Friday, July 27, 2012

Natural Sapphires

While on our trip to Montana last month, one thing we really wanted to do was look for sapphires.  You buy a bucket of dirt, shake and rock scoops of dirt placed into a mesh box in water, flip the box over, and carefully look for colored bits that look like glass with a pair of tweezers.  What a ball we had!  I didn't know that spending $20 for a bucket could offer such grand entertainment for hours on end.  Forget the theme parks! 

This is a picture of what hubby and I found together.  The kids each had their own bucket (to cut down on any disagreements...and trying to find the best one first). 

Our young daughter found the biggest and best in her bucket--a 3 k round one. 

I thought that they would be, well, really blue like one thinks of with a sapphire.  The naturally blue out-of-the-mine ones are found more on the eastern side of the state, and we couldn't find a "buy a bucket of dirt" deal there.  Most are heat treated to enhance the mineral that is already present in the sapphire--so the pink ones get pinker; the blue ones bluer; etc.  Most of the ones we found were too small to have cut.  We were thrilled to find many different colors including one small bright pink one. 

Perhaps I'll put the natural sapphires into a bottle or something.  Otherwise, we sent away to have three cut and heat treated, and, of course, we sent our daughter's to be cut and treated as well.  We'll put it into a ring for her when she is older and will appreciate the fact that it is a stone she found herself.  I'll show pictures when they arrive...but it won't be for awhile. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blueberry Freezer Jam

I can't decide whether strawberries or blueberries are my favorite fruit...they are very close.  We had decided not to look for wild blueberries this year since it has been so dry here in the Midwest (we've had some rain the past two days...Praise the Lord for rain!).  We thought they would not be very good.  Then when we saw in the paper that a berry farm not too far away was offering pick-your-own berries, we jumped at the chance.  They are the cultured, high-bush variety and received plenty of irrigation during this long dry spell.  We all including my parents went last Saturday morning to get the job done early and in good time, and we picked a nice flat of them.  So far I've made blueberry pie, muffins, jam, and have frozen a great deal...not to mention the little dishes of blueberries and milk we've been having.  I grew up on blueberries--those sweet, tiny ones that grow wild everywhere in Maine.  These we picked were bigger and not quite as sweet, of course, but they are delicious nonetheless and so good for us. 

This blueberry freezer jam didn't set very well (the very humid day may have affected it), but it tastes fresh and good and will be wonderful on hot, crusty English muffins on a cold day this fall.  Mmmmmm!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yard Sale Tresures and Still Hopping

First of all, I'm still working my way through the "Where Bloggers Create 2012" list.  Wow!  What a list!  It is huge.  I decided to start at the bottom of the list and work my way up.  There are still many more blogs to visit, so it will take me awhile to get to them all.  I'm amazed at the beautiful, inspiring places people have to create in.  Just lovely!  I've enjoyed hopping through the party...and am still going at it.

Mom and I decided to go to yard sales today.  I got the kids up earlier than usual, and off we went.  We couldn't find one in town...not one!  Since it was still too early to do much shopping (like at the local thrift store), we just decided to go home.  Mom decided to go the "back way" through the country to get home...and wallah!...a garage sale.  It was amazing.  Unfortunately they had started on Monday (we're trying not to think of what was there on Monday), but they were selling 25 years worth of things and were moving....and selling everything by the box full....*cheap*. 

I was able to snag a beautiful mirror for $4 and a few box fulls of things spending only about $15 total.  There is some nice new material to redo a chair and stool that need to be redone.

One box I saw two things on top I wanted...not knowing exactly what was in there until I got home and unwrapped everything.  There were many pieces of beautiful cut glass.

 How exciting!  I don't have a picture, but Mom found two big sections of an antique, hand-made crazy quilt with all of this beautiful hand embroidery on it.  One section had been stitched onto an old feed sack.  It was amazing.

What a blessing to find some great things at reasonable prices.  I guess...who needs many garage sales to go to if you can find some treasures at only one? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Much Loved Tea Kettle

Found this tea kettle at the thrift store this past weekend.  It has been re-soldered and was certainly used, but it "spoke to me" instantly.  I love the brass color and all of the detail.  Thought the picture needed to be taken by our old chest...looks almost like an old painting by a Dutch Master.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Where I Create

Actually, I create in many different places--in the car, at the doctor's office, outside while watching the kids....well, you get the picture.  However, there are some of my creations that I need to actually spread out to do.  It used to be on the kitchen counter.  My husband knew it was time to move me and my "stuff" when I sort of took over that counter...and then some.  So, he built a room downstairs.  That room became the project room/den/library/craft room/office/catch-all room.  I affectionately call it "my studio" even though my area is officially only a corner of it.  It isn't fancy.  It isn't organized.  It isn't glamorous....BUT it is "my place", and I'm thankful for a spot to putter and work and design and think. (I can also leave it, not pick it up, and just close the door when company comes.)
This is my table on which are several projects in various stages of being done.  It takes me a while to think through and plan my items.  It also takes time for glue to dry.  This long white table is where all of that work is done.

The walls are a soft green color on the top with wainscoting on the bottom pained a creamy ivory.  My vintage jewelry bits are organized in the containers on the right.  The chair is old and comfortable and just the right height thanks to my husband shearing the legs a little.

My "studio" has a window that lets in the bright morning sun, so all morning long I can sit and work.  I do much of my color matching and fine work in the morning with this good light and while my children are doing their homeschooling not far away outside the door.  I'm right there to answer their questions and help them when needed which is convenient for us all.  This wreath is a project in the process of being completed.  I keep vintage pearls and beads in old sewing machine drawers.  The drawers are a pretty way to help keep them organized and on hand when needed.

This clock was a gift from my grandmother.  The colors match my studio perfectly and tell me when it is time to take a break from my work and have a cup of tea! 

I'm hoping to join the "Where Bloggers Create 2012" blog party.  So be sure to go to the link to check out where others create as well.  Thank you, Karen, for hostessing this!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Felt Projects

I had been wanting to work on some fresh products...and projects that traveled well when we went to Montana.  While actual "felting" sounds intriguing, I figure that is something I don't want to do right now.  However, I love the idea of stitching onto felt.  I've embroidered since I was quite young--my grandmother taught me--and have done many projects moving on to cross stitch in my younger adult years.  I liked the idea of embroidering and stitching beads onto felt, so I bought many different colors of quality felt and have been stitching ever since.  It takes me forever to finish something these days, but it has been such fun coming up with ideas and actually doing them.  There are so many ideas in my just for the time to DO them.  Here are some projects I've finished....
This has not only beads and embroidery but also some small vintage crochet pieces found at a barn sale and a thrift shop.

This one was fun!  You know I love roses and old doors (just check out my Pinterest pins). 

This needlebook took me awhile to do.  I was inspired by the springtime needlebook swap hosted by Button Floozies this past spring.  The inside has more embroidery and a little pocket and place for needles. 

All of these are listed in my Etsy shop and are for sale (along with some other felt projects including a pair of earrings).  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fresh Picked....

...from a small hand!  Weeds or not, my girl thought these yellow flowers made a pretty bouquet for Mom, and right she is.  What a delight!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

10% Off Etsy Shop Purchases Today

To celebrate Independence Day today, I'm offering a 10% discount off any purchases from my Etsy shop today.  Just enter the coupon code "BIRTHDAY" upon checkout.

Happy Independence Day!

Thought I'd give a picture of an Etsy Treasury I did this week to show how I hope your day is today--relaxed and laid-back...but festive too.  Enjoy your day...and let's all be thankful to God for the freedoms we have.   Happy Independence Day to you and your family!