Dec 31, 2013

I resolve to...

I'm making a resolution for 2014. I'm changing the way I approach life situations. I have a tendency to catastrophize things.  I fixate on the worst things that could happen.  This is really easy for me to do as an introvert who does not like to express my thoughts to many people. But what good is that?  It's completely irrational, and it just adds unnecessary stress and worry to my life, and I'm done with that.

So this year, I resolve to...

I will be brave.

     I will take chances.

     I will reach out.

     I will experience more.

     I will say yes.

     I will make a difference.

     I will have adventures.

Bring it 2014. 

Dec 28, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 52

Wow.  I can't believe it's my last installment of this series for 2013!! I'm a little surprised that I was able to keep it up.  I mean, some weeks were a little late, but who cares, right?  So, for the last project of the year, I decided to make a polar bear.  And with this polar bear, I think I've started a new obsession: realism.  I love all my cutesy animals, but I've grown as a needle felter, and with growth comes the need for challenge.  Don't worry, the cute critters will still be around.  But you should expect more realistic animals too. I'm pretty excited about this, folks.

Check out this guy....

 I'm feeling a major sense of accomplishment right now for creating 52 new needle felted pieces this year. Actually, I'm pretty sure this calls for some wine.  Cheers!!

Dec 27, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 51

Since I'm playing catch up, and I had no time to create something new for the shop the past couple weeks, I thought I'd share some custom orders with you. 

I created this Harry Potter for my Secret Santa recipient.

This Darth Maul is an addition to a friend's uncle's collection of Star Wars characters.  I made the Yoda and Darth Vader last year.

I did a LOT of pet portraits.  Here are some shots of a few of those...

I love doing custom orders.  Especially the pet portraits.  At first, they were a little daunting, because of course I want to get the pets just right.  But I've gotten a lot of great feedback on them, and I'm grateful to get to memorialize a beloved family member for my customers. 

Currently I'm working on five more custom orders.  A couple of them are more challenging than the others.  I'll be sure and share when I'm done. 

My first Stitch Fix

Have you heard of Stitchfix?  It's an online personal styling service that sends you a box of five clothing (or accessory) pieces.  You can get your fix as often as monthly or schedule your fixes farther apart.  This service costs $20, but you can apply that toward any piece that you want to keep.  Plus, you fill out a profile, detailing the kind of clothes you like and the kind you might want.

I was so excited to get my box in the mail.  I was immediately enamored with the colors, patterns and textures that I saw.  My stylist did a great job!

This is what I got.  I decided to keep the piece on the top right and the bottom middle. The bottom right piece was a little too long for my short body.  The button-down dress just did not work with my shape, and the skirt was a tad too narrow in the waist.  I liked every piece, though.  And really, these are not pieces that I would have picked for myself--especially the red top.

I had fun putting some outfits together. And kudos to my husband for taking a million pictures of me until we got the right ones. 

If you're thinking of trying it, you can use this referral link, you know, if you want to. It would help me earn some credit, because I'll definitely be getting some more stitchfix deliveries. ;)

Dec 26, 2013

Good Morning and Thank You

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! We enjoyed a short trip back home to the in-laws' in Arkansas. 

I know I've been pretty absent around here lately, but that's because you guys are keeping my shop so incredibly busy, and for that I thank you.  I've been staying up until midnight and 1 a.m. nearly everynight since November working on orders. The crazy holiday shopping season is keeping me busy beyond Christmas--I *still* have orders to fill.  And if you are one of those people waiting on something wooly from me, don't worry, I'll pick the needles back up today.

Last night, we drove back into an incredibly hazy Springfield, and today, we woke up to a beautiful, frosty morning. 

Just thought I'd share these with you.

P.S. I've got some blog posts to catch you up on.  So, I'll be back sooner rather than later.

Dec 15, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 50

WEEK 50!!! 

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 49

So, I'm a little late for week 49, but these stockings are why!  I've been making patterns and cutting and felting and sewing and ironing my bum off to get all of these stockings done!  These are the series that I've finished for this year: 

I still have stockings left in my shop that are ready to ship out.  They are high quality, 100% wool felt and would make great gifts! Actually, you should probably check out my facebook page this week too, because I'll be running a special on the stockings (hint, hint.)

Dec 1, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 48

Oh my gosh, you guys.  I've been so busy with Etsy orders, orders from friends and family AND with prepping for my last two craft shows of the year.  Oh, and I'm trying to fill some consignment orders.
So, I'll be blogging a bit less from now until Christmas.  But don't worry, I've got lots of plans for the new year!

For now, though, have a look at this cute monkey!

Enjoy your week!

P.S.  Follow me on instagram (@begoodnatured) for fun updates. :)

Nov 24, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 47

I don't know about this one, guys.  I attempted to felt a horse for the first time.  I'm not entirely happy with it.  I think he looks a bit like a donkey....yes?  Well anyway, you should get excited about me felting horses, because once I get it right, you know what comes next?  Unicorns!!


Nov 22, 2013

Volkswagen Bus Update

Back in June, we bought a VW bus.   We knew it needed some work, and I thought I'd update you guys on the progress we've made so far.  Actually, it feels like the opposite of progress, because the thing has been gutted and stripped down.  It gets worse before it gets better, right?

Check out what we found under the luggage rack!

Poor race car driver...

Brandon has removed all the seats, floor, wall vinyl, headliner and heating ducts.  He pulled the windows and seals out, too.  When we first got the bus, it only had one headlight, so we did replace the missing and existing headlight with a brand new set.

We've purchased some interior cabinets from a couple in Colorado who just happened to be passing through our neck of the woods and saw our "wanted" Craigslist ad. 

We've been finding lots of cheap shortcuts made by previous owners.  Brandon's been working really hard to remove the tar paper that coated the floor and walls of the bus.  This tar paper, which was intended by the previous owner to waterproof the van, is meant for outdoor use only--not where people might be sleeping or spending any amount of time, because it releases harmful gasses.  Yikes!

Now Brandon's working on getting the body prepped for paint and then a new paint job! We are still tossing around some color ideas.  What color would you paint the bus?

Nov 19, 2013

Fur, Feathers & Scales - Screech Owl

I've got another installment of my Fur, Feathers & Scales series for you today.  So far, we've met a hedgehog, a chinchilla, a desert tortoise, a bearded dragon, a guinea pig, a tarantula, a quaker parrot, a skink, a dove, and a couple of rats. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Occhio the Eastern Screech Owl!

Screech owls are found in eastern North America in many different kinds of habitats.  They are very small, standing at 6-7 inches tall.  Their feathers can be one of two different colors, gray like Occhio here, or reddish-brown.

They are predators and catch their food with their feet and talons.  Owls have zygodactyl feet, meaning their toes form the shape of an X, with two in front and two in back.  This is unlike many other birds that have three toes in front and one in back.  Their legs and feet are covered in fine feathers.

Owls have excellent eyesight and hearing.  Because they are nocturnal, owls have huge eyes that enable them to see in the dark. Actually, their eyes are so big  that there's not enough room for muscles to allow eye movement, so their eyes are fixed--they can't move their eyes around.  So, to compensate, they are able to turn their heads 270 degrees (about a 3/4 rotation.)  So cool!

Owls also have really cool ears--they're lopsided!  One ear is higher than the other, which allows the owl to easily pinpoint the location of the sound that it's hearing.  And those tufts on top of this owls head--those are not his ears.  His ears are located not too far from his eyes under all those feathers.

Screech owls get their names from the noise that they make.  Their screech is very eerie. They also have a high-pitched trill that, to me, sounds very much like a Halloween ghost noise.

Occhio (which means "eye" in Italian), is about three years old and is such a fun bird to work with at the zoo.  He definitely steals the show!

Nov 17, 2013

52 Weeks of Felting - Week 46

This week's project was an accident.  I was attempting to make one of my toads, but I made a really big one. One that was just big enough to make into a pin cushion. At least he's cute!

You can see more pictures here!

Nov 13, 2013

A Glimpse into my Zoo Job

You might already know that I work at a zoo for my day job.  I'm an educator, so I take animals schools to teach kids all about  the animals and their habitats and everything in between.  When schools take field trips to the zoo, I sometimes present educational programs at our amphitheater for the kids while they're visiting. Last week, I taught a program on endangered animals.  The kids got to see a chinchilla, a desert tortoise, and a peregrine falcon.  Here are a few shots from that presentation. 

Chinchillas really are very soft.  I mean, just check out this girl's face! She was amazed!

We try to use at least one touchable animal in our presentations.  We also use animal artifacts (what we call biofacts) like feathers, fur, bones, etc to enhance and compliment our topics.

Of course, I wasn't very mindful of when the photos where actually being taken, so we ended up with silly shots like this one.  (I was talking about how desert tortoises dig long tunnels.)

Duey the desert tortoise was a big hit!

Ha! Here's another silly photo.  I think at this point, I was talking about how the pesticide DDT affected facons' eggshells--it made them so thin that the falcon's couldn't sit on their eggs without breaking them.  This is apparently the face I make when explaining this point. :)

Cloud Dancer the Peregrine Falcon

All the animals that I work with are smaller like these guys.  Some have been rehabilitated, and some have been abandoned.  Some have even had previous lives as pets, but their owners were not able to care for them properly for one reason or another.  I can assure you that they ARE well cared for at the zoo. 

I consider myself a very lucky girl to have this job. Even if I get pooped on from time to time.