Monday, September 21, 2009

Needle felting and a birthday ring

Here is my first go at needle felting. It is from a kit that I bought from woolhandcrafts etsy store. I love needles felting and want to try heaps of other stuff - lots of needle felting books now on my Fishpond wishlist.

My one yr old's first birthday present for the year - a sand pit. Now placed near our veggie garden so she can play while I get busy.

This is a project that has occupied my mind for the past few weeks - my version of a birthday ring. The rings are expensive to buy in Australia, and I didn't get myself organised in time to get one from overseas (and of course, I liked the idea of DIY), so I got out a jigsaw that I've had for a while but never used, bought a $10 piece of pine from the hardware store, and worked out how to cut a circle out of it. I didn't bother with a ring - just a circle. Filed and sanded it for AGES, and ached all the next day from this process actually. Polished it afterwards with a beeswax/lavender polish. I'm very pleased with the result. I might try and do a bigger one for next time though just to spread everything out a little bit.

Then it took a while for me to work out what to put in it. I wanted to make something, but my wood working skills weren't really up to cutting little shapes out of timber (like the ones that are often for sale), and I didn't have time to sew lots of complicated little gnomes, and besides, I needed something where I knew what I was doing. Solution ... peg dolls!

I kept most things related to the time of year (spring here) or her birth month - September.

I don't seem to have a picture of the ring with flowers in the vases (there are two of them), so here it is without. The vases had lavender and the tiny daisies from my garden. It also had a bought number 1 and one candle.

There isn't an individual picture of the bird (the pics were all out of focus). It is a King Parrot - because I saw one around recently, and also because I felt there should be a bird of some sort to represent Spring.

There also isn't a separate picture of the little message stand - I just made it out of wire and put a little "I love you" note in it.

This yellow fairy is a wattle fairy. Wattle day here is (I think) 1 September, and there is generally wattle everywhere in September.

The blue fairy is a Sapphire Fairy - for her birthstone.

The brown and yellow fairy is a Boronia Fairy - Boronia is the Australian Native Birth Flower for September.

The red fairy is a Strawberry Fairy. Strawberries are just starting to be really nice, and my one year old really loves them too.

This green fairy is a snow/sugar snap pea fairy - because the Sugar Snaps and Snow peas are doing nicely in the garden and ready to start picking. And my daughter loves vegetables. (She's only one, after all!)

This is a felted butterfly, again just as a representative of all insects - for Spring time.

This doll is her main birthday present from us (her family). It is a 16 inch doll but actually I meant to make her a 13 inch one, which is what her sister has, but I forgot that her sister's was 13 inches and didn't realise how much bigger this one was until I was stuffing it. I just kept thinking "this looks a bit big". How silly. Anyway, it is nice anyway, and I hope she'll end up playing with it and cuddling it. I ruffled the skirt up a bit at the front just for this photo to show the pants and underskirt.

This is the birthday cake. Is is a vegan chocolate cake - super quick and easy to make and tastes good. I just put sprinkles on it and then added a cake topper that I'd made. I love the idea of a cake topper like this that can be reused, because we end up celebrating each birthday a few times with various family and friends and I can just make a really quick cake and add this, and it looks good!
So this cake topper is definitely not my own idea. There are lots of similar ones for sale on etsy - just search "cake topper peg doll" or something like that. I just looked because I wanted to see how closely mine was a copy of the ones there, and it is very very similar, but there are lots of them that are very very similar all sold by different people, so I don't know whose I looked at, but I certainly don't want to claim it as my own idea. The ones sold through etsy are nicer - much more detail and nice little additions.
The ones for sale have nice painted platforms to stand on. I did paint a platform, but actually ended up not using it. I was worried even with layers of varnish about putting the platform straight on the icing (not being a hard icing) - not so much for the effect on the dolls, but incase something contaminated the cake. So I found some nice gold jam jar lids and put the doll on one and the number one on the other. I just attached them with double sided tape so that they could be easily removed and changed (eg to number 2 for next year!) or washed (the lid, not the doll). I was pleased with how this worked out, although would have preferred one larger lid.
I had the tiny fairy candle for ages, so used it even though it didn't really go with the rest of the decoration (being way to small) - and see, the wax has dripped onto the cake too.

This is the start of my first attempt at having something of a nature table. I haven't had time to do much, but had cleared the space and was having extended family over for birthday celebrations, so it had to have something on it. So far it has two little nests of felted birds, a little flower fairy in the branch - that my oldest daughter made, a rainbow painting in the background, a sun stacking arch toy and a candle. It looks quite nice, and surprisingly doesn't look strangely sparse, although there is heaps of room for more. I like the idea of mother earth and the root children actually, but I'm not sure if I'll get to it before the end of spring (the children need too many clothes to be sewn), so I might just add a vase or two and keep getting the kids to bring in flowers from the garden.

Anyway, here is my second go at needle felting - a nest of three tiny birds. And can you see at the edge of the pic that I made a tiny egg for my original blue bird?

Finally, thought I'd add in a pic of our newly rearranged toy corner. This is just the toddler/baby area really although the older kids play there too of course. I've been looking at how other people arrange their play areas, and thought I'd change around ours. It's nothing fancy and I didn't have $$ to spend on special shelving or anything (these were a bargain from my lovely neighbour's garage sale - do you notice that I always call them/her "my lovely neighbour? Their moving in the next week which will make things very different around here.)

Before I just had a couple of baskets with things all put in together. I found that all sorts of things were ending up in the baskets, and of course, lots of nice things weren't being played with because they ended up right at the bottom. Surprisingly this system seems easier to tidy too.

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