Sunday, June 30, 2013

Yargh!!!!  Just discovered that my website has been hacked AGAIN!!!!! I am going to pull all the hair from my head and fall through a crack in the ground like Rumpelsteltzkin.  If I don't have a heart attack on the spot.  Can not deal with these internet thieves on top of all the criminals walking around in real life in this country.
Then I have to say that this time it is my own fault for procrastinating.  I promised to move my website over to trustworthy service provider in April already.  Life throws more at me than I can deal with.  I feel that my first priority should be with my customers and my art, not dealing with red tape and filling in forms.  I have to do something about my workload. 
Gonna go eat some worms.
Hope you have a peaceful Sunday.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Roz - Needle Felt Teddy Bear Workshop

Roz wants to dance with you!
This is a workshop for beginner needle felters. 
What will you learn?
  • Needle felt a face, with eye sockets, and felted nose.
  • Needle felt pawpads and foot pads.  
  • Paint with acrylic paint and shading with pencils.
  • Making eyelashes
  • Double neck joint, and movable ankles and wrists.

Roz has a rather unusual pattern design and multiple joints (ten articulated points instead of the usual five).  This makes her extra posable and fun to play with.  She is made from batik dyed mohair, and the felting details are added with merino wool.  The pattern for her felt dress and instructions to make it is included.    
To participate in the workshop, you will need some skill as a teddy bear maker, basic bear making techniques are not covered in the workshop.
Here are a few photos I took while making the bear.  It will give you a little hint about how much entertainment you are letting yourself in for when making Roz.
First, get the bear together, and play with poses using all those joints.
Then add the needle felt details, and some paint and eyelashes to make her beautiful.
Finally, raid your stash for some funky felt colours and matching buttons, and make a simple-to-sew dress.
Here are a few photos of bears made at the sneak preview workshop we had last weekend. 

Workshop details:
  • Dates available - 13 July, 14 September.
  • Duration - 9am till 4pm, at Tin Soldiers Studio in Irene Pretoria.
  • Cost - R 470.  This includes the kit and patterns, felting requirements, workshop notes, tuition, lunch and tea.
  • Additional felting needles are available at R 18 each.
  • This workshop requires pre-sewing.  You need to get a kit from Megan when you book for the workshop and do the homework.  Comprehensive homework instructions are included with the kit.
  • The pattern and instructions for the dress is included with the kit, but does not form part of the workshop.  Materials to make the dress is not included.  You will need two 25cm x 25cm squares of felt in the base colour, and scraps for accessorizing.  Also some small buttons and press studs.
On the day of the workshop, please bring along the following:  completed homework, super glue, a foam block, small flat paint brush for acrylic paint no 0 or 1, watercolour pencils black and burnt umber, general sewing supplies.  If you do not have all of the above, or forget something, don't worry, you will be able to borrow from the studio stash.

To book for the workshop, email Megan at

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blankets against the cold

Quite a few teddy bear makers joined me in making crochet squares this year.  The squares were joined into blankets by a group of volunteers. 
Today was the big day!  200 Blankets delivered to the Margaretha Ackerman Home for elderly.  
A BIG THANK YOU to all the ladies who contributed squares this time around.
We will do the same thing for a different facility again next year this time.  If you would like to get involved by donating double knit wool, or by crocheting some squares, let me know.  It is never to early to get started!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ross became Roz!

It has been a busy fortnight here at Tin Soldiers.  With workshops almost every day, and preparations well under way for classes that I will be teaching away from the studio during the coming month, I have not had much time to play with my needle felt bear.  I tend to pick it up, do a little, put it down, get back and check my progress a day or two later.  Often I will undo what I did last time, and try something different.  Slow progress, but lots of fun.
During one of my absences from the bear, it changed its mind about gender all by itself.  I got there in the morning and Ross had become Roz.
Today I started making her a little dress.
I will post photos and details about the workshop in the next few days.  Workhsop dates are available:  22 June, 13 July, 14 September.   There's homework to be done.  If you would like to participate, please contact me for a workshop kit.

This week we acquired a new gadget.  An office paper shredder.  I intend to turn all that annoying junk mail into packaging material, and Henning is going to make paper bricks which are useful for lighting fires.   Right now the temptation is great to shred everything in sight.  It is fun to slide a paper in the slot, and watch the spaghetti roll out in the bin.  I could clear all the clutter on my desk in a matter of minutes... I just know that someone is going to be searching in vain for an important document soon!