I recently attended a craft night where some good friends and I gathered for wine and conversation without our children underfoot. We try to do this now and again to nourish our relationships with each other apart from our kids as well as to share our skills and ideas.
This time we used one of the many wonderful projects included in the monthly newsletters from Suzanne Down of Juniper Tree School of Story and Puppetry Arts. Suzanne is a frequent contributor to Living Crafts magazine, tours around the country to teach workshops, has her own blog to share many of her delightful stories and adventures and also sends out her seasonally inspiring message which, this time around, included this cute needle felting project and her original Autumn story of Peter Pumpkin's House.
Her stories are meant to be told using the little dolls as "puppets." (For a post I wrote a while back that gives an idea of how this looks, click here.) I like to change up our stories each season but tend to tell one for as long as two or three weeks before I move on to another. Sometimes I just make them up but Suzanne's stories are some of my favorites.
In this latest tale, Peter and his wife have recently moved to a new village where he sets up shop to sell vegetables from his prosperous garden. The vegetables are loved by all and Peter's heart is warmed by the sight of all the beautiful growing things in his fields. No matter how he searches the town though, there isn't a house to be found for he and his wife to live in. One day, however, as he stands admiring his bountiful garden, he sees something hidden under the branches of the willow tree at the edge of the pumpkin patch. It's a giant pumpkin! It's spectacular! With his pocket knife he cuts here and there and scoops out hundreds of seeds into his basket. Later he brings his wife to the field and shows her, tucked under a willow tree in the corner of the field, her new perfect pumpkin house. The classic old rhyme of "Peter, Peter Pumpkin-eater, had a wife..." is read as Peter places his bride inside the pumpkin at this point. In the end, Peter and his wife sell the pumpkin seeds at their shop and the following year, it is told, there is a whole new village of pumpkin houses giving shelter to happy little farming families.
(For the actual tale, try joining the newsletter here.)
Both the large and tiny pumpkins shown above were wet felted for another of Suzanne's stories that we used last year and the little people were needle felted (dry felted) on a pipe cleaner armature using basically the same method found here.
They're fun little friends to put together especially when enjoying wine with regular sized friends on a cozy Autumn night.