On My Nightstand

The books I’m reading have changed somewhat in the past couple of months, and I thought I might share what those are in case any of you are looking for a new read.  A word of caution, though, is due because my reading these days isn’t particularly light and may result in spiritual growth.  Brace yourself.

I finished Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak.

I’m dreadfully behind in Joyce Rockwood Hudson’s Natural Spirituality for the book study I’m in, but I just read a most fascinating description of myself.  I’m compelled to finish reading it, even at my own pace.  This book, I may have already mentioned, is largely about Jungian psychology entwined with Christianity.  It encourages our listening to our dreams, being aware of synchronicities, and being conscious of how the unconscious is being revealed to us.

My friend and I are using Julia Cameron’s Finding Water as we continue our journey together of self-discovery.  This is the third and last of the Artist’s Way series (the first two being The Artist’s Way and The Vein of Gold).  I highly recommend these books for artists and non-artists alike to help in finding what your inner critic looks and sounds like to help you overcome those inner blocks.

I’ve just recently picked up (having been recommended highly by someone I trust) L. William Countryman’s Living on the Border of the Holy and am already compelled by what he shares.  He’s basically voicing that we all have a fundamental priesthood, a responsibility to help reveal to others the secrets of the Holy to which we individually experience and know, and I’m just in the first chapter.

In my knitting bag is Beverly Galeskas Felted Knits.  It was time to start another knit project because it’s good for me to keep my hands busy.  (I don’t yet have the yarn needed for my husband’s Dr. Who scarf!)  One of these days I may be able to knit and pray, but following a pattern means I’m having to focus on counting.  Mindfulness is a good thing, too.

It’s shaping out to be a perfectly rainy weekend, so hopefully I’ll have time to delve deeply into a book or two and/or knit a while.  May your weekend be so blessed.

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Felt Booties, Part Three

Finally, all finished.

Fabric paint on the soles of the slippers keep little ones from ice-skating around and hopefully prevent some of the falls that inevitably come at their age.

A crochet hook pulls the ribbon through to tie a bow.  I went ahead and secured the bow with some needle and thread, hopefully warding off the endless re-tying.

Now, they’re ready to gift.  Later this winter, I foresee myself making some in the larger sizes.  🙂

finished_felt_booties.JPG

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Felt Booties, Part Two

The booties are quick and easy to knit, to be sure.  Even though I knit the second pair to test my technique, I still couldn’t decide when to stop on the right side.  Fortunately, when felted, they did pretty much look the same.  🙂

Delightfully for me, and thankfully for my dry, sensitive hands, my washer does work for felting.  Though it is a front-loader, it will pause and allow me to open the door.  Additionally, the heavy cotton cycle is perfect timing for felting . . . at least for this project!

felted_slippers.jpg

I prefer the bulky yarn for these booties, but the lighter-weight yarn makes for a nice, lighter, more flexible bootie.  Both have an almost elvish quality to them.

There’s one more installment on the booties, because even though they are felted and dry, they’re still neither finished nor fit to be worn by little tootsies.

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Felt Booties, Part One

knit_slippers.jpgThis is my first felting experiment.  Truth be told, it is also the first time I’m actually knitting from a pattern.  It has been a good experience thus far.

The funny thing is, I still don’t know what I’m doing!  I hope that the felting will disguise the fact that one slipper has a “wrong side” out.  It was the first one I did.  I don’t recall doing the second one any different, but isn’t that the way with crafts?  Sometimes they take on a life of their own.

These purple gems will go to our youngest as a Christmas gift, the first to be checked off the ever growing list!
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If you’re interested in where I got the pattern from, the book is called Knit It! Felt It!, published by House of White Birches (which invokes a lovely image, I must say).  It’s the Child’s Footies pattern on p.64.

I’m not sure I’ll have them felted by Thursday, but the good news is that the dishes are done so that the sink is available!

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Where Is That Lazy Dog?

My take on The Little Red Hen has been forever warped by The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, but this project’s origins have a more wholesome intent.  We are facilitators for our local Earth Scouts group, and since our audience is mainly our kids, we know they’re young enough to get a kick out of the felt role playing.  Plus, we’re using some of the felt scraps left over from a previous project.

The idea is to make felt characters to act out the story of felt_hen_and_wheat.JPGThe Little Red Hen but to give the story an ending that enforces economic justice, equality and human (er, animal) rights.

I may not have the story down yet, but at least we have a few creatures to show.

felt_red_hen_cast.jpgHave handy some

  • felt, various colors
  • scissors
  • fabric glue
  • Sharpie or fabric marker 

That’s all you need, unless, of course, you’re like me and like to sketch out what it might look like first.  If so, add paper to your list; in my case, it’s scrap construction paper.

For the board, we had a spare cork board over which I put some felt_red_hen.JPGfelt fabric, stapling around the back into the wood frame.  Another suggestion seen in the link below is to glue felt to a cookie sheet, making a more personal-sized area to work on.

I found that breaking the animals into pieces makes for easy assembly, good use of awkward-sized scraps and more dimensional animals (which is hard to convey in the photos).  For some, making up your own animals might be intimidating, felt_dog.JPGbut this is not the place to worry.  My philosophy is to just bite the bullet and do it.  I do not claim to be an awesome visual artist; it’s just not my preferred medium.  I do, however, enjoy creating things and saying.  “Yes, I did that, and it makes me happy.”  Chances are, it’ll make someone else feel good, too.  Kids especially are extremely forgiving and would rather see you try than see and hear you apologizing for not making a “perfect” something-or-other.  I digress . . .felt_cat.JPG

Felt board projects abound, and the farm setting is pretty common.   For instructions on another version of a felt board, go here, and if you’re interested in finding some templates for animals and such visit this site, though be forewarned that it is very elementary school-ish.

This project may not be as cool as the Zombie Bunnies, but it
felt_duck.JPGdefinitely has a practicality value.  You can create almost any scene, setting, cast that you need to, it can enhance story times and it provides a helpful alternative to the t.v.  I have our “Little Red Hen” cast stored in a labeled gallon plastic bag, so there will be no confusion of the pieces should we get other collections going.

If the kids enjoy it, I’ll consider myself receiving an extra gold star.  I’ve already had fun making it.

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Wee Little Critters . . . and “Zombie Bunnies”

tinas_monster.JPGSunday afternoon brought us our crafting time this past weekend.  Leave it to my ever-talented sister-in-law to bring in something delightfully creative.  My daughter likes to say she’s “the coolest aunt.”  So, thanks to the folks at Etsy for showing us some inspiring projects.  (If you haven’t heard of Etsy, go there . . . NOW.  You’ll visit often and maybe be inspired to start your own store.  It’s at least a great alternative for handmade gifts and a way to support artisans — if you’re not going to do it yourself.)

Some of our inspiring links —

Now, for our experience, it was made easy with some prep work by the “cool aunt.”

  • Sketch designs, trace onto paper for templates, cut out.
    craft_time.JPG (Envelopes with the picture on the outside housed the easily lost little pieces.)
  • Gather felt, buttons, thread, glue, scissors, needles, cotton balls/stuffing, paint, glitter, keychains, magnets, etc.
  • Cut out felt.
  • Assemble using felt/fabric glue and/or hand stitches, stuffing as need be.
  • Add embellishments.
  • Attach keychain, insert magnet or place atop popsicle stick.

Like I’m fond of saying, if you can see it, you can do it. 

Sharp, pointy scissors really make cutting the felt into little pieces loads easier.

zombie_bunny2.jpgGlitter on top of the red puff paint gives the bunny “blood” a  nice glimmer.

We ran out of time on Sunday, but I brought home a couple of bunny cut-outs to make some for my boys.  When I get those done, I’ll post in the comments.  Obviously, this project is for those old enough to wield scissors well, sew or at least be very patient and follow instructions well.  Thus, my making them for the boys!  The girls who did their own were 9-13 years old.

It’s a week for felt, I guess!  Thursday I’ll have another felt project to share, one not so graphic.  

Enjoy!

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