Family Summer Center, Part One: Intentions and Inspirations Banner
By Bernadette Noll and Kathie Sever
Future Craft Collective
It’s that time of year, folks, when the classroom parties hit a fever pitch, the volunteer coordinator at school has you on speed dial, and we, as parents, start to spiral into a little bit of a panic about the season that is ending and the season that is about to begin. Don’t get us wrong, we love summer with its opportunities for sleeping in and its carefree nature. It’s just the transition that can be a little tricky.
This is our kick-off project for summer “campless” camp and we are totally excited for a summer full of projects. With this project, it is our greatest intention to help ease you and your kids into the transition, while simultaneously helping you get intentional about the open-ended summer months ahead. Additionally, we see this project as an opportunity for you to sneak in one last solo craft project before you segue into fully welcoming the kids into your crafting lair. Of course we’re all about using crafting to connect with your kids, and though it sounds like we’re saying to go this one alone, it’s not entirely true. We just want you to get started and then call the kids in for the completion once you’ve got this one ready for summer planning action.
Today we’re making the first part of the two-part Family Summer Center. We created the Summer Center as a place where the family can come on a lazy or crazy formless summer day to get ideas, prompts, and inspiration towards what to do next. It’s also a place to put intentions and schedule activities for the three school-less months that make up summer. The two projects included in the creation of the Family Summer Center are the re-usable Family Calendar and the Family Intentions and Inspirations Banner. We’ll start with the Intentions Banner and get to the Calendar next week, closer to the end of the school year.
We came up with this project because we’ve found that when we start with a little brainstorming, mixed with a dose of intention, and add a bit of family planning (not THAT kind of family planning), we are amazed (and delighted!) at how seldomly we have to act as referee or cruise director for our kids. Additionally, giving the kids a visual glimpse into their schedule and options, and allowing them a bit of autonomy in planning their days and listing their desires, gives us all more cause to actually enjoy each other’s company in this elongated season we have together. So let’s do it!
Yard stick or other 3′-long straight edge
Rubber stamps of letters and numbers We got ours at a local office supply store. Craigslist and yard sales are other possibilities.
Fabric screen-printing paint We think any screen-printing paint would work on this vinyl banner, but we used the fabric kind because that’s what we had.
Small stickers We got a bunch of mailing labels from the trash and cut them into ½" squares.
Sharpie markers different colors for each family member plus one more to represent the entire family
Vinyl event banners These can be used from multiple sources. We got ours from a local triathlon shop that had stockpiled old race banners. A call to a local sign shop also indicated that most sign shops would have misprints or scraps they’d be willing to throw your way so as to avoid having to throw them away.
Burlap We get our endless supply from a local coffee roaster. They have more than we could ever dream of using and they’re always happy when we take them to use.
Cloth scrap, approximately 1′ square Any cloth will do.
Cardboard scraps to cut up. Hit up your recycling bin for cereal boxes, 6-pack holders, or any similar item.
Note: This banner will help guide your family through an entire summer of desires, wishes, wants, trips, goals, and accomplishments. We designed it with the idea of seeing both what you want to do and what you accomplished because we have learned there is great satisfaction in both.
Step 1: First plot out what your family banner will need. Using our categories as guidelines, but by no means a prescription, write out the categories that pertain to your family. Since we both live far from family, we have People as one of our categories, and it is divided into See/Saw. We also have Places divided into Go/Went, Books Read/Read, and then Goals and Accomplishments. By having the Goals hanging rather than being in a pocket, it is our intention to keep them more readily noticeable. Perhaps you might add a Projects category or Experiences. Figure out what works for you. Because if it doesn’t work for you and your family, then it just doesn’t work.
Step 2: Now, on a piece of paper, lay out your banner with the chosen categories. Graph paper might be helpful, but any paper will do.
Step 3: The next step is sort of loose and open to interpretation. Use our photos as your guide. For the pockets, we used both burlap and vinyl. Our vinyl pockets are 3"×8", big enough to be divided lengthwise in 2. Our 2 materials pockets are made of burlap and are 8"×6". Our Goals board is 10"×10" with a background piece of 12"×12". Play around with your materials a bit. We like the mixing of the rough burlap and the shiny vinyl combined with the feminine, printed fabric. Combine materials that work for you. We would like to say that the beauty of the vinyl is that there is no hemming necessary. The burlap is great for pinning as it can withstand repeated pokes without any ramifications.
Step 4: Once you have your materials selected you are then ready to cut your pockets. Use our measurements or make your own.
- 3 vinyl 3¼"×8"
- 1 vinyl 4¼"×5"
- 2 burlap 8¼"×6"
- 1 burlap 10"×10"
- 1 cloth 12½"×12½"
Step 5: Finish the top of each pocket piece with a ¼" hem. Leave the other 3 sides unfinished. On the 12½"×12½" cloth piece, finish each side with a ¼" hem.
Step 6: On the banner and on the pockets, mark your categories as shown using either the Sharpie or the rubber stamp. To get the effect shown on the Accomplishments pocket, stamp the pocket after it is sewn on the banner.
Step 7: Once everything is stamped, you can then sew your pockets in place. For the vinyl and the burlap, we only finished the tops of the pockets, leaving the other 3 sides unfinished. Don’t forget to leave the top of the pocket open! Also, backstitch at the top of each pocket so as to give it enough strength to endure many summers of small hands tugging at it.
Step 8: Cut your cardboard into strips approximately 1"×4" and put them in the Materials pocket.
Step 9: In the other Materials pocket, put your colored pens/markers.
You are now ready to start plotting, planning, scheming, dreaming, and setting some intentions for your summer of family connection. Fill your pockets, pin up your goals, spend a little dream time coming up with your ideas for ways to fill your days.
Here are some of our serving suggestions for using your banner:
- Have a family meeting to fill some of the pockets and get everyone’s input for all of your chosen categories.
- Have everyone come up with a personal goal of something new to learn: ride a bike, swim, knit, screen-print, etc.
- Set a goal for the number of family chapter books to read over the summer.
We hope you come back next week when we’ll get to work on the calendar and give you tips and ideas for building, maintaining, and fleshing out the rest of your Family Summer Center. Summer will never be the same!
About the Authors:
Future Craft Collective is brought to you by Kathie Sever and Bernadette Noll. Kathie is an accomplished seamstress, creator of Ramonsterwear Custom Western Wear, artist, and mother of two. Bernadette is a writer, co-founder of Slow Family Living, and mother of four. They have found renewed energy in their collaboration and are continuously amazed by the ideas, inspiration, and a-ha moments that have come from this shared effort.