A Summer Camp Gift For Your First Time Camper

We noticed that Blair at WiseCraft was acknowledging her own little nervousness (and touch of melancholy perhaps) at allowing her daughter Emma to go away to Summer Camp for a 4 day stint. Our two kids are not old enough yet to go away overnight to any such camp (day camps are about all we can deal with right now) - but, we can certainly relate to the mild anxiety and mixed emotions when your son or daughter first goes away on their own for any duration more than a sleep-over. I'm sure we'll probably follow the bus up to the camp when our kids first go, and then deny it later!

Anyway, we thought it very sweet that Blair should relieve herself of any mild dread and think about her daughter's needs - because if you might remember from your own experience the first time you went off to camp alone, it can seem a little scary at times. And what better way to be reminded of home than a little home made pillowcase with the family pet (or a copy rather) tucked inside for good measure. Surely, that is reassuring when the lights go out! And, it's a heck of a lot better than just a pair of underpants with your name written on it!

Blair also follows up on her blog with a story about Emma's letters home from camp .... very sweet!

Here's what Blair has to say:
My Daughter Emma leaves for summer camp on Sunday. Her first time, if you don't count the two camping trips she's gone on with her school, which were short and heavily chaperoned by parent friends who were only a cell phone call away. This one is 4 days, and about an hour away. A perfect starter one (for me as much as for her).

I wanted to make something for her to have while she is away (sewing also helps me with the nervous anticipation of dropping her off this weekend). After seeing a Maya*Made travel pillow, it seemed like a great idea to make a pillowcase with some kind of surprise. Emma picked out the owl fabric, which I like more and more as I sewed it up (she didn't know what I was going to make out of it though). I made a basic slip-on pillowcase for a full sized pillow, with fold over on the open end which tucks inside. Its my favorite kind to make. (There is a pattern for one like this in Lotta Jansdotter Simple Sewing book, but really, you don't need much of a pattern if you've got a pillowcase to measure.) I trimmed the front with "E.S." initial ribbon. Because things at camp should be labeled, right?

The back has a surprise. A stuffed Gracie (our cat), printed onto heat transfer paper, then ironed onto basic canvas, stitched around and stuffed firm. Emma's favorite friend, to snuggle with while she's away. I used the heat transfer sheets made for ink jet printers to print out Gracie's picture because that's what I had here on hand, but, I'm not thrilled with how thick and shiny it came out. (Kind of reminds me of a David Bowie t-shirt iron on I bought at the beach one year when I was in middle school, in one of those stores where you pick the iron on and pick the shirt, and they iron it on for you.) I digress... The quality is passable, but not great, and I've seen much better results with printable fabric, which I will use next time. I'm sure my son Ian will want one when he sees it.

I sewed a simple pocket onto the back of the pillow big enough for Gracie to fit into for carrying. I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm making this gigantic stuffed elephant with a blanket strapped to its back, a pattern we saw at fabric store the other day. So, this might be a downer for her. I just noticed there is a project very similar to this in the new Dorm Decor book, but you crafty people really don't need instructions beyond what I've included (although this book does has some great projects inside).

I'm going to miss that girl.