Friday, January 29, 2010

Tiny Bees

These bees were needlefelted for a woman who had a custom request on Etsy. She wanted one-inch bees with white wings. I've never made them so small, and they came out really cute.

My friend in Maine sent me a blog she thought I'd like - The Frugal Girl - and I really do! Here's a link: I'm looking forward to reading her blog regularly.

It's frigid here. I hope you have a warm place to be today!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hearts Galore Poncho

In my last post I penned the hope that I would get to spend some time designing with sweaters later in the day. Thankfully, I did. I enjoy the work I do, but it does get tedious to cut and sew mittens every day, so the creative work/play is restorative.

This was a sweater that was knit "sideways". It had seams down the tops of the arms, and the direction of the knit is from side to side. I contemplated it for a while, not knowing just what I would do with it. The poncho is what happened. It's about the size for a 3-4 year old, I think.

Yesterday I spent several hours cutting and sewing strips for the rug I'm designing, and that's tedious work, too. In the evening I pulled out a bunch of flower petals I cut last week and just played with color and form and texture. That, too, was restorative.

People really love the idea of recycling the sweaters. Most days I am at market I have at least one person in my booth who says they have sweaters at home they no longer wear and they hope to bring them to me. I got a call from Pat at New Morning in Woodbury yesterday; she said that a local Montessori school is going to do a recycling drive, and want to have me be a beneficiary of wool sweaters. That'll be great!

Monday, January 25, 2010

White Throated Sparrow

When I have the time to felt whatever I want to make, I just flip through my bird book and will often make whoever catches my fancy. This is who last caught me. I love the detail of his head, the white stripes and the little yellow dot near his beak. I didn't get the amount of detail I'd like on his back or wings, though. I've seen and heard one, and they have a sweet song.

Today is a rainy day, a home day for me. I did school work with the boy, took pictures of this guy, and chatted online with my brother, who just moved to Juno. After I finish my online stuff I'll do some design work with recycled sweaters. I'm grateful for the time at home.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Western Bluebirds

This mated pair of western bluebirds was commissioned. I'd never seen them before, and it was fun to make somebody brand new to me.

It's interesting that the male is so highly colored even in back, and the female isn't at all.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here's the Other Owl

I finally finished the Great Horned Owl last night. I'd thought I was done with him before that, but I hadn't added the black stripes on the breast and the boy convinced me that he needed them, even advising me on how to do them. As often happens, the boy was right, and he looks much more complete this way.

It's so much fun to play with the different birds. My arm is getting better, but still tells me when it's had enough, and it's disappointing not to be able to do as much as I'd like to. I still have plenty to keep me busy, though.

Photos of my Booth for Stacey

A basket of mittens made from recycled sweaters~

A few of my needle felted birds ~

Felted bags made from recycled sweaters ~

Ski hats made from recycled sweaters, lined in cashmere, and a little jacket ~

Monday, January 18, 2010

Working on Owls

I've been working on owls lately. This one's a saw-whet owl, a really tiny owl that eats mostly bugs.
I have a great horned owl in progress. I was inspired by a photo I saw in "Birds and Blooms" of a close-up shot of his face , looking really surprised that someone was taking his picture. I'm not sure I'll get the expression right, but it's a great close-up, showing all the detail of the facial coloring. It'll take me a few more days to complete him, then I'll put the photo up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Great Day at Market

The Coventry Winter Farmer's Market was hopping today, and that was a great feeling. I know I go on about this, but I love farmer's markets, the fresh food and the opportunity to buy my food from the folks who grow when "my" market is busy I'm very happy to be among those who are like-minded. I'm told that it was busy last week, too, so there's hope that we've hit a critical mass of people who know that it's there and will come to buy their food regularly.

Here's a tiny little warbler. Our breath of spring is gone, it's now sleeting, so I'll keep making springy birds to keep my spirits up.

It's hard to know how long this messy weather is going to last, but I need to get my daughter into the Berkshires for the start of the semester either tomorrow or the next day. I hope there's a window of clear roads.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Spring-like Respite

Today the temperature is hovering around 50 degrees. What a relief! It's been cold for so long, it's like a breath of spring. So I chose a springy bird for today.

I need a bluebird today. My mother-in-law passed on a week ago, and the whole week has been taken up with sadness (and with the laughter of being with relatives not seen for a long time). She was such a sweet lady, and a wonderful crafter herself. She was always interested in whatever handwork I was doing, and was the inspiration for my beginning to make braided rugs. She loved birds and loved to sit at her kitchen table and watch the feeders Dad hung on the deck.

So to celebrate/honor her, and lift my own spirits, here's a mountain bluebird.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Doing More Of What I Do

This week has been spent mostly in the car and waiting for the boy at rehearsals and lessons. When I've been home I haven't had a lot of time, so I've just tried to keep it simple, cutting out mittens and hats...except for one thing. I had this purple sweater and it was pretty big. I occasionally make skirts for little girls from the recycled sweaters, and I'll always have a woman say to me, "I wish I could have one of those!" I tell her that the sweaters are pretty small by the time they are felted, and not big enough for a woman's skirt.
Well, this time I was able to make one. It's a mini, falls about mid-thigh on me, and I'm not sure if I'm done with it or not - it might want embellishment (that's why there's no picture of it yet). I have to check it out with the women who live with me, and just let it talk to me. I think it's saying it wants a vine, but that means needle felting, and I'm not sure my arm is up for that. We'll see!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Family Way

My business is truly a home/family business. I do most of the work, but I wouldn't be able to do it without the support of my family. First off is my husband, who supports my desire to be at home while the boy is still young. All three of the kids come to shows and markets with me - but usually one at a time. There's only so much you can fit in a Honda Fit! The boy maintains my inventory on the computer and helps with stuff like sewing buttons, and all three of them have done some photo modeling for me.

This is my oldest, modeling the mittens I make from recycled sweaters. Yesterday I had my photo "studio" set up here in the office, and she had the day off from work, so I asked if she could do a little modeling for me.

I'm grateful for the help they all give me!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Applesauce and Memories

Yesterday was market day. How simple that sounds - in the summer there are many days in a week that are market day, so to have just one is like being on vacation. It was snowing a tiny bit when I left home, but somewhere in East Hartford I crossed a line and there began to be much more snow. By the time I got to market in Coventry, there were about 2 inches on the ground. I hate driving in snow! But I did very well, considering the hills and curves, and we arrived safely.

It was a very slow market. Given the low temps and the wind chill and snow, I'd have wanted to stay home, too! Slow markets give us vendors time to visit with each other, and that's fun.

I bought half a bushel of seconds apples for applesauce from Paul at !8th Century Purity Farm. I haven't made applesauce in a long time, so it was a real treat. We used to do it all the time when the girls were little. I think we put up something like 30 quarts one fall. We'd all cut up the apples and cook them, peels, cores and all, till it was nice and saucy, then put it through the Victorio strainer. They used to fight over who would get to turn the crank. The boy doesn't remember any of it and was grossed out by all the peels in the cooking pot, and the sight of the peels and cores coming out the operative end of the strainer. But the sauce is rosy and spicy, the way we love it. Edible memories.

Here's my woolly entry for today. It's a bag made from a felted cable sweater. I added a needle felted spiral that reminds me of the sun. The colors are reminiscent for me of hot days of summer, and right now I'll take any heat I can get!