Posted on

Not -Too- Noisy Noise Maker Tutorial

This week’s How-To is a Not-Too-Noisy Noise Maker Tutorial by Natalie from Woolhalla.


With New Year’s Eve just around the corner I wanted to create a noise maker, but decided on a not-too-noisy variety (I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates a little peace & quiet!). Here’s what it looks like:

Wool Felt covered tube with ‘noisy stuff’ to shake inside.

For this tutorial you’ll need: (1) a tube (mine is a poster tube end 3 x 5 “/10 x 15 cm), you can use paper towel tube, empty wrapping paper tube, etc. (2) some carton or construction paper for ends. (3) tape. (4)paper scissors. (5) pencil. (6) wool felt [mine is marine blue & yellow]. (7) noisy stuff, I used some stale popcorn. Hard beans and that sort of thing work great too. (8) sewing supplies incl. thread, pin, needle, scissors, etc.

If you don’t have any wool felt you can do the steps until covering with felt and substitute for paper. You can glue the paper on.
Place the end of your tube on the carton or construction paper. Trace around it with pencil. Then make the circle larger by about an inch (2 cm) and cut out.

Cut little triangular wedges in from the outer edge to the original traced circle.

Place on one end of the tube, fold the cut sides down over the tube. Tape. Use lots of tape to hold down, you don’t want your ends popping up.

Add noise making substance. I used about a quarter cup of popcorn. You want it to be able to move around and make noise, so don’t overload!
The put the other end on the same way you made the first end.

Cut a piece of felt the length of your tube, making sure it will fit all the way around. Trace the ends of the tube onto the felt and cut around to make two round ends. Start decorating your felt covering! I chose a star, and the template is below to print out.

I also added some backstitches with embroidery floss to make it look more like a shooting star.
Put the felt piece over the tube and blanket stitch in place. Once the felt tube is on put your round felt end pieces on and blanket stitch around. That’s it! All done!!

Star template to print out

Here is mine all done. Already thinking of making some in other colours…


This tutorial is brought to you by Natalie, of Woolhalla (my shop).

You can also visit my blog at: Woolhalla
Posted on

Kid Craft: Felt Landscape Fun

Monday Craft Fun: Be Inspired By the Seasons, Felt Landscape Fun for the Whole Family by Tiffany of Fair Trade Family

As an artisan I go back and forth between complicated patterns (such as when I am knitting socks or baby sweaters) and free-form fun (which is how most of my play foods come together). As a mom of 4 growing boys I find that the more complicated a project is the more I end up doing the work, or the more the older boys end up telling the younger ones what to do (sometimes in a less than kind way). Since we have been working on honoring each other in our family, and we value creating things together as a team while each person contributes artistically, we were drawn to the felt.

We used simple, inexpensive felt. There are nicer 100% wool felts out there, too, but we were on a more limited budget and were just having fun. We purchased four of the stiffer pieces of felt (each about 8″ x 10″). We used these as a base for creating our little landscapes.

Ours were inspired by the four seasons since the youngest of our four boys is focusing on the seasons in his homeschooling. When our kids were little we did simple felt boards and we could focus on a color, or shapes, or some other theme.

Each child then went to work on creating their own little pieces to add to each board. The littlest made the simplest flowers in a single color,

while the 12 year-old drew more complicated objects like a reindeer and carefully cut them out of the felt pieces.

The 10 year-old spent a long time on his jack-o-lanterns for the fall theme.

Each child took his own time creating their pieces and we fit them on the board. It really made the seasons come alive for our 5 year old and they had FUN doing it.

I don’t have any templates for any of the cut-outs because it really was an open-ended activity but I would love to offer a free pattern for one of my play foods instead! Have fun with your kids. Be inspired to do a craft that all the kids can do together, each contributing something bright and bold and fun. And then make a nice cup of herbal tea or a green smoothie, some fuzzy merino wool, and a crochet hook and settle down for a little crafting time of your own.

Fair Trade Family has been offering a menu of unique play foods since 2005: from simple wool fruits and vegetables to vegan-friendly cotton avocados and artichokes and complicated ethnic food feasts. Fair Trade Family also offers custom hand knit and crocheted longies, shorties, and skirts for cloth diapering. Artisan and operator, Tiffany Nixon, dreamed of running a store where she would sell crocheted goodies in the mid 80s (long before the internet) when she was only 10 years old. She has been a vegetarian since 1996 and recently converted to raw food vegan but still loves crafting nachos and chili and cupcakes from yarn. Tiffany has been married for almost 14 years and her four sons are 12, 10, 8, and almost 6…. and they are all creative in different ways.

Posted on

Friday Feature with Alkelda

Tell us little about yourself!
I am a musical storyteller and doll-maker who was trained as a children’s librarian. My husband and I live in Seattle, Washington, USA, with our 7 year old daughter. When my daughter was 2, I decided that I wanted to learn either to sew or to play guitar, and ended up doing both. I don’t work in the library anymore, but I cannot resist a reference question, especially if it involves trying to locate a favorite childhood book. In the beginning of our courtship, I impressed my future husband by locating a copy of the out-of-print book Dinosaur Comes to Town, written by Gene Darby, which had the refrain, “There’s a meat-eating dinosaur—and you’re meat!”
The meaning behind my shop name:
The name “Alkelda” is Old English for “healing spring.” Alkelda is an apocryphal saint, and her feast day is my birthday. When I decided to become a seller on Etsy, I elected to keep my username as my shop name and added “Dolls for Storytelling” to make it clearer what the shop offered.

What do you make and how long have you been creating?
I make embroidered wool felt dolls for storytelling through creative play. As a teenager, I would hand-stitch small dolls out of fabric remnants to give to family and friends, but it never occurred to me to seek out specific fabrics until I started making the little felt standing dolls like the ones in the shop. I started out with doll-making kits, and then developed my own patterns. I learned to embroider as an adult with the help of several embroidery books.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by plants, the curriculum in Waldorf schools, folktales, music (some of my dolls carry felt guitars), ironwork scrolls, and embroidered tapestries. My daughter loves dolls, and she often comes up with ideas for me, as do friends and family members.
A few years ago, I read her Sibyl Von Olfers’s The Story of the Root Children. She enjoyed it, but asked, “Why are all the root children blonde?” I explained to her that the author was Prussian, and she probably knew a lot of blond children, but that the majority of the Earth’s population has brown hair. When I talked about this conversation on my Saints and Spinners storytelling blog, friends of mine wrote about how they had longed for depictions of fairies and fairy-like dolls with dark hair and skin, and how rare it was to find them. Many of the dolls I make are for my friends when they were children as well as the people who are children now. I am glad that I can find cotton interlock for faces in a variety of skin tones.

Prior to using a book, my embroidery looked like a mess. I am the kind of person who needs specific instruction and guidance before free-form experimentation can take place. My first dolls (larger standing dolls with wire arms) were created with an embroidery book in my lap. I still consult my books quite a bit for new, complex stitches, but I’m glad that I finally have the basics “memorized” in my fingertips. Speaking of fingertips, it’s handy that I play steel-string guitar, because the calluses protect me from many of the needle-jabs I inevitably experience. (As a friend of mine asked, “Haven’t you ever heard of a device called a ‘thimble’?”)

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?
I started out as a buyer in June 2008 and became a seller in May 2009. When I started, I had no intention of starting a cottage industry business. However, when I started to make little dolls and people asked for commissioned work, it occurred to me that there might be a tucked-away corner of the market that would have room for my virtual stall. I was fortunate to have an online community already established for four years through my storytelling blog, and friends were willing to mention my new shop. Still, I was bowled over the first time I received an order from a stranger. I was glad to be able to join the Natural Kids Team because I liked the artisans and wanted a sense of connection with others who liked to create things that appealed to children.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?
Of course, I’m still learning from those who have been around far longer than I. What I would like for sellers in general to understand is that many people are inundated with data and noise to the point of saturation. Respect your potential customers by offering the best you have to create without getting into their personal space with a deluge of marketing. As a buyer, I went to Etsy to find well-made, handcrafted creations at fair prices, not mass-produced “bargains.” As a seller, I strive to make my shop a welcoming place to potential customers as well as people who simply enjoy looking at my dolls. Each listing ends with this mission statement: “I care about each doll I sew, and hope you will find a doll in the shop that you feel is yours.”

What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
I am a worker bee. I like low-profile jobs such as editing and organizing (although please, do not look at my desk as an example of order, as you will not find it). I hope those skills will help the team as a whole. What I really appreciate is
that when I have a question, people on the Natural Kids Team have perspective and can give guidance.

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?

As an adult with experience, I prefer to give my daughter toys made out of wool, cotton, wood and clay. These natural materials are warm and living. When minimally formed, these toys allow for many layers of creative play. However, I can understand the attraction of battery-powered toys. Before my daughter was born, I bought a little fire-engine train that had a battery for the siren. I got a kick out of pushing the button every once in awhile to hear that siren. However, when my daughter received the fire engine as a present, she pushed the button repeatedly. When she wasn’t looking, I took the battery out, and then gave her back the fire-engine train. She pushed the button and looked at it quizzically when it made no sound. After a few moments, she set the fire engine train down on the track and said, “Chook-ca-chook-ca-chook” (her train sound). I realized that by taking the battery out, I was giving her imagination room for its own discovery.

Links:
Alkelda: Dolls for Storytelling
http://alkelda.etsy.com

Facebook:
http://facebook.com/Alkelda

Storyteller page:
http://faridadowler.com

Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard