Thursday, September 29, 2011

Playing Hookie

A couple of days ago, Charlie's daddy woke up and rolled over and said to his mommy, "Can't I just play hookie today?"

It is hard to work and go to school.  Monday mornings are especially hard.  I don't blame him one bit!  We all want to play hookie sometimes.

What is funny is that Charlie overheard him.  And in Charlie's world, "playing" anything sounds fun!  So all that morning he repeated, "I want to play hookie!  I want to play hookie!" 

Even when he came to my house to be babysat, he walked right in and pronounced, "I want to play hookie!"

So today I am thinking about waffles with fruit and syrup and playing hookie with Charlie!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I have made SHOES!!!

Okay, so maybe they are more like slippers.  But I made them, myself!  Out of wool fibers!

They started out like this.  A piece of plastic in the right shape with wool roving spread all over the front and back.  A bit of tulle laid over the top and a little soapy water.....

Then, a good scrubbing and folding over the little edges of wool.  See how this now looks like a siamese twin of a Christmas stocking?  Hooked together at the tops?  Well, later on it really will be and I will cut them apart in a delicate surgery.  And because there is a piece of plastic in the middle, the insides will open up into little two little shoes!  (The removal piece of plastic is called a "resist.")

But first it must be rolled up into a tight little package and then rolled back and forth a few hundred times.  After that, I cut them open and scrub them under hot water back and forth and up and down and inside out until the wool shrinks and binds completely to itself.  And I am left with two little boots!

Which I open out, then stuff with paper and leave to dry.

A blanket stitch around the tops with some coordinating yarn finishes them off.  You'll never guess who they are for.....

Shhhhh.  Don't tell his parents.  I want it to be a surprise!

 Next up.....a pair of newborn shoes, made with a different resist pattern and waiting to be decorated.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charlie's Birthday!

Charlie turns 2!

We had a party for him in the backyard.  Many of his favorite people came to celebrate!

There were presents to open!

Charlie got his very own copy of his favorite book from the public library. 

"Tweak Tweak!"  (It was also part of a fun game we played with him at the party.)

He received a delightful hippo and a marvelous cow!

A very fun card and present from Uncle Edwin.

And his very own "Orangey Book!"  (Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.)

And a set of BLOCKS!  So he can "build a and build a tower."  (a song made up by Bumpa long ago for his mommy.)

There was a beautiful cake made by Aunt Alicia!

"Blow right HERE," says Daddy.  (LaLa gives a little assistance.)

Even the cake was "Tweak Tweak!"

Uncle Sam and his friend Dax demonstrate proper building technique.

Dax is VERY proud when he gets the very last piece balanced on the top of the tower.

Who says we ever grow out of playing with toys?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Felted Owls

I love making things with wool.  It is such an ancient creative medium.  Recently, I have begun making sculpted owls out of upcycled wool sweaters that I "felt" before cutting, sewing, and embellishing the fiber pieces.

Mother and Child

"Felting" wool is a term that describes when wool fibers are tightly fixed together.  In this case, the 100% wool sweaters are washed in very hot water and dried in a hot dryer.  (Just the opposite of what you would normally do to a wool sweater.)  It causes the fibers to shrink and bind tightly to one another, effectively making the knit material become felt.  The loose ends no longer become an issue and the knitting will not unravel. 

"Needle Felting" is a term to describe when a barbed needle is poked back and forth through wool fibers, catching and pulling them together. The yarn around the eyes of these owls was "needle felted" on.  The fibers in the yarn intermixed (through repeated needle sticks) with the fibers of the sweater until they held together tightly. 

Papa Owl

Different sweaters "felt up" to have fun new textures. 


And the design of the original sweater adds to the character of each new owl.


Color comes into play.  As does stitching.

Eeny Weeny Greeny

Acorn hats of different sizes and depths make for perfect eyes.

Harvey and Jester are best friends

 And buttons sometimes provide the perfect pupils.

Whooooooo wants to felt with me?

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Memories

The headlines for the newspaper 10 years ago, today. 

It was such a tragic time.  And yet, I was touched by the political cartoons that came out in the weeks following.  Normally satirical and making fun of people--the cartoonists became spiritual and caring--a reflection of the change that was taking place in all of us.  These are a few of my favorites: 

God Bless This Country!