Brian's Shadow

Poultry update from the mini-farm! I set a few turkey eggs back in late February. It was not a good hatch, we wound up with one lonely turkey poult. We named him Laredo. He imprinted on us immediately, since he had nothing else to call momma. Because Brian was home more often than I was in those first few days, the little turkey really latched on to him. Laredo is about a month old now, and feathered enough to leave the brooder for short periods. He follows Brian EVERYWHERE. I took some video of them together yesterday, it's pretty darn cute.


Public Poultry Shaming

Yeah, we had to do this. Disclaimer: No animals were harmed the creation of these images. Honestly. They can't even read. ;)

If you feel like shaming any of your own birds, I'd be happy to add them here! Use the 'contact' button in the menu above to drop me a note, and I'll email you back how to send in your photos. :)

Sophie, the Salmon Faverolle hen.

Ptaffy, the Midget White turkey hen.

Turkish, the Midget White turkey tom.

Agnes, the Dominique hen.

Reuben, the Dominque rooster.

Here are some photos people have sent to me of their own poultry, confessing their sins for your amusement. :)

Submitted by Renee SchottSubmitted by Renee SchottSubmitted by Renee SchottSubmitted by Renee Schott


Needle Felting Classes

I've finally finished editing and posting several of my needle felting classes for sale on Etsy as PDF downloads. Click on the images below to go to the class listing for that project.

Baby Dragons Class

Bunnies Class

Easter Eggs Class

Chicks Class

Pumpkin Faces Class


Santa Cthulhu 2013: Final!

It's done! At last! Santa Cthulhu 2013 is complete. If you haven't been following along, this is now the fifth not-quite-annual needle felted Santa Cthulhu extravaganza for us. You can see previous years' projects in the Felt Gallery. This one took a while, Brian and I started working on it back in mid-October. Santa Cthulhu sits in his Octi-Sleigh, ready to deliver his bag full of squirmy presents to children all over the world. A shoggoth pulls Santa and his sleigh; why bother with eight tiny reindeer when one protoplasmic behemoth will do? Keep scrolling for far too many photos ...

 The bag of presents appears to be made of fishing net. It erupts with assorted tentacles, and a single giant crab claw.

Santa is needle felted entirely from wool. Oddly, this is the first year we've given the Santa Cthulhu wings. I have no real reason for that. In previous years I think we just got close to the finish line and thought, "Wings? Nah, that'd be more work ..."

The shoggoth is a writhing, amoeba-like mass of needle felted pustules, eyes, appendages and teeth. A shoggoth is a constantly changing creature. As such, it's somewhat difficult to put a yoke or harness on it. Santa just hitches his sleigh up to a large metal ring that he has to trust the shoggoth to keep incorporated into its fluctuating body. Chains hitch the shoggoth's ring to the sleigh, and Santa holds leather straps as reins. The eyes are glass cabochons that we painted specifically for the shoggoth. The teeth are epoxy clay.


The Octi-Sleigh is a substantial sculpture I made specifically for this project. It has a wire armature covered with nearly 4 lbs of epoxy clay. It is painted with acrylics, and I'd just like to point out that this was my very first attempt at painting with an airbrush! If you look back at the last several journal entries, you can see lots of work-in-progress photos of the sleigh.

Lovecraft's shoggoths are described as iridescent. For fun, we went with fluorescent. If you have a blacklight handy, the shoggoth (and even Santa) will glow!


Santa sits about 11" tall. The sleigh is 13" long and 7" tall. The shoggoth is about 8" tall and 11" long. And just to help, I took a photo with my hand in the shot, to demonstrate how big these figures are.


Santa Cthulhu 2013: Santa In His Sleigh

Sleigh is painted! My first ever attempt at using an airbrush.

Here's Santa (or what I have done of him so far) in the sleigh.


Santa Cthulhu 2013: Santa's Sleigh (nearly done!)

I finished sculpting the sleigh. Whew. Next up is painting!

We're a little behind this year, we usually try to get the Santa Cthulhu done by the start of December. Eeek.

I had to clean my desk off for the next stage of the project. It was getting out of hand. I found stuff I haven't seen in ages. I don't think this desk has been this clean since we moved in!


Santa Cthulhu 2013: Santa's Sleigh (again)

I'm almost done sculpting the sleigh, whew it was a lot of texture work. I had Brian take a photo with my hands in there for scale, so you can get an idea of how big the full scene is going to be.

I've also started the Santa. Here's what I have so far, he's sat on the end table in the living room because I tend to needle felt while sitting on the couch under lots of blankets, and not in my studio.

When I AM in my studio, however, Cloudy sits on a perch behind me and keeps me on task. She's a good helper-bird.


Santa Cthulhu 2013: Santa's Sleigh

And a little bit more progress ...


Santa Cthulhu 2013: Santa's Sleigh

A little more progress on the sleigh. Slow going, and way more work than I anticipated, but fun.


Shoggoth Eyes

Brian decided he wanted glass eyes (instead of felted eyes) for the Shoggoth that will be pulling Santa Cthulhu's sleigh. At first, we looked up taxidermy glass animal eyes. They are definitely very cool, but also very expensive. Since the shoggoth is meant to have LOTS of eyes, all over its body, we could easily have sunk $100 in glass eyes into it. I figured there had to be a way I could make them myself. So here's a quick tutorial on my homemade glass eyes!

 Supplies! Pearlescent paint and fluorescent paint, clear glass cabochons, and tiny paint brushes.

We decided to use toad eyes as inspiration for the shoggoth eyes, and we wanted them to be an unnatural green color, to match the protoplasmic bubbles Brian has already felted on the Shoggoth's back. To begin, I painted the pupil of the eye in the center of the back of the cabochon with plain black acrylic.

Then I painted lots of squiggly black lines in the iris of the eye, and gave it a solid black ring around the edge of the eye.

I mixed some of the fluorescent yellow with the bronze paint, so the eye would look a little metallic. The fluorescent paint will make it glow under a blacklight. I painted the yellow in a small ring around the edge of the pupil.

I mixed some of the blue fluorescent paint in with the yellow/bronze mix to make it bright green. I painted this over the rest of the back of the cabochon. After this dried, I painted the whole back of the cabochon over with black, to give a solid background to the more translucent paint.

Let it dry, flip it over, and voila! Glass shoggoth eye!

I popped one into the shoggoth, I think they'll look pretty cool in the end! We'll probably glue them in place and then felt eyelids up around them a bit.