Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holy Handmade Christmas - Batman!

It's another handmade Christmas in these parts. It's of course not the first. Those of you who have been following along on this blog will remember that last year it was felted clogs for the big kids, and sock monkeys for the little ones. Those of you who don't follow along can read the archives.

This year I was way pressed for time - I've had four shows in the last month and was really focused on having lots of work done for those. So, I only actually made two gifts this year (well, it will be three but that person reads the blog so mums the word, and I haven't technically even started yet).

For my Dad who claims his head is freezing, and I don't doubt it since he's in northern Minnesota where it's reported to be well below zero, I made a simple ribbed beanie from Noro Silk Garden. It's the same improvised, I-don't-need-a-pattern-for-this hat I made for My Man last year. I'm pretty sure my Dad will love it, it's colorful and warm.

For my niece I made a pair of fingerless gloves. The pattern is one I modified a bunch - did the math and converted it to a worsted weight yarn, that way they knit up quicker and they're a little chunkier. They're also purple, her favorite color.

The rest of my Handmade gifts came from various vendors on 1,000 Markets. I really felt strongly about supporting this new on-line sales venue (see earlier post). For my sister and my Amy I got artisan soaps - some were from Besem Natural Scents and the others were from A Breath of French Air . My sisters were sent directly and I haven't heard yet, but Amy's came here first to be packaged with my Dad's hat and they were lovely! Really!

For my other niece and her family I ordered the ding-dang cutest cookies you've ever seen from Cakebox Cookies. I received a sample cookie for myself from the generous folks at Cakebox Cookies, and I can assure you it wasn't just cute, it was darn good! I'm a huge fan of old school short bread, and this cookie was rich, and lemony, and delicious. In fact I loved it so much I order another big box to be delivered to My Man's parents. Yum! I also ordered some artisan caramels from Have it Sweet Caramels - they were sent to my Mom, and again I haven't heard the reviews yet, although I'm sure they'll be rave.

So Holy Handmade Christmas! I always feel so much more enthusiastic about the gift giving when I do it the handmade way - You get a much better value, you get something unique and original, you get to support an independent business and craftsman, you get to avoid the mall, and you get to feel good about yourself. Well at least I do. Everyone wins.

Have yourselves some Happy Holidays, and make 'em at least a little Handmade!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meet the Gnomes

Meet the Gnomes - the new series of mixed media assemblage pieces I've been working on lately. Each of the tiny sculptures are made entirely from recycled and reclaimed materials. The pedestals the gnomes perch upon are super old, I'd guess the 1930's, alphabet blocks that I covered with carefully culled bits of vintage maps, and other vintage paper ephemera. The Gnomes themselves are actually vintage cupcake toppers that I've been scavenging and finding about. They've become one of those mysterious things that you go your whole life never noticing, and then once you discover them they appear everywhere. Yup, these little guys just keep finding their way into my life. In fact there are three of them on their way to me now from Jolly Ole England. I found them online, and they look really old. I'll love them I'm sure.

So far there has been 8 of these little lovelies. Each one is unique, and has it's special charm and character. You can see them all on my newly revamped website. And of course stay tuned for more in this series.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another Charity Run

We participated in another charity run this morning - Run Like The Wind 5k was put on to raise funds for The Schrodi Memorial Training Fund. The Schrodi Fund was founded by one of our trainers, Shari, in memory of her dog Schrodi. The fund is designed to help people who could otherwise not afford training to get the top notch training they need, often allowing them to keep a dog they may not have otherwise been able to. It's a great cause, and was a nice way for us to give back to our favorite trainer.

It's a proud moment for us when we can get out and do events like this with our dogs. They've all come along way with their training. Especially our Layla, when we adopted her out of the shelter 2 years ago she was shy, and terrified of everything, so terrified you could barely bring her for a walk. Today she ran like a pro, with lots of people and dogs around. A year and a half ago Aaron Johnson was living under a boat in a junk yard, today he wore a blue ribbon.

Dale and Aaron Johnson won their Race.

Layla and I also ran.