Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cupcake Party

This weekend, one of my childhood friends had a cupcake-themed party for her daughter's 1st birthday. I was in Chicago for a Stella & Dot workshop and had to miss it, which was too bad, because my husband and son said the food was amazing: sweet cupcakes of all kinds, meatloaf cupcakes with piped mashed potato "icing", and macaroni and cheese cupcakes. Heavenly!

For her gift, I bought the sweet birthday girl a hoodie from Gymboree with cupcake pockets and made her a little needle-felted cupcake for her tea set. I started with a sort of ball-shape from my all-purpose undyed white wool, then flattened the bottom and sides, trying to make the bottom a little smaller than the top, for that cupcake shape. Next was a layer of bubblegum pink over the sides of the cupcake (where the paper liner would be), and a thin layer of my toast-colored wool over that, so it would look like it had been baked. I then got to work felting vertical lines all the way around the sides to form the ridges of the "paper liner". This is tedious and I really had to pay attention to make the lines somewhat straight, but it was necessary for the look I was going for. After that was finished, I took tufts of fuchsia wool and laid them out on my foam pad, felted them together, and folded over the edges to make a flattened "blob" shape. This was draped over the rounded top of the cupcake and felted into place to make the icing.

The little rose was constructed the same way I made Flapjack's scarf - a few layers of wool felted together in a long, rectangular shape. I rolled this piece tightly and attached it to the top of the cupcake. Then, two small leaves were easily made and felted next to the flower. If you were making a cupcake for an older child, it would be adorable to also add beads to the top for sprinkles.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Things I Gave Up for You

A list for my son:

1. Going to the bathroom alone.
2. Days spent at the salon.
3. Long afternoons at the bookstore.
4. Sleeping in.
5. My career.
6. Watching movies on opening weekend.
7. Not having to share everything I eat or drink.
8. Smudge-free windows, doors, and mirrors.
9. Wearing 3-inch heels every day.
10. Discomfort about bodily fluids and feces.
11. Needing an alarm clock.
12. Generalized selfishness.
13. A limited capacity for love.
14. Doubt about my purpose in life.
15. Associating a paycheck with self-worth.
16. Looking at the world with jaded eyes.
17. Everything I thought was important, and nothing that truly was.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Felted Flapjack

My son loves (okay, and my husband and I do, too) "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" on the Cartoon Network. Flapjack is a cherubic little boy whose best friend is a cranky old sailor named Captain K'nuckles. Flapjack sleeps in the mouth of his adopted mother, a whale named Bubbie. The gist of the show is that Flapjack & K'nuckles spend most of their time trying to find and eat candy and searching for the elusive "Candied Island".

For the felted Flapjack, I started with a snowball-sized bunch of white wool and formed it into a hard ball. I then flattened it a little here and there, making more of a head shape for Flapjack. Then I felted a short cylinder and attached to it 4 thinner cylinders to make the arms and legs. I covered the body in pinky-tan wool (it's actually the toast color I bought to make hamburger buns). That part was very difficult to do over the arms and legs, especially the fingers. Next time I make a doll, I'll go ahead and construct the arms and legs from the wool I'm using for the skin color, rather than trying to cover the white wool on such small areas. I use the white wool as a core for construction because it costs less than the dyed wools. For the eyes, I made white discs and attached them to the head, and a small ball and two half-circles from the tan wool for the nose and ears. I had some wavy yellow wool, so the hair was just a matter of placing the curls where I wanted them and attaching them to the head. I made the hat with a flattened circle and a ball with a divot, and the scarf was felted in a long thin shape, then tied around his neck. I finished the details by choosing the colors I needed, cutting the fibers to size and arranging them where I wanted them, then felting to attach. Another thing I wish I'd done differently is give him a pipe cleaner endoskeleton so he could be posed more easily. A wire armature would have also given the legs more strength to support a massive head like Flapjack's. It works okay as-is, but if anyone is thinking of making his/her own Flapjack, I would recommend using the pipe cleaners.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hello, Gorgeous!

After we moved from Miami to Michigan, I assumed that I would be giving up one of my loves: big, sexy tropical flowers. I planted a little hibiscus tree that grew tall and continuously bloomed outside my kitchen window in Florida, and it was one of my favorite things in the garden. My plan for after the move was to console myself with armfuls of fragrant lilacs and visions of bushes full of hydrangeas.

However, each spring, a strange looking plant snakes out of the ground and slowly winds its way upward, growing taller the entire summer. Then, in late August, I am greeted by the sight of eight gigantic, crimson hibiscus flowers, peeking at me from behind the other, traditionally Midwestern plants and flowers. This is one of my favorite things about living in an old house - the continuous surprises, like gifts from a person who lived here before me.