Friday, December 23, 2011

may your baskets be full

As this year winds down and we look forward to the start of a new one, I want to wish you all something beyond a good year.  I was thinking that I wish for all of us to have safety and security, adventure and curiosity, good food, good friends, belly laughs, shoulders to cry on, appreciation for nature, a sense of responsibility, freedom to relax... and I thought, "that's a pretty full basket".

So that's it.  That's what I wish for all of us in the new year.

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Holiday, or solstice, or if you choose to celebrate this time of year in your own way, (or not at all for that matter), I offer you my warmest wishes for a meaningful and heartfelt celebration.

From my woods to you, may your baskets be full.
See you in the new year, friends.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

sleepy babies and nature blocks

I'm still plugging away at the last few projects on my list.  A small set of nature blocks is nearly completed, just a few more to paint and coat with beeswax.

And a sleepy baby doll is awaiting a few finishing touches before she gets her wool and lavender stuffing.

Tomorrow I'll be baking baking baking and I also promised my little boys that they could do some painting so I'll probably be doing some cleaning cleaning cleaning too.

It's been a big help to me that my daughter is still at the age that she doesn't pay much attention when momma's sewing something, as I've been able to work on her gifts right in front of her.  Next year will be a bit trickier.

Maybe next year I won't let the holidays sneak up on me like this.  Yeah, who am I kidding?  I always think I have a good start on my projects by mid-year and then right before Christmas I'm scrambling to finish things or to start new projects that suddenly seem like great ideas.  Silly.

I hope you're all doing well and getting some well-deserved peace.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

getting closer - bed linens completed

My goal for yesterday was to make the linens for my daughter's doll bed and I'm pleased to report that I made my goal and then some!

I started pulling out fabrics to create the blanket and was preparing for a semi-complicated process.  I had chosen some pieces, none that I was too gaga over but would do, when I pulled out a matching set of these sort of strange embroidered pillowcases I got a year or two ago at a garage sale.  DING!  A light went off in my head!  I checked the size and yup, nearly perfect for the little bed with very little tweaking needed.  I love that!

All I had to do was lay a piece of batting inside the pillowcase, fold over the decorative top, and stitch it down.  Voila!  Doll blanket!

Using half of the second pillowcase and a piece of leftover carpet pad, I made a mattress to fit the bed.  That still left me enough material to make a little pillow, and I still have one whole panel of the embroidery to play with.  (and what is up with the orange poodle and roses anyway?)

I saved so much time with this project I was able to finish a little friend to tuck in under the blanket.

My daughter loves owls so it seemed like a good choice.  He's made of all recycled materials - wool from coats and sweaters, a scrap of upholstery fabric, and some corduroy pants.  I stuffed him with wool and lavender so he smells nice too.

The paint on the bed is still drying so I'll post a pic of it with the linens tomorrow.

Today I'll be working on this...

My helper is enjoying this task because she gets to build castles while mom carves.

After this I have just one more project to finish and then presents to wrap and cookies to bake.  After that?  I'm taking a break.  (and it is much needed)

'til tomorrow!

Monday, December 19, 2011

a bed on the bench

An unusually warm December day.  A few hours to myself in the barn.  A few lengths of lumber, my saw, sander, and drill.  Some instructions and a naughty dog who likes to steal from my scrap bin.  He was sassy and ran off with one of my pieces of 1 x 3.  I made do.

Eventually a doll bed stood on my workbench, heavy and sturdy, and ready to be puttied and painted and outfitted with linens.

This will be my goal for today.  I'll need the little girl to nap so I can work and I need a chance to clear my head anyway, so I think a nice long walk in the woods is in order.

It's unlikely I'll finish everything on my holiday to-do list, but I'm going to have to be okay with that. 

Have a good and peaceful start to the week, everybody. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

fit for a woodland princess

The holiday dress has been completed and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  You might remember that the dress started as this little gem I picked up at the thrift store:

Some tweaking later and this is what we have:

a dress that's perfect for my woodland princess.

I took off the lace, plastic pearls, and roses and added some wood buttons I made, a bit of embroidery, and the top...


I stitched around the painted area and it looks like leather.  I doubt anyone would know it was painted unless I told them.  This was a situation of "use what you have".  I didn't trust my sewing skills to sew on a little bodice so I went with paint thinned with fabric medium.  Hey, it works.

I love it, and so does the girl.

Have a happy Saturday, everyone.

Friday, December 16, 2011

almost done with the dress

I'm almost done stitching up Nini's pattern for my daughter's holiday dress.  I'll be finishing it up today and I'm slightly amazed that I've managed to do it before Christmas Eve.  I'm feeling a little proud of myself, yes I am.

I still have several other projects to finish though, so I'm not getting too full of myself yet.
How about you?  Have you finished your holiday to-do list or are you a last-minute person too?
I used to laugh at my Grandma for wrapping presents on Christmas morning, but you know what?  I totally get it now.  Sorry, Gram.

I'll have some photos of the finished dress here tomorrow.  Right now I'd better get to work.
Have a good Friday everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

dog corncob combo

Today has started out as one of "those" kind of days.  I woke up late and groggy from another night of interrupted sleep courtesy of my youngest.  I realized I hadn't run the dryer so the boys didn't have dry pants for school.  It's foggy and grey.  The news is depressing.  You know how it is.

I was sitting here in a half-funk, nursing a cup of coffee (my first of what will likely be many today) and looked out the window to see my dog running in circles around the yard.  "Weirdo", I thought. 

(he isn't blurry in real life, he's just running really fast)
I got up and went outside to see what he was so excited about.  Turns out he had found a cob of field corn that we had put out for the squirrels.  Apparently a cob of field corn is the best kind of toy in the whole world, if you're a dog.  We played fetch with it for a few minutes and wouldn't you know, it made me feel a whole lot better too.

I think I'll have another cup of coffee, give Charlie a good scratch, and get to work.  Since I had a number of emails from people asking for more acorn ornaments, I decided to make another batch.  They will be in the shop shortly and it will be the last batch before the end of the year.

If your day is grey, I hope it turns around for you.  Try the dog and corncob combo if necessary.

Monday, December 12, 2011

delicious little houses

Yesterday was, in a word, delicious.
The weather was beautiful for a woods-walk and the kids and I had a lot of fun gathering materials for an upcoming project.  When we returned to the house I roasted some chestnuts, made hot chocolate, and started whipping up some royal frosting for gingerbread houses.  (It was already getting dark, so please excuse the quality of these photos.)

Instead of gingerbread, we made mini versions using graham crackers.  I built the houses for my 3 youngest and myself and set out a buffet of candies for decorating them.

I let the kids decorate them however they wanted and we ended up with houses like this:

and this.  (I love the gingerbread marshmallow man just squashed into the side)

My teenager got into the action and not only made his own house, but a house with a chicken coop, a flag, a sidewalk, and even a gingerbread man on a ladder with a hammer in his hand!  Holy buckets!

I was so impressed, though we did tease him about his entrepreneurial chickens who seemed to have opened a co-op.

Best part, naturally, is that they got to eat their masterpieces afterwards.


Hope you have a fun start to the week!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

shifting gears for the season

This morning's shop update has gone wonderfully.  Thanks so much to all of you that stopped in and had a look or who took something home with you, I truly appreciate it.  I had a few last-minute additions to the shop including these two brooches that I finished yesterday and photographed mere moments before the update.  I had hoped to get more finished but it doesn't always work out that way.  Those unfinished projects still on my bench looking at me with big sad eyes will have to wait for a while.

This will likely be my last shop update of the year as I'll now be working on some holiday presents, baking, making jam, and the like.  Today we'll be roasting chestnuts and making gingerbread houses (okay, graham cracker houses) with the kids and given the warm weather (30 already!) hope to get out in the woods for a while.

I hope you all have a cozy and relaxing Sunday.

Friday, December 09, 2011

shop update Dec 11th

I'll be having a small shop update on Sunday, Dec. 11th at 9am central time. (here's my time zone on the world clock)

Some of the items are in the shop and viewable now but a few more will be added tomorrow or early Sunday.  They'll all go live at 9am.  I'd love it if you'd stop in and have a look.

There will be a dozen acorn ornaments.

A few simple clay necklaces.  After playing with these beads, I decided that I liked them simply strung on leather.

I've also made available now, my Yellow Amanitas sculpture.  This is a needle-felted scene made entirely of wool that I've fitted into a vintage 'Physiology of the Fungi' textbook.

Thanks so much everyone!  I hope you have a good (and warm...brrr it's chilly!) weekend.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

acorn ornaments and crafting with squirrels

Yesterday you caught a glimpse at what was on my work table and here today we have the end result, teeny tiny acorn huts for mushrooms.  I like to think that if the pine squirrels came over for a crafting night, this is what they would make.

I've hollowed out some acorn bodies and after they were cleaned and dried, glued in a wool mushroom and moss.  I sewed small french knots on the caps for their spots.

They're so tiny and they fill me with glee.  I am gleeful when I look at them.  This one with the extra nub on the cap is my favorite.

These little guys will be in my shop soon and will be available on Sunday morning, not Saturday as I said earlier, as I've had a couple of commitments come up since then.

To celebrate the acorn theme, I decided to make myself a cup of acorn tea.  I poured boiling water over some of the acorn flour I made, allowed it to steep, then strained out the acorn. (a french press would be really handy for that)  I added a bit of sugar, but next time I might not, it was really good on its own.  The acorns have a caramel taste to me and this was like sipping warm, milky caramel.

I think the pine squirrels would approve.

Today I am ever so flattered to have been featured at re-nest, a gorgeous green home site.  I was invited by the talented and charming Rikkianne to define "needle-felting" and offer a few thoughts on the process.  I'd love it if you'd stop over and have a look.

Have a good day everyone.


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