Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Monday, March 21, 2011

A little bit of This and That...

I need a day of catch up ( not the red stuff for french fries, but the "I'm so behind I can't catch up." kind.) so I'm going to call this the Monday roundup. I collect so many things and ideas that I want to tell you about and sometimes I get a bit behind. So today I will CATCH you all up on some cool things that have been happening.
This is the latest little creation. He's a gourd mouse. At our March Gourd Meeting we invited Kathleen Krikorian to teach us how do make this little guy and how to draw a Celtic Interlace pattern. Now, mind you, I don't draw very well but she was ready for those of us who are drawing impaired. She laid out the pattern in blocks or squares on the chalkboard and, drawing only a block at a time, I was able to create and burn a design on the gourd that looked ... like a mouse. Isn't he cute?
First we had to draw our mouse and Celtic design. Then we burned the design into the gourd. Next we had to remove the outer gourd surface.This goes against everything we have learned about working with gourds and it's very hard to do. We had to wet sand it down to the white part under neath the outer layer.
After you remove ALL of the outer shell you redo the parts of the design that disappeared with the sanding and you color the design with watercolor pencils.  Kathy is so good at this that she just puts a coat of clear protective varnish on after she finishes. Mine was so "kindergarten" that I ended up sanding it again to make the colors pale and they blended enough to cover up some bad mistakes. Then I just put some clear shoe polish on when I got home.
I think he turned out fairly well... all things considered. This was a real learning curve for me but I think he's cute and he will sit, smiling, in the living room for Easter.

A friend, Mary Jane, gave me a big bag of colored wool felt. This is the first piece that I have felted from the bag. I laid the first layer in a pinkish beige and then a couple of blue layers. Then I use some burgundy and bright yellow to symbolize my garden and a sunflower in the center. I will make this into a small purse for Mary Jane. I love the colors. I'm experimenting with designs in these felted pieces. I'm not very brave about it yet but it's fun to see what happens when you get it all felted.
Remember this lovely fleece from Sandy in Amador City?
Well this fleece was wet felted with a torn doily felted into it.
And then I made some felted soap with it. Goat soap, of course. This is actually another piece of felt with a larger piece of doily in it. The rough doily is a great exfoliate when used to bath or shower with. The smooth side is perfect for a washcloth. If you put it in a rack each time it won't get soggy, it will get smaller and eventually the soap will disappear. Then you can use the very small felted fabric that's left for some other project.... like a pot scrubber. Nothing wasted, nothing to throw away and all natural.
I'm going to make more of these. There are lots of ideas on the Internet. I will use egg shaped soap next time.
It's great for kids and older folks. The soap doesn't slip around and you don't need a washcloth.

And then... a couple of months ago I gave a friend some yarn for her birthday and what do I receive in return?
This beautiful hat....
With beads woven into it.
Thank you Janice. It's beautiful!  I will be joining your knitting group as soon as I can. This was very sweet of you.
And look what we got in the mail....
My youngest grandson, Little Bean, sent his Papa and Noni some of his artwork. It's the Easter Bunny....Freestyling on a skateboard and some beautiful Easter watercolors for our house.
These may have to go up on the window so the light can shine through them. The colors are great.
Thanks Little Bean. You are a really good artist and we are so glad you sent us these pictures.What a surprise this was in the mail.
And.....This is really, really good stuff.
It's Oregon Chai sugar free original chai tea latte concentrate. You mix it half and half. Half milk (I use non-fat) and half concentrate. Then you heat it up and foam it with your battery run whipping tool. Mine is called an Aerolatte.  For all of you who have to ban sugar from your diet, or some of us who should cut back, this is like getting to eat chocolate cake or Ben and Jerry's ice cream (well, almost. OK, it's not quite the same)..... only it lacks all the bad stuff..... and it's really good on a cold day like today...

Did you see the new issue of Sunset magazine?
It's got this great article about a place called The Stone Soup Inn on Vancouver Island , B.C. This young chef named Brock Windsor and his wife started a B&B there. He was a chef for a place called the Sooke Harbor House.
I have a blog friend who lives in Sooke. If you have never been there you must take a look at Kerry's blog. It's called Farmlass... musings and wanderings.  You will fall in love with this beautiful place. I have been to Victoria and the surrounding area but never to Sooke. It's on the ocean and from what Kerry tells us in her blog, and the photos of the area, it's a magical and lovely part of the world.
She is an artist. She also makes felted creatures.... with souls (each and everyone of them) and you will fall in love with them. She also has an Etsy store where she sells some of her wonderful little animals. Check them out.
Someday I'm going to take a trip up there to see her and maybe I will stay at the Stone Soup Inn..... or on the beach. Either one will do but I'm sure that a sleeping bag on the beach would be cheaper.
So I leave you with a picture..... taken this morning. This is a Tulip tree on the edge of our front yard. It's getting ready for Spring and as soon as the sun comes out again it will open, in all it's glory.

 Wait..... what is that I hear outside the window.
IT"S HAILING..... and now thunder. Oh my!
What a Spring this is.....


  1. Beautiful stuff here! I have never seen a tulip tree, how cool!

    We got rain today too, and I was in the mood to plant more, but its a bit nippy.

  2. You certainly have been busy! And crafty! I love the soap with the doily. That is so unique.

    "Way to go!" on the soccer goals! High five for your grandson :)

  3. This post reminds me of a letter from my grandmother for some reason, leaves me with the warm fuzzies. I love everything you have shown us but am really taken with your felted soap, it looks beautiful and is so useful. And next time I knit a hat, I'm definitely going to remember to work some beads into it, my grand-daughters will love that.
    I been to Sooke, loved the place, I got a really mystical photo on the beach. And took dozens of photo of the lichen laden trees.

  4. I really enjoyed this post so glad you shared so many of your ideas with us. The soap in the felted piece was great. The hat your friend knitted was so cute. Oh yes you did a great job on your gourd mouse. I love watching little kids play sports give your grandson a big congratulation on his scores. Your tulip tree will be beautiful when it is in full bloom, I don't have one but most people here do and they are all in bloom. Thank you for your last visit and comment to my blog. I will have to give credit to my daughter, Deann, who did my header for me. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  5. You, my dear, are an amazing woman. So creative and blissfully happy! Can I be you? LOL

    I've never seen a tulip tree or a gourd mouse! This was a terrific post and I enjoyed all of it :)

  6. PHEW!! I'm exhausted from the last few posts! I've been working a few extra shifts at the flower shop and it's really cramping my style! Playing catch up with you is like a crazy farm dog chasing a truck! Wow, thanks for all your kind words about my work. I had a wet felting experiment the other day which gave me so much respect for the craft. Bloody hard work! Will post on it at my next free moment.
    By the way, Connie, you are always welcome here in my home ANY day! Cheers for your kindness.

  7. P.S I have never been to the Stone Soup Inn but will do so...or will save it for a day when you visit! The Sooke Harbour House is 10 minutes away from me and is an art gallery as well as a beautiful Inn. Sleeping on the beach here is rough...my studio would be much more comfy!The area where the Stone Soup Inn is about an hour away and close to where a very talented artist friend of mine lives who we could put on our list of things to do/ places to see! AND I love your wee mouse! Is it wee? What size is it?


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