I just wanted to take a minute to inform all 8 of my consistent readers that I will be taking a hiatus (a planned one this time) from blogging for about the next month or so. I will be moving into a new apartment and have been pretty aggressively avoiding any attempt at preparedness. After living in my current and significantly larger apartment for two years, I've amassed quite the amount of random crap that needs to be sifted through before I even begin packing and downsizing for the studio that I will be moving into in May. I also promised myself I would finish a 2000 piece puzzle and am using my looming move date as motivation to get it done. That's a pretty dweeby thing to admit I realize, but that's how I will be spending my usual blogging time for the immediate future. Anyway, please don't forget about me because when I come back I will have a whole new apartment to fill with more random crafty crap!
AND A CAT! ALDFHJALKSDJFHALIEUFHLAKSDFHKAYJGFDAJFDGHALEWIFBKVYSJUZ!
Sorry that I'm leaving you for a puzzle... :/
So... these exist.
Appropriately named "Mickey Shades", these sunglasses embody Disney's Mickey Mouse in one form and blind mouse (of the three famed) in another... seriously, those disks are called "lens covers". Why you would ever require covers for your lenses whilst they're on your face is beyond me. The creator, Jeremy Scott, is known for his eccentric designs, but the sole purpose of glasses, sun or otherwise, is to aid in your ability to see. Completely obscuring your vision seems counterintuitive to me, but maybe that's his point... subverting your constructed expectations and causing you to reevaluate the true essence of eyewear.
Sorry, grad school flashback.
The only realistic use for such a feature is if you're trying to take a covert nap in public, otherwise they're just a $510 safety hazard.
Welcome to the third and final installment of Fun with Felt! As a basic introduction, the first technique I tried out with my camp kids was making felt balls. It's a simple way to learn the idea behind agitating the material so the fibers hook together to create a solid form. A pretty good learning tool, but a little underwhelming when you're finished and don't exactly know what to do with them. Here you can read about the process of felting, here you can read about carding the wool to create a marbled color effect before felting, and in this post I will show you one way you can utilize the product.
When making a felt ball, you should start slowly with little pressure and increase speed and pressure as the fibers become matted together. This way the ball with be evenly round with no weird stray patches hanging off. If you do end up with some dangly bits you can just snip them with scissors. As you can see, it decreases pretty significantly in size so keep that in mind when gathering the initial amount of wool. I recognize this all sounds pretty suggestive, but it's hard to get around when you have to keep using the word "ball".
So after waiting for them to dry, I strung some of my felt balls together to create a necklace. This part could not be easier. Use some embroidery thread and a needle to pierce through the center of each ball. Make a knot at either end of your arrangement and then use a sliding knot to create an adjustable closure. Assembling the necklace took all of five minutes and I think it's a pretty fun way to utilize my left over teacher demos and abandoned kiddie art from camp. Coincidentally, that embroidery thread came from a bag left behind by a girl at a previous camp for which I worked. I promise I'm not just stealing craft supplies from children... Let me know if you want me to make you one!
Allergy season is upon us once again. I spent one day outside and woke up the next morning completely unable to breathe through my nose. An emergency trip to the pharmacy to buy some behind the counter decongestants got my symptoms under control and thus begins the several month long battle against my environment. I've always said that I suffer from a weak constitution (including a tendency towards fainting and breaking out in hives for no apparent reason), but it is never more evident than during allergy season. Pretty much every year I fall apart and end up at the doctor's office with a sinus infection. As a lovely side effect, the decongestants I take keep me from eating and sleeping throughout the spring months so by the end of it I'm starving and sleep deprived with bacteria living in my sinuses. With all of that on my mind lately, I came across these shirts at nastygal and forever21. Did you know that there is a website called allergyapparel.com that sells clothing for children suffering from legitimate allergies so adults know what could be dangerous for them? Are the above items intended for the same purpose? Because I don't think much can be done for the "allergic to mornings" girl and what kind of reaction do basic bitches induce?
You know what I'm allergic to? Actual allergens.
Time for the second installment of Fun with Felt! In the first edition, I compared the technique to using a bar of soap. Interestingly enough, you can apply it to an actual bar of soap. The process is significantly messier considering the fact that the object itself creates a continuous lather, but the approach is the same and the outcome adds a little pizzaz to the standard bar of soap.
Materials (pretty much the same as the previous post sans the dish soap since that is covered by your finished product being a soap anyway)
Once carded, the process is exactly the same. Just follow the instructions here.
What I find cool about these is that the felt acts as a loofa that shrinks as the size of the soap decreases. Out of all the felting projects I did with the kids this was by far their favorite. I have a feeling it had something to do with the mess level. At least it was a clean mess... is that a thing?
My roommate recently discovered a love for juicing so our fridge is consistently stocked with containers of vibrantly colored liquids. These containers ended up serving as pretty good inspiration for my "going green" curriculum with the kiddos these past couple weeks. I decided it would be a fun interactive experience for them to make their own dyes from natural materials and put them to use in some paintings and now you can too! Here's how we did it:
Small digression: My roommate bought me these tiny strainers for Christmas. She understands that any miniature and/or nesting items will find a good home with me. I'm a weird collector of tiny knickknacks... it's like Hoarders Lite. Anyway, they have served no purpose other than to satiate my compulsion and contribute to the adorable that is our kitchen... until now!
Above is the basic "recipe" I compiled based on a handful of Google searches. The longer you let the liquid mixture sit, the more saturated the color will be. I left mine in the fridge over night and strained them the next morning. It's pretty much as simple as that... I think the following pictures sufficiently explain how this is done... you don't need my words.
The swatch above goes as follows (left to right, top to bottom): kale/spinach combo, beets, black tea, blackberries, turmeric, red cabbage. The beets and the turmeric are definitely the most saturated and look the best once dry. I experimented with proportions a few times for the green and purple dyes and wish I could have gotten them a little darker, but they suited our purposes just fine. To finish off this project I had the kids turn their creations into pillows with the caveat that they are probably not the best pillows for sleeping lest you wake up with your painting on your face.
Side note: If you want to avoid waking up with your painting on your face, you can make the fabric color fast by following these instructions.
Let me know if there are any other natural materials suited for creating highly pigmented dyes, I would love to try them out next time!