Archive for December, 2007

December 27th, 2007

Pottery Love

There is an incredible potter in the town next to the one I grew up in. His name is Bill Campbell and he produces Campbell Pottery. His pieces are just beautiful. I also appreciate that they aren’t all just nice to look at – most are quite functional as well. For example, my mom’s everyday dishes are Campbell Pottery. Just eating your average pasta is a more beautiful experience because of those dishes.

I love to visit the studio and store, which are in an old house and barn that they have converted into an awesome space. You can see (and purchase) any number of Bill’s own pieces, but he also showcases the work of many other artists and craftsmen in his studio/store. When we visited in November, they had the most amazing miniature quilts available and I’ve been saving my pennies ever since!

We were also able to pick up a few new pieces at our November visit, thanks to the gifting generosity of some family and friends. The one below is my favorite, though my photos don’t even begin to do it justice. I’ll try to get some better photos of this one and the others and post those later.  Enjoy!

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December 26th, 2007

Exhale

So the Christmas festivities have ended…finally. It feels like we’ve been “doing Christmas” since mid-November, which I guess we really have. It’s nice to be able to relax and exhale a bit – at least for a moment. I know there will be all kinds of excitement to come in the next several weeks as we await the arrival of the new boy, but for now I’m enjoying just sitting in this comfy chair and looking at the mess that needs to be put away…

Here are Rod and Alex enjoying a laugh earlier this week. That boy just will not smile a “real” smile if there is a camera around. Anyone else have that problem?

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Finally, earlier today there was an attack at Playmobil International Airport. It seems that the pirates from Skull Island really wanted to get on a plane bound for Tokyo, but they didn’t have proper identification. They used various canons and shooters, according to Alex, and were finally allowed to board the flight. As you can see below, peace has been restored. It’s a good day.

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December 12th, 2007

Bless the Japanese

As a crafter, I am in awe of the crafty things produced by the Japanese – the fabric, the notions, the magazines and books, the fabric (did I say that one already?). All of these things provide me with endless ideas about how I can make my world a bit more beautiful with things made by my own hand. I’m not ashamed to say that – more often than not – the things made by my own hand only bear a passing resemblance to the original inspiration. I usually enjoy the creating as much as the creation, so it all works out. Usually.

One of the areas that I have been very reluctant to venture is to wool felting. I absolutely love the look of things appliqued with felted wool accents. At first I told myself my hesitation was because it is quite difficult to find wool felt around here. While that is still true, I have put together a list of online resources, so I can’t use that excuse anymore. When it really comes down to it, I think it’s because my artistic skills are seriously lacking. When it comes to drawing for embroidery or embellishment or whatever, if there’s a pattern, I’m all over it. If I have to do something free-hand, forget it. It will likely be completely unrecognizable. The good people at Clover, though, must know some other people like me.

That is a felting template, I think. I don’t read Japanese, but that’s what it looks like based on the photos. It will allow you felt that adorable hedgehog and the mushrooms, too, using the Clover felting tool and mat, along with the template thing.  Here’s one of the projects they suggest – just too cute!

The people at Clover are also very generous with their project ideas and patterns. Check out this page, which is continually updated with great stuff. Each of the Lessons has at least two projects, so it’s not just whatever they happen to have in the photo. My seasonal favorite is Lesson 42, which has an awesome wall tree and decorations. They are all in Japanese, of course, but the diagrams and illustrations make it all very easy to figure out.

Enjoy!  I’m going to try to find that template somewhere that ships to the US…

December 7th, 2007

Holiday Craftiness

I had some grand plans about holiday crafting this year. I was going to make some autumn-themed coasters for several family members to be delivered at Thanksgiving and thought I would make something handmade for everyone for Christmas. Oh, I was going to make entirely new decorations for the house, too. Uh-huh. Can I blame those crazy thoughts on pregnancy brain? We’ll go with that.

I started out well and had several projects cut out and ready to go when I got a call from my mom that one of my great-aunts had died unexpectedly. The three of us were planning to make the drive to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving, but Alex and I ended up making the trip about a week earlier than planned for the funeral. In the span of three days, I packed up everything we would need for the duration of the trip (including all fabrics, notions, and my sewing machine), drove 15 hours in one day to eastern Pennsylvania for my aunt’s funeral, and then drove 6 hours the next day to my mom’s house in western Pennsylvania, where we would be staying for the Thanksgiving holiday. Whew! That was quite a trip for a 4 year old and his 30 week pregnant mama! I’m glad we were able to be there for my uncle and family, though.

Since my family lives so far away, we alternate holidays between Pennsylvania and Alabama. Since this year was our Thanksgiving year, that also meant we were “doing Christmas” that week, too. I managed to get the Christmas gifts done for everyone, but had to drop my plans for the Thanksgiving gifts. Maybe next year. Using the awesome tutorial from Moonstitches, I made several owl garlands. Some were family names, but most were the basic (and short!) NOEL greeting. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo – natural light is limited these days and I never seem to remember to take photos during that 20 minutes of the day.

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As part of the Christmas gift-giving this year, my grandmother got me some things I’ve been looking at for quite awhile. I’ve been waiting for them to go on clearance, but Target doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. Meet The Ducks.

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I just love how the little ducks are all chatty, but the big one seems to have a look on her face that says, “These are *not* my children.” The little guys came decorated for the holidays, but I still think I need to supplement their wardrobes in some way.

There is still more crafting to be done before the actual Christmas holiday, so that’s my plan for today while Alex is at school. I guess I’d better get to it!

December 3rd, 2007

Why?

So many people signed up for that post-every-day-in-November thing that I decided to try something different. I posted never-y day in November. I know that’s not really a word, but it worked best here.

I plan to post an update soon (we may have decided on a baby name!) and show photos of some crafty work, but for now I will leave you all with a question.

Does anyone know why Ms. Vega might be doing this? I’ve always thought of her as the smarter one of our two cats, but she’s not doing a lot to solidify that in my mind…

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