Thursday, April 10, 2008

Felt Food for Fun

Today was both a school holiday for Willow, an occasion that I love because I love having both my girls with me all to myself all day, and a rainy day--a double cause, therefore, for some weird, elaborate project that filths up the house and keeps us excited all day. And so today, the girls and I were felt food fools!

Look at the awesomeness we created:

We just kept on thinking of things to make for the entire day. The simplest stuff to make, of course, is in the "flat" category. Bread is just a brown bread shape with a white smaller bread shape stitched on--if you're into a pleasing shape, by the way, or you're just not a skilled hand-drawer as I am not, it's simple to find a template for most of this stuff by doing a Google Image search for, say, bread slice, printing out a picture that has a shape you like, and cutting it out. And once you have bread, all the other sandwich fixins are easy--cheese slices (don't forget a holey Swiss or my own personal favorite--American!), lunchmeat, the peanut butter and jelly I made above, etc., don't even require sewing, and items like lettuce leaves or tomato slices just need some embroidery for definition.

And with flat stuff, you can always pile on more flat stuff, and then you have...frosted cookie and slice of pizza! Even though we never have either sausage or pepperoni on our pizzas (we always, always order half sundried tomatoes or broccoli for me and half pineapple for Matt), Willow requested the above "saussaroni" on her pizza.

For foods that you want to have a little more body but that are still pretty flat, you can cut out two identical front and back pieces, sandwich another, slightly smaller piece of felt or low-loft batting or fleece or whatever scrap in between them, and sew around the edge for something like...

Mmm, pancakes, but I actually had to cook eggs over-easy for the girls this morning, because they'd never seen this exact food before.

And then you can quilt through your layers for additional detail if you want. And notice that this ain't necessarily super-realistic--if you want to make really elaborate and detailed and perfectly realistic felt food, that's awesome and you can, but that's something that's all about you. If it's something you're doing because it's cool to do with kids, then remember that kids don't want perfect, they just want you to finish up their grapes, already, so they can add it to their lunchbox and go on the pretend picnic.

Stuffed foods are a lot like the quilted foods except that instead of putting a layer of batting in between the front and back pieces, you leave an opening when you sew them up, then stuff them--in my case, with the fill out of an old pillow--then finish sewing. If you want to add a stem or leaves, don't forget to put it between the layers before you sew.

But probably the best part about making felt food is using your creativity and your three-dimensional constructions skills to make awesome stuff that doesn't fit into these easy categories. For the watermelon, for instance, you can start out with just a red circle, but then you've got to make and trim a paper mock-up of the rind to figure out just what shape and size it needs to be, and then you'll probably want to hand-sew it and stuff it. You can make seeds just by sewing back and forth through the stuffing to both sides of the flesh and taking tiny stitches. This was Willow's special request, and it's her favorite piece of food from today:

I'm the one who likes sushi, and these are really easy: roll up long rectangles, hand-stitch the felt nori closed, and take a few stitches back and forth across the whole piece to keep it all together.

The fortune cookie is another circle with a little hand-stitching to close it, but it's kind of weird to fold unless you pull up some real fortune cookies off of Google Image to look at for reference:

Such an easy, fun, and satisfying creative outlet. What felt foods do you make?

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