Needle Felting Nursery Rhymes-The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

needle felting nursery rhymes
The Cow Jumped Over the moon

Hey diddle diddle

The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon

(Hey Diddle Diddle, a traditional English nursery rhyme, published in 1765, author unknown) 

needle felting
Needle Felted Moon

Nursery rhymes help children learn to speak (they use alliteration, onomatopoeia, similes, rhymes to help memory and basic sentence structure ), nursery rhymes help teach children counting skills (for example: One, two button my shoe), teach life lessons (Little Bo Peep lost her sheep because she was snoozing on the job) and nursery rhyhmes entertain. Many rhymes were based on tawdry and grotesque historical events inappropriate for children (for example: Ring Around the Rosie is about the  plague) and were thus re-written by the Victorians to better represent the times and make them more suitable for children. For me, fairy tales and nursery rhymes just bring back nice childhood memories.

laura lee burch needle felted dolls
Over the Moon

Would you ever have guessed in a million years that the cow jumping over the moon was supposed to represent Hathor worship (the Egyptian cow goddess) or the Jewish Flight from Egypt or stories about Queen Elizabeth I and her royal court. Nothing is as it seems in a nursery rhyme, often the earliest oral versions of the stories were lost and non-sense evolved, but this fact has not kept people from analyzing them. I was relieved to read that the cow jumping over the moon in Hey Diddle Diddle was probably just a nonsensical tale, with no deeper psychological  musings!

needle felted art
Needle Felted Nursery Rhymes

 

 

Happy as a Duck in Water

needle felted ducks
Needle felted Mama and baby ducks

Today is a day meant for a duck……and me, a dreary, rainy, chilly day in Tel Aviv. These rainy days are my favorite, I’m not a sun-goddess, thus Tel Aviv is a challenge for me, being so sunny and all. These rainy days are snugly, contemplative and they remind me of home and ducks!

needle felted baby ducks
"Wait for me", cried the smallest duckling!

As a child, my grandfather Perkinson used to bring magical things to my brother, sister and I  from his farm. He brought us fruits from his persimmon tree that my mom made into persimmon pudding (delicious!), butter made from a churn, big dried gourds that he had made into bird houses or drinking cups, arrow heads he found in the ground while building fences, petrified wood he found in the streams along with lizards and turtles and one day he brought ducks to us and my life long love for these birds began!

pet ducks
Ten year old me and some of my pet ducks

I had a lot of pet ducks as a kid, Muscovies and Mallards mostly, they started off living in the corner of our kitchen; my mom boxed off an area where they could live till they were big enough to venture outside and fend for themselves.

wool toys
Wait for me!

They “peeped” for the first few months of their lives, fuzzy and yellow. After they were bigger and they started to resemble small ducks instead of yellow dust bunnies with legs, they moved outside into a pen that my dad built for them next to our house, but they were like loud little “watch dogs”.  My ducks quacked at visitors, strangers and cars that pulled up into the driveway; eventually my dad rebuilt a bigger pen at the back of our property (far from our house) for my loud pets. I played with my ducks every day. They followed me around like a swarm of bees, if I stopped for a moment they were all over me looking for food and this made me laugh, I loved my ducks. They quacked when they saw me coming because they knew they were going to get fed;  as they ate the corn and grains that I brought for them, I played in the tall grasses that grew inside of their pen. I built a fort in a corner of the duck pen and barefoot and covered in mosquito bites, I pretended for hours, my ducks being bit players in my many imaginative scenarios. These duck memories have followed me through my life and ducks have always been one of my favorite birds/pets.

needle felted ducks
Follow me kids!

 

When I wrote my first book, Sew Magical for Baby, I included my favorite toy designs, one of which was my Mama and Baby Ducks stuffed animals. These funny, lovable toys are a big favorite with kids and adults! You can find the sewing pattern for my fabric ducks in my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/83311945/pattern-mama-and-baby-ducks

laura lee burch sewing
Mama and Baby Duck from Sew Magical for Baby

 

 

The Art of Needle Felting and Chimpanzee Tutorial

The Art of Needle Felting and Chimpanzee Tutorial

needle felted art
Chimp with a Pearl Earring
Because the Fairytale Frog  tutorial that I did was so popular, I decided to do another tutorial with the same multi-jointed technique. Feeling a little artsy after I made my chimp, I fashioned him as “art” after a few famous artists. For the above shot, I draped my chimp in the clothing and head covering to mimic Girl with a Pearl Earring, I placed him in front of a black background (like the Vermeer painting) and took his picture. I photo-shopped his eyes to look at the viewer and blurred him a little to look like a painting.
needle felted art
Salvadore Monki

 For Salvadore Monki (after the famous photo of Salvadore Dali), I took Monki’s photo with a needle felted moustache. I photo-shopped his eyes to look like the expressive eyes of Dali in the photo and changed the image from color to black and white. The cropping and the moustache here were key!

needle felting and art
The Chimpanzee Scream

My final piece of chimp art is the Chimpanzee Scream. I created the background with pastels (to look like the famous painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream). I positioned my chimp in the lower right hand corner and took his picture. Voila!

I had a lot of fun recreating these Chimpanzee pieces of art, a little something more to highlight my needle felted work!

fun with needle felting
Emili is monkeying around again!

So now for the tutorial, have fun! Continue reading “The Art of Needle Felting and Chimpanzee Tutorial”

Why Needle Felted Dolls range from Pricy to Affordable

laura lee burch needle felting
Goldilocks and the three bears

Lately I’ve been making fairy tale dolls, I first started making the dolls with pipe cleaner armatures then progresses to a bigger doll with a needle felted head and body with only pipe cleaner arms and legs. The pipe cleaner dolls (the basic pipe cleaner doll tutorial can be seen here: http://www.lauraleeburch.com/blog/2011/09/beddy-bye-dolls-tutorial-2/  are small and just the right size for small children to play with and they can be made in a reasonable amount of time (half an hour each), making them much cheaper to make and sell. The larger, more detailed dolls take a lot more time (about an hour each to needle felt, plus a half an hour to an hour more if they’re clothed). I think the larger dolls are cuter, but more expensive due to the amount of time it takes to needle felt, then sew the clothes for each one. I love these two types of pipe cleaner dolls because you can’t break them, they’re bendable, soft and made from natural materials (wool is bacterial and fire resistant!)

needle felting dolls
Goldilocks

The larger needle felted dolls have many more details such as glass doll eyes, styled hair and more intricate, sewn clothes. I make the patterns for the doll clothes; I usually end up making a sample piece of clothing first which I make alterations to, then I revise the pattern, cut out the pieces, then sew the doll’s costume. I make the dolls first because I love the needle felting process and I save the sewing for later (when the mood hits me to sew).

Pipe cleaner dolls
Goldilocks & the Three Bears-Pipe Cleaner version

As I first started to make human style animal dolls (The three bears and the three little pigs for example), I struggled with the decision of whether to dress the animals or not. A friend of mine who worked in a Hallmark shop for years once told me that clothed teddy bears that had clothing or costumes sold better than non-clothed teddy bears, so I took that as a piece of important advice from someone who observed teddy bear sales because she used this information to place the bear orders for her very successful Hallmark store. This meant that if the urge to sew doll clothes didn’t come to me as my little animals stood there naked, I’d need to “just do it” and sew some clothes for the dolls. I like to sew, but only when I feel like it, just like cooking. I’ve left the smaller, pipe cleaner dolls unclothed (except Goldilocks of course) so that their price point stays low. I have quite a few more fairy tale dolls finished, just waiting for clothes! Back to work….

 

 

The Three Little Pigs Fairytale Dolls

the three little pigs fairytale dolls
The Three Little Pigs have got the world by the tail!

Things have changed for the Three Little Pigs, fairytale characters extraordinaire, they’ve got the world by the tail these days!  Long ago their nemesis the Big Bad Wolf was caught and jailed for stalking and destruction to private property. The pigs now live together in a posh condo with a doorman to keep out the riff-raff.

laura lee burch needle felting
The flying Piginski Brothers

After the traumatic stalking episode with the Big Bad Wolf, then trying to collect from the insurance companies for the destruction of 2 of their houses, the lawsuit the wolf laid on the pigs for getting hurt on their property and trying to rebuild their lives again, the fairytale gig didn’t suit the pigs anymore.  So, the pigs joined the circus and became the Flying Piginski Brothers, high-wire acrobats!

art dolls
On top of the World!

The Flying Piginski Brother’s Act has become a swine sensation , the pigs are really “on top of the world  now!” Who Knew?!

ADO
The Three Little Pigs 2011

 Moral of the story: Embrace change!

needle felt
The End

Fairytale Footnote*The Three Little Pigs are needle felted from wool, they are posable and they have glass eyes. The pigs range from 6.5″ to 7.5″ tall. I’ve updated their story with a modern twist, but the Three Little Pigs has always been one of my favorite classic fairytales! I guess we all like it when the underdog wins and the bad guy gets what’s coming to him, aka:  karma rules!

The Three Little Pigs
Emili and The Three Little Pigs