Josefina’s Craft Book is one of the books of the American Girls Pastimes collections, and is written by Valerie Tripp and Tamara England.
During the 1820’s life on a New Mexico ranchero was busy from dawn to dusk. Girls like Josefina helped their mothers and grandmother with all the sewing, cooking, gardening and weaving. The young girls had to be creative and use their sewing skills to make games and beautiful things to wear. You can learn about Josefina and what it was like for her as she grew up, and when you learn about the crafts she made long ago it will help history come alive for you. In Spanish, “j” is pronounced like “h”, so be sure to pronounce her name “ho-she-FEE-nah”.
Since this is a craft book it starts out with twelve craft tips to make it a safe and successful experience. Be sure to work with an adult. Even though this book is for 10 year olds and most 10 year olds can read well it is important to follow the directions. If you can’t find all the materials you need at a craft store try to think of items you have around the house that will work for the projects. One of the first projects she creates is a small wooden box that looks inlaid as she has seen the craftsmen do. She paints a box black and then pastes or appliqués on bits of golden grass and dried cornhusks.
Your daughter will enjoy making the Appliquéd Treasure Box, a painted frame, a lantern and a straw broom. In Josefina’s time the painted frame would have been used for mirrors or for pictures of saints. You can use it for a favorite family picture. Young Mexican girls make glass necklaces and also adorn their homes with beautiful stitchery. Follow along to make a fringed shawl, glass-bead necklace, decorated hair comb and stamped leather bookmark. Hair ornaments are used to hold their hair back but also to hold their lace mantillas or veils in place over their heads and shoulders. The remaining projects are a coil pot, moccasins, colcha place mat, fringed sash, and hen pincushion. For fun Josefina makes a cornhusk doll and pon top and game. Girls will have fun making the projects and learning about what life was like for Josefina on her rancho.
Note: All American Girl books are from my personal library
List of Dr. Seuss Books
Don Freeman's Books
List of Magic Tree House Books
Chronicles of Narnia Books
A Series of Unfortunate Events Books