W is for Wombat...

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Often times I find myself needing to entertain or distract my two eldest kids whilst we are patiently having to wait for something - say at the mechanics, or a doctors clinic.

And one of the fun and easy games we play is simply naming objects or animals or foods beginning with specific letters. So, “what is a fruit that starts with B?” Or, “What is an animal that has two legs and starts with an I?” That’s an Ibis just incase you were playing along. But, I feel it’s a simple and fun game that has the added bonus of being educational.

And that’s how I felt whilst playing with the sweet fabrics by Amanda Brandl, titled Marsupials and Monotremes. Amanda has a wonderful ability to craft some of our beautiful native Australian animals, and create them into wonderful pieces of fabric. We are so blessed to live in a country with such a diverse range of wildlife, and it’s fantastic to see these animals celebrated in fabric.

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Not only do the fabrics give the opportunity to look cute and fun, but they serve as an educational purpose, and are perfect for little people who adore all animals. Like my little tribe of kids.

So, whilst pondering what to create for this blog tour, I happened upon a surreptitious moment to unite two passions of mine - sewing and children. My 6 year old son has recently finished his years of Kindergarten and will be starting school this year, whilst my second child, and eldest daughter , will be finishing her last year of Kindergarten during 2019. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Kindergarten journey we have been on. It’s been so wonderful to see the growth in, not only my own children, but fellow classmates and friends over the years. They start as such sweet, little poppets, and grown in confidence and ability, and it astounds me how deep all their little friendships are for such a young age. We have such an opportunity at these tender ages of 3, 4 and 5 to really teach our children how to be kind. How to love. How to share. And these important lessons they learn at kindergarten will hopefully stay with them as they grow.

So when the kindergarten teacher approached me and asked if I could be involved with a sewing project for the kinder, I was only too happy to oblige. I love being able to give back to our community run kindergarten, a safe place that has been such a joy and blessing to my children and our family.

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So, my job was to create individual information/fundraising pockets. Simple envelopes that information about fundraisers, or permission slips for excursions could be sent home with each child. And then the hopeful idea is for the pockets to be returned with the signed slips, or money raised, all in one. This saves the need for plastic bags or paper envelopes, which is a wonderful way to cut down on landfill, and further teaches our children the need to care for our environment. Our local kindergarten is aiming to be a “Nude” kindergarten, with as little waste as possible. So, we encourage the use of washable containers for snacks and food, rather than plastic wraps and bags. So these little ‘permission pockets’ as I have been calling them, are a wonderful way to further cement our aim to limit waste.

It seemed perfectly fitting then when Amanda asked if I’d like to be involved in the blog tour, just as the kindergarten teacher approached me for my sewing ability. What a wonderful way to share these sweet fabrics with little children and families. And support a local community run organisation, and help limit waste usage. A win win all round!

The Permission Pockets were relatively simple to construct, and use only one piece of fabric per pocket. A total of 60 was required and ideally we wanted to fold a standard A4 piece of paper into thirds, and easily slip it into the pocket, and have it sealed securely with velcro. So I measured and cut accordingly for this task, as we want these pockets to be easy to use. I debated using zips for each pocket, but the sensible side of my brain (the side which knows I have zero spare time at the moment,) wisely decided that velcro really was the best and easiest option. Thank you brain. Added benefit of these little pockets is their ability to be used for literally anything - even as a simple pencil case. I can see I’ll be needing to make a few for my own kids now.

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The added addition of the label was my own idea, and something I haven’t shown the kinder teacher yet. But I’m sure she is just going to love it. I really like how official the little label makes these pockets feel, and hopefully it means that we won’t see any getting lost or misplaced easily.

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And while I would love to say that I have completed all 60 pockets, I will declare open honesty and state that I have achieved 30 so far. And how many weeks is it till the school and kinder year starts again? Oh, right. Like two? Hmm. Let’s hope I can finish up the remaining 30 in that time.

I really feel that the sweet fabrics by Amanda have added an extra element to these simple pockets that would have been lacking in other fabrics. The fact that each fabric showcases some native flora and fauna of Australia is just wonderful for the benefit of the children, and I love that all the fabrics will coordinate beautifully once all complete. The quality of the fabric, made by Kennard and Kennard is strong and sturdy, and I know these pockets will stand up to the rigours required.

So, thank you Amanda for letting me be involved in your tour. I adore your fabrics, and I’m so thrilled you are sharing the sweet and unique plant and animal life of Australia with the world. I’m so glad I was able to use your fabrics to benefit our community kinder, and whilst my project is a simple one, it’s a project that will be enjoyed and used for years to come.

To see the full blog tour schedule for this Australian animal fabric collection, and to find a stockist please go to Kennard & Kennard or visit Amanda’s website.