I made this for Wee Willow…she’s a little dumpling of a girl, not quite 1 year old yet, with a blog of her own and a crafty, creative mama. A year ago Willow’s mum asked each of her friends to make a creative, displayable letter or number for Willow’s wall…both a great way to decorate a nursery, and teach the baby her letters and numbers at the same time.
I chose the letter Q, but then I also suggested some punctuation marks…the ampersand and the question mark being my personal favorites. Naturally I forgot all about the project until February rolled around, and I had just a month left to make the letter and punctuations I promised. Well, I’ve run out of time to make the ampersand (I’ll be out of town for a month starting Tuesday) but here’s the ‘?’
I was aiming for a “brown-paper-packages-tied-up-with-string” look…because what better way to illustrate the power of the question mark…of asking, wondering, imagining, but not knowing…than a parcel with your name on it, that you aren’t allowed to open? (Well, if she does open it, she’ll find the empty box that my external hard drive came in…)
I wrapped the box in high-loft quilt batting, holding things in place with a few tacking stitches. Then I covered it in brown linen, hand-stitching all the seams and hems. Folded the ends the way you would a paper-covered parcel, and stitched the flaps down.
I wrapped the hempen string around the parcel, pulling tight to make the parcel bulge a little around the string. Stitched the hemp string down in several places with linen thread, front and back, to discourage Willow from slipping the strings off and trying to get into the parcel.
Made a postage stamp with a piece of painted artist’s canvas, blanket stitched to a piece of white felt that I later trimmed with pinking shears. Stitched the stamp down to the parcel with little tacking stitches, and used a permanent marker to draw the cancellation stamp and wavy lines.
Cut a felt question mark and stitched this down the same way, using tiny stitches in toning thread. Admiteddly got sloppy in the end and wrote “Handle With Curiosity” by hand, when I really should have made a proper cut stencil using a good, industrial-looking font, and screen-printed or stenciled it on. I was pressed for time. Next time I do something like this I’ll take more care with such details.
Finally, wrote Willow’s name on the front of the parcel in gold dimensional paint…still wet in these pictures, I had to snap the photos on the same day because today I had to take it over to Christine’s place.
So much fun to do, and just one afternoon’s worth of work (faster if you use a sewing machine, and don’t dawdle and boogie around the room to 80s music and drink gallons of black coffee, like I did when I made this)
The ampersand will have to wait till I get back to Darwin in April…