Monday, January 31, 2011

Fifty Pillows

Last Friday, I headed into "the cities" with my good friend.

We had a variety of stops planned on our fun day away - change of oil, lunch at Red Lobster (oh yum!), Target for some basic needs, Herberger's for some non-basic needs, and Ikea.

Ikea was my stop. I needed to visit Ikea to stock up on pillow forms.  They have the best price on 14" x 14" pillow forms and I use them all the time for my wool pillows.

We made our way into the store. Escalator up, stairs up, stairs down. Ahh, we finally get the pillow section. I quickly grab a cart. My plan was for 30 pillows. The last time I did my pillow-run, I got 28. "What?", my friend says, "As long as we're here, you should get 60. Sixty sounds like a nice number." 

Sixty? I was only planning on 30.

"Maybe I'll get 40," I say.

"I'd get 60," she says. 

"Ok. I'll get 50," I respond.

We fill one shopping cart.  My friend runs for another cart and proceeds to load more pillows in her cart. 

With 50 pillows in tow, we begin making our way through the maze of multiple rooms and tons of product to the checkout. It appears my friend got the straight-wheeling-challenged cart, as she is unable to successfully drive her cart straight through the isles. We laugh all the way through the store as she manages to block the isle-ways to all other traffic as she winds her cart through the store...sideways.

Along the way we have a multitude of other shoppers that either question our pillow shopping carts - or provide us with the WTF look.  What? This isn't normal?

Just as we are closing in on the checkout area, I spy floral stones for a very reasonable price. I use them often in my wool paperweights and pin cushions to provide weight and stability. Well, what a nice, unexpected treat to find them. Sure - I'll take 6 bags.

Whew. We've finally make it to the checkout - and, of course, we are in the slowest line. My turn to check out arrives, and I inform the checkout woman that I have 50 pillows and 6 bags of rocks. 

"Would you like to count them?," I ask.

"No," she promptly responds.

Hmmm....she is kind enough to not question it, but she keeps chuckling and mumbling something that I am unable to understand. (That's probably a good thing.)

Now to the car to find room for all my pillows and rocks.  Well, that's another story...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oh Dear, Oh Dear, Look Over Here

Well, maybe I should actually say "DON'T look over here".

This is just a little sampling of what my work "area" looks like most of the time.

While working on wool is one of my favorite things to do, I find that I live in constant disorganization and minor chaos. And while I know I have seen photos of other creative individual's work areas, mine really exists smack dab in the middle of my living room and dining room.

Convenient, sure. But it gets hard to have a place of quiet, calm, and relaxation in my home.  Just another reason that this is my year-to-clear.

If anyone has any wonderful ideas on how to manage full-time-living and full-time-creating in the same space, let me know,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Praying for Peace

Oh my, with all the upset in our world right now - and I guess at all times - I created a little Etsy Treasury this morning called Pray for Peace in the World.

Check it out.

Taken from GlassGemsbyChristine.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

We had a new coating of snow last night during the night. Here in Wisconsin, a "coating" can be up to 3 inches. I think that's about what I cleaned off my back steps this morning as I let Charlotte out the back door to take in the morning's fresh air.

It really is beautiful. A nice, clean, fresh, coating of fluffy snow.

Well, I'm sick and tired of that beauty. Dang it, I'm ready for some fresh, spring-green beauty.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Peep Peep Peep Where Are My Feet?

I'm creating some playful Peeps for the spring season. They are all just giddy with excitement to come out and play.

But....the poor little things can't walk, hop, or skedaddle at all until I get their legs attached. So in the meantime, they're just hanging out in my new big wooden bowl. They are so patient...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Grandma's Blanket

A few weeks ago a friend/co-worker brought me an old wool blanket that came from her grandmother's attic. She asked if I could use it - and my immediate-no-need-for-a-pause response was "of course!".

This weekend I thought that maybe I'd just play around with it a bit and make her a little pillow as a keepsake of her grandma's old-and-pretty-worn-thin-in-some-spots blanket. I decided to throw some burlap in the design because I thought the colors would look kind of classy together.

Here's what I came up with. I was pretty happy with the results and brought the pillow to work for her today.

Her response?

"Oh wow - that's great! But now my sisters are going to want one."

"How many sisters do you have?", I asked.


Guess I'll be making three more this week...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Little Guessing Game

I'm made of wool. I have beautiful shades of purple on me. What am I?

A perfectly-purple-passion-pin cushion, of course!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

$5.00 at WalMart

A friend/co-worker potted a big-ole amaryllis bulb a few weeks ago and placed the lone pot in a nearby work window.

After the proper God-planned time, this beautiful bloom awoke.

She said "Not bad for a $5.00 bulb from WalMart.".  I say - I do agree!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feng Shui Anyone?

I was paging through a magazine earlier this week. There was a short, one-page article about Feng shui written by Jayme Barrett. As part of the article, there was a small diagram about where things should be placed in your office workspace to encourage or balance things in your life.

Wait. Let me take you back just a little further.... LAST week, my recently-former supervisor - who is very supportive of my creative work and my number one marketer - brought me an article out of a magazine that talked about a women who lost her job and in the process of finding something to keep her busy, has created an incredibly successful business through Etsy. She creates very clean, streamlined, wool laptop and ipod cases.

As she handed me the article, I asked what it was. She said "hope". I read the article and took a large black-permanent market and wrote "Hope" on the top of it. I then hung it on the bulletin board directly behind of my computer screen (which I face all day, every day).

There. Now let's jump back to the Feng shui article.

As I am reading the article, it says that the back center of your workspace represents Fame and Reputation. I quote: "This area represents who you are to the world - your character and image. Place a red lamp or candle, your business card, or an award or certificate here."  Huh. I looked up into the back center of my workspace and realized that I had done just that with my "Hope". Interesting. I just had to read more.

Taken from

After doing a quick online look at Jayme's website, I was even more intrigued. I loved what she wrote about as a general outlook about Feng shui. I browsed a few more posted articles and by the time I ended my web visit I had signed up for her regular email newsletter.

I'm quite sure that I will not be rearranging my home and life to totally support the Feng shui lifestyle, but I realized that I can certainly learn from the practice.  Below is content    taken from her web site that grabbed me in this - my year to clear.

Feng shui can be a lifestyle. From my point of view, arranging your environment is one piece of the puzzle. It is a beginning; an entry into a new way of discovering how energy affects you on a daily basis. You must realize that healthy energy is moving energy. If your space and mind are filled with clutter, it is extremely difficult to move forward in all aspects of your life. As you begin to clear out the old, new opportunities, people and energy come flowing in.

Jayme Barrett

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Beauty of Different

I got this book - The Beauty of Different: Observations of a Confident Misfit - for Christmas. It's written by a good friend of Brene Brown. Brene is the utmost queen of teaching us about the wonderful aspects of being imperfect in this crazy world we live in.

It's great fun to read for many reasons. One - each chapter is really a story itself so you can just read one chapter and put it back down for awhile. Two - it tells stories about how wonderful it is to be different from everyone else - and isn't that what we all are anyway? Three - it's just pretty with wonderful photos. Overall, it's just a darn good feel-great book.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Craftstravaganza News

Years ago, I used to participate in various craft shows. That was long before I found what I think is my CN (creative-nitch) and began working with wool.

So, I'm really still very new to the show/sale world as it is today. I had the opportunity to successfully participate in a few this fall/winter but they were all shows that I was approached to participate in. And it was such an honor when each of them asked me to participate in their show.

After feeling pretty good about the shows I just finished up - I decided to bite the bullet and apply for an upcoming show coming up this spring called the Craftstravaganza.  I had to complete my application and send in photos of my work with a deadline of a couple weeks ago.

I've been anxiously waiting to received word on the event. I was notified tonight that I wasn't accepted. The event planners did state in their initial communications that they get many more applications than they have space for - so I really was prepared to not be accepted - but, of course,  I was hoping that I would be one that was chosen.

Naturally, I'm bummed and disappointed - and I know that I'm not very good at being rejected.  When it happens I feel very down and I begin to second guess my work and myself.  I'm trying hard to remember that not everyone can be accepted and I hope (plan) to muster up enough energy to apply again next year.

I'm also planning on attending the event myself (which I never have in the past) and see all the fine works that others will be providing!  I will not let this get the best of me.   :-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dreaming Already

Gosh. I hate to say it already...but I'm dreaming of spring and blooming...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peanut Butter M&M's

I love em. Oh yes I do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heck of a Find

I went to a thrift sale this past weekend in a nearby town in the wee hours of Saturday morning. It was being held in a shed/type building that was pretty darn chilly - it obviously isn't a full four-season building. (Wisconsin winter cold!)

While I was looking around, I thought to myself that I really didn't even need to be there. Sure, my initial reasoning for going was to look for wool, but really, what else did I need to get? 2011 is my year of "clearing" and this wasn't the way to get there. But, as usual, I ignored myself and kept looking.

I left about 20 minutes later with cold feet, cold hands, two wool coats, one wool sweater, a new matching set of white porcelain dishes to be used for my Charlotte's water and food dish (which work so great, by the way!), couple skeins of yarn, two sets of knitting needles, a white tablecloth with grand trim, four jars of misc buttons, a set of six wooden coasters that will be turned into pin cushions to sell on Etsy, four baggies stuffed full of vintage lace trim, a unique hand-stitched table center piece cloth/doily, and an incredible wooden bowl - all for only $28!

Here's a photo of the wooden bowl holding my wool and burlap pears. It was only $2.00!! 

I'm glad I stayed and my hands and feet got cold.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Flowers

I just finished up a couple pillows this weekend that are a little different than my "normal" style.

I woman had asked me to make a couple throw pillows for her daughter's new apartment. She said they ordered a fun, playful, rug for the living room from company C (Rise and Shine rug) and wanted me to make some pillows that worked with it.

I like how they turned out.  How do you think they'll look?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Miricle of Mindfulness

I'm working on clearing out. Clearing out my house. Clearing out my mind. Clearing out my world.

I need more serenity in this chaotic world. And I've found that I don't do much on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis to help calm that chaos.

I found this book at the bookstore where I work and thought it looked like it was just what I needed. It's actually a quite small book - but packed with a lot of good punch.  But just like anything, it doesn't do anything for me unless I actually practice what it says. So, I'm TRYING to practice mindfulness.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Much Profit is Coming

I had take-out Chinese for supper last night. Yumm....

Here's my fortune. Well, thank God. It's about time. I should be all set then.  :-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Burlap and Leather and Wool, Oh My!

As promised, here are my latest creations incorporating burlap from a coffee-bean bag. What else - but pears!

Each panel of the pears are made from alternating burlap and wool. This wool happens to be from a recycled blanket. The stems are made from coiled up brown leather strips recycled from a thrift store jacket and the leaves are from a sage-green leather jacket. They are stuffed with standard polyfil as well as some small floral pebbles and glass beads on the bottom. It helps give them some weight and with that they sit much nicer (kind of like a big old toosh settling into its spot in the recliner!).

I like how they turned out - I enjoy the simplicity, texture, and form. But I have already stocked up on more fusible interfacing that I will adhere to the burlap moving forward. It unravels terribly, and while that is ok at times (depending on the project), it's not desirable when sewing seams together for stuffing.

Although I'd kind of like to keep them myself, I think I'll post them on Etsy. Besides, I've already got pieces cut for about a dozen more!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Of Mice and Men...errrr...Cats

Ha! I decided that you would have to wait one more day to see my recycled burlap/wool/leather creations.

Today I thought I'd share a cute story with you.

If you recall, I made two little wool critters for my son's two cats for Christmas. The other day I texted his girlfriend and asked if Leo and Lucy enjoyed their new toys. She responded with a definate yes! She said that Leo loves to play with them and fully enjoys the long wooly tail.  She also said that it was a darn good thing that I made two critters, because Lucy enjoys hiding one and make them come looking for it!

She informed me that the wool handwarmers that I made for them are pulling double duty. Lucy thinks they are her special pillows!  :-)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Fabric

No - I'm not going to stop "working in wool", but I just added a new fabric to a couple of my pieces I was working on yesterday. It's recycled burlap coffee-bean bags.

A couple weeks ago, I stopped by a local coffee shop (I don't even drink coffee!) and picked up three big bags for little to nothing.  And I'm having great fun blending the burlap with my wool. However, I have decided that I need to incorporate some fusible interfacing with the burlap because it unravels terribly. (Not to mention it sheds a lot at first - good thing I take special stock in lint rollers.)

Hmmm....maybe I'll share my newest pieces with you tomorrow...

In the meantime, go grab yourself a new year's cup of coffee.

Photo taken from