Llama Llama Returns

Long time Folk Haven readers may remember this post  from almost two years ago where I shared a llama rag doll I was inspired to make for Eli. I created the pattern based on illustrations in Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series of books. The main character in the stories has as little rag doll llama that is seen on nearly every page, but never mentioned. Eli has always loved his llama doll and Zoe now loves it as well.

llama rag dolls 2

Recently, on a whim, I posted a photo of it on a local Mom-to-Mom sales page on Facebook to see if there would be any other mothers interested in buying a llama doll for their kids. I posted my question at 10 pm and when I checked Facebook again at 6 the next morning I had 14 people wanting to place orders!

llama rag dolls

 

So, lately any free time I can get has been dedicated to llama creation! As is almost always the case with my sewing, I use repurposed materials for these little llamas. I love the thought of pieces of fabric from well-loved clothing finding a new life as part of a snuggly children’s toy. I also am enjoying how each of the little llamas has a very distinct personality… truly there are no two alike! I can make only about 1 a week so it is taking a while to fill the existing orders. In addition people have contacted me about creating other sorts of critters and literary lovies for them. My next pattern to draft will be a pig inspired by Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Pig a Pancake. I also will be designing a horse (not so very different from a llama), an owl and an elephant.

 

IMG_1458If I can ever catch up with local orders I plan to put some of these in my Etsy shop, which has been sitting empty and gathering dust for a very long time. I have also created a Facebook page for Folk Haven Creations to have a place to post llamas as they are created and available for sale.

corduroy rag doll

I haven’t done much sewing at all since well before Zoe was born, so I am enjoying this return to a bit of a creative outlet.

 

Going Fishing!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on blogs and in books about various styles of preschool education as I begin to think about homeschooling Eli. Waldorf, Montessori and Reggio Emilia all have aspects that have captured my attention.

One thing that I find attractive about Waldorf philosophy is the importance placed on using toys that encourage open ended play. I also like that the types of toys recommended are made from natural materials. I doubt we will ever do away with plastic toys entirely in our household, but I have begun a process of weeding out all that aren’t particularly loved and are contributing to general clutter. And I’m making an attempt to make many of his new toys myself. (Also here and here.) For those that we buy, I’m being more conscious in making decisions in favor of quality materials and toys that inspire creative play. If I make many of his toys we will be buying fewer toys, so those we do purchase can be better quality (unfortunately, otherwise known as more expensive).

Creative Play for your Toddler by Christopher Clouder and Janni Nicol is full of wonderful toys that can be made at home. The first project I’ve made from it is the Felt Fishing Set. I’m sure you will see me refer to this book many more times in the future.

The fishing set I made isn’t felt. The felt I have at home is made of recycled soda bottles, and the wool variety is pretty expensive. Also, if you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I like to use what I have on hand. This is a great project for putting those little scraps leftover from other sewing ventures to use.

I will have fun pointing out to Eli which fish were made from a former favorite shirt or his Great Great Aunt Jenny’s linen napkin.

Oh, how I loved this shirt… loved the elbows right off of it, unfortunately!

The directions in the book call for using magnet washers. I went to Lowes, Home Depot, Michael’s and Walmart… nobody seems to carry them. Then it finally occurred to me that perhaps I just needed to drill a hole in the center of a coin-shaped magnet. Easy peasy!

Excuse the blurry photo… It’s hard to hold an electric drill and take a picture with the other (non-dominant) hand.

My lack of attentiveness with the metal washers on the fish also held up this project by a bit. Toward the end I happened to look a little more closely at the packaging out of which I was pulling the metal circles.

In my defense I grabbed it at the store while accompanied by a two year old determined not to ride in a cart or be carried but instead to touch every last item in the Lowes. I’m not supermom enough to inspect packaging very closely under such circumstances.

It looks innocent enough, but listen closely and you’ll hear the Jaws theme playing ominously in the background.

As to why I didn’t notice once I was home and removing washer after washer from the package to sew onto fish after fish I have no explanation or excuse. I’m just glad I noticed before I gave any of the fish to Eli! Going back to the store for new washers and then swapping them out set this project back by a few days though. Hopefully I’ll have learned my lesson before my next trip to get materials for toy making!

Here are the fish, complete with non-cancer-causing washers. I have a few more partially completed fish. I think I may keep making fish from time to time as I create more cloth scraps while sewing. It’s a fun hand-sewing project that is easy to take along for times when I can take a cafe break or need to sit in a waiting room by myself. I also have another branch cut and scored for a second fishing pole. I just need to braid the candle wick yarn string and drill a hole in another magnet.

Now I just need to decide if I will give this to Eli now, or hold onto it until Christmas. Something tells me I won’t be able to wait!

Thanks for reading!

Karen

I’ve been featured!

I'm Topsy Turvy

Here’s where I’m linking up.

Sunday:

Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sunday, jembellish clothes upcycling page, Threading My Way

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little BirdsEtcetorizeC.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful RisingSarahndipities ,

Everything Under the MoonThe Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableThe Shady PorchLil’ Luna,

Someday CraftsPassionately ArtisticWhatever WednesdayTrendy Tots,

Whimsy Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805,

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal

Hashi Stool Face Lift

Remember this… one of the most versatile toys ever that can be created in your very own living room from discarded cardboard?

No? Go here to learn to make one of your very own (and also a bit more about why you might want to)!

Yes? Great. Then you also remember that I was not a fan of the brown bunny decorative paper it was covered with.

Eli and I went to the library this week and on the cart outside was this book for sale for a quarter. Pretty damaged but full of delightful vintage illustrations.

Eli did not help me with the events to follow as I don’t want him getting the idea that it is a good idea to take scissors to books! This was a naptime project if there ever was one.

Who Killed Cock Robin? Really?

I like the illustrations on these pages, but definitely not something I’d deem appropriate for any small child. Basically it outlines the murder of a robin by a sparrow and the disposal of his mortal remains. For those as uninitiated as I was, here is a little sampling:

“Who caught his blood?

I, said the Fish,

With my little dish,

I caught his blood.”

So… Moving on.

The Owl and the Pussy Cat

Since this toy can be used in two different orientations I decorated one side right-side up and the other upside-down. Which is which depends upon if it is being used as a bridge or a rocker.

The other side received three different short nursery rhymes: Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jack Be Nimble, and Mary Had A Little Lamb.

I like it a lot more now. That’s all I got for ya today. Thanks for stopping by!

Karen

It’s a Bridge… It’s a Rocker… It’s a Stool!

I’ve taken a break from sewing over the past week, but it’s been for a good cause. I found this tutorial for creating a great new toy from discarded cardboard. It’s a stool, no… it’s a chair, no… it’s a bridge, no… it’s a rocker, no… it’s a mountain… What Eli and I can both agree on is it is a very versatile toy/piece of kiddie furniture.

I had pinned the tutorial for the Hashi Stool a little while back, and when neighbors set out two HUGE boxes from their new set of patio furniture I knew it was time! One of the boxes is waiting to be transformed into a playhouse of sorts, and the part of the other that isn’t now a Hashi Stool will perhaps become a painted playmat for cars and trains. (We’ll see how motivated I am for the follow through on that one.)

The slideshow tutorial can be found over at The Cardboard Collective. A printable pattern is also provided. It’s a blog full of fun, cute and things to make from discarded cardboard, written by Amber who is currently living in Tokyo with her family. I highly recommend her blog and look forward to trying more of her projects in the future. This link will take you to their project gallery. Go on… have some fun and keep just a bit more cardboard out of the landfill or recycling center!

Tracing the pattern onto cardboard. I enjoyed how the pdf pattern we printed off had been originally drawn onto a Japanese newspaper.

I asked my brother what the word “hashi” means. It is a Japanese word meaning both chopsticks and bridge. I think in this instance the reference must be a bridge as it would be most difficult to eat much of anything with this contraption.

Eli enjoyed squeezing glue out of the bottle…

…almost as much as he enjoyed spreading it.

This was the first project I’ve ever done WITH Eli, although admittedly most of the action took place during naptimes. I like that he now feel like he had a part in it’s creation. I look forward to many more such experiences with him.

I really like how Amber decorated her Hashi Stool by attaching discarded retro album covers she found to the sides.

Eli helped spread the glue for the paper on the side as well.

In the absence of such a windfall of decorative-goodness I settled for children’s wrapping paper. The little brown bunnies are a little too cutesy for my taste for this project, truth be told, but I wanted to use what I had on hand. (I also just wanted to finish this project already and get back to some sewing!) As it used only a bit and the roll came from the 99 Cent Store I think I can still consider this basically a free project. (Well, I guess I did buy glue, but we still have plenty left of that as well.) If I happen upon paper I like better in the future I’ll just cover this current layer of decoration up!

Showing off how it can rock… he rocks ON it plenty, just not when Mama has the camera out!

Then he decided ‘Raffe can demonstrate the rocking feature.

Tentatively climbing up. When we initially made it too narrow it tipped over on him, so now he’s a bit wary. We have since made it wider and it is very stable.

A little more confident climbing on it if Mama does it with him. This thing is sturdy and can hold a lot of weight.

It makes a great tunnel…

…although this truck is too big. Good opportunity to work on that concept.

This car fits though!

Thanks for stopping by!

Karen

This was featured!

Too Much Time On My Hands

Here’s where I am linking up.

Sunday:

Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sunday

Monday:

Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little BirdsEtcetorizeC.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Artful RisingSarahndipities ,

Everything Under the MoonThe Cure for the Common Monday

Tuesday:

At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkiethe space between,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday:

Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableThe Shady PorchLil’ Luna,

Someday CraftsPassionately ArtisticWhatever WednesdayTrendy TotsWhimsy Wednesday

Thursday:

Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit Bear,

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderSaved by Love CreationsAnything Goes Linky Party,

Friday:

Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour Projectskojodesigns,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805Pencilled Daydream

Saturday:

The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal