I’ve received a few baffled Facebook messages about the playscape that I posted pictures of yesterday. While that tends to happen to me, I thought everyone knew about all the crazy toys and decor we have in our house. Chances are if you see something hanging on my walls, short of picture frames, it is handmade or a photo that one of us has taken. Most of the boys” toys are made from natural materials and many of them are homemade.
I’ve always preferred natural materials for kids’ toys. I was ordering from Hearthsong when the girls were little although they had their share of plastic toys. I just couldn’t find things I wanted around here and didn’t have the facilities to make a lot of things. Although, some of my friends from back then might recall a giant puppet stand that Riley got for her second birthday. Then the Internet exploded and made that sort of thing so much more accessible.
The hobbit hole marked my return to making toys. The boys were both LOTR fanatics and wanted some sort of toy to reflect that interest. Unfortunately, there was nothing affordable to be found so I poked around the Internet until I found a pattern I thought would work. It took me such a long time but it turned out pretty well.
After I had the hobbit hole under my belt, I decided that I could do anything, so I gave Waldorf Dolls a go and Sirs Finn and Robin were born. They are made of entirely natural materials and most of their clothes are of upcycled fabric from around the house. I try to do that whenever possible. I think the dolls cloaks are from an old pair of Steve’s cords.
When I first started with needlefelting, it was due to the influence of my lovely friend Julie. Needlefelting is a process of sculpting wool roving with sharp barbed needles and it is addicting. There is something strangely calming about jabbing something repeatedly with sharp needles until it does what you want it to do.
I’ve made many items for our nature table, playscapes , tapestries, a Gandalph doll for my husband. It’s been great fun to make gifts to send off to my many nieces and nephews as well as making my own littles’ eyes light up.
I have a few favorite places where I pick up my materials. I used to have to order through the Internet, exclusively, and my shops of choice are The Silver Penny in Maine and Weirs Dolls in Michigan. They are both cottage businesses and have treated me very well over the years. In the last couple of years, I have been able to get more supplies from local sources. Home Ec Workshop here in Iowa City carries roving and needles and I’ve picked roving (and an awesome drop spindle) from Abbi at High Prairie Fiber at our local farmer’s market a couple of years ago. I buy a lot at a time and it always lasts longer than I think it will
Who knows though, maybe if people start ordering from me, I will thin out my stash, a bit and have to go shopping for more. 🙂 So for those of you who who have seen this stuff before, I apologize for being redundant but I thought I’d explain myself a bit to those who are new to needlefelting.