Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Crafting Pipe Dreams

I always feel a lot of anxiety when I get ready to talk about our parenting choices. It's the problem with having a blog. On the one hand, there are a lot of fun things I get to share with our family and friends and my little online community of friends. At the same time though, I think sometimes when a person is really passionate about something parenting-related they can come across as judgmental and combative.

So I guess I just want to preface all this by saying that I don't really care what other people do with their children (barring abusive situations, of course) and that I really and truly believe that every single child and family is different. What works for one family won't work for us, and what works for us won't work for everyone else.

That being said, let's talk Barbies. I had Barbies growing up. I loved my Barbies. I had a lot of them, and I played with them all the time. I had fun dressing them and styling their hair, cutting it in ways I was so certain my mom wouldn't notice, rolling them around in one of my neon roller skates which I used as their car. I enjoyed coming up with their names and their scenarios, decorating their house, and for a lot longer than most girls my age.

I think dolls are a really great way for a little girl to play. They use her creativity and imagination in ways that a lot of other play styles can't. But at the same time, Ryan and I both feel a little funny about Barbies. While I do agree with old and overcooked statements about them promoting bad body image, I also think Barbies are very different from what they used to be. They tend to be pretty scantily-clad, for starters, and there are quite a lot of things about them that I just don't really agree with. The other day we saw a Barbie at the store who walks a pooping dog called a Poopsie Pet. I'm just not really sure how that fosters the kind of development I dream about when I dream about my little girl.

Another argument I don't want to spend too much time on comes from a homeschooling idea, based on Waldorf education. You can read more about it in this book. Basically, the Waldorf system encourages more natural materials for toys (lots of synthetics and potential carcinogens are used in so many children's toys these days!) and it also encourages more imaginative playthings.

Plus, if we're being honest, I have always felt like I was born in the wrong era and I secretly wish I could whisk my children away to a simpler time, when mamas made dolls and hand-stitched them with love instead of nonchalantly throwing an assembly-line item into a cart.

Ryan and I like the idea of creating a lot of our children's toys because of this, and we've talked at great length about "Barbie" sized dolls. I had mentioned recently that I'd like to just make some kind of dolls for a nice wooden dollhouse he'll build.

So it was pretty perfect timing when I received some free-in-exchange-for-review crafty things from The Quarto Group. (The review is my honest opinion, honestly)

Not pictured: Ryan standing in the background, holding up our comforter and sighing
The first is a Learn to Crochet kit. I have always loved crochet. My dad's grandma crocheted and one of my aunts does too, and I always think it produces some of the prettiest patterns. I love the simplicity of loom knitting, but it doesn't give me as much freedom as actually knowing how to crochet and being able to pick up any pattern/book will. I'm still not done loom knitting that toddler sweater I started a few months ago, and I've got my hands a wee-bit full right now, but I am definitely really excited to try this kit. It also came with yarn so I can make my own scarf as my first project.

The second was a book I am thrilled about, Sew Dolled Up. I assumed this was for large dolls but they are small enough that they can take the place of Barbies in my pipe dreams. There are ten different dolls and 55 mix-and-match outfits in this book, but I also think the book is simple enough that it gives you a lot of freedom to adapt and create your own designs from it.

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