I don't know if it's because I've been touched with the spirit of the holidays, or if I am just downright crazy, but a few days ago I got this so-called "brilliant" idea to make each and every single one of the Munchkin's friends from preschool a little gift. A little something-something for Christmas. A little token of appreciation of how much their interaction with my son has changed him so much in the 3 short months that he's known them. It had all started with a little stocking stuffer that I had made the Munchkin last week. Then I made 3 teacher appreciation gifts. I had shown them to the Munchkin, all packaged up in a very Pinterest-y way (and in my sleep-deprived state I realize that I've totally forgotten to take photos). The Munchkin asked if the gifts were for some of his friends. I replied no, but I could make his friends a little present. Then he asked if I had a present for his female friend. No, but I guess I could make something for her to. Before you know it, without the Munchkin asking, I decided to just make the entire preschool group a little gift. Yup...all 26 of them.
I know what you're thinking - "are you eff'ing crazy???". Yeah...at the time, I didn't think so. I thought it would be a nice gesture. I mean, these are cutie patootie preschoolers who are getting all excited about Christmas, and I thought a little gift from a fellow friend would make their holidays a little happier. I mean, who doesn't like an unexpected gift?? I already knew what I was going to make - the exact same stocking stuffer that I had made the Munchkin, a simple (ha!) crayon roll. It took me about 10 minutes to make the Munchkin's, so this project shouldn't take too long. Right?
Wrong. So, so very wrong! Here I was thinking that it would take me about 2, maybe 3 hours tops to make these rolls. Yeah, try 3 days of endless sewing and late, late nights. Holy moly. What...was...I...thinking?? Seriously, at one point I think I had crawled into a corner in the kitchen and started crying.
But hey, I didn't have to buy anything other than the crayons, and I got to use up some of the fabrics in the stash that I didn't think I would get the chance to use up. It still amazes me as to why I had so many packages of hair elastics (oh yeah...cause the linen closet was a mess and every time I needed a hair tie, I couldn't find one and therefore would buy yet another package...not realizing I already had like, 4 packages hidden in the house somewhere!).
The hardest part of this entire project? Trying to find enough packages of crayons! Everywhere I went, crayons were sold out!! Who would've thunk it, right? I ended up going to 4 different stores in total trying to gather up 28 boxes of at least a 16-count box of crayons. Oh yeah, did I mention that my insanity also had me make these rolls into a 16-count crayon roll? It did. If I was a sane person I would have made it somewhat easier on myself by making these rolls hold a mere 8 crayons. But no. I remembered when I was a kid obsessed with drawing that 8 crayons weren't enough. I was positive that the preschoolers of today would still feel the same way.
I'm nuts I tell you. Nuts.
The most fun part of this project? Arranging the crayons into a pleasing line up of colour. I realize that I'm a bit OCD in the fact that I must have everything in rainbow formation. Please tell me I'm not the only one!
I'm not going to say how I made these, as there are a million and one tutorials out there and a quick Google-fu will get you some of the top tutorials in blogland. I didn't follow a specific tutorial either. At a glance you can pretty much tell what and how many pieces of fabric you need and the sequence of construction looks like a no-brainer too. I did, however, look up a bunch of tutes just to see what the consensus was on the dimensions of the standard roll. Although, while inserting what felt like a gazillion crayons into those slots, I thought I could have made the pocket piece a little on the shorter side. For some reason a part of me was paranoid about crayons falling out of the pockets, but now I'm thinking little ones might have an issue with nubby crayons being stuck in a slot. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.
I'll also admit that the first 5 rolls or so are probably the most shoddiest sewing jobs I have ever done. Brett tried to convince me that a bunch of 4 year olds weren't going to notice and that he highly doubted that the parents were going to scrutinize and compare rolls with the other parents. Bless his heart.
I also decided to go the button and hair elastic route for the closure. As pretty as the ribbons may be, I had visions of kidlets yanking and tugging on the ribbon in a weird way and causing a knot to eventually form...and then a parent trying to un-knot the ribbon while cursing my name loudly in their heads as their wee one either complains away or loses interest in the craft at hand. Also, I don't know about you, but I don't know too many preschoolers that know how to tie up their shoelaces, let alone would be able to know to wrap the ribbons around the roll and tie it up. I know my Munchkin is all about being independent and doing things for himself (when he feels like it, that is), and pulling a thick elastic over a button would be much easier for him to do. Brett had asked about the safety of a button, but I assured him a 4 year old would know better by now not to put such things in their mouths. At least, back when I used to work as a children's tech designer I learned that 4 was the cut off year to not have to worry about choking hazards.
Oh, and did I mention that yesterday I discovered that there was a new kid in the class? When I went to pick up the Munchkin I met the mother of the new kid, who was stressed out to the max cause it was his first week. Lucky for me, I was smart enough to sew an extra roll. Cause you never know. And wow, am I glad I did! Could that adage be any more true? I never want anyone to feel left out, especially a little one, so for once my over preparation worked out and that new kid also got a crayon roll present. Phew! Luck truly does favour the prepared!
As I sat at my kitchen table at 3am this morning, arranging crayons, filling up pockets, sewing on buttons, and trying to wrap up each roll all assembly line style, I realized something: so many parents are going to think I have all the time in world to make these rolls, not knowing that I sacrificed precious sleep. Is any one going to appreciate these rolls? Will anyone value the fact that these little gifts weren't store bought? Then at 4am (yup...4...freakin...AM) I realized, I didn't care. All I cared about was that hopefully there will be 27 little kids happy and excited to receive a little gift to start out their winter holidays. That these 27 kidlets will have a chance during their time off from school to do a little drawing and colouring. That parents of 27 kids will maybe and hopefully get at least 5 minutes of peace and quiet as their child sets to work on a masterpiece. That 27 little kids will have a smile on their faces.
And you know what? Those sleepless nights and all that hard work - all worth it for those little faces that lit up at the sight of their gift and the little smiles that followed.