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Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Inside the Farmhouse

Since the weather is cold and snowy, I've been spending most of the time inside working on various projects.  I drew up plans for a new TV table that I want for the living room...

I've wanted to do this for awhile, and since I'm moving the furniture around to shampoo all the carpets, I figured now was the time.  I'll post a picture of it when it's done.

I love making things, big or small.  I think I've mentioned before that I drew up the blueprints for this house.  There are a couple of things I would change, but overall we're satisfied with it.

I recently retaught myself how to knit and crochet.  I didn't know if these old arthritic hands could do it, but it turns out that it's very therapeutic for them!  My hands are more limber and less painful than before!  I barely knew how to knit and crochet years ago, so in the past few weeks, I've advanced beyond where I was then.  Just like my cooking, I rarely follow directions for anything... so don't ask for patterns.  I like to make it up as I go along.

I started with scarves.  Easy.  Then I moved on to hats, learning as I go.  The mistakes are my special touch.  After many requests, I am posting these pics of my yarn projects:

This is the first hat I ever made!
I didn't get a picture of the scarf, but it has matching stripes.  My step-daughter is a Steelers fan.  (We love her anyway.  LOL)  She wanted a scarf in their colors.  I knitted the scarf while Brady was being born!  This head is a little smaller than a woman's head.
This a a ruffled set I made for myself.  It's the one I was wearing in the 'self-portrait while driving' shot.  The hat and scarf are rib-knitted, while the ruffled edge is crocheted.  The scarf is extra long for triple-wrapping!

This is actually purple and yellow.  Lexi asked for this set.  She described the braid & tassel thingy.  I found out before I gave it to her that the style is a short one on each side, so I redid it.

I love this one!  It's not an actual hood... just a scarf with a wide shaped area for your head.  I crocheted this one out of suede yarn.  It was on sale, so this cost $1.98! I can see the grands 'scarfing' this one up.  LOL

                                                                                           I have these two work jackets that I wanted to match.  I found this yarn that goes with both the green and the blue!  I made this one snug around the edge to keep my ears warm around the barn!
My two youngest grandgirls.
Melody's hat is made with double-yarn in the top for extra warmth.  I just crocheted the pink and blue together.  Grace is wearing a bell-shaped cap.  The pompoms looked much better before the girls got hold of them!

Grace requested a matching scarf.  I just finished it.

My bf has a gold wool coat.  I made her this double-yarn reversible hat.  It has a rolled hem for cute, and, flipping it inside-out, it has a head-hugging edge that pulls down below the ears for windy weather.

Even Mr J requested a scarf!  I made him a heavy-duty camouflage scarf for cutting wood.  He stays toasty warm now!

The left-over yarn became pillows for the living room.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tennessee Vacation Part II

Our first night in Pigeon Forge, as we were settling in for the evening, we flipped the television to a local information station.  The spotlight was on the arts and crafts village just north of downtown Gatlinburg.  I perked up!  Now that's the stuff I remember... actual people that live around here making beautiful handcrafted items.  That's the kind of souvenir I wanted from this trip.  Now we had our agenda for the following day. 

Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get mar-air-air-ied...

Most folks around here have often heard of people eloping to Gatlinburg to get married.  Hubby even suggested we do it.  Evidently it's a pretty popular idea...  As we traveled the road to the arts and crafts village, we passed numerous little wedding chapels tucked into the hillsides.    

Hubby's favorite was a little too contemporary for me...

 I preferred the charming little Chapel of Love...

The crafters' shops dotted the sides of a beautiful, winding country road.  Alewine Pottery was the first stop on our agenda.  Mr. Alewine had given us a tour of his pottery business the night before via the local channel.

Here is Mr. Alewine himself, making some lovely little one-piece bowl and pitcher items.
The gift shop had many assorted types of pottery created right there on the premises.  I loved the intricacy of the cut-out vessels...  Etching a pattern into the soft clay, portions would be removed leaving a lace-like design.  They had small ones for luminaries and large ones for lamp bases.  There were so many beautiful items to pick from!

I told Hubby I really wanted something that we would use.  We don't have a lot of room for things that sit on side tables or shelves.  And I wanted one that had his traditional maple leaf design...

He had been making his unique maple leaf pottery for decades.  It was a sort of trademark.  By burnishing a maple leaf into the fresh clay before dipping the piece into the glaze, it left a beautiful image on the sides of the vessels.

I knew as soon as I spotted them what I wanted to buy...  Hubby loves pancakes and he makes them several times a week.  I thought this bowl would be perfect to use for his pancakes, plus it would look lovely displayed on the kitchen counter...

It came with the wooden-handled mini-whisk that you saw on the chicken wall.

If you've ever wanted to try your hand at spinning a pot, stop in if you're ever in the area.  For a small fee, they will help you create your own masterpiece; and then, after they've dried, glazed and fired your item (a process that takes many days), they will ship it to you at your home.

Our next stop was back toward town to a little shopping center style place.  I neglected to take a picture from the outside.  This one was taken from a little resting spot between the buildings.

Here, I am looking down the outdoor hall.

If you click to enlarge it, you'll see that the sign hanging on the left says "Copper Fountains".   I have a wonderful picture of the artist together with the most amazing copper, waterfall fountain.  It stood about shoulder height, and on top was a little building with water wheel.  It reminded me of the grist mill near Norris Dam that you will see in tomorrow's post.  I wish I could show it to you, but the artists are very particular about having photos taken of their work.  I promised him it would be for my own viewing.  I only wish I had the money to buy it.  It was truly a work of art.

We visited a quilt shop that not only had some beautiful creations on display, but was filled with rows of fabric bolts; the colors and patterns carefully selected for use in their quilt projects.  It was a picture of heaven to anyone that loved fabrics.

I recently posted about the honeybee earrings I purchased on my trip...  This is the lady that sold them to me...

In this picture, she is wearing a lovely pendant made from a Smokey Mountain leaf.  (What I probably should have bought!)  She was an adorable person.  I wish I could remember her name.  She explained to us how the items were plated and the history of the business.  She also shared information about some of the other artist in the area.  There were some lovely jewelry items displayed in another area of the shop that were made by another local woman.  It was miniature cross-stitch.   (more like microscopic cross-stitch) The earrings and pendants were adorned with the most lovely cross-stitched patterns.  It would require more patience than I have to create such tiny masterpieces!  I did not take a picture of those items because that artist was not present to give me permission.

This was by far our favorite part of the whole Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg experience.  If we ever do go to that region again, I would like to explore downtown Gatlinburg's craft area.  We didn't have time to see everything, and we were very tired of fighting all the traffic.  Instead of going back to Gatlinburg the next morning, we decided to leave the area first thing and spend time along the way wherever we got the urge.

You'll see the pictures from that tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Accomplice to Murder!

It's true.  I might as well have committed the crime myself.  Guilt is heavy on my soul.

If you follow my farm blog, you know how concerned I am about the plight of the honey bees.  I appreciate their importance to our existence.  I am deeply saddened by how few honey bees have been spotted around the farm the last couple of years.  It is a cause near and dear to me.

Last week, Hubby and I took a mini-vacation to Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg, TN.  We loved going to the crafters' village to see all the lovely, locally-made items.  We picked up a few for souvenirs.  One of the craft stores was a jewelry place.  They had leaves and fir twigs plated in copper, silver and gold.  I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but decided that those items were such a novelty and a true souvenir of the mountains that I decided to purchase something.

When I saw these earrings, I just had to have them!

Yes, those are real honey bees!  ...covered in gold!  As we were leaving for home the next day, the honey bees were heavy on my mind...  What was I thinking?  These were most likely not made from dead honey bees that had lived a full life and, feeling the end was near, sat themselves down at the door of the crafter's shop.  No.  More likely, they were flying around, happily doing what bees do so that the rest of us can eat wonderful fruits and vegetables, when some artist plucked them from their world and dipped them in molten metal.

I have a huge appreciation of artist, and the people involved in this particular shop are no exception.  They took bits of nature and preserved them in a delicate and stunning way.  The vast majority of the items were from vegetation and not animal life.  As a matter of fact, I don't recall but two items of the animal variety, and I purchased one of them!

What have I done?  I have given them a market for this endeavor.  Will God ever forgive me?  Will I forgive myself?

I rationalize it by the fact that the bee jewelry is the tiniest fraction of their creations, and they are but one artist in a community of artists.  I'm quite sure the bee population is not adversely affected by their activities.  Still, I believe it was murder...