I've been making myself a little crazy getting ready for Friday's Holiday Fair at my preschool. Knitting, stitching, stitching, knitting. I made these little santa ornaments for a swap last year and never got around to posting them. They are sweet and easy to make and there's a pattern and a how to, here.
Mine were all hand-stitched and made of new felt and sweater felt.
Last years tree (haven't put one up yet this year).
Do you know about Art Projects for Kids? It's become my new go-to site when looking for a project to do with my boys. Kathy posts her classroom art projects geared towards children grades K-5 and she offers easy to follow instructions, a simple goal for each project and an example. When I was home sick a few days with my boys, we used her ideas to create together at home. I love that once we all worked through her art project, it inspired us to further create in other ways.
Margaret of We Bloom Here hosted a swap of little angels and has connected bloggers from all over the world. You can see all the beautiful hand created angels right here.
Here is what I made for my partners (most of whom live in Australia).
It's funny how these little angels all started out to be the same, but as I individually hand-stitched each one, they seemed to take on their own personalities. I guess this is just how it is when creating a doll.
Each one is stitched from white wool and vintage trim embellishments and beads. Each is holding something unique in their hand or arms: a cluster of bells, a mother-of-pearl star, a vintage stamen bundle and an acorn bird nest with eggs.
I've already received two lovely angels and will be sure to post them once they all arrive.
Julen's BFF turns four today. He was adament that he had to make him some gnomes out of willow like the ones we have at the preschool. While he couldn't handle most of the sawing or much of the whittling of the gnome hats, he did give it his best effort. The sanding, painting and rubbing with the wax/jojoba oil mixture was all him though. He was quite satisfied with all his hard work...as he should be...they are adorable!
Now it's my turn. We will have a birthday celebration for this sweet boy at preschool today. You may recall how I struggled with birthday gift ideas last month, but for this boy I knew exactly what I wanted to give him...I was determined to make him a dragon. After all, it's been his favorite play this fall. Sure...I could have used the pattern that was published in Rhythm of the Home, or the one that can be found in the latest publication of Living Craft, but instead I tried creating my own pattern. I struggled a bit, and it needs a bit of tweaking, but I'm happy with how he turned out.
The true test will be if my little friend is happy with him too.
We celebrated autumn with our preschool families yesterday during our Michaelmas festival. We made a craft together, the children sang songs for their parents, we welcomed Mother Nature, shared a meal and played in the rain.
In preparation, the children ground the wheat and made the bread dough at the preschool last week.
One of our traditions is to wrap a bulb for mother nature to pass out to the children. I haven't changed the way I do this in four years. Always a tulip bulb and the same poem. Here is my worktable the night before.
I wrapped them in burlap and tied with twine and added a piece of orange wool for an autumn leaf.
Focusing on the theme of the meteor showers that accompanied St Michael in early autumn, I thought it would be fun to make shooting stars at the festival. The craft is made with parent and child, so I needed to prep the project as much as possible. The night before I began cutting wool stars to stitch and stuff.
I quickly realized that I needed a shortcut to make 25 of these before morning and altered the assembly just slightly. Instead of stitching around the star and stuffing with wool, I placed the extra large dragon tear (to give weight to the star) in the center of the wool and joined the star pieces by stitching around just the glass stone. At the festival, children then added crystal rhinestones and with the help of parents stitched the tails on the star.
It was fun to watch them flying through the air.
(this photo was taken today...a perfectly sunny afternoon)
Our big act of courage for the children at this festival is to have each one of them step forward and receive their gift from Mother Nature. It is not an easy thing to do when you are three or four.
I was overly ambitious for Puppet Camp last week. My plan was to have the children experience a wide variety of puppet making. I quickly realized after day one, that I would have to tone it down a bit. After-all, I am working with four-years-olds. For the last day I planned a pop-up cone type puppet (kind of like one of these), but again...too ambitious. The night before I thought up this simplified version and was thrilled how easily they came together.
1.25 inch wood bead with hole on one side
(needle + thread optional)
I drew up a rough pattern sheet...nothing fancy...but it could easily be printed off. The large oval is the body, the circle the collar (cut it fringe like, or scalloped...depending on how you like it) and the triangle is the hat.
Fold the hat piece in half and stitch (or glue) up the side. (Here's a nice blurry version of me doing that)
Next, take a rubber band (or elastic) and wrap it securely about one inch below the pointy side of the chop-stick.
Assembly is easy after that...simply slide on the body piece, then the collar, then the head, glue on hat and you're done!
I've been absent from this space while (among many other things) I really, truly get the basement ready for the contractors. They are coming on Monday and I am both anxious to finish clearing the room but am also excited to begin moving forward to have a space to claim as my own.
I still manage to do handwork in my quiet moments. I made more birds.
These two are such characters.
Out of hemp cord I crocheted little nests...each one holds a tiny needle-felted egg.
One went to Morgan who sent me this delightful needle-felted owl that came with his own little birch wood perch.
The other went to Alison of Rumpelfeltskin, who sent me this lovely wool felt bird with heart shaped wings. Just look at how perfect her stitches are...and I love the cinnamon stick branch.
These were all made for Margaret's bird swap that she organized last month. More birds here.