Monday, November 24, 2008

Welcome, Winter!

After an unusually warm night, here's what I woke up to this morning:

snow day

snow day2

And it's still coming down! In recent years, we've been hoping for snow right up until Christmas. They say that this year we'll have an abundance of snow. YEAH! It's so beautiful! Welcome, winter. Bring it on!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sewing Can Wait...and Other Responsible Thoughts...

I CANNOT WAIT to start cutting out my felted wool pieces for my blanket. But first, I have some work to do in my studio (orders must go out!) and then some quick grocery shopping (I realized during breakfast this morning that the swallow of milk left in the jug isn't going to last much longer...).

I CAN'T WAIT! By the way, after a short web search this morning, I can't find the previously located directions on to back my blanket with pieced flannel. Any ideas? So, yes...I will be winging it. Wish me luck...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let the Felting Begin!

Winter has me wanting to pull out all of the blankets and snuggle in for the cold weather. And yes, it is COLD here in Wisconsin. With temps dropping into the teens at night (not including the wind chill), we need as many cozy blankets as we can get.

So, I'm making a nice wool and flannel blanket. And the best part is that it's made of sweaters and shirts and pajama pants that I cleared from our closet and drawers this week. YEAH!

Here's the pre-washed pile of sweaters before the felting began:

sweaters 1

sweaters 2

After a run through the washer (a hot water wash and a cold water rinse) and then a cycle through the dryer, they shrunk down nice and tight and thick. Now they're ready to be cut into squares. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


So me and my two pooches were attacked by a couple of dogs on Sunday...two VERY LARGE dogs...of the KILLER DOG VARIETY. We are all fine...physically speaking...but color me terrified. Not cool, slacker neighbor. Tie up your damn dogs.

The One Where Otto Kills Something...

Hmmm...the last couple of weeks were...llllooonnnggg! I had busy work weeks combined with volunteering at Rit's school teaching an art class. And the general piling up of stuff to do around the house left me falling into bed each night, utterly exhausted.

My sweet Otto unfortunately killed a little baby bunny. I was in my studio working with the windows open (GORGEOUS WEATHER!!) when I heard a ruckus right outside followed by a loud and terrible shrieking. Yuck. Really yuck. Not a good sound. However, squirrels have been known to make very unpleasant sounds when chattering their disapproval at the dogs and their chasing antics. Anyway, I looked outside and saw Maggie sitting calmly in the middle of the patio. And yes, she did have a forced look of innocence on her face..."I did NOT do it!"

I stepped outside and rounded the corner of my studio. There is a small space roughly a couple of feet wide between my studio and the fence. We store the canoe on the side of the studio which creates a lovely canopy...and therefore a cubby for our cubby dog, Otto. She hangs out back there and digs to her hearts content. It's her cave.

I peeked around the corner and much to my dismay, Otto was sitting looking down at her catch...a freshly killed bunny...about the size of my hand...very sad. Anyone who knows me or who has read this blog in the past is aware of the fact that I cannot handle dead animals. I just can't do it. I tear up at the sight of roadkill. So the sight of a dead baby bunny almost put me into a tailspin. I stepped as close I could manage without passing out to see if it was possibly still alive. No such luck. Of course, in hindsight, I don't know what I would have done had it still been alive.

I called Otto and Maggie and put them in the grateful for obedient dogs. Then I looked just to double check that the bunny wasn't miraculously still alive and dragging its limp body toward cover. Yuck. I cannot handle dead animals. Obviously. It's just too devastating to me. I couldn't pick it up...not even with a long-handled shovel. So I called Ed and explained that I was in the most dire of circumstances.

Ed lives next door. He's our sometimes-sweet-sometimes-sour ex-farmer neighbor. He spends a lot of time over in our yard trying to create work for himself so that he doesn't get bored. He's accustomed to long days filled with hard physical labor. He needs that still...even though he's 80. Our relationship is best described as a mix of unadulterated appreciation sprinkled with sheer exasperation. Sometimes his efforts to help border on distructive and blatantly unattractive. Our prickly sides have clashed a few times, causing Rit to intervene, but we always make up and we're good friends.

So, Ed came over with a plastic bag and proceeded around the side of the studio while I hid inside. I couldn't even be party to such things. Cringe. He shortly came back around with a plastic-wrapped bundle, much too small to be a dead thing. So sad. He then proceeded to tell me, in detail and much to my horror, how the bunny looked, the location of the mortal wound, and did I know that these critters die with their eyes open? I almost passed out. I couldn't protest strongly enough to keep him from divulging. He spoke as though of course I would want to know such any good landowner would.

Well, that was over a week ago and I'm still too scared to look into Otto's cubby.

This senario is not uncommon for me. This is why I have to laugh at my occassional desire to buy a farm. "Sure," I tell my equally Little-House-on-the-Prairie-minded sister. "We would totally raise our own turkeys and chickens and goats. Maybe a cow or two." What am I thinking? Do I truly believe that I could make it one week on a farm where animals are present and most likely will meet with some feathers-and-blood-everywhere fate?

We had chickens growing up....and dogs. And the two never did quite see eye to eye on the whole let's-both-survive thing. Inevitably, the dogs would masacre the chickens...usually during the some long-planned and perfectly executed under the fence dig. Imagine six impressionable children coming around the back of garage to the site of flies and blood and gore and feathers. No, I don't think I'd make it long raising livestock.

Maybe an organic farm....a CSA...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


I dropped into a thrift store yesterday looking for a leather belt to repurpose into a purse strap for a purse I'm making for my sister. Although I didn't find the perfect belt, I did find some other goodies: a different belt for a different purse and some phenomenol hand-embroidered pillowcases. They are in fabulous condition! LOVE THEM!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Check us out!

Rit and I have started a new blog. We've started a fun new project and want to share the very exciting ride with all Internetdom.



My very sweet and very talented BFF Kim is having a giveaway on her blog. Take a look and enter to win some FABULOUS stuff! Her Lake Michigan art is great!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


After feeling like dung lao schlar (a phrase most likely only used within our family...but you can only imagine the meaning behind it...) for the past several weeks, I finally got my groove back last weekend. I started sewing again and I can't wait to get back into my studio this afternoon. Here's a little hint about what I've been working on...

Hmmm...interesting. What will this lovely pile of strips and shapes become? Tune in tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The One About My Tiny Toes...

Just as a side note, I went to have a hot stone massage a couple of weeks ago. By the way, yum. I would highly recommend it. I melted. Anyway, at one point during the massage, the therapist places very small, flat stones between your toes.

Yep, they wouldn't fit. The itsy-bitsy stones would not fit between my miniscule sausage-like toes. Nice. Really nice. It's amazing I'm able to walk.

Good Peeps

I have some good friends. Travelling and moving around has taught that there are good people everywhere...people with kind hearts and gentle ways...people from whom I can learn.
Moving here to Wisconsin from Utah five years ago was a strange and wonderful adventure. I knew only Rit and her family. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit that my friend Banessa and I had to look on a map to find Wisconsin a few months before my move. We had the vague notion that it bordered Canada...which it does not.
But I love it here. I love the hot summers. I love Lake Michigan. I love the myriad of little bodies of water that dot the countryside. I love calling to tell my family in Utah that it's 30 below right now outside. I love the migrating geese flying overhead. I love the farmland and the dark richness of freshly tilled earth. I love the sunrises and sunsets over the lake. There is much to love here.
But most of all I love the people. Life moves at a slower pace here. I have learned from native Wisconsinites to be more empathetic, more willing to help another at a moment's notice, more aware of slowing down and enjoying life's small, frequent pleasures. These are good, kind-hearted people...and I have made some good friends during my years here.
I've been feeling quite under the weather lately. I was surprised yesterday with a knock at the door and a happy smile beaming at me through the window in the front door. My sweet friend Kim stopped for a quick visit to bring me a beautiful bouquet of daffodils.

I love you, Kimmie G. You made my day!

My Laptop Can Eat Your Laptop...

Several weeks ago, I decided that it was time to upgrade to a new laptop. With the recent addition of Office 2007 to my cache of software goodies, my little Dell could no longer keep up. I asked my all-knowing computer guru brother-in-law for a little direction on what to look for. With his advice in hand, I dove into the search for a new love.

I become quite attached to my laptops. I spend much time up to my eyeballs in the accounting and marketing and other doldrum-inducing tedium of my business. Then there are the blogs...and the nonstop emails...and the games...and the photo editing...yes, yes, I become quite close with my laptop. Knowing what I wanted in the down and dirty guts of a new laptop, I really didn't care what it looked like, what size it was or any other "cosmetic" issues. Last Friday, I finally found what I needed. Imagine my surprise to see that the refurbished laptop I picked out was even red. Yippee! I went ahead and placed my order.

Fast forward through the weekend...the daydreams of me and my new laptop sitting outside this and my new laptop hanging out on the couch together...I drooled at thoughts of a quick start-up, smooth software transitions, and multi-tasking.

Monday morning I heard a shuffling at the door. The dogs went crazy. I peeked out the front window and saw a DHL delivery man jogging to his van across the street. Could it be? My laptop had arrived already?

I sprinted down the stairs and threw open the front door. (Okay, it was really more of a slow, methodical stride, both hands securely bracing my descent down the stairs...more about that later....but the feeling was still there.) There it was. I brought it inside and ripped open the box.

Huh. Interesting. I was certain that the white box on top held the actual laptop. That thing packed below it must be a case or something. Weird. It took me a minute to realize that the case thing was the laptap. It was HUGE! MAMMOTH! There are no words to describe the unimagineable size of this thing! Why hadn't I taken a moment to look at the specs?? Good grief! Can I even lift it out of the box without throwing out my back? I spent the next 20 minutes laughing... laughing at myself...laughing at this monstrosity sitting before me on the was one of those great gutteral laughs that comes from deep inside. I needed that.

I don't think Rit really believed me when I tried to explain the size of this new thing over the phone. When she finally came home that afternoon and saw this thing perched on the couch, she just sat and awe. Then she said, "I thought they were making laptops smaller these days." We played around with it a little off holding it as it does tend to cut off the circulation to one's lower extremities.

I will be sad to say goodbye to my old Dell. We've had some good times together...and I could lift it with one hand. But it is moving on to a nice home with my good friend's teenage son. Who knows what wild times lie in its future. But, I do love this new monster. It's fast and convenient and it never breaks a sweat.

Right now it's cooking a roast and vacuuming the living room, all while checking my email.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The One about Seven Things...

All more to go...I was tagged by my bff Kimmie G. to reveal seven strange or unknown things about me. Hmmm...

I don't know how strange any of these are...but they are unknown, for the most part...

1. I love action movies...the dumber the better. I also love scary movies. Unfortunately, Rit does not like either of these genres, so I typically watch these alone while working or working out.

2. I love playing video games. I have a PS2 for which Rit gives me a couple of games every Christmas. I don't have much time to play with it during the year, but I pretty much play non-stop over the holidays. I also love computer games.

3. I crave down time by myself. I need it. It keeps me sane. Working by myself in my studio all day is heaven to me. I can set my own schedule and I don't have to put up with annoying people. I love it.

4. Working in the yard is completely rejuvenating to me. I love to feel the dirt between my fingers and grass beneath my toes. Planting and weeding and watering is healing for me. I don't think I would survive living in an apartment in the city. The dirtier I get, the better.

5. I really enjoy cleaning the house. I am a whirlwind of activity when I set aside some time and put on an audiobook or some excellent music. I work nonstop until I'm finished.

6. I have really small toes. Weird, I know. They're like little sausages. And they curl under slightly which makes them practically disappear. Rit often wonders out loud how such small toes can balance my body. Nice.

7. By the time Rit leaves for work in the morning, I've already watched the morning news. So I usually watch "Saved by the Bell" while I eat breakfast. Wow. Now it's out. They say that the first step is admitting that you have a problem...

I'm so embarrassed.

Tag, you're all it.

The One about Eight Things...

I was tagged by a fellow blogger to divulge the following goes!

8 Passions in my life:
My family
Being happy and content
Living a good life, a balanced life
Homemade gifts
Being cozy at home surrounded by the people and things I love

8 Things to do before I die:
Own a huge piece of land with trees, water, fruit trees and a huge garden
Travel, travel, travel
Find balance
Be well and fit
Become an adoptive and foster parent
Visit Machu Picchu
Witness a more caring, more peaceful mankind
Refresh my French, Spanish and Portuguese

8 things I often say:
I love you.
Sorry we quarreled.
Oh, hello.
Nothing you can do about that.
Thank you so much.
Adoption is the longest process of my life.
Don’t look at Maggie right now…she’s just too cute.
Wolves are just wild like that.

8 books I’ve read recently:
Deep Storm by Lincoln Child
The Family at Home by Anita Kaushal
Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
7th Heaven by James Patterson
Now and Then by Robert B. Parker
Daddy’s Girl by Lisa Scottoline
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

8 Songs that mean something to me:
Dear Mr. President – Pink and The Indigo Girls
This is Home – Lucy Kaplansky
Where You Lead - Carole King
Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
9 Crimes – Damien Rice
Favorite Adventure – K’s Choice
Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
Just Like a Pill - Pink

8 Qualities I look for in a friend:

8 TV shows I never miss:
Amazing Race
Prison Break
Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles
48 Hours Mystery

Okay, so the next category really isn’t applicable to me…8 Radio shows I listen to…since I never listen to the radio…so I changed it to 8 things I do in my spare time:
Sew, sew, sew
Work out
Make stuff
Play the piano

I hate doing these, and quite frankly, I think that's way too much boring information about me to share with the general Internet population. Whatever. I've still got one more to go...just suffer through it with me.

I'm not tagging anyone, but if you'd like to endure torture similar to being hanged by your toenails, by all means dive in and expend time and energy that you will never get back. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And Yet Still Winter...

This is the current state of our backyard patio...or as we like to call it, The Treacherous Icy Expanse of Death.
It's several inches thick! Seriously, who needs this much ice???

Ask me again when July rolls around...

Sunday, February 17, 2008


My friend Kim Geiser came up with the fabulous idea to start a city festival to celebrate the landing of a small part of the Sputnik satellite right here in little ol' Manitowoc. You can check out the official website at It's going to be a fabulous event!

Anyway, Kim and I are putting together a fine art/funky craft fair, Artta This World, as part of the event. Anyone interested in applying can now find the application on the website.

Come and play with us!


After a long trip visiting family in Utah, I returned home with a major cold firmly engrained in my being. So fun. Anyway, I finished these onesies before I left and today is the first day I've felt well enough to get them photographed and online. Check them all out at Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wow...What a Night!

Wow. Who doesn't love a great concert...fab music, great atmosphere and many, MANY middle-agers?!? I LOVE CONCERTS!

Buddy Miller

I fought off the dregs of the stomach flu, and we drove into Milwaukee Saturday afternoon. After some quality time with family, we braved the frigid weather (damn, damn cold...a balmy -25 degree wind chill...yum) and hit the incredible Pabst Theater for some equally incredible music.

I was mesmorized by the awesome talent filling that small stage. It was simply "Three Girls and Their Buddy" and I loved every minute of it. The four folk legends strolled onstage and sat amongst their numerous guitars and basic percussion instruments. They took turns playing and singing and entertaining for the next two hours. I swooned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Michelle's Tote

So, I'm heading back to Utah in a couple of weeks for a quick stay. During my visit, I'll be attending my sister's birthday bash.
By request, I made her a little tote, and I have to admit, I love how it turned out.

I had a blast making it. It's a revised version of the all-day tote from Lotta Jansdotter's "Simple Sewing". I LOVE THAT BOOK!

Next project: A purse for my other sister, Dayna.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Year in the Life...

I love the concept of this project, and I've officially signed up. You can check it out here: Project 365. I can't wait to get started.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I overheard my sister-in-law describing me to someone the other day. She said that I usually have a quick, deep fascination with a particular craft and I immerse myself in it. It's typically fleeting, but I always hold onto my main favorite

I guess I'd never thought about it before, but she's right. I'm always on the search for the next challenge, the next colorful craft to cross my path. I love learning new skills. I love being able to make things with my own little hands. And I love being part of the crafter/artist community.

My latest obsessions revolve around fiber and fabric. I'm grasping at some of the handicrafts that seem to be falling by the wayside. I'm learning embroidery, crewel work, knitting, crocheting, sewing and felting. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this stuff!

I currently have an intro model Singer sewing machine, and I love it. But with my growing desire to sew more complicated designs, I'm ready to move on to the big leagues. After much research, I've settled on the Pfaff 2038. It's gorgeous and hopefully, the last sewing machine I'll buy. I'm saving up, but the mere thought of it makes me drool.

My growing stash...let the fun begin!

It's rough to be these girls. This is Otto's favorite perch. She can survey the entire back yard from that window. And yes, that is a pillow she's sleeping on.

Mrs. Maggie Greybeard. She wild, collarless and sleepy. Life is rough and nobody loves her.

Have a great rest of your week!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back to the Ol' Grindstone

I had THE most relaxing and enjoyable holiday season. I sewed and read and spent time with family and played my PS2. I'm a total gamer at heart, but I typically only play during the holidays. The rest of the year is just too busy.

We also had some time to sit and work on a new puzzle. Nothing like a geography puzzle to show how truly little you know about the world you live in. It was snowing outside, the house was quiet, we worked on our puzzle, and it was perfect.

Here's hoping your holidays wonderful as mine.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Just My Luck...

All I can say is that I have, by far, the greatest customers of all time. I always knew that my retail customers were fabulous--the cream of the crop, so to speak. I loved meeting and interacting with them at shows. I cannot put into words the extraordinary feeling of satisfaction it gives me to see people light up at the colors and patterns and designs of my glass work. It simply makes me smile...from the inside out.

The customers I have met over the years have been kind and generous and incredibly sweet, but I had no idea that there was an entirely separate group of extraordinary people out there with whom I would have the privilege of working.

I started selling wholesale to shops and galleries in August 2006. Since then and much to my joy and amazement, my wholesale customer list has grown and grown and grown. You can now find my glass work in various locales across the country and soon to be in Canada. I love working with business owners who are creating their own unique stamp on a landscape overwhelmed by big-box competitors. They support artists and craftspeople like me who crave to eek out a living by doing what they love. These customers are kind people who are a joy to work with.

I am sincerely grateful for the support and encouragement I have recieved from all of my customers over the years. Your kindness means the world to me, and you have made it possible for me to immerse myself in creative production day in and day out. I truly love what I do. Here's to 2008...a year full of great possibility.