Monday, February 27, 2012

Art Co-op - Suns, Clouds and Colored Rice

Every Friday morning during the school year, I help run an art co-op for the local kids  (that are under five) for our mothers club. We have a fairly good regular group of pre-preschool age children that attend.

The projects are simple. I like to choose things that are messy because we have this space (surplus school property that has become an art center). Some weeks we have a great turnout, and sometimes it is sunny so only a few families show up. The kids and moms all seem to have fun and I love doing it.

Practice with lacing or sewing

The mothers club started this long before I joined and I do not know why it is called a co-op versus any other name. It is done on a volunteer basis - perhaps that makes it a co-op. I just know that I started taking Z when she was about 10 months old because she needed to get out of the house and it was always rainy or foggy. We both loved it, so I volunteered the next term.

Colored rice to make pictures with or just toss around

She got over it. She still likes running around, but has little interest in the projects. I love the projects and thinking about what to do each week (above colored rice from Momtastic). I make the play dough and have tried several recipes - currently we're using this one from Tinkerlab. Now I sometimes feel we go for me more than her. 

Or we both end up outside anyway.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pocket Easter Bunnies

These are my latest felt friends and I admit I have gone a bit nuts with them. I've been making them industriously and without regard to natural coloring.

They are smaller than an egg. 

Each has a little pink nose and fuzzy tail. 

They're good for sharing secrets with.

They also like to mill about in groups. They are now for sale so get yours today!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day PJs

Happy Valentine's Day! I am humbly accepting that this can be a fun filled holiday that I once considered fluff. Actually, I was sort of told off very publicly that children love it, so I tried to embrace it - in a less fluffy way. Z needs new pajamas because hers have become "capris" and it gets chilly at night.

 I did the old trick of using a pair of Z's pants that fit to create the pattern, which I lay out, pinned and cut of some lovely pink flannel I had. Now, this picture primarily shows how very ridiculous I can be about trying to get as much out of a piece of fabric as possible. I think it's sort of wonderful that people take great pride in being frugal these days. I've heard people boasting about how cheap they are, and it's a good thing because waste is waste.

I've made a lot of pants since Z came along and I still always get flipped about and mess up. I've started marking the fronts with safety pins and taking extra time to think. I sewed the legs together first - front to back, right sides together (as much as there is a right side of plain pink flannel), outside seams then inside seams. Also that blur is one of Z's dolls dancing over the project and spouting off things I say.

I like sewing the two legs together by inserting one leg (right side out) inside the other. I get less confused this way.

Next I formed the waist band for the elastic. I had to go back to her original pants to make sure I had it right, but that's the nice part of having them as comparison.

Here is the little opening I left to insert the elastic.

And the elastic going in.

To make the PJs something special, I used a drawing I'd done earlier of two cats with entwined tails. I printed it out onto iron-on paper and planned to iron it onto black craft felt, making it firmer and help it hold it's shape. I planned to then sew this on as an applique.

The heat of the iron melted the craft felt - live and learn.

I decided to pencil in the cats and freehand it with fabric paint.

I haven't quite mastered fabric paint, but I still think the cats are a sweet addition. Also, those paying close attention will note that I never hemmed the pants. I have to do that by hand as I forgot to do it before sewing the inseams.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhogs are Whistle Pigs and Other Odd Things

Every year right about now I dust off my knowledge of groundhogs, show it off a bit and promptly forget it. My sister was born on Groundhog Day and for the past few years (since I became a stay-at-home-mom) I've made her groundhog related cards for her birthday and told her stupid facts. I don't even know if she likes them. Being a polite adult, she thanks me and we go back to talking about zombies. But I do know she feels a kinship for the groundhog, so I go on without encouragement.

This year I thought that I might make a little groundhog for her. Groundhogs are ground squirrels (with rather unremarkable tails), and I'd already made a squirrel pattern for the felt woodland. With some minor adjustments - groundhog! I got some faux suede at SCRAP because the sample was rejected (? - I don't really know if that's true, it's just more interesting). So at about 5 pm two days before her birthday, in fading light and determined to photograph it, I started out.

Faux suede is not felt - there is a right side and a very wrong side. That took a bit of remembering when cutting out the pattern pieces and I now have a groundhog and a half cut out.

I sew the belly pieces right sides together, with the seam on the inside, because I like how this looks, though I think it is incorrect felt animal procedure. I do a blanket stitch up the back and around the head, inserting the head gusset.

Close up of the head gusset in place.

Stuff the little guy and add the base. Actually, it is much better to attach the base leaving a small hole to stuff rather than try to sew the base on with all that stuffing.


Add a couple of ears, which are two half circles sewn together for each ear. Paint on some eyes and a nose. And that's him.

I've looked at a lot of groundhog photos and drawings of them and they do have rodent front teeth. This was a bit of a struggle for me as I'm not a fan of rodents. But in the end I added some little felt teeth to groundhog him up a bit. 

His prediction for the winter ... well, it is sunny this morning. But since he can't turn on his own, so he can't really see it.