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Sneaky Presents

Sneaky Presents

This year one of my brothers in law decreed we should not give gifts at Xmas.  Oh no! But I love Xmas.  It’s so fun to see if I have guessed right what everyone will like.

So this year I did 5×7 Xmas cards for our Oakville Xmas. That technically isn’t a present it’s a card. I had a plan.

OOPS I took Mom shopping 2 weeks before Xmas and had 3 bags of groceries; one just a bit heavier than the others. Ok, as soon as I lugged it into the house I knew it was too heavy. I lasted long enough to get everything into the fridge and realized I wasn’t doing anything else. I was much better after spending most of a week in bed being very uncomfortable, frustrated and all caught up on Xmas movies.  So I was a week behind on Xmas and sure I had a bit longer until it arrived. (Surprise! It’s still on the 25th!) Drat!

My husband works for the post office so this year was going to be a very short visit. (The Post Office was open on monday Dec 24th.) The original plan was to drive for 5.5 hours arrive late on the 24th or early on the 25th drive back on the 26th so he could work on the 27th.  He had requested to have Monday off so we could leave earlier but had to wait to see who else requested because it would go by seniority and there are a lot of more senior people working at his station. Thursday night he found out that he could have Monday off and we had a mad scramble to drop off Ottawa presents (before the freezing rain arived) and gather everything for the trip.

Friday started out with freezing rain changing to rain. I had collected my portfolio and  a bag of various coloured fiber and a strip of the felted duvet that had been donated to the guild felters.  I think I told you about that a while ago. I finally got to use a bit of mine and it worked very well. So if you acquire a felted wool duvet do not despair take it apart and use it for a base to felt on!

The drive down started with light rain changing to vary heavy rain eventually stopping  and changing to decorative wisps of snow north of Toronto but nothing stayed on the very green ground we found in Oakville. There was an amazing decorated Xmas tree and Glenn’s Parents to greet us.  so Green Xmas isn’t all bad.

No Snow in Oakville but a spectacular tree!

So Saturday morning I pulled out my bag of fiber and sent Glenn to find a cereal box in the recycling bin in the basement.  I cut out part of one side and made a 5 x 7 window and sent the rest back to recycling. Then took over a corner of the dining room table. (My back still wasn’t very happy and decided that living room furniture was not to be tolerated but dining room chairs were fine – stupid back)

Hum what would my in-laws like on their card? Well we were definitely having a green Xmas and we hadn’t brought any snow with us (what little we had after the rain and freezing rain in Ottawa) ok, a snow scene it would be.

2 xmass 2018
swirly application of fiber


3 xmass 2018
adding a tree and a snowy slope
4 xmass 2018
another tree and more swirls to the sky and a winter sun

Again wisps of colour laid down this time in swirls of patterns to the sky, very van Gogh of me! I added bare trees (there is a golf course full of bare trees just across the street) then needed something to balance their weight.  The nephews had created a grisly snowman murder seen the last time they had visited but unfortunately no snow so no snowmen. Hum ok a less grisly snow man with a scarf to blow in the wind.

5 xmass 2018
check with the cereal box frame for balance to the composition
Ooh a frame makes everything look better! one down 2 more to go

Yes l think that will work.

One down 2 to go!

Next Brian and Alex like birds and there are lots of birds usually here.  But this visit seemed to be all about squirrel wars and retrieving the squirrel proof feeder from where the Raccoons had taken it across the back yard. I hear there is an opossum visiting but I didn’t see it.

9 xmas 2018
Squirrel wars, a momentary pause

Usually there are lots of cardinals and blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, morning doves and never enough crows for me. Ok cardinals it is.

A quick trip to the internet since my camera wasn’t as helpful as it usually is and I had chosen a bird.

12 xmas 2018
cardinal under way

Again background blended with wisps of colour then started adding the detail work. Checking size with the 5×7 window and a lot of poking (but not my fingers!) and I had Xmas card number 2 done.

It was Xmas eve afternoon by the time I started the last one.  Bob and Judy were not expected until about 4pm Xmas day.  So I had to felt my fingers off since I knew we also had turkey dinner, Xmas breakfast and a lot of presents to open!

21 xmas 2018
Christmas Morning! One more to finish!
13 xmas 2018
Glenn’s Christmas morning Blacksmithing hat and lots pajamas
part of Jan’s Christmas tablet weaving books!

Hummm now what might they like.  I had rectified the lack of snow, did one of the birds that we enjoy here.  Oh yes, the rabbits! We see them mostly in the spring and early summer but they’re very cute.  Bob would like them and make him think of his parents’ home.

So bunny it was. I didn’t have the photos I had taken of this springs bunny visitor but remembered what it looked like so off to the internet for photo reference. Much poking later I had a very painterly interpretation of an Oakville bunny.

18 xmas 2018
Framing of Christmas card #3

You may have noticed I tried a different base to work on. It’s the foam from the dollar store that kids play mats are made of. Mine was about 7 inches square and had a puzzle piece in the center of each square.  The puzzle part in the middle tends to want to pull out but I would suggest not using tape to hold it together since the stickiness would transfer to the needle and make a mess. I found holding down the center worked fine and it wasn’t as annoying as it sounds to work on. When the bigger ones reappear I will get more. I did work 3 layers thick so had no poke through even with the top surface deterioration. If you haven’t tried this as a base you may want to experiment.

22 xmass 2018
Dollar store foam pieces
23 xmas 2018
3 layers worked well

All recipients seemed very pleased and surprised with their “Xmas cards” I had found frames at Dollarama with a white mat so they looked a lot more polished with the frame as presentation.

Now on to class notes for the 2 workshops I’m doing in January! I can see a lot more felting ahead in 2019! I hope you get a chance to try small format felting, its relatively quick, doesn’t take much wool and its lots of fun!

Needle Felting and Milk Protein

Needle Felting and Milk Protein

I mentioned in my last post that I’d wet felted 3 pieces for making needle felted pictures inspired by Marilyn’s Monet Challenge. The second one I made was based on a photo I took a few years ago along the River Alt on the Sefton coast. I posted more about it on my feltbyzed blog a few days ago if you want to see more, but here is the finished needle felt piece:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last piece I made was based on a photo I took at Sefton Park in Aigburth, Liverpool. It’s such a great park and has a really famous Palm House, and a gorgeous lake. I simplified the photo:

Sefton postcard 3 smallI wet felted a simple piece for the background:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a mixture of texturey and curly wools like Icelandic, Devon, Bluefaced Leicester, mixed with softer wool and animal fibres like Merino, Alpaca and Angora rabbit, to get the different textures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the forum recently Judy was asking about Milk Protein Fibre. I’d recently made a felted piece with Milk protein fibre and also Ingeo, so I thought I’d share a few photos of the milk part. The wool I used is a dark grey Icelandic, I laid a strip of milk top across the wool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like using milk it responds well to the characteristics of the wool it’s used with and looks good whether it is used with a soft wool or a more coarser one:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of one of the thicker areas:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’ve been updating the 2014 Challenge Gallery, if you’d like a look at all the contributions. If you made a piece for any of the challenges and you’d like yours added to the gallery, let one of us know. You can use the Contact Us form if you like.

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