Monday, December 29, 2008

W.........e love snow.........NOT!

There have been several reasons for my lack of blogging lately...and these pictures show one of them! The first 24 days of December brought us more than 50" of snow, and although the majority of the work entailed fell to my husband, I helped some, and we even enlisted the help of my son-in-law who needed to use snow shoes to get around the side of the house to clean the snow away from the furnace vent! Sorry for the quality of the pictures, but I opted to stay inside and shot through the windows and the screens. These were taken on Christmas Eve Day, when it was still snowing. And we still have three months of winter to go!
Nevertheless, we had a wonderful holiday, and we hope you all did, too!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

S.........potted Cow Soaps

Just in time for Christmas, this Etsy Blogger is offering her limited edition Candy Cane soap. She does suggest using this peppermint delight for washing and not nibbling! Besides holiday soaps she features many soap varieties, including soap for men and children. Please visit her at to see her soaps, lotions, fizzies, hand crocheted bath puffs and much more, all created in the "heart of Vermont". And here's a special treat...she has free shipping until December 15!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

K.........iller Brownies

Many Etsy Bloggers are publishing Brownie recipes in honor of National Brownie Day December 8. After a friend shared this recipe with me, my family and friends will not tolerate any other brownies. I think this is an adaptation of a Pampered Chef recipe.

You need:

1 pkg of Betty Crocker brownie mix with the syrup packet
3 eggs
2 large Symphony chocolate bars

Prepare brownies according to box using three instead of 2 eggs. Place half the batter in greased 9"x9" pan. Lay the two Symphony bars on top. Cover with the rest of the mix. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

H.........oliday Sale!

From Friday, November 28, through Monday, December first, I will be joining many fellow Etsy Bloggers in the Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale. Each of us has special offers which you can find by clicking on the above logo . I'll be offering 10% off the entire shop, plus free shipping on any total purchase of $35.00 or more. As an added bonus, a free gift bag will be included for every pine needle basket purchased. This would be the best time to do your holiday ordering as well as be sure to have your gifts delivered on time! Happy shopping!

Christmas scrubbies

Just in time for the holidays, we're premiering our version of dish scrubbies in a wreath shape! Especially in these economic times, these cute, practical scrubbies that can be stuffed in stockings, tied on packages, and even hung on the tree are reasonable to buy or make yourself! All you have to do is remove the ribbon and plop these tough, yet gentle 3" scrubbies in the dishpan or use them to get dishes ready for the dishwasher. they wash easily in the dishwasher basket or in a bag in the washer and they air dry in a snap. if you crochet and want the easy pattern, just contact me. If you wish to purchase a couple or a set of six, please check my Etsy shop on the right!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I.........t's all about family

As most of us, I've attended my share of 50th wedding anniversaries, and for so long, they were always for what I would call folks in their golden years. For some strange reason, that is no longer true and those celebrating this remarkable time are now younger than ever. 50 years ago, I had the honor of being in my cousin's wedding party, and we were honored to be there to celebrate this happy occasion with them. The surprise party, hosted by their five children, was held last Saturday evening. Here you see the "bride and groom" cutting their anniversary cake (which was delicious). For the first time in many years, my sister and I were able to be with our three cousins at the same time. The second picture is of the "Evans girls", including my mother. What a joy it was to be with our family and relive such wonderful memories from long ago. Happy anniversary, Dick and Sue; and wish you many more!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

F.........irst Christmas on Etsy

I've been excited to see how the Christmas season goes on Etsy. My sales have been rather steady, and I don't know if they will go up, down, or stay the same. Already, I've had folks stock up on scrubbies for stocking stuffers. One person told me she was adding an apple scrubbie to some apple scented soaps as gifts this year. How cute would that be?

The one special thing I'm trying for the holidays are raffia Christmas ornaments which can also be used as package tie-ons. Most of them make use of the delicate teneriffe designs from the pine needle basket art. They are either two or three inches in diameter, have a small crocheted loop for hanging, and are accented with a bow. The stars are also raffia ornaments worked around a 3" star shape. I'm especially pleased with the mini baskets that are only about one and 1/2" in diameter. I think they'd be adorable on an Easter tree as well with different colored ribbons.

No matter what, I'll have plenty of small gifts to give with my presents as well.

Hope you're all looking forward to the holidays as much as I am!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A.........natomy of a pine needle soap dish

The newest project on my plate is to make soap dishes from pine needles around a cane base. The pattern comes form pine needle guru Jeanie McFarland in Alsaska. First, two rows of pine needles are coiled around the back of the cane to form a base. Then eight rows of pine needles form the dish. All the coils are hand sewn with natural raffia. You can see it from the top and the bottom, as well as holding some of my scrubbies. Hope they'll be in my shop soon and they'll definitely be part of my gift giving this Christmas!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

J.........ewel of a poet!

Isn't this "tipi treasure" necklace fantastic? It is just one of the wonderful pieces of jewelry created by storybeader. And, every item of jewelry she creates comes with its own original haiku! The haiku for this piece is called "Doves Rising". You can read it and see all the gorgeous jewelry on her site at She is the Etsy Blogger of the Month, so please also visit her blog at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

T.........iny pine needle basket ornaments!

Each year, I try to make a new and different set of Christmas tree ornaments. The 2008 ornament comes from an idea by one of my wonderful sons-in law. It's a tiny basket that measures less than 1 1/2" in diameter and 1 1/2" high including the handle. They're made in the same style as the large pine needle baskets and because of their size, are somewhat challenging. The materials are the long leaf pine needles, natural raffia, and a small red satin ribbon. The basket is coiled and the handle is actually crocheted with the raffia. After the holidays they can be used for tiny trinkets and with a different colored ribbon would also be appropriate as Easter decorations! They're available in my Etsy shop (you can click on the right). Thank you for the great idea, James!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

S.........pring has sprung,

Fall has fell,
Upon my word,
It's colder than can be expected!

The little tree autumn blaze maple tree that we planted two years ago, rewarded us this year with quite a show, and we wanted to share it with you! The silly rhyme was overheard many years ago on a college campus!

Monday, October 20, 2008

F.........ront Page!

This morning I had the most wonderful surprise! As some of you know, I have a shop on the ETSY site (you can get to it by checking the right hand column of this blog), and it's considered a great honor to be featured on the front page of that site. A lovely lady selected twelve items for a treasury and ETSY put it on the front page! A copy of that page is just above. One of my baskets is in the third row. Two other ETSY friends, glassgypsy and dazzledesigns, are on the same page! Each treasury only remains there for an hour or so, but it's great exposure. So a big thank you to Iris! You can see her classy shop at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

B.........eautiful blue!

Agate slices are one of my favorite ways to begin a pine needle basket. The agates are encased in resin and then holes are drilled into the resin so the stitching can begin. This striking blue agate was sewn with natural raffia, first with a wheat stitch, then a wrapped row, chain stitches and "v" stitches. Three small wrapped extensions add a dimension without detracting from the agate. This basket is more than 10" across and is available in my ETSY shop on the right. Please feel free to explore the entire shop for more pine needle work!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

T.........errific idea!

I'd love to have this striking necklace just for its looks, but is has another purpose as well. This month the etsy blogger group is featuring a blog and a shop which sells fabulous jewelry that is also baby friendly! Originally designed for nursing mothers, these necklaces, although not toys, are safe for babies to grab on to while they are nursing instead of Mom's hair, glasses or other clothing. Is that a fantastic idea, or what? What perfect and unique gift for a new mom! You can get to her very interesting blog and her shop, by clicking on the banner just under the sitemeter and above Katydid in the right hand column.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

T.........ravel fun

Even though we are retired, we still like to relax and get away from time to time, both to visit out of state children and to explore areas nearer to home. Because I'm of Swiss heritage, we decided to visit the delightful town of New Glarus, Wisconsin. As we pulled to a parking space near the center of town, we were greeted by the carillon of the graceful old church with a noon time welcome. After lunch we toured the town and I posed in front of a cheese and fudge shop with just one of the many hand decorated brown Swiss cow statues that populate the downtown area. Of course, we had to buy fudge after that! David decided the cows weren't so innocuous after all! Who says old folks don't have fun!

Monday, October 6, 2008

T.........he Steamboat House

In Galena, Illinois, we were privileged to stay in the most wonderful B&B, The Steamboat House. Because we were interested in the Victorian architecture we decided to stay there and would certainly go back. The house was originally built in 1855, by Daniel Harris, who designed and built steamboats, and his wife, Sarah, a fascinating woman in her own right. At age 50, after raising 10 children, she obtained her medical degree in Chicago (after suing the school which did not want to bestow a degree on a woman), and became the first woman physician in Jo Davies County. She was also active in the sufragette movement and entertained Susan B. Anthony as well as other dignitaries, such as General U.S. Grant in the home. After their passing, the home fell into many hands and many stages of disrepair. The present owners, Glen and Char, completely restored this 9 bedroom, 8 bath mansion from the walls on in, in the style of the period. They now offer a 5 guest room B&B complete with hundreds of pictures and antique furnishings. The concessions they made to modern life (heating, bathrooms, queen size beds, gas fireplaces,and TVs) are unobtrusive. They are also very gracious hosts. Glen gave us a private tour of the home when we arrived and Char served us and the other eight guests a most elegant and relaxing breakfast in the morning. They also have a wine and cheese gathering every evening. The pictures are of the outside of the house, the dining room set for breakfast, and the upstairs parlor where guest may also avail themselves of hot tea and cocoa in the evenings and coffee early in the morning. We would highly recommend staying with them if you are in the area or as a destination for a charming night!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A.........visit to Galena, Illinois

Last Thursday, we had a little get away to the fascinating city of Galena, Illinois, about four hours southwest of here. We had been talking about Victorian architecture and the city has many fine restored examples. One of the most prominent is the Grant home which was built for General Grant and his family after the Civil War and before he was elected president. The lovely view of Galena is from that home. You can also see a long shot of the home and a picture of me on the front porch. Because it is an Illinois historic site it is open to the public for tours. We enjoyed walking back into the 1860's inside the home. The parlor picture features Grant's favorite chair, that he took with him to the White House.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A.........lphabet notecards!

When I purchased a package of paper that first was earmarked for scrap booking, I had no idea that a set of 26 note cards would pop into my head. But once I began, each card became more fun to do. Perhaps my teaching background and the fact that I have a daughter who is an elementary school teacher had something to do with it! Those who enjoy working with the English language in any capacity should be able to put these to good use. The stunning blacks, whites, grays and shiny silver cards are accented with a tiny red ribbon and are blank inside for messages. They're available for sale in my ESTY shop listed in the right hand column of this blog.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

C.........amille invites Rosie to tea

When Camille heard that Rosie, one of 13 kangaroos visiting Eastern Star Chapters in the state of Wisconsin, had arrived in the Sheboygan area, she was so thrilled she extended an invitation for tea. First, she presented Rosie with a hand crocheted rose to wear and a rose bud for her joey to hold. Then they enjoyed tea and scones from her own 1940's tea set. Rosie explained to Camille that she had already visited many chapters and had made many new friends. She may be in Sheboygan a while or may be off visiting again soon. Enjoy your stay, Rosie! What a delightful afternoon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

B.........rand New Book!

How many times have you heard someone say, "I really should write a book!"? Thanks to easy desk-top publishing, and using Blurb through Flickr, I finally have taken the plunge and written Confessions from a Crazed Crafter! Dedicated to the wonderful women in my life, it features 10 chapters with titles such as, "My Mother Made Me Do It", "I Once Had a Fling With Feathers", and "There are too many PIGS in my House". Obviously it's written "tongue in cheek" and is autobiographical in nature. It's liberally sprinkled with more than 125 photos, many of them crafts that I have done. It also has a chapter devoted to the talents of several extraordinary friends. It was such fun to do and I would encourage anyone to try this scintillating project! Several interior pages are shown below.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

T..........he pear tree

For many years early fall has given us the pear tree adventure. At the very end of August and through the month of September it gave us thousands, yes, thousands of pears, even though we did nothing to encourage the tree. How lucky, some of you are saying to yourselves! And to top it off, many of them were very good. However, one family can eat only so many pears and my canning days are over! Even with our giving them to neighbors, family and friends, there were always way too many. One year I threatened to put them on strangers' porches disguised as zucchinis! And, of course there were the thousands that fell from the tree and had to be picked up and disposed of, much to the chagrin of the garbage men. Also, the thousands of fallen pears were accompanied by thousands of wasps. In all the years I was only stung once!
However, this year there's been a change. One bright, early September day we heard a tremendous CRAAAAAAAAAK and a thump that actually shook the house! It turned out that the weight of the unripened pears actually cracked the tree in half and it had to be cut down. At first, I thought I'd be relieved to not have this extra work each year, but somehow it's made me a little sad! However, it did inspire me to make the pear scrubbies you see here to accompany the apples!

ps....the partridge was seen flying away with a strange smile on his face!

Friday, September 12, 2008

J.........ust one look

at these darling "monster" baby t-shirts will have you falling in love with the ETSY shop of The designer, creator and owner of the shop, a proud mom of a lively two-year-old toddler and his new baby sister, is also the "etsy blogger of the month". You can find her delightful blog at and read about her wide variety of interests and meet her precious family. Even though her new daughter was just born in June, she never wavered from her responsibilities as team leader of the etsybloggersteam! I suggest all new moms, dads, and grandparents (and anyone shopping for a new baby or who just wants a smile) visit the shop and the blog. Her designs are just perfect for the modern baby and his parents!