Pocketful of borders: Little Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn; the sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn.

Here is the original fabric relief illustration for the rhyme, Little Boy Blue, from my book, Pocketful of Posies. My work is first mounted on foam core board for the photographer. Afterward, I stitch a felt border, remount, and frame each piece, making it ready to hang.

illustration of “Little Boy Blue”

I tried out some different shades of upholstery fabric for the background and selected this warm brown with a vine pattern. Then I cut the border sections out of wool felt.

I used variegated pima cotton to edge the pieces with blanket stitch. Later, I added chain stitched curly cues with variegated embroidery floss.

Sheep are so fun to make, with their curly fleece. Yes, these are all french knots, but they are spaced out a bit, compared to the dense knots in the lambs from my Mary Had a Little Lamb book. (see lambs here)

The haystack is padded with wool stuffing and the texture is stitched with tapestry wool, with real pieces of straw sewn in, too.

Little Boy Blue’s hat is made from thread wrapped wire and his horn is a cactus thorn.

This original illustration from Pocketful of Posies is on display (along with 44 others) in the children’s gallery at the Danforth Museum in Framingham, Mass. until Jan. 23rd, 2011. I will be signing copies of my book at the museum on Sunday, Dec. 5th from 1:30-3:00.

Note: See other posts from the Pocketful of Borders series here.

Shirley’s Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Shirley from Madison, Mississippi sent me these pictures of her wee folk tableau. She said, “At the urging of one of my daughters I’m sending you some photos from our Thanksgiving table decoration. Thanks for the inspiration to make such fun little people.”

I like they way she captured the spirit of Thanksgiving by giving this woman a rolling-pin.  The dolls look comfortable in their natural environment, surrounded by moss, flowers and branches. Great job,  Shirley, and thank you for sharing a part of your Thanksgiving celebration!

She learned how to make these dolls from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. It’s rewarding to see how people use the patterns and directions from the book as a spring board to creating their own characters and scenes.

Fairy Houses by Jaylee

There were some wonderful new vendors at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod’s  Holiday Faire last weekend. I just had to take pictures of these Fairy Houses by Jaylee. Friends, Jane and Rosalie have joined forces to make these internally lit lamps and night lights. They’d be cute in a child’s room, but I think all ages would enjoy an indoor fairy house like this.

The fairy furniture is a fun way to use old wooden spools.

It looks like the creators frequent floral supply businesses for moss, dried mushrooms and artificial flowers.

Iris Fairy

I’ve finished another limited edition of 25 fairies, just in time for the holidays. Iris has auburn braids and a purple petal skirt and wings.

Iris Fairy

Update: All of the Iris fairy dolls have sold. Sorry, but I no longer make dolls to sell.

Iris Fairy

I’ve found that I can usually find enough matching flower petals and wings to make a group (or swarm) of 25 fairies.

a swarm of fairies?

It’s a manageable number to make at one time and then I feel free to move on to other projects.

fairy legs

Instructions and patterns for making fairies like this are in my how-to book,  Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects.

embroidered fairy tunics

Here are the petal petticoats, all stacked and ready to dress the fairies.

petal fairy petticoats

Now they’re waiting for their turn in the braiding salon.

before going to the braiding salon

Pocket Lady & giveaway winners

The Pocket Lady came by when I was signing copies of Pocketful of Posies at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod’s Holiday Faire on Saturday. My neighbor, Joy, was playing the role and letting children pick out small presents from a pocket for the price of a ticket. I made the pocket lady costume about 20 years ago, when I was a parent in the school. It’s adapted from a nightgown pattern and made out of red velveteen, with upholstery fabric pockets and lots of bells. I’m glad to see it continue to be used every year!

Pocket Lady

And now for the giveaway winners! Three people have been picked at random from the 80 who left comments. Congratulations to Domestic Diva, Marabilys (from France) and Emma (from Australia), who will each receive a hardcover copy of In the Heart. The book is out-of-print, but my local bookstore, Eight Cousins Books sells autographed copies (508 548 5548).

In the Heart, 2001

Danforth opening

Last Saturday, the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA, had an opening reception for their new exhibits, including my show in the children’s gallery. The original fabric relief illustrations will be displayed here until January 23rd, 2011. I really like the way they hung the artwork, clumped together in tight grouplets, with one above the other. That way they could fit more pictures in the space – 45 out of the 51 illustrations from my new book, Pocketful of Posies.

Pocketful of Posies at the Danforth Museum

The museum’s director, Katherine French, worked up to the last-minute, transferring the title onto the wall.

It was great to see my friend, artist and doll maker, Mimi Kirchner at the opening! We’ve known each other for 30 years  and her long-standing and popular blog Doll was the inspiration behind starting one of my own a year ago.

Salley and Mimi

I met a museum docent, a young fellow who had not been exposed to these nursery rhymes during his childhood in India. He was so taken with the artwork, that he wanted to learn all of the rhymes from the book. He asked me about my use of wavy borders and commented on the soft curves and lack of straight lines in the pictures. He said, “Looking at these pictures makes me happy.”

I felt honored that Betsy Groban, the publisher of Houghton Mifflin Books for Children came to see the artwork. She had seen some originals briefly a few years ago when I brought them into the office in Boston, but hadn’t seen them since. She let me know how pleased she was to be publishing my book, which really made me feel great!

Betsy and Salley

The book’s designer, Sheila Smallwood also came, with her husband and daughters.

Sheila and Salley

Many saw my work for the first time. They had come to the museum for other exhibits and just happened to come into the children’s gallery. It was fun to watch people of all ages look  from a distance and then be drawn in to examine the pictures more closely. It is most satisfying to see grown men’s delight in viewing the work. In the years that I’ve been stitching, I’ve become conscious of the tendency to put textiles in the “women’s work” category, as if handwork wasn’t worthy of recognition.  I say that stitching is just a technique and a way of translating ideas. After meeting and talking with people, I feel as if this book has jumped through age and gender barriers.

This woman walked around the room, singing the rhymes to her child. I hope that some of you will come see the show!

See the schedule for the Pocketful of Posies Traveling Exhibit here. I would like to send the show far and wide, so as many people as possible can see it. If you know of a safe venue with funding for shipping to and from, please send information to me at weefolk@cape.com. I’m willing to deliver the work to most parts of New England.