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

 

 

We Love our Pets

needle felted gnome
Little needle felted gnome and his pet hedgehog

I’m thinking about pets today, how fun they are, how much they make us laugh, how much responsibility they are and how sad it is when they die. My daughter’s pet rat died today, he was 3 years old, that’s as old as rats get. He lived a very pampered life, she cared for him like a child; talking to him, feeding him, hanging out with him, caring for him when he became sick. We bought her the rat 3 years ago when she needed a friend (her best friend had just moved away). Bibbel (the rat’s name) was a sweet rat and he knew Elli, he was calmer with her and he came to her when she called him, he was sort of like a little dog (if you use your imagination). In the 3 years that she had Bibbel, I’ve watched her care for this animal and I’ve learned a lot about her loving nature and I believe that she has learned the same thing about herself. This evening has been about remembering “the good times”, about consoling her and trying to find the right things to say to her. Good-bye Bibbel.

little friend
Elli and her pet rat Bibbel
  
pet rat
We learn from our pets

Attack of the Needle Felted Alligators!

needle felted puppets
Just when you thought it was safe.....

Moments before the alligator attack, Kitty and I were sitting in the kitchen minding our own business….

wool toys
imagine the du-da-du-da-du-da suspenseful, foreboding "Jaws" music

….and BAM, the needle felted alligator puppet jumped off the table and attacked Kitty!

wool toys
but don't worry, Kitty was victorious!

…oh, I was just daydreaming! I started making some puppets the other day, I intended to make a dragon like this one:

needle felted dragon puppet
Needle felted dragon puppet

….but at one point it started looking like an alligator, so I “followed the shapes”. The simple puppet I set out to make became more complicated, with fairly sharp fimo teeth and finger slots to put your hand so the alligators mouth can be opened and closed. This isn’t s step-by-step tutorial, but I did shoot a few of the creation stages, have a look!

needle felted alligator hand puppet
needle felted alligator hand puppet

I made the alligator’s top jaw first, his lower jaw second and the body sleeve last. I inserted glass doll eyes into the sides of his head. I connected the two jaws with a thick, flat piece of wool that acts as a hinge.

handmade toys
mouth hinge

The tricky part of making the finger holes in the jaws is making them deep enough for your hands so you have real control over the motion of the jaws. I used a pair of scissors to cut deep holes in the top and bottom jaws, I pulled out as much wool as I could so that it was still snug when I put my hands inside the holes. I felted the holes as best as I could to make them smoother.

alligator handpuppet
finger and thumb holes for the alligator puppet

 

making a hand puppet
My hand fits snugly in the finger holes

Here is the gator without any teeth, he looks pretty pitiful. I made the alligator teeth from off- white fimo (the photo shows an example of the teeth placement).

wool toys
toothless alligator puppet

I shaped the alligator’s teeth so that they’re slightly rounded, those are shark’s teeth at the top of the photo, for a future project. I baked the teeth at a low temperature for about 7 minutes, then took them out to cool and harden.

fimo alligator teeth
fimo alligator and shark teeth

With scissors, I cut deep slits in the jaws (following a photo of a real alligator with his mouth open) and glued each tooth in with fabric glue.

handmade toys
teeth placement

I needle felted a sheath to cover my arm; I wrapped the sheet of needle felted wool around the end of the alligator’s head and needle felted it on.

wool toys
Flat felted sheath to cover your arm
needle felted hand puppet
Felting the sheath onto the head

Now I have a fairly realistic alligator puppet with which I can use to help tell fairy tales or stories, use as a conversation piece at dinner parties or chase the cat around the house with!

handmade hand puppet
Needle felted alligator hand puppet

Our “Epic” Halloween Party

halloween fun for kids
Zombie Elli

My daughter Elli had an “epic” Halloween party; epic is the new in word the kids are using theses days, as the word “lame” was not too long ago-FYI. The party was for the 12 year old crowd, with a few 9 year olds thrown in for good measure (Emili’s friends). It’s hard to celebrate American holidays here in Israel for a few reasons, the main one being that since American holidays aren’t celebrated here, you don’t get the day off and Halloween for example, is just another Monday. It’s difficult to have a party on a Monday night when parents have work the next day and children have school. You can’t trick or treat because Israeli’s don’t really understand what that is or really how to do it. (The American school does organize a trick or treat night in a neighboring town to Tel Aviv, but you need to be affiliated with the school or get tickets from someone in the school). About 5 or 6 years ago, some friends who had lived in America for quite a while had a children’s Halloween party. They asked a few of their neighbors to give out candy to the children in costume that would be knocking on their doors that evening. The neighbors ended up throwing the candy and pita bread at the children (?); maybe they got the whole handing out candy idea mixed up with throwing rice at a wedding! (?) Costumes are only out at Purim time in Israel and these costumes are mostly lame and poorly made and last but not least, it’s hard to find a pumpkin around here and the ones I have seen are white! Obstacles for sure, but with a little ingenuity and determination, a very scarry Halloween party can be achieved… 

horror movies
The big kids watched a horror movie and screamed and screamed and screamed

You can’t really find Halloween decorations here,   but we did found a few skulls, bones, skelatons and spiders in a junky toy shop in Florentine. We ordered a few special things from America and had my sister send them to us; we ordered cookie molds for witch fingers and bones and a jello mold for a brain. And as usual, we made many of our decorations; I made the girls’ costumes and ratty, tattered curtains that we hung on the windows and used to cover walls. I drug home several big tree branches that I found along the side of the road and put them around the front door and we scattered leaves in the front garden around the cardboard tombstones that Elli made. I spread my needle felting wool over lights and in corners and put spiders all over them, I spread white sheets over everything, dimmed the lights and played spooky music…

We had tasty treats…

halloeen decoration
Brains, Severed Heads and eerie skulls
halloween cookies
Finger and bone cookies
children's halloween party
Ghoulish candy
Horror on Halloween
Putrid Punch
halloween treats
Crunchy rat snacks

We had Ghoulish guests…

haunted house
Ghoulish guest Michal

We had an evil hostess…

halloween party for kids
Would you like a slice of brain?

And most importantly, we had horrible ambiance…

spider decorations
Creepy, crawly spiders
Halloween ambiance
haunted living room
haunted house curtains
Haunted House Curtains
skull decorations
skull lights

The kids danced in the basement (dungeon) but adults and their cameras were banned from this part of the haunted house, thus I don’t have any dancing photos:( Don’t worry, we knew what was going on down there the whole time because the 9 year old guests tattled on the 12 year old guests every chance they got!

And in one rare moment when I wasn’t cleaning, serving or monitoring the kids, Doron and I boogied to the horror of our children, then someone broke a whole glass bottle of orange juice and I had to go back to clean up duty.

halloween fun
Doron and Laura boogie

All in all, the kids rated this party a success!

Beddy-Bye Dolls Tutorial

Before I go to sleep

 At our house, long gone are the days that I had to lie down with the girls to get them to go to sleep, I would wake up in their bed hours later, in the middle of the night and drag myself to my own bed. Bedtime was an ordeal, but we found that bed time rituals helped settle our girls down and get into the mind-set of going to sleep. At our house, the preparations and rituals include the very important glass of water by the bedside, brushing the teeth, saying prayers, choosing a bed time story that I would read to the girls (several years later, the girls chose a bed time story that they would read to me), tucking in and finally they would give me many, many kisses and I would tip-toe out of their rooms. I made these little Beddy-Bye Dolls with bed time rituals in mind, knowing that children like to pretend with their dolls, acting out the things that happen in their daily lives. 

But we're not sleepy!

These cute and poseable Beddy-Bye dolls are also great for children who are a little older (past toddler-hood). They are sweet and cute and can be used to act out fairy tales and bedtime stories and they’re perfect  just for pretend play.

 Dolls and Kits are available in my shop

sweet dreams

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