July 19, 2009

Recently we paid a visit to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, Maine.  The park is set up to permanently house animals that can not survive in the wild due to injury or human intervention of some sort or another.  It’s a pretty interesting place.  Not exactly a zoo, but close.  It is greeat to see the wild animals that co-exist with us up there in the Maine woods when we are there for the summer.

The girls both had a great time, but the main attraction for the 1 year old were the big birds.  There were haws and eagles and owls, and she called them all “wowls”.  I taught her the baby sign for owls which she enthusiastically showed back.  And for the following week, she was constantly saying “wowl!” and putting her hands up next to her head in her version of the sign. We all just about died form the cuteness.

When we got home to RI I realized I didn’t have any owl toys.  NOT ONE.  I had a copy of owl babies, which frightens the 4 year old to this day.  Which is probably why we have no other owls around.  This situation had to be remedied quickly as the 1 year old was desperate to point at owls and tell me about them.

I recruited the 4 year old to make me a couple of drawings of owls.  She did a great job, and I was able to make a sewing pattern from the drawing to create a pair of “sister wowls” in under an hour.  Basically I just added an extra inch to the drawing that she made.  (1″ for seam allowance, 1″ for depth) and cut approximations of the shapes she drew for the eyes and feet.  For the main fabric I used an old wool shirt of my husbands that had been shrunk and felted from too many accidental trips through the washer.  The four year old picked out the fabric for the eyes, beak, and legs.  For the legs I used a double thickness of decorator canvas from my scrap box.  The legs need a fabric with a bit of body.  If I were to do it again I might use stitch witchery to attach the eyes to the body before top-stitching them down. But at the time I couldn’t be bothered to drive down the street to fetch it from my studio.  So the eyes are a little wiggly.  But the girls don’t care.  The sister Wowls are very popular and seeing a Original wowl artworkWowls eye and beak shapestracing the wowl footwowl legStitching wowl eyes

lot of play time.

zigzag the wowls legs edges.

pin the legs before stitching togetherWowl - unstuffed.Sister Wowls


There’s lots going on around here right now.  Most of it happening outdoors, away from the computer.  I’ll post soon, I promise!



July 9, 2009

Oh. It’s been a stellar year for slugs.  I’ve never really had a problem with them before.  But now I do.  The unrelenting rain has created the ideal environment for them and they are blossoming like daffodils in spring.  They ate up my little bean seedlings.  And now they’ve started on my lettuce, and my peppers, and my cucumbers.  I am mad.Slug guards

So, I am fighting back.  Here’s my strategy.  Their little soft bodies can’t handle the rough texture of metal screening, so I made little cuffs from it to wrap around the stems of the pepper plants.  (they already had paper cup cuffs to ward off cutworms) I also pulled back my straw mulch and found lots of them hiding under the straw.  Yuck.  So I picked them up with my garden shears (If you touch slugs with your bare hands you will get this disgusting slime that really really doesn’t want to come off.  Really.  Ask me how I know.) and stuck them in an old peanut butter jar.  (or the slug jug, as the 4 year old calls it)  And closed the lid.  I am going to decide what to do with them later.  For now, they are trapped, and the slithering around inside the jar is very entertaining to the 4 year old.   I got about 8 of them today.  Yucky little creeps.Slug hiding under my straw mulch,