Soft Shields

This post is part of the Families Create: Make and Play Challenge, cohosted by Code Name: Mama and Living Peacefully with Children. December’s topic is favorite books.

As fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians
and Heroes of Olympus series, my children love Greek mythology. Outside they have an entire set up sticks from which they have made swords and even some corrugated plastic shields they made at a co-op class a few years ago. However, those items stay outside or in the garage.

We needed something for inside, especially with winter on its way. Foam shields seemed perfect. Made from one inch foam and sturdy corduroy, they have two loops on the back to slide your arm through. My husband has been eyeing these and can’t wait until I give them to the kids for Yule. Apparently foam shields are great for roughhousing.

tea set…

 

I searched a long time for a suitable play tea set. I really wasn’t pleased with the selection available. They seemed to be either made with toxic paint, aluminum, cheap plastic, or were ridiculously priced. I had mainly given up on the idea, although since I still thought my children would enjoy a set, I kept an eye out for something. Last November, as I was making an insane amount of handmade play food to add to our collection, I had the realization that I could just make a tea set.

I did some looking online for patterns and narrowed down the selection. With the help of some mom friends, I was looking at this felt food tea set pattern. My daughter was looking over my shoulder one day when I was trying to make my final selection and said that she really liked it the best. I should have just asked her in the first place.

Locally, the only place to find much of a selection in felt is JoAnn’s. The majority of their felt is acrylic, which I refuse to use. It feels nasty to work with and pills horribly. Frankly, I don’t want to waste my time on something that isn’t going to hold up to being played with. The wool blend felt they carry by the bolt is very limited in colors, even more so than a few years ago. Purchasing wool felt online becomes expensive quickly, especially if you want some nice colors.

I decided I would rather make the tea set out of fabric. It’s more affordable and comes in a wide array of colors. In fact, I had enough fabric in my stash that I wouldn’t have to buy anything else. Looking at the pattern, I realized that I would need to make some changes. I enlarged the seam allowance so that I could sew and turn the pieces, I also added some thin batting in order to make the pieces stand up better, since I wasn’t using felt.

My children picked out the fabric from my stash. Sewing the little pieces was sometimes a pain. I put the set away to put in their Ostara baskets, but the individual pieces did manage to be played with while I was making them. Watching their eyes light up and witnessing their pretend play was definitely worth the work involved.