Saturday, April 7, 2018

Busy Book for Z

This past summer we planned a fairly big trip which involved an 11 hour plane ride. Z was 20 months at the time and could sit still for about 12 seconds total. I'd seen several postings about busy books around and thought it would be the perfect solution for the trip.

It was not.

She hated the book. Perhaps it was too advanced for her. Perhaps she resented all the time I poured into it and when I asked her to play by herself. I don't know, but whenever I showed it to her she'd start crying or she'd throw it across the room. It was a little heartbreaking at the time, but then it became kind of funny. She's grown to like it now and breaks it out to take all the bits off. She hasn't ever shown an interest in putting them back.

This is how I began my collection of felt. I used white denim as the base for the pages because I had it. I tried to spice it up with little embroidered designs here and there.

Button on Flowers.
This is one of the pages that I saw others had done and thought it was brilliant. The red pot is a pocket to hold the flowers.

Velcro Shapes and Fasteners

Counting and Tie a Shoe

Close up of the counting page
I made the first three primary colors and the next three secondary colors to try

This page is about finding things.

Some of the things hidden around. A hang glider hides behind the kite, and there's a plane behind the cloud. Fish are under a pull-away layer of water. The ducks are attached by fishing line, so they can "swim" in the water. The leaves of the tree hide various birds. The black hole in the trunk hides a squirrel.

Textures and Snap on Balloons
The textures were

Eddie's Garden
Z loves a book called Eddie's Garden, so this was my homage to the illustrator. The carrots snap on, as do the peas and the pumpkin. The corn, the chard and the sunflower are velcro, and there's a little rabbit hidden near the peas.

A little pocket to hold all the bits that fall off.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hoot the Owl Halloween Costume

Z wants to dress up as an owl this Halloween. Not just any owl, but this owl - Hoot from the Old Bear and Friends videos.

This is a big deal for us because she went through a phase of being afraid of owls. Every night we had to assure her that no owls were in the room or hovering outside. We told her about all the friendly owls in all the stories and shows she likes, and she finally landed on this owl as the good owl.

So to make her costume, I had to improvise. The owl in the story is more lambswool than feathers, and wears a blue starry dress/apron throughout. I thought it would be better to make it more owly. And more comfortable for a little girl to bounce around and enjoy herself.

Over the months of owl reassuring, I became a big connoisseur of owls. I found a blogs about owls (My Owl Barn is a great aggregater of owls) and sewed owls and generally found myself drawn to anything with an owl on it. Which turns out to be a lot of things.

I started with a long sleeved white shirt and a pair of white leggings. Then I attached felt feathers (a sort of "u" shape) for the owl tummy. These were sewn on, but with a very simple basting stitch that will be easy to remove when she wants to stop being an owl.

The feathers were meant to be in concentric circles, but imperfect ones. It works like an attached bib.

Next I cut some wings from an old sheet. These were based on the ones in this tutorial because I thought the shape was just beautiful.

The wings were sewn together with an opening at the neck for turning, and pinked up to make them lay nicely. Then I turned them inside out (being a white sheet, there weren't right sides) and pressed them, sewed the neck shut, and sewed the tops of the back part of the wings together.

The ensemble mid-feathering
I could only find white leggings with lace edging in my short search, but thought a few feathers placed at the cuff would cover that fine.

The wings presented a problem because I wanted them to be more owl than fairy and that meant feathers. I saw this owl cartoon and thought three tiers of feathers on the wings would work out well.

First I cut some longer feathers - an elongated "U" really.

Then I placed them in three rows and sewed them down at their base with the machine. This gives them a bit of swing when the wings move.

Last I made a mask, a piece of paper folded in half with a big circle for the eye and a triangle for the ear made a pattern. I used brown buttons as the centers of the eye to be more like Hoot. I knew Z wouldn't want to actually wear the mask, so I attached the mask (with a safety pin) to a white hat she had.

And the final owl having fun. She kept the hat on for about 20 minutes and refused to have the wings attached to her arms because they "flapped better" free. Everybody thought she was dressed as an angel, which was funny. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Curse You Pinterest

Pinterest has a lot to answer for. 

First, there is the absurd notion that anybody at all looks good in neon skinny jeans. Every morning I see some poor woman sausaged into a pair - a giant day-glow advertisement of her ass.

Pictured: mint - same idea

Even the model is hiding her face.

And while I hope never to see another tutorial on ombre nail polish or imaginary wedding planned by a married friend, the thing that really makes me nauseous are these:

The "meaningful quote" images.

 The "this is so true" crap made all the more smarmy by ridiculous font choices.

Seriously? Am I supposed to light my neighbor on fire to get stuff done? Really, what am I supposed to do with that?

No I didn't miss the idea that passion can drive a person to do great and powerful things. It is just stupid to me to post a picture of it. If you have passion,you can and will act on it. If you do not, this will not create it.

I admit to loving to gaze at Pinterest and having learned a number of interesting things there. None of them were set in a Deeply Profound font or stylized with pretty edges. But face it, was right:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rabbit Fever

I'm still stuck on rabbits.

I tried making a little lion, and I do like him a very lot, but he's no rabbit.

Towards Easter I got inspired by Alice in Wonderland and sewed a White Rabbit and March Hare - complete with vests, a coat and a pocket watch chain. 

John Tenniel's illustrations inspired me and my bunnies weren't capturing them correctly. 
So I moved on.

To another bunny. 

Another literary bunny.

This may be due to the fact that I got some velveteen at SCRAP and hadn't figured out quite what to make with it. It may be that a friend's daughter had scarlet fever and the story got into my head. I tried to introduce some more character into them with surprised or pleading faces - trying to capture the parts of the story when the Velveteen Rabbit learns he has to be burned. They have bendable ears to be more expressive.

I've even toyed with a Runaway Bunny, though I'm not too sure.

And then I saw this marvel of a March Hair from Tim Burton's Alice. Brilliantly mad. And I'm back to Alice.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Illustration Friday - Suspend

I stumbled on this site - - which made me happy.

The theme for this week is suspend. 

I tried a few illustrations in a couple of different mediums.

 A bubble is suspended - pen with colored pencil.
More bubbles - watercolors.

Ok I'm stuck on bubbles, and watercolors.

And finally, little Z suspended inside a bubble.