Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We pretended today like we were dog owners. Marian was home recouping from a virus, and this tiny sat on her lap all day long. Except for our very brief walk.
Note Reuben heading STRAIGHT for the street.
Don't worry, he was snatched before his sweet See-Kai-Run (man I love those new shoes)- clad feet hit the pavement.

Note how his little Hanna is barely fitting his long-legged little self. *sob*

And, yes, friends: looking at that series myself, I'm not really sure that it's still a debate.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

spring miscellany

Reuben is getting a little unpredictable with his sleeping, and it's showing in the SLOW pace of some of my projects (reconstituting glazes & Easter dress sewing, most notably), but a good dose of Spring Crafting has been going on nonetheless. I'm really loving this little mouse doll (felted sweater!), and have plans for fox & raccoon companions soon. Nathan suggested a nice Max in his wolf suit (okay, so he thought this was a wolf, but then our conversation continued), so our own Wilde thing (despite his complete disinterest; I tried to get him to pose with this and he tossed it to the floor--5 times--before I could get even a blurry shot) will get one of those. He is definitely getting a full-size suit for Halloween this year, too, by the way.

I took lots of process shots and will be posting a full tutorial for Waldorf-style hand dolls soon. I certainly didn't invent them, but had a hard time finding a thorough tutorial myself when I first started making dolls, and the head technique is rather brilliant; you really need to learn how.

*And more headbands. I cannot seem to quite put away this project; they keep seeming so useful for birthday gifts, the school silent auction, a thank-you to the mom who patiently drives Marian to dance...*Pseudo-psyanky. I plan bi-monthly activities for the 8-11 year old girls at my church, and wanted to do a little pysanky introduction. The night before our activity, I had the girls and a friend experiment with just dropping beeswax off a candle onto the eggs, thinking that this might be easier/safer than using the kistkas. Closely supervised, the girls did well with it, and it was a fun variation, but what was I thinking? Holding a flame in your hand is safer than holding a little funnel over it at arms' length? The next night, I had my activity girls split into 2 groups. Half colored pysanky sheets (I did a page compilation of these images, with a short summary of color symbolism), while the other dyed eggs. The girls did mostly crayon- and sticker-resist dyeing, while I led one girl at a time in trying their hand with a machined kistka.

*A friend with a difficult pregnancy was bemoaning how life on bedrest, with a toddler, was making her crafting desires difficult, so I dropped by a wee spring craft kit with a loaf of bread. I love making these bitty wool felt birds (you may see a finished one here. If you want to make your own, use the bottom photo as a pattern. Mine are about 7/8" long).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

pottery notes

Almost everything in my mini-batch (10 mugs, 1/2 dozen bowls or so) is bisque-fired, and if life doesn't get overly complicated I should be glazing next week after I get back from Arkansas...yup, R & I are headed out to the airport tomorrow morning to meet my brother's youngest, born in January. And bask in the goodness and fun and charm of their whole family--in a southern spring. So excited. Except not for the drive (the old car, sans radio) to Baltimore too early tomorrow...

more with felted sweaters

I have gorgeous twin nephews who turned four last week. Like their daddy (that's my little bro), they're mad about dinos. A prehistoric playset was an easy hit. It's really just neutrally jungle-y, except for the volcano, and could be adapted easily to various climes.
My beautiful sister-in-law Meghan is a flowers-in-the-hair sort of girl, so of course I had to include a couple of flowers (made from a felted red blazer, a felted green sweater, & the lining of a purple one) for the mama, who is the real hero of any twin story.

More photos and construction notes:

Another view. I cut the flowery plant border from a sweater's edging.
All pieces are from felted sweaters or wool blazers except the stream, which is wool roving,
artfully arranged by Miss Marian, who attached it for me.
The volcano was made from a sleeve, stitched a bit more conical.
The wrist of the sweater is tucked inside the volcano to make it sturdier for
easy in-and-out tucking of the mohair locks of lava.
I used plastic bottle caps as bases for the plants so they would stand nicely,
borrowing an idea from the lovely bottlecap pincushions.
I wet-felted the edges a bit with hot water and dishsoap after cutting the leaves.
Cutting along a sweater seam makes a sturdy, 4-edged leaf like the tall forest green one.
wool fibers punched through, back-side view (all pieces attached with needle felting only)

I attached the leaves at the base of the cave with thread
(too much strain with the curve and the cave floor seam),
but the leaves on top are sturdily attached by felting only.

All in a drawstring bag, of course. I've seen playsets that draw up in very clever ways, and was all gung-ho for that option, but, on reflection, I think they're more clever than actually useful. I like a good traditional canvas bag.Reuben enjoyed this, his first bag experience, muchly, and I had to chase him down to get it back.
Someone get that baby a European carryall.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

the rules

"Okay, let's each say one thing that it has to be."

"Orphans. An orphan academy."

(Overheard this afternoon. I--playing with Reuben behind the couch--started clapping. They rolled their eyes. I went for my camera...)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

what to make with felted sweaters? #2

We all love this little owl. Rather a big owl, for me :)--I wanted to make him especially huggable. The girls tested this out for me.
And yes.


I was really delighted to have a full owl-y spectrum of colors to choose from. Two--one of the wing layers and the belly--came from Becci's stash. Especially handy to have two stashes to draw from.The making: I sketched body and wing patterns beforehand, and traced a handy lid for the eyes and pupils. The other pieces were basically freehanded. To sew him up, I chose to machine stitch the belly, main body, and rows of feathers to make them especially secure. I wanted the beak to be free on the end, so to make it stronger, I cut two triangles of yellow cashmere and blanket stitched them together. I also hand-stitched the eyes so they would sparkle, and the wings because they're tricky.He's packed and shipping-labeled, and off to Reuben's (as yet un-met but certain to be dear) friend Tennessee-in-North-Carolina, but I had to pull him around Marian's school this morning to show him off. He was properly admired.