Saturday, May 8, 2010

For My Mom

Because You Weren't Afraid To Try

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
You went off to college on your own.
You married a man with a leather jacket, 
    a collection of records,
 and a mind full of dreams.

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
You left Smalltown USA
    and headed to the South Pacific.
You left teaching, left your degree, 
    and instead found work you enjoyed.

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
You traveled in lands of foreign languages.
    You lived outside the 50 states.
You experienced weather you'd never seen before; 
    made friends from places you'd never been.

Because you weren't afraid to try,  
You became a mother.
You pushed without painkillers,
and mothered without your mother nearby.

Because you weren't afraid to try,
You visited a place, then moved there.
You found a condo and made it a home.

Because you weren't afraid to try
You sat in that church service.
You accepted Him there.

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
You were the minority. 
You raised your children to understand
prejudice.  And acceptance.

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
You supported your family,
supporting your husband
while God did His work through him.

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
countless people found hope.  
Children saw Jesus.
Families were changed.

Because you weren't afraid to try,
You sent your girl to the best school available, 
You worked hard and sacrificed.
You inspired her, encouraged her. 
Helped her dream.

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
You sent that girl away.
You knew it might be for good.

You let her fail, you let her cry.
You let her succeed. 
You let her grow.

Because you weren't afraid to try, 
neither am I.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to Make Needle Felted Pea Pods

It seems like every child at some point in their life loves to play house or have a pretend kitchen.  These pea pods are the perfect addition to any child's play food collection.

Materials Needed:

Carders I bought mine on Ebay.  They are antiques and were less expensive than new ones.  They work just as well!

Wool- Washed, dyed.  I wash mine in the washing machine without agitating. I let it sit in hot water in the machine, and the extra grease and dirt float off.  Use the spin cycle to get out the extra water.  Just remember never to agitate the wool, or you'll have the largest piece of felt-blob you've ever seen.
I dye my wool with Jacquard Acid Dyes.  You just cook your clean wool at a low simmer on the stove top

Foam (mine is couch cushion foam from the last couch we discarded)

Felting Needles.  I buy mine in bulf from Mielke's Fiber Arts.  

First, you card your wool.  You tease out a handful of wool, then catch it on the teeth of one of the carders.  Next, you pull the wool across the carders.  The carders should be moving the opposite direction from one another, and should hardly be touching.  This will comb your wool, so that it's going mostly in the same direction.

Next, you pull the wool off the carders.  This time, move the carders in the same direction, beginning by touching the teeth of one carder to the top teeth of the other carder.  This will pull the wool off of that carder.  Do the same to the other carder.  Don't you love the staple gun fix-it job on my carder? 

You should now have two rectangles of wool.

Divide one of the rectangles into two pieces.  One piece is enough for one pea pod.

Begin rolling one of the pieces of wool tightly into a cylinder with your fingers.  

Hold the wool firmly in the cylindrical shape as you transfer it to your felting foam.  

Begin to poke the wool from all sides, shaping the pea pod into the form you desire.

Once the body of the pea pod is formed and not so fuzzy, begin poking circle shapes at one side of the pea pod.  These will be your peas.  On either side of the peas, make a long line, which will delineate the sides of the shell of your pea pod.  Your pea pods will begin to look like they are popping out of the pod and the pod will begin to curve naturally.  Poke either end of the pod more than the rest, so that they will look like the stem and flower end of the pea pod.

Once you have formed your peas, begin to needle felt some of your extra wool to either side of the pod, making some horizontal fibers, which will also help to emphasize your pea pod shell. 

Once you have felted the wool securely on either side, your pods are done.  

If you wish to display them creatively, tie some raffia at the top to help hold them together.  You're done!