Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yarn, Buttons, and a new hair cut!

I have been such a bad blogger! I have been busy crafting and hope to share some of my new projects very soon. For now I am going to share my new hat that I made with some of my Christmas presents.
I am not one to get my hair cut very often - once or twice a year - and the last couple of times I have just had my husband cut some off the bottom :) He has done a very good job, but it just isn't the same.
So, while my son was gone for a few days last week, I decided to take advantage of the time alone and go get my hair cut. Unfortunately, the gal who usually cuts it had an emergency and had to leave right before I got there, so someone else was able to fit me in. The result is a very cute, but very short hair cut. I don't have a pony tail anymore!!! I love my ponytail and living on the farm it is a very practical hairstyle. It was quite a shock!

My mom gave me a really cute hat for Christmas and I got a couple skeins of alpaca yarn from a friend...

and some very fun buttons from my dad from a recent trip to Alaska...

throw them all together and I have a new hat :)

The hats have been helping me cope with the hair in my eyes!
My 6-year-old son took this picture - I see a future photographer in the making :)

I made this hat using the Knifty Knitter. If you aren't familiar with this product, it is a circle loom and so easy to use. There are numerous YouTube videos showing you how to use it and a ton of projects online.

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thanks, Joan!

I received an award from Joan over at Mudranch awhile ago…and I have been so busy creating that I am just now blogging about it! If you also follow my farm blog, then you may be thinking that you are seeing double! I was lucky to be awarded this award by two very creative ladies within a couple days of each other - thanks!
I already posted who my favorite authors are on my other blog, so I am posting 7 of my favorite felting/fiber books on this blog...
1. Uniquely Felt by Christine White
2. Felt by Robyn Steel-Stickland
3. In Sheep's Clothing by Nola Fournier and Jane Fournier
4. Wool Pets by Laurie Sharp and Kevin Sharp
5. Felted Bags, Boots & Other Things by Cendrine Armani
6. Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Fuzzy Felted Friends by Saori Yamazaki
7. How to Raise Sheep by Philip Hasheider (features some of my pictures!)
Now for the 7 blogs I would like to award…
and now for those that would like to see what I have been busy creating!

The dogs are custom orders and the others are for the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival that is sneaking up REALLY fast :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

My love affair with Vistaprint continues...

I ordered my first business cards through Vistaprint last year and have been back several times for more business cards, rack cards, postcards, tote bags, t-shirts, and small/large signs. I have been really happy with all of the products and if you sign up for their e-mail exclusive offers then you can get a lot of the items for free - just pay for shipping!!!

While I was at the dog show a few weeks ago, I was approached by a vendor asking where I got the bag that I was carrying around? I told her that I made it and showed her several others that I had with me (I was delivering a few). She was over the top excited about carrying them in her booth along with her Custom Kagaroo Show Leads. What an opportunity! She has a few of my bags as samples and will be taking orders. I needed to get some tags for the bags and a sign. Vistaprint, here I come :)

My items came today and once again I am thrilled with the results!

Here is the sign that I ordered. They have a LOT of designs and you can order multiple items with the same design to create some branding for your company. I love the combination of blue and flowers in this design!

I ordered business cards to use as price tags. I put care and cleaning instructions on the back.

This is a re-order of the rack cards for my studio.

Just for fun and for wearing at the fiber shows I got to, I ordered a couple t-shirsts. I was a little concerned about how the quality was going to be, but they are awesome. This was the first design I picked...

and this is the second design. I really like both of them - but this one is my favorite!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A little ugly for some pretty!

I have been on a mission to find a really good wet felting soap. I have used Dawn in the past, but I have switched to rubbing a bar of soap over the wool to begin with and this works really well. The problem with most bars of soap I have tried is the amount of suds it creates - mountains and mountains!!! My mom reps for a line of French soaps and I recently ordered some Olive oil soap.
Another wet felter calls these big blocks of soap the 'ugly' soap. They certainly aren't small and delicate.

They are a traditional marseille cube made with 72% olive oil. They are unscented and pure - making them perfect for anyone with sensitive skin. Wikipedia had some very interesting information regarding this soap - Traditionally, the soap is made by mixing sea water from the Mediterranean Sea, olive oil, and the alkaline chemicals soda ash (sodium carbonate) and lye (sodium hydroxide) together in a large cauldron (usually making about 8 tons). This mixture is then heated for several days, stirred constantly. The mixture is then allowed to sit, and once ready, it is poured into the mould, and allowed to set slightly. While still soft, it is cut into bars and stamped, and left to completely harden. The whole process can take up to a month from the start before the soap is ready to use.

Even more interesting is that this soap has been made around Marseille, France, for about 600 years, the first recorded soapmaker in the area in about 1370. By 1688, Louis XIV introduced regulations limiting the use of the name savon de Marseille to soaps made in and around the Marseille area, and only from olive oil. Today this law still stands (although the regulations now allow other vegetable oils to be used).

The felting results are fantastic!!! It suds nicely, but not too much. I used it to make the backgrounds for the following two wall hangings.

This is Gretchen...
and this is Edda.
A very lucky lady had a friend and husband order these wall hangings for her birthday. These are her two favorite dogs and they wanted them on a mossy green background. I am thrilled with the results and I hope she is too!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Felting fun day!

My mom/mother-in-law and sisters/sister-in-laws and I have been trying to get together for a felting fun day, but ALL of our schedules have been so busy this summer that it has been difficult to find a day that works for all of us. So, I called kind of last minute last week and told them that whoever could make it was invited over on Saturday to felt some purses. My soon to be sister-in-law, Patricia, and my sister, Cristen, were the only two that could make it - but we had fun!

Here is Patricia working on hers. They were making fun of me because I would explain how to do something by first saying "ok, you aren't supposed to do this, but this is how I do it". I don't know what I do differently, but unfortunately my techniques were causing Patricia to break needles. She only broke two and that is pretty common for beginners, but I still felt bad.

Here is her finished bag. She wanted a tree or branches with a crow on it and I think she did a great job! She also put a pocket on the inside that I'm sure will come in very handy!

Here is my sister working on her purse. She didn't put a pocket in hers and just zipped right along, so we were making her felt extra long to make sure it would REALLY stay. She put a flap on the outside with a magnetic closure.

She is due in November and I was beginning to wonder if she was really pregnant because she still wasn't showing 2 weeks ago. She has a little bump now :)

The colors she chose compliment each other nicely.

Hopefully everybody else can come over next time.

My two worlds have collided!

I feel like I have two different worlds at times - my fiber and my photography. Both of these endeavors give me the freedom to stay home with our son and I feel very fortunate to have this flexibility. This summer has been very busy for my photography - I took over 7,000 photos in August at various dog events!
I took a few of my felted bags to the events and the response has been wonderful - resulting in a lot of custom orders!

Irish Wolfhound - still available

I had a couple orders for Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

A gal ordered this bag for one of her friends. It is an Australian Kelpie watching over his little sheep.

This is an Ibizan named Dina. She is such a pretty girl...

and here she is in felt!

Here is an Italian Greyhound that I am currently working on and still on my list to do are a long-haired standard dachshund, tan and white whippet, scottish deerhound, borzoi, black and white silken windhound, another ibizan, pharoah hound, and a blue merle aussie with a couple sheep.
I have created a Custom Tote Bag page on my website and you can see other bags and ordering information there.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Creative juices are flowing :)

I have had several new ideas come to me this week and they have been so much fun!!!
I want to send a special 'thank you' to my mom and grandma for giving me the gift of creativity. They have always been so inspiring and I have many memories of the items they made for us growing up. I will never forget the Cabbage Patch Kid sized horses that my grandma made for all of us kids for Christmas. I think it is still one of the best presents and I have vivid memories of the surprise.
I always have ideas running through my head, but this last weekend when I was home by myself I was able to listen to some of the ideas ;) I was playing around with a necklace idea - unfortunately it was a total flop - but it got me thinking and I took the piece of glass that I was working with and wet felted around it, much like you would felt a bar of soap. It had possibilities... then later when I was at my parent's house, my brother had a wire wrapped necklace on that got me thinking. He helped me and below is the result. I have ordered some wood discs in circles and squares and am looking forward to working with them.

The next item isn't fiber related, but part of my other life - photography. I am taking pictures at a lure coursing trial this weekend and I am really excited to be able to offer collage prints.
I'm not sure where this idea came from, but I took two different items that I have made and combined them. I took the felted sheep balls and the flat felted sheep from the bags and made these little guys.

They have a front and a back and are stuffed with a little bit of wool. My plan is to make them into sachets with lavendar and eucalyptus scents. They can also be hung or turned into magnets - so many choices ;)
This little birdie pillow spurred another thought...

little birdies, just like the little sheep. Unfortunately, this one didn't turn out very cute.

Here is attempt #2. Now, when I look back at the first one, it looks like a nasty crow :)

I hope some of these ideas have created some ideas of your own!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

We have a winner!

I think everyone's weekends sound wonderful and I hope you get to indulge soon! As for my weekend - I chose to do the fun stuff and the important stuff and left the laundry for later. I got the electric fence fixed in the ram pasture because the last thing I wanted to be doing was chasing rams around ;) I then read, felted, watched a couple movies, ate dinner whenever I wanted to, went over to my parents and had some wonderful homemade peach ice cream, went for a couple walks, and felted some more!
I'm glad I didn't announce a winner this morning, thanks to the late entries - it's good to see you here!
The winner, as chosen by random.org, is Emily at Dreameyce - congrats!!! Send me an e-mail with where to send it and what option you want.

Friday, July 31, 2009

What would you do and a giveaway!

The question isn't WHAT to do, but what to do FIRST??? I have a weekend all to myself and I am always overwhelmed with what I should start with.

I have stuff that I should do - laundry, dishes, vacuum, etc.

I have stuff that I want to do - finish felting projects, read my book, go for a walk.
I am really bad at finishing projects. I have 5 pillows in varying stages :)

I have stuff that I don't want to do, but need to - fix the electric fence in the ram pasture, mow the lawn, clean the garage.

and stuff that I seldom do, but would be fun - lay on the couch and watch a movie, eat a carton of ice cream (that was my mom's idea) ;)

I suppose I will end up doing a little bit of everything, except for eating the carton of ice cream!

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is tell me what you would do with a weekend all to yourself?

The prize -

A tote bag filled with a goody of your choice :)

Option 1 - handspun yarn
Option 2 - fiber for spinning

Option 3 - felting kit
Option 4 - none of the above ;) for the non-wool people - I will come up with something special
Just leave a comment with what you would do and what option you want! I will announce the winner on Tuesday, August 4th. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Felt Table Runner

Thanks to the hot weather, I have been felting a LOT ;) Doing anything outside besides the absolute necessary is out of the question. This is one of the pieces I made. A table runner made with jacob wool.

I was awfully tempted to keep it, but I think I am going to make another one that matches our kitchen better. It measures 16" x 60"

It is also reversible.

I love the color variations of jacob wool.

Hope you are staying cool wherever you may be!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Lil Dynamo

Look...I have a new wool picker!

Isn't she cute?

She is serious about her job.

She digs and pulls until each lock of fiber has been picked apart.

The final touch is fluffing.
Just kidding :) She does enjoy picking the wool but I don't think customers would enjoy having dog slobber mixed in with their wool!

I do have a new wool picker though - it is called the Lil Dynamo.

I tried a jacob lamb fleece through it and I am so happy. The top slides across and is very smooth. Here is the washed fiber going in...

and here it is afterwards.

The pile on the left is before and the pile on the right is after. Picking wool opens up the locks and makes carding easier.

I found a more appropriate toy for Paisley to play with.