Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Herman's New Sweater

Herman has a new plaid sweater that buttons up nice and cozy.

The idea to add little twig buttons (like the ones I made last summer for a rustic jacket with matching woodland bracelet, shown below) to the rubbery caterpillar puppet, named by Stephanie as, Herman! (Rich added the !) came over me as great fun. But when I went to find him to do that he had disappeared. In one of those obsessive moments I kept looking for Herman! where could he go? Paul thought the cats ate him.

When I found him, I felt so glad that I spent some time sprucing him up. To get wooden buttons small enough, I tried slicing tiny dried twigs and toothpicks as dowel, but they each and all split, no matter what tool I used to cut them. I tried using punch tools on thin wood veneer to get little round wooden cookies but they wouldn't stand up to drilling micro button holes with a needle. I tried cutting reed beads in half but while they were a better scale, they didn't read as being buttons. It wouldn't have been clear what was going on. I finally overcame my aversion to plastic and used store bought mini buttons in bone color that I aged with, what else, walnut ink. Works every time.

I also improved the uneven texture transition from Herman!'s woolly felt coat and his shiny latex belly by using colored flocking fibers. He was looking a little rough there so the flocking allowed me to paint a line of glue just where I wanted to neaten up, at his hairline(s), on his back, and dust it with flocking sifted through an old tea strainer. I got into the technique and now his sweater has a plaid pattern. I like to think he's wearing a little cardigan for winter.

I used four of the sliced reed buttons that I had cut as eyes for the two fellas. They really have a comic personality now that I like. Paul named the little one, Catalina, after his pet cat that passed away a while back. He said he missed her, I didn't know. I may add whiskers on that one.

Belated Art Bonus (made last June)
Great linen jacket came with ugly (plastic) buttons. I went to the massive Halfland tree branch supply, where there are branches, well dried out, ready to use, in any size imaginable. I chose the porch support branch diameter and sliced off a bunch of twig buttons, drilled holes. Replaced the jacket buttons and went crazy crafting a matching bracelet accessory with a small hand carved wooden bird bead and antler beads on a base of soft dried vines.


  1. Yes! Whiskers would be so cute! And that bracelet = SO MUCH LOVE. You're a genius.

  2. Whee, he has a sparkly little sweater! I love Herman even more now! And Catalina is a cutie.

    Great work Shelley!!!

  3. Wee! Jessica, if you would like that big woodland bangle bracelet--it's YOURS! I'll put it in your pack. And you'll be happy to know, I did put whiskers on that cater, and ears, and a tail. Photos soon.

    YAY! I'm glad you like him, Stephanie. I was afraid to change him as he's your Halfland mascot. But I feel he's better completed now. Thanks!

  4. It's something new every day here. it's really fantastic Shel. I second the vote for adding whiskers :D

    PS. Herman!

  5. Whiskers on. R E A L whiskers. Is that wrong?


  6. Herman! looks wonderful in his new sweater. Can't even begin to imagine how you sewed those buttons... Love the tree twig buttons too, remind me of antler buttons...


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