I had a little surprise ….

….for a Lady that has been in our life nearly every day, ever since we have moved to South Carolina.

She comes when it’s pouring, blowing or scorching heat. She brings our mail and sometimes some heavy packages.

She is such a sweet Lady. Usually around Christmas time I leave her a small something in the mailbox. Either a card, or some candy or gingerbread from Germany.

This year I had something else in mind.

So I contacted my wonderful creative miniature clay artist and asked if she could make me a little something for a mouse.  She was all in and started working on some mail.

This is what I had in my mail a little bit later. Funny, now that I think of it, my mail lady was delivering her mail for her mail mouse.

mail1

I still had a styrofoam heart wreath, so I covered that with some red knit and went on  to knit a little mouse.

I did a search online to see how the mail gets carried around in the US. So I found a picture of a mail carrier bag and did my best to make a replica of it for my little grey fellow.

And this is the end result. po

Ok, that  was a go.

Now on to attach the mouse to the wreath and figure out where and how to attach the bag to the mouse. postman

I tried a few different places, but was most happy with this one. And then came the fun part.

Spreading all the mail over the wreath.

postman1postman2postman3postman4postman5

Well, as I said in the beginning, it was going to be a Christmas present. But it is really difficult for me to hold on to something that I specially made for a person.  I just want to give it to them right then.

I held on to it for a few days, but today she parked her mail car in our driveway. I knew she was coming out with a package, so I walked towards her took our mail and a few packages and asked her to wait. So I ran back inside and gave her the wreath.

“oh thank you, you just made my day! This is so cute”  “Thank you” I said and “Merry Christmas, but I just couldn’t wait”

That made my day and satisfied this little crafters soul.

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it would help to know my Physics….

So the last thing you saw was this

ham4

I think by now it’s safe to say that this will be a wreath with two trees, some sky and grass.

I then made a hammock, that I attached to the tree trunks. And went on to making the mouse and the accessories. I had to wait for the feedback from my kiddo on the teachers eyes. I like making my mice personal.

ham7

The hammock looked pretty comfy to me. I am one to spend a lot of time in my own hammock, enjoying the sounds of nature, soaking up the sun or reading a good book. Or sometimes just taking a nap.

What I didn’t take in account that the mouse would not have the same weight distribution as I did.

After I had finished up the mouse I sewed it to the hammock and picked the wreath up on it’s hanger.

Guess what???

Yes, the mouse did a flip and was hanging belly down!!! Sorry, I have no picture of that. I was just too frustrated with myself. Why didn’t it dawn on me, that the lightweight hammock would not hold the “heavy” mouse.

I had to ponder on that for a little and tried a few options.

I finally managed to find one that wouldn’t look too funny and awkward.

This morning I printed out some book covers and cut out little book pages and sewed the books together. I then glued them to the wreath.Hammock5

Attached my little tag and wrapped it up. Sat the kiddo down to write a little note for the teacher as soon we got back from School.

I hope the teacher gets to enjoy her Summer Break with some good books in a hammock.

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lots of green

remember this? ham

 

Over the last few days I worked with a lot of browns and greens, to add more definition to this wreath.

This is how it looks like, at the moment. ham4

I am not quite sure if I want to fill in some more leaves and leave the roots as they are.

In the meantime I will start on my mouse and on something else that will be added to this wreath. As well as some accessories that I still have to get started on. The good thing is, that it doesn’t have to be ready until the last day of School, so I have a little time to experiment and see how it is coming together and what I like best.

At the same time my yard is calling me, we need to get things planted, some bushes and grasses so our sand / yard doesn’t get washed away. But I am waiting on the people from 811 to spray their orange color so I know where the lines are, they are taking their sweet time though.

and then there was this…..what will this be?

while I was at it……  I mean, while I had my mouse supply out I figured it wouldn’t hurt to start on my youngest teacher gift, for the end of the year. Just finished the music teachers gift yesterday.

These are the wreaths I made last year for the teachers.

After my kiddo has the same teacher she had last year, I have to come up with something different.

She did love her wreath though and had it out in the hall as deco for a while.

 

So I found this ham2

and then I added a little bit of this

ham1

The end product for today is this

ham

I still have to figure out how to add a few distinctive things, to make it more 3 dimensional, but that will happen the next few days.

At the same time I have to start on a mouse that will go on this wreath.

What do you think this will be?

 

 

Christmas Mouse

A few weeks back I saw a post on FB saying it was 100 days until Christmas. Wow, that’s not much time, I thought.  Time for me to think about gifts for friends and family. Because when you make handmade gifts one thing you don’t have enough of is time.

While one night I couldn’t sleep I thought of my mice and what I had created so far. It was quite a few over the last years.

Some of them you can see here in my collection  (they are not in chronically order, but a little get together of my mice)

But I thought, I have not made any Christmas themed mice yet. I mentioned that to my friend while we where strolling through our Craft store. One of our favorite places to go.

“oh, I would like one, would you make one for me???” is what she said.  Excited to get the chance of making one, I said ” sure, if you buy the supplies”

Which she promptly answered with “what do we need to get?”

So off we go to buy all the essentials.

ring

This was our starting point, a Styrofoam ring, big enough for one mouse and a Christmas tree.  The tree we had saw while we where roaming the Christmas aisles earlier.  So we went back to pick out the nicest we could find. Some decoration for the wreath, some yarn and other little nick knacks.

At home I got right to it. First I had to cover the ugly tube wreath.  It always takes a while until I figure out how many stitches it will need. Every yarn is different, it will stretch different, either needs smaller or bigger needle size to cover up proper. strip

This “tube” knitting I love doing while watching TV, because you don’t have to think while doing it. No counting, no decreasing or increasing. All  I need to pay attention to is the length, to fit around the whole wreath.  I chain it off and start looking for my mending needle. Cut off  a super long thread and start stretching and sewing, while making sure the seam stays in the back. Not always a easy task. Yarn often has a mind of its own.

sew

Ok, now that was done. I had to figure out how it would look best. The tree on the side or better in the middle. And how am I going to attach it? Needed a little pondering on that, but came up with a solution.

chriswreath

Don’t ask my thumb, but I hit it a few times. I decided just gluing it to the wreath was not sturdy enough.

But first I needed to get started on my mouse. I usually start out with the head, nose first. Then attach the body and get knitting in the round, build up the little belly, stuff it and sew it shut. Then I make the ears, first the outside, then the inside and sew it together. And make another one. The arms get knitted right out of the body, as well as the legs. I usually do them last, because I’d like to know what or who the mouse will be so I can make the right colored shoes for them. Or sometimes the mouse needs to be able to stand and then I have to add wire while I am knitting. I am pretty sure I make funny faces while doing that, because it’s a pain in the behind.

So I finished my mouse body. Then of course he needed some Santa pants. Let me go back to the internet real quick and see how the should look. Ah yeah, I need red and white for that. I pick up the stitches around his belly and get to work, fiddle around until I have all the stitches evenly on my needles.

When I get to the tail I make sure there is a whole to pull it through. Because who want their tail stuck in their pants?

What I don’t like is always hiding away all those loose ends.

santas

But I want him to look nice, so getting my sewing needle and scissors and sew all those threads into place.

What else does a Santa mouse need?

Oh yeah a coat.

Yikes, this mouse has quite a belly on him. Well he needed to, he is Santa. But not much fun to get the right size for the coat. santajack

I hope the bottom is wide enough and will go around his jolly belly. And not too wide on the top. We will see, first I have to sew those pesky threads in again.

santajack1

I usually attach the sleeves after I have put the jacket on. Like that they don’t get too long. It would be easier the other way around. But I like a challenge and want to have it look right.

So now that’s done, I still need a Santa hat. My friend requested a little bell to be on it as well. OMG….where did I put my little bells???? I had really tiny ones at some point, but where did I put them, don’t tell me I gave them away! Well I didn’t find them. But I found a golden little jingle rolling around in my key chain drawer….phew, just the right size. This will work just fine.

Ok, so how far are his ears apart?  I don’t ever sew them on the same spot. Gives them their own personality, plus the heads are never the same size. Due to different yarn, different stuffing and the tension while I am knitting.

Picking up stitches, knitting a few rounds…… ah…. forgot, I was supposed to start with the white thread. Unravel.  Start again. Hm…this looks too small…. unravel ….pick up stitches again, knit a few rounds…. aghh…this looks too big…unravel…pick up stitches, knit. Ok this looks like it could fit.  Change over to red and start decreasing. Ugh….why did I pick this mohair yarn, it’s so fuzzy and it likes clinging to itself.  I lost track of my decreasing. Oh crap, no it’s lopsided. ….unravel again… fix it.

And yes, there is threads again, that need to be tucked away neatly. hat

Holding it to the head, seams to fit. Maybe I’ll stuff it a little bit. While sewing the hat to the mouse I think “shouldn’t of stuffed the hat, it’s all wandering up to the end of the cap. And it’s so not cooperating while I try to attach it to the head.

I think I need a break, stupid  Santa hat.

Let me surf a little on the internet to get some inspiration on how I could do the belt, or does Santa have buttons?  Oh no, it’s a belt. Where did I get the idea of buttons? Sometimes you second guess yourself while doing stuff.

Hm, what could I use for his belt, let me go through my ribbon box, see if there is anything in there that would fit. Oh yeah, I like this one, let’s see how it looks. Oh and for the belt closure?  Na…. I will find that tomorrow, I need some sleep.

So the next day while I was going through my beads, I found a few that I thought could work. I asked my kids what they thought would look good. nowhiskers

And this is how Santa looks dressed, in his pants and jacket. While I was looking at the pictures I noticed something…..MY MOUSE DOESN’T HAVE ANY WHISKERS YET…… how did this happen??? Had to fix that immediately , can’t have a mouse with no whiskers.

After that I sewed Santa Mouse to the wreath.

chriswreath1

With his little bell on his hat, whiskers in his face and belt and buckle around his belly.

What should I do next? My friend hat picked out a few felt forms that she wanted on the wreath. So let me lay them on there to see how it will look.

It looked ok, so I glued them on.

ohnepres1

 

And then I wanted some presents under the tree. Yes I could just make some little cardboard boxes and wrap them with paper. But anyone can do that. I wanted them to be knitted. Ugh….why do I do that to myself?

pres

I tried the first one, knitted it like I learned in Geometry how you build a cube out of paper. And then stuffed it with fiber fill. It looked more like a wonky cube to me. So yeah, that would do it. I knitted another one and glued it on card board and then cut it out and sewed it together. Well while it was a good idea I shouldn’t of pulled harder on some sides than on others. It ended up as a little out of shape box.

I showed them to my friend and told her, that I am still working on some more because those are a little funny.

She said “no I like them, they are rustic”

Ok, so let me get some ribbons on them then and see how they will look.

Hahaha….that was a task of it’s own. The ribbon didn’t want to stay where I had planned it to be. I pulled out my weapon. …..my sewing needle and some thread. If you don’t want to stay where I told you to, I will sew you to the present. That’s what I did. On one I even created one of those bows that has a few loops.

Place them on the wreath and sew them to it was my last task. I thought.

I was not quite happy. I thought something was still missing.  Santa needed to have something in his hands.  Called my friend again. “Do you mind if Santa is holding a glass heart?”

Off to go find the right one and attach it to his hand. Now he is done! Now I can bring him over to her house.

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So there you go, now you saw how much time and processing goes into making one of my mice wreath. I love creating those mice, each of them is unique. Has it’s own personality. But because of it it takes me a little longer because there is a lot of undoing before I get it right.

I hope you enjoyed the little insight.

Spotlight Friday: Summer is here

A few days ago Summer officially started. And the temperatures now prove it. Oh my it has gotten hot the last few days here in South Carolina.

I usually take a bottle of water with me when I drive somewhere, but my last few trips to the stores, one wasn’t enough.

To go swimming in our backyard pool we have to go either very early or late afternoon. During the daytime it just gets too hot and the UV is very high as well.

Wow you run out of indoor ideas for kids pretty quick if you are stuck in the house and the heat just drags you down. Luckily we have fans that run pretty much all day to cool us a little. Our AC is  usually set to 10 – 12 F cooler then what the temperature it is outside. That made for a 86 F in the house the last few days, and even then it was running quite often. We shed clothing pretty quick, close all the curtains and blinds in the house, live off cold drinks and fruits, to stay cool. I don’t know how people did it when there was no AC.

Well I guess trying to cool down during a hot Summer has been around quite a while:

Evaporative cooling

Since prehistoric times, snow and ice were used for cooling. The business of harvesting ice during winter and storing for use in summer became popular towards the late 19th century.[3] This practice was replaced by mechanical ice-making machines.

The basic concept behind air conditioning is said to have been applied in ancient Egypt, where reeds were hung in windows and were moistened with trickling water. The evaporation of water cooled the air blowing through the window. This process also made the air more humid, which can be beneficial in a dry desert climate. In Ancient Rome, water from aqueducts was circulated through the walls of certain houses to cool them. Other techniques in medieval Persia involved the use of cisterns and wind towers to cool buildings during the hot season.[4]

The 2nd-century Chinese inventor Ding Huan (fl 180) of the Han Dynasty invented a rotary fan for air conditioning, with seven wheels 3 m (9.8 ft) in diameter and manually powered.[5] In 747, Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712–762) of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) had the Cool Hall (Liang Tian) built in the imperial palace, which the Tang Yulin describes as having water-powered fan wheels for air conditioning as well as rising jet streams of water from fountains. During the subsequent Song Dynasty (960–1279), written sources mentioned the air conditioning rotary fan as even more widely used.[6]

In the 17th century, Cornelis Drebbel demonstrated “Turning Summer into Winter” for James I of England by adding salt to water.[7] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_conditioning)

Modern air conditioning emerged from advances in chemistry during the 19th century, and the first large-scale electrical air conditioning was invented and used in 1902 by American inventor Willis Carrier. The introduction of residential air conditioning in the 1920s helped enable the great migration to the Sun Belt in the United States.

I love the mornings though, when I get out to water all my plants with rainwater. I see and hear all the birds out, the bees humming and getting busy. Early as well, because they retreat as soon as it gets blistering hot. The other day I got mocked by a blue jay. We “talked” back and forth and he got pretty close being nosy of what I was doing. Then it sounded like he as laughing at me, a few times. Then the bird took off. I enjoy those interactions with nature, while everyone in the house is still sleeping and the neighborhood is just starting to awake.

We spent a few hours at the lake here and maybe we might get a trip in to the beach. But actually I love having a stay-cation. The kids not so much, because then there is not a lot of “action”. I understand that,being stuck in one place as a teen is not too much fun. There are quite a few possibilities for day trips around here which I am sure we will get checked off our list.

summer-is-here-now

Don’t these wonderful items from this Etsy Treasury just want to grab your bathing suit and go find a beach?

There is a new online site for Handmade items, that I joined, so i thought it would be fun to see what I can find there for summer items. It is called ArtYah. (click on the picture and it will take you to the shop) This is where you can find me on ArtYah, my shop there


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Starfish pillows, nautical decor, blue starfish pillow, minky starfish pillow by Fleeceofnature

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Summer Eve at the Jetty, Scituate, Massachusetts by JoeParskeyGallery

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
beach vibes, Hand Embroidered Mini Banner, Customizable by ArtandAroma

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
apple body scrub, bath, beauty, scrub, gifts, body scrub by normasbathandbody

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Sun door hanger, sunshine sign, summer sign
by Angela815

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Dichroic Surfboard Pendant – Dragonflies – “Mountain Meanderings” by Crystal CaveGlassArt

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
20 Thank You Tag Beach Wedding Tag Beach Bridal Shower Beach Baby Shower by Autumnslilshop

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Been There Done That Arrows Cotton Canvas Tote Bag by Jafnmac

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Red Poppies Meadow Original Oil Painting Impasto Flower Landscape Europe Artist by ArtistsUnion

And I also checked out Zibbet, what kind of Summer treasures they have:

 


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Butterfly Photo, Summer Wall Art, summer decor by SeeLifeShine


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Summer Nights Tealight Candles
by I B4 E CREATIONS


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Watermelon slice summer fashion tote bag by My Apopsis World


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Nature Mini Photograph Print by AmeliaKayPhotography


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

BLOOMFIELD Summer Socks Hand Knit by PEIsocks


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Lemon and Lime. Handmade Yarn Wreath Spring Summer by ItzFitz


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Summer day Citrine and MOP earrings
by perhapsturquoise


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Petunia – A Summer Knitted Doll – Toy Knitting Pattern
by Joanna Marshall


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet

Handmade Cold Process Soap – Summer Citrus
by Simpson Soap Company

 

Now if that wasn’t enough Summer inspiration for you.

I wish you a wonderful Friday and a super relaxing weekend!

sig

Spotlight Friday: the color Purple for your Saturday

I hope everyone is warm. In the morning my car said -9 C/  15.8F when I dropped the kids off at School. Brrrr….. that’s cold for South Carolina. That meant a lot of layers and some gloves, hats and scarfs.

I finished a pair of socks for myself yesterday. I didn’t have any warm socks left, two knitted ones in the wash and the commercial ones are either to thin for this weather or had “ventilation” holes.  So today I will have toasty toes thanks to this pair.

warm socks  They are a little darker purple then in the picture.

This brings me to the Colors of the day. The last color I didn’t cover yet is Purple, for your Saturday. For me it is Saturday everyday, because Purple is my favorite color. I think if there would of been a possibility to get my car in purple, I would of.

Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic. (http://www.bourncreative.com/meaning-of-the-color-purple/)

Purple is a rare color in Nature, there are only a few plants that have purple flowers. Can you guess what grows around my house? Yes ,a lot of Lavender. I love the smell and the color. Not so much my kids, when the bees come out. But when the hummingbirds and butterflies are all over the bushes the kids will sit and watch.

Purple or violet gemstones are believed to increase your imagination, remove perceived spiritual obstacles, calm confrontations, and re-energize the learning of new things.

  • Having either purple or violet as your favorite color means you are sensitive and compassionate, understanding and supportive, thinking of others before yourself – you are the person others come to for help – being needed motivates you but sometimes people take advantage of you.

So let me go hunt for some Purple:


Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Wooden Toy Cars by countrysidegifts

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Vintage Pair of Purple / Mauve Mdina Glasses by BiminiCricket

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
DRAGONFLY Lotus Flower CAMEO Necklace by artjewelryforyou

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Fingerless Gloves by UpNorthKnits

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Handwoven Black, Purple, Lime Green Rag Rug 25 x 62 by rags2rugsandmore

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Hand Knit Cup Cozy by MaxieKCreations

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Dripping in Blooms Purple Yarn Door Wreath
by ItzFitz

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Full Embroidered Purple Pansy apron with a pocket
by embroidereddreams

Item Title by Shop Name on Zibbet
Purple Mountain Majesty
by MC designs

Purple always puts me in a good mood.