Thursday, 19 April 2018

Easter Hat Parade - Palm Sunday Easter Bonnet

In Australian primary schools it is very common to have a yearly Easter Hat Parade competition. Each child makes or decorates a hat at home to wear in the parade at school. I remember them when I was a kid.




Now that its my turn to supervise the hat making, as a Christian I couldn't bring myself to make a hat full of eggs or bunnies. In an effort to make the most of the opportunity, and try to teach Tahlia how to share her faith, we made a Palm Sunday Easter Bonnet.




When I told my friends I wanted to make a Christian themed Easter Hat, they all immediately thought of putting a cross on the front of a hat. Kinda morbid looking next to a bunch of brightly coloured and fun filled Easter Hats. Of course I didn't want to embarrass Tahlia, and it's probably not the greatest method of convincing people that the Christian movement is something they should join either!
I think we came up with a hat that is equally bright and rivals the fun of any Easter Hat I've seen.

It is made of painted paper mache molded over a hat and bucket. We made the rim and Jerusalem gateway arch out of aluminium foil, and paper mache over the top. The sign saying "Welcome to Jerusalem" is made from a painted pop stick and marker, and is hung with some elastic and hot glue. 




The battery operated car and track are from one of Tahlia's toys. Jesus on the donkey and the crowd are finger puppets copied and laminated from the book Bible Stories by Twin Sisters Productions, 2005. We used plain old sticky tape to attach them to the hat (and car so Jesus can actually ride the donkey). And as you might have guessed we used felt and hot glue to make the palm tree trunks (and a cardboard hand towel roll for the top one). She wanted the tall one on top because there was a 'Tallest Hat' category. The palm branches are also felt hot glued around some pipe cleaners. They can be taken out and laid on the road or waved around while shouting "Hosanna!"

This hat was inspired by a quiet book page which I am yet to post on the blog. When I do, I'll put a link to the post so you guys can get the template for the palm leaves.

We had a great time making the hat together. Stay tuned for the next few years to see what else we come up with, and if you have any suggestions or requests, please let us know in the comments below!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Genesis 1 - Days of Creation Quiet Book Page

Genesis chapter 1 records the events that occurred on days 1-6 of the Creation Week. The seventh day is also included here for convenience.


Memory Verse: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1.

Materials needed to create the Days of Creation quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used black.
  • Betty Lukens Felt book 01 Bible Stories available at Koorong.
  • sewing thread to best match the page
  • scissors!
Cut out all the pieces for this page and the page itself from the Betty Lukens set. The Betty Lukens FAQ section has posted a cutting tips PDF.

Sew the Betty Lukens page onto the background felt along three sides, leaving the top edge open to form a pocket. Pop the pieces inside the pocket (or better yet - play with them)!

Finished!

Difficulty Level = Easy, plus No Sew version.

A very easy quiet book page!
Just use hot glue wherever sewing is recommended for a no sew version.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Genesis 1 - Learn the order of events on each day of creation week.
  • Matching - Match each piece to the corresponding spot for each day of creation week.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through matching the pieces.




Read the Chapter

Genesis 1

Devotional

There are heaps of patterns in the days of creation. The most basic is that in the first three days God creates a space, and days 4-6, He fills those spaces. There are lots of other patterns too, such as numbering some days by their cardinal numbers, and others by their ordinal number. Such an interesting study.

I have discovered that the days of creation, aside from being literal, are actually a prophecy of the Earth's history and coming events.

Day 1 - God created light and separated light from darkness
Millennium 1 - Adam and Eve chose between light and darkness

Day 2 - God separated the waters above and below with a vault (the sky)
Millennium 2 - The Flood occurred

Day 3 - God made dry ground to appear, and vegetation grew on the land
Millennium 3 - God made dry ground appear for the Israelite's to cross the red sea after the Exodus, and the Earth was re-populated after The Flood / Abraham is promised descendants as numerous as the stars.

Day 4 - God created the greater light and the lesser light (sun and moon) and the stars
Millennium 4 - Jesus was born and lived (the Sun of Righteousness), announced by John the Baptist (the moon), and the earlier part of this period was characterized by the prophets (perhaps represented as the stars) or perhaps Abraham's descendants have now become a nation and are now as numerous as the stars).

Day 5 - God filled the water and sky with birds and fish
Millennium 5 - The Gospel went to the gentiles

Day 6 - God made the animals and Adam and Eve
Millennium 6 - The Gospel continued to go to the gentiles, and perhaps the second Adam (Jesus) will return (my guess is at the edge of the 6th and 7th Millenniums).

Day 7 - God rested
Millennium 7 - God will provide rest for His people during the thousand year respite/Sabbath in Heaven (after which we return to Earth - re-created for our eternal home).

It's pretty cool when you start recognizing patterns in the Bible and find something like this.

Anyway, if you want some great scientific evidence articles (journal, lay and children's) regarding the young Earth and literal days of creation, you can find some great stuff at Creation.com and Answers in Genesis.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Makeup Palette Felt Board Play Set

Hanging Tahlia's felt board on her bedroom wall was a big achievement! After we set it up with a calendar ready for starting school, she decided to use the free space to pretend to do her makeup for school in the morning - just like Mummy does for work.


Which inspired me to make her this...




... her very own makeup palette!


You can make your own with our free template available here.

I used craft glue to attach the felt to the background, and hot glue to attach the plastic pocket. You don't have to attach them at all if you don't want to - aside from the plastic pocket of course. 

Tahlia really enjoyed adding the glitter glue to the top of the oval eye shadows. I won't pretend I didn't enjoy it either. It really makes the item, really topped it off.




This activity provides a great opportunity to learn shapes and colours. And I suppose if you don't attach the items, you could use it to learn spatial awareness too.

I refuse to spell colour the American way... the English way is correct in Australia, and so much more rich and colourful - pun intended!




It does fall off the felt board easily when played with, which is disappointing. It is just too heavy. It will stay up for days when not being played with though. If you have one of those A-frame or slanted felt boards, it would work wonderfully I'm sure. Here is our tutorial on How to Make a Felt Board.

I will probably convert the makeup palette into a quiet book page once it gets neglected like most toys do eventually. Hopefully that will spark another bout of imaginative play, and I'll get twice the value out of my efforts.





See also:

Menorah felt board play set for Hanukkah




Sunday, 11 February 2018

Sublimation Printing on Felt - Test

I have spent a lot of time researching the best AND most affordable way to print on felt.


Background:

I wanted a method of actually printing on felt, rather than using t-shirt transfer paper which leaves a plastic film on top of the felt. This plastic layer prevents felt from sticking to itself and makes layering difficult. Layering is very useful for felt board story play sets and quiet books, such as dress up dolls and the like.

Sublimation printing transfers the ink directly into the felt fibers, and because it uses pigment based ink instead of dye based ink (which is water soluble) it tends to last well even after washing. A sublimation printer prints the pigment ink onto sublimation paper. After it has dried, the paper is layered on top of the felt and pressed in a heat press. This heats the ink so fast that it quickly turns to a gas and transfers from the paper onto the item - in my case felt.

After I came to the conclusion that sublimation printing was most likely the best way to go, I set about finding a way to make it affordable.

There are a couple of companies that offer such services online, such as Bags of Love or Contrado in the UK. It is rather expensive, particularly if you do not live in the UK!

I considered buying my own sublimation printer and heat press - which would have been more affordable than buying from overseas. I joined as many sublimation printing groups on Facebook as I could to find out what were the good brands and such. Most importantly, I wanted to check that sublimation printing on felt does actually work before I made an investment in a printing system.

I quickly discovered that an affordable machine does not come with the most vibrant inks. And the ink can dry up and clog the printer if you don't use it regularly. Since my use would only be as a hobby, I decided it would be better to let the professionals deal with those issues.

In a couple of the local sublimation printing groups I asked if someone might be willing to do a test for me. Thankfully Leonie from Digitextiles offered to test some felt samples for me at no cost!




Digitextiles Test Sample Results:


Club House felt roll (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL and improved the fiber quality (I was worried that it was not good enough but the heat press tightened the structure of the fibers)

Acrylic felt packaged roll (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Arbee 50 pack A4 felt sheets (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Acrylic felt by the meter (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Arbee stiffened felt sheets (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL but became a lot thinner than it was originally, although it remained stiff

Sullivan's A4 felt sheets (Lincraft) - was SUCCESSFUL and remained around the same thickness and quality

All felt was heat pressed for 45 seconds at 190 degrees with no preshrinking.


Screen printed fabric on heat press to sure
 ink in studio by Scrud123


My Felt Printing Plan:

In an effort to make printing on felt affordable, I asked Leonie if she would be willing to print and post me sublimation paper only. That way I would only have to buy a heat press and I would also be saving bulky postage and providing the materials and manpower myself. Transferring individual parts of an image to stiffened felt can be done as required and would not be causing too much mucking around for a sublimation printing business (which would also put costs up).

She has agreed! Printing costs are around $20 per 1 x 1.48m area plus postage. This area fits around 21-25 A4 sheets of images. She prefers images are sent via email or drop box. They should also be sent as individual images rather than as a 21 page PDF (which suits me perfectly).

If you are interested in using this method, here is a great buying guide by STAHLS' for what to look for in a heat press.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Making Time To Sew - Blog Hop

We are all busy people. I work full time and I have a family, and I have a blog to run and house to clean. So how do I find time to sew? I'll share 5 tips on how to make the most out of your probably limited crafting time below.

To be honest I used to get major jealousy when I read other people's blogs that mentioned all the lovely sewing they had time to do during nap-time. I had dreamed about sewing during nap-time. But nap-time barely existed for me. Tahlia was never a great sleeper.

I started sewing quiet books during the one hour I had after bedtime before I was completely exhausted and had to go to bed myself. It gave me something to think about during the day.

How do you set aside time or find time to sew? This post is part of a blog hop - to read up on some more ideas on how to find time to sew visit the other lovely blogs listed under my tips below:




I guess this question could be phrased a little differently... How can I stay motivated? If you are motivated, you WILL find time to sew!


1. Do SOMETHING every day. 

It doesn't have to be much, but eventually you get there! Some days all I do is cut off the ends of the cotton that I sewed the day before. I might even just change the thread to the right colour on my sewing machine. Sometimes I cut out the pattern, or even just part of it... I've still done something!


2. Pack everything you need for your project into a bag. 

Obviously you can't pack the sewing machine, but you can pack scissors, material, pins and get a lot of things ready to sew when you do have time at home. And because everything you need is right there, you don't need to get discouraged that you can't find what you need and will have to go through the mess in the garage trying to find it when you really just want to go to bed. When everything is ready to go, you will feel more motivated.


Items I take to sew (plus scrap felt) - everything goes into plastic kitchen or
stationary containers so they don't get lost or fall out (pins)...
plus there is a sneak preview on an upcoming quiet book page :)


Now you can take it with you to work or the doctor's waiting room (if you have to wait hours, you can get started on it - if Murphy's Law works for you, you will not have to wait long). You can take it anywhere! I started a new job a while ago and the tea room was a little icy to begin with. I couldn't be bothered trying to break into a friend group. So I just took my sewing to entertain myself. It broke the ice with a few people for me, and soon I had plenty of friends and an opportunity to share my faith.


Items I take to help draw up my templates

I try to do the cutting out and pinning etc when I'm out so when I do get a second at home, I use the time on the sewing machine which I can't take to work. That way I am more efficient with the time I do get at home.


3. Celebrate small successes :) 

I show my progress to my husband and text pictures to my sister and Mum. There are lots of interest groups on Facebook that are great to get inspiration (and admiration) too.


4. Don't worry too much about small decisions or lack of skills. 

My sister pretends she is making her quiet books for someone else - that way she doesn't worry about the details so much and finds she can get things finished quickly. If you can't choose between colours, don't worry, it will probably look great either way. And your child will probably enjoy it either way. Also, they won't complain that your sewing is not professional enough. It will still be tons of fun and learning, and therefore achieves the goal.


5. Do the easy bits first.

That way you haven't got much left when the hard bit comes, and you want to see the outcome.


I hope these tips will help keep you motivated and sewing!

For more tips on how to find time to sew, visit:

Amanda at Fabric Engineer
Karen at Tu-Na Quilts