Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Goose is growing up

 My little pal Goose is growing up so fast.
It's hard to believe that only a month ago he was egg-sized.  
Just two weeks ago he was still small enough to sit on my husband's shoulder while they watched TV together.

He's lost most of his baby yellow and is starting to get the first real feathers on his wings.  They sort of look like angel wings against his downy body.

Having been raised in the house, Goose has no idea that he's a duck.  He sleeps at our feet, begs for attention when we walk by, and yes, sits on our shoulders when we're on the couch.  Why would he think he's a duck?

We've been putting him outside with the other ducks during the day lately, but so far he's not interested in hanging out with them.  Our large female is very interested in him however and follows him around, trying to eat by him and be his friend.  The other ducks dutifully follow her around while she follows Goose around.

 I was concerned that the male ducks would be aggressive towards him, but that hasn't been the case at all.  I do find it interesting that even the females had no interest whatsoever in him when he was small, but now... now is a different matter. 

(sometimes they're interested in wool soaking too) 
I'm taking it a little personally, thinking sure, now that all the raising and diaper-changing (I kid, he didn't really wear diapers.  Tho I wish he would have at times) is done, now they want him.

Goose will eventually be part of the flock, I know he will.  They're a happy group of ducks and he'll fit right in.  The transition will be slow, and maybe a little sad for both of us, but it's for the best.  We all must leave the nest at some point.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I need a drum carder... advice?

 For the past few weeks I've been researching drum carders and I find myself a little overwhelmed.  First of all, I'm sort of a "jumper-inner" kind of person so the fact that I've spent weeks researching anything is new. 

Second of all, I keep thinking that surely I must be able to build my own drum carder and my mind is kind of reeling from the echo of logic saying, "nope, not this time".  Though I do keep casting glances at dog brushes and giant rollers when in stores, thinking maybe...

Truly, I don't mind paying for quality tools but I'll admit that the steep price of these babies is what has me doing extra, extra research.  Even the more affordable models are not exactly affordable.  (I literally paid less money for my first car.  (1969 Plymouth Valiant. 4-door, metallic green, white top.)

So, I'm asking for a little help from those of you with experience.  I know I'd like a drum carder with a medium or coarse cloth, since I want to process shorter staple-length breeds specifically for needle-felting.  Beyond that, stumped.  Are the high-end machines that much more efficient?  I like the chain driven models, because they seem more sturdy, but in practice does it really matter?  The brush that holds the wool to the drum seems like a good idea, but again, does it matter?  Are the less expensive models going to be something that I will use for years or only months?  I'd love to find a used machine but sheesh, good luck.  They seem to be rarer than hens' teeth. Does anyone have any advice?  Or a lead on a used machine?  Or a winning lottery ticket you don't want? (hey, it was worth a shot)

Like I said, I'm a little overwhelmed.

While I figure it all out I've been washing and dyeing some fleece that I got a few weekends ago.  I'm utterly in love with the autumnal brown with hints of green, russet, and orange that I pulled out of this latest dye pot (it is much prettier in person).  I brushed it out with a pair of dog slicker brushes and it needle-felted up beautifully.  I already have a project in the works for which it will be the perfect addition.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have for me, and I hope the week starts off wonderfully for all of you.  Happy Monday.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

you find the best things at garage sales

I find the best things at garage sales.  Look what I brought home with me this week.
Little kitty is as yet unnamed.  Future mouser, current cuddler.
He's the color of coffee with cream and he has a stripey tail.  Pretty cute, eh?

Saturday, July 28, 2012

a full week of happy

The past week has been so full.
I'm not even sure how to fully express how wonderful it has been.  I've had the immense pleasure of meeting two good friends in person for the first time.  I enjoyed celtic music and the hum of spinning wheels under a blue sky.  We reveled in the love of family, explored new cities, and splashed in many different lakes.  It's been amazing and I feel a little buzzy still.  Normal life is resuming but I'll carry this happy week with me for a long time.

Happy weekend to you all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

just add water and wool

The girl is happy with a bucket of water and some wool.
Sounds like someone else I know.

We're washing up a fleece given to us by the sheep shearer at the Celtic Fest we attended this weekend.  It's a Hampshire/Dorset cross that we got to watch him shear.  I can't wait to see what I can do with it.

Hope your week is off to a great start.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

needle-felted sheep kit in the shop!

A few weeks ago I made my first sheep and mentioned that I was putting together a needle-felting kit.  I'm happy to say that I've done it and was able to share it for the first time yesterday at Celtic Fest at St. Mathias Farm. (what a wonderful time, by the way.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hi)

There are two color options, one in all white with teeny Targhee locks for a coat, and a black sheep with a white coat.

I wanted to make this kit with materials that made me feel good.  It took some time to put together.  I chose wool from small producers, often local, in breeds that needle-felt easily (not all breeds are created equally in this regard).  Where color was needed, I used environmentally-conscious dyes free from heavy-metals and hand-dyed it myself.  The packaging and even the felting mat is made of eco-friendly materials.  The mat is made of natural material, including soy grown by US farmers.

The kit has 11 pages of illustrated instructions, written and photographed by me.  It comes with the wire for the armature, 2 sets of glass bead eyes, the wool, and 3 sizes of needles.

A few people have tried the kit and I love how each little sheep has its own personality.

If you'd like to try a kit of your own, or know someone who would, please stop over and have a look in my shop.

Thank you!
Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

what lily?

See this beautiful Michigan lily I found growing in the ditch this week?  I can't, all I can see are how dirty my windows are behind it.  

My house is in some desperate need of attention.  I have some important visitors coming next week and there is much to be done so I will spend the next few days climbing Mount Washmore, cleaning the spotty windows, and picking up peanut shells from the floor (and dear children, why are you throwing your peanut shells on the floor?  This is not a bar.  And if you think it is, why aren't you tipping me?)

Sounds like fun, right?  Maybe not so much but it will feel nice to have a cleaner living space.  But first I have a cake to bake, it is my son's birthday today and he has requested a big cheesecake with wild blueberries on it.
Posts might be a bit sparse for a while.
Wish me luck.  If you don't hear from me soon, send sherpas.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Io moth - automeris io

We've seen some pretty moths by the garage light lately.  This one was new to us though, it's a male Io moth.

Isn't he lovely?

Monday, July 09, 2012

the ducktor is in

Goose gives E a check-up.

"Okay, let me have a look.  Open wide."

"Salmon for dinner, eh?  Let me just nibble that for ya."

"Everything looks good up here."

"Skin elasticity is good."

"Great job.  You get a clean bill of health."


I know, I know, I'm sorry.  I couldn't help myself.
 Happy Monday, all.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

villagers and evil queens

More rainy weather yesterday demanded a project for a couple of wall-climbing kids.  I had been saving some clothespins and stands and thought now was a good time to pull them out.  I haven't made much time to create with the kids, with everything going on around here lately, so we were due for some fun time.

I pulled out some matted pieces of wool roving, some hemp cord, scissors, and glue and let the kids go.  They jumped right in, wrapping wool and cord and drawing little faces.  I was surprised at how excited they were about the project.

Some wore wool and some wore nothing but a smile (fitting, with how often my kids are running around nekkid).


Some had hair and fancy hats.

I suggested that they make up a story about their dolls and they launched into a tale about an evil queen (the one with the spiky hair, the one with the brown hair is me) and the villagers who were growing vegetables.  The queen was keeping them from tending their gardens and I couldn't help but mutter a little "hey, mother nature they're talkin' about you."

It was time well-spent for all of us, and the sun is up today so perhaps the villagers will get to tend their garden after all.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

Friday, July 06, 2012

a stone turtle

On occasion I take custom orders for stones and on occasion those requests throw me.  This stone was one of those.  A purple turtle was requested and I wasn't sure how to go about stitching a turtle on a felted stone.

After a few false starts I just kind of sighed and put it down while I thought about it.  Sometimes thinking about it isn't the answer for me though.   When I came back to it, I decided to just have fun with it and the project fell into place in a snap and a literal purple turtle sat on the table in front of me.  I like how he/she turned out and am thrilled that his new owner does too.

Thinking and planning definitely has its place, but sometimes it's best to just step out of your own way, get out of your head, and have fun.  Don't you think?

Happy weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

my first sheep

I've made my first sheep.  
I've been trying to remember if I've made any other felted animals and I can't recall any besides an earthworm I made ages ago and a bird I started and never finished.  Could it be that I've been so engrossed with mushrooms that I have completely shunned the rest of the animal kingdom?

At any rate, I don't know why I waited so long.  He was fun to make and I loved photographing him too. (I am pretty easy to entertain)

I'm going to be attending Celtic Fest at St. Mathias Farm in Brainerd later this month (If you're in the area please stop in for a Finnegans and say hi), selling some of my work and needle-felting in public.   I've been wanting to put together a needle-felting kit to take with me, and with the sheep-shearing, dyeing, and spinning demonstrations going on at the event, I thought a sheep was a natural choice.


 I'll share more about the kit later, and hope to have some to put in my shop too, but for now I'll leave you with this shot of the sheep gazing wistfully into the sunset.


Related Posts with Thumbnails