Thursday, September 30, 2010

Boot Gnome craft

The rainy weather is coming! We were stuck inside far too often last year, so this year I purchased rain pants, a rain coat and rain boots for each of the boys. The first thing I noticed is that the rain boots were just being kicked off and thrown all over the place. So, I was inspired to do the Boot Gnome craft in my Enki Kindergarten craft book.

Basically the directions called for using a clothes pin and sewing a little cloak to go on it. Then you could draw a face on the gnome. Brother can sew and was more than ready for this craft, especially since he is seven and in first grade. Little Brother is only 3.5 years old and can't sew yet.

So, Little Brother glued on an underskirt and he glued on the wool roving hair. He chose the color of the cloak and thread, but I sewed up it and tied it on for him.

Brother decided he wanted his gnome to be old and added a snowy beard to his gnome, which is glued on.

Here's mine. I always make one for myself as well. Actually, I make one with scrap fabric when I am alone first so that I am familiar with the process. Then I make one at the same time to boys do.

So, I realize that the process of art is much more important than the product actually produced. Except in this case I really want the boot gnomes to be used to promote good care taking of the boots. Honoring the process over product philosophy, it really doesn't matter to me how they turned out aesthetically. Brother's stitches aren't even, Little Brother's gnome has hair all over him. It's just contained by the cloak. Little Brother used so much roving, it probably needs the cloak to keep the hair on! My issue is that the BOOT GNOME has to function properly and hold BOOTS.

My girlfriend made boot gnomes with her Mommy and Me class a few years ago, so I checked in with her. The clothespins provided did not hold boots either. So, it isn't just am a boot gnome making failure. But, I did have a bit of a tiff and I'm an engineers daughter so....

... we turned it into a wood working project. I sawed off the legs because I had to hold the clothespin in one hand and the saw with the other. I just used an old icky wood cutting board as my working surface. When my hand got tired of holding the clothes pin I realized I could hold it with a portable clamp, but that is still not appropriate or safe for kids.

Then I clamped the head and torso part of the clothspin on our woodworking table and Brother filed the bottom of the torso smooth. After it was smooth he used his manual hand drill to drill a hole in the center of each torso.

Into each hole we glued a pipe cleaner. We just used Elmer's school glue.

Allowing a day for the glue to dry, we ran the pipe cleaner through the hole in the spring of a clamping clothespin. And now we have a boot gnome that will actually hold the boots! We added an underskirt to hide the top of the clamping clothespin. The boys were very concerned when I was cutting off the boot gnomes legs. Phew! Happy Mommmy.

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