Fall is here

The leaves started to change colors around the Chicago land area.  The sun is also starting to set noticeably earlier, which is what I dread the most.  I’m glad I have my new hobby, as now I find resolve in the darker hours of my days.  So to keep me in the spirit, I thought I would try a bit of some fall things.  Everyone was out making pumpkins, so I thought I would try at one as well.

I took the ideas that you use string to help press in your groves, but I didn’t have string, so I thought I would try what I did have and that was embroidery thread.  I had gotten some to sew together the binding on my travel needle book.  It took a couple of tries to get it to stay in place.  It turns out that embroidery thread is very slick, so it moves around a lot.  But I borrowed a couple fingers from my husband and got it stay a bit where I wanted it.  Some areas were larger than others, but hey, pumpkins aren’t perfect right?

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So I only had a little bit of orange left, I had to do something to make it stretch.  So I used living felt lemon peel and then laid (what I’m guessing is) living felt Mango over the top with a hint of (again guessing) of hot orange in places to give it a bit of stretch marks.  Or at least, that’s what I was hoping for.  I’m guessing at the colors because some came in a goody bag, and I don’t have labels.  And the spring collection that my mother had given to me isn’t labeled either.  So I try to match as best as possible when I have the color in hand.  My goal, is to just give you an idea of the process I go through.

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So once I felted each slice in (and I felted in an extra slice so I have an odd number vs the even number you get with the string), I started with the stem and I used a cheap-y brown I had left over and in laid a bit of sage (I have a ton of sage wool) to try and give it a dried, stem look.  Then I tried a sample of the sheep locks I had gotten with one of my Living Felt orders, and I only had really bright colors.  So I figured the yellow would be cute.

The husband thinks I should add a leaf, but I tried making a leave last spring and it was awful, and I mean, who honestly keeps the leaves on when picking pumpkins.  I don’t know if anyone actually has grown pumpkins, but their leaves are huge and the stems usually have to be cute with a knife or hedge trimmers to actually get them off.  Plus, I’m bad at making leaves.  So I’m going to leave my leaf making to another project.  Maybe watch some youtube videos on it before I try it again.

There are a few things I would like to try differently, but given my lack of color choices, not bad.  I definitely need to just suck it up and make an order.  But I want to make sure I have some projects in mind rather than just randomly ordering a bunch of colors and racking up a bill.  I also need to figure out where I’m going to store all my wool.  I’m a little OCD when it comes to organization.  Right now I have everything in two plastic tubs in my kitchen and each wool is in it’s color ziplock bag.  But I think I’ll need to figure out a better way.  I may need a larger travel bag as well.  So any idea’s on storage or organization for a little felting spot in the house would be greatly appreciated. 😀

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It’s that time of year again to start thinking of Christmas gifts as well.  I have a lot of ideas in mind, but I don’t know whom I’m going to get for the grab bag that our family does.  So I guess I’ll just idea something up for everyone, and whomever I don’t get, I’ll just give it to them for their birthday.

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A New Hobby: Needle Felting

The work I spotted on Facebook, and what I would like to eventually achieve.

The work I spotted on Facebook, and what I would like to eventually achieve.

It was just an average morning, scrolling through my Facebook feed, reading what the groomers had to say about all the things that happened before.  Saturdays usually have a lot going on, even in the early hours, since that's typically one of the industry's busiest days.  So, I was ready for complaints of client's tardiness, not even showing up and unrealistic expectations when I scrolled across a beautiful little piece of art.  I should mention that the grooming world has these little time consuming fake dogs, commonly refereed to as yarn dogs, that groomers buy to be able to practice breeds we do not commonly see, but would like to try and perfect the hair cut too.  That's what most thought and so I started reading all 109 comments that were already attached to the shared photo.  To my surprised, I learn that this was a felted dog.  I'm sure, if you are unfamiliar with the technique, your mind jumped to those adorable little cartoon like creatures you've seen on pinterest, that are usually sold on etsy.  This was unlike any of those that I've seen, and I scope etsy out on a weekly basis.  I accepted the challenge and needed to know more, immediately.

So I friended her, like any good researcher would have, and begin looking though photos, as soon as the accept went through.  I got the accept when I was riding in the car while my husband drove us to the city to see family, and since I get car sick, I had to look at a photo, look up to watch traffic, look at the next photo and so on.  So by the time we got to family's and each member gathered to their usual place, I went onto a research frenzy.

I saw wire, wool, all these little pen looking things and what I was sure were some type of metal poker.  I ran to YouTube, and started watching needle felting tutorials.  I googled where to buy supplies and what kind of books were out there.  I wanted to make this dog.  I wanted to sculpt my own poodle with the realistic coat and place it proudly in my salon, next to the trophies.  But how on earth could she have gotten the wool to do that?</font

So I figured, I better start easy and work my way up.  I made a list of the things I would need, according to the YouTube videos.  I watched 6-7 videos and wrote down the tools to each one that was used and made a list of the very basics, so I didn't spend a ton of money into a hobby I may not even like.  My husband, Julio, saw I was going obsessive and knew he needed to take action.

"Babe, how about for Valentine's day tomorrow, I take you to get some felting supplies?"

I knew there was a reason as to why I married this man.  It got me to stop research long enough to curl up and watch a movie.  I would like to note, we typically do not celebrate Valentine's day, since we have an anniversary and we like to do random acts of romanticism.  It's more our style.

The next morning, we got up and went to Michael's since that's the only craft store in the area that sold felting supplies in store.  I should also mention that he drove us through a slight snow storm, which just proves his deep admiration towards his wife.  We picked up a kit, it came with the necessary wool to create the design, one need, and a mold to help you make the design.  I thought it was a perfect idea, as I had no idea how any of this worked, other than what the videos had described to me.  He also bought me some extra wool, because he knows how adventurous my brain gets and a multi needle tool.  And off we were.  We did lunch together and as soon as I got home, I opened up the kit.

I found that needle felting was pretty basic.  Poke, poke, poke, poke.  The mold really helped guide my in the right direction for making a basic dog shape (don't act too surprise, I am a dog groomer after all), and by the time I was done filling in the mold, I thought I would try building the tails and ears on my own to make the shape look more like one of my own dogs.

It took me about 4 hours to accomplish, and I learned exactly what I needed to do better for the next project, such as:

  • Make sure to pack the "stand alones" (like legs, tails or the things that are suppose to support your design) tighter.
  • Don't pack areas that need parts added on later, like ears and tail, so tight, because it makes attaching a bit more difficult
  • Get more variety of needles, because it is really difficult to do detail work with a needle that is labeled as a work horse, or packing needle.
  • Look.  Always stop to look at all sides of your design, other wise you will probably come out with different sides
  • Make pieces that you are adding together.  Especially if you are trying to mix wool colors for a realistic look.  It's really hard to know if you have the same size ear, if you already attached the other ear.
  • Try not to hold your design and poke, you will probably stab your finger(s) that are behind the design when the needle goes all the way through.
  • Using what I learned is called armature (wire) will make your design sturdier.  So I bought wire for future creatures

I showed my mother, who lives with me for the time being while she takes care of my grandma and figures out where she wants to live (closer to daughters or mother), and she wanted to try too.  So we ran to Michael's the following day to get her a kit and some wool, and tried it herself.  She got a fish, because she misses Florida.  So we'll try that while I gather materials for my next inspiration.  I also think I'll make a bit more of an investment since I really enjoyed this.  When my mother finishes her fish, I'll be sure to share

aladdin meets aladdin

Aladdin meets felted Aladdin