Saturday, December 31, 2011

Let's Ring It In Brightly

Hawk thinks 2012 is really going to be something to crow about!  Later today, we'll be enjoying a wine tasting with my brother and his wife.  And a new to us Japanese restaurant.  The coming year looms bright and shiny before us.  Let's bring our highest hopes and dreams to mind, and create a year to remember.  A year of caring, sharing and goodness.  Happy New Years, everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time To Relax

Things have begun to slow down, and the house is returning to some semblance of normal.  I'm still making a few things.  I had sewn the dogs new beds for Christmas, and McNibs bed was lacking buttons, which were finished today.  I also sewed a little banner of favorite cards today, which is hanging in the windows above my kitchen sink.  There are several angels, some snowy scenes, a dove and a fairy.  I love to see reminders of dear ones, as I look about my house.  I hope you're having some time to relax this week.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Wishes

I've been enjoying this recent music share by Jenna.  I'd never heard of Buddy and Julie Miller, but sure enjoy their harmonies.  Wishing you the Sparkliest and Merriest of Holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Inspiration and Light

What a wonderful time of year!  Decorating with lights and fresh greenery, a time of giving, and getting together with loved ones.  This has been the first year that the majority of my gifts have been handmade.  I've had the desire, and with spending most of my time at home these days, it seemed like the perfect time to make it happen.  What worked well for me was to begin thinking about it in the spring and summer.  Whenever I came across something I liked, and had the skills and resources to create, I would save it.  If it was in a magazine, I kept the page, and also created a "Gift" document to save all the online inspiration. There is always so much swirling around my brain, I need prompts to remember. 

For the bookmarks, there was online inspiration, but no tutorial followed.  I basically sandwiched colorful fabric in between some linen, and cut either a heart or banner in the top piece of fabric, and stitched them together.  Pretty easy.  There were pinking shear challenges, so they're not exactly what I envisioned, but perfectly serviceable, nonetheless. 

The needle book and pincushion were finished yesterday.  The button I picked for the pincushion seems to have the same marble effect as the fabric and paper.  I had cut out a felt flower to apply to the needlebook, but after stitching the lace, I decided to leave it just as it was.    With the Winter Solstice arriving last night, daylight begins to lengthen once again.  Here's to the return of the light!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fun with Wool and Fabric

A batch of granola in the oven is filling the house with almond and cinnamony goodness.  Recently, I've swapped regular whole wheat flour for the pastry flour, and I can't tell the difference.  I'm still loving this recipe.

I wanted to share a couple of the gifts I've been making today.  The first is a sewing kit for a niece.  It's a gift she requested, as she's been wanting to learn to sew.  I made a pincushion using this tutorial.  Instead of a catfood can, I used a small olive can.  Anything similar should work fine.  I still need to pick the perfect button to add to it.  Finishing touches are being put on a needle book.  I didn't use a tutorial for this, but inspiration came from all the lovely ones on etsy, like the ones in this shop. 

There are also dryer balls.  I made some this summer for myself, and a friend, who tells me that instead of having to wait for a dryer load to finish when a wash is done, they are now ready at the same time.  She says they're a great time saver, and loves them.  I rarely use my dryer, opting to use the clothesline for the most part, but it does seem they help shorten the drying time.  So, I've made some more for gifting this holiday season.  There are many similar tutorials out there.  Here's an example.  The first time I made them I did it in one fell swoop, without doing a core separately, and they have held up just fine.  But this time, I opted to create the core first, as I read so many times that it's possible they'll unravel otherwise.  I've used all thrifted wool, and for these latest ones, I wadded up a (washed)cashmere blend sock that had seen better days to start with, then began adding wool yarn.  You could also use scraps of wool felt or wool sweater in the middle, to cut down on the amount of wool yarn needed, and to re-use/recycle.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Making Joyful

One of the benefits of this blog has been to encourage me to pay attention to what is all around me.  The beauty of a late fall sky, with clouds scuttling past.
Holly berries down at the creek.

                      The varying greens of moss and lichens.

                      The rustle of beech leaves.
The attentiveness of the pups, as a pileated woodpecker calls out.

In between making, we'll be visiting with family this weekend.  I hope to take some good photos, so I can share some of what I'm making.  Wishing you a most joyful weekend of this holiday season!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Far Flung Places

It has been heartwarming to see all the support for my online shop this holiday season.  How wonderful it's been to wake up to orders each morning.  And to see the far-flung places they're going.  Yesterday, I shipped an order to Anchorage, Alaska.  How lovely to think of my products being enjoyed in so many places around the world.  I just wanted to say a big thank you to all my friends, family, and those I've never met, who have supported my little shop this year.  I can't tell you how much it has meant to me.  You're the best!  *Of course, this thank you goes to all my customers~ from shows, local shops and otherwise.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Few Happy Things

I'm enjoying being mindful of what I can find blooming at this time of year.  On the way to the mailbox this morning, I spied this dandelion.  A little while later, I saw a honeybee on another, which made me happy.

These two were awaiting my return from the mailbox, which was another happy sight.  They were good boys, and heeded my "stay" command, to keep them away from the road.  They don't often sit so still, or together, so this made me smile.

Here's a new tune that's making me happy.  Hope you enjoy it too!

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Blooms

Last post, I told you about the calendula I found blooming here.  I since found one of my orchids blooming.  There are many more buds on it, so I hope it will cheer us with it's beauty much of this winter.  I do so love blooming pretties!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fall Cleaning, Calendula and Creative Folks

A bit of fall cleaning has occupied me this week.  Some friends are soon to visit who haven't seen the house since we've "finished" it.  That seemed a perfect reason to get the house in order.  I'm always so happy once it's done, but often need a push to make it a priority, with the days so busy.

I was excited to find the blooming calendula, on a walk with the dogs near the pond this week.  We've had quite a few hard frosts already.  There have also been some warm days and nights, though; warm enough for McNibs to decide to take a dip.  Silly dog!


The movie Grow.  The energy of these young folks is inspiring.
I'm loving this house.  It reminds me of the ones in the Handmade Houses books.

Today I'll be tackling the great room.  Some good music will be in order. Wishing you a wonderful day!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Metal Art

It's a gray and chilly morning here.  I believe I'll continue putting away the show stuff, before venturing outside to work at the shop this morning.  I had a great time at the show, meeting vendors, shoppers, and  fellow blogger, Stephanie.  Joseph's pig, some smaller pieces, and lots of soap went to new homes.  Some sweet orange lotion and herbal tincture from Henrietta at Edge of The World Farm came home with me. And a goddess from my friend, Eve.  The tincture is one to help lift spirits, helpful on these gray days.  The goddess will fit among what I think of as my altar, a space filled with found bits of the natural world~ shells, feathers, stones, antler..., and objects that have meaning to me, including an angel holding a bird, a smiling buddha and a little blue glass bird dish that belonged to my grandmother.  Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Pig On The Block

Here's a peek at two of Joseph's offerings for Saturday's show.  Don't they have personality?

This is one of the things I've been working on..... soap on a rope!  Not something I thought I'd ever do, but a friend recommended it.  And, well... you know me, I've got to try new things.  You can't easily see, but there are several pieces of bamboo on each "rope", and a soapstone bead at the bottom. I will say, with the time I invested in these, I do believe these will be a Handmade Holiday 2011 exclusive!  Wishing you a marvelous weekend!