Saturday, November 24, 2007

Needle Felted "Horizon"

At least...I think it's finished. I'll mull it over for a day or two before I add it to my Etsy store. It is an ACEO, which is always 2.5" x 3.5". It is 100% wool fiber, hand needle felted, including the base or "canvas".

This, like most of my work, just started creating itself. I had no idea where it was going, when I started, but I think it's there.

I think.

Thanksgiving was quiet...but filled with love...and good food. I have so much to be thankful for that if I began to list it all here, I would never get off this machine, so I will only say that I am very grateful for the many gifts in my, love, creativity,! Oh no! I've started the list!! I simply must stop here, because I'm sure you get the idea and I have to go enjoy the gifts I've been given. :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Altered Clothespin Doll

I haven't stopped needle felting. I just wanted to add a blog about a doll I made, a while back, for a swap. I couldn't post her, as I did not want to spoil the surprise for my "swapper".

This is "Primal Singer". She is altered on a clothespin using hand-painted fabric, hand made beads and embellishments and one of my hand-sculpted, high fired faces. She is my first doll in this format, though I have made dolls for most of my life.

Not your grandmother's clothespin doll...though I love those, too!

I have several other dolls, like this, on my work table...which I have not seen since I started needle felting in the "Satellite Lab" (the bed *wink*). I am really feeling the itch, though, to start combining all my skills, again, so more of these may be forthcoming...with a little needle felting worked in!

I'm also going to include a pic of my latest flat felted piece, a dragon and "The Green Man's Cat", though I'm not really liking the scans I'm getting of him. Also, he might need some whiskers. I'm still thinking about it.

Well, I'd better get back to The Lab!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Needle Felting Abstracts computer went down for a bit, so I was inspired to work more on "real-time" art. These scans are of my latest, needle felted "paintings".

I recently acquired some new wool from my new friend Doxie, at The Special Tea Shop on EBay. These fibers are unlike anything I have purchased, so far and are very fine and short. Unexpectedly wonderful for shading! Lots of new, intuitive art is showing up, so look for more, very soon!

In the mean time, I hope you will enjoy these little works. The one on top was fun to do, but I haven't thought of a title for it, yet. It is an ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") and will be listed soon.

The other one is an abstract that just showed up, called "Bird Watching". It's 2.5" x 4.5". Birds show up, a lot, in my work, especially in the abstracts.

Look for a new needle felted character, soon! He's finished. He just has to be photographed, so the next blog will showcase "The Green Man's Cat".


Friday, October 5, 2007

Needle Felting: "Farmer Jack"

It's that time of year, again.

Here is my offering for Halloween. "Farmer Jack" is needle felted over a wire armature. I like doing these characters, but they are so time consuming. I know I say that, a lot, but it can't be expressed, enough, in my opinion.

I've read where some people think needle felting is easy...and it can be, depending on what you want to achieve. The hardest part, to me, is making hands and feet...the same size. You have to get a feel for how much wool will needle down into the size you want. This character had entirely different hands, before I ripped them off, because I had used too much wool and just couldn't get them down to the size I wanted. That was a three hour lesson. Now, I know that less is better, to start with, as you can always add more, but taking away is extremely difficult.

I know I am getting a little faster, at this, all the time, but it takes the time that it takes and rushing only causes...well...three hour lessons. Also, I like my work to be firmly felted. This takes hours of additional time. Add to that my obsession with details ( I really had to reign that in, with Jack, as I wanted him to be more accessible, price wise) and you can get work that must be compensated by hundreds of dollars, if one needed to make a living from their art, as I do.

I guess what I'm hoping, here, is that anyone reading this will understand the monetary value of time. If "Farmer Jack" sells for the minimum amount I listed him for, I will have made around two dollars an hour for labor and then there are all the listing fees, final value fees and other overhead. If I didn't love doing it, this could be very discouraging.

Well...fortunately...I do love doing it, so I'm not complaining...just educating, a little, I hope. At any rate, in the future you may see work that is priced according to the amount of time and love I put in. I always like to have pieces that are accessible to everyone who wants to invite my work into their homes...which I consider an honor, by the way, but some of it may be out or reach for some. I can't let that stop me from putting all I am into my work.

I'd love some comments on this. Should artists expect, at least, minimum wage for the time they put into their work?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Needle Felted: "Devotion"

Here's another quick update with pics of my latest. I've become fascinated with miniature, needle felted pictures. My latest is a two inch oval called "Devotion".

See my other tiny "paintings", as my friend Melanie calls them, in my EBay listings. There is so much love and passion in my work, lately. I just can't get enough wool! This will be a great art form to curl up with, this winter!

I'm also adding a pic of "Fishies".

I still haven't listed "Harvey and His Pooka". It's so hard to detach, sometimes.

Many blessings of creativity!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Needle Felting: Harvey

Well, I was looking at my needle felted cat (seen in a previous blog) when it occurred to me that I had the perfect colors for a new experiment. Not too original, but I couldn't resist trying it. When I had finished (hours of poking and several, painful finger-sticks later) I placed my new creation next to Harvey and a new and everlasting friendship was born.

"Harvey and His Pooka" is a OOAK creation, inspired in part, by the movie with Jimmy Stewart and also by my love for sock monkeys. I had a sock monkey, when I was little, made by my grandmother. Her name was Luisa (the sock monkey, not my grandmother) and was named after an organ grinder's monkey in a Shirley Temple movie.

In case you didn't know, the Harvey in the story was Elwood P. Dowd's pooka. In Irish Folklore a pooka is a mischievous spirit, like a fairy or goblin, with the power to be seen as an animal. In my world, Harvey has his own pooka in the form of a sock monkey!

This work evolved, over time to become what it artist's interpretation...a tribute to a classic movie...and a classic toy. In no way, have I intended to infringe on any copyrights, and I hope this will not be seen, as such.

If you haven't seen the's well worth the rental fee...and if you want to make a real sock monkey, you can still purchase Rockford Red Heel Socks on the net.

Happy Creating!

Friday, September 21, 2007

More on Needle Felting

Just a quick update. I've been so busy, I haven't had a lot of time for blogging.

I'm still very excited about needle felting and I have found some awesome links, in my recent wanderings around Cyberworld. They are added to my Fiber Links, on the right. Do check those out for some visual treats...and for good information.

I just received an order for new needles from WINDORWOOD FARM, on EBay. I bought in bulk, three different sizes. They were very reasonably priced and I am enjoying my experiments with the different sizes...and now I have extra needles, in case one should break (I broke one, last week) or should I want to show anyone else how this is done.

I'm starting to get bids on my needle felted work on EBay. This is delightful, as it will enable me to buy more supplies (feed my

I'm including a pic of my latest character. It's my first, finished piece with a wire armature. I'm calling him "Harvey" for now, but that could change. He might be finished...or he might need clothes...or he might be a she. You just never know. In any case, I'm not ready to list him, yet.

It does take a little time to detach from these pieces. They are far more time-consuming then one might think and it's hard to let them go, sometimes. I will miss "Edward". His auction closes, tomorrow.

Many blessings...and fewer pokes (ouch).


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Needle felting: Nuts and bolts.

I've become so passionate about this art form, that some of my friends are starting to ask me I must know something. Well, I have a long way to go, before I am any kind of an expert, but I am happy to share what I have been learning, so far. If there are any felters out there who would like to add something, please feel free to comment.

Lately, I've been learning about the importance of a light touch. It's easy to get excited and keep jabbing away like Michael in "Halloween"...but that's also a good way to stab yourself, a lot. I'm more of a tapper, now, than a jabber, especially on the flat pieces.

Felting needles are extremely sharp. They are also fragile, in the sense that you should not use them to pull fiber from one place to another. I turn them around and use the handle for this, or I grab a stronger, tapestry needle for that job. The latter is better, so you don't poke yourself. In any event, felting needles can break if you bend them, so it's best to use them, only for poking straight into the fiber.

Another thing to think about is needle sterilization. Since sticking yourself is common, sharing needles is a bad idea. Be sure to have extra needles around, if you want to show friends how to do this, or you want to teach classes. Each person should have their own needles.

Fiber comes from lots of different animals and even plants. Some is great for felting, some is not. I'll post more about that, as I learn more about it. So far, I have found that fiber that is crinkly seems to work better than ultra smooth roving, though you can crinkle some of the smooth stuff in your fingers and it will work better.

Today's pics are of a cat that is a work-in-progress and some tiny, flat "paintings", so to speak. I just keep experimenting.

I hope you will check out some of the other blogs that are listed on the right of this page. Some of them will take you to some awesome needle felters...who know much more than I.

I'm off to poke some more stuff! :)


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"Grandfather Sun" is Evolving.

I am beginning to learn that, with needle felting, one needs to pace themselves. This is much more difficult for me, than creating a character.
Needle felting can be tedious. I mean, it's great fun to watch a character appear, but it's an awful lot of pokes, before things really start to shape up and get exciting. I still find it relaxing, but the only problem is, I tend to want to push myself to the finish line in one sitting...and if that means sitting for three days, so be it...sigh...

The other day, I sat down in the Satellite Lab, right after Lance went to work. I started jabbing this and that...just experiments...pieces and parts, many of which, were tossed in the "bone pile". Suddenly, I looked at the clock and it was time for Lance to come home from work!! I got up and my whole body felt crippled with muscle spasms and sleeping appendages! LOL...I had really zoned!!!

I just couldn't help it. New wool had arrived in the form of bag of end pieces. One pound, which turned out to be a lot of different colors, from bluegooseglen. It was very reasonably priced, and I laughed, maniacally, as I explored the bag and separated all the colors into little balls. It was like getting 20, or so, new paint colors (maybe more, I haven't counted)! Update: I counted...38 colors!!! No wonder I was excited!

I also had received some wool from my friend Noelle (trickystitchesprimitives on EBay), who had some extra and was kind enough to share some with me. Noelle is a gifted artist of primitive cloth dolls, which are just wonderful, BTW.

Another small batch of wool came in from EBay, as well, from woolpicker. I had to ask about the smell of eucalyptus...not a bad smell, but I wanted to know where it came from. She sent me a note that explained that her wool was stored with a moth-repellent potpourri; a special blend of herbs. It really smells just wonderful, while I work with it. She also sent me a picture of Erna, her beautiful ewe that crossed over in the spring. I feel blessed as I work this wool, to be honoring the Spirit of a beloved pet.

I realize, at this point, that life must go on and I must slow down, a bit, with the needle felting. I don't need to race to any finish lines...and I do have other things to do, like clean house, create ACEOs, books, shakers, dolls, music....sigh... So "Grandfather Sun" could be a work-in-progress for a long time.

I just know there must be more hours I can squeak out...somewhere.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here Comes The Sun...maybe.

At least, I think that's where I'm going with this. Another intuitive sculpture with some cool, new fluff that came in the mail, today! It's so nice to be working in yellows.

This is a work in progress and I'm thinking about a sun...but these things have a way of running away with me, so who knows what it will really end up becoming. Whatever it becomes, you can be sure I will be back to post about it (Creator willing and the Ohio River don't rise).

I wanted to mention, here that my practice in sculpting in polymer and other clays has come in very handy in this art form. The parts and pieces come together in much the same way, as with clay, but instead of using my fingers and other tools, I am using a single needle.

If you are interested in this art form and have never sculpted anything, before, I highly recommend checking out some books on polymer character building. If you are already building in clay, then you shouldn't have any problem creating fun characters with wool...but a word of warning...If I had sculpted this head in polymer, it would have taken me about thirty minutes or less. I've spent the last FIVE HOURS working on this face....and there's still a long way to go!

I have a whole new appreciation for the time spent creating needle felted characters. No regrets, though. It's the most fun, relaxing thing I've done in a long time.

Well...I'm off to make dinner.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


In my last blog, I had begun my exploration into the world of needle felting. You can read more about needle felting, there, but I wanted to pop in and tell you about "Edward".

"Edward" is my first, intuitive, needle felted sculpture. I couldn't wait for more roving to arrive, so I used the left-overs from my bear kit. I'm really champing at the bit to start playing with more colors, but I'm thankful there was enough purple left over to create "Edward". I used what I learned, but no patterns. He just poked, right out of my hands!

I've listed him, but it was hard. He's my first, original design, in this art form...but I need more roving. :)


Monday, August 6, 2007

Needle Felting: Uh-oh...

...I feel another addiction coming on...sigh...

So, you take a ball of fluff (wool roving) and jab it a gazillion times with a very sharp, barbed needle (a specialized tool) until the fluff is packed down into a shape.

It's really rather amazing.

I wanted to try it and was advised to start with a kit, so I did a search in EBay, for "needle felting", and found a very nice kit, listed by Blue Goose Glen. It came with most everything I needed, along with instructions which had lots of color photos of the step-by-step process for making an adorable, little purple bear.

When my kit arrived in the mail, I couldn't wait to get started, so as soon as I could get away from everything else and settle down into my "Satellite Lab" (the bed) I opened the box and began looking over all the supplies. I read all the instructions, carefully, before beginning (not like me, at all), then, when confidence was high, I sat back with my "fluff" and my foam pad (Cardinal rule # 1. Always work on a foam pad!!) and began my project. After a while (all that evening and part of the next day) and a couple of finger pokes ( I only drew blood twice) I had a surprisingly adequate sculpture of an adorable bear...that looked nothing like the one in the picture, but then...we all know...I'm a rebel. Their bear was short and cute and mine is tall with more "human" proportions. Theirs had an embroidered nose, mouth and paws, but I couldn't find my embroidery thread, so mine are felted.

This has to be one of the most satisfying, creative activities I've discovered, to date. Sculpting with wool. The detail that can be achieved is the amazing part. Right now, I am learning, so I'm practicing with whimsy. There are those on-line who are making some extraordinarily realistic creatures, as they combine this technique with others, like polymer clay. That's where I want to go. Since I have sculpted dolls in polymer for years, I am already ahead of the game, there.

I know I will be back, with more on this subject. Right now, I'm just trying to decide if I want to put clothes on this little guy.

Have a beautiful, creative day!


Saturday, August 4, 2007

I'm Back, With Color!

I have to get back to the Lab, but I thought I would surface, for a few minutes, to add this update and bring the color that I promised. You should be able to click on the picture, for a larger view.

So, I bought these, cool, bamboo tiles from saigonron2000 at EBay. They are about the size of a domino and have two holes down, through them, so all they need is a little embellishment.

I used hand-dyed paper towels for the basic texture and color, then added one of my hand-made embellishments, made from air-dry clay, in the center. The leaf is hand-sculpted from white, fired clay. Metallic paint and vintage copper wire finish this little pendant.

There...promise kept. I'm heading down to the Lab, now, to get some more work done!

Happy creating!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Woo hoo! I'm Back!! good friend, Jason, came by and fixed my computer for me and I am back on-line!!!! Woo hoo!!! (is that too many woo hoos?) Anyway, the last week has been a productive one and my Lab is bubbling over with new projects and my house is cleaner than it's been in a long time (even my laundry room has been swept and re-organized!).

Go figure.

I do spend a lot of time in Cyber World. I belong to several art groups, some in EBay, others on Yahoo. I have no regrets about that, as I get so much great inspiration from some very wonderful people with whom I have much in common. I also learn a lot about a lot of different art forms, but every now and then, the Universe (good 'ol Universe) points out to me that I am spending too much time in here and not enough time using what I've learned (too much in-put, not enough out-put).

So, I've learned not to freak-out when my computer goes on vacation. I use the time to clean and organize and create...not to mention that I get a lot more exercise walking to the Library to check my email.

I want to add some pics of my latest projects, but will do that in the next blog, as they are birthday presents that have not been delivered, yet. (No spoilers, here!)

I'll be back....with color.

ई चूसे लोवे

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Computer's Down!!

This is just a quick post to let anyone, who makes it this far, know that my computer has crashed. I have no idea when I will be able to get it back up, but I am able to go to the Library a couple of times a week, to check emails and such. So if you are trying to reach me, know that I will get back to you. I'll just be a little slower, for a while!

Ah well...I'll use the time for more experimentation in The Lab!


ई चूसे लोवे

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back to Library Pockets...

Just thought I would pop in and add some pics of the latest stuff I've been making.

While zoning in front of the TV, during all this heat, I kept up with my "thread noodling" and came up with these little guys. They are made from two pieces of plastic canvas, so they are puffy and two-sided (the pics show front and back). I think they might make pretty cool charms (maybe I'll add some beads). If you want to know more about artist charms, here's a cool link.

Before it got too hot, I was in the studio, creating more "supplies" for myself. Here are my latest papers and library pockets. Yes...there's a new book, stewing.

I'm off to do some housework, now. It's about time.

ई चूसे लोवे

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Plastic Canvas... a New Appreciation.

I had seen others make it. Looked closely at it at craft fairs, but until recently, I'd never tried it myself. I'm not sure why that is, except maybe because it seemed to require patterns and I'm more of a cook, than a baker, if you get my drift. I like to experiment and throw things together and see what happens with the color and the texture and such, rather than follow hard and fast rules.

I'm a rebel.

The other night, I was watching Lance work his plastic canvas. It's something he has done for a while, "because..." he says..."It's a great stress-reliever and if Rosey Grier can do needle point, I can do plastic canvas". He learned from his ex, Jan, who gifted me with an extraordinary little Christmas cottage that she had made, last year. I really loved that gift and certainly could see the time spent creating it. I still did not think I would be trying it, though, because, as you all know, I have a lot of creative on my plate and the last thing I need is a new hobby...especially one that does not get the attention...or the monetary rewards it deserves. In fact it breaks my heart, just a little, when I see this work sold at craft fairs for far less than it should, considering the time put in.

While I watched Lance work, I kept wondering what it would look like with variegated yarn. The wheels started to turn and I picked up one of his scraps and asked him to show me the little box stitch he was using. Oops.

I kept saying to myself "I don't have time for this...I really don't", but it was too late. As I started pulling and pushing the yarn, in and out, seeing all those pretty colors magically forming those little squares and, especially after I was holding my first bookmark in my hands...I was hooked...sigh...

I won't follow patterns, though. I'm still a rebel. I'll learn stitches. I'll learn how to use my tools, but I'm most excited by trial and error and I love to experiment with my own ideas. To that end, on my latest bookmark, I got out my old "Knit-wit" tool. Remember those? Yarn flowers that just pop off the tool? They still make them...but mine has got to be, at least thirty years old!! After fiddling with it for a bit, I managed to remember how to make those flowers and soon I was popping them off, as I did when I was a child. I added one to the top of my second bookmark and, abracadabra! Innovation.

I've tried crochet. All of my afghans turned into mufflers...if I even got that far, but with PC I can do tiny projects that are finished in an evening...and it IS SO relaxing. Actually, it's a form of meditaion for me, now. It's something I can do without making a big mess. Something I can do in front of the TV at night, when I am too tired to do anything else.

I'm still a rebel. Honest.


ई चूसे लोवे

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Family Reunion and Book from Library Pockets!

My recent family reunion and performance with my family singing group, was wonderful fun. I had more than a dozen extra people in my home, but managed to stuff them into all the corners where, I hope, they were comfortable.

I live a long way from family, so it was really nice to have so many of them here, with me and wonderful to sing with "The Makley Family" again. We all wore beautiful, tie-dyed dresses, made by my sister Ruthanne and my niece, Mary (Mary-n-Mom) and after much rest, tea and prayer, the laryngitis that I had, all week, cleared up in the nick of time and our performance went very well, I think. We sold a few Cd's and received some nice comments, anyway. (The pics, above, are by J.H. Mason.)

Now that I've had a few days to recover, I've been working in the Lab, again. I've become fascinated with the idea of altered and hand-made books and journals. I've altered journals, among other things, for many years, but this week I made my first book from scratch...sort of. I found some library pockets at the local teacher's store, here. I thought they might make cool embellishments and we even talked about an altered-library-pocket swap, in an online group I belong to. To that end, I started slapping paint around on a few of them, thinking I might be ahead of the game, if there was an official swap. As I stacked them on top of each other, I got the idea for this BOOK.

I'm waiting to see if my pics turn out, but I hope to add a tutorial, of sorts, to my Website, as I took lots of pictures, throughout the process. I really had fun with this project and look forward to creating more of these, colorful journals.

Well...that's the latest from the Lab! Have a beautiful day, everyone!

ई चूसे लोवे

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Story Tellers

So...I've been making these "Spirit Rattles". It's been a long time, since I've put this much love into my work. There's something about them. I mean, I like drawing and painting and I've really enjoyed creating ACEOs, but these, little, musical instruments come from a deeper place, within. It's hard to explain. Perhaps it is what people have felt for thousands of years, as they create...and pray...with rhythm.

My latest rattle was inspired by the Pueblo Storyteller Dolls. My Mom collected storytellers. I couldn't help but think of her, as I worked the clay. She gave me a storyteller ornament for Christmas, once. When she died, several of her storytellers came to me. If she were alive, this year, this rattle would surely have been her Mother's Day present.

I borrow from many different traditions, as I develop my personal connection to my Creator. To me, as in Native American culture, the making of a Spirit Rattle is a sacred act. I start my day in the studio with ceremony for healing and cleansing, before I begin working. I do my best to keep my thoughts positive and loving throughout my day, but especially while working on my rattles...though they make it easier. It's hard to feel bad with one in my hands.

Each Spirit Rattle is one-of-a-kind and each has it's own, special energy. Since I work from intuition, it's always interesting to see who shows up. :)


ई चूसे लोवे

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Choose Love...

I choose love,
From the moment when I get up,
To the closing of the day,
And when I'm sleeping,
I choose love.

I choose peace...

I choose joy...

© 1999 Bettina Makley

I am sharing this, today, in the hope that it will bring some comfort. I wrote this song to comfort myself, during hard times. We have the power to choose. At the very least, we have the power to heal. Today, I will focus on LOVE and HEALING. I am sharing this "candle", if you will, and if any of you would like to share it, feel free. Please, do not use it for personal gain or attach it to any negative images, but DO share it for singing. It's an affirmation that I truly believe in.

Brightest Blessings in dark times....

ई चूसे लोवे

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Typing in Hindi

ई चूसे लोवे

ई चूसे पास

ई चूसे जोय

How cool is this?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brand New Blog!

Now, before you think to yourself "Oh no, not another one," let me explain.
When I first joined blogger, I was thinking that I might be smart (right) and I chose the "advanced" settings option and hosted my blog on my own ftp. This ended up causing a lot more headaches than it was worth and I have since discovered that I have some much easier creative options by just letting Blogger host my blog. Since I am not completely certain what the consequences will be, I'm not going to delete my other blog, but so far, I've had a lot more fun doing it this way.

Since this is my first blog, using this option, it will be a little experiment, so let's try uploading some pics, now.

OK, cool. That worked. Now let's see if I can add another.

FanTAStic! OK...I think I might be getting the hang of this!
The video links, underneath this post, are a very, cool, new feature! If you have not seen my original video "Help Me Bloom", just click on the North Wind, below! When you get to my video, be sure and visit my channel where I have "favorited" many other cool artists on YouTube.
Many Blessings of Wonderfulness,