Embroiderdoodles

No, the title is not a new mix of Doberman Pinscher/Poodle/Labrador (Poopinschoodle?)  I am brainstorming some 1-hour textile projects for adults, and had this idea today while doodling in between uninspired ideas. Doodles! Embroidery can be an entry-level craft after learning a simple straight and satin stitch, and no pattern is needed.

IMG_6659

Freehand squiggles

I like the surprises that come from letting your mind wander through a pencil on a notepad.  It seems like it’s been too long since I’ve been bored– having a smartphone is a crutch in some ways.  There’s always something I can think to do, so I have to force myself to daydream*.  Even when I’m on the phone with my parents, I’m probably stitching something or preparing food.  Busy hands!

For this project, just doodle. Take some paper (not too big) and a black marker and doodle. Make it as simple or as complicated as you want.  Do you still have the scrap of paper with your girlfriend’s phone number on it, from the first time you asked her for it? Maybe a to-do list that got done on a day you thought nothing would go right?  Just jot something down real fast!

Materials needed:

  • muslin or other lightweight fabric
  • paper
  • black market
  • embroidery hoop
  • embroidery floss or sewing thread
  • needle
  • fabric marker
  • scissors

Read the rest of this entry »


Puppets Away!

Image from muppets.wikia.com

I’m making fantastic progress on the mushroom cloud puppet, and am at the point where I needed to revisit the Henson, or Muppet, stitch.  I practiced on a small piece of the fleece I chose for the cloud’s column:

You can barely tell where the seam is, and I used red thread!  The trick really is to go slow and only do 3-4 stitches at a time. WAX. YOUR. THREAD.  Also remember that Muppets are made with fleece, not felt.  It makes a big difference.

I spent about six hours working on the puppet today, and everything is done but the eyes and bottom cloud (it’s kind of a cloud skirt).  I’m eager to have it done so I can move on to other things, like more Water Bugs, unicorn horn tutorials and whimsical photo shoots.


What We’re Making Today: Spaghetti Art!

I got this idea from the folks over at Busy Bee Kids Crafts.  The idea is ever so simple: cook spaghetti, mix it with equal parts paint and glue, make a sculpture!  I always test crafts before I go to work, and I’ve been having a blast with this one.

What you need:

  • Glue (I used Modge-Podge)
  • Cooked spaghetti (let it cool, ok?)
  • Wax paper
  • Various colors of paint

Mix equal parts paint and glue.  I just plopped a small pile of spaghetti straight into it and mixed with my hands, because it feels great!  I tried to use poster paints first, since they are washable, but I didn’t get vivid colors.  I used acrylics, and everything popped (also stained my new dress).

Lay the noodles on one by one, and make sure every noodle touches another one, and there aren’t too many stray noodles that gravity won’t be able to hold up.  Let everything dry overnight on a flat and safe surface, and hang it in a window.  The wax paper should peel off easily.

It's a spaghetti sculpture made of spaghetti. So.. it's spaghetti.

Another good thing about this craft is that if the child gets bored or isn’t interested in making the shapes, she can skip the glue and use the noodles as paint brushes.  Here’s my Jackson Pollack rip-off:

Make sure you have plenty of plates to mix the noodles and paint on, and lots of paper towels handy.  This is a craft that absolutely hinges on the ability to get messy, so don’t fight it.

Now THAT is what I call nail art.


More felt flowers!

AAAAAH!  We’re leaving in two days for a Midwest holiday (more than two weeks!) and I’m scrambling to get my clothing together, let alone figure out blog stuff.  I’ve got post-its all over my computer reminding me to take pictures with my lightbox before I leave it, to wrap the damn gifts, and for some reason all these little ideas of crafty things to do that most sane people don’t have time for.  Must. Throw. Away. Post-its.

I entered the Lovely Package Exchange at Oh Hello Friend, and in getting to know my recipient learned about a new felt flower method.  This is MUCH less time-consuming than the lovely one I usually use from Holidash.  Thank you Janice (of Bellwether Thoughts) for the recommendation, and thank you Infarrantly Creative for coming up with it!

Now, as usual, I substitute needle felting for glue every time.  I have no time or love for glue when it comes to fabric projects.

Materials Needed:

  • Felt (sheets or by the yard)
  • Felting needle and pad
  • Pinback
  • needle and thread (I’m sure you could also just felt a piece of felt over the pinback onto the felt felt felt felt)

Look, I made a video!  Pretty, pretty.  What I don’t show in this video is how to put the flower together once you’ve cut the petals.  This is where the original tutorial would run glue along the roll as you’re rolling it.  I used a thread and needle and made little stitches, but I think just felting it at an angle as you go along works just fine.  Get all that stabby rage out!

Once you’ve got your strip all felted/glue/sewed up, you’ll cut the notches into the folded edge.  In all of my photos, I have cut the petals at an angle.  Test different patterns in your notching: more notches equal smaller petals, less bigger, and you can try starting small and getting larger. 

By the end, the felt almost looked like a solid mass, but if your needle skills aren’t that thorough, consider cutting an circle to fit right over the back and stitch it in place.  Stitch the pinback on before you do that! Saves hassle.


Making Puppets: Henson Stitch

from hippocoworker.tumblr.com

INSPIRATION!  I took some time off my puppet-making research, but I couldn’t resist answering the question, “What are muppets made from?”

The internet led me to a wonderful article specifically on the muppets, teaching me what their “skin” is really made of (antron, or, Muppet fleece) and how it is you never see seams on the their faces. I present to you (non-puppeteers) the Henson Stitch:

The type of fabric used really lends itself to hiding seams or imperfections.  I would never have known!

I didn’t know to look for this information until something provoked the question.  Most of the time, you don’t know what question to ask to get the answer you need.  [TANGENTIAL AGENDA ALERT] And that is why teachers and librarians ARE SO DAMN IMPORTANT.  They take the garbled stuff that comes out of your mouth and help you form it into something useful.  Answers can be easy, but questions are the hard part.

So maybe I was helped by a picture of a hippo, but I gotta recognize.

[UPDATE] OH MY GOD FACTORIES ARE LIKELY  NOT MANUFACTURING ANTRON FLEECE ANYMOOOOOOOORE.


Gobble, Fold, Gobble, Fold

A turkey say on a backyard fence
and he sang a sad, sad tune.
“Thanksgiving is coming,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
and I know I’ll be eaten soon.
Gobble, gobble, gobble,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
how I’d like to run away!
Gobble, gobble, gobble,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
how I hate Thanksgiving Day!”

My mom used to sing this to us around Thanksgiving, and somehow I  didn’t make the connection to the forlorn turkey, resigned to its fate, and the slices of meat that the holiday seemed built around.  And sadly, I never even liked turkey that much.

I went into craft overload last week, got a little burned out, so I turned to origami to cleanse my pallette.  I couldn’t help but learn how to make an origami turkey!  There are so many ways to make these, from different shapes of paper in differing levels of difficulty, but I went with easy and simple.  That way I can make 20 of them to dominate the dinner table!

I have a job interview today to be a private arts and crafts tutor.  No, I am not joking.  My task is to engage the child in some Thankgiving-themed crafts, so origami turkeys are my first hurdle.  I found a very simple tutorial on Youtube, while not incredibly sophistacted, lends itself to fast duplication.  Why one turkey when you can have 15?

Pulling out the head and tail is not an exact science, so you can make more variation with this turkey.  I also suggest scribbles or drawing a design on the blank side of the paper so it adds a little detail on the finished product.  It’s a simple enough turkey, so you can also embellish it with paper or real feathers, marker, glitter (glam turkeys?) or whatever you have around.

At a loss for turkey-crafts, my friend Heidi suggested “toilet paper roll turkeys”.   I just so happened to be collected (hoarding) paper tubes, and played a little jazz:

Make a v-shaped cut from the top of the tube to make the head, two more v-cuts on each side to make the wings, then several down cuts from the back to make feathers.  Bend them as you wish, and color/paint all over! There were lots of other tutorials for this sort of thing online, but I really liked how plain and easy this one was.

Other crafts I will utilize in my “interview” today, drawn from the best and brightest on the internet:

Candy Cane Felt Garlands

Paperwheel name tags

“Lil Felt Pumpkins”

Paper garlands – We can also go outside and find pretty leaves, make rubbings of them with crayon and attach the cut-outs onto our garland, or just use the leaves themselves (they’ll last a few days I’d bet).

Wish me luck, and have a great Thanksgiving!

 


How to fill a BRÅN lamp from Ikea

 

 

I’m embarrassed at how much I love Ikea.  Yesterday, my mom helped me pick out a rug for our new apartment, since I am inept at choosing items larger than a lampshade.  We also bought a lamp, since San Jose apartments don’t believe in overhead lighting.  Ikea has a million lamps, so we got the BRÅN, a small lamp with a mouth-blown glass base.  We assumed it could be filled with stuff, but we were wrong!

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »