Saturday, January 31, 2009

F.A.T. Girlzzzzzzzzzz Part II

I decided to play with some of our wool roving, felting machine, and misc goodies around the studio to make and embellish a postcard. I have been working the the color Red this month making Valentine samples and pulling red info and pics together. Al is working on Turquoise for next month, so I put them together for this project.

The embellishing machines are so great! They look just like a sewing machine, but No thread, no bobbins to fill...just a bunch of needles punching materials together in a very interesting way. If you don't have one yet, you can put this together with a piece of foam for a base and hand felting needles. It would take a bit longer of course, but you would benefit from some stress reduction!

Criss-cross three layers of roving on a flat surface a bit bigger than your finished project. You can always add to the edges if it is too small or fold over bits that are too big.
Place roving "sandwich" onto the machine (or your piece of foam) and go over the surface of the layers until they become one piece. Shape the edges as you go along by folding over or adding as needed.
For stripes, add another layer of roving in the direction and width that you want. Place in machine and "stitch" in place. As you work with the roving, you get the feel for how much it reduces in size as it is worked into the base. You don't loose much, but it is a factor.
You can continue to embellish the surface by shading the edge of strips with darker roving. Make polka dots by placing little circles of roving onto the base and working them in. By adding bits of gauze, silk, felt, open weave scraps of silk, netting or yarns to the surface you will start getting a more interesting and complex look and feel going.
Then come the beads, buttons, sequins, hand embroidery, ribbons, do-dads...endless possibilities with the treasures tucked into the studios around the world!

I tore a piece of painted watercolor paper to fit the shape of the felted piece.
Tearing gives you that nice uneven edge that is perfect for taking on inks.
Place the felted, embellished piece onto the torn paper and zig-zag in place. I made the paper a little bit bigger than the felt to give it another border.

Combine Stamps, Inks, Pens, Collage to add your message on the Back!

Wouldn't someone you love like to get something like this mixed in with the the Bills!!

Now if you are feeling very inspired and just can't stand it, just go to and add some new and unique items to your ever growing fabulous stash!!!
Have fun and Spread the Word!!

Welcome Fiber Art Traders!!! F.A.T. Girlzzzz Rock!

We were invited to participate in this Yahoo Group and their yearly online Flea Market by fiber artist, Normajean Brevik who is a writer, designer, teacher of fiber arts and "owner" of the group. In the warmer weather we are especially lucky here at Artgirlz World Headquarters to have a live and in person Flea Market a mile down the road. Since it is closed for the winter, this is a great opportunity for us to share our world with you!

If you are new to Artgirlz, we have a Rubber Stamps, Lead Free Pewter Charms, Wool Felt Shapes, Roving, Needles, Kits and Special Collections every now and then. Our charms were designed by us are made here right in Little Rhody and our wool is imported from Nepal. The Rubber Stamp collection is manufactured in California. All of our components would be perfect additions to mail, ATC, pin and doll making projects. There are lots of images on our website and in the past posts on this blog!

Since you are a Mail Art Group, I pulled together and added to some some samples and put a new piece together just for you!!!
This is an inch square colored with acrylic paints and pencils then wrapped with copper. The "A" is one of our rubber stamps. The charms and a bit of yarn for hair make up the rest of this charmer.
This is an ATC sized piece of "patchy" fabric layered and stitched together on the machine. Charms tell the metal story with red yarns for hair. The edges are finished with multi-colored beads.
On the left an orange and blue patchy ATC with a wool felt flower, beads, charms...

Another ATC with Ranger Crackle Paint on top of wool and rayon blend felt. I like the look of it with more paint rather than less. Usually needs to dry overnight. Another use of charms and yarn to create an ATC and a doll!! Good Button added too!

Layers of stitched felt, hand made paper, charms and rubber stamps combine to make up the front and back of the ATC shown above

A pelmet Vilene postcard from a Tentakulum Painter Potpouri Pack was the beginning of this piece. My sis needle felted our little wool felt 9 patch pieces and hand stitched them onto the base.

The back is a piece of painted water color paper, cut to size and attached to the back of the card with with gel medium. I used clamps to hold the edges together, and some books to flatten it out!

This is another pelmet Vilene postcard. It is embellished with a silk hankie, pewter charms, mini wool felt beads, mixed plastic and glass beads, hand made paper beads, yarn for hair and a piece of water color paper for the back.

I used the Bernina Stitch Regulator to stitch doodle on the base of the card. You could just do free motion stitching, decorative machine stitching, hand embroidery or additional beading and stamping.
Then stitched the backing paper to the card.

Artgirlz Rubber Stamps and Doodles!

Front Bead Detail

Off to have some Roasted Potatoes and Work on Section 2...Dry Felted Postcard!!
F.A.T. Members check your Mother Ship Posting Board!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There are so many things that I haven't covered in our ever changing world around here. It is snowing again, (it's not really that cold this morning) the house and studio are quiet. The chickens and rabbits are fed and the best news is that I was able to get up and continue my life after I fell on my butt in an instant this morning! That pesky ice was sitting right under that little layer of snow.....

Our "doll in a box" class was great! We had lots of materials and ideas flying around and of course the best part is being able to talk, share and laugh in a very safe environment! Thanks to Christy for being our Lunch Boss! We are looking forward to the next one "the many faces of you", an exploration of self portraits. We have started gathering samples and ideas together, for it is sure to be an interesting journey!! Easy sign up in the Artgirlz store!

Friday night we hosted 16 women from the Apple Valley Quilt Guild. They were here for a weekend sewing, shopping and girlz gathering in Westerly, RI. It was so great! I stood at the end of the driveway in the dark and snow with my flashlight a "Create" sign and signaled their safe arrival. We had just baked cookies and little goodie bags waiting. After a brief chat, the women made quick work of finding the treasures around the room. It seems like a good time was had by all. We sold some stuff, they went home with bags of stuff and hopefully some ideas and inspiration! What is better than that! Maybe next year...purple hair dye!

Allison has set up her new Artgirlz office in her new house in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Her new monitor died about 48hrs into the new gig, but we are trying out this new living, business model. One of the first long distance projects is to tackle a color a month. I thought of it while working on the Valentines as I gathered up all things red.

I have been taking pictures, digging through beads, buttons, ribbons etc, checking out websites about color, theories, history etc...Observing red around the house, book covers, file cabinets, dishes, pencils, the table cloth, what colors are with it...what feels good, looks good...

Adobe has a great website and dynamic color tool called Kuler. You can see color combinations that have been put together by a huge community of folks, make your own to test color mixes to share or just use as your own visual reference. Check it out. You just have to log in and get yourself yet another password, but once that is done it is a great place to loose ones self for a bit! By checking on the "Complimentary" link, you will be able to spin the dial and see opposite colors on the wheel working and changing before your eyes. Green and red are on either side of the color wheel and always make a good combination.

• enchanted learning is a site for children, but gives color names in many languages
worqx color theory tutorials are really cool. lots of visuals to inspire and inform
• for a historical view, Pigments through the Ages has great information about the use and meaning of color in different cultures and how it has changed.
• color chart for the color blind...

This book is a great study of red and green marbleized paper. It is the smallest thing that you can imagine...a gift from son Don from his visit to Venice, Italy...

Speaking of red, I want to share info about v-day and women's heart health issues..

Al is working on turquoise for the next chapter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I had fun making this little Valentine Book...I used three layers of criss-crossed roving and the felting machine to create the cover. I used three pages of water color paper to make the pages. The edges are torn a bit bigger than the outline of the finished cover. Tim Holtz's Distress Ink was the perfect thing to add color to the edge of the torn pages. Artgirlz stamps and Ranger Archival Ink combined to add the inside message.

In addition to these supplies, the watercolor paper could be further enhanced with paint, chalk, pencils, pens, cut out shapes or words...

Staples, stitching, glue, pins, brads, grommets to hold things together! We have a great packet of papers, stamps and embellishments for you to make your own master pieces!

Change up the size...from tiny to huge love messages!
What ever you do, spread the love!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

We spent most of yesterday glued to CNN, munching on goodies and watching with large sighs of relief as the government changed hands!
So now it's back to work spreading our own joy and energy out into the world!
We felt like it was better than Christmas!!

We made the Obama Slap Bracelet Pin Cushion on the way to Quilt Market in the Fall!

Back to Valentines tomorrow!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Well, onto the wool roving, needle felted Hearts!! I have moved a little slide show to the top right corner of your screen to get a few visuals that can guide you along your needle felting journey! The pieces shown here were made by rolling and manipulating the roving with a felting needle while working on a piece of foam. These can be downloaded from our website!

Please Read the Tips Before you Begin!
The needle is very sharp and fragile compared to a sewing needle.

To help the fibers hook together the end of the needle is barbed.

It will break if you bend it while it is in the felt.

You want the needle to go in and out in the same direction...any direction...but the same direction!

You can be a bit aggressive with your “stabbing”.

You can use the needle as a "tool" much like a sewing needle as long as the roving is still somewhat loose.

If you are a beginner you may break a needle or two before you get the hang of it!

You can make new color mixes by blending two or more roving colors.

Simply gather two or three little puffs together and pull them apart until mixed to your liking.

These tips can be applied to clothing, wool beads, felt cones, flowers, hearts...any felted wool and more!

Artgirlz Heart Felt Hearts!

Pull a 7 Inch length of roving from the bundle.

Make into a loosely rolled tube rolling from the short end.

Gently pull one end away from the tube a bit.
This will become the pointy part of the heart.

Working on a piece of foam, start working (stabbing) the needle in and out of the roving to shape the end. Don’t be shy!
Turn the roving on the foam as you go to get the shape started.

Flip the piece and begin to work on the other end of the heart.
Pull the top apart a bit.

Holding onto what will be one side of the top, begin to shape the other top curve.

Begin to make the center indentation by working the center point down.
Keep your wits about you to prevent self inflicted stab wounds!
Working on the foam will help.
Turn the piece as you work down the whole shape.

Once you can see the basic heart shape, keep working the piece by turning it
over on foam and using the needle to tangle the fibers together.

You may want to add roving to fill out little dips, or to add dimension to the top curves.

Work the whole piece by turning the heart on the foam base and punching the needle in and out.

The heart can be embellished with other roving colors:
Roll little balls of roving and felt into the heart to make polka dots, lines, little hearts!

Add charms, beads, buttons, sequins, glitter, ribbon, yarn etc!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Greetings Friends...Calling all Love Bugs! I actually had private time in the studio last week and spent time playing with Artgirlz Red Roving, recycled, felted wool sweaters and Artgirlz Love Rubber Stamps. I figured out a way to make a 3D heart with the roving. Had fun doing it and loved the way that they came out.

I made up three pin cushions. The top two pin cushions in the picture on the left are made from recycled sweaters. On the white one I used our felting machine to add roving and bits of silk and organza to the mix. The red one has a heart shape cut out of the white sweater and felted onto the red, white roving edge felted around edge of the sweater and embellished with beads, fiber and ribbon.

The bottom piece is one of our felt squares with a heart shape cut out of the middle. Placed on top of another piece of felt I used the Bernina Stitch Regulator to apply a squiggly design onto the red felt. The center heart shape was built up with layers of roving, sparkle net, and silk scraps. They are all stuffed with a bit of polyfil and the edges connected with the felting machine. All of the projects could be constructed by hand or with a regular sewing machine using straight or decorative stitching!

We have put Felted Heart Directions together. If this technique is new to you, they can be downloaded from the website to guide you through this kind of project. We have also put kits together that include roving, felting needles, a piece of foam, and embellishments.

The main thing with hand needle felting, is that you have to keep your wits about you so that you don't stab yourself. It doesn't take too many times and you will become very aware!

Check out the downloadable directions and give it a try! Try it with friends and family!

Tomorrow...Felt, Paper and Rubber Stamps!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

We received a card from a friend this week with a very heart warming surprise. Kerry Cudmore has been in our lives for many years. We don't see her very much these days but know that she is still doing good work out there in the world! Kerry wrote a note and said that as part of her spiritual practice she circulates money to folks that inspire her and added that we had given her such a gift...and there was a check for $100. I was certainly surprised and very inspired by the idea and the action of the gift. The first thing that I thought about was passing on a similar surprise!! Thanks Kerry for your support and thoughtful gift!