Lovin’ Summer

Cucumber

This summer has been spectacular so far! I can barely keep up with documenting the highlights of life in between all of the events, traveling, family time and working on my shop. Here are a few photos and tidbits I decided I must stop what I’m doing and share…

I love this duo … a nice rain cloud pouring out its contents and part of a rainbow. I have seen at least 6 rainbows and very bright sun dogs this summer since it has been so rainy in Minnesota.

Backyard Rain / Rainbow

Colorado supplied this lovely, bright sun dog. I love that state more each time I visit – this time I got to check out some southern areas around the San Juan mountains (Durango, Pagosa Springs) and stayed down in Farmington, NM. That mountain desert feeling is awesome.

Sundog in Colorado

Colorado

Colorado Pagosa Springs Overlook

I buried a pallet and planted lettuces in it – spinach, chard, arugula, romaine, and a few leaf varieties. It worked out well, I’d do it again. A big salad is on the menu tonight.

Sprouting Lettuces in Pallet Garden

Sprouting Lettuces

Garden

Lettuces

Shine on, sun. Shine on. Next weekend I’m going to see a huge fireworks show from a boat, on a lake. Boom!

Strawberry Brooch – Handmade Felted Wool Accessory Inspired by strawberry fields

Strawberry Brooch Wool Felt Handmade Needle and Wet Felting

The other year when I was out picking strawberries I got tremendously inspired to make wearable straweberries and vines. It has taken me awhile to get around to actually making any strawberry items, but I’m happy to show you one that I did complete…. a strawberry brooch!

Strawberry Brooch Wool Felt Handmade Needle and Wet Felting

I combined wet felting and needle felting techniques to create it. It is made up of 100% soft merino wool + the pin and some thread that I used to stitch it together. It’s 3D art that can be worn on clothing, on a bag or purse, etc. This item can be found here in my etsy shop.

Asparagus Season, Oh My Favorite!

Asparagus Habitat

If you look closely at the top photo, in the upper left hand side you can see the asparagus growing out of the ground. This is in “lake country” Minnesota. I grew up here just like this asparagus ;) It lives really close to the lake and has some big spears because the plant base is fairly old. I think it’s going to get moved to higher ground this year because the thick grass that likes to grow in the soggy soil is really hard to keep out of the asparagus patch.

I love roasted asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. It works perfectly in a stir fry and I’m really wanting to try and make pickled asparagus this year if I can harvest enough out of this patch.

Asparagus Spring 2014 Asparagus Harvest Spring 2014

This was my first cutting of 2014. I’m savoring it.

Asparagus Harvest Spring 2014

Premium Hollow Book Boxes: Poe, Hobbit, Little Women, Ring Holders, Hearts, Two Book Stacks

Edgar Allen Poe Hollow Book Box - A great place to store secret treasures! This handmade box is made out of a real book.

Edgar Allen Poe Hollow Book Secret Booksafe Magnet Closure Edgar Allen Poe Hollow Book Secret Booksafe Magnet Closure

“Edgar Allen Poe – Complete Tales and Poems” includes magnet closure so the book stays closed when upright! The dust jacket is on the book. It is a LARGE hollow book with the stash spot measuring 7.5 inches x 4.5 inches x 2.2 inches deep.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Handmade Hollow Book Box! Bright purple and gold. This book is beautiful, compact yet can host a deep secret stash spot for hidden valuables.
Little Women Handmade Hollow Book Box

Little Women Handmade Hollow Book Box
Magnet closure is easy to install in this book – use this custom order listing to have me create one for you today!

The Hobbit – This classic in a large, beautiful print has been decked out with black velvet lining the stash spot.
The Hobbit Hollow Book Handmade Booksafe

Tomorrow Is Forever – Vintage black hollow book circle cut to hold a ring! Black textured paper lines the stash spot. Option left open to include ribbons to tie rings to.

Tomorrow is Forever Ring Proposal Hollow Book Box Handmade Tomorrow is Forever Ring Proposal Hollow Book Box Handmade

It’s such a neat title, isn’t it?

Harry Potter Half Blood Prince Hollow Book Ring Holder Proposal Box – Cut to the Unbreakable Vow chapter with a ribbon to hold rings.
Harry Potter Unbreakable Vow Engagement Ring Hollow Book

This is the inside of a recent custom order heart shape ring holder with ribbons. It turned out even better than imagined. The book was small and blue with gold detail.
Heart Cut Out - Custom Project
I want to cut more hearts!

Neverending Story Circle Cut Ring Holder Proposal Engagement Box with Ribbons – This beloved children’s classic The Neverending Story has been transformed into something new!

Neverending Story Hollow Book Ring Box Neverending Story Hollow Book Ring Box

Finally, I’m happy to announce that I am making multiple stacked LARGE hollow books! Here is one of my favorites so far, made with two Harry Potter books. The Harry Potter Hollow Book Two Stack Large Secret Storage Box!

Harry Potter Double Stack Hollow Book Harry Potter Double Stack Hollow Book

Harry Potter Double Stack Hollow Book

This one is made with vintage books:
Two Book Hollow Book Box Handmade

This one is also made of vintage books – blue mystery ones!
The Secret Journal of Doctor Hudson

Double Stack Large Hollow Book Double Stack Large Hollow Book

Making hollow book boxes (and seeing myself get better at it over time) is really enjoyable.

Spring Time Soap 2014

Soap Heart

Soapmaking is a blast! I really have come to enjoy it… the process of making the soap, smelling and admiring it, and of course using it myself. That’s the #1 reason why I love soapmaking so much – I use the product all over my home, especially in the shower. My favorite out of all of the batches of soap I experimented with this spring was a spearmint patchouli bar with spirulina algae powder in it which makes it look green, naturally. I used essential oils in all but one batch of my soap (that one was balsam fir scent and it was worth it, a favorite of the men who I’ve gifted it to) so they are super natural and healthy. My “Essential” batch includes tea tree, lavender, spearmint and eucalyptus essential oils – some of my all time favorites and common germ fighters. My scrub bars are so, so scrubby.. they are perfect for scrubbing dirt off after running around barefoot during the summer, and scrubbing bug spray and sunscreen off at the end of the day. I didn’t share many scrub bars this time around. I gifted out most of the soap I made this year because it was so fun to!

Here are a few of the soaps I photographed and listed in my shop. They will help fund the next batch! I keep getting better each time I make the soap so I’m definitely going to keep making it.

My soaps are available in my Etsy shop – in the Soap section!

Handmade Felt Soap
A handful of “felted” soaps. I wrap the bars with soft merino wool in bright colors, then rub it around under water which felts the wool around the bar, creating a washcloth-like effect right on the bar. It helps the bar keep longer and you use all of it up! They are super pretty to have around and make really unique gifts. I like to use them on my face!

Felted Soap
I made this new idea I had floating around for awhile… a felted “soap on a rope“. I made one for myself to try out too. Wrapped in the wool is the Spearmint Patchouli bar. Since it can be tied up it can dry out real well in between uses, prolonging its life. (Did you know that wool is naturally slightly antibacterial?)

Handmade Felt Soap Felted Soap

One other thing I experimented with was coffee. I ground up coffee beans and put the grounds in the soap. It works “ok” and doesn’t look all that pretty. I’m going to use it up myself and refine the recipe.

What would you like to see in a bar of soap?

Farm Felt Baash Needle Felting Retreat

Felted Flock

New Friends

I attended an artists’ retreat on Saturday (March 29, 2014) — the Farm Felt Baash in Kasson, MN. It was held at a beautiful farm owned by Amy of Needle & Felt.

Lamb Cuddling   Lamb and I

See this black lamb with white markings on his head that I am holding? Well, I won the opportunity to name him over on Amy’s blog. Although the lamb was really nice and calm in my arms I decided on the name Rebel. Winning the ability to name a lamb is one of the coolest things I’ve ever won! =)

The Farm Felt Baash was an event all about sheep and needle felting wool. There was a small group of 6 of us so we all got to chat a bit throughout the day and, I think, become friends. It was such a great feeling to be in a room full of needle felting enthusiasts.

I’ll show you around the farm and show off a few of the animals. The rustic red barn was so charming!
Sheep In Pasture   Barn

Amy decorated her home for us SO beautifully:
    Beautiful Decor   Beautiful Decor

Daffodils

The sheep have it made – a large pasture, a large indoor barn stall with lots of hay, other temporary stalls and obviously loving caretakers.

Lambs - Rebel

Sheep

Lamb

They share their home with a few goats as well. I learned that goats can be very lovable. While Amy and the other women who attended the retreat were standing out in the pasture one of the adult goats came up and was getting petting. He also came over to me and untied my boot laces! ;)
Goat   Goat Untying My Boot Laces

Baby goat… look at those ears!!
Baby Goat

Whenever I ask people the question, ‘So why do you have goats –what do you get out of it?’ they say how they would like to do this or that, but really…they just have goats. Their hearts are just won over by them.

After hugging on sheep and goats, we played around with a variety of fibers, felting needles and other tools. I decided that I would like to get some spiral felting needles!
Bright Wool Testing New Needles Felting Needles

We ended the afternoon by each creating a needle felted sheep (or whatever we wanted) and creating a temporary ‘flock’. The final photo is at the top of the page. Here is my sheep in the works:
Working On My Lamb For Our Flock Group Project

The event was from 10am – 5pm, which is quite awhile, but the time just flew by because I was having so much fun. I left Amy’s farm even more inspired to have sheep some day, more inspired about needle felting, more knowledgable about different fibers, and most importantly, feeling warm inside because it was time well spent with like-minded artists. I look forward to attending another retreat at Amy’s some day, and/or attending other similar artists’ retreats.
Fun fun fun!!

Holding Lambs (Me, Mary, Anna, Melanie)