Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Play Food: Fried Egg

Fried Eggs are really simple to make. Here's what you need:

white felt
yellow felt
white embroidery thread
yellow embroidery thread
a very small bunch of fiber fill
FYI- I kind of did mine out of order. I guess I wasn’t thinking straight (pregnancy brain) and I got the egg whites nearly stitched all the way around before realizing I should have put on the yolk first. No worries, I managed to get the yolk on, but my pictures will show the whites already stitched together when they really shouldn’t be. Sorry.
1- First cut out two matching pieces for the egg whites. You can make them as round or funky shaped as you want. Sometimes my fried eggs end up pretty funky shaped! 
Now cut out one yolk piece from your yellow felt. I made this closer to round, but it still doesn’t really have to be a perfect circle. If you really care about that try tracing a ketchup bottle lid.
The pic shows the felt pieces along with the other supplies you need.

2- Next, stitching perpendicular to your yolk, attach it to one of the egg whites. As you get near then end, push a very tiny amount of fiber fill into the yolk before you finish stitching. It really doesn’t take much.

You’ll want to knot the thread at the beginning and end of this step on the underside of the egg white so they don’t show.
3- Now it’s time to stitch the egg whites together. Knot your thread and pull it through from the wrong side of one egg white. Wrapping your stitch around the edge of the egg, work your way around.
When you have about an inch and a half left stuff some fiber fill in the egg to give it as much height as you’d like. Over time, the filling may flatten out a bit, so err on the side of over stuffing. Before you finish the stitching make sure that the fiber fill is spread out like you want it to end up. Once the egg is closed it will be difficult to reposition the filling because it will stick to the felt.
Finish stitching all the way around. To tie off the thread go to the underside of the egg. Knot the thread.

Now pull the thread through one or two of the stitches and then cut it off.

Now you have a fried egg ready for your little one to play with!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Play Food: Tomato slices

The tomatoes are a little more complex than the spinnach, but I think they turned out really well. They are probably the most difficult food item I'm going to share, but they are also my favorite. I tried to take plenty of pictures on these to help with the explanations. These will go in those tortilla wraps eventually along with the spinnach. Here's what you need:

red felt
yellow embroidery thread
red or pinkish embroidery thread lighter than your felt
red embroidery thread darker than your felt
Step1- Cut out two matching roundish pieces of red felt for each tomato. Tomatoes aren’t perfect circles so your pieces don’t have to be either.
Step 2- Seeds
You need to put seeds on both sides of each tomato in three different sections. I tried to imitate a Roma tomato because that's what we have in Tanzania. Roma's have three sections each filled with seeds. We won’t add lines showing the three sections until later so you need to be visualizing it as you put the seeds on. I've drawn in blue lines on the pictures below to show the three sections I'm talking about. 

The seeds are made using french knots. I made them different sizes by wrapping around the needle once for some and twice for others. There is a great tutorial on how to do a French Knot here. There is no right number of seeds. Just make them until it looks good to you.
Now you are ready to put in the lines that delineate the three sections. Use a reddish or even pink thread color that is lighter than your felt. You are going to be sewing through both pieces of felt at once. Use a running stitch to work your way around the seeds, making sure the seeds on both sides end up inside the section. 
After you’ve gone around once, go around again doing another running stitch between the stitches you've already done. Now you’ll have a solid line on both side. Knot you thread and cut close to the knot.

Now, using a red thread slightly darker than your felt, make a stitch going all the way around your tomato. I'm not sure what to call this stitch. I just looped around the edge, but you could use a blanket stitch here. As you work your way around the tomatoes may stretch and not match up so well. Just trim as you go to make them the same shape. At the start you can knot the thread on the inside so it doesn’t show. At the end you’ll need to knot it on the outside. Now, pull the excess thread through one or two of your stitches, and cut it off.

Little Man loves tomatoes, so I think he’ll really enjoy playing with these!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Play Food- Spinach

A few months back I started making various types of play food out of fabric. I haven't actually given any of them to Little Man to play with just yet. At some point we'll make him a little toy kitchen and get out all the food. First, I need to build up his pantry.
Today I'm going to show you the simplest thing I've made, spinach leaves. Here's what you need:
green felt
green embroidery thread (lighter or darker than the felt)

Step 1- Cut your felt into as many leaves as you want. They don't have to all look the same or perfect. You can make a template out of paper if you are worried about messing up your felt. 

Step 2- Start at one end of your leaf and make a running stitch going down the center of the leaf. Don't knot your yarn at the beginning, just leave enough thread hanging that you can use it for a knot at the end. When you get to the end of your leaf you should have a dotted stitched line.

Step 3- Now go back the other way filling in the empty spaces.

Step 4- Tie a knot with your two pieces of thread at the starting/finishing end. Cut the thread close to knot.

I forgot to take pics of this as I went, but here are the finished leaves.

In this one you can see the knot at one end.

Here is the bunch. 

I plan to use these to fill some tortilla wraps that are still in progress, along with other play veggies. I'm trying to make only foods that we eat in our normal life in Tanzania, which limits it a little. 
I'm wondering what folks think about play food and kitchens for boys. I realize it's more normal for girls, but why shouldn't boys learn about cooking? My husband is an incredible cook, which really comes in handy when I'm too pregnant to cook. What do you think?