My New Love…

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“Words of comfort, skillfully administered, are the oldest therapy known to man.”
-Louis Nizer

The above quote is certainly true, but lately, the comfort I have been enjoying is that provided by my soft, cozy, warm new neck warmer!

Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away, and all of the people I love the most are getting their own cuddly bit of comfort.  I have always wanted one of these, but just never broke down and bought one because I thought it would be easy to make.  So, I searched for some simple directions and liked the one on a cute blog called “Make It Do” (http://www.make-it-do.com/make-it/make-it-do-gift-cozy-bed-warmers/ )  I have been experimenting with the directions and trying different shapes as well.  The picture I am sharing is one I made for my best friend’s mom who has been in terrible pain from a shoulder injury and is anxiously awaiting her 17th birthday…on Feb. 29th.  (Actually, she’s in her 70’s! Since she’s a leap-year baby, she professes to be much younger than the rest of us who get to celebrate our birthday each year!) I hope this gift will bring her some therapeutic relief and that the cheerful fabric will bring a smile to her face.

I stopped at my favorite thrift store and picked up some really cute pajamas in soft flannels and pretty patterns.  I have been repurposing the fabric for my warmers, which makes me feel very thrifty.  Furthermore, the $13.00 I spent on the 50 pounds of feed-corn at a ranch-supply store is significantly less expensive than using rice from the grocery store and will be enough to keep me busy for quite awhile!

The bags are made out of 100 percent cotton and filled with whole feed corn. To enjoy the neck warmer, simply pop in the microwave for approximately 2-3 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave and delight in the way the corn holds the heat for such a nice, long time.

Here’s what I have planned for the rest of the day…. a cup of tea, a good book, a warm, cozy neck-warmer = I’m in LOVE!  Happy Valentine’s Day 2012!  Wishing you all much warmth and comfort.

A Place to Hang Your Hat….or Coat….or Scarf…..

More Crafts, More Decorating

The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out.  ~Thomas Babington Macaulay

Check out my handmade yardstick coat hanger!  I ran across this project idea in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and I instantly loved the look of it, so I set out to collect as many vintage yard-sticks as I could find.  Ultimately, I was hoping to find them all from our local hometown businesses, as well as the small towns where my husband and I grew up, as that would be more sentimental.  However, they were hard to find!  I did find several at some consignment shops from far-away places, but they still had some unique and interesting “patina,” so I picked them up from $5.00 – $10.00. With help from my in-laws, I was able to get one from the Coast-to-Coast store in my husband’s small hometown in Eastern Montana, and of course, I found one in Grandma’s Attic!  (I’m always giving thanks to my Grandma for her collecting spirit!)   I found some antique black coat-hooks on E-Bay that came from an old school.  I love the look of these, because you can see flecks of different colors of paint and a few chips here and there.  We took a board and cut it just slightly larger than the layout of the rulers and painted it with several coats of black spray-paint.  This way it peeks out just a little around the perimeter and “frames” it.  The black also highlights the lettering on the yardsticks and the hooks as well. We have enough yardsticks to make another one, and we’re going to hang them side by side on the long wall in the entry-way at Camp More (the cabin). I think it’s going to add a lot of character to the room, not to mention, it will give us a place to hang our coats after we come back from snowshoeing!

ReMake It…. from books, of course!

More Books, More Crafts

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a songbird will come.” –Chinese proverb

At The Creative Connection Event in St. Paul, I took a class from Tiffany Threadgould who just published a unique and thoroughly inspirational book published by Sterling called ReMake It!  So, this post is part book-review, and part show-and-tell.  In her class, Tiffany taught us how to do several of the simple crafts from her book, and we had a blast whipping up paper beads, envelopes, gift bows and coasters.  All of the crafts were “green,” but they were much more than that…. they were cool!  They had a hip graphic vibe and could be tailored to fit into any person’s design style.  Personally, I am in love with words, letters, and anything that has to do with books. As a result, this book, and Tiffany’s ideas, really appeal to me, as many of them were made out of old magazines and book pages.  I also have plans to try making a button bracelet, a case for my cell phone from a men’s necktie, and a t-shirt skirt – SO CUTE!  Her book is full of great pictures and easy templates to follow, so many of these projects can be as sophisticated or a simple as you want them to be.  I would definitely recommend picking up this book to use with children for school art activities or craft time!

So, after I returned from the Event, I decided to turn my inspiration from her class into my own unique art.  I went to the local library’s book sale where they were selling thousands of used, donated books to raise money for the Friends of the Library group.  (I brought home a LOT of books, which I have just decided is a sickness I will have to live with.)  I took graphic images from these books, mostly used children’s stories, and cut them out to create note-cards.  Then I went out to my stash of old Saturday Evening Post magazines in the garage (once again, thanks Grandma) and used some of the pages to create envelopes for the note-cards. (Both of these ideas are outlined in Tiffany’s book.)  Together, the cards and envelopes are a visual delight of vintage images, type, words, and graphics.  I’m going to fill them out and get them in the mail.  I hope the recipients enjoy receiving them as much as I enjoyed making them!

Opening Doors.

More Crafts, More Decorating, More Miscellaneous

Otis likes to get in the picture!

All doors open to courtesy. Thomas Fuller

Figuratively speaking, the goal of this blog is to help me exercise my writing skills – informally of course, as well as to possibly “open some doors” in the line of writing and presenting for the “artsy-craftsy” community.  So, I’m sharing a hodge-podge of my creativeness for those who want to check-out my catalog of creations.

On my grandmother’s rambling, mountain property, lie numerous “treasures” including…. old rusty cars, abandoned sheds, barns, outhouses, etc.  When my husband and I built our small cabin nearby, we were not impressed at the glaring white sight of the side of the refrigerator staring out at us in the kitchen.  So, when we were wandering Grandma’s junk yard this spring, we decided to take the door off of an old shed sitting in the trees.  It has already been overtaken by small animals and pine-needles, so we didn’t feel too guilty.  We took it home, dusted it off, and retro-fitted the doorknob, so it only protrudes on one side (so it will fit).  Then we cut a piece of wood t fit where the window sat and painted it with chalkboard paint.  We didn’t have any chalk yet, when I snapped this picture, but now we do, and the message says, “The Huck’s are here.  Gone to Miller Creek!” This was such a fun project, and it barely cost anything.  Re-purposing old items and taking finds from trash-to-treasure is one of my favorite hobbies.  Thanks for letting me share!