Monday, April 30, 2012

Heart-Felt Holidays winner

Princess Poplar (my 3 yr old) drew a name this morning and the winner of the Heart-Felt Holidays book is...


Thank you so much to everyone who entered!
Don't forget, you can get your very own copy on Amazon for under $10 right now.  If you get the book, and enjoy it, it would be wonderful if you would review it on Amazon also.  And tell your friends.  I'd love to see this lovely little book be a smashing success.

Have a great start to the week everyone.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

what we have here is a failure to communicate

All together now, ready?  Awwwwwwww!!

Isn't that the sweetest little face?

Sweet face here popped up while we were tilling the garden.  His clever momma had built a little hutch right inside the confines of the garden fence and jr. who is now on his own, decided to stay.  We certainly didn't want the tiller to get him, but we didn't want to leave him in the garden either, so I brought him out to the side woods to set him free.  I held him for a minute, thinking briefly "aw, can't I keep him?" and then gently set him down, telling him "off to the woods with you, grow big and strong".  He sat for a few seconds obviously relieved to be free from his captor, stretched, then took a few hops.  In a moment his hops turned to running and my heart sang at the sight.  Then suddenly this furry little Flo-Jo banked left and


Friday, April 27, 2012

Heart - Felt Holidays - a giveaway!

Heart-Felt Holidays: 40 Festive Felt Projects to Celebrate the Seasons

The name says it all!  I'm so excited to have been a small part of this book by the wonderful folks at Lark.  I've worked with them before and it's always such a pleasure.  This one is chock-full of cute projects (bowling elves? love it!) for Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Martin Luther King Day...they're all covered.

The book is arranged so that it starts with New Year's and ends with Kwanzaa (with Birthdays and Baby Showers too!).  There's a great variety of projects included and since working with felt is so fun (and forgiving) it should keep you busy and full of handmade happiness throughout the year.

I have contributed four projects to this book to celebrate Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, and Teacher's Appreciation Day.  All of my projects work with felted garment wool, but they'd work just fine with regular sheet felt too.

And because they're awesome, Lark has given me an extra copy of the book to share.

This giveaway is now closed.

If you'd like a chance to win
please leave a comment on this post telling me what holiday you think would be fun to craft for.

My youngest helper will draw a winner on Monday April 30th.

One entry per person please.  Please be sure I have some way to contact you should you win.  I'll ship worldwide, so play along, one and all!

Just in case you're not feeling lucky, you can always buy your own copy.  It's under $10 on Amazon!  A steal!  Steal I say!

Good luck, everyone.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

the plums hum

The plums are in bloom, much to the delight of the bees.  There is an audible hum coming from each of the little trees and I couldn't help but stand and watch a while.

I counted six different kinds of bees, all of them busy busy busy.  Too busy to even care that I was shoving my camera lens in their little faces.  I especially liked this little orange belted bumblebee.

Isn't he sweet?  Such a diligent worker.

The plum flowers usually signal the return of the Indigo Buntings and the Orioles so I have my feeder stocked and my oranges ready.  I'd better get my hummingbird feeder ready too... We love seeing these colorful little visitors.

Thank you again to everyone who stopped by my shop update yesterday.  I'll be a diligent worker this morning mailing out packages and working on stones. 

Tomorrow I'll have a giveaway, if you'd like to stop back.
And speaking of giveaways, you'll probably want to stop on by my friend k's blog to have a chance to win a beautiful piece of textile art.

Enjoy your day, everyone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

new items in the shop today

I have a few new pieces that I've added to my shop this morning.

This needlefelted wool scene has been fitted into a piece of oak from my woods.  I love the dark band in the grain of the wood.

For grins, here's an extreme close up.

The actual scene is only 1 1/4" across.

There is also this peaceful meadow scene surrounded by a pretty piece of chokecherry wood.

A small moss garden necklace, strung on leather cord.

This is also fitted into a piece of chokecherry.  I love the grain in this piece.

There will also be a limited number of custom-made embroidered stones and perhaps a completed stone or two if the weather cooperates and gives me light to photograph by.  After yesterday's gorrrgeous weather, I am not complaining about a little rain today.

If you'd like, please stop by my shop

Sorry about the short notice, I normally like to announce shop updates beforehand, but today is one of those unplanned kind of days.

Have a great day, everyone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

stones with holes

Every now and then I find these stones with holes in them.  These two are larger stones, the larger one measuring about 6" long, but I usually find them in smaller sizes.  The holes on these are about an inch and a half wide.  The one on the left has smoothed edges, as if it were worn away, but the one on the right has a sharp edge like something chopped into it.

I don't know what formed these holes, whether they were the product of nature or something manmade, but while trying to read about holes in stones this morning I found an article about the mooring stones of Minnesota, which led me to stories of runestones and of geology.  

And suddenly an hour had gone by.

I am now behind on my chores and without a proper blog post.  And a shower.  It is fun to imagine what these holes could be though... a product of glaciers rolling pebbles?  Blasting holes from foundation rocks?  Ancient artwork?  A marker of some sort?  Pure natural coincidence?

Edit: Rose suggested in the comments that this could be a Native American tool, which led me to more reading.  Now I'm giddy at the thought that the on the left could be a cupstone or nutting stone, or a fire-starting stone.  How exciting would that be?
What's piquing your curiosity today?

Monday, April 23, 2012

dyeing with strawberry plant leaves

I had a nice dyeing surprise the other day.  I was looking around outside, thinking about what's in abundance, when I noticed the reddish stems on the wild strawberry plants.  I wondered if they might give off any color, and since there are literally millions of them in my yard, I gathered some leaves for the dye pot.

Since so many of the plants grow in shade, they never give fruit, but as I found out they do give color.

I used an alum mordant on all of my fiber.  On cotton I got a rustic yellow, a pastel yellow when a tsp of ammonia was added, and a greyish green with an iron overdip.

The silk and wool picked up similar shades, with the plain alum mordanted fiber looking more tan than yellow.  The silk with the ammonia is such a bright yellow it almost looks neon. (though you can't tell so much from my photos)

Cotton floss picked up just a bit of color, but also turned towards green with an iron overdip.

I've read that you can use these same plant leaves to make a tea, though I haven't tried it yet.

This was a pretty encouraging dye effort, and in keeping with the theme of abundance, I think I'll have a go at some of that creeping charlie in my flower bed next.

Friday, April 20, 2012

a poplar scoop

Just a little scoop I made for myself yesterday, carved from a piece of poplar that fell in the last windstorm.  I've been wanting to make spoons for a long while, (years) and finally made some time for it.

My husband reminded me, twice, that I could buy wooden spoons at the dollar store... 3 for a dollar... instead of making one.  He's hilarious, isn't he?  Ho ho ho, Mr. Jordan.

He does make a point, even if he was mostly just getting my goat.  From a monetary perspective, it's much cheaper to buy some wooden spoons for a dollar rather than spend a few hours of my time carving one.  But from an aesthetic perspective, well, that's different.  This scoop carries my story with it of being cut from wood from our property.  It's sanded so smooth it feels like satin, and it's been oiled by hand with the meat of a walnut.  It has love in it, and it's beautiful. (to me)

It's now performing its duties in my sugar canister, and I'll get to hold it each morning when I make my coffee.
Now I need one for the flour jar...

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a stuffed chicken

Last week I mentioned that my daughter spends a lot of time carrying our chickens around.  I worried that she might start dressing them soon if I didn't get her a doll.  Clever Tara suggested that I make her a chicken doll and I thought that was such a good idea I sat down yesterday and did just that.

She's a very simple chicken, made out of some garage sale fabric and scraps of felted wool.  Her eyes are antique shoe buttons.  I stuffed her with polyfil from an old pillow I had put through the washing machine. (I always think washing pillows in the machine is a good idea, but it never is...)

I took her outside to show the girls and got this reaction:

I call that the "whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" look.

Poor stuffed chicken was shunned by the flock.

But the girl seems to like her, and that's all that really matters.
And if she wants to dress this chicken, that's just fine.

My boys liked the chicken too but inform me that she also needs eggs, a cracked open egg, and some chicks.  And some more chicken friends.  And a duck.  (which will probably also require eggs, a cracked open egg, ducklings, and more duck friends)

Monday, April 16, 2012

monday muttering

As promised, Mother Nature gave us some snow to wake up to this morning.  Though it is cold and miserable out (and windy!), and a few of my plants didn't make it through the storm, I do think the snow is sort of pretty.

I find it prettier still, knowing that this isn't the start of winter but rather a last ditch hissy fit before spring starts.  (I'm hoping anyway)

I loaded up the birdfeeder this morning for those little guys out looking for food.  Normally, the chickens come running when they see me filling the birdfeeder; they love to nibble on the seeds that fall, but not this morning.  I suspect they're all still snuggled in the coop, muttering under their breath about this Minnesota weather. 

I muttered a little too, but I'm keeping in mind that this is temporary and far better than the weather many people experienced this weekend.

Here's hoping you all find some sunshine today.
Happy Monday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

tissue paper flock

It's a rainy Sunday morning. 

My niece and nephew are here, bringing the "child aged 7 and under" count to 5.  I figured a little art project was in order to keep them entertained for a while and out of the mud lakes puddles outside.  I had seen these little tissue paper suncatchers on Pinterest and thought they'd be a great way to bring a little color to the day.

My niece is a natural artist, and the bird house, flower, and little sack of bird seed were her ideas.  So clever!

I think this little flock will have to stay for a while.

Our forecast calls for 2-4" of snow tonight so I'm going to need all the colorful flowers I can get.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

not amused

I've been a bit under the weather the past few days and I'm not getting anything done.  Unless you count watching the entire first season of Downton Abbey on Netflix getting something done, of course.

To add insult to injury, it's snowing. 

It makes a girl lose her sense of humor a little.

Monday, April 09, 2012

hopeful thoughts

Things that are making me feel hopeful today.

Growth in my makeshift greenhouses.

30 eggs in the incubator.

Happy Monday.

Friday, April 06, 2012

today's dye pot... whatever

I was kind of in a mood yesterday.  Or rather, wasn't in the mood... for any manner of nonsense.  You know those days?  I think it's the pull of the moon or something.  Anyway, on top of normal daily nonsense, my dyepot was giving me fits too.  I had lopped off some nettles to use for dyeing and instead of the green I had hoped for, the water turned a tepid pink that my fibers didn't want to pick up at all. 

I tried a handful of my usual tricks, to no avail.  I pulled up some nettle roots and added more plants, nothing.  At which point I said... channeling my inner 13 year old... whatever.

Rather than ditch the whole dye pot, I went outside and found some curly dock growing amongst the nettles, and added the roots to the dye water.  Not much going on there either.  Whatever.  In went the tops.  Hmm...a little more color.  Enough color to convince me to throw the fiber back in the pot.

I let it to stew overnight and this morning we have shades of yellow with just a hint of green.  Kind of like limp celery tops.  It's really not a bad color.

I'm pretty sure, given all of the different things going on in this dye pot, that I could never reproduce this.  But you know, whatever.

Happy Friday everyone!  May your day be sunny and nonsense-free.


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