Tuesday, May 6, 2014

DIY: A Standardized-Testing Fashion Statement

Ya'll. Could my hands be any more creepy-vainy? Recently, when I was using the Elmo (not the Muppet, although that'd probably be more fun; the overhead-projector-thangie) and my hands showed up on the big screen, I overhear a kid say, "Her hands are SO veiny. Like an old lady." Nice. 
Hello, dear friends! I come to you in the midst of all things bubbly and questionable. And by that I mean, Standardized Testing Land. Not the champagne-poppin, Gatsby-esque party you had in mind, eh? Sorry to disappoint. 
When I heard the news that I'd be spending my mornings giving a standardized test, I decided to weigh my options in a standardized testing format. Which looked a lil bit like this: 

An art teacher has to give a bubble-fillin' test. This art teacher has sad memories of taking said tests as she is dim-witted and easily distracted (oh, look! a squirrel!!). How does this teacher prepare to give a test? Does she:

A. Discuss her past with her therapist (who will most likely fall asleep again during their session) and  attempt to work through her test-takin-pain.

B. Sharpen and promptly huff any No. 2 pencil found within a mile radius of her home.

C. Felt oodles of clothing for the test-taking occasion. No sense in not lookin' the part, ya'll (do they say "ya'll" on all standardized tests or just the Southern ones?).


Well, Hot Diggity! If you guessed "C" than you are the Winner-Winner, Chicken Dinner! I totes spent my weekend felting this Doodlin' No. 2 Pencil sweater and that Pocket Protector Dotted Blouse. Because seeing a therapist is way overrated ("What do yoooooou think, Cassie?"..."Um, I think I need meds. And a booze-cation. Preferably combined.")
Testing, Testing, One-Two-Three: Outfit deets, ya'll. sweater: thrifted and DIY'ed my moi; skirt: super old, Target; tights: super-not-old Target; pencil shoes: DIY, go here, you. 
So just how did this Pencil-tastic Felting Adventure begin, you ask? Oh my, you ask the best questions! You should consider writing standardized tests! I'm so glad you asked. This weekend, hubs dragged me out on this totes tough hike and, while I was huffing and puffing up a some terrible hill, I got this awesome idea that I'd go home and stab up a storm! Not the hubs, mind you, although the thought did cross my mind. I decided that since the following week I'd be test-giving (never a pleasure to those on the receiving end), I should at least look the part. 
So when I got home, I dug through my "clothing to be DIY'ed stash" (yes, I have such a thing. Get yo'self to the thrift store and create your own!) and decided that this Super Soft but Dreadfully Dull sweater was just the perfect canvas for my masterpiece. If that's what you'd call it.

Using 100% wool yarn, I laid out my looped pattern, placed my bristly felting pad underneath and commenced needle felting. If you visit this post, you can see annoying clips of me chatting about the joys of felting. 
Needle felting with wool yarn is great because you can really control the direction and get some detailed work going. 

I had this done in no time. Unlike this felted dress which put more hairs on my head than testing this week. And that's sayin' somethun.
Since I thought this would also be a fun sweater to wear when we learn about line at the beginning of next school year, I opted to do a ziggy-zag on the opposite side. Because symmetry is WAY overrated. At least that's what my therapist says. 
Oh, look, a Pencil Rocket Ship! 'kay, so the pencils weren't lookin' so hawt until I added the yarn outline. That seemed to emphasize them a bit more and made them look less, well, rocket-shippy. 
Sadly, I didn't have any silver roving for the metal end...I thought for a hot minute about embroidering silver onto it but then laziness called and said, "Hells No" instead of "Hello". So rude.
All this craft-a-macating was not without Blood, Sweat and Tears. Okay, maybe just some blood. Watch out for those felting needles, ya'll! They are serrated, sharp and sassy!
Yay! Done! 

And then I was all, "But wait, there's more..."
 Lemme just draw my next idea out for ya. For that, Ima gonna need my No. 2 Pencil, yo.
 Since the sweater took no time, I got the idea mid-way through to make a shirt with a Pencil Pocket. 'Course, I had to add a coupla art supplies in there. I started by drawing out my design, tracing it in sharpie, placing it under my shirt and retracting that in pencil, as seen below.
 Told you it was below.
 I felted some...and decided that the details weren't up to snuff. So I had fun embroidering them in. Because I'm a dork like that.
 Almost there...
About the hair clip: Yeah, I made it, guess I shoulda snapped some how-to's of that! I started by breaking a bunch of pencils (always fun and stress-relievin') and sharpening them in graduated lengths. Then I hot glued them to a stiff piece of felt. One of those long metal alligator hair clips was then glued to that back. This gets LOTS of attention from the chillins, more so than my clothes!
 And, viola! A Pocketful of Art!
Mo' Outfit Deets: blouse: Old Navy; skirt: Anthropologie; tights: Target; Crayon Shoes: made by me
 All set to get all Standardized and Testy! Now, if you would, please open your test booklets to Is-It-Summer-Yet?! and answer questions 1 thru These-Last-Few-Weeks-Shall-Be-The-Longest-of-Your-Lives.  Until next time, be sure to make your answers heavy and dark, ya'll!


  1. So you know I'm allergic to wool, so I'm not gonna be felting, and I'm retired so there's no bubble-filling nonsense in my life (hahahahaha) but I've gotta say, I'm really digging that pencil-pencil-skirt. LOVE!

    I notice you didn't credit your hair clip, but I assume you made it. Is it a barrette underneath or a bobby pin sort of thing or what? Cute!

    1. Oh, the hair clip! Thanks for pointing that out, Phyl. I made some edits above to explain it...basically, I glued a bunch of pencils to a stiff piece of felt and then glued THAT to one of those long metal alligator hair clips.

      When you find a wool-free alternative, lemme know!!

  2. You are the best!!!! I love your ideas, clothes and great lessons. I am inspired, and need to put some of my own clothing ideas into action. xxx

  3. Love! Since I don't have to administer the test I just have to produce a really crazy assembly to get the kids "Geeked up" to take the test! So I picked out some songs, "What did the Fox say" "Happy" and ordered the High School cheerleaders Pom Poms to be delivered to the art room, painted many props signs and danced in front and with 600 little kiddos. The kids loved it. Especially the FOX that I painted with fun fur added to the
    tail! :)

  4. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad to have found you and your unique inspiration, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh
    I am going to have a good look at your blog.
    Love and sunshine from the south of Spain

  5. You are quite a genius!

  6. LOVE the pocket protector:)

  7. I have that pencil skirt!!

  8. Don't worry. "Veiny" hands happen to the best of us. Its a new fad ya know! Fergit-about-it!

  9. I have hands like yours, full of raised veins, I like to think the veins are there because I m a hard worker. But in reality they have always been visible. One thing I learned years ago is if you dont draw verbal attention to them they become invisible to others. Anyway, love your felting. I bought the tool and the wool a couple of years ago but didnt have the courage to try. Watching your tutoral I am feeling adventuresome. Thanks for sharing.

  10. You should be in Vogue for Educators! I wish kids would take those pencils and make a polka dot drwing on their scantrons and end the nonsense!

  11. Anonymous5/11/2014

    I just love the felted sweater, and especially the polka dot shirt! A maze ing.
    OK, so here's the thing. You know, sometimes you get to see pictures of nice looking fellas who work out. A lot. And they really look nice: And their veins just POP. I like the look so much, I've adopted it as my own: I've got veins just poppin' on my hands too.
    And according to a nurse friend of mine, I can really accentuate those poppin' veins by letting gravity help: the backflow valves are good, but it's hard for them to push uphill. So I make sure to never hold my hands up (above heart level) before a photo shoot. Work it, baby! -CSB

  12. nice bLog! its interesting. thank you for sharing....

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  14. You inspired me at the 2017 OAEA Conference where you were our speaker and also offered a felting workshop! Thank you!! Well, I am in the process of trying to dry felt yarn on to a cotton sweater and am worried this will not work out. Am I heading in the wrong direction by using a cotton sweater?


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