It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Necessity being the Mother of Invention…

“Mary, can you fix my bear?”
“You want him in the blanket?”
“Yes, please.”
“Yes, please.”
“Okay, lovie. Here you go.” I hand the child a deftly-swaddled teddy. (Years of practice.)

Children two, three, and four like the look of that, so in short order there are four bears swaddled in four blankets carried by four toddlers in my living room. It is nothing short of adorable. Times four.

“Mary, can you fix my bear?”
“Did his blanket fall off already? Okay, love.”

“Mary, can you fix my bear?”
“That didn’t take long, did it? Here, I’ll make it tighter this time.”

“Mary, can you fix my bear?”
“Mary, can you fix my bear?”
“Mary, can you fix my bear?”


Okay. This HAS to stop. I am beyond bored. I could just consign the bears to the toybox, but that would be unkind, they’re having so much fun. I could take away the blankets. That would be simple enough. Or …

Inspiration is fun sometimes, you know?

“Hey, you guys! I want to show you something. You go sit on that bench.”
“It’s a surprise. I will show you. Way you go.”

Four tots watch expectantly as I haul my sewing machine out from the kitchen cabinet. (Yes, kitchen cabinet. If this house extended to the luxury of a whole room dedicated to crafts, I would not consistently refer to it as “small”.) Set it on the dining room table.

Take a pink flannelette sheet which has been modified to fit the nap cots for the older children. Fold it in half, width-wise, and in half again. Cut it along the folds to create four pink rectangles. The children, safe on their side of the wide dining table, are all mesmerized. Fold each rectangle in half to form a near-perfect square.

THEN sit at the sewing machine and drill one seam after another, until …

I make four bags. Four pink, flannelette bags. Total time elapsed? Twelve minutes. What have I created? Sleeping bags! Sleeping bags for teddy bears! Sleeping bags which the tots can put the bears into BY THEMSELVES. Bags which stay on a whole lot better than blankets. Not that that really matters, because the kids can get the bear back into the bag BY THEMSELVES.


It’s all about In-dee-pen-dence, Baby!!


I think she likes it!

February 12, 2008 - Posted by | crafts, daycare


  1. Wow. Twelve minutes? It could take me twelve minutes to thread a needle. Way longer if I had to figure out how to work a sewing machine. Colour me impressed.

    One of the advantages of having grown up in an extended family. My gran taught me to sew when I was a teenager and coveted a certain skirt I couldn’t afford to buy. When I discovered how EASY it was to get EXACTLY what you want, I was hooked. I started my eldest with the sewing machine when she was four, making goody bags for her fifth birthday party. Exactly as complicated as these bear bags, now that I think of it!

    Comment by kittenpie | February 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. Bravo! Can I please come to your daycare for the day? I wish I were a kid again.

    You sure can. Bring the kid. I think we’d have a blast. And my house, though small, has GOT to be bigger than your current accomodations!

    Comment by undercovermutha | February 12, 2008 | Reply

  3. I tagged you for a meme … hope you don’t mind! 🙂

    I’m always grateful for memes: the no-effort blog post! But I forgot to pop over and have a look! I’ll just finish responding to these comments then go do that. If I forget, email me: notmaryp at gmail dot com. I mean that!

    Comment by BookMama | February 12, 2008 | Reply

  4. you are my new favoritist blogger!!
    i wish you were my neighbor.

    Awwww. What a nice thing to say! But neighbour? Watch what you wish for: my backyard is FULL of plastic toys, I forget to pull my garbage cans in for two days after collection, and I have a CRAP garden. I fear I am an embarrassment to my neighbours. (BUT, I have a great sense of humour and I giggle at dirty jokes. That raises me in some people’s estimation…)

    Comment by gwendomama | February 12, 2008 | Reply

  5. But now what will you do for nap-time cot blankets?

    Reasonable question. We have a TONNE more of those suckers. Not to worry!

    Comment by Haley | February 12, 2008 | Reply

  6. Hehe. If it were me, this post would have ended with “duct tape”. 😀

    *giggle* I give heartfelt thanks to my most patient gran, who taught me to sew. She also taught me to knit, not that I’ve kept that up, even though my left-handed self had her practically standing on her head to see what I was doing!

    Comment by Kat | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  7. I was waiting to hear that they still preferred the old blanket in a swaddle after all that work.

    Ha! It’s all in how you SELL the idea. They were fascinated by the sewing machine and the creation, and then I was just SO EXCITED about the bags, they didn’t even THINK about those dopey blankets. Moreover, the bags, it turns out, can hold NOT ONLY bears, but also BOOKS, and BLOCKS, and MITTENS and PUZZLE PIECES!!!! Those bags, they are the BEST THING since playdough, I kid you not!

    Comment by Jill | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  8. You are so smart. I love when great ideas hit!

    BTW, do you have an email address I can contact you with? I’d like to send you something…

    I came, I saw, I commented. You’re going to regret inviting me…hee

    Comment by Carly | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  9. I was thinking safety pins–those alone would have taken me 12 minutes!
    Sewing is a much more arduous task for me!
    Truly inspired ~ I’m impressed!

    Two 12-inch seams per bag, each taking, oh, 30 seconds, maybe. Two minutes to set up and thread the machine, and … huh. I don’t know where those other six minutes went… I learned to use a machine as a teen. I’m very glad of the skill. It’s so rewarding to do such a simple thing, that will make my life MUCH simpler! (And, tangentially, impress people with eight straight seams!). heeheehee

    Comment by LoryKC | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  10. Oh my goodness….I am getting out my sewing machine right now! Your Brilliant!

    Well, thank you. A neighbour thought I was going to make slings for the bears. Um, no. But if you’re feeling inspired, maybe YOU want to tackle that!

    Comment by annie | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  11. A woman after my own heart. Not only would I have done the same thing…but have, many times. Too cute.

    You know, I haven’t had that sewing machine out for a long time, but once I was sitting behind it I remembered how much satisfaction comes from creation. I’ve been thinking I need a hobby, something that is neither work, housework, nor family. Maybe this is it! (Though papermaking is also in competition…) We’ll see!

    Comment by Sheri | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  12. Hi Mary,

    I haven’t stopped by in awhile. As always you are a joy to read. So clever! Your sling comment to annie made me think of how I made my boys slings for their bears. I took one of Daddies old stretchy Hanes t-shirts and cut the bottom 5 inches off. It goes over their shoulders and the “baby” lays in it just like Mommy’s baby sling. I’m going to have to dig out the machine for some sleeping bags! Brilliant!

    Comment by twoboysmom | February 13, 2008 | Reply

  13. Love it! Especially the part that makes the kids more independent.

    Comment by mamacita tina | February 14, 2008 | Reply

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