Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Knitting & Reading - Yarn Along!

Joining along with Ginny for her Yarn Along again this week. Finished the book from last week. Loved the Physick Book Of Deliverance Dane and have already sent it down to my Mom i Arizona. I know she will enjoy reading it as much as I did. I have now started (for the third or fourth time) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is a HEAVY book. And I mean heavy as in hard to hold up when reading! I really recommend the paperback vs. the hardcover :). The book is a about Dracula and a father, daughter and that is about all I have gotten so far. Once again, my stellar reviewing skills come in to play... I am farther then I have ever gotten before so hopefully that is a good sign.

In regards to knitting I have yet to start the fingerless mitts for the boys, although yarn, needles and pattern are all gathered. Instead, I decided I needed some "no pattern needed" mindless knitting. So - washclothes it is. I am in need of restocking the shops with them too. I already have the yarn on hand and knit just a basket waffle pattern. Super easy. Maybe next week I will have those mitts started...

Snow Day!

Well, we finally got winter! And my 5th grader has his very first SNOW DAY!

I grew up in a small school district smack dab in the middle of southern Minnesota farming country so we had a few snow days a year - our district planned for them because the snow filled in those country roads on a fairly regular basis.

Here, in the largest school district in Minnesota, in the Twin Cities north metro, snow days never happen. We are on the northern edge of the district and have watched all the other smaller districts to our north and west close over the last 5 years but never us. Today, though, we are closed! I can be excited too because I am a stay-at-home mom and don't have to scramble to figure out what to do about work. It also comes when the Little has a cold and slight fever and will love having his big brother home for company.  I do feel for my hubby though with a long commute in front of him...

Now, to wait until the Big wakes up so I can see his reaction :)!

One of my favorite views - out my studio window.
The top shelf of my potting bench.
The herb planter and antler shed now make a lovely snow covered sculpture.
The snow blowers are humming and I have a Big who can't wait to get outside and a Little bemoaning the fact that Mommy won't let him out with his cold. Poor little dude!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Weeks Finds...

This past week I made it to an estate sale and a thrift store. The estate sale yielded a Cambridge Universal Fruit bowl and an old wooden rack featuring an Indian in a canoe. Unfortunately, I put them in the Clear Lake shop before taking pictures. I also found some vintage metal garden fencing that is on it's way to Fergus Falls to be in my MILs rusty goodness display.  Also found were two black metal shelf brackets that, once I find just the right rusty toolbox to attach to the top, will become a planter for my garden.

I did get pictures of a few things...

Lovely Vera scarf (based on the logo I think it is from the 70s) already listed and SOLD on Etsy!
Note to self: look for more Vera scarves (I think there is one at one of the shops...).
Not all things I buy are to sell :) - this 3-hole punch has been on my list of wants for a while
and for $2 at the estate sale it came home with us.

Lovely embroidered dresser linens from Samaritan Thrift - now listed on Etsy.

Two more plates added to our new set found at Samaritan Thrift.
The one on the bottom left is one of the 3 I found last week, the other two are new.
Different patterns, but I like that!
My Mom has also been doing some second-hand shopping for me down in Arizona and had a really good week! Three pairs of designer shoes, a Michael Murray scarf, a pair of vintage white leather gloves and some vintage shelf paper! Thank you Mom!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Little History With Our Puzzles

This past Christmas the boys received two presidents puzzles and today we finally are putting them together for the first time. Such a great way to get a little history lesson while having fun at the same time.

This is the Little's puzzle and, with the help of his big bro, was able to put it together.  The Big's puzzle is 200 pieces and we are putting that together as we watch the first Percy Jackson movie tonight. The Big is reading The Lightening Thief right now and LOVING it and is really looking forward to seeing the movie again (we watched it awhile ago but don't remember it very well).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Knitting & Reading

My Wednesday was jammed pack with running here and there and I never found the time to sit down and post. So today is the day, although a day late.

I finished both the shawl I was knitting last week (not yet blocked so no photos) and the book I was reading. I love the yarn that I used for the shawl but am unsure of the size. I am a larger woman so am thinking it may be a gift for a niece or incentive to LOSE WEIGHT! The book was WONDERFUL! I am now anxiously awaiting the second in the trilogy which will be release in July. I would love to write this amazing review so that you all would see what I loved about it but I have never been good at that. I just know that I liked it, that my Mom probably won't, my MIL most likely will and my best friend most likely won't.  Does that help :)...

I am apparently sticking to a theme because this week I am reading The Physick Book Of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe that Sarah over at In These Hills wrote about last year. It is another book about a scholarly woman caught up in the world of magic. This book takes place in Cambridge, Boston, Marblehead and Salem - a little closer to home then Oxford. I am half way through and really enjoying it. It takes you back and forth between the 1600 and 1700s and 1991. Again, not good at reviewing books - sorry!

In regards to knitting, I haven't started another project but have the needles and yarn ready to make fingerless knits for my boys so that their hands stay somewhat warm when baseball starts in early spring.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Weeks Finds...

This week there was a trip to Goodwill and an estate sale.

The trip to Goodwill was on 50% off day and yielded two lovely half aprons. They are both gingham with chicken scratch embroidery. 

The estate sale didn't have a ton that was up my alley but I did find a few things. Among them...
A vintage plastic Christmas ornament - found in the kitchen tools bin interestingly enough.

Wool crewel yarn. Ten cents a hank. Can't wait to put these to use.

A vintage Nancy Drew book.

Packaging for shipping out orders. I LOVE finding things like this at estate sales! 

Also found were some vintage metal fencing, two metal shelf brackets, a mini wooden handled screwdriver, a little ruler with advertising and some mini pink plastic handled hors dourves forks. Total cost at the estate sale: $12.75.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Look What Came In The Mail...

I really can't wait! We ordered our seeds this year solely from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. I love the mission that they have and love supporting it.  I have a little personal connection to Decorah as well. I went to school there at Luther College. I hope to make a little visit down there this summer. A little field trip so to speak.

Visiting An Owl

Today we headed to a local park for a little event there were having. They had a Great Horned Owl visiting from The Raptor Center which is a place that helps injured raptors. The owl had been born without an eye and is not able to live in the wild and now lives permanently at The Raptor Center.

We also walked across the Coon Rapids Dam which is on the Mississippi. The boys and I have been here before in the summer but Daddy has not. It is amazing the amount of power from the water coming through the dam.

A little Valentines note left behind.

Ice fisherman. You wouldn't catch me out there but to each there own...

The other side of the dam.

The history of the dam.

Beyond the rush of the dam. There is quite a bit of nature in this park in the city. The little display area at the visitor center does a nice job of showing you who lives there and they have lots of activities. I am hoping to take the boys back there for their Maple Sugaring Day.

The dam is actually made of rubber and this sign showed us how these rubber "balloons" inflate and deflate to regulate the amount of water that goes over.

It was a gorgeous day today and lots of people were out and about. We ended our afternoon by stopping at our favorite Mexican restaurant in our old neighborhood. Just as good as ever. And my eldest (age 11) ate 3 large tacos, a bunch of chips, some of his bros french fries and most of the fried ice cream that came with his bros kids meal. Just a taste of what is to come. He will be eating us out of house and home...

Friday, February 17, 2012

President's Day Weekend Sale Over On Etsy!

I am having a President's Day Weekend Sale over on my Etsy site. 

15% off all items! 

Coupon code::: PRESIDENTS15

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Knitting & Reading

I have been wanting to join Ginny's "Knit Along" for some time. I have loved seeing what others are reading and knitting and finally decided to join in.

In fact, what I am knitting was recommended by Ginny on a previous post. I even ordered my yarn from Springtree Road. And I must say that once my (fat) fingers got used to knitting such a delicate yarn I am having a wonderful time. And I LOVE the color (Antiqued Rose - very me) and can't wait to pair it with jeans this spring. (Maybe at my "She Is...Outdoors" weekend with the Girls...).

In regards to reading I am browsing through The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook and am excited to try a number of their recipes. For a good before bed, in the bathroom and any other time I can find to pick up a book I am reading A Discovery Of Witches and LOVING it. It is not like anything else I have ever read.

An Early Arrival

This morning I noticed that one on regular backyard residents during the spring and summer had already arrived back from his (or her) warmer winter residence.  One of your two mourning doves has arrived back here in Minnesota in February. Now, I have never noticed what date they have arrived on before, but I can almost guarantee it has rarely been as early as Feb. 15.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Little Estate Sale And Thrifting

We did make it to an estate sale last week and also made a trip to Goodwill. Here are some of my favorite finds:

Vintage crewel work apron. Too pretty! Not sure yet what I am going to do with this...

Some great paper ephemera...Minnesota bird pamphlets and a stack of letters from 1908. The letters were wonderful. Entertaining to read (I love the writing) and also included some great advertising. Nice find for $1.00.

Found 4 hankies. Two have holes but the other 2 are in very nice condition.
Three of the four have designers names on them as well. I think these will be on Etsy soon...

Plates found at Goodwill for 1/2 off. These will be added to our brown and orange dishes to add a little Spring color.

Another Minnesota desk accessory - this one found at Goodwill. This one will also be living with me :)!

A huge piece of vintage fabric to be turned into bag linings.

Mushroom tea towels that will some day be handbags...time to get sewing!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

I like things. I wish I didn't but I do.... I am getting better at parting with things but spaces do seem to fill up with little items that catch my eye.

Here is my creative area (aka The Dining Room) and a few of my favoritest things.
Desk purchased on my 39th birthday excursion with my Mom for less then $75.

Estate sale desk finds...vintage perpetual calendar, vintage Minnesota pen holder, paperweight that was a ???, and my new thrifted blue and white plate.

Estate sale find spool holder and other assorted items needed in the creative process.

A bowl of some of my favorite buttons from all kinds of button boxes - my Mom's, my Grandma's, my MIL's
and most likely someone else's relatives as well.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wool Strawberry Tutorial

Here is the tutorial for the strawberries I posted about earlier. I hope you enjoy it! Please let me know if you have any questions or if something doesn't make sense.

Materials Needed:
Red wool or red wool felt
Green wool or green wool felt
Green embroidery floss that goes nicely with the green wool
Yellow embroidery floss (for the strawberry "seeds")
Sewing Machine or red thread for hand sewing the strawberries

Cut rectangles or squares in roughly the size that you want your strawberries.
I like my strawberries to vary in size just like they do in nature so I keep that in mind as I cut.
Most squares average around 2 1/2" by 1 1/2". 

I then cut a strawberry shape out.
Some I cut the long way, like above, and others I cut the short way.
That way I am getting a nice variety of shapes.

The next step is sewing the strawberry.
It you have a right and wrong side to your  wool or a side you like better,
put the good or right sides together so you are sewing on the wrong side.
Sew around three sides of the strawberry leaving the top open with enough room to turn it right side out.
Once they are sewn, turn them right side out using a pencil, knitting needle or crochet hook (or whatever works for you) to get all the ends out.

After you have them all turned right side out it is time to add the yellow seeds.
I embroider them haphazardly around the strawberry on both sides.
After all of the strawberries are "seeded" stuff them all compactly with stuffing.
Now it is time for the caps.
I start once again by cutting squares of fabric.
I then free-hand cut strawberry top shapes.
The shapes will alter as you sew them on the strawberry so there is no need to be exact .
I just make sure each has 6 points as those above.
Now for my favorite stage! I LOVE adding the little caps to the strawberries.
I start by sewing up the strawberry
(it is ok to use the green embroidery floss for this as this seam will be covered by the "cap").
Once the seam is closed up I position the "cap" so that it is covering the seam and start by hand-sewing down the strawberry top. I then embroider down each leaf and using a running stitch (I think that is what it is called) and as you pull a little on the thread you will see that you get little lifts and curls to some of your leaves giving them a more realistic look.
And you are done! Please enjoy!

*For personal or gift use only. Please don't sell strawberries made from this tutorial. Thank you!!!