Anatomy Shark & (wow, it’s been a while!)

Holy smokes…hello! I can’t believe it’s been this long since I’ve written anything over here.  I’m excited to share though, I think this fellow is worth the wait.

2014 was fabulous…it brought forth an influx of interest in my Solar System sets and I am so grateful for how many I was able to create for you over the last few months.  A brainy idea happened and I created “Anatomy Doll”; we’ve been enjoying some attention that it’s gotten!   THEN I used my love of whales to create another anatomy creation and came up with Anatomy Whale (modeled after a sperm whale!)

I am ending 2015 and starting 2016 with a continued fascination of all kinds of anatomy.  WHERE this interest came from exactly…I have no clue 😉  I was never a brainiac in biology in high school.  All through science I whispered and day dreamed.  Now I flirt with wool and needles and the occassional sheep when I’m lucky.  heehee

That brings me to the intros.  Meet…. ANATOMY SHARK! DA NA NA NA… (I’m doing my best Jaws with that btw).

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Modeled after a Tiger Shark… he has faint darker blue ‘spots’ on his back.  His mouth opens and closes and there are two rows of teeth, top and bottom.  mnjhyuiokgdxvTiger Shark is 11″ long and 7.5″ wide(fin to fin).  Very firmly and densely felted but soft to the touch.  Made using 100% wool and every part of him is sculpted completely using the help of felting needles, scissors and some needle and thread to durably attach all the fins.  nbghytrfvcddHe has 3 gils on either side…just in front of the side fins.

The under belly is hollow and houses all the vital organs.  mnbhjkiuytrdcfvb

You will notice that shark organs differ from a human.  They do have almost everything us humans have and need…but the organs are shaped quite differently. The kidney is loooooong and thin.  The brain is a long lobe, with 3 bulbous sections.  The heart has chambers but is rounded and looks quite unusual compared to a human heart.nbhgtyujmkiuyt

Each and every organ has been carefully sculpted using pleasing colours for interest.  The shark’s under belly is white, the top is light blue and darker blue.  Sharks are ‘two toned’ for the fact that they are camouflaged from hunters and disguised as they approach their prey.  Such powerful bodies, their fins help them gracefully and swiftly slide through the ocean.  I’ve tried to sculpt that majestic shape of the shark and depict their useful fins.

I know this is likely a silly week to introduce a piece for a new home, but Anatomy Shark is all ready to swim abroad.  I hope to have him listed in my Etsy  tomorrow (Tuesday, Dec 22/15)  Click here to visit my Etsy shop.

Anatomy Shark will arrive with a Care Kit, art tags, a small cotton storage bag for the organs and artistically wrapped for your enjoyment.

PS:  2016 is going to all about anatomy 😉  If you have an idea for something you would like to see me offer, please comment or private message me!

NEXT UP:  A MINI sized (human) Anatomy Doll… (it’s too cute for words I promise), Anatomy Robot and Anatomy Zombie.  I’m also going to update my Anatomy Whale a little bit.

Thank you friends… see you soon! anatomywhaleanatomywhale4anatomy101Click here to visit my Etsy shop.

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At It Again – Anatomy Whale!

What is it with me?  I have the weirdest ideas.  It’s been the summer of Solar Systems and in between sets, I’ve been letting my hands run wild.  Put creative thoughts together with a keen fascination of whales & anatomy, and that’s how Anatomy Whale started.

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Meet my rendition of a Sperm Whale.  My favouritest 😉  Wooly Sperm Whale is 7″ long.  He’s very firmly felted, but soft to the touch.  One side is his wonderful whale profile, which includes a black glass eye, small flipper and a functional mouth and he has a triangle tail fin.  The other side of the whale is hollowed out and that is where all his ‘parts’ go 🙂  Something kind of fun… his mouth is actually a small opening and ‘food’ can slide right inside, into his stomach.  He also has a blow hole on the top front of his head.

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I’ve used a blue-ish, green-ish, grey-ish wool fleece to cover his body.  On top I added some royal blue embroidery stitches.  His belly is tan wool and I’ve added some orange funky stitches.  To ensure Anatomy Whale stays durable during some play, I’ve both sewn and felted the tail fin and the small front flipper securely to the torso.

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There are 8 pieces of the anatomy in this set.  All pieces are made using wool.  Each tiny piece has been very firmly felted and there is a lot of detail added.  Organs included: Lungs, Stomach, Intestine, Heart, Kidney, Bladder, Liver & Brain.  I spent time with my son, researching whale organs.  These are the ones I decided to include and I’ve tried to shape them the way they look in the pictures we found.

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The stomach is neat.  It’s shaped into a pouch and inside, the sweetest giant Squid fits perfectly.  Sperm Whales eat giant Squid.

There’s something else I must show you:

anatomywhale3…Giant Squid fits through the mouth opening and lands right inside! FUN!

anatomywhale4…each organ fits perfectly inside the cavity.  This is a glimpse of the lungs and brain tucked in there.

anatomywhale6Sperm Whale is durable as a toy set.  Keep in mind that the parts are very small and easily lost, so young children may need supervision.

anatomywhale8Anatomy Whale comes with this wool yarn storage pouch.  It has been made by Melissa Kittle of Melissa Kittle Knits for Littles. 🙂

Anatomy Whale will be in my Etsy shop.  Click here! to see

Wooly Rock Pods ~

Hi and happy day!

Recently, I added a new listing to my Etsy Shop, the set is called Wool Rock Pods.

This is a design I came up with in 2013, when experimenting with Waldorf and Montessori toy making concepts.  I finally brought them back to my shop!

Think…large jelly beans.  Each Rock Pod has been shaped to resemble a smooth ‘rock’ or ‘jelly bean’.  I’ve done each colour of the rainbow.  I think they are so visually appealing and stimulating!

Each Rock Pod can fit perfectly into a closed hand.  They are neatly shaped for squeezing

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Let’s imagine what they can be used for!  Pretend play:  playfood, treasures to find in a hunt, building a tower, magic rocks, Easter eggs, throw them at a target. Can you think of any more?

Learning:  colours, rainbow order, counting.

Sensory:  the texture of these is my very fave!  Hold them during meditation to help you focus. Squeeze them to release stress.

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Teething toys for infants.  Store them in the freezer so they are even more soothing for hurting mouths!

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These are created with extra care, very firmly and solidly needle felted, and then they are put through a wet felting process.  This makes them more durable.

Care Instructions:  If they get fuzzy, give them a go with a fabric shaver.  They can be machine washed and dried, but I suggest placing them inside a pillow case and then into the washing machine on gentle,  dry on gentle too.

And oddly enough my friends…they would work as a set of ‘dryer balls’!  They work in the exact same way dryer balls do, they are just a more unique shape 🙂

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A Tutorial : How to needle felt a wool ball with a rattle sound inside :)

Welcome to the first tutorial I’ve ever presented! This is a suitable and basic project for someone who has never tried needle felting before, and is also a great project for kids (who are old enough to work with sharp needles and with supervision).  Skill Level:  Beginner

Stick with me here and I will walk you through “how to make a wool ball with a rattle sound inside”.   When it’s complete, you can either use it as a toy for any little one, pet toy or further your exploration into needle felting and use colour roving to create a colourful finished ball.

Let’s start:

You will need a safe and protective surface to felt on.  You can choose a white foam block, foam pads are available at most craft stores and large department stores.  I bought this black, large rectangle dense foam pad from a shop on Etsy that sells needle felting supplies.  The beige piece you see is a piece of felt.  I like to place a sheet of felt over my dark pad because it stops any bits and pieces of the pad from getting felted into my creation.  It extends the life of my felting pads too, because they do take a beating…or stabbing I should say!

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Next: the needles.

For a project like this, I use 3-4 needles at a time.  They are all-purpose felting needles and have a triangle head.  When you start searching around to learn about and purchase felting needles, you will see that there are different gauges(sizes).  Pictured are a 36.  That’s my favourite gauge to work with and the size I almost exclusively use.  The higher the gauge number, the bigger the needle head is.  I purchased these from a supplier on Etsy.

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Felting needles are extremely sharp.  These needles have barbs on the triangle tips, those bards grab and fuse the wool fibers, causing the felting to take place and by stabbing the wool thousands of times.  TIP: if you are a beginner, you may break the tips off the needles but don’t fret!  That is very normal for your first try.  As you practice more, and get comfortable holding them and using them, they won’t keep breaking. You may also stab yourself (OUCH)…but that will also become rare as you gain more experience 🙂

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Next:  The rattle/shaker sound!

This ball will have a nice shaker noise that is especially appealing to infants or someone seeking sensory.  I use tiny plastic containers that I fill with micro sized plastic beads.  I purchased  these supplies at a local discount store in their craft supply section.  Fill the container about 1/3 full of the beads and close the lid.  This particular lid is very snug fitting to it’s container.

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Next:  gather your wool!

I use wool purchased from a local sheep farmer(Cedarview Farms) who believes in free range and they use no pesticides or hormones.  The wool goes to a mill for processing.  For this project I’m using wool that has been processed into roving. It’s the texture of core batting and is such a high quality product.  Wool pulls easily apart in your hands, just rip off an amount to start your ball.

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Next:  putting the rattle sound into the middle.

1. Rip off a small chunk of the roving. Spread and flatten it out. Place the container into the middle.

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2. Roll the wool around the container

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3. Fold the ends of the roll over to the middle to make a rough ball.

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4. Start using the needles to poke and stab, while forming a ball shape. Your needles will end up hitting the container in the middle, that will feel awkward, but you will learn to work around it as you go.  TIP: to avoid constantly hitting the container while felting, I try to felt on a bit of an angle to only hit around the rattle. (see pics at the bottom)

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5. Keep going and going!  You will continually roll this as you felt, using your opposite hand. Rolling it as you hold it and felt it, helps to shape the ball. Felt until it’s a nice ball shape and smoother and more dense in texture. TIP: it took me approx 10 minutes to felt into a smooth, more dense ball.

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Next:  a second layer of wool to make the ball bigger.  

Rip another chunk of roving.  Spread it out and flatten the chunk.

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Roll the wool around the ball.

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Now felt! stab and poke…stab and poke…stab and poke…. This second layer took another 10 minutes and it’s firm to the touch, densely felted.

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Next: one more layer of wool to make the ball bigger.  

Repeat exactly what you just did.  The third layer of wool took me approx 10 minutes to felt.  When the ball is firm and dense, then you are done. You can keep adding more layers of wool to keep making the ball bigger. It shouldn’t be too squishy when done.  Truthfully…felting with wool reminds me of working with play dough or clay!  Your ball when done, may remind you of how a ball of play dough feels 🙂

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Tip: using just one needle is great for very specific areas that need shaping, such as this egg shape that has occurred during my felting. Using the one needle to take care of the misshapen area works well. Sometimes snags occur, or seams are thick… working on those specific areas with just one needle is nice and easy. 

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Tip:  Sometimes you will find little bits and pieces of what we call vegetable matter(you can see these dark flecks in the pic below).  These are pieces of grass and straw left behind.  Some wool you buy will have tons of it, some you buy will be extra clean.  This particular wool I use hardly ever has vegetable matter left behind, but in the event you come across bits and pieces, don’t fret.  They usually fall out on their own as you poke, but if they don’t, they are very easy to just pull out and away. 

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Tip: This is how you can direct the needles as you felt, to avoid poking the rattle container as you go.  Hold them at a bit of an angle and they will ‘skim’ the outside of the ball as you stab.  See pics  below. tutorialpic42 tutorialpic44

You are done!

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Easy Peasy! You did it! Keep practicing! Felting is very labour intensive and extremely time consuming.  It’s also fun, addicting and so rewarding!  Please come back, I plan to post many more tutorials.

If you would like to add colour to this ball, just use any shade of roving you please, and repeat the layering process until it’s covered.  Have fun!

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A Freckled Girl and her Preppy Teddy Bear

These two want to be introduced.  They’ve had enough coddling from me!  Meet Mae and Milly:  maeandmilly2   Best Friends.

Mae is an outgoing child, so sweet and gentle.  She has a love for the out doors and all animals.  “No dresses for me!” she exclaimed.  Thank goodness I had the cutest overall rompers on hand, made for me by the lovely Melissa Kittle Knits for Littles.  “No Sunday shoes for me!”, Mae added.  Forever thankful I had a perfect pair of leather boots.  They hold up well when Mae is climbing and running and puddle jumping.  maeandmilly6  She has a face of freckles, but sometimes I can’t tell if they are the freckles or dirt!  You will notice her rosey cheeks… that’s what happens when you spend about 18 hours a day outside playing!

Milly is Mae’s best friend.  An adorable and innocent teddy bear.  Milly is quite prissy, she seems to have some influence on Mae!  Mae would prefer to never brush her hair(or wash it!), but when Milly talked Mae into a braid and buns… she realized that it could work… no hair in the way when she’s outside playing!  Although Milly is prim and proper, Mae has also had an affect on her.  Milly isn’t against puddle jumping … that credit goes to Mae.  Milly will however insist on a bath as soon as she’s back in the house though.  Mae…well we won’t talk about her bath routine. maeandmilly5

Best friends often like to match.  I can attest to this when it comes to Mae and Milly.  They each wear the same silver star, a gift from each other last Christmas.  Neither knew what the other one was giving…what a funny surprise it was!  maeandmilly7

Another funny circumstance is the fact that Mae is wearing a gorgeous rainbow wool overalls…and Milly is wearing a gorgeous rainbow wool sweater!  Milly’s sweater was made by Turtlekeeper Designs.  Outfits made by two different makers, but they totally match!  What fun!  maeandmilly4

How they are made:  Both Mae and Milly are sculpted from wool, using the needle felting technique.  Mae has special wire inside her arms and legs.  Her limbs are attached both by sewing and then felting.  She is completely posable.  Mae is weighted inside her torso.  Her cheeks are blushed with beeswax.  Mae’s hair is done in a combo of silk, mohair and wool.  Her braid goes all the way around her head and she has two buns on the top of her head.  Little leather boots that are pink adorn her feet.  They lace up and can come on and off.  Mae wears a silver star, it is attached to the inside of her heart pocket and can be pulled out or tucked inside.  Around her wrist is a genuine raw amber bracelet, the amber was purchased from Hazel and Honey.  She is 8″ tall and can stand on her own and pose to sit.

Milly is jointed and attached in a floppy manner to give her more personality. Her cheeks are blushed with beeswax and her smile is cotton floss.  Milly’s eyes are black glass beads.  She wears a dusty rose silk headband and attached to it is a silver star.  She is 3.5″ tall.

On to explore!  That’s what they are ready to do!  This duo is together in my Etsy shop:  click here to visit the Etsy shop

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Human Anatomy Doll

UPDATE:  This doll has found a home, if you are interested in another after reading this post, please contact me on FB or woolytopic@hotmail.ca

As it normally goes, I got an idea that bounced around my brain and I had to get working before I busted from anticipation.  Meet Anatomy Doll:  anatomy101This doll measures 10″ tall.  I’ve created it using core wool and suntan skin tone wool roving.  The torso was carefully hollowed out so I could fit all the organs inside.  anatomy102I spent approximately 40 hours creating this piece.  The end result is quite durable, the doll is very firmly and tightly felted.  Each little accessory is also very firmly felted out of wool.  The limbs have been both sewn and felted into place.  anatomy103 This is a diagram of all the organs that fit perfectly and snugly inside the torso.  The appendix is sewn onto the end of the large intestine.  In total there are 11 pieces that fit inside the torso of this anatomy doll.  anatomy106 The heart has 3 valves attached, all the organs are quite detailed, as well as thoroughly felted so they can be handled.anatomy104 The leg and arm have been hollowed out partially and the bones are removeable and reveal muscle, veins, arteries and ligaments.  anatomy107anatomy105  The top of the skull has been hollowed out to insert brains!  They are also created from wool and can pop in and out, they also have the top of the skull that acts as a flap.  anatomy108anatomy109anatomy110anatomy112anatomy113  Fitting each woolly organ inside the torso is like a fun puzzle.  Each and every piece squeezes perfectly into it’s place.  anatomy111anatomy102  This very special project is available for $275 plus shipping world wide.  If you are interested, please contact me.  This doll may also pop up on Etsy later this evening as well.  Click here:  http://woolytopic.etsy.com

Owls and Hedgehogs and the Great White Whale!

What have I been up to?  Let me show you!  **squeak & squeal!**

eggie1whitewhale3farmer2  Well for one, I’ve been practicing to crochet!  It’s going… ummmm… well it’s going.  But I have the most exquisite of yarns to work with and although my crochet pieces are so simple, they are bright and pretty!  For example, I’ve been making little toys that come with wool coats.  The whale comes with a wool blanket.  I decided to add to my Etsy shop, little critters that could be toys.  I looked around for ideas and discovered that owls and hedgehogs are pretty darn popular.  So viola, meet the new Wooly Topic creations!  twoowlshedgehoggangtardishedgehog2berry3mint2eggie4They all have wooly coats that come on and off…with some funky buttons!  mint1tardishedgehog1milkshake1berry1

Gelo the White Whale comes with his alpaca wool blanket.  It ties to his back using a leather cord.  Even whales need to stop and rest on some softness he tells me!  whitewhale5whitewhale4whitewhale1  They are meant as perfect pocket friends.  A bit of cuteness to add to your day.  To make you feel happy 🙂  I hope to add more whales to the mix too.  They are currently over on Etsy:  click here

Happy Friday Wooly Peeps!