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Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Additions to the Owl Scout Family

My owls were very popular at the Christmas fairs and I'm pleased that there will be lots of fluffy woollen owls under Christmas trees this year. Here are a few more made out of a refashioned icelandic woolen sweater. Alas the green baby owls have already gone but the others are soon available on Etsy and Folksy...

Friday, 3 December 2010

More papoose babies

Just packed up all my babies ready for this weekend's Advent Craft Fair. Here are some more Papoose babies,  I just love them all huddled together like this.




Monday, 29 November 2010

Blue Birds Hanging Wall Garland

Here are some photos of some new pieces I have just made for the craft fairs. I'm especially enamoured of my blue birds, made from recycled wool and cashmere felt, they are available on etsy now...



Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Papoose Baby Dolls


I'm making a series of Papoose baby dolls. I was inspired by a film I saw recently called Babies (2010). It's basically a documentary following the births and babyhood of four children, one born in San Francisco, one in Tokyo, another in Namibia and the last in Mongolia. It's really fascinating. It very much illustrates to me how much we, in the west, are having fewer and fewer "real" daily experiences. There is a scene which cuts between a baby in San Francisco, playing indoors with plastic toys and a baby in Namibia exploring the banks of a creek with his sibling which I found particularly moving.

For a baby, those "real" experiences of the world are so important for development. By "real" experience I mean sensory experiences of the natural world. That's why I believe that the baby should be clothed in  natural fibres and surrounded by things made from natural materials as much as possible. Maria Montessori wrote in her book 'The Absorbant Mind', "The child has a different relation to his environment from ours. Adults admire their environment, they can remember it and think about it; but the child absorbs it. The things he sees are not just remembered; they form part of his soul. He incarnates in himself all the world about him that his eyes see and his ears hear...the child is transformed by them."

But I digress! Back to the dolls...In the film when the Mongolian baby is born, he is swaddled tightly in a blanket that is tied up with a number of ribbons.


The next scene shows her swinging her leg over a motorbike and riding back to the yurt on what must have been the bumpiest of terrains, ouch! It was quite impressive yet also slightly unnerving. 


The image of the swaddled baby has stayed with me.  I have collected a few colourful, ethnic woollen garments that I have boiled up and felted and turned into these little Papoose Baby Dolls. I think they are quite adorable. I'm selling them at the St Paul's Advent Fair and on Etsy/Folksy if anyone is interested. 




More pictures of the other dolls coming soon....

Monday, 22 November 2010

Nesting Elephant Puzzle

I just love the Made By Joel blog, he's a dad who makes lovely simple toys for his kids on an almost daily basis! Lucky lucky children. Anyway, I was inspired to make one of his Elephant Puzzles for Merlin. I wanted to try my hand at a bit of woodwork. I had memories of doing this kind of thing at Montessori school, drawing a design and cutting it out by hand with a children's coping saw. I remembered it being quite easy so I was surprised to find that actually cutting through an inch thick beech Ikea chopping board was not the gentle carving motion I had in mind, but actually a sweaty, curse inducing labour of love. Anyway, with cutting over, I sanded it well, and gave it a couple of coats of Danish tung oil (which is a beautiful natural wood oil), and I was quite pleased with my efforts. Oh, and so was Merlin for whom I was actually making it, umm I think, or was I making it for myself? I get muddled sometimes.


Monday, 15 November 2010

Advent Fair East London 3-4 Dec 2010

Put the date in your diary and come along for a great Christmas shopping experience. I'll be selling my felt fruit, woollen owls, papoose dolls, crochet bunting, woollen Christmas decorations and more!


Thursday, 11 November 2010

owl scout family

I've two more Owls finished. Each time Merlin wakes from his midday nap, the owls have multiplied. I'm thrilled that he is so smitten with his owl buddy. I can't wait to make more, I think I'm going to make a whole Forest Critters Scout Series, including red robins, foxes, squirrels, deer, owls, badgers... we'll see how far I get before the next project consumes me! But for now, it's all about owls.

If you fancy one of the new owls, I have just listed them on my Etsy store, take a look.






Monday, 8 November 2010

owl scout

I'm making a series of owl scouts out of recycled felted woollen sweaters. Merlin loves owls and I was inspired by a felted kids jumper i found at a carboot sale which had all these cute scout badges on it from 1981 so they are nearly, what, 30 years old, wow so they are vintage now I suppose. I think owls make the perfect scouts.

I'll be putting the other owls up for sale on etsy as I make them so watch this space!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Autumn Leaves

busy Merlin in the woods

Autumn is an incredibly exciting time in London, it feels as if everyone is busy creating. This must be some lingering instinct from bygone days when Autumn was an industrious time of harvesting, pickling and preparing for a long sparse winter. Well, whatever it is, I like it. I've always liked Autumn, but now that I'm a knitter, Autumn signals an excuse to get those pins out and produce layers of woolly warmth for loved ones.


As a tribute to Autumn, I made this pretty mobile out of waxed tissue paper, that celebrates the leaves changing from green to brown.

Here's how you can make your own Autumn Leaves paper mobile:
  • Trace a leaf - I found the typical leaf shape more effective than a maple style leaf...
  • Cut out shape in layers of tissue paper in colours from greens through yellows, oranges, reds and browns (about 5 layers in each leaf)
  • Place half a pipe cleaner in the middle of each stack of 5 paper leaves and stitch a holding stitch either end of the pipe cleaner with a loop between. Then attached the hanging thread in the middle of the loop so that the leaf balances straight. You can then fold up and down some of the layers of the leaf to reveal the various colours
  • Make a ring out of some wicker or a pliable vine, or use some wire and cover with fabric strips or ribbon. Add four ties to the ring and tie with a loop for hanging, make sure it balances well
  • Hang the leaves in stages so that they spiral down (I've used eight leaves because it worked well with the four ties)
Hang and enjoy. Light a candle underneath (not too close) and watch the leaves twist and turn.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

dinosaur eggs or latex bowls

Recently at 100% Design London 2010, I saw a great project called Ten-Plan where 10 designers had created 10 environmentally sustainable designs and generously allowed access to the plans for free. These bowls were one of my favourites they are by a very interesting designer Gitta Gschwendtner. Visit Ten-Plan to download the plans to make a set of bowls for yourself. They are made from natural latex, latex baloons, pigment and sawdust, that's it - so they are completely biodegradable.


Tips I'd give for a successful project would be to ensure that the latex/sawdust mix is laid on thick enough to hold the structure of the bowl (i spread it on with a knife quite thick, however you could also do a couple of layers to really hold the shape).


I find them just so exotic and beautiful, I just can't stop admiring them. They remind me of dinosaur eggs or like the thunder eggs we used to go digging for when I was a child.
enjoy.





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