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

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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

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Llama Llama Rag Doll

Eli has been loving the Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney lately. So do I. Between the rhythm, rhyme and delightful illustrations they are a joy to read out loud. Which is good because Eli wants me to do so again, and again and again.

In the stories Llama Llama is never without his little rag doll. I thought it would be fun to make Eli his own version.

Illustration detail from Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.

Kinda cute, right?

So here is how I did it.

First I sketched out some pattern pieces. If people express an interest and if I can figure out how to make and attach a pdf file I might be able to make this pattern available to others who’d like to make this but don’t feel comfortable sketching patterns. (Since I don’t feel comfortable doing technological things, that’s a bit of a big IF… but it’s good to make myself learn new skills so I could at least try.)

Then while my wonderful husband followed Eli around Barnes & Noble, I sat in the cafe, retraced the pattern pieces onto printer paper and cut them out. These pieces were pinned to a linen napkin before I cut them out leaving about 1/4″ for seam allowance. I got all on the pieces I needed from one linen napkin. I used a different pink linen napkin for the insides of the ears and some bleached black t-shirt material for the bottoms of the feet, but if I had wanted the doll all one color I would have been able to get those pieces from the one napkin too.

I wanted this project to be completely handmade so everything was hand stitched together.

I also wanted all of the materials to be natural and all things I already had on hand, so instead of using polyester fiberfill or going out and purchasing cotton stuffing I cut leftover scraps of cotton and wool fabric into thin strips to use to stuff the doll. I really like how this resulted in a heavier doll. It just feels good and solid (but not hard) in your hands. It is slightly lumpy, but I like that aspect too as it underscores the “handmade” quality.

The arms were sewn into the side seams of the body, and the ears into the side seams of the head, but the legs and neck and head were sewn and stuffed and then sewn onto the sewn and stuffed body.

Here’s a shot of the head being attached to the neck.

I debated on whether or not to use these buttons for the eyes or to paint on eyes to make it look more like the llama doll in the book. In the end I opted for the metal buttons in keeping with natural materials only decision I’d made earlier. I can always easily change them later, if I find wooden buttons I like better or if I decide to go ahead with the paint after all. These look cute enough for me now though.

Not only did using different fabric for the bottoms of the feet allow for a change in color, but I like how the knit stretches to balloon out a bit. I couldn’t resist adding the belly button.

I used the sewn edge of the napkin to cut small lengths to use for the tail.

Eli likes his little llama and immediately had to “match” it to the illustration in the book.

Llama Llama, nighty night…

 Thanks for stopping by!

Karen

Update: Here are links to download the pattern…

Here’s where I’m linking up.

Sunday:

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

What I Wore Sunday, 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 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 BearThriving on Thursdays

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