I'm addicted to Pinterest. Is there a woman out there who isn't? It's a fun way to pass time while I pump for Lucy - yes, I'm still doing that :)
Anyway, Pinterest happens to be a very useful way to spend that time; recipes and craft ideas abound there. I have a board specifically titled "Things I Will Never Get To" full of fun things to make, and one called "Fun For Lucy," which is pretty self-explanatory. During the summer, we're out and about so much that we don't really have time for arts and crafts, but now that we're pretty much locked down... there are hours to fill ;)
I had a few different things I wanted to try for Lucy that were fall-themed, so I decided to combine them into one big fall tactile extravaganza! Lucy is not a huge fan of tactile sensory exploration, but she did okay with this one. It was good because it had to be done in several steps, so it catered somewhat to her short attention span. No idea where she got that from.
Meet - our leaf mobile!
It turned out pretty close to what I had envisioned. There are three different types of leaves on here: felt/fabric paint, wax paper/crayon, and coffee filter/watercolors. Most of these ideas came from links on my beloved Pinterest.
First we did the coffee filter leaves. It's exactly what it sounds like - you wet down a coffee filter and paint it with watercolors, letting the colors run into each other for a really pretty effect. Lucy is having a harder time moving her arms, even in slings, so her leaves are a little whiter. We only did one small filter - remember, short attention span? If I were going to do it again, I'd give her a bigger brush than the dinky one that came with the watercolors. Also, the wetter the coffee filter, the easier the paint will spread.
Then we started the felt leaves. I helped Lucy spread the paint around on one side (going for that tactile experience), and when that side was dry, I drew out a leafy vein pattern on the opposite side.
Last were the wax paper/crayon leaves. I was pretty excited about these! Lucy cannot use crayons in the conventional way, and I loved crayons as a kid. I happened to have a tiny cinnamon grater in my utensils drawer, and it worked perfectly for crayon grating. As I have never grated cinnamon in my life, I haven't attempted to clean it, so I don't know if it's something you want to do with your only grater. All the yellows together, all the oranges together... you get it. For this, I had Lucy lay on her side and use her slings to help me stir the various shades of each color together.
I was hoping for a lovely mottled look - that didn't happen. We sprinkled each color on a sheet of wax paper, pretty densely, then covered that with a second sheet of wax paper. The tutorial I read about it said to cover that with a thin layer of cloth before ironing (think cheesecloth or those old, thin, white kitchen towels.) I had a chunk of thin scrap fabric that I used. You don't need a high setting; I used wool and could probably have done lower. Those crayons melt fast! Then I cut leaf shaped from my huge melted crayon sheet of wax. If I do this again, I will get the crayons melted to the thinnest layer I can - I thought the color wouldn't be as nice, but in the few thin ones I got, it's still good and they are prettier in the sun. The thick ones have become very brittle, the wax paper is starting to peel off, and I fear for their future.
Then, the assembly! I used the inner ring of an embroidery hoop. We tied on strings of bakers' twine and embroidery floss. For the felt leaves, I threaded those strings through a needle and stuck the needle through the top of each leaf, looping it around and tying a knot at the top so they would stay put. We did all the felt leaves first.
Next, we filled in with the wax leaves. I had some huge ones cut out, so I taped those to the hoop with boxing tape - nothing fancy here. I taped the rest at intervals on each string. Same with the coffee filter leaves, which I cut really tiny. You can see the tape, but we just aren't the kind of people who care.
Done! We hung it above our TV, from a random hook that has been in our ceiling since we moved in. If I had a decent place to hang it where the sun would hit it, I would much rather hang it there, since the crayon leaves are so pretty in the light. As it is, we had a few left over and hung them from the front window.
Thanks to Pinterest for bringing so many great ideas to a central location! I never would have thought of these things on my own, and they are something different for Lucy, too. Hopefully we'll have a whole fall and winter full of fun things to make!