Dec 27, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 52

My last felt painting of the year is another pet portrait.  I plan on continuing this project next year. It definitely keeps me accountable and keeps me creating new projects. I hope you've enjoyed following along!  Did you have a favorite painting from this year?

Hopefully I'll find some time to blog more soon--I miss it, but you all are keeping me busy with felting orders!

Dec 20, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 51

I've had a great week! I'm still super busy getting local orders out for friends and family, but I'm down to just a few things to do and that feels so great.  Looking back at all I've made and accomplished in the past few months makes me really proud and ready grow this business of mine.  I've got some exciting things planned for the next few months, so stay tuned!

I'm sharing another pet portrait hoop this weekend.  This is a memorial piece.

Happy weekend to you, friends!

Dec 13, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 50

I tried my very first pet portrait in a hoop.  I could not be more pleased with the results!! I will be offering these in my shop soon!!

I'm still finishing holiday orders, but the list is growing shorter--hooray!!  Also, in a few days, I'll be listing some animal hoops in my shop.  Keep an eye on my instagram or facebook to find out exactly when they'll be available!!

Happy weekend!!

Dec 6, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 49

I had a wet felting extravaganza last week!  I have some beautiful rovings, and they were just begging to be wet felted.  So here are four pretty versions of a sunset.

I shared this photo on social media, but I want to share it here also.  These are before and after shots of each of these sunsets.  The left side is the loose wool, composed and layered, and the right side is after the painting is wet felted and dried.  Cool, right?

Enjoy your weekend friends!

Dec 3, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 48

Sorry for the late post, friends.  The past two weeks have been the busiest ever for my shop.  In fact, the next three weeks will be just as busy, so expect to see me a little less than normal.  I'll probably only be posting my 52 Weeks of Felt Paintings projects.  Soooo...

I felted a new fox!  I think he's rad.

Last weekend was the Indie Emporium in Tulsa.  We had a GREAT time and sold lots of wool art.  I'll post a few pictures of that soon!

This Friday and Saturday, you'll find me in Fayetteville, Ar at The Little Craft Show.  It's my last show of the season (phew!) but I'm crazy excited about it! Come see us if you're in the area--It's gonna be fabulous!

Nov 22, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 47

Birds are such a challenge to needle felt!  All those little feathers and spots can sometimes drive me crazy.  But all of that extra work makes the end result even sweeter.  I love this little quail!

Have a great weekend!

Nov 21, 2014

Bike It Out!

Happy Friday!  I'm over at Missouri Women Bloggers again today chatting about biking.  Click here to read my post and see ridiculous pictures of me in a bike helmet. :)

Nov 15, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 46

I did another wet felted painting for this week and was reminded of how much I love the process.  The wool is layered and composed, dampened, and then rubbed with special tools (or not-so-special tools like bubble wrap) and soap to create a slick friction.  The friction makes the wool fibers felt together and stick together permanently, more or less. 

This piece reminds me so much of the Scottish highlands.  Scotland has been my very favorite place that my husband and I have traveled so far.  It's just so, so beautiful.  Also, whisky. I'm a big fan now after that trip...

Now I'm off to do more wet felting!  And have some whisky. Have a great weekend!

Nov 14, 2014

Craft Show Recap - The Hip Handmade Market

The cutest damn vendor badges ever!

Last Saturday, I was a vendor at the Hip Handmade Market in Joplin, MO.  The very first Hip Handmade Market was back in March in Webb City, MO, and I was a vendor then, too.  As a small business owner, I have to do my research before I sign up for shows, especially if they are out of town.  I have to be selective for a few reasons.  One: I have to make sure the audience is right for my product. (Which brings up another point--you have to know your audience if you are a seller of anything. Maybe I'll write another post on that later...) I make very specialized pieces that won't appeal to the bargain shopper.  I don't do craft shows to make quick sales of cheap things.  I sell quality artwork and collectible pieces.  My prices are fair for the supplies and time I put in.  Period.  Two:  My inventory is finite.  There are only so many things I can make. If I'm going to spend a day or two hanging out at a show (read: not producing more products), then I want to maximize my exposure to my target audience.  Three: I want to have FUN!  It takes a special person or group of people to make a craft show fun for its vendors and volunteers.  Great music and food go a long way--just sayin'.

So, with all of that said, I can HIGHLY recommend The Hip Handmade Market as a vendor AND a shopper.  Really, you know a craft show is a good fit for you and your wares if you can admire and support the other vendors.

Emma, the show coordinator, does a phenomenal job organizing and planning and promoting.  I know she puts in so much time to make the show perfect and amazing for everyone.  She even drove thirty miles to meet me one weekend to get a few things for a TV spot.  She certainly didn't have to do that, but she did, and that makes her amazing. Also, 2014 is the first year for HHM.  So, if she can pull off amazing shows the very first year, imagine what can happen in the future.

So, next time a Hip Handmade Market pops up (likely Spring 2015), you should come!  And if you make handmade things, and you think this might be your audience, you should definitely apply!  I had such a great time meeting and chatting with shoppers and other vendors and very much look forward to the next one.

Nov 10, 2014

Life Lately

The past few weeks have looked like this:

Making products for a local shop, Arts & Letters
Bike commuting to work

Biking for pleasure

Experimenting with wool--this is welsh mountain sheep wool and camel wool

Exploring and having adventures

Making SO many custom portraits

Spending as much time as I can with the husband and pups

These weeks seem to be going by so quickly.  I'm trying very hard to relish the wonderful Fall weather but also practice good time management.  I feel guilty when I'm not spending all my available time on my shop and blog. I'm sure all handmade and small business owners feel this way at some point. It's the time of year when I am so incredibly busy, so I stay up until midnight and feel like I'm wasting time sleeping when I go to bed any earlier.  Then I wake up at six something the next morning and work very hard to be peppy and cheerful for children at my zoo job.  I know this is silly.  I know I need to take care of myself.  Because not only is it my busy season, it's also cold and flu season, and I'm exposed to so much of that through hundreds of preschool kiddos while at the zoo.  Let's just say, my body will be thankful when January arrives.  Until then, I will keep hustling.

Nov 9, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 45

Happy Sunday!  I took a break from making cutesy animals to try my hand at these toadstools.  I've actually felted some amanita mushrooms before, but I thought they would look beautiful in a hoop. 

I'm so happy with how this turned out!

I am already making a few smaller versions of this.  I'll put them in small, oval hoops. Contact me if you want one--they'll go fast!

Nov 1, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 44

Whoa. It's November. That just doesn't seem right. But the cold weather has arrived here in southwest Missouri, so at least it feels like November.  Brrrr!

This week's painting was such a treat to make.  I work with owls in my zoo job, but I've never worked with a barn owl until recently.  His name is Silo, and he is such a neat bird. Here we are a week ago--he was my teaching assistant for preschool nocturnal animal programs.

Barn owls look so different from other owls, so I thought I'd try to felt one.  The painting turned out beautifully!

Thanks for looking!

P.S. Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight--enjoy that extra hour!

Oct 30, 2014

Altered Thrift Store Art -- You Should Try This!

A while back, my husband and I met a couple friends at a local coffee shop for an art project.  Before this meeting, we would each bring our own separate projects and mediums and have a fun time chatting, drinking coffee and creating.  But this time, we were all working on the same type of project: altered art.  For months we had been scouring local thrift shops for paintings that were inexpensive and would lend themselves to be interesting and easy-to-work-with scenes for fun painted additions.

I found this magical paint-by-number at my favorite shop.  When I spotted it, I instantly knew that this horse had to be a unicorn.
Here's the before:

I added a horn, and made his mane and tail fuller and more flowing with some metallic paint, too. He also needed some woodland friends.  So I added a couple tiny gnomes and a fox peeking from behind a tree.
Here's the after: 

 I love this painting so much--it's now hanging in my kitchen.

My husband and our two friends did these paintings.  My husband altered the painting on the left with the octopus and weird eye creature.  Our friend Lisl added the minion building a snow minion--so clever! The water creature on the right, by our friend Craig,  isn't completed yet, but it's so good!  I can't wait to see it when it's done.

This was so fun--you should definitely try it. It's a quick project (since you're not painting an entire picture), and you get to be so creative!

Oct 25, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 43

I was brainstorming ideas for felt paintings back in September, thought of this one and bumped it to the top of the list.  I couldn't wait to make a hoop of a little mouse reaching for a juicy blackberry.  And why I pick the hardest friggin fruits to needle felt is beyond me, but I'm pretty proud of how this turned out.  In fact, I sold this felt painting at a show the day after I finished it (fist bump!)

Have a great weekend, friends!

Oct 22, 2014

Craft Show Etiquette for Vendors & Shoppers (Revisited)

I'm bringing back the information in this post, because for me, it's very relevant.  If you're a handmade shop owner too, it might be relevant to you right now as well.  Besides, we all need a few reminders from time to time about simple things we can do to make our craft show visits and venues way more pleasant and fun.  Even after rereading my own advice below, I realized that I needed to remember a few points as well. 

So check out my version of proper craft show etiquette, and please feel free to comment or add to it at the end of the blog post!

-Say hello and introduce yourself to your booth neighbors. You may not like their crafts, and you may even be competing directly with them, but you'll be in their company all day (or for multiple days), and you may need each other's help at some point. (Think bathroom break, breaking bigger bills, borrowing set-up supplies like tape and scissors, emergency display rescue...)
-Be mindful of your space. Booth space is a precious commodity. Please be considerate about your allotted space and don't let your display creep into others' spaces. That is definitely an awkward conversation that can be avoided. However, if you do have to address this issue, being nice (even cheerful) goes an incredibly long way.

-Be friendly. Greet your customers! Ask them how they're doing. Be genuine and smile. Please smile. Also, small talk can be a powerful selling tool.

-Teach them!  Don't assume that they know all about your craft or what everything is at your booth.  Offer them little tidbits of information. This will take practice.  After a show or two, you'll get the hang of the most frequently asked questions from your customers.  (For example, a lot of people assume that my pieces are knitted then felted or are boiled wool pieces. I say politely, "Actually, these are made with needle felting.  Have you heard of that before?"  Usually, that leads into a short explanation or demonstration of what needle felting is.) If they're interested, they'll stay and browse and even ask more questions.  If they're not, they'll move on. No big deal. 

-Keep your space tidy.  Shoppers don't want to see your all your boxes or trash bags.  They just don't.

-Please don't start tearing down your booth before the actual end of the show.  This really bothers me. I'm definitely there to sell my handcrafted goods and share about my craft, and I'm going to do so for as long as possible. When vendors start to pack up before the advertised closing time, shoppers start to feel pressured to leave.  None of us want that!

-Leave your space the way you found it.  Out of respect to the folks who put on your show and to the venue hosting it, don't leave behind any remnants of your set-up, and be sure to clean up any trash.
-Please don't haggle or expressly state that you feel items are overpriced. I can guarantee you that any handmade artist has spent a lot of time and thought trying to come up with the right prices for their work.  There's probably been some trial and error involved, too. This work might even be an artist's only source of income. Not only do we need to cover supplies, but we deserve to get paid for our time and labor.  Our time is just as valuable as yours, so please be respectful.

-Please ask permission to take photos. It's just rude not to.

-Please keep an eye on the children with you.  Most of my stuff is very kid friendly and durable.  But that doesn't mean it's okay for your child to put one of my owls in her mouth. Yuck.

-If you have questions, or even a custom request, please, PLEASE ask! Most vendors are more than happy to accommodate your requests!

-If using cash, try to pay with smaller bills (twenties, tens, fives, ones). If at all possible, please don't try to buy something at 8:30 a.m. with a large bill, unless, of course, you'll be spending most of that bill.  Most vendors would find breaking a larger bill early in the day difficult to do.

There you go.  Simple tips to make your craft show season wonderful and stress-free. (Ha, who am I kidding?)

Oct 21, 2014

Fur, Feathers & Scales - Silkie Chickens

Some of you may know I have my own little flock of chickens in my backyard, but I also work with chickens at my zoo job!  We have two silkie chickens--one hen and one rooster.  Their names are Diana and Red, and they are hilarious!  Red crows all the time, and always lets Diana eat first and steal his food.  If we leave the back door open, they willingly stroll inside looking for someone to toss them a handful of mealworms.

Silkie chickens get their names from their soft, fluffy feathers and  are much smaller than most other chickens.
They have dark skin and even dark grey muscles and bones (so I've read.).  Weird, right?

Chickens are so much fun to watch because they have such goofy movements. I mean, just look at this guy:

Even weirder is that they have more toes than other kinds of chickens. These guys have five per foot!. 

I didn't photograph Diana much, but I did get this gem...

And here's a behind-the-scenes peek at our set-up.  It's pretty entertaining to have chickens pecking around your classroom!

If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out my other Fur, Feathers & Scales posts!

Oct 19, 2014

52 Weeks of Felt Paintings - Week 42

If you follow me on instagram (@begoodnatured), you might have seen this hoop already.  It was my husband's idea to felt a goldfish, and I thought it was genius.  Then six hours later, I never wanted to see another goldfish again. (Not really, but man this fish was not easy!)

I sold this hoop at recent show, but I'm open to custom orders!

Oct 15, 2014

A Guilty Pleasure

I'm guest posting over at Missouri Women Bloggers today about a guilty pleasure--check it out by clicking here!

thrifting at relics in springfield missouri be good natured blog