School has finished here and the summer adventures have begun! Andrew and Ethan are enjoying a few days traveling with Grampsie and Nanny and their RV. I am sure they are having a blast!
Meanwhile, the younger two are also having a marvelous time--with each other! It has been very cute to see them enjoying each other's company so much. Abby decided she wanted braids like Jadon, so we gave her a few. They have been loving playing together, reading books together, riding bikes together, having picnics together...
...posing for pictures together :) (This next one was taken after Jadon accidently knocked out Abby loose front tooth while they were playing balloon volleyball in the living room!)
While those two have been happily entertaining each other, I have been thinking ahead to some of the upcoming driving that is involved in some of our summer adventures. I will use some of the ideas for car trips that I have mentioned before, but there was one problem that always seemed to plague us. Despite the use of individual plastic trays for each child to use as a desk/table for holding "stuff," it always seemed that we ended up with a complete mess of markers or colored pencils on the floor of the van. Whether I used plastic pencil cases or zipper pouches that could be clasped within 3-ring binders, it didn't seem to matter. The coloring supplies were somehow spilled or dropped or knocked from hands. Once out of reach on the floor, they were unusable during the hours of driving that still remained. Then, of course, there was the clean-up after...
So, I chose to try something new. I did a bit of searching online, and decided to try my own adaptation of a pencil roll. Below, with pictures, I will try to describe all the steps involved, so that you may want to make your own! Here is what you will need: two pieces of fabric (at least 20x12.5 inches), a 20 inch cut of bonding product, about 2 yards of ribbon, a washable marker, a ruler/tape measure, an elastic, a button, a sewing machine, an iron, and thread. Oh, and you might want to have some pencils, too!
Okay, here's the tutorial for the (Hopefully) Drive-Friendly Pencil Roll!
1) First, cut 2 rectangles of contrasting fabric, about 20 inches by 12.5 inches.
2) Iron WonderUnder or HeatNBond or a similar product onto the back/wrong side of one of the fabrics.
3) When cool, peel the paper off of the bonding product. Place the other rectangle, right side up, on top of the bonding product, matching edges of the rectangle. Iron again, making sure that the fabrics are fully adhered. When finished, you should have one rectangle with contrasting designs on each side.
4) Next, cut 2 lengths of ribbon just a little longer than the long edge of your rectangle (so about 20 1/2 inches).
5) Fold the ribbon in half over the long edge of the rectangle, pinning as you go. Sew the length of the ribbon, staying near the ribbon's edge, but making sure that you catch both sides of the ribbon (on top and the side folded underneath.)
6) Repeat step 5 for the other long side of the rectangle (with the second length of ribbon).
7) Decide which fabric will be your "outside" fabric and which will be your "inside" fabric. Then, lay your rectangle with the "inside" side facing up. Fold the bottom edge of the rectangle up so that it covers just a bit more than half of the "inside" fabric. Iron to crease.
8) Now it is time to mark your pencil spaces. I gave myself 1 1/4 inches from the edge for my first mark. Then I marked every 3/4 of an inch, straight up and down from top to bottom. (I ended up with 25 pockets). I like this spacing because it keeps the pencils in tight. If you wanted a looser fit, try marking every 1 inch. (You'll end up with less pockets.)
9) Next, sew directly on your marked lines. Cut away all those extra threads as you go!
10) When you have finished sewing all the pockets, you will need to cut 2 more pieces of ribbon. This time, cut them about an inch longer than the short ends of the rectangle.
11) Again, you will need to fold the ribbon in half over the edge of the rectangle. I folded over the end of my ribbon for a nicer edge. Pin as you go.
12) Then, sew, as before, along the edge of the ribbon. Once again, be careful to try to sew through all the layers, including the layer of ribbon at the bottom.
Here, you can see, I found I had gone "off track" a bit on the underside. If this happens, just reload it into the machine and touch up the spot that needs tacking down.
See, fixed right up!
13) Repeat steps 11 and 12 for the last edge of the rectangle.
14) Test out those pockets with some pencil crayons, if desired.
15) To keep the roll closed when not in use and to provide a hanging option, I attached an elastic and button. For this you need an elastic (I used a ponytail holder.) and a short length of ribbon. Fold the ends of the ribbon under and iron the creases down flat.
16) Next, pin the ribbon halfway up one short-side edge, making sure the elastic is through the pinned-down ribbon. Then sew the ribbon in place. (I did this by hand, but you could do it with a machine.)
17) Finally, roll up your pencil-loaded roll, stretch your elastic to find a proper latching position, and hand-sew a button into place.
Here are two pencil rolls that I completed this afternoon and evening! The pencils slide in very nicely but are held in firmly. The elastic will allow the kids to hang these on those hanger things above the windows in the van. They should be able to take the pencils out one at a time and then return them to their snug home...hopefully, without spilling and dropping! We'll see how it goes :)