Happy October 1st! Here it is, the first day of a new month and I have already forgotten to say the magic words to open the gates to good fortune. Yes, I jumped out of bed without saying "rabbit, rabbit," before my feet hit the floor. One reader wrote me a while back saying, in a lighthearted way, that she was doomed because she forgot.
No worries. There is a redeeming word we can say tomorrow to bring the possibilities of continued good fortune back.
With it being New Moon yesterday, there is still time to make a list of wishes or intentions you'd like to see manifest before the next new moon. I jot them down in my calendar book so I can keep track of things that show up for me as they occur.
Here's to good things coming your way during the coming month.
Friday, May 20, 2016
It's been raining more than usual here on the east coast. The grey clouds roll in and the droplets fall, slowly at first, then steadily increasing, sometimes coming in sheets. I find myself later tip-toeing around all the worms that have come out to escape the waterlogged earth. Robins are everywhere. The landscape becomes green, more lush, as everything fills in.
Sitting inside, watching the rain fall, a real treat.
How do you enjoy the rain?
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
A few people have told me recently about some ongoing challenges they'd been having. These were in the areas of relationships, finances, health, and family. The one thing that got them through the tricky patches was having some kind of support system in place. Often it was one person they could truly count on to be there. Sometimes, all we need is that certain someone who will really listen and be totally present.
Today, consider and appreciate the people who have been there for you when you needed someone to lean on.
Friday, May 13, 2016
|The magic of bubble wrap|
This stuff is great! It has an infinite number of uses and every time I see it, I roll it up and add it to the collection, knowing that some new way of using it will pop into my head.
One artist I know uses it to print patterns onto her paintings. She rolls paint over the bubbles, pressing the stuff onto the canvases and papers. The wrap leaves great textures. Plus, it can be rinsed off for reusing.
One of my favorite ways to use this stuff is to squeeze it. Grabbing a sheet of it, I work my way across the surface, bursting one bubble after another. The wrap with the larger bubbles creates a very loud and satisfying sound. It has also been fun to stomp on the stuff. The cats don't much care for the noise and scatter in all directions.
Last year, Pee Wee Herman mentioned in an article that someone had come up with an awesome stress reliever...virtual bubble wrap. A free phone app, it allows the user to touch and pop wrap while on the bus, in the cubicle or any other place where that kind of fun is needed. An excellent resource if you do not have the actual stuff in your hands.
Next time you come across a piece of bubble wrap, pop it and see what kind of enjoyment comes from it.
Monday, May 9, 2016
It's a tad past the daffodil explosion, but all kinds of other blossoms are on the way in. There are hundreds of paperwhites in my front garden, put in place by the previous owners. Giant iris are starting to blossom and although the flowers that arrive each spring are of the same variety, I still marvel at the intricacy and beauty of the individual flower. The tiny shoot that grows taller each day, evolving into a lighter color at the tip where the blossom lies in wait, folded up like an umbrella. With the bit of sun that popped out after weeks of rain, the flowers slowly open, revealing gently serrated edges, soft shades of purple and white, and rounded, curved petals. Nature's gift.
Take note of any blossoms you encounter in your travels this week and stop to take a minute and really look at the color, detail and beauty of something, that while giving so much pleasure, is here for so short a time.
Friday, May 6, 2016
An artist friend has ducks that visit her pool on a regular basis. Watching them traipse around her garden and take dips in the pool allow her many moments of relaxation and enjoyment. Humming birds also zip around her place and she has managed on a few occasions to snap some quick photos before they vanished.
Sitting with pets or watching creatures out in the garden can be a great way to get in touch with all that's good. Which animals will touch your world this week?
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
|A comfy place to read|
I prefer the idea of "good things come in 3s." Noticing what works and makes us feel good can create a mindset where we are more open to noticing the good that surrounds us. One thing leads to another.
Recently, I noticed a book at a friend's house. She had set it aside, meaning to read it, but found she was pulled away by too many other things. Seeing it on the table drove her nuts as it was a daily visual reminder that she STILL had not gotten around to it. Sometimes, it takes only a very small step to feel better. She picked it up one day and spent 10 minutes reading. Her day was swamped, but doing that got her into what the book had to say and also made her feel better.
Today, consider sinking into a favorite chair (or beanbag if you have one) for a few minutes and really enjoy some time with a good book.
Where do you like to enjoy a book?
For anyone who has been following my felting work...I will be setting up a separate blog just for felting and tutorials. Thank you for stopping by.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Artist Dotty Seiter sent me this just recently regarding how she ran across the "rabbit, rabbit," phrase.
I’m reading a novel by Lee Smith called Guests on Earth. Chapter 9 begins:
The first day of November dawned unseasonably warm and sunny. Somehow, the moment I woke up, I remembered to say “Rabbit, Rabbit” out loud, a superstitious practice taught to me by Mrs. Hodges years before, these words to be spoken first thing in the morning on the first day of each month to ensure good luck for all the days of the month ahead.
Thank you, Dotty, for forwarding this.
Have a great day and ask yourself what kinds of good things are coming your way.
Rabbits are from previous posts and are made of wet and needle felted wool with assorted beads.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Tiny Trails (2" x 3") is made of wet felted alpaca and assorted sheep wool, cotton, and a variety of beads.
Friday, April 29, 2016
|Red and White|
Happy Friday and how many red things will you see today that surprise and delight you?
Thursday, April 28, 2016
|Can't have too much orange .....orange everywhere!|
I keep feeling drawn to orange. Maybe because of its brightness, luminosity, or vibrancy. It seems to show up everywhere, but isn't that how it works? If we focus on something, it seems to appear every which way we turn. I had an orange shirt as a kid that I wore until it disintegrated. It had a zipper down the front, with a big, round metal pull which made the most satisfying sound as I zipped it up. If no one was around, I'd unzip it and re-zip it just to feel that vibration. Hehehe, what we do as kids.
Orange was the dreamsickle I'd pick at the swimming pool snack shop, with its tangy outside and creamy white vanilla inside. It was also the color of Tang, that kicky citrus powder to mix into water for an instant zippy drink. Orange was the color of flowers I'd see, with the sun hitting them at just the right angle, that they seemed to glow from within. It seems like a happy color with a high frequency that cannot help but delight.
Maybe that's another reason why I am drawn to art that has orange. Take a PEEK HERE at Laurie Mueller's paintings, whose many shades of orange make the scenes she paints glow. This page shows a collection of paintings all in one place so it is fun to spot the gorgeous orange that is in many of her works.
You can also find her work HERE.
Today's piece reminds me a bit of all the seashells (mostly oyster shells) I've seen this week. I love their craggy outsides and the smooth insides. This would be an orange version of oyster shells.
Orange oyster shell is made of wet felted wool and assorted glass and seed beads.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
|Ode to a starfish|
Ode to a starfish is made of wet and needle felted wool, cotton, gold thread and assorted beads.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Dan is a painter, providing drawing material for show visitors and encouraging them to have fun making art.
Artist Lora Collins joined us and needle felted a "hon," a face with a giant bee hive hairdo (photo above). Incredible! It was an instant hit among the group at the art table and others who had stopped to watch all the activity. She added a pin back to the Hon and headed out to the show. Being newer to this area, I was not familiar with Hons or the big festival held each year to celebrate them. Take a peek here to see what this huge festival is all about. Don't you just love the color, style, and playfulness of this event? Something to enjoy for sure.
|This photo from official HonFest site|
Saturday, April 23, 2016
|Batch of Blossoms|
Looking to the outdoors for inspiration on color, shape, form. We have a bleeding heart bush, the blossoms of which always surprise me with their tiny delicate bits. Makes me think I will be doing some micro felting in the next few days. May need to rig a magnifying glass to my head in some way.
Batch of Blossoms made of wet and needle felted wool with assorted beads.
Friday, April 22, 2016
Purpley Things are made of wet and needle felted Merino wool with glass beads.
Artist Dotty Seiter has a most amazing way with words...I bet she can come up with a better name for these flowers than the name I picked. Hey Dotty, any ideas???
Check out Dotty's post today with the brain imaging. I'm now picturing fireworks-type images when I am doing creative work....
Thursday, April 21, 2016
|Pink Sea Star|
After having seen a short video on how to build a quick light box for shooting art work, I gathered the materials and assembled one this afternoon, in the hopes of getting better photos of the work. Still have quite a way to go, but I did get someone's ok on the fine quality of the finished box.
|Cooper checks the dimensions of the light box|
Pink Sea Star is made of wet felted wool with cotton, silver thread and vintage pin.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
I set an old towel out on the kitchen bench. Next, I placed a large piece of bubble wrap on top. Gently pulling the wool apart, I made small circular shaped puffs, laying the wool layers on top of each other in a perpendicular manner so the fibers will mesh and grab a hold of each other during the felting process. I did them in different sizes as they will be nestled inside each other to make a realistic looking blossom. I used Merino wool, putting a golden yellow down for 4 layers and then adding wisps of red and magenta on top for subtle shading.
|Close up of Step 1|
I used an old chocolate syrup bottle, filling it with hot water and a few squirts of washing up soap. Next, I made all the puffs wet and mashed them down with my hands.
Next, I put a piece of plastic on top of the wet felt pieces. I then put soapy water ON TOP of the plastic. This made it easier to rub my hands over the plastic to felt the wool.
|Close up of step 3|
After putting water on top of the plastic wrap, I rubbed and pressed down hard on the felt, using circular motions. The combination of hot water, soap and friction causes the fibers to intermingle. I rubbed for about 5 minutes. Felt nice to have my hands sliding around on the slippery, soapy surface. Some people prefer not to get their hands wet during this step (wrinkly, pruney-looking fingers) so if you prefer, you can put rubber gloves on. Just be sure to keep the surface wet so your hands glide over the plastic smoothly.
|Step 5 Testing the felt|
Here's where you want to test the felt to see if the fibers are felting together properly. I pull up gently in the middle and see if the layers are all intermingled. If you can pull way up on it, give it a few more minutes of rubbing. When I see that it looks like a small tent, I feel it is ready to go to the next step.
|Step 6 Getting Ready to Roll|
Now remove the thin plastic you had on the wool pieces. Replace it with another piece of bubble wrap, bubble-side DOWN. I always have tons of this around as it comes in packages people send me. It can be used practically forever, until all the bubbles have popped.
|Step 7 Roll it up|
In this step, I used a swimming pool noodle and cut off a piece the size of a rolling pin. It makes a great, waterproof roller for doing the felting. Setting the noodle piece at the end of the plastic, I rolled it, pulling the bubble wrapped flowers tightly around it. I have seen people use pieces of PVC pipe, old wooden rolling pins or even dowel rods.
|Rolled and ready to go|
Next, wrap the towel around the whole bubble wrapped roll.
|Step 8 Exercise those arms|
Picture this....you are rolling out some pastry dough on the bench top. You'd roll it out away from you, then you'd rotate the dough 90 degrees and re-roll to get a nice, big even piece (rectangular or circular). Same idea with the wool.
|Smoothing the edges|
Unroll the whole thing and pick up one of the shapes. Pull at it to see if it is all felted together. If not, do some additional rolling. If the pieces do seem solid, remove the top bubble wrap. Squirt some warm, soapy water on the plastic and start rubbing the individual pieces across the bubble wrap. I place my hand over one of the little circles and rub away from myself. Next, I rotate the piece and continue rubbing it back and forth until the edges are solid and nicely rounded. If you have a snaggly bit, rub and it will meld into itself.
|After rubbing edges on bubble wrap|
|All circles have edges smoothed, rubbed out|
|Close up of all rubbed into circles|
Next, I cut small snips (about 5 or 6) at the edges of the circles, cutting toward the center to indicate separate petals. Each cut made was about 1/4" (a bit more than 1/2 cm).
|Small snips to create petal shapes|
Next, add more soapy water to the bubble wrap. I used one finger to rub where I had made a cut, sliding the flower away from myself about 10 or 15 times. This creates a wider space between the petals and rounds the cut edges.
|Rubbing petal edges|
|All petal edges rubbed and smoothed out|
After that, put all wool pieces into a bowl with cool water and add a splash of vinegar. Stir well. The vinegar will help remove all traces of soap from the fibers. Next, remove wool from water and rinse with plain water.
Grab the handful of wool pieces and slam them into the sink or on a bench top. This is the Fulling process which helps strengthen the wool. Do this several times.
Next, I put all the pieces of wool onto a clean towel and rolled up, to remove the water. I used a hint I saw somewhere recently and that was to place the wool circles into muffin tins (regular sized and super-mini muffin tins) and set them in the sun to dry. They will take on the shape of the tin and be nice and rounded.
Allow to dry fully.
|Final touches with needle felting|
Finally, sew on a brooch backing. Add beads to the center for more sparkle.
Anyone have ideas on steps you'd add to this process or things you've done differently that have yielded good results? Please leave a comment.....
Monday, April 18, 2016
|Red n White|
I used the CD as a template, wrapping the wool around it and rubbing the whole thing gently against the bubble wrap to mingle all the fibers. After that, had to trim around the edges and go from there. I found it cumbersome to use the template so went back to just creating small circles separately. Nice to be able to experiment and play with new techniques. Never know where it will lead or how it will all turn out. One big fun adventure, anyway.
Sometimes deviating from the regular path yields surprising new results.
This piece, Red n White, is a commissioned piece made of wet felted Merino with stone beads.
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Sea Rose is made of wet felted Merino with stone beads.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
|Big Orange Flower|
This week, though, two people asked me why I haven't considered working on a larger scale. Not sure, but I like the idea of working on bigger projects. I guess my only hesitation is about where to store any finished pieces. I saw a photo last week of a life sized whale made of felt. I couldn't believe it. An incredible work to be sure, but it was stored in a warehouse. And that is a lot of wool! Think of the moth protection you'd need for something that magnificent in scale.
My version of working larger is today's Another Big Orange Flower, which measures 10" across (25.4 cm) and is made of wet felted wool and glass beads. One of my biggest brooches to date.
What scale do you enjoy working on most? What scale poses the biggest challenges?
Friday, April 15, 2016
A Rose is made of wet and needle felted Corriedale and Merino silk with glass bead.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
With all the warm sunshine and blue skies, it won't be long before all the giant sunflowers appear. I'm always amazed that putting something so small as a sunflower seed in the ground yields something so monstrously large and incredibly beautiful. Truly a wonder.
Last summer while driving through the surrounding areas, I went past many properties out in the country that had sunflowers near the road. As tall as a man, and often bigger, these flowers seemed to gaze out over the road, taking in the views of the changing skies, passing cars, and cows grazing across the road in the next field.
Last year, I planted sunflowers in a small stretch of garden right in front of our house. Definitely not enough space as they soon grew taller than the garage and got so heavy, they tipped over and started growing horizontally across the footpath, much to the irritation of my family who had to step over this feral batch of flora as it reached for sunlight. The giant blossoms turned and looked a bit like sunshine heads on big green snake bodies. Would make for a good hallucinatory scene in a movie....flower faces biting at ankles walking by. Oh, back to felted flowers.
Punchy Sunflower, an alternatively colored sunflower, is made of wet and needle felted wool with silk throwsters and glass beads.
What's your take on sunflowers?
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Sold this little one over the weekend at our art exhibition. Most of the flowers I've seen lately have several colors throughout the petals. This one reminds me a bit of a blossom you'd find on a succulent plant, mostly one color with subtle tones of a second color. I really like succulents for their exotic flair, unusual shapes and the ease of low maintenance.
Growing plants indoors, for me, has always been an bit of a challenge. My mother's green thumb did not end up in my genetics. I was fortunate to grow up in a house filled with luscious green things of various varieties in every room. I'd watch my mom mist, water and dust her plants with loving care and they flourished. My plants didn't survive very long, so I decided succulents might be the way to go. I left mine in the care of a friend when I went on a long trip one summer, and came home to a tray of dead things. I didn't even know it was possible to kill succulent plants.
These days, I stick to growing things outdoors and have had much better luck than having plants in the house.
Succulent Blossom is made of wet felted wool with needle felted wool added. Brooch pin on back.
What are your favorite kinds of plants and why?
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
A big flower brooch I made for the show we had this last week. I love the bright orange in the center of some of the daffodils I've seen in people's gardens the last couple of weeks. Started with the bright orange and tossed in some magenta silk bits and purple beads. Not a very realistic looking blossom, but bright and a bit of a preview of all the luscious colors on their way in the next few weeks as it warms up even more.
Big Orange Flower is made of wet felted wool with needle felted silk throwsters and purple glass beads. Flower tutorial coming soon.
Monday, April 11, 2016
|Big Red Flower|
Today's piece is a Big Red Flower, made of wet and needle felted wool.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
|Purple Rabbit Guy|
The artist guild I'm in is having its Spring show right now with close to 60 artists exhibiting over the weekend. Works in all media are included and its been fun watching visitors mingle with show participants and discovering new works. One painter created Studio Intrepid, setting up a work station where visitors could sit and make art while at the show. Part of my show duties include being at this studio set up and inviting people to experiment with art materials and create a mini work to take home.
In addition to the drawing materials that were available, I brought in my needle felting supplies and worked on some new pieces. Several visitors had questions about the process and pretty soon, I had them take needle in hand to create their own little felted pieces. They found it very relaxing and in a short time, were able to walk away with some tiny souvenirs of the new process they'd just learned.
Purple Rabbit Guy is a collaborative work of needle felted wool, legs courtesy of Tina and other bits felted by various visitors. He's wearing an orange Merino scarf as the temps have dropped once again and to help keep him warm during the 5 minute snowfall we had yesterday.
Friday, April 8, 2016
Pulled these kitties out that I'd done recently and added more texture. Might do an experiment by making something over a long period of time, working on it weekly over several months. I've followed the work of painters who continuously modify their work and I'm fascinated by observing the transformations. The works become more complex, richer in color, texture and composition. Watching the unfolding is something to see.
Retweaked Kitties are made of needle felted wool.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
|Mini Orange Guy|
Have been doing what Dotty Seiter and Sheila Delgado do with some of their works...put the pieces away for a while and then bring them back out for some additional modification. Good to look at things with a fresh eye. New ideas show up and the works begin the transformation process once again.
Tweaked this new little kitty and he's in better shape now.
Mini Orange Guy is made of needle felted wool.