It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It has been much too long since I've posted- mostly because I've been hard at work being craftee! This is my favorite time of year and I wish I could spend all my time making our house beautiful and creating gifts for everyone I know, but instead I spend my days working as an assistant- a job that has more to do with making coffee and copies than creating beauty. I day dream most of my day away, thinking of what I will create when I get home and spend every available minute reading blogs and gaining inspiration for my upcoming projects. Often I get home and all I want to do is sit on the couch with a glass of wine, snuggle with Brandon and the pup and watch mindless TV, but lately I have actually been productive so let me share with you the latest projects!

In the beginning of October I painted this here pumpkin at Color Me Mine. While I was painting the owner of the studio told me it was eligible to enter their pumpkin contest. I wasn't particularly pleased with the progress so I didn't think I had much chance, but I entered anyway. It took two sessions of painting to make the pumpkin I saw in my head a reality but I left it there hoping for the best.  A few weeks later an email went out asking people to vote for their favorite pumpkin. One child and one adult would win a $50 gift card to Color Me Mine (very useful since things aren't cheap and it's one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon). I thought about sending an email to everyone I knew asking them to vote for me, but I didn't...I voted for myself and then waited. And waited. Finally I got an email with the results and my little pumpkin won! This is the first time I've won anything as far back as I can remember. Hooray! I've already spent the giftcard on some wonderful Christmasy pottery (that won't be done in time for Christmas).

I've taken a bit of a break from jewelry since October and need to replenish the etsy shop after Christmas (because people actually buy things!!) but here's my most recent creation- a necklace that right now is for sale in the shop, but I will be a little sad to sell it. Okay, really I'll be ecstatic if it sells, but I love it and it took forever so I probably won't make one for myself anytime soon! The beads are all semi-precious tiger's eye and I did all the wire wrapping and connections by hand.

The real reason I haven't done much jewelry lately is that I've been working night and day on this crazy cross-stitch. I bought a pattern of Eagle Bluff Lighthouse (in Peninsula State Park in Door County) online thinking that I would make one for my mom and one for me. I didn't realize the pattern was hand drawn in the 80s by a woman who did an oil painting of the lighthouse. She hand did the pattern off of her painting and it's pure madness! She ran out of symbols for all of the different shades of brown so I sit there and go blind trying to distinguish between the % and the same sign with a a dot just on top or just on the bottom. It has taken months but I'm finally starting to see a lighthouse amongst the crazy brown x's. I told my mom I was making her a gift, that it likely wouldn't be done by Christmas and then gave her the option to receive something else on Christmas or to receive the surprise in whatever state it may be in on Christmas morning. She chose to get the surprise on Christmas, so I've been stitching like a maniac to make sure she at least recognizes it. I'm now thinking I may actually finish it by Christmas. Problem is the only thing left is stitching the snow...all white... and then the crazy backstitching which has 14 part directions. So it won't be framed but I think it may actually be done for Christmas.

After Christmas I'll have time to post more and create more, but for right now it's back to Santa's Sweatshop for me! (Making all my Christmas gifts was a crazy silly idea but I love it!)


amazing apples

one of the blogs in my google reader is Twice Remembered and today she had a fantastic post about edible 'potpourri.' I have been simmering apple cider with cinnamon sticks since the first hint of autumn so this was instantly appealing. I happened to have 3 apples sitting in a bowl waiting to be eaten, and 5 hours until my husband would be home, so I went to work. It really is just that easy...slice some apples, add good smelling things like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, thrown in some brown sugar and butter, cover with water and turn on the heat! I tried to let it simmer as long as possible before burning my tongue to try an apple. pure joy in my mouth. the butter and sugar soak right in as the water evaporates and the spices are infused into the apple. unbelievable. brandon and i shared a bowl of wonderful dessert (or our daily serving of fruit!!) and then i poured the liquid left in the pot into a jar to use on ice cream later. tomorrow i'm going to buy about 20 pounds of apples and we'll have this every day until Thanksgiving!! Come on over, inhale the goodness and taste the wonder!


why i love freecycle. reason #234

freecycle is a wonderful thing. for those of you who don't know, it's like craigslist. people have things they don't want anymore, but the beauty of freecycle is...everything is free! the whole point is to keep things out of landfills so people are recycling by giving things away..hence free-cycle! a lot of the stuff people post is pretty useless, like they've cleaned out their junk drawer and feel guilty throwing away one rubber glove or their kids' half used coloring book, but occasionally we get something awesome! recent big ticket items include: maddie's kennel, a poker table top, some skis (she said they were cross-country, ended up being downhill...we'll probably give them away), a giant bag of vintage embroidery supplies, quilting magazines, knitting patterns and my current favorite: 3 kitchen chairs!

when we moved into the house my mom bought us two nice crate & barrel kitchen chairs. they are wonderful when it's just us, but when we have people over- which i LOVE to do- we have a problem. there was a world market going out of business near us and i bought two wooden folding chairs and painted them green...but they have a weight limit. yes. a sticker on the bottom said "weight limit: 145 pounds"--that's not helpful for having company. so a woman on freecycle was giving away 3 wooden kitchen chairs that need a little love and i jumped on it. hooray! now we will be able to seat 5 people without asking how much they weigh! i'll post pictures of the before and after as soon as we get them out of the car (where they've been sitting for almost a week)


what to do?

i just made these new earrings...well they've been a process over the last month. i love them, but i also want to sell them. do i keep them for myself or sell them? or make more and keep these for myself? they were a lot of work so i don't know that i want to part with them, but i don't know that i want to do the work all over again anytime soon. thoughts?


just starting out

in the past few months i have had numerous people tell me i should sell the jewelry i make. that sounds pretty simple doesn't it? turns out it's not! i decided a few weeks ago to set up an etsy shop and so the process began. first i had to choose a good name, then set up shop policies, choose shipping and prices, and that was all before I even added any jewelry to the shop!
so i took some pictures, named the earrings and then sent them off into cyberspace hopeful that someone would find them as wonderful as i do. it's intimidating to put them out there, to ask to be judged by others. up until now i've made jewelry for myself or for gifts, but the idea of selling it was exciting enough to take the step forward. the shop has been open for two weeks, but still no sale. i'm trying to remind myself that i'm just starting out...


Christmas is coming!

Okay so it's really not coming just yet, but my copy of Paper Crafts Holiday Cards arrived in the mail a few days ago, all secretive in its manila envelope, and I spent this morning pouring over the pages of beautiful cards. I sat for hours, coffee in hand, listening to Christmas music and soaking up inspiration.

I'm bound and determined to make Christmas cards for everyone on our list this year and to have them sent out before Christmas actually arrives! Considering we haven't sent out cards at all since we've been married this will be a big step for us...and a lot of work for me, but I'm super excited!! I really can't wait for Christmas anyway- I generally start listening to Christmas music as soon as those around me will allow it. I'm usually forced to wait until Halloween, but I started strong today!

The current struggle is whether or not to include a picture in the card. There weren't really any in the magazine that included a picture, but I think I could make it work with a few of the designs. I've also discovered a new company that I LOVE. Papertrey ink. I could spend hours and hundreds of dollars on their website! I'm planning on buying the stamp set "Silent Night" for Christmas card making for years to come!

I'm off to spend this summer evening at a street fest, but I'll be humming Christmas carols in my head all night long!