Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Nature's Fireworks & Lambie Cuteness

Weeks ago, I purchased a flowering mixed plant for my container on the corner of my front porch.  With the crazy hot weather, it has been struggling to adapt.  Mr. Hollow and I were gone all day yesterday for a wedding and left bright and early this morning to go flea marketing.  Look what I found when I got home!  My plant is beginning to bloom.  The bursts of color reminds me of fireworks.

Thought I would share some of the Lambie cuteness happening over at the farm.  Here is Syd catching a snooze in his Mom Sadi's dinner.

We use to wish for black lambs that would REALLY stay black. This year's lambs or should I say ewes delivered big time!  Here is just one of about 5 black lambs born to the farm.  Oh... and that is not my finger in the upper right corner.  It is our wether Sam's ear.  He loves attention and being petted.  I had to keep pushing him to the side to get a descent photo. LOL

Syd decided to do a little posing with his brother Sky.  They are absolutely beautiful.  Unfortunately, I believe they will being going up for adoption. Farmerboy does not want to have a bunch of rams.  These little guys have the most gorgeous crimpy fine fleece like their Daddy Spiez.  I am waiting and dreading to hear what the kid's are going to keep for the flock... They are all so darn cute and charming too!

I think their Shepherdess is going to be dreading the decision as well.  She can be caught between chores sitting somewhere in the barnyard with a little flock of babies surrounding her...   

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Review of Etsy Store ~ Southern Glory Goods Co

Southern Glory Goods Co is a store on Etsy (here) carrying vintage feedsack purses, totes, clutches, aprons, pillows, slow poured candles, potpourri, and soooo much more from North Carolina artist Lisa Vann.  I stumbled across her store while searching for a replacement of my faux leather Chinese production purse.  No hate here.  My China made purse has served me well, got loads of compliments and wore well considering the price paid, but it was time for a change.  I have never been happy with traditional purses, so it was time to turn to a talented fiber artist to make me happy.  And let me tell you, Lisa did NOT disappoint... And ask my family, I am crazy picky about handcrafted quality.  She combined my love of collecting vintage feed sacks (also her love too!) with a nice size purse/tote and kept it stylish.  Her sewing skills blew me away!  Just look...

My first love was obviously the feedsack / sturdy tote combo.  I always have dreamed of the perfect marriage of a purse with vintage muslin feedsacks.  Well, here is the answer to my wishes.   This wonderful snap closure tote showcases two feedsacks that double as pockets on the outside and inside... tons of storage!  This blue side was the first feedsack to win me over... not sure why... it just did.  (Although she has a blue tote with a sugar feedsack still calling to me. ;) Drat!! )

Here is the other side.  Painstakingly vintage patched feedsack.  It sings to my heart friends!  Since seeing it in person, I am now favoring this side.  Hmmm... Well, I can always flip it back and forth depending on the outfit. ;)

A peek at the inside.  Loads of small pockets with a snap closure.   Flawless!  :)

Can't buy a purse without a clutch!  This was purchased to keep my check book and smaller items in. 

Zipper closure, padded and lined!

Both sides are equally impressive!

Mr. Hollow was just as amazed as myself about Lisa's skills as a fashion designer and creator.  This purse/tote is expertly sewn and pieced together.  Well worth the money paid.  I commented to Mr. Hollow about my intentions of purchasing more in the future.  My hubby never argued.  Although he did mention this morning, about contacting her to make a DeKalb one for our area.  We could even locate a bag to send her... After the conversation, I got on Etsy and nearly fell over.  Look what Lisa listed today!!!  She must be able to read minds as well. LOL   I still love that darn blue sugar feedsack tote (still available in her store), but I had to purchase this one to represent the area.  Alas, the blue sugar tote will wait for another day... Unless another one catches my eye first! ;)

If you want a beautifully crafted tote with some vintage snazziness or some of Lisa's other eye catching creations, check out Southern Glory Goods Co..  Lisa Vann is living her dream, as I am sure destiny intended.  Her love and her God gifted talent lives in every detail of her creations.  Check out her charming store on Etsy here.

***  My reviews from the past to current have never been based on items gifted to me for review.  I simply believe in taking some of my hard earned money to make purchases from a wonderful world of talented artists and sharing with my friends those individuals who shine extra bright.  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Lambing Season Has Begun!!!

Spring lambing has just begun!  Prepare for some major cuteness.  :)
The first ewe to kick off lambing season was Marlena, and she meant business.  Marlena gave our flock its first ever TRIPLETS!   Yep, triplets!  The first lambs to kick off 2018 were Mae, Maddie and Morris.  As you can see, our Shepherdess is right in the mix of things making sure all is well.  Mother and babies are doing fine.... And without any need for outside relief.  Although tonight, the little ones (at one day old) were pawing and bouncing all over Mom.  God bless Marlena.  She is heading for Sainthood!


Maddie took after Marlena in markings, along with her brother Morris.  They look like mini fawns.  They are so innocent when their tired.  LOL

Marlena's colors have shifted to grays.  I never realized how much until last year's coat was removed.

Our Shepherdess went out yesterday to check on the triplets and found Helen with her twins!  They are her very first lambs. The little black one with a touch of white is Hector.

And our little Hannah is almost an exact duplicate of her Grandpa Maximillian.  :) 

Our newest baby arrived this afternoon.  Here he is with his mother Trixie.  One really big boy!  He is so new, he hasn't been named.

I believe their are 4 more ewes expecting.  So stay tuned!  :)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review of the Instant Pot

Other than my obsession of finding the perfect baking pans, I have been very diligent in not purchasing kitchen gadgets.  The criteria for letting one through the door is set extremely high.  A house only has so much storage space.  So if the gadget doesn't fill a strong need, I leave it on the store shelf.   So where did this Instant Pot come from you ask?  It was a Christmas present from the kids.  I know!  I was surprised.  My daughter in law was sure I wanted one.  She couldn't have been more wrong.  This is going to sound strange, since you all know how much I love canning and food preservation, but here is the truth of the matter:  I am horrified of pressure cookers!!!  Okay, now it is out there for everyone to read.  And I do mean horrified.  So much so, that it took 3 1/2 months for me to give this baby a whirl.   I just wanted to get my original feelings out there prior to this review.  Maybe it will be important to someone else not wanting one of these contraptions.
The instruction manual for this machine is very brief and to the point.  I thought it was a little scant.  But honestly, there really isn't a whole lot to this gadget.  For real!   The main points are:  listen to the sounds of the lid locking, keep your hands and face away from the vent, make sure the dial is set on seal for pressure cooking, and know if you either need to do a 15 minute natural release or a quick release prior to opening.  The rest is simply pushing a cooking cycle or setting a time when working with a recipe.  It was ridiculously simple.... Well except for my innate fear of  being steam burnt  or having the appliance blow me up into pieces that is! ;)   Which is why I chose to do a quick release AFTER my recipe had me do a natural release for 15 minutes... Better safe than sorry, I say!
Alright, alright.  What did I really think of this cooker?  I can honestly say, "It is one of the coolest machines in my arsenal."  Trust me, I am not saying this to make my daughter in law happy.  She isn't the kind of girl that weeps over the truth.  I am just floored at how fast this unit can cook meat crazy tender in minutes.  It would be an asset to any busy household.  Although I must be strong in saying, this IS a seriously dangerous device if you do NOT respect the pressure cooking release procedures.   Plus, it is not a machine to leave in the reach of children, as with all kitchen cookers.  (Please accept this advice from an experienced cook who ignorantly gave herself a second degree burn in her childhood when removing a lid in the wrong direction over a boiling pot on a stove.)
This machine has been designed to be user friendly.  The digital settings and instant settings make pressure cooking a breeze.  It creates some wonderful food entrees and makes me forget about being blown up.  LOL  I cannot believe that I almost didn't own one of these fine machines. 
The recipe book included with the machine did not impress me at all.  It wasn't for me.  But if one goes out on the web, there are literally hundreds of great recipes out there.  My first dish was corned beef and cabbage.  It took a little less than a hour and a half for the corned beef to be completely finished (includes the pressure build and release.)  The potatoes, carrots and cabbage took only an additional 16 minutes... start to finish.  Plus to Mr. Hollow's delight, the smell was kept to a minimum. :) 

Here is a chuck roast fresh out of the Instant Pot.  It is falling apart.  Exactly how I love it.  I would have let this go in the oven for 3 to 4 hours.  In the Instant pot, it cooked start to finish in 96 minutes. 
And again to my hubby's happiness, no smell wafting through out the house.  Although I personally never minded it!

The gravy was flavorful too!

Now this just knocked me off my feet,  a six pound chicken cooked from start to finish in 50 minutes.   Holey Toledo, I can have baked meat in the summer without sweating profusely in my kitchen.  :)  If you follow the recipe and sear the top of the chicken, it is hard to make out that this bird didn't come out of an oven.  It was flavorful, juicy and falling off the bone.  It was at the moment this bird was done that I realized... This appliance was a keeper!! 

The Instant Pot is also a steamer, slow cooker, yogurt maker, sautéing device and rice cooker.   It also can be put on a timer.  Or if you have to leave, the contents can finish and keep warm for hours.   I know, this is nothing revolutionary.  It is a pressure cooking device, but the new digital bells and whistles are a whole lot more appealing.  So if you are on the fence about this machine, you might want to give it a try.  I am certainly going to do some serious food experiments with it for years to come.  I am hooked!

Got to go... Mr. Hollow will be home in an hour, and I have a whole chicken to cook.  Gotta get the Instant Pot cooking!  :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sewing with the Grinch

I spent the last few months working on selling off some of my wool stash and was able to clear my studio floor of fleece filled bundles.  :)  As with most of my artistic ventures, I cannot start anything new without an organized work space.  Clutter can stop me in my tracks.  My reward for  all of the hard work in the studio was this nifty quilt kit starring none other than -- the Grinch.  Did you ever watch "Halloween is Grinch Night"?  It was one of my son's favorite Halloween movies.  The Grinch was a real naughty character.  My son loved him.  Kind of scary really!  LOL  I have decided to jump back into quilting with this kit.  Of course a hundred other projects are in the wings, but this one was too darling to pass up!

Hubby and I went shopping, and this darling "Hello Kitty" mug made its way to our home.  It makes me think of our black cat, Mew.  I would always hold her up to the TV when the "Hello Kitty" balloon was shown on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Funny enough, Mew never seemed interested.  Never the less, I tried every year, and it became a Thanksgiving tradition handed down to the new Fuzzies... with the same lack of interest.  *sigh*

Of course, I nearly flipped at Christmastime when seeing the Janome RED "Hello Kitty" sewing machine.  I know, a plastic machine???  But it was just to darn cute to pass up!  It will not be used on the Grinch quilt, but I will piece a few smaller items on it to test it out.   The machine has received various favorable reviews.  It will be coming out for a test run this month, and I will share my thoughts.  Great to see some products to encourage young people (and adults) to sew.  :)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Kitty Kickerz Cat Toys ~ Etsy Store Review

Such a busy time!  Farmerboy's shearer decided to arrive last Friday to kick off the weekend.  I have been frantically listing last year's fleece in an effort to make some Shetland space.  (Okay, I got rid of some of my hoarded stock purchases as well... only a little!)   Now, I have to get a game plan for this year's haul.  *Yikes!*

Then it occurred to me, Easter is right around the corner.  Luckily, I made a pact with a fellow coworker to give up packaged candy.  No reason to trot down the candy isle for me! ;)  I will eventually pick up something for the kids and something small for Mr. Hollow and myself.  But holy smokes, I almost forgot about the fur babies!   I decided to go to an Etsy store that is very popular with Gabby and Izzie:  Kitty Kickerz Cat Toys.   The shop is operated by a wonderful lady named Tara.  She creates an assortment of fabric cat toy Kickerz filled with organic catnip.  They were a huge hit with the little ladies at Christmas.  :) 

Santa brought each of them and their nephew Elliot a 12 inch kicker.
Here are the photos after they were wore out from playing.  I must congratulate Santa on being savvy enough NOT to put them under the tree!  LOL

The Kickerz are put up on a shelf in between plays.  The ladies know where they are at and call out their request looking fondly up at them.  These Kickerz have taken a beating and no rips yet!

Tara is currently running a 10% sale off of purchases of $25.00.  I took full advantage of the discount and was surprised to find she had some play mats, too.  Of course, I had to get a few of them to try out.  If your cats are crazy for catnip like mine, these Kickers are a great deal at $7.95 a piece.   I am not going to lie.  I was skeptical about how well they would hold together.  My ladies still have their back claws and can bunny kick up a storm, but they seriously have withstood several play sessions. If you are looking for a last minute gift for your darling little feline, check out Tara's store KittyKickerzCatToys on Etsy.  Tara's creations definitely get a shining review from myself and the ladies, too... Well, once they get done with their afternoon nap anyways!  ;)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Passing the Time in January ~ Wool Roving

January is coming to a close, and cold temps are making their way back into the forecast again.  I have been spending my free time getting a workout combing and drum carding wool from my son's Shetlands .  It is a relaxing past time. :)   Makes me feel like the sheep are close by.
Here are the black and variegated grays of Marlena.  She has the softest fleece.  I call her my big bunny!

A few of my purchases snuck their way into the line up.  This is some stretchy and lofty Gulf Coast Native fleece.  It is going to make some excellent sock yarn.  It has some canary staining which gives it a nice lemon color.  How is that for natural coloring?  LOL

I save some of this lot for myself.  (Okay, I saved a fleece of Marlena for myself too!)   It is from Blackie and is created from a 1st shearing.  The coveted lamb fleece.  Blackie was black from root to tip.  You could dive into the wonderful jet black depths.  Not gonna lie... I wish I wouldn't have sold the majority of the fleece.

One of my latest projects is from the matriarch of our flock, Miss Lego.  She lends herself to the soft side of the Shetland spectrum.  The roving is from crazy long locks and is absolutely wonderful to handle.  I will be saving some for myself in the next batch!  ;)

Cocoa (a lovely dark brown Shetland) and Liam (the most indescribable color of lamb fleece I have EVER seen)  are currently on the combs.  Most of my winter's work was graciously purchased by the community on Ravelry.  It will greatly help the flock with feed and veterinarian costs.  It really is a labor of love.  :)

My goal for February is to start working on my New Year priorities, so tomorrow is D-day.   So much to do and so little time!  :)