Doing Long Distance Projects with Nana

When my son and his family moved out of town, one of the first questions my grandson asked when we were chatting online was, "Nana, have you done any projects lately?" Bless him, I just sat at the computer and boo-hooed because we weren't together to work on projects any more. However, that done, I gathered my wits and looked for something that we could do long-distance. Since it was getting close to the holidays, I decided something wintry would be good, and began putting together items that could be mailed.

Since I would not be with them as they worked on their projects, I wanted them to have everything they would need so that their parents wouldn't have to go to extra trouble. For the first projects, I made up bags containing supplies that their father could take with the last load he was carrying to their new home. In future, supplies would have to be mailed.

When I was still teaching, I found a set of six paper placemats on a sale table and had them laminated. Glues and paints wipe off readily and they make great work surfaces. For many years, I carried those placemats in my tool bag to club meetings and several of my fellow miniaturists used them, too. Most of the time when I do projects with my grandchildren (or my friend Tayna), out come the Enjoy! placemats.

I decided to send two to Joseph and Laura so that they could continue the tradition and use them each time they did a long-distance project with Nana.

I also included one of these inexpensive little school boxes for each of them so that they could keep their tools in place until the next project came. Laura's is blue.

Inside each box I enclosed glue in a film canister, toothpicks, small squares of cut paper towels, a cup for water, some milk bottle caps as glue palettes, and a larger medicine bottle cap to serve as a lid. I planned to send other tools and supplies as needed.

I also wrote up directions for both projects, as well as General Directions which Joseph could read again each time before they began a new project. (At end of this section, if you are interested.)

Here are their first Long Distance Project bags, ready for Dad to take. It's not too clear here, but Joseph's bag had stars and moons on it. The kitty bag seemed especially appropriate for Laura.





(This was addressed to Joseph because Laura wasn't old enough to read at that time.)

Dear Joseph,

Each time you work on a project, remember what we did when you were at my house, and it will be like we are together. If Laura has a project, help her set up her workspace, too, okay? Show her how to do it and she will probably remember the next time. She will need you or Mom or Dad to help with things like pouring out her glue and cutting things sometimes.

1. Use your Enjoy! place mat each time as your work surface so that you won't mess up the table.
2. Get a small cup of water so that you can use it while you work and to clean your fingers.
3. Get out your supply of paper towels. If necessary, cut a regular paper towel so that you will have a stack of smaller squares.
4. Be sure you have your toothpicks and glue and your milk bottle lid to hold it. Use a cup or a larger cap to make a cover for the glue when you have to leave. We know how quickly the glue dries, right?
5. Be sure you have any tools you need. I will try to send you what you will use with each project, and you can keep them in your project box. If necessary, Mom and Dad may have certain tools for you to use and might help when you need it.
6. Try things first to see how they will fit before you glue them.
7. Don't use too much glue. It's always easier to add than to take away.
8. Remember to be careful with sharp things like scissors.
9. Clean and tidy up as you go. Have a wastebasket or plastic bag to put your scraps and garbage in.
10. Take a little break when you need to, but don't stay away too long or you might not finish.
11. Don't forget and take a drink of your brushwashing water, like I did once!
12. Be sure to put a tight cap on your glue bottle or paint container.
13. It is important for us to take good care of our tools. Wipe off any glue that gets on the scissors or tweezers, wash out the paintbrushes, etc.
14. Also clean off your Enjoy! place mat and throw away all your trash.
15. Put everything away in the same place each time so it will all be ready for our next project.
16. Keep this and read over it each time so that you will remember the plan, okay?
17. Always sign and date your project and display it where you can see it and others can enjoy it, too. Keep it covered or in a cabinet so it won't get dusty, if possible.
18. Ask Mom or Dad to take a picture and send it to me!


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