4th Grade Hand-Sewn California Mission Project

If you grew up in California, or you've raised a 4th grader in this state, you're likely all too familiar with the California 4th Grade Mission Project.  I remember making my own (a few decades ago) and it's been fun these last few weeks to watch my oldest work tirelessly on hers.

My daughter chose Mission San Francisco de Asis, commonly referred to as Mission Dolores.

She initially started her project using a cardboard box and had it cut to size, but decided shortly after to sew her mission using felt and plastic canvas instead (the plastic canvas is used to reinforce the walls/bottom/roof).  The idea came from the fabric beach cottage we made years ago (photos are early on in my flickr stream).

She traced the box's sides onto freezer paper and cut out the freezer paper templates, which I then ironed onto felt.  She would then cut the felt and plastic canvas pieces accordingly.  She did all the sewing herself.   I helped with threading needles, tying or untangling knots, ironing templates, pinning where necessary (to make sewing easier), and giving a bit of advice when asked (what stitches to use where - blanket/running/whipstitch, etc.). 

I advised her to make all her smaller templates for windows, doors, altars, etc., out of freezer paper first - just to test the size and placement ahead of time.  This helped her plan the layout of each section.  When satisfied, she would hand the freezer paper templates to me, I'd iron them onto felt, and she'd cut them out and start sewing.  It worked out really well.

She whipstitched felt around various sized crayons to create the columns on the front of the Mission.  Crayons were especially easy to cut to size!  The rest of the front (steps, etc.) are blocks of styrofoam covered with felt.

That is the cemetery to the side.  Those are the names of some people actually buried there.

The left wall drops down and also shows a cemetery scene, shown above.  It looks especially gloomy with some dark clouds overhead :-).

The roof flips open and actually comes off completely to reveal the inside of the Mission.

The roof of Mission Dolores depicts original Ohlone Indian designs - which she chose to represent using this Halloween chevron fabric. (Link here shows a great photo of the actual ceiling).

She chose to show two of the altars - the front and right side.

And that right there is the grave of (one of) my 6th and her 7th Great Grandfather.  His is one of four tombs buried inside the Mission itself.  

This past Friday, we had a walk-through of all the 4th grade mission projects at her school (8 classrooms full of projects!).  I was amazed and inspired by all of the creativity.  Some of my favorite projects were actually the mosaics - I loved each and every one!  There was one mosaic made of jelly belly's and it looked like a true masterpiece.  The sky was a mix of blues and purples, the Mission was creams, light yellows, etc.  It was so beautiful.  The kids all worked so hard and were so proud of their projects.  Rightfully so.

One down...two more to go ;-).


A Mohair Miss Maggie Rabbit

Early last month, when Alicia Paulson made available her Miss Maggie Rabbit kits, I purchased one without hesitation.  In fact, I was stalking her site that day until they appeared :).   I'm glad I did because they sold out quickly.  I think they sold out that very day!

Here is a photo of the original by Alicia.  Sweet.

Source:  Posie Gets Cozy Miss Maggie Rabbit

Her pattern is adorable and the fabric and yarn choices were all so beautiful.  My kit is the one below.

Source:  Posie Gets Cozy

See below?  It's all cut out and ready to sew.  I also have two more felt rabbits cut and ready to sew from this pattern - although, my oldest daughter plans to sew one herself.  They are that cute.

But around the time that I was tracing and cutting this pattern, I got a bit distracted by Jennifer Murphy's newest venture (sounds awesome!), and started wondering what a Miss Maggie Rabbit would look like sewn up in mohair.  It seemed like a good simple rabbit doll pattern - and with the limbs sewn on (sans button-joints), and the head and body as one piece - easy and child friendly, too!

I used a small piece of mohair and was (barely) able to eek out the necessary pieces.  Barely.

I used Lecien fabric for the inside ears and dress (my girls think it's a nightgown).  

The glass eyes are securely sewn on.  I also weighted the bottom of the torso with a bag of sand.  This helps the rabbit sit better, I think.

And, of course, it's stuffed firmly with wool.  Using wool and a good stuffing tool helped give a slightly different shape to the head, too.

I think the end result is pretty cute - thanks to a wonderful pattern by Alicia!

I did make a pair of undershorts, and I almost added a tail (I sewed one up), but decided not to sew it on because the rabbit lays down more nicely in a bed without it.

The boots are in process.  They are adorable.  But I'm kind of eager to make up the rabbit from the kit first.  Hopefully, I'll get to it soon.

Oh, and I think there might be new kits available soon.  But until then, I believe she has the pattern available for purchase as a download.  Go take a look!