My good friend, Darlene, started teaching elementary school students how to sew. She is a crafty person by nature (I know her from scrapbooking) and she's a great teacher so I knew the kids would love her and she would love the kids. Here's my interview with her.
Why did you start teaching kids how to sew? I was in despair because my daughter was graduating high school and leaving for college. I was referred to Shannon from Miss Shannon sewing. When I went to the interview and the first class and I felt healed. God had sent me these other children to fill the hole. I didn’t think I’d like them or love them but I was so open to accepting them. My dream is to do crafts for the rest of my life and now I get to do crafts and play with kids. The bonus is getting paid!
How do you pick the schools and projects? Shannon assigns me to go to a school and the class is 8 weeks long. Shannon plans the projects: coin purse, sachet, emoji face pillow, embroidery, stuffed animals (hedgehog, raccoon). Each week is a different project. I go to the sewing studio to pick up the supplies. The kids get 6-8 projects done.
What is the age group? Any child in elementary school, from K through 6, boys and girls are all in 1 class. Its an after school program, for 1 hour. I teach in both private and public schools.
Do you have any cute stories? I was teaching the kids a new stitch that looks difficult but finishes off the outside of the project. One girl, aged 7, didn’t want to do it. I told her that I believe in her and she can try it. I know she can do it. She tried it and I heard her mentioning to another friend that “Miss Darlene believes in me and now I believe in myself.” There’s no mistakes, there’s only room for creativity. I encourage them to do what they want to do.
Do the kids make things at home? After the hour, the kids don’t want to leave. The parents have to pull them out of the class. The kids go home and will make me something out of their scraps, like a coin purse and bring it to me. There was an autistic boy who was wearing everything he had made, the beret, the fanny pack and the apron. Out of the scraps, he had also made a cape.
Thank you Miss Darlene for bringing sewing back into our schools!
“Between Shades of Gray,” by Ruta Sepetys has absolutely NOTHING to do with the 50 Shades of Grey series. As a matter of fact, the book is being turned into a movie and they changed the name to “Ashes in the Snow,” so there's no confusion!
This riveting book tells the story of Lina, a 15 year old girl living in Lithuania during World War II. Her life is uneventful until there's a knock on the door and three Soviet officers (NKVD) storm into the apartment. We follow Lina and her family through their trek in Siberia, moving constantly on the whim of the Soviet officers from one camp to another.
Lina learns some powerful lessons all the while trying to stay sane and survive with her mother and brother. She uses her intellect on a number of occasions to help save her family.
Ruta Sepetys spoke at the recent SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) conference. This story is one that Ms. Sepetys heard growing up as it happened to a family member. She does a masterful job writing emotions and turmoil in a story that's very close to her heart. I congratulate her in her efforts and on the movie deal. I'll be sure to see it in the theater!