Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy

Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy
dropping petals... one by one.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Craft #2: scrappy wristband

I have to be honest. I am a fabric junkie. I collect bits and pieces. Once, about a year ago, I actually paid a fair amount of money for a PIECE of a kimono (Japanese robe). I collect Asian prints, leathers, fleece, felt, cottons and silks. I just can't stop. Last year, I remember a check out lady at Mill End Outlet (Eden Prairie) asking me what I was going to do with this beautiful mirrored, two-toned acetate. I was embarrassed to tell her, "I have no idea. I just need it".
Well, in keeping with my effort to create without purchasing, I found a great way to use my cotton, stabilizer and felt fabrics.
How about this bracelet for little ones?
First I started with a two-sided strip of cotton ( about 10" x 1 1/2 "), ironed on stabilizer (stabilizer is always key - I hate using wimpy fabric for kids), then satin stitched the edges. On the opposite sides of both ends, I ironed (and stitched) on small squares of Velcro. For the flower, I just fooled around with my left-over felt scraps and put together this collection of fabrics and shapes, capped off with a button for the center of the flower. It's stitched to the wristband (then hot glued a little for added stability). My favorite thing about this is the possibilities are endless. You could create a fabric watch, super hero wristbands, or using more Velcro, add interchangeable fabric objects.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Project 1: Halloween Chandelier

Fulfilling my promise, I have completed my first craft project using only items I have in my studio. I actually think it turned out pretty cute. I was inspired by the Pottery Barn bat mobile (pictured above), then made it my own.

First, I had two embroidery hoops (very inexpensive at resale shops) that I covered in black tulle ribbons. I wound them tightly and secured them with hot glue.

Next, I created a bat template from two-sided fusible stabilizer and cut out six bat shapes.
After, I ironed the fusible stabilizer to black felt. Cut the bat from felt, then fused and cut another bat from black felt to make a very firm bat - one that will hold its wings out to the sides. Using clear fishing line, I strung the bats up onto the hoops at various heights for interest. (On some, I attached large pompoms to give them variety).
Using black yarn, I cut equal lengths and tied the two hoops together, then created another four lengths, tied together, to hang the chandelier from.
My final step was to finish of the insides of the hoops with a rim of black grosgrain ribbon for a clean look.When all is said and done, I love it! A little more understated than my inspiration piece, but it still looks cute and didn't cost me a dime.
My favorite thing about this project is that using the embroidery hoops is a great and easy way to make mobiles. They would be darling in a childs room to add a pop of color with felt shapes swinging around.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Self Proclaimed Challenge

I consider myself a fairly neat person. I like clean, modern lines in our house, and if my husband let me, I'd have a very minimalist approach to decorating. There is one area, however, I just can't contain...my workroom. It has a life of its own and as I've been trying to tame the beast ever since we've moved here. It has dawned on me, just how much I have spent and then stashed in my studio.

The problem starts when I get near a craft store. I'm one of those junkies that would rather spend her last dime on colorful feathers than pretty, matching coffee cups. I've now moved near two craft stores and I am looking at a pile of new receipts.... I can't get over how much money I've invested in these bits and pieces of inspiration that are shamelessly peeking out of every drawer and shelf.

So, I have decided, that in honor of this economy and to help curb my appetite for purchasing all things crafty, I am going to put a halt on my frivolous spending. Inspired by the culinary movie "Julie and Julia", once a week I am going to create, from the materials I already have, one object d'art. I am going to use this opportunity to rid myself of this extraneous clutter, create somethings of beauty and simultaneously discover the next "ugly doll" or coveted child toy.

Keep tuned in... this will be an interesting experiment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Importance of Their Imaginations

I love watching children tranform themselves into whatever they can dream up. Their imaginations can take them to a land of "make-believe". When my girls were younger they would conjure up magical worlds where they could fly on cardboard wings, sing on giant stages into hairbrush microphones and become invisible in a nano-second. Even as they get older, I love to encourage them to continue this pretend play. It is a variation of what they used to play, but it seems to stretch them into broader persons... dreaming of what could be.

One of the things I love most about making my creations is wondering what my tutu or cape is going to be.... a prima ballerina or a fairy godmother? A super hero or a knight? The possibilities are endless and timeless.

But the experts say pretend play isn't all for fun. It is an essential and critical part of a child's development.

"Young children learn by imagining and doing. Watch a child pick up a stone and pretend it is a zooming car, or hop a Lego across the table as if it were a person or a bunny? Children use an object to represent something else while giving it action and motion. But this pretend play is not as simple as it may seem. The process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas.

Pretend play builds social and emotional skills. When your child engages in pretend (or dramatic) play, he is actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, he learns how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve. When your child pretends to be different characters, he has the experience of "walking in someone else's shoes," which helps teach the important moral development skill of empathy.

Pretend play builds language skills. Have you ever listened in as your child engages in imaginary play with his toys or friends? You will probably hear some words and phrases you never thought he knew! In fact, we often hear our own words reflected in the play of children. Kids can do a perfect imitation of mom, dad, and the teacher! Pretend play helps your child understand the power of language. In addition, by pretend playing with others, he learns that words give him the means to reenact a story or organize play. This process helps your child to make the connection between spoken and written language — a skill that will later help him learn to read.
Pretend play builds thinking skills. Pretend play provides your child with a variety of problems to solve. Whether it's two children wanting to play the same role or searching for the just right material to make a roof for the playhouse, your child calls upon important cognitive thinking skills that he will use in every aspect of his life, now and forever."

(This quoted article is an excerpt from a piece written by Ellen Booth Church, a professor in Early Childhood Education, education consultant and author.) To link to the article in its entirety, go to http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=10175.