Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The Great Alaskan Playtime Book: Part 2
If you tuned in to the last Alaska Crafter article* then you already know about my crafty family and their amazing feats of craft genius. To continue the trend this week I'll reveal the last half of the Alaskan Playtime book that was created for my nephew Owl (just his nickname). Pages 6-15 are sure to thrill as much as 1-5.
When Owl is not making noises of his own, he loves to make noises with everything around him. That's why a forest of trees that crinkle as the bears rumble by is right up his alley. To create crinkly trees, first cut a tree pattern out of green foliage-textured fabric. Sew two tree pieces together with the right sides together leaving the bottom open. For the crunchy interior reuse the plastic windows from security envelopes. Stuff them inside your tree and stitch up the bottom. Then, attach the tree to a forest page with a strip of furry brown fabric for the trunk.
Continuing with the noisy theme, Owl loves to screech just like an eagle, and with a page full of eagles he is sure to feel in good company. In between the layers of batting behind one eagle place a small squeaky noisemaker, available at any craft store or online. Stitch around the eagle shape to make sure the squeaker doesn't slip away.
Besides noises, textures and colors stimulate tiny tykes. Page 10 holds two appliquéd Alaska patches for small fingers to feel. On page 11 a patch of sea lion covered rocks hides a peek-a-boo flap filled with sea-star splayed tide pools. What's more, the rocky outcrop acts as a mitt for Owl to explore. Sew the patch of tide pools directly onto the page. Before sewing the sea lion flap make sure to finish the edges of the patch either by serging off the trim, or by using an overlock stitch on your standard sewing machine.
After playing at the edge of the ocean in the tide pools, it's time for Owl to dive into the open briny and explore. Fish, crab and seaweed abound in the waves. To make 3-D seaweed Owl can tug on till his heart's content, my family used ribbon and soft string. Over the top of the seaweed image, stitch down loops of varying colors and sizes with a few shorter pieces of string interspersed. Just make sure it's safe for tiny fingers.
The piéce de résistance of the playtime book is the last page, the rainy day page. A bright yellow jacket not only echoes lovely Southeast Alaska but also helps little Owl practice buttoning and unbuttoning his rainy day uniform. If you have a worn rain jacket around the house that is ready to be retired, then snip out a small coat shape with buttons front and center, and stitch it in place over an ocean-blue fabric. If not, reuse some of the tent fabric from page 5 for the jacket, and insert pre-purchased snaps. For a finishing touch and authenticity stitch on a little logo snipped from the real thing.
Now, whenever little Owl is out of town he can play through the pages of Alaska one craft at a time. The only thing left is for me to get a book full of crafty pictures of him, so I can miss him a little less!