Thursday, April 30, 2009

Carolina Wren

Yesterday I was out in the yard with the boy, and I heard the prettiest little song. It took a while, but I finally traced it - a tiny wren flitting from tree to tree. I'm guessing that it was a house wren. I don't know if it's on migration or settling here, but I hope it hangs around. I think I hear him out there now.

I've been meaning to make a Carolina Wren, and I finally have the colors needed, so here's one. They have the funniest song: TEA KETTLE TEA KETTLE TEA KETTLE TEA! Really high pitched and loud.

On another note, I saw that robins are making a nest in my hedge. That's exciting! And I won't have to trim that section till they're done nesting. Thanks, robins!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I have these pieces hanging in my home to remind me of my roots. They were made by my grandmothers, who never knew each other or saw each others' work. I love that they go together so beautifully.

The towels were made by my mother's mother. I never knew her, though I would have loved to.

The quilt (and many others) was made by my father's mother. I was fortunate to know and love her. She taught me to quilt when I was 18, and I will never forget that! It was great fun to have her show me how to do something that was so second nature to her. I remember her saying, "You'll know you're a good quilter when you can quilt 12 stitches to the inch." I've never made it yet! She was awesome.

So whatever I have in my hands, I come by it honestly. It's in the blood, and I'm grateful for it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Snowy Owl

Here's another owl I made last week. Last summer I was surprised at how people reacted to the owls I made. I think it may be because of the bigger eyes they have, which seem to draw the attention. They're also bigger, on the whole, than the birds, though the birds are more colorful. Whatever it is, the best part of displaying my work is to see the smile or the light in the eyes when someone enjoys something I made.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Goodbye to Green Man

On Saturday I had a booth at the Glastonbury Audubon Society's Earth Fair. It was really nicely set up and well attended. It was a gorgeous day and I loved soaking in the sunshine and blooming earth. I got to listen to talks about raptors and biodiesel, and enjoyed great live music.

A slightly wistful note is that I said goodbye to my Green Man - he's gone to live at someone else's house. I am thrilled, but the wistfulness is there because he's been with me so long. I make these things to sell them, yet I guess when it takes so long to make something, and travels with me to so many shows, it's natural to miss him a little. The happy side is that now I feel free to make another.

I am entirely grateful for the people who support artists like me, and buy handcrafted and local rather than shopping at the big box stores, in spite of the hard times. Thank you to all who stopped by my booth, smiled at my work or brought something home. It's you who make this worthwhile!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tiny Gnome Ornament

I often make large gnomes that sit on a shelf or table, but last Christmas I made a few small ones for ornaments, and they were popular. I usually make the beard tight and close to the face, but one of my students recently made a long beard, so I had to try that. The way it looks tickles me!

The really fun thing about making faces is that each one comes out differently, even if exactly the same technique is used.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chipping Sparrow

This is a chipping sparrow, named because of the sound it makes. It "chips" so fast it could sound like a sewing machine. The first time I heard and identified one, I couldn't believe a bird could make that noise. They're small and really cute, with that chestnut cap on top.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wood Thrush

The wood thrush has one of the most melodious songs in nature. I used to hear them only in the deep woods, but as more and more land is developed, I hear them closer and closer to home. I've only seen them once or twice; they like to hide. But it is one of the sounds I eagerly anticipate as spring wears on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chippy's Awake

The chipmunk who lives under our porch has awakened from his winter nap. The other day when I went out the back door, he'd been sitting on the step, and I startled him. He dashed into the garage, which is his new favorite place, I think. I have a barrel of black sunflower bird seed in there, and there are a whole lot of shelled seeds on top of the pile now!

This is the first chippy I've made in a bit. I'd been out of chestnut fiber, which I need for his head. I got some alpaca from a seller on Etsy (Chimera is her shop name, if you want to get some, too) and now I'm set for chipmunks and a bunch of different birds.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Birds With More Detail

This bird is a sharp-shinned hawk. It's a very small raptor, and colorful. It's likely to be seen around backyard feeders, picking off unwary seed eaters.

These photos are of a yellow bellied sapsucker. I was surprised to learn that they are native to my area. I had thought they were a southern bird. They eat bugs that they dig for in trees, and they also lick up the sap that drips down the tree trunk after they peck a hole.

I've been feeling the need to work on birds that challenge me lately, and these have done the trick.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Great Horned Owl

This guy is almost the biggest bird I've made. I started him last week when the boy was at theater rehearsal. I had an audience - some of the younger actors who were not rehearsing at the time gathered around and watched as I began to build him. There were lots of questions about how the felting works, and was that really going to be an owl?

Owl faces are really fun, the eyes are so detailed. And I loved making the tufts!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Working With Sweaters

Lately I've been working with sweaters. I've got a lot of pot holders cut, and a bunch of treasure bags. I've also been making headband style ear warmers, and lining them with cashmere. It's always fun to make something so soft and luxurious.
I've also started making cases for MP3 players. They are really just treasure bags, but cut to specific sizes for different players. The photos show a couple of variations on the theme.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bethany Homecrafts Spring 2009 Fiber Class Offerings

Bethany Homecrafts Spring Fiber Class Offerings

Make a Needle Felted Gnome Thursday, April 16, 6-9 pm

In this 3 hour class you will learn the techniques of building a figure, applying color, and building a face. You can bring your own fiber, needles and felting pad, or buy the fiber and felting kit from me.
Class fee: $15
Materials: $5
Felting Kit: $7
RSVP by April 7 (sorry for short notice!)

Beginner’s Hand Spinning With a Drop Spindle Thursday, May 7, 7-8:30 pm
In this class we will play with fiber, talk about the history of spinning, and begin to make yarn. You will need a bottom-whorl drop spindle. The two links below can help you with that: the first instructs how to make your own, the second is a link to a site that sells them. I have the spindle from that page that has the cut-out hearts, and it works quite nicely.
Class fee: $8
Materials fee: $8
RSVP by April 23

Beginner’s Wet Felting Thursday, May 14, 7-9 pm
This class will be a festival of color and texture. We will play with several shapes of felted wool: a ball, buttons, a snake, and felted soap. Limited to 4 students due to space limitations.
Class fee: $10
Materials fee: $8
RSVP by April 30

Rug Braiding Basics Saturday, May 23, 1:30-4:30 pm

In this class you will learn the basics of making a braided rug, from preparation of your fabric to finishing off your piece. If you are interested in this class, contact me by April 24, as there will be prep work for you to do before the class.
If you have a rotary cutter, with cutting mat and quilter’s rule, that makes the work a lot easier, but it’s not necessary.
Class fee: $15
Materials fee: $5
RSVP by April 24

All classes will be held at my home in Bristol.