Playing with your Needle Felted Food on Craftsy

play food
Needle felted Cheeseburger and Fries

Playing with your Food, is one of the needle felting projects that I’ve been working on for several months with the Craftsy website and it’s finally up and ready for registration! I’ve designed and wrote tutorials for needle felted foods, toys for children. The workshop contains step-by-step instructions and photos of how to make several different types of foods and deserts, things that I thought kids would identify with. The cool thing about this workshop is if a student has questions along the way, they can send me their questions and I’ll answer them and help them with their project.

needle felted foods
Needle felted Hamburger fixin's

I designed the projects at a beginner’s level and a needle felting basics section is also included. The basics of needle felting (the way I do it) are outlined and explained also with step-by-step photos and instructions.

needle felted food
Needle felted Hotdog and Fries

As an imaginative toy for children, food is one of my favorites to sew and/or needle felt. Small children can use fruits and vegetables or their favorite foods to learn names, colors, shapes and counting. Older children can use the food you needle felt for them to “play market” or to “play restaurant.” With a little set-up help from an adult (providing paper bags, a basket, play plates, an apron, a pad of paper for taking restaurant orders, a table cloth or making a menu) playing market or restaurant can provide very creative situations for your children where their pretend games can also be a platform for them to learn social skills and math, using their needle felted food as tools.

needle felted goodies
Needle Felted Desserts

Safety:  Please remember that not all needle felted foods, as natural and unbreakable as they are, are appropriate for children of all ages if they contain small pieces. If you have children that put things in their mouths and you make these needle felted foods, with a sewing needle and thread sew the small parts  onto the tart and cupcake or omit the small pieces (blue berries,  strawberries and cherry) completely.

Note: These needle felted items will be available on my Etsy site at the end of the summer:)

Gnome Watch

gnome art
Emili made gnome art with lyrics for me

I have in the last few years been introduced to Scandinavian-European style gnomes; coming from the United States, my gnome exposure has been limited to the garden gnome variety that came into being after WWII. I’ve made quite a few of these friendly fellows and gals in the last few years, I’m not sure what it is about these magical, diminutive friends of all animals that makes them so likable.  I’ve started seeing gnomes everywhere!

handmade gnome accessories
The gnome beard that his mother made with my instructions

I received an e-mail asking how I made my gnome costume beards and this was Erin’s result, a very creative mother! Erin made her children’s gnome costumes and trick or treat bags; the big gnome’s owl is a trick or treat bag and the little girl gnome’s mushroom is a trick or treat bag, an inch worm is the handle! The gnome baby cracks me up!

gnomes are everywhere
Gnome children (for Halloween) by Erin from Inkberry Designs

I found gnome candles, gnome spoons and wine stoppers.

gnome watch
Little gnome candles

I found gnomes hanging out at the mall; there’s a magical fairy store in Tel Aviv with gnome and fairy figurines.

gnome on a mushroom
Gnome waiting at the mall (probably while his wife shops)

Here are garden gnomes at the flower stand. I always think of England when I think of garden gnomes and I always think of my friend Liz when I think of England, just saying!

gnome watch
Gnomes at the flower stand

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

 

 

Pretty Needle Felted and Sewn Mushrooms

needle felting and sewing
Pretty Mushroom and Bunny

My 2012 New Year”s resolution is to do something new with my art, to push the boundaries of needle felting and sewing. I’ve been needle felting exclusively for a few years now because I love this medium, but I miss sewing and the textures and patterns of fabric. I’ll now be experimenting with combining the art of needle felting with the art of sewing because the two mediums can compliment each other to produce stunning results. The pretty mushroom is needle felted, the base mushroom shapes are covered with cotton, silk and velvet and sewn on in a variety of ways.

costumes
Felt Renaissance Neck Ruff and needle felted pig puppet. The precise folding and sewing of the Renaissance neck ruff is an example of a beautifully sewn costume accessory; this one is made from felt.

For me, the costumes that I used to make in my store were the gateway to learning about fancy sewing, French sewing techniques and all the different ways you can manipulate fabric. Assembling the costume pattern pieces like a puzzle never interested me as much as how you can control the fabric and the interesting and beautiful results that can be achieved. My seamstresses and I researched Renaissance costumes and sewing techniques, the fine art of sewing ballet costumes and the secrets of constructing a garment to make it stand up, drape or bounce; this is what really fascinated me.

mushroom polka dots
Fresh water pearl are used as mushroom polka dots

The top of needle felted Pretty Mushroom is adorned with red velvet, quilted on with small stitches all over the mushroom cap and covered with fresh water pearls for the mushroom polka dots.

hand embroidery
Hand embroidered eyelet cotton

I went into my vintage fabric stash and found some hand embroidered, cotton eyelet fabric. For special pieces, I like to use vintage fabric with elaborate hand embroidery, something I don’t have the patience to do myself. I quilted this vintage fabric onto the needle felted mushroom stem.

mushroom gills
Gathered silk mushroom gills

For this pretty mushroom, I gathered silk around the stem to make the gills (underside of the mushroom). I had a little previous experience with this technique last year when I made giant mushrooms  (6 and 7 feet tall) for an Alice and Wonderland themed birthday party, you can see those mushrooms here.

needle felting and sewing
Wool, cotton, silk and pearl mushrooms

In the end, I have beautiful, 100% natural mushrooms from wool, cotton, silk and pearls (Waldorf style, but an adult version) to brighten up my sofa or an empty corner.

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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