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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer 2014-- Felting projects

Needlefelted thistle coaster set  (sold)

Made with hand-processed wool roving from DeNozzo, one of our twin Shetland wethers.

Hand-dyed roving was needle felted onto black wool felt (woven wool felt), a black wool backing added and finished with a penny rug-style blanket stitch. Each one is a little different, since they are done freehand.
Come visit us at the Wakefield Marketplace in Wakefield NH on Saturdays from 9-3 this summer.

More felted pieces:
Felted sheep scene mounted on black wool  (sold)

Needlefelted iris on wet felted background

Saturday, June 21, 2014

New papercut art Summer 2014

"Little Bear"  papercut  2014    (sold)

Summer 2014--here are some new papercut art pieces.

Come visit my booth at the Wakefield Marketplace in NH on Saturdays all summer long. The marketplace offers a variety of handmade items from local crafters and fresh vegetables from local farms.
I have several original paper cuts, notecards, penny rugs, felted items and wool roving from our Shetland sheep.

"coneflowers" papercut (sold)
"the shearer" papercut Spring 2014


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Notes on the Story of Jacob shadow puppet show

Shadow puppets from the Story of Jacob:  the "stew" puppet and Rachel

If you have followed my Shadow Puppet Tutorials #1-#3, then you have made your Shadow Theatre and cut out your first puppet, Jacob.

Look over the script to see which parts of the story you want to perform.Take my advice, don't try to perform the whole story at once, it's waayyy too long...!

Cut out your puppets:  puppet patterns are available in my Etsy shop.
Puppets include sheep, angels, Jacob's elderly father, Isaac; his brother, Esau; more sheep, goats, the hot stew over the fire, Laban, Leah, Rachel, more angels.....   You'll need plenty of black cardstock and some extra blades.

You will also need some laminating sheets. The "stew" puppet (see photo above) definitely needs to be laminated to keep it together. You will need to laminate the flocks of animals (see picture below) and the Laban puppet  should probably be laminated to protect his walking stick. To make the angel stairway, I laminated 8 angels onto a long flight of steps. I made 2 angels each in small, medium, large and XL sizes by shrinking the template; the smallest angels go on top.  I also made the steps gradually smaller toward the top. You may need 2 puppeteers to hold that one up. If you want to make a light at the top of the stairs, someone can shine a small flashlight at the screen....

an angel for Jacob's ladder
If you have a small hole punch, it's very handy for making the spotted sheep and goats.
Just punch holes in them! ( which sounds very odd.....! ) See picture below.

You'll need colored tissue paper (and more laminating sheets) to make Joseph's colorful coat...if you decide to do that part of the story. See picture below.

And also you will need tiny brads if you want some of your puppets to have a moving arms.

I would love to hear about your adventures using puppets.  What part of the story did you perform? Did you have kids operating the puppets? Did you perform for another class? Are you using these puppets for other Bible stories as well?

-- Sue
Isaac; moving arm shadow puppet (note brad at shoulder)
Jacob's flock of spotted sheep & goats laminated together into 1 puppet.

little Joseph, Jacob's favorite son
optional pyramid scenery for last scene (no pattern for this)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Shadow Puppet Tutorial #3: Cutting out the Jacob puppet

simple Jacob puppet, non-moving arm

This tutorial will show you how to make an expressive moving-arm shadow puppet and provide a free template for making the puppet.

For this tutorial, we will make Jacob, a Bible story character.

I edited The Story of Jacob from Genesis into a shadow puppet script, you can access the script here.

For performing the show, you will eventually want to make 2 Jacobs, one facing to the right and the other facing to the left.  You can see in the script which way he needs to face for each scene.

To cut out the puppet, you can access the printable template here.

Simple puppet:  If you want to make a simple puppet with no moving parts, cut out the puppet body on the solid lines, including his hand and wrist all as one piece. You won't need to cut out the other 2 arm pieces. I use scissors on the easy parts and finish the tricky parts with an exacto blade. See my previous post for pictures of the cutting process.

Moving-arm puppet: If you want to make a moving-arm puppet, you will need 2 small brads(preferably in a dark color) from a craft supply store. Cut out the puppet body with no wrists or hands (follow the dotted line), and cut out the 2 extra arm pieces separately. Put the 2 arm pieces together at the elbow joint. See dotted lines on template.
Elbow joint: Pierce through the upper and lower arm pieces and attach the brad. Don't pierce the body with this brad!!! Make sure the elbow bends freely.
Shoulder joint: Pierce the upper arm and body pieces with the brad; attach the upper arm to the body as shown.
The smooth heads of both brads should slide on the theatre screen (facing the audience).

Either way, your finished puppet will have just 1 hand. I don't recommend trying to give him 2 hands, it  makes the puppet too complicated.

Jacob template with optional moving arm

After you are finished cutting your puppet, check the script to see which way it needs to face. You will attach drinking straws to the puppeteer side of the puppet.  Before attaching the straws, it's a good idea to protect the cardstock. You can either laminate the whole puppet,  or just put a piece of shipping tape on the puppeteer side to protect the cardstock from repeated taping and untaping. (I don't permanently attach the straws; I tape them on just for the show and then remove them again when I put the puppets away. ) After protecting the card stock, tape on the straws for your show.  See my Puppet Theatre Tutorial for pictures of this.

 I hope you have fun with this! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Shadow Puppet Tutorial #2: How to make Shadow Puppets from cardstock

One of my Bible character shadow puppets
Here's a tutorial on how to transfer the design and cut your own shadow puppets from black card stock. I have been making shadow puppet shows since 2006. These puppets will fit my table top theatre, the link to the Shadow Puppet Theatre tutorial is here.

What you will need:

-Black card stock or poster board ( I'm using Recollections 65 lb black card stock from Michael's)
-White transfer paper (carbon paper)
-Sharp scissors
-Xacto knife
-cutting mat 'self healing'
-template or drawing

cardstock-- this package is 25 sheets of just black. I also use lightweight poster board for very large puppets.

 Transfer paper: (white carbon paper) you can't beat this stuff. I bought this little packet for under $2 about 10 years ago and hundreds of puppets later, I'm still using the original sheets. It also comes in black for your other projects.
Notice this paper has 2 sides, the whiter side is where the carbon is.

For the cutting: Oops!! I forgot to put my sharp scissors in this picture! I will show them to you later. For shadow puppets, I do most of the long cuts with scissors, and switch to the Xacto knife as needed.

People needing magnifying glasses: you know who you are.  I'm right there with you.

Okay, here we go!

1. Lay a piece of transfer paper over your black card stock. Make sure the whiter side is DOWN, touching the card stock.  Lay your template on top of the transfer paper. Make sure the entire image fits onto the transfer paper and card stock.

Making sure the puppet's feet will fit on there!

2. Trace over all the template lines with the pencil.

3. The image will be a white line on the black card stock.

4. Time to cut! Start with scissors. Take your time with the hands; they are so important. If you are doing moving-arm puppets, the emotions and actions are shown with puppet hands, so get them right. I usually cut the hands into 'mittens' first. Then go in and trim the fingers with either scissors or blade. You will feel like you are giving a puppet manicure!
first cut of a moving-arm puppet's forearm
cut into a 'mitten', ready to cut out the fingers

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Thistles paper cut and free template

More thistles...

I dug through my stash of Origami paper and found a luscious dark purple, so here's another Thistle paper cut.
I'm really craving grasses and wildflowers because of all the snow we have been having lately. 
© Susan Small 2014

This was quick and fun to cut out. Here's a free template you can use to cut your own thistles. If you arrange the thistles like my finished example, the image will be about 5x7". You can print out the template from here. 

© Susan Small 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

New Foxes Cut Paper Silhouette

© Sue Small 2014

more foxes….

I have been trying out some lighter weight papers instead of my usual card stock; it is so much easier to cut.
This fox and kits scene was done with my favorite #10 Exacto blade and Hygloss silhouette paper.