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Cultural Centre News tutorials

Fall felting: Pumpkin Workshop

These photos and instructions are from Nadine Papp’s wet felting workshop at the Cultural Centre. On Saturday October 24, she led us through the step by step process of creating a miniature felted pumpkin. Hopefully this write up will inspire you to try a bit of felting at home!

– Shannon Quigley

Make a mini pumpkin

Materials:

  • Wool for felting – Corriedale wool tops work well. Others like merino are better for wet felting. Here is a guide to different wools. Search etsy for corriedale tops or roving (you can filter by country if you want to find a Canadian seller).
  • Felting needle (optional) – spiral gauge 38 is a good medium sized needle for quick felting
  • Fabric
  • Needle, thread and scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • A baking tray
  • Hot water and soap in a bowl
  • Dog hair brush (optional)

Step 1: Make a ball of fabric

  • Ball up a small piece of fabric and stitch it to create a ball.
  • You will use fabric ball as a base to felt around. When wet felting, it’s helpful to start with a shape. You can also do wet felting around a rock or bar of soap.

Step 2: Create layers of wool

  • Pull apart very thin wisps of wool. Lay them flat to create your first layer, with all the fibers going in one direction.
  • Keep building layers, with each layer going in the opposite direction, until you have 6-8 layers of wool.
  • Make your orange layers about two thirds larger than your fabric ball.


Step 3: Start felting the pumpkin

  • Wet felting binds wispy wool fibers together with hot, soapy water and friction.
  • Start by mixing together hot water with a bit of soap in a bowl. Natural soaps with olive oil work well.
  • Put your orange wool layers on a plate or baking tray and use a spoon to pour hot water into the centre. Leave the edges dry if you can.
  • Put a layer of plastic wrap on top of your wool. Rub the centre of the wool in circles to bind the layers together. Again, leave the edges dry and ‘unfelted’ if you can.
  • Put the fabric ball in the centre of your orange felt. Twist the extra wool together at the end to make a little parcel.
  • Wrap your pumpkin in plastic wrap and roll in between your hands to felt it together. Dip it in hot water every once in a while.
  • Rub the ball between your hands to create friction and bind the fibers together. You can keep the ball wrapped in plastic if you like – it can help create a smoother finish.
  • When most of your pumpkin has been felted – remove the excess wool by tearing it off very gently or use a dog’s hair brush if you have one.
  • Use a dog hair brush or pull at the extra felt to remove excess wool.
  • Once the extra felt at the ends has been removed, keep rubbing the ball (wrapped in plastic wrap) between your hands until you can’t see the rough edges anymore and you have a finished pumpkin shape.

Step 4: Create felt for leaves and stem

  • Repeat the process of layering small amounts of wool with green.
  • Create two piles – one for your leaves, and one for your stem
  • For the leaves – pour hot soapy water over the entire pile of felt, cover with plastic wrap and rub with your hands to create a layer of felt that you will use to make your leaves.
  • For the stem – only wet half of the pile of wool. Roll the wet half together to create a stem. Try to keep half of it dry. The dry end will be used to attach the stem to the pumpkin. (I got mine whole stem wet because there were puddles on the plate).

Step 5: Add the stem & rinse

  • Attach the frayed edge of the stem to the top of your pumpkin. Use hot soapy water and friction to bind them together. Use a needle felting needle or a regular needle and thread to do touch ups at the end if your stem needs help staying on.
  • Rinse off your pumpkin once you’re finished felting – this gets all the soap out

Step 6: Add the leaves

  • Cut out leaves our of your green felt and stitch them on to your pumpkin.


Step 7: Leave to dry!

  • Leave your pumpkin to dry out in the sun or on a window sill. Enjoy!

Categories
Cultural Centre News tutorials

Fall Felting Tutorial: Make a needle felted leaf brooch

This is a write up from our fall needle felting workshop on Saturday October 17, 2020. Nadine Papp led us through the step by step process of creating a felt brooch using a leaf shaped cookie cutter. I had the pleasure of following along and took notes as we went. We know there are a few folks out there who would have liked to join this workshop. Hopefully this tutorial will inspire you to pick up a needle and try it at home. Please note that this craft is best for ages 12 and up – the felting needles are quite sharp!

– Shannon Quigley

Make a felt brooch

Make a needle felted brooch with a cookie cutter!

Materials:

  • Wool for felting – Corriedale wool tops work well. Others like merino are better for wet felting. Here is a guide to different wools. Search etsy for corriedale tops or roving (you can filter by country if you want to find a Canadian seller).
  • Foam – Etsy also sells felting foam and needles
  • Felting needle – spiral gauge 38 is a good medium sized needle for quick felting
  • Leaf shaped cookie cutter
  • Brooch back pin
  • Needle and thread

Step 1: create thin layers of wool

  • Pull apart a very small amount of wool. Almost like a spider’s web.
  • Lay each piece down one by one to create your first layer.
  • Put the next layer down with the felt going in another direction.
  • Mix as many colours as you like.
  • Keep layering, with very thin layers going in different directions until you have a little bed that bounces when you press lightly on it.

Step 2: Start felting

  • Felting is the process of binding all your layers of wool together. Wet felting uses hot water and soap, needle felting uses a barbed needle.
  • *safety first* The needle is incredibly sharp and has barbs. Position your hands away from the needle at all times. Keep your needle somewhere safe – like tucked inside the foam – so it doesn’t prick anyone when it’s not in use.
  • Put your cookie cutter, cutter side down, on the foam pad and get your needle ready.
  • Lift your layers of wool and place them on top of the cookie cutter.
  • Start felting by pressing your needle into the wool over and over again. Start around the edges of the cookie cutter then work your way in.
  • The extra felt with gradually get drawn into the main cookie cutter shape as you work.


Step 3: Flip it over and felt again

  • When you’ve felted one side for a little while, remove the cookie cutter and peel the wool away from the foam.
  • Flip over your leaf, put it back inside the cookie cutter and repeat.
  • Start felting around the edges first each time you flip the leaf.
  • Repeat until the back that you’ve just peeled off isn’t as fuzzy anymore

Step 4: Neaten the edges

  • When you’ve finished needle felting, you can neaten it up by rubbing it in between your hands quickly. The warmth and friction will help finish the felt.
  • You can also put a little bit of warm water and natural soap on your hands to do a quick wet felt if you like.

Step 5: Add details

  • Add veins to your leaf by stitching or rolling and needle felting bits of wool in a contrasting colour

Step 6: Add a brooch back

  • When your leaf is finished – add a brooch to the back with a needle and thread. It helps if you keep the brooch back open as you stitch.

Step 7: Enjoy!

  • Wear your beautiful brooches around town or give them as gifts!

Categories
Nature's Place

Get creative with the Fall Colours Activity Book

It’s time to test drive our Fall Colours Activity book!

This activity book is designed to provide fun for the whole family. Older kids can help their siblings with some of the teamwork activities – like gathering leaves of a certain colour – and adults can help read instructions or have a go themselves!

When planning a children’s activity, I try to make sure it’s something I’d enjoy doing too. This is my trick for creating activities that work for different ages. I’ve run a fair number of family activities at museums and galleries. One thing I’ve noticed is that when adults become immersed in a creative activity, their kids are more likely to get engaged, take more time with it, and take pride in what they’re doing. Monkey see, monkey do! So I thought it only fair that I give some of these activities a go.

Have a look at the examples below – and send photos of your booklet to museum@mindenhills.ca! I’d love to see what you make and I’ll post photos of your work here on the blog to inspire other people to get out there and be creative.

– Shannon Quigley,
Curatorial programming assistant


Fill your palette with colour

Use your activity book or find a spot outside and gather as many colours as you can find. You can repeat this activity at different times of the year or in different places to see if your colour palette changes!

I really enjoyed gathering these plants and looking out for different colours. The most exciting thing I found was definitely the ‘orange peel’ mushroom, which just happened to be growing on the stump where I took this photo. I stopped in at friend’s house to pick plants from her garden and on the way home I kept pulling the car over to gather more plants along the side of the road and in vacant parking lots. This activity really made me look more closely at nature and notice the colours all around.

Orange Peel mushroom

Land Art for kids

This activity is inspired by the British artist Andy Goldsworthy. His style of work is called land art. He creates temporary artworks in nature, using only natural materials he finds and rearranges into brilliant patterns and structures. Have a look at his artwork and then have a go at making your own land art! You can also check out this interview with land artist Richard Shilling on The Artful Parent for more ideas for land art activities to try with kids.

Land art by Andy Goldsworthy:

Image source: MyModernMet


Create a rainbow bouquet!

This activity is great because you can draw plants, you can have fun arranging different bouquets on the page, or you can bring plants inside and put them in a real vase! If you don’t have a vase handy, a recycled tin can or glass jar will work too. If it’s chilly, you can bring the plants inside to draw them from life – or invent new plants and fill the vases with flowers from your imagination!

Check out our online tutorial for pressed flower notecards if you’d like to preserve your bouquet


These are just a few pages of the Fall Colours Activity Book. Download your copy here for more activities!

Remember to send in photos of your booklet to museum@mindenhills.ca and we’ll add them to an online gallery.

Happy crafting!

Categories
Nature's Place

Fall Colours Activity Book

We’re created an activity book to encourage children to get outside, have fun and learn about the outdoors! Check out this blog post with examples for some of these activities!

Download a copy here:

Best for online viewing

To print on regular 8.5 x 11 paper

Print out double sided on 11 x 17 paper and fold the pages in half to create a booklet

Share your work:

We’d love to see what you make with these booklets! Share your work by tagging us on facebook or email Shannon at museum@mindenhills.ca

Scroll through the pages:

Want to save just one page? Here are all the pages individually as images, so they’re easy to view, share and use!

Categories
Nature's Place

Fall Colour Challenge Photos

It was a blast exploring and celebrating this wonderful season one colour at a time on our facebook and instagram pages. Thank you to everyone who participated by commenting and sharing photos as we worked our way through the rainbow! 🌈 If you didn’t get a chance to catch the Fall Colour Challenge on facebook, scroll down to see the original posts and then head outside and see what colours you can find!

We hope the Fall Colour Challenge inspired you to get outside and connect with nature. Download our Fall Colours Activity book for more outdoor activities!

#FallColourChallenge Gallery of photos submitted by you!

Thank you to everyone who sent in a photo. If you don’t see your photo here or would like to add a photo – please email it to Shannon at museum@mindenhills.ca 🙂

#FallColourChallenge posts

These posts were originally shared on our facebook and instagram pages. The Fall Colour Challenge was inspired by collections at Nature’s Place. We hope it encourages you to spend some time outside connecting with and learning about the outdoors.

Red

A red maple is an iconic symbol of Canada. Why do they turn red? As the days grow shorter and the nights colder, it becomes harder for leaves to gather the energy they need from the sun to photosynthesize. 🌳☀️🍃 Trees let go of their leaves and go into a dormant state to survive the winter. ☃️ Before the leaves drop, trees extract chloroplast – little green cells that absorb sunlight – to save it up for next spring. The leaves change colour as chlorophyll is replaced by other pigments like anthocyanin, which gives maples their brilliant red colour.

Orange

This vibrant mushroom is called ‘orange peel fungus’ because it looks like an orange peel! 🍊 Fall is prime mushroom season. Keep an eye out for a spectacular show of shapes and textures growing on trees and the forest floor. Free apps like Shroomify will help you identify fungi on your nature walks. But remember – don’t munch on a hunch!  🍄

Yellow

Ragweed and goldenrod are often mistaken for one another. Can you tell which one this is? Both are pollinators – but ragweed relies on the wind to spread pollen, as anyone with seasonal allergies can tell you. Goldenrod, on the other hand, doesn’t cause allergies and its nectar attracts butterflies 🦋🐛

Green

Ferns, ferns, fabulous ferns! Victorians were obsessed with ferns.  Novelist Charles Kingsley coined the term ‘pteridomania’ meaning ‘fern fever’. Difficult to grow from spores, Victorians travelled by train to harvest ferns from the forest. They brought the ferns back to elaborate outdoor rockeries they built to display their fern collections. Ferns came to symbolize a romantic ideal of ‘wilderness’ as urbanization cut people off from nature in Victorian England. The motif was used to decorate almost every imaginable surface, from plates and furniture to fabrics and jewelry. Have you got anything with fern patterns in your home?

Blue

We have to admit that blue is a bit of a tricky one. But what could be more blue than a blue jay! Unlike many birds, male and female blue jays both have colourful feathers and it can be hard to tell the difference! Another thing you can count on to be blue is the sky. 🌬️⛅ In the 1780s, meteorologists Horace de Saussure and Alexander von Humboldt invented a device to measure the blueness of the sky. They used their hand painted cyanometer, which looks like a series of paint chips arranged in a circle, to track scientific observations about the sky. Saussure concluded, correctly, that the colour of the sky was linked to the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. 🌧️🌧️🌧️

Indigo and Violet

We thought ‘thistle do nicely’ for the last day of the Fall Colour Challenge. Thistles are native to Europe but thrive here in Canada. Their purple crowns add a flare of colour to highways, parking lots and fields – sometimes to the chagrin of farmers and gardeners. While purple is the most well known colour, thistles also come in yellow and white. They are said to be able to predict the weather, because the petals close up tight before it rains. 🌧️