Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Project Idea - Handmade Gift Wrap

Here's a little something for your handmade holiday. Let the kids make their own Potato Stamp Gift Wrap (with your help) by cutting a potato in half, pressing a cookie or fondant cutter into the potato half, and cutting away the excess with a paring knife. It's a great way to recycle newsprint and paper grocery bags, too! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

ROAD TRIP! - Visiting Historic Sumpter, Oregon

Last weekend my husband, pup, and I took a road trip to Eastern Oregon to visit the town of Sumpter, Or.  Until then, the furthest we had traveled east was Hood River.  I'm not sure why I was surprised, but at one point I had said, "If I had fallen asleep and woke up here, I wouldn't believe we were still in Oregon."  The scenery had changed so much from the green, lush forested landscapes I am used to seeing.  But I'll admit, there were moments of beauty along the drive.
The first thing we noticed when we arrived in Sumpter, right after noting that there were no paved streets once we got off the main road, were the large number of deer all around us.  There were so many!  They were grazing in the yards and walking across roads and weren't bothered at all by our presence.  In the field to the left of us was a flock of wild turkeys, too!
We were delighted to have the opportunity to stay in the Sumpter Bed & Breakfast, owned by Jay and Barbara Phillips.  You don't often meet people nicer than Mr. and Mrs. Phillips.  In 1900 this building started out as Sumpter General Hospital.   After the fire of 1917, which destroyed most of the town, the hospital was used as a brothel for a short period, then became a Masonic Temple for several years.  There are reports by guests of paranormal activity in the Sumpter Bed & Breakfast, but we didn't notice anything unusual during our visit.  (The evidence is still being reviewed!)
Why were we in Sumpter?  Our friend Ben Robison of Autonomous Studies of the Enigmatic & Paranormal asked us to join him as he hosted the 1st Annual Haunted Sumpter Event.  The event included a group investigation of the Sumpter Bed & Breakfast, followed by an investigation of the historic Blue Mountain Cemetery (Sumpter Cemetery).  

Did you notice that I said '1st Annual'?  That's right!  There will be future opportunities to join Ben in Sumpter, Or.!  Be sure to follow him on Facebook to learn more.

The town of Sumpter was once a booming gold mining town, but currently has only about 200 residents.  When visiting you feel as if you're standing in a place that time has forgotten.  Sumpter was a thriving community in the early 1900's and at one time had four saw mills; an electric light plant; a modern water system with 30 fire hydrants; public school buildings and church buildings; a steam laundry; two savings and one safety deposit bank; two newspapers; an opera house; four hotels; ten restaurants; about 15 lodging houses; 6 general merchandise and grocery stores; two hardware stores and plumbing shops; four dry goods and haberdashery stores; three jewelry stores; two drug stores; three cigar and confectionery stores; two furniture stores; two tailoring establishments; two millinery emporiums; one fish market; four meat markets; five barber shops; two bakeries; sixteen saloons; The Sumpter Club; one brewery; two hay and grain stores; three livery and freighting stables; three stage, transfer and freighting companies; six stage lines; three blacksmith shops; two harness shops; about 300 dwelling houses; seven assay offices, numerous real estate, mining brokers and law offices, besides physicians, dentists and civil engineers; a number of secret societies, and a fire department.

Can you believe it?   

Today the Sumpter Valley Dredge sits as a State Heritage Area.  The dredge in the park is the last of three built on the Powder River and operated until 1954.
If you're interested in the history of Sumpter, here are a few links to get your research underway.  I hope that you'll consider this town in your travel itinerary, but plan on spring and summer travel as winter travel can be quite tricky!

Oregon State Parks - Sumpter Dredge State Heritage Area

Historic Sumpter Oregon

Sumpter Bed & Breakfast

Sumpter Museum and Public Library

Have you been wondering why this town seems so familiar?  You must be a Ghost Mine fan!  Yep, the town of Sumpter is where SyFy's Ghost Mine is filmed.  If you're not familiar with the show, you can get caught up by watching past episodes online.  You can also watch all new episodes on SyFy Wednesdays at 10/9c.

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Charming Floral Wreath

 It starts with a basket of yarn...
Our front door needed a little something and I had all of this lovely color to work with.  Then I remembered that I saw a wonderful wreath tutorial by Lucy at Attic 24.  She is such an inspiration!  My wreath actually went home with Mom this week, so I'll have an opportunity to create another wreath to replace it for our home.

This is not a tutorial (check out Lucy's blog post here for a great tutorial), but many of you that follow me on Facebook are expecting the patterns I had used for my wreath.  Here are a few of the pattern links for the flowers and leaves that I used:

2 Minute Leaf by Jessica Zeltner
Daisy Applique by Maz Kwok
Perfect Flowers by Maria Rodriguez

I hope this inspires you to use up those little bits of yarn you've been collecting.  Happy crafting!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oh, My Stars!

Photograph Courtesy of Debbie Lumb
Please visit www.crazysocksdesigns.com for this pattern and many others for your collection.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Capturing the Beauty of the Oregon Coast

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend!  Our family visited the Oregon Coast.  Though there was no warm sunshine, the weather was fair and it really only rained the morning we left.  We love to explore the tide pools, dig in the sand, and run from the bitter-cold Pacific ocean waves.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Playing With Bigfoot

Spending more time in the forests and parks in our region has inspired me to create a rubber stamp of the "Big Guy".  You know, Bigfoot.  The family and I have spent some time doodling images of Bigfoot and even watched Harry and the Henderson's the other evening.  The boys really enjoyed that!

I often get requests to carve stamps with people's logos or shop names and one aversion I have to doing this is that I am not particularly fond of cutting letters.  I simply do not enjoy it.  I had to test myself as I've been wanting a HANDMADE WITH LOVE stamp for my own projects for some time.  After carving this design I've concluded that my opinion of cutting letters has not changed.  However, I will release this design as a stamp for sale in my Etsy shop and hopefully, some day, I'll change my attitude about cutting letters for custom orders.  Until then, I ask, please no requests for custom orders at this time.  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Life, Love, Food, and Gardening

As most of you know I've been "away" for a little while.  That only means that I've closed my Etsy shop for a bit while I took some time to be with my family and with school.

One of my very favorite places to visit is the Columbia River Gorge and a few weeks ago my husband and I took a day trip out that way.  Basically, we traveled a loop.  All in one day we experienced snow, fog, rain, and sunshine, more snow, then rain, and sunshine again.  All in one region.  It was an amazing day! 

We started at Larch Mountain where we were surprised with a bit of snow.  Since we weren't prepared to be driving in snow, we decided it would be best to turn around and head back down the mountain.  We drove to Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint and had a beautiful view of one of my favorite places to park, Crown Point and the Vista House.   There is a number of trails and waterfalls to visit along the highway.  On this day we visited and explored Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Wahkeena Falls.  When we were done with our hiking, we traveled up the road a bit to have lunch at Full Sail Brewing Co... on the patio... in the SUNSHINE!  Let me just say, GOOD BEER!  Good food!  Good service!  From there we made our way to Mt. Hood where there was a little more sunshine along the way, but lots of snow when we arrived.  

 If you're ever in Oregon, plan to visit Historic Hwy 30 along the Columbia River.  Make a stop at Crown Point and again at Multnomah Falls, and hopefully you'll have time to make stops at all of the other falls along the way.  (Visit the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area website for more trip-planning information!)
At school we've been busy with fundraisers and events for our students.  Every year we have a plant fundraiser sale and every year the nurseries deliver BEAUTIFUL flowers and veggie starts for our gardens.  (Don't you just love those cosmos?!)
On my perpetual list of "things to do" is my Paper Moon project.  I promise that some day I will finish this diorama!  Pictured below are my great grandfather and great grandmother.  So far, I have created the backdrop and moon.  So far I am pleased with the progress.  Next I'll need to make two minis, a sock monkey couple, to sit adoringly upon the moon while having their photograph taken.
I am pleased that our Parent Group at school has been so successful with fundraising that the students of our school are able to go on field trips with no out of pocket expenses to the families.  What an opportunity!  My littlest monkey recently went on a field trip to Champoeg Park to learn about nature, history, and the lives of pioneers of the 1860's.
 On food and gardening: one of my very favorite breads to bake is this wonderful Rosemary Peasant Bread.  I have a LOT of rosemary growing in my garden and am constantly looking for ways to use it.  Check out this recipe and give it a try!  
We have recently (and temporarily) acquired a fourth hen.  Tilly is visiting us until she is able to be reintroduced to her own flock across the street.  These girls have sure been busy, too!
Penny... you naughty girl!  We have recently fenced off the garden area because chickens are REALLY GOOD at scratching and digging for bugs and worms... and as a result, generally ruin a garden.  I discovered this gem hiding within the raspberry bushes while watering.  
My littlest monkey.  Mr. Personality.  AKA: Crazy Dave.  I love this little guy and the adventure that he brings to our lives.  We're planting our veggie gardens.  For my boys, it's a Zombie Garden.

Let's talk shop!  While it is true that my Etsy shop has reopened, I am not accepting requests for custom orders at this time.  There are still a number of things I'd like to get caught up on and still several more local events coming up that I need to prepare for.  If you have been wanting a rubber stamp carved with your image/logo, I recommend searching on Etsy for an artisan who is currently welcoming that type of request.  There are MANY out there.  You'll have to find them on your own as I do not keep a list at my desk.

I am, however, happy to accomodate any orders of items currently listed for sale.  This means that if it's listed in my Etsy shop, my own original artwork, it's available for purchase.  If you don't see it there, it's not something that's available at this time.  Thank you for understanding!

You're wondering about those sheep, aren't you?  It's on my list of "things to do".  I promise!  As soon as I get to them, you'll hear about it on Facebook.  

I think I've gone on long enough, how have you been?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tree Mural: Almost Finished!

Things have been so incredibly busy here with birthdays, parties, visitors, and school stuff, that I haven't had a chance lately to work on our Family Tree mural.  I was able to pick up the brush today and do a little more work on it.  It's coming along!

I need to work a bit on the right side, which represents spring.  Once the tree is finished, we can work on adding framed photographs to the wall.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Day in This Girl's Life

This very delicious Grated Carrot Salad was so simple to make, and I expect to make it OFTEN.
Recipe at Once Upon A Chef
Cleaning windows.
Mixing dough.
Grating carrots.

Who needs a gym membership???

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Painting, Carving, Food, and a Birthday Party

Boy, has this been a busy week!  After the guys installed the laminate floors, I got to work on our Family Tree mural.  It's been a fun little project and I look forward to picking up the brush again.  I'm thinking I might have that finished next week or so.
On Thursday my littlest monkey had his 7th birthday.  Many of you helped us to celebrate with an impromptu sale in my Etsy shop.  THANK YOU!  I'm working very hard to get your orders out to you.
Saturday was his Birthday Party day.  We ended up with 10 kiddos, so you can imagine I didn't want to put much thought into what we were going to have for dinner.  In the morning I pulled out the trusty crock pot and started Chicken Tortilla Soup.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
What you'll need:

1 lb chicken
1 small can enchilada sauce
32 oz chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced and sauteed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 bag frozen corn
1 small can diced green chiles
Cumin and pepper to taste

Sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt
Corn tortillas cut into strips and fried
Shredded cheese (use your favorite)
Cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and set to low.  Go about your busy day and forget about the soup, it's fine.  In about six or eight hours take the chicken out and place it in a bowl.  Shred it, then add it back to the pot.  I hope you remembered to gather your garnishes.  For that, I recommend sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt, tortilla strips, shredded cheese, lime, and cilantro.  Of course, all of this is totally optional, but it makes for a FABULOUS addition to your creation.
While we're discussing this week's fabulous food, I'll share my pancake recipe with you.  Of course, it's not MY recipe, but I've been using it for so long that I have no need to reference it on paper and don't remember the original source.  

From Scratch Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt 

1 egg
2 tbsp oil
3/4 c milk

Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Next, stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine to dry mixture. Spoon into pan or onto griddle set to medium-high heat. (Use a dry, non-stick skillet if you have one!) Batter will be thick, so with the back of your spoon spread batter to about 4" in diameter. Once your pancakes start to bubble, flip 'em! They'll cook another minute or two...

On this day I added fresh blueberries to the batter.  Some days I'll add a chopped apple and cinnamon.  If you would rather substitute buttermilk for milk, use 1 full cup.  Experiment with it and ENJOY!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Original Red Heel Sock Cow

I was asked to create a sock cow for the Oregon Dairy Women Scholarship Auction, and she was just too cute not to share!  The udder has got to be my favorite of her features, right next to the tuft of hair falling down over her horns.  She's truly one of a kind!

I'm sorry, but I will not be making sock cows for sale at this time.  It is possible that some may be available for purchase in Summer 2013.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Our New Floor! ...and Chair Socks Tutorial.

On my husband's wish list was to tear out the carpet which had suffered some wear and tear over our years in this home.  You can imagine his delight when he was able to rip it up and toss it out.  We are fortunate to have great friends; one of his friends was available to come out to help with the work.  What they weren't expecting was to build up the sub-floor to match the height of the floor space where the linoleum starts.  We're lucky they're pretty handy!

The guys worked so hard and did such a great job on the floor!  I couldn't help but protect their hard work by making "socks" for the feet of the chairs.
The rooms are ALMOST finished.  Once the project is completed, I'll take pictures to show off the entire living space.  This really is a treat and makes such a huge difference in our home.

Chair "Sock" Tutorial

I'll share with you what I did.  Feel free to choose YOUR favorite yarn and hook.  

I used:
I hook
Lion Brand Recycled Cotton

Start with "magic loop".
Round 1: CH 1, HDC 10 times in loop.  Join with SL ST to top of first HDC.  Pull beginning tail to close. (10 HDC)
Round 2: CH 1, HDC in the back loop only of each ST around.  Join with SL ST to top of first HDC. (10 HDC)
Round 3: CH 1, HDC in each ST around.  (10 HDC)
Round 4: Repeat round 3 (and continue for as many rounds as you would like.  This happens to be where I finished my "socks".)
When you've reached your desired length, close with SL ST and weave in your ends.

This is a "loose" tutorial.  There are many ways this can be done.  The most important thing to consider when making socks for your furniture is to make sure that the diameter of your "sock" is at least as wide as the diameter of the foot of your chair (or whichever piece of furniture you are covering.)  You may need to add another round of stitches to reach the proper diameter.  (To increase, simply place two stitches in each stitch around to double the number of stitches in your first round.) When you've reached the desired width, simply work the next round in the back loops, then every round after that in regular rounds to create the height.  Don't like HDC, but would prefer SC?  Give that a try!  Don't be afraid to experiment with your stitches.  Have fun with it and make it your own!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


“It is pure potential. Every ball or skein of yarn holds something inside it, and the great mystery of what that might be can be almost spiritual” 
― Stephanie Pearl-McPheeKnitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks

Inspired by my Sheep Ball of Yarn hand carved rubber stamp, I've been dreaming of making this girl for a couple of months now.  I'm quite pleased with how she turned out and look forward to creating a small flock.

She is a mixed media sculpture made from polymer clay and wool yarn, and of course, love and imagination.  She is adorned with a little gold bell and vintage floral fabric from my grandmother's stash.
I couldn't help but draw her a couple of friends. She'd otherwise be lonely.
I was first introduced to polymer clay when I was very young.  My aunt still has the little cow I made!  These next items are a few I have in my personal collection and they were all made in 2002 (really, twelve years ago?!)