Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Spice Tree

We went up in the mountains to get our Christmas tree this year. Okay, we got three trees -(hey, they were only 5 bucks each!) We have one in the living room, one outside with lights on it and I couldn't resist a little one for the kitchen. My friend Clarice at Storybook Woods always has a wonderful tree in her kitchen and I always love it so thought I would give it a try this year. I fell in love with the wispy, droopy hemlocks I saw up in the mountains and really wanted one. On the long drive home I decided I'd do a tree with just spices on it and I went through the bulk spice section of our grocery store in my head, trying to decide what to make out of whole spices. So this is what happened...
I loved the color and idea of a pink peppercorn garland but found it tedious and near impossible to string those things so I resorted to smearing raffia with hot glue and pressing the mixed peppercorns on as best I could. I drilled holes in whole nutmegs and strung them up with cardamom pods and juniper berries. I couldn't resist painting star anise gold and hanging them here and there along with whole chiles (Hint: When stringing whole chiles with needle and thread, please don't absentmindedly stick the needle in your mouth. Let's just say it's a bad idea.)
Did a small garland of cinnamon sticks, juniper berries and cardamom pods too. Then decided I was spending too much time on this and had to get back to other projects -like baking! (Note the Christmas braids cooling under the spice tree..) I didn't even get into the whole cloves and allspice I purchased. I also had dreams of an angel with bay leaf wings that never materialized. Maybe next year. This was fun and I love my little sweet smelling tree. I'm sure there are a million variations of this sort one could come up with. It was fun to work with natural materials and within the confines of a theme....I highly recommend this project. (ps-the tree is resting in an old enameled pot that's filled with gravel and water)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Needle Felting

Here are the latest needle felted dolls I recently created for a Christmas sale. These are sculpted with a barbed needle from 100% wool. The eyes and lips are also entirely made with small bits of colored wool felted into place with the needle. To the right is a tree full of holiday characters. You'll see a couple Jack Frosts, a brownie at the bottom, a playful little pixie or two and a jolly old elf in red. (Sorry pics are so small. Please click on photo to enlarge.)
Old Man Winter (below) is blowing up a storm of ice and snow. He's wired onto a wooden base. This is one of my first experiments with wrinkles and baggy eyes and I'm pleased with how he turned out.
And on the bottom left is a little dark haired angel peeking out of a felted sweater stocking. She was created for an annual gift exchange and I'm glad my good friend Mary ended up with her. I like her (the angel and especially Mary) a lot!