Friday, September 8, 2017

Autumn Decor Ideas with Grey Squirrels and White Pumpkins


Claudia shares her fall mantel and autumn seasons table designs


My needle felted squirrels and white pumpkins are the stars of my fall mantel display. As I was designing my autumn decor, I took some photos to share on my blog. My display is very natural and includes acorns found on my woodland walk. Enjoy!

My squirrels and many other woodland animals are available in my Etsy shop, Claudia Marie Felt.



Autumn mantle decor
Baby squirrels on the fireplace mantle

Gray Needle Felt squirrels


White Pumpkins fall table
Needle Felt Squirrels, Little White Pumpkins and Acorns

Miniature wool squirrels for fall

Tiny squirrel with miniature white pumpkin and tiny acorn


Thank you for visiting my blog!




Thursday, August 24, 2017

Seasons of Joy Autumn Wool Painting Giveaway, Plus Signed Book, Plus Waldorf Seasons Prints

This contest has ended and the winners have been announced. You are still welcome to sign up for my newsletter and please read the reviews of 'Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play' in this blog post. 


To celebrate the upcoming changing of the seasons, I am holding a very special giveaway centered on my picture book "Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play," published by Loving Healing Press earlier this year. 

There will be three random winners and the prizes are:


1. Autumn Leaves Wool Painting, plus a signed paperback copy of Seasons of Joy. The painting is a mini 8 by 10 inch version based on one of the illustrations from the book (the originals are 13 by 17 inches) It comes unframed, but would be lovely in an 8 by 10 shadow box.



Waldorf Autumn Wool Painting
Autumn Leaves Wool Painting Giveaway

2. A set of four 5 by 7 prints of the needle felted wool paintings in Seasons of Joy valued at $19, plus a signed paperback copy of Seasons of Joy.


Seasons of Joy, Wool Painting Illustrations
Seasons of Joy Prints



3. A signed paperback copy of Seasons of Joy. 




Seasons of Joy Waldorf picture book
Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play

To enter this Giveaway, please sign up for my email newsletter. (Newsletter signup is required for entering this contest.) 







You may also get additional entries by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.  Just let me know in the comments below that you shared. 


"Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play" is a merging of my experiences, loves and talents. It started with a commission from an early childhood teacher at my son's Waldorf school. She wanted a wool painting that depicted children playing throughout the seasons. Later, I offered to re-create the painting in my Etsy shop and I've sold many prints as well. The painting connected with people around the world and I thought it needed to be a book. 


Waldorf Seasons Wool Palinting
Waldorf Seasons Wool Painting

As a book, that one wool painting turned into 12 illustrations, three for each season. When creating the scenes, I drew on my son's early childhood in a Waldorf school -- climbing trees, using silks for imaginative play, gardening, sledding . . . And of course, since I love all animals, I added dogs, birds, bunnies and squirrels to every scene. 
It was important to me that the children were diverse. While there are many wonderful vintage children's seasons books, most don't reflect the multicultural experience.
I wanted the verse to capture the joy children feel when playing outside. The verse has alliteration and rhymes, but I believe it flows naturally. I've been very pleased with the reviews for both the verse and the illustrations. Here are some:


Seasons of Joy is a beautifully illustrated narrative poem celebrating children's joy in the changing seasons. Seasons of Joy is a literary and artistic treasure for today's children and future generations. -- Midwest Book Review

Claudia Marie Lenart’s Seasons of Joy is magical.  Her rhyming prose conjures such beautiful visual images of each season and encourages young children to go outside.
Accompanying her lyrical language is Lenart’s signature wool artwork, which will captivate children as they study all of the beautiful detail in each dreamy scene.—Patricia Tilton, Children’s Books Heal 
The prose is lovely. “We sway to the wind’s song under crimson showers.” “We play until the sun paints the trees a copper hue.” The illustrations are even lovelier. I am amazed at what this artist can do with fibers. – Bonnie Ferrante, Books for Children

"Young children learn through imitation and movement. If that movement is filled with imaginative pictures, they are able to take it up in their whole being and express it outwardly in their play. Claudia Lenart's book Seasons of Joy uses the artistic medium of needle-felted wool to express the joy of children in movement at every season of the year."
--Barbara Patterson, retired Waldorf Extra Lesson teacher in private practice, author of Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven
"In Seasons of Joy, Claudia Lenart uses her beautiful rhyming prose to tell a classic tale of the changing of the seasons and the carefree pleasure of playing outside all year around. The details in every scene are meticulous and refined, down to the distinct wing pattern of a butterfly and the catchlight in a squirrel's eye. This book is exactly what it sets out to be - a joy to read and an inspiration for nature play for children everywhere."
--Linda Akeson McGurk, journalist, blogger at Rain or Shine Mama, author of There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather
"What a treat to meander through the seasons with these wonderful words and beautiful wool paintings. Claudia is an extraordinary fiber artist who has the special talent of bringing magical scenes to life. A delight for adults and children alike."
-- Donni Webber, www.TheMagicOnions.com, author of Magical Miniature Gardens and Homes

If you have read this entire blog post, you can get another entry by also telling me your favorite season in the comments. But please don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, too. 





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Best Beginner Books on How to Needle Felt Little Animals



Learn to needle felt with book tutorials.


When I first discovered the potential of needle felting while browsing the shops of talented Etsy artists, I was enthralled and I knew this was what I had to do. But I didn't know how to get started. So I did what I always do when I want to learn something new -- I found a book. Wool Toys and Friends: Step-by-Step Instructions for Needle-Felting Fun
The book included lots of pictures, and instructions for a variety of animals and dolls, including some very cute finger puppets. I don't think I followed the instructions to make any of the specific designs, but it helped me understand the process and how to add legs, arms, etc. After that book, I became consumed with needle felting and taught myself.
If you have a desire to sculpt  little needle felted animals, start with a book. Here are some recommendations for books easy to follow needle felting instructions:

Best books to learn how to needle felt animals.







Wool Toys and Friends: Step-by-Step Instructions for Needle-Felting Fun

This book includes patterns and many ideas including a sock monkey, finger puppets and a prairie dog. It also includes some instructions on wet felting.



Little Felted Animals: Create 16 Irresistible Creatures with Simple Needle-Felting Techniques

This book has 16 simple animal designs and really cute photography. It has some very nice step by step tutorials that make the process very clear.



Adorable Felted Animals: 30 Easy & Incredibly Lifelike Needle Felted Pals (Gakken Handmade)

This book includes 30 step-by-step instructions for making cute realistic pets including dogs and cats.



Making Needle Felted Animals: Over 20 Wild, Domestic, and Imaginary Creatures (Crafts and family Activities)

This book is especially lovely with 22 wildlife designs, detailed instructions and beautiful photography. I also like that they include a trouble shooting section, "felting bloopers."



Wild and Tame Needlefelt Animals: 24 Adorable Animals to Needlefelt With Wool

This book offers quite a variety of animals, both wild and tame, as the title suggests, for a total of 24 designs. There are many basic instructions such as "separating wool roving" that are very helpful to beginners.




The Natural World of Needle Felting: Learn how to make more than 20 adorable animals

I love that this book goes into great detail in the first chapter on choosing needles, adding color and creating structure. The photography is superb. It includes 20 designs with clear instructions.



Good luck on your needle felting adventure. Be sure to check out my tutorials on this blog including:



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Finding Inspiration for Needle felt Chipmunks in my Backyard


It was a very mild winter in the Midwest and that seems to have resulted in an abundance of local wildlife in my suburban backyard. Last week, a deer ran through my yard and I spotted a red fox down the road. It's hilarious watching the bunnies chase each other through the yard. But squirrels and chipmunks are my most frequent visitors.



My backyard chipmunks



My herding dog, Angelina, alerted me to some young chipmunks in my neighbors window well in the spring and I was able to get some up close photos.

There is nothing that equals inspiration from real animals, but when I don't have that opportunity, I google images or look on Pinterest. When I create my animals I always work with images of real animals, rather than my previous creations as I feel it gives them life.

Realistic needle felt chipmunk

Life sized Needle Felted Chipmunk





Chipmunk cake decoration

Chipmunks Make Cute Wedding Cake Toppers




tiny wool chipmunk

Tiny Needle Felt Chipmunk




dollhouse chipmunk

Micro Needle Felt Chipmunk





 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Claudia's Needle Felt Pet Portraits of Dogs, Pet Memorials


I have always loved dogs, so it makes sense that dog pet portraits are among my favorite needle felt sculptures. I have been told often that my pet portraits were the best gift ever. Clients often buy pet memorials to remember their dear ones that passed over the rainbow bridge.

sheltie pet portrait

Needle Felt Shetland Sheepdog Pet Portrait



I have created many breeds, golden retrievers, shetland sheepdogs, siberian huskies, shepherds, labradoodles, collies, poodles, min pin, corgi, yorki, boxers, westies, bully breeds and on and on.

I had a lot of fun illustrating "Prince Preemie: Tale of a Tiny Puppy Who Arrives Early," as the book is illustrated with numerous dog breeds. The giveaway is a softcover copy of Prince Preemie, signed by the illustrator, me. It's a sweet book, check out the trailer on Youtube.

 "Prince Preemie: Tale of a Tiny Puppy Who Arrives Early," 




wool dog pet memorial

Merle Collie Wool Pet Portraits



Shetland Sheepdog Pet Portrait



I like to create my pet portraits by obtaining numerous photos. I study the photos and I also study images of the breed standard. I spend many hours getting to know the breed and the dog. Usually by the time I'm done, I've fallen in love with the pup.

Wire-haired Pointing Griffon Pet Portrait





Min Pin pet portrait

Miniature Pinscher Needle Felt Sculpture

I use a variety of wool fibers as well as alpaca to create my dogs. Sometimes I'm able to use natural hues; other times I need to dye the fiber to match the dog's coat.

Poodle pet memorial sculpture

Custom Needle Felt Poodle Hugging Stuffed Toy



Needle felt boxer dog

Boxer Pet Memorial 




needle felted dachshund

Needle Felted Dachsund



Tripod dog pet sculpture

Needle Felted Shepherd Tri-pod



The most popular size of dog is 5-6 inches in length, but I have made larger and smaller dogs. If you are interested in a needle felt dog sculpture, summer is the best time to order. I usually cut off orders of pet portraits early in the fall, which is my busy season.

If you'd like to keep up with my new designs, books and other Claudia Marie Felt news please sign up for my newsletter. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

How to Needle Felt a Tiny Cardinal or Tiny Bird


I use tiny birds to decorate branches and little felt trees and some of my treetopper Waldorf angels hold little red cardinals. I created many little birds for my picturebook Seasons of Joy: Everyday is for Outdoor Play. 
In this blog post, I'll explain how to make a tiny red Northern Cardinal. You can also watch me make the cardinal in the YouTube video.

seasons picturebook

Learn to make the tiny cardinal like the one on cover of Seasons of Joy: Everyday is for Outdoor Play





Supplies 


    felt bird
  • orange wool
  • red wool
  • grey-brown wool or alpaca
  • black wool
  • toothpick
  • felting needle 38 or 40
  • sharp scissors


Wrap orange wool tightly around toothpick.


Wrap red wool over orange, wrapping in same direction.


Carefully slide off toothpick, felt with needle, and bend wool to shape bird.



Wrap small piece of red wool around head, and felt in.




Cut head crest to shape like cardinal.


Wrap tiny piece of black wool around beak and felt in, add red wool to create tail.


needlefelted bird

Blend red and gray wool, fold a tiny piece of the blended roving and felt in as wings.


Watch me make the cardinal in this YouTube video:









Waldorf angel with cardinals




Another angel tree topper with cardinals.









snowman building

The tiny cardinal in a Winter illustration from Seasons of Joy: Everyday is for Outdoor Play.