Recently, I took my first class in needle felting at a local shop near my new home.

In case you aren’t sure what needle felting is, it’s a transitional crafting art form in which wool is transformed into 3D objects using a barbed needle. In felting wool, you are agitating its fibers so they bond together to create a solid fabric that depicts a pattern or design of your choice.

Many of my favorite Christmas ornaments are needle-felted – which is why when I heard about the class I was eager to join in.

My teacher was great, very hands-on and helpful, sharing her knowledge and technique as well as some DIY books. On her instruction, I decided on a reference image to get me started. My base was a piece of stretched wool. I then layered it with other small pieces that I ultimately assembled into my own interpretation of my oceanfront lawn. (See top left image)

I’m so happy with my accomplishment that I’m framing it to hang it in my new house.

The experience of learning and creating was so much fun. It gave me joy to be in a class with others, working on a project and creating something with my hands using a fiber that I’m so familiar with in my own life and career.

Last month, I got to pass along that joy to my sister Elyse and her husband Shane when they came for a visit to see our new house. I seized the opportunity to put to good use my newly acquired skills, and gave them a mini lesson so they could create something to take home. I think their creations look amazing.

This image shows their joint results – hers the top, inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night; his below it, inspired by the view to our property.

The best part: These handmade pieces will serve as reminders of our weekend together.