Thursday, March 31, 2011

Giraffe Wood

I've finished up a few of the "giraffe wood" vases, which I believe is Acacia wood (thanks Bonkers, for the tip!).  I'm in love with this wood and a little sad that Mr. Giraffe was kind of small.  You can bet I'll be watching for his relatives at yard sales this year.  Anyway, the grain on this wood is beautiful, the color is nice and warm, and it finishes silky smooth.  Really wonderful stuff.

I've made a few vases from it already.  I cut this one so the shape would follow the contours of the grain, in sort of a raindrop shape.

This one I cut so you can see the grain as lines across the piece.  Stripey.

Both of these are in my big cartel shop (the 'shop' tab at the top of blog) at the introductory price until tomorrow, at which point they will move to my Etsy shop at regular price.

I hate to say it out loud for fear of jinxing it, but I think spring may be on its way.  As proof, my hens started laying again this week and are giving us 7-9 eggs a day, yay girls!, the sun has been shining more, and we're entering this season:

Ah yes, the season of mud begins.  Let's just hope the season of "flood" gives us a break this year.
It's not all bad though, because making rivers in the mud is great fun.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Annnnd so much for wordless...
I am so flattered to have been interviewed on Indie Fixx today, please stop by and give Jen's amazing site a little love, and read my interview too, if you're so inclined.  I'd be ever so grateful.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Decapitated Giraffes and other fun band saw games

My husband has had this giraffe in his nightstand drawer for a while.  It's not my taste necessarily but it was his from before we met so I dared not throw it out.  It was a gift from his mother and therefore special...or so I thought.  Turns out he bought it a few years ago from Waccamaw Pottery several years ago (on purpose!) and thusly had no particular attachment to it.  How lovely!  I had designs on this little wood giraffe and had just been given the go-ahead.

You know where I'm going with this, don't you?  Yes, that's right, to the garage!  If you're squeamish, avert your eyes.

My kids came out and asked what mommy was doing cutting the head off of their (suddenly) precious giraffe (that had been in daddy's nightstand drawer for 5 years, undisturbed).  They were a little upset until I made them a giraffe finger puppet, and then all was forgiven.

Voila!  Finger puppet!  I am no longer bad mom.

I cut into the body of the giraffe and could tell right away that the wood was going to be lovely.  It also smelled of cedar and black pepper.  It reminded me of meat on the grill in a way, which was not something I've encountered before.  Some woods smell sweet but this was the first peppery wood I've smelled.

I roughed out a piece and put a quick layer of tung oil on it just to see the grain.  Here you see it next to a finished piece of oak (oak is on the right).

It will need to be sanded several times then oiled, sanded, oiled, sanded, oiled, get the picture, before it becomes a pendant.  I have no idea what kind of wood it is so it will now be dubbed "giraffe wood".

Here's proof I'll never be hired to be a hand model but I'm still watching for a gig that calls for a mask-wearing middle aged woman to be covered in a fine layer of sawdust.  I can totally do that.

Photos of the completed pendants soon.  I'm excited to see how this wood turns out.

Have a great start to the week, everyone.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Just a quiet image of the happiness that was in my inbox this morning.
Thank you, dear friend, for sharing it.

A happy Sunday to you all.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Hour Tonight

light the candles
This was last year's Earth Hour project - frosted baby food jars
My kids love Earth Hour.  So much so that we celebrate Earth Hour several times a year.  We light candles and the kids run around with their wind-up flashlights exploring the shadowy parts of the house.  For us it's about being part of a statement about climate change.  For them it's just fun.  It does make me proud to hear them tell their friends about Earth Hour though, and they do have a basic understanding about why we do it  but usually their conversations lean more towards "I got to play with a flashlight!!" than a discussion about activism, and I'm okay with that. 

For me it's a good time to think about our energy usage and our consumption and waste in general.  No doubt this year I'll be thinking of the people in Japan as well.

If you'd like to join in, Earth Hour is tonight at 8:30 local time, wherever you are in the world.  Turn off the lights, turn off the laptop, unplug and unwind. (or wind your flashlights, if you've got 'em)

Learn more at

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wearable Vessel Necklaces and a shop update

I've been hinting at a project I've been working on for quite a while and I'm finally ready to show you what I've been doing out at the band saw. (besides acquiring band-aids on my fingers)

This is an idea that had been in my sketchbook for quite a while.  It was inspired by my children who love to bring me impossibly tiny flowers when we're out walking.  I wanted to be able to honor these sweet offerings and I imagined them being carried as we went on our adventures, so I decided to make wearable vases.

Each wood piece has been cut, carved, and sanded (hours of sanding!) and then fitted with a tiny glass vial.  A few drops of water or some damp floral foam makes it a happy place for freshly-plucked green things but I think it will serve equally well for holding tiny feathers, twigs, and leaves or maybe an air plant or something.  They hang from an adjustable leather cord in dark brown.

I've put a few of these in my new big cartel shop (see the "shop" tab at the top of the blog) at an introductory price. (blog readers get first dibs, yay!)  They, along with some other new work, will be in that shop until Monday at which point they will move over to my Etsy shop, at regular price.   If you're so inclined, I'd love it if you'd pop in and have a look.

Some other goodies in the new shop today.

Wool moss brooches

Wool and oak moss brooch

Sporophytes and walnut necklace

I made myself a vase necklace too out of a spectacular piece of walnut that I gathered with my dad in Illinois.  I'll show pics soon.  Now where is spring?  I need to gather flowers! (under our 12 new inches of snow I presume)

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crafting For Courage

Hi everybody!  I'm back from my wee break and am pleased that my first post is a charitable one.  The tragedy in Japan has touched us all.  Wanting to help in some small way, a group of crafty friends have organized a sale of our handmade goods with all of the proceeds going to Save The Children's efforts in Japan. 

There is a blog dedicated to showing each of the pieces being sold, with links to the Etsy shop or blog where it can be purchased.  
Please check it out here - Crafting For Courage

There are some really gorgeous pieces being offered, all for a good cause.

I have a few pieces this morning in my shop here - lil fish studios on Big Cartel. (you'll notice the "shop" tab at the top of my blog)  I'm offering a wool and vintage button penny bouquet and a few oak and birch embroidered brooches.

***Update - the bouquet has sold!  Thank you!!***

***Update - the brooch with the flower has sold!  Thank you!***

These items will be for sale until the 28th.  Again, all proceeds will be donated directly to Save The Children so please stop by and have a look and spread the word.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Art Hounds on MPR

There's a feature on Minnesota Public Radio called Art Hounds that highlights what's going on in our local art scene.  You can share events and exhibits that are going on around you, and this week I shared with the MPR listeners a short film fest being held here in Brainerd called EgoFest.   I did a brief phone interview and you can hear my awkward self right here (I'm the second speaker):

I was so nervous, even though the interviewer was extremely nice (and patient),  that my cheeks were red for about an hour after the interview.  Egads.

If you're in the area, do stop by and enjoy some film.  Hubby and I have a date night to check out Friday's events, and since we average one date night a year so yeah, I'm doubly excited.  I think it will be really interesting to see the films and be able to then hear from the filmmakers themselves, hang with my husband, and meet some of the amazing folks behind the movies.

Learn more about EgoFest here:

Monday, March 14, 2011

What I'm Focusing On

Sunlight is casting shadows on my wall. (stop looking at the dust on the's flocking.  Flocking I say!)

The Blue Jays are visiting my feeder.

And deer are visiting it too.

It's Spring Break so there are 4 kids home.  Thankfully the weather is supposed to warm up a bit so there will be snowmen built and wet boots drying by the woodstove.

Projects have been mailed off and now several half-completed projects will need to be completed.  I feel in the groove this morning and hoping it continues for the next few weeks.

I hope you all have a good week ahead of you, and despite all that's happening in the world, you find some good things to focus on too.

Friday, March 11, 2011

On Small Things

I woke up to read about the earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan.  I can't imagine the horror so many people are facing, and part of me is glad I can't imagine it.  I'm thankful to be safe, warm, fed, and healthy this morning, and thinking of those the world over, that aren't.  

And truly, that thought is overwhelming. 

When a task or idea is too large I find it easier to break it down in parts, don't you?  I try to do small things each day to benefit my family, friends, myself, and the earth.  I usually focus on what I can do on a local level, which is just my choice.  I feel I can make the most impact that way.  My "small thing" can be someone else's "big thing", you know?  Today I feel like I need to do more than usual, to help ease my own soul.  I'm not sure what that will be yet, but I'll update this post at the end of the day with what I came up with.

Hoping all of you and yours are safe and happy today.


Tonight's Update:
Today's "small things" were very much like any other day, none were spectacular world-changing events, but the idea of helping was in the front of my mind all day.  This morning I made a donation to our local chapter of the American Red Cross.  I wrote a long-overdue letter to my grandma.  I picked up some scattered garbage when I dropped off the recycling at the recycling center.  I donated some pieces to a good cause.  I painted with my creatively-inclined 4 year old.  I told my family that I love them.  I made them pizza because it's Friday and they love Friday pizza night.  Tonight we'll turn out the lights and watch a movie and be thankful we're safe and happy.  We'll talk about how "small things" can help others and ourselves live better lives.  I'll tell my kids that I believe they can change the world, and I'll tell them that it will take lots and lots of small things to get there, and I'll continue to challenge myself to set the example for them.

It's not nearly enough, but that's all I can do right now. 

Friday, March 04, 2011

Crafting For Ourselves

It has been far too long since I last checked in with the Crafting For Ourselves group, but just as I suspected, you talented makers have been doing for yourselves beautifully!  The joy of making something for ourselves or our loved ones is something I think we can all benefit from.  Make some time today to shower yourself with your own creativity, and definitely stop by the group pool for some inspiration, there's a lot of loveliness to behold.

Sadly, I have not been doing any crafting for myself.  Cooking for myself, yes.  Cleaning?  Yes.  Crafting, not so much.  I've been keeping a list of things I want to do though.  Here are a couple (with links!) :

You know, just to start. 

Now how to cook up some of that time for me is the big question.  Go on, craft for yourselves, I'll live vicariously through you.  It's okay, go on.

Purple Turtles

I've been including a little vintage button flower when sending off packages of buttons purchased from my destash shop.  They're just simple stacks with some wool leaves, wound up on wire with a curved stem that can slip in a button hole and act as a brooch or it can hang over the edge of a flower pot, pencil cup, etc.

One of my sweet customers mentioned that she likes purple turtles so I just had to make a little surprise for her package.

I've carved up a mother of pearl button that had chipped along one side (I never throw those away because I like carving them) into a vague turtle shape with my dremel tool and a diamond bit.  I carved with the button under running water. When I was done, I gave him a purple button shell and plunked him down on a wool lily pad.  Silly but fun. 

Have a great weekend everybody.  (silly and fun too, if you can swing it)


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