Millie, Me & Rudolph!

My niece, Millie, is 10 and I really enjoy doing all sorts of textiles and craft things with her when she visits. 

She has a good eye for design and always has lots of ideas. She is happy to have a go at anything as long as it involves making something. She has even helped with some decorating and gardening in the past and has had some genuinely good ideas that we have used. In fact when we were uncertain what colour to paint a feature wall in our hall recently, it was her that suggested the red colour we have now chosen. Her reasons were very much design based and were things we hadn’t even thought of.

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Millie picks up new skills quickly and is becoming quite skilled in a number of areas. Her downside is her lack of patience as she always wants a project to progress quicker than it actually does. She hasn’t yet learnt that sometimes the projects that take the longest, and which are the hardest, can often be the most satisfying in the end. 

We get round her losing steam after a while by starting a project and agreeing that it will continue over a number of visits. This means it doesn’t get rushed and I don’t end up having to finish it! I think it also teaches her patience and the importance of sticking at something over time. 

During the summer Millie made a skirt which was her first big project. This took several visits spaced quite far apart and we had to make a point of her visiting to finish it as otherwise it might not have fitted anymore!

Her school recently gave her details of a Christmas card competition for our local MP and we have been working on this during her last 2 visits. As usual she came with lots of ideas but we both agreed that she needed to do something a bit different to stand out from the crowd. She has seen me do a lot of e-textiles work adding sewable LEDs to projects and has even had a go at some herself so she decided to go down that route. 

Millie came up with the idea of using an LED for Rudolph’s red nose but the trouble was the theme of the competition was ‘pets at Christmas’. She quite rightly pointed out that Rudolph is Santa’s pet and therefore the design did meet the brief after all! Just in case anyone had any doubts she wrote a small poem to go on the front of the card based on Rudolph being Santa’s favourite pet. 

The design was made of felt held down with running stitches using stranded embroidery thread. This took a lot of her patience as it was quite fiddly to do. During her next visit she created the electronics circuit and then stitched the fabrics onto a piece of card and wrote on the verse. During this second visit she was much more patient as she could see the card was looking good and that she was nearing the end of the project. The final step was to package it up making sure there were lots of instructions on how the card worked!

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We were both very pleased with the card and it has now been posted so we are keeping our fingers crossed that our local MP will be impressed! One of the things that impressed me the most was that Millie was happy to enter the competition just to have a go. She said it would be nice to win something but she said that wasn’t the only reason for entering.  I think she is learning that there is a satisfaction from making something just for the fun of it. 

I know I enjoyed working with Millie on the card and that I am looking forward to our next project together!

See more of Millie’s design and make adventures!


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