Needle felted sculpture is an art using sheep’s wool and an array of single barbed felting needles. The process begins with handfuls of raw wool that are wrapped and folded with a gentle hand and then locked into shape by poking the wool hundreds and hundreds of times with a barbed needle until the desired shape is finished. My animal creations come from my own ideas, animals, photos, even dreams. I don’t work from patterns or instructions, although in the beginning I did use a kit to learn the craft. Every creature develops its special personality and physique as the process progresses. I never really know who they are until near the finish. Then they get the finishing touches of expression and detail: glass eyes, noses, mouths and of course a name and sometimes even a new owner if someone takes a liking to one! Here are some of my works in progress!
The traditional shopping and exchanging of Christmas gifts in our family does not exist but every once in a blue Christmas moon, I receive something special because someone thought of me when they saw it. No wrapping paper, no tag, just handed over from the heart with a smile. Last year, it was an antique mantle from my precious son and daughter-in-law ( it did have a big red bow!). This year, I was surprised with an old, rusted cow bell from my brother-in-law. Each year, I treat a family member or friend to a performance of the Nutcracker by our local ballet
Gifts from the heart induce endorphins, generate hugs and create meaning and precious memories.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Gingerbread Farm! Thanks for visiting. Come back, soon.
I was excited to receive a Christmas card from Howard and his family this year!! If you have time for a sweet read, go pour yourself a cup of tea or whatever, come back and I’ll share the story with you. ❤
Howard used to live here on Gingerbread Farm with his mate, Dandelion. Howard is a duck who used to be Daisy but his adopted mom has since discovered that Daisy is actually a Howard. Are you confused yet?
Anyway, in the spring of 2010, I adopted two baby ducks, Daisy and Dandelion and raised them in my home. Literally. If there is anything important to know about baby ducks, it’s that they imprint and follow from day one, the first living being they see and from then on recognize them as mom, so I knew I was in it for the long haul.
As the ducklings grew, their accommodations changed for obvious reasons and they eventually took up residence in the barn, complete with horse and cat friends and a pond in the back. They were truly enjoying the life of a duck. I have to admit I was a bit sad when the two left the “nest” and no longer needed my services like singing them songs, spraying them with the hose, cuddling them and hand feeding them worms. But the extra work? It wasn’t missed a bit.
All was ducky on Gingerbread Farm until about two weeks into their independent living. Dandelion mysteriously disappeared and after about a day and a night we knew from past experience she wouldn’t return and she didn’t. Howard aka Daisy at that time, was devastated and retreated deep into a maze of cattails that were growing in the pond and into what we assumed was an awful depression. He wouldn’t come out, not even to eat and we were worried not only about his malnourishment but about what might eat Howard! Finally by the grace of God, we were able to lure him out and we took him back into our care. His days after the the traumatic event got better. He spent a lot of time in a small swimming pool in the driveway rather than in the spacious pond. He hung out with the dogs and I during chores and looked forward to his daily shower and snacks. But it was apparent. Although he seemed to have accepted his move back home, Howard just wasn’t the same duck after losing Daisy.
This is where is gets weird. Good weird.
I had a dentist appointment a few weeks after Daisy disappeared. My hygienist Pam, who also lives on a farm (Pam has a horse farm), was visibly more than sympathetic behind her surgical mask as I voiced my concerns about Howard. She couldn’t believe that the same scenario had taken place on her farm with her two ducks just the summer before and that her surviving duck, Donald also went into a serious depression after losing his mate. Pam told me about her neighbor Trudy, this amazing Angel of mercy and how she had given Donald a forever home on her farm. Trudy and her husband Scott grow Christmas trees and their farm is a wonderful, safe haven for animals in need. And yes. If you are fast forwarding this story in your head, Pam told Trudy about Howard and this wonderful woman did same for us as she did for Pam. She adopted Howard. So, on that bittersweet day, I wrapped Howard in his blue towel and got into the truck. With my husband at the wheel and Howard on my lap we made the journey to Trudy’s farm, where Howard would meet Pam’s Donald for the first time and hopefully connect and live happily ever after. The introduction of the two ducks was absolutely delightful and hilarious, to say the least. Ducks are the comedians of the fowl world and both were in rare form the moment they met. Then a few tears replaced the laughter as we said our thank yous and our goodbyes.
So fast forward to the Christmas card. The first Christmas after Howard went to Trudy’s, I sent a Christmas card to Daisy (Howard) as I still called him, addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Donald Duck, along with a gift certificate to the local farm store. We soon received a card back from Trudy with a thank you and the news that Daisy (girl) was actually, well, Howard (boy).
We have exchanged Christmas cards with Howard and his family for three years now and it’s just been a hoot.
Crossing paths with others in life and the reasons behind the experiences, has always intrigued me. I feel that they are meant to be whether we know the reason at the time or not.
Just like now. We are crossing paths via our blogs! Isn’t it amazing?
Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you all this Holiday season. 🙂
P.S. Below is the card I received from Howard complete with the names of all the animals he lives with, along with a few baby photos and finally a photo of Howard and I a few days before he left.