Crafting Montessori: Color Coded Fabric Letters From an Etsy Shop!

HOW A MOM OF AN ACTIVE PRESCHOOLER DECIDED TO CREATE A NEW INCOME AT HER ETSY SHOP! 
Read more for a special discount at Hannah's Closet...
I am so excited to introduce you to my niece, Leah, and her Etsy Shop, "Hannah's Closet!"  Leah and I have been collaborating on some Montessori-style creations pictured in this post.

When I discovered Leah's shop that she opened in January of this year, I fell in love with her idea of fabric letters for little ones and her "very Montessori" crayon wallets. Her simple and lovely dresses are sweetly practical and my favorite of her creations is the pink John Deer tractor bibs!


I decided it would be fun to interview Leah and she was really enthusiastic about the idea!

Here's how a busy mom of an active Preschooler decided to put her creativity to work for her family.


*Can you provide me with a description of your business? I "own" an Etsy shop where I sell dresses for little girls, fabric alphabet letters, binky bibs and (as of recently) crayon wallets! I hope to add more variety of items just as soon as I can!
 *Why are you in business and what inspires you? I'm in business because I enjoy making and learning new things to make on my antique of a sewing machine! I was inspired by an acquaintance on Facebook. She made an outfit for her 3 daughters almost every night just so the girls would have something "new" to wear to school the next day. I was always terrified of the sewing machine.. it just moves so FAST and it was intimidating! Thanks to my late grandmother, I was able to sew by hand.. needle and thread! A week before Thanksgiving 2015, I bought fabric, 2 yards for $6.00! I had decided that I was going to make my 2 year old daughter a one-of-a-kind dress to wear Thanksgiving Day. It took me EIGHT hours to sew that dress by hand. I was so proud when people were asking where I bought it from! At that moment, I knew that her Christmas dress was going to be made quicker! Three hours and 6 YouTube videos later, I could operate the sewing machine! I made 5 Christmas dresses, 1 for Hannah and the others for friends' little girls. When I posted pictures on Facebook of the dresses, people starting offering to buy them!  And that's when I decided to open a shop on Etsy and name it Hannah's Closet! I've had 7 sales since opening in January and they said it could take months to get the first sale!
 *Do you know who your competitors are? Selling on Etsy I don't see anyone as a competitor. Every shop has unique items. I look to them more as inspiration to help me make my shop successful.
 *How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business? I market through promoting my listings within Etsy, Pinterest and "sharing" listings on social media. And, the biggest is by word-of-mouth. I offer discounts for returning customers and for certain dollar amounts spent within my shop.
 *Whom do you seek advice from for your business? From my peers. Family, friends and coworkers have been my biggest supporters!
 *What do you do with your profits? I have a full-time job and a three year old princess. The profits that I make from Etsy allow us to go out to eat, or spend a little more here or there than we normally would. She will be starting Pre-k soon so the money will start to come in handy when having to pay for tuition and uniforms!
 My shop is www.etsy.com/shop/HannahsCloset901 . The inventory is ever expanding, so make sure to check it out often!
 
Recently, Leah and I decided to collaborate on a special order that suited my Montessori view of learning. She loved the idea of color coding her fabric letters and she came up with an adorable set of red (consonant) and blue (vowel) fabric letters for her Montessori aunt (me!) Her choice of complementary dotted fabric gives these letters a sweet homespun look! And, they fit perfectly in this gingham mystery bag from Montessori Services.  Oops, when I checked, the gingham bags are no longer available (just solid colors), but there is a pretty mystery bag at 

LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES
This set of capital letters lends itself to a YOUNG CHILD putting the letters together to FORM HIS OR HER NAME. 

Leah is also working on a set of lower case Montessori-style fabric letters, too! I can't wait to have both sets available to my little grandchild when he enters the toddler stage.
FOR TODDLERS
I found a small size cloth basket that just fits the letters, and this would work well to put only the letters in your child's name in the basket. These cloth letters are big enough for young toddlers to manipulate safely. I think they are a GREAT ALTERNATIVE TO COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED PLASTIC OR WOODEN MONTESSORI LETTERS that aren't quite suitable for children who still put objects in their mouths. 
CONTROL OF ERROR
I really like that Leah's letters are colored on one side and they are all white felt on the backside. She says this is so that the child will see right away which side is the correct side. (built in "control of error)
INDIVIDUALIZED FOR EACH CHILD
Luckily, Leah does special orders and she can probably create whatever you may want for your child/ren. I would recommend ordering the extra letters you would need for your child's name. (Ex: "Hannah" would need an extra "h", an extra "a", and an extra "n".)

MYSTERY BAG GAME
Younger Children: For a quick and fun game, just close up the letters in the drawstring bag and then have your child reach in and take one out. Then, s/he can say the name of the letter and the sound it makes.  

Older Children: Decide on a few letters and then put them in the bag and see if the child can guess which letter they are taking out just by the way it feels inside the bag. Don't forget to take a turn yourself!

I ordered Leah's magnetized letters that have a magnet sewn in the fabric. They work well with this magnetic white board. 
WRITING ACTIVITIES
I requested a matching crayon wallet to go with the Montessori style letters. Then, a Preschool aged child can have the whole set-up for making his or her name with the fabric letters, then writing their name in their writing journal with the red and blue crayons.
ONE-TO-ONE CORRESPONDENCE
and FINE MOTOR DEVELOPMENT
I really love the idea of crayon (or marker) wallets, since there are compartments for each crayon. Taking out and putting in crayons, gives the  child  practice in one-to-one correspondence as well as exercising the small muscles of the hand. 


PUTTING "THE WORK" AWAY
Then, there's the rolling up of the wallet...a favorite activity of Montessori children. They LOVE rolling up work rugs, mats, napkins, etc! This little crayon wallet is a fun way to tidy up and store crayons.

There is a pretty yellow ribbon attached to the  crayon wallet that is used to tie the wallet up when closing it. I decided to braid the ribbon around an elastic hair band so that the youngest children could simply slide the elastic around the crayon wallet by themselves.

To my delight, the fabric letters, the crayon wallet, and the small size drawing pad all fit nicely in the pretty drawstring bag so that it could all be carried along on little excursions.

Leah also made a custom crayon wallet with some beautiful music note fabric and I put it to use with the magnetic white board again.


MUSIC NOTATION ACTIVITIES
This time, I filled the crayon wallet with washable markers. Then I used a long ruler to draw five lines on the whiteboard for creating a music staff.


Next, the child can draw colorful music notes on the lines of the music staff.

Be sure to use washable markers (as opposed to permanent markers) on the whiteboard so that you can wipe them away with a damp cloth.
LEAH IS OFFERING A SPECIAL JUST FOR YOU ALL WHO HAPPENED TO READ ABOUT HER SHOP AT MY BLOG!
Leah's special offer until May 16th:

  • 15% off all items UNTIL May 16th
  • Go to her shop: Hannah's Closet
  • Use code: MONTESSORI
  • Have fun shopping!




This post is part of the wonderful Montessori Monday Link-up at Living Montessori Now. Click here to check out more posts from Montessori educators all over the world!

Thanks again for dropping by!
I am no longer an Amazon Affiliate and I DO NOT receive compensations from Amazon or any other product vendors. The links to various products in this Blog are ones that I use myself and are for your own reference and convenience. 






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