Back to School ’14


Five years ago, my  5 year old granddaughter wore a CC Frannie school dress for our first day of homeschooling.


With the start of another school year, I can’t help but look back.  Most retired school teachers, I suspect,  do  the same.  This post was written 5 years ago as we began our first year of homeschooling together.

Now, she begins 6th grade.  Wow.  If she’s getting older, I guess that means so am I.

Laurel, 10 going on...?

Recently, she wrote a play which she will direct and has cast with friends. It will open at the public library in due time.


Perhaps you will find some of  these school sewing projects useful for your special students.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2009~When I ended my teaching career with the public school system many years ago, I was 5 months pregnant with my first child,  Ryan.  From that time on, I was a stay-at-home Mama, except when I was on the road teaching sewing.

At a time when many of my friends are retiring from teaching, I am starting again.   For a variety of reasons, our family has made a last minute decision for me to home school Ryan’s daughter, 5 year old Laurel Cade this year.  So now,  I’m back to teaching the 3 R’s.  And I am loving it!

Teaching this bright, eager student would warm the cockles of any school teacher’s heart.  But it also offered some unique sewing opportunities.   I have had more than a little sewing fun outfitting my “classroom,” formerly known as the utility room.

After seeing some of today’s school rooms, I knew the old utility room needed more pizzazz than my new refrigerator and old Hoosier cabinet could generate.  So I started with some red pre-quilted fabric and found a bright multicolored stripe to coordinate with it.


chair cover


When we put Ryan’s old child sized roll top desk in place, I decided to cover the chair back.  First, I appliqued Laurel’s name with the stripe fabric on the red quilted fabric, then inserted a ruffle between the front and back.


markers and pencil bag


For her markers, colored pencils and neat paint pens, I made zippered bags with an appliqued red label identifying the contents.  The bag is just a variation on the teepee bag, but with both seams parallel to one another.


With very little wall space, the doors of my Hoosier cabinet were converted to bulletin boards.


With two walls of windows, there is not much wall space in our classroom.  So to find space for bulletin boards I had to be creative.  The doors on my old Hoosier cabinet are just the right size for cork tiles.  So I used the striped fabric to make criss crosses to hold vocabulary and spelling words.

The next appropriation for wall space was from the doors to the old fuse boxes. Our house was built in 1926, so now, after major electrical work, we have almost more fuse boxes than closets.    But, only these two are in the utility room and available for bulletin board space.


Laurel loves our interactive Leap Frog globe.


My fabric stash offered the perfect background for the Pledge of Allegiance and back to school boards.  I covered foam core, using double sided tape and bordered it with rick rack.  The foam core fit snugly into the recesses in the doors.  We’re going to get a bigger, better classroom flag, but this is the only one we had on hand that would fit.

My next project is to make up a school bag, embroidered with “Nana’s School” on it.  This is soooooo much fun!!!!

Have you done any back to school sewing?


This year Laurel enters 6th grade and her brother, Robert, begins 5th.



A year ago, Robert wrote and self-published a book, Football Frenzy (not yet available at Amazon).


Cousin Alastair is off to kindergarten.



Instead of riding the bus, he bikes the short distance to school with his father.  What a great way to start the day!



Soon, 19-month-old Vivian Rose will attend Montessori pre-school a few mornings a week.  But she wanted to go with Alastair and was suited up for a ride.  Too bad, Vivi.  Your day will be here soon.



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