Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two Days

In the course of two days, much happened. Two friends came home with us on Friday and the house was full of children. Said children played with (mostly) peace in the house. We got out the soft pastels and all the children were mesmerized. Many dirty hands and handwashings later, a stack of artwork had piled. Of course, I had to get messy too with the pastels. And I got to make art with a dear friend near by.
We declared Saturday to be art day. More smudging of soft pastels followed by sledding followed by pumpkin muffins and chamomile tea. And then more making art, and much playing, and talking. Saturday night saw a few games of War, Sunday morning more War and then circus practice; a quick violin practice.
Sunday morning breakfast in bed:
Serena insisted that I take a picture of her eating full-on. Well, ok!

When there is art in the house, there is peace in the house and our souls feel happy, blessed, and connected. When there are friends in the house, we feel loved, loving, grateful.
A couple of random thoughts: Garden planning has been foremost on my mind. I'm wondering if I will have time for digging therapy once school starts? I do not own a dishwasher and I have lived nearly a year without a dryer. That's pretty counterculture, I'd say. Dryer will be fixed hopefully soon!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How to make a fox hand puppet

First, you will need recycled sweaters in foxy colors: reddish brown and white. Other than that, you will need buttons, sewing machine, basic hand sewing skills, and a small amount of wool stuffing. My style in making tends to be very improvisational and experimental. It's a recycled sweater. Time spent making mistakes is not wasted time. Take your time to puzzle over how the pieces fit together, how a soft sculpture is made.

First, cut a sleeve as shown, with a "house top". Use the tip of the triangle as a pattern for the white pieces, as shown:

So there are: 2 ear pieces, 2 ear lining pieces, a tail piece, a tail tip piece, an inner mouth piece, and an outer mouth piece.
The first thing to do is to create a dart on either side of the head. Do this by folding the edge, pinning them, put your hand inside to see where to put them, and then stitch like so:

Turn it inside out and the top of the fox now looks like this:
Now cut the bottom to match the top, so that you don't have all that extra fabric, like so:

Next, sandwich the diamond shape piece between the baseball-field-shaped piece and the right side of the head, pinning the three layers together, ignoring the bottom of the mouth and stitching like this:

Trim the tip of the triangle straight across and turn inside out.
Now you have to stitch the top of the head and stuff it. The rounded side of the fabric fits against the back of the puppet. Pin it in a place that feels good, and stitch, leaving a hole. Stuff the head loosely and stitch closed. Here are pictures:

                                                 This is the INSIDE of the puppet.
                                                 All stitched and ready to turn.

Look, he is starting to look like a fox! Turning, turning, and now pin the right sides of the mouth bottom together and stitch:
Turn inside out. Voila! Almost done! (You may have to hand stitch the sides of the mouth where the sewing machine doesn't quite reach. Have fun! Put on a playful attitude!)
Now it is time to stitch the tail and the ears. Stitch tail top to tail bottom, right sides together, stitch the side seam, turn inside out, and stuff. Hand stitch the ear linings to the ears. Like this:

Now you are in the home stretch. Stitch the ears and tail on, add button eyes, embroider a nose, and tell a fox story.

Now we need a rabbit puppet!