Sunday, October 9, 2011

Getting back in the swing.....sloooooowly.

Hi all...I just returned this week from a wonderful trip to New York.  Our family celebrated my sister's birthday with a trip to NYC...where we did TONS...lots of restaurants, a Broadway show, the 9/11 Memorial, the Top of the Rock at night to see the city, Battery Park, Chelsea Market...I could go on and on!  It was so much fun, and I have been SO worn out this week.  We went to the Hells Kitchen Flea Market and the Antiques Garage on Sunday afternoon. much to see, and of course leave it to me to find WOOL.  I bought a beautiful wool scarf at one place and a wool blanket at the other!  Both will be felted and made into something grand.

This weekend I'm still in my "recuperation phase" from my trip...and didn't get to the studio very much.  I did, however, get a dozen mice made!  Catnip mice, that is.  I love making these little rodents.  And kitties love them very much! 

my constant companion and quality control manager
Pretty glad that Heidi doesn't love mice the way she loves squirrels.  Have a good week, ya'll!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fall Glorious's finally coming!!!

Hello Friends! I. Love. Fall. Period.  It has always been my favorite season...maybe having a November birthday predisposed me to love this season.  I love the colors of Fall.  I love the food of Fall.  I love the temperature of Fall.  I love the clothing of Fall.  It's all so very very crisp and cozy and beautiful!  It has been raining for the past 3 1/2 days, and as of now, the sun is finally shining.  The leaves on my favorite tree, the HUGE sycamore in my backyard are turning.  Is it possible to have a relationship with a tree? Because if it is, me and the sycamore are best buddies. Last night I talked to some friends about hosting a big covered dish in my backyard, under that sycamore and we'll dress her up in lights and lanterns for the occasion.  My screened porch was a work in progress since last October when I had the house painted, and it's finally finished and dressed and I'm enjoying it more than ever.  I just had lunch out there..a perfect Saturday lunch. String cheese wrapped in ham, a sliced apple and a few crackers with roasted red pepper hommus. YUMMMMMM. The bonus of a day like today is the fact that I can keep my kitchen door open and my kitties and Heidi dog can come and go. Took the best pictures of my cats EVER...and must share:

Annie the wild cat...chillin'

These girls love each other!

Lenore says "hey ya'll"

I know I need to be in the studio working.  I know it.  But I also want to be here at my house, putting away the seashells and sailboats and getting ready for FALL!!!  I will get to the studio soon.  Until then, here are some photos from the work I've been doing in the last few weekends...

My new "pocket books"...I'll add a notepad, crayons and a couple of toys in the pockets for a great kid's activity book.
Potholder made especially for a crow lover!

And of course you've seen this before but here's a better shot of it!
More wallets, cupcakes and a drawstring bag named "Fourth of July"
and of course some more flower pins.

So, I'm ready for Fall...are you? Fall might be football season for many of you, but it's WOOLIES season for I better get going! Have a great week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Posy Wreath Tutorial continued...

Hi All!  Hope you've had a good week.  It has turned cool here and was a gray misty day...perfect for getting into the studio again to work on my woolies.  I was supposed to go on a trip this weekend with some friends, but we postponed the trip to late October.  We were all pretty happy about that decision as the weather has not been the prettiest ANYWHERE in N.C. today.  Perfect weather for crafting, however. Since my last post, I decided that it was pretty ridiculous for me to sew almost 30 rosettes for my wreath.  HOT GLUE was the answer. I have had several glue guns around here, but of course...none to be found.  I have a feeling that they are either at work or at my daughter's house in her craft closet.  So I went to buy a new one, and decided to splurge on a CORDLESS glue gun.

Oh. MY.  What a treat. Worth every penny. I love the stand that it sits more laying the gun down on the table while it precariously twists around with that annoying electrical more cord getting in my way.  I love the convenience of this cordless glue gun.  So fair warning to everyone related to me and anyone else: I will not let this glue gun get away!  With the new glue gun, I made quick work of putting together my rosettes and attaching them to my wreath....see?

hot glue...careful!

so easy

Continue....I made 28 posies in no time flat!
I glued on leaves first as I wanted them to peek out from underneath.

Glue on posies...I held them in place for a few seconds.

Larger picture but fuzzy...and not in a good Woolie kind of way.
Completed wreath...this is the clearest picture that I have, since I took these pics with my phone....

Next time I do a tutorial, I will be sure to have my camera handy.  This wreath was tons of fun and I'm sure I'll be doing more of them.  The best part was this luscious sweater with its angora softness.  I don't find many of those often. I'll be on the hunt now for posy wreath worthy sweaters!  
Have a happy week!  I'll share more new creations soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back in the studio!

Hi...well, all my promises of doing better with blogging didn't exactly mean much did it?  I have been back in the studio for the past two weekends and I finally have something WOOLIE WORTHY to post about!  I am feeling a little stressed it is September and I have to have things ready for three events coming up.  The Alamance Co. Arts Council 's "Christmas at Captain White's" 24th annual Holiday Gift Invitational will begin on November 25th.  My work has to be there between November 7-14.  I have been invited to participate in the 33rd annual Daniel Boone Merchants Association Christmas Craft Show on December 4th.  I'm also thinking that I will be participating again this year in the Holiday Bazaar in Greensboro that I was a part of last year. It's usually in mid-December.  So I'm starting to really regret not having worked on Woolies all summer long.

  This weekend I took inventory of all of the items that I have left from previous shows.  That made me feel a smidge better.  But I want all new never-been-seen-before-by-human-eyes items for the Arts I'm like the little workshop elf, cranking out as much as I can in a weekend.  Today I started a new item that I had an idea for several months ago.  I actually took pictures AS I was making it...instead of after it was already finished. So I'm going to share the start of my first posy wreath..and show you how it's done!

Step One:  Covering the styrofoam wreath

I bought a wreath..(and now of course I don't have it here at home and don't have a clue what size)...but I'm guessing it's about 8 or 9 inches across.  I'll measure and get back to you!  I got it at Hobby Lobby, but you can find these at Michaels and other craft stores.

I found the color green sweater that I thought best coordinated with the red sweater that I planned to make posies out of and began cutting the sweater into strips.
The strips were wide enough to wrap around the wreath and overlap enough for pinning.  Using straight pins, I secured the strips to the styrofoam wreath until completely covered.  Of course you could use ribbon to cover your wreath, but I like the look of all felted wool.
So there you go...a covered wreath, with pins on the top (since they will be covered) and a smooth looking backside.

Step 2:  Making the posies.

I had this beautiful soft sweater that isn't really suitable for many of my projects because it is part angora, part nylon and part lambswool.  But it is so soft and such a gorgeous shade of red that I kept it knowing that it would make beautiful flowers!  I want the entire wreath covered in flowers, so my plan is to make lots and lots of posies...some larger than others so that the small ones can fill in around the larger ones.  Other than some green leaves, I want for my entire wreath to be covered in these red posies. Starting with the sleeves of the sweater, I cut them off and then opened them up flat.  For one posy, cut a circle about 4 to 5 inches across.  For these flowers, I like the look of them not all being exactly the same.  If a pattern is used to cut the circles, then they all are the same exact size, so I tend to just "eyeball it" and cut my circles with no pattern.

Isn't this a beautiful color???  It reminds me of azaleas.  Looks really pink in the picture but it's a deep soft red.
Once the circle is cut, you start at one edge and cut a spiral, leaving a nice round piece in the very middle this will tuck under your posy and give it support and something to sew into.
Begin winding your spiral into a beautiful little flower...
When you finish winding tuck the flat piece at the end underneath.
Then you will begin to handsew with double thread to secure the flower.  I go from the back into the center of the flower and then stick the needle sideways through all the layers coming out and down through the back...back and forth as many times as it takes to make it very secure and for the threads to not show.
I pinned it onto the wreath with a long pearl straight pin.  I also cut a couple of leaves from the green sweater and will  make lots of leaves to mix in around the flowers.

I'm not sure yet that I am sold on pinning all the flowers on with the pearl pins.  I may end up hot glueing the flowers and leave the centers plain.  Or I may mix it up.  This is my first one, so am apt to change my mind a bunch!  After looking it over, and sort of "measuring" in a very haphazard way, I figure I'll need probably 9 or 20 larger flowers and maybe 10-12 little ones.  So I began cutting LOTS of circles...some the same size as the first one (about 4-5 inches) and some around 3-3 1/2 inches.
As you see, I used every bit of that sweater that I could..and saved those scraps for something that may come along later!  I packed the circles, needle and thread and small and large scissors in a box to bring home and plan to make flowers all week!  Next weekend, I will plan on posting the finished product!  Have a great week...and I WILL be back! :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Oh my.

I heard from a friend today who asked "Do you still have your blog?" and sheepishly I responded yes.  I am an embarrassing example of a blogger.  There's really no excuse for my lack of I spend TOO much time in front of this computer on ridiculous, time-wasting activities.  That time could at least be used for a regular blog that would satisfy my urge to keep a somewhat "journal" of things that I enjoy AND hopefully nudge me to create more in the Woolies world to share here.  So....I am going to try to do better! I know I said that in September (cringe), but I am REALLY going to try this time.  I have so many things that I could have shared ...
1) my "new" studio space (in which I should be cranking out work on a regular basis!) 
2) my good sales success over the Christmas holidays with three different opportunities for showing my work.
3) my house getting painted this October and boy has it transformed the way my house looks and the way I feel when I drive into the driveway!
4) my daughter's graduation from college on Mother's Day weekend and then seeing her off to her 3-week volunteer internship in Kenya. She'll be home on Father's Day (but I'm calling it Mother's Day for me!!! :)
5) Heidi still being the most fantastic dog in the entire universe.
6)feeling both overwhelmed and fulfilled all at the same time when teaching American Sign Language at the community college (my biggest excuse for dropping the blog ball).
7) still enjoying wonderful weekends with my sister (went to her opening at Quirk Gallery in Richmond, enjoyed the best Merlefest EVER this year and had a wonderful family weekend for my daughter's graduation just to name a few!)
8) making some really yummy recipes over the past few months that I could have shared...I'll dig those out!
9) getting my mind wrapped around my daughter moving to Athens, GA for grad school and how much fun it's gonna be to visit her, but how much further away she's going to be ......and
10) still working on those same knitted scarves...can you believe it?  Pitiful.
So there's the top 10 things that come to mind that I could have certainly blogged about and didn't.  I aim to do better!

My Merlefest knitting bag...scarf...knit thyself.

Heidi in her Christmas "Woolies" sweater

Fun ornament wreath made for freshly painted house!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I've fallen off the blog wagon, and I'm trying to pull myself back up!

Hello my friends!  I was telling someone today that "I have a blog...well, I used to have a blog...well, I still have a blog but I haven't written anything in months".  I have really let so many other things take over my time, and have not done much felting or wooly-making to speak of!  But this past weekend, I got back in the studio and crafted a beautiful flower pin.  It was a commissioned piece for my friend who is giving a party for a new bride and groom this weekend.  The only white wool I had was a boiled wool jacket, and I just wasn't happy with the rosette I was trying to wrangle out of that stiff wool.  So I created a new design and BOY DO I LOVE IT! (Sorry that my only picture of it is a tad fuzzy.)  Sitting up there cutting and sewing and attaching little tiny pearl beads put me back in that "zen" place where I love to go.  I realized how much I have missed creating something new!  Here it is September and my big season for wool is fast upon me....oh no!  So I need to get BUSY.  I am hoping to do enough new items to sell again at the Arts Council and at Holly Days. I am SO ready for Fall after this long and ridiculously hot summer!  I think the weather really has kept me from working with wool. Now that there are hints of chilly mornings and the leaves are beginning to turn and football season has begun IT IS TIME TO GET EXCITED about EXCEPTIONAL WOOLIES...rah, rah, rah!  

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My My Time Does Fly

Oh my goodness.  Where did the past 2 months go?  February and March were a blur and it is now April and I've been SO delinquent.  Life is busy..too busy.  I guess I've opted to take those opportunities when I had time to sit and do nothing to do just that...instead of blogging!  So here are some updates...and I promise to do a little better!

1)  Heidi the dog is still FABULOUS.  I.  love.  her.  She and I have had great walks, great times at the dog park and she is the best couch potato EVER!  Everyone is totally jealous of me having the PERFECT dog.  She is sweet, she obeys well, she is quiet (except for talking to the squirrels or the doorbell) and she is a compact little bundle of beauty!  I love to watch her leap out the door, bounding over to the trees to try her best to catch some busy squirrel eating his lunch.  I love to watch her shake her toys ferociously, and run like the dickens (and always win) the race to the toy chicken. (Sorry all doggies at the dog park...Heidi is going to get there FIRST.)

2)  Crafting has been at a standstill.  I have tried to knit a little...started scarves for my daughter and my sister and let them know that they will be wearing them NEXT winter.  I started a wrap for myself and haven't gotten past casting on yet.  Woolies haven't been made since the IPOD cases around Valentine's Day.  I'm in my "dormant" period with the felt, but need to get cranked up again.  Last year I was SO thankful that I started making my holiday inventory early (July) and this year I have vowed to start even earlier.  So I need to start thinking Christmas again soon.  One thing about my is pretty season specific.  Today is is almost 90 degrees (yes, unseasonably hot) and no one wants to think about a product made of wool.  But winter will come again...and "woolies" will be all the rage I'm sure!!!

3)  A highlight of February was a weekend spent in Happy Valley with my sister...going to see Doc Watson and the Kruger Brothers in North Wilkesboro at their benefit for Haitian Relief....and the bonus of seeing a baby goat shortly after it was born (my niece being one of the humans helping Mama Goat through her labor and delivery).  Kidding season at Ripshin Goat Dairy is a glorious time.  Baby goats are one of God's gifts to the world...they are sweet and fresh and being around them just makes you feel good.  March blew in and it was the middle of March before I even got used to the fact that it was a new month...time really did fly in March.  I hosted an annual party that I give each year for friends..."the hen party"...all women who have been a great support to me in times of sadness and in joy.  I love planning and preparing for the party each year, and do everything "chicken"!  Next year I promise to share some of my best hen-related decor and food ideas.

4) Many fun things await me this Spring.  I'll be celebrating with my daughter her 21st birthday the end of this month!  I'll be going to Merlefest again....SO much fun!  I'll be finishing up another semester of teaching at the community college.  I'm hopefully going to have my house painted....a much needed but EXPENSIVE project.  So I see myself spending lots of time at home, trying to save a dime.  I hope that my creative urges will send me back to the sewing machine to create more woolies.....this house painting thing might jolt me into it sooner than later!

Ta-ta for now.....and I promise to post before the next 2 months fly by!