Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tutorial: How to make felted lavender soap

 I'm making some felted soaps this week so I thought I would post a tutorial so you can make your own.

What you need:

Time:  Plan for about 15 minutes to make one felted soap.

Hot water: Kitchen sink is the ideal place to do this.

Soap: I only use Yardley English lavender. It has such a beautiful smell.  You should definitely find a soap with a scent you like because you will be spending some time with it...

Wool roving,  I use only about 0.1 ounce to do 1/2 bar of soap. It's more interesting if you have 2 or more colors.
shetland moorit (brown) from our ewe Iris, and white from our wether DeNozzo

1. Cut your bars of soap, if desired.

I cut the bars in half so they fit my hands easily; I also shave off the 1 or 2 of the sharpest corners.

 2. Set up a medium sized bowl of hot water in your kitchen sink. 

Don't make it too hot, because you will be putting your hand in it! The hot water will get soapy as you work, this is what you want.

3. Lay out a small amount (about 0.1 ounce) of background color roving. 
Dry your hands completely before you touch the roving so it doesn't stick to you.
Don't use too much wool, you want just enough to cover the soap without big gaps.

 4.   Pull out  small wisps of a contrasting color, lay them on top. 

 4. Flip the roving over so your decoration is now on the BOTTOM.

5. Lay another small wisp of background color over the background, crosswise. 
 The fibers should be at about a 90 degree angle to make good felt.

6. Place your soap on the pile of roving. 

notice fibers going crosswise, also white decoration fibers are on the bottom.

 7. Gather up the roving like a little package around your soap.

8. Wrap your hand around the package keeping the fibers in place, don't let them shift. 

9. Dunk your hand into the hot water, hold for a few seconds. 

Then pull it out of the bowl, and begin to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze gently, using both hands. Don't move the soap around yet, be careful not to shift the fibers.

 10. Squeeze about 10 times, and then begin to gently Rotate the soap in your hands; and keep squeezing. 

You are squeezing the fibers together into the soap. Do Not Rub or shift the fibers!!  The wool should become full of warm soapsuds. After squeezing about 25 times, dunk again in the hot soapy water. 

11. Squeeze and gently rotate without shifting the fibers,  about 50 more times, Dunk.

Another 50 times, Dunk. Another 50 times, Dunk. Keep going. If you have any sharp corners you can press them in with your fingers after the soap has softened up.  Keep going about 10-15 minutes.

12. Finally, Polish the surface. 
When the felt is pretty tight around the soap, then you can safely rub or polish the surface with your fingertips without shifting the fibers.

13. Fulling step with cold water. 
Run some cold water over your your soap, still squeezing and polishing...Dunk again in hot water, more squeezing and polishing.

14. Final rinse, and then set aside to dry. 


If you are making another one, replenish about half of the hot water to your bowl before you start.

Drying: Allow 2-3 days to dry out completely if you are wrapping it as a gift. 

If it's for yourself, then put it right in your shower, it's ready to be used right away. The wool will continue to shrink around the soap as you use it. It's a great exfoliant, and helps keep soap scum off your shower.

Enjoy!!  Let me know if this was helpful to you. I think felting is a fun activity for kids if they are patient enough to stay with it. I found that it helps to have them count out the squeezes:
 "... 48, 49, 50, DUNK!"

Do you have questions, or any other ideas for felting soap? I would love to hear comments from you. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer 2015 Loon papercut

mama loon papercut   June 2015

Happy summer!  Here's a new loon papercut.

I'm hanging out at the nearby NH Farm Museum this summer!

     -- Come visit my booth at the Milton Farmer's Market at the NH Farm Museum
             Saturdays 9:30 am- 1:30 pm     July 25, Aug 29, Sept 26

    -- I will present a Shadow Puppet Show Saturday July 11 at 11 am at the NH Farm Museum

    -- Our Pleasant St. Dulcimer Band performs Sunday Aug 23 at the NH Farm Museum

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Printmaking by hand

Over the past few weeks, I have been making some new prints. After hand-carving the 'linoleum' block, the block is inked and then the paper is pressed on by hand, rubbing with fingers or a printmaker's baren. ( I don't use a press)

These hand-pulled linocut block prints are now available in my Etsy shop.

Thistle prints drying over the fireplace
Thistle test prints

Bunny linocut

Running fox linocut

Belted galloway linocut

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October woolies

What is it about fall that makes you just want WOOL…? Is it the colder weather? Or the fall foliage everywhere that makes you want to hold those rich colors in your hands?
Lately, I have been making tiny pumpkins and acorns.

And tiny sheep too!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More July projects

Little Red House, needle felted landscape

Here's my latest felted piece, made with wool from our sheep, hand-processed and hand dyed.
I'm really enjoying the dimensional effects you can get!
I'm planning to bring this along to the Wakefield Marketplace  in NH this weekend.

Gibbs, Iris, Poppy making wool
 Here's some pictures of the flock making more craft supplies for me! They are currently grazing around the rocks of the old barn foundation (that barn is long gone)

DeNozzo and Iris multi tasking: making wool & mowing the grass

Our new hens, the dark one is a "partridge" the other is a Rhody Red cross.
Hopefully they are making eggs….haven't seen any yet though.
 And here is another recent project I got from the internet, somewhat modified for our critters:

Mini-Tutorial: How to make No-spill chicken feeders
 I used 2" pvc, which works fine, and I did not glue anything. I use a funnel (made from 1/2 soda bottle) to pour in the feed (you can see it hanging from a string.) Just beyond the feeders you can see the oyster shells and grit feeders also made from bottom half of 2L soda bottles and string. Use a desk hole puncher to make holes in the soda bottle to thread your string.
 I put all of these inside our old pigeon loft and was careful to hide everything around the corner from the sheep's view,  so they won't be tempted to break in. In the evening, I close the chicken door and plug the feeders with 2" pvc plugs (they are easier to use than the caps IMHO.) So far it's working!
Sheep proof (maybe) no-spill chicken feeders.