Saturday, July 31, 2010

Visiting Family

This isn't about visiting family that is still with me. This is about visiting some of my family that has passed over.

My parents and many family members (on my mom's side) are buried in a small, country, in-the-valley, most-peaceful-place-on-earth cemetary. This is the church that my mom grew up attending, the church my parents were married in, and the church that my grandmother attended her entire life. I'm just guessing at this moment, but I think that on a full-house-day, it probably only seats 50 people - tops. And, I absolutely love it here and am extremely proud of it. For me, it is without a doubt one of the most peaceful places on earth.

I invite you to attend church with me today...

The front of the church.

My great-great-uncle made this incredible mosaic plant stand that still graces the church's front entrance. We're not quite sure when he created this work of art, but we are guessing that it was perhaps in the 1930's or 40's.

My mother and father's stone.

Just a tiny peek at the gentle view.

What a magnificent eternal resting place. Whenever I visit, I am suddenly transformed into a calm, gentle and complete soul filled with peace and happiness. Just as God has planned.

Thanks for visiting with me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's a Makeover!

I know that I've changed the background of my blog now and then. But this time it really changed. Do you like it?

I wasn't sure at first about the deep-dark-purple background because I don't want to make the blog hard to read, but I fell in love with how the photos seem to really "pop" with that background.

For instance, look at this one...

And this one...

And how about this one?

Nice, huh? Are you in love with it now too?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recycling T-Shirts

I'm really liking the idea of using recycled t-shirt strips for a variety of uses. (I even have access to a whole box of brand-new never-been-worn white t-shirts!) Among other things, I'm planning on making a couple more scarves and maybe a couple rugs.

In the meantime, last weekend, I decided to dye four white t-shirts. Two blue and two purple. One t-shirt even had a nasty black ink-ish sort of mark on it. The dye covered any worries about the mark.

I've cut them into strips and they are nicely rolled into t-shirt yarn balls waiting to see what the Tucker-inspired future will hold for them.

Whenever I sell a wool items on Etsy, I gift wrap them in brown kraft paper, tie them with twine, and attach a wool flower to the top. I've decided that I'm going to begin using the recycled t-shirt strips for binding and have even included that information in my Etsy postings. I like the idea of reusing things when I can and hope that my customers like that as well.

What are YOU going to use your recycled t-shirt strips for?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Free Frame Cottage Garden Brief Tutorial

One of my favorite thirft shops has a free-shelf. When things have been at the store a long time and not purchased, they will put some small items on the free-shelf. As you are leaving, you are invited to check it out and grab anything that tickles your free-fancy.

A couple weeks ago, two free frames started me on a new journey.

Free frames!

See?  They really were free.

First, I primed and painted them white. I love white....and purple.
Never. I repeat, NEVER forget about purple.

I decopaged parts of the frame with rippings of pages from an old, yellowed reference manual of some sort. I am a firm believer that books should not be destroyed on purpose (or for no purpose at all!), but when I got my hands on this one, it was already in shambles - so I am ok with that.

I added a few other adornments (rub-on's, etc.) and then sprayed with two coats of poly spray. You can use any kind of poly protector, but the spray is so easy to use.

Then I prepared some "gardens" with a recycled wool blanket for the background and different flowers, stems and leaves from recycled wool. The blue flower was created using an old button and crocheting a "slipcover" for it from very thin wool yarns. I used the pre-cut cardboard that came with the frames as the backing and discarded the glass pieces. I know, you'd think I could have found some way to use them, but there's a limit to what I can save...

Waa Laa! Two new simple-chic cottage garden pictures!
The one with the blue flower was already given to a friend for her birthday and the other one is now posted on Etsy. I'm very pleased with how they turned out. Hmmm...think I might run to my thrift shop again today and see what awaits me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Quiet Day

I'm feeling quiet today.

Not sad...

Not blue...

Certainly not angelic...  :-)

Just quiet.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I am enough.

Well, am I?

I know deep down in the furthest reaches of my mind and soul I AM enough.

However, too often my mind can get stuck in the preconceived ideas that society or I have determined what I should-be in order to be "enough". I'm not pretty enough. I'm not thin enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not wealthy enough. I am not organized enough. I'm not good enough.

And my mind makes me think sometimes that I won't be happy enough until I can achieve certain things. Lose weight. Earn more money. Get rid of debt. Clean and organize the house. Find a loving partner to share my life with. Get with it. Basically - I'm just not enough.

And then I remember. . . I AM enough. Maybe I've made mistakes. Maybe I still make mistakes. Maybe I'll always make mistakes. Maybe I'll always be in debt. Maybe I won't be 125 pounds ever again. Maybe I won't find my soul-mate and will be by myself forever. Maybe I'll continue to doubt myself based on what others think. Maybe I will always be a little messy. But maybe - just maybe - that's enough.

I've recently found my little self- life-lesson in my garden:

ME. Unfortunately, sometimes I feel like this. I feel like I'm worn out and not all I want to be. I feel like I've failed and I've let others down.

ME. Then sometimes I feel like this. I feel like part of me is not in full bloom, but that's ok - because there's still other parts of me that are shining and doing great.

ME. And then sometimes I feel like this. In full bloom. Glorious. Enough. In fact, more than enough.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Meaning of a Chair

Weird things happen to people everyday. I've had alot of weird things happen to me in the past. But yesterday I had a very interesting (ok - weird!) thing happen to me.

I anxiously headed home from work as I do everyday. However, as I pulled into my driveway, I noticed a rather unique addition to my yard. While I was away, someone had placed four bold-multi-primary-colored children's folding chairs in my yard - positioned around my birdbath - as if the birdbath were a table.

I'm rather stumped. I have no idea where they came from - or their purpose. But if anyone needs four children's folding chairs, just let me know. I've got some for a good price. . .  :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Love Birds - Recycled Wool Pillows

I promise I won't blog about every darn creation that I post on my Etsy shop - but I guess it's a good way to let you know what I've been up to.

Lately, I haven't been dreaming-OF love birds - but I've been dreaming-UP love birds. I really have fun making these pillows. Birds and flowers are some of my most-favorist things to make with wool. I hope you like seeing them as much as I like making them!

Monday, July 19, 2010

World's Largest Knitted Fish Hat

Now I've seen the World's Largest Knitted Fish Hat. My life seems almost complete. :-)

During my lunch break today, I happened to stop into my local yarn shop, Miss Elsie's (where I love to yarn shop and have also held classes teaching some of my recycled wool projects). I haven't been in the shop for quite awhile. Seems that time, energy and my schedule have kept me away.

It appears that if I HAD been in the shop lately, I would have known that they have been busy, busy, busy. Shop owner, Pam, and other knitting enthusiasts have been knitting what they have labeled as the World's Largest Knitted Fish Hat.

Hat in progress

The goal was to complete the hat in time for a grand introduction to the community during the town's summer celebration, Karl Oscar Days's - held in July. They finished just in time for the main street parade - worms and all!

Fish and knitters in parade

They even "lured" one of the news channels from the Twin Cities to come and see what they were up to - check it out here. Good job folks!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Toooo Much

It's either too hot, too cold, too buggy, too late, too early, too dry, too wet, too windy, too still. Or I'm too busy, too stressed, too lazy, too tired. 

I just haven't been able to get myself out into my garden very much this year. I have just too many excuses why I haven't. Maybe I've been too happy, too sad, too fat, (no...not too thin!), too hectic, too relaxed.

But I know one thing. I'm too darn happy that my garden is continuing on pretty darn good without me.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Felted Slippers: Steps One, Two, Three

A couple weeks ago, I bought a pattern for knitting and felting wool slippers. They are actually called "slipper clogs" because they are similar in style to a clog-type-shoe.

I decided to use some wool yarn that I already had a home. (What?? Extra yarn at home?? Never heard of such a thing!) So, if you look closely, the bottom of one slipper is dark brown and one is gray. I ran out of gray yarn but didn't want to buy new yarn until I tested my ability to correctly follow the pattern.

Please pay no attention to the model's unattractive legs. Photos are only intended to show slippers, not skin.

Slipper one:  I kept hearing the old saying "three strikes, you're out" over and over in my mind - but I chose to ignore it. It was actually on the fourth time of starting over that I finally was able to follow the pattern without getting totally lost. I'm glad I took the time to start over - but at the time, I wasn't quite sure I was happy about it.

Slipper two: Slipper two went fine. I developed what I thought was a rather smart way of having a "guide" that helped me keep my place while following the written directions. It consisted of moving a paperclip and a piece of paper. Who would have thought?

Washing machine: Two washes through the "whites" cycle while inside a small garment washing bag and the slippers were felted nicely. I washed some wool sweaters at the same time - killing two felting projects with one A little stretching in each direction pulled the slippers back into proper shape. I also slipped them on my feet for about 5 minutes to help shape the right and left difference.  Then I air-dryed them on my back porch. (Back porch is not required.)

Slippers one and two: Done and ready for winter in Wisconsin.

Sorry for blurriness. For some reason, I can't hold the camera steady while looking at my feet!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Recycled T-Shirt Scarf

As promised, here is a picture of the knitted scarf that I made from recycled t-shirt strips. I decided to dye it with a denim colored dye (which meant an extra trip to the store). It's ok, but I'm kind of wishing I would have just stuck with the black/gray dye I first thought about using.

At any rate, I still am thinking that I may add fringe of some sort to it but haven't yet decided what to do. Someone suggested adding some fringe with beads - which would look very cute - but I'm afriad it might make it a big heavy.

I did knit/crochet a dish cloth as well. Maybe a photo will be coming soon! I used a simple knit stitch throughout and then added a row of single crochet around the outside to create a border. I used a t-shirt that was already colored, so no dying was required. (Which is just a little bit of a bummer - I like dying fabric.)

I've crocheted round rugs in the past with strips of cotton fabric, but I'm thinking I may want to try one with t-shirt fabric as well.  Hmmm...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recycling T-Shirts

I adore the works of Alabama Studio (Natalie Chanin). She works with repurposing t-shirts to make new, very lovely items. So, when I recently came across an overabundance of leftover t-shirts that - nicely - have never even been worn, I decided that I best try a few upcycled t-shirt tricks myself.

For starters, I decided to cut two of the t-shirts into strips and knit them. I just finished a nice, narrow scarf with it, but I would also like to dye it.

Knitting in progress (it's not really yellow on the side, it's just bad lighting)

 Knitted scarf up close

I was going to dye with denim dye - but dang, I forgot to pick some up when I was at the store. So after digging through what I already had at home, I came up with black dye and decided to give that a try. Since I wasn't sure how the dye would take, I decided to test with a little "flower" that I made.

I love the black-washed-denim look it gave the t-shirt material.

Dyed flower-ette

I think I'll go ahead with dying the scarf this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I've heard that knitted t-shirt strips also make great dishclothes. I think I might try that next. But I can't get so involved in cotton that I forget about my wool!  I just read an article that I should have some of my winter items posted already on Etsy!  Yikes - I best get busy!