Saturday, February 28, 2009

Swing Time

This is a jacket for a child that is made from a recycled sweater. I appliqued the design using pieces of recycled sweaters.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Autumn Olive

This is another seasonal piece. The plant is called Autumn Olive, and it's an invasive in Connecticut. But like so many other invasives, it's really pretty. It leafs out earlier than almost anything in spring, which I really appreciate. In summer the leaves are a lovely sagey color; you can see them lining the highways almost everywhere. In the fall they are covered with these sour fuits which are good feed for the birds. So even though they are invasive, it's hard to dislike them. We used to have one right outside our window in our old house, and I loved it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ready for Spring

I needed something springy today. The sun is up earlier and earlier, which puts joy in my heart. It also gives me the expectation that the temps will be warmer, and I will be able to get out and do some yard work and gardening. But it's in the teens this morning! I just need to enjoy this time, listen to the cardinals singing their February song, and be patient!

So here's something that looks springy, even though it's flowers that were in my garden in September. They are needle felted onto a background made from a boiled wool jacket.

The flowers are "Obedience" (or "Obedient Plant"), goldenrod, and fleabane.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recycling Sweaters II

Here' s something else I make from recycled sweaters. I usually start by making mittens, then some potholders. I've started covering journals in "sweaters", so that would come next. With the leftovers I make "treasure bags", little pockets with buttons that can be used for small gifts, or glasses, or MP3 players or whatever you can imagine. It's a lot of fun to see how much of a sweater I can put to good use...and I found someone who hooks rugs who may be able to use the scraps I can't use. Wow!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cultivating an Organic Connecticut

I absolutely loved the CT NOFA conference on Saturday. I was able to attend the workshops and part of the keynote speaker's address. It was inspiring to be among people who are trying to create a better, healthier earth for all of us and our descendants; to hear about people working to bring fresh, self grown food to people in inner cities who might not have a chance to grow their own otherwise; to learn about school-to-farm and farm-to-school programs that are teaching the next generation about the value of fresh, local food and how to grow it.

I am an idealist, and I loved being among people who are, too! It made me feel 20 years younger! And it was cool to see that same light in the eyes of people 30 years older than me. It gives me a lot of hope.

I had a lot of fun meeting the people who visited my booth! Here are some pictures of what it looked like.

Friday, February 20, 2009

God's Whimsy?

This little guy is called a Northern Parula. I've never seen one, but supposedly they do hang out in my area. I love it when I see birds (always in bird books!) that are just about every color under the sun. There must be a good evolutionary reason for this, but it's more fun to think of it as God's whimsy. Maybe God is like me and after working on a bunch of earth toned things, needed to create something really colorful!

Tomorrow I will be vending at the Cultivating an Organic Connecticut conference put on by CT NOFA. I'm really looking forward to it, as I love gardening and farmers and earth and all things organic. The workshops sound great! Here's a link, in case you see this in time.

Saturday, February 21, 2009
Windsor High School, Windsor

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recycling Sweaters I

Most things in our house are recycled. Our furniture is Vintage Attic, via yard sales and junk piles. Most of our clothes come from Sally's Boutique (aka the thrift shop) or are hand-me-downs. We've done this through necessity, but it's also a way of life for us: re-using things that still have a lot of good life in them, and not adding to the stream of things that get tossed out, as well as not perpetuating the endless river of the making and consuming of goods. As much as we can.

So, anyway, recycling is one of the things I try to promote in my life and my livelihood. One way is by recycling sweaters that folks give me or that I buy at Sally's. The method: take a wool sweater, shrink it in the washer (the process is called "fulling"), cut it up and make new things out of it. One of the most popular things I make is wool potholders. If you use good, thick sweaters, they work really well and you don't feel any heat coming through them. They last a long time, too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chair Pads

Back in January, this is what the chair pads that I have been working on looked like. Partially done, but still in pieces. Here's what they look like today:

Five done and ready to be delivered! That's a good feeling.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mommy Cardinal

This morning the tree out back was full of birds. All the usuals - titmice, chickadees, finches, a nuthatch or two, and a pair of cardinals. I couldn't believe how vivid the male was, sitting in the sun. The female was up in the tree, and her beak was almost neon orange! It was almost all I could see of her.
When the kids were little, they were not "male" and "female" cardinals, they were the "mommy cardinal" and the "daddy cardinal". So here is a mommy cardinal. Her mate will have to be made soon so she's not alone!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yellow Warbler

Here's a bird I've never seen, and might not be likely to see, as it lives mostly south of where I am. But his yellows are so vibrant that I knew he had to be the next I felted. The warblers are such a cool family; they are tiny and so many different colors!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Painted" Turtles

Plainville, CT has a wonderful little place called Tomasso Nature Park. It's hidden behind the town garage and the dump, and it backs up to the airport. For all that, it's a quiet, magical place, filled with wildlife. If you stay quiet and keep your eyes open you'll see all sorts of things, and hear them, too. There are some interconnected waterways, and on summer mornings rocks and semi-submerged logs are covered in little painted turtles. Sometimes I wish I could be a turtle and just soak up sun like that!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Magical Goldfinches

During the winter I hear a lot of goldfinches. I love their little twittery calls as they fly from tree to tree. But I rarely see them, or if I do, I probably think they are someone else.
It's amazing to me how they change color. Right now they are dull olivey yellow, but just barely yellow. As the days lengthen, they will get brighter and brighter yellow. It's like magic. And unfortunately, it's only the guys who get to make the transformation. The females stay that olivey yellow all year round. I know it's for their own good, but it just figures that the guys get all the glory! Oh well, I love them anyway.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Common Redpoll (doesn't look common to me!)

I used to have a rule for myself that I would only felt the birds I had actually seen. This changed last year when people started asking me to make owls for them (I've seen owls in captivity but not in the wild). Now, with selling to people on Etsy, people from all over the country (world!) are seeing my stuff, so I figure I can do birds from anywhere. I'm looking forward to making all kinds of warblers I've never seen.
Anyway, this little guy has talked to me many times from his page in my bird guide, and finally I could not resist him any longer. His name is common redpoll, but he looks anything but common to me. If I saw him in a bush, I'd go crazy, he's so adorable.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I Love Chickadees

As the days get longer, I am seeing and hearing more and more birds. I love chickadees - the way they move, the sounds they make, and of course, how they look. In the past week or two, the neighborhood chickadees have finally figured out that I have seed out and have been really active in the morning. Here's one that I made, not nearly so cute as the real ones!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Do Felted Wishes Come True?

Last week I wrote that I'd not seen any purple finches or house finches this season at the feeders, and I made this one sort of as a wish that I could see some. Would you believe that only a day or two later there were some house finches in the tree out back? I'm definitely seeing and hearing a lot more birds. The season is turning, we are gaining light each day and I love the return of the birds.
I've added a new show to my calendar, and I'm excited about it. It's the 20th Annual Earth Fair at the Glastonbury Audubon Society on April 25. I've added a link to it on my links list. I'll love being there, as it is so much about green living, how we can make changes in our daily habits that will help this earth of ours. And a great place to bring my birds!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Plan B

The past week I've been laid up with a cold. There are colds and there are colds, and often I can fight them off, but this one had it in for me! A real energy sapper. Fortunately, I don't need to get out of the house to go to work every day, and I've been able to keep up with the homeschooling; but there has been a lot of napping on the couch! Yesterday I just couldn't do that any more, and here's the result. I'd started the kestrel the night before last, so I finished him off. I haven't seen any purple finches or house finches this winter, so I had to make the purple finch, and the bluebird had to be made to help make my bird display more colorful for my show on the 21st.

See the 3 birds on the tree? When I go to shows the tree is full of birds. Last summer at Coventry, I heard that shoppers at the Market were walking around talking about the "bird lady". That's me!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Frozen Farmer's Market!

Yesterday was so fun - the New Hartford (CT) Farmer's Market had a Skate party and Frozen Farmer's Market on the Pine Meadow Green. Lots of kids skating and sliding around, music, snowballs, and local farmers with fresh meats, eggs, apples and cider, baked goods and jellies. I was there with my felted wool, and it's always so fun to see people's reactions to the things I've made. Especially the recycled sweaters; folks are always surprised to see the cool things that can be created.

If you live in CT, stop by the New Hartford market some Friday evening in the summer. It's on the Pine Meadow Green, and you won't find a sweeter market around. Very small-town feel, and very family oriented.