Category Archives: Everything Else

Surprises in the Wall

We have had a few surprises since moving in to our new house.  Some good (like the laundry shoot), and some bad (the roof started to leak the day we moved in), but none quite as interesting as the discovery we made this past week.  We were having some issues with the electrical in the kitchen/dining room, and in order to fix the problem we had to remove the electric fireplace the previous owners had (mis)installed.

Once we had the fireplace out, we had an open view into the wall.  And guess what we found in there?

Vintage Little People Toys

Can’t you just imagine some small child sitting there the last time the wall was open, watching their toys fall into the abyss?  I wonder if there is a parent somewhere who could never figure out what became of this lot…

As the fireplace will not be returning to this spot, Hubby and I have been throwing around a few ideas of what to use the space for.  We have a few good ideas, but I’m curious, if this was your home, what would you do with this opening in the stone wall?  

Fireplace Opening

Moving Sale!

I know things have been very quiet around this blog lately, but there has certainly been a lot going on.  The biggest news is – we’re moving!  And although we aren’t going too far, just up the river to another small town, it will mean a new house, a new community, and new jobs for both hubby and myself.

And since I would much rather pack up the items in my shop and send them to you, rather than store them until we move into our new home, I am celebrating our move with a moving sale!  Use the coupon code “MovingSale” and receive 20% off everything in the shop! (except for custom orders, of course.)

Moving Sale

And although Create-a-Creatures are not on sale, I will only be accepting summer orders until June 30, and will drastically be reducing the number of orders I take on in the Fall.  So if you have been thinking of having a creature made, or know there is a birthday coming up, or are even thinking ahead to Christmas, now is the time to get your project on my list!

And now the packing begins!  Does anyone have any great packing/moving advice?  

Pretty as a Princess

I’m back!  We had a wonderful time away on what was, in all respects, a magical vacation.  There is lots to tell, but I haven’t even had a moment to look at the photos we took yet.

In the meantime, I had the delight of coming home and bringing this lovely lady to life.  Seriously, is there anything as sweet as these drawings created by the littlest of hands?

Although the crown wasn’t necessarily part of the drawing, we decided that this pink friend deserved to be a princess.  The crown certainly looks like it belongs on her head, doesn’t it?  I personally find her smile and shape irresistible and am pretty sure that she must give wonderful hugs!  She is anxious to be on her way to meet her very best friend, the one who drew her pretty picture.  Bon voyage, sweet princess!

Grief Comes In Waves

There are days when my thoughts come tumbling out in a torrent of words, sentences and paragraphs.  And days, like today, when they appear in the snippets and imagery of a poem.  I talk a lot about joy on this blog – and oh there is so much joy in this world.  But on the other side there is grief, sorrow, loss.  I think we feel joy more keenly when we have known what it is to grieve, though it makes the road no easier to travel.  And so I share this with you, not to wallow in the losses that this world brings, but as a way to ride together the waves which no one who has loved will escape.

Grief comes in waves.

Days where the sun shines

grass is green

the water as calm as glass.

And then a little thing

a picture

a place

a smell

a word.

And the tsunami breaks over

and we are once again swimming

upstream

wet

tired

forever can not come soon enough.

How does one keep going without the ones we have loved?

 

The waves pass

days pass

months pass

we know that years will pass

and by a strength larger than ourselves

we put one foot in front of the other

and somehow

we live

and laugh

find joy.

 

And the days when the waters reach over our heads

and sorrow threatens to drown us

and longing for what we have lost grips our heart

a Strong Hand reaches out and whispers

“be still.”

and though we may never learn to ride the waves

we know the one who stills them.

 

Grief comes in waves

joy the outbreaks between them

and our love for those we have lost

never wavers.

More Custom Creatures

I know I have been absent from the blog a lot lately.  It has been a busy start to the new year!  I am still working my way through the custom creature order for the children’s camp. I find that the more I do, the more I learn, and the more I am able to add to each creature.  This lot includes quite a bit of hand-sewing as well as embroidery and special fabrics.

 

 

 

 

 

I truly do have a wonderfully fun job! :)

Hobbes

A while ago, when I was thinking about presents for a friend, I found a new use for Pinterest – gift snooping!  A quick peak at her boards gave me a number of ideas to choose from (and confirmed an idea I had already had.)  Just another reason to love Pinterest! :)

So, for her birthday, I made her this:

This is Hobbes, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson.    I found an amazing tutorial on Instructables and then got set for hours of hand-sewing.  Yes, hours.  This is not a toy you make for just anybody as every single stripe is hand-sewed.  But everyone has those friends they would do anything for, right?    And all of it was worth it when I saw how much he was appreciated in his new home! :)

I also learned some interesting Calvin and Hobbes trivia as I searched out different ways to make a Hobbes toy.  It seems that Bill Watterson is adamantly against the merchandising of his cartoon.  So much so, that when a toy company sent him a bunch of stuffed Hobbes toys for his approval, he burned them all in a bonfire.  The only one left was the one that the manufacturer had kept, and that sold for hundreds of dollars on eBay. (or so the story goes….)  You have to respect a man with convictions, though.  I can guarantee that there will be no more Hobbes making in this house.  This was definitely a one-time endeavour.

Do you have a favourite comic strip character?  I’d love to hear about it!  Although I do enjoy Calvin and Hobbes, we are Garfield fans through and through in this house.

 

 

The Gift of Handmade

Happy New Year!  I have been gone from the blog longer than planned, but have come back well rested and ready for action!

I must say this has been one of the best Christmases/holidays in recent memory.  Not that we didn’t have our moments of sadness as we still grieve those we have lost, but perhaps even because of this, the littlest things stood out as being even more special. 

This year, I really savoured every moment, small and large.  Playing piano at the Christmas Eve service with my mother-in-law across from me at the organ.  Cooking alongside my sister-in-law.  Watching the faces of the girls I have come to love as my own as they opened the gifts I made for them.  Ringing in the new year with friends who have become family.   Each moment truly made this a season of joy.  In a world that has started to feel uncertain, I have been learning to jump in with both feet and enjoy the now, for tomorrow does not always bring what we expect. 

Of course, there was also much secret gift-making going on before the big day.  I must admit that making handmade things for the people I love is one of my favourite parts of the holidays.  My nephews received what has become part of a Christmas tradition from the time they were small – a pair of homemade pajamas.  They were finished and tucked quickly into the mail to get to their destination on time, gone before taking pictures of the finished items was even thought of!

For one of my friends whom I had it on good authority would have an iPad under the tree, I made this iPad case.    Can you guess what his favourite game is?  :)

 

I also made a sewing bag and kit for one of my girls and for the ladies in my family I created a handmade salve from calendula-infused oil I made with flowers grown in my own garden.   

But one of the gifts I am most proud of is this Harry Potter Robe, made for one of my friend’s daughters.  I have made two of these before,in adult sizes, although it was a few years ago.   Being the third, it is also the best one that I have made.  It is fully lined in the front and meticulously hand-stitched in place to hide all of the seams.  The sleeve shape is perfect, leaving no puckers at the shoulders or underarms.  It is a thing of beauty and a labour of love and I was really glad to see her wear it almost all evening after she opened it!

So with gifts given and received, love and joy shared, I head into a new year with a full heart, eager to see what 2013 will hold. 

What holiday memories are you holding close as you begin this new year? 

 

Big Sale at Artisan in the Woods

In honour of Christmas coming, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I will be having a big sale in the shop Friday, November 23 – Monday, November 26.  As I make room for some new items I have been working on some items will be marked at half price!   So if you have been eyeing something for awhile, this might be your chance!

I also have the pleasure of directing you to some other beautiful shops that are having sales this week-end.  All of the artists in this list are fellow members of the Flying Lessons Course I took in the fall.  There is some serious talent here so please check out their beautiful offerings!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends, and happy handmade holiday shopping to everyone!

 

Magazine Love – Stuffed!

As you all very well know, I love to read.  My mother used to say of my grandfather “He likes to read print.”  As in, he wasn’t particular about what he read, as long as it had words on it!  I see a bit of this in myself as I find myself compelled to read every inch of lettering on a cereal or cracker box if it happens to be sitting in front of me.  (You want to know the back story of how the company created the perfect cracker, or exactly how much sugar is in your breakfast cereal, just ask – I’m sure I read it!) :)

However, I do prefer to choose reading that is a little more..um…interesting.  I love fiction of all kinds (including – and maybe especially –  children’s literature), have read many of the classics, and always have a stack of various types of non-fiction on the go.

But when I want to give my brain a break, when I want to relax, when I want to be inspired by just looking, I choose magazines.   I love the shortness of the stories.  I love the photographs.  I love the variety.  And I love the little jokes and tidbits that are often thrown in among the how-tos and inspiration.

But as much as I love reading them, I rarely ever by them.  When I do, it feels like a luxury and I get quite excited about taking it home and reading it cover to cover.

And few magazines have made me as excited or as inspired as this one:

 

I couldn’t believe it when I saw a magazine dedicated to softies and the people who make them!!!  I loved the photography, read every single word cover to cover (and it was much more interesting than a cereal box!) and know I will go back to it again and again for inspiration and ideas.

The magazine is put out by Stampington & Company and has quickly become one of my favourites.  It only comes out twice a year, but you can bet I am looking forward to the Summer issue already!  And who knows, maybe one day an Artisan in the Woods softie might find its way into the pages of Stuffed!   (It’s always good to dream, right?)

Do you have a favourite magazine?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

 

 

Create-a-Creature Giveaway!

Would you like to have a create-a-creature of your very own?  (or for someone you love?)

Visit this Handmade Holidays post on the Sew, Mama, Sew! blog and comment for your chance to win!  (and maybe get a few ideas for some holiday gift-making while you are there!) :)

Good luck!

 

 

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