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



Monday, April 27, 2015

Flea Market in Maquoketa Iowa

After a long winter, we attended our first flea market of the year on Sunday in Maquoketa, Iowa.  The wind had a little chill, but the sun was bright with a little punch of heat to it.  Honestly, adrenaline kept me warm.   (Maquoketa offers a large indoor flea market, along with an equal in size outdoor venue.)  Let me tell you...  It was such a nice feeling to be out rummaging again! :)
 
My first purchase was two enamel storage pans with lids.  The vendor wanted $24.00 for both, which was not out of line for the extremely nice shape that they were in.  Of course, this is a flea market and haggling is a necessity, so I offered him $20.00... and now they are mine. 
 
As everyone knows, China makes repops of these pieces now... Imagine that?  LOL  Do you know one sure way to tell you've got an original?  Carry these puppies around an outdoor flea market for about an hour.  The weight suspended from the bag handles was cutting into my fingers something fierce!  Nothing flimsy about these vintage babies.  Or should I say endearingly to our knock off providers, the Chinese care a whole lot more about the wear and tear on my arm than my forefathers! LOL

 
 

The following purchases were my first finds, but my last purchases from the outdoor venue.  (I was absolutely NOT going to entertain a trip back to the vehicle that early.  And they were both located at different venders, so I didn't want to start leaving purchases here and there.)  The first is a staple of mine... One of my various obsessions... The glorious wooden nail keg.  Makes me a little sad for days gone by but very happy that they are still around.  This one still had the top with the chunk broken out laying inside.  It is a nice larger size and will be great for housing my gourds or baseballs that are awaiting paint.   Asking price - $17.00.  Haul it away offer and purchase price-  $12.00.  Score!!   Have I ever shown you my collection of these that house my various sized gourds in the basement?  I will have to get some pics to show you.  ;)

The other item is a Coca Cola wooden bottle crate.  My true love is for the dividers.  I own a Pepsi one that came with original dividers and a milk flat that Farmerboy made the divisions for.  They are absolutely great for hanging on the walls of my studio and holding various art supplies.  I spent a little more than usual, but the Coke advertisement was neat looking.  (Says the girl who doesn't drink pop except for special occasions!)   Asking price - $12.00.  Haul it away offer and purchase price $10.00.

 
 


As we were leaving the inside section of the flea market, I noticed some ladies that set up in a room off the entry way.  They were a happy go lucky team.  Don't you just love people like that?  What reason does a vital human being have to be grouchy for?  I mean REALLY?  Unfortunately, their wares were not in the best location.  I think, they were overlooked being away from all the action.  Mr. Hollow was ready to make tracks, but this shopper made a beeline into their area.  Look at these extra heavy feedsacks!   Oh, the possibilities... The ladies were such a cool vending team that I didn't even haggle.  I purchased the lot of 6 for $18.00, which I must add is a great buy.




After the second trip to the car, Mr. Hollow was contemplating a trip back into the outside area.  I told him that I would go inside to finish looking at the feedsack ladies wares.  (I felt that Mr. Hollow made me go too fast the first time... And of course, my intuition was right! ;) )  Upon a return trip to my favorite vendors of the day, I found these two vintage feedsacks.  They are wonderfully soft and beautifully muted in their colors.  The green is just lovely.  No haggling on the price... $2.00 for the one on the right and $3.00 for the one on the left.

 
 
Okay, this item was super tough to photograph.  It is a quilt cover that was made out of old feedsacks.  Some of the sacks have printing still showing on them.  This baby is huge and the feedsacks are in great condition.  PLUS, there are two big panels that make up the front and back... We are talking a lot of useable fabric.  It was hanging on a rack with some aprons.  I honestly have never seen anything like this before... A treasure trove of feedsack fabric that looks like an open ended duvet.  Asking price -  $10.00.  Haul it away and purchase price - $8.00.
 
 
 
 
This was my last purchase before I ran off to find Mr. Hollow.  It was my shot in the dark purchase.  The ladies had a cutter quilt folded up in an old plastic zippered bag.  The asking price was $7.50.  I really did not feel like taking it out of the bag and decided to take my chances with a $5.00 offer that became the accepted haul it away price.  After getting it home and washing it, I decided that it was a worth while purchase.  It originally sported a star pattern which has blown out in most places.  The blue background pattern and white base is in wonderful shape with hand quilting.  I could see appliqueing over the stars for mini quilts to line baskets... Hmmmmmm.
 


Or since the back is in such nice shape, using that as the backdrop for some handy work... Some quilt angels perhaps or pile of table mats...  I will have to do some research and thinking on this one.  This worn out quilt is destined to be something great again... I just know it. :)


 
 
We had such fun for our first outing.  I am thrilled with my finds, as was Mr. Hollow with his.  If this is any indication how the year will be, we are going to have a blast!  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Easter Cactus and Prayer Plant ~ Review of EBay Store Hirt's Gardens


My Easter gift to myself this year arrived from Granger Township, Ohio.  They are the most beautiful beautiful plants courtesy of EBay seller Hirt's Gardens.  I will admit that I was a little surprised to see that they were packed with Styrofoam popcorn holding them in place, but the photos don't lie... They made it to my house in great condition.  ;) 
 
My first purchase... a lovely Easter Cactus (Told you that I would get one!) had only two small loose joints on its arrival that I took off and placed in soil to root. The color of this Rhipsalidopsis  is the most gorgeous shade of Orange.  It arrived in a 4" plastic pot for $7.99.  The color reminded me of Easter egg dye.
 
Note:  I purchased a bunch of $2.00 distressed looking ceramic pots from the Dollar Store to be new homes for the travelers.  Seriously... How Can You Beat That?

 
 


This is how it looked Easter morning, and it was the perfect choice to brighten my day. :)



My other purchase was a Prayer plant.  I can remember my Mom having one of these when I was little.  They are the most amazing plants.  As you can see in the photo, the leaves are like any ordinary plant, but...




at night, they all rise in prayer...  Pretty cool isn't it?  




The Prayer plant arrived in a 4" plastic pot for $5.99.  Three plants arrived in a Priority Mail box (the Shamrock plant was part of the order) for $7.70 shipping.  I could have ordered more for the same shipping cost, so I think that their shipping was and is very fair.  They have some good deals in their store.  There are some items from Hirt's Gardens that are not available at my local greenhouses.  So, they will definitely be seeing another order from me soon!  :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

An Easter Surprise!

I already had a post ready for Easter, but the Easter bunny had other things in mind for us and our ewe Lego.  She birthed two beautiful lambs in the wee morning hours.  Liam and I had to check them out.  They are really pooped out in this photo and were only semi dry.   Quite a stir for the barnyard on this gorgeous Easter day. 
 


Lego is such a terrific Mom.  This is the second Easter in a row that the flock was blessed with healthy twins.  The smallest of the two is a little girl and is next to Lego in this photo.  She is completely black and has tiny little tight curls.  To honor the day, she has been given the name Lily.


Here is a photo of her twin brother.  He has some odd white markings on his face... Kinda makes him look like X-Men's Wolverine.  Don't you think?  LOL   Keeping in the "L" names and inspired by the season, his name will be Leif.  I know this photo makes him look big, but he is so small... Our little Spring Leif.  :)



Luke the Llama was humming intermittently while I was there.  He gets nervous like a new father.  He does not want anyone getting these little ones excited.  Here is a photo of him sniffing Lily to make sure she is okay after I touched her head.  He kept edging me away from the pen.  The little lambs are not even remotely frightened of his big face in front of theirs.  It is so amazing how Luke bonds to his flock and with each lamb at birth.  They are all his family...  Such loyalty and an inspiration to witness.


 
 
Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sheep Shearing Time


It is sheep shearing time.  Marlena  is peeking through the feed bin, watching the sheep shearer at work.  Her coat is one of the most beautiful variegated brown fleeces that I have ever seen.  While she was waiting her turn, we had Luke (the llama) outside the barn.  He was absolutely beside himself with worry.  I tried to keep him distracted in the beginning, but he could hear the rams bellowing from inside the barn.  
 
 


Our little ram Max trotted out like a big puppy but did not like the sound of the clippers.  He eventually came through it unscathed and a whole lot lighter. :)  The photo lacks clarity due to the fact that I didn't use a flash.  I thought it might frighten Max.



Isn't he handsome?  He absolutely loves to be petted and stands up on the rungs of his stall for attention.  He was one of the few that looked better for having his locks sheared.   He soaked up all the attention he could after his date with the clippers! ;)  It is hard to tell from this angle, but his horns are black and white.  They remind me of Cruella DeVille:)



Well, I have 9 fleeces that need to be skirted and scoured.  It will be exciting to have a few new color mixes to add to the collection.  The drum carder is currently hard at work creating roving out of last year's haul.  I will be listing some of the excess in my Etsy shop for those that might be interested.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Time to Create Roving with my Manual Baby Brother Drum Carder

With an impending sheep shearing session planned and countless YouTube views on drum carding wool under my belt, it was high time for me to get out the Baby Brother Drum Carder and give it a whirl.  I hope that I never stop experiencing new things!  The first pass went so smooth.  The process of carding is such a relaxing experience.  Maybe it would drive some people crazy picking out bits of dry vegetation, but I really do enjoy it... Makes me think about the sheep outside in the summer grasses.  :) 
 
Here is a look at my maiden pass.  I was working on Lego's fur.  She has beautiful gray fur with single black strands mixed in.  The black is a wonderful addition and makes me wonder how nature could create such a wonderful fleece.  She does have some more solid black sections to her fleece, and I will card those in their own slivers. 
 
 


This angle shows the slicker wheel that carries it to the main drum.  It catches the some of the short unusable wool.  But if I put too much wool through at once or pull back on the hair, it will get caught in this wheel as well.  If that happens, it can be cleaned off and reused.

 


Once the large drum gets filled, I turn it until I arrive to the metal plate that connects the beginning and end of the pinned fabric.  A pick or doffer is used to gently pull the wool apart.  Then, I hold onto one end of the carded wool as I run the wheel backwards to remove the sliver...




And viola, straight beautiful wool roving is created!  I am sure that the first pass could be used to needle felt or spin, but each of my bundles received two passes through the carder.  The second carding was just another chance to pull out any dry vegetable fiber that got passed over the first time. 




I cannot wait to try a few of the other wool fleeces.  Lego's fur is very soft and slick.  Brick's fur, on the other hand, is a wonderful bronze color and more catchy feeling.  It will be interesting to see the challenge that awaits with his.  Farmerboy also brought me Luke's pure black llama fur.  It is so long and soft.  I have some ideas involving needle felting to try some of the roving out on.  :)

As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, the sheep had a hair appointment.  Since my photos were taken, we have had the flock sheered.  I will share pics of them in the next few days.  It was quite the experience for last years lambs. LOL    Everyone made it through unscathed;  though, Luke the llama was quite distressed to be separated from his family while they got their trims.  ;) 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pioneer Girl ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

Look what the FedEx guy dropped off outside my door!  The annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Pioneer Girl".  I ordered this November 27, 2014 on Amazon, and they finally got a shipment to fulfill some orders.  This was such a wonderful surprise to a long day.  Yippeeeee!   The Little House Books were such a major part of my childhood and a strong part of my adult years as well.  I look forward to a better insight into the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I am extremely happy with the few pages that I have read so far....  :) 
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For the last few weeks, my cabin fever has had me "going green" around here. ;)  Great d├ęcor for the arrival of St. Patrick's Day!  I am so excited this year to greet the holiday.  (Hopefully, we will be able to order some corned beef and cabbage at work, since Mr. Hollow did not want it in the house for supper. LOL)   My last plant shipment contained a dormant little shamrock plant.  The first that I have ever owned.  He seems to be perking up just in time for his special day...
 
 
 
 
Happy St. Patrick's Day!