Thursday, December 31, 2009

What to Post on a Snowy Day

Today it's snowing and right now it looks like it could go for an inch an hour. So here's a project to go with the day.

Once when I was setting up a felting class, one of the students asked if we could do a tree like this for the project. She had seen it online. So we tried it, and this is how mine came out. When he saw it, the boy said the tree had to have a “house-hole” at the bottom and he felted the bunny to live in it.

Speaking of the boy, he recently turned 13, so it's time for his quilt. When the girls turned 13, each of them got a flannel quilt to wrap up in and comfort them through their teen years. The quilts were made of flannel from dad's old shirts, my old nightgowns, and scraps from many sewing projects - so they were warm and full of memories.
This morning I ironed out the fabrics for the boy's quilt. It was fun to sift through the memories as I worked, and will continue to be so as we design his comfort-wrap.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Brrr! It's still cold out there. We fared better than some yesterday. The wind took out power in part of our town and the next one over, and the town was preparing to put folks up in the high school. We were fortunate to keep our power. But there was a tragic death because of the wind. Deep breath of gratitude and sorrow.

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking about quilts. We were under the one my grandmother made for our wedding, and I was thinking of the ones I've made. And the thoughts drifted to wondering if I could combine the quilting with the sewing I do on recycled sweaters - maybe on jackets or skirts or bags...? I'll have some fun playing with that idea.

Gordon Bok sings a song of a woodcarver, and some of the lines are beautiful to me right now: "While my hands are steady, while my eyes are good, I will carve the music of the wind into the wood." Somehow that resonates with me about the birds I sculpt. And especially with the injury to my arm, I'm not sure if my felting days are numbered. They are certainly limited. I felted too much yesterday and will have to rest the arm today. So I think I value the felting I can do more.

So anyway, here's more of what I've worked on this last week/month.

This is a western tanager. I don't ever see this bird, but his picture is near the goldfinch in my bird book, and he's so beautiful, I just have to have him around sometimes.

This is a red breasted nuthatch. I've never seen one, but they are native to my area, so I hope to someday. I have the white breasted ones at my feeder every day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Wind is Howling...

Today is a day to be grateful for shelter as the wind screams around the corners of the house and through the screens. My heart goes out to those who don't have the comfort of being out of the wind and cold.

Now my busy season is over (I just have the Coventry Farmer's Market on a regular basis) and Christmas has passed, I feel I can breathe some. I hope to be making things daily to prepare for next season's busyness, filling my Etsy shop, and making the rug that a customer ordered. This, along with more attention to homeschooling with the boy and driving him to classes and rehearsals. Life will still be full, but hopefully more serene.

I'm getting back into a little more needle felting. In the fall I was felting so much that I got a repetitive motion injury and have had to give my arm a rest. I still have to limit what I do, but I can do a little more than I could a month ago. It's been a positive thing - I started learning to felt right-handed; they say that doing things with your off hand is really good for your brain.

This is a chippy I made for Audrey. I have a few things that people asked me to make before Christmas, that I now have time to work on. Then I'll start in on the rug. I'll post pictures as I work on it - it's fun to see the process.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How Do Those Sweaters Do That?

This week I was able to get to a few projects that I just haven't had time for in the past months. I had a skirt that really needed to be shorter than it was, and I got that taken care of.

I've had this red boiled wool jacket that I shrunk down long ago. I knew I wanted to do some design on it, and this week I was able to plan that out and make it. The white buttons are all sparkly, like snow in the sunshine.

I think it's funny, because this was a jacket that would have fit me before I put it through the wash. It was a boiled wool jacket before I got hold of it, and it shrunk down to fit about a 4 year old. I tell people that wool has an amazing ability to keep shrinking, and this is proof!

People ask me if the sweaters tell me what they want to be when I recycle them. Often they do. I had a lot of fun designing this one. I save small scraps that are colorful for just such a purpose. I'm lucky to have a stash of vintage buttons. They're from my husband's grandmother and an elderly neighbor. I love recycling and re-using!

Now, this one was a sweater that probably would have fit me. I didn't expect this, but it became like a boiled wool jacket in one cycle through the wash. It's now small enough for a four or five year old - maybe even smaller. This is the fun of working with wool for me - even as long and as much as I do it, it's still unpredictable. It's a mystery, and that keeps it an adventure.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jewel Colors

Today was a wet felting day. These are the soaps I felted in jewel tones. The boy helped me lay out the colors for most of them. He does such a good job; I like his colors and combinations better than my own.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coventry Winter Farmers' Market Starts Sunday

I had a wonderful weekend at the St. Peter Claver Church craft fair. It was a wonderful mix of artisans and the folks who came out were fantastic. I treated myself to a chair massage by Chris Barrett - a great way to take care of myself in the midst of a busy work day.

This weekend I have 3 events. On Saturday I'll be in Putnam for the Artisans' Market at the Kennedy Pavilion. On Sunday I will be at the opening day of the Coventry Winter Farmer's Market, which will take place at the high school from 11-2. My friend, Kathy, will bring some of my work to the Roaring Brook Nature Center Craft Fair in Canton.

I'm excited about the Winter Market. The Coventry market masters do such a wonderful job of promoting the market. Winter Caplanson puts out a weekly newsletter for the market. Here's a link to the market's website, and there is a link there to sign up for the newsletter.

Now I need to go make things!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting Ready for the Craft Fairs

My outdoor market season ended Sunday with the Oak Grove School Hibernation Festival. No one wanted to hibernate, though, since the weather was gorgeous and we all enjoyed a lovely day out in the sun.

Now it's on to the holiday craft fairs. My first one is this weekend at St. Peter Claver Church in West Hartford. All proceeds the church takes in go to support their medical mission to Haiti, and I'm thrilled to be able to help out in this.

Here are a few recent additions .

A sheep made with curly fleece from Kelly Radding's flock.

A lambswool and angora hat for a little girl.

And some more hats. The cuffed ones are adult size, and the brown one is cashmere. The white one with the flower is a baby/toddler size.

Now that I'm working out of the house just on the weekends, I hope to be able to keep up more with the blogging. Hope to see some of you at a fair!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Really Recycled Sweater Kitty Bed

A while back, a customer asked if I could save the scraps from my recycled sweaters for her. I told her that the scraps I create are pretty small, since as a recycler I try to waste as little of each sweater as possible. All along, I've hated to throw away any of it. So I saved a bag of scraps for Sandy, and as I did it, it reminded me of the bags of pillow stuffing I used to buy. I happily handed over the scraps and asked her to show me what she did with them, if she could.

Then I began saving another bag of scraps. I got the idea for the kitty bed from our very own Tali cat - she would love to sleep on the pile of sweaters waiting to be cut up. I felted a very big sweater, cut it up and made her a cushion stuffed with wool sweater scraps. It's surprisingly solid and she seems to like it, I think because it's warm and cozy. Right now she's curled up on it, asleep on the office table.

So now I'm saving my scraps all the time, not sending them to the dump, which thrills me. I have enough for another kitty bed, and it'll show up in my booth as soon as I have time to make it. Thank you, Sandy, for sparking the idea!

By the way, a couple of weeks ago Sandy showed me what she did with some of the scraps. She had some Halloween decorations, fall decorations, and she used the felted scraps to make leaves for them. They were adorable.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Having Fun with the New Hat Design

I'm really thrilled with the new design I'm using for hats. It makes a really cozy hat with flaps to keep the ears warm. For little ones I'm adding ties, and it's so cute to see their little round faces surrounded by the hat. I love this use for recycled sweaters!

These are from a gorgeous wine colored cashmere sweater. I made them last Thursday and the mittens and cuffed hat sold on Friday.

I like the contrasting lining on this one.

These were made from a really cool striped sweater. Really fall-ish colors. The earflap hat is lined in cashmere.
These bowls below are ones I knitted and felted. I've been having a lot of fun seeing what shapes I can make and combining the colors.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bethany Homecrafts Fall 2009 Schedule

Taste! Organic CT: September 20, 10 am-4 pm, Manchester Community College

Columbia Harvest Market: September 26, 9 am-4 pm Columbia Town Green (Rt. 87)

Made in CT Fair: October 4, 10 am-4 pm, The Colonial Tavern, Hawley Lane,Oxford

Garlic and Harvest Fest: October 10-11, 10 am-5 pm, Bethlehem Fair Grounds

Roaring Brook Nature Center Crafts Fair: November 22, Roaring Brook Nature Center, Lawton Rd., Canton

Coventry Farmer’s Market Winter Market, Sundays 11-2, November 22 – February, Coventry High School

New Hartford Farmer’s Market
, Fridays 4-7 pm through October

Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market
, Sundays 11-2 through October: 9/27, 10/18

Trout Brook Farmer’s Market, Mondays 3-6pm through Nov. 2: 9/21, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 11/2

Simsbury Farmer’s Market
, Thursdays 2-6 pm through October: 9/24, 10/8, 10/15, 10/22

The Ides of September

Here's what I've made in the past couple of days. I'm really pushing it now, as the busy fair season is upon me.

Here's a Santa gnome and a bunny. I'd not made any mammals in a while and I'm rusty at it. Took a while to get the right shape on the bunny.

Here's what I was able to make from a cool sweater. It was small and had some mothy issues, so it's not much. But I loved the stripes.

This is a hat I made for a special order: a grandma who has twin 3 year old grandchildren. She wanted blue and pink tassel hats for them. I added on the ear flaps so their little ears stay cozy, and lined them with cashmere so there will be no itchies.

Here's another one. I really loved the Fair Isle design, but only had a tiny bit of it, so I had to use it on something small. It's lined with cashmere, too.

This is a pair of leg warmers and mittens to go with the tassel hat.

I had some birds, but the pictures came out blurry for some reason , and as I'm bleary right now, it's not time to try taking them again.
More again in a couple of days, God willing!

Friday, September 11, 2009

I don't know what to call it when it's just more stuff!

Here's a mushroom a customer wanted...

a goldfinch...

a chickadee...

some turtles...

and another Santa.

Today it's raining, so I will stay home, bake some bread, and make a bunch more stuff. I'm grateful for a home day!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Fall

Fall is upon us, and with it comes the busy market/fair season. I'll be making lots of things to bring with me, and hopefully taking pictures of them all. I've got good motivation to do it, since my daughter is studying abroad and she wants to see the things I've made. During the summer markets she always comes with me and knows my inventory very well. When she left she told me I'd need to blog a lot so she could see all my new stuff.

This is a sandpiper a customer ordered. It was fun to make, as I've never made one before.

I found 3 sweaters in the same design at the thrift shop last week, a blue, a yellow and a red one. They were all the same size, from the same store, and shrunk similarly, so I figure they all came from the same person who forgot not to put them in the dryer. Oops for them, but I'm grateful! So here's the blue one, turned into a bag.

I found a huge cardigan in a great pattern, and here's what I was able to make out of it, along with a bunch of treasure bags: 2 pairs of mittens, a set of potholders, and some wrist warmers.

Here are the birds I made this past weekend. The saw-whet and the bluebird are popular ones that I make a couple of times a month.

That's it for today. We'll see if I can get more on tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Santas for Donna

People truly are thinking of Christmas. Yesterday I met a woman who said that she has all of her shopping and wrapping done by Halloween, so she can relax, enjoy, and have fun looking at the lights come December. I might try that this year. I've always wanted to.
There was another woman in my booth who said she can't possibly think of buying Christmas gifts until it gets cold. I know what she means!

So these Santas are for a lovely Etsy customer. I'll be making more for my markets as soon as I can.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This Week's Work

When people ask me to make something that's not in my usual repertoire it's a challenge. I don't do a lot of mammals. Recently I was asked for a beaver, and here he is.

A woman from the New Hartford market asked for a firefly. It's about an inch and three quarters long.

This is a western tanager. It wasn't a request, but he's on the same page as the goldfinch, and every once in a while I have to make this one for the celebration of color that he is.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

This is what I worked on yesterday and this morning, and it wasn't till I took the picture that I realized that it was all red, white and black. Brought to mind those silly jokes we told as!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Keeping Busy

The boy is at summer camp this week, and I am preparing for a busy week-end of 5 markets in a row. I am taking advantage of the uninterrupted time to make lots of things to fill the booth.

I've gotten a few birds done - yesterday's hermit thrush, and today a veery and a goldfinch.
Here's the veery:

I've finished a bunch of stuff - mittens, wrist warmers, pot holders, coffee cup huggers, leg warmers:

I still have a pile that is cut out and ready to sew:

I also have a pile of cashmere sweaters ready to be cut up. I hope to get a few hats and mittens made up before the weekend. Keeps me out of trouble!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hermit Thrush

I had a request a couple of weeks ago for a hermit thrush, and here he is. He is very similar to the wood thrush; possibly his tail is a little redder.
A customer who bought a wood thrush earlier in the summer sent me the link below. It is a clip from NPR about the voices of songbirds, and the thrushes are highlighted. Listen if you have the time, it's absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kris's Bag

My friend, Kris, gave me a wonderful suitcase of yarn that had been her mom's. The colors were delicious, and I was thrilled that we were going on vacation the next week, so I would have some time away from felting and could do some knitting. Here's what I knitted up. I altered a pattern I found on the 'net and felted it up when the knitting was done. I discovered that I liked it best as a "basket" to be hung on the wall. So here it is:

It works on the table, but I like it better hung. The colors in this photo are true.

Here it is on the wall. None of these colors is true, but I like the way it looks, hung.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Already Thinking of Christmas

I make some Christmas ornaments, and by far the most popular are the Santa gnomes. Last year I made a couple of tiny ones which were also well received. Here's one I made for a request on Etsy. Even though it's July, it's time to start making those things for fall and winter, because people do start their Christmas shopping early. They are so smart! Get everything now, and then have a peaceful Advent. I hope I can follow their example!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Green Man (He's Finished!)

I finished the Green Man yesterday morning before the market. I just had to; he was so close, and I love having a Green Man hanging in my tent. It's like a focal point - it draws peoples' eyes and brings them in. And he did!

The boy wanted him to have a beard, so there it is. Of course this one is now his favorite! He also helped by blending colors for the leaves and he even felted a couple of them. I guess the boy should get a cut when he sells!

The first thing I did was to start to combine colors for the leaves, and then felted the leaves, each one separately. When they were done, I chose a felted sweater for the backing, and began building the face onto it. He has a core of white roving for the face, which was covered with a mix of greens. When the face was in place, each leaf got felted on; then the face and the leaves were needled a LOT to get the shape and firmness I wanted. Details like the beard, eyebrows and veins in the leaves were then added, and I needled around each leaf to make them stand out. He was then cut out from his backing, and a hanger was sewed onto the back. Whew! He's done!