Saturday, August 18, 2007


Wow, it feels so good to be deco-ing again! I've really missed it!

These deco pages are for Laura's "Quotes" deco...

And this is my page for Teresa's Beatles' deco...

This is my interpretation of "The Long and Winding Road" by the beatles. Here's the view when the tag is "opened"......

It's kind of hard to see what it says ... it's the lyrics of the song, written in a spiral... winding. I really liked this photo, it reminds me of the long, winding road that leads to my town. I hope Teresa likes this deco...


Friday, August 17, 2007

Needlefelting fun

Hi Everyone! Yes, I know I'm late late late with this tutorial... but I just managed to find my USB cable for my camera! Sorry about the delay!

OK... so here we go...

This is a needlefelting tutorial, and here is the basic supplies you'll need:

*unspun, cleaned & dyed wool fibers
*dense foam padding (I purchased my foam padding here)
*felting needles (I use sizes 38 & 40)
*a piece of wool felt (I used a piece of scrap felt -- but NOT the craft store felt you can purchase for 20 cents a square!)

NOTE: you can use alternative background felts, such as a bit of accidentally felted wool sweater, or you can knit or crochet wool yarn into squares and wet felt those... you can even needle felt your background felt - but be aware that this can be a very time consuming process. Since this tutorial is for felted ATCs... I thought it would be best to use a pre-felted background rather than start from scratch.

1. I started with a piece of pre-felted wool felt (I believe it's a wool blend of some sort, I am not sure, the lovely lady who sold me my dense foam pad to felt upon at Colonial Fiber Arts sent me some scrap felt from her stash.) I cut it to 2.5" x 3.5". The piece may spread a bit when you felt it, but usually, it's a very small amount of spreading (like about 1/4 of an inch or less).

2. Pull out your wool fibers into small tufts, and lay them out in one direction for the first layer, following up the first layer with a second layer of tufts in the opposite direction. (example, the layer shown is vertical, the next layer of tufts would be placed horizontally) I generally overlap the area that I intend to felt, as this will ensure that I will cover the area and not have bald spots. Here, I'm using a merino wool that has a varigated pattern in yellows, oranges and reds. It's one of my favorites because the hues are so vivid.

3. using the needle, begin stabbing the fibers well in to the background felt. The needle has little spurs on it that grasp onto the wool fibers and entangle them with the other wool fibers to make a dense fabric. The more you stab, the more dense your fabric will become. Here, I am using a gauge 38 needle (my personal favorite). Thicker gauge needles tend to be more difficult to punch through the denser fabrics.

Continue to stab, stab, stab your fibers until they've acheived the desired density.

4. I usually fold the excess fibers (over the edge) over onto the areas I've already felted to have a clean edge. You can also cut away the fibers if you prefer. Or, you can leave them for a unique and fuzzy look. I generally continue to felt until the piece looks less like loose fibers and more like a piece of dense fabric.
5. At this point, I usually run my fingertips over the surface of the felt to help smooth out the needle punched holes that cover the surface. You don't have to do this step, of course, that's all up to you and your muse! Note: This just minimizes the appearance of the holes, doesn't always eliminate them completely!
6. While I run my hand over the surface, I also check for thinner areas, and add additional tufts of wool fibers as needed to create a consistent surface, and continue to stab, stab, stab (I love the stabbing... it's VERY theraputic!) until the desired thickness, consistency, and look is acheived.
7. Create your design as desired. Below are two ATCs that I've made using this same background...

I created these design by tacking on additional bits of wool using a thinner gauge felting needle (40 gauge). I will add some additional embellishments such as beads or buttons later.

Here's another felted ATC that I made using a different background. This one required a bit more planning, because I wanted the background to be a non-varigated, two-toned background.

I used the varigated red/yellow/orange wool that I used previously for the pear, along with a small amount of white to bring out some highlight.

So there it is, my tutorial... I hope you found it helpful! You are welcome to email me with any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them if I can!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What Number are you?

I found this quiz on a blog while blogsurfing... here's the results of my quiz:

You Are 4: The Individualist

You are sensitive and intuitive, with others and yourself.
You are creative and dreamy... plus dramatic and unpredictable.

You're emotionally honest, real, and easily hurt.
Totally expressive, others always know exactly how you feel.

At Your Best: You are inspired, artistic, and introspective. You know what you're thinking, and you can communicate it well.

At Your Worst: You are melancholy, alienated, and withdrawn.

Your Fixation: Envy

Your Primary Fear: To have no identity

Your Primary Desire: To find yourself

Other Number 4's: Alanis Morisette, Johnny Depp, J.D. Salinger, Jim Morrison, and Anne Rice.

Needlefelting the cover of the Teabag Book

Hello, everyone!

Well since I was asked about the process of needlefelting the cover, here goes... since I'm finished with the cover, and have since mailed it off to the new owner of the book, we will have to use the pictures in our imaginations rather than using pictures to guide through... (sorry!)

First, be sure that you have the proper needles and padding. I have heard that people break these needles frequently, but, I've yet to break one (knock on wood!) and I don't know if that's because I use the right needles and padding or if it's because of some other unknown reason (perhaps the needlefelting fairy has taken a shine to me and my tea?) but, either way, here is where I got my padding and where I got my first needles which are the ones that I still use:

They also have a small selection of wool fibers and such, but to be honest, I purchase my wool fibers elsewhere, I usually browse etsy for wool merchants, two of my good friends sell wool fibers on occasion: Gail & Crystal. If they don't happen to have any wool fibers to sell, or if I'm looking for a particular color or whatever, I'll just browse etsy and find some really remarkably beautiful colors and color blends!

OK... so, the colors I used for this particular project (see the tea bag cover in the blog entries below) are a very rich red with some yellows, and if you look very closely within the fibers, you might also see some oranges in there as well. I had found this gorgeous blend of merino wool with a variegated pattern of red/orange/yellow... I really love this blend because the hues of each color are so varied and very beautiful.

Anyways... I started out by laying out tufts of wool fibers (on my needle felting padding) going in one direction, and then after I've laid a good foundation of tufts in one direction, I start laying tufts in another direction, and I continue to "crosshatch" the fibers on top of each other until I have a stack of fibers on my padding that is about 2 or 3 inches thick. At this point, it just looks like a big pile of fluffy!

I then take my favorite felting needle (size 36 or 38 -- I can't remember now!) and I begin stabbing at the pile of fluffy randomly... the idea here is to compact the tufts of fluffy wool into a fabric, so you want to just stab and stab and stab... it does take a little while, but, I find the stabbing process to be extremely theraputic. :)

Once you begin to see a certain amount of compacting to the piece, and you can lift it off of the padding without disturbing the fibers, you should lift the piece and turn it over. It usually takes a good 10 minutes before you can get to this point. As soon as you have something that resembles something that's a bit more like fabric than the original fluffy pile, that's when you should start trying to carefully lift it up and turn it over.

Turning it over is an important part of the process as it will help keep the felting pad from becoming "part" of your fabric. (Um... care to guess how I know that?) Without going in to too much embarrassing detail, one side of my felting padding now has a large chunk that's been torn out of it.

Keep up the stabbing process, I basically stab for about 3 - 5 minutes on one side of the wool, and then lift it (carefully... carefully!) and turn it over, and stab the other side. Occasionally, I'll add additional tufts of wool randomly to places that appear to be thinner than the others, to acheive a fairly consistent and the desired thickness throughout the piece.

The more you stab at it, the more dense the fabric will become... and the less "loose" the wool fibers become. Since it's my desire to make a fabric rather than a wool fiber piece, I stab a lot to acheive this. Something that you'll notice is that your needle 'pecks' will appear throughout your piece as you continue to stab. These can easily be 'erased' by rubbing your fingertips on the surface of the wool fabric. It doesn't remove them completely, but it makes them a lot less obvious. I mean, you are needlefelting... so you aren't always going to remove the proof that it was needlefelted from the piece! When you paint, you can't always eliminate the brushstrokes, nor would you want to! It's part of what makes your piece ART!

Once I got to my desired density, I started to use the wool to add embellishment... adding wisps of yellow to make the spiral pattern. I start with a wisp, and using a finer gauge needle (40) I carefully wrap one end of the wisp loosely around the tip of the needle, just a loop or two, I don't wrap the whole wisp around the needle, just enough to get it started. Then I use the needle to "paint" the swirl onto the wool. This is a lot harder to describe the process... I just do it. LOL

Anyways... that's basically how the cover was done. Here's the picture of the cover again... in case you don't feel like scrolling down to find it:

Oh, one more thing I should add... I'm not nearly so talented as to be able to needle felt something from scratch to be an exact size, so, once you do get your fabric felted, you CAN cut it... since it's become a fabric, it can be cut just like fabric... it's still a bit more 'fluffy' than your typical fabric usually is, but, what I'm trying to say is that your fabric won't fall apart and the fibers won't start falling off if you cut it. You may want to edge your fabric somehow, as I did with this cover, using a whipstitch all the way around it. (First, I used UHU fabric glue around the edge to help prevent any bits trying to fall off, not that they would, but, I wanted to add that little extra insurance, plus the glue helped to provide a 'lip' around the fabric which was useful when I did the whipstitching) Of course, you don't have to do that, if you prefer the natural look to it.
That's it! (at least, I think so!)