Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. day 31. Blue Crab (work in progress)

Blue Crab ready for colors (work in progress)

Right now, I'm living in place where Blue Crabs are very popular. You can find them everywhere, from restaurants to works done by local artists. Interesting creatures, blue crabs, with their colorful exoskeletons and all those moving parts. Thought it might be a fun challenge to make one out of wool.
This one will take a few days, so I've assembled some pics of the process. As I haven't done a crab before, it'll be an experiment as I figure out the order of the steps in constructing it. There may be some backtracking, as I discovered last night while working.
Shell armature, wrapped in pipe cleaners and wool
Initial step was to use fabric covered wire to make a shell shape. Purchased this online from a local supply shop. After forming the initial general shape, I wrapped the wire with white chenille pipe cleaners. This makes a good surface for the wool to grip. Next step was to pull small tufts of wool tops and wrap tightly around the frame. I used the felting needle to make a few jabs to keep the wool attached to the frame.

Adding more wool to armature
Next, I wrapped more wool around the frame, jabbing with the needle to keep the wool in place.

Continuation of wool wrapping on frame
Continue wrapping the wool around the frame. Now would have been a good time to cut wires for the all the legs and attaching them to the shell frame. Follow the same process for the legs, attaching firmly to the initial frame, wrapping with pipe cleaners and finally, adding a thin layer of tightly wrapped wool,jabbing into place.  My goof here...getting so caught up in doing the shell in 3-d, that I forgot to attach the legs in the early stages. Not a big issue, but I did find it tricky to add the legs AFTER I had already filled in the body frame. Experience has been my greatest teacher.

Needle felting brushed wool to the frame
 I used a suggestion I saw somewhere a while ago...using new wire dog brushes to comb the wool before doing felting. This has worked quite well as it gets the wool fibers out of alignment and fluffs them up. Their volume is much greater after brushing and it actually takes less time to do the needle felting by doing the brushing first.

Add caption
The out of order step (Note to time, add legs to armature before doing any felting). I needed to make the legs and then add them by cutting into the felt. Tricky, but not impossible. That is what I love about the felting process. It is both very forgiving and changeable.  Very handy when you discover, like I did, that a goof has been made. Wires here were poked through and wrapped around crab body shell shape.

Adding pipe cleaners to wires on legs

 After leg wires are firmly attached to main body shape, wrap pipe cleaners around the wires. This gives the wool something to grab onto.

Wool wrapped around legs and jabbed into place

 Next, wrap tufts of wool around the legs and jab ends into place to keep from unraveling.
Blue Crab ready for skeleton, colors and leg shells

 Here is the semi-completed crab, ready for the next steps.

Blue Crab (17" x 13", 43 cm x 33 cm) is made of needle felted wool over wire armature and is part of a larger sculpture. 

Happy last day of March (already!!!!!).


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

march 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 30. Fluffy Fish

Fluffy Fish
Looking back over the month, I see I've focused mainly on felted land animals. As I spent some time yesterday in a fish shop, decided to lean back towards sea creatures. I saw an amazing assortment of fish, everything from tiny koi to glowing fish in every color. One creature that really captured my attention was the tiny Tangerine Lobster, less than 2" in length and brilliant orange. Aquariums are quite the place to get inspired.

Fluffy Fish is made of needle felted wool.

Music I think of when making felted fish?
Peter Gabriel's live version of I Go Swimming.

Follow my wishes
Follow the fishes 
down below
I go swimming...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

march 2016. Felted Creatures. day 29. Goldie

Like lots of other little kids at the time, I had wanted a goldfish when I was in grade school. My mother finally relented and off we went in search of the perfect little fish. Excited about having my own fish, I read all I could about their care and feeding. Too bad they didn't have a Fish for Dummies book at the time. It would have saved me a lot of heartache. Despite all my good intentions, little Goldie didn't last very long and I decided to stick with furry land animals instead. 

Months ago, I attended an out of state wedding and ended up having dinner one night in a local restaurant. They told us it would be around a half hour wait for a table. There were enormous fish tanks, about 15 feet long (4.5 meters), which served as room dividers. The fish were all at eye level and the tanks were beautifully lit. I stood and watched all the fish dart among the plants and bubbles, almost forgetting I was waiting for a table. Easy to get lost in the magic of watching those fish glide around in their watery world.

Today, a goldfish of sorts, for those of you who had one as a kid.

Goldie (9" or 23 cm) is made of needle felted wool.

Monday, March 28, 2016

march 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 28. Winds of March

Winds of March
A few days of winter, a few days of summer and a little bit of everything in between. Today, blustery winds and perfect weather for one more day of wearing a light scarf. 

Winds of March (1" x 2") is made of needle felted wool and a chalk painted vintage glass mug.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

march 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 27. Double Lucky

Black cats have it tough. Or at least that's what I've read. They take longer to get adopted and when people see them, the critters are associated with some kind of bad luck. I find them to be exotic in appearance, elegant and somewhat mysterious. They are very tough to photograph, as I've discovered in attempting to capture the expressiveness on one of our cat's faces. In the daylight, all the subtle qualities are visible. Snap a quick photo on a phone, and look at it later only to see all the expressiveness has disappeared into the darkness of the fur on the face.

I like to tell myself that if a black cat happens to cross my path, it means good things are coming my way.

What kinds of good things are coming your way today?

Double Lucky is a pair of needle felted cats made of wool over wire armatures, one cat with glass eyes.

Thank you to artists Dotty Seiter (whose work you'll find here) and Sheila Delgado (see her work here) for suggesting I create some tutorials and videos on the needle felting process. Coming soon..... 


Saturday, March 26, 2016

march 26. felted creatures. day 26. the lucky scarf

The Lucky Scarf
Do you have some kind of a lucky charm? I love to ask people this question when I have the chance. Out come all the stories about the charm or item and how it came to be recognized as bringing or influencing good fortune.

Many years ago, a friend gave me a bag of clothes she didn't wear any more. It had a couple of beautiful dresses and skirts and at the bottom of the bag, was a pair of old jeans. These jeans had one knee ripped out which was covered with a bit of ribbon. The backside of the pants had long since worn away and had been replaced with blue bandanas, hand sewn in patches. My first thought was, "What are these shredded pants doing in here?"

I slipped them on and they fit like a glove. Perfectly. They were THE most comfortable pair of jeans I'd ever worn. I felt like a million bucks in those pants. I decided to wear them one day when I went on one of my artist's dates (read about artist's dates in Julia Cameron's The Artist Way). Several people stopped me and asked where I got those pants. I decided the pants had to be a lucky charm of some type. Each time I went out exploring on an artist's date, I'd meet very interesting people. 

One day, someone noticed my pants and they became the topic of conversation when I was in an antique shop, which led to that person introducing me to another artist...which led me to taking classes from that artist who taught me some amazing new skills in working with molten glass...which led me to adding glass to my sculpture work...which led to my being invited to enter a juried competition..which led to my work being accepted into an exhibition at a wonderful venue...which led to my winning a prize in the show.  I never would have guessed that something  that looked so ragged and worn, would turn out to be one of my favorite lucky charms of all. You never know where things will lead. I've found it best (and more fun) to be open and curious.

The Lucky Scarf is made of needle felted wool and gold thread. It is a reminder to keep an out for potential lucky charms and appreciate the magic of the ones already in your possession.

Have a lucky charm story you'd like to share? I'd love to hear it....

Friday, March 25, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 25. Small Bear

Small Bear
Happy Friday.

 Today, another little pocket sized bear. These little guys are fun to make. Watching soft, fluffy wool tops transform into shapes simply by using a barbed needle is very relaxing. As I sat at a local hair cutting place last month waiting for my kids to get their hair cut, I brought out my needle felting supplies, (sponge, needle and wool) and began working on a new piece. Several people approached, asking what I was doing. A few of them were women who already worked with fabric and textiles and had always wondered about felting processes. 
The next time I went to that shop, one of the hair designers told me she had gotten all the supplies and had started needle felting. The benefits? She said it was like calmed  her when she felt stress coming on. The best part? Having a little souvenir of the time spent in solitude making something delightful.

Small Bear is made of needle felted wool. Comes with wet felted green ball.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

march 2016. Felted Creatures. day 24. Behind the Bunny

Behind the Bunny
Throughout the year, the appearance of the rabbit population in our neighborhood seems to fluctuate. This, my neighbor explained one day, correlates directly to the number of hawks that are nearby. I love it when the rabbits show up...when spotted, they usually freeze, which makes them invisible. 

Years ago I had a rabbit sitting in my front garden. I stepped out of the house to get to my car, knowing the rabbit would be gone in a flash. As I moved toward my car, I was surprised the rabbit continued to just sit, watching me carefully with one eye. I got to my car, drove off, and the rabbit was still sitting in the same spot. So the theory that non-moving rabbits are invisible IS true.

Seeing all the rabbits made me think of the famous rabbit in the Terry Gilliam film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. One of my favorite scenes in the whole film is when the traveling group comes across the den of a vicious killer creature. They are warned of its dangers, but after seeing it, discount what they've been told. Today's title comes from the line of the characters says.

See the 2 minute scene HERE.

Behind the Bunny is mouse sized and made of needle felted wool, complete with magical wishing flower, made of wool and silk throwsters.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 23. Moon Bear

Moon Bear
Today is the full moon, with the culmination of all things set in motion from the new moon on the 8th. Weeks ago, I started making micro bears, pocket sized little guys to keep handy and act as a reminder that it's good to take time out during the busy day and remember to enjoy the little things that life brings. The big interest in adult coloring books as a way to relax and reconnect with that part of us that likes to play, was the inspiration for this series of little cuddly felts. Throwbacks to childhood, they are something soft and snuggly to hold and a bit like a worry doll, only with the focus more on what's going right.

What are you grateful for today?

Moon Bear is mouse sized and made of needle felted wool with seed bead eyes and comes with a red heart.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 22. Have Blanket, Will Travel

Have Blanket, Will Travel
Working mouse-sized again today. This one was inspired by one of my favorite Kevin Henkes books, Owen, a little mouse who took his beloved and ragged blanket with him everywhere. With school starting soon, others around him urged him to dispose of the dirty blanket, using every conceivable reason to do so. Nothing worked. Eventually his mother came up with the perfect plan. A delightful book that makes me wonder what kinds of little things some of us carry to provide that touch of comfort, security, fun, or good luck.

What do you keep in your possession that carries great meaning for you?

Have Blanket, Will Travel is made of needle felted wool and seed beads. Blanket included.

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 21. Hitchin' a Ride

Hichin' a Ride with a Mouse Sized Elephant
Happy first day of Spring! Cool temps and lots of sunshine. Working small today...the word I heard while in New Zealand was "wee."  Figured it would be fun to felt wee animals. Bit trickier than larger ones, especially with creating detail. An experiment for sure, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all goes. I've seen lots of tiny art on the interwebs, everything from oil paintings and watercolors the size of pinky fingernails to wee Eiffel Tower carvings at the tip end of a pencil. I spent a month last year doing micro art daily on a 3" x 3" (7.6cm) squares. An experiment in playing for 10 minutes using art materials after someone told me there was never any time to make art and too much work to haul it all out. I took it on as a personal challenge.

 Today, look for tiny things that you might have overlooked...something that surprises and delights you, in your home or while out and about. See what shows up for you.

Hitchin' a Ride with a Mouse Sized Elephant (1.5" x 2.5") is made of needle felted wool and a couple of seed beads.
Hitchin' a Ride with a Mouse Sized Elephant

Sunday, March 20, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 20. Flora

Looking forward to the arrival of the hummingbirds this spring. A few times last summer, I looked up at the window overlooking my front garden as I was drawing, and there would be a hummingbird, hovering in place, gazing in at me. A tiny bird, stopping by and looking in on my world. Little flecks of shimmering green, there for a few moments and then suddenly off. Sometimes, on returning from an errand, I'd see them flying around and then zooming out my giant sunflowers. Days like that made me want to forget about going back into the house.

Flora is made of needle felted Corriedale and Merino wool, with silk throwsters and a glass bowl.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 19. Francoise

Have been seeing some spring lambs as I drive through the country roads.  I love the sound they make. Reminds me of the time I spent on a sheep farm in New Zealand. Lambs arrived every day (although in winter, rather than in spring). After just a few weeks, they were leaping and bucking around in the fields. Sitting on a fence and watching them was truly one of the loveliest experiences I've had. I watched as very young animals pushed their little bodies to the limit running, jumping and racing around in little groups. Pure joy, for them and for me.

Francoise is made of needle felted wool, with silk throwsters, and straight pins on a chalk painted metal holder.

Friday, March 18, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 18. Louie, Louie

Louie, Louie
Looked at this little guy on his ice cube and heard the song in my head. Hence, the name. This guy looks like he is headed somewhere.

Louie, Louie is made of needle felted wool on a glass ice cube.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 17. Bearcat

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Will avoid getting called out on not wearing green today and put on my multi colored scarf. Finished this little guy, looked at him, then realized he looks like a cross between a bear and a cat. And I forgot the whiskers! Something to add later in the day. Smirky little grin on his face suggests he's up to something. That's how some cats seem to be.

 Do you wear green things today? What will happen if you don't?

Bearcat is made of needle felted wool in a turned wooden bowl. 
A lucky clover for you

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 16. Cosmo and Goldie

Cosmo woke up and had a peek at his horoscope for the day. Things looked promising.
The day begins

On his travels, he came upon a small goldfish, out for a walk. Delightful, he thought.

Tickled his fancy

He stopped to chat to the fish, who said her name was Goldie, and that she was on an adventure doing something she hadn't dared. He admired her boldness.
Cosmic magic at work

As she had been traveling quite a while and looked a tad bit tired, he offered her a lift. She enjoyed the comfy transportation.
On their way

Grateful to have a traveling companion, Cosmo set off in search of more delightful surprises, Goldie chuckling at her good fortune to have found a new friend. 
"This is my lucky day," she said to herself.
The adventure continues
Cosmo, with his new buddy and good luck charm, set out to see the  world.

Cosmo is made of needle felted wool with a wire armature. Goldie is made of needle felted wool.

What kind of adventure will you have today?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

March 2016. Felted Creatures. Day 15. Shadow

Today's piece is inspired by a friend's cat. It came from a rescue and on arriving in its new home, had the lovely habit of diving into the rubbish bin in search of snacks. This was even after having been fed a good meal. No amount of discouragement (in the form of squirts from plant misters or gentle reprimands) could dissuade him from this annoying habit. The owner soon discovered that the little guy had been a feral and had spent a couple of months with a foster family who attempted to encourage his "finer" qualities. Another friend looked at the little dumpster diver and said, "Once a dirty trash picker, always a dirty trash picker." Oh, well. Resolution came through a lidded rubbish bin and more playtime to keep the kitty happy.

 Shadow is a caricature of the lovable little trash picker and is made of needle felted wool over a wire armature.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Tall Poppy
Today's piece is a playful nod to something I learned about while living in New Zealand. A cultural phenomenon in multiple countries, Tall Poppy Syndrome goes by many names. People in some societies are resented, criticized, and even attacked for talents and achievements which distinguish them from the rest of their peers. Standing above the crowd can result in being chopped down and made equal in stature to the rest of the population so that discontent and envy remain at a minimum. The focus being on the reminder to retain a sense of humility.

Tall Poppy (she is only 4.5" x 1", but is MUCH taller at 11" x 5" by being on a stand) is made of needle felted wool, silk throwsters, and a tall metal thing I found in a junk shop. 
Tall Poppy (detail)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

MARCH 2016. FELTED CREATURES. DAY 13. Lady Marmalade

Orange cat
Seems like Spring has arrived much earlier than last year. The daffodils are up, pink blossoms are on the trees and one week ago Friday, we had snow. What a mix! Great time to get outdoors, take a walk, enjoy the sun, and listen to the birds and all the odd chirping that doesn't quite sound like birds. 

Again, looked to one of my cats as inspiration for today's piece. Always loved the patterns and various shades of orange on some kitties. This guy (his name is Ram) was rescued from a shelter and lived with various cat care people for three years until we found him last year. He's made quite an addition to our family and I've found that spending time with him (or any of our other kitties) is the quickest way to feel calm, centered and relaxed. Cats are a reminder to live in the moment and really dive into the now. A great place to be.

Lady Marmalade (5.5" x 6") is made of needle felted wool and cotton over a copper wire armature. She is a female version of my cat, Ram.
Ram, inspiration for Lady Marmalade

How do you like to spend time with a pet?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

MARCH 2016. FELTED CREATURES. Day 12. Baby Owl

Baby Owl
As a kid, I was fascinated with owls. I saw some tiny ceramic ones in a shop, bought them for a few dollars, and was hooked. Not surprising then that little owls started showing up everywhere I went.  It was fun watching them appear in various places. Friends and relatives were aware of my newest interest and would send me additions to my growing collection. My parents gave me an old printer's box with lots of compartments and before too long, it was filled. I loved looking at all the different expressions on the owls' faces and was particularly fond of the baby ones, some no bigger than a  thumbnail. This one is a nod to owl lovers.

Baby Owl (1.5" x 2") is made of needle felted Merino wool.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Thought I'd add a bird to the cat mix. I love the exquisite shades of pink, coral and shrimp colored feathers, the curve of their necks, the long, graceful legs. To see a whole flock, in person, would be something special. I'm putting it on my wish list.

Flamingo is made of needle felted Corriedale and Merino, with a wire armature.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Since I have a small feline herd running around here at home, decided to use live models as inspiration. Other than a small color change of white in the face, this was modeled after Boomer, boss cat of the group. My dear friend Margie gave him to us while we were in search of a kitten. Boomer is a Kiwi farm boy and a tidy version of his Uncle Raggedy (aka "Rags"), a wise old farm cat whose lumbering about the farm resembled the walk of a racoon. 

Boomer is made of needle felted mixed wool, tussah silk, and cotton

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Lucky Black Cat
Lucky Cat
Last week, I saw three black cats in two days while out running errands. One dashed across the street at the last minute. I remember the topic of black cats coming up when Friday, the 13th rolled around. "Watch out, they're bad luck," people would say. Bad rap for black kitties. They are one of the toughest colors of cats for cat rescues to place in new adoptive homes. When one of my kids saw a black cat at a nearby cat rescue last year, she formed an immediate connection with it. Eren joined our brood that day.

Here's to looking at black kitties in a new way. Maybe they are the harbinger of special things to come, a sign that good fortune is just around the corner.

Lucky Black Cat is made of needle felted Corriedale, with straight pins, gold embroidery thread and a metal bowl.

What do you think of when you see a black cat?

Monday, March 7, 2016

MARCH 2016. FELTED CREATURES. DAY 7. Royal Highness

Royal Highness
A relative sent me a big box of Godiva chocolates a few days ago. Tucked inside a cardboard delivery box and nestled in bubble wrap and tissue paper, I found a beautiful golden box. Opening it revealed a smooth flat piece of wrap that sat like a blanket, protecting all the delectibles inside. Each piece, a tiny chocolate work of art, sat nestled in its own little compartment. The whole box just for me. Total indulgence. It made me feel like royalty.

 It is easy to get so busy and involved with life that we forget to spend time nourishing ourselves with the little indulgences that make life more fun. Inspiration for today's felt. How can you indulge a bit today and feel like royalty? Enjoying a good book, spending time with a friend, treating yourself to something special for lunch?  The possibilities are infinite.

Royal Highness is made of needle felted Corriedale, with straight pins, and bling covered wooden crown.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

MARCH 2016. FELTED CREATURES. DAY 6. Rabbit, Rabbit

Rabbit, Rabbit
Rabbit, Rabbit
When I was a kid, an adult told me rabbits were good luck. I figured that was partially true, as I remembered how many of my friends carried a rabbit's foot. I always had mixed feelings about seeing one of those, and thought the rabbit had not actually been that lucky. These little feet were usually on key chains or tucked into the side pocket of a purse or jersey. Fluffy and soft, they came in different colors. I was both fascinated and mortified at the same time. I loved the idea of something bringing good luck, but it bothered to think about where the little foot came from. A disembodied pink or pale green foot could make magical things possible?  Couldn't bring myself to carry one, so chose to carry a lucky coin instead. 

Flash forward many years and I've encountered several individuals that, without any effort at all, seem to be able to locate four leaf clovers. Lots of them. These people walk by some patch of grass and the four-leaf lucky charms seem to jump right out and get their attention. These little items fit nicely into a wallet and seem much easier to carry than a rabbit's foot.

I walked through a carpark one day and saw a shiny thing on the ground. It was some kind of charm someone had dropped. Adding it to my wallet, I decided it would bring me luck.  Not long after that, I stopped to mail a package at a tiny post office in a village not far from where I live. The woman behind the counter asked if it would be alright to give me change all in coins. I told her it was, and was happy to see she had given me a couple of dollar coins. Unusual and something I hadn't seen in a very long time, I decided they must be some kind of lucky charms. The jingly kind of charm appeals more to me than the furry one.  

Rabbit, Rabbit is made of needle felted Corriedale, with straight pins, and metal base.

Today's felt is a little reminder to keep an eye out for lucky charms that may show up for you in some interesting way or form. 

What kinds of lucky charms do you have and how did you get them?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

MARCH 2016. FELTED CREATURES. Day 5. The Smirk

The Smirk
The Smirk
Dogs seem to be able to smile. Their lips turn up at the corners and they look like they are actually grinning. And along with that comes the wagging tail.

Cats, however, seem to have pretty much the same expressions most of the time. At least, that has been my experience. Solemn. Focused. Penetrating. Occasionally grumpy. I have one cat right now who has the ability to create different facial expressions. Maybe because of the natural make up in his facial coloring. He can deliver quite a range of emotions. Today's felt has a bit of that smirk that the scampy-est cat in my house has.

The Smirk is made of needle felted Corriedale with silk throwsters, cotton, straight pins and a chalk painted monkey pod bowl.

What kinds of expressions do you see in your cat or dog?

Friday, March 4, 2016


Twin Lambs (detail)
Twin Lambs
Sheep. One of my very favorite animals. While living in New Zealand, I got the chance to experience some of the ins and outs of raising sheep. One of the ewes on the farm where I stayed had twins, which I named Minnie and Micky. They looked very similar but had enough differences, very subtle ones, that I could tell them apart. Years ago, looking at a mob of sheep, I thought they all looked pretty much the same. I discovered they are as distinct as human faces. What a day that was for me to be able to recognize everyone. My dear friend Cynthia and her husband Andy were the ones who shared their love and knowledge of sheep with me..I will always be grateful. Cynthia is the one who introduced me to the world of felting, inspiring me with her beautiful felt pieces, techniques and creative ideas. A felting Angel.

Twin Lambs is made of needle felted Corriedale, Merino silk, cotton, silk throwsters, straight pins and a monkey pod bowl.
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