The other day I went for my usual walk in the forest after work expecting to see the last colorful leaves on the trees and scattered on the ground but I was in or a special surprise that I will share with you in pictures . Happy Halloween !!!
I seem to be on somewhat of a roll with making things combining two of my favorite things. For this post those two things are mosses and vintage buttons. I really wanted to being a little bit of moss into my house for the winter so I immediately thought of making a small terrarium when I saw some suitable glass containers at the thrift store a few weeks ago. I am kicking myself for not picking up more of them because when I got them home I discovered they could be stacked and this increased there potential usefulness greatly. I filled the shorter wider one with yellow and red vintage button I had already sorted out to make some button wreaths . In the narrow taller one I placed a small amount of sand for drainage , some soil and then two little nests of moss I had collected from the woods. I placed the little glass lid on top. I made this almost a month ago and the mosses have been thriving in their little biosphere. I have not watered it since making it . I move it around the house now and then but I am really enjoying it most of the kitchen table. Depending where you live it might not be to late to collect a little moss and make a living decoration of your own.
Tomorrow there will be pumpkins in the forest to share with you and please don't forget to place a guess in the guess the nature inspiration #5 contest. You have until midnight on Sunday .
Have you ever had a moment when you wanted desperately to combine two of your favorite things and make something twice as wonderful. I have been wanting to combine felt making and linen for a very long time but finally got the chance to experiment with this on Sunday. I did a google search and could not find anything on the subject. I have felted onto wool, silk and organza before but never linen or cotton. I will lead you through the process and you can see for yourself the result of my little experiment and draw your own conclusions about its success.
What you will need if you decide to experiment yourself will be natural linen , wool roving ( I used the wool sent to me by Maria ) , some handspun or commercial wool yarn, bubble wrap, a spray bottle with hot water and a little liquid soap, a thick wooden dowel is helpful but not necessary.
Step 1 : Lay two pieces of bubble wrap on your working surface about 2 inches longer and wider than the piece of linen that you will be felting on.
Step 2: With your wool roving you have chosen. Tease apart little whisps and lay them on the fabric in whatever pattern you want. Then lay the wool yarn on top of this.
Step 3: Lay the piece of linen over this .
Step 4: Make another pattern with teased whisps of roving on the surface of the linen.
Step 5: Spray the surface with the hot soapy water.
Step 6: Cover the surface with another layer of bubble wrap.
Step 7: Take a wooden dowel or just role it up without one . This is the fun part . All you need to do is roll it back and forth for a few minutes on a hard surface. Unroll it and then roll it up again in the other direction ( ie widthwise and then lengthwise) . Put on some good rolling music and continue to alternate rolling direction for at least 4 times in each direction.
Step 8: If your experiment worked the wool will be adhered to the surface of the linen and you can now rinse off the soap with some hot water from the tap , gently squeezing the fabric .
Step 9: Hang your fabric to dry.
Step 10: Enjoy the result of your experiment as it is or use this beautiful fabric to make something like a pillow or bag. I haven't decided what I will do with mine yet but I love how it turned out. I am going to make a linen felted scarf using this method next time.
Don't forget to guess on the nature inspiration #5. There have been some really fantastic answers so far but I am hoping for something more specific. Don't forget you can answer as many times as you like.
Since I finally mailed off the prizes for the last contest I guess it is fair to post the next installment of what has become my favorite component of this little blog. Remember the last one , Brainbow. Did any of you notice how a few weeks later it was all over the news with the scientist who discovered the labeled proteins that allow the brain tissue to be viewed in technicolor winning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Remember you heard it first here.
So it really pays to study hard or at least use that great imagination of yours to guess this next one. I had loads of fun playing with new types of high tech japanese embroidery threads for this one and then photographing it with different light sources. It was needlefelted and then embroidered on a vintage wool scarf from my stash. Guess as many times as you like and please involve the entire family. As Rane said last time it was more entertaining than television as were Rane's answers to the contest. You have until next the stike of midnight on sunday to place your guess and the one who guesses correctly or the closest answer will win an awesome prize. I have been known to award prizes for entertainment value as well so keep that in mind.
Happy guessing !!!
"The word radical comes from the Latin word for root. Perhaps the most radical thing you can do in our time is to start turning over the soil, loosening it up for the crops to settle in, and then stay home to tend them. "
This was taken from an article written by REBECCA SOLNIT in one of my favorite online magazines , ORION.
My husband and I have been thinking a great deal about just this subject. We are looking for land or a small farm on which to put down our roots and grow things . We hope one day to be self sustaining and to live life with a very small ecological footprint. Until that time I am quite content to temporarily place my roots in my current habitat.
Even before I read this article I had planned to make a covered stone with roots. These important words just gave it a greater meaning. It is my first attempt incorporate three dimensional crochet into the covered stone. I purchased the yarn for the roots on friday when I was in Kensington Market at Lettuce Knit. . It is habu lace weight cashmere and I think I am in love ( oops I hope my husband didn't read that).
If you have roots you can build a nest and then maybe after a while something beautiful and unexpected will come to live there with you.
In Feng shui yellow is associated with the earth element along with a sense of unity and wholeness. I made this tiny little bird with needle felting and the nest is actually the top of a small acorn. I had just a little bit of fun photographing this.
Anyone else out there wanting to live a more radical ( rooted) life.
It all started with wanting to make a very folkloric castle on a sea green linen top. I searched for some suitable castle subjects and was attracted to the old drawing you see above. I liked the shape and the numerous turrets ( my favorite part of castles). It turns out that this is actually a drawing of a castle in Pierrefonds , France which is a little northwest of Paris. I changed the design a little so that it would fit on the front of the top .
I used a mixture of old fabrics and new but the main parts were pieces of eastern european scarves that were torn. The beautiful blue fabric with the trees is the work of the very talented lara cameron. I used tons of embroidered ribbon , some old but others gifts from my husband who travels to france for work. It is so sweet to have a husband who bestows embroidered ribbon, chocolate and ideas de Marie Claire magazines on me. Most of the buttons are vintage except the fabric covered ones that I made with japanese prints from my stash. The felt pieces are 100% wool felt purchased from a Child's Dream. Details were added with embroidery , especially the green plants and fern details along the base of the castle and the flags with the words forest fern , a snail and a small fern. I just kept adding little details until I was satisfied and in the end this project contains so many of my favorite things. Maybe you will recognize some of them. I would love to hear what your favorite part's are.
For a quiet person I seem to have a habit of rambling on when discussing my handwork. Enough, I am sure you would like to see the forest fern castle for yourselves.
I had such fun piecing this one together and photographing it. It was a wonderful change from working with stones and I already have a concept in mind for my next sewing project but I am going to keep it a secret for now. While I was walking in the forest today I came across a real castle in the woods. I wonder what magical creatures live in this kingdom.
Now wasn't that a bright and cheerful start to the week. For the rest of your week remember the words above the castle door : "the kindness of strangers". I certainly will.
I wanted to take some more pictures of some of my covered stones before sending them off on a big adventure to NYC so I got out that old distressed vintage frame that you have been seeing in some of my pictures lately. Why is it that some of the oldest, things in the worst shape are some of the best subjects for photography. I guess it is what flickr calls interestingness. My children have become so accustomed to seeing me shoot pictures of worn out things that my daughter turned to me at our local rummage sale yesterday with a very rustic old strainer in her hands and said this would look really cool in a photograph with some of those things you make mom. Or course we bought it for 10 cents.
Tomorrow, I will be unveiling my latest sewing project, the forest fern castle on a linen top. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the sun will be out tomorrow for the photographs and for a little walk in the forest. I think just about all the leaves will be on the ground and their should be so much more light along the paths.
That picture may very well be the last mushroom I see this fall since just after taking this we had a significant frost and then a snowfall that actually stayed on the ground for a few days. One evening I was putting away some of the beeswax that I had used for the leaves and floating acorn and walnut candles and decided I would really love to try to make a mushroom candle. I melted the wax on top of the stove . I found a 6 inch piece of wick and tied a double knot to one end. I placed the knotted end in the base of a small pottery bowl we use for soy sauce when we eat sushi at home. I carefully poured the hot wax into the bowl while holding the wick upright with the knot in the center bottom of the bowl. I continued to hold it until the wax became firm and then I set it aside to completely solidify. I cut a small rectangle of flat plain beeswax sheet to use for the stem. To remove the mushroom cap from the bowl I placed it in the freezer for a few minutes and then it was easily removable. I placed the wick from below the cap on the beeswax rectangle and rolled it up tight snugging it up to the base of the cap. I pressed around it gently to secure it. I untied the knot at the top to release the wick for lighting.
It was dark in my kitchen while I was doing all of this so that is why I have no pictures but I did manage to take some pictures the next day of the finished item. I think it looks pretty realistic for a candle.
Oops , that's not it !! Sorry here it is .
I have a number of tutorials for various ways of making mushrooms on this little blog of mine but one of my favorites is the very first tutorial I ever posted. It was actually my second post back in January of this year when I think only one person other than my family was reading my blog ( thanks Elsita :) You might want to go back and revisit this one because these are so easy to make and they would be wonderful gifts to give .
I think I am going to make up a new batch soon because all of my little felt and wool mushrooms have grown up and left home. Speaking of mushrooms I almost forgot to tell you to check out the most amazing piece of mushroom art I have seen in a very long time by my dear friend Geninne. She is super talented and wonderfully kind .
The favorite winter food of the caribou and reindeer is lichen, of which each animal eats about 3 kg per day. That is a whole lot of lichen, a very wonderful symbiosis of fungi and algae or bacteria. It is a fantastic source of carbohydrates to sustain these animals and they travel great distances to find it.
Lichens are very photogenic. My favorite on stones is the yellow lichen or Xanthoria parietina.
The other day when I was felting some stone like stones I thought it would be nice to try to make one look like it had lichen on it, yellow lichen to be exact. I removed the stone and stuffed the cavity with fleece. I then needle felted some lichen colored wool in circles on the grey surface. I embroidered some stitches around the circles and made french knots. I then crocheted by hooking into the embroidered stiches to make a short lace like pattern. I have seen this type of lichen growing in these circular patterns but I couldn't find a picture of it in my iphotos.
I love lichen. One of the things I had wanted to do last summer was do some dying of fiber with lichen but I just never got around to it. Now that I have been reading that it is such an important food source for animals in the winter I am not sure if I will harvest some unless I find it growing in an unnatural habitat. Here are a few other lichens for you to enjoy.
I hope you all have a wonderful start to your weekend. The snow we had the other day has melted and it is back to temperatures in the teens tomorrow. I did however see the nature winter oracle today, the wooly bear caterpillar. You can check out my flickr picture of him and obtain his prediction.
I had never heard of this technique until one day a few weeks ago I was looking through some websites about artists who use embroidery as their media and I came across something that completely blew me away. It was the work of Dorie Millerson , a Canadian artist. This is the sample of her work that I fell in love with.
I read a little more about her technique and it is called needlepoint lace embroidery. I decided I had to teach myself how to do this since it seemed like a way I could make embroidery three dimensional. Potentially I could make stone like objects without the stones. But I decided to start with something simple in two dimensions. I worked on natural linen with cotton embroidery thread.
I started with a row of buttonhole stitches. You run the thread behind your fabric and start the second row beginning inbetween the first two stitches. As you work the second row you capture the running stitch with each new button hole stitch.
As I continued in this manner I realized it was starting to look like a boat. I changed colors to make a sail and this is what I ended up with.
The whole idea behind this technique is that the fabric is only there to give you some substance to your stitching but once you are done you can do away with it if you want. In this way it is kind of like tear away canvas. I loved the idea of having the embroidery stand alone so I tore away at the loose weave linen threads until they were all gone.
This was a test to see if I had done it correctly. If I had not my stitches would fall apart and if I had well they would hold the shape of the object I had embroidered. Phew, it held together to make a lovely little sail boat. With my recent obsession with covered stones you can imagine what I proceeded to do with it.
Here is a picture of some fantastic antique needle point lace that I came across. Something to aspire to.
We had a wonderful early snow fall yesterday. It covered some of the objects I had photographed the day before and left out on the porch table.
and left it's own lacey patterns in the forest.
By the end of the day the snow was almost all melted and the temperature will be back in the double digits for the next few days. It was magical while it lasted and being Canadian I know it will be back soon to stay for a few months.