“Mama, can I have some old fabric, thread and maybe a needle?”
Standing before me anxiously awaiting a response, was my eight-year-old daughter. She needed an answer fast. Her brother turns five next week, and she has decided to make him a pocket dragon stuffy (Have I mentioned that my kids are obsessed with dragons?). She tells me it’s going to take her a long time to make so she needs to get started pronto! And I have to admit, I couldn’t be prouder.
Over the past few years, my husband and I have really begun to embrace the idea of buying less toys and gifts. It isn’t that we’re against gift buying - it feels awesome to give or receive something, store-bought or otherwise. However, most of the gifts we give our children are handcrafted or gifts of experience. These gifts of time, undivided attention and connection spell l-o-v-e, a message we really want to instill in our children.
“I could buy him some Lego – he would like that – but this will be more special. I want to make him something really special.”
So we went about collecting the necessary materials from around the house, and we worked on the dragon stuffy over the course of the next week (instructions below). And I realized something in that time: her handcrafted gift had become as much of a gift for the two of us as it was for her brother.
Had she decided to use her allowance to buy a dragon stuffy (or a Lego set), my son would have been appreciative, but she and I would have missed out on so much: time spent together, lessons in perseverance, memories made, connections deepened…and the love poured into crafting something special for an unsuspecting little brother.
This was one of those parenting wins (silent cheer)! “I want to make him something really special.” In that moment, it became abundantly clear: My eight-year-old understood what many of us adults often forget – truly special gifts don’t come from a store…they come from the heart.
Has your child made a special gift for a loved one? We would love to hear about it! Share it with the LOVE UNCLUTTERED community in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram page with the tag #loveuncluttered
Easy DIY Pocket Dragon
This little felt dragon is both adorable and the perfect weekend project to do with the kids.
MATERIALS & TOOLS:
- sheet of felt
- some scrap felt
- sheet of paper
- embroidery thread
- sewing needle
- Begin with a piece of paper folded in half. Draw a simple dragon on the folded paper. This is your pattern. Cut it out. *Note: Downloadable PDF pattern coming.
- Pin the pattern pieces to your felt: fold the full sheet of felt in half so that you cut 2 body pieces. Fold the scrap pieces of felt to cut out 2 sets of wings, 2 sets of arms, 2 ears and 2 bellies. Additionally, cut out a strip of spikes for along the back and tail.
- Secure 2 wing pieces together with pins to form the first wing. Use a blanket stitch to sew them together, leaving a small opening. Add some stuffing (we used a chopstick to gently push stuffing in) and sew the opening closed. Repeat with the remaining 2 wing pieces.
- Secure 2 arm pieces together with a pin and stitch together, again leaving a small opening. Stuff and sew the opening closed. Repeat with remaining 2 arm pieces.
- Align the 2 body pieces together and hand-stitch an ear on both the front and back side pieces of the dragon. Stitch an eye on both pieces as well.
- Hand-stitch a belly on each body piece. Now, attach the arms and wing pieces to both the back and front body pieces.
- Secure the 2 body pieces together with pins, being sure to include the strip(s) of spikes between the two layers along the back. Now you’re ready to sew the dragon together. Leave an opening for stuffing. Finally, stuff the dragon and hand-stitch the opening closed.