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

Monday, December 26, 2011

How Does The Christmas Cactus Know?

I noticed a solitary bud on my Christmas Cactus a few weeks ago.  Then, I was so busy this past week that it went unobserved sitting on my front room table.  Look at what I found this morning!  It must have been open these last few days welcoming Christmas Eve and Christmas Day... This glorious plant has definitely taught me to slow down or risk missing life's little wonders...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stihl Chainsaw Christmas Tree with Matching Skirt

I enjoy my trees and holiday collections at Christmas time.  My son has a tree that holds his train ornament collection, which has now spilled to the floor around the base.  I have my Rankin and Bass Rudolph and mini Shiney Brite tree, along with the main tree that houses my large Shiney Brites and hand made heirlooms.  But oddly enough, my hubby has never had his own theme tree.  Gee Whiz... even the cat has her personal photo ornament on the large tree!  I am happy to announce that this year my hubby finally can admire his own personal tree... *sigh*

Of course, the overall theme had to be Stihl Chainsaws!  He is lucky that I picked up a ceramic mold years ago that had a chainsaw in it.  I poured 12 of them and painted them to resemble an old roll bar version of his beloved brand.  Touching isn't it? LOL ;)   After promising him this tree two years ago, I was determined that this year was to be the year of completion.  Monday marked that goal being met with the creation of the tree skirt in the "oh to familiar" orange, black, and white colors!  

I created the star with foil wrappers saved from holiday mini Reese cups.  They are my hubby's favorite candy along with York Peppermint Patties, which would have worked equally as well --if I would have had some of the outer discards.  Next year though, I will buy and save the foils from the fall themed mini Reese cups.  The fall tones should look more fitting with the colors of the chainsaws.  I think the current little star is darling for this year's tree and will migrate to another display next fall. :)   

I purchased some orange led lights at Halloween, and it works perfectly to enhance the theme and color scheme of the tree!

My hubby smiles when he looks at his addition to the Christmas display.  The tree is 3 1/2 feet tall and works well with the ceramic ornaments.  I hope that my hubby doesn't want to add his collection of saw ornaments next year, because a larger tree would be needed, and I am running out of space! ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

SBS Challenge ~ Finally Caught Up!

Can you believe it??  I am finally caught up with the group on the Skill Builder Challenge.  Sheesh!  For a minute, I was beginning to wonder if I would get here.  Keep in mind while looking at these, I am a newbie to this art.  Some are not as pretty as others! ;)

Block #12 was posted as "House and Tree".  It was an improv block.  Definitely not one of my favorites.  If I was going to attempt this again, it would be created using a paper piecing method.  (Listen to me throwing out that quilting jargon like an old pro! LOL)

Block # 14 was a "Crazy Quilt" block.  Just when I thought the last one was not my favorite...;)  I was never fond of the idea of a crazy quilt.  After finishing this one and messing around with the specialty stitches on my machine finally, I could see creating this one again and going a little "crazy" with it... using embellishments, different types of materials, and specialty embroidery.  It was interesting  to work with sewing this block on a foundation.  I struggled a little bit with the concept at first.  This block was definitely a learning experience and gave me some future ideas.  It even made me open my mind to possibilities of what could be created using the crazy quilt method.

Block #15 was the "Diamond Dash".  This was part of the paper piecing lessons.  The squares with the triangles were all paper pieced for practice.  I just LOVE paper piecing.  It gives the blocks a clean look.  This block was a pleasure to create.  It was simple yet elegant. :) 

Block #17 was "Starry Night"... Makes me think of Vincent Van Gogh. ;)  This paper piecing was a little more involved.  Isn't this one beautiful?  It is definitely one of my favorites, and not just because of the correlation with a great artist! LOL  The colors work so well together.  The shapes, lines and hidden patterns just make a wonderful overall composition.

Block #18 was the "Circle of Geese" block.  This was the last of the paper piecing series.  Do you suppose the mention of geese put me into a tail spin? LOL  If I was inclined to do this over, I would take away the outside purple piece (turning it fushia)  and change the center four triangles into purple to make a star.  Aaah... live and learn!  Don't know how I messed this up... But hey, there are no mistakes in quilting... Just different points of view and interpretation!  Are you all buying into this? LOL

Block #19, and the most current block, "Orange Windows".   This is the first block in the applique series.   It was my very first attempt at a machine applique, and the first time using a specialty stitch.  I have always loved the feather stitch and happily used it on this block.  "Orange Windows" was so much  fun to do and assembled fast.  It is amazing at how involved the finished block looks for the minor amount of time that went into it.  My hubby really liked this one and "Starry Night".  I thoroughly enjoyed stitching around the appliques, and the design on the back is just as neat and clean as the front.  Applique never interested me in the least  until now.  I think there is a good chance that I am hooked on another technique! :)

Those are all the blocks to date... Whew!   Leah has gone on a trip so it will be another week before a new block is posted.  I feel a little deflated-- ending on such a high note with nothing in the works.  I'll have to go browse through some of the cool quilting blogs and do some dreaming! ;)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hunting Season... Primitive Deer Mount!

It is deer hunting season in Northern Illinois.  The weekend brought the echoing sound of shots in the distance, and deer hanging from the branches of local trees.  Although my son loves target shooting, he hasn't gotten involved in hunting deer, yet.  Well... not the four legged kind anyways. ;)

"What inspired this work of creative expression", you ask?  Let me see... A few weeks ago, my hubby had the crew out on a smaller tree removal job.  As they came back and were unloading equipment, I spied my son's friend carrying a piece of wood that he had pulled from the back of the chip truck.  When he was close enough to the window for me to see, I yelled to him that he had a nice deer head.  He smiled and looked back at my son and said, "Your Mom got it!"  It was an amazing natural resemblance to a deer mount.  They set it on the back patio, and I forgot all about it. 

The days that followed brought strange sounds from my son's workshop in the basement.  My hubby found me in my studio area one night and told me that I had to check out what the kid was up to... And this is what I saw.   

Farmer boy has been saving these antlers for the longest time.   I am not really sure how in the world he got them mounted so sturdily on the bust, and the wooden ears are just perfect.   I love it!  It is so primitive and makes me smile.  The barn board plaque allows it to fit in so well with my rustic pieces that I have been collecting.  If I have a separate studio in the near future, this guy is going to be on the wall for sure! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mini Snowman Gourds ~ Ready for the Holiday!

I have spent the week catching up on a few orders and getting these little mini snowman gourds dressed!   It was fun to make wee little hats and scarves.  They are all now snug and warm in their upcycled cashmere sweater hats and scarves.  Top of the line trimmings for these little dudes! ;)

The first snowman completed stands 8 1/2 inches tall (including his hat).  His soft fuzzy stocking cap and scarf matches the little gingerbread girl's Butter Pecan background perfectly.  His mittens are a lightened version of Olive Moss that complements his earthy tones.   

The smallest of the mini gourd snowmen has the boldest of colors!  This little bundle of winter joy stands 6 1/4 inches tall (including his hat).  A soft repurposed burgundy cashmere sweater hat and scarf complement his Holly Green mittens.   A big statement in a very small package! :)

The tallest of the trio is donned in the softest of winter colors.  He stands 8 1/4 inches tall (including his hat).  Two different recycled cashmere sweaters were used to make his attire:  one in a soft Medium Blue and the other of light Ecru with a Sage Green tint.  To coordinate with his light colored apparel, I made his mittens Medium Brown with Butter Pecan highlights.  This one may not be entirely finished...  As I look at him, the brushes may come back out and give him some snowflakes in the sky around the woolly lamb.  Snowflakes would give a little extra magic to the Christmas scene! :)

These little snowmen were so much fun to work on.  There are about a half a dozen more of their brothers waiting for paint... and quite a few larger ones, too!   These little guys should be making their appearance in my Etsy store sometime this weekend. I'm not sure how many more will get completed for before the Holiday... But, I look forward to adding to my inventory after the first of the year.  Can you believe it?  2012 is not that far away!