“i’m thinking bad thoughts and i can’t make them go away.” i will never forget the first time adam said this to me, it was like a dagger to my heart. it was such a clear and honest description of what he was feeling and i couldn’t really do anything to help him. each night before bed we read books and sing songs and try to encourage “happy thoughts.” we put a dimmer in his room so he can always have the lights on low, and we keep all doors open so he can hear us in the house and know where we are. but despite all of this, he’s a toddler and scary thoughts are going to creep in. sometimes he will come into our room at night, too scared to go back into his own room. i can’t bring myself to ignore his fears and send him back by himself, so either alex will go to his room to sleep with him or he will climb into bed with us. i know in my heart that he’s not manipulating us into getting what he wants (an extra story, or a night in our bed). i know he truly gets scared. of often times silly things, blue frogs jumping across his pillow, the scientists from his curious george book, or a monster from Monster’s Inc (ok that one was our fault).
so i decided to make him a super magical dream catcher. the legend of the dream catcher says that all kinds of dreams and thoughts come into your room at night. the dream catcher pulls all of them into the net and keeps the bad ones trapped while the good ones flow down the feathers and into your head. and the next morning when the sun comes up, it fizzles away any bad dreams that have been caught in the net. we also told him if any bad dreams sneak through he should wake up and throw them back into the dream catcher where they will stay til morning.
i really wanted to make my own, i felt that the more love that was put into the making of it the more powerful it would be. so i set off to my favorite craft store for supplies. i knew i didn’t want to wrap my own ring so i started with a small grapevine wreath and some embroidery thread for the net. then i chose a few feathers and found a really great bag of leather remnant straps for hanging. finally, i perused the bead section for the perfect color combination. FOR ABOUT TWO HOURS. seriously, do not let me into a bead section by myself ever again. eventually i found the perfect little mixed bag of wooden beads that already had a great combination of colors and textures and only cost me about three dollars. i came home an assembled the entire thing during nap time. total cost all in was about twelve dollars.
adam was so excited when i showed it to him and told him about it’s magic. he wanted to hang it on his bed immediately and talks about it to whomever will listen. “my mom made me this dream catcher and it’s really powerful and it catches all the bad dreams and only gives me the good ones.” each night after our songs we say thank you to the dream catcher for protecting adam’s thoughts. and he has already talked about making one for lake so she doesn’t have bad dreams either. that kid, he’s pretty great. and for the past few nights he really hasn’t been scared. a mother’s love and the perfect bead color combination really can be magical!
here’s what you will need:
a small grapevine wreath (i cut out a few branches so the wreath was a little more sparse)
embroidery thread for the net
feathers, beads, string, and anything else that seems magical
start by cutting a long piece of the embroidery thread, you want to make sure it’s long enough to make the entire net without having to add more. mine was about a yard. tie one end of the string tightly to one of the pieces of grapevine.
take the other end of the string and tuck it under a piece of grapevine about two inches over from your starting position. loop it around and back under itself, repeat again two inches down pulling tight. you want to make the same movement each time (under, under, or under over, etc).
continue this around the wreath, making adjustments as you go. these spaces do not need to all be exactly the same unless you want a perfectly symmetrical net in the end (who would want that??). but you do want them to be fairly tight so you have something to anchor the rest of the rows. make a final loop right next to your knot that you started with. then continue looping in the center of the strings in the first row. pulling tight and adjusting as you go.
continue this around the circle and then repeat by looping in the center of your second row. pulling tight each time to create your net. somewhere along the way you may want to add a bead or two. as you can see my first row was not even and my wreath is not a perfect circle so the net has a lot of different sized spaces and shapes. (i call this character).
leave a hole in the center for the good dreams to come through and tie a double or triple knot in your thread. now start hanging things! i found these great feathers with loops already attached for easy hanging. if those are not available you can always tie the string directly to the feather itself. i used the same embroidery thread for hanging the beads and feathers.
then i used the leather fabric remnant straps for added texture and depth. i moved all the strings up and down until i had a drapey shape i was happy with. i also used the leather to create a hanging loop at the top. i love the eclectic mix of bead shapes and colors on this one for adam, along with the natural texture of the grapevine and leather. but i’ve also seen some beautiful ones that are all white and much more delicate. part of what makes them so special is how personal each one will be. no two dream catchers will ever be the same.