Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts

26 October 2012

Catching Up: Craft Fair

Our small town holds an annual Fall Festival every first Saturday in October. The whole town is decked out with fabulous fall displays and there is music, food, hayrides, pony rides, and an ever growing arts & crafts fair. This year Dutch Girl Originals participated in the craft fair for the first time ever.

Of course, as soon as I signed up for the fair, I was offered a job. I briefly contemplated cancelling, but I really didn’t want to. I decided to go for a smaller booth instead. So I worked my butt off at night getting ready for the fair while working a regular job during the day. It was a little stressful but I am so glad I did.

The first sale of the day went to Lola. She had worked hard on making drawings and cuttings and sold them on the side. I did okay for a first timer. My big seller were the owl pillows. It quickly became obvious people were not yet ready to start thinking about Christmas. A glance at the ornaments was the best I got.

The wonderful garland display did not attract as much attention as I had hoped. Ryan built it by mounting two thin poplar trees cut from my parents-in-law’s yard, not for this purpose though, in Christmas tree stands. I strung the garlands in between the posts but they didn’t show up very well against the park back drop. A white wall would have been better.

It was cold though. So cold. We kept it dry for most of the day but did see a little bit of snow (!) come down, smudging every single one of my tags. I should have listened to Ryan who suggested laminating them. Every now and then my mother-in-law would walk down, my booth was just down the road, to allow me to warm up inside.

Despite the cold, I had a blast. I am already looking forward to next year. Now I need to get my Etsy shop ready for the holidays. After I finish Lola’s Halloween costume, that is. A crafter’s work is never done.







18 October 2012

Woman At Work

So I have been a bit of a slacker lately but only on the blogs, I promise. In fact, I have been hard at work for the past two months. It started with various projects for my husband’s employer that I was usually able to do from home. Slowly it progressed to a near full time job. And since the first of this month I happily commute to the UP every day. I do a little marketing, a little project management, and whatever else comes my way. It’s fun. Lola is back in day care and lovin’ it.

Of course, something’s gotta give, and that’s the blogs. I participated in my very first craft fair and was reasonably successful at it. (It was cold that day, though. It even snowed a little bit.) I try to keep a clean house and am reasonably successful at that, too. We purchased a dishwasher to assist with household tasks. It sits in our garage, patiently waiting to be installed. We want to tile the kitchen floor first. Makes sense, doesn’t it? And so I wait patiently as well.

Summer is officially over. It is full on fall here. I have seen some gorgeous colors come by on my commute but the rain and wind of the last few days have blown most leaves off their branches. We spent a couple of lovely weekends camping up in the UP on the Keweenaw Peninsula. We putzed around looking for property to realize our B&B dream on. We tried one on for size and squatted on the land for a night. Nice spot with a perfect view of Mount Bohemia.

Lola is back in school, a true kindergartner. She is learning to read and write. It’s fun hearing her sound out letters and watching her write them. She can almost count to a hundred now. No more skipping the number seventeen, and getting confused at twenty. Just like that, it clicked. She has been getting into a little bit of trouble every now and then, mostly for talking too much. But she genuinely seems to be enjoying school. She had enrolled in dance again and goes to girl scouts every other Monday.

That’s pretty much it, I think. You’re all caught up. I will try to upload some pictures this weekend to accompany the aforementioned events. But I am also working on Lola’s Halloween costume (she will be a mermaid this year), sewing a custom order for a client, and getting my Etsy shop ready for the upcoming holidays. So I can’t make any promises.

07 December 2011

Doily Snowflakes


The snow is taking its time this year. We have had a few inches here and there, but that has mostly melted away. I have resorted to making my own snowflakes by freezing doilies in baking pans and hanging them in the trees in our backyard. They sparkle when the sunlight hits them.

I love it! But now I want the real thing. The forecast tells me not this week, though. Not yet.

03 December 2011

Advent Wreath

I remember making Advent Wreaths every year when I was growing up. A centerpiece with some Christmas greenery, small colorful ornaments, and four white candles. We had a special ceramic ring for the wreath. The candles would be lit one at a time, on Sundays only. They were allowed to burn for about an hour, and then extinguished. The following Sunday two candles would be lit, then three, and finally, on Christmas Day, all four.

Not once have I seen a homemade Advent Wreath in this land I call home now. I never hear talk of the first, second, third, and fourth Sunday of Advent. Is it something that only happens in church, a place that I don't visit very often anymore? Or is the homemade Advent Wreath a European, perhaps even Dutch, custom? Is it just a Catholic thing? I am not sure. But I miss it.


I made my first Advent Wreath this year. I stocked up on my favorite candles during my visit to Holland, although an advent wreath was not on my mind when I bought them. Since they are quite burly, we burn the candle(s) every day when the sun sets.

My mom still makes her Advent Wreath in that ceramic ring. Mine is quite different but I am very happy to have this as a part of my family's Christmas traditions.

30 November 2011

My Gift

My Handmade Gift Exchange partner Heather surprised me with this beautiful vintage paper wreath. I love wreaths, especially around the holidays, but lack the patience to make them. It looks just lovely on the hutch in the living room. Thank you, Heather! And Merry Christmas.


22 November 2011

Handmade Gift Exchange

For Heather

Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous hosts a Handmade Gift Exchange twice a year. Last Christmas was my first time participating. I enjoyed it so much, I signed up again this year. I hope my gift exchange partner likes the felt heart garland I made for her. It was made with love.

I am sharing this on A Little Birdie Told Me at Rook No. 17.

Update: I wrote a simple tutorial that you can find on my other blog Dutch Girl Originals.

09 November 2011

Let It Snow

Inspired by a pin on Pinterest (which I could not trace to its creator - I'm sorry, I tried), I recreated Frosty the Snowman out of three grapevine wreaths, some burlap, and a piece of plywood cut in the shape of a top hat on the side of the garage. Lola looked on from the upstairs window, giving me the thumbs up when I finished assembling him.

For two days we have been promised snow, and contrary to what I said in my previous post, I was actually looking forward to it. It seemed a little unlikely with Monday being a gorgeous and sunny day with temperatures in the low sixties. And, even though it was a dreary and cold day, it didn't really surprise me that we didn't see a single snowflake all day yesterday or last night.

This morning the temperature had dropped even further but all it did was rain. Until thirty minutes ago...

Frosty the Snowman
I am sharing this on A Little Birdie Told Me... at Rook No. 17.

Update: a very basic How To can be found at Dutch Girl Originals.

23 May 2011

Religious Education

Don't laugh, but I have started to work on my big Christmas project for the year. Last year I made an advent calender in the shape of a Christmas tree. I did not want to fill it with gifts or candy, I wanted to make it about the meaning of Christmas. The plan was to make a twenty four piece nativity set. However, after submitting my plan to a reality check, I went for little ornaments instead, and store bought at that.

So this year I am making a nativity set. Little wooden figurines and needle felted animals. I have needle felted once before, many years ago, under the careful guidance of my sister, needle felter extraordinaire. This time I am on my own. I went online and found a step-by-step tutorial on how to needle felt a sheep. I started two weeks ago. Let's just say it's a good thing the first of December is still more than six months away. My sheep does not resemble a sheep in the slightest.

I mentioned my project to a co-worker in the break room the other day. I don't know if she misunderstood me or has very little faith in my needle felting skills, but she walked in last week with a gift for me. She was at a garage sale where she found a nativity set and bought it for me. I was touched by her thoughtfulness.

When I went to pick up Lola that day, she asked me if I had a surprise for her. I told her I did, as a matter of fact, and showed her the nativity set. Ryan and I are not very church going and Lola's knowledge of religion is basically non-existent. I introduced all the characters of the nativity set to her and then tried to put it away to buckle her in her car seat.

"But mama," she cried, "I want to play with Jesus!"

25 February 2011

Pyjama Party

Lola woke me up in the middle of the night crying for her mommy. I found her in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet. My happiness about her waking up to go potty (it's still hit and miss with lots of laundry around here) quickly subsided when I felt her warm body and heard her cough. She was burning with fever and obviously sick. I tucked her back in and snuggled for a little bit. Just before I went back to my own bed, I told her she would not be going to school the next day. She perked up. "Are we going to make party hats?"

She has been begging me to make party hats for days now. I have no idea why or where this burning desire came from. But what else is there to do when you're spending an unexpected day at home? Party hats it is. We taped some construction paper sheets together and cut out a circle large enough for a hat. Lola went to town embellishing the hat with glitter hearts, left over from Valentine's Day. Of course one was not enough, we had to make five.

While Lola was clearly feeling better by the minute, my health rapidly deteriorated. When it was time for her nap, I decided to take one too, rather than enjoying some free time. She slept until three, I woke up around dinner time. Ryan had come home in the meantime and spent the afternoon entertaining his daughter and looking after his wife.

I am feeling much better now and tomorrow will be business as usual. I will go to work as planned and Lola will go back to school. But at least we got the party hat project out of the way.

15 February 2011

Sweets For My Sweet


Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey... I was singing this song all weekend long while Lola and I made Valentine's Day cards and decorated shipping tags with potato stamped hearts and red and purple glitter. She is not willing to part with the cards she made so there is no point in running to your mailbox in anticipation. Nothing from Lola this year, sorry.

The shipping tags were for the little bags of sweets she was giving out to her friends and teachers at school. Twenty in all. Centering the potato on the tags was a bit tricky and she gladly handed that task off to her mother, as well as adding the little drops of glue. But the glitter job is all hers. She was not going to let me have any fun with that. Her forehead crinkled in concentration, she very carefully tapped the glitter from the shakers over a big plate and then shook off the excess.

The tags turned out beautifully. She was so proud of her work, we made a few extra for her to keep. As for the content, I missed the memo requesting parents not to hand out any candy and filled them with just that. Luckily Ryan caught it in time and I was able to correct my rookie mistake. First thing Monday morning, I was back at the kitchen table, emptying out the artificially sugared chocolate and gummy hearts into a large jar and replacing them with naturally sugared blueberries, strawberries, and clementines.

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey... I cannot get it out of my head!

01 December 2010

Making Family Memories

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas! The seasonal spirit has taken a firm hold on our household. Ryan and I both want to create family memories and traditions of our own that Lola can look back on some day with a smile on her face and happiness in her heart. I am not sure if she's catching on, though.

When we went to the Christmas Tree Farm to pick out our tree, the adults were almost skipping along, very much enjoying the experience. But Lola? She just wanted to go home, she was cold.

And I have been sewing up a storm to finish my Advent Calender in time for the first of December. Bursting with pride, I presented the finished product to Lola this morning and told her she could take one ornament from a pocket every day to hang on the tree and when all the ornaments are hung, it will be Christmas!

"Go ahead," I said, "hang the first one."

Her response? "Uhm, maybe tomorrow..."

Nicole's Brown Paper Package

Today all the participants in Craftaholics Anonymous' Handmade Holiday Gift Exchange reveal their gifts. Here's a peek inside my brown paper package.


Wrapping the presents I made for my handmade holiday gift exchange partner Nicole was just as much fun as making them. I sewed two white felt bags to hold the goodies, which I did tie with string, and made a gift tag with some odds and ends found in the great big bin marked "X-MAS" that inconveniently sits in the middle of my craft room.

Inside the bags are a necklace, earrings, and a crystal ornament. I did not have red in mind when I set out to make the necklace, but as so often happens, the piece made itself. All I did was find the right order for the beads. I took Nicole's gifts outside to make some pictures. I love the vibrant red on the grapevine wreath in the snow.


Silver and Holly

Chandelier Crystal Ornament

I hope Nicole likes her gifts. And I cannot wait to see what she made for me!

30 November 2010

Handmade Holidays

A brown paper package, tied up with string. It really is one of my favorite things. For Nicole, my handmade holiday exchange partner, I fancied the brown paper package up a bit.

I would love to do a handmade holiday gift exchange in my family, but I don't think there would be too many takers. Fortunately, Linda from Craftaholics Anonymous provided me with a way to get my fix by hosting a handmade gift exchange on her blog.

I was filled with ideas for gifts. Felted woolen slippers, paper tree ornaments, miniature wreaths, to name a few. And if I didn't have a family and a full time job, I am sure I would have made all of them. Instead I designed a necklace and earrings for Nicole, and sent her one of my handmade glass ornaments. The package goes in the mail today. I'll show the gifts off tomorrow, during the big reveal on Linda's website.

15 November 2010

Counting Down

The craft room is being put to good use these days. Instead of allowing my usual holiday ADD to manage my time ("Ooh, I can make that. And that. And that too, it's so simple and charming!" And then nothing gets done of course, because I cannot make up my mind, I don't have enough time, etc.), I took control this year and wrote down what I would really like to do, what it entails, and when it needs to be done. And then I submitted it to a firm reality check.

For instance, I would love to make an advent calender for Lola. One that is not all about candy or presents, but creates the spirit and excitement that go with Christmas. I stumbled on a design by inchmark featured on homemade by jill, a blog I read. I love it just the way it is, but instead of ornaments, I thought it would be nice to fill the little pockets with tiny figurines for a nativity set, another thing I have wanted to have for some time now.

A quick trip to JoAnn's last week turned out unsuccessful. I considered making my own nativity set, but let's be real here, people. There is no way I am going to take my figure saw and cut out twenty four itty bitty pieces for a nativity set, paint them and have them all done by December first. Ornaments it is then, and store bought at that. The calender itself is coming along nicely. It will be done in time for the count down.

Something else I have wanted to do is sign up for a handmade gift exchange with a total stranger on Craftaholics Anonymous, one of the many craft blogs I read. I thought long and hard if I was really able to do it this year before I signed up for one, keeping it simple. That also needs to be finished by the end of this month.

The next thing on my list is sending out Christmas cards. And on time for a change. I am not making any promises, but I did manage to retrieve the address file from my laptop that will only start up in 'safe mode' these days. It just might happen this year.

And then there are the teacher and neighbor gifts. I am hell bent om making them myself. Fortunately I have a wonderful simple idea and all the necessities. Unfortunately it turns out Lola has three teachers. We have four neighbors and I only have supplies for six gifts. The good news is I have five weeks to come up with a solution.

Oh, and I suppose I should shop for my loved ones, too. There's still time.

25 July 2010

Ahead Of The Game

Last Thursday I had the day off. That in itself is nothing new or unusual. However, on this particular Thursday I found myself without a husband or a child. I could do whatever I wanted and no-one was there to distract me. Absolute bliss!

And what did I do with all this time to myself? I got crafty. Christmas crafty, to be precise. I had been walking around with an idea for Christmas ornaments since last November, but had neither the time nor the necessary supplies before Thursday. The last component had just arrived in the mail, and taking advantage of my freedom, I decided to got for it. A tad early, but who cares? I briefly considered playing Christmas music but that would have been taking it too far. Besides, this wasn't about getting in the Christmas spirit, but about enjoying the creativity.

And enjoy it, I did. I made twenty little Christmas gifts with chandelier crystals, vintage images, a little glue, and some silver leaf. The how-to can be found at Dutch Girl Originals. They have been put away now, and won't be out for another five months. Never before have I been this organized. And I doubt I ever will be again.


09 June 2010

Beads Revisited

My bags are almost packed and I am getting ready to go. On Thursday morning I am driving down to Milwaukee to join my former boss at the Bead & Button Show. For three wonderful days I get to play with beads again. I cannot wait, to tell you the truth. The beading business is the part of my old life I truly miss. I am working on my shopping list to get my basic supplies organized. And I promised to bring back something shiny for one of my staff and silver crimp ends for my niece.

Unfortunately my little beading retreat is threatening to turn into a stressful event. Aside from Bead & Button, I have agreed to a family reunion, the Locust Street Beer Run, and driving to Wausau and back late Friday night to pick my husband up at the airport. He is returning from a week long training in Denver. It's my own fault. I always do this. Not wanting to disappoint anyone, I try to find a way to make everyone happy. And I usually do. Everyone but me.

A woman in her forties should know better, don't you think?

27 March 2010

Waiting For Daffodils

For a while now I have wanted to play around with etching glass. I think it's a wonderful way to personalize cookie jars, storage containers, and vases. Last week I finally did it. I actually managed to start and finish a project. I adorned little 7 oz. beer bottles with L E N T E, the Dutch word for spring. The "How To" can be found on my other blog, Dutch Girl Originals, my show case for all things crafty.

I am very happy with the result, if I do say so myself. Now all I need is daffodils, my ultimate spring flower. Until I find some, fake Dollar Tree daisies will have to do.

Of course now I want a set of vases for every season. There's only eight bottles to a case, though. We're just going to have to drink for the cause...

23 December 2009

Ode To Mickey

When we were little, my sister and I each had an ornament of our own that adorned our family's Christmas tree. My sister had a beautiful pink cat. My ornament was a mouse and I called it Mickey. It was not really Mickey Mouse. It looks nothing like Mickey Mouse, in fact. Or a mouse for that matter. As I am writing this, I am starting to wonder if it even is a mouse. I think so.

The ornaments came from my grandfather's store. He normally sold household appliances but every year, after celebrating Saint Nicholas' Eve, he would cover up his storefront windows with paper and spend all night building the most elaborate display of Christmas ornaments, to be reveiled on December 6. He was famous for it, well beyond the neighborhood my mom and her family lived in. I do not know if I ever saw his window displays. If I did, I was too young to remember. My mother has a few pictures but the colors are faded and they do not do my grandfather's creations justice.

I treasure my ornament. Because of its age, and because of its heritage. It always gets a special spot in the tree. And while I would love to have a themed tree from time to time, because of Mickey I never have.

For the second year in a row Mickey is missing from the tree, however. Last year we had just moved into the barn and there really wasn't any room for a tree. Instead I temporarily brought one of our Alberta Spruces inside, pot and all. We decorated it with a homemade cranberries and popcorn garland.

This year I do not have a tree of my own. That's okay. My parents-in-law's tree is beautiful and decorated exclusively with handmade ornaments. Some are very old ornaments made by my father-in-law's sisters. Some were made by my husband and his siblings when they were children. And one was made by Lola and me. Last weekend we created a reindeer from twigs found in the yard (inspired by Jane from Fine Frugal Living). Maybe we can name him Mickey, instead of the obvious Rudolph.


Next year the real Mickey will be back, prominently gracing my tree. I promise!

03 October 2009

Releasing My Inner Martha

For most of my adult life I secretly wanted to be Martha Stewart. I never realized this, of course, in fact I didn't even know who Martha Stewart was for the majority of those years.

My desire would mainly surface at the end of summer. Every year at the arrival of autumn, when it was time to go back inside and turn on the heat, I wished to transform my home into a beautifully decorated palace. I ambitiously wanted to organize elegant dinner parties for friends and family to celebrate my birthday, or Christmas, or simply the season.

It has never happened the way I envisioned. Mainly due to lack of energy and creativity. By the time I had baked an apple pie or decorated the Christmas tree, I was pretty much done. I never spent the holidays at my apartment, anyway.

Now that I have a family of my own, I want to be like Martha even more. I wish to grow my own vegetables and cook wonderfully healthy meals every day (the zucchini soup is a start) whilst arranging roses cut from my own garden and decorating my barn. And with Halloween and Thanksgiving, there are even more holidays to celebrate now.

To make matters worse, I have become rather addicted to reading craft and decorating blogs. There are many Martha's out there, I tell you. Stay at home moms, career women, home schoolers, or any combination thereof. I share with these inspiring women a love of thrift stores, the Dollar Tree, yard sales, and spray paint. Not much else it seems, because I have no idea how they can work, raise children, run a household, whip out a crafty project every day and blog about it, too.

When we installed the windows, I vowed to make the barn more of a home. Now that we have space and light, it's time to decorate. It is a bit of a challenge though, since we have no shelves, no walls, no furniture suitable for decorating really. And of course, it has to be out of Lola's reach for the time being.

People without gardens can still garden. It's called container gardening, I did it for years. I would like to introduce the concept of Container Decorating. I took the last of my fruit crates, hung it and decorated it for All Hallows Eve.


There are two projects out there that I am particularly in love with: the googly eyes wreath and the faux mercury glass pumpkins. Having limited space and being on a copper kick still, I altered them to fit my needs. (Also, I am too cheap to buy 'funkins', I buy my all fakes at the dollar store.)



Lola helped too. She handled the hammer like a pro.



I am very pleased with my container, if I do say so myself. I feel confident Martha would approve, if only because I used her felt webbing.

Go check out more great ideas at Its So Very Cheri!