Needle Felted World Map Playscape

world map playscape

Playscapes are toys meant to give the fertile minds of children a place to romp. I thought maybe a playscape could also be a means of learning and a way to make learning more fun. How many times have you copied the map, whited out the names of the countries and oceans and given it back to you child to fill in? My playscape has no names so your child can learn to recognize the shapes of the continents, oceans and seas.

playscape figures: ship, tree, mountain, dune, fish, volcano

I figure you can make a game out of the playscape, play figures and suggested areas for discovery. With the help of an adult or older sibling, two or more can play the game. One player should ask where the Sahara desert is (for example), the other players will place their dune on the area they believe the famous desert to be. If you’re right, you get a point, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins. The adult or older sibling can help the other players research certain areas of interest on the Internet or on an atlas, further explaining the list of places suggested for discovery. I needle felted the little play figures to help mark the special areas like deserts, dunes, volcanoes, forests, oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, plains, islands and mountains. I made a list of five of the most well known in each category, as a guide for discovery. The little ship sails the world, discovering interesting places.

world map playscape and play figures to make world exploration fun

I haven’t studied geography in years and I really enjoyed the research I did for the location card. Not too long ago, I was in the United States shopping for groceries. I struck up a conversation with the check out clerk and bag boy. They asked me where I lived, I told them Israel. They replied “Israel!, isn’t that like another country?” Let me tell you, there is a need for a game like this!

needle felted world map

I think this could be good cocktail party game for adults too, let’s call it World Traveler. If you find the suggested location, you get to do a shot and the winner is the one who can find their way home at the end of the game! 

The map comes rolled with the playing pieces inside

Needle Felted Gnome Ornaments Tutorial

Needle felted gnome ornaments

  This tutorial shows how to make these simple gnomes for imaginative play or to use as holiday ornaments. With a little variation, you can make Santa Clauses as well!  

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Needle felted Green Onion Doll & Tutorial

Bunch of needle felted green onions

 

I was chopping vegetables for a salad the other day and I was inspired by the green onions! Holding up the long, thin, onion  it looked like a little person to me; the white bulbous end of the onion was the head, the spiky little roots looked like hair and the long green scallion stems were the body! Sure, why not!? So I got out my felting needles and went to work.    

Needle felted green onion dolls

 

 If green onions had a personality, I’m sure they’d be giggly like little girls and cheeky when you pulled them from the ground. I’ve been trying to create a series of natural toys for kids and my imagination snuck up on me and came up with these. Surprisingly, this was a lunch salad I was fixing, so there was no alcohol consumption involved!    

Emili and needle felted green onion dolls

 

 After I make something, I sit and look at it for quite a while. I need time to see if anything needs to be changed or altered before I decide if I’m happy with it. I was sitting in the living room holding and contemplating the bunch of dolls when my oldest daughter came in the front door. ” Are those ONIONS?” she asked. “Yep”, was my reply. I had already become comfortable with my new, slightly odd creation: green onions as dolls. “Oooookaaay”, she said as she went into the kitchen, because she’s used to seeing odd things sitting around our house like giant needle felted tarantulas, boxes of doll eyes, doll body parts or 7 foot tall paper mâché mushrooms.    

needle felted green onion dolls with personality

 

 Surpringly simple to make, my green onion dolls seem to make everyone smile. See the following tutorial to make your own!  These dolls are also available to purchase from my website shop: http://www.lauraleeburch.com/?page_id=3&category=3&product_id=35 or my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/60075734/green-onion-dolls 

Happy green onion doll

 

Green Onion Doll Tutorial: This tutorial shows how to make one needle felted green onion doll. 
Tools: felting needles, sponge for felting surface, embroidery needle, scissors
wool: dark green (body/stems) I prefer felting a course wool like shetland or New Zealand
bright green-felted in the center area, visually connecting stems and the head
white (head)
core wool or fiber-fill (base shape)
white curly yarn (hair)
thread (for wrapping core wool or fiber fill to make base shape)
green embroidery thread (for the face and securing stems and yarn hair) 

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Dolly

antique style needle felted doll

I always loved the photographs of little girls with giant bows on their head; I’ve always wondered how this style came to be! Who came up with such a disproportionate hair ornament for a little girl?

Needle felted doll with felt dress and shoes

I have a few antique bisque dolls of my mother’s that inspired me to felt this doll. Needle felted completely from wool, each piece (arms, legs, body and head) was individually needle felted and then sewn together. The head is my favorite part of the doll to make. I take great care to give her a face with an authentic look, I like to style her hair and I think the eyes are the most important part of the face. I found these particular blinking doll eyes in the flea market, I think they’re old because they’re made of metal, not plastic.  

blinking doll eyes

I really don’t like to do the arms and legs, I find it challenging to make both arms and both legs identical (or close to it).

felted doll parts

 The dress for this doll is similar to the original dress of the antique bisque doll, but made from felt. I needle felted a design on the bodice to break up the hot pink color.

needle felted dress detail

I made the socks from some white tricot and old lace that I had, and the little black Mary Janes are also made from felt. 

real life dolly

Childhood Friends

Needle felted teddy bears, 16"
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Torn and tattered
You were my friend
when it really mattered

These needle felted teddy bears were easy to make. Each bear was made by felting together wool shapes.

  1. The teddy bear head is made from a ball, a cone (snout), a tiny ball (nose) and 2 half circles (ears). Two dolls eyes were inserted and glued above the snout.
  2. The body is a big oval, the arms are  long tubes, the legs are longer tubes, the feet are short tubes that are attached to the ends of the legs.
  3. The head, arms and legs are wrapped with curly, brown mohair yarn (2 skeins), then felted securely into the shapes.
  4. The head, arms and legs are sewn onto the body with a doll needle and embroidery thread. Voila, Best Friend!

    Best Friend