Thursday, March 5, 2009

Moments of genius...

Ok, so "genius" might be pushing it. Something about today, though, found me in moment after moment of inspiration. I have a great idea for a new felt creature. I re-stocked my shrink plastic stock so that I could make some buttons for my recently finished scarfette. Inspired by this tutorial featured last week on One Pretty Thing, I picked up some wooden clothes pins and a package of the cool little wooden bases for them to stand up in. Aren't they the cutest? I forgot the "heads", though, so I guess there's another trip to the craft store in my future. Darn.

Time to get busy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lemonade anyone?

Life is handing me it's fair share of lemons lately. My precious 9 pound Chihuahua, Sophie, went blind virtually overnight from a stupid disease I'd never heard of until it was knocking on my door. I went to my dermatologist on a lark to see what I could do about a reddish rash that I had appeared several months ago on my cheeks. A routine visit turned a tad more serious when she sent me for a blood test to screen for Lupus. Things grew quite a bit more serious when that test came back positive. I don't have any definitive answers yet, but I do have a rheumatologist. Yay me.

Just when I thought enough was enough, my husband got laid off this morning, which happened to be the 13th anniversary of him being hired by his employer. Come to think of it, Sophie was diagnosed with SARDS on Friday, February 13th. Let somebody try to tell me again that there's nothing ominous about the number 13.

Of all days, today would have been a day I definitely could have talked myself out of posting something. I really wanted to keep this blog focused on my creative endeavors, but some things just need to be let out. I'll definitely be journal-ing all of this. In the meantime, here's my owl collection. The little one was my dad's, and the other two belonged to my Aunt Billie (my mom's sister). I wish I could have picked up the phone and called my dad today for his words of wisdom. He would have either calmed me with some amazing insight, or made me laugh by saying something really goofy. He's been gone almost twelve years now though, so instead I'll just have to hope for a penny sometime soon... but that's a story for another day.

I leave you with owls. Now who wants some lemonade?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Six Degrees of Amazing

I find the most beautiful places in BlogLand through posts made by the few bloggers I regularly stalk. I've also found some amazing stuff through my Twitter follows. One such wonderful discovery was Vineeta's artnlight blog. Leah over at Creative Every Day found a blog she loves, namely Jess Gonacha's Pecannoot, and generously posted the link so I could fall in love with Jess' site, too. THEN, Jess graciously shared Vineeta's site, and I found not one, but two new stops for my daily Blogosphere pArty.

Well, inspiration comes to us in unique ways, and little did I know when I started following Vineeta that this incredibly talented woman who is halfway around the world would be the kick in the pants I needed. She announced in her March 1st post that she was committing to posting daily this month. I recognized all too well her reasons for making such a proclamation. It seems that life has a way of getting the better of us and, "I'll post something tomorrow," quickly turns into a week, then two, and eventually a few thoughts will make their way out of the brain and onto a computer screen. Or not. One way or another, you've made a decision. Continue the journey, or get off the bus.

I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to end this ride just yet. As a matter of fact, I don't feel like this trip has even started. I'm going to join Vineeta and challenge myself to post every day this month. Stay tuned and let's see where this thing goes.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


For several weeks now I've been coveting felt. Not the kind that you buy for $0.25 a piece at the big box craft store that is littering my studio... I'm talking about that thick, gorgeous, mottled, rich looking wool felt that is popping up everywhere lately. Here's the rub. I don't have a hundred bucks to throw into yet another craft obsession right now! What to do? Take the cheap stuff and make it LOOK like the fancy stuff!

Working off a hunch, I invested a whopping $3.99 plus tax for a package of two needles and a foam block the other night, came home and went to town on my cheap felt. It worked! I present you with Faux Fancy Felt (hencetoforthherewith known as "F3").

To make your own F3 , you will need a felting needle, a foam block, and some of that cheap felt from the "4 for $1" rack. Cut squares of the felt and stack them two or three deep. Put the felt on the foam block and punch the needle through the center of your stack several times to secure the pieces together. Continue needle punching in an up-and-down motion across the surface of your your stack from the center, working toward the outside edges. The closer your punches are to each other, the better.

Once you have needled the entire piece, carefully lift the piece from the foam block. The down side will look fuzzy. Turn that side up and put it back on the foam block. Needle punch the piece again, tamping down the fuzzies as you go. A few words of caution for those who have never tried needle felting before... be careful where you put your fingers in relation to the area you're needle punching!! Felting needles are (Duh, duh, DUHN!) sharp! You really don't want to miss the felt and find a finger. I promise. Also, be sure you work on a solid surface. I used an oversize book with a magazine on top to cushion any overly exuberant needle punches so I could work while lounging on the sofa and eating bon bons. Ok, fine. I was watching TV.

This was all about the journey, so I tried different things as I went along. Some pieces I cut into shape first and then felted; others I felted first and then cut. Some pieces I could see all of my needle pokes, so I would gently scrub the surface with the end of my foam block and gently pull the edges back and forth until they softened. Some stacks I worked were two layers, most were three, but one attempt found me using four. I took some wool yarn and felted that onto a rectangle of some F3 and hot glued a pin clasp to the back. Beautimous! I also experimented using two different colors of felt and LOVED that result! It really gives you that yummy, hand-made look. The secret, however, is to put the darkest piece on the bottom when you start. After you turn your work, and punch all of the fuzzies down, you will see what I mean. The lighter colored side just looks bizarre--kinda like a bad hair plug job. My next trial-and-error will be a lighter colored piece of felt between two pieces of the same darker colored felt. I think that will work well for something you want to be viewed from all sides.

I'm going to continue playing with this, and I'll report back with any jaw-dropping new discoveries. Until then, what's been your favorite adventurous discovery?