Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hearting my family

I'm not sure I have ever given my husband a Valentine's Day gift before. And even this one was given quite unceremoniously. It's not that I don't care - I do. I wicked heart him. But he's not the kind of guy you can give a card, or a trinket. I bet he wouldn't turn down a box of chocolates, but he loves me enough to let me eat them all. Or at least most of them. This Valentine's Day, though, I just so happen to be taking Anatomy and Physiology 2. Yes, just shoot me now. And it also just so happens that we have been studying the heart.

So this is what I came up with. Study guide for me, random odd t-shirt for him.

If you want to do it up right, try to make the body of the heart about the size of your fist, and set the heart slightly off center to the left. I couldn't really bear it, though, so the one I made is really pretty close to the center. Um, in the center. Almost exactly in the center.

Here are the things you will need:
- a t-shirt or something to adhere your heart to
- the lightest weight wonder-under you can find. We will be layering the pieces, so this is important.
- applique fabric in your choice of colors. I used pieces of old t-shirts.
- embroidery floss

So to start, print out the pattern. I've never made a tutorial before, so I'm pretty sure this isn't the best way to do it, but this pattern sheet is 8x10.5  if that helps with printing. Of course, you can make your heart any size you want.

A couple notes about the pattern pieces. Each has an arrow pointing up to make them easier to place; the shaded parts are the places where another piece will lay on top of that piece and each if labeled with a color. Note that there are arteries that should be cut in blue and veins that should be cut in red, even though that seems counterintuitive. If you are curious, here is an explanation. You don't have to read it for the tutorial.

Technically, veins bring blood to the heart and arteries take blood away from the heart. For the most part, the veins coming in have deoxygenated blood in them.They are represented by coloring them blue. However, when the deoxygenated blood comes into your heart, it goes into the right atrium and then the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps it out to the lungs to go get some oxygen. So it is deoxygenated, but it is leaving the heart to go to the lungs. Those are the blue pulmonary (lung) arteries. The blood travels through your lungs, picks up some oxygen, and travels into the pulmonary veins. They are veins because they are bringing blood to the heart, but they are red because they are carrying oxygenated blood. And just to finish it up, I will tell you that the blood goes from the pulmonary veins into the left atrium, and then into the left ventricle, and the left ventricle pumps that blood out to your body to deliver the oxygen.

Okay. So first you need to print your pattern and make sure the pieces are the right size. If you can, try printing them in reverse on the back side of some wonder-under. This will save you a couple steps. But if not, then print them out, and trace each piece in reverse onto the back of the wonder-under using a light box or window. If all else fails, cut each piece out (like I did) and trace each piece onto wonder under (like I did) and then cut each piece out again (like I did). In case you didn't read the hidden message in there... don't do like I did. You will give yourself a headache.

Once you have all your pieces cut out of wonder-under, lay them on your colored pieces of fabric and iron. I used traditional colors, but you don't have to. In fact, if you wanted it to be more realistic, you could make it in various shades of red. But then you would have to embroider some realistic fat on, methinks. It's a judgement call.

Cut your adhered pieces out of the colored cloth and we will begin to arrange them. It's kind of like a puzzle, so first print out this page here. This is my original heart drawing synthesized from many, many anatomical pictures of hearts. It is not exact, but guess what? All people's insides, just like their outsides, are slightly different. Did you know that? So no matter what you do, it is okay!

Notice that my aorta is shaped differently from yours. At first I cut a slit to make the arch, but then I removed some to make it less bulky. So you just need to fit your pulmonary artery  into the aortic arch. Go ahead and lay them right on top of the picture to help with placement.

Lay the pulmonary veins in place.

The vena cava goes over the pulmonary veins and snuggles up to the aortic arch.
Lay down the body of the heart. The real one contains two atria at the top and two ventricals below. The right side of the heart (remember that is the left side of the picture) pumps blood to your lungs. The stronger left side pumps it out into your body. 

Here we color the atria so you can see them. 

Now that you have it all on there, position the heart where you want it on your shirt/bag/beach towel and gently hold it together while you slide the paper out from underneath. 

Put the paper on top and iron. When everything seems to be stuck down well, remove the paper and iron a little more.

Now you are essentially done but for the decorating. I embroidered more veins and arteries on there. The heart needs a blood supply too, you know. I also hand stitched the atria down because they were having a hard time sticking. I guess there's such a thing as too much wonder-under.

If anyone tries this project, I'd love to see the finished product and hear any feedback you have. This being my first tutorial and all.

And though I don't have a tutorial for what I made my 5 year old, I want to show it to you as well. She loves anatomy. She has an invisible man with squishy organs that she loves to take out when I am studying. So for her, I made an interactive heart. There are two red cells - erythrocytes - that are oxygen depleted on one side and oxygen rich on the other.

The heart is hollow inside so the cells can go into the vena cava from either end or they can come out the aorta. It makes me proud that my 5 year old knows that the cells can't go out the vena cava or in the aorta.

There is a velcro pocket on the back to help get those big cells in and out. The cells should be a lot smaller, but what fun would that be?! Besides, real erythrocytes have elastin in them so they can bend and get into teeny tiny capillaries.

The pulmonary veins and arteries aren't open, but she doesn't seem to mind.