Creative Christmas Trees

The idea of an alternate Christmas tree was first introduced to me in second grade by my teacher, Mrs Bohme.  She read us the Coat Hanger Christmas Tree and the story stayed with me.

I went seeking the book in the late 1990s.  The Internet was a thing, but only the beginning. I somehow found a used book store in Minnesota and ordered a used copy.  I wanted to read the book to my kids.  

I haven't read it to anyone in awhile, but all six of them heard it when they were little.

 I made these "trees" and just photographed them instead of securing the pieces down.  I made posters of them that are for sale now at Old Cottonwood.  I was hoping to add them to a shop like Society 6 yet before Christmas, but I still need to work out some details.

You may remember this book tree from last year.  This may shock some of you, but no one who knows me would be surprised, it's still up!!  Yep.  I liked it and honestly it just looked like a tree, it didn't need to be a Christmas tree.  Soooo....the question is, do I take it down now that it is actually Christmas and put something different there?  I think I may just make some different reader ornaments to adorn it. 

Completely unrelated to Christmas Trees, but related to God, so I guess it is related to Christmas trees:  You may enjoy this series of four podcasts by Father Mike Schmitz   They are given at the University of North Dakota. The series is really good and I think it's just so true and relevant to every person.  He calls the series "Comparisin"  as a pun to Comparison.  On my phone, I find it on the Podbean App.  

He also has podcasts at Ascension Press which are different than the ones he gives to the college students at University of North Dakota. So there is a lot to check out from him.  

Tissue Covers From Vintage Fabric Part 2

Sooooo, eight years ago I posted about making some tissue covers, you can read about it here.
I ended the post saying that I would be making more....

 Eight years later, I did!! 

These were all vintage fabrics again, but I have no idea what sales they came from this time.   Many different ones.

I have fabric sorted very roughly into colors and kept in clear bags or tubs so I can see what is inside.  Most of the pieces are scraps and often quite small so the piecing together is needed.  But, that is what makes them so fun.

I have to say, it's pretty time intensive because of the choices and the limitations on fabric sizes, but time well spent in the midst of all this color and pattern!

I didn't put in the little tab like I did eight years ago because all of these were so different I would have needed even more options of trim that I have.  But I don't think they are missing a thing without it.

When I stacked these up, I thought it was interesting how they look like little sacks of feed and some of the scraps I used are indeed from feed sacks.  :)

These will also be for sale this year at Old Cottonwood.

Pop Crate Advent Calendar (the no candy kind!)

I posted this project on Instagram along with the process to make it in my stories there.  

I saved those stories to one of the highlights so you can go take a look if you'd like to make your own.

I'd had this idea for so long!  

So I was pretty happy to finally bring it to life.

I used vintage music, calendars, and my own hand printed and painted paper to make the collages for the one side.  

On the other side I glued vintage jewelry pieces so day by day, you reveal the sparkle.

I chose gold, silver, red, and green jewelry along with a couple of religious medals.

A couple of years ago, I made a really scrappy advent calendar as a gift for a friend.  You can see it here.  That was a lot of fun to make too!

I also made this one in was that so long ago?!  I ended up gluing all the pieces in place and I still put it out every year and really enjoy it even if we can't "count down" with it.

And then there is this one too, that I still put candy in for the youngest two kids. :) 

This one will be for sale at Old Cottonwood this advent. 

Have a great week!

Sail On Trust

A couple of weeks ago, I posted that I was back to 'making to sell'.  I have a big huge cloud of doubt hanging over my head so what I think I should say is 'making to HOPE to sell'  because of course, it may not go as planned or as hoped.  

It may not. 

 But, here I am, making and making and really believing that's it where I'm being led.

This small fleet of ships will be for sale at Old Cottonwood's shop through the Christmas season.  Along with a number of other items that I have been working on.

The paper I used for the sails are hand printed and hand painted on both sides by me. I made the little boats out of salvaged lathe boards.  Some from the old house turned shop from where I grew up.

I have had these little ships sitting out in our dining room for some time now and am so pleased with how they turned out.  Sail boats and old ships with sails hold a special place in my being.  Some of you may have seen others that I have made on Instagram.  This link shows two I made from a pattern from Ann Wood.

A bit of the backstory:

Our lives are going through a radical change.  My husband is leaving the family farm operation in the near future.  And his future, our future, is a great big, vast unknown.  As you can imagine our conversations over the past number of months have been about this.  About where/how God is leading us.  I think of all the things I hope to do in my life and none compare to my desire to trust.  To fully trust in God.  I told my husband that all I want to do is to sail out the rest of our time on Earth on Trust.  I want to sail on Trust.  
I sure didn't see this coming.  The farm situation for a number of reasons brought my husband to a deep depression.  Whoa.  Did not see that coming.  The answer became very clear, quite literally over night. It was time for him to leave the farm.  Literally overnight.  Had not even seriously considered it before in any fashion and then one of us mentioned that option and we both knew that was the path.  

So when I look at my life and see all that I had absolutely no idea was going to happen...could not have planned for...could not have been prepared for...except for preparing myself by loving and trusting in God, I know that is my goal.  To trust more, to trust completely, to trust so much that I'll set sail on trust.

I didn't chose a specific piece of paper when I stamped the words "sail on trust" on to the front of this sail, but just quickly picked one that appealed to me from my stash.  Later, I realized that the back of this one has a pattern I made from a rain drop stamp that I had carved.  

Rain drops seem to signal difficult times.  

And rain drops look an awful lot like tear drops to me.

A quote from St. Therese of Lisieux.  A very favorite of mine, wood burned into a pine board. ♥

If you are local, check out Old Cottonwood in Utica!  Brent and Leah are great people and they have a wonderful brick and mortar shop!!

It's Close Enough to Who I Am

Yesterday, I was working in the barn and it was chilly.  I had on layers.  But, I always have on layers.  Even in the house.  I'm always cold.  
The plaids and the layers caught my eye in the bathroom mirror and I thought I wanted to remember these beautiful layers.  So I took a picture.  A selfie if you will.  

I have to admit that I actually smoothed out my wrinkles in Photoshop before posting this, because the years have not been good to me age-wise.  But what has been good is that I don't really care.  Well, I care enough to not show you all how really awful it is, but as my sweet Gardening Friend said, "It's who I am."  ♥  

In my case, "It's close enough to who I am!"

Then I decided that it may be a good exercise to try and draw it.

I like the layers. ♥

Why am I posting this?  I guess to just share how little details are valuable.  And, that if I would have been so self conscious to not take the picture, I wouldn't have been able to spend the time thinking about and drawing the layers. 

I'm not completely over the self conscious thing. (Obviously, no face included!)  When my girls were looking at the photos on my phone, I had a small panic of my photo being on there, and had to quickly explain why I had taken a photo of myself!  Truly felt the need to explain it! 

~Have a great week~

Focus: A Very Wide Focus

These past weeks have been filled with a focus on family and creating.  All good things!  I am making with the intent of selling again.  In the years since I let the shelves of my two Etsy shops go bare, Etsy has changed drastically.  And I think I have too.  Not drastically on my end, just a different focus.  A very wide focus, ha!  There is plaster, metal, paper, flowers, photography.  

Often times they come together.  

I'm designing a line of greeting cards. Of course the "hows" are still a work in progress. 
The cards will bring together my love of flowers, metal, vintage, and photography. 

I also have created a number of metal collages which I'm just so happy with.  Happy to live in the moments of creating them.  Happy to live in the nostalgia they emit.  The specifics of how and where to sell are also a work in progress.

Another 'finally getting started with project' is to have prints and posters made of my photos.  More "hows" there too.  So much to learn!

The above image started as a rough draft and I just typed a quick thought and I think I'm keeping it.  That's what came to mind after I arranged all the little bits of dried flowers.  I should add that the thought may have been quick, but the selection of font was certainly not! I learned what an SVG font is and how to edit it in Photoshop.  I was pretty chuffed about that new skill.  It opened up a lot of new options. :) 

So much beauty.  All depends on how we look at it from within.

So There Was a Third

The ideas started spinning when I began to adorn the vintage sari ribbons.  You can see the first two here and here.

After making the first two, I thought just words would be interesting. I can see this being a wonderful gift to someone!

Descriptive words or words of affirmation.  You could string it along a shelf or wrap it around a bottle or jar filled with treasures.

I used one of my vintage typewriters to type the words on to muslin.  That in itself got more ideas going, fun!!

I hope you're having a great week. I've been working now with some rusty metal assemblages and am really enjoying the process.  I'll share some soon.

Another Sari Ribbon Garland

As I said in my first post about the Sari Ribbon Garland, I couldn't make just one! :) 

 I have a small collection of vintage religious medals and bits of broken rosaries. 

The patina on them just makes them that much better.

The little piece in the back is part of a handmade scapular that was in a little box of medals at our church's garage sale.  The cross is hand embroidered on felt.

 In smaller segments, this ribbon would make great book marks!

Flowers in Her Hair

When our granddaughters came to stay in June, the daisies were blooming and I had the romantic idea of them making daisy crowns while sitting out in the trees on a blanket and then having so much fun playing around with them as princesses, queens, fairies or as just flowers in their hair!  

Also, there would beautiful photos of them having this magical time. 

The reality was the youngest got bit by a mosquito by her eye the first day and it swelled up like she'd been in a huge knock out drag down fight with her sister.  Sooooo I limited her time outside and of course used bug spray.  

Flower crowns my be a romantic notion for children, but braiding them to actually hold is a far greater skill than one would think.  So while my girls entertained my granddaughters, I braided the crowns and it took a bit of time! 

The part that I got right was that they loved playing with them!  The crafting of them out in the grass and the beautiful romantic photos that I dreamed of were so far from reality!  I posted about this on Instagram and I'm still shaking my head at myself.

(Look at that dirty face!!)

I had to work hard to get these photos decent that's why the edits are all different, ha!!  I had no time to even think about my camera and settings.

So: lesson learned:  That even at my age and state in life I can still be unrealistic.  However, I recognized it in about 10 minutes in and adapted!  Or maybe I should say "accepted" the situation as it was.  The goal was to have fun and that part was a success.  There is a dried daisy crown in the laundry room as a memento. :)

Sari Ribbon Garland

For my birthday this past winter, my husband gifted me a subscription to Taproot Magazine.  Are you familiar with it?  It was new to me last year.  When I discovered it, I ordered one copy and made this forager vest from the Grain issue. It's a really beautifully put together publication with no advertising, I'd highly recommend it.

The most recent issue is called RELISH and in it was a simple project to  decorate silk ribbon. 

I used vintage buttons and scraps of fabric and fibers to embellish about a yard of vintage sari ribbon.  Lots of fun to make!

Little bits of the past tied on to one another::make a beautiful gathering of bits. ♥

The Garden, but Different

I set out to take pictures from the back of the garden as there is neat moss and patina that I really enjoy that isn't readily seen.  But, when I came to edit the photos I and white really shows the shapes which I also enjoy.  So here you go, garden photos with no color, but with a great moody feel!
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