Monday, December 17, 2012

Arkansas Women Bloggers Secret Santa Reveal

ArkansasWomen Bloggers is a group that I've been participating in. It's been fun to network with other bloggers, of all kinds, that are near by. They sponsored a Secret Santa Handmade Ornament Exchange that has been a load of fun - mostly cause I've got to know a couple of members a bit better.  I was supposed to send a handmade ornament to my fellow blogger, Gina of Desperately Seeking Gina.  She got a Christmasy Dressed version of my Noah's ark Moose. Check them out here.
But check out my loot!

This lovely box of goodness came from Esmee Lynn of Plaid Pages.   My Friends and family know the sad truth that I can make beautiful stuff but my packaging is a bit limited.  This was a party in a box! 
The actual ornament is sooo pretty and unusual.  It looks like she Modg Podged lightweight paper or tissue onto a blank ornament and then added sparkly sequins, beads and a perfect tassel!  I would do a whole tree in these.  Esmee has a Etsy Shop full of vintage goodies that I could have selected. I think we must be twins, or long lost cousins. (She's Scottish  - so am I :) ).  She said she would blog about how she made these so check her out.  I think these could be adapted so many ways and though they look fragile they are pretty tough and kid proof - something I still love.  Big hugs and thanks to her. This will live happily on  my tree.

Just for brags, here are my moose. Yeah, I had the idea to get some of these in the shop before Christmas but life interfered.  I don't know why a moose says "Christmas" to me but it does. If I had a tame moose I would so dress it up for the holidays.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Wolf Story

If you know anything about me, you know I adore children's books. One of my favorite sources for information on books and authors is the very fun blog Vintage Kids Books My Kid Loves.  I've found so many new to me favorite authors and books there. She had a give away and huzzah! I won the book that I liked the best from the ones she had. It must be kismet.
Wolf Story by William McCleary is one the New York Review Books Children's Collection. They've taken classic and out of print books and reprinted them in beautiful editions.  This was printed first before I was born (Yes, that long ago) and I wasn't familiar with it. It arrived yesterday amid the horror that's become our national morning and it was the best antidote.  This is a tale of a father who tells his son and the son's best friend stories. Not any story but a "good long story" with a wolf  named Waldo, a hen with colorful feathers, and a fictional little boy who saves his hen.  The story of the wolf winds in between the story of ordinary days and nights when a father takes his son on outings, has him wash his face, brush his teeth and puts him to bed.

 It's a perfect world when the wolf's teeth, "as long and as sharp as butcher knives",  can be banished because Daddy changed the story.  Too soon we learn of real wolves with real life teeth. This book reminded me why I, at an early age, fell in love with story books.  Today, I'm also full of love and gratitude for my school teachers. They patiently taught me to read and opened up the world so I could walk forward when ready.  Pouring knowledge into our empty heads and dealing with the ordinary bits of childishness that we all are in our early education. I recall few names or faces of these sainted ladies (for me they were all ladies) but I remember, from kindergarten through 6th grade, in 3 different states; always after lunch they read to us. I remember many of these books. They became part of me. The best stories don't just entertain or educate but light a little flame at the bottom of our hearts that keeps us company and gives us hope in the darkest of times.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Koala Changes For the Better

I'm always amazed at how my creative process works. (That sounds a bit weird and pretentious, but stay with me.) Over the time I've been making Noah's Arks and the animals, the designs have evolved and changed. Most changes have come when I have a slap your head and wonder why I didn't do this before moment.  I make the smaller animals out of a solid piece of wood but larger ones are made of at least two wood layers so that I get a realistic look. The layered animals take a lot more wood and work so they are priced a bit more.  The relative size of the animal has made the difference in which category or size they fall, but the Koalas have been a three layer animal even though they are smaller. 
You can easily see the three layers above. Standard 1" wood (which is less than 1" thick) seemed a bit thin for a chubby koala so I thought I had to layer them.  BLHubby presented me with some two by fours (romantic, huh) and the "slap your head" moment occurred. I ran a length through the planer and after cutting used my dremel to shape the ears, face and front legs.
I think they are nicer than before. More round and cuddly. And, they take less steps to make so they have been changed from the "Large 3D animal section" to the "small Animal" section and priced less.

I'm in love with them. Change is good. I just wish I could figure out things sooner.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Shop Update

I've been shockingly absent here, but working my fingers off making. When I would think "you need to update the blog" I then would thing "you need to make stuff" and the "making stuff" won out. I decided I was a "maker" first and a "blogger" 2nd.  Here's some of what I've been covered with paint for.

Bunny Bookends
I've got a new set of bookends and the first pair were sent to Singapore. I'd love to have traveled with them.
Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf Fairytale Play Set
A new version of Little Red and the Wolf. This one is not as dark and I'm so happy with how Red returned out.
The whole crew looks great.  Hope they find a good home.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Late Thanksgiving Recap

We traveled over the rivers and through a lot of woods to the greater Atlanta area to share Thanksgiving with a branch of the BestLoved family that relocated there this year. Haven't been to that area of the country for a decade or so since the BL Son-in-law graduated from UGA. We were joined by one of the BL son's and his kiddlet for turkey, pie and lots and lots of carbonated juice drinks. 
Mom with Friend
Hubbys Mom went with us. She's fun to travel with and a great sport. We did get to check out the emergency room Thanksgiving morning (Mom had a bad cold that got better then much worse and we were worried about pneumonia but all was well.) What's a family get together without a trip to the emergency room?
The "Bigs" and the "Littles"
Mostly loving spending time with these rug rats. "The Bigs" are getting so big - in shoe size (can you say 15's!), height (6 feet and growing) and maturity.  B, our oldest BLGrand is actively making plans to "get out of here" as he says, and college, mission, life are in spitting distance.

The "Littles" were pure fun. I have to brag about our girl, K.  She's newly 10 and quite the kiddlet. She was so sweet to her 4 year old cousin. She spent LOTS of time with him doing things he would like and she never complained.

 In fact, she was the one planning things for him to do.  I found her making him booklets to color in, playing computer games he liked and generally looking after him.  Her mom says she is a natural organizer and general caretaker. A few weeks ago their childless neighbors had a death in the family and lots of family visitation with quite a few children. Miss K had organized games in the back yard for them and was keeping everyone happy.  She does it without being bossy.  I don't know how.  I think we should elect her to congress right away. She would have everyone in line and loving it. Proud of her.