Friday, June 29, 2012

What We Made Today

Recently I visited one of my younger brothers' apartment for the first time, and I have to say, upon entering the sparsely decorated(meaning, NO decoration, save some very full alcohol bottles), I had flashbacks to seeing The Husband's(back before he took that title on) apartment for the first time. Plain, with white walls that screamed at me and pretty much no decoration(or, "homey touches") to speak of, it felt more like a hotel room than a home. SO. I've decided to "help" him. I put that in quotes because I'm not sure he will share the same opinion...until girls come over and feel so at ease in his fabulously colorful and comfortable apartment that they gush with compliments, anyway...heh heh heh.

To start out with, I will be giving him a few of the older paintings I have hanging around my house. INSTANT COLOR BOMB. I'll try to post photos of the chosen pieces once I actually choose them...What?!?! I've been busy!

I'll also be giving him a pair of pillows that I worked on yesterday and this morning.

I tried to choose a manly, yet invigorating or at least interesting color from The Husband's fabric stash. I kept the design simple, using just the one fabric with zig zag stitched seams in a couple of not quite square organic shapes, so the pillows wouldn't seem too obnoxious either.

The best part about the pillows is that they are stuffed with cut up bits and pieces of fabric from my scrap pile, as well as several of The Kid's and The Husband's ratty shirts which had made it to my "cutter" pile, so they are eco-friendly, firm yet soft and completely and totally washable.

If he doesn't like them, I am going to slap him.

And also totally keep them for myself...


Clearly, there was something strange going on in this batch of cherries...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stuff, Stuff, Stuff

Yep-this is going to be another one of those posts.

I've just been so crazy busy, as I suspect most people are during the summer in this part of the world. What with all the local festivals and trying to build a serious supply of stock for the fall/holiday buying season, in addition to our new psycho kitten and the regular mom and wife stuff, I don't have as much time as I would like to make neat and organized, separate posts.

I hope you understand...*gives Puss in Boots style big eyes...*

So, I'll start off with the card I made my dad for Father's Day. I let The Kid choose our theme-

A sheet of watercolor paper, some permanent markers and a Scooby Doo tee shirt I used as reference were all it took to create a card that cost far less money than a grocery store alternative, but is worth far more in meaning due to the personalized content(The Husband, The Kid and I are styled after Shaggy, Velma and Daphne, in case you couldn't tell...haha).

The Husband only wanted two things for Father's Day-to go to an annual local art fair and indulge in a steak cooked by yours truly.

The steak was cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, a homemade red wine, butter, parsley, a little salt and pepper and vinegar. It was, delicious.

The art fair was fun, despite The Kid Being particularly difficult that day. I always find it inspiring to peruse the amazing works of other craftspeople. And, since nobody there was selling any embroidery or button art, or textile jewelry(save one girl), I will definitely be vending at that fair next year. I've got my mind made up! Let's do this, yo!

We only made two purchases at the fair, a wooden rolling pin and a necklace, but they were both perfectly lovely and will be treasured for many years.

I have been wanting a rolling pin for a few years now, and though I could have purchased one at Wal-Mart for about six bucks, I spent about six times that amount and brought home this amazing, handmade piece of kitchen art, that will last me the rest of my life and be passed onto The Kid when I die someday.

The guy who made our rolling pin had his fifteen year old daughter there with him, and was telling The Husband about how she was learning to turn too. Truly, it warmed my heart to know that my purchase will help the father continue to share his craft with his daughter. These types of skills are so important to pass on to the next generation, especially in a country where kids are growing up vegged out in front of video games and television shows, unable to make anything but a sandwich with their own two hands.

I was lucky enough to spot this adorable necklace in a teeny little vendor tent which featured only a handful of prints, paintings, embroidered pins and this single necklace. It was terribly under priced at only fifteen dollars, but I fell in love immediately and knew that I would take care of it and appreciate the work that went into it, as opposed to treating it as a cheap piece of fashion jewelry due to the price. And yes, I know I could have made it myself, but I often buy items from other crafters/artists that I know I could make, because I just don't have the time to make everything I would like to make for myself. And just because I can make it, doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the skill that went into it. Actually, that makes me appreciate it more.

Every time I wear this piece, the image just brings me such joy. And truly, that's what handmade is all about-The connection to a piece and the joy, happiness and love it brings you.

I leave you with this image of unfinished pins and hair clips next to a stack of finished items headed to A New Leaf At Schillers in Donnellson. If you live in the area, stop by and stimulate your local economy! Not only do they carry my line of accessories, but they have a gorgeous green house that will inspire even the blackest of thumbs.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Bits And Pieces

It is Thursday, right?

Half the time, I cannot even remember what day it is around here...

So this post shall be full of randomness.

Firstly, I made my dad a Father's Day gift-

"Pee Wee's Big Adventure" is a big deal in our family. A really big deal. So I combined one of our favorite quotes with my scrawlings, and faster than you can slide down your fire pole in the morning, a gift was born.

Dad LOVED it. As he should. I wanted to keep it for myself...

Speaking of cool projects, these came in the mail today...

Cool things are afoot...

Like this guy.
My mom just noticed today that Thor clearly has an "M" for "Marvel" stamped on his head...

And speaking of moms, mine brought me this today-

I know. It's just not fair. I have a mom who makes me cool stuff all the time.

Finally, I woke today with a voice in my head saying, "You should go to SalArmy today."

So we did.

We've been needing some new rugs in the house, and I simply haven't had the time to make any yet so I was totally psyched to find two of these lovely ladies for only FOUR BUCKS a pop!

They are made in the same fashion as the rug I purchased a couple of weeks ago at a craft fair(upcycled linens).

I threw them in the washer with a little bleach and out they came, pretty as you please. What an unconventional blessing.

And now, on to sewing buttons and backs onto about 20 fabric flower pins and hair clips!

I know.

I lead an exciting life.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Stuffs

In my shop today!

What a busy bee I am!

I have so many sketches and plans for things to come...

Up next is 4th of July inspired pins and hairclips, so keep your peepers peeled! Heh heh

Little Things That Make You Shake Your Head

Smile, and then *sigh*.

Look what I found last night while picking up the house-

The Kid bit her crayon into small pieces and stirred them into her Rice Chex. I'm not sure if she intended to eat them or not, but I'm glad I found them before she remembered where she had stashed them.

I swear I need about three more sets of eyeballs in my head to truly keep a good eye on her!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Doll Babies

One day while I was wandering the two aisles of our local SalArmy(it really is a tiny one), I came across a stash of vintage doll heads and parts. They were all still plastic wrapped and had obviously never been used, so how could I pass them up? I snatched those bad boys up and decided to take them home and see what I could do with them,

I did NOT want to make dolls out of them. They are a little too creepy for that.

It occured to me, as we were watching Disney's "Alice In Wonderland" on eafternoon, that they WOULD make fabulous faces for talking flowers. And, since I am already fluent in fabric flower making, I decided to have a go at constructing some unique, creepy cute hair clips. Everything about these clips, aside from the thread and clip itself, is either vintage or upcycled. Shazam.

I am quite please with how they turned out-

I really, really love how these girls turned out, and I forsee much more doll head/face accessories heading to the shop as I have already ordered several more packages of doll parts! :D

If you are interested in making either of these one of a kind lovelies your own, you can find them un my etsy shop, patiently waiting for a funky new friend to bring them along on new adventures.

Maybe it will be you???

Pretzel Day

We love pretzel day at our house. Freshly baked breads are always divine, but there is something about pretzels, with their soft and chewy, yeasty and salty, heavenly combination of texture and flavor, made so perfectly for dipping into fancy and spicy German mustards, that no other baked good can compare to.

So, once a month, we indulge in the somewhat time consuming process of pretzel making.

I don't know why, but for some reason, my pretzels always turn out looking somewhat phallic in nature.

Ah well, they still taste divine.

I thought I'd share the Taste of Home recipe I use with you all in case any of you would like to experience the pure joy implosion of a homemade pretzel in your mouth and tummy.

You will need-

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cup flour

4 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
coarse salt(I just use regular sea salt)

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add butter, sugar, salt and 2 cups flour. beat or mix until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to create soft dough. Cover and let rise in warm place for 20 minutes.

2. Punch dough down and divide into 12 balls. On lightly floured surface roll out each ball and twist into pretzel shape.

3. Bring water to boil in nonaluminum pot, then add baking soda. Drop two pretzels into boiling water for 1 minute then remove with a slotted spoon and drain.Place on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Do this with remaining pretzels.

4. Bake pretzels at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack.

Add your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

These are so much better than the ones you get at the mall. Seriously.

And just think, should the zombie apocalypse occur, you'll be able to survive with your pretzel making knowledge. Take that, Betty Crocker!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Call Of The Wild

I moved  into town, when I graduated high school, to get the heck away from nature and all it's annoying and terrifying creatures. But the funny thing about living in a small town, especially one located along a river, is that you really don't escape nature. In fact, I think I have more troubles and encounters with nature NOW than I ever did when I lived in the COUNTRY!

On our small little 2 lot plot here in town, we have a thriving mole population that makes our yard painful to walk upon because you never know when you are going to sink into a hole and twist your ankle, birds that attack our squirrels and crap all over our vehicles, mice that insist on streaking through my walls in the most silent parts of the night, toads that jump on your bared sandal clad feet when you are walking down the sidewalk at night and all manner of disgusting bugs and creepy crawlies depending on the season.

Right now, near the mighty Mississippi, we are experiencing a really ridiculous invasion of Mayflies. I mean, we get them every year, but they are especially bad this year. I drove home last night and noticed sections of street that were literally black, they were covered in so many of the nasty things. And as vehicles drove by my house, you could hear the very crisp crunching of thousands of Mayfly bodies under each tire. The buggers swarm streetlights, as I hope you can see in this photo. All that dark splotchy stuff on the ground behind the light and whitish specks around the light? Yep. MAYFLIES.

Here are a bunch of them camping out in my neighbors' driveway.

It's bad enough that the horrid things swarm about like a nasty snow storm, but they also smell like dead fish (I do not refer to them as "Mormon Flies" for the record, but I do think the history of where the nickname comes from is worth reading about, as it makes one think about the origins of other phrases they say without really understanding them). They make our whole town reek until they finally all die out. Grossssssss.

But nature isn't all bad.

Today The Kid and I went to visit my parental units, and when we returned home, I turned around in my seat to notice she was sound asleep in her car seat. I just cannot wake her up when she's napping so I decided to wait in the Jeep until she woke up on her own(an hour later).

While waiting I could hear scuffling and thumping on the top of the vehicle, which I correctly attributed to birds. I didn't know what kind of bird until a young bird rolled down my windshield and sat on the corner of my hood eyeballing me.

Judging by the fuzz on his little head, I'd say he was just learning to fly.

I braved up and decided to roll down my window and try to snap a better photo of him.

He obliged. SQUEEEEEE.

Birds are so commonplace, and yet, it is still always exciting to get up close and personal with one(so long as it isn't chasing you or dive bombing you) for some reason.

Oh and of course we have this guy hanging out inside our house...

He isn't so bad at all. Aside from attacking all moving legs, papers, fabrics and such that he encounters...

I have to say though, as much as I complain about all the creatures in our area, I also know I am pretty danged lucky to live in a place where things like Huntsman spiders or giant snakes just don't exist.

At least not yet.

And if they ever do, I am heading to Antarctica, buddy, faster than you can say "drop bears"...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Strawberry Fests Forever

As a stay at home/work at home mom, I often find myself stuck in perpetual cycles of hermitness. I can go days at a time without a shower...Sometimes, I just have to get out of the house. Summer is great because there are so many city wide yard sales and cheesey little fruit and vegetable festivals continually happening that there is basically not a reason at all to stay in. This weekend a little strawberry festival was happening, so we climbed into the car and went on our merry way.

There were not many strawberries at all to be had at the festival. Bummer.

But, there was this super cute little strawberry bag! Handmade and only 15 bucks. I know I could have made something similar myself, but it was only 15 bucks and the woman had already made it, so I indulged and left home with what I thought was the best possible souvenir. Aside from, you know, actual strawberries. Ahem.

Even had I not found a super cute tote, I would have been excited just to have an occasion to wear one of my Dot's Diner aprons. Not only for pin-ups and bakery owners, a regular old gal can wear them as cute pinafores. And no, I don't think you are ever too old to wear one.

I never want to grow up.

Not completely.

Strawberry Fields forever...

Friday, June 8, 2012

What I Found At The Goodwill

Thrifting really is the ultimate in treasure hunts. I visit my local thrift joints on a regular basis and the trips are always hit or miss. Sometimes you just find a few vintage zippers and a quirky silver spoon, while other times you find a veritable jackpot of valuable goods. The cool thing about thrifting is that value comes in many forms. Sometimes it's a do or die type of valuable, like when you are seriously broke and your kid just had a growth spurt that makes her pants three inches too short, and it just so happens that a richie with a kid who just grew out of your kid's new size, dropped a clothing bomb on the thrift store, so you get your kid a much needed to wardrobe for under 20 bucks.

Sometimes it's Antique Road Show type value, where an ugly butt 25 cent painting turns out to be worth 25,000 dollars.

And sometimes it's just a personal value. Like when you find a shoe box marked "vintage 1980's toys-$5" that's been taped up to Fort Knox like proportions so you can't tell much about its contents, but you can spy a Strawberry Shortcake figurine so you figure you'll take the chance. And the chance pays off by landing you all of


I am not even going to lie-I squealed like a little girl when I opened the box up. These are living memories of my childhood right here.

Do you know how long I have been looking for one of those ice cream robot guys?

Whenever I find a stash of vintage toys(and I have never found one this big. There were a few more that didn't even make it into the photo because I gave them to The Kid), the question always becomes, do I horde these and save them, Gollem "my precious" style? Or do I defile their heads by attaching jewelry screw eyes and turning them into charms for jewelry?

Some items, like the vintage McDonald's toys, are simply not good candidates for jewelry making.

Others, like these long searched for Strawberry Shortcake figurines, are just begging to be made into chunky, kitschy necklaces and charm bracelets.

I just don't know if I am Upcycler enough to do it. I mean, once you poke a hole through their heads, they'll probably never go back to being the way they were.

And now I sound like my mother talking about human body parts...

The dilemma continues on, but you know I'll keep you posted!