Pearl, Dragon & Squirrel

Olivia thought Pearl & Squirrel really needed a dragon friend. So here’s Miles.

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As always, I start with just a few tufts of wool…

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Sweet Tooth Squirrel

Cake?

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…or cookies?

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Squirrel lives in his snug little tree house on Walnut Way, and his friends always seem to show up just when he’s pulling something delicious out of the oven. There’s Fox, Rabbit, Owl…and a Dragon with seasonal allergies. Who, in one silly story sneezes fire everywhere. This crew is always cookin’ up some mischief (and eating hazelnut cakes and pecan pies.) Our six-year old loves making up these “silly squirrel stories” together at night. The sillier the better. A favorite from a couple years back is called “The Carnival and the Crazy Kazoos”. That might have to be the first one. 🙂

I’ll needle-felt most of the woodland scenes, all of the characters, the clouds, grass, even the trees will look like little tufts of cotton candy.

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Mobile Makin’.

So glad I was asked to make a couple of mobiles for a co-worker friend’s grandkiddos. These DIY mobiles are made out of paint sticks (painted white), fishing line, and sculpted tufts of wool.

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Most of the time I make shapes and figures free-form, but this time I had a star cookie cutter on hand to be my pattern. Now I want to do this with all my cookie cutter shapes!

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Here’s the Solar System mobile… in a universe where Saturn looks like Neapolitan ice cream, and Jupiter’s a bit of caramel swirl.

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I use about three different colors for each planet. I swear by the Pennycandy bag of wool from Decadentfibers.com. It’ll keep you busy for years.

http://www.decadentfibers.com/roving/decadent_fibers__penny_candy_.htm

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Fairy tales & Fall.

Felted fairy tales! Got a dragon in the works too…

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A little behind-the-scenes peek below. Pushed the dining room table up to the window, propped up a watercolor backdrop and white foam core board to bounce some light.
Yes, that is a Battlestar Galactica Limited Edition dvd set propping up the ponies. Pretty technical here at the Leporte house. 🙂 Once I’ve got the shot, I bring it into Photoshop and add things. The usual. Castles in the mist and such. With my go-to brush — #36 chalk.

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I usually forget to take a snapshot of my felties as I’m starting them, but this time I did! Something like these two (Roxy & Raz) might take me about four hours or so to finish, but I never do something like this all at once. Honestly what I love about needle-felting — you can set it down and come back to it whenever you want. No patterns, no sewing. And all you need is a foam block, a felting needle and some wool.

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I’m kind of smooshing two posts in one. But the bike ride we just went on was pretty fairy-tale magical. Something about fall… These ornamental grasses — the gentle rushing sound of them in the wind — a gossamer ocean of white. My Grandma Alice always loved watching pampassgrass blowing. I might have to plant these lovelies in our yard.

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Iowa has some incredible bike trails, and this one right off Urbandale Ave & MLK  (Inner Urban Trail) is one of our faves.

This is Iowa.

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Back to Cool.

Check out the Back to School Family Fun issue! Even though I’m in complete denial that mums are already out in front of the stores. Sigh… But it’s all good, because fall is the perfect time to start needle-felting. Be cool. Make this planet mobile — along with some other cool STEM crafts for the kiddos.

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All you need for needle-felting — a few tufts of wool, a foam pad and a couple special felting needles. It’s like sculpting cotton candy. Grab a couple of paint sticks (or an embroidery hoop would work), string (we used white, but hot pink or gold would be fun), a gold eye-hook, and you’re set! Click on the link below for full story. Photo above by Jason Donnelly.

http://www.parents.com/kids/education/math-and-science/5-fun-stem-crafts-for-kids/

Check out my needle-felted children’s picture book, Pearl and the Whale on my shop! www.etsy.com/shop/PearlandtheWhale

Storytime and CREATE!

Love what these kiddos made at J.Crew’s Storytime event today! Was so honored to have been asked to come. We made popsicle stick puppets after reading Pearl and the Whale. My five-year-old daughter, Olivia, helped me read today — and she showed each little felted character as we told the story. We made a good team!

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Rainbow-colored starfish, pink whale, sherbet octopus… SO love their self expression and enthusiasm to CREATE!

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The J.Crew staff were wonderful — look what they had all set up– cute chalkboard announcement + the sweetest cookies ever. Delish. From Brookies Cookies. 319-621-3177. Seriously THEE best iced sugar cookies I’ve had. Look at the cute little Earth cookies. And Pearl too!!

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Felted Fiction

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These two. From the book Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I found the book about ten years ago when I lived out in Oregon, in the Willamette Valley, all surrounded by pine trees and deep shadows and moss. Lucky for me that summer I found a red caboose library in the woods–chock-full of people’s faves. An honor system library. Seriously the coolest thing ever. There should be a red caboose library in every town. Anyway, I took a chance on the dog-eared copy of Outlander. And it was a pretty delicious yarn. Total summer escapism. They’ve made it into a TV show, of course. (Starz). Every bit as addictive!

I needle-felted them from wool roving, (like sculpting with cotton candy) and they’re about 10″ tall.

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