Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye...Merry Men & Women Ahead

Update: Robin Hood, Maid Marian and Rub-A-Dub-Dub have all been sold thanks to a wonderful Etsy customer!

Cupcakecutie asked me a question on my comment section back on the 18th and I just now found it. I am so sorry. So, I hope she is reading this. She wanted to know where I got my hedgehog and mushroom sewing pins that were on an previous post. I made them. I don't really sell the pins by themselves, usually only with the pincushion. I have an Etsy store: http://www.cottonpickinfun.etsy.com/ and my pincushions, clothespin dolls among other things are on there. I believe that I state in my Etsy "rules" that I don't ship internationally, but I will. I am just not sure how much to charge for shipping and have never shipped anything out of the United States, so it may take me more that my normal of shipping "within 48 hrs of receiving payment". If you can bear with my slowness (aka ignorance) then by all means, convo me on Etsy and maybe we can make it work. So sorry Cupcakecutie (btw: love the name).

Today I am going to show you Robin Hood's better half. No....not Little John. Maid Marian. I wanted very much to put a diamond on her "hand", because you know that Robin Hood popped the question and he must have used some of the spoils for an engagement ring. Well, maybe I will, the diamond could easily be taken off if someone didn't want it. It would be so cute:)

I had a hard time designing her dress. I really wasn't sure what I wanted it to look like, but I knew the princess cone would have lace coming out of it. That just exudes Fair Maiden. The color was really hard. Pink is a princess color, so technically she could be a princess instead of Maid Marian. That would be really cute, but I like her with Robin Hood. They look so sweet together. I hand embroidered her dress and everything else is hand stitched, also.

Above: Maid Marian

Above: embroidered accents and pearl accents.

Above: Lost in the Sherwood Forest?

Above: No...here's her hero.

Above: stopping to say "hello" to Patrick Gnome.

Above: Rub-A-Dub-Dub...two mice in a tub. The two towels are real and the bar of soap is clay. The little towel in fluffy brother's paws is also real.

Above: sweet little brothers have just finished their bath. One already has a towel dried head and he looks surprised at his "do".

Above:Must haves at bath time: Mr. Bubble and rubber ducky. I knew that I wanted to make Mr. Bubble container for the mice but didn't know what else to make. Because I love to send two sewing pins with my pincushions, I had to put on my thinking cap. I thought about a toothbrush, hair bush, a bubble, bar of soap, etc. When I asked D#2, she immediately said "A rubber ducky, of course!"  That is one clever kid, I hadn't even thought of that. She was very impressed with this mini ducky. It is 3/4" by (a hair taller than) 1/2". Mr.Bubble is about the same.
The brothers are tiny too-small non fluffy one 1"x1", actually that is the size of what you can see. The fluffy brother is 1 1/4" x 1 1/4". Both mice are fully "bodied", meaning they have legs and feet and are fully "furred". I didn't put a tail on them because it seemed to really get in the way of the pincushion bath water. The teacup is an antique one. It is one of my favorites. I love the detail on the cup. The cup and saucer are bonded together.

Thank you so much for looking,
Have a great night and I will get that flocking tut up soon. Dear hubby has to take my camera to work Thurs, so I had better get it done tomorrow,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Robin Hood-A Mouse of a Tale

Here's the newest needle felted mouse- Robin Hood. Coming up with his outfit was a lot of fun. I found out that I don't know as much as I thought I did about Robin Hood's clothing. I did a little research and kind of came up of my own version. His hat was pretty much trial and error (I seem to say that a lot ;)  ). I made a couple that just didn't look right, finally success. I wanted to use a real feather in his hat and on the arrows, but I didn't have any red feathers. Pink feathers just won't do. Must be red feathers.
Above: Walking through Sherwood Forest.

Above: Bow is made from clay, "string" is actually thread.

Above: Quiver with arrows.

Above: Bow and arrows. Arrows made from toothpicks-new, not used.

Above: Quiver made from synthetic embossed leather.
Not sure what my next needle felted mouse will be, gotta do some brain stormin' :)
Have a great and crafty day!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fur and Tails

The little mice are so fun to make. I have ideas coming out of my ears and can't make them fast enough! I am so absorbed (addicted) in making them that on some days I have totally forgotten to eat lunch. I now pay more attention to the clock. D#2 is picked up from preschool around 1pm and I don't want to be late. Guess it sounds like I have made 100s of these little guys. Well.....no. It is mainly a trial and error process that has taken a few attempts to get it "right". Some of the dear little mice looked like DNA gone bad-mice with huge heads, arms and legs missing, ears too small, mange, among other horrors. One little mouse takes several days to complete. Glue, paint and clear coats take a while to throughly dry and then putting the "fur" on takes a while for me to be happy with it. I trim fur, add more, find bald patches-add more fur, and then trim some more. Below are some of the better looking mice. These are the "keepers".
Above: Three blind mice, not really. Three mice climbing on a pincushion. The lower mouse needs some bald spots covered. He is the WIP (work-in-progress). I haven't done his final flocking.

Above: It is very hard to take clear photos of these little guys. My micro setting automatically flashes (unable to turn off) and won't let me use the brightness button instead of the flash. I used two different clays on the two mice and I like the one on the right better. In person it looks more realistic. Yes...that is a real thimble. The brothers are less than 1 1/2" tall. The right mouse is a little smaller. D#1 claimed him. So I am not going to put him on Etsy. She wants me to make clothes for him!?!? Like the mice on Cinderella-Jasper and GusGus. Maybe I need some smaller hands.

Above: Looks like someone is getting helped into the thimble.

Above: He fits.

Above: Little mouse with hand sculpted thimble on his head. Tomato is made out of recycle wool and leaves are wool felt. Stuffing is wool and synthetic.

Above: He is 1 3/4" from toes to top of thimble.
Have a great rest of the day and gather up some mice to help you with your sewing, many hands make light work!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Playing with Clay....

I love working with polymer clay. I love how a big lump of "nothing" can become anything - from smiling fruit to tiny spoons to realistic looking animals. I am not much of a realistic type of crafter. I prefer cutesy & whimsical stuff. More like Mary Engelbreit than Thomas Kinkade. I really, really love cutesy, whimsical realistic. What's that? Well.....it's giving ordinary things (animals or inanimate objects) personality. Such as, The Secret of Nimh or The Brave Little Toaster. Speaking of The Secret of Nimh, I always loved the little momma mouse and the mouse family's underground home. It was a sad movie to me, though. Many years ago I happened upon a tiny collection of mice figurines at a shop called The Mole Hole (love the name). I instantly fell in love with the tiny little creatures-they reminded me so much of The Secret of Nimh. The one big problem was -they were so expensive. I did end up buying one and have treasured it to this day. 
Above: Wee Forest Folk figurine. You can barely make out the owl in the hole in the tree. Miss Mousy  is just under 1" tall. So tiny. I have always wanted to a mouse similar to her. I haven't made any that small yet, but I have made some around 1 1/2" tall. I am now "flocking" them with fur. All that means is that I am adhering fur to them. I think that they look much cuter and it is easier to hide flaws.
Above: Lump of clay already prepped and ready to go.

Above: I sketched a profile of the mouse that I want to make. The jelly bean looking thing on the bottom right is his body. 

Above: His head.

Above: Pen in picture to show scale.
I have finished sculpting several mice and am in the process of flocking them. I will post them when they are finished. Maybe tomorrow.

Have a great rest of the day and don't forget to keep those hands busy,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Needle + Wool = Awesome Cuteness

Here's the newest needle felted mouse. The first and second heads that I made for her looked all wrong. They were either too big or not shaped right. The artist that designed and wrote the pattern for these mice is so sweet and helpful. I emailed her with several questions and she emailed right back! I was having trouble making the fibers cooperate. They were very wispy and all over her head. She sent me some helpful tips and they worked like a charm. If you are interested at all in needle felting you need to check her blog(http://www.outmorninggloryworkshop53barbyanderson.blogspot.com/ ) . I am not promoting her nor did I get any rewards or benefits from mentioning her on my blog, I just love her work! Like I stated in another post, I had all the felting supplies for years before I found something that really knocked my socks off!! My needle felting is still a work in progress, I have a lot to learn. I do really enjoy it. I just love working with my hands. I believe that it all started with mom and dad. Can you believe that Mom use to take us to ceramics with her? All four of us!?!? All under the age of 10?!?! She was a saint. I remember sculpting masterpieces out of clay and loving every minute of it. Thanks, Mom. Dad always worked with his hands. He is famous for his turkey callers and the ability to fix anything. I remember going out to his workshop when I was little and sweeping up cedar shavings. I loved helping him out there. The cedar shavings were like gold, we saved every scrap of them. What did we use them for? Maybe to make sachets for the closet? Make the house smell nice? Stuff homemade dolls? No, for lining our hamster cages. Wish that I had some cedar shavings to stuff my pincushions now. Read more about our mom and dad on my sister's blog http://www.patternpaperandcoffeerings.blogspot.com/ .

Above: Head waaayyy too big!!! She looks like a lamb. Felted head = fail, back to the drawing board!

Above: Front view, lopsided ears, eyes set too far into head and not even. Start over with a new head asap!
Now onward to the correct sized head!

Above: Red Riding Hood is going to visit Grandma. She has just finished baking oatmeal cookies, Grandma's favorite and has neatly placed them in her basket.

Above: RRH Mouse's head is 100% wool. Ears & eyelids are wool felt. Cape is felt.

Above: Little Red Riding Hood stopped by Patrick Gnome's house to give him some. Everybody knows that gnomes love oatmeal cookies.

Above: Back view. Tail is wrapped wire. Hood does not pull up. I tacked it so it would lay down.

Above: Nose and mouth are thin strands of wool felted down.

Above: Tiny little dress has red flowers on it. You cannot see the hand stitched collar, but it is there.
Plans are to make a wool Grandma's cottage pincushion. She stands at 3 1/4" tall. I have also sketched a Robin Hood with a tree pincushion, maybe mouse dressed up like a pig for The Three Pigs, along with a house pincushion, and several other storybook characters. I am sure that by now you have guessed that I love themed stuff.
Disclaimer: For some reason my spell check is not working today and if I misspelled anything, I apologize.

Have a wonderful sun filled day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Bright and Bold Thank You...

I have been working on a pincushion for a dear friend. Last summer I had emergency surgery and this wonderful friend watched D#2 for my husband to come to the hospital and visit me. D#1 is plenty old enough to watch D#2, but don't you remember how "not fun" it was to watch your siblings, so this dear friend gave D#1 a nice break and watched the little one. During this 4 day hospital stay D#1 was wonderful, she took over a lot of the household duties.
Anyway, here's the fun pincushion that I made for her.
Above: She has such a wonderful and bright personality, I thought these fabrics just went with her personality.

Above: The pincushion is stuffed with fiber fill and fine sand. I love the thread catcher bag. It comes in so handy. I did not add the interior pocket. I used my interior pocket for my little snip scissors and one day I guess when I emptied the bag into the trash I mistakenly threw them away. Ever since then, I don't add the pocket, I wouldn't want that to happen to anybody else.

Above: close up of pincushion. I made the two woolen pins. One has a button glued to it.

Above: Here's the pattern incase you are interested.

Above: I have discovered these wonderful books illustrated by Salley Mavor. Just look at all the detail. She is an awesome fiber artist.

Above: The little boy is made from a wooden bead and pipe cleaners. She thread wraps all of the wire that you see. These books are such a visual treat.
Gotta go and finish the neighborhood newsletter....

Have a great day and do something fun today!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hoping to Blog Soon!

I might not have enough time to blog in the next few days. Sorry about the last couple of days. It is my turn again this month to write the neighborhood newsletter and that takes up a lot of my spare time. So, please don't give up on me, I will try my best to get something blogged today!
Hoping to blog soon,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sticky Fingers....Part 2

Here he is all finished. I think that I need to add some kind of accessory for him. Maybe a basket full of mushrooms or a mushroom lantern? I must say, needle felting is very challenging. It is not really an instant craft, I believe that I am going to have to practice, a lot.

Above: Mouse and felt mushroom pincushion.

Above: Hedgehog (what little gnome is complete without a pet hedgehog?) and mushroom house sewing pins.
Above: close up. See the little wispies on his chin. I jabbed and jabbed and couldn't get those stray fibers to disappear.

I am enjoying this new craft. I actually have had the supplies to needle felt for a few years now, but just never had the desire to do it. It is not an expensive hobby. You only need the needles (use 50% off coupon at Hobby L), foam (I had some decor foam that had been in the closet for ages) and wool roving (50%off coupon at Hobby L).
Have a great day,

Sticky Fingers....Or Maybe Stuck Fingers?

Wanted to share with you today something that I am trying. Needle felting. It has been around for a long time, but has just recently taken off in the last few years. It is still a little hard to find the supplies locally, so if you are interested your best bet may be the internet. I have found most of the supplies at Hobby L-needles & wool roving -I am just using some decor foam for the foam base. The hardest thing to find is the core wool. You want to use core wool for the inside because the dyed wool is a little more expensive. Needle felting is just what it sounds like-punching the needle into the wool hundreds of times to get the desired shape that you want. I am so new to this that I only started needle felting yesterday for the first time. After many band aids and thousands of punches later I still feel like a newbie. It might be years before I get the hang of this, but I am not going to give up! The finished product is so cute that I am not going to give up (deja vu-think I said this about crocheting too-I can crochet "ok" now at least I can understand the instructions).

It is funny, in all the felting tutorials or helpful hints I have read they always say "Whatever you do, don't stick your finger. It hurts!!". Well, duh....you can't help but to get your finger stuck. Just like when you are pinning a pattern to fabric or sewing, you know you are eventually going to get stuck. But this needle hurts!! It has barbs on it to lock the fibers together. And you have to jab the wool to shape it. You turn yourself into a  slower version of a sewing machine. The motion of your hand and needle is up and down, just like a sewing machine. The more you jab the faster you get and then ouch, before you know it you have jabbed your finger ten times! Now you look around and all of your pretty white wool has droplets of red on it, oh well, maybe you can make a zombie teddy bear or some kind of other scary thing that is suppose to look like carnage. At least I bought the extra large bag of wool :)
Above: Here's the weapon of choice. You may not be able to see the microscopic barbs but trust me they are there.

Above: Here's the reason for my self mutilation. Aren't they just adorable. My hubby asked me "Why would you want to make sad looking mice?" Hmmm..not sure how to answer that one. I think they are just
coo-tee   pa-toot-ees. I did try and make my mouse more happy looking.
Above: Here's the body wrapped in wool and that cocoon looking thing is he head.

Above: Here he is all dressed in the little gnome outfit. He is rather small, see the thimble.
Above: See he is smiling. He has one of those smiles that makes your eyes disappear.
Above: His head is a little long to me. Maybe it will look better once his hat and eyes are in place. That is the correct size for his head. 1 1/2". Remember the mushroom pincushion, I made him to go with it. The only problem that I have with the little mouse is the fuzziness of his head. I am not sure if I jabbed him enough or maybe it is the nature of the wool that I am using. Anyway I will post a pic of him when he is all finished.
Bye for now and keep those hands busy,