MayaMade Buckets, and Books

MayaMade buckets
I’ve wanted a whole family of MayaMade buckets for the longest time. They are so lovingly designed (repurposing old coffee bags into useful things like this is genious), Maya has a keen attention to detail and a great aesthetic. When she made her bucket pattern available as a pdf pattern, I clicked as fast as I could and tore through the house, looking for that coffee bag I had somewhere, but, alas, it has vanished. I do have home dec weight fabric though, and that works for these buckets too. So, I spent today with kids seemingly happy and content just staying and hanging around the house, and sewed up a few of Maya’s buckets. OK, five. The pattern is flawless, I know its been tested many times and it shows.
MayaMade buckets
MayaMade buckets
These all were made from fabric I had here at home (some left over Denyse Schmidt and Lotta Jansdotter linen), and believe it or not, I also had the heavy natural canvas needed for the inside (which gives these buckets nice body to stand up tall). The two yellow larger ones will go in our family room (which could use a dozen more, really), the smaller ones in my sewing room, and the last large one on our stairs, so things that need to go up will go in there…and mom won’t break her leg stepping on things.
Which leads me to a question for you all out there with 10 year old’ish daughters. Emma and I are part of a mother/daughter group that meets once a month or so. Our goal is simple…to spend time together, with moms and daughters we love, and find ways to talk about social and emotional issues that are coming up in these girls’ lives, as they begin puberty and all that goes with that. Our summer meeting schedule is loose, but we will have two meetings, and we are doing a book discussion format for these summer meetings. Having a book discussion has been very successful for these girls, it keeps the focus off any one real life situation (which can feel uncomfortable at this age) and places the emphasis on the characters we’ve all read about.
MayaMade buckets
For the first one, we’ve chosen The Hundred Dresses.  We (the facilitator and myself) are in summer mode, and not ready to discuss many of the books out there for this age group, like Are You There God Its Me Margaret (which I’m rereading right now), but we really want there to be an appropriate amount of discussion of emotional development. We are also trying to be sensitive that these girls have required summer reading to do for next year, so we want to keep it manageable. I would love and welcome suggestions from you guys on anything you think would fit into what we are looking for. I will compile a list and share it here. Thank you!

  • Christina

    June 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    A really great book is “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli. It’s about middle school, and appreciating people for who and what they are, not what they have and who they are friends with. My mom gave it to me in college and I try to re-read it regularly to remind me to appreciate little things.

  • Amy

    June 26, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I don’t have a girl so I’m mostly just chiming in to say hello but I remember Are You There God It’s Me Margaret so fondly from my childhood and the memories just came back in a rush. My son (who is about the same age) is fond of all books by Jerry Spinelli (Christina, the commenter before me, is recommending one of his books) and it’s interesting to see that his books relate to both boys and girls of this age group. I’ll be interested to see what other suggestions arise.

  • lynn

    June 26, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Some of my favorites: Frindle, Esperanza Rising, Hoot, A Year Down Yonder, The Giver, Everything on a Waffle, City of Ember. I’ll also second Stargirl. As a teacher, I recommend reading some of these books before reading them with the girls. There are a lot of life issues in many of these books — I find 10-ish to be the perfect age to begin these discussions. I think both you and the girls will learn a lot!

  • Peanut

    June 26, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t have a ten year old girl (or any children actually) but when I was that age I found I could really connect with the Anne books (specifically the first two, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea). I don’t know if you’d describe them as discussing life issues but there is a lot of everyday growing-up stuff as Anne changes from a child to a young woman.
    Another book I really enjoyed recently (which I think is aimed about your age group) is The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw. It’s set in medieval England and has fairies in it but has really strong well expressed themes of feeling different and finding courage in one’s-self. You’d want to give it a read before introducing it to the group though as some people may not be comfortable with the way the fairies are expressed – they are mischievous (and slightly dangerous) and use runes and things.

  • heather

    June 26, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    hi blair ~ i love the idea of your group. my daughter is 11. for pleasure, she’s really into the lightening thief series, historical fiction and such. but something that we LOVE that gets the type of conversation you are talking about going is new moon magazine. most libraries carry the last twelve months. maybe you could choose an article, make copies, and plan a talk around that.
    “New Moon Girls magazine is about helping girls discover and honor their true selves, engage in meaningful pursuits and dialogue, and express their voices in ways that matter. ”
    i love the buckets!!

  • grace

    June 26, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I think most of these would be appropriate for a 10 yr old (I have read some with my 6 yr old):
    Where the Red Fern Grows
    A Wrinkle in Time
    From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
    The Outsiders
    The Sign of the Beaver
    Island of the Blue Dolphins
    Bridge to Terabithia
    An American Childhood by Annie Dillard
    Mr. Poppers Penguins
    Tale of Desperaux
    James and the Giant Peach
    The Cricket in Times Square
    My Side of the Mountain
    Caddie Woodlawn
    Harriet the Spy

  • Erica

    June 26, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    In the mystery category, I would recommend either the Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keyes mysteries or Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes mysteries. We also really like Blue Balliet’s Chasing Vermeer/Wright Three/Calder Game books.

  • stephanie

    June 26, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    your bags are fab. gotta try those.
    i think a hundred dresses is a wonderful book with which to begin your group. i recall reading it as a child and it left an impression on me. last week, i just finished reading it to my 5 and 9 year olds. both loved it and it prompted great discussions. for recommendations, i love grace’s list. excellent choices.

  • Sarah

    June 26, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I really loved Tamora Pierce’s books starting at that age (I still read them whenever she publishes a new one, and I’m 22), but it’s worth mentioning that quite a few of them are frank –though not explicit– about sex. As in, it’s something that people do and shouldn’t be shamed about.
    I also really loved Absolutely Normal Chaos, which is in a diary form, and has a fantastic knack for sibling dynamics.

  • bj

    June 26, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Some that I’ve liked (my daughter is 8, and heavily into fantasy right now, so we’re not trying to read these together).
    Walk two moons: Sharon Creech. This book deals with loss (of parents) and of other tough stuff, but since none of it is likely to be faced by your kids, it might be a way to learn to discuss difficult emotions
    The Long Winter: Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yeah, we’ve all read this one, but I found it interesting to re-read after last year’s long winter here in Seattle. I also liked comparing/contrasting the expected behavior in the two books. The pioneer spirit could be harsh.
    I like Little Women & Anne of Green Gables for another reason, to discuss the changing roles, rights and obligations of women. When I read these with my daughter, she’s often confused by the rather rigid roles those girls are required to assume (like Jo’s boyishness needing to be transformed into more womanly behavior).

  • Margaret Oomen

    June 26, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I love maya and her buckets are so functional and beautiful. I have three daughters and I would recommend any of the books by Deborah Ellis , Carol Matas or Kit Pearson but then again I am a little biased towards Canadian authors
    and my youngest two loved hanna’s suitcase

  • Natasha

    June 26, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    First I would echo the above comments on Anne of Green Gables, Anything by Sharon Creech- she is fantastic, Grace has an excellent list, and add Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins. I wrote a short summary of the book for a children’s literature class and would be happy to forward it to you if you are interested. She is a fantastic writer and the book is a pure delight. She weaves wonderful literature elements to express the insights to those in between years of childhood and full on adolescence. I understand it is the sequel to the book All Alone in the Universe-however, I haven’t read it yet.
    Your group sounds wonderful and I am excited to see your list!
    P.S. Your buckets are great and I too adore MayaMade!!

  • Kelly

    June 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I have no book recs, sorry, but I love your baskets!!!

  • Persephone

    June 26, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Oh, oh, oh! I loved The Hundred Dresses! I loved Norma Fox Mazer’s books Babyface (about divorce/marital relationships) and Silver (which deal with sexual abuse). Not the happiest topics, but very real topics dealt with in a not “in your face” sort of way. Also, Cynthia Voight’s Homecoming and Dicey’s Song are good coming-of-age books that I loved.

  • Lucy

    June 26, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    I have to echo those who recommended Anne of Green Gables, that book meant so much to me around that age. While I don’t have daughters, I do have nieces around that age and have been enjoying introducing them to my favorites (including Anne, of course). I’ve also really enjoyed Shannon Hale’s books, The Goose Girl series in particular. I like how her female characters are strong, yet still feminine and smart and resourceful.

  • Margot

    June 26, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Someone already suggested it, but one of my absolute favorite books when I was that age was Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I think it was the first book I read that I was TRULY affected by, that I cried through last few pages, and felt as if I carried around the story with me for a few days afterwards.
    I really should read it again now, especially after going through the loss of a parent now.
    That’s my two cents, I thought it was a really great book!
    Oh, one other really fun series my sister and I both totally loved at the age was the Exiles by Hilary McKay. There are more in the series, but the first one is a great as the rest. I know my sister bought a copy for her class (4 through 6 graders, Montessori) and that the kids there loved it too!

  • Green Bag Lady Teresa

    June 26, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    I have a 10 year old girl too and love the suggestions before me. Walk Two Moons is a lovely book. My daughter and I both cried. I do think the entire act of continuing to read to your children even though they can read to themselves is magical, no matter the book. We have read so many classics, even ones that I missed out on as a kid. I have loved reading the Little House Books, Tom Sawyer, Anne of Green Gables, etc. over again.
    New Moon Girls is a great magazine, my daughter won’t put it down from the mailbox until the last page is read. I look forward to the compiled list.
    The buckets are adorable. Let me know if you would like one of my bags, I’ll happily send you one!

  • The Antidote

    June 26, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    We have an British author who has not yet been mentioned in your comments, she is called Jacqueline Wilson and I think her books may be just what you are looking for.
    Her books tackle all the issues which affect 10-15 year olds all wrapped around a sweet tale.
    My daughter is 8 and loves the ones aimed at a younger age group. The ones aimed at older girls include “Girls in Love” “Girls in Tears” “Secrets and “Lola Rose”.
    Your girls will find them easy to read and unputdownable but they should prompt some good discussion x

  • andrea (scout.)

    June 27, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Blair, love the baskets! I think they will be just the thing to replace our now-destroyed wicker ones (i.e. doggie chew-toys).
    And of course the book question is one i can’t resist. 🙂 There are a million great titles that would suit your needs (many of them already mentioned) but I have one and only one suggestion that comes straight from the mouths of all ‘my girls’ (especially the ones who frequent my book clubs at the store): Ida B, by Katherine Hannigan. They give it to their friends, they talk about it non-stop. It’s an amazing, enlightening little book. It perfectly combines emotional significance and lighthearted fun. It doesn’t flinch from the issues that girls Emma’s age face, while still remaining inspirational. It’s perfect summer-fare–on the shorter side and not too difficult. So how much do I wish this book had been around when I as a tween? A WHOLE LOT. How much do I love Ida B? A WHOLE LOT. I just know you guys will too.
    Okay. I’ll stop the book-rant now. So happy to hear you and so many other mothers are doing this with your girls. It makes my heart glad.

  • mayaluna

    June 27, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Blair- Your buckets look fantastic! Such great fabrics. I’ve only made a handful with a cotton exterior, and seeing yours got me really excited to make more this way. Thanks for such a glowing review and new inspiration!
    Your readers are phenomenal… this growing booklist is perfect for filing away for my little girl, but there’s enough crossover that my (almost 11 year old) son will enjoy many of them. I like to mix in some female heroines into his reading anyway. Happy start to summer vacation!

  • renee @ FIMBY

    June 27, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Love those buckets. I followed your link but the pattern is “sold out”. Interesting. I’ll have to wait till another day and try again.

  • blair/wisecraft

    June 27, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Thank you Andrea, I have seen that book, and I will definitely look at grabbing it. I myself am going to have so much fun reading all these!

    Sorry to have missed seeing you while I was in Portland!

  • Collins

    June 27, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Those buckets are great!
    I really liked The Hundred Dresses. My daughter is 11 and is reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and loving it.
    You may already have The Care and Keeping of You (American Girl Doll). This is a great book just for the two of you to read and dicuss together. My daughter looks at it often just on her own.
    Good luck with your group, that sounds really fun!

  • heather

    June 27, 2009 at 7:51 am

    i’m back to check out everyone’s ideas – fantastic! i too was going to suggest the care of keeping you (just to have, not sure if it would work for your group). i was honestly surprised at how wonderful, thorough, and down to earth this book was. i’m always suggesting it to friends.

  • Jeri Engen

    June 27, 2009 at 7:55 am

    If the girls haven’t already read the book, I would recommend “Because of Winn Dixie”. I thought this was a marvelous book that opened up a lot of discussions with my two girls around that age. They both also loved “The Doll People”. Good Luck on your book quest, we loved our Mother/Daughter reading group but as they get older and their schedules get more packed, it gets so hard to do, so enjoy it while you you can.

  • Aaryn Zhou

    June 27, 2009 at 9:30 am

    When I was younger, I really loved Wendelin Van Draanen’s book, Flipped. It was about this sassy and smart young girl named Juli who had a crush on her good-looking same-aged neighbour, Bryce, mostly for his pretty blue eyes. Bryce finds Juli to be weird and obnoxious and has no interest in her. But as they grow up, their feelings begin to change towards one another. Bryce realizes that Juli was really special and Juli realizes that there’s not much in Bryce except for his pretty blue eyes. I like that Juli doesn’t compromise who she is to be liked by a boy and that she’s not afraid to be smart and outspoken despite what other people say.
    Me and the Blondes by Teresa Toten is also another really good book. It’s about this Eastern European girl whose father is rather incarcerated for manslaughter and she’s moved to six different schools. At each school, the kids find out and she’s immediately ostracized. This time, she moves to an upper class area and to an upper class school. She tries to make friends with the blondes of the school. What I like about it is that it doesn’t stereotype blondes and runs on the idea that things aren’t a simple as they seem on the surface. It’s also really light-hearted and funny.
    And Stargirl, as someone else mentioned, is really great as well.
    Good luck with your list! 🙂

  • Ava

    June 27, 2009 at 9:40 am

    My favorite book as a child was The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It is a rare book that holds up over time. Jerry Spinelli’s Loser is amazing as is anything by Carl Hiassen. My new favorite is this past year’s Newbery winner The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimann. You might want to consult a good young adult librarian or someone at a local book store. My only caution would be against reading just books that you enjoyed as a child. I tried that with my girls and some just didn’t ring true 20 years later. The plots seemed very superficial and the “problems” that the kids encountered were dated at best.

  • mayaluna

    June 27, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Thank you lovely Wise Craft readers for coming over in droves for the bucket pattern. The link above takes you to last nights listing… which sold out… Thanks so much Blair and everyone who bought one! A new listing with plenty for all is available in my shop here:
    This book list is extraordinary!

  • jill

    June 27, 2009 at 9:55 am

    If you click into her actual etsy shop, you will find more PDFs — just that particular listing of the pattern is sold out

  • bloomingheather

    June 27, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this pattern with us! I can’t wait to make some — it’s just, just what we need right now. Your blog is great!

  • erin

    June 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    this is a great thread, with so many good suggestions. thanks for that, blair.
    the buckets are fantastic. cute and totally practical. goodness know we need all kinds of that around here!

  • Amanda

    June 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Any of the Betsy, Tacy and Tib books by Maude Hart Lovelace — they are lovely, old, and so, so sweet . . . on the same sort of a vein as Anne of Green Gables . . .

  • Amy

    June 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    There is a book out there titled The Mother Daughter Book Club that is about four girls and their mothers discussing Little Women. it’s the first of a series. I believe in the next book that they discuss Anne of Green Gables. Might be a fun pick, might be hard without first reading Little Women. Depends on your group.

  • mrspilkington

    June 27, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    The bags are gorgeous! As for books, I loved Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of A Tree by Lauren Tarshis, and A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. Frank Cottrell Boyce’s books (Millions, Framed, etc.) are lovely, though with male protagonists. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis might be a possibility…I’ll keep thinking!

  • shannon

    June 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I love the buckets!

  • Kate L.

    June 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    One of Judy Blume’s novels, Just As Long As We’re Together, immediately sprang to mind when you mentioned puberty and social/emotional development. It’s beautifully written, and touches on divorce, family adjustments, and developing bodies. What I remember it for is that it really dealt sensitively with what happens between friends when one applies pressure or changes the rules on another.

  • erika

    June 27, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Love the buckets!
    I recommend Lois Lowry… Number the Stars is amazing. I just read it this past year and it would be wonderful for the girls and the moms. It was both historical and just touching.

  • Kristine

    June 28, 2009 at 1:42 am

    I have a ten-year-old daughter who read Blubber by Judy Blume last summer. She absolutely loved it. After reading the book she requested more Judy Blume books. Blubber deals with female bullies. Your group will have a lot to discuss after reading this one.

  • heather

    June 28, 2009 at 2:34 am

    oh- thank you, thank you!! i’ve been thinking of how to wrangle all my girls’ craft supplies. they just stay strewn all over the living room. i want their supplies to be at the ready, just not all over! i’ve thought of these, but haven’t tackled them yet. now i’ll have the perfect guide to help them come together quickly. thank you- and yours are gorgeous!!!

  • ***abbytrysagain***

    June 28, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Your baskets are so lovely, Blair!
    I was a sheltered girl and was reading fantasy novels at Emma’s age so I’m not a huge help there-but-I did just reread “The Hundred Dresses” and loved it. I esp. love the new intro written by the author’s daughter, so sweet!
    Hope you are having a lovely Sunday.

  • Zoe

    June 28, 2009 at 11:37 am

    You can’t go wrong with Sharon Creech. Walk Two Moons, The Wanderer, Searching for Redbird. So so good.

  • Heather of Washington State, USA

    June 28, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Bravo for reading 100 dresses. My daughters (ages 7 & 9) were absolutely stunned that a girl could have only one dress. We are starting to read more of the American Girl (historical fiction) and Little House books, so they can get a sense of how life used to be — but also how it is today in many 3rd world countries.

  • gkgirl

    June 29, 2009 at 4:51 am

    i just wanted to say
    how much i loved
    the hundred dresses…
    i used to read that over and over and over…

  • anna

    June 29, 2009 at 6:16 am

    i want to put in a second vote for stargirl and the follow up love stargirl. also the mysterious benedict society, golden compass series, and always narnia. just remember boys are allowed escapist reading and girls need it too.

  • JadedMomma

    June 29, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I’m planning on doing a girls group myself and I’ve found great inspiration from “The Daring Book for Girls”
    Also, have you heard about mermaid warriors? Dancing Mermaid has an awesome course for girls on messy art!
    Just some ideas!

  • Jennifer O.

    June 29, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I’m reading a book called Nobody’s Princess, a story about Helen of Troy’s childhood, geared for kids/teens. It’s really interesting, this re-telling of myth and history. I think there’s a second book too. I loved the Anne of Green Gables, Little House, Madeleine L’Engle, and Tamora Pierce books too when I was growing up (and still). The Emily of New Moon trilogy is great too, a little darker than Anne, maybe not as well know, but deeper in a way.

  • amisha

    July 2, 2009 at 6:17 am

    i don’t have any kids myself, but i second all the comments about anne of green gables… i read those books till they fell apart. and i remember loving the anastasia books around that age too, and mischievous meg.

  • Julie Alvarez

    July 3, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Your buckets are fantastic.
    I am copying your idea of leaving one on the stairs!

  • Elle

    July 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I love Sharon Creech’s _Love that Dog_. I’m a teacher and have used it in my class for many years. It is basically written as a free verse poem, and that is one reason I use it, but it also talks about some very *real world* issues, including Jack’s feelings when his dog dies, as well as feeling slightly insecure. Not exactly a coming of age book, but a great piece of children’s lit. It is a quick read, and might be good for a month like December, when you won’t have as much time to read.
    The Pinballs deals alot with issues kids have, and about differences kids have.
    I also want to second Esperanza Rising, although it might be a difficult read for some of the girls. It is around a 6th grade level text, I believe.
    The Watson’s Go to Birmingham and Number the Stars are two great pieces of historical children’s lit! LOVE THEM BOTH! I used to read them with my fifth graders, as they fit right into 5th grade standards, and the kids love them both (although there were always some tears)!
    Also, I wanted to let you know that some of the great books that people have mentioned above are amazing, but also “banned” in some of the public schools. That being said, many are great books, but I would none the less urge you to read them ahead of time! Your book group sounds like so much fun!
    Happy Reading!

  • Kirsty

    July 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Blair…here from maya*made & just had to comment on your 100 dresses book choice. What an amazing book! I read this book with my daughter a few years ago (she is now 12). It had such a huge impact on her (& me). Just a wonderful, wonderful book. I hope that you & your mates have all loved it too.

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