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Showing posts from May, 2010

Long Craft Weekend!

I feel like a balloon that's way too overfilled. I can't wait until this day ends and I'm in my art studio by the open window, feeling the breeze blow through the curtains as I needle felt darling little creatures.

I bought the most amazing wool last night. From a distance, it looks like a soft brown, but up close, you can see that each strand is a different color. Turquoise, magenta, marigold, red, pink, kelly green, blue, purple. When felted, it's almost like abalone shell; almost irridescent. I was wiggling my toes last night trying out a little piece. I made a unicorn horn. Which pretty much means the rest of the unicorn will follow as soon as I finish EVERYTHING ELSE I've already started. Ha!

I've started receiving positive feedback on my Etsy shop, and it makes me all warm and glowy inside. I love feedback. I love hearing that someone adores their new little friend. I actually miss some of the creatures I've sent out into the world and it's good to …

Storms

It's been awfully hot in Vermont for the last few days. Farms are wilting, cats are sprawled out like watermelons on the floor, fighting one another for the windowsill when there's a breeze...and it's just miserable. Last night my husband and I were having a picnic at a park in Burlington, right on the lake, when a fast and violent thunderstorm ripped through. We huddled together in a shelter as the wind tore across the lake. It was horrendous, and beautiful. The wind blew the still-lit embers out of the public grills, and sparks went flying out into the black evening. There was something eerily gorgeous, and yet somber, about the experience. Gorgeous because I'm so rarely out in nature when a storm of that magnitude hits - and somber because it's still only May, and this isn't Vermont weather. This is something else entirely.

I've been sitting around fanning myself and moaning about the heat. The lake is still too cold to go swimming, so I feel I'm in s…

Oh Deer - A Sneak Peak

This has been a "work in progress" for a couple of months now. There has to come a point where I realize that it's not a work in progress so much as a work in process. I love this deer. And then sometimes, it's all wrong. I think I've finally put my finger on what's going on here.
Unlike my Plumpies, his cuteness comes not from the representation of an animal through it's defining characteristics (aka: tusks or mane or round eyes or distinct coloration)...but through how realistic and small he is. This poses a problem because, also unlike the Plumpies, I am paying a great deal of attention to making this deer look as lifelike as possible. Which is really, really hard. So sometimes I love it and sometimes I think "UGH, I'm over my head!"

He's really cute though. I love seeing him sleeping on my Works in Progress shelf. Sometimes he looks so real (especially from behind) that I pretend how amazing it would be to have a real, living, tiny de…

Evolution

I have a new fox listed in my shop! He's much larger than the original fox that was featured by Etsy, and I spent a lot of time layering colors to get him to look just right. He has a lovely depth of color now that the pictures just don't seem to capture. I loved making him and it was good to sit down and work on something with much more detail.

Looking back on my shop sales (and it's not even been three months) I can see an evolution of my art even in this small span of time. I have no idea what the future holds for my art, but the evolution is so exciting. I have learned to take more time making the plumpies, and that symmetry is important to me. I have learned to work more cleanly and to use crisp lines. All of these details have helped to "polish" my work. I'm just thrilled with how fast it's all happened.

My central focus this week is finalizing a commission and getting that shipped out. I'm going to restock my lion and owl and finish some more de…

Potatoes With Tusks

I had a cupcake for breakfast. It is my co-worker Sue's birthday today and we all just adore her. The cupcake was exceedingly sugary and delicious and my belly is so happy.

I had a good little cry on the way to work when I saw that my favorite groundhog had been hit by a car and was smooshed in the road. I say hello to him almost every day and clap when I see him. He had a big rusty red chest and was doing a good job on fattening up. I'm really sad about it and angry to have lost a little friend. I will send some love for his little hungry soul out into the universe today.
I just listed a new Plumpie. It's a potato with tusks. I just love vegetables with horns and tusks. No!!!! It's a Walrus. He's pretty cute and he's making me smile on this sad (but cupcake filled) day.

On Beauty...

I'm unabashedly an Etsy addict. I have more feedback about things I've purchased than things I've sold - and I have a considerably large collection of artwork and handmade items from Etsians. It's kind of a problem. I know (deep down in my marrow) that I don't need any more things - that I am content to Make Do and Mend - that I can be happy without possessions. While that may be true, I also like beautiful little things.

Unfortunately, I'm on a spending freeze. The husband and I have decided that some of my hard-earned craft dollars should go back into our savings account to help cover the cost of wool and expenses - at least until I've made back what I spent to get my shop up and running. When and if I am ever square again and making a little profit, I will know exactly what to spend it on: This...

and this...

oh...and this.Skeptis is the first of many stops on my future spending spree. I love Nat's shop and was delighted to see that she featured my chu…

On My Evening Walk...

"Finest lace there is," said Dad quietly. And he was gesturing up through the trees above to show them how it was woven across the sky or how the sky was woven into the trees, he wasn't sure which. But there it was, he smiled, and the weaving went on, green and blue, if you watched and saw the forest shift its humming loom. ~ Ray Bradbury, fromDandelion Wine The last wild creature you expect to find in the woods, tucked in among the bushes on a log - a grey and white cat. The funny thing is, my husband and I had just finished a conversation about someday wanting to have a grey and white kitty. Then *poof* one magically appears in the woods. He obviously already belonged to someone, but it was still strange. More shop updates are coming soon. I'm finishing up a special order first! I'll be listing a super special fox. I say this very, very quietly because a LOT of people want foxes and they take a VERY long time to make and I get a lot of requests for them and can&…

Meet Stamps

A few years ago, when I was still new to needle felting, I decided to make my entire family a creature each for Christmas. I was stumped on what to make for my husband - as I wanted it to be a big surprise. I was browsing an Antiques store one day and saw this little brass stamp box. It's not much bigger than - you guessed it - a postage stamp.

I thought the box was lovely - but what could go in such a tiny box? Could I really felt something that small?

Yup.
Meet Stamps! He's a very, very tiny elephant. And one of my earliest creations.

My husband opened the little tin and fell in love with his tiny new friend!
I mean - how could you not?

Even his little tush is adorable!

He's just a wisp of a thing.

I'm thinking about stealing him back!
The good news is, I found another one of these Stamps boxes on Ebay and I'm going to make another one. When the box arrived, it smelled pretty terribly of cigarette smoke, so I've been airing it out for about five months. It s…

Shop Update

Bumblebee with Vintage Crocheted Doily wings - now available in my shop!

Wool and Crochet

I've been working on incorporating dyed vintage doilies into my wool pieces. I've had to learn how to sew in order to do this, and I'm finally well on my way to a project I've had in mind for months. This is a much larger piece than I'm used to working with, and has taken many hours just to get to this point. I took these pictures with my phone, so the colors are off. The elephant is actually a nice, soft grey with a true Crayola purple doily on its back. It's about six inches by five inches so far, and the legs have yet to be added.
A note on my personal felting style: I usually start with a course wool for the body and layer a softer roving over that. It makes for a tedious process, but the end result is a textural delight.
Sunset at Battery Park in Burlington, Vermont.

Total Art Immersion

I thought I'd put myself up to a challenge...making one creature/art piece per day from now until June 13th - one month of solid creation. I realize it may be impossible to do this every single day, but sharing it on a blog may help motivate me to pick up my felting needles even when life is dreary and hard. Luckily, I have a few backlogged Etsy requests, so I can begin with those and branch out from there. I'm so so so excited about the prospects of creating for the sake of creating and sharing it on my blog.

Tomorrow I will post my first creation!

50th Sale Giveaway

I can't believe I've already sold so many of my creatures on Etsy. When I re-opened my shop on March 2nd of this year, I had only sold 2 items - paintings from 2006. Over the last couple of months, so many people have purchased and commented upon my creations. I'm blessed to be part of such a lovely community of artists and crafters on Etsy and to be welcomed by them with such encouragement.

My next sale will be my 50th, and the lucky buyer will receive an extra special free plumpie along with their purchase.

I will be updating my inventory on Friday, May 14th and have a small collection of plumpies still available in my shop.

Thanks to everyone for your encouragement, support, and, most of all, your friendship!

Father's Day - A Little Early

In anticipation of Father's Day, Etsy is doing a call for dad-related treasuries. I love making treasuries and didn't realize how cathartic it would be to make one in honor of my father. My dad has a severely advanced, early-onset form of Parkinson's Disease. In the last couple of years I've watched his progression from walking to cane to wheelchair. He's now entirely wheelchair bound. It's been amazingly hard as a 30 year-old child to watch my father's life change so drastically so soon. I wasn't prepared for this - but then again, are we ever prepared to watch our parents age or become debilitated? It has changed my whole family in ways I could never capture with words. Making this treasury brought back so many memories of his life - a life I honor and carry with me every day. For some reason this whole day has been a whirlwind of thoughts and movement and an oncoming peace. My life is changing every day and it seems today I can feel every second of i…

Centering

This morning - this brilliant blue morning - I drove by a yard where someone had stacked a cairn of stones. It struck me how lovely they were, centered and trusted, one upon another. I realize that my life as of late has been like a collection of stacked stones - one weighty thing on top of another. What I didn't realize was that I don't have to be the thing under all of those stones. I can be the thing on top. The thing closer to the sky with each of life's lessons piling neatly beneath me.

I tried to needle felt this weekend. I had a long weekend - three days not only off from work, but away from home. I was house sitting at a house with a lovely sun porch - great light, and I spent the whole time watching movies under a blanket. I realize I've become a little standoffish around my art - that the pressures of SELLING it have diminished my joy for CREATING it. I have underpriced my pieces - not nearly adequately paying myself for the time each one takes - and it's …

Once Upon a Time...

I used to paint. I was never officially "trained" on how to use color - I would just add some water to my watercolors and gouache and go to town. I taught myself basic form and function along the way and pretty much took to copying pictures out of wildlife books. I sort of burnt out on painting when I tried to branch off on my own and paint original ideas. I found that I needed to develop some rudimentary drawing and color theory skills first. Eventually I took up felting and dropped painting altogether.

One of my main goals now is to make a watercolor chart to really learn how to use them skillfully. There's an old post of mine here that shows my collection of watercolors that are now gathering dust in a portfolio in my closet. I should take them out and revisit them...



Making Treasuries

I've been busy on Etsy's Treasury East making all sorts of lovely collages. Sometimes I wish I could print these out and paint them as an abstract painting - and I really do think I have a talent not only for finding beautiful things, but putting them together nicely. I never ever compliment myself and I feel ashamed just writing that, but I'm going to leave it, because it could be true.

You can check out my treasuries by clicking here!

This post is in lieu of a traditional Wednesday Treasury.

Sitting on Cats

I will be cat sitting for the next seven days at the home of a friend. She has lovely cats - one whose nose gets pinker when he's really excited. Her home is also very light and airy and I'm looking forward to some down time. I'll be needle felting and petting cats and possibly sleeping very well considering MY cats will not be there to wake me up throughout the night.

I realized last night that I need to seriously learn how to sew. I cannot do even basic stitches without it looking frumpy, so I think I may invest in a beginner's sewing class. I think it's important to understand these fundamental things - especially if I'm going to expand my art and actually produce some of the works I've imagined. I realize I'm a bit afraid of thread and textiles, but my IMAGINATION for them is wondrous. I have lovely ideas involving fabrics and thread, but no skill to execute those ideas. It's time to change that. I don't need to be afraid of needles and threa…

Doilies

Despite the fact that I shouldn't type - I wanted to update that I received a large lot of dyed vintage doilies from Australia last night! I'm THRILLED to begin incorporating them into my wool projects. I have so many delicious ideas that I can hardly concentrate on my day job...but hopefully it'll rain this weekend and afford me some time to needlefelt (providing I can manage not to hurt myself any more this week). Photo courtesy of SweetVintage78's shop, the lovely Etsian who sold me these delights.

Ouchie

While cutting open an avocado yesterday afternoon, I missed and hit my finger instead. Oww. I will have to push needle felting back a few more days. I think the universe is telling me something. It rhymes with "vacation."

I had a dream last night that I lived at a ski resort (I don't ski) and I had a beautiful rocking chair by a huge bright window in my room. Definitely time to take a vacation. Definitely.