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

Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Studio Area for the New Year!

Fall has always been a busy time for me at work and at home.  Last year was even worse... but with a great outcome.  I sacrificed my couple weeks of relaxing vacation to take on the task of renovating Farmerboy's bedroom into a new studio for myself.  Mr. Hollow was extremely skeptical on whether or not I could fit everything in there, but I managed to utilize every inch of wall space to its maximum ability.  I still have a ways to go with fine organizing, but I couldn't be more thrilled with the early results. :)   Plus, I can begin to create again!  Such a fabulous start to the New Year.
My first vacation in September was mainly dedicated to fixing and painting the vintage plaster walls.  The last remaining original plaster in the house.  :(   Then, the second vacation in October was spent painting... and painting... and painting trim.  The white trim took FOREVER.  I have made a mental note to listen to my daughter in law and buy the one coat coverage paint for the rest of the rooms.  ;)  Finally, Mr. Hollow and I ripped up and replaced the carpet.  I didn't want anything expensive in the room, so I went with a mid range carpet.  After all, a studio can be a very messy place at times. 
My favorite spot is the  huge island in the middle of the room.  It is just wonderful!  I purchased some inexpensive cube storage for the base.  It works perfectly for holding loads of fabric.  The top is actually the other half of our kitchen island.  I am so happy the gentlemen at our local Spahn and Rose talked us into paying only $20 more to get the wasted half of the island counter top finished.  It has been stored under our bed waiting to be used!  If you look closely, the island is big enough to house my wool combs and yarn winder.  They can be removed easily to transition the space over for painting, writing and cutting fabric for quilts.     
Mr. Hollow made a nice wood cabinet to set my floss bins into.  It really looks like a more finished and cohesive piece now, and the white really makes the colors pop. 

My huge drafting table has been stored for too many years to recall.  I was thrilled to finally give it a proper space to live.  Under it, I flipped a wood box to utilize as storage for all of my Prismacolor drawing pencils.  The wood filing cabinet, on the right, was left at home by Farmerboy.  It currently holds all of my DVDs.  The sectioned wood soda pop cartons are stacked on top and work great as cubbies for all of my various art supplies.  They use to hang in my old studio area, but I just can't see a point of mounting them on my walls.  The box in front of the drafting table is the fuzzie's mobile bed.  LOL

Each wall was suppose to have a purpose in the initial layout.  The photo above is the fine art station.  The photo below is the fleece and fiber station. This is where the carding machines reside for making roving.  Due to space constraints, I also have moveable carts parked there for the time being.  The first cart is for writing and sewing supplies.  The second cart can be rolled over to the drafting table and used as an art supply cart.

Since, I will be doing my Tole painting at the island.  I gave one of the walls over to storage.  My barnboard storage unit that Farmerboy made me fits neatly in the corner and is flanked by my reclaimed wool material cubbies. 

The final wall is the sewing area.  I purchased a sewing table on OverStock.com for quilting.  It was Mr. Hollow's idea to keep my other small industrial table for a second machine set up.   In the far corner, my barnboard pie safe sits filled with fabric.  I found a really cool vintage wood filing cabinet to use for patterns and set it on top.  To finish the wall off for now, Mr. Hollow mounted a television. 

I am sure there are some more changes coming in the future for the layout, but I am thrilled to be up and creating again.  Mr. Hollow will be finishing up the window trim, after he finishes the renovations in my old studio.  It is going to be a laundry/kitchen storage area.  I am really excited to get that finished too.  Not only will I be creating in my studio, but the kitchen storage area will make it so much easier to cook, bake and create in my kitchen as well!  :)

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Free Pattern for a Happy New Year!

Cold temps welcomed in the New Year of 2018 in Northern Illinois.  It also welcomes in a free quilting pattern from one of my favorite designers, Sindy of FatCat Patterns.  The new design is  appropriately named "Gnome for the Holiday".  This pattern is so darling and is just begging to be done in wool applique.  Sindy is so talented and generous.  I could imagine these blocks as mats and runners as well.  If you want to create along with all of Sindy's followers, you can download the instructions monthly here.  Please take the time to visit Sindy's shop.  I have purchased  some of her designs and am never disappointed.  
A huge "Thank - You" to Sindy for making this year kick off with quilting excitement.  :)  Below is a peek at Sindy's offering for the New Year 2018.

Wishes for a Joyful & Adventurous New Year!  :)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

And plenty of time to rest up for the New Year! ;)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October is here!!!

Aaaah October... My favorite month of the entire year.  I always make sure to take a week off from work to enjoy the glorious weather and scenery.  It doesn't matter if it is windy, cold, gloomy and/or rainy... I LOVE IT!!  :)

September and October are really busy months for me at work.  I have to put in some long hours.  So to make the hours seem a little less daunting,  I decided to take some of my extra revenue and invest in a lovely spun cotton creation from artist Flora Thompson over at Bone Head Studios.  If you have never visited her site, you can skip on over and check her wonderful art out by clicking here.    Flora is an amazingly talented sculptor.  If you haven't been to her site before, take the time to go through all of her early posts.  Her whimsical creations are from the most enchanting world of her imagination.  The sketches of her creations, prior to being sculpted, are equally as fantastic! 

I have admired Flora's work for years and began following her blog after falling in love with her impish elf creatures.  I just cannot say enough about my admiration of her talent.  A quartet of her latest creations, recently revealed on the blog for Bone Head Studios, were too cute for words... They were a little group named the "MushMellies".   All I knew when I saw them was:  One of those little guys needs to come live with me!   So I got on Flora's  waiting list...

Look at the package that just arrived in the mail. I didn't know it was on its way.  So, I almost passed out from excitement when I saw this guy on the side of the box!   It screams Bone Head Studios...

Flora's attention to precise detail and decoration is unmatched...

It makes me smile looking at this photo.  I cannot believe he is mine!!  His expression is absolutely priceless...

Can you see his little teeth?  I am in love... My own little slightly toasted marshmellowie "MushMellie". 
Even Mr. Hollow was impressed with this little guy.  He told me to arrange him, so he could stay safe in his wonderfully decorated bag.  My little "MushMellie" will be taking his place of honor in the display cabinet with his "soon to be" Halloween friends.   What a lovely handmade creation... *sigh* 

Flora's work is as impressive in person as it has been in the photos I have marveled at over the years! :)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Flea Market Find ~ Fischer MEWA Sewing Machine

On our trip to the Jefferson Speedway flea market, Mr. Hollow spotted this Fischer MEWA sewing machine at a gentleman's booth.  I walked right past it.  Honestly easy to do if you saw the size of it; although, the colors should have smacked me in the face being so similar to the old singers.   The man selling it was liquidating an estate.  His friend's mother had passed away and the son just wanted all of the stuff in the house hauled away... Quite a bit of sewing notions, some beautiful pristine crocheted quilts and this sewing machine. 
Do I need to say for the millionth time that I do not need another sewing machine?  I know!  But this machine is so terrifically odd and about the size, color and poundage of my Singer Featherweight.  I have honestly never seen one like this.  My initial thought was to pass, but Hubby really took to this one.  He started haggling with the guy.  The guy started at $150 and Mr. Hollow was at $50.  The vendor turned it down, since he just got all of this stock.  We completely understood.  But Mr. Hollow couldn't resist a parting shout over his shoulder as he walked away , "Will you take $75."   The guy smiled and yelled back, "$80."   This started another haggling session, and it was beginning to get really hot outside.  Miserable hot, what can I say?   I'm a wuss...  Much to the chagrin of my Hubby, I pulled out the $80.00 and ended the fun.  Sorry people, I love a deal as much as the next guy, but I was starting to majorly sweat in the heat of that darn unrelenting summer sun. :(  LOL   
So here is a photo of the newest sewing machine to join the herd, I know absolutely nothing about except the fact that it is German.  The gentlemen did not bring the little notion carrying wood box that goes with it.  He said there was thread in it and did not mention any extra feet.  Unfortunately, the wood had a doggie smell to it, so it got left at home.  If there weren't extra feet involved, it was all for the best. :)

See the flaps in the front and the wings on the side?  When the machine is finished being used, these fold up and end up on each side of the harp/sewing platform.  The bent metal rod at the bottom back of the machine functions the same as the "foot pedal" for other machines.  Pretty neat little unit.  And let me say, someone took great care of this machine.  The black paint and gold design is beautifully preserved. 

She even came with her original instruction manual.  Of course, it is all in German.  LOL    This is a small manual like the Singers, so you can just imagine how narrow this machine is!

Once the sides are all folded up, the bent rod has a hole in the center so it can balance where the thread sits during use.  And this wooden case goes right over the top and locks shut.  I did see, in the photo on the front cover of the  instructions, where this case lines up with the front flap to create a sewing table to the side of the machine when sewing.  A lot of thought went into the design of these machines.  It really is a neat little unit.

I am guessing that maybe this was a machine from the 50's, since it is electric.  But I cannot find any information about it.  If anyone has some info or direction on how to locate some info, I would greatly appreciate any input.  :)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Meanwhile back on the Farm ~ Wool, Fur & Feathers

I had to go visit the kids' at their farm.  So many new faces to see!  Unfortunately, the most important new face is not going to be present in this post.  Hopefully, Annie will forgive me.  :(   She is the new German Shepherd gran puppy.  I will catch her a little later along with Elliot, the gran cat. ;)  Even with these over sites, there were a lot of new friends to make acquaintances with.
Farmerboy is still waiting for the paperwork on his newest Shetlands.  Their names have been forgotten by my son...  He better get those papers soon... I have a habit of coming up with some doozies on my own! ;)  Here is his new EweI call her Freckles. (Yep, that is how fast I play the name game! LOL)  She is absolutely darling.  Freckles keeps the flock guessing what she is doing in the pasture.  She will eat any green vegetation she finds.  The rest of the group is spoilt and picky about their eats.  So when they see her nibbling away happily, they all come running thinking she has a special treat! LOL

Why did Farmerboy buy another ewe your asking?  First, Freckles has a tendency to produce spotted lambs.  Second, she has super fine fleece.  See these majorly crimped curls?  They are so springy and tight like a fine carpet.  The original flock has some great crimp, but this is ridiculous! :)

Our Max and his beautiful colored fleece went on to a new farm with a new group of  ewes.  It was bitter sweet.  I know he will be happy, but I will miss scratching his forehead.  He was a gorgeous ram. *sigh*  To bring in a fresh blood line, a new ram came to the fold.  Kind of looks like Count Chocula to me.... Maybe??? ;)   Any who, next Easter should bring us some very interesting lambs.

Not to be out done by the new sheep, little Moon Pie decided to bless the kids with the first babies born to their farm... Let's just call the new arrivals "The Lucky Seven".    This photo was taken after number five.  Momma took a rest and then surprised the kids with two more!


The local businesses are sent to bid on 4H animals at the county fair.  One of the purchases made for my son's facility was a duck.  None of the crew bidding wanted to have the honor of butchering and eating their winnings from the highest bid... So yeah you guessed it, the boy who raised the duck was told to deliver the feathered friend to kids' farm.  They found out before they left the auction that in fact two ducks were going to be delivered.  By the time they arrived, there were three!   Apparently, the boy who raised them was having problems with a raccoon that attacked one of the male ducks.  He said its best chance for survival was to stay with the other two.  After a little TLC to the wounded member, all the feathered friends are settling in nicely.  :)

Can you believe it?  Even the new fruit trees planted this year are getting into the action!    I can't believe one is actually going to produce pears!!  LOL

It has been such a fun summer.  I just wrapped up the Tour de Fleece last weekend.  (Photos coming soon!)   This month is going to be spent washing fleece, ordering some shelving and painting my new studio area.  I cannot wait to get my sewing machines and art supplies back in order.  My goal is to have the space up and running by my vacation in early September!  :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Where did June go?

I cannot believe we are already in July!  It has been a busy time trying to get Farmerboy's room emptied out and the majority of my studio items moved into it.  Some of my items are in storage in the closet area, since we have not tackled the walls or floors yet.  Farmerboy still has a few larger pieces left to move.  I am not to worried.  It is a functional space.  Hopefully, the studio will get finished by mid August. 

What else happened in June?   Quite a bit actually.  Even with all the rain, we were able to frequent some flea markets.  Yay!  I found out my cable provider has always offered Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.  Love the shows!  Purchased a new Schacht Ladybug spinning wheel to spin along with my Matchless during the Tour de Fleece ;) on Ravelry.  Will share those details in a post very soon!   Was able to use my sewing machine for the first time in way to long AND set up my large drafting table that has been in storage for 15 years.  Excited to work on some projects with those REAL soon! :)  Finally and most importantly, this guy showed up on the 2nd of June in our pond.  You guessed it... Gary is back!   I almost had a photo of him sunning his body on the terracotta island we made, but he was too quick.  So, a head shot will have to do!

Four years and counting Gary...

I feel like a load of necessary work was completed in June.  It will be wonderful to get back into some projects that have been waiting patiently.  I am more than excited to start this chapter! :) 

I hope everyone had the same beautiful day that Northern Illinois was given to celebrate The Glorious Fourth!