Friday, February 26, 2010

Rooted Remains

I just finished a new nature scene I've been working on.  The seeds of which were no doubt planted by my walk in the woods this past weekend.  My muse seems to hang out amongst the moss and mushrooms. 

This is wool, needlefelted around a base constructed of felted sweater wool.  No glue was used. 

If I were wee, I would sit on this stump and curl up under its roots.  I would. 

Wishing you all a happy weekend.  May you all find a mossy place to sit, if even for a little while. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fighting Cabin Fever

The weather was lovely this morning with temps hovering around 20, perfect woods-walking weather.  I roused my dog Sandy from her sleeping bag and headed out back towards the woods to try to shake some of this cabin fever that seems to have grabbed hold of me.  Sandy decided to head down a well-worn game trail, and feeling ready for a change in scenery, I followed.

The snow just off-trail is really deep, well above my knees in some places.  I tried to warn Sandy, but being a bulldog and all stubborn and everything, she ignored my warning.

After freeing herself (with a little help) and regaining her composure, we continued on.  We ended up going quite far, following different game trails until we were off our property and back in the state land.  I found the wet areas from which the cacaphony of frog choruses erupt each summer, a few high bush cranberry shrubs, and several deer "nests" where they had been bedding down under a giant pine. 

We wandered for a few hours, me stopping often to snap photos of lichens, Sandy whining at me to get moving.  It was a lovely wandering sort of day, and just what I needed.

For those of you that aren't able to get out and wander today, here are a few photos from the woods, just for you.

I found this particular lichen very inspiring.

I can't remember what these little things are called, but they look like deflated cranberries growing on the dead trees.

Near the end of our trip I stopped to look at some holes in a downed tree and noticed some teeeeeny fungus.  Can you see it?

By this time Sandy smelled home and was done with my lichen and mushroom foolishness.  The roof of our house was visible through the trees so she left me behind and headed to the warmth of her blanket.

I wasn't quite ready to head back yet so I lingered a while, enjoying the quiet.  I was happy to be lost in thought, looking at lichen, and walking winding trails.  I felt like I could have walked all day.  Do you ever feel like that?

I finally headed inside feeling a bit clearer, a little less restless, and a little more inspired.  I have a feeling you'll see some suggestions of this walk show up in my work soon.

Happy Saturday, everyone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shop Update Today

It's Friday!  Hooray!  I'll be having a small shop update today. 
I only have a few things to list, but I'll give you a sneak peek at some new pieces.

A new wool brooch inspired by the coming of spring.

A wool terrarium housed inside a vintage Crown canning jar.

A cheery toadstool brooch, the colors of which make me smile.

There will be another brooch or two in the shop as well.  I hope to sit down around noon CST and add these to the shop.  With luck, I'll be doing another update next week with some new projects I've been tinkering with. 

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!  I hope you all have fabulous plans for the weekend.  If you get a chance, stop by Pat's blog and read her post on the new addtions to her vintage button collection.  What does your Magpie favor?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

An Interview With Jennifer Guthrie of PineBlossoms by Jennifer

When I first bumped into Jennifer Guthrie's work on Etsy, I was impressed by her unique looking bags.  When I took a closer look, I realized that these sweet designs were translated using repurposed materials, such as thrifted suit coats, they became even better.  "Here's a girl after my own heart, trolling the thrift stores in search of wool" I thought.   But when I received one of these repurposed lovelies, I was really blown away by the quality and details.  That was about two years ago and in the meantime I've had the opportunity to get to know Jennifer a bit and I'm sure you'll find her every bit as interesting as I do. 

Tell me about you:

Hello! I am Jennifer Guthrie. After my husband and I were married, we moved our Southern California-bred selves to the mountains of Northern California. It has been a wonderful place to raise our children. We live in a wooded neighborhood with a few (not too close) neighbors, where we can keep chickens, walk mountain trails, and visit a few waterfalls. Looking out the windows of our home we see the occasional pair of deer, (much to the dismay of our neighborhood organic gardener across the street.) We get to see and hear squirrels and birds bickering over the many oak branches each hopes to claim. And watch your step here... garder snakes and many others love to sun themselves on the steps leading to our front door!

This is all wonderful and charming, until you need a yard of fabric....and have to drive an hour to the closest Quilt Supply Store. Lucky for me the 2 closest towns boast a total of 5 thrift shops! This has encouraged me to consider the wonders of Repurposing!

What do you make?

In a nutshell I take a men’s blazer and make a bag, then from the scraps I make checkbook covers, electronic devise cozies, and card cases, then from the scraps I make flower pins.


Is there a particular theme in your work?

Even though I am mostly working with mens’ suits, I think my theme is still pretty much NATURE. No matter what you do to wool, it is still natural. It has a feel, a smell, and behaves like a natural thing. It feels fitting to me to applique a bird to a woolen “lapel” pocket on one of my bags.

Where do you find inspiration?

Living where I do the things on my mind tend to be the animals outside and the plants growing, or even those I wish to grow. I just love those big red asian poppies, but with little sun, I am forced to be satisfied with bright red poppies on my bags! The memory of Squirrel chatter might urge me to applique a little squirrel to an Oak & Acorn themed bag. Thinking of my childhood in So. Cal. collecting snail friends has inspired several snail themed bags and accessories! I am so surprised my customers love them as I do! Finally I am inspired by my horse, Twister. Without her, and the costs associated with keeping a horse, I might not have to work so hard. I have met so many horse lovers & keepers through the sales of my “Twister” themed bags, whose compliments and words of encouragement help keep me moving right along!


What do you love about what you do?

Since I was in High School, I have loved thrift store shopping. I was fortunate enough to have friends, and friends’ mothers who loved thrift store shopping too... so we did it a lot! My “job” allows me to say to my dear husband, “Hey, my suit stock is low... we really need to make a run to “Savers.” (one of the bigger stores we frequent). And he makes it happen! I get to go to thrift stores with my husband, and he goes willingly!

Tell me about a favorite piece that you’ve made.

My favorite thing I have made is one of my bags. I found this very old nubby wool ladies’ blazer at the thrift shop. I guessed it to be from the 40s or 50s. It was thread bare at the edges, it had a few moth holes and had been repaired many times. I loved it! It was clear that this jacket was loved and needed by whoever had taken such care to preserve it’s functionality. Even the satin lining inside had wandering hem around the edge, where it had frayed and the owner tried to save it. It was the perfect material for one of my bags. It is so satisfying giving even a tired jacket like this, another life of usefulness.

What do you do when you’re not creating?

Growing up in Southern California, I never got much closer to horses than the posters that covered my wall and the books my grandmother sent. When we moved here, where horses are on every corner, becoming a real life “horsewoman” was actually a possibility! I currently spend most of my free time at our local college which boasts an awesome equine studies department. I take a class every semester and work on my lack of skills...Darn this whole fear thing! But it is a hobby and I love every minute of it! The kids spend a lot of time there too. They have been taking weekend & summer classes for 4 years now.

A favorite quote, a good recipe, a funny story?

I love this Baxter Black (Cowboy Poet) quote:

“Don’t be what you gotta be, to live where you wanna live. Live where you gotta live to be what you gotta be.”

How can people find you?

I feel like I am everywhere! I currently sell on Etsy at I keep pictures on Flickr and I have a blog . I just started a Facebook fan page which I am just figuring out. Somehow I already have a few fans, which is pretty exciting!

Jennifer also loves to cook, and claims she cooks as she sews...without patterns.  :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You Were Born To Save The Planet

I just read this amazing piece over on Brittany's blog.  You should check it out, it's long but worth it.  I've included only a snippet here, a passage that spoke to me loudly.  I love this idea of the DOT, "do one thing" and hope you do too. 

You Were Born to Save the Planet

Adam Werbach

Teens Turning Green
Keynote Presentation
National Summit
San Rafael, CA
5 Feb 2010

"Any movement starts with yourself. I ask you to pick a DOT -- DOT stands for Do One Thing. One thing that's good for you, good for the planet, that you do regularly. Maybe it's yoga or riding your bike or saving energy. But it's one thing you do to put your body where your mouth is. We need a billion DOTs. One billion people all making their own commitments. Take a moment now and choose your own DOT. Share it with a friend. Keep it going. Pick another. And it all adds up. If every high schooler turned the thermostat in their house down by one degree celsius, it would be like reducing 100,000 tanker trucks of gasoline, or taking over a million cars off the road. We need you to recruit students at your school and get them them to pick their own DOTs. Raise your hand if you can get me 3 DOTs? 10 DOTs? 100 DOTs.

This movement won't be led by one great man or woman, it will be built on our individual actions that ladder up to legislative, corporate and cultural changes. What's your DOT?"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Button and Stitch by Kristen Rask

I just caught this article on the Craft blog about the new Button and Stitch book by Kristen Rask and was surprised and excited to see a very familiar project included...

A Little Bit

Well, the mushroom theme continues.  This week I've made a few teeny tiny wool amanitas to send off as gifts.  Yesterday's was fit into a thimble and I had so much fun making it that I wanted to run right out the antique shop and buy up every last thimble they had.  Alas, that would violate my New Year's Resolution so I rummaged around in my workspace and came up with a tiny basket instead. 

I hope the recipients will like them.

We have sunshine here today, something that I've sorely missed and I feel like everything is better and brighter today and it is with high hopes that I'm setting off to work on some new projects. 

I hope you're feeling equally sunny.  Have a happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Geology in a Jar

Geology in a jar 2
Originally uploaded by feltfinland
Isn't this piece amazing? It was created by FeltFinland on flickr. She's taken the idea of felting within a jar to knew levels.  Not only does it include a lovely tree, boat, and grazing sheep, but I absolutely LOVE the layers of earth she's included. Beautiful!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Word Wednesday

I normally post a Wordless Wednesday entry, but I didn't have much time to snap photos today to share with you.  It was a busy day and I'm feeling a bit tired.  I was going to skip my Wednesday post all together, but as I walked to the mailbox at dusk, it occurred to me that I'd like to share an image with you.  One I've captured in my mind that I wish I could share, in person, with so many of you. 

The snow is deep here and it rolls and dips through the dense woods surrounding our house.  In the clearings the snow seems to roll over downed logs, now completely hidden, like a lazy wave.  Or as if the entire scene had been covered in a smooth layer of fondant.  The sunset is dragging its fingers from the sky, leaving dusky blues in its place and the leafless, towering silhouettes of the pines and poplars are interrupted only occasionally by a birds nest or clump of leaves left behind by some clever squirrel. 

Soon the sky will be a deep blue and the stars will be so bright that you think you might be able to reach up and pluck one.  It is quiet and still.  If it weren't for the puff of smoke wafting from the chimney or the faint smell of garlic from tonight's dinner hanging in the air, I would swear I was alone in this place. 

But I am not alone.  When I open the door I will be bombarded with light, and noise, and children running to and fro.  An explosion of activity, surrounded by fondant-covered quiet. 

Friday, February 05, 2010

More Mushrooms

I must have fungus on the brain.  Here is what I've been working on this week.

Mushrooms for your desk...a wool terrarium scene planted in a blue mason jar.

Mushrooms for your lapel...brooches made of recycled sweater wool.

And a flower brooch.  Not a mushroom.  Just to shake things up.  Also made of felted wool sweater and an awesome vintage mother of pearl button.

I hope to get some more work done this weekend. I feel like I'm on a roll right now, creatively, and want to ride it out and see where it goes.  Whether you're in the studio or in front of the TV this weekend, I hope you all have a great one.

Monday, February 01, 2010


I reopened my Etsy shop today, after taking a break over the holidays.  I had a chance to clear my head, finish some nagging projects around the house, entertain a dear friend, and take some time to refocus.  I'm excited about some of the new pieces I'm working on, and look forward to sharing my ideas with you all.

Toadstool Hollow - a needlefelted scene intended to hold and display your favorite nature finds.

A wool terarrium scene complete with pebbles, sporophytes, and toadstool.

Encircled brooch - made of linen and wool and an acorn so you will never be far from the woods.

Sweet Toadstool Heart brooch- made of felted wool sweaters.


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