Thursday, December 21, 2017

Welcome to my Needle Felt Woodland Christmas

Fireplace Mantel Decked Out with Felt Animals

Christmas is the busiest time for me as an artist on Etsy, but all the orders for holiday delivery have been shipped and I got to spend some time photographing my seasonal display. 
While I decorate my mantel with my needle felt creations throughout the seasons, my Christmas display is the most elaborate. I pull out all my woodland animals that are similar in scale, my felted trees, white wool for snow and lots of lights. 

Woodland Fireplace Mantel Christmas

Woodland Fireplace Mantel

Woodland Needle Felt Animal Decor

Christmas Mantel

Needle Felt raccoon

Little Raccoon

Needle felt deer fawns

Deer Run Through Snow

Deer Fawn with Skunk

Best Friends

Raccoons in snow

Baby Raccoons

Arctic fox and polar bear cub

A Touch of the Arctic

And here are some photos of my tree . . . 

Angel tree topper

My Angel Playing a Lute

Mouse in Christmas Tree

Who's That Peeking Out of the Christmas Tree

My Angelina

And here are some creations that I have been fortunate to make for others and have yet to make for my own collection.

Needle Felt Nativity


Needle Felt Magi

Three Wise Men and Camel

Santa reindeer

Santa's Reindeer

Needle Felt Santa

It's Santa!

May joy come to you this holiday season and all year through!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Down Syndrome Awareness Month Giveaway!

Win a copy of 'Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist' and a Tiny Needle Felt Bunny

Winners have been picked and the contest is now closed. 
It's the three-year anniversary of the release of Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist, written by the late disability superstar Jewel Kats, and illustrated by me and published by Loving Healing Press. This is the first book I illustrated in my distinct style with needle felted wool. In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month,  we will be giving away three copies of the book. Plus, the top winner will also receive a tiny needle felted bunny like the one pictured with Hansel below. 

To enter, comment on this blog. For an additional entry share this post to Facebook or Pinterest and include that you have shared in the comment. 
The paperback books have a value of $15.95 and the bunny has a value of $30. The giveaway ends Oct. 14, 2017 when three random names will be drawn. 

Here are some reviews of Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist:

"I love that this book addresses not only the low expectations that society has of kids with Down syndrome but that the Mother has as well. What a gifted author to see past the diagnosis and tell a magical story of potential and belief!"
--Nancy Gianni, Founder & Gigi's Mom, GiGi's Playhouse: Down Syndrome Achievement Centers

Down syndrome awareness month book

Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist

“Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy tale with a Down Syndrome Twist” is a fairy tale adaptation that combines excellent illustrations with a powerful narrative that reminds readers that fairy tales are transformative. It is written as a children’s book, but has those moments of re-thinking that allow people of any age to question ideas of disability. — Derek Newman-Stille Through the Twisted 

Giveaway bunny

Down syndrome picture book

Giveaway Bunny will look like this one

"I find that Jewel Kat's message that someone's disability is not what makes a person, a great one. I like how she portrayed Hansel. He reminded me of my nephew who had Down syndrome-not only someone who was kind but also very smart. I believe it's a great book for every kid to read." --Janet McNevin, Museum of disABILITY History

Witch Hansel and Gretel

Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist is illustrated in gorgeous needle-felted wool paintings that give a rich and magical feel to this surprising and delightful tale. The needle-felted images and scenery are beautiful and stunning.  They set the tone perfectly and whisk you to a far-off land. Each page is imbued with magic. You will find that you want to linger on each page a little longer just to take all of it in. —The Picture Book Review

Alternative Hansel Gretel fairy tale

The sensitive fiber art portraits of tiny but expressive needle felted dolls capture a feeling of delicate awareness that enhances the positive and empowering message of "Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist.” — Midwest Book Review

Gretel in the woods

Friday, September 8, 2017

Autumn Decor Ideas with Grey Squirrels and White Pumpkins

Claudia shares her fall mantel and autumn seasons table designs

My needle felted squirrels and white pumpkins are the stars of my fall mantel display. As I was designing my autumn decor, I took some photos to share on my blog. My display is very natural and includes acorns found on my woodland walk. Enjoy!

My squirrels and many other woodland animals are available in my Etsy shop, Claudia Marie Felt.

Autumn mantle decor
Baby squirrels on the fireplace mantle

Gray Needle Felt squirrels

White Pumpkins fall table
Needle Felt Squirrels, Little White Pumpkins and Acorns

Miniature wool squirrels for fall

Tiny squirrel with miniature white pumpkin and tiny acorn

Thank you for visiting my blog!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Seasons of Joy Autumn Wool Painting Giveaway, Plus Signed Book, Plus Waldorf Seasons Prints

This contest has ended and the winners have been announced. You are still welcome to sign up for my newsletter and please read the reviews of 'Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play' in this blog post. 

To celebrate the upcoming changing of the seasons, I am holding a very special giveaway centered on my picture book "Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play," published by Loving Healing Press earlier this year. 

There will be three random winners and the prizes are:

1. Autumn Leaves Wool Painting, plus a signed paperback copy of Seasons of Joy. The painting is a mini 8 by 10 inch version based on one of the illustrations from the book (the originals are 13 by 17 inches) It comes unframed, but would be lovely in an 8 by 10 shadow box.

Waldorf Autumn Wool Painting
Autumn Leaves Wool Painting Giveaway

2. A set of four 5 by 7 prints of the needle felted wool paintings in Seasons of Joy valued at $19, plus a signed paperback copy of Seasons of Joy.

Seasons of Joy, Wool Painting Illustrations
Seasons of Joy Prints

3. A signed paperback copy of Seasons of Joy. 

Seasons of Joy Waldorf picture book
Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play

To enter this Giveaway, please sign up for my email newsletter. (Newsletter signup is required for entering this contest.) 

You may also get additional entries by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.  Just let me know in the comments below that you shared. 

"Seasons of Joy: Every Day is for Outdoor Play" is a merging of my experiences, loves and talents. It started with a commission from an early childhood teacher at my son's Waldorf school. She wanted a wool painting that depicted children playing throughout the seasons. Later, I offered to re-create the painting in my Etsy shop and I've sold many prints as well. The painting connected with people around the world and I thought it needed to be a book. 

Waldorf Seasons Wool Palinting
Waldorf Seasons Wool Painting

As a book, that one wool painting turned into 12 illustrations, three for each season. When creating the scenes, I drew on my son's early childhood in a Waldorf school -- climbing trees, using silks for imaginative play, gardening, sledding . . . And of course, since I love all animals, I added dogs, birds, bunnies and squirrels to every scene. 
It was important to me that the children were diverse. While there are many wonderful vintage children's seasons books, most don't reflect the multicultural experience.
I wanted the verse to capture the joy children feel when playing outside. The verse has alliteration and rhymes, but I believe it flows naturally. I've been very pleased with the reviews for both the verse and the illustrations. Here are some:

Seasons of Joy is a beautifully illustrated narrative poem celebrating children's joy in the changing seasons. Seasons of Joy is a literary and artistic treasure for today's children and future generations. -- Midwest Book Review

Claudia Marie Lenart’s Seasons of Joy is magical.  Her rhyming prose conjures such beautiful visual images of each season and encourages young children to go outside.
Accompanying her lyrical language is Lenart’s signature wool artwork, which will captivate children as they study all of the beautiful detail in each dreamy scene.—Patricia Tilton, Children’s Books Heal 
The prose is lovely. “We sway to the wind’s song under crimson showers.” “We play until the sun paints the trees a copper hue.” The illustrations are even lovelier. I am amazed at what this artist can do with fibers. – Bonnie Ferrante, Books for Children

"Young children learn through imitation and movement. If that movement is filled with imaginative pictures, they are able to take it up in their whole being and express it outwardly in their play. Claudia Lenart's book Seasons of Joy uses the artistic medium of needle-felted wool to express the joy of children in movement at every season of the year."
--Barbara Patterson, retired Waldorf Extra Lesson teacher in private practice, author of Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing Our Children from Birth to Seven
"In Seasons of Joy, Claudia Lenart uses her beautiful rhyming prose to tell a classic tale of the changing of the seasons and the carefree pleasure of playing outside all year around. The details in every scene are meticulous and refined, down to the distinct wing pattern of a butterfly and the catchlight in a squirrel's eye. This book is exactly what it sets out to be - a joy to read and an inspiration for nature play for children everywhere."
--Linda Akeson McGurk, journalist, blogger at Rain or Shine Mama, author of There's No Such Thing As Bad Weather
"What a treat to meander through the seasons with these wonderful words and beautiful wool paintings. Claudia is an extraordinary fiber artist who has the special talent of bringing magical scenes to life. A delight for adults and children alike."
-- Donni Webber,, author of Magical Miniature Gardens and Homes

If you have read this entire blog post, you can get another entry by also telling me your favorite season in the comments. But please don't forget to sign up for my newsletter, too. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Best Beginner Books on How to Needle Felt Little Animals

Learn to needle felt with book tutorials.

When I first discovered the potential of needle felting while browsing the shops of talented Etsy artists, I was enthralled and I knew this was what I had to do. But I didn't know how to get started. So I did what I always do when I want to learn something new -- I found a book. Wool Toys and Friends: Step-by-Step Instructions for Needle-Felting Fun
The book included lots of pictures, and instructions for a variety of animals and dolls, including some very cute finger puppets. I don't think I followed the instructions to make any of the specific designs, but it helped me understand the process and how to add legs, arms, etc. After that book, I became consumed with needle felting and taught myself.
If you have a desire to sculpt  little needle felted animals, start with a book. Here are some recommendations for books easy to follow needle felting instructions:

Best books to learn how to needle felt animals.

Wool Toys and Friends: Step-by-Step Instructions for Needle-Felting Fun

This book includes patterns and many ideas including a sock monkey, finger puppets and a prairie dog. It also includes some instructions on wet felting.

Little Felted Animals: Create 16 Irresistible Creatures with Simple Needle-Felting Techniques

This book has 16 simple animal designs and really cute photography. It has some very nice step by step tutorials that make the process very clear.

Adorable Felted Animals: 30 Easy & Incredibly Lifelike Needle Felted Pals (Gakken Handmade)

This book includes 30 step-by-step instructions for making cute realistic pets including dogs and cats.

Making Needle Felted Animals: Over 20 Wild, Domestic, and Imaginary Creatures (Crafts and family Activities)

This book is especially lovely with 22 wildlife designs, detailed instructions and beautiful photography. I also like that they include a trouble shooting section, "felting bloopers."

Wild and Tame Needlefelt Animals: 24 Adorable Animals to Needlefelt With Wool

This book offers quite a variety of animals, both wild and tame, as the title suggests, for a total of 24 designs. There are many basic instructions such as "separating wool roving" that are very helpful to beginners.

The Natural World of Needle Felting: Learn how to make more than 20 adorable animals

I love that this book goes into great detail in the first chapter on choosing needles, adding color and creating structure. The photography is superb. It includes 20 designs with clear instructions.

Good luck on your needle felting adventure. Be sure to check out my tutorials on this blog including: