The Latest Felt Paintings

I made 3 felt paintings over the holidays. One is of a Baltimore Oriole, one is of a Painted Turtle, and one is landscape.

I started making the paintings to a standard size (8×10 in.) for the first time, so they can easily be mounted on a canvas.
Here is the Oriole piece after wet felting.

Oriole After Wet Felting

And here is the finished painting after needle felting.

Edited Oriole

Next is the Painted Turtle piece before wet felting.

turtle before felting

Here is the piece after needle felting.

felt painting, turtle

This is after I mounted the piece onto an 8″x 10″ canvas.

turtle, felt painting, water, wool

Last is the landscape…

landscape, felt painting, sheep, mountain range

Thanks for reading!

DIY Hackle

Have you ever heard of a cake breaker? Me neither. A few weeks ago I was walking down the kitchenware aisle at our local thrift store, and a giant fork happened to catch my eye. I picked it up because I originally thought that I could make a wool comb out of it.

cake breaker

No one quite knew what it was intended for. (we thought it was for holding meat down while its being cut) After some time on Replacements.com, we found out that this utensil is specifically used for angel food cake. Its supposed to be really good at cutting the cake without squishing it. Who knew?

I decided to make a hackle out of it, so I ordered another off of Amazon to make a 2 pitch hackle.
The other cake breaker is here:http://www.amazon.com/Animewild-R-M-Cake-Breaker/dp/B000FRUNXM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408905724&sr=8-1&keywords=cake+breaker

The supplies I used are here:

supplies

  • Mahogany Wood, or any hard wood
  • Cake Breaker
  • Liquid Epoxy
  • Chisels
  • Wipe-on Polyurethane
  • Power Sander

I measured a groove about half an inch wide and a little less than that deep. I used a chisel to cut the groove.

I used a saw to cut off the heads of my 2 cake breakers (one was sterling silver!)

Than we used liquid epoxy to set the metal heads in the groove. It got a little messy, but sanded off nicely after it dried.
We used a bulk epoxy that we had originally used for another project, but I think a small tube of 2-part liquid epoxy would work. Those small epoxy packs can be found at hardware stores or auto parts stores.

Here’s the epoxy I’m talking about: http://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Glue-4200101-Epoxy/dp/B001Z3C3AG/ref=pd_sim_sbs_indust_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=13KRHAC7D1Y4XZ13RM7M

epoxy unsanded
epoxy sanded

Then I applied 2 coats of a wipe on polyurethane finish, and taadaa! A hackle!

finished outdoor  top white
finished white

I am going to make another one, 12 inches long. The tines on this one are about 4 inches wide, and while it works, I really need more room to make roving that is long enough to be useful for spinning. My experiment cost under $10 to make as I had most of the supplies on hand and I got the satisfaction and enjoyment out of coming up with idea to make something and having it work!

Shearing – The Experiment

I decided to try shearing Andre this year with electric clippers instead of scissors. The clippers I used are actually dog clippers, and really old, from the 1960s. We picked them up for about $5 at a thrift store just to experiment with electric shearing. Good deal too, especially because I’ve read that a good pair of clippers for Angoras can cost upwards of $300.

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I set myself up a nice little shearing station in the bunny yard. I used 2 sawhorses (the perfect height) with a metal shelf left over from the shelf that supports the breeder cages on top. I wrapped a towel around the shelf to keep the bunnies from slipping all over it. I also used a metal tray that fit the saw horses to keep all my equipment in.

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The supplies I used:

  • Various combs and brushes
  • Oil for the clippers
  • Bacitracin ointment (in case I nipped him)
  • Scissors
  • Bag to hold the sheared fiber
  • Paper towel

 

I started by brushing him out and then began slowly shearing him across the back and shoulders. Its nice to have 2 containers for the fiber – one for the sheared fiber, and one for the prime fiber that comes out on the brush.
Andre was a little restless, but overall did quite well with the noise and experience of the electric clippers. Chloe, on the other hand, hated the clippers and tried to get away from them by climbing on me. I guess it depends of the temperment of the rabbit!

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I never cut him with the clippers, but there was a few close shaves. He had some really big matts on his shoulders that the clippers had a hard time getting through, so I had to use the scissors on those. That is the only way I’ve cut him – with the scissors when I can’t see the skin.
It helps when shearing to hold the fiber at a 90 degree angle from the body (straight up) so the clipper blades can go straight into the fiber.  Also, according to the directions that came with the clippers, you are supposed to dip the entire clipper blade while running into a “light kerosene – oil mixture”  throughout the shearing operation. I don’t have kerosene, so I just lubricated the blades with an all purpose motor oil and wiped off the excess on a paper towel whenever the bunny needed a break.

 

It’s kinda fun when a big matt or nice chunk of fiber comes off.

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He had some really big matts that I had been kind of dreading to do on his neck and chest. For those, I have to have him on his back to do, and being upside down with a noisy machine thing on his neck would be way too scary for a prey animal.
I ended up doing those carefully with scissors.

I also should say that I did not do this all in one day. I worked on sections of him over about 2 weeks. Of course it doesn’t have to take that long. More experience on my part and less matts on his part would have sped up the operation.

Before:

_MG_9298During :

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After:

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On a side note, Chloe’s due date came and went, still no babies. No nesting this time either. Rebred June 29, so new due date is July 30th. If nothing happens then, I might start seriously looking for a new buck.

Thanks for reading!

God bless,
Rebekah

 

Poppy Felt Painting, Pt 2

Last time you saw the poppy field painting, there was almost no poppies in the field! Now I’ve finished the needle felting part, so I’ll post the photos of this process.

1118320-bigthumbnailMy reference photo

with fground poppies

Step 1

First, using needle felting, I blocked out the shapes of the big foreground poppies, and added shadow from the trees on the distant poppy field.
In retrospect I should have also filled in the bare white areas of the green field.

Step 2pt 2
Here I’ve needle felted shading and more detail to the foreground poppies, reconstructed the the top right corner and right side, and added the midground poppies.
You could also embroider red french knots for the midground poppies instead of needle felting them.

Step 3

pt 3Here I worked on the distant poppy field and hills on the left, adding a little shading, a few trees and defining some rows in the field.

Step 4

pt 4

Here I added poppies on the left side, added some green to the distant field, redirected the distant tree shadow, added a little lighter green to the dark trees, put some blue in the sky, and put some more poppies in the right side too.

Finished!

Thanks for reading my posts!
God Bless, Rebekah

Poppy Field Felt Painting – Part 1

This is the recent felt painting that I’ve been working on. It’s probably the most complex painting I’ve done, although it doesn’t look like it when the wet felting is done.
The wet felting is only to get my base layer down, and then I add more layers and details with needle felting, also called dry felting.

This is Part 1 of the felting process, and when I finish the needle felting I’ll show that process in Part 2!!

First, the Supplies
For the felting process, you’ll need:

  • Old towel
  • Bamboo mats. Sushi mats or a bamboo window shades can work!
  • Plastic netting. I used a plastic netted onion bag, or you can buy large sheets of dense mesh from felting supply companies.
  • Very hot water and liquid soap.

For the felt you’ll need:
(I’m not very exact with wool amounts. Use what looks good to you! 🙂

  • 2-3 handfuls of various green colors of roving
  • about an oz. of white roving
  • 1 handful of red/salmon colored roving
  • few wisps of light blue
  • few wisps of brownish grey

Here’s the photo I’m working from! It’s a great photo.

Now spread the white wool in vertical, than horizontal layers on the bamboo mats. This is your canvas, so make it the size you would like.
It’s okay if it gets thick, as it will settle down as you felt it.

background

Now for the fun part! Start laying down (painting) the basic colors on your white background.
Use variation in your colors, because that adds depth to the piece.

trees and fields

with poppy field

Now lay your netting down over the painting, (and like I said earlier, a clean onion bag works well.)

The layers by now are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, but don’t worry, they will felt down!
Pour the very hot soapy water over the piece.

water and netting

Gently tap, press, poke and generally agitate the wool with your fingers all over the painting.
The hot water “opens” the fibers, and agitating the piece locks the fibers together and makes it felt. Cold water “closes” the fibers, so you’ll rinse the piece in cold water when you are done felting.
If you need more soap, you can put some on your netting so it will foam all over the piece.

pressing

The more it felts, the harder you can agitate it.
You can be pretty rough with pressing, but be a lot more gentle with rubbing, because rubbing can move pieces out of place.

b tapping

After the piece seems felted enough to stay together well, carefully roll it up in the bamboo mat and rinse and squeeze the piece under cold water. (I do this in the sink)

Let it dry on a towel, and prepare for Part 2!

Here’s what it looks like with the big foreground poppies partially needle felted on.

with fground poppies

There’s more to come! I obviously still have to felt all the poppies in the field and add color to the sky, because I didn’t do it during the wet felting.

Thanks for reading!

God Bless, Rebekah

Homemade Rabbit Treats

 Hello all! Here’s a new tutorial for you, how to make homemade bunny treats! I came across this idea recently and had to try it. (taa daa)  My bunnies love these.

The Ingredients: (This recipe is easily halved or doubled)
-2 ripe bananas
-1 apple or 1 c applesauce
-2-3 carrots
-4 TB honey
-1/2 c oats
-1/2 c rabbit pellets
-1 c whole wheat flour

(If you are going to use an oven, preheat it to 300-325 F while you prepare the treats.)

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Next, shove ’em all in the blender…

blmender ingredients

and blitz until a fairly smooth paste

edited blendingNow lay a sheet of parchment paper (don’t use wax paper or it will stick) on your dehydrator sheet or cookie sheet

dehydrator sheetPut the dough on the parchment paper

doughNow, flatten the lump of dough a little bit, and lay another sheet of parchment over the dough.
Than roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thick with a rolling pin.

rolling out the dough

rolled doughNow just bake or dehydrate your treats until they are a tad darker in color, and dried but still slightly pliable.
In my dehydrator, that took almost 5 hours, it will vary depending on your dehydrator or oven, and how moist your dough is.
(if you are using the oven, heat it to 300-325 F. If you are using a dehydrator, use the meat or jerky setting)
Keep checking on it until it looks right!
Now just cut the treats, and you’re done!

I keep a handful out with my feed supplies and keep the rest in the freezer.

Go feed these to your bunnies! 🙂
finished treats