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The Christmas Stockings

Posted by on 15 Dec 2010 | Tagged as: animal crafts, Christmas, family, needle-felting, sewing, winter, wool felt

Two days in a row! Woo-hoo!

And another big Christmas project, though this one was from last year. Looking back, I’m not entirely clear how I managed to needle-felt three stockings with a newborn, though I guess he was still sleeping a lot of the time in his father’s arms, so maybe that explains it. Years earlier, I had decorated felt stockings for our little family of three people and ten animals, but I’d used the cheap synthetic stuff and had never gotten around to making one for Lucas after he was born. So I was determined my children would have lovingly-crafted felt stockings, newborn baby or not!

I found a pattern for a Santa on etsy for Jonah’s stocking:

Jonah Santa Stocking

I’m really proud of the Santa — and I was impressed how much heftier he was than he would have been had I not followed a pattern — I actually needle-felted him first and then sewed him on rather than needle-felting him directly onto the wool felt. I am disappointed at the shape of all the stockings — they ended up too long and skinny, with boxy toes. But I do love that Santa:

Santa

For my ballet-in-general-and-Nutcracker-in-particular-obsessed daughter, I attempted a Sugar Plum Fairy. Mia loves her, but I’m afraid she turned out a little too manly in the face and shoulders. I tried and tried to fix it until I’d needle-felted everything so firmly there was no more tweaking. Oh well!

Mia Ballerina Stocking

And a close-up of Mr. Sugar Plum:

Ballerina

And finally, for Lucas, I used as inspiration, the wonderful, beautiful book we discovered last year thanks to our friend Lynn — Eve Bunting’s Night Tree

Lucas Night Tree Stocking

The animals ended up a little cartoonish, but I still think it’s sweet. It’s decorated with strings of popcorn, apples and oranges. The family in the book goes to the edge of town each year to decorate a tree for the animals. It’s such a wonderful story, and when they are back home, there’s a scene where the little boy is lying in bed, thinking of all the animals coming out to eat from the tree. Covering the little boy is a quilt with a tree and all the animals on it — a sweet touch this crafty mama really appreciated!

Here’s a little more detail on Lucas’ stocking:

Night Tree Bear

Night Tree Fox

And now I need to get to crafting for this year! I have lots of littler gifts, plus a large crafty gift for each child still to make! I’ll be back in this space, sharing a little of our decorating and crafting as we go!

A little something for my midwife

Posted by on 03 Feb 2010 | Tagged as: about me, animal crafts, family, needle-felting, sewing, wool felt

Our family was lucky enough to get to experience a perfect and wonderful homebirth under the care of our dedicated and much loved midwife. During the course of my pregnancy, we bonded over our mutual love for animals, and both she and her birth assistant enjoyed having our pup Audrey there for Jonah’s birth. When it came time for me to make a gift for her, I decided to attempt to render in felt a photograph of Audrey and Jonah shortly after his birth. I also included a little vervet my midwife raised and who now lives at The Primate Rescue Center in Kentucky.

Here’s the original picture:

Jonah and Audrey

And my attempt to recreate it:

DSC_8996

DSC_8998

DSC_8999

DSC_8997

I don’t think I succeeded in recreating sweet little Jonah — his nose is clownish, I couldn’t get his hair right and those adorable little forehead furrows… I think I should just stick to creating REAL babies. But I’m pretty pleased with how our Audrey lady and Bob the vervet ended up looking.

The founder of the sanctuary where Bob now lives is featured in part of the book Animal Underworld: Inside America’s Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species, a chilling investigation into the trade in exotic animals in this country. It follows paper trails that lead from AZA accredited zoos to canned hunts, explains the dangers and cruelties of keeping wild animals as pets and is just generally one of those books that you can’t “unknow” after you read it. You’ll find yourself recounting horrifying details to innocent bystanders, but who knows, you might end up influencing just the right person to make a difference… [steps off soapbox...]

The crafting is coming along slowly around here with a baby who has suddenly started making the distinction between Mama’s arms and just about anyone else’s. So while we manage to never actually put him down, he’s needing specifically me in the evenings when I would be crafting. I’m still getting a few minutes in here and there, and I have some plans for Valentine’s Day, but progress is slow. I’ll try to post some older projects if the newer ones take too long, so keep checking back!

A little bunny for a little friend

Posted by on 26 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: animal crafts, friends, sewing

A little bunny for a little friend who was much sicker last week than any little person should ever have to be (or any mama should have to see), but is thankfully all better now:

Bunny

I used the now famous Wee Wonderfuls Bunny Pattern, but with Bitter Betty‘s modifications (moving the face to the back). It also took all my determination not to make the bunny out of solid-colored corduroy. I’m all about corduroy and plain colors. But I love how quilts look, and while I don’t trust my ability to choose coordinating fabrics, I made myself follow through. I honestly had to fight the urge to return to the corduroy even once I had cut all the pieces and sat down to my sewing machine.

And as midnight came and went (why do others use the term “whipping up” a few of these or “quick and easy?” Am I really that bad on the sewing machine? Yes, yes I think I am.), I began to panic that I am terrible at embroidering even, round eyes and that I’d ruin the fabric trying. And I didn’t want to use sew-on eyes for such a little person as the recipient. Being rather sleepy myself, it occurred to me that maybe a sleepy, wool and lentil-filled bunny was in order.

Bunny

I think he’s pretty cute, though I think I sewed the side-seams a little too far down, not leaving enough room for the bottom circle, which I then had to butcher a bit to make it fit. It’s a little wonky, but he still sits, so I’m calling him a somewhat reasonable success. Now I just have to make three more for my two little ones’ Easter baskets and one for a little cousin who will also be at Tony’s aunt’s house for Easter.

The End.

Bunny

Felt Mailboxes: The project that took forever

Posted by on 25 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: sewing, wool felt

I’ve been working on these little felt mailboxes for ages now, and had planned to finish them much earlier. I have visions of leaving little love notes to my littles for them to find in their mailboxes. I hope they’ll be as popular as I keep imagining… things rarely are!

Felt mailboxes

Felt mailboxes with doors open

I was sort of making it up as a I went along, and now looking at the finished project, I’m thinking they are a bit long… they could stand to be a house shorter, or maybe even half the length they are now. And the felt on the inside is a bit loose because of some spatial-relation deficits on my part, but otherwise, I’m pretty pleased.

Felt mailboxes

I think if I made them again, I’d just glue on the countless little, itty, bitty, teeny, tiny windows and doors rather than blanket-stitch them all. Really, what was I thinking? So now, I definitely should be back here more often. No more marathon projects for a while… I need to do some Easter crafting and a few other little things. But for now, I’ll enjoy the finished mailboxes (and the freedom their completion gives me to FINALLY move on to the next project).

Felt mailbox

My new Mei Tai!

Posted by on 17 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: babywearing, family, sewing

I’ve wanted a Mei Tai for years, since my oldest was a baby. But I have a beautiful, beautiful Didymos wrap and felt like I couldn’t justify another one. The Didymos is beautiful, but it’s not the most practical — tons of fabric and no stretch. Mei Tais just seemed so perfect. And expensive.

But then I found this tutorial and decided to try it. I’m terrible at machine sewing. Really terrible. But the tutorial was so clear that I managed it! The stitches may be a little wonky, but I’m thrilled with it. I’ll have to practice getting Lucas in and out by myself, especially in a back carry, but it feels great.

Scandi Mei Tai

Scandi Mei Tai

Scandi Mei Tai

I especially love the snuggly front carry.

Scandi Mei Tai

I had originally picked out some really cool fabric, but then the lady at the fabric store mentioned, as she was cutting it, that she had made herself a blouse from it, and after that, all I could see was blouse. So instead I used two non-coordinating fabrics and made it reversible.

I love my fall leafy print, but it did seem a little seasonal, so I went with a cool batik for the other side.

Scandi Mei Tai

Scandi Mei Tai

Somehow, the kids let me work on it all day (I cut out the pattern and the straps last night), though Lucas was pretty clingy by the end of the day. He was happy to discover my project was designed for snuggling.

I have Mia’s finished Valentine’s Day present to post, but I’ll save that for tomorrow. I have a sleeping babe in arms, and Tony just carried a feverish, sleeping Mia upstairs to her bed. Looks like she’ll have her first sick day from preschool tomorrow. Pretty impressive, really, but I feel like I jinxed it by announcing this weekend that she hadn’t missed a single day of preschool due to illness since she started in September. Oh well, a snuggly, rainy sick day for us tomorrow! Poor girl!