Thursday, 22 February 2018

Makeup Palette Felt Board Play Set

Hanging Tahlia's felt board on her bedroom wall was a big achievement! After we set it up with a calendar ready for starting school, she decided to use the free space to pretend to do her makeup for school in the morning - just like Mummy does for work.


Which inspired me to make her this...




... her very own makeup palette!


You can make your own with our free template available here.

I used craft glue to attach the felt to the background, and hot glue to attach the plastic pocket. You don't have to attach them at all if you don't want to - aside from the plastic pocket of course. 

Tahlia really enjoyed adding the glitter glue to the top of the oval eye shadows. I won't pretend I didn't enjoy it either. It really makes the item, really topped it off.




This activity provides a great opportunity to learn shapes and colours. And I suppose if you don't attach the items, you could use it to learn spatial awareness too.

I refuse to spell colour the American way... the English way is correct in Australia, and so much more rich and colourful - pun intended!




It does fall off the felt board easily when played with, which is disappointing. It is just too heavy. It will stay up for days when not being played with though. If you have one of those A-frame or slanted felt boards, it would work wonderfully I'm sure. Here is our tutorial on How to Make a Felt Board.

I will probably convert the makeup palette into a quiet book page once it gets neglected like most toys do eventually. Hopefully that will spark another bout of imaginative play, and I'll get twice the value out of my efforts.





See also:

Menorah felt board play set for Hanukkah




Sunday, 11 February 2018

Sublimation Printing on Felt - Test

I have spent a lot of time researching the best AND most affordable way to print on felt.


Background:

I wanted a method of actually printing on felt, rather than using t-shirt transfer paper which leaves a plastic film on top of the felt. This plastic layer prevents felt from sticking to itself and makes layering difficult. Layering is very useful for felt board story play sets and quiet books, such as dress up dolls and the like.

Sublimation printing transfers the ink directly into the felt fibers, and because it uses pigment based ink instead of dye based ink (which is water soluble) it tends to last well even after washing. A sublimation printer prints the pigment ink onto sublimation paper. After it has dried, the paper is layered on top of the felt and pressed in a heat press. This heats the ink so fast that it quickly turns to a gas and transfers from the paper onto the item - in my case felt.

After I came to the conclusion that sublimation printing was most likely the best way to go, I set about finding a way to make it affordable.

There are a couple of companies that offer such services online, such as Bags of Love or Contrado in the UK. It is rather expensive, particularly if you do not live in the UK!

I considered buying my own sublimation printer and heat press - which would have been more affordable than buying from overseas. I joined as many sublimation printing groups on Facebook as I could to find out what were the good brands and such. Most importantly, I wanted to check that sublimation printing on felt does actually work before I made an investment in a printing system.

I quickly discovered that an affordable machine does not come with the most vibrant inks. And the ink can dry up and clog the printer if you don't use it regularly. Since my use would only be as a hobby, I decided it would be better to let the professionals deal with those issues.

In a couple of the local sublimation printing groups I asked if someone might be willing to do a test for me. Thankfully Leonie from Digitextiles offered to test some felt samples for me at no cost!




Digitextiles Test Sample Results:


Club House felt roll (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL and improved the fiber quality (I was worried that it was not good enough but the heat press tightened the structure of the fibers)

Acrylic felt packaged roll (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Arbee 50 pack A4 felt sheets (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Acrylic felt by the meter (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL

Arbee stiffened felt sheets (Spotlight) - was SUCCESSFUL but became a lot thinner than it was originally, although it remained stiff

Sullivan's A4 felt sheets (Lincraft) - was SUCCESSFUL and remained around the same thickness and quality

All felt was heat pressed for 45 seconds at 190 degrees with no preshrinking.


Screen printed fabric on heat press to sure
 ink in studio by Scrud123


My Felt Printing Plan:

In an effort to make printing on felt affordable, I asked Leonie if she would be willing to print and post me sublimation paper only. That way I would only have to buy a heat press and I would also be saving bulky postage and providing the materials and manpower myself. Transferring individual parts of an image to stiffened felt can be done as required and would not be causing too much mucking around for a sublimation printing business (which would also put costs up).

She has agreed! Printing costs are around $20 per 1 x 1.48m area plus postage. This area fits around 21-25 A4 sheets of images. She prefers images are sent via email or drop box. They should also be sent as individual images rather than as a 21 page PDF (which suits me perfectly).

If you are interested in using this method, here is a great buying guide by STAHLS' for what to look for in a heat press.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Psalm 46 - Be Still and Know that I Am God Tea Set Quiet Book Page

Psalm 46 tells us to "be still and know that I am God".


Memory Verse: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10.

Materials needed to create a Be Still and Know that I Am God Tea Set quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used mid blue.
  • about 4 sheets of brown felt
  • thin brown and cream ribbons
  • clear vinyl/plastic scraps
  • small button - I used one with a shank (loop at the back)
  • printed herb material
  • wadding / batting scraps - ask your quilting friends
  • white felt
  • stiffened white felt (for the teapot and tea cup handles)
  • light blue felt scraps
  • light blue ribbon to match the light blue felt (optional but easier)
  • light blue embroidered flowers etc to decorate
  • sewing thread to match/contrast
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • printer to print the templates and the words "tea chest" in a nice font to use as a template - I used Cooper Black in size 120.
  • I used the following colouring sheets as templates for the teapot and teacup - they may need shrinking to a size you are happy with. I think I printed the teacup to fit about four on an A4 page.
  • a cup or glass to use as a tea bag and teapot cutout template. Check that it fits inside the teapot and tea chest pocket when you print it out.
  • my free tea chest template (minus lettering)

Tea Chest: First cut out some lettering that will fit on your front tea chest pocket. Sew it onto the front single layered pocket piece. Next, cut out the base of the tea chest and sew it down onto the same coloured felt to double and strengthen it. Do the same with both pocket pieces. Cut them all out and sew the doubled pocket pieces in position on the base.


Cut out the lid from your vinyl and edge it with the brown ribbon. Start a little off the midpoint of the bottom edge and end back at the midpoint, overlapping your starting point. Form a loop at the end by folding the ribbon back under itself before finishing. Stop sewing before you get to the end of the ribbon to leave a loop of ribbon. You will use this ribbon loop to hook over the button and close the lid. Re-enforce the stitching here several times as mine is already starting to pull off.

To enable easier movement of the vinyl through your sewing machine, you can do several things. I wedged a piece of paper between the sections of my sewing machine so it would slide properly and not stick to the plastic on my machine. You can use scotch / frosted sticky tape on the bottom of your sewing machine foot for the same reason, but I found I didn't need to as I was sewing on top of the ribbon.


If you want to store your tea pot in the tea chest like I did here, you may need to make some hinges. This allows for a gap at the top which you may need if your teapot is too tall like mine was. I have made two versions of this tea set - one for the Quiet Book Bible Project, and one for my niece. Since I want everything to fit on one page for the Bible Quiet Book Project, I needed to store the teapot and cup in the tea chest - one of the reasons there is only one cup featured here. (Also, the Bible verse is rather conducive to one cup - it can be hard to be still at a tea party)! The version I made for my niece didn't require everything to fit on one page so she has a double page spread. My sister made her a storage pocket to keep her teapot and cups in.


Create two ribbon hinges for the lid by cutting two small strips about 8cm long and melting the edges with a match to prevent fraying. Fold them in half and sew them to the top of your lid. I put my machine on zig zag stitch with a stitch length of zero to go backwards and forwards over the same spot. I did this twice in an 'x' shape on the top of the folded ribbon hinges.

I used a ruler to make sure the angle was 45 degrees.

Pin the other end of the ribbon hinges underneath the top edge of the base and sew the base down around all sides except the right or left slanted side. That will create a secret pocket to store extra tea bags in if needed.

If you are not using hinges, sew the base down to the page leaving the same gap on one of the slanted sides to form a secret pocket. Then sew down the lid on top of the base along the top edge only.

You should be able to fold this little corner back so you can sew the tea chest
onto the page without sewing over the top of the upper pocket.

Sew your button to the middle of the front pocket that says "tea chest" and use the ribbon loop to close the lid.



Tea Bags: Use your cup or glass to mark circles over the printed herbs on your material. Cut them out in a square shape leaving plenty of room around your circles.  Then cut another square the same size from each of the herbs as well.

Sandwich a piece of wadding or batting between the two squares of material, right sides facing out. One of the squares should have a circle traced around one of the herbs. The other side should be the same herb but without a circle traced around it.

Cut as many 20cm lengths of ribbon as tea bags you are making. I made twenty tea bags because that is how many different printed herbs there were on my material. Melt the ends using a match to prevent fraying.

Pin the sandwiched tea bags together around the circle. Slip both ends of a length of ribbon between the wadding and the side with the circle traced on it and pin it in place. This will form a ribbon loop for your tea bag. Set your sewing machine to zig zag and a stitch width of just under 1 (like you would when sewing a buttonhole). Sew around the circle shape. Cut out your tea bags ensuring you do not cut off the ribbon loop whilst doing it.



Tea Pot: Cut out your teapot template from the colouring page. You will need to print it out several times and cut out the teapot handle with extensions at the ends to allow it to be sewn in place between two layers of felt. Also, cut the teapot bodies a slightly smaller width and slightly taller at the top to allow it to fit underneath the lid so it can close properly.

Cut your handle from white stiffened felt. Cut two teapot bodies and two teapot lids from white felt. If your child is right handed, draw around the cup or glass on the inside of the front teapot body. Cut out the hole. Lay a piece of clear vinyl over the space and sew around the circle to form a window into the teapot. That way you can see which type of tea you are pouring each time. Trim the excess.

There are tips for sewing with vinyl listed above in the tea chest section.

I purposely used a thread in the contrast colour so I would not have to keep swapping colours on my machine so frequently.

Cut out your strips of ribbon and contrast felt sections (the knob at the top of the tea pot and the edges of the teapot and tea cups). If you are using felt you will have to print out a couple of copies of the templates and eyeball some of those sections from that. If using ribbon (recommended to reduce the thickness when sewing it together), melt the ends with a match to prevent fraying. Sew all sections in place. If using ribbon, only sew along the bottom edge of the ribbon at the edge of the teapot body where you will be joining on the lid. This will enable you to fold back the ribbon and allow you to put a split pin through without damaging the ribbon.

Pin the teapot bodies together and sandwich the handle in between the two layers. I chose not to sew the spout closed. Pin the lid together too. Sew both together. You may need to use the hand knob on your machine to get through the thickness of the stiffened felt when sewing through the handle.

Use a darning needle to make holes for the split pins and insert them. I used one on each side.


Hot glue your embroidered flower embellishments in place.

Tea Cup/s: Cut your template from the colouring page in a similar manner to the teapot. Cut your handle/s from white stiffened felt.

Cut out your strips of ribbon or contrast felt sections. If using ribbon (recommended to reduce the thickness when sewing it together), melt the ends with a match to prevent fraying.  Sew in place.

Pin the tea cup/s together and sandwich the handle/s in between the two layers. If you are only making one tea cup, remember to put the handle on the opposite side to the teapot so you can hold one in each hand and still see the pretty decorations. I put both mine on the same side and had to undo it later and swap the handle to the other side on my tea cup to please Tahlia. She wasn't happy she couldn't see the decorations on the tea cup while pouring her cup of tea. I did four tea cups for my niece, so I did two of each side for her.

Sew the tea cup together. You may need to use the hand knob on your machine to get through the thickness of the stiffened felt when sewing through the handle.

Hot glue your embroidered flower embellishments in place.

Finished!

Difficulty Level = Difficult.

I have suggested a few changes to make it a little easier. I wish I had thought of them earlier!

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Psalm 46 - Learn to be still and trust God to help us through our problems.
  • Imaginative Play - Practice relaxing, "let go and let God" while talking things over with Him over a cup of tea.
  • Herbal Medicine - Get informed about what each herb looks like, which parts to use, and what properties they have.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through matching the pieces.



Read the Chapter

Psalm 46

Devotional


Though the tempest rages around us, we can sit and confidently enjoy a cup of tea knowing that God is in control. We may be overwhelmed by the things we experience, but to God all our trials are like a storm in a tea cup. He can sort our problems and give us calm in the midst of the storm. Take a moment today to talk over your problems with Him over a cuppa. It will be time well spent.



Sunday, 3 December 2017

Micah 5 - Oh Little Town of Bethlehem Quiet Book Page

Micah chapter 5 predicts the birth place of the Messiah - Bethlehem.


Memory Verse: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.” Micah 5:2.
.

Materials needed to create the Oh Little Town of Bethlehem quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used red.
  • Betty Lukens Felt book 01 Bible Stories available at Koorong.
  • sewing thread to best match the page
  • scissors!
Cut out all the pieces for this page and the page itself from the Betty Lukens set. The Betty Lukens FAQ section has posted a cutting tips PDF.

Sew the Betty Lukens page onto the background felt along three sides, leaving the top edge open to form a pocket. Pop the pieces inside the pocket (or better yet - play with them)!

Finished!

Difficulty Level = Easy, plus No Sew version.

A very easy quiet book page!
Just use hot glue wherever sewing is recommended for a no sew version.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Micah 5 - Learn about how Jesus fulfilled this Old Testament prophecy by being born in Bethlehem.
  • Imaginative Play - Which of the animals is going to get to see Baby Jesus first?
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through arranging the pieces.




Read the Chapter

Micah 5

Devotional

Bethlehem can mean "House of bread" in Hebrew. Here we have the bread from Heaven / bread of life (John 6:25-59) in a very impoverished 'house'. I guess when you see the Majesty of God, it shows off how wretched, poor, blind, naked and filthy our condition really is.

This prophecy is just one of over three hundred that Jesus fulfilled. The video below talks about the mathematical possibility of Jesus fulfilling just six of those, one being a 1 in 3968 chance of being born in Bethlehem.






Saturday, 25 November 2017

Isaiah 9 - Unto us a Son is Born Quiet Book Page

In Isaiah chapter 9, a prediction of the Messiah's birth occurs.

Memory Verse: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Materials needed to create Unto Us a Son is Born quiet book page:

  • A4 felt background sheet. I used mid blue.
  • purple ribbon scrap
  • felt scraps in white, gray, yellow, orange, straw, dark brown, mid brown, tan, and various purples
  • a yellow/gold shank button with a loop back - this is too accommodate the thickness of four layers of felt used on the star
  • sewing thread to best match the page
  • scissors
  • the free template available from A Felt Nativity Story by Stay at Home Educator 
  • my free template - which includes the extra pieces missing from A Felt Nativity Story by Stay at Home Educator as an added bonus! Most of them are untested, but I am confident they will work - I have made a few templates in my time.

From the felt nativity story template, I used Joseph's body for both Joseph and Mary. I used two of the wise men's clothes for them because they are easily able to be adapted to form pockets to enable cuddling of Baby Jesus. First cut out one of all the pieces and arrange them on your page to make sure they fit. You will need to adapt your pieces somewhat to be able to form a pocket with Mary and Joseph's clothes. I will try to explain adequately below.




Baby Jesus: sew down the pieces for baby Jesus in the order of face followed by swaddling onto a doubled layer white background. When you have gone around the saddling, sew around his head on the white felt. Cut around the edge leaving a white border around Baby Jesus' head.

Manger: sew down the pieces for the manger and straw in that order onto a sheet of felt the same colour as the manger. I used chocolate brown. Then cut it out. Pin it to the page and cut a length of purple ribbon for a blanket and melt the ends with a match to prevent fraying. Pin it in position so it will fold over baby Jesus and form a blanket. Unpin the manger and sew down the ribbon at the bottom edge where it won't be seen under the manger. Then re-position the manger and sew it down around the outside edge leaving the top straw side open to form a pocket for baby Jesus to sleep in.




Star of David Sun: first choose the size appropriate for your button and cut out one star and sew it down to the same yellow felt. Cut it out after sewing it down. Then cut out the corresponding sized circle out of orange felt and layer a piece of orange felt topped by the Star of David and the circle of orange felt on top of that.




Sew down the circle. Sew the appropriate sized button hole onto a scrap piece of felt so you can mark with sewing pins on your sun where to start your button hole.





Sew a buttonhole the appropriate size for your button in the middle of your star and open it up with a seam ripper.





Then cut out the star by cutting the bottom orange layer by following the circle shape at the top. Fold back the yellow star points as you cut around so you don't cut them off. Hand sew the shank button to your page. Button on the sun.

Mary: Use a few of your pieces to line up Mary again, and sew down the back of her head covering and then her body on top. The photo is to show the positioning - not which sections to sew down.




Sew down the two purple pieces onto a white sheet of felt. Position the body piece template over the top and use it to cut out the shape of her dress. Then trim the section of white from around the shoulder area and continue down along the purple to the bottom edge. See below.





Pin the dress on top and sew matching your thread to the white and purple sections. Stop at the spot where the purple cuts across Mary's chest to form a pocket opening so Mary can cuddle baby Jesus.




Next sew down Mary's head and hair. Sew her front head covering down onto the same white sheet of felt it was cut from so it is double thickness. Cut it out and then sew it down along the outside edge.

Joseph: When cutting out Joseph's clothes, cut off one shoulder from the Y shaped pattern pieces. When you cut out the pieces out of felt, extend the length of the pieces you cut off from the Y shape so they extend underneath the other and into the pocket.

Position and sew the back of Joseph's head covering, followed by his body. Then sew down the extended shoulder pieces the go underneath Joseph's outer robe into the pocket. Sew down his head and hair.

Similar to Mary, sew down the two purple pieces on top of each other onto a grey sheet of felt. Position the body piece template over the top and use it to cut out the shape of his robe. Then trim the section of grey from around the shoulder area and continue down along the purple to the bottom edge. Pin the robe on top of his body and sew matching your thread to the grey and purple sections. Stop at a spot a little below where the purple cuts across Joseph's chest to form a pocket opening so he can cuddle baby Jesus too. Why is it always Mary that gets all the cuddles? I'm sure Joseph tried to be a good Step-Dad and gave Jesus plenty of cuddles.

Lastly, Sew down the front of his head covering onto another gray sheet of felt to double it up so it is strong. Then cut it out and position it, sewing only along the outer edge.




Finished!

Difficulty Level = Intermediate.

However - A Felt Nativity Story board by Stay at Home Educator is easy! I included the missing pieces in my free template above.

Key Learning Areas and Skills

  • Isaiah 9 - This page tells about how God told Isaiah about the birth of the Messiah around 500 years before the fact. He came from Royal lineage as predicted.
  • Imaginative Play - The baby can have cuddles with Mummy and Daddy, wear His crown/halo, and sleep in His royal-blanky bed.
  • Tucking - Tuck baby Jesus into his manger-bed and tack the blanket in over the top.
  • Buttoning - Button and un-button the sun.
  • Shapes - Learn the shape of a Star of David and sun.
  • Fine Motor Skills - all quiet books encourage fine motor skills through turning pages, and on this page, through buttoning the sun and tucking the baby into bed and Mummy/Daddy's arms.



Read the Chapter

Isaiah 9

Devotional

Isaiah prophesied Jesus birth around 600-700 years before the event.

Jesus is the sun of righteousness mentioned in this chapter. I made a Star of David shaped sun that can be buttoned on and off the page - and can be used as an impromptu crown or halo on Jesus' head.

This quiet book page features a lot of purple - because the government will be on His shoulders and that is the Royal colour. I gave Jesus a purple blanket for the same reason. It kinda annoys me when they picture Him in prickly hay. As if his Mama wouldn't put a blanky down first!!

Both Mary and Joseph are descendants of King David (government) - although Joseph was a descendant through the line of Jeconiah and therefore not eligible to be a forebear of the Messiah. I will write about that in another devotional, however.

Which brings me to the next part of this devotional... hidden information regarding the virgin birth.

There are countless fascinating things to discover when you start studying the Bible. You might be frightened that you will learn everything there is to know, but you are quite safe to believe you will never get to that stage. The Holy Spirit has inspired so many secret layers of meaning (that probably the original writers did not even realize they were hiding in the writing) that we will never run out of learning.


Image source

There are two ways of writing the Hebrew letter mem - 'M' in English. they are called an open mem and a closed mem, referring to the gap or no gap formed in the letter when writing it. Correct Hebrew grammar rules that the closed mem is only ever used at the end of a word. Theses rules are followed everywhere in the Bible except in one word in a passage in Isaiah 9.  If you are curious as to why the rule is broken here and how that is significant to the prophecy of Jesus' virgin birth, please read this article from JewishRoots.net and even if you don't read the whole article - make sure you follow the link in the article to a two and a bit page PDF entitled The Mystery of the Closed Mem by Daniel Botkin. It is large writing and an easy read, and WELL worth it!


For unto us A Child is Born - Handel's Messiah

Tahlia had fun pretending to conduct the orchestra and choir for this clip!!