Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Tour

Seems as if every year I decorate minimally and swear I won't the next. Somehow, though, time gets away from me, and I do it again, year after year.

Several years back I picked up a pre-lit tree that's probably no more than three feet tall. I've been using it since, except when I haven't. This year is one of the latter times.

This little 18-incher is my fall-back. I've probably had it fifteen years or so, but it's served me well. This year I didn't even put ornaments on it--except for the chocolate sign my GG friend gave me. The rest are simply picks I stuck into the tree. I still like the look of it, except in this picture it needs a little straightening. Oh, and the mirrored cone beside it is one of those Dollar Tree things that are so popular in blogland this year. I picked it up last Saturday and haven't taken the time to age it down.

Here another pic of the tree, all straightened and in a position to highlight the poinsettia I made as a topper. (The cone is gone, and obviously the lighting wasn't as good for this pic as for the first.)

I look at these pictures and think OMG, they look so...bare. This little arrangement atop the lawyer's bookcase in my living room needs some, I dunno, greenery. And I'd use some, except I didn't bring all my decorative picks from the storage shed and I certainly don't intend to buy more.

I started gathering these crystal candleholders back when I was putting together glass totems for my garden. I bought way more than I ever could use as totems, even if I'd continued making them, so here they are in my Christmas dekkies.

And this is my table centerpiece. Not much; just a few pieces of faux sugared fruit around a candle in the old copper bowl I always use as a centerpiece, surrounded by a twisted berry garland.

Our stockings: Tom's has a flamingo on the top cuz we've had these forever and he used to collect them. Max's is the denim one at the top. Not fully visible in this pic is the Garfield stocking hanger holding it.

The wreath into my garage was made by a woman I used to work with, back in the dark ages. I think it's held up well, but it's a tad small for my front door.

This is what hangs there. It needs a bit more decoration, but I'm not up for that right now and probably won't get around to taking pics of it when I finally do manage to tart it up.

So that's my Christmas tour. I won't promise it'll ever get better than this, but thanks for stopping in!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gotta love...

Etsy Finds. This is the second time one of my items has been included in an article, and the number of hits I got was remarkable! Yesterday, they included the box of dominoes I picked up at a garage sale in September.

Honest, I wasn't even sure I wanted to sell them so I set the price pretty high. I'd had lookers sure but nothing like after the Storque article. (In case you're interested, you can see it here.) And they sold! Edited 12-12 to add clickable link.

Last summer, another of my items was included: I blogged about it at the time and it didn't sell for another couple of months.

 But it sold. Yay, Etsy Finds!

So the question is: how does one lure the Etsy Finds people to include items in the articles. I'm thinking photos. Gotta work on them photo skills. In the meantime, though, I'll consider myself lucky that I've been chosen twice!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lunch with the GGs

Christmas is about people. Sometimes when I'm chasing myself--I haven't decorated; I have no tree; I've not sent out cards; I haven't even looked at a cookie pan!--I tend to forget about that.

But...I'm never too busy for lunch with the GGs! I consider myself lucky to be part of a mahvelous group my sis calls the GGs (short for gym girls--Ginger always comes up with cool nicknames!) Disclaimer here--I haven't belonged to that gym in six years, but they let me tag along anyway.

This year for our Christmas lunch we went to the Hill Country Galleria, a neat little collection of shops in Bee Caves, about half an hour from Marble Falls which is sorta kinda a central location for all of us.

These ladies are really neat, and I adore them. We're an odd collection: Mary and Donna are retired nurses; Josie was in the travel industry in New Zealand; my sis Ginger still works--when her hub sold his business five years ago part of the agreement was that Ginger would continue to do their books for a while; I'm not sure what Joy did; I don't think I ever asked, but her hub was a lawyer turned entertainment agent, and Joy's the cool sophisticated lady that goes along with that; my SIL Sunny was a SAHM, and me, I worked outside sales for a local telco.

Mary made us all promise that when we get old--no matter what y'all think, we're not there, yet!--and all alone, we'll live on the same street so we can take care of each other. Since oldness is kinda looking at us sideways, Ginger surprised us with badges my 'nother sis Daisy made for each of us with our names on it. ('Cept Ginger's simply says Me.)

Cool, aren't they? Daisy's pretty darned talented. (And patient; she ran into a problem and had seven to make so it took quite a while.) Of course we all wore them while at lunch, just in case any of us had a sudden attack of dementia. (Mary says they'll work perfectly when we're in the old folks' home and can't remember who we are!)

We exchange small gifts among us, mine this year being the poinsettia ornament for which I previously gave directions. Actually these ladies were the reason I came up with the idea.

These are the ones I made for them, the originals. When it came time to get ready for the lunch, I needed boxes--and boxes are the bane of my existence. I actually own a boxmaker, a pretty cool tool, but still I struggle coming up with ones I like that are sturdy enough. (Often, as I'm struggling, I chant under my breath Nester's mantra, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!" Still, even knowing that, I find myself apologizing for the boxes whenever anyone compliments them. Someone kick me in the rear, please!)

After trying to decoupage boxes made from emty Cheerios containers and realizing it would take far too long, I finally decided on boxes made from old Christmas cards. They only had to be sturdy enough for a trip to Bee Caves.

I think they turned out pretty nice. (The reason the one on the bottom left doesn't have a bow is cuz my SIL has the flu and couldn't go with. She'll get hers when she feels better.)

Now for pics of my haul!

The Santa is from my SIL--she sent her gifts with Ginge since she'll most likely not be seeing the GGs before Christmas. The silver tree dish is from Mary, who nicely included soap that looks like candy instead of the real thing, in deference to my sugar allergy (also known as Type 1 diabetes!).

The candle was also from Sunny, as were the socks in the next pic. Looks good in my guest bath, huh?

This is the final lot--well, not quite: I forgot to include the lovely quilt potholders Donna made--she's a wonderful quilter--since I've already tucked those away. And the fudge Joy made, which Tom is enjoying. The photos are ones Joy took and had made into postcards. Wonderful shots, professional looking. They'd look great framed. The little wooden sign says Chocolate Makes my Clothes Shrink. Very apropos! (I think the sign will look cute on the tree--when I finally get it up. Hopefully that'll happen tomorrow afternoon, only I'm just going with a small one this year. I'm getting started too late to do the big one!)

Gotta go now. Lots to do--I was in the middle of a load of laundry when the water dried up. The water company says there's a blow-out down the line. Dang! Oh, well.

Later, y'all.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Ornaments

Unlike many of my fellow bloggers, I won't be decorating for Christmas until later in the month so all I have to share that's seasonal are the ornaments I've been working on.

This first one is a soft sculpture needle felted snowman head. Easy peasy--it's not even fair to call it fiber art, but hey, I do!

Santa required a bit more finesse than did Frosty, but not much. Still not satisfied with his mustache. Hercule Poirot, he's not!

This last is one I made for a sister, which is why the pic was just taken on my desktop. Billie's admired similar ones, and since she did me a favor picking up a shared shower gift for a niece I thought I'd send this along with my share of the money. I kinda went overboard with the decorations, but I like it. I think she will too. (If you're reading this, Billie, it's going in tomorrow's mail, along with my check. And thanks!)

I'm enjoying everyone's posts about their Chrismas decorations. Just don't expect the same from me for some time yet, if at all. (When I do decorate, it's not that lavish. Maybe I'll take pics of my sis Ginger's house. Hers always looks fab. And when my SIL Sunny starts decorating again--well, that'll be something to see.)

Ta, y'all.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reuse Recycle Giveaway

I'm cleaning out closets. Not my fave thing, but it really is necessary. Hopefully I'll be getting rid of a number of things one way or another.

Today's the beginning.

Some time ago, I realized that the insulated packaging I get some of my meds in has a nice foam inner. I've been tearing them apart and saving the foam ever since. A couple of pieces I sent home with my sis last year--maybe the year before--along with some chair legs I never used. She meant to use an old wooden cutting board and make a foot stool, though I don't think she's done it yet. You know how your list of to-dos grows until the projects that still need that one extra part don't get done.

So here I am with fourteen 12.25" (31.1 cm)  x 10.5" (26.7 cm) x 1" (2.5 cm) pieces of foam I don't need. If any of you think you could use any of them--as many as you want--all I ask is that you pay shipping, and they're yours! (If you let me know how many you want, I'll calculate shipping and you can decide if it's worth it.)

Spray adhesive will join these together nicely so if you take enough you can turn them into a decent size piece. Pillows? Cushions? Chair seats?

Use the button on the side to email me if you're interested.

Thanks, y'all.

Felt Poinsettia Ornament Tutorial

This is my first real tutorial so y'all bear with me, please. When I tried to find poinsettia tutes online, nothing I found suited my purposes so I developed my own method.I like the result, and it's dead easy!

I started with three felt circles: two at approximately 3 1/4 inches () and one at 2 1/2.

Mark at equal intervals: eight on the larger, six on the smallest. I've used an air-erasable marker on these, but you can actually cut these markings since they'll be cut here anyway.

Cut two snips in the middle of each of the markings to make a small point. (See pic below.)

I use a pair of cuticle scissors, reserved for cutting fabric, to cut the petals as shown below. It makes the cutting of curves much easier.

 Cut around all eight (6) petals on one side, then flip and cut the opposite curves.

Continue until all petals are cut on all three layers.

If using shank button as center, cut a small hole in the middle of the top layer.

 Audition centers.

Cut a strip of ribbon--I've used about an 8" piece doubled--and stack between the bottom and second layers. Stitch the layers and button together.

I'm still learning this new blogging system so please forgive all the spaces in this post!

And that's all she wrote!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Frosty, et al

When my mother was alive, we always celebrated Christmas at her house on a weekend before the actual holiday. One year we decided to exchange Christmas ornaments among the siblings. Can't remember exactly how we did it but it was some kind of a draw so you had no idea who would get whose ornie. I got Daisy's. And of course she made it. (Daisy is one of those people who come so close to perfection in her creations you want to just kick her in the patootie!)

I love this ornament. She said the design was Martha's, though I can't remember if she found it in a magazine or one of MS's books.(It was so long ago I'm not even sure she remembers the ornament much less the making of. I probably wouldn't!)

I believe it's made of rolled fiberfill though I can't figure out how she shaped the head. The carrot nose, which looks perfectly round and carrot-like, is actually a bit of felt.

Based on Daisy's, here's one I created: a needle-felted creature with bits of Texas sage as arms.
Bless his heart, he pales by comparison! (I know his middle button is a bit wonky. Wonky's what I do!)

Another Frosty-type I felted onto a circle of felted wool sweater. You can't tell from this pic but he's actually balls of wool roving felted onto the flat bit, and his carrot nose sticks out. Because he's much more three-dimensional than ones I've previously done, I didn't feel I could felt on roving arms so to him too I gave sage arms.

Gotta run now. Tom's breathing down my neck as we have to go into Marble Falls in a half-hour and I'm not ready yet!

Ta, y'all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just Some Things I Made

Thought I'd share with y'all some of the ornaments I've been working on.

This one I needlefelted on a bit of wool felt. It sold in less than a day. Am I asking too little? $6.50, free shipping? I sold a couple similar last year for about the same price, though I think I'm definitely getting better.

This one sold as well, though not so quickly as the first. Because of the work involved--that's eight handmade roses--and all the buttons I used, I asked $8 for this one. (I've gone free shipping in my SumpnSassy store.)

This is one I made from a bit of needlework I did some time last century. I was going through my old sewing box and ran across this bit and the one I used in the ornie below. They were so small I couldn't imagine making ornaments of them, though that's what they were both meant to be. As I recall, this one was to be mounted in a wooden frame, which got lost somewhere along the line. I've used cashmere felt to make the ornie and quite like the end result.

This is silk ribbon embroidery. When was it so popular? Late '80s, early '90s?

I made this from a quilt block I picked up in a thrift store ages ago. It's beautifully hand-stitched--the quilt block, that is--and I got one perfect heart out of a block but didn't want to scrap the rest so I did two more off-center ones, one of which I still need to complete.

This is the perfectly aligned one, which I sold last year. What do you think? Is there another direction I should go with the last off-center one?

And this is the last of the ones I completed. It's made of scrap fabric--a good thing--but I'm not as enamored of it as I thought I'd be. I like things a bit wonky, yunno, but somehow this one doesn't speak to me.

So my second question of the morning is: which background works better for pics? I thought the sheet music would be most eye-catching, and I do like it, but then I found this polka-dot plate at Walmart. I'm sorta leaning that direction. What say you? All comments appreciated.

That's all for now. Ta, y'all.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

In Memoriam

After a short five years, our lovely fridge has bit the dust.

What can I say--I loved this fridge. We splurged and had it completely wrapped in stainless--you can't see that in these pics, but it's gorgeous. And it's not it's fault it died. Well, maybe partly, but I take some of the blame. It was a mother to pull out and so rarely got cleaned out behind. Listen all you chillun, it's imperative that you clean behind your fridges--especially if you pay as much as we did for this one.

This is a webshot of our new one--it comes Tuesday. We hadn't intended to do side by side, because of that knee wall you see in the pic above, but this thing slides like a dream so getting into the freezer--as well as cleaning out behind it--will be a snap. But I'm gonna miss the beauty of the old one.
Stainless Steel
Except I swore I would never buy another utilitarian object for beauty alone. I want it pretty but that comes after functional. (I will miss my beauty though.)

We're having an appliance recycling company come pick it up. Hopefully they can fix it and resell it to someone who'll love it as much as I did. (Is that sorta like taking a pet to the animal rescue center, which I would never do, and hoping someone will adopt it before it's euthanized?)

And yesterday we said goodbye to another item we bought for its cuteness. The Smart is gone.

And here we are with Tom's new car. I know, another one bites the dust. I wasn't attached to the Smart and obviously neither was Tom once we got over the cute factor. The Soul--that's a Kia Soul--appears to be much more functional. Plenty of room even in the back seat--and that's the biggest plus: a back seat. Well, actually for Tom, that's the next biggest plus--he hated that there was no cruise control on the Smart. It was built as a city car, but we don't live in the city, and to get to one we have to drive for an hour. (I remember back in the day driving from Texas to Pennsylvania--or veetsa votsa--without cruise and never even questioning it. But as Tom likes to say it's easy to go up and hard to go down.)

Speaking of Tom, he'll be getting up soon for his once-weekly, specially-made-by-me breakfast. And shortly after that, I have a weekly telephone date with my dear friend in Washington state.

Ta, y'all.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Boxes, boxes, boxes...

I've got boxes galore!

One of Tom's poker buddies smokes cigars and apparently has a box-a-month subscription. He's been kind enough to pass along the boxes to me, the self-confessed box fiend. I don't call them a collection; they're just a bunch of boxes I've picked up here and there, including the ones from Buddy's generosity.
This is the one he sent home yesterday. Cool, innit? Not sure what I'll do with it--I have a credo to leave them as is.

The following are ones he's given me in the past. A couple I use for storage in my studio. The rest I've merely stacked up. (I saw in a decorating magazine once where a w0man had a collection of cigar boxes stacked as high as she was, making almost a statue of them. I don't have that many, but I'm getting there.)

This one's a heavy wooden box. I didn't take a picture of the side, but it's about as tall as a normal cigar box.

These two are made of a lighter wood.
Here they are from the top.

This one has slats on two sides, solid on two, with rope handles.
The only marking is this label on top. For a while, I put toilet paper in it and placed it on the back of the toilet, but I wasn't pleased with it. I think it might have looked good if I painted it, but that would violate my credo.
These are two ordinary cigar boxes I use for storage. I like the pattern on them.

They even look good from the side.
I use this one as a base for my marble lamp in the guest bedroom. Makes it high enough to read by.
This one is in a tablescape in my living room. It too would look terrific painted (see aforementioned credo), but I'm leaving as is. Doesn't look too bad that way, does it? (That bronze in front of it was a purchase from an estate sale several years ago. It's pretty small, but I like it.)

Now for some non-cigar boxes. (That isn't all of my cigar boxes; I'll save some for a later post.)
I bought this in the '60s and used it as a recipe holder for many years.
From the side.
Several years ago, Carol Duvall had a guest who demonstrated a faux leather technique using crackle paint and shoe polish. I loved the look of it and tried it on this paper mache box.
Here it is from the side.And the inside. (I store cards of buttons in it.)
This is a technique I came up with myself, but it's so tedious I only made a few items with it: tiling with paint chips.
Here's the top of the box.
This is a pair of copper boxes my sis and SIL gave me for Christmas several years ago.
You can't see the box all that well here, but the lamp is sitting on a vintage souvenir cedar box a friend gave me quite awhile ago.

That's only the beginning.... One of these days, I'll post more. Am I the only one enamored of boxes? Surely not.