Dec 27, 2012

A New, Exciting Year

First of all, it's been a great holiday season for my little shop. Thank you all so much for your love and support! I've got fun plans for the new year, and I'm so excited to get started!

As you probably know, the wool stuff in my shop is needle felted. But I have been wanting to try my hand at wet felting. (If you're curious, check out this tutorial for making a basic piece of felt with this technique.) Folks, adding this technique to my repetoir brings on so many possibilities. I've been wanting to do some framed pictures, and I will do these with wet felting plus a little needle felting and maybe embroidery for accents and details. Can't wait! I've been brainstorming and sketching ideas for these---and obviously, I think one of the first pictures needs to have a sheep...

I'd also like to do some artsy, one-of-a-kind needle felted pieces. My first pieces will be a very artistic owl series. These owls will be highly detailed and larger than my usual pieces. Here's a peak at some sketches for the owls...

I also plan on doing some larger, outdoor shows this year and am considering doing some traveling for other shows in the region. (Oh, and my in-laws deserve a HUGE thanks for giving me a tent for outdoor craft shows for Christmas--so awesome--thanks, guys!!) 

Do you have big plans for the new year?

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Dec 10, 2012

My needle felted owl

Here is a step-by-step example of how chunks of wool turn into something super cute. (Some steps are bigger than others.) I shared this picture a while back on my facebook page, but now I get to describe what you are seeing.
Step 1: Here you can see my different tools (described here) and the chunks of wool roving that I have gathered for the project. There is a large portion of core wool, some light brown for the beak and feet, white and black for the eyes, and teal for the body of the owl.

Steps 2-6: In these steps I create the base shape for the owl with the core wool and the 6-needle tool. Here I gather and shape the wool with my hands before I begin stabbing it. I roll, gather, stab, roll, gather, stab until all the wool is felted into the base shape.

Steps 7-9: Now it's time to cover the base with the actual color for the owl. This part can be tricky, because we don't want any bald spots. The more you stab the wool, the tighter the fibers become, which means they can eventually pull apart to reveal bald spots. Our little owl doesn't want that...

Step 10: After the body color is attached, I add another chunk of the same color for the owl's ear tufts. (The educator in me would like to speak up and say the feathers on some owl's heads are called ear tufts but are not actually ears. Owls' ears are located underneath feathers not too far from their eyes, much like where ours are positioned. They are also lopsided--one ear is higher than the other--which gives owl's impeccable hearing.) Thanks for indulging me.

Steps 11-12: It's time for the eyes! I like to have nice, clean lines in my felted designs, so sometimes even basic circles can be very time consuming. I use one needle for this and carefully poke and gather the white (then black) fibers to create evenly shaped circles. (The educator is now refraining from describing real owl eyes...)

Steps 13-14: Here I use the light brown for a cute little owl beak. Again, I use one needle to carefully sculpt a cute, little beak shape. (Did you know owls can't smell...?) Sorry, couldn't help it.

Step 15: Of course he needs little feet. Three toes in front and one in back. (Owl feet are extremely strong and they have super sharp talons on each toe to help catch their prey.)  I'm no longer keeping the educator at bay, by the way.

Step 16: All done! Now he's ready to sit on a bookshelf or desk so he can watch over you and make you smile.

Dec 3, 2012

A little about needle felting

Over the next couple weeks, I thought I'd talk to you a bit about the craft of needle felting. We will start today with the kinds of tools and supplies that I use. I start with what is called core wool. This is undyed, unbleached, natural wool that even contains the occasional leaf or twig. I use this as the base for most projects.

Any color (or white) that you see is added on top of the core wool. Here's a peek at the selection of wool that I use. (And check out the vintage shoe rack where I store it all--I snagged that from a local store that closed.)

I use barbed felting needles to shape the wool. There are different sizes and shapes available. I typically use a star needle, which has four edges and a couple barbs per edge. There are triangle needles as well which only have three edges, so less barbs. The more barbs, the faster the felting. I can use a single needle, or sometimes I hold a couple needles at once.

I also have another tool that holds up to six needles to help me make basic core shapes and to cover larger areas quickly with colored wool. Looks menacing, right?

Most work is done with a pad of foam underneath. This allows you to stab into the wool without the fear of poking whatever is your hand.

I know you're I'll tell you. Yes, I do poke myself. Not too often (anymore), but it still happens. And yes, it hurts.

Next up, a little demo!

Nov 21, 2012

Black Friday Sale!

I'm having a Black Friday Sale in my shop.  The early bird special is the biggest discount I have ever offered--take advantage while you can! 

 Don't forget to support Handmade and Small Businesses on Black Friday!  Saturday, November 24 is Small Business Saturday, so if you miss my Black Friday sale, you can use code HANDMADEROCKS for 20% off all day Saturday. 

Tomorrow, I will be enjoying time with family. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'll see you after the holiday weekend!


Nov 20, 2012


You guys!! Welcome to my blog! I am so excited about this new endeavor! I plan to use this space to share a little about myself, my handmade adventures, and maybe some nature and animal inspired crafts and posts. My husband and I also love to travel, so I'm sure a few posts will pop up here and there about our trips!
So, stick around, and we'll have some fun!