Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing. Show all posts

Saturday, July 22, 2017

In the Art Room: Stitching Pizza Plushies!

A little over a month ago, I got an email from Trixi Symonds over at Coloured Buttons. She asked me if I'd like to join her super fun #sewasoftie project for the month of July. Her concept was simple: introduce kiddos to stitching with a month long sharing of sewing projects via her Facebook page (which, by the way, is LOADED with fabulous sewing inspiration for kids of all ages). I happily agreed and used my recent trip to Italy (and love for all things pizza) as my inspiration. 
Another reason I chose pizza is because my kiddos always find inspiration in food. Are your students/kids like that? It's so funny to me: give a kid a piece of clay and it's guaranteed that they will come back with a clay cookie, pizza or a taco. I know when I share this project with my third and fourth graders in the spring, they'll be all in. 

Let's talk supplies:

* Craft Felt in bunches of colors. I find that I have a TON of craft felt. Does it multiply? Are teachers secretly dumping the stuff in my storage closet? The latter is more than likely the case. It would also explain the ziplock baggies of broken crayons I always receive (y'all, I don't even use crayons!). 

* Chenille Needles are my jam. They have a big eye that is great for threading and a nice sharp point which is perfect for puncturing that felt. 

* Thread can be tricky. Get the cheap stuff and it can break with a slight tug. We use embroidery floss with the single thread...not the one with 6 threads. Cuz we ain't got time to be splittin' hairs. 

* Paper for creating a pattern and for making a needle threader.

* Scissors are great...and if you have one for fabric and another for paper then you are just the bee's knees. 

* Pins and a Magnet to park those pins. They make these great pin wands that my students love. You just wave them and the pins snap right to the wand. 
When I first got the idea to create this lesson, I kept getting more ideas. First it was allowing the kids to create toppings that can be changed at any time. Kind of like the felt boards I played with as a kid. That's why I created the segment in the video where the toppings are changed. Then I thought it would be great to introduce button sewing...for that the toppings would have to be tacked down. And, of course, I had to throw on some puffy paint because PUFFY PAINT MAKES MY WORLD GO ROUND. Thank you, Puff Daddy for the Puffy Paint. He's the one who invented it, right?
Then I got the idea for a silly-faced pizza. I spotted these giant googly eyes at the craft store and thought it would be fun. Because I wanted to add arms like we did with the Stitched Monster project, I knew I'd have to go about sewing a little differently. Originally I was going to make one video...but I decided that two was best: one for the Stuffed Pizza and Button Sewing and another for the Funny Faced Pizza
So, just some thoughts on sewing with kids: I usually do a fibers unit in the spring, after clay. Kids love sewing, weaving, felting, you name it...and it's a great follow-up to clay as they pink-puffy-heart-with-sparkles LOVE clay. However, sewing is a challenge that you and your students need to be prepared for. Whenever we tackle something new, I remind the kids that we are learning and that takes practice and patience. I tell them that some of them will get it right away...and others will take a little longer...but we will ALL get there. With practice and patience. It's important to emphasis this so that frustration does not lead to a defeatist mentality.
Now, I'll have my students glue their items down with tacky glue. But, for those kids creating at home who wish to change the toppings of their pizza frequently, they could simply keep their cut pieces in a sealed bag. 
This pizza was created the same way as the first but I really wanted to introduce button sewing. What better way to do that than with pepperoni buttons?! And, of course, puffy paint. 
No doubting that I grew up in the 80's...I got puffy paint in my veins. 
Shortly after posting my Stuffed Pizza video on my YouTube channel, Jeanne Kemp, an art teacher out of Baltimore shared this with me. She'd done the project with her students! How fun and they did a fabulous job. I had pizza for dinner in their honor. 
This project is a little more involved simply because of the addition of sewing the arms and sewing three sides verses two. For that reason, I'll reserve this project for my older students. 

I def don't plan on purchasing them all googly eyes as I don't have that kind of budget. So, more than likely, if my students decide to make a face, they'll have to create the eyes from felt. No biggie. 
 I really had fun creating these pizzas. They got me excited about hand sewing again...and the upcoming class I'm taking at Alabama Chanin. More on that to come. LOVE to know if any of you all have taken a class there before! 

Until then, have a super fun time stitching your pizza! 

Arrivederci!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

In the Art Room: Fiber Arts for Kids

When I first started teaching, weaving was in our curriculum and I was scared outta my mind. The only knowledge I had of weaving came in the form of the fiber arts class I took in college...where I got a C due to my crappy weaving project. I remember warping one of those giant floor looms for what felt like hours (prob only took 15 minutes but it was dreadfully dull) and skipping a warp strand. "Eh," I thought, "what's one warp strand, the professor will never know." Well, that one strand created a huge runner throughout my weaving and dropped my GPA down...along with the C I also acquired in Karate. Turns out Indiana University takes weaving and martial arts super seriously.

Fast forward to the present and weaving, sewing and all things fiber-artsy is one of my favorite things to teach...and the kid's fave thing to learn! Since I'll be joining in on Trixi Symond's Sew a Softie in July, I thought I'd share this video I created for the Art of Education's online conference. This video is from several conferences ago...but I still use the ideas and methods in my art room. 
Are y'all signed up for this summer's conference? I'll be leading a hands-on clay and printmaking session and I'm so excited! 
My students love fiber arts...and it's a skill that just isn't taught as much any more. All the more reason it is so fascinating to them. You can find a list of my very favorite fiber art projects here. I mentioned a ton of lessons and videos in that clip...you can find them all in that link! You are ALWAYS welcome to use my videos in your art room. I just appreciate a shout out when projects are shared via social media. 

And don't forget to join the fun of Trixi's Sew a Softie in the month of July! 
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

In the Art Room: Sew a Softie!

I was recently contacted by the author of Sew Together, Grow Together, Trixi Symonds. She's the founder of Sew a Softie (check out the #sewasoftie on Instagram for some fun inspiration!) and has a fun sewing opportunity coming up in the month of July. I'm definitely joining the fun...and I thought you might want to as well. 
Trixi lives in Sydney, Australia where she has been teaching hand sewing to children for over 20 years. She coordinates workshops and leads sessions at galleries, bookstores, schools, you name it. Her goal is to encourage adults to share the love of stitching with children by providing cute, creative and fun sewing tutorials. Are you sold yet? I love her already! 
Trixi came to me with her idea of making July Sew-a-Softie month and asked if I'd be interested in joining the fun. Of course I agreed...and thought y'all might want to as well. Here are the details from Trixi:

The aim of Sew a Softie is to show both adults and kids that hand sewing is fun, creative, fulfilling, and that absolutely everyone can do it. Throughout the month of July simple to sew softie tutorials will be posted daily online. You can find them on the Sew a Softie Facebook page, the Coloured Buttons blog and the Sew a Softie website. Also, check out colouredbuttons on Instagram

You could take part by posting a softie tutorial and join the blog hop or by sewing softies with a group of friends or students anytime in July and posting on Instagam with the tag #sewasoftie.

Thanks, Trixi! I know I'm excited to get started.
I mentioned that Trixi is a book author, you can find her book here!
To clarify, if you want to join the Sew a Softie fun, be sure to follow Trixi's Facebook page. There you can find daily softie sewing inspiration as well as share your own ideas and creations. If you share on Instagram, don't forget to use #sewasoftie. I know I'm looking forward to lots of new tips, tricks and sewing project ideas for my students. 
Doesn't this sound like fun? For more inspiration, be sure to check out Trixi's blog and Instagram. It's sure to get your wheels turning. These cute images are from there. 
I know my students absolutely love sewing and had a blast with our Stitched Monster project. I think this will be a fun way to gain new ideas and collaborate with hand sewing enthusiasts all over the world. I hope you'll join the fun!

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In the Art Room: String Art!

Tonight, on Facebook LIVE at 8pm CST, I thought we could talk about how to prepare for a sub. I'll share with you what I do to insure that I'll won't come back to a Hot Mess Express. I'd love to hear your tips. ALSO...I have BIG NEWS about our LIVE chats that I think you are going to love love love! So I'll see you real soon.

My lovely and sweet (ahem) spring-break-ready third graders are starting their string art project this week. We have prepared the boards by painting them (we are using cardboard pizza rounds purchased in bulk via Amazon) and adding texture. We also punctured holes in them to prep them stitching. Next week, we'll sketch out our designs and start stitching. Here's the video I created to introduce the kids to this process. Feel free to use and share in your art teacherin' world.
Even if you don't do this project with the kids, you might wanna watch it for the needle threading trick alone. Or you can just follow me here and catch a short clip.
There are many methods of string art but I'll be introducing my kids to ones that I call Spectrum and Radiating Design. I found the above, the one I call Radiating Design, to be a little more taxing simply because you have to get more yarn to make the lines go all the way around the board. 
This one I'm calling Spectrum. This one is fun because you can use a lot of different colors. It's up to the artist just how much stitching happens within the design. 
 My third graders were at the end of this project when I introduced this new one. So during the second half of one art class, when they were finished with their candy sculptures, I had them quickly color, paint and scrape a texture onto their boards. 
Today, the first half of class, we did this. I had a handful of kids that were absent the day so they worked on coloring and painting while the majority did this. Thankfully, we had this project to also work on. Have I ever told y'all that I have a habit of having the kids work in exactly 37 projects at once? I ain't proud. 
The kids are stoked! I can't wait to share with you what they create. 
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

In the Art Room: Stitched Monsters!

Going LIVE tonight, Wednesday at 8pm CST to talk about some art teacherin' issues! Hope you'll join me over here. See you real soon! 

As my fourth graders are wrapping up their Candy Heart Sculptures and drawing, I'm thinking ahead to a fun fibers unit for them. Last year, this group explored embroidery and did a really fabulous job. I know they will love expanding their knowledge and creating these fun stitched monsters!  
I wanted a stitching project that would introduce them to the following: pattern cutting, pinning, sewing, stuffing and embellishing. I also wanted a fun contemporary artist tie-in and I found the artist behind Cotton Monster, Jennifer Strunge, to be perfect. 
Aren't her monsters just the most amazing thing ever? I need one in my life, stat. 

Here's the video I created to introduce my kiddos to Jennifer and all things stitching! Feel free to use it in your art teacherin' world. I think it would be perfect for 3rd grade on up.
We will be using the following supplies:

* 9" X 12" sheet of Smart-Fab or felt
* Additional felt for arms, legs and details
* Tacky glue
* Sharp tapestry needles
* 4 pins per student
* Scissors
* Embroidery floss or crochet thread
* Paper needle threaders

I anticipate this project will take my students 3 one-hour art classes. When I share my video, I show it to the kids in short bursts. I then allow them to go work and set my timer for the amount of time I expect it will take them. When the timer goes off, finished or not, all kids report to the floor for the next video viewing. 
On Day 1, we'll learn about Jennifer Strunge, cut out arms, pin them in place and, hopefully, stitch one side. The following day, we should be able to wrap up the stitching, turn inside out and start working on the face. We will pulling out our Monsters of Creativity collages and looking at those for inspiration! 
Day 3 (and, let's be honesty, probably Day 4) will include gluing the parts of the face down, stuffing and stitching closed. 
I'm thinking of tasking my early finishers to think of themselves as toy creators and their monsters as their creation. As such, they'll need to think of their monster as a product. Who will it be sold to? How will it be packaged? What will be the price? Why should people buy it? I'll keep you posted on this adventure!
Have y'all done stitched monster projects with your students? Love to hear what you've done! And if you do this project, please be sure and let me know, I'd love to see your student's creations. 
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Sunday, November 6, 2016

DIY: IKEA Curtain Cat Print Dress

Yeah, yeah so pumpkins and black cats are so, like, a week ago (I've already busted out the Christmas decor, you don't have to tell me!) but, to my credit, I did finish this black cat dress a coupla weeks ago. It's just taken me until now to share it with y'all here!
I scooped up the fabric for this dress from IKEA and I'm in love. It's actually curtain fabric which means I'm like the Scarlett O'Hara of the sewing world. They did have this same print in orange with smaller cats but I really liked theses big bold babies and the black and white motif. So I picked up the last package of curtains and, when I was heading to the checkout (which took me 35 minutes because, you know, IKEA is about three miles long), I noticed that there was a hole in the curtains. The hole wasn't going to affect my sewing but, if it's anything I've learned from my mama-in-law, it never hurts to ask for a discount. And am I ever glad I did as the $25 price was dropped to $5! I only used one curtain panel for the dress which means, if you are super groovy at simple math like me, this dress only cost me $2.50. Sweet!
I warned y'all last time that I'd learned to create gifs. And I already apologized for it. So suck it up, buttercup. 
Now if you've seen one dress from me, you've pretty much seen them all as I FREAKIN' LOVE this style: large band at the waist, fit and flair. I have found this to be the most flattering for my body type and I have a hard time straying from sewing anything else. 
I often do a lotta gathered skirts but lately I'm kind of tired of them. Of course, gathering a fabric as stiff as curtain fabric wasn't gonna work in this sitch. Also, with a gathered skirt, I just can't get the fullness I dig. So circle skirts have become my new fave. In fact, the last dress I made, this Vincent van Gogh number, is almost identical to this one, sans bow. 
So, lately, life has been rather busy, to say the least. I've been so stinkin' fortunate to be asked to travel to the Wisconsin art conference as well as the one in Illinois (details on that this week, it was A BLAST!) to be their keynote speaker and present fiber arts workshops. I've loved every minute of it. And I'm getting ready to head to Texas for theirs in a matter of days. However, that means I've had to take a wee hiatus from sewing. I've missed it! I'm looking forward to getting back into my sewing room and making more messes soon.
OHHHH, yeah. I forgot to tell ya, those cats were a bit of a pain to work with as their faces are not exactly symmetrical. That means trying to match and align them was a total headache. The bodice I'm wearing is actually the second one I created as the first had cock-eyed cats...which is totally going to be the name of my first band: CASSIE AND THE COCK-EYED CATS!...but not a great look for a dress. 
When el hubbo and I recently traveled to Disneyland, I snapped photos in Cars Land. I flippin' love Cars Land and if only for the ambience. It has a whole Route 66/1950's vibe that I totally adore, especially at night. 
They have these fabulous neon lights that I love. Cars Land was my inspiration for the 1950's Diner Art Show we had last year!
 I mean, how cute are these signs?! Total inspo for this project
 One of my favorite shows growing up was Alice. I loved Flo and her "kiss my grits!" attitude. 
The food at the diner is very good and they have a great vegetarian Shepard's Pie option that we love. Must better than your usual lukewarm pizza park food. 
Because of how graphic this dress is, it gets a lotta comments when I wear it. I scooped up a lot of big and bold print from IKEA on my last trip. I'm looking forward to time in my sewing room to create more of these wacky and wild dresses.
And just because it's catty doesn't mean it's limited to Halloween, does it? I mean, shoot, I'm catty all year 'round!
 I really love it with these ska-wannabe kicks I recently picked up. 
It's super fun to wear. I just need to get better at that whole twirling thing...
Obviously. Pretty sure the neighbors know I'm crazy! 
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