Monday, February 27, 2012

my second toy society drop

I finished up another sleepy baby for my second Toy Society drop last night, just in time to meet my "one drop a month" goal.  This little guy is inspired by local favorite, Paul Bunyan.  The old book I have said that baby Paul was 15 feet long at one month old, but this guy is quite a bit smaller than that.

He's made from a wool buffalo plaid shirt and is stuffed with lavender and wool locks.

His best pal Babe the blue ox is tucked under his arm.

I'll take him tomorrow to a local park and hope that whoever finds him loves him.  It makes me happy to imagine some little one discovering the toy and being filled with excitement.  I know it's just as likely that some unruly teenagers could find it and use it as a football.  In either case, I hope it's enjoyed.

My daughter was a little bummed that she didn't get to keep the sleepy baby so I made her a teeny one this morning that she could keep.  She's curled up on the couch with him as I write this post.

I hope your week starts off with the thrill of discovery and happiness too.
Happy Monday.

Friday, February 24, 2012

promise of spring

The promise of spring landed in my mailbox yesterday.  Just the thing I needed to make me forget about the greyness of the day.

I can't wait to add these new additions to my landscape.

What's making you happy today?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

mushrooms and flower brooches from felted stones

Since I shared my tutorial for making felted wool stones the other day, I thought I'd also share some ideas for using those stones that don't turn out exactly as you like.  Maybe the color isn't what you like or it it didn't turn out quite as smooth as you'd hoped, there's still lots of opportunity in that wool.

For this first one I've liberated the stone by making a cross cut through the bottom of the wool.

I needled the flaps down until I have a little cap.

I had a piece of felted "rope" on hand already so I cut off a piece, tucked it into the cap, and grabbed some roving.

I used the handle of my felting needle to tuck in a good layer between the stem and the cap, then needled it in place, being careful not to poke all the way to the outside of the cap.  That would make the white wool show on the outside of the cap and it wouldn't look very nice.

I needled on a few white spots and just like that I have a cute toadstool.

Another idea is to use the wool in a flower brooch.  You can see I've cut open the bottoms of the smaller stones but cut the wool off the long rock into two somewhat equal pieces.

I flattened the green piece and sewn through it to act as a leaf.  I've left the open end alone for now but once it's sewn to the other pieces, the open end will be sewn shut on the underside of the flower.

I took the two blue pieces, cut a few slits for the petals of the flowers, and turned the pieces inside out which causes it to flare out a bit.  I rounded the petals a little then sewed over them with a blanket stitch.

I cut the smallest piece with a fringe.

After stacking all of the flower pieces onto the leaf, I tucked a wool bead in the middle and sewed them all together down through the center of the flower.  I took a few extra stitches through the open end of the leaf and attached it securely to the underside of the flower. 

Stitch on a pinback and you have yourself a brooch, or sew it to a headband, or you could tie it to a present...

The best part is that you still have those rocks to work with again.

I keep a set of stones on hand just for this purpose.  You can make cute little pouches this way, or finger puppets, or the projects I've just much possibility!  So the next time your rocks don't turn out as you wanted, don't think of them as mistakes.  Rock your mistakes instead!  (I know, I'm such a nerd)

Have fun, everyone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

shop update tomorrow - new spring stones

My fingers have been busily stitching on this series of spring stones and I'll be having a little shop update tomorrow with the new additions.

There is a set that is all naturally dyed...

... and one with morning glories and lily of the valley...

...and many others.
  Dandelions, roses, asters, and hyacinth too.  I've really enjoyed building this rock garden.

They'll be available tomorrow, Feb 22nd at 9am CST
The stones are in the shop now and viewable, but won't be available for purchase until then.  I'd be so grateful if you'd stop by and have a look or share the link with a friend.

Thanks so much, everyone!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

how to make a felted stone

I've been making felted stones for several years now and I've often been asked how I make them.  There are different ways of making stones, but this is my method, one I've tweaked over time to suit me.

Want to give it a try? Purchase the tutorial HERE

Thursday, February 16, 2012

random thoughts on a Thursday

A few of you have asked for a tutorial on making felted stones, and I have one in the works.  I need an extra pair of hands to run the camera for me so I'll get to that this weekend when the family is home.

Right now the snow is falling softly and for a moment, it fell against a backdrop of blue sky.  I like those odd juxtapositons.

I've ordered some new seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and to say I'm eager for spring planting is a massive understatement.  I'm trying to make my landscaping as useful as possible, rather than being solely ornamental, and I'm stoked about these new arrivals and the mushroom spawn that's on the way.

The girl had a fever last week that turned out to be strep.  So far no one else has gotten it and I'm crossing every crossable body part that it stays that way.

I really enjoyed the 'biting your tail' post by Jenna at Cold Antler Farm and it's made me think a lot about how and when to ask for things.  And my inability to ask, even when I should.  And other people's proclivity for it, even when they shouldn't. 

Cabin fever has reared its ugly head here.  Naughtiness is at an all-time high, tempers are short, and whining is rampant.  Thank goodness we're having a few warmer days, it will give us a chance to get out in the woods and primal scream breathe.

I made egg noodles from scratch last night but not enough to feed everyone so I had to mix them with some store-bought noodles.  A blind taste test revealed that mine had a "richer" taste.  Take that Barilla.  (though the chickens should get the credit as I'm positive it's their bright orange eggs that made the difference)  Also, making egg noodles is sooo easy.

I need to finish photographing the cashmere pieces I made last week.  Only one of the two hats I made has survived, one being lost at school, (or the playground, or the bus) on the first day it was worn.  Of course.

I've been doing more stitching and hope to have a shop update next week.  I'll announce the date and time and give a sneak peek before I put the new work in my shop.

I need a refill on my coffee and wish we could have a group coffee date to chit chat.  Coffee is tastier with good conversation, don't you think?

Have a good day, everyone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

our Valentine's day

The kids have taken their valentines to school today.  Together we made flowers of painted paper grocery bags and tootsie pops.  All addressed to their classmates, their names scrawled out in that sweet little guy handwriting. 

They'll come home to some paper hearts strung up on the windows and a special heart-shaped dinner.

I don't often decorate for holidays so I know the little ones will be really excited.

There will be just a few treats, special ones from the candymaker in town

wrapped up in paper

and tucked into a heart made of wool.  There are a few truffles for my chocolate-loving husband.

Pretty simple stuff, but I know they'll love it.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

coming up roses

I did a little stitching this weekend and something tells me I'm ready for spring.

Have a good start to the week, everyone.

Friday, February 10, 2012

fingers in motion

My fingers have started moving again.
It feels good.

Have a good and creative weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

playing with food

This was last night's dessert, inspired by a cute pair of fruit palm trees I saw on Pinterest (I finally succumbed to the power of the free time will never be the same again).

My kids love fruit so I didn't need to do any convincing to get them to tear into this.  I think it was gone in about 9 seconds.

Sometimes it is okay to play with your food.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Mr. Sun - son

Mr Sun has had a son.  Of sorts.  Created by my son, sorta.

About a week ago the boys and I created a woven sun out of a vintage bowl, some twigs, and strips of vintage fabric.  My youngest enjoyed the process so much that he's been asking to do it again.  When he told me he wants to make some to sell so he can earn money to go on vacation, well, how could I say no?

I mean, kindergarten can be really tough on a guy, so he definitely needs a vacation, right?  Funny guy.

I painted the face based on a drawing he did and assembled the piece from some twigs and an oak branch but Avery chose the fabrics and did the weaving.

My kids know that I make and sell my work so I'm sure it's not a big leap for him to think of doing the same, but I have to tell you, his hands-on approach and can-do attitude made me pretty proud.

So, I've put the sun in my shop.  It's been signed by both of us but Avery will get the money, should it sell, to put in his vacation fund.  I'm not sure where he's headed, but I hope he takes me along too.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

grinding garlic

When it comes to food I'm a hands-on kind of girl.  I bake my own bread, dry my own tomatoes, and make my own cheese from time to time.   We brew our own beer and ferment our own sauerkraut so I find it odd then that I never once thought about making kitchen staples like garlic powder. 

I was running low on garlic powder and as I was writing it on my grocery list I suddenly wondered if I could make my own.  The answer was yes, and the process was really simple, to boot.

I picked up a few heads of good garlic at the store, peeled and sliced them, and put them in the deydrator on low until they were dried to a crisp.  (a full day and a half)

I ground them up with my mortar and pestle until I had powder and that was it.  Now, it did take some time to process all of that garlic, and 5 heads only gave me about 2/3 cup so the question for me naturally, is "is it worth the effort?"  I stuck my finger in a bit of the store bought garlic powder and tasted it.  It was vaguely garlicky.  I stuck my finger in the homemade and tasted it.  Whooo!  It definitely had some kick.

A little will go a long way with this, and it comes with no extra packaging, which I appreciate.  The overall cost was about the same as store bought too.  I can couple it with some finely ground salt when a recipe calls for garlic salt.  I'm glad I tried it.

Do you have any pantry staples that you make?  Have any good tips for me?

Saturday, February 04, 2012

an early morning walk through the hoar frost

I snuck out this morning for a walk in the woods.  I haven't had much alone time lately and I was happy to have a bit of time to decompress.  Happier still when I looked out to see the trees covered in hoar frost.

 Charlie has a real knack for sneaking in my photos.  Can you spot him in the photos below?  He cracks me up.

The sun is now up and the trees are glittering in the sunlight.  What a great way to start the day.
I hope yours is off to a good start too.
Happy Saturday, all.


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