Cute needle felted animal – easy how to

Though I already made some dry and wet felting, I wanted to try making a felted animal, which seems a bit of a more difficult project. But in fact, it is really easy and I am quite pleased with my first one. Here is a step by step process for needle felted mouse.

First, I made a simple wire construction. I used aluminium wire, since it is easy to bend but it is sturdy enough to support the weight of the mouse. As I discovered later, it is best to use a thin wire to avoid breaking the felting needle while poking the wool. I used a 1 mm and 5 mm thick (flat) wire.

Then I put some synthetic batting into the wire construction, to form a belly and a head of the mouse as a base for felting the wool. I could insert the wool into the structure and begin felting instead, but it would take a lot more time.

Next, I applied some wool to the batting and began stabbing at loose wool fibres with a barbed needle. At first I stabbed a bit deeper to make sure that the wool is attaching to the batting, later on I continued to stab more shallowly, slowly sculpting the shapes of the animal.

I felted ears separately and sewn them to the wire construction. The most difficult part is felting hands and legs, because of the underneath wire. To felt those I stabbed the wool at an angle almost parallel to the limbs and proceeded really slow to not break the needle.

After about 4 hours of felting the consistency and shape of the mouse was about right, time for final touches! I applied some white wool roving to the ears, belly and head of the mouse and sewn eyes, mouth and nose.

There were some loose frizzy fibres left that I didn’t like. I tried to press them down with damp towel, but it didn’t work. So I applied a little bit of hair spray to the mouse and gently pressed down the fibres with my fingers. After the spray had dried I simply trimmed the remaining loose fibres with small scissors.  And here is the finished product, voila!

 

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Old house renovation in progress – laundry

We began renovating our old house about five months ago. The progress is slow, since my husband and I are doing all of the work by ourselves – and actually enjoy it. The place that shows major progress is the laundry, a tiny place in the oldest part of the building, about hundred years old. It was built as pigsty on a countryside farm, owned by a rich landowner from Austria. Later on it was used as a toolshed and small kitchenette. It was in a really bad shape and cried for some attention and love.

We wanted to maintain the farmhouse character of the building in structural elements and internal decor – this is where many of ideas from Pinterest came handy.

The plaster was falling apart, so we removed it completely from one wall and repointed the mortar between bricks. Long hours of work were put in, but now the exposed bricks add character to the place and look great with other walls that were re-plastered in white. We also got rid of old suspended ceiling, exposed the beams and put on the insulation. There is still some plaster work to be done, but it does already look pretty ok.

The furniture and internal decor is all made from renovated or reclaimed materials. Besides building materials we will not add anything new to the place.

A renovated credenza from 60-ties that will be used for storage in the laundry. A desk from reclaimed wood boards will cover laundry and dryer machine and will come handy for folding and ironing. The old sink is put on the simple wooden stand.

The lamp is Pinterest inspired DIY: an old piece of wood and simple fabric covered electrical cord. The main feature is lightbulbs in retro-style that are hanging on three cords of different length.

Still lots to do, I am really looking forward!


Do you have a project that gives you thrills of enthusiasm? What is it that you love about it?

 

Tough beginnings on Etsy

I enjoy crafting as far as I remember. So in the midst of middle age crisis I decided to upgrade my hobby and start selling things. The other truth is, I have no more space to decorate my home or to stock my little cuties. I opted for Etsy platform and opened my shop. So far so good. During first two weeks I listed 20 products and had 13 views, no likes and – obviously – no sells.

I have a lot of stamina and will not be defeated right away: I still have to upgrade my photo skills, figure out the CEO thing, start promoting on Facebook (which I do not like) and so on. Lots to do and learn, which is great. And getting out of my introvert comfort zone, which I guess is also ok. But I guess it will take more than this.

I wonder, for average shop owner, what rate of success is there? I mean, I do not expect to make huge money out of it, but at least to cover expenses and have a good feeling about it moving forward. To have some insight I turned to YouTube, where are lots of videos giving tips and telling success stories. But I have a vague feeling that some of them just shifted from selling stuff on Etsy to selling Etsy management knowledge on YouTube.

One video suggested that an option to think about when there are no sells is that the products are no good at all. Reasonable advice, but nevertheless this really stuck my strings of deepest angst I guess a lot of creative people share: of not being good enough.

I guess this will be a very interesting self-development journey as well.


Meanwhile, I keep going with my stuff. I made a wall decoration out of some old wood board, sewn a little bag to be used as a vase, pencil holder, candy holder or anything smallish holder, made some drawing… et voila, here it is.

P.S. If you like it, let me know 🙂

https://www.etsy.com/listing/559690005/wood-wall-decor-farmhouse-rustic-style?ref=shop_home_active_1

I am back, got some news!

Hi, everybody! I haven’t published anything during last several months. My husband and I are renovating our old house – we are doing almost everything by ourselves – so we were busy all days long. The house is still looking like a building site, but one or two big final pushes and we’ll reach the stage I am really looking forward to – making and buying furniture, decorations, making the porch and so on. From next spring on I hope we’ll have lots of creative projects to share with you.

There is another project that suffered neglect during last months: I opened my Etsy shop (ioKikkaDesign) and only now finally filled it up with some items (I still have lots of work to do, though). I am very curious how it will turn out – the marketplace is huge and lots of shops cannot survive the fierce competition. So, fellow Etsy shop owners and buyers, if you would like to share your experience, give some advice or just let us know about your shop – I would be most grateful and interested to hear from you.

Last but not least, here are some pictures of my little cuties.

And here is my current working space (lots of creative mess on our kitchen table). I am looking forward to have a special “womans cave” at the house once we move in – yey!

Cover Etsy.001

 

 

My sisters’ bobbin lace jewellery – part 2

I already presented my sisters’ work with bobbin laces. She is doing quite a lot of them, so it’s time to show you what she’s been doing lately. Let’s see some traditional bobbin laces that are firmly sewn to different supporting base: a bangle, earrings, a brooch…

DSC_0227

The lace in the picture above is made with purple cotton thread and sewn into metal circle. This piece can be used as home decoration, if you simply hang it on a wall or on the window, but it can be turned to jewellery as well. A pendant or, if done in smaller circle, a pair of earrings.

DSC_0151

Bobbin lace within bangle. The lace is handmade with silver metallic thread, so it adds texture and colour to shiny bangle base. Very elegant piece.

DSC_0179

This brooch has a base of cotton cloth. Two lace flowers, that are done with cotton thread are sewn to the cloth base of the brooch.

DSC_0181

 

 

The lace is put in pendant base. Some beads are sewn between the lace and the supporting metal. Gold complements beautifully to the soft pink and purple colour.

 

 

 

 

I love my sisters’ creations, she is doing really amazing things. Love you, sis!

Happy crafting to you all!

DIY Felted necklaces

Wool can be transformed into felt using needle technique. Here are some ideas how to make necklaces out of wool roving. It may not seem so, but it is really an easy process.

dsc_0125

You will need a special needle, which has small sharp hooks, so when you poke the wool with it, the wool fibres get entangled and slowly get compacted in the desired shape. Besides needle you will need a felting surface, usually a foam pad. The wool is placed on the pad when doing needle felting so there is no danger to poke yourself with very sharp felting needle.

There are many different choices about what kind of wool to use. No worries, just be sure to have the wool that is suitable for needle felting – most of them are. I am using merino wool roving. This is all there is to know to get started.

With some practice and imagination lots of beautiful creations can be done.

dsc_0134

dsc_0142

Happy crafting to you all!

Bring kids drawings to life

Many years ago my daughters and I made a fun DIY project. My daughters like to draw and are keen on their drawings, which are on display on our fridge. At the time they also liked dolls so we had the idea to make dolls out of their own drawings. Younger daughter had 3 years and older about 7.

We took two pieces of paper and crayons. The only instruction I gave them was to make a large enough picture, so that it would be possible for me to sew the doll.

The younger drew a humanoid, which seems more like a banana, but I can guarantee you that it is actually a very beautiful princess with long hair and blue eyes. My older daughter drew her own princess, with many more details and colours.

prvi-izdelki-003

Next, I drew over the lines and transferred the picture onto a cloth. I put two pieces of cloth and some stuffing in between and sewed main lines of the picture with zig-zag seam on my sewing machine. Finally, we coloured the dolls with crayons and I embroidered details: eyes, mouth, crown…

My kids were so proud to have dolls made out of their own design. They played a lot with these dolls and are still keeping them as memorabilia.

Happy crafting!

 

 

 

Beach stone earrings

I wanted to upgrade my beach stone jewellery with some silver plated wire. It looks so easy when others do it, but I had quite an experience with different sorts of wires. Some were too thin, others just didn’t go into shape I wanted them to. Not to talk about working with cutters and round nose pliers (yes, I had to buy those first)… But here are some final results I would like to share.

dsc_0128

dsc_0150

Not exactly round, but I like them anyway…

dsc_0134

I even tried inlaying a smaller stone into the larger one. To make the smaller white stone pop out, I glued a piece of gold leaf in the recess prior to putting the smaller stone in.

dsc_0160

I guess I have some more practice to do, but first products aren’t that bad either.

Happy crafting to you all!

 

 

Life suckers

Little children are so easily overwhelmed by too much external stimuli. They hear, observe and smell their surroundings and suddenly it’s just too much for them to bear. My daughter tolerated a total of 5 minutes of first Santa visit at kindergarten and at the age of 5, after her first cinema matinée, burst to cry and then had to eat and take a nap. To eliminate excess stress and recover her forces.

With age we withstand more. But how much more?

There are various types of stresses, but we will keep aside all obviously good or bad stresses, since we usually recognise them easily.

But life suckers – they are worth a word or two.

Life suckers come to our life embodied in nasty persons usually disguised behind pretty smiles, as difficult situations or as oppressing places and in many, many other forms. The worst kind in my opinion are the human ones. They have some common traits: they come, suck as many life juices as they can and usually stick to their prey as much as they can (why leaving a fresh source of blood?), always taking and taking.

Leaving us exhausted and empty – but many times we just don’t recognise it right away. Since we are adults, right? And we won’t cry and take a nap after. We are taught to rather endure, even these silent stresses day by day, burning a lot of energy in vain. Sometimes because of fear, compassion, politeness – who knows?

What about being more aware and learning to recognise our life suckers? And not letting them taking more of our energy than we are consciously willing to give. Allowing ourselves be more child-like again and take a good care of ourselves when we need it.


Do you recognise your life suckers? How do you cope with them?

Finding perfect career

Today is one of those days. When a bad morning becomes crappy and then evolves to shitty before lunch time. I know for a long time now that the work I am doing does not reflect me anymore (ok, job sucks), but still did not make the next step in other direction (yes, I am procrastinating). Even though the spirits have been dashed for a long time now, leaving behind only restlessness to exit the situation. Where to?

Ok, now let’s be practical.

Very nice people at YouTube know exactly what I need (thanks!), so I was suggested to watch the “To find work you love, don’t follow your passion” TED talk by Benjamin Todd. To summarise: rather than start with things we are passionate about and then hope to reach a fulfilling career out of it, we should focus on what brings value, which will result in passion and fulfilling career.

This is not what we’ve been taught, right? Following the suggested 80000 hours (incredible amount of time we spend at work) website I ended doing their “decision tool”. The nice thing is that it does not give ready answers (“you should be an astronaut” thing), but merely questions to help you think about your career choices from different perspectives.

It turns out, I am concerned most with unfair distribution of wealth and I could therefore pursue career helping people discover their talents (their own source of wealth). Maybe doing crafting workshops or making reviews of innovative handmade items or maybe helping managing small craft shops would be my thing?

I guess there is quite some of you who felt stuck at some point in your lives – can you share which strategies you choose, how did you cope with it, what was helpful? Maybe share a story of your career change? 

I wish you all a very bright day!