Thursday, March 31, 2016

Flower Power...

Size DOES matter in the world of door decorations and classroom displays. The bigger the better in my mind. I love for the children to feel like little sprites in a magical garden so I made these larger than life paper flowers.

The flowers were made with colored butcher paper, hot glue, chenille wires with pompoms glued to the ends, (for stamens), and green swim noodles for stems. A repurposed floor lamp was used to make a stand for the flowers.

To make the stand get a cheap, used floor lamp from the thrift shop, (one that is in sections like a torchiere). Remove the top shade. Unscrew the top segment and pull apart exposing the wire. Cut and remove all wire and plug.  Done! You now have a weighted stand that can be used for numerous applications. To use, simply slip the swim noodle over the remaining portion of the stand. The weighted bottom of the lamp will allow the gigantic flowers to stand securely on their own.

To make flowers, fold several layers of colored butcher paper and round off the edges on one side. Gather the layers around at the opposite end and twist to hold in place. Add more layers for super fluffiness. Finally, glue the chenille wire and pompom stamens in the center using hot glue. Attach the flowers to the swim noodle by inserting the twisted end inside the top of the noodle. Secure with hot glue; lots and lots of hot glue.

TGIF y'all!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Puff the Friendly Chinese New Year Dragon...

Here's how we celebrated Chinese New Year in February.....I had seen the wonderful Chinese New Year dragons made from red Solo cups all over the internet, fell in love with them and had to make one. However, I wanted my dragon head to be more dramatic and reusable. So back to the wooly fibers for inspiration. This time I used needle felting and hot glue to make the happy dragon of my dreams, (not wanting to frighten the children I chose a happy faced, toothless version).
I wasn't intending to blog this idea at the time that I made it so I do not have any "in progress" photos. Hopefully I can describe what I did in a clear and concise way.
Here's what to do....
Gather the following materials;
COLORFUL wool fiber, especially red
large styrofoam ball
knee high stocking
fiber stuffing, (Poly-fil or other)
needle felting needles
hot glue and glue gun
pompoms for embellishments
Solo cups, (1 for each student)
small Dixie cups to be used as spacers, (the size used for bathroom cups)
heavy string
peel and stick foam designs for cup embellishment'
Sharpie markers and pompoms
gold mylar wrapping paper or tinsel 
Using fiber filling, stuff the toe of the knee-high until it measures about 8" wide and 8" long. Insert the foam ball next, stuffing and shaping as desired. Tie off hose securely leaving the end of the knee high to be used to attach the head to the string of cups, (body). 

Cover the head with red fiber using the needle felting needle to attach the red fiber to the head. Wet felt two balls to be used as eyes. Use black faceted cabochon for pupils. Make eyelids and other embellishments with the fiber, (glue or needle felt these features to head). Pull tufts of fiber from batts to make the mane. Glue these on with hot glue. Add further embellishments, such as pom poms, as desired.
 Using the hot  tip of a hot glue gun, poke holes into the bottom middle of each Solo cup, so that it can be strung. Likewise, poke holes in the spacer cups. (Note: spacer cups are used to prevent the Solo cups from stacking into one another when strung). 
Allow children to decorate a cup using foam stickers and Sharpie markers, (making certain that the decorations are at the large end of the cup, otherwise they won't show when dragon is strung together).
Using heavy string, tie the end of the hose to the string end. thread Solo cup onto string with the wide part of the cup facing away from the head, then string the small spacer cup, (which sits inside of the Solo cup and is visible from the outside). Repeat until all cups are strung together. Glue mylar paper, cut into fringe, around the inside lip of each Solo cup, (or use tinsel garland).
Hang from ceiling and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Simple and traditional

Chevrons have been so popular for the last few years but ripple blankets have been around for decades, right? Before I even thought of picking up a crochet hook I was well aware of ripple blankets and when I thought of crochet this style of blanket came to mind. So I chose this for the latest in a long string of baby gifts.

The blanket has 7 stripes consisting of 10 rows each using an H hook and worsted yarn. It turned out to be larger than your average blanket, (no, I didn't measure it), and should be a nice security blanket for the years to come.

  And because no baby gift is complete without a toy....I improvised a bear rattle using a cat toy insert for the rattle mechanism. The bear was worked from the bottom upwards using an F hook and was nearly seamless, (had to sew the ears to the head). The arms were crocheted separately but were crocheted on as I made the neck round. Will have to write out a pattern as this was fast and easy.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What's been cookin'....

Crocheting, knitting, felting, paper crafts, garden art, sewing, repurposing....


And so on.....