Disney Adventures: Felting Some Friends

You may not recognize these two guys, because they’re friends of mine, Hous and Mike. On the other hand, you might recognize them from the vacation vlogs they post to their YouTube channel. Let me fill you in…

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hous and Mike Phoenixterdam

You know I’m a big Disney fan. Such a big fan that my friends and I like to watch other people’s Disney vacation videos on YouTube.  There are hundreds of people who enjoy sharing their trips with the general public, and it’s a great way for me visit the park without leaving my couch.

Run Red Run Walt Disney World Main St

Run Red Run Walt Disney World Main Street Parade Dragon

A little while ago we found some vacation vlogs done by two guys from Amsterdam named Hous and Mike under the screen name Phoenixterdam. We could tell right away that they loved Disney as much as we did and they seemed like super nice guys. Watching their videos, we always felt like we were right there in Disney with them, and they always made us smile.

Run Red Run Mike and Hous Phoenixterdam Mickey Pretzel


Run Red Run Hous and Mike Phoenixterdam


Somehow, the stars aligned and we discovered our upcoming Disney trip was going to overlap with Hous & Mike’s next trip. So while we arranged to meet up with them to say hi, we also got to work on a way to thank them for all the laughs their Disney videos gave us. My illustrator friend, Vince, decided to give them a couple of his Untold Tales of Bigfoot t-shirts.  And, if there was enough time, we thought it would be nice to felt them something to go along with the shirts.  We talked about something Disney-themed until we had the bright idea to felt Hous & Mike.  Vince sketched the design and I started felting.

Run Red Run Mike and Hous design Vince Dorse

Vince’s design was stylized version of a portrait. I think they turned out looking like the guys in a fun, cartoony way.  Hous wears a ballcap in a lot of the videos so I felted a removable hat, and Mike has these gold/magenta sunglasses, so his feltie has removable felted sunglasses.  I freeze-framed their vlogs a hundred times to make sure I got details like their eye color correct. They both have awesome beards, so I felted those to have a little movement in the mouth area.  Just by adjusting a little with my finger they can have a more open mouth look or a suggestion of a smile.


Run Red Run Needle Felted Hous and Mike Phoenixterdam

We managed to meet Hous and Mike a few days into our vacation. We had a nice surprise when they pulled out a couple of packages of Dutch Stroopwafels from their bag! They’re so tasty, we can’t get enough of those now! Then we gave them our gifts and I think they really liked them. Their reaction to opening the felties has got to be my absolute favorite unboxing. As you can see in the photos, I think they were very touched.  We became fast friends and met up many more times before we had to leave for home.

Run Red Run Hous and Mike Untold Tales of Bigfoot shirts Vince Dorse

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hous and Mike Unboxing PhoenixterdamRun-Red-Run-H&M-Hous-Mike-unboxing-02Run Red Run Needle Felted Hous and Mike Unboxing PhoenixterdamRun Red Run Needle Felted Hous and Mike Unboxing Phoenixterdam

Thanks Hous and Mike for making our Disney vacation memorable and special!  You guys are the best! For more images of the Mike & Hous felts, browse my gallery.

Please be sure to check out Phoenixterdam’s YouTube channel and watch their fantastic videos of their Disney trips, cooking tips, life in Amsterdam, and things they love.

Down below, Mike and Hous set up the felties in Amsterdam and sent me photo.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Mike and Hous Phoenixterdam design sketch Vince Dorse


The Haunted Mansion’s Hatbox Ghost

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost

Welcome, Feltish Mortals <—ha! Fans of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion might recognize my latest felted ghoul. It’s the mysterious Hatbox Ghost, a long-rumored-but-rarely-seen denizen of the creepy old attic in that classic attraction.
Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost

The ghost recently returned to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, and I wanted to celebrate by creating this tribute. This time I decided to go beyond the felted figure and build a cobwebbed attic corner for him to haunt as well.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost

There are more photos of the finished piece in my gallery, but if you’re interested in how I brought this happy haunt to the life (er…afterlife), I’ve posted a pretty comprehensive step-by-step below. It’s a pretty massive “ghost post” so settle into your doom buggy and let me guide you through my process.

I started with a wire armature to give the ghost stability and make him posable. As the wire was covered with core wool he started taking shape — like some kind of weird monster or a Picasso.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

I slid the Haunted Mansion Story & Song CD into the player to set the mood, and began adding the blue wool for his skin and clothes.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

To get the colors I wanted for this I had to order a wool that I don’t normally use and it was a little tougher to work with.  It took longer to felt and ended up a little fuzzier than I like, but the colors were perfect for a felted ghost.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

I got most of the body done before starting on his creepy face.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

The ghost, his hatbox and top hat. Some parts and pieces coming together.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted an environment for the ghost to haunt, so I asked some friends to help me put together the attic set. I wasn’t aiming for an exact duplicate of the Haunted Mansion attic, just something that evoked that same feeling of creepy clutter.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP Attic

A friend (who, unlike me, knows what he’s doing with woodworking tools) cut strips of wood to replicate the look of vintage roof lattice. Then we stained the wood (three different colors to add depth) and glued it all together.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost WIP Attic

We also collected and built props to create the perfect haunt. Papier-mache boxes were bought and fashioned into hat boxes and a suitcase. We painted them and used craft foam to give the suitcase some old-timey straps and a handle.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost Props

We also rummaged through craft store shelves to find tiny antique-looking frames. I found some images of the actual portraits that collect dust in the Haunted Mansion’s attic, printed them to size, and slipped them into the frames. A few trunks (one with a Barbie wedding dress hanging out) and curious objects (like that rusty birdcage) festooned with some leftover Halloween cobwebs and the attic scene is done. Check my gallery for more photos of the finished piece.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost Attic

I love the Haunted Mansion ride, and the story behind this grim, grinning ghost fascinates me, so this project was so much fun to felt!  I’m really glad he’s reclaimed his space in the ride at Disneyland. I’d love to see him in person. They say they always have room for one more soul at the Mansion. I should make my final arrangements for that trip soon. I hear the ghosts are dying to have me…

Run Red Run Needle Felted Hatbox Ghost



Dracula And His Sons! (Blah Blah Blah)

Run Red Run Needle Felting Class

We had a fangtastic time in the Halloween Needle Felting class making these little bloodsuckers! A small class, but that gave me more one-on-one time with the students. There were some old friends back for more as well as some new students trying it out for the first time. As usual, we laughed, we learned, we poked our fingers with needles, and we felted some fun vampires….a great way to celebrate the holiday. My next class at Sweetwater will be in March, and I’ll post the details when I have them.

Run Red Run Needle Felting Class


Needle Felting Workshop!


Hands down, autumn is my favorite time of year. The smell of leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and Halloween, my favorite holiday! Plus, an upcoming Needle Felting workshop at Sweetwater Center for the Arts!

Keeping Halloween in mind (and my fondness for mysteries and monsters), we are going to felt up some cute and spooky vampires!

Join me Wednesday, October 28, 2015 form 6:30 to 9:30 PM and learn basic needle felting techniques. Space is limited, so sign up now at the Sweetwater website here.




Pepino and the Peps!

Run Red Run Needle Felted Christmas Mouse

This was a fun (and daunting) commission. The client had a vintage Christmas ornament that was a cherished heirloom in her family. She had no way of deciding which of her four adult children would get the ornament, so she came up with a unique solution: having me recreate the figure, Pepino the Christmas Mouse, four times. (only 3 shown in photo alongside the original).

It was fun, but as each of the felties is a unique, hand-crafted item, it was a challenge to try to match the original as closely as possible four separate times. Another hurdle was finding a company that supplied wool in the colors I needed to match the original Pepino. There are a lot of reds in the world, and finding just the right one was a bit of trial and error. And, as you can see, the green of the original Pepino (and even the pink inside the ears) faded to grey over time, so the client and I agreed it would be nice to bring those parts back to their original, festive colors.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Christmas Mouse

In the end, the client was very happy with the outcome. No word yet on how her brilliant solution went over with her children. I like to keep in mind that my client commissioned me to recreate four Pepinos and worked with me over a period of months to nail down all the exacting details — and that kind of effort and care seems like something I’d cherish even more than the original store-bought item. I hope the kids agree!

For a little backstory on Pepino: The client named the mouse after a song by Lou Monte, Pepino the Italian Mouse.


Mike and Mindy Commission

Run Red Run Needle Felted Mike and MindyJon Esparza, creator of the webcomics Mike and Mindy, Bubble Fox, and Peppertown, commissioned me to sculpt his characters, Mike and Mindy, in glorious 3-D form.  These two have a lot of fun together and get into some crazy situations. You can laugh along with Mike and Mindy and all of Jon’s comics over at jonscrazystuff.blogspot.com, read a few of his comics below, and see more shots of these wacky kids in the gallery.

Jon EsparzaJon EsparzaIt was great working with Jon. He tells me he’s thrilled to see his characters in 3-D. These 8-inch Mike and Mindy figures represent the third time I’ve been commissioned to recreate comic characters (Bigfoot and Scout from Untold Tales of Bigfoot and Lope from The Graveyard Gang being the other two).

Run Red Run Needle Felted Mike and Mindy

Mike and Mindy going home



A “Beary” Fun Class!


Run Red Run Needle Felted Bear

I taught another needle felting class at Sweetwater Center for the Arts this month. Like last time, we went over basic needle felting techniques. But this time, instead of an owl, the class made a bear.

The students did a wonderful job sculpting the wool into cute little bears. The class was filled with mostly first-timers (and one repeat student) and I love how they each added their unique spin on the project.

I hope to teach another class in the near future. As soon as I know all the details, I’ll post them here.

Run Red Run Needle Felted Bear Class


Run Red Run Needle Felted Bear Class





Commission info at runredrun@ymail.com

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