Monday, June 30, 2008

Scoping out Playscapes

May I just say how thrilled I am at the great success of the wet felting base mats! I've posted a little pictorial of the method for these playscapes....
1. Lay about 3 inch thin pieces of wool perpendicuar to each other and then add more layers at 90 degree angles to each other up to about 5-6 layers..

2. For this playscape I used the last layer to sketch out where I wanted each element...

3. Squirt a tiny amount of dish soap, cover with a screen to hold down the layers and sponge on water, not too much or your fibers will float! Start lightly and then gradually add pressure, " like making paper", said Soapy Shazza....
4. When felted to soft felt stage (check the 'tent') that is, if you can pull it up like a tent or your skin! You are ready to full it!
5. Fulling (squeezing air out) can make or break your felt, so add some warm water, sushi mat it tightly, wrap and roll. You may want to tie it up or use an old towel too, keep unrolling to check progress and re-wrap another way to ensure even fulling..
6. This is drying, but I didn't felt it further as I want to needle felt and add some 3d items to it later....for fine flat felt, keep going and get your felt really flat and firm, no stretching should occur at the end...
I'll write up more of the tutorial later....The middle of the 3 session workshop continued today and being the impatient person I am, I couldn't wait to share the awesome work in progress of the students! Hope they don't mind....Of course I expected they would be great at this - but really, they are coming along so splendidly....More pics to come of the final pieces!!!

Soapy Shazza moulding her masterpiece..
Scissors went for an old oak stump and is creating her roots...
Cave dweller retreat is growing nicely...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Midsummer Solstice Heatwave

I haven't been this hot since I was 17! It's 88F at 11pm.I'm only a little Brit girl from the beach!
Donovan Boy desperately wanted to have his own room but wouldn't sleep alone because of the bugs living on the ceiling and I told them that some of the flying critters in the room are beneficial and they would eat all the mossies while they slept with no covers! I think I may need to do some entomology study whilst here...

Little Gandalf got his first bee sting while monkeying around outside, I didn't think it prudent for him to wait until I took a picture of the *splinter*! Once pulled, we examined the stinger quite intensely with squinty eyes and wished we had a microscope, before noticing the darn bee clinging to his back in anguish, LG was impressively brave, while I smiled into his eyes, brushing the offender away ( and promptly down the drain). We iced it (chocolate) and all is well!

The poor hydrangeas are wilting, the roses frilled with brown and the grass is a little straw-like. I'll do my best whilst here to tend the garden, I'm sure Challah would not mind too much, she did leave some giant pumpkin seeds as a hint!!

Shall we call this Pineapplelope??

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You've been Mooned!

Fully mooned!!
This lovely one is referred to as the STRAWBERRY MOON!
The names for the Full Moon were made up by the Algonquian tribes of Native Americans. They hunted and fished to get food, but some also grew crops so the moon names are aptly related to nature & the seasons. Go pick some strawberries, yum!!

Ever wondered why some seeds or plants do well and come up strong and others just wither away for no apparent reason? Come on, there's a reason for everything right? Pretty easy really, above ground crops and flowers do best when the moon is light, below ground crops do best when planted when the moon is dark. Here's a handy dandy chart from the Almanac. to help! I've been doing this method for about two years now and to great success! Right now we have sunflowers growing for a Summer bee experiment, a butterfly bed or three, toms all over and every which kind * thanks to the kids, auberines, strawberries, potatoes (mm.. really must pull those up!) herbs all over, lettuce, onions, corn and melons ( note to self - finish building that melon trellis)!! All this in a 18x16 area of raised ceder-bed heaven! Here are the potatoes pulled today!

I keep forgetting to take the camera out there and it's a community garden so I have to schlep a little!
Here's the potato 'seed' I'll use for the next crop...
and the haul...Donovan Boy and Little Gandalf were so excited at the prospect of a possible two sittings of roast pots from this...sure, I'll roast these up along with my head in this heatwave! Maybe we'll settle for potato salad!!
Meanwhile, the not-very-impressive-yet-but-has-potential, beginnings of the melon experiment...trellis is only half built, I'll up date another pic when it's done...where is that Cricket Man?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Summer Workshops 2008!

WOW! This is the 3rd year of Summer workshops, but really my first at doing it in a more organised fashion! Student pics from last year...By Kimberly 2007 (top left)

The workshops offered this year are:
  • Felt Playscape - Wet and dry felt, 3D sculpture design and techniques - Create your own fantasy design, maybe a lagoon, desert island, cave, forest with a stream on either a hand felted base or felted sweater .
  • Knitting - Bring your own needles and yarn and let the skills and grace of Mary Beth help you along. Your may be a beginner or halfway through a complex project, no matter! Plenty of smiles, support and shared skills abound with this knitting circle!
  • Dying - Create you own unique playsilks, felt colours, wool roving or custom yarn ready for other projects with natural dyes from Australia.
  • Waldorf Dollmaking - Want to experience the magic of making your own doll with traditional Waldorf techniques? Have never done any doll-making before and want to learn how? All levels of doll-makers are welcome to create your very own unique doll. Choose your comfort level of making directly from a pattern or start with a pre-sewn body. Your will learn how to form a head, sew and piece your doll together and correct stuffing techniques to ensure the “life” of your doll!
  • Vision Doll - (Autumn) Capture your moment in time by creating a personal doll from what is presented in a very unique way. An extremely liberating class that may also be used for maturing teen girls to creatively and positively express themselves. Only basic sewing skills required. Original patterns will be created and used.

Oh Buttons!

I meant to add this lot to The Shop....

...then I got too busy with all that life/job stuff (domestic goddess) and time eating things (like writing a terrible, boring blog entry). So sue me!

We are moving - for the next 7 weeks to the woody, wonderful and whacky hills of Topanga! My awesome friend (we'll call her Challah) offered us an opportunity for our family to replace hers over the Summer, while they travel to far off distant places in Europe. The Summer of Topanga begins next week! It goes something like this...We pretend we live in a large beautiful house, cook in a kitchen to inspire great food, play in a large beautiful yard complete with tire and fabric swings, love and play with Zoe Dog, discover nature walks and hikes on the doorstep and I think I can even get the Sunday paper delivered too, all while making a new art sculpture! Blissful!...guess where my Summer workshops will be, aha? See you up there!

Friday, June 13, 2008

He made it!

Can I just beam for a moment about Donovan Boy's latest crafty outing... he made this lovely tie-dye for the Hairy One in celebration of Fathers' Day..

...and this golden crown for Mother's Day complete with it's hidden pocket behind the button! LOVE!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Faux Fairy

What's that Forest imp think she's doing???
Caught in the act, she was held without bail in the leafy hole.
More silliness on that story later...too long in the garden sun today whilst planting small toms, aubergine and building a melon trellis just took over the brain cells..

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

After Glow

Just had to share these shots Little Gandalf took last week while he was singing alone and playng on the balcony. We may have to buy that boy a camera for his birthday this year!! What fun to see the world through the eyes of a child!

The show must've taken it out of me poor old bones....I was fighting a cold for two days after (sleeping like a log), hence no pics or news yet, however, it was not the grandest of outs but we learnt a lot and twas nice to be showing some stuff anyway! I may get to teach some felting to a classroom of wide eyed wee ones soon as a result of being there, so spreading the handwork love is good, right?

Also, the Etsy shop is full with some playsilkies, a couple of mermaids are still lurking although their friends already swam off! I miss them already so may make playing mythical goddess and creating creatures! Segue into the next NFEST Challenge....which is mythical creatures...I suppose I'll have to take the opportunity to felt up a Phoenix which may prove useful in many magical ways later on.....