Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shhhhh...Compost sleeping

We woke to more snow this morning.  Our compost sleeps undisturbed through the winter.
Well, almost undisturbed. :)

 Our path looks completely different draped in snow.   Even sound is different in the snow.

 Deer tracks crossing the path very close to the house.

 Heading back home for some hot chocolate?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter in Maine and Merry Christmas!

 I love winter in Maine.  I love the snow, the cold, the fire going in the fireplace. 

 I love the handmade Christmas cards that arrive in the mail.  My friend, Jan, made this one and even the envelope is pretty!

My handmade mittens from recycled sweaters have all been delivered to Archipelago.  Not as many this year as I had thought I would make, but life does seem to have a way of butting into plans.

The hat below just sort of happened, no pattern, I was playing with some interesting bits of sweater pieces and it came together.  The flower can be removed, made from organza and tulle.  This hat along with mittens and matching scarf are going to a special friend. 

Presents, cards, yummy candies and cakes, these are all such a wonderful part of the Christmas season.  I would like wish a warm holiday for everyone.  For the vet out on the street, the teen who needs a hand, the families who have lost their homes due to Sandy.  For the families in Connecticut I wish some type of comfort, no matter how small. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Felting Play Day

I spent most of yesterday playing with dyed roving, most of which was done using koolaid.  I had an idea to felt around some sea marbles and sea glass and then cut open a window thinking it might make an interesting necklace piece.

Below is the marble placed on the dry roving before I wetted it down and started felting.

Unfortunately, while the technique worked, the results were less than spectacular.  The very cool sea marble ended up looking like just an old battered piece of glass.  Today, I am going to try some larger pieces of sea glass.  I will post these results at some point. 


 I was able to create some small bowl and (I think) some really cool beads!  Since yesterday was Halloween and  judging from the colors, I must have had more holiday spirit going than I realized!  Don't forget, you can click on picture to enlarge.

The bowls are small, approximately 4 inches across the top.  They are a lot of fun to make and actually less physical work than the beads.  The muscles in my upper arms and across my upper back can feel that I was felting yesterday.  I will be sure and do a bit of a warm up before I start this morning.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tools of the Trade

I am using my drum carder this morning to process more wool.  I washed the wool during the summer months when the weather was nice.  Once it is washed it stores nicely until I am ready to card and play with it.  The drum carder's sign that reads, "use caution..." is definitely for real!  After two years of using this sweet piece of equipment, I have the utmost respect for all of its sharp edges.

 The long box with nails is called a wool picker.  Wicked looking, hmmm?  I run my wool through this prior to using the carder.  It helps loosen up the fibers and also gets rid of any leftover vm (vegetable matter)

The dryer balls below are ready to go into the washer for the second time.  I "double dip" my balls, meaning I wash once and dry, add more wool and wash and dry again.  This helps the balls keep their original size although there may still be a minimal amount of shrinkage over time.

I love the softness of the fleece and no matter how many times I go through the entire process from sheep to finished product it still seems like magic to me!  Click on any of the pictures to enlarge, thanks for looking and feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A few of my favorite things

I am a collector.  I have a collection of silver plate, driftwood and sea glass and paper and plastic. Once I collected mugs.  There was an entire wall of mugs in my kitchen. Unfortunately, I married a man who thought he could carry them off to work, break them, lose them and do God knows what with them.  Slowly I got rid of my collection of mugs and him (but that's another story).  Oh and did I mention stamps?  Yes, I have lots and lots of stamps!  I also have a very substantial collection of buttons.


If I were asked tomorrow to give up my collections in order of importance, my buttons would be the very last to go.  They literally map my life and the very basic act of clothing myself and my family.  I have carted around a jar of buttons since I was eighteen and now that collection is many many jars of buttons. You can click on pictures to enlarge.

When my daughter was young I sewed her clothes and it was a joy to do so.  One of my fondest memories is sewing at the kitchen table and Katie playing with the buttons.  She would spend hours sorting the buttons, by color, by size, by whatever game she was playing at the time.  It makes my heart feel good to think of her playing with the buttons.


Their origin is as diversified as my life has been and I can look at a particular button and remember what it had been attached to and when (most of the time).  When placing used buttons in my jar it always felt like money in the bank.  Many of the buttons were given to me and are obviously older than I am,  such as the mother of pearl buttons shown below. 


 Currently I am making and selling mittens made from old sweaters,  which is my little contribution to sustainability, etc.  The process takes about an hour per pair of mittens, however, the final touch is a button attached to each cuff.  This is where I get bogged down. Every Time.   This my collection, right?  Each time I tell myself, "I'm just going to find the right color and move on." Ha.  The above pair of mittens and hat have buttons from a dress I bought at a thrift shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1984.  See what I mean?

Usually, I place my vintage wash bowl full of buttons on my lap and start. sifting.  and.  sifting.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few of my favorite things.  I have. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Caught in the trough!

I was in the process of putting out more hay yesterday and this is what I found.  Pippin in the trough.  The big sheep were leaving in disgust.  They will not eat the dirty hay that pippin has jumped on, pooped on, etc.
As fat as she is I am surprised she could jump up there, but these little lambs have built in springs in their legs.  :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sweet new sheep

Our latest addition to my flock, two baby ewes and the mama.  They are a cross of southdown babydoll and part shetland.  The babies were born in May and had not been separated from their mother so when I went to look at them I knew I could not bear to break up this little family.  I brought all three home with me and I am so glad I did!  They are very tame which suits me fine because my flock is so small and I love the contact.  Having tame sheep with a large herd might become annoying at feeding time!   Already the mama loves to have her neck rubbed every evening. 

This is Merry.  Of the two babies, she looks most like a southdown babydoll, with her rounded face.

My daughter came to vist shortly after I brought them home.  I had to separate them from the others because Lady was not playing nice with them, butting them, chasing the mama, cornering her and being very mean.  They are now all living happily together.

 Keeping with my hobbit theme, obsession, love, whatever, I have named the babies Merry and Pippin and the mama Belladonna (Took) Baggins who as you know married Balbo Baggins and was the mother of Bilbo Baggins.  :)  Bella had an amateur haircut before she came to me but she is a beautiful russet color and I cannot wait to play with her wool.

Looking up is Pippin.  Notice her face is thinner than Merry's.

Because Babydoll fleece is not the best for wet felting, I am hoping that the shetland in these sheep will counter that.  If not, I still have the cute factor which is most important to me. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

But What Is It?

That's what my husband asked when he saw me stitching on these.  How to explain the simple joy of sewing by hand?

 "I don't know yet", I told him

Found Stuff

Found during a walk, placed in my newly made bowl.  I used Bilbo natural and some of Precious that I dyed with koolaid.  Wondering what bird this beautiful yellow feather came from

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sweet Bilbo, RIP

Bilbo, my big old lovable corriedale, was put to sleep and I like to think he is up there with his old pal Gandolph.  He was wethered and according to the vet it is not uncommon for them to develop kidney stones, which he did.  He refused to eat or drink and was suffering.  Now he is no longer in pain.  RIP Bilbo, I will miss you


Friday, July 27, 2012

Fun with Fleece

 Processing wool myself this year.  Last year was done by a local business with disappointing      results.  It is a lengthy process but I do enjoy it. Click pictures to enlarge.

      Bilbo, after cleaning and then carded

    The wool from Precious is white white white!

And now the fun.  Dying with koolaid, using Bilbo's gray for a deeper color and some of Precious.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Playing with Felt

I have wet felted several different pieces recently, and this morning I played with one using my machine to free motion on it.  It was a fun process and looking at it from this view I saw an animal hiding.  Can you see it?  I think I will play some more with another piece.  Will post later.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I made three bells for this wind chime.  By cutting the ends off of three butter knife handles, drilling a hole in the tops and using a fork tine for the clapper.  The sound is delightful!

 This windchime is made with mussel shells, old pieces of pottery and some drift wood.  It makes a different sound than the glass, a very pleasing, deeper sound.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Whew, has it really been since October that I last posted?  What happened to my new founded dedication to my blog?   welllllllllll...I have been busy.  See below, a lot of completed projects.

                                                                 Felted dryer balls

                                      Made from recycled t-shirts.  Approximately 20" X 40"

                                             Hat and mittens made from recycled sweaters

                                                     Another rug made from recycled tees

Papier Mache vase I made for my over-the -top bathroom redo. Below is a before and after shot, although the after shot is not the final answer.  I have a few more ideas (painting cabinet and trim with a black laquer type of paint, tie backs for curtains, new light fixture over sink, etc), but I do think I am on my way to the top!