Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Runaway Bunny

"Shucks," said the bunny, "I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny."

And so he did.

"Have a carrot," said the mother bunny.

-Margaret Wise Brown

This needlefelted wool wall hanging was inspired by one of my favorite children's stories, "The Runaway Bunny." I love how every time the little bunny comes up with an elaborate plan to run away, he is outwitted by his determined, loving mother who will follow him anywhere because he is her little bunny. My son has always had a framed print of the last scene of the book on his wall, and every time I look at it I am reminded of the coziness of home, and the security found in a mother's unconditional love.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Collecting Stones for Making Felted Wool Pouches

If you've been wanting to do some wet felting with wool, creating a pouch using a river rock or beach stone as a form is a fun project to get started with. This is a great project for adults and children alike. It involves a nature outing as well, which is an added bonus. I usually go to a river with rocky gravel bars when the water isn't too high for them to be exposed. This can be incorporated with a summer trip to your favorite swimming hole, or a fall river hike. Look for smooth rounded rocks of harder composition, like granite for example. Avoid soft rocks with lots of clay or sandstone, as they might sluff off in your wool while you're working with them. Another good place to look is on a beach, especially near the mouth of a stream. I try to collect a variety of shapes to make different forms. Make a day outing of it and bring a picnic!

Next comes the crafting fun. Gather together your stone of choice, some wool roving, a button, dishsoap (I like to use Dr. Bronner's in a good smell like lavender or eucalyptus), a plastic bag, a dish of warm water, and towels to spread out underneath. First wrap the wool all around the stone, packing it tightly and making sure to thickly cover the whole surface. Then, spread out a towel and put your dish of warm water on it. Use your fingers to scoop and sprinkle warm water on the wool covered stone until it is fairy wet. The squirt a little soap on all around it. Now put the stone in the plastic bag and rub it between your hands all over, turning it around and around for about 10 minutes. Then look to see how bonded together the wool fibers are. You can add more soapy water and keep rubbing it until it has become more like wool fabric. Then cut a slit off to one side of the top and pull the stone out. You can rub the raw edges between your fingers with soapy water to felt them up a little too. Then stretch and pull the top flap down so it folds slightly over the side of the pouch. At this point I let the pouch dry for about a day. Then cut a small button hole slit in the top flap and sew a button on beneath it. Voila! You have a handmade pouch. Try this with your different shaped stones to get different shaped pouches. Let your creativity go wild!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Welcome to Mountain Hearth Handcrafts

When I started my Mountain Hearth blog, I fully intended to include many crafting articles, but I seem to have a profusion of things to write about the outdoors and homesteading. I decided my crafts needed a space and blog of their own, just like the craft room in my house. My creativity needs lots of room, after all. I will probably not post to this blog as often as the other, but I am already cooking up many ideas, so we shall see what unfolds. I am looking forward to sharing some crafty inspiration and ideas here with other folks who will go forth and make things!