My Own Puppet Show

This post is way overdue: it’s actually something I wanted to share almost a year ago but somehow I just didn’t get around it. But it is worth sharing, so here it is!

As most of you know, I live in Germany but am from Hungary. With a couple of other Hungarian families we organized a play/craft group for our kids and it has been running over a year now. It is a platform where we teach our kids about our Hungarian cultural heritage, do craft projects etc.

In this group a fellow mother came to me one day and said that she would be happy if we could make a puppet show for our little ones and this got me to think how it could be done. A few months later (last summer) I started to watch tutorials on youtube on how are those puppets actually made and one day I stumbled upon Adam Kreutinger and his puppet building videos. I watched them hundreds of times, and eventually started to buy all the supplies I needed. When I felt I knew enough, I started to build my very first puppet. This was about August 2017. And it went so well, that I decided to make enough for a whole puppet show!

Deadlines are good for projects, so I came up with the idea of directing the nativity story: it had to be done before Christmas. I phoned almost everybody I knew in town and asked around if they wanted to participate and surprisingly they all did! So by September I had enough people for my puppet show, but not just for that, I even found four great musicians who eventually played a couple of songs before, during and after the puppet show!

The only thing was for me to finish all the puppets in time to start practicing. Barely, but I did it!

I looked up the text from the internet and at the end I mixed two nativity stories and my own ideas together, so it was enjoyable and understandable for our kids.

By October the whole group came together which was about fifteen people and we started working. What I loved about working with these people was, that everybody came up with little ideas and made this project even better! I think they enjoyed it as much as I did. It was a great challenge but we faced it together and at the end it was a great success!

Take a look at my puppets:

The three shepherds

The Angel

The three Wise Men

Have you noticed how their presents can be attached to their hands with a little piece of velcro?

My favorite puppet is this wise man. I just love how the character is made by his beard. It was the first time I ever sewn furry fabric and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Although I had to watch a couple of youtube videos on this topic, as well…

The mouth piece is made up from two little PET-plastic piece, glued together with duct-tape and elastic is added on both sides allowing the fingers to properly move the lips.

Then this was covered with felt and glued into the foam head. This was very tricky because the glue dried very fast and it was hard to place this into the mouth-gap.

The body  and the head of the puppets is made from foam, cut out after a self drafted pattern, glued together (this is the tricky part!) and covered with stretchy fabric. And then I hand sewn the nose, beard, mustache etc. onto the face and the hair to the haed. After that came usually the crown or other hear wear. Final step was to make the dress of the puppet. It was also the easiest step, let me just say that!

I even got some fabric donations from my local fabric store when they heard what I was planning. For example the dress of the wise man with the beard is made from a couch cover scrap.

Joseph

Mary

Other then the puppets, I also hade to make the background lambrequin for the stage. For the front we just used our old green curtains!

(Thank you kissadrienn for this picture!)

At last let me show you a short video from our performance:

The next couple of weeks we are moving which meant that this year I will not have the time to repeat this great puppet show but I rented out the whole set to the Hungarian parish in Cologne and I am very interested in their interpretation and will go and check out their performance!

This was a huge challenge and I enjoyed every step of it. I’m very glad that I was able to learn new skills and do a bit more hand stitching again! And of course serving my community is the biggest joy of all!

At last here is picture of me introducing our puppet show to the crowd. I was very nervous!

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Nativity Applique Pictures

The last couple of weeks were really busy for us because we had to figure out which school our kid should go to next year. If you’ve been there then you know it is not an easy process, to me the emotional part is the most difficult. Anyway, we visited the schools nearby and made our decision. Now we wait until May when they let us know if he got in. Until then it’s time for me to get back to sewing and blogging! Yeay!
I wanted to try out a new project for Christmas and since I was hoping to get into a local Christmas market, I started as early as July. But the answer came and I didn’t get in and for weeks I stopped working on my nativity pictures. But a couple of weeks ago I thought I would finish them anyway and maybe give them as presents for Christmas and share the work-process with you because it was awesome!

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So I came up with the idea of sewing nativity themed pictures for Christmas using applique methods. I tried out a few design, some were printed from the internet, but for the most part I drew the designs myself. The first pieces aren’t as fabulous as the last ones but I still find them lovely.

falikepek1-003I bought lots of picture frames on flea markets, traced the picture size onto an other piece of paper, drew the design, cut it into little puzzle pieces and used those sometimes tiny pieces as my template for the applique.

falikepek1Then I ironed those applique puzzle pieces onto a background fabric and started sewing them with a zigzag stitch. When a picture was done, I pressed it again and taped onto a piece of white paper (cut to the size of the picture frame). And voila!

falikepek1-001When I made these three pictures I wanted to create a design that could be duplicated, so for the next four frame I used the same template:

falikepek1-002I wanted to have a stained glass effect on these, so I used only black thread to sew them. I think I was successful in this attempt. If you want to make a picture like mine, you can download my template here. Print it in size A/4 and you get yourself a template for a picture frame of size 18x24cm! (7×9,5 in)
Print the template twice: cut one up and use the little pieces to trace your applique! The other one will be used as a template that you should put underneath the backdrop fabric: it will help you place the little pieces when you iron them onto the backdrop fabric:

dsc_4142I cheated a little when i cut out the puzzle pieces because I rather cut bigger ones where it was possible and then added an extra seam to make it look like more pieces:

dsc_4144And the same trick already marked on the other fabric:

dsc_4284This is how it should look before starting to sew:

dsc_4145When you are sewing along the puzzle edges, make sure to cover both fabrics with your zigzag stitch! The sewing itself actually didn’t take longer then an hour, the preparing part was probably an other hour or maybe a little more. It shouldn’t take longer since you can just download the pattern and you don’t need to design it!
I think my family members will be very happy when they open these presents (and no, my parents and granny doesn’t read my blog, so I am not ruining the surprise)!
And if you make a picture like this using my template, please, let me know in a comment below! I’m looking forward seeing your creations!

Merry Christmas!

Hello Everyone!
I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a blessed new year!
In the holiday spirit I would also like to share my last three projects with you. As you know, my sewing machine is not working right now but I still had three projects to finish before Christmas arrived.

One of them was a nativity scene picture made out of scrap book papers:

nativity scene

The other one was a very simple felt ornament for my Grandma. I used a smaller version from last year as a template which I made for my son for the advent’s calendar.

christmas ornament

The third project was pine cone owl ornaments made from felt. I found the instructions here but instead of the feet I added a bow on top of each, so I can hang them on the Christmas tree.

owl ornament

Aren’t they cute? Here is one more picture of them:

owl ornamentSee you next year!

Betlehem applique

After the Nikolausmarkt last weekend I decided to make a present for a very nice couple who helped me a lot on the market. But they are a bit older, so giving them something from what I already made just wasn’t an option. They don’t need kids stuff. But they did appreciate my sewing skills and my fabric pictures, so the idea of making them a nativity themed applique picture seemed right.

First, I made a sketch how the thing should look like and also how big it should be, so that it will fit to the frame I had.

Top.bmpThis is an A/4 sized paper (you can download and print it, if you want to make a picture like this!)

Next step was to decide on the fabrics, colors and cut them out fitting to this sketch. For that I went to the window, held up my sketch and put the little piece of fabric on top of that (with vliesofix on the back side), and just traced the lines from the sketch to the fabric. Once all the pieces were cut out, I had to decide what pieces sew first, and what next. I planed the layers like this:

IMGP89341. First I sewed the star onto the base fabric in the middle and a few rays toward the edges. 

IMGP89352. Next came the “bodies” of Mary and Joseph, his crosier and baby Jesus’ outer halo. Oh, and of course the heads.

When I was cutting out the pieces, I cut out a bit bigger where I knew that the layers will overlap each other. This way the thread in the seams doesn’t bulk up.

IMGP89373. Third came Joseph’s vest, baby Jesus’ inner halo and Mary’s arm and hand. See, now you probably understand better what I meant on planning the layers. It is the key to this project!

IMGP89384. Then came Joseph’s arm and hand, bird, baby Jesus’ body and Mary’s veil.

IMGP89395. Next were baby Jesus’ head and Joseph’s headscarf, then finally the crib. At each step I ironed the fabric and of course all little piece had vliesofix on the back, so first I ironed those to the base fabric, sewed them, and then iron again. Repeat each step, until you are done. At the end I also ironed the edge-lines to fold them back.

6. Hand stitch the eyes, mouths and hair. I forgot to stitch the band on Joseph’s headscarf. Don’t do that. If it is necessary, make a list of all the steps before you start!

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IMGP8940Already shaping up, right?

7. Turn the whole thing over and hand-stitch the corners. First stitch two corners on one side, then slip the plastic (or glass) from the frame inside the fabric, then stitch the two other corners on the other side. First I stitched all four corners but then it was impossible to slip the plastic inside and I had to rip the seams.

IMGP89448. It’s done. Put the picture into the frame, cover up with the paper back and tadaa!

IMGP8946Put it on the mantel, in the window, or up to the wall, anywhere. I really like what I achieved in this project because I was afraid, it won’t work because of it’s small size. I am not saying it is an easy project but it can be done in 3-5 hours. Maybe a little more if you decide to do it by hand. Don’t forget to change the thread with each piece of fabric! I might make an other, bigger one for us: with shepherds, sheep, donkey, angel, camel and the three wise men etc. Probably it will take more then 3-5 hours but anyway, Rome wasn’t built in one day and it is amazing. So will be my next picture!

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