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Needle Felted King Bird... it's New Year's Eve!

Good evening, friends! I realized that I failed to do a Christmas post to wish you all the happiest of days, so I'll say now: I hope you all had a really wonderful Christmas and were able to do things you enjoy with people you love. I had a really good Christmas here in Alabama with Bobby and we treated ourselves to lots of candy and supplies and tools and of course, relaxation :)  
This is my second needle felted bird post in a row, and it won't be the last! I made a few batches of birdies for Christmas and thank you gifts. This one is special because he has a little crown on. I made him for my crafty buddy Audrey
Check out that colorful spotted tail :) My brother and his wife must be psychic, because they sent me another couple of packs of dyed/plain guinea fowl feathers for Christmas. I have been using them like crazy.
 Did you know it's way easier to needle felt a big beak than a little one? True story, unless there is some awesome tiny-beak method that I have yet to figure out.
 *Yawnnn* I don't think I'll make it to midnight...

Needle Felted Bird of Paradise with looong tail

 I looked out the window, and what did I see? This crazy bird hopping 'round my apricot tree! Well, it wasn't an apricot tree, and the bird wasn't hopping around, but that would have been fun. I made this little needle felted bird of paradise for myself on Sunday because I needed to make something for me to keep :) It's a gorgeous morning today in Alabama, so I decided to go outside and take some pics of my new birdy.
 Photogenic little chap, isn't he? 
He'll soon be roosting on my totally ornament-encrusted tree. I'll have to find a good spot for him.
The long pretty tail feathers are from an emu. I've been hiding them away for a long time (picked them up at the critter zoo a while back), and finally found them when I did a little organizing. It sure feels good to finally use some random supply you've been hoarding forever, doesn't it? 

At any rate, I am so excited for Christmas! And maybe Christmas orders will slow down a little and I'll have some time to go play Santa and deliver gifts and treats to my friends in town :)

Little Penguin Magnet

Here is the final little penguin craft, maybe until next year. It's a little magnet! The penguin is a little watercolor illustration I did just for this magnet, and the background is collage. 

That's it for today, I've got more to share once Christmas gifts are delivered :) And let me just say that I love that it's the weekend! Who's with me?

Let it Snow! Penguin Mini Mixed Media Art Quilt

I promised more penguin stuff, didn't I? :) Here is a mixed media art quilt that I made from all sorts of scraps of fabric of different kinds. It always feels good to use up scraps, but my scrap bin level seems to NEVER go down... Someday, I've gotta make something huge from my scraps.

 For the lettering, I used acrylic paint to write "Let it snow" and then used my sewing machine to stitch over the letters once the paint had dried all the way. I thought the effect was pretty cute, and I'll have to do it again. I'm wanting to make a toucan art quilt wall hanging with a nice encouraging quote on it. I think I might have time once the holiday rush has died down. There's a spot above my fireplace that has just been begging for a big ol' piece of art.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a fun December so far... I'm finding myself wishing for a little more cold weather. Today was super muggy, a little rainy and almost 80 degrees out. It doesn't feel like Christmas! Heck, I didn't even need to wear socks today, and socks are one of my favorite things about winter :) That and sweets.

Until next time, friends.

Needle Felted Penguin in a Sweater

 My goodness gracious. I have been SO busy, and I get to count this blog post right here as a break, then I'm back to work. I am sharing this wee needle felted penguin wearing a colorful winter sweater.
 I was in another Craftster Swap (I'm swearing off of these for a few months, I need a break) and one of my partner's holiday themes was "Penguins in Colorful Clothing." If you know me, you can guess why I'd want to pick THAT theme. So for one of the items (more penguin items to come soon), I needle felted this penguin using beautiful wool sent to me by the lovely Belladune of SpinHeartSpin.
 His little jacket-vest is cut from a felted sweater I picked up at a thrift store fill-a-bag sale. I love those.
 And the Tee hee. This is what penguin looks like au natural, sweater removed.
Meep meep meep (this is the sound that I imagine penguins make). He says "Merry Christmas."

Also, before I wrap up this blog post, I want to give a HUGE
and several digital imaginary hugs to everyone who has taken time to leave me a kind comment or word of love or encouragement. It seems like tons of very happy or very sad or very busy things have come at me all at once lately, and I've been hanging on for dear life, getting by day by day. I haven't found the time to comment back to each of you, but please know that I have much much much love and appreciation for you guys.

Four Calling Birds Mini-Envelope Book

Sparkle, sparkle! I made this envelope book... do you get the reference? 4 Calling Birds, birds and phones. I love Christmas, and I am so glad. I love having my Christmas tree up, and even though it's completely encrusted in ornaments and other glittery nonsense, I thought it could use another little book among its branches.
And hey, guess who the 4 calling birds are calling? Santa. Each of the pages (which are envelopes) have a tag that pulls out to reveal Santa on the other line. I used the Santa on the Telephone Collage Sheet for those. The birds are from the Robin Red Breast Collage Sheet. I added a little glitter glue for extra sparklies.
 I used all sorts of different ribbons and fibers and embellishments from Alpha Stamps. My favorite are the little sparkly flowers I made using metallic crinkle wire in pink, copper and red.
To make those little flowers, you take a piece of crinkle wire about 8 inches long and wrap it around your finger. Take the wrapped circle and then twist the center twice so you have a sort of bunch. Then you delicately separate and arrange the loops, and voila! A sparkly little flower ready to glue onto whatever needs some shine.
And boooonus! I made a 4 calling birds ATC using the Parrots collage sheet. There will be more 12 days of Christmas ATCs showing up day by day in the Alpha Stamps Gallery :) 

In case you see anything that you want to stuff your stocking with, here's the full product list for the envelope book:

Christmas Challenge at Unique Crafters

It's December! That means a new challenge over at the Unique Crafters Challenge Blog. This month is sponsored by Cedar Chest Designs.

For this month's Christmas challenge, I made this Santa Claus card, wishing you a very merry Christmas.
Ho ho ho, jinglebells, pointsettias, holly and whatnot.

Go check out the challenge at Unique Crafters! :)

Glittery Monster Horns, Sad things in the Nichols home

For those of you lovelies that are also likers of my page on Facebook, you maybe have already seen this picture of my poor little dog Tink, being a good sport and modeling my monster horns.
 I made these for Halloween this year, but I'm only now getting around to posting them. I made a headband with horns and ears, along with a tail that I pinned to my shirt.
 I formed the basic shape of the horns out of aluminum foil, so they would be nice and light weight and I wouldn't use too much clay, which is relatively expensive, compared to foil.
 Remembering to thread some wire through the foil at the bases of the horns was crucial, otherwise, I have no idea how else I would have attached them to the headband... Maybe it could have been done with a serious amount of glue, but the wire really made it much easier.
 Next, I wrapped the horns with thin strips of fabric attached with hot glue. I thought it would help to smooth out all the crinkliness of the foil, but honestly, I think I would skip this step next time. The clay didn't stick to the fabric as well as I had expected, so it was kind of a pain.
 After that, I smoothed air-dry paperclay onto the outside and let it dry. This picture is before drying. After this step, I sanded the horns down to smooth them out some more, then painted colorful stripes on with craft acrylics. Once those were dry, I used Aleene's tacky glue to do each color of glitter, one at a time, letting them dry in between each glittering, so the glitter colors stayed separate.
 Here's my make-up for Halloween night. I didn't dress up really, except for my tail. I just didn't have time to figure out the rest of the costume. When people asked what I was, I either said cow or monster... But mostly I had people guess. My favorite guess from that night was Pinata.

Anyway, I have not been blogging, because of crazy stuff. I mentioned that Bobby and I were doing assisted fertility treatments because we've been trying to have a baby for several years, with no luck. We did an IUI, and were so happy when we found out it worked, and I was pregnant for the first time ever.

On Wednesday night of this week, I started having abdominal pain, but I went to sleep, hoping it would go away. I woke up early Thursday morning with the same pain, getting worse, and Bobby drove me to my doctor in Dothan, about 45 minutes away. By the time the doctor saw me, the pain was the worst thing I have ever felt in my entire life. I had to have emergency surgery. The pregnancy was ectopic, causing heavy bleeding in my abdominal cavity and the doctor had to remove my right fallopian tube along with the baby. Needless to say, the last few days have been tough. I'm trying to stay busy, putting up Christmas decorations and keeping up with my Etsy shop and stuff. I should probably rest more, but I don't feel like it. I feel fortunate for all the good things in my life, and I'm glad to be alive. God has a plan for Bobby and me, we know it. Anyway, thank you, my friends, for all your love. I'll have more crafts to share with you soon.

Needle Felted Great Green Macaw

Somebody made me smile the other morning, so I made her a bird :) This little needle felted guy is a great green macaw, the kind of parrot I always imagine on a pirate's shoulder. I didn't make it super-detailed, but I think it turned out pretty cute anyway.

And here he is with the rest of my needle felted birdie gang. 

"Happy Tuesday, scallywags!"

November Unique Crafter's Challenge: Sugar and Spice

 Hello, everybody! I'm late with posting November's challenge for the Unique Crafters Challenge blog. Better late than never! This month's theme is "Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice" or in other words, Little Girls! I used a photo of my super cute niece, Andie, along with the digital stamp image "Shy Alice" by Anna Dixon for Cedar Chest Designs.
 Colored guinea fowl feathers! I just couldn't resist. I've had these in my stash for a couple of months.
Happy Monday!
Here are the challenge details:

We are celebrating all things that are girly, cute, frilly and full of little girl charm.

Our challenge has been sponsored by the brand new Cedar Chest Designs digital crafts website. Be sure to check out all of their great images. In honor of their grand opening, all of their images are on sale for 25% off. Just remember to use coupon code “GRAND” when you check out if you want to get your discount. They have lots of freebies too so be sure to check them out.

This month’s winner will receive a whopping $25 dollar gift certificate to the Cedar Chest Designs site so be sure to link over your projects.

Click here to enter your project!

Awww, A baby scrap monster....

A long time ago in a craft room, similar to this one, but in a different house, I made Bobo the Benevolent Scrap Monster. Well, I recently made another little baby scrap monster for one of my favorite craftsters, Belladune, of the SpinHeartSpin blog. We did a lovely trade :) 
 This little guy is a bit scruffier along the edges, I thought the scraps sticking out were reminiscent of whiskers.
 Basically, I keep (hoard) a big tub full of my fabric scraps, so I can use them for miscellaneous future projects. For this kind of effect, I make a really simple loom from a rectangle of cardboard, Basically you cut slits about 1/2 inch apart at the top and bottom pieces, then wind on some yarn or crochet thread to make vertical parallel lines. Then you start weaving stuff in, pushing it down to the bottom as you go. Maybe I should do a video on this technique. It's fun, and a good way to use up scraps.
Here's a picture of baby monster and brother-of-bobo. I hope everyone had a lovely Halloween! Next week, I'll do a post on the costume pieces I made :) Clue: sparklehorns.

Also, if you haven't entered already, don't forget to enter to win a free copy of "A Bag for All Reasons" by Lisa Lam! All you've gotta do is comment either on the post, or on the Facebook picture.

Everybody have an awesome weekend!

Bunnies and Kitties ATCs

I did a personal ATC swap with the amazing Gozer. She made me some seriously awesome cards, and I sent her some kitties/bunnies themed cards. This one is watercolor and ink. Originally, I was going to leave the background kitties black and white, but there just wasn't enough color for me.
This one is a bunnies-themed mixed media card. Postage stamps, paint, regular stamps, pigment powder, etc. 

Anyhoo, I hope everybody is having an awesome month. I can't believe that October is suddenly so close to its end! I haven't even made my art calendar and I feel pretty slackerish about that. But I have been so busy with what seems like millions of doctors appointments in places that are just way too far away from my house. Bobby and I are trying to start our family, and have been for what seems like for-ev-er, and we're finally into the crazy stuff. Keep your fingers crossed for us, prayers appreciated :)

And just a wee reminder: 
Learn to sew a bag! "A Bag for All Reasons" book giveaway is still happening. Go comment to enter!

GIVEAWAY! Want to learn to sew a bag? "A Bag For All Reasons" Book Giveaway!

Why hello, my friends, on this lovely Tuesday! I have a giveaway for you guys. The kind folks over at Martha Pullen Company sent me a copy of Lisa Lam's "A Bag For All Reasons" to review and also offered to give a copy away to one of my readers.
I decided to try making the Compact Groceries Tote (thanks, Mindy, for the fabric!), since I'm constantly bringing packages to the post office. I was using a different bag, and just crumpling it up and throwing it back in my car once it was empty. 
What I like about this one is that it has a wrap around strap to fold up the bag and a clippy on it so I can attach it to my other bag, instead of just tossing it in the car willy-nilly. I like this bag a lot, and have actually been using it as my purse for the past few days. I can snap the wrap-around snap together and clip my keys onto it, which is cool, because I am always losing my keys.

Making the bag from the instructions in the book was pretty easy, and I didn't need to think too hard. Whenever I try to just sew a bag from scratch out of my head, I end up seam-ripping and having to think real hard. It was nice to have clear instructions to follow step by step. Also, there are full-size pull-out patterns in the back of the book, so you don't have to make your own out of tissue or whatever. I liked that a LOT. The only thing I had trouble with was the envelope-style bottom, but that was just me being crazy.

Anyway, I really like this book, and I'm not just saying that. The pull-out patterns: awesome. The book is spiral-bound, so it lays flat when you're working: awesome. And all the projects in the book (there are 12) are all really cute and functional and not too intimidating.

So! Do you waaaaant a copy? :) You should. This giveaway is open to folks in the US, Canada, and Europe. You can enter two ways: comment here and/or on the giveaway photo on my Facebook page. Please only comment once per place. I'll pick a random winner on Monday November 12th.

And guess what? if you just wanna GET the book, here's a code for 33% off at Martha Pullen: BAGS2012
And guess what ELSE?! If you want to make a compact groceries tote for yourself, you can find the whole project tutorial and pattern here.

Bowie & Friends! Birdy pet portrait and videos

I can't remember if I ever told you guys about Jxh0703's YouTube videos, and if I did, it was probably one of Bowie, the indian ringneck. Anyway, she has this adorable flock of various parrots, and they are all super cute and I love to watch them. I have been wanting to do some fan art for a while, because for some reason, I just really like these birds! I finally got to it last night. Top branch L-R: Smokey, Hazel, Boo-boo. Low branch L-R: Kool-aid, Wish, Bee, and Bowie. 

 Now get ready for some cute videos.  My favorite is Bowie. He talks and is just so sweet. If you want to go into a cuteness coma, watch this video:

This is Hazel and BooBoo, the most terribly adorable pair of inter-species friends that you will see EVER. And BooBoo is wearing a space collar in the painting because he's been picking at himself lately. Watch this super cute video:

 This is Wish and Bee, the budgies. Wish is pretty much new, but here's a video of Bee going swimming and Wish in the background:

Well, I hope you liked my weird post, telling you all about vague celebrity birds that I've never met. LOL.

Have a great week!