I feel very fortunate to have our grandchildren living here in Boise. It enables us to see them often and to be a part of their lives. Now that Belen is in kindergarten, we also get the opportunity to volunteer in her classroom and on field trips.
Every year Belen’s school has an annual Spring Fling fundraiser to help fund the school’s art program, along with purchase computers and misc. equipment for the school. Each grade school class works on a project that is auctioned at the Spring Fling event. This year I was asked by our daughter, Alecia, who is a room mother, if I could help on Belen’s class project. I agreed and met with two of the other room mother’s, Kate and Amber, to brainstorm ideas for the project.
We thought it would be fun to make a teepee and have the children build stars to decorate the teepee. We decided to use a pattern that I found in the book, Growing Up Sew Liberated.
The first step was to actually draw up the pattern which I drafted on newsprint paper. Next, Kate and I met at Home Fabrics and purchased the fabric and trim for the teepee.
While I was cutting out the pieces for the teepee and trim, Kate and Amber led an art class with the kids and helped them cut out their star points and centers. These were then appliquéd to three sides of the teepee by Amber’s aunt. In the meantime, I cut the trim pieces for the door panels and prepared the front of the teepee. Everything was really coming together like clockwork!
We decided it would be fun to have the children write their names on the teepee, so I cut strips of fabric for them to write on. We accomplished this in another art period with the class.
The children were so anxious to add their names to the teepee. Since the fabric was a little difficult to write on, the adults helped hold the fabric still while each student wrote his/her name. They were pretty excited to see the teepee coming together as you can see in the following photos.
The class was happy to pose for the group photo shown at the start of this blog post.
Once we had the signatures, I gathered up all the pieces and returned to my sewing studio.
Next step was to add the class information to an extra star and then appliqué it to the front of the teepee. I used my embroidery machine to personalize the front star. (Note: the blur in the photo of the machine is intentional to maintain anonymity.)
Then I sewed the name strips to the base of three sides of the teepee. Now it was time to sew the sides together. I was so excited to see the teepee gradually come together!
After I rounded each corner of the teepee’s side seams, I pressed and sewed a hem around the base of the teepee. Next, I added trim to the top edge of the teepee to finish this upper edge. Finally, I pressed the trim and pinned it over each side seam to create a sleeve for the poles of the teepee.
The book suggested bamboo for the poles, but I’ve found PVC pipe a good, durable alternative. Kate delivered four 5′ lengths of 3/4″ PVC pipe and Marv drilled holes in the top of the PVC pipe. Once we put the pipes in the sleeves of the teepee, we tied the poles together by lacing a cording through the drilled holes in each pole. To finish the bottom of the poles as well as to keep the tent from easily sliding off the poles, I purchased 4 PVC caps for the bottom of each pole. It also provided a clean finish for the opening at the bottom of each pole.
I was so excited to have the teepee completed so I took it over to show Alecia and the girls.
I think they were as excited as I was and Belen was quick to point out to Eloise some of the features of the teepee, including her signature at the base of the tent. They had a great time “test driving” the finished teepee and it really did look cute with all the stars and trim.
Now it was time to deliver the finished project to the school. The next time we would see it would be the night of the Spring Fling Fundraiser at the Stueckle Sky Center, which was held on Friday night, 5/13. It was a fun evening to share with my daughter, Alecia.
We were pleased to see the teepee on the left side of the center stage for the main auction items. There were also a variety of silent auction items that we bid on and it was fun to see whether we had the winning bid. I was able to procure some tickets for next summer’s Shakespeare festival and Alecia purchased a nice painting (shown below).
After the closing of the silent auction, dinner was served and then the main auction began. In no time at all, we saw the teepee on the overhead monitors, indicating it was the current item up for bid.
I had a price point set for the teepee and it exceeded my price point after the second bid and then continued to climb until the final bid of $850. It was fun to see the various parents bidding back and forth for the teepee and we were pleased with the final bid.
I would like to thank all those people who made this project a success. Thanks first to the children and their amazing artwork, Second, to the room mothers and Amber’s aunt for all their work and contributions towards the teepee, and last, but not least, a special thanks for a special Kindergarten teacher. You are all the VERY best!