Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Happy Fall.I always see the autumn time as a time of warmth and wanting to create items that embodies that. So I have started making some miniature woven brooches and bracelets. 

Do you knit or crochet? I crochet some but not really enough to say I am really good at it. Doing a chain stitch or a granny stitch is about as far as my skills go. Still it does add an edge to whatever surface design I am working on. Weaving is much easier; at least way I am doing it is.

I have always loved the look of woven rugs, place-mats, doilies etc. So learning how to make them seemed like the next step in learning a new art skill.
Surprisingly making them a miniature level was quite easy.

I chose to use a heavy cardboard as my base. My first attempt was very small, About 2"x 3".
I carefully measured and cut 10 slits on each end only. (about 1/4") then I wrapped Perle thread Around each slot taping down the ends with double sided tape. 
Now we are ready to weave. I chose to use a chunky pencil rove in assorted colors to quickly fill in my weaving board.
weaving side

                                                                                                                                                               Next choose the side of your board that the strings look the evenest.This is the side you will be weaving on.

wrong side
Using a tapestry needled loaded with about 20" of yarn, rove, ribbon etc. carefully go under , over, under over, etc each strand of Perle thread, changing directions as you get to the side of your board. Each time you make anew row, tighten up your weaving by lightly pushing rows together.(the tighter your weaving is the nicer it will hold together in the end. )I continued weaving until I was about 1/2 inch from end of my board. At this time I tacked my rove on to the tape. Flip your piece over and carefully cut the strings in the center back all the way across. Take it off board.Lay your woven piece flat, and tie the stings into a knot on the edges. Two or three strings at a time. Doing both ends to secure your woven piece.

The rove I used quickly filled in the spaces and I really liked how it turned out. Wool rove likes to poof open , making it a great yarn to weave with or needle felt .
I chose at this point to fold under my stringed edges to the back and glue a small piece of felt to hide them under. I then added a piece of foam rubber and another piece of felt, this strengthened my piece to turn it into a brooch for everyday wearing. 
Embellish it as you see fit with, beads, buttons, trim . I choose a water theme, So I added Miliefiore beads, a starfish and crocheted ribbon.
TA-DA! you are almost done. Just add pin back and you are ready to wear and go. 

To make bracelets or larger pieces just make your board larger. Pinterest has some great ideas for making weaving boards, I had the heavy cardboard so that is what I used, but wood would be more durable, especially if you wish to make many. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Key Fobs: The day I glued my fingers together

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Yeah!, summer is about to begin along with the rush to get crafts done for my first summer craft show in a couple of weeks.

This morning before the adventures of tree trimming and barn roof fixing begins at the farm I am working on making cotton webbing key fobs. sounds easy huh? For the most part it really is. I am using two types of glue, Beacons 3-in-1 to glue down ribbon and other embellishments and Aleene's Jewelry/Metal glue to hold the metal key piece in place.
Beacons, although it is permanent, dries fairly quickly and slides off the skin like rubber cement.
The Aleene's though is a different story.This stuff and I do like using it, is like thick clumpy super glue( squeeze tube SLOWLY, it has a mind of its own and will continue to come out even after you stop squeezing), if you get it on you , clean up immediately with nail polish remover, other wise you can very easily glue your fingers together. :( I really thought I cleaned it up well, I guess not.. as I was pinching my key piece in place, my thumb and forefinger began stick to the metal.Ouch, is the word. I quickly, one handily unstuck my fingers before it became a permanent  fixture to my fingers.  Ah craftiness, you gotta love the dilemmas that occasionally happen.

Anyway, as you can see I did become unstuck.and continued to make these cute fobs.
They are really easy to make.
1. Cut your cotton webbing to about 10",

2. Using a lighter carefully burn the edges to keep webbing from fraying, you could use fray block, but since    this edge is hidden under metal finding I chose to burn it.

3. Sew on (which I recommend)or glue ribbon or trim down center. On the camo ones I chose to leave          these blank without embellishment.

4. Fold webbing in half and add a small line of Beacons 3-in-1 glue to the edge of cut line, pinch together or    clamp for a few seconds to set.

5. Once set, add a small amount of Aleene's to the inside V of metal finding (above bar prongs in picture below). Place cut edge of webbing inside and hold for about 10 seconds to set. I then set aside for about 10 minutes to let that glue dry well BEFORE I clamp it down.
6. If you have jewelry pliers with the plastic or soft vises use these. I don't, so I used regular pliers with a scrap piece of wool wrapped around my metal finding and squeeze gently, swapping sides until  finding is closed . If you clamp from the side I find this easier and it will not bend the U part of the finding. (top of picture, this part hold your key ring)
7. Once done set aside once more to finish drying all the way. Once you get it the pattern down you can make one in about 10 minutes or less, gluing and sewing takes the most time.

Easy Peasy, right?  I purchased my metal finding and webbing from an Etsy supplier out of Mankato, MN .
This would be a very easy project for girl or boy scouts or any kid friendly event.

Gardening on Bedrock
Two weeks ago we planted our garden, this year we decided to pot all our veggies  since our back yard is about 3 inches of dirt set upon bedrock. raised beds are the only way to go. Tennessee has loads of caves and we set on a fault line.So we don't dig deep in our back yard. We save that for the farm.
Anyway, here is a few pictures of our potted garden.
Oh, how my little garden grows...
left to right: sage, peppers, tomatoes, tomatoes, lettuce

lettuce, yellow squash

Cucumbers and okra


I still want pumpkins and have a plan to get them planted above ground in hay bales, may try watermelon this way too. 
Happy summer everyone...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Adventures in Wet Felting with a Orbital Sander

 Wet felting with a sander you say. Never heard of doing it this way. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show you how I did.
I was given a Ryobi CORDLESS Orbital sander for Christmas. Why cordless, well you will be working with water and to suffice you don't want to end up in the ER  or worse. In all the tutorials I read they explained this in far too technical terms.... which is great information don't get me wrong; lets just say you use a cordless sander so you don't get electrocuted.

It was surprisingly easy to set everything up. I used a plastic art table, covered in a towel and old table cloth to soak up any spills and to help with noise reduction . Things you might want to have on hand , but may or may not use.
Heavy piece of plastic(I used an old super size Hefty Ziploc bag), bubble wrap, EAR PLUGS a must,  natural bar soap, scissors, a edged shoe mat(I found mine at JoAnns  Fabric for under $5 dollars) Hot soapy water in a bottle and of coarse any roving you are using.


First I laid out my  white core roving in one direction,
when done I laid it out in the opposite direction.
 You can see by the pin in each picture the direction I was going. The second layer was a little heavier then the first, some people will  do at least three  layers , I did only two and wish now I had done three.
I used a core fiber that the store I bought it from said it was good for wet felting, It was, but it makes more of a prefelt like you see in the sheets from 'Felt Works' . Heavy and not as thin as a good Merino roving would make. For this first project it worked fine.

I then laid out my flower design. I used Harrisville and Merino roving/fleeces for this. As we continue you will see this difference in how it compared to each other when being felted. I was also loose with my design as I plan to add embellishment and free motion stitching once dried.

You can see I layered my Harrisville and Merino. Next is was to add the warm soapy water, which I squirted over the entire piece and pushed down lightly with my hands, to slightly incorporate it into the design.

I paid close attention the the flower areas with the soapy water, making sure each piece was a little wetter tan the white background.Next, the bubble wrap was applied to the top.

It is ready now for using the sander.
One thing to note, don't move your sander around  at this stage, you will create holes , tears, or move your design.

As you begin "sanding" hold in one place for a few seconds, then lift and move to a new area, continue doing so until you have passed over the entire piece once or twice, At this point, turn off sander set aside and lift bubble wrap, check on roving to see how it is felting, or if you need more water/soap mixture add now.

My sander came with a foam polishing pad which I decided to use as my sander base. If you have enough layers of plastic I don't see why you would need to use a pad at all, except for the fact it creates a nice glide as you get deeper into the felting process.
To test your felt, lightly pinch surface to see if you still have wisps
Merino roving, felted great, no wisps.

Harrisville, did not felt down all the way, this is a side effect of using this fleece, which was okay,
as I planned to create 2 D effect after it dried.
of roving or if it has felted together and you are unable to pinch the surface and have the roving come off.

I continued to check as I felted, About three or four more times before I was satisfied with how it was coming out.

It took about an hour and half before I was ready to , rinse out in sink using HOT water to finish the felting process. I then wrung it out, reshaped, and dried it in the dryer.

The sander helps replace the act of having to roll it so many times, which can be a long process. I have found Merino is the best felting finer/roving to use . It felts flat, shrinkage is about 1-2 inches all around, and you are able to iron it to reshape it.

My wall hanging is thicker than  some I have seen, due to the core wool fiber I used.
The finished hanging came out great, pretty much how I envisioned it. I think the free motioned stitching added some depth, but not too much. My poppies are a little wind blown , especially the tall one, as it was a little looser in design the the other.

This one more open of a flower, I looked at many colors of these beauties on line and I like the different shades of blues represented here.
If you try  using a sander to wet felt, have fun with it.

I'll leave you with one more picture, this will be a small purse when done, wet felted  w/ sander over a cardboard base so it it made a opening. In a variegate Merino wool called Daylight. (Notice the difference in thicknesses of each project and how much the Merino actually shrunk up on drying. )