Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pig - Jules Older

A creativity workshop about pigs! Well, sort of. Our story for this session was a non-fiction book this time: Pig by Jules Older.

This book is fact-filled, but written in a rollicking cheeky tone, so just a heads-up there. Kids love it though. And I appreciate that the author & illustrator team (who also wrote Cow) donate 7.5% of their profits to the organization Heifer Project International.

For this session we made a gluten-free recipe (Chex Muddy Buddies), read our story, walked the baby around the block in his stroller, reviewed the list of Christmas presents already made, glued the acorn caps onto our finished and dry felted acorns from last week, and brainstormed presents which my student could give her sisters. The adults in her life are done, so now we are moving on to siblings. Pets will be last. My creativity will be stretched to the utmost, coming up with handmade presents for the fish, gecko, chinchilla, and snake.

My student decided that she wanted to make beanbags. That's easy enough! Wool felt from Magic Cabin, the lid of a cylindrical Quaker oatmeal box for the circle beanbag "body" pattern, needles, scissors, thread, and 20 lbs of pinto beans. We chose patterns from Suzanne Down's excellent book Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals. She is doing four beanbags... one for each sister and one for herself. She chose deer, cat, pig, and butterfly. I made a beanbag for myself, too, with an adorable pig with a curly tail on it.

We had a lovely relaxing sewing session. First we traced the animal patterns onto tracing paper and cut them out. Then she pinned the patterns to the wool felt and cut the pieces out. Obviously, since they're not going to be finger puppets you don't need the backside of each animal. Then she choose colors for the background behind the animal (the top of the beanbag) as well as the underside of the beanbag. I traced the lid to the oatmeal box onto tracing paper, we cut that out, pinned it to the felt, cut out the circles, and we started sewing. My children were all gathered round doing a project -- each girl knitting, sewing, or crocheting -- and we talked and did handwork. And ate Muddy Buddies!

Zac adored my finished beanbag. You can see him playing with it while he was getting his lotion after bathtime, and signing "pig."

I love Suzanne Down's book for templates and I'm also using them to make a felt animal book for Zac's St. Nicholas Day present. I chose 8 sheets of wool felt, sewed them down the middle to make a spine of the book, and started arranging and sewing little tapestries on each colored background.

So far I've done the dog on a hillside with flowers and leaves, the elephant standing on the grasslands under a hot sun, a pig cooling off in a mud puddle, and an alligator and a fish staring each other in the eye. The "mud" piece was in my felt scraps bag, leftover from some other project, so I should get no credit for the splashy mud shape. I save every single little tiny bit of felt, since it's about a dollar a sheet. Even a tiny amount can be an ear or a leaf or a fish scale, etc.

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