Monday, January 4, 2016

A brand new creative year ahead!




Happy New Year, Happy 2016!

I am formulating a few creative goals this year. They are still unfolding as I write this. I find doing this exercise extremely valuable. It serves as a good life and creative guide for my whole new year, for when I'm going along and feel stuck, or just unmotivated, I can reflect on my goals for the year and I can redirect myself. Win win :o)

So far, I am committed to these things for 2016:
  • Choosing the right word for me in 2016. I've narrowed it down to love (as in taking and using care in every aspect of my daily life), or kindness (following up with the Kindness Project I began last summer), or courage (but I think I used this word really well back from 2012 - 2014, before I started setting yearly intentions). 
  • Devoting myself back to my beloved needle felted birds. The one above was created last week, during my thinking process. It is actually so lovely in person that it takes my breath away every time I see it. My, oh my.
  • Working on taking my needle felting up a notch. I am dedicated to getting into one of the American Craft Council shows within the next couple of years. (I'm speaking my intentions out loud here!!!)
  • Sticking with ME. Meaning, I will be taking those things that have worked well for me, and working on them further. Focusing less on listening to others, and less time taking classes taught by others telling me what to do. I think I'm on a path to put all those lessons and ideas into action (whew, finally!)
  • Spending time developing those ideas I have wanted to put into action over the last two years. More online patterns, kits, and ways to share my ideas and love of craft with others. This is gonna be GOOD!
  • Being proud to speak out by sharing my voice, my craft, and my intentions with others. Recently, I have been working on doing this, and it's been going really well. Plus, I have been booked for a creative workshop! Wow! I think it's finally time to really shine :o)

How about you? Have you set some creative intentions (or otherwise) for 2016? I'd love to hear (if you are willing to share, that is). Leave me a comment. Let's do this together. It's a wonderful and brave way to start the new year!

xx
Val



Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Special Holiday Gift


Happy New Year's Eve! 

Today I have something very special to share with you... A Fairy House! This amazing wee fairy home was made by Carol Yamada of Mossy Brae Fairies. It was given to me at Christmas as a gift from my beloved Birdita, my cockatiel who was my special friend and companion for nearly 30 years. Even though this gift was given from beyond the grave... (my husband really rolled his eyes over this tale), it came filled with love and even some fairy dust. It was an amazing moment when I opened the box on Christmas morning, and discovered all the delicacy and care in the world, shining from this amazing house!


Carol makes her fairy houses from treasures found in nature. When I came across her shop, I knew we were kindred spirits indeed, for her beautiful houses called to me like nothing else. So, I simply must be guided by spirits and fairies. This is all there is to it! 

Here is Carol talking about her creative process:
I know that there is a different and kinder energy in Fae worlds than in ours. Each house I make is a portal that invites you to come and gently experience this magical and non-human reality. 
About 5 years ago I started using a wonderfully flexible sand-cast sculpture process that uses a big box of sand as the mold. I can scoop and scrape shapes, imbed all the wall elements into the sand and cast the shape with a porcelain based resin that quickly hardens without any toxic residue. I can create nearly unlimited shapes. I cast the walls individually and assemble them into the house shape which I then fit with a fine cedar roof (usually cedar, sometimes shells or pinecones). 
Each house is totally unique and created with inspiration from the materials used which I gather throughout Washington and Oregon states. I find treasures (ok, sticks and stones and shells, but since I'm part Raven they truly seem like treasures!) from the deep woods, volcanic slopes, rain forests and frigid beaches which bless my home. Each stick and stone is respectfully taken from the environment and approved by my fairy assistants. 




Each side of the house is filled with the most incredible details. Don't you just love that special heart shaped window?! I loved this house in particular because it was made with pine cones and acorn caps, sticks, stones and shells - all the items I love picking up on my own dog walk adventures, and incorporate into my own art. :o) 

You can visit Carol's Etsy shop here and see some amazing fairy houses. She also makes some Fairy Godmother houses, and they take my breath away!

Hope you ring in the New Year with those you love... and a wee bit of fairy dust too!

xx
Val

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Happy New Year, Happy New News!

Wow, another winter holiday season come and gone... they do fly by so very fast, don't they? I hope your holiday was sweet and memorable. :o)

I'm reeling with excitement over being selected as a "2016 Star of San Diego" by San Diego Home and Garden Lifestyles magazine. What an honor! And the article, written by Eva Ditler, is so complimentary and spot on, I might add! I've uploaded the pages extra large in hopes you can read it. If you have trouble, click on the page and it should show up larger for you to read.


 

I still promise those custom order photos in a future post... Soon, very soon :o)

In the meantime, I hope you have a very safe, happy, festive and healthy start to the New Year... 2016, here we come!

xx
Val


Friday, December 18, 2015

Woodland Holiday

Hi there! I know I promised you pictures of some of my custom orders, but first we simply must enjoy a bit of "Woodland Holiday". Please indulge me as I share some of my favorite needle felts of the season. Surely there's lots more where these came from :o)


I do so love needle felts under a dome, don't you? I had an amazing owl perched on a branch under a dome, but he sold before I could pose him properly. 


This one is a wee gnome home under a dome. Need I say more?...


The woodland needle felts have made a recurrence in my shop, with the addition of Mr. Hedgehog. Half this set has sold, which means I will be making more!


If my boys were still babies, I would certainly be dressing them in sweaters such as this one... love!


Mr. Fox is a cheeky friend who has also made a comeback. Well, certainly...why not?


And, finally, a recap of this stately handsome buck. He has the right idea of how to enjoy the season... right?!

I hope yours is filled to the brim with Merry!

xx
Val


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Are we Holly and Jolly yet?






I don't know about you, but all this needle felting has me as holly jolly holiday as I will ever be! Here I am smack dab in the middle of the show season, teaching needle felting classes, home crafting parties, custom orders and more. But I am jolly, jolly, jolly about all of it! It is all good, and I am 

So Thankful :o)

that you all love my craft, and wish to give what I make to your loved ones. 

I wrap up this holiday season with a 4 day handmade holiday pop-up stint at the UTC Mall. I know... The mall, right? Well, I am in business after all. And I am working very hard to get my product out there. So, yes, the mall it is. If you're in the San Diego area, I do hope you will stop by and see me. I will be located in the children's area near Geppetto's. 

And, lastly, I think it would be nice to finish out the year with a parade of some of my custom orders. So, get ready for that coming your way soon.

Happy Holly Jolly to you and yours!
xx
Val

Friday, November 13, 2015

Holiday Show Prep



I take my holiday shows so personally.... the way I see it is this is my one chance to reach out to you and share my heart and my creativity. I love doing shows (once I get past the organizational nightmares... literally, I wake up at night with nightmares that I have forgotten all my product. Or worse. Really?)  And the crazy thing is that I am behaving like a real retailer. I stock up for the holidays like nobody's business!

This holiday ushers in a brand new show audience for me. I will be doing Unique LA up in Los Angeles the weekend of Dec 5 and 6, Maker's Arcade in San Diego on Dec 5, and the Stocking Stuffer Pop-Up with The Printed Palette in Del Mar on Dec 12. (Please check out my Events page for a detailed listing of all my upcoming events) I am teaching two brand new classes (details on the Events page too!), and am even participating in a Pop-Up retail event at UTC Mall in San Diego the 4 days before Christmas. All I can say is that I will be one tired pup come December 25! It's all good, though. This is why I do this!

So, I do hope you will mark your calendar if you are in the Southern CA area, and come see me at an upcoming event. And, even though I will be super duper busy, I will try to get back here and post photos of my latest handmade yummies. (please remember you can always see the latest of what I've been up to on my Instagram page :o)

xx
Val

Monday, October 19, 2015

The one BIG Handmade Day is December 5th this year!


I really do think Fall has arrived! Our weather has (finally) cooled off, we've actually had some rainy days (thank you, El Nino) and today, I wore a SWEATER when I left the house! Can you believe it?! I am one who loves warm weather, but I do NOT love weeks worth of humidity (ugh), hordes of summer vacationers making my quaint home town look like main street Disney South, or mosquitos. I definitely hate HATE mosquitos.



So, if you receive my email newsletter (you can sign up for it here- scroll down to see the sign up box) or you can just click on that box to the right --->, you will know that many of the holiday shows I normally attend moved their show dates, and now they ALL are holding their events on December 5th this year. So, that is pretty challenging. First of all, vendors will have a tough time being in more than one place at a time, and the same can be said for shoppers! Really people? Show organizers all vying for the same date? I think we need to change Shop Small Saturday to December 5th this year. It's just cray....


Two of the wonderful shows I normally do are Queen Bee Market and Artisans' Alley in Coronado. Plus, the Talmadge Art Show which takes place the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Well, this year, I am not doing any of those wonderful shows *sniff* BUT, (and it's a good but) I am doing Maker's Arcade AND Unique LA

And, double guess what??? They are BOTH ON THE SAME DAY! Oh, holy heck. How can a person be in two places at one time, let alone 4 or 5? The Handmade Marketplace scene sure is challenging for me this holiday season.

Well, and I have said this before, it's good to have people who have your back. ANd, boy, am I glad I do. I will be at Unique LA with all my Unique woolie goodness, and my faithful assistant, Miss Toshi Awesomeness will be representing me at the Maker's Arcade Market. Whew! I'm glad we could at least make this work out!

So, be sure to mark your calendar, and clear the decks for one big Handmade Day in December- Dec 5, AND be sure to save your pennies and get plenty of rest leading up to that big day! And, don't say I didn't warn you....

xx
Val

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thank you, Glitterfest!


Well, goodness gracious, that Glitterfest show was waaaay too much fun! My assistant extraordinaire, Toshi, and I were amazed at how much this show had to offer; fantastic location, incredible artists/vendors, exceptional products for sale EVERYWHERE, wonderfully supportive shoppers, and the show was fantastically organized! It was a "Wow!��" around every bend! Here we are at the start of our day...


... Cause, you know, this is how Toshi and I roll... We ARE two glitter babes!

Here are a few more photo snippets for you...


The black cat bag caught everyone's eye!


Mr. and Mrs. Skully kept their eyes on everyone!


I wish I had photographed all the doll vignettes, but alas I did not...


The woodland vignettes are always so popular!

And, last but not least... I'd like to introduce you to Barbara. She proved to be my model extraordinaire for the day. Thank you Barbara!


She looked positively brilliant modeling my gorgeous swing capes. I'm so glad she took this one home. It looked like it was made just for her!


Glitterfest was such fun! Yes, I will be back :o)

xx
Val

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Glitterfest Prep!


Glitterfest is this weekend, and I am getting so ready! This morning, I freshly painted my nails with a nice coat of glitter polish, aren't they pretty?!


Even though I don't normally do more than a few Halloween related pieces, this year, I am doing so many more! Will you look at this Trick or Treat party girl? She's killing me!


Then, there are the skull and pumpkin brooches. I made a few last year, and sold them all. So this year I made more, and even threw in a feisty mustached one. Lol, you've got to love a mustached pumpkin!


And, dolls.... I am smitten with the dolls right now. I have one halloween masked doll, and this Pretty in Pink sweetie. The purse... look at the purse! She's so Vogue :o)


And then there's this Miss Pumpkin doll, who I finished today! Oh my! She's standing in a glitter pumpkin patch! With a sparkle crow friend.... 


Come and see me at this weekend's Glitterfest. I'm sure it is going to be so much FUN!


xx,
Val

Thursday, October 1, 2015

I will be at Glitterfest on Oct 10!




Have you heard of Glitterfest? I have heard it is a wonderful show! I have never been to Glitterfest before now, but I am completely smitten with the name. I mean, really? "Glitter-fest" The pictures conjured up in my mind are so sparkle-pretty, I can't bear it!

I will be there, in Sparkle-delight! In fact, I am creating some extra fun pieces with Glitterfest in mind....

Glitter-sparkle Hoops!

Halloween Dolls in Costume :o)

And certainly, I will be sporting Glitter-sparkly fingernails :o)


See you there! (Find out more by clicking the show link here)
xx
Val

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fixing moth holes with needle felting!

Hi there! If you find this, or another of my
tutorials helpful and would like to make a monetary contribution 
to help me keep my woolie ideas flowing, I would be most grateful.
By clicking the "Buy Now" button below you can 
choose your own price for the tutorial. 
It's completely optional, but so appreciated! 



Well, hello!

Falling into the category of Needle Felting Tips and Tricks, today I offer you a snippet from my Flat Needle Felting e-course (find out more by clicking here and here) by way of a video! How fun, right?! I love diy videos, and I hope you like this one too!


The video is straight out of my FLAT Needle felting e-course, so no instruction is given on this video about needle felting tools, or how to needle felt. This video is added at the very end of the course as Bonus content, and the people taking the course have had a TON of needle felting instruction by the time they get to this video, so I don't need to tell them anything about how to needle felt*. 

Also, people have watched my hair grow longer and longer through the filming of the course, so that is why I mention my new hair cut! ;o)

*If you are curious about needle felting, you can certainly learn just the basics by checking out the class listing here. All the e-courses and patterns I currently offer are here.

Now go fix those moth holes! Winter is on it's way :o)

xx
Val

Friday, July 31, 2015

I'm in Stuffed Magazine!




Woop! How fun is this?!

I have had a love affair with Stuffed Magazine for quite some time. I love so many of the projects, and how inspired I feel to create after looking through this publication. 

I am fortunate to have my Mr. and Mrs. Sugar Skull dolls featured in the Fall 2015 issue of Stuffed magazine! Here are a couple of (not very good) photos of the article.



You can find a copy of Stuffed at your local fine bookstore, or arts and craft stores. Pick up a copy today. You'll be glad you did :o)

xx
Val


Friday, July 24, 2015

Hello Felt Tips and Tricks: Making an Old Sweater New Again




Hi there! Hello Felt is back with more Tips and Tricks, and felty news I hope you can use. :o)

Here in the US, we are in the middle of summer, and it has been muggy here lately. Whew! We are not used to mugginess at the coast. But this is what we have, so we will make do. Good thing my studio has A/C, I am all set here. This means I can still work on wool without much displeasure.... or sweating. We don't like sweating over here either!

Recently, I had a long-time client bring me a batch of beloved sweaters that she wants me to rework. The sweaters are heirloom pieces she has owned and worn with love, as well as pieces from her family. One her mother knitted, and wore much of her adult life. So sentimental, it's almost impossible to throw away these wonderful knit garments. So we are going to rework them. 

As I am working on them, I have selected a few photos to share with you. But, I am so sorry that I did not take any Before photos. I am so bad at these things sometimes! The sweaters all looked pretty terrible, and it didn't even occur to me to take any before pictures... that is, until I finished the first one, and saw such an amazing transformation! So, the only Before photo is this one here. You can see the huge hole on the front of the sweater, which unfortunately makes the sweater pretty much unwearable. 


This lovely sweater (above) by Beau Tricot was repaired by mending the holes, and needle felting a design over the top. The two sleeves were badly damaged, so I actually removed them, and switched them out with another pair of sweater arms (Yes! It CAN be done!) The tutorial for this sweater repair will be a part of my upcoming Hello Felt Needle Felting course, specifically, the Flat Needle Felting lesson, which you can learn more about here

Never fear, I am going to show you how I mended another one of her sweaters.... 

The second sweater, which again, I have no (ugly) Before photo. This sweater is a beautiful (and costly, I might add) Eileen Fisher linen tape knit sweater. The owner had gotten a large nasty stain on the front, it appeared to be oil of some type, and she had no luck in getting the stain out. The stain was approximately 1" by 2" long. Very unsightly, and rendered the sweater unwearable. As she loves the sweater dearly, she brought it to me for ideas on how to salvage the piece.

We discussed adding a pocket, but she really liked adding an artsy band of felted wool, much like what I had done in the hummingbird pillow, below. 


So, I found a bit of striped felted sweater wool in my overflowing stash, with a color palette that suited her Eileen Fisher sweater beautifully.

I began by 2" wide cutting strips of the felted wool. (Side note: felted wool is wool you have washed and shrunk, so when you cut it, it doesn't unravel)


Then I pinned the strips carefully in place. Since only one strip might look "weird" or out of place, I added 3 strips to the sweater in several areas on the front and back of the sweater, even though we only needed one to cover over the stain. When doing this type of repair work, it is most desirable to make the sweater look like these design elements were intentional from the start. 


You might note how I made sure to lay the strip of wool evenly in place along the knit lines of the garment, meaning the vertical placement of the strip matched up with the vertical lines of the knitting. In the photo above, my finger is pointing to the place where I covered up the stain. 

I pinned the strips in place, and then I used Liquid Stitch sewing glue to lightly glue down the edges of the strips. I let the glue dry for about an hour, and then I stitched the strips down with black embroidery floss. 



In the photo below, you can see again how I lined up the strip of felted wool with the knit lines of the garment. Little details like this mean your repair work looks intentional and neat, and not like something you did haphazardly. I'm sure people will comment when my client wears the sweater how artsy she dresses! 


Here's the remade sweater, all fixed up: 






Now, go take a look for a few stain marked sweaters in your closet (I know they're there!), and see if there's a way for you to breathe some life back into them. Artsy ladies, that we are!

xx,
Val

PS. My Hello Felt FLAT Needle Felting course is about to go LIVE! You can find out more by clicking on this link, or look at the course specifics here. I certainly hope you will join me by learning this wonderful craft!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Introducing: Hello Felt Tips & Tricks!





Everybody loves a good bit of free advice, right?! Especially when it has to do with something we feel passionate about, and really enjoy doing. I know I certainly do :o)

So, I am going to offer a hopefully somewhat regular series of Tips and Tricks for you needle felters out there! I posted a great tip a few weeks ago... did you see it? If not, you can take a look here.  It was all about how to NOT regularly break your needle felting needles during your crafting sessions. I got some feedback that people liked what I had to say, so I am going to keep it up.

Todays Tip & Tricks topic is:
What fabrics can I needle felt onto?
What a great question! This is one I am often asked when teaching classes on FLAT needle felting.

What is "Flat" needle felting? Flat needle felting is what you see in the image above. It is when an image is needle felted onto a backing fabric. I also refer to this type of needle felting as "painting with fiber", because that is basically what we are doing. We are using loose wool roving (the paint) and with sharp barbed needles (the "paint brush") we are creating an art image on a backing "substrate", which will be suitable for hanging on the wall, or on clothing, or on home decor items.

What fabrics can I needle felt onto? The basic rule of thumb is this: Any natural fiber fabric will work. So, a 100% wool, 100% silk or 100% cotton fiber backing should take the action of needle felting with little resistance. Please note: silk and some delicate fibers will pull as you needle felt, so it's best to try your project first on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure you are not bothered by the result.

Why is it so hard to needle felt onto a fabric I found at the thrift store? I thought it was 100% natural. Generally, if the fabric you are needle felting onto provides you great resistance, it is most likely a mixed fiber fabric, with synthetics in the mix. The needle felting needles will not felt into synthetics, also that is probably the root of your trouble. Best to give up on this fabric for needle felting - hey, you can paint on it instead! And keep looking for a 100% natural fabric. Read those clothing labels to double check.

More soon on felting your own wool to use as a fabric base. So, stay tuned and check back regularly!

xx
Val

PS. Don't forget that my Hello Felt online classes will be ready very soon in my Etsy shop. Click here to check the current offerings, or click here to be added to a mailing list so you can be among the first to know when the classes are ready to go live (scroll to the bottom of the page). Also, newsletter subscribers will be given specials and discount codes... hint hint!


Monday, June 8, 2015

Hello Felt Launch Update


So, June 1st has come and gone, and I bet you are all ready to sign up for the Hello Felt online e-course. But, guess what? I have a big ol' CHANGE UP in store for you.... It is a good thing, I promise!

Rather than a 4 week intensive course, I have decided to offer the class as individual modules you can take in your own time, at your own pace, and where you can purchase only the lessons you want to learn
Also, there will be an option for a private 1-on-1 session with me, should you feel you need it. I think this is a super cool idea, and I hope you agree!

How has this come about? you may be wondering. You see, I always do a bit of soul searching as each calendar year comes to an end, and try to do some vision planning for the upcoming year. Mixed in with this is a bit of intuitive knowing, where I just open myself up to the pushes and pulls of the universe. I simply ask... and patiently wait for the answer.... Well, last December as I was practicing this, the vision that came to me was that 2015 would be a year of "Quiet Waiting". And the word that came to me was .... Trust.... (big breath in, big breath out...)

When I put out my Hello Felt newsletter a couple of weeks ago, I was very excited, but I was also terrified because I've never done anything like this e-course before. Was I doing it the right way? Would people really sign up? Remember, I am practicing "Trust" and I knew my intuitive guides would lead me where I need to go... 


Wow, I know this might be a case of "TMI" (too much information) or, might be a little too much "woo hoo"-ee for you. I get that, because I am a pretty practical sort of person. But when the intuitive guides speak to me, I do sit up and take notice. It's the kind of thing like when you are listening to your gut, or your heart. Do you do this too?


In the past couple of weeks, a sort of crazy wind whipped through my life, and believe me, it was enough of a physical and spiritual message to make me sit up and take notice. Yes-sirr-ee, it did. Was I listening? Wait... Was I practicing the notion of Quiet Waiting? Humm... apparently I was not. 


Is it fair to step back in life when we are pressing forward on a course of action? Yes, I believe it is absolutely fair, and sometimes extremely necessary. For what is at stake if we do not listen to our intuitive guides? In my humble opinion,  I believe our very soul and peace of mind are at stake. 


So, it has come to me out of a place of Trust and Quiet Waiting to not hold a 4 week intensive online e-course. But, so as not to rob YOU of the experience to learn about needle felting that you may be looking forward to, I am going to make ALL my course material available to you

Classes will be loaded into my Etsy shop between now and mid July. In mid July, there will be an announcement when the classes are ready to "go live", meaning if you buy a class between now and mid-July, you will automatically get an email that tells you the class is all ready for you to access. Or, you may wish to join my Hello Felt newsletter here (scroll to the bottom of the page) so you can be notified as soon as the class links are live and ready to access. Then you can go and shop for only the class(es) you wish to take. I LOVE this idea, and know that this is the way I prefer to take online classes, and I hope you'll agree with me. 

As ever, please leave me a message if you have questions or any comments, and I promise, I will get right back to you.

Happy in Felt...always :o)
xx
Val