with kids, full of projects the whole family can get excited about. It’s the perfect support for all of those extra, school-free summer hours at home! Kathie and Bernadette give great advice about finding and repurposing supplies, and about how everyone can get the most out of crafting time together. Chapters have themes like Library Time, Into the Woods and, our personal favorite, Commemorate and Celebrate (with the fantastic Family
Talisman and Family Records Book projects).
We asked Kathie to tell us a little more about the book, so enjoy our interview below. Learn more about Make Stuff Together on the book Facebook page, and see the full online book tour schedule plus the actual-real-life-in-person-wow! book tour schedule at Future Craft Collective.
We have a copy of Make Stuff Together to give away today. Comment on today’s post for your chance to win, and we’ll announce the winner on Friday. Tell us what you like to craft with kids. Or tell us what you think about the Slow Family Movement, or share a favorite family crafting memory… Go ‘Make Stuff Together’ this summer!
Sew,Mama,Sew!: Congrats on the new book! You and Bernadette worked on this project for years, right?! Can you tell us about how the book grew from all of the many (amazing, creative) things you two do? You’re artists, writers, you have the Future Craft Collective…
Kathie: Thanks! We’re excited to be sharing the book finally! The genesis of the book was that Bernadette and I have been friends for years, each pursuing our various creative paths. Bernadette’s background included a lot of freelance writing, as well as raising four children and being an intrinsically crafty-by-nature type person. I’ve been sewing professionally for years and we were both exploring ways to pass the love of craft on to our children without going crazy in the process. We formed Future Craft Collective at a time when we felt there was a need for a paradigm of teaching kids crafting and making, but with an emphasis on reusing and getting mindful and creative about where and how to source and use materials.
The book came about after the documentary Handmade Nation came out. Thanks to all the work that Faythe Levine did to get the word out about the craft movement and also thanks to her featuring me in her film, I was contacted by a literary agent who felt like the message we were trying to get out with Future Craft Collective would make for a good book idea. She suggested we write a proposal, which we did, and she found us a home with Wiley Publishing not long after.
Tool Roll + Nature Pouch
SMS: What’s all this about a slow family movement? What does that look like?
Kathie: To me, and I think I can speak for Bernadette here too (or you can read all about Bern’s take on slow family at her blog or Slow Family Living website), slow family is sort of the movement towards finding your families unique center– independent from any societal push to perform or achieve or attend or behave. Slow family speaks to slowing things down enough so that you can find the rhythm that works for you and your family, be it full of work, soccer games and parties or full of lingering afternoons, movies and family dinners. Whatever ACTUALLY works so that everyone (yup, even mom…) is getting what they need. It’s funny that we live in this world where we so often stuff our first instincts if they don’t match up with the dogma of a current parenting trend. Books and leadership when it comes to parenting and family life are great, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t go anywhere without my Dr. Sears Baby Book when my daughter was little– but in my opinion they need to be held gently and with a sense of humor and autonomy. So slowing down basically means getting still enough to tune into your instincts and your families deepest needs.
Blessing and Sharing Pouch
SMS: Your Lessons Learned are brilliant. Is that just a taste of what we’ll find in your book?
Kathie: Yup! Our lessons learned have always been one of our favorite parts about future craft collective. We like to kind of blow the lid off the idea that crafting with your kids is always this sweet, precious time together as is often suggested in the blogosphere… Where’s the mess? The kid that just picked up their project and hurled it at their sibling? The piles of unfinished projects that end up getting whisked into the recycle bin when the kids are asleep? So we started writing ‘Lessons Learned’ when we realized that most parents kind of dreaded doing craft projects with their kids. A few simple permissions– like ways to lay out projects to actually LIMIT choices (some kids get absolutely freaked when they are presented with too many options) or picking up a project that may have been tossed aside due to frustration and working it up to a place where a kid might be re-inspired to pick it up and finish it off… We’ve gotten our funniest and most appreciative emails when we bring the dark side of family crafting to light.
SMS: There are a lot of fun projects in the book that make use of creative materials. Can you tell us a little more about some of these like the burlap cloth-lined baskets and the upcycling hat?
Kathie: I am consistently blown away by the amount of amazing materials that are out there, awaiting transformation, that cost little to nothing. One trip to the thrift store can stockpile not only my fabric collection, but can also provide inspiration for some completely new idea or project. Bernadette and I are both avid thrifters and have been haunting and hunting at thrift shops for years. I love it when I get a call from Bern when she’s out hunting; she’ll call to clue me in on some score she’s found and we’ll start brainstorming on how we could use the second-hand bounty for future projects. Wetsuits, basketball jerseys, coffee sacks… There’s just so much! And Bern is a MASTER of finding folks who may have yet to even get their unused seconds to the thrift stores… She’ll go into a bike shop and ask them what they do with their used race banners or inner tubes. This invariably sparks a conversation and a new community connection is born. Sing it with me now: “These are the people in your neighborhood… In your neighborhood… iIn your neigh-bor-hooooood!” (Bern’s favorite song.)
SMS: The “Commemorate and Celebrate” chapter has some really original projects like the Family Talisman and the Family Records Book. I can’t remember how I found this but the video you created for your husband just floored me… What a beautiful way to celebrate and support family! What do your kids think of your book?
Kathie: Thanks! That video was fun to make. If I may be so bold (and because I think the Sew,Mama,Sew! crowd would epically appreciate it) I’ll point you all to the most recent video we did for my husband. It’s my new favorite crafty endeavor… It’s on his website. Anyway… My daughter loves the book. She feels kind of like a rock star when she opens it up and sees her picture, and it’s full of her friends and people she loves. Bern’s kids and mine are all pretty crafty so it’s fun for them to be able to share the book as kind of a representation of who they are and what their world encompasses. My son, who is seven, could kind of care less. He’d way rather read comic books!
SMS: Thanks, Kathie. Make Stuff Together is a must-have for families this summer and beyond!
Kathie: Thanks to you, Beth!