BUT - what a year, dearies. What. A. Year. It saw the birth of my second grand child, a bouncing healthy boy named Michael. My daughter is knee deep in diapers and toddler music and infant issues and all the angst and juggling required of a full time working mother of two. She may second guess herself at times, but I know better. She is an amazing woman and I couldn't be prouder. My darling Tori is a wonderful big sister (and at almost 3 years old, she has the vocabulary of an English major. To hear such structured sentences coming out in that baby voice is endearing to the point of heart ache. Everything I was told about being a Grandmother is blissfully true ) and I am a very happy Nona these days.
Early this year my husband went through a total knee replacement and that has come with it's own set of challenges. The first round of surgery would not heal and he had to go in a second time to have it redone. The only thing they did not do was replace the actual implant. He is still, at the time of this post, on the cane but is making steady progress. Whether or not he will now let them do the other knee is up in the air. This has not been easy for him and he is pretty much all doctored out at this point.
SO - what does this mean for what is going on in my art room? Lots of sewing, that's for sure. In the time since I have posted, I have created two Busy Books for Tori, I have finished at least three Bucilla stockings, I have taken an online class with the wonderful Pam Gracia of Soft In The Head, where I learned new techniques for creating a prim mouse pincushion. This was very exciting for me and I was very pleased with the results. I did do an ornament swap with Every Witch Way Lane last year, and I may try to pull one together this year. I owe my blog a picture of the shadow box swap I did last year for my One Of A Kind Swap group. We will start with that and add some pictures of what I've been up to, with links to my Pintrist board which is where most of my work in progress pics have ended up lately. I hope you enjoy the sight seeing tour.
This is the fairy shadow box that I did for the One Of A Kind Swap group on FB. I used polymer clay for the gnome and fairy and mushrooms, I used a printed forest image which I modge-podged for the inside of the box, and reindeer moss for the ground. I lined the top with tiny led lights, with a box on top for the switch. All this was mounted inside a wooden shadow box that was bought at Joanne's - I think it was a 6x6 box. It came out adorable and I was very happy to give it to my swap partner. In turn she made me a fairy box inside a vintage case with sunflowers and lights. I love it.
So, what else have I been up to? I did a Flea Market Follies swap with Every Witch Way Lane - it was a lot of fun. We had to go junking to find something that could be morphed into a Halloween decoration which was sent out to a random partner. In turn we received a finished project from another random partner pick. Here is what I made from a set of unfinished wooden candlesticks I received.
Here is what I got - I was super excited to receive my item from Cindy Tevis - she refurbished a three-faced owl planter into a vintage Halloween owl. I use him as a candle holder, although I don't use flame candles -the flame-less battery operated ones are much safer. I keep him on my dining room table year round and I love it.
I did try to keep up with the monthly blog sales over at Every Witch Way Lane - I don't know that they are doing them anymore, I know that Patrick Gill of Cre8tor's Touch has also been very busy himself with his family so I don't think there has been many events this year - we will see about gearing up again if Patrick is up to it. We will see. In the meantime, I wanted to share this project - a large Jack O Lantern that I had a lot of fun creating cause it's filled with candy! My grand daughter was VERY upset when I would not allow her to attempt to eat any of it - my daughter dubbed it the "Toddler Torture Bucket" - very clever, my daughter. It's a perfect moniker and a dramatic piece. I still have it on display.
I also did a Christmas swap, for both 2014 and 2015 - here is the Sing A Song Of Christmas ornament swap I made for Every Witch Way Lane 2014 - I received a set of felted ornaments from Karen Beaver - I don't have a picture handy but it was a very sweet ornament with lots of glitter flakes and trim and I was happy to add it to my Christmas ornaments. Hand made ornaments mean a lot to me and I just adore the Christmas swaps as wonderful opportunities to add to my collection and make someone else happy in the process. Win-Win, I say!
And here is an ornament I did for the One of A Kind Swap Group for 2015
And I got this in return from the lovely Gwen Kaufman of The Bear Behind - I can't tell you how much I adore this bunny. It is cuter than cute.
I have to say that I have had a few disappointments where swaps are concerned over the past year or so - I don't want to elaborate beyond saying that those disappointments have cooled my passions somewhat for random swaps. Having said that I did do a swap with one of my group members as a special occasion kind of thing. She works hard for the group we belong to and I just wanted to do a swap with just her to show how much I appreciate that. Here is what I made. I adore making miniature food and candy from polymer clay. I just love it and I'm learning new techniques all the time. I got to show a few off here. This is a super small jack o lantern -just for the record. I think it came out so cute and I still have a little jar filled with tiny gumballs and miniature starlight mints and itty bitty candy corns left over from this project.
So that leaves us with the Busy Books, or Quiet Books as they are also known. I have been VERY immersed in this project, with a ten page and a six page book already done and providing lots of play time for my grand daughter. She calls them her "Nona Books" and every stitch, every knot, every pin stick, every moment spent at the art bench and the sewing machine has been paid back a thousand-fold in the love and delight of my granddaughter. Half the fun of these pages is collecting the fabric to be used as the page backing and binding. Every page has a theme and the fabrics are chosen for those themes. I won't send you on an endless scroll of pictures here, save for the covers -
The cover, with handles on both the back and front, serve to hold the book together, with a small strap that is fixed via velcro to the front of the cover - this turns the book into a little suitcase that Tori can tote around by the handles - I use grommets and a lacing method to bind the books and there has been a LOT of thought and planning that has gone into these- there are loads and loads of pictures on my Pintrist board that detail the creation and inspirations behind the pages, and I have one on deck for my grandson already - feel free to visit if you're curious. I promise you will be as intrigued as I am with these lovely traditional cloth books that are a priceless gift for a beloved child.
And that brings us to the Bucilla project. I completed a stocking for my son's girlfriend (they moved in together 2 years ago and have been doing well ever since. She is basically my daughter-in-law, we just need a wedding at some point I suppose. :) ) and one for my new grandson Michael for his first Christmas this year. I also finally made one for myself - a gnome with a mushroom. How lovely and appropriate it that? I adore gnomes - I spent a year making gnome necklaces with mushroom earrings and selling them for a song on Ebay. I still have the first one I made - and I know there will be more one day. For now though, here are the latest additions to the Bucilla hoard - with the addition of my stocking, I have gotten one done for every member of my immediate family now, all 8 of them :)
So I know I've left out more than one project over the past year and a half, but suffice to say I do keep busy and creative - and I love trying new things, which I got to do when I signed up to take a class in mouse-making with Pam Gracia of Soft In The Head. Here is the result and I couldn't be happier. In fact, I've ordered mohair and supplies, including lots of sparkling stuff for the pins that will go with the pin keeps and I plan on making several more before I turn my attention to something else. Here is Miss Mousie, or as my grand daughter calls her, Missy. My grand daughter was very interested in this project - she called it my "mousie craft" and FaceTimed me several times while I was creating it to check on the progress. I can already tell how much she loves to create and make things and there are many hours planned for the art room teaching her all kinds of things. At almost 3 years old she is almost ready for her first plastic needle and plastic canvas. Remember those? Those big yellow plastic needles that we were given to use on the canvas? That was what, first grade? Second grade? School was very different then. Anyway, here is the result of my mouse class, complete with Victorian inspired stick/hat pins.
That, my dears, pretty much brings us up to date. I always have fun creating new things and learning new things, and even though I may not visit here as often as I should, that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. There are many projects on the horizon for me, including several paper mache Christmas projects, a paper mache Halloween Parade lantern for Tori for her Raggamuffin Parade this year, as well as a Where the Wild Things Are felt plushie mobile for Michael that will convert to a Busy Book set complete with a page for his book once he outgrows the nursery. Every day is a new day and a new chance to create! Thank you so SO much for taking the time to read this - feel free to leave comments, they are always so nice to read. Until next time, stay creative!