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Surviving Disappointment -Crochet Puppet

My second crochet puppet was a fail, and twice a success. It was a fail because my 2nd grader was disappointed with it. It was a success because the other kids loved it and wanted it. It was a success again because I changed it so the 2nd grader liked after all.

So I gave my 2nd grader the puppet. I finished it as much as I was going to finish it. I didn’t give him legs, even though my student wanted him to have legs. I have to admit that with the attitude he was displaying towards my efforts, I wasn’t as inspired to comply with his requests (demands). I did add arms, ears and a nose and I thought he came out pretty cute.

crochet puppet max_2

What’s wrong with my eyes?

When I handed him over, the look of disappointment was palpable. And now I was disappointed. So this was a fail. But it was also a success because there were about 10 other kids circling him like sharks hoping they could have it. They smelled the scent of his disappointment and moved in to snatch the puppet up.

Some were begging me to let them have it since he didn’t like it and some were appealing directly to him to give it to them. I saw right away that he just might give it away (no way buddy) so I put a stop to that real quick. I told them all that it would go in the Ultimate Prize Box if he didn’t end up keeping it (either by his choice or mine).

I asked my 2nd grader if he wanted to trade him for something else since it didn’t seem like he liked the puppet. He actually thought about it! Oh, help me survive the fickleness of kids! I told him that he probably should trade it since he obviously didn’t like it. He hesitatingly said  he would keep it, although I think this had more to do with him not wanting anyone else to have it. He walked away but he kept griping about how the puppet didn’t have eyeballs! He was obsessed with eyeballs!

I finally had enough and was about to make an executive decision and take back the puppet, but instead, I asked him if the eyes were the only reason he didn’t like the puppet. He said yes, so I had him hand the puppet over and I sent the kids out to recess. When they came back, the puppet had new eyes.

crochet puppet max_3

Now he has eyeballs!

My 2nd grader had a big smile on his face and he happily scampered off. Now, at least, I had a better feeling that the puppet was going to be liked. Maybe love would come later. 🙂 Still, I think my 2nd grader’s mom was more grateful for the puppet than my student. She loved it.

Any art is an extension of ourselves and it can be hard to put ourselves out there. And when our work is rejected (even by a 2nd grader), it can be tough not to take the rejection personally.

My hubby is an artist. He makes a living from his art. He tells me he doesn’t take it personally when a client asks for changes or just doesn’t like something.  He just makes the changes until the client is happy.

So that’s what I did. I  made the change and the client (student) was happy.

And knowing that the other students loved the puppet as it was saved my ego. One of the reasons I get nervous when someone asks me to make them something is because I know that meeting an expectation can be hard. They have something in their mind that they want and it might not be the same as what I produce. I’d rather just make things and if it’s liked, that’s great, if it’s not, that’s no biggie.

But I don’t let that stop me with the kids. Most of the time, they’re extremely happy and appreciative of what I make for them. I’m grateful for that.

Forget the Top Hat

I basked in the glow of student adulation over the Jeffy puppet for about one whole day. Then it was back to business as usual. Back to reality and the typical way my students act when it comes to my crochet.

So, coming off my Jeffy high, came the low of being taken for granted. I finished off the emoji purse for my third grade girl and she happily accepted it and was on her way. No problem there. Seeing her happy with her purse was thanks enough (really😁).

Then, it was time for the top hat for my 2nd grade boy…but he changed his mind. He didn’t want the top hat anymore, he wanted a puppet. Well, of course he did. After hearing how much the 5th graders loved the Jeffy, he wanted his own puppet, one that looked like him, no less.

I explained that time was running out and there was no way I could finish a complicated puppet like Jeffy. It would have to be something much simpler. He said that was fine. And typical, it didn’t take him long to start asking if I was finished. I mean, he immediately started asking if I was done! By the end of the same day that he made the request, he asked if I was done. I know they think I have a magic crochet wand (hook) that I can just wave around and abracadabra, there’s a completed item. I chuckled and let him know that I hadn’t had time to even start it yet.

The next few days were like going on a trip with a child in the back seat who keeps asking if we’re there yet. I kept hearing, “Are you finished yet, are you finished yet, are you finished yet?” Continue reading

Super Power: Crochet!

I saw the superhero illustration below in an email newsletter I receive from Lion Brand. I loved it instantly. It would have been even better if they were crocheting instead of knitting but I’ll take what I can get. It reminded me of a funny moment I had with one of my Kindergarten boys.

Super Heroes knitting

When I saw this illustration, it was love at first sight! But where is Superman?

One of my co-workers was having a conversation with one of my Kinders. They were talking about superheroes and my co-worker said to the student, “We have a superhero right here.”

The little boy said, “No we don’t. Where is he?”

My co-worker pointed to me and said, “Mrs. Sherman is a superhero.”

“Nuh uh, what’s her superpower then?” he smugly asked, sure in his conviction that I was not a real superhero.

Without missing a beat, I said, “Crochet is my superpower.” He giggled.

“That’s not a super-power,” he countered.

I wasn’t bitter about this. Not many people know crochet is a superpower. I had my counter argument ready.

Well, I said it was a super-power because I could make anything with crochet. You can imagine the silly conversation that ensued about what I could and could not make. Days later, he was mumbling and giggling at the same time about whether crochet could be considered a superpower. This is why I love working with kids. Where else can you have such ridiculous arguments?

Speaking of superheroes, I’ve made some of my own. There’s Superman!

Crochet Jeffy the Puppet Progrss

He’s coming out ugly. That’s ok though, he’s supposed to be ugly. I would be doing it wrong if he weren’t coming out ugly.

Jeffy the puppet

I’m ugly and I like it!

I’m not so sure he looks exactly right but my student seems to be really excited about the progress. He hasn’t seen the inside of the mouth or the face yet, but if the way he was playing with just the body is any indication, he’ll be thrilled to see it now. As I slowly build the puppet, his reaction gets better and better. I can see his joy as the puppet is coming alive. It makes all the thought and work (and struggles with eyes!) I put into a project so worth it when I see that kind of a reaction.

The eyes were a bit tricky. I tried a few different things before I settled on the ones he has now. I’m still not totally sold on them but I had a mom who actually knows what Jeffy is and what he looks like. She told me he looked great so far. Henceforth, I didn’t rip out the eyes. He gets to keep them.

Now, he just needs his ears and his helmet. Oh yeah, his hands too. I was hoping my student wouldn’t notice he has no hands or shoes. He hasn’t said anything about the shoes but he casually asked me if I knew how to make fingers, apropos of nothing. He can’t trick me. Even though he didn’t come out an ask, I know he was thinking about the handless puppet! I guess I’ll have to make him some fingers since I do in fact know how to make fingers. 🙂

Hopefully, the puppet will only get better and better too.

Progress Last Minute Crochet Projects

The Crowns

The crowns are done and my queens loved them. They picked really cool yarn colors that worked out really well. They keep trying to convince me to let them wear them now. Nope. They have to wait until it’s their week to be queen. Cruel, I know. 🙂 But in the meantime, the doll gets to wear them.

Crochet Tiara

I get to wear the crown!

Crochet Tiara 2

I might keep this one.

Jeffy the Puppet

Jeffy the puppet

This is what I’m working with. (Image courtesy of Pinterest) My version of Jeffy will have no diaper or pencil shoved up his nose. I refuse!

I started work on the easiest part of the  puppet, his t-shirt. I made a yellow tube in single crochet and embroidered his name on it. The yellow yarn I picked might not be exactly right but I think it’s close enough. In some pictures of Jeffy, the shirt looks bright yellow but in others, the yellow has more of an orange cast. I don’t think my student will complain about the color of the yarn.

My first attempt at the shirt came out a little wide so I ripped it back and tried again. I made it smaller, was happy, added the name, and then realized the first attempt was better. 😂 Oh well, I’m committed now.

Jeffy body

The arms and legs came next. I didn’t feel like stuffing arms and legs, so I crocheted rectangles and rolled them up. Gives it dimension without having to stuff. I probably should add hands but I’m not sure I will yet. I guess it depends on how much time I have. He is supposed to have shoes but that might not happen either.

Jeffy arms and legs_1

Don’t be alarmed by my headless body! It’s in the works.

I’m leaving the head for last. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet. Different ideas are marinating in my head and I’m almost ready to get started. I’ll probably take this part back to work with me and finish the head there. That will give the student the chance to say something about the hands and shoes. If he doesn’t, it stays the way it is. 🙃

 

 

Knackered Life-Size Crochet Doll

In case anyone wants to know what the life-size crochet doll is up to, here’s an update. She’s knackered! The kids are getting into full swing playing with her and it ain’t pretty!

Crochet life size doll IMG_3342

Ok, this is kinda pretty.

Continue reading

Gray

 

Gray. What do you think of when you hear the word gray? Is it sad that the first thing that popped into my head was gray hair? Gray hair. I have more gray hair than I had yesterday. Yesterday, I had more gray hair than the day before. It crept up on me at first. It wasn’t so noticeable. Then I got more and I told myself it looked like highlights. It was still pretty in my mind.

Minie Me in garden

This is Mini-Me. I gave her gray highlights to match my hair. This is when I was liking my gray hair. 😉

As it continued to replace my dark hair, I didn’t like it so much. Was it time to start coloring it? I had never colored my hair. My sis–in- law and dear friend had stopped coloring her hair and started embracing her gray hair and she looked beautiful. I couldn’t decide if I should start coloring or try to embrace it as she did.

I really, really didn’t want to color my hair for a number of reasons. (1) I have allergies to chemicals and I was worried I would have an allergic reaction. (2) Coloring my hair would be a commitment and I knew that once I started the process, I would have to keep doing it because it doesn’t look good to have all those roots showing. (3) I have thinnish hair and I was worried the harshness of the chemicals would destroy what little I had left.

As an alternative, I looked at henna. The benefit would be that henna is actually supposed to be good for your hair. Big bonus! But everything about it looked complicated. Not only would I have the commitment of staying on top of coloring my hair, now the process looked even more complicated!

Then one day, my sister had stopped coloring her hair because she was worried the chemicals were actually causing her harm (hah! I knew it!). She didn’t mind coloring her so I told her about henna and she actually tried it. And it looked good! She found one that was pretty easy (or easier than some of the others) and so I gave it a try too.

My first attempt looked good but I messed it up. My sisters helped me apply it. What a mess we made! Henna is so messy. I left it on for one hour per the instructions. The sis who had tried it told me not use shampoo because the henna wouldn’t come out. She said to use dish washing liquid. Well, I, in my infinite wisdom, noticed it was coming out just fine with water alone, so I thought it would be fine with shampoo.

The results

The first thing I noticed was that some of the gray was still showing through, but that was fine since most of it looked really good. When my sis saw it, she agreed it looked good but said all the gray showing through was because I used shampoo. Shampoo has conditioners and I was supposed to avoid conditioners immediately after because they strip the color. Hey, she didn’t say anything about that before! She said not to use it because it’s not strong enough to get the henna out. I should have listened.

What I liked about the henna was that it looked so natural. No one even noticed that I colored my hair. Granted, when you do something like coloring your hair, you want people to notice but I didn’t. My hair was just darker and had less gray. The grays looked brownish and looked like highlights. When it faded (henna fades), it faded naturally so it was less noticeable. I was very happy at how this was working out.

For my next attempt, I was armed with more knowledge. I threw an egg in the mix in an attempt to condition the hair. Henna can be drying. I also added vinegar. That is supposed to help it set. I also left it on way longer. When it was time to shower, I removed it with just plain water. It takes a long time but it takes a long time anyway. The results were beautiful. The hair was shiny and almost all the gray was covered. The best part for me is that if I don’t want to continue coloring it, it just fades away and it’s very subtle. The worry about the commitment is no longer a worry. So at least for now, it’s henna all the way. 🙂