Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Grin Lynn (gremlin)

Look who wants a hug !
Grin Lynn..hanging out in his natural habitat .

Grin Lynn , sharing the love with a few friends .
Kind of a funny story behind this little guy . I'm on my way to see the dentist today and last night thought I would like to make him some thing special for him because he really is an awesome dentist ....(Centennial Lakes Dental Clinic...Luke Eichmeyer DDS ) . They have an awesome machine there if you need a cap/crown that allows them to cut and fit it without the normal two week wait .
Anywhoooo.....I had planned on making something for his office that would appeal to kids, a cute little cheshire cat kind of thing that had a toothbrush in one paw and a sign about brushing your teeth . I didn't have a special animal in mind, just sort of an abstract animal shape showing it's pearly whites . 6 hours later, what should emerge but "Grin Lynn"...teeth are very clean but I'm afraid it would give the kids nightmares...spooky critter .
So looks like the dentist will have to wait until I can create something a bit less scary . Maybe without such large teeth that look like they are about to sink into your neck ?

Needle felted jewelry....and ADD

I love classic images and "snake swallowing it's tale" is one of my favorites . I still need to add the eyes to this little guy and my "evil eye" agate stones have just arrived, so stay tuned .

These 4 needle felted cuffs started life as a neck wrap that I made to thick, so I cut them into 4 equal sections and added some more fiber over the raw edges . I plan on adding some beading and am still waiting for the vintage button from Israel to add closures .
I made this "alien pod" for a friend who was recently in the hospital, had hoped to drop it off but guess it will be a trip to the post office since I didn't make it to the hospital in time . I am planning on adding some healing scents to it because I think these would make great "scent traps" . She can hang it on the car (beats those obnoxious Christmas tree things) or next to the bed for sweat dreams .

Sweat strawberry on a wet felted rope . I still need to add the seed beads and haven't decided what kind of closure to add .

Wet felt vs Needle felting . The two fuzzy ropes are needle felted and the one on top that looks smooth is wet felted . I seem to have some wet felting phobia but am trying to over come it . I did these as an experiment to see which style I like better . The upside of the wet felting is that it only takes about 10 min. where the needle felting takes about an hour . It also gives much cleaner lines to see the different colors . The upside of the needle felting i only an upside if you are a fan of "fuzzy" , which I happen to be . Since you poke from all sides, the extra fiber ends poke through and create a fuzzy halo effect that I think feels good .
Conclusion...I will probably keep making both kinds because they each have their own advantages .
The ADD part of the equation ? Notice how many of these projects are still not finished ?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Neede felted Alien pods for necklaces and more Easter eggs

Can't explain how much I love making the alien pods . I think it is because I don't know what they are going to look like before I begin . I just pick colors I like and start felting, then certain colors pop out as the inner seed, inner skin and husk and I needle felt accordingly . I maybe the only person these appeal to...I have no concept of others "tastes", but I love the color and texture contrasts and just the thought they they could sprout some alien life forms . I plan on wrapping these in copper wire and making some necklaces with beads and others with needle felted ropes .
Also, a few more eggs for my Etsy store, (that I am having a lot of trouble photographing due to lack on sun lately ). I have checked on Etsy and not seen anything quit like I am making and wondering...once again...if that is because it is to weird to appeal to "normal people" who just want a sweet pastel egg with some spots on it . Not that there is anything wrong with traditional egg dying colors but it just seems a waste of the wonderful potential of needle felting/color blending . Maybe it only appeals to my eyes...(beauty being in the eye of the beholder and all that ) .
Ona side note, I like the egg for contrast and sizing and am thinking off adding it to all my pics for my shop...maybe writing my store name on it ???

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Easter Bunny Birth

I had originally envisioned the bunny coming out of the top with just two ears and two big back feet sticking out....as you can see, he had other ideas of how he wanted to come into the world . This little battle between us extended his birthing time by several hours, taking over 8 from start to finish....(we are both rather stubborn) .

Another issue that occurred, was that I wanted to show off my sculpting by creating a detailed head with defined cheeks and mouth.....he wanted to be "fuzzy" . SO... beneath his fuzzy exterior are the finely chiseled features of a super model .

I can't blame this all on the bunny, I seem to be struggling with myself over the issue of creating more cute and abstract shaped animals and more detailed and realistic ones . Detail is great when I am working in clay, but think it is wasted on creatures made of fur, crafted out of fiber that I want to be high on the cuddly factor . I hope I get a grip on this battle before long because 8 hours to make one silly bunny is just ridiculous .

That said...I still love him and he is very cuddly .
Just found out that there is a theory about the bunnies hatching from eggs presented by the auther of the book..."Look Me In The Eyes"....you can read about it here..

Sunday, March 22, 2009

ADD and Easter eggs

Not finding the right words today but thought I would share what I worked on last night with some of my new fiber . I don't often buy supplies off Etsy but found some really cool blended colors I wanted to try from Earthsong Fibers .
The first egg is just a simple design but I really like how the egg looks different from different angles . I also added a bit more texture to these, needle felting some areas tighter then others to give abit more depth .
The last egg is sunrise and moon rise and the one above that is a volcano .
Fun stuff, I never know what I'm going to do next, what it will look like or if I will love or hate it .
I've worked with a lot of different crafts before, but this is by far the most versatile .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sinister Peacock Easter egg babies

I have a true weakness for fuzzy baby critters . The peacock baby is needle felted from some beautiful fiber I just got from Cooperpot on Etsy....I am so in love with her color blends and couldn't resist using some the day I got them . Count on some more peacock related items s those are some of my favorite colors .
The little beaver started life as an alpaca but told me he felt more beaverish so is a bit of both . Made from some lovely alpaca fiber from Northstar Alpaca Fibers on Etsy, ( which is perfect for making more natural colored critters .)
Off to do some needle felting and wondering who will decide to pop out of an egg tonight .

Friday, March 20, 2009

Jumbo Easter eggs and baby owl pendant

Is it an....owl ? Great guess....I'm not very good a needle felting miniatures yet....much blood lose involved as I tend to "poke" to hard and go right through to my fingers . I "should" be using my felting mat but like to turn the object while I'm felting so I can keep control of how the fiber is going in . This little guy is about the size of my chrysalis...1.5" and hope to turn him into a necklace .
I didn't felt the white one....that's a large chicken egg to give size perspective to my Jumbo Emu Easter eggs . I think this would be a good beginning project for new felters (me) because it is fairly straight forward but has a lot of room for decorating .
How ?
Start by wrapping some plain Romney into about the size you want and start poking . The tighter you wrap the faster this will go ...about 30 min with size 40 needle (faster if you use 36 but I can't find mine.) Then wrap the whole thing with a nice thick base layer of colored merino or alpaca and poke some more...recommend smaller needle for this to avoid misshaping the egg and leaving poke holes . Lay on thinner wisps of matching colors and poke some more .
you can add designs once the base color is on
top it with a little critter hatchling...ala "Champ/Nessy offspring"
"paint" a scene on it with specific fiber colors(working on that tonight)
It can be used as a table decoration, a fancy pin cushion or throw it at your cat when he's being naughty...(wont hurt but will get his attention .)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Needle felted head band, chrysalis and suprise Easter eggs

Started out wanting to make something for Easter, just a simple little egg and look who popped up ! He is the offspring of Champ and Nessy but how they got together is a mystery . He was so fun to make , I plan on doing several animals in Easter eggs and may even get them listed on Etsy before the season is over .....or they may just make a late arrival to Shepherd's Harvest .
The head band with the butterfly is going to be a hair band but I need to add the "stretchy bit"
to the ends. It is needle felted onto a bit of wool coat fabric, so it is rather thick but should work great for some "hair interest" .
Also, still working on the butterfly chrysalises...I personally like them but have a feeling they wont appeal to "most folks" . I did buy some new wool fiber that should be arriving soon to add more colors to the butterflies beneath the cocoons .

The "Keep 'Em Guessing" needle felted necklace....

Is it...Smurf Poo ? Rattle snake with an inflamed prostrate ? drift wood with a butter fly crysalis ?

Only you will know .

Well, thought I might avoid the Poo look by adding a bit of color to the "wood" and get more interesting shape by needle felting over a leather thong...which goes to show, not all experiments are successful . This is one of those things you could wear if you don't mind hearing the Minnesota idea of an insult....."My that sure is 'interesting' " .

It was successful in one aspect and that is that it let me know that you CAN needle felt over a leather thong and I will probably be doing that again to make some chokers .
I thought the bracelet turned out nice but the color doesn't show up very well on camera .

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Keeping it Organic..needle felted crysalis and Alpaca balls

According to my friend Jane, organic is "In" . If true, it is the first time in my life that I am actually intune with what is "in" and it only took 40 years for the world to match my personal tastes .

Along those lines is my newest design concept (ohh, "design concept"...how pretentious does that sound, lol) . I was considering different ideas to add a bit more color to the twig and tree root jewelry and decided on the crysalis . Butterfly crysalis have always facinated me. During most of the crysalis stages, they are bland and easy to miss, (the point being to not get eaten), but watching a time lapse of a butterfly birth, right before they emerge, they reach a stage of simi transparancy when the folded wings begin to show through . That is the stage I am trying to reproduce with needle felting .

I want to tweek the design a bit, to decide how much of the underlying color I want to show through . I was also thinking this might be a good thing to sell to raise money for the Minneapolis Crysalis center....
A great orginization helping women, children and families in Minnesota . Evidently they have recently changed their name, but I think it still might be an appropriate fit as many of us still think of them as Crysalis .

Another idea I was playing with last night was large needle felted "alpaca balls" . As soft as "nerf" but less toxic materials . These actually have a core of scrap fleece wound tight and then about an oz of alpaca needle felted around it . I then added some accent colors of merino . These are pretty simple designs but the potential is unlimited, so they can be accented for home decorations or simpler forms as childrens toys .

Saturday, March 14, 2009

needle felted bracelet and necklace "Tree root series"

Call me crazy, (You'll need to get in line to do so), but I love the wood roots of trees . I love the way they look after they have been exposed to the elements for a few years, showing the different colors of their layers . I love the way they twist and turn as they have grown to seek out the changing underground water routes . I love that they are like the "veins of life" for these giant "beasts" . (Yes, I AM a literal tree hugger . ) They are one of the many things I would see in the woods as a kid (and still), and have to bring home with me, a reminder of the complexity and beauty of nature .
So, it is no wonder , (although it might be crazy), that I would decide to try and reproduce something that I find so emotionally and esthetically pleasing . I am actually pleased with the results and would wear these my self but ....as noted by my Bf's teenage son..."they look like Poo" to him !!! I'm not sure if there is a market for felted "Poo", my guess is yes, but probably not as jewelry ?

I still like them and plan on doing more , so if you like "organic" be it tree root or "poo" , these will be accompanying me to Sheepherd's Harvest .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Organizing fiber and Alpaca and moss bracelet

Just thought I would share my favorite way to organize my fiber . I created a pallet to help me find the colors I am looking for when doing a project . I got both of these at the thrift store but I suppose they sell this sort of thing new ? (I don't do much shopping outside of the Etsy and thrift stores) . One of the great things about these bags is that they can be rolled up for traveling and have a built in hanger for closet storage . I will keep my eyes open for more of these for my other art supplies as they seem the perfect solution to my craft supply obsession .

My first attempt at a more organic looking bracelet was done with 80% Alpaca fiber and 20% merino and I think the blend felted up a bit faster then the pure merino . I didn't actually achieve the wood grain I was hoping for but it certainly does look like something you could find in the woods . The top is a bit of "moss" with a beetle .
On a side note...don't you hate how these blogs load pictures backwards making your first the last ?

I just spent 6 hours trying to create a slide show and this is all I got ???

OK...I'm the first to admit that I am not computer literate. I got my first computer about 3 years ago and spent the first two years doing little more then loading music and pictures to my ipod, chatting on Wrong Planet. com(great place to learn about Aspergers and meet cool people) . I have tried my hand at selling my creations on Etsy but with little success and was constantly asking myself ....is the stuff I make just to "weird" or is it my lack of business sense and primitive computer skills "the problem" . I'm hoping it is the latter and hope to find out at Shepherds Harvest....my first craft show . Of course, being human with a strong sense of ego preservation and a stronger need to create.....even if I sell nothing I will probably just blame it on the economy .

More on topic....I did spend the last 6 hours trying to make a Picassa photo album that I could just load here as a slide show . I tired to use my Flicker one but it would not load at all . So, being the clever monkey that I am, decided to stick with Picassa, which is supposed to be "blogger friendly" . After editing and going through the past 2 years of "things I've made"...I tried to load it into Picassa Albums, but it appears that "blogger" can't seem to find it !!!aaarrrgg .

I did manage to make a movie using Picassa. Several edits later, this is all I managed to do...
(Don't blink or you will miss it .)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Slip on needle felted bracelets and cuffs with attitude

3 hours each, for such a small project seems a bit extravagant but I am hoping that others will enjoy the way they feel...fluffy jewelry for summer ? Well, perhaps they will not sell at Shepherd's Harvest unless the temp is below 50...(which is possible), but I was thinking they "might" actually work for summer....they are light weight and wool is supposed to be a great absorber of moisture, (for those who do actually perspire) . The next logical step is...wool sweat bands for those who want to keep the perspiration out of their eyes while working out . Will it work or be to hot ? I think I will have to be my own guinea pig on this, which is a great motivator for me to work up a sweat with a bit of exercise....(Exercise ??? Yeah, I'm sure I will do that... right after I finish cleaning the house . )

As to technique for "slip ons".....

All of the "slip ons" are Merino wool fiber cut about 3 inches larger then my wrist. You can also use some alpaca in different shades of brown and create a wood grain effect . (I plan on doing this later this week .)

I then attach one end of the fiber to a cross piece of fiber to secure it and you can either twist or braid the fiber to create a *firmer starting piece and begin needle felting up and down the fiber until it becomes firm .( The length shrinks as it's being felted, so I end up with a bracelet that fits around the wrist with about 1/2 inch of room . )

Once all but the last inch is firmly felted, I attach the last 1/2 inch to the beginning part of bracelet and wrap the cross fiber around both ends to create a circle and felt very firmly, so it will not come apart when slipped on..(.really important step .) I then spend another hour just felting any loose fiber ends until all is smooth and very firm and this is when you can add whatever design you want to the base...stripes of color, flower or other patterns can be added and I will experiment with this in future bracelets .

* one of the most helpful things when needle felting is the tighter you can make the fiber before you start felting, the faster the felting will go .

Technique for needle felted cuffs ....

The first one I tried, I used a bit of non-pilling fleece cut a few inches larger then I needed . I'm not recommending fleece, as I think it takes longer to felt then using wool base, but it is an option
if it is all you have around . (The second cuff, I used a piece of thin prewet-felted sweater and about twice as much fiber and it felted a little faster . )

I then took an even larger bit of merino and felted one side. This will be the side that goes against the wrist, so you can pick your less interesting fiber for this but it needs to match the fiber colors you are using on the front because the other side will have the lose ends of fiber poking through as the fiber felts .

Flip the piece over and and chose the colors you would like to be on the side that shows . Lay the fibers onto the piece with a few inches sticking over the edges and both ends, these will be wrapped around the core piece of fabric and tucked in and felted . Obviously, the more fiber you use, the thicker the cuff will be but don't get skimpy unless you want the core fabric to show through...(made this mistake a few times on my felted pins . ) after the front is firmly felted, you can add any design you fancy or leave it abstract and accent it with some beading .

Once the front, sides and ends are firmly felted, you will have a very fuzzy back which you can leave or trim a bit .

To make it "wearable", you can either sew on a clasp or a vintage button on one side and colorful elastic hair band on the other side .

Cat Baloo

Gratuitous pictures of my buddy...Cat Baloo . When we found him at the Human Society, he was about 9 months old and just looked like a fluffy black cat . He has since, grown into his "grown up Pajamas"and has beautiful brown and gray angora fluff . I am thinking of "harvesting" it for a needle felted bracelet for my BF ...(one of his biggest fans ). I will probably use alpaca as a base and cat fluff as just accents, as I doubt I will ever collect enough to make a full bracelet ..... how to get him to set still long enough to groom the angora fluff ?
Maybe slip a bit of Bynadril into his tuna ?
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