Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mixed Materials

A Babushka doll I just finished this morning from a self-made pattern. I am so excited that I am making up patterns that work. I meant to make one of these for Em for Christmas but seriously ran out of time. Now both girls want this one but I think I will use the pattern to make more since I can't let this one go. Yikes, that bluebird just did it for me, the way it is tipping its head up towards the little girl's kerchiefed face. I used fleece, cotton fabric, felt--both acrylic and wool blend to put her together. The fleece and cotton worked wonderfully together. I thought they might pucker. The felt and fleece on the little girl's face worked together as well. When I added the white French knot to the eyes the whole face just popped--amazing how such a small detail works so well.
Have a great New Year's weekend! :-)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Bear

This is the bear that I made for Meg this Christmas. I followed a pattern for a bear that I found in a Japanese magazine (Cotton) but I made it out of brown linen instead of mohair. I made up the pattern for the bear's bed, dress, etc. with heavy inspiration from Lynn at Molly Chicken. That bear is all of 6" tall and man were the pieces small and fiddly. I used sleeves from a flannel nightgown of Meg's, when she was about four, for the comforter and pillow. The little dress is reversible and on the other side is a red heart button from a grade school dress of Meg's. :-)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mouse House

Finally I can show you what I've been making this month. The girls are always checking my blog to see what I've posted so I didn't dare make any mention of my makings. This is the house for a mouse that I did up for Emily. The bed and house were purchased--unpainted and I made the table, mushroom stools, food, teapot/mugs and soft furnishings. Close-up pictures will have to wait for a sunny day--the rainy day we are having here is the pits for photos. :-) Some of the ideas here were inspired by the Danish company Maileg's Mouse House.

This is the mouse that I made of felt to go with the house. I like how she turned out. I made up the pattern myself. The hands I would change--make them part of the arm pattern and her bottom could be a little rounder. I put little plastic pellets into her body so she could sit on her own on her wee mushroom stool. The table is an unpainted wooden candle holder glued to a round piece of wood edged with felt.
Once upon a time when I was eleven or so, my brother made me a life-size round table for my room. It was made of 2x4's and had a skirt made from a white chenille tablecloth. I remember spreading out my precious nic-nacs on it. This little mouse-sized table reminds me a little of my brother's gift.

Here is the back of the mouse's head, showing the gusset I added.

The two-sided dress I made for the mouse. Lynn of Molly Chicken inspired the double-sided pattern.


Little bird I made for Em this Christmas. The pattern is from the "Softies Kit" by Therese Lasky.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas Eve day--it came so fast. I have been so busy getting presents made for the girls this year that the days just flew by. We decided to try and do handmade presents for each other this year and mostly it has been fun. The only downside is that it took away time actually spent with each other as we bustled to finish up. And, our dog is acting has been so cold here that he doesn't want to go outside so he ends up being outside to do his business for a few brief seconds and coming back inside only to poop on the carpet. Arrgh! He is usually pretty dependable but he's driving us nuts. Last night it had warmed up enough outside that he took off after a rabbit and we had to go find him in the snow. Goodness gracious!

Do you see the Brownie face resting on our tree? I made him a few years ago out of felt.

I hung crocheted snowflakes under the mantle. The very center one my mom crocheted and the other four a friend made for a gift exchange. The nutcracker at the center bottom of the picture is a thrift shop find--two years ago. You can see on the tree, we like to have the large old-fashioned bulbs, same as last year, same next year. :-)
Now, to tidy up, wrap gifts and enjoy a snuggly evening.
Take care!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Frosty Day

Here is the sun rising outside our porch yesterday morning. The temperature never got above zero degrees Fahrenheit the whole day. It got down to a very chilly 46 degrees in a front room where we have the computer while our power was off for 6 hours! Boy, were we glad to see the power trucks pull up outside in late afternoon. We really appreciated them working outside all day in -25 windchill replacing a transformer. We had a kind of wonderful day though even with the power out. No TV, no playing outside, and no computer made for a quiet day together reading, singing Christmas carols, and crafting for the girls and I. And so of course as soon as the power went back on we all scattered to different rooms and singular enterprises again. We did get those kinda pesky Chrismas cards written out and sent too--wahoo! I'm always glad to get cards from friends but slow returning the favor unfortunately.

In the evening we got together to share a little Solstice celebrating. It was hard to turn off all of the lights and just enjoy candlelight after a day spent without power but we did it for a little while. (We kept the space heater on tho, it warmed us up to 76 degrees in that room--a real treat) We appreciate the sun returning now that we've gotten past our shortest day even more than usual after the day we had. :-)

December Days

A little cocoa and some cookie baking...........

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Halls are Decked

The candle houses surrounded by lacy snow and a penguin (added by Meg). They have a very short strand of lights poked into the openings underneath or at the back of each house.

Middle of the table, all festive with candles wrapped with a rope of faux greenery and red beads. The little glass pinecones are Martha Stewart's.

Kitchen side table with cookie cutters, nut choppers and a chocolate santa. That's a candle ring that I used for a little wreath hanging on the little cupboard.

And then there is the nutcracker that seems to be eyeing everything. :-)
Good Cheer!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Swedish designs

Aren't the designs in this old Swedish bowl pretty? I like the swirly hand lettering and the warm brown and red tones.
And the designs on the side of this Swedish book---is it the bible--seems likely? There was no touching allowed so I couldn't find out.
More designs--this time stenciled on the side of a field cradle. The cradle could be rocked and had wheels for transport to and from the fields of wheat and barley. Lucky baby to be so well cared for.....
Finally a little gnome that I knit up last night and this morning. I got the pattern from a Swedish craft book called "The Gnome Craft Book" published in English in 1999. Available from Amazon.
Meg thinks it looks like a caroler with the cape over her shoulders.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dream Playhouse

This is a really cool playhouse that I saw at a local festival a week ago. I love the "stone" edging and the window boxes, the Dutch door and the eyebrow window in the shingled roof. Enlarge it just a wee bit and I would live there full time! Wouldn't this be fun to put in a backyard and plant flowers all around it.
This playhouse makes me think of one of my all time favorite books, "Mandy" by Julie Edwards (Julie Andrews/Mary Poppins). I still return to the book now and then and enjoy reading it aloud to Em. It is the loveliest story of an orphan girl who finds a little cottage in the woods and makes it her own. She clears weeds and plants nasturtium, dusts the shell room in the cottage and enjoys a picnic in her very own "house".

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

The table is all set, pull up a chair. :-) Have a wonderful weekend with family and friends!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Back on the Art Cart........

I made this bear for a wee grand-nephew born in October. I will meet him this weekend and I can hardly wait. I made the pattern after being inspired by softies on Loobylu and Mollychicken's blogs. He is stuffed lightly to make him soft and squishy.
Meg and J both thought I had cut-up a favorite checked blanket to make him but oh, contrare--it is all new material. The checked material is just about as thick as the polar fleece brown but all cotton flannel....found at Walmart.

Crazy beautiful......

Have you ever tried a crazy quilt? I sure haven't, but I love this one. I went on a visit to see my aunt a couple of weekends ago and she pulled this family quilt out for us to look at. It was made by Lizzie Colcord in 1894 up in Maine. She was married to a sea captain and passed away, childless, just 6 years after she made this while in her 40's.

Beautiful stitches and lovely fabrics. Each corner has a fan of small pieces set in place. The strip of music is in the very center--does anyone recognize the music?

On my desktop.......

This is the picture loaded up on my desktop. I have a thing for dreamy castle images. This one is a lookout tower at a park. We walked the rivers edge trail and enjoyed the last of fall.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Colors in the sky.......

We went to a balloon fest more than a month or so ago--you can tell--everyone is wearing shorts still. :-) The colors in the evening sun were so pretty. We followed the balloons for a while--trailing after the "follow vehicles" that had to get to the balloons as they came down to earth again.
My favorite was this one--below.......

It would make a beautiful quilt.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chipmunk relocated

We have caught him! In the middle of the night Meg woke me saying she heard rattling metal in the basement. I knew we had successfully caught the chipmunk that thought my art room was a good place to spend the winter. J took him to a local park this morning to release the bugger. Now I have to go and clean up--the chipmunk knocked a bunch of stuff off of shelves and fabric from the open cupboards. EEEeewww!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Watercolor and a Chipmunk For Free!

I went outside this afternoon and fiddled around with some watercolor paint. I really am no good but it took my mind off the chipmunk in my studio. Yes, that's right a chipmunk in and among my art stuff down in the basement. I have no idea how he got in there but I want him out! I used to like the little things but I have firmly changed my mind. Anyone who wants the thing can request a special delivery--tomorrow. We are going to try and live-catch him and release outside--hopefully that works....cause I don't want to share my space with the jumpy, smelly fellow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Each new month is a fresh beginning--right? I can't believe that I didn't post at all in August. Yikes! I didn't even work on many projects--but I did finish this gnome--pattern by Aimee Ray. I changed the pattern she sells here a little bit with my choice of colors and embroidery.


I was woken this morning by the owl which has been visiting our curly willow tree for some days now. I haven't found any cool owl pellets underneath the tree but we have heard him just whooting away in the late evenings and very early mornings. It is a comforting sound--a sound of home, the woods.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Architectural Relics

Don't ya wish you could go to this "scrap" yard? We came upon these sculptural gems being stored on the inside of a covered stone bridge in Strasbourg, France. We had parked in a car park that was quite a ways from the downtown as I remember and we had to cross part of the canal on a covered stone bridge to get downtown. One other memory from this trip are the juicy fresh red raspberries that we bought at a stall in the market and we ate them--the whole box right there and then.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Forgotten Relic

I think I have a theme going here...things that time forgot. I love the colors of this old row boat--the beautiful turquoise it once was with the rust of time adding its patina. My neighbors would rightfully have a fit but I would love to put this boat in my front yard among the shrubs and flowers. It would remind me of happy water, beach, summer, boaty kinds of memories. ;-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lost Shoes

Have you lost a shoe? Maybe the pretty pleated slipper with the elf-like turned up toe? These two shoes have been tacked up here awhile on these fence posts--I have seen them repeatedly over the years--I look for them as a sort of touchstone to reassure myself that this little corner of the world hasn't changed much.

Another shoe story.....
At the end of winter this year just where we turn onto a main street we couldn't help noticing that there was a lost loafer in the middle of the road for weeks. For a while it got stuck in a long pot hole which made for a smoother turn and then one day--sadly--it popped out again. I was amazed at how long it stayed in the middle of the road and wonder who lost it in the first place--didn't they notice on those cold snowy days that one foot was noticibly colder than the other? I have no picture of this shoe because it was just too cold to stop for anything those days--probably why it was abandoned in the first place. :-)