Friday, November 02, 2007


Whew! It's been a while since I've checked in here on my little blog. Seems the past month has been a blur of activity. I've been busy preparing for my biggest craft show of the year, No Coast Craft-o-Rama in Minneapolis on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, as well as finishing up some custom orders, trying to keep my etsy shop decently stocked, chasing the kids...etc. Then wham! Sickness in the house and my efforts were thwarted. We're all healthy again and I'm sewing my little fingers off. Yay! I've been working on a large order of birds, but had also been asked to create some owl ornaments. I'm glad that request came up, because I think they turned out nicely. I have a few new ideas in my head that I'm looking forward to working on too once it quiets down a bit.
I'll check in here more often, I promise, so please check back.
Enjoy your day!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Round and round we go

My oh my, has it really been a month since I've loved thee, my little blog? What a crazy month it's been. The kids and I made a trip "home" to Illinois for a trunk show I hosted with work from Kathryn from jewelrybytiki, Sheryl from shayster61, my son, Riley, myself, and the incomparable Charlene from Skin and Tonic. It was a fabulous time. I'll have to post all the details later, but let me tell you all you crafters out there, if you haven't done a home show, you should consider it. We served some wine and cheese, had some music playing, tons of product out, Charlene was demonstrating her bath and body products, and people were mingling and shopping. We all made a little money, but beside that it was a really nice time. No pressure, just a comfortable situation in which to show and talk about our work.

Other happenings of note lately would be the two big totes of wool sweaters I scored that are just waiting to be felted, and the multiple dabblings in new projects. One of which is shown here. Remember making newspaper bowls in school? Well, I sacrificed a couple of National Geographics and made one. I'm not sure if I'll put it in my etsy shop or not, but I do love how the inside looks. Maybe I'll just keep it on a shelf, tilted so I an enjoy the round and round.

'Til next time! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Making the time

Ah, summertime. I remember summertime as a kid, sleeping in, running around unsupervised, causing minor mayhem, kissing boys, and growing freckles. I remember feeling so free and eventually tiring of the freedom and wishing for school to start again. These days the option to sleep in and run around unsupervised isnt' one I'm afforded. I have, however, been MAKING the time to take some time for me each day. I need my creative time, it's my vitamin.

I sat down to paint the other night, and as always, didn't have a plan for my painting. As I started to manipulate the paint, I began to see a meadow and remembered a time when driving down a country road, we had pulled over so we could run through a field of grass, just like Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. We took the time to be goofy, destination be damned. I miss that sort of detour. It seems now that it's just priority one to get to where we need to go. Stopping to run through tall grass would throw off the schedule horribly, would dirty our knees, and cover us with bugs. Or would it? Perhaps we need more silliness and simple pleasures in our lives. Let's all stop the car and run through the meadow and share a good laugh. Hold my hand, here we go.
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Saturday, July 07, 2007

You just can't beat Mother Nature

When it comes to texture, Mother nature wins. Hands down. We all know it, but sometimes it can take you off guard, like it did me today. I was walking around our property and went to survey a pine that had fallen. Beneath the bark were the tracks that worms had made while eating away at the piney flesh of the tree. In the rough spot where the tree had hit the ground, the bark had chipped off and it looked like tooled leather or hieroglyphics or something...amazing. The more I looked, the more I saw, and realized that maybe if I took more time in life to look, really look, I could see more. So, I plan to do just that. When the tedium starts to sneak into my day or I'm stressed out and had enough, I vow to take a walk and look for beauty in the rough spots.
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Saturday, June 23, 2007

a change in the weather

Finally! It feels like summer has finally arrived in my neck of the woods. Gone is the melting snow and misty mornings and here are the chirping birds and green leaves. Each morning I sit by the window, sipping my coffee, and watch the hummingbirds fight over prime real estate at the feeder. Rabbits nibble at the tiny bit of green in our yard, and deer drink out of the pond. Life is everywhere! What a difference a little sunshine makes. The boys are happy to be running around and jumping in the pool. I'm busy hanging out the laundry which smells divine, helped in no small part by the most wonderful laundry soap ever, found at MugwortMaggies on etsy. Though free time is still not overly abundant, I make my walks to the mailbox, and my laundry-hanging my time away from the chaos that is 3 rowdy boys and 2 naughty dogs. The only downside that I can see is that instead of creating, I want to be outside. I guess I'll just need to do some plein air painting or something. I'm not complaining, by any stretch. It's warm, it's green, and I'm happy.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The scariest animatronic guy ever

Have you ever been to Brainerd, Minnesota? If so, chances are good you've heard of "Paul Bunyan Land". It was once located in the heart of Brainerd, which happens to be the gateway to a gazillion lakes and therefore a big tourist area. A few years ago, the land upon which PBLand sat was purchased to house a Kohl's department store. Poor Paul Bunyan was evicted. The story goes that the entire park and all the rickety rides and entertainment were free as long as the new owners moved everything and operated the park as a non-profit. So everything was packed up and moved outside of town and reassembled.

The giant Paul sits right inside the entrance of the park. While the parents are paying, they write down their childrens names so that once inside, Paul booms out (through a loudspeaker) HELLLOOOOO, RILEY! (or whatever your kids' names might be). There is generally a log jam of crying kids who refuse to budge past the door. Paul's big arm raises noisly in a mechanical wave and his eyes blink, further terrorizing the kiddies. All the parents laugh and laugh....until the therapy bills start rolling in.

As you can see from the photo, Paul's a pretty big guy so to a little one, he must seem impossibly huge. My son has just now gotten past his fear of Paul, three years after our first visit. My husband tells tales of being terrorized by Paul when he was wee and now he gets to share the night terrors with his own clan. The kids managed to shake it off though and we headed towards the more benign tic-tac-toe playing chickens, wooden "mine shaft", and bumper cars.

That's fun in central Minnesota, and it comes with a side of cheese curds.
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Carving a new niche

If there's one thing that Minnesota has in abundance, it's sand and rock. And well, sandy rocks. And mosquitos, but that's besides the point. I've been picking up rocks since I was wee. I still have boxes of rocks that I collected as a kid and polished in my trusty Thumler's tumbler. Oh how my mother hated that tumbler. It mysteriously disappeared sometime during my adolescence and I have no doubt she tossed it in the dumpster when I wasn't looking.

Now that I'm a mom, and still a rock-picker, I was only too happy to buy my 8 year old a tumbler of his own. Together we gather rocks and polish them up. It's great fun. Probably more fun for me than for him though. We have found numerous agates in our "yard" and they are bumping noisily in the barrel as we speak. I say "yard" as we haven't laid down sod yet and our yard actually looks more like a beach with trees than a yard. Which (finally) brings me to my point. In our yard-beach, we have not only the aforementioned tumbling agates, but loads of river rocks worn smooth so many millions of years ago. With this plethora of natural material, I was moved to start creating with them.

And the carved stone magnet was born.

It's fun for me, and it keeps my husband from complaining about yet another box of supplies in the basement. So, I've been happily grinding down my diamond bits, filing the carvings to perfection or rather intentional imperfection, and sealing the stone with beeswax that I purchased from the very nice catsewg on etsy. Check her out for her great deal on beeswax and some other nifty items.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

May flowers

I've been walking in the woods today. It does wonders for my mental state. It seems that all those thoughts and worries that are buzzing in my ears finally trail off after a while and slip down around my heels and get left there, in the woods. They'll be there when I get back, I know, but for a while it's nice to be without them. On my trek today I noticed that our woods are carpeted with these pretty little flowers called trilliums and I had to stop and snap a picture. the ferns are coming up too and they look like little green violin necks sticking out of the dirt. I realized today also, that I really like our little piece of land. I struggled so much with the move to Minnesota but I'm finally at a point where I can say there are things I like about living in the woods. I love checking out the new birds-I saw an Indigo Bunting today! I love the way the moon looks silhouetted by trees. I love the drumming noise of the grouse and the infinitely different songs of the birds I have yet to see. There is so much beauty here and I feel so inspired to create. It isn't the old push of anger and angst that used to drive my paintings, but a quieter appreciative feeling.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Working in circles

So, it occurs to me that I've become mildly obsessed with circles. I've kind of realized for a while now that I'm drawn to circular shapes in art, but lately it's moved past "interested" to "OK, back away from the compass". I doodle circles. I paint circles. I paint circular egg cups. I've also been crafting with eggs, which though not a true circular shape, close enough. All of this makes me wonder if this is a womanly trait. I recently received feedback on an item I sold in my Etsy shop in which my wonderful buyer (the fabulous girl behind Skin and Tonic, previously mentioned in this blog) mentioned that she too, is fascinated with circles. What gives? Is it the organic shape? Is it reminiscent of the roundness of our curves? Why do circles feel so comforting? I suppose it makes sense that we encircle someone with our arms when we hug and our mouths make little circles when we kiss. Do men prefer circles or the more geometric squares? Who knows.

But here's a circle-themed poem that I committed to memory so many years ago, for your enjoyment:


"He drew a circle to keep us out. Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win. We drew a circle that took him in." ~Edwin Markham
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Oh the disorganization. Oh! Since the move to the new house, it's been a struggle to find everything in the mounds of boxes, still to be unpacked. My studio is built, but filled with said boxes so I am forced to craft, paint, and serve dinner on the kitchen table. The aftermath is a scratched up, painted up, cluttered kitchen table. What's worse is that I've begun the "spread". Craft supplies are creeping into the computer room, to the foot of our bed, my dresser, the bathroom (no joke, I have paintbrushes in the bathroom). So, it forces me to wonder if this disorganization is widespread amongst the artsy types. I'm hoping for a good excuse.

On the upside, amid all the clutter I was able to find some time to make some odds and ends. I have a plethora of wooden egg cups for my candles so I decided to paint some up and turn them into pincushions. I had read that if you put a tiny layer of super fine steel wool in them, it will help keep your needles sharp, so I added that. I think they turned out to be pretty cute. If you want to check them out, visit my shop, Lil Fish Studios, on Etsy.

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