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!


Scotland, Oct. 2015 ~ Rosie & Polly


Remember when Polly went missing and I had to come up with a replacement traveler? Well, Rosie was a great sport to fill in and she ended up having a great trip. But low and behold, who did she find in Scotland but Polly! After she got over the shock of seeing her bedraggled cousin in the heather, Rosie listened to Polly’s story. Polly told the harrowing tale of how she stowed away in a backpack, making it through airport security and the trans Atlantic flight. She barely survived being crammed inside a pocket with a pair of sun glasses and a bottle of aspirin. But, she was glad to not be left behind! From then on, Polly and Rosie were inseparable. They climbed stone walls at Urquhart Castle


visited Melrose Abbey


traipsed through moss at The Falls of Bruar


petted Greenfriar’s Bobby and walked the street of Edinburgh.


They hiked through magical woods…


and visited the site of the Battle of Culloden. Polly and Rosie made it home safely and will rest a bit before their next adventure!


Scotland, Oct. 2015 ~ Rosie


Rosie’s trip to Scotland began with a dramatic encounter with a local bear at a road side pub between Glasgow and Oban. With a combination of perseverance and ingenuity, she was able to excuse herself after lunch and continued on her journey.


She took a boat to the Island of Iona, where she said hello to some sweet cows and drank heather ale.



She loved visiting Sir Walter Scott’s magnificent home, Abbotsford…


and Eilean Donan castle.


She met a piper…


and posed with sets of armor and a stained glass window at Edinburgh castle. Stay tuned for future posts ~ Rosie’s travels will continue here, with an exciting discovery!



Fiona – new ltd. edition fairy


feltweefolknewcoverblogEven though I’ve said that I don’t sell them, every once in a while I offer a ltd. edition of dolls similar to the ones in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk. You see, I only work on them while traveling, so it’s an ongoing project that takes time. This year I made a set of 25 fairy dolls while waiting in airports, flying in planes and riding in trains. I like to keep my hands busy, so this is a way of producing something, as well as keeping contented while sitting.

Update 10/17/15 ~ The fairy dolls sold out very quickly. Thank you to all of you who were ready at 10 am, logged into my Etsy Shop. Will there be more opportunities to buy dolls in the future? Perhaps, but it depends on how much time I spend traveling.


Some of the finish work that’s not as portable, I do in my studio. I have to limit the time I spend working on these because otherwise I would spend all of my time in fairy land, constructing dolls, night and day. That isn’t such a bad thing, but then, I would never take on making new, more involved pieces.


In an effort to be fair to everyone, I am announcing on this blog and Facebook that 25 “Fiona” fairies will be for sale in my Etsy Shop on Saturday, Oct. 17th at 10am, eastern US time. That gives more people a chance to read about it in advance, so they can plan on being ready to shop. Last year’s dolls sold out very quickly, so if you really want one, act fast! Sorry, no reservations ahead of time. The dolls will be sold on a first come first served basis. Update 10/17/15 2:00pm ~ The Fiona fairies are all sold.


shelter from the rain


This little pair, child stars from my book, Felt Wee Folk, found a perfect shelter from the rain! Like a paparazzi, I whipped out my cell phone, snapped a photo and instantly shared it on Instagram. A few days later, I took a picture of my work table, which shows a new wee folk family in the works. They’re for a charity raffle that I’ll announce later this fall. And if you’re already following me on Instagram, you’ve seen glimpses of bearded men from Whiskers, my newest piece. For a visual person, the urge to capture images all day is kind of possessing and the instantaneous nature of this new social media phenomenon makes it even more irresistible. I still plan to publish more comprehensive posts with lots of photos in the future, but for now I’ll share quick little glimpses into my world.

And soon, we’re off to Scotland again! I invite you to follow along in real time on Instagram.



making Face Time (part 1)

FaceTimeWMAbout a year ago, my newest piece, Face Time started taking shape. I took pictures along the way, during the many months that its collection of little heads occupied my work table. The piece was completed this past winter after about 6 months of work. I am pleased to say that 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’m often asked how long it takes to make a large piece like this (24″ x 30″). It’s hard to say for sure, because my days are interspersed with so many other activities (and distractions) having to do with the business side of being an artist. Of course, I’d rather be stitching every day in my studio, but I fear that would lead to an obscure life, without a presence beyond my studio walls. I’d guess that at least 50% of my work time is spent promoting my art in some way; e-mails, interviews and other publicity, Etsy Shop, editors and publishers, social media, entering and arranging exhibits, etc. OK, that’s enough of a reality check–shall we stick with the romantic notion of spending all day stitching in a window seat?

family tree-2I’d like to take you through the making of Face Time, so you can have a sense of what’s involved.  If you’ve read my post, When to tell how and when not to, you’ll know that I don’t always show my process, but this is one of those instances when I’ve taken enough photos to warrant a 3 part series. I’m excited to share the new direction my work has taken!

For Face Time, I started in the usual way, thinking about the idea for a long time before jotting down itsy bitsy drawings in my sketch book. While I work, the concept remains strong and constant, while the overall design changes with time. I also consider how the parts will be rendered in embroidery and 3 dimensional needlework.


I wanted to show different people from all over, evolving through time, from long ago civilizations at the bottom, to present day people at the top. I wasn’t so interested in making a personal family tree, but a depiction of the world’s collective heritage. I envisioned a group of faces from a variety of backgrounds and cultures peeking out of the greenery, all linked to a tree-like form.



Researching fashion history was very fun! Online, I found pictures of hair styles, beards, hats and garments. In addition to wigs and painted facial features, each wooden head had a bit of clothing showing at the neck and shoulders. They expand on the wee folk doll projects from my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. Wire glasses were something new, which I thought contributed to the individuality of some characters.


Over a period of many weeks, the heads grew in number, filling my modest work table.



There ended up being 41 heads in all, covering many centuries. Here they are, in a group shot, before they were separated by leaves and branches in the finished piece. I will show more about that in part 2.

To be continued…


Wee Folk in the bugle weed forest

WoodlandFolkinBugleweedWMThe whole Woodland Folk family recently ventured out into the bugle weed forest for some fresh air. Ever since they had the excitement of posing for my new book, it’s been dismal for them, all cooped up inside. The wee folk couldn’t get enough of the natural surroundings!


Many of you have made your own versions of these dolls by following the directions and patterns in Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures. I hope that you are having as much fun as I am! The book is available through your favorite book seller or from my Etsy Shop (autographed, with extra goodies). Please note: My shop will be closed from May 29 to June 15th.