I made this using a pattern from one of my all-time favorite craft books Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor. Look at all those French knots, will ya! I love working with felt. The snap closures are pesky to install, but make the project look very professional.
I spent yesterday at a Mennonite church for a day of shape note singing. Notices for these events usually involve the phrase "all day singing with dinner on the grounds". Dinner is served at noon and the singing is indeed all day. My friend Katie and I had a great time. This is an embroidered picture of a shape note singing:
Katie was very kind and gave me a dozen eggs her hens had laid. Her birds have the run of the yard, so the eggs are significantly different from grocery store eggs. Happy chickens lay better eggs.
I went to a workshop with a recycling theme. Brilliant Linda, the owner of a sweet fiber shop named Raveloe, did her usual great job instructing a group in an interesting technique. Using pages from a magazine, we all learned how to use the gum wrapper technique to make a chain. The finished chains can be sewn together to make purses or vessels. Here is my first effort:
I never learned how to make these when I was a kid. Maybe it was because my favorite gum was Bazooka Joe bubble gum. I love how it looks like rick-rack. The scotty dogs? My most recent favorite thing - licorice candy from Trader Joe's. Mags the traveller was kind enough to supply me with these.
This morning I went to the Butterfly Conservatory with my daughter and my favorite-little-boy-in-the-world. It's like going into a lush tropical rain forest. There are 2,000 butterflies flitting around and it's magical to watch.
The weather today was exquisite, just the right medicine for a bad case of cabin fever.
Tonight I attended a workshop at Raveloe and learned to make this:
Isn't it pretty? It's a pastie! The kind burlesque ladies wear. There's actually a lot to know about how these babies are constructed. Sizing is one consideration. Using a pleasing balance of trimmings is another.The instructor, Emily, did a great job teaching us the ins and outs of pasty making. We were all pleased with the finished projects:
Mimi Kirchener generously shared her felt doll pattern on Purl Bee. The pattern is beautifully drafted and the step-by-step tutorial explains everything perfectly. I had a lot of fun making her. It gives me pause that my stash is such that I had everything I needed to make the project from the six colors of all-wool felt to all the shades of embroidery floss. I love the finished project:
If you have never made a doll before, this would be a good first project. You don't need to drag out ye olde sewing machine to make it; it is completely hand stitched. I especially like the three different joint techniques Mimi used in the design - you'll learn a simple sewn-on shoulder joint, an easy knee hinge and a very useful button joint on the hip.
We are safely home from Puerto Rico. One of the reasons we went was because it is "part of America". As it happens, that is on paper only. The culture is very different than the mainland. Where we were English was not widely spoken. Poverty makes life pretty dismal. The people I ran into were not particularly warm or friendly. One thing which I found extremely upsetting was seeing stray animals all over the place. Flea bitten, skinny cats were numerous. We even saw a few cows wandering down public roadways with no owner in sight. The most upsetting thing was to see really sick homeless dogs limping around. Mange seems to be widespread, so these poor creatures were really suffering. I spoke to a native Puerto Rican and she said very little effort is made by the government or private agencies to help animals. Pretty sad.
I had a chance to wander through a grocery store. It was interesting to note the different products needed in a tropical climate. Cookies and crackers come either in a sealed tin or in small one-serving packets. A candy bar that I tried had nutella-type chocolate on the inside of a wafer-type exterior. This arrangement is needed so the chocolate doesn't melt in the heat. An entire aisle of the store was devoted to large jugs of corn oil. Paradoxically, scattered throughout the store were products with large placards about controlling diabetes.
Anyhoo... I loved the beach:
Even looking up was pretty:
I saw a little wildlife:
I have a few more days left of Spring break and I'm hoping to get a few projects completed.
My husband and I are having a great time in Puerto Rico. We are staying in Ponce, on the southern coast. We've been here since Thursday. This is what we see when we wake up:
I am enjoying the old-lady-suimsuit-with-a-skirt. If I had my druthers, I'd wear one from the early 1900's, you know, the wool swimming costumes that covered the body from neck to knee. But this is a nice compromise. There are plenty of ladies of a traditional build staying at this resort. So, no one is taking particular note of my size. But... I have skin which is the color of snow. I am using a sunblock meant for babies which is a white, waterproof cream. The result is that I, for all intents and purposes, glow in the dark. The people who are staying at this hotel are mostly residents of the island. Consequently, my opalescent skin raises eyebrows and rouses a level of pity. I told my husband that this would be a great advantage if I were swept out to sea. The rescue planes would be sure to spot me. This is me in my 80-year-old-lady disguise as I take a dip in the Caribbean Sea:
It was a strange Easter Sunday, not being home and not cooking a nice dinner and not seeing my kids, but it's been nice to be in a sunny, hot place.
P.S. In case you thought it sounded familiar, the title of this post is a line from West Side Story.