Monday, August 29, 2011

Do you create to live or live to create?

Many times I can't wait until the weekend when I am off work in order to create.  The skein of yarn I make from raw wool.  I wash it, dye it, add fun ingredients and wallah!  You can't buy the same kind of enthusiasm you feel about a project when you buy manufactured yarn.  Don't get me wrong, I like to create with manufactured yarn, but it is so much better when I create a one of a kind item with homespun yarn which I created with my hands.  

I also feel this pride when I make soap using oils, lye, and fun ingredients.  How can you compete with (store bought) manufactured soap?  Each creator has his or her unique combination of ingredients and technique, aside from using the necessary basic ingredients.  I have to curb my enthusiasm  when I smell the sweet fragrance, see the lather on my skin, view the color combinations and the difference of each bar, feel the way the butters and oils leave my skin so touchable soft, and of course, view the added sparkle.

I make items for hearth and home, like grandma made, but I want them to sparkle, be made the best I am capable of, and add ingredients which were not available to grandma to improve on the products.

The following pictures are some of my weekend creations.
Batts to spin.

Yarns to knit or crochet with.

A small tea cozy or mug cozy.

What is important to you when you create?  Is it the process or the product or both?

May you and yours be showered with blessings!  Dawn

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Felted Fall Leaves

I am back to the felting topic again and I thought I would give you a photo tutorial of felted leaf making.

I started with mohair dyed in fall colors.  I picked the mohair open and tried to remove and pieces of pasture left behind in the twist.

Once the mohair was picked open, I placed it on a piece of plastic bubble wrap.  I kept the mohair overlapping and tried to blend the colors using mixed color mohair.

Liquid soap was evenly distributed on the mohair (1/2 cup) and boiling water (4 cups).  The bubble wrap had larger bubbles and it did not work as well as the wrap with smaller bubbles.  At this time, I used the back side of the bubble wrap.  I didn't want to have large holes in the felted piece.

As you see, the mohair went down quite a lot in size.  Once I added pressure of rubbing and continued to add hot water, the mohair was felted.  Unfortunately, there were some thinner spots and holes in the mohair.  I expected this since I could not lay the mohair both ways and cover all spaces prior to felting, like you can when using roving.  NOTE:  Mohair would be nice to felt over a piece of wool felt so thin areas would be fine since it already has a backing of felt.

Once the felting was done, I washed the mohair in cooler water to wash out the left over soap and I laid the piece flat to dry. 

I planned to needle felt embellishments on the leaves, such as the veins.  I found that it was necessary to needle felt any thin areas and holes first.  Then the leaves were cut out.  The left over pieces were able to be needle felted together to make a third leaf.  I let the shape of the leaf keep the natural curl of the mohair as much as possible.  The edges of the leaves and the stem were needle felted so they did not come apart when used.  The edges and the veins took some of the curl look from the mohair, but it still retained the bright colors and the soft feel.

The colors did not quite come out the right colors on the indoor pictures.  Look at those curls of the mohair.  WOW!

The veins were made using a thin yarn of mohair in the same colors of the leaf. 
They are at the base of the tree in this photo and the oranges just pop with color!


These are great to use under your mug, teapot, or coffeepot.  A friend of mine thought they would look nice alone as decor.  She also suggested the edges should be rippled when they were drying, so they maintain that rippled shape like normal leaves.

Thank you for viewing my tutorial.  Blessings to you and yours!  Dawn

Monday, August 22, 2011

Do you ever.............

Drying Mohair
Do you ever start a project and stop in the middle of one?  I also have unfinished ideas in my head!  I am the queen of unfinished projects, especially home improvement projects!!!  A couple of years ago, I purchased a teapot which resembles a radish.  I have a couple of silk cabbages and a carrot from another project to display next to it.  During a shopping spree, I found a decorative radish to add to this group.  In another shopping spree, I stumbled upon a piece of material with red and green cabbages on it.  This fabric and all of the other items go perfect!  This is where my creative flame blew out and the spark was not there to finish the project.  The items set until the spark I need hits me.

Yesterday,  I rainbow dyed a little mohair, and it came out from the dye pot in perfect colors to go with the teapot.  I can now commence with my project because the flame is on high!!!  I am going to make a new tea cozy and unleash my creative mind.  More to come......

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Silly Little Hat

I novelty spun some bright green yarn, which is almost neon green.  In with the wool is Kelly green Mylar and silk nibs.  I allowed the twist to spin back on itself and make little worm like extrusions from the yarn.  On the side of the hat is 3 roses made from Sculpey clay.  When you wear this hat you can be girlie and funky at the same time.  It will fit most adults, but I think the style would suit a teen best.  Aside from decorations, it is made with 99% Border Leicester wool, .5 % silk nips, and .5%  green Mylar.  One of my trade marks is an extra row on the bottom of the hat, crocheted a special way, making the hat more sturdy.  You hate for your hat to get all stretched out.  You see the extra row on the last picture.  

Thank you for reading my blog.  May God Bless You and Yours!  Dawn

Monday, August 15, 2011

I had this idea for 2 years and I finally completed it.

If you are a creative person, you dream about colors, designs, and ways to make your next project unique.  I purchased a vintage ruched French ombre ribbon on eBay which was made for hats or considered to be millinery.   The design was a purple and gold pansy.  You can find similar flowers on eBay for much less, but they are not vintage.  This flower was about $45.00.  The non-vintage flowers I viewed on eBay are priced from $9.00 to $29.00.  One of my sister's gifts at Christmas to me was vintage ribbons.  In the box of ribbons, I found some black netting, or what may be called cage veiling.  I placed the netting behind the pansy and I knew it had to be together.  All I needed to do now was spin the wool to match and crochet or knit the hat.  I think hats, such as stocking caps look great with vintage millinery on the cap.  The hat is made with a Merino wool and plied with a kid Mohair and a little purple Mylar for sparkle.  Both wools were purchased from the farmer.  I washed, dyed, and spun the wool.  The wool is not one solid color, it varies from a blue purple to a pink purple.   There are a few intentional fuzzies from the mohair.   Well, it took about 2 years to get this project together.  It did not take 2 years to spin the wool, more like 2 days to spin the wool and put the hat together.  It took 2 years to get in the right mood and have the right materials together to make the hat.  LOL  I am pleased with the way the hat turned out.  I hope you like it as well as I do.   Unfortunately, due to the cost of the flower, fiber, and all of the labor, the hat will be priced rather high.  I don't expect to get paid for all of my labor when I price projects, but I do have to price them so my material costs are covered.

Please excuse the odd hat display, mine good display is at the consignment shop and when last viewed it was displaying someone else's hat.  LOL  I used a paper towel holder and a pink bowl for this display.   My lense also has a scratch on it and it has a light blur on the middle of the lense on the left side.

Thank you for viewing my blog.  I hope you and yours are truly blessed!  Dawn 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Maison Jar Pumps

I have been playing with jar lids and converting them into pumps for liquid soap.  I tried to put a fabric strip around the lid and I did not like that look.   I made scrunchie like you make for your hair and I didn't like that look.  I  made modified version of that scrunchie and a version of a teapot drip catcher.  They are pretty much the same thing, except for the size.  Would you buy a quart of liquid soap, or do you prefer a smaller size?


Jerry the farm goose and his family.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I will be hiding under the blankets.......

Have you ever had one of those days or weeks where you want to hide under the blankets in the warmth and safety of your own bed and tell the world to leave you alone?  This is one of those weeks.  Monday I had an interesting date, just a meet and greet.  I am still trying to figure that one out.  Tuesday I found out that a friend of mine lost his 20 year old son to suicide.  What a tragic event!  I have a 19 year old son and I just can't imagine the paid he must be feeling and the void in his life.  Wednesday we had very heavy storms with strong winds and rain.  We lost our electric power at our home until the following day about noon.   My telephone stopped working also.  This morning we had to rush our beautiful Scarlet Macaw, Albert, to the vet where he sadly died.  The electricity being out probably encouraged a lung virus to grow due to the humid hot temperatures.  It was like pneumonia in adults.  Albert was about twelve and this was the first time he had been ill.  He was always joyful and he liked to tease you.  He would pretend bite you and yell, "ouch."  He would drop his food and say, "oops, or uh oh."  What I will miss most are the times he would say, "Hi Babe."  He would say this to me copying my late husband's voice.  My late husband would say this to me often.   Maybe this is an omen telling me to get on with life and to get over the past.  With Bob's voice coming from Albert the parrot, it was like he was there from time to time.

I think Mae West said, "When in doubt, take a bath."  This may be good advise for today.