Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Felted Project: Woolly Sheep

Here it is: my newest wool needle-felting project! It is a woolly sheep that I finished it last night. There is nothing sewn, glued, tied or anything like that on it. Everything is needle-felted wool roving. The "woolly fluff" is some curly bearding that is all kind of like little ringlets. I just cut little pieces about 1/4" and felted them all over the body one piece at a time (It took about two hours.).

Here are some "before and after" pictures. That is the sheep without ears, face or curly coat. The others are different angles of the finished sheep. It is really soft to hold and hardly weighs anything (that is how it is able to stand up on those four little legs). The face is just teensy-tiny strands of colored wool.

Spring is Here

In typical Ohio fashion, Spring arrived with a bang. One day we were all cold, wearing sweaters and sitting in front of the woodstove --- next day we were wearing t-shirts and sandals and looking for iced tea and ice cream. These pictures are from Friday (April 24) and it is amazing how different things look today. We have leaves coming out on the trees, more flowers up, had to mow the grass . . .

This is our house and part of our front yard. Elizabeth is in the truck waiting to go grocery shopping. The little tree in the foreground of the third picture is a cherry tree. Today is is full of white blooms! I'll try to get pics up of the fruit trees in flower.

On Friday, Dad and I pulled out all of the bikes and cleaned them up so that we can "hit the trail" this week. It's amazing how dirty and dusty they get in just one Winter. That's Dad cleaning his old bike up so that we can sell it. Last year we tried all these different bike trails and his tire blew every time! Those thin tires just don't do well around here as the trails are not always perfectly smooth (one of them that we've gone to is actually gravel). So . . . he had to get a new bike with wider tires. The second picture is my bike. Nice, isn't it?! It is about nine years old, but with the help of a little soap and steel wool it looks new! The third picture is Elizabeth's new bike. She had a junker bike, so she had to get a new one too. She hasn't even had the chance to ride it yet, but we're hoping to try it out this week.

Some of the pictures are a bit washed out, but it was really bright outside that day. On Saturday I mowed the lawn for the first time this year! (Got really sunburnt, too, but we won't talk about that.) We went to the county compost recycling center and picked up two truck loads of free mulch for some different projects around the yard. Well, I'll try to get more pictures up soon!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Some of My Wool Projects -- Felting & Dolls

For a long time now I have wanted to post pictures of some of my wool projects and, finally, here they are! (You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.) This is my favorite hobby. It's a great thing to do on a rainy afternoon (which we never seem to have here) and also very portable. Mom and Dad gave me one of those nifty "scrapbooking suitcases" for my birthday which actually works perfectly for wool felting supplies. The picture below is of most of my wool roving, tools and samples of the many shades of wool felt.

Now, what do you do with all that stuff? First of all, it is usally sorted by color into little bags and pockets so that I can find just what I need for a certain project. You can felt in two basic methods: needle felting and water felting (these pictures are of needle felting). To begin, you just take a small ball or roll of roving and lay it on the felting pad (plastic pad with nylon bristles in pic below), then you start to poke the wool with the felting needle. The needle is about three inches long and barbed (very small barbs that you can barely see and can't really feel). By running the barbs of the needle through the wool it turns to felt! The more you poke the needle into the wool, the harder and firmer the felt. I have a bright pink "pen" handle to hold the needle, but you can hold the needle by itself if you want to.

This pen handle can hold up to three needles. There is also another needle holder (you can see it in the top photo) that holds up to five needles, but that is only used for applique. If you turn the piece of roving around, poking it in different places, as you stab it with the needle, then you can actually makes 3-D sculptures. If you just continually stab the wool in the same place or area, then you have a flat, applique type of design. Below are some pictures of birds that I made for Mom. These each took about an evening to make (and a few pokes in the fingers --- ouch). The first one is a Cardinal, the second is a Cedar Waxwing (It was kind of hard to take a picture of.) and the third one is a Goldfinch.

Another fun project, though not very much as far as the felting end of things, are these little dolls in the pics below. The tallest ones (several of the Lord of the Rings characters and the WWII Sailor) are four inches tall. The short little Hobbit dolls are 2-1/2" tall. The bodies are made of pipe cleaners wrapped in embroidery floss. The clothes are made out of pieces of wool felt, and the weapons and accessories are made (by Dad) out of popsicle sticks, toothpicks and assorted scraps of things. The heads are needle felted and the hair is roving. Elizabeth makes all of the clothes patterns herself! It took us a year (not full-time work) to make the Fellowship characters. The sailor took about four or five evenings. His little G.I. Joe buddy is in the works now!

Well, this should give you all an idea of some of the cool things that you can do with a barbed needle and some wool roving. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and I'll try to post some more of the other dolls that we've made.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Got Socialization?

Who ever said that homeschoolers don't get enough socialization?? We have just had one of the best weekends ever --- full of socializing! Some of our best friends, Walt and Janice (Walt works as librarian for Answers in Genesis), came up on Friday night to spend the weekend. This was the first time that they came to visit our house, so naturally there was not enough time.

Walt hosts our website, so he and I spent Saturday night discussing web "stuff" and learning new tricks. We drove around the local area and enjoyed the gorgeous weather that God blessed us with (much nicer than the rain and snow we've had since), and just spent time around here "gabbing".

On Sunday, we all went to Church together and then they headed back home :( (But don't worry! They're coming back soon!)

This is (from left to right): Elizabeth, Walt, Sarah (me) and Janice.

From church we went to Buddy and Kay Davis' house (Buddy also works for AiG). We had a blast taking a 4-Wheeler ride and going thorugh their attic and one of their old barns (It's so fun to go through other people's old stuff! ;) ) We didn't leave until about 9:30p.m. What a great time spent with the four people who are like the family that we don't get to see --- and all in one weekend!

We are still busy working on the talk and website. You can see the front page (not finished yet) here: http://www.beyondcurricula.com/. I am hoping to be finished with the website in two weeks so that we have time to monitor broken links and things like that. Plus, Mom and Elizabeth need some time to work on the actual presentation! ;)