Friday, January 24, 2014

DIY: A Felted Version of Van Gogh's Sunflowers

You know what, it may be 5 degrees outside but I don't care. I've decided to dress like a Big Ole (van Gogh-inspired) Sunflower-y Day regardless of the "I feel like I just walked into a freezer in Antarctica" temps (wait, do they even have freezers in Antarctica? I mean, isn't that whole place one big fridge? Shoot, I'd just be throwing my ice cream and popsicles out the window if I lived there. "Honey, where's the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream?"..."I dunno, look outside!")

Wait. Did I just have an imaginary conversation with an imaginary Antarctic companion about throwing imaginary Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream out the window? Wow. The effects of brain freeze are frightening.
Let's return to our convo about dressing like a crazy person unaware of seasonal changes, shall we? I got the idea for this sweater whilst creating the Starry Night Light Up Dress (yes, I just said "whilst". I like fancy words that create the illusion of intelligence like Fortnight, Dodgy and Absobloodylootely. Which actually sound more like Madonna during the late 90's when she was going through her "Oh, hey, I'm now from Bloody England, mates. Brillant!" phase but whateves.)

Oh no. What was I talking about again?

Ah, yes. Van Gogh's Sunflowers. My little friends in Kindergarten town are currently learning all about van Gogh's Starry Night. And if you ask 'em, they can tell you more than you'd ever wanna know about the following: background, middleground, frontground (tell me I'm not the only one who gets this) and landscapes. Of course, they can also fill your ear with: the-World's-Smallest-Paper-Cuts, Tooth-Losings, He-Cut-Me!s* and I-Think-I-Just-Peed-Myself's. Oh, kindergarten. They're like that kinda-funny/kinda-freaky relative you're introduced to at the family reunion that you pray isn't truly related but married to some distant cousin. Not that that has ever happened to anyone who met me at a fam reunion. Ahem.

* Just an FYI for you non-teachers, "He Cut Me!" doesn't mean that the kids are jabbing each other with scissors and other random art room shanks so frequently that I like to make light of the situation. It's their expression for someone jumping line. Which, in kindergarten, is just as traumatic as getting stuck with scissors. Yes, seriously.
Since van Gogh has so many amazing masterpieces aside from La Noche Estrellada (that's right. I'm trilingual. I speak English, Espanol {not really} and Southern. Which is seriously it's own language),  I decided to dedicate a sweater to his paintings of sunflowers. Dude painted about 12 sunflower-y paintings, ya'll! So I decided to give 'em a shout out with this little sweater I scooped up at the thrift store.
While at the thrift store, I also picked up a couple of green 100% wool sweaters. I promptly washed them in hot water which felted them nicely. SIDE NOTE: My moms-in-law just informed me that I shouldn't do that again as it can seriously mess up your washer. She speaks from experience after doing the same and having to have her machine repaired. 

At the craft store, I found the perfect sunflower yellow 100% wool felt and began laying out and planning my design. You'll notice in the photo above I cut out two layers of sunflowers and overlapped 'em a bit. In the next coupla pics, you'll see that I soon scraped that idea. But more on that in a sec (wait, did I just call you a "butt moron"? I believe I did. My bad).
Creating the center of the sunflower was easy enough. With a felting pad underneath, I applied the brown roving to the flower shape and commenced punching with that pink tool you see on the right. For a crash course on felting (as well as a lil list of my felting faves) go here and scroll southward.
For some of the leaves and the stem, I used those aforementioned felted sweaters cut into the desired shapes. And punched 'em into the fibers of the sweater.
For a little variety, I added light green roving to some of the leaves for veins.
There were two reasons I ended up ditching the doubled-up flower idea. One, once the wool was felted, you couldn't see the difference between the top and bottom layer, it all just became flat without that 3-D effect you see in the earlier photo. And the other reason was that two layers of felt and the sweater were difficult to felt though. So I just used one layer of felt (in the photo above, I had already started so I was trimming off the extra flower petals as I went along). To create a little dimension, I shaded with the brown roving.
And I think I like it. Like, I think it's finished. But I'm not sure. More leaves above the large flower on the left? Another small flower on the right?
Forgetaboutit and move on? That's what I'm leaning toward.
Outfit Details: sweater: thrifted; dress: vintage, thrifted; belt and shoes: Anthro; sunflower tights and crinoline: amazon...by the way, these are FOOTLESS tights. Look closely, ya'll. I'm wearing a pair of turquoise tights underneath. Because I'm a super genius.

And there ya have it! What Not to Wear in the Wintertime Unless You Happen to Hate Winter and Wanna Pretend It's Summer. In January. In 5 Degree Temps. Whatever. I bet they dress just like this in Antarctica. 

Chat soon, ya'll!

16 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! I hate when you think you finish something but it nags you that something is missing! I like the placement of the flowers and I don't think I would add any more ( it will start to get too full) did you ever think of adding some beading to the flowers for a little pizzazz? ( that's our word this year in Kindergarten when we made a picture extra special! They crack up when I say it! " I'm going to add a little gold paint here to make it pizzazzy!" I love Kindergarten! Their conversations crack me up! Although with all the frigid weather here the past couple of weeks no one has had recess outside and it's getting a little crazy! Sharing and caring have been replaced with," He stole my markers!" " She splashed water on me!" " He's looking at me and won't stop! " etc... Just get me to warm weather!!! :)

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    1. PIZZAZZY!! I LOVE it! They are so hilariously adorable...at times. But, without recess, they do tend to morph into another beast entirely, don't they?! Love your stories, sooo cute :)

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  2. Anonymous1/25/2014

    I wish you would sell these creations in your etsy shop. I am an elementary art teacher also and I'd definitely purchase and wear them!

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    1. Not a bad idea! Although, it seriously takes me so long that my prices might be a little too salty for some. I working on some video tutorials so that I might better explain what it is I'm making...do you think that might help? Thanks for dropping by :)

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    2. Anonymous2/05/2014

      Videos would be great! Can't wait to see them :)

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  3. Ok, I know I say this on every felting post... But it's just sooo neat.. I must learn to felt! Love all your felted creations!!

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  4. First, I really enjoyed your presentation at the conference this morning - you are a real natural in front of the camera! Second, I think this might be my favorite of your outfits.

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    1. Oh, thank you much, Hope! It was super frightening to watch...I appreciate your kind words!

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  5. Hi Cassie, I have been following your blog for several weeks and I just wanted to say what a glorious ray of sunshine it is. I love reading about all the fun things you do with your kids in school, and I LOVE to see the fantabulous creations you wear. You truly are an inspiration to me and I wish I'd had an art teacher like you when I was in school instead of the one I had who told me and 3 siblings we had no talent. hey ho. More please! Tracey Belfast N.Ireland

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    1. Hi Tracey! You are so sweet to leave such a kind comment, I appreciate it! So sorry you had a stinky ole mean art teacher! Just a bitter pill, I'm sure. Of course, you know of your artsy awesomeness :)

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  6. Anonymous1/25/2014

    LOVE IT!! Cassie, you make such happy clothes! It always brightens my day to read your blog :)

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  7. Another amazing creation from you:)
    Am I right that you needle felted the flowers onto the sweater? I didn't know you could do that..

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    1. Yep! You sure can...and it's easier to control than the roving because you simply cut the shape you want and felt it into place. You should give it a go!

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  8. Unbelievably beautiful!

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  9. Really love this outfit!

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)