“Beachy and Me” by Bob Staake is my oldest daughter’s favourite book at the moment. We started reading it when she was younger, and I would check it out from the library every few months to re-read, we enjoyed it so much. It is a sweet rhyming story about Pixie Picklespeare who lives on a small island and has no one to play with, until one day a whale named Beachy washes ashore. Pixie helps Beachy and they become fast friends, playing water games and more. However, Beachy follows her heart and must migrate with other whales. Just when Pixie thinks Beachy is gone forever, Beachy returns to play again. Pixie learns that her time with Beachy is precious, and that they will always meet once a year … like old friends often do!
Published by Random House.
Inspired Activity: “Beachy” whale Sew a Softie
This month I joined Trixi over at Sew a Softie for her July campaign. The challenge was to sew a softie, create a tutorial about it, and share that tutorial and idea with kids. The goal is to teach children a valuable and fun new skill while limiting Summer screen time.
Since my daughter loves Beachy, I could not resist drawing up a cute little softie that we could make together, that would be very special to her. So, here we go …
Materials you will need:
- Medium-dark blue felt
- White felt
- Black felt
- White pencil or chalk (I found chalk worked best)
- Blue yarn (to match the blue felt)
- Hot glue gun or fabric glue
- Needle (we used a large beading needle; it was just large enough to thread the yarn and strong enough to puncture the felt material)
- Sewing head pins
- Beachy pattern (free download)
The first few steps were for me to do and for her to watch and learn. I cut out all the parts of the paper pattern first. Starting with the whale body, I placed it against two pieces of blue felt.
I actually had my daughter trace the whale shape onto the felt with the chalk, she loved doing this part. I then carefully pinned the two pieces of felt together to cut out the pattern. TIP: Once cut, I unpinned the material, switched the pieces so that the chalk lines were on the inside and then re-pinned the pieces back together.
Using the scrap pieces of blue felt I traced and cut out the fins. The mouth was cut out of the black felt, and the eye was cut out of the white and black felt.
Once it was all ready to go, I put aside the mouth, eye, and fin pieces for now, and prepared the needle for my daughter by adding about an arm’s length of blue yarn. I used a single thread (did not double it up) and made sure to create a knot at the end of the yarn.
I started the sewing process for her. I knew the tail would be too tricky for her to complete, so I used it to demonstrate the sewing technique.
Since this was a fairly basic project, aimed for her to learn how to sew and how to handle the needle, I went with an overcast stitch for this softie. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and efficiently she picked it up.
When more then 3/4 of the whale was sewn, we started adding the batting. She also loved this part but sewing after the addition of batting proved to be more challenging for her, so I helped out by adding a few stitches for her along the way.
Once the batting was all added and the sewing was all done, I finished off the tail for her, closed off the last stitch and pulled the yarn through for trimming.
Overall, she did the majority of the work herself, and I could not be prouder!
The remainder of the project was left for me to complete, mostly because she was getting tired and of course wanted to play. So, I finished off by hot gluing the eye, the mouth, and the fins to the body (see picture for reference).
She absolutely loves her Beachy whale and even takes it to bed with her at night.
In a public library setting:
A sewing makerspace or discovery activity is always an excellent addition to any public library, especially when it is for children and Teens. The project ideas are endless and there are so many sewing techniques and crafts to choose from. A project like this can be easily done in a 1-hour program session for youth ages 8-12 years.