New Beginnings ….. Spoilt For Choice

So, they are 22 days old today.  They have moved from upstairs secreted away in our bedroom, down to the hustle and bustle of the dining end of the kitchen, so they can see and hear all the comings and goings of the house.  Dogs barking, postman knocking, pans clanging and banging and the super smells of Bernd’s cooking – that got their noses twitching!  Only 22 days old and already on their feet, eyes open and wolfing their little raw nuggets down.  Mum Missy has been really sensible, knowing just how much to be in with them and when they can be left for a few hours – unlike their human counterparts, they have no torn emotions – they always put themselves before the offspring.  Even if the babies are screaming, if it is dinner time for her, they do not get a second glance!  Clever dog, she knows she needs to feed herself first.  As a mother, I know I could learn a lot from her ……..  here she is 22 days after giving birth to 4 lovely puppies, a bit skinny but otherwise shiny, happy and rested.

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Now the fun begins.  Watching them develop, making sure they all look well put toegther, with good coats, happy temperaments and above all, healthy.  They provide hours and hours of fun and interest.  Seeing them experience grass for the first time, watching them interact with 14 year old Matriarch Libby, seeing how rough their mum is as she plays and teaches them manners ….. it is fascinating and never becomes boring.  Already, dad Aldo is peeping over the wooden side of the whelping box for a closer look, until Missy spies him and chases him off.

For now, they sleep a lot, eat plenty, still suckle and just look squidgy and gorgeous.  They provide the subject matter for my felt art and that adds another dimension to owning them.

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And here is daddy, Aldo, showing off his achievements!!

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New Beginnings ….. Spoilt For Choice

Dachshunds ……. and More Dachshunds

I have been needle feting for quite a while now and always looking for new challenges and new subjects (because I get bored very, very easily!)

So, I make different things, such as this Elf Doll walking her Dachshund.  She is all needle felted and is attached to the log slice plinth she stands on.  Her hair is dyed lambswool, her dress and knickers are wet felted and her little elf shoes are needle felted.  She has pointy elf ears and a sweet face.  She is taking her little miniature wire haired dachshund for a walk on a rainbow cord lead and holding her flower head garland in her left hand.  All the dachshunds are needle felted using a range of wools.  Once the body shape is firm, I mix 4 or 5 colours to get the variegated colours in the wire haired coat.

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I follow a very talented Russian felt artist who does lots of mice dressed in clothes and doing “human” things.  That got me thinking about Dachshunds and how they could be used in the same way.  My first project was this “father and son”, both wired onto a plinth, with the youngster looking up at daddy.  I knitted a little jumper for the boy and wet felted scarves for both of them.  I then added some doll’s house accessories – a top hat and an umbrella for daddy.  They are quite dinky, 6 inches and 5 inches respectively.

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Next, I made a “girl” dachshund.  I knitted her a tiny woolen sleeveless jumper with a roll neck and used a pretty quilting square to make her flared skirt.  Her balloon is bright pink Perendale wool needle felted and attached to a wire that looks like string that she is holding in her hand.  She is also wired onto the plinth.  I felted her around a wire frame and drilled the plinth to insert the wires into 2 small holes so she “free stands”.  She is about 6 and a half inches tall.

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The final one for this post is one of 2 little boys, one on a winter sledge and the other one pulling him.  I knitted 2 little red scarves, to keep them both warm.  I glued some glittery white pre-felt onto a plinth, drilled the plinth for the standing boy and glued the sledge on to the white pre-felt.  The one on the sledge is sitting with his tail hanging over the edge of the sledge …….  This has a real winter / Christmassy feel – I might take the photos and use them on my Christmas cards this year!

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I am carrying on with a tiny doll’s house size pram, which will have in it a needle felted blanket and a sleeping dachshund baby ….. with a “mum” stood up pushing the pram ……..

 

Dachshunds ……. and More Dachshunds

More Dachshund Bags

Well my 2 Green Dachshund Bags are winging their way to their new home in New York

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 …………………….. so of course I had to make another one!  For this one I used bright summer colours.  I wet felted the bag from 2 layers of Perendale and 2 layers of Merino wool batting.  Then I shaped it, dried it and hand stitched a braided leather handle (bronze) all the way around.  I wanted a big, bold front, hence the Dachshund on the move, a bright yellow sunflower, some tiny white Aubretia and a leaf.  I needle felted these …………………. it took forever – the sunflower was particularly time consuming as each petal was done individually.  I added the white heart to balance it and then turned it over.

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On the other side I needle felted a dachshund holding colourful balloons, again all needle felted individually.  Along the bottom I needle felted more flowers blue, pink, white and purple – completing my colourful, summery bag!

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More Dachshund Bags

Inspirational Birds

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I feature dogs and Dachshunds in lots of my felt work.  So, I wanted to do something different ….. but I wasn’t sure what.

I sat in the garden watching the dogs play (and making sure they did not knock 13 year old Libby off the ramp in their excitement).  And the little birds visiting the garden kept my attention for a long time.  So busy, so pretty.  I recognised the Blue Tit and the Long Tailed Tit and there were plenty of others, some that I did not know.  They were busy little things, gathering the hair that I had earlier stripped off the dogs when grooming, stealing the moss from my hanging baskets and troughs for their nests and seeking out insects from the plants and trees.

So I set to work on a new bag.  I used Cerise and Mulberry Perendale for the bag.  I cut a resist from some cushion-floor vinyl.  I used 4 layers of wool strands, wet felted over the resist.  I cut the handle holes in when the bag was well felted and continued fulling and shaping with soapy hands.  I left to dry for 3 days while I thought about how to complete it.  I used nappa leather to hand stitch around the handle holes, both as decoration and to strengthen the handle area.  I decided on a Long Tailed Tit on one side with some Primroses and a Marigold.   These were needle felted on from a range of Merino, Shetland and Perendale batts.

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One the other side I decided on a colourful Blue Tit with some leaves to decorate the bottom, again using a range of wool batts to needle felt them firmly on.

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Inspirational Birds

O.C.D.

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So, I think I probably have OCD.  I cannot just do nothing. Ever. If I am not cleaning I am crafting, or grooming dogs, or gardening …… sitting still makes me jumpy.  I think this is rooted in having 6 children and never having enough time to get everything done.  Now they are grown and gone, and I am not racing up and down the motorway doing business consultancy,  I get bored ……………… so although I do lots of crafts, I am always looking for different things to do and to make.  

Felting, both needle felting and wet felting have occupied me for a while and I am not yet getting bored ……. because there are so many different things you can do with them.  Having started with hats, I carried on with dogs, then pixies and witches, some felted bowls and yesterday I started on a felted bag.  

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The inside is 2 layers of rust coloured Perendale Batting, the outside is 2 layers of Shetland Undyed Batting and the middle section is 4 layers of the Rust Perendale.  I wet felted the bag around a plastic resist – just a shape cut from a plastic file.  I used bubble wrap and ordinary washing up liquid, rubbing each side for 5 minutes, and repeating this 4 times before rolling up in a bamboo mat.  I then rolled it 50 times, turned it a quarter turn and carried on until all 4 turns were completed.  I then turned it over and repeated the process until it had been rolled 400 times.  By this time the resist was starting to bend and the wool was well felted.  I carefully sliced open the top and removed the resist.  Then carried on soaping and working the wool until the bag was firmly felted.  I then rinsed (adding some essential oil so it smells nice!), left to dry overnight, before needle felting the embellishments on, braiding the handle and hand stitching that completely around the perimeter of the bag.  I am now starting my next bag …….. the dogs are groomed, ironing done, cleaning done ……  See my items for sale here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SuesEclecticMix

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/sueseclecticmix

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O.C.D.

Magical, Mystical, Felting

So for this post I thought I would share my Magical, Mystical Felting, piece by piece …. I have been making lots of felted dogs as people had ordered them and I was itching to try my hand at felted dolls and mystical items …… Finally, I grabbed some time and started firstly on my Child of Pan.  She took a while as her face would not behave as I wanted it to!  I sculpted her body, arms and legs first, then her hands and fingers (which took ages and were very fiddly) then her head and face, complete with eyelids, eyes and freckles!!.  I added her tail, horns and elf like ears and then dressed her.  The hair I wanted was not available within my considerable stash of wool so it was off on a trawl of the internet to find what I needed.  I found a fantastic artist selling some doll hair seconds made from Tibetan Lambs Wool – she was so kind and sent me extra to make sure I had enough.  It was exactly what I wanted – curly, wild, soft and bouncy.  

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Next I stayed on the “other worldly” theme and started on my little Pixie / Elf.  He is sitting cross legged, with his hands on his knees, his wild mop of blonde hair standing up around his elfin ears and a cheeky grin on his face.  His long, skinny legs are comfortably crossed, his hat sits by his side and he rests his hands upon his knees.  He is dressed in a felted Lichen Green top and Forest Green trousers, with a jaunty cotton bandana loosely tied around his neck.  The black and purple psychedelic magical mushroom stands next to him.  I made this next and after felting the patterns in I stitched tiny little pearls all over it for that extra bit of magic!  I wet felted his little hat and added a braided leather band with a feather for the finishing touch!

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My witch took many, many hours and incorporates felting, sewing and embroidery – all of which are my passions.  I wanted her to be voluptuous but tall, elegant and slender  – after lots of hard work I achieved the look I wanted.  Her face is detailed and mysterious.  She has a wonderful half smile and a shock of luscious black hair.  Her body is made from natural coloured Perendale Batting.  Her top, boots and leggings are beautiful, soft Merino wool.  Her skirt is black tulle with purple Merino wool nuno felted around the bottom and black ribbon bows stitched on.  Her purple top has a Triple Goddess felted into the centre of the front.  Her cloak is beautiful – made from black velour with a purple satin lining.  It has a full, lined hood and I embroidered a Pentagram on each side of the front.  The cloak is a replica of the ones I make for real witches.  Her hair is from a Manchester wig shop – I needed it to be thick, black and straight – this hair piece did the job perfectly!

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Magical, Mystical, Felting

The Mad March Hare

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A friend asked me how I made this hare………………….. it is kind of hard to explain so I took pictures as I went along – hopefully this will explain how I made him!  I used lots of pictures of hares to help me and I found his head particularly hard to do – I made the head 3 times before I attached it (finally)

First of all I got my wool and needles ready – I added extra wool colours later – grey, black and 2 different browns.  I got an assortment of needles out – larger ones for rough felting the shape and finer ones for the detail – some inbetween ones for bits like the ears.

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He started life as an onlong shaped piece of wool batting from the second bag from the right and I started to needle the piece until I saw the shape I wanted emerging

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Next I felted his 2 back legs from 2 more clumps of batting.  I rolled them into shape, bent them at the foot and knee joints and felted them for a long time to make them keep their shape – just wool, no wire or armature – then I dressed the legs and feet in their first coat of top wool and started to needle in the first coat on his back

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I then made the tail and started mixing the colours for his thick, back coat and added the white hairs that go up his sides

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Next for the front legs.  These are long and straight so I used fine chenile sticks (pipe cleaners) to wind the wool round before I felted it.  I then attached them to the body, felting them in hard so they do not come loose.

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Next for the head and this was really difficult to get the right shape and to felt it onto the body at the correct angle.

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I did not felt his head too firmly yet as I needed to add the eyes – to do this I made holes with a bradawl, and glued the eyes in place.

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Adding the colour and texture to his face took forever – white around the eyes to define them, then a fleshy nose, different shades of brown, grey and black to match the contours of the face and of course, some whiskers to stitch in.  I stitched these in with a long doll needle so that they cannot pull out easily – I secured them each with a dab of glue.

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I carried on felting over to make sure his top coat had the right mix of colours in and then I made the ears (forgot to take pics of this as I was so engrossed!)  Then I felted them on to the top of his head, leaning backwards slightly, edged with white hair and with the classic black stripe and tips.

Finally, he was done!!!  I hope you like him and enjoyed my guided journey to his completion.

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The Mad March Hare