Isolation Crafts

Day 9 of self-isolation here in Nunavut. What’s your local status? No confirmed cases in Nunavut yet, and no absolute stay at home order, but self-isolation rules for those coming home get stricter and stricter, as do restrictions on who can come here. We’re all self-isolating for 14 days because I was south, but even after that we are encouraged to stay home. Still at least Jared will be able to do more of his job after that.

It probably does not surprise you that I’m coping with staying at home by learning a new craft. It happened sort of by accident, after a fashion.

It’s anticlimactic to say this now, but we’d actually been planning on homeschooling Stringbean in the fall. I actually had a whole plan laid out and ready to go for September, just because I was enjoying the research and planning. So it was incredibly easy to just plug all that into the present and start a new term with her after spring break was supposed to end.*

Math usually gets derailed by playing with manipulatives.

One thing was missing, though: the books. The curriculum we decided to use has lots of literature and history through books that are available for free online through public domain, but I had still planned on buying hard copies before the fall. I couldn’t really abide the idea of reading all their read-aloud off a kindle. So I did some googling, found a series of amazing YouTube videos by Sea Lemon, and… well. I found myself in a rabbit hole that threatened to take over the schooling!

It took a whole day to get five books into signatures in publisher and printed. Then there was folding…

Husband surprised me by returning from his emergency hardware store trip with an awl for punching holes. Then there was sewing, glueing…

Book press made from clamps and two large hardback books that I don’t mind getting slightly damaged

Going to the dump to find chipboard, and cutting it into pieces…

Making book paper out of fat quarters (also from the dump), heat bond, and tissue paper…

Trimming and glueing some more…

And putting it all together.

I seem to have reached some kind of crafting critical mass in which I have nearly all the tools and supplies ready to DIY something totally off the wall like this. I had to buy an awl, heat bond, and the right size brush (rather, husband did during emergency hardware store run); everything else was on hand or a dump find. The $20 or so dollars we spent saved us over 100$ in books, so I’m feeling pretty good about it. The kids really value these special school books we made together, and look forward to using them. Also it was a great distraction while I transitioned home.

*I know a lot of parents are struggling with the prospect of having to continue their children’s education at home. My strong opinion is that if you manage to turn your heart towards your children and spend any quality face-to-face time with them, you are doing awesome. I’ve been homeschooling as a hobby for a good five years, I was homeschooled myself for 12 years, and I happened to have a term prepped and ready to go; these are the main reasons I’m doing this. I guarantee you I struggle just as much as you do with giving my children my heart and my presence. So, no comparison and no judgment. If you’re having a hard time having your kids at home, I just wish I could reach out and give you a big ol’ hug and mail you a casserole.

If you find yourself with nervous energy and time on your hands, do you wish you could take up a craft? This is a great time for it, and there are so many accessible options. If you want to fold paper cranes or paint your whole house purple or tile your bathroom, I hope you go for it. Using your brain and/or learning a new skill is a great way to cope right now. Here are a few of the resources I can recommend:

  • Knitting: knittinghelp.com is an excellent free resource. YouTube obviously has infinite options, but this website is a little more organized.
  • Weaving: Liz Gipson is offering her Weaving 101 class for free at yarnworkerschool.com. This is extraordinarily generous of her. I’ve taken the class and can recommend it as very thorough. There are affordable looms out there you can order online as well.
  • Sewing: I’m no seamstress, but I’m intrigued by the PPE mask patterns I’ve started to see out there. I want to check in with the local health Center to see if that would be useful for them. I know there are docs in the states begging us to sew masks. Sewing masks seems like a great way to participate, but I need further recommendations from health professionals before I can suggest you make them. Thanks Joanne for calling me out on this.
  • Spinning: this craft may seem particularly superfluous, but I’m finding it the most helpful to me personally, as a meditative, calming practice. You can google how to make your own spindle out of an old CD and a dowel or pencil, and there are YouTube videos to get you drop spindling – search for Abby Franquemont. If you have the $ sitting around and want to jump into wheel spinning, the electric eel wheels are tiny and affordable. I love me an Ashford Kiwi for a beginner treadle wheel, and you might be able to find one used local to you for a reasonable price.

That’s my brain dump for today. Our books are made and I’m back to spinning and knitting. I’d better go get to our last day of the first week of homeschooling. Take care.


5 thoughts on “Isolation Crafts

  1. Hi, Please use caution in suggesting people use cloth face masks. The research seems to indicate they do not keep people from getting corona virus and are in fact possibly a way to spread the virus further as the cloth gets wet from respiration. (Where the virus lives, in these droplets.)

    Your new school books look great! Glad you had the skills and tools to make them! All the best, Joanne (in Winnipeg, with 8 year old twins who sorely miss their teachers and class. They are learning just fine at home, but missing all that homeschooling does not provide them at this time.)

    Sent from my iPad

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    1. Thanks Joanne. I’ll edit right away. You’re so right that I should not be making such recommendations until I see real guidance from health professionals.

      I’m glad you and your boys are learning well at home!! I literally can’t imagine. I hope you’re getting some fun time with them.

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  2. Those are some great looking books 🙂 And I am sure the girls will have much stronger feelings about them than a book bought at a shop. And you learned so much. I love a rabbit hole. Thinking of you and praying for you all. xx

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