Archive for October, 2012

I fear there was some spill over of magic when the Fairy Godmother visited the pumpkin patch. Some of the pumpkins began to grow in a most unusual way.  I thought I would share a photo of one of the most peculiarly changed of the pumpkins.

Witchy Pumpkin

The Peculiar Priscilla Pumpkin Witch

This is Priscilla. The magic spill over gave her arms and legs(though her hands are still very leaf like). She decided that since magic helped make her who she was, that she would become a witch and learn as much about magic as she could.

Please leave me a comment below to let me know if I should make more pumpkin people for Halloween next year.

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Good Morning Lovely People! The last week or so have been very challenging here at Woodland Whimsy. Big changes are afoot. I hope everyone has a spectacular weekend.

A pair of fungi

A pair of fungi

This lovely pair of fungi were growing amongst the mint in my own garden. I love it when I can take fungus pictures at home.

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Happy Friday! There have been some big changes here at Woodland Whimsy, here’s hoping they are for the better.

in the lawn

Mushrooms in the Lawn

This cute pair of mushrooms were nestled down in the lawn at a home I was doing some pruning at.

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At the bottom of the trail down into Emerald Bay at lovely Lake Tahoe, is a spectacular house. It is called Vikingsholm.  Pierre had an incredible time scrambling all around.

Vikingsholm Plaque

Vikingsholm Plaque

Pierre read the plaque and then jumped up for a photo. The plaque details the donation of nearly 300 acres including the stunning Vikingsholm and Fanette Island. The plaque is located in the interior court yard of Vikingsholm.

Court yard pond

Court yard pond

For reasons I can’t really understand, Pierre loves the water. He can not swim, but he still always wants to get in. It took some convincing to get him to pose next to this pond in the Vikingsholm court yard.

Pierre on the door

Pierre on the door

The craftsmanship that went into this home is incredible. Pierre particularly liked this door. It leads into the house from the court yard. Goblins are worse than monkeys for swinging on things.

Fuel Pump

Pierre checking out the fuel pump

This is an old fuel pump outside Vikingsholm. Pierre thought that it was really cool. He inspected every part of it. (So did the men who were with us) Pierre is always interested in how things work.


Pierre in the window

Sadly, the season for tours of Vikingsholm was already over. We did take a peak in the window to see some of the fantastic furniture inside.


Buoys on the beach

After we looked at Vikingsholm, we walked on the beach for a while. Pierre was fascinated by the buoys that had washed up on the beach.

Driftwood log

Pierre rides the driftwood

As always, it was a struggle to keep Pierre out of the water. He had to settle for lounging on this driftwood log. He really wanted me to talk to the owners of the cool boat in the background about letting him check it out. I did not. I tried to explain that you can’t really expect people to want a goblin they don’t know running around on their boat.

Land Shark!

Land Shark!

It was time to head back up to the car. We did not hike back the way we came in. We took a smaller trail along the lake for a bit over a mile. Pierre was delighted when we came across this rock shark. Nothing would do except for him to crawl in and pretend to be getting eaten.

Last Stream

Pierre by yet another water fall

Here is one last photo of Pierre by a beautiful little water fall. We had a lovely hike. All in all we did about four miles.(To hike to Vikingsholm and back is a 2 mile hike) The trails have areas that are quite steep, but it is well worth the effort.

As always, you can see more of my art work at http://www.woodlandwhimsy.com





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I’d like to introduce you to Pierre. He is the first goblin born here at Woodland Whimsy.


Pierre in the parking lot

Pierre had his first hiking adventure last week. He came hiking with us down into Emerald Bay at Lake Tahoe.

Pierre Hiking

Pierre Hiking

When I say Pierre went hiking, what I really mean is he got a lovely ride in a back pack while the rest of us hiked. Pierre’s legs are just not long enough to keep up with us.

Pierre with sign

Wait! Check out the sign!

We were just getting ready to head down the hill when Pierre shouted, “Wait!! I want a picture with the cool sign.” So out of the back pack he came, and he gave me a lovely Vanna White pose to show off the sign.

Lake View

Lake View

This is our first view of the lake. You can see the little island. It has a tea house that looks like a castle on it. Pierre thinks that the way his shadow looks in this photo is great.

Pierre by a tiny water fall

Pierre by a tiny water fall

There were several pretty little water falls along the trail. Pierre wanted his photo taken at every one of them. He loves to be in photos with water. I will not include all the photos of Pierre checking out the lovely waterfalls here.

Tree roots

Tree roots growing through the rocks

“Stop! Please stop!” yelled Pierre. (I should mention what a patient man my husband is) “I want to climb up and look at the roots.” There were roots of trees twisting through the rocks gaining purchase to stabilize tall trees.

Cave Water Fall

Pierre in a small cave with a water fall

Pierre had a great time playing in this little cave, climbing from rock to rock over the water.

Fire damged tree

Fire damaged tree

Pierre thought this tree was amazing. It was severely damaged by fire at some point in the past. The tree was burned all the way through. Yet it still lives and continues to grow.

Pierre in the tree

Pierre in the tree

Pierre felt like he couldn’t be seen well enough in the larger photo. So here is a much closer picture of him in the fire damaged tree.

This tree is near the bottom of the path down to the bay. It is next to Vikingsholm. Pierre had fun exploring the outside of this amazing house. I’ll share those photos with you later this week.

If you like Pierre, you may enjoy seeing more work from Woodland Whimsy. You can do that here http://www.woodlandwhimsy.com








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Happy Friday! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. Fall is in the air here and I am loving it.

These mushrooms look like they are dancing a fun, flirty, old country style dance.


Dancing Mushrooms

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It’s time for another Inspiration Thursday. I love this feature of my blog. It is so interesting to me to find out what inspires my fellow artists. Today’s artist is Samantha Webb from Moby and Puddle. She is an artist that makes fantastic, whimsical creatures.  You can see more of her work here http://www.facebook.com/mobyandpuddle You can also follow the adventures of her traveling goblins here http://www.facebook.com/GoblinOnTheGo


What inspires me?
I am a full time mummy. That is a full time job but is so much fun and so liberating! I spend my evenings following my dreams of becoming an artist whilst my Webblings (aged 4yrs and 1yr) sleep. They are my true inspiration, the reason that I continue to follow the path of an artist, because I don’t want them to ever feel that I gave up or that money is the only way to gain happiness! 


I am inspired by the world around me, particularly nature. The changing of the seasons and the passage of time, there are so many unseen and yet constant forces at work, perhaps the forces themselves have 
personalities? I look out of my kitchen window and next to the inner city school, that my little girl just started, grows a huge maple tree. Unlike the buildings around it, looking worn with age, the tree has a majesty 
and a beauty that it has developed through many eras. Perhaps the maple has a protector to keep it safe from destruction and human development of land, perhaps it homes a family of faeries?


I think I have always believed that there is something more than what we merely see, science proves this constantly. It makes it no less magic in my opinion. I found the work of Brian and Wendy Froud helped me to realize that my point of view was shared by others and celebrated in art.


I have always written stories, for as long as I can remember but only painted now and then. I was never very happy with the outcome but  I began to paint as a way to ease pre-natal depression rather than take medication and found that the more I painted the more I loved it. Then I rediscovered favorite films such as Labyrinth and TV shows like Fraggle Rock with my daughter who was a baby at the time. The work of Jim Henson Studios continues to be influential to me throughout needle felting in particular! I have never been in a position where I could afford an art class so everything is self taught and learned via many mistakes!
Faerie Light

Faerie Light

I watch You Tube videos and have wonderful books by Christi Friesen and Birdy Heywood which taught me the basics in clay but I am absolutely useless at following guides so I have had to improvise! Still without those books I would not have developed to the stage that I am at now! 


I adore mixed media and am always trying to mix new materials together, a lot of my favorite work blends my love of clay with my love of sewing and needle felting! My Trolls manage to mix all three! It doesn’t always work but I will keep those misguided creations to myself! I am still very new to the world of art and craft. I am enjoying my journey and hope that I can keep going for as long as the inspiration strikes! 
Samantha Webb
Moby and Puddle

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On Friday last week, I had planned to work on a needle felting project. I went to my fiber supply and was quite dismayed to find that I didn’t have the color that I wanted to use. I had my heart set on purple, so the project got delayed while I did a dyeing day. I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you how I do it.

My alpaca fiber comes to me in large bags. It is often very dirty. When it arrives I open up a bag, spread the fleece out on a table and give it a quick once over to remove any large and obvious organic matter. I also give it a bit of a shake to remove loose dirt. It goes back into a clean bag until I am ready to use it.

I do all my dyeing in small batches. I wash and dye my fiber as part of one process. I use mainly alpaca fiber, but this process should work for pretty much any animal fiber.


Alpaca Fiber

First I take about an ounce of fiber. If you want consistent, repeatable results, you should actually weigh your fiber. I just eyeball it. I know about how much an ounce is, and I don’t need to repeat any color exactly. I spread it out and remove as much organic matter as I can.

Wash Prep

A squirt of dish detergent in hot water

Next I fill a bowl with hot tap water and swirl in a squirt of dish detergent. I use Dawn, but I don’t see why using another brand would make a difference. Add the soap after the bowl is full and swirl gently. You don’t want bubbles.

wash the fiber

Fiber in the Wash Water

Gently place the fiber into the wash water. Press down lightly to remove any air pockets. Let it set in the water for 20 minutes. Don’t poke it or push it around. I still always want to, but don’t do it. You should remove any organic matter that you see. Removing organic matter is an on going step through out the process. When the 20 minutes are up, gently slide the fiber into a colander and drain. Give it a rinse with the sprayer of your sink if you have one. If not, just a quick rinse under the tap should be fine. This step should be repeated as needed for the fiber to be clean. I did four washes with this particular batch.

When the fiber is clean, do a 20 minute soak in clear water. I follow that with a 20 minute soak in water with a splash of white vinegar. I feel that the vinegar helps brighten and soften the fiber a bit.


Dyeing Items

Here are some of the things I use when I am dyeing. Individual colors are done in the quart jars. Wide mouth jars make the process a bit easier, but you can really use whatever type jar you like. The tool on the left is for lifting the jars in and out of the hot water bath. The white bag is citric acid. I use it with the icing dye to set the color. It can be found with canning supplies in the store. The little bottle is a gel cake icing dye. Liquid food coloring may work(I haven’t tried it) but I imagine you would need a lot of it to get good color. The final item is unsweetened powdered drink mix. This one happens to be my store brand, but any type will work. I stock up when it is on sale.

Mixed dyes

Dyes Ready for Fiber-2 Black, Pink, Purple, Mixed Pink and Purple

The powdered drink mix is used alone when I dye. I use between one and four packages depending on the shade I want.

The cake icing dye is used with the citric acid. I use 1/2 a teaspoon of citric acid and about a 1/4 teaspoon of icing dye. Sometimes the icing dye gives interesting colors. Sometimes the colors in the dye separate out and give a nice variegated effect. I have not had good luck with reds. I get flecks of solid red instead of it dissolving well. Purple does not turn out to be purple in the end, but a streaky blue and pink(very cool, but not purple). The greens and yellows always turn out well. It is fun to experiment with the different colors. When I do black, I use a dark fiber instead of white.

After the colors are put in the jars, add hot (but not boiling) water to the jars to dissolve the dyes. I stir them with a chopstick until they are well dissolved.

Fiber in Dye

Fiber in the Jar Ready for the Water Bath

Place your cleaned, wet fiber into the jar. Push down gently with a chopstick to make sure the fiber is covered. This is another part where I always want to play with it, don’t do it. I put a bit more water in this jar before it went into the water bath.

Pot for Water Bath

Pot I Use for the Water Bath

The water for the water bath should be just a bit below boiling point.


Top View

Top View of the Water Bath

The water level should be just below the rim of the jars. The jars should remain in the water bath until all the dye has been absorbed and the water is clear. The pink and orange drink mix tend to have leave a milky look to the water. They never get completely clear for me, but everything else seems to.

Clear Water

The Fiber When Color is Absorbed

Remove the jars and allow them to cool.

I have to apologize for the quality of this photo. I couldn’t get a better one, but I wanted you to see how clear the water is. The chopstick is inside the jar holding the fiber to the side. As you can see, I still have some more organic matter to remove.

Salad Spinner

Into the Salad Spinner

When the jars have cooled, gently pour one into the colander portion of a salad spinner (brand doesn’t matter). They are pretty easy to find and inexpensive as well. Rinse the fiber gently. Then put the colander into the spinner and spin out as much water as you can.


On the Rack to Dry

Place the fiber on a rack to dry. Again, remove any organic matter that you see. I pretty much always have some fall out during the drying process.

I hand card my fiber when it is dry.

That’s how I do it. I am happy to answer questions that I can.




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Happy fungus Friday! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. There will be a new Inspiration Thursday next week. I had to be at work early yesterday and the day just got away from me.

Shelf Fungus

Shelf Fungus

This is a beautiful shelf fungus growing on a fallen log in the woods of Northern Idaho. I always find wonderful fungus to photograph when we hike there.

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This is Sunsational. He just had a good roll in the grass. I use his fiber natural color (it is quite dark, but has a reddish tone in natural light.) I also use it as base for dyeing black. It is already very dark so works out well with a small amount of black cake icing dye.

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