Nativity Scene photo shoot


I know it’s rushing the season, but for those of you who celebrate Christmas, it’s time to get started on making a nativity scene, so that you have it ready to display during the holidays. This set is from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures, which has patterns and directions for making Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus, 3 Kings and a shepherd and his sheep.

In this post, I show what the scene looked like in my studio, before we took photos for the book.


The nativity figures are fun to make and can be as simple or decorative as you want.  I especially enjoyed coming up with the costumes for the three kings. Their gifts are different beads that look liked containers.

nativity project from Felt Wee Folk

nativity project from Felt Wee Folk

For the photo shoot, I made the manger from curved pieces of driftwood, creating an arched structure. The back drop is a dark purple piece of felt with sewed on star sequins.


Bayberry branches and dried foliage were the right scale for trees and brush. I used beach stones to fill gaps and build up the surrounding landscape. A pail full of beach sand covered the plywood base and the straw bedding was dried beach grass.



The photo below is the one Rob and I chose for the book. We used a different photography method, which gives a more dramatic nighttime effect. We took the photo at night, in a completely dark room. During a long expose time of about 10 seconds, Rob “painted with light”, pointing and moving a small flash light around the areas he wanted lit up. We repeated that many times, until we had a good selection of photos from which to choose.

I’ve already heard from several enthusiastic people who are in the process of making or have competed a Nativity of their own. And I’m sure that each set of characters will be as unique as their maker!


making Face Time (part 2)

FaceTime-19446FaceTimeWMThis is Part 2 in a series about making my newest piece, Face Time. It picks up where I left off in Part 1, which shows and talks about the painted and wigged wooden bead heads.

Face Time will be on display this fall at Some Things Looming in Reading, Pennsylvania. Their fiber art exhibit, Entangled will run from Sept. 12th to Oct. 24th, 2015.


I wanted each character to peek out of their own frame, like cameo portraits. I cut pieces out of felt with scalloped shears and embroidered the edges.

This, along with stitching the leaves and stems took many, many hours.



I brought them with me on boat excursions near home…



and far away on our canal trip in France. I got a lot done on the plane ride, too.


Finally, all 41 busts had their own wreathlike frame.


The heads are based on the wee folk dolls in my how-to book Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. This little lady’s bonnet is made with embroidery floss wrapped wire.


After the wreaths were completed and the busts sewn in place, I figured out their arrangement on tree branches. They would be grouped according to time period, going from past at the bottom to present at the top.



The tree branches were made of felt covered wire.

To be continued in Part 3


Give-away: 15,000 views of Rabbitat!

I am excited to say that the Rabbitat video has been viewed 15,000 times! It’s been almost 4 years since Daniel Cojanu and Elise Hugus of UnderCurrent Productions started filming me working in my studio and scavenging for driftwood out at the Quissett Knob. This film was financed with prize money from 2 awards I received for my book Pocketful of Posies; the 2011 Horn Book Award and the 2011 Golden Kite Award. The film was a wise investment and continues to hold up as a great communication tool.

And now for the Give-away! This is a world-wide offer. To enter, please leave a comment telling about a favorite gift that you made for someone else. The prize is a box of fairy making supplies, which includes green wool felt, 12 wooden bead heads with faces painted by Salley, 12 acorn caps to fit, wool fleece hair and faux flower petal skirts and wings.

Follow the directions in my book, Felt Wee Folk and have a fairy making party! The winner will be picked at random on April 14th. FYI, I also sell faux flowers in my Etsy Shop here.

Congratulations to the Give-away winner, Terri from Redlands, California!


new books in and out

FeltWeeFolk-1482Hooray! Despite all of the stormy winter weather during their drive across the country, FedEx Ground delivered my order of Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures last Friday before noon, as scheduled. A wee folk welcoming committee was on hand!


I immediately opened the boxes and started processing orders because I wanted to mail a bunch off that day. Instead of being “hot off the press”, the books were “cold off the truck” as I opened to the title page and started signing them.


I had prepared as much as I could beforehand, so all I had to do was sign and slip the books into pre-addressed mailers. Since then, I’ve brought several loads to the post office. Orders made in early January were filled first and will progress toward more recent ones. The rest will go out this week, so don’t fret, yours is coming!

These are all orders from my Etsy Shop (here), which include some extra goodies; an autograph, a winter scene poster (folded flat), faux flowers to make 2 fairies and a wee folk note card.

If you want to support your local bookseller, have them get one for you. My neighborhood bookstore, Eight Cousins offers signed copies, too. They’re having a book launch party on Sunday, March 8, at 3:00 pm. And there’s always Amazon, where today, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures is rated No. 1 in “Toymaking! They have an e-book version, which is a sensible option for international customers.



Felt Wee Folk arriving soon!

feltweefolknewcoverblogI’m excited the report that my order of Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures is being trucked across the country this week! The books were printed in China and transported by sea to a west coast port. After being delayed by the Longshore Union’s work slow-down, I am happy to say that the shipment was finally unloaded and delivered to C&T Publishing’s California warehouse. For a while, I wasn’t sure if we’d get the books in time for the series of book signings and talks I’m giving (see schedule at the end of this post), but it all worked out.

It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this book, so I’m relieved to know that my 15 cases will be here (hopefully) on Friday! All of the snow we’ve been having has made it easier to stay inside and get ready.


To those of you who’ve pre-ordered the book through my Etsy Shop, thank you for your patience. It won’t be long before your copy is sent off. I’ve been busy preparing for the book’s arrival like an expectant parent for a new baby. My studio is stacked with 100’s of addressed US Priority Mail envelopes filled with extra goodies for my Etsy customers. Each book comes with a poster (folded flat), a wee folk notecard, and faux flowers to make 2 fairies. These items will also be included with orders placed after the book is released. And, of course I’ll autograph each book! FYI, Etsy now accepts credit cards in addition to Paypal. The book is also available through booksellers, but it doesn’t come with these bonus items.


It was fun matching up color combinations of faux flowers for fairy petticoats.


I got out my long-neglected collection of stamps and decorated mailing envelopes and thank you cards. Selecting which stamps to use was like picking out clothes from your closet — there are many choices, but you always end up with a few favorite ones!


The mailers are ready for my international customers, too. I’ve already filled out the customs forms, so that they can be mailed out right away. Hold tight, before you know it, you’ll have your own copy to pour over. Then, you’ll run the risk of becoming hooked on making your own special wee folk dolls. Those of you who’ve delved into the first Felt Wee Folk: Enchanted Projects know what I’m talking about!


UPCOMING BOOK LAUNCH EVENTS on Salley Mavor’s schedule ~ A collection of original dolls from the book will come along for show and posters will be included with book purchases:

Wednesday, March 4th at 7:00 pm ~ Artist Talk and book signing at the Lexington Public (Cary Memorial) Library, Lexington, Massachusetts. (In conjunction with the Pocketful of Posies exhibit.)
Sunday, March 8th at 3:00 pm ~ Book Release party at Eight Cousins Bookstore, Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Thursday, March 12 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ~ Book Signing at Gallery 65 on William, New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Sunday, March 15th at 2:00 pm ~ Book Signing and presentation, Return of the Wee Folk at the Sandwich Public Library, Sandwich, Massachusetts
Tuesday, April 21 at 7:00 pm ~ Artist Talk and book signing at the Newton Free Library, Newton, Massachusetts. (In conjunction with the Pocketful of Posies exhibit.)



Snowed in bliss


We’re in the middle of the snow storm, with lots of wind gusts. I thought I’d better write this post while we still have power. I love this time of year, snow or no snow, because the outside isn’t as alluring and you can stay inside and get something done. I don’t think I could handle living in a constantly warm climate, where nature doesn’t force you to hibernate!


So, I’m taking advantage of this less distracting time and have been happily working on a piece that’s been on my work table for more than 6 months. This is a sneak peek at “Face Time”, which I’m not ready to show and tell much about yet. I want to wait until it’s completed and professionally photographed before fully sharing it. I’ll tell you this much though — it’s not my personal family tree, but a broader interpretation of humanity through time. My goal is get it finished this winter and the weather is cooperating nicely!


Once Upon a Thread

henna handWM One thing leads to the next and before you know it, you have enough pictures and information to fill a blog post. It all started with the photo above, which was meant to show my henna decorated hand that was done at the local arts festival last weekend. The doll heads scattered on the table are from another long term project, which I’ll write about in the future.

When Rob took the picture, I was sewing letters on left over paintings from Waldorf School projects. The words are part of a new title image for my slide talk, Once Upon a Thread. I really enjoy giving lectures about my work to quilt and embroidery groups, as well as the general public. The next scheduled talk will be during the opening event for my exhibit at Museums on the Green in Falmouth, Massachusetts. “Tea at the Museum” is from 1:00 – 3:00 pm on Sat., July 19th.

OnceUponaThreadshoot This is a teaser of sorts,  because the dolls in the scene are some of the models in my upcoming book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures (Spring 2015), the long-awaited follow-up to Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. Rob took the photo of them holding up the stitched signs, like a group at a rally. I’ll use the photo in my power point show and Facebook cover banner.

This summer, there will be an opportunity to see many more of the new dolls up close and personal. My talented and ever helpful husband, Rob is also building a special display case that will hold dozens of new characters. The case full of dolls will be included in my exhibit, Salley Mavor: Expressions in Stitches, Then and Now, at Museums on the Green, July 4 – August 16, 2014. I hope that many of you will come see the show. It will be chock full of work from the past and present! Once Upon a ThreadWM