Thursday, February 13, 2014

Home is Where the Heart Is

Tomorrows holiday inspired me to take some snaps of any hearts I could find.  I guess "Home is Where the Heart Is"!  So many of the hearts that I found are embedded in homemade things from friends and family making them all the more special.  Not sure what we are going to do to celebrate the holiday as a big snowstorm is supposedly bearing down on our region and expected to begin any minute.   We are thinking that an outing on Saturday of some sort with a nice meal and maybe a little shopping or a movie will do. I say supposedly to the snowstorm because unlike much of the country, we have really not had a lot of snow as of yet.  Plenty of winter, but not a lot of snow.  Presently I would say we have about 6 inches or so and that arrived just a week or so ago.  Uncharacteristic for Vermont, but it seems uncharacteristic is more and more becoming the norm.  Our son is living in Myrtle Beach, SC and recently they experienced a complete shutdown due to snow and ice!  Rare for them.  Without all of the equipment, manpower and know how to deal with such weather, things just shut down!  Being the good old fashioned Vermonter that he is, he could not believe he was told not to go in to work for three days! 

So February has hit me with a vengeance this year.  Until recently, winter just never really bothered me.  Don't get me wrong, not a fan of anything north of zero degrees, but otherwise I have always liked winter.  Love the wood stove cranking, snow on the ground,  and even early darkness!  But...I have noticed a change, my hankering for Spring comes earlier and earlier every year and I am hankering, big time.  I am very thankful however that everyday I wake up, I just have to walk the few steps to my craftroom/job and do not have to put on the layers, go out start the car, scrape the windows, etc, etc.  Truly thankful!
Winter shelties
Had to show this picture of Bunker and Divot.  Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, they are generally right there with me.  Divot (nearest the window) picks the spot and then Bunker cozy's up to him.  They are half brothers and pretty much inseparable due in large part to Bunker.  Divot likes his space and independence, but Bunker will have no part of that.  Most of the time Divot goes along though like a good older brother should.  One thing about February though....being cooped up does lend itself to getting things done around the house and work wise.  Have already dove into making some Santan's, tree sets and snowmen, have restocked my depleted stash of supplies and have done alot of sketches for new ideas. Very inspired for this new year of shows and happenings.

Just some of my new supply booty
Snow Angels
Love these and have big plans for them!
  A little bit of a spring cleaning urge hit me last week.  What started out as just a small rearrange turned into a major undertaking.  Things were culled, cleaned, moved, and moved again.  Quite happy with the way things turned out in the long run, but see a few new bare spots after the cull so feel an antiques and uniques shop might be needed.  I go between wanting to declutter right back to reclutter it seems!  With the creating, cleaning and planning throw in ALOT of basketball.  If we are not at a game watching our son, we are watching it on TV.  After the trip to see Syracuse in mid January, we have become big fans.   Just last night we hosted the whole high school team for a pasta party.  Wow those teenage boys can eat!  Love to cook for hearty eaters!

 So today I am breaking out the sketchbook again and going to work on an idea I have for some  everyday decor items from paper clay and mache.  Think primitive and vintage inspired.

So in closing, thought I would show you how I am greeted every morning and every time I return home from being out.  This is Maya's "Hello, so happy to see you, here have a shoe".   She is just so happy to see us she has to bring us something, anything.....could be a dirty sock, her frisbee, an old rawhide chew, but most often it is a shoe.  If you don't acknowledge her gift quickly enough she will then give this low guttural "conversation" until you do acknowledge.  I love that pooch!  She cracks us up all of the time, is VERY high energy and keeps things interesting around here!

Stay warm and think spring!

Until next time........................

Monday, January 6, 2014

What a Blur!

On the golf course!
 So it has been a while since my last post and boy has a lot gone on!  When I last left off.....way back in mid October the Santa making season was in full swing.  With my annual deadline of Thanksgiving week fast approaching, things were bad.....very bad!  In the midst of mad shaping, painting, and detail finishing, a life situation was brewing and we needed to take a quick and hasty trip to Myrtle Beach.  Bills brother has been very sick for far too long and we really wanted to see him, and our son needed a little help with a vehicle situation.   So with a return flight booked we headed out on Wednesday afternoon, drove as far as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, arrived in Virginia Thursday morning to see my brother in law and his wife, then continued on to Myrtle Beach on Friday.  My in-laws also live near Myrtle Beach so we got to see them as well.   We had alot of fun, got to see where our son is living and working and spend some time with family.  The guys did manage to sneek in 18 holes of golf as well!  We flew out Sunday morning.  It was a quick trip but a good trip.
So good to see the kids!
A little practice

Special Delivery for Mitch!
So, upon our return it was all out, holy crap I have a lot to do, how am I ever going to get it all done!  Long story short, I did accomplish most of what I had set out to, but boy there were some loooong days of doing nothing but.  When I say nothing but, I mean nothing but!  We had several nights of take out, no housecleaning to speak of going on and if you needed it laundered you better be laundering!  We had Santas and snowmen in different states of completeness everywhere.  Just when I was thinking I was not going to make it....everything came together!

Crafter hands - note the glue gun burns, paint smears, and desperate need for a manicure! 

  I put the last touch up on the last Santa the day before my open house preview was scheduled (the Tuesday before Thanksgiving).  The Open House is something I look forward to every year just as much as my shows.  I have a special group of ladies that come.  Their support and enthusiasm has given me such confidence to pursue my craft and happiness throughout the years and I can never thank them enough!

Open House     

Some of this years favorites
  Given that the "big" show, The Greater Barre Craft Guild show is scheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving every year, we keep our Thanksgiving fairly simple.  I still cook the bird and all the fixings but we keep it just us and it has become a wonderful tradition.  The Friday after Thanksgiving, Billy and Troy help me load up and transport everything to the civic center and they leave me to putter and futz with my setup till I am happy.  It is really quite challenging fitting everything into the allotted 10x10 space!  This year I think I had around 250 pieces displayed at the show. The few remaining after the Open House and craft show were then taken to Woodsville, New Hampshire.  Thank you so much Ruth and Karen!  After all was said and done the 2013 seasons was very successful, I have only a handful of pieces left.  I can never thank all of my customers enough.  I just love to create, but creating for people who have made me a part of their holiday traditions is well.....the icing on the cake!

Booth Shots at the big show!
Booth at The Antique Rose & Country Chique Antiques Shop in Woodsville, NH

 After the show, it was then all about getting ready for Christmas!  We also had a really great impromptu visit from my Mom and brother Joe.  Joe lives in Florida and had not made his way back to Vermont since 1995!  Mitch was able to make it home, coming in on December 19th and staying until the 27th.  We saw alot of movies, some of Troys basketball games, ate way too much holiday food and had a wonderful Christmas.  Katelyn said it best when she said, all she needed for a good Christmas was for us to be all together.  True that!  The day after Christmas we had the extended family over for a party, trivia fun and more sinful holiday food. It was a very good Christmas indeed. 

Kids Then

Kids Now

Holiday Decorations

Brotherly Love?
After the holiday was all about getting everything back together and getting organized, oh and dealing with the unpredictable weather.  No snow was left for Christmas after some torrential rainfall a few days prior.  Since, we have had everything from bone chilling below zero, snow squalls, rains again and even a day with about a 60 degree swing in twenty four hours.  Go figure!
Main road?  Really?

All that being said, I am more inspired than ever! Cannot wait to get started on this years batch of Halloween and Christmas creations.  I have so many ideas cooking and have already come across some great items for embellishments.  Have also already submitted applications to a few more shows so stay tuned!  Last but not least, my last posts were promising to show how to make a Santa from start to finish......well, needless to say, that did not happen!  Sorry!  Maybe next year, but thought you might like to see how he turned out.

Hope all of you had a wonderful holiday seasons!  Until next time...............

Saturday, October 19, 2013


      Every year I ask my self the same question!  Why do you do this to yourself!!  Six weeks from show time and I am wondering if I am going to make it.  I know what the problem is, it is just that old habits are apparently hard to break!  Every morning I wake up, make my coffee and survey the situation.  So far, it is not good...not good at all.  The method to my madness is what puts me in this predicament every year.......I shape everything first, seal and paint next and then finish.  Well this year adding Halloween creations to the mix and making many more Santa's then ever before has put me in a panic.  I have 300 Christmas creations waiting for paint and finishing details. 

      Don't get me wrong......I love it!  Except for the feelings of doubt as to whether I will get everything done or not, I absolutely love this part of the process.  The manner in which I do things though has to change! I love every part of the creation process, but my favorite part, adding the finishing details sometimes gets short changed.  So next years resolution is to spread things out.....shape a little, paint a little, finish a little.  Of course I think I have said this before!  Thanks to my husband for telling me..."It will be fine!  You always get it done" and for picking up some of my slack while I am in exile.

The leaves have really been falling and our foliage season is coming to a sad end, but we really enjoyed it while it lasted.  Still unseasonably warm and we have not had that first fire in the woodstove yet!

When I am working away I like to put on as my family calls it, "some quirk"  to watch (well listen to anyway ) on my ipad.  It can be from YouTube, Netflix, or HBO to Go.  Can be anything from sappy English period pieces to informative documentaries to oldie but goodie movies.  Well lately, I have rediscovered River Cottage on YouTube.  If you have not seen or heard about it and love gardening, homesteading principles and good eating you should check it out.  So when I watch Hugh at River Cottage, I become very inspired to eat better and cook more creatively, sometimes to my families dismay.  They are happy with the Old El Paso whatever out of a box! Anyway, with some leftover garden bounty including a butternut squash, some red peppers, onions, a few spinach leaves and some supper leftovers of chicken apple sausage links I made this incredible concoction!  Not only beautiful but delicious.   Thanks Hugh!

I thought it my be fun to show the process of making a Santa from start to finish.  So I chose this big pedestal guy.  He is really special all shaped up and I cannot wait to see him finished.

To start I chose the elements that I want to use.  In this case the wonderful old porch pedestal base, a fiberboard egg, and a wooden bead. 

Next, the shapes are put together with glue, the covered with aluminum foil.  Then, a batch of clay is made up (I hate this part! So dusty and messy!)  the shape is covered with the paper mache and left to dry for several days.  After drying the beginning shape is lightly sanded and ready for more clay application.  Stay tuned for the next steps in upcoming blogs!
One more thing I wanted to share that I am very excited about!  These finial topper trees!  Using the last of my finials (for now anyway, until I can get out and forage for more) I have the start of what I hope will be some fantastic Christmas trees in a variety of sizes.  Wait till you see these all finished up!  I have a lot of ideas for embellishing and decorating them.

Until next time.........