Thursday, February 14, 2013

Homemade Valentines

I have always hung on to making Valentines for my family members.  I'm the only adult in my family that still does this, but that's never deterred me.  Mostly I just enjoy an excuse for a little art project, and I've always felt that's important to let others know how much you appreciate them.  It's easy to share kindness, and it makes people happy, so why not?

This year's Valentines are unique in that they are two sided -- one side graces some of Henry's finger-paint artwork, and the other side are some of my fishy/landscape doodles.

The H Side
The G Side

I don't know if kids still make Valentines these days.  I remember in elementary school that my handmade Valentines were not as coveted by my classmates as the store-bought Scooby-doo variety, and I was one of only two kids in my class that actually cut them out of construction paper and doilies.  Has that trend changed in 30 years?  All I know is that I look forward to making more Valentines with this little guy!
Henry gets into his artwork!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Felt Slippers - Round 2

As I mentioned in previous posts, I attempted to make a pair of felt slippers for all the lades in my family for Christmas this year.  Of course, I decided to do this just a week before Christmas.  Given that I had failed miserably at trying to combine some scrap prefelts together, I needed to first make some felt.  This is a shot of some carded fiber being laid out for wet felting.

I then cut out the slipper pattern pieces and started to needle felt the seams before sewing them together by hand.
I lined a few of them with super soft alapaca fiber -- that's the brown fluffy stuff in the photo
Once they were all assembled, I bound them up with rubber bands and binder clips to do some physical resist dying.  However, I didn't quite get the effect I was going for.  I think my mistake was that I pre-soaked the slippers in water, which you usually do when you want to promote uniform uptake of the dye.  However, the point of physical resist is that there is uneven uptake of the dye, so I kind of blew it there   Next time...
Fully felted and sewn together

Bound and ready to be dyed

Five pairs of finished slippers
Voila, five pairs of slippers.  After rinsing them out after the dye bath, I decided to pop them in the dryer for a few minutes to speed up drying and tighten up the fibers a bit.  I checked them after a few minutes and was very pleased with how they were shaping up.  "Just a few more minutes" I thought to myself, and popped them back in.  Brian always tells me I'm very absent minded -- the sort of person that puts on a pot of water to boil to make a cup of tea, gets engrossed in something else, and completely forgets about the pot on the stove.  I think "absent minded" is a bit of a misnomer, because the mind isn't absent at all -- it's that you're lost in it.  Well, true to form, I totally forgot about the slippers.  When I finally did remember, it had been more like 15 - 20 minutes instead of just a few, and they had all shrunk down to toddler size!  "Oh crap", I thought, "don't tell me a I just made five pairs of kids slippers".  I whisked them out of the dryer and dunked them in luke warm water and started stretching them out by hand and around my own feet.  Luckily, they stretched out to almost their original size.  I was still able to gift them along with instructions on how to stretch them further, if needed.  I think everyone was able to get them around their feet eventually!