Monday, January 24, 2011

Things That Make Me Smile!

This blog post is brought to you by Mischief and Merlin, my 'thrifted' cats. They would like to remind you that if winter weather makes you cross, you need an indoor hobby or three.

They are a photogenic pair, aren't they? Mommy loves you too guys! ♥♥

A recent thrifting adventure netted me this nice little purse. AND it was 50% off the tagged price, so I got it for a whopping $1.50. Perfect for those 'mixer' events we are supposed to be attending at the writer's conference in May.

Got this little guy the same day. Yes he is a Ty, and it says 2008 on his ribbon which the bow tie covers up. He is currently presiding over part of the office.

This is a poor picture because it was taken in a rush on a black plush blanket, right before it went out the door with its new owner. It is a healing amulet I put together from beads and charms. Each strand has some significance to the life-altering situation the person I created it for can relate too. It's made to be hung, or held. Very nice to have nearby so that it can be viewed and played with. Like any prayer or meditation beads, you can go over it and associate the different strands and their components with feelings and emotions, thoughts and deeds. It sparkles and jangles nicely too. I have made several of these, and they are fun to do, and always appreciated.

The 24th of January is my friend and neighbor Shelly's birthday. I always look for some special things to make her smile. Cold weather birthdays need to be cheery, and this year we are having a really cold & snowy, old fashioned New England winter. The theme of the gifts this year was: Have A Magical Birthday.

This is the front of the envelope of the Brian Froud card I gave her.
The back of the envelope, and I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the actual card! I got a metal tin of them while out thrifting in 2009. I love Brian Froud fairies because they aren't all cute and sweet.

I made Shelly a fairy calling charm. It has all sorts of sparkly things that fairies should love, and a big bell to call them. The bell is removable so that if it gets annoying or you are overrun with fairies, it can be silenced. She has a greenhouse window in her kitchen that has houseplants in it, and I gave her some stick on hooks to hang it there, so the fairies have their own winter resort.

We don't have to grow up if we don't want to!
Once hung these charms and amulets tend to clump together, but I spread them out for the pictures so you can see everything.

This is Blinkin, and he is an owl that will bring wisdom and order to her household (we all need that) and keep those fairies in line. Took me 4 nights of watching TV with the family while putting him together, between the crochet work and the trimming. He can sit in the palm of your hand and his body is about softball size. I've made several of these owls, and my own little pal Bubo, sits on the window next to me, staring over my left shoulder as he holds down my flowerpot of Sharpie markers.

It had been a while since I made one, and couldn't find my notes, so I forgot how to do the wings and tail. I had to fudge it and got the tail too long. It's OK, Blinkin didn't seem to mind. Neither did Shelly, and she collects owls. The appendages were crocheted in the same tan worsted weight yarn as his headpiece, and I did them all right on the body. Then I used a smaller hook and fur yarn to 'feather' them. A yarn needle and patience allowed me to tease out the fibers so that he looks fluffy. The beak and feet are chenille stems folded and glued in place like the eyes. I used Fabric-Tac and unfortunately it is getting a bit thick and so it shows. If I had thought of it at the time, a touch of brown Sharpie might have hid it better. I really like Fabric-Tac, it holds very well.

I just had to show you Blinkin's butt and little feets. They are just too cute! The beak is half an orange chenille stem, the feet are each half a yellow one. you mainly want to get the shape you're after, and have about a 1/4" or so 'post' to tuck into a hole you bore between the stitches into the fiberfill. I stuff that filling in very tight so it doesn't shift or pack down later. The body is worked in single crochet from the base upwards, initially making a circle that stops at a certain size and then continuing without increases to the top, which should be at least the same height as the diameter of the base. Once it's stuffed, the top gets sewn shut from side to side, and you stitch to shape the 'ears'. If you want to use the doll/animal eyes that come in parts, you have to add them before you stuff or or sew shut. Not hard at all if you know how to crochet.

I have a set of these resin gnomes on one of the bookcases in the office, and was glad to find the little discount store that sells them still had some in stock. I think they are darling, and sent them over to Shelly to live in her garden window. They are about 5-6" tall.

Even the backs are very detailed. Can you believe I only paid $1.99 each? I love that hand-carved look. Reminds me of Roger's work.

Just a little tea light or incense burner, but it is a lighthouse. Shelly and her husband Bob have a boat for ocean fishing, and they love all things nautical and coastal. I told her that if she burns a candle in it, and shuts off the lights at night, the fairies and gnomes will come out of hiding to sing and dance. I didn't get a picture of it, but I gave her a package of apple pie scented tea lights too. The apple cinnamon scent of the package was heady...
As you can guess, I love putting presents together for people. I didn't get to see Shelly open these things, but #1 son Jason walked the bag across the road and over to her house. It was too cold and icy for me today, my back has been only so-so these last few days. We've had plenty of snow lately and today's highs were in the upper teens. Brrr!!!! I put it all wrapped in a purple shiny gift bag (her favorite color) with a note in the card about what everything was for. Shelly opened it all while we were on the phone, and we talked for over an hour. So it was nice for both of us. They have been wonderful neighbors and good friends.

While I was fishing for gift bags, tissue paper, and birthday wrap today, I realized it was time to put this lovely miss away for another year. My good friend Roxanne made this needle felted angel, and I love it dearly! She says she won a blue ribbon at a local fair for it, and I don't doubt it. That she gave it to me makes me very proud. One of my most treasured decorations.

If my house wasn't so dusty, I'd leave her out year round, but that wool roving attracts dust like a magnet. I am looking for a case or dome big enough to hold her without squeezing her out of shape. This gal is big, I think over a foot tall. Look at those sweet little curls!

I'm lucky to have some very talented and generous people in my life. When I see angels, I think of them. So be one today, and go tell someone you treasure what they mean to you. Life is too short not to say it right now.

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