The Tao of Poekie 2016


Almost every girl that walks into the Poekie Nook says, ‘I want to make those!’

So the parent signs her up and she immediately gets immersed in learning the basic sewing stitches to make a beginner’s Poekie. Some girls learn quickly and easily, others may take more time, but regardless of how long it takes to master the different stitching techniques, all students are proud of their progress and see that, with some patience, they too will be able to make the cutest animals living at the Poekie Nook.

Before long, parents come in saying, ‘My daughter is obsessed with Poekies. She wants to be here every day.’ Why is that?

Due to our drop-in format, at any time there will be girls aged 6 to 12 with varying degrees of ability and experience, all sewing away at their particular skill levels, inspiring those who are new to keep on practicing their cutting, tracing and stitching abilities as they move up through the different levels of Poekies. Since there is no “class-time’ (“Now we all must do this or that”), girls hang out in groups, chatting and laughing, while they learn without the stress of needing to accomplish something within a certain time frame.

The true gratification comes when they bring their Poekies home and can play and sleep with them.

Playing with your Poekies
Everyone knows Poekies are super cute and super sweet and super innocent. There are no mean Poekies. They don’t like war or violence. They all love to swim and play and have parties. Through that innocent playfulness, Poekies help keep the natural innocence in our children alive and foster the imagination, which, as a former Waldorf teacher, I believe to be instrumental in raising happy, healthy human beings.

Why is learning to hand-sew Poekies beneficial in a child’s development?
Obviously, it improves manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination, but children also learn to think in three dimensions, as they see how a few two-dimensional pieces turn into a three-dimensional sculpture. Learning this in the world of real materials, helps them to better grasp the three dimensional world offered in the virtual reality of computers.

Many scientists are researching the effects of the arts and crafts on child development. They speculate that craft activities promote the development of neural pathways in the brain that help maintain cognitive health. Playing a musical instrument has already shown to be very beneficial. Cursive writing also has proven to connect synapses in the brain, crossing over from left to right brain, and that this is invaluable in many aspects later in life. A study done in 2011 shows that crafts like knitting diminishes the chance of developing mild cognitive impairment and memory loss in elderly people.

Even though the effects of hand-sewing has not yet been researched, my premise is that ANY artistic and craft activity that includes hand-and-eye work will improve the function of the brain.
So, while your child is having a lot of fun at the Poekie Nook, she is, unbeknownst to her, working hard on acquiring all kinds of skills that will benefit her for the rest of her life.

Poekies in Hawaii

It rained on our first day, but it was warm rain.
It rained on our first day, but it was warm rain.
This our bicycle that got us to all the beaches. This flower is bigger than our mom's hand!
This our bicycle that got us to all the beaches. This flower is bigger than our mom’s hand!
All the plants are tall and big here in paradise.
All the plants are tall and big here in paradise.
Isn't it strange that palmtrees don't seem to have any roots?
Isn’t it strange that palmtrees don’t seem to have any roots?
Napili Bay, definitely our favorite beach.
Napili Bay, definitely our favorite beach.
Splash’s dream came true. The perfect swimming spot for him.
Wish we could go swimming here!
We made new friends.


We loved the fishes in our pond.



Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 8.36.48 AMAnd we saw many beautiful sunsets.
Click on the photo for a 40 second movie.

Housewarming Party May 2015

Poekies and girls arrived in the new home with a happy and loud party. Thanks to Wade Peterson and Charles Moselle for the music and drumming, Tamal Pie for graciously donating huge amounts of pizza, and Anna Stern and Kelly Galland for their unwavering support. And, of course, all the lovely young women who helped!

Our new sign
Our new sign
Before the party


Starting out slowly.
Starting out slowly.
Lots of good food
Lots of good food
An outside patio
An outside patio
Musicians are warming up.
Musicians are warming up.
An old timer
An old timer
The best helpers
The best helpers
Lots of projects
Lots of projects
More great helpers
More great helpers
The drumming got serious
The drumming got serious
At the end
At the end

Christmas Party 2014

It was a magical party. We made lots of different projects, walked the winter spiral with a candle, played with snow and listened to the Poekie Christmas story. Thank you all for coming!

200 electric tea lights to make a spiral
Making a wish in the center
walking around and around
testing the snow
Poekies and snow balls in the snow
Getting ready for the story. We want apple-cider and cookies!
It was a mess afterwards. We swept, vacuumed,
and then we mopped the whole hall.


Here is the video of the Christmas story:

Going to the South Pole. Really!

Just two days old and ready to travel. Pip has a fish and a book in his backpack, his hat and scarf to keep him warm. And, of course, a present for aunt Susan, who has invited him. His mom Ping, his big sister Ting, and his baby sister Penny were giving him advice.


He got a sleepy shot beforehand, because it wasn’t very comfortable being flattened in a padded envelope. They deliver mail only once a week in Antarctica, and only flat envelopes.
Goodbye Pip! Have a safe journey.

Poekie Christmas Story 2013

If you are planning to come to the Christmas party this year, you may want to listen to last year’s story, as this year will be a continuation of that. Thanks to one of the girls, I was reminded that I filmed it last year. The video is too long, the story a bit confusing, but that’s because last year was a really difficult Christmas time for the Poekies.

I will make a better video of this year’s story!

‘May I Quote You?’ I asked

‘Certainly,’ the mom said, ‘and you should add to it that I am an MD, cardiologist.’

Here is what she said to her daughter when she came to pick her up today:
‘Emelia, can you make me another Poekie, or better yet, can you make me some more clothes for the Poekie I already have?’
Both Emelia and I looked puzzled, her mom continued, ‘At the end of the day, when the kids are in bed, it is so calming and soothing to dress my Poekie. Really! It’s therapeutic. I would like some more clothes, please.’

It’s time to teach Emelia how to sew fancy dresses. She sews almost as well as her father, he is a surgeon.
(Name was changed for privacy.)

Crafts and Brain Development

I know your child is very busy, and I agree, after-school activities like soccer, dance and supportive academic programs are very necessary in a child’s life, but you may not be aware of how important the crafts are for a healthy development of the the brain at a young age. 
As a Waldorf teacher, I have learned that, among many manual activities including music and handwork, cursive writing stimulates the connections in the brain. Over the years, several parents have told me that they noticed an improvement in their daughter’s handwriting since she started sewing Poekies. Here is an excerpt from an article I found in a NY Times from 2013. I hope it broadens your perspective of what the Poekie Nook and other handwork/arts/crafts teachers are trying to do.

The Benefits of Cursive Go Beyond Writing

Suzanne Baruch Asherson is a occupational therapist at the Beverly Hills Unified School District in California and a national presenter for Handwriting Without Tears, an early childhood education company.

UPDATED APRIL 30, 2013, 6:29 PM

Putting pen to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else, even in this age of e-mails, texts and tweets. In fact, learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.

As a result, the physical act of writing in cursive leads to increased comprehension and participation. Interestingly, a few years ago, the College Board found that students who wrote in cursive for the essay portion of the SAT scored slightly higher than those who printed, which experts believe is because the speed and efficiency of writing in cursive allowed the students to focus on the content of their essays.