For X-mas last year, I stitched what I like to call a, “Vegetarian Deer Head” for Todd’s Grandpa. You see, Grandpa was a hunter who didn’t have any deer heads of his own hanging on the wall. I thought I’d give him a gentler version of the traditional deer head by stitching one up onto some nice linen using Sublime Stitching’s Forest Friends patterns. I then encased it in a shadow box I got at Michael’s. Todd and I went down to Oregon last week (So I could visit the court house where I had to pay a speeding ticket – first one on my record in the 25 years I’ve been driving. I’m usually a very good driver.), so we stopped off at his dad’s house (where Grandpa now lives) to drop off Todd’s Dad’s Father’s Day present, visit Mira (their adorable new dog), and get a picture of the deer head. We got a side surprise because Uncle Don was there, so we visited with him, too.
I know I promised via Facebook and Twitter that today I would post pictures of the two awesome bags I finished yesterday, but I’ve had some glitches. First, last night I decided to get fancy and apply fabric to the insides of the bags to hide the stitches. I also thought that it would make sure that none of the stitches got pulled out or ruined. I cut the fabric and applied fusible interfacing. For some reason, I thought that I could iron the interfacing onto the fabric, then iron it onto the bag to stick. That wasn’t the case…it’s only sticky on one side. So I pulled out some fabric glue, coated it on evenly, then, for good measure, ironed the fabric on. Unfortunately, the other side had this gorgeous sequined trim that I hand sewed on. Guess what? Sequins melt when you apply heat to them! I luckily have enough sequin trim to re-trim my work, but I just didn’t feel like doing it AGAIN last night.
I still haven’t sewn it on, but I thought that I’d at least get some photos of the other bag I created and get those posted. I love taking pictures in natural light, and I’ve had a lot of good luck with the light on our balcony. Well, I waited too long. The 5:00 pm sunlight was not in the right place in the sky, and I kept on getting a bunch of shadows. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow afternoon when the sun is high again to get the perfect shots.
On a really neat note, I have two things to leave you with: First, I’m starting the process of setting up an Etsy shop for us! I’m working on building an inventory (Right now I’m working on the Urban Hair Clips/Pins/Corsages in different colors – they’re going to be SO COOL! I’m also going to send in my licensing agreement to Sublime Stitching…if I can find where I put it in all the mess…). Our store is here (please bookmark it and chek back. I’ll update the blog when I get things listed): Craft Assassins’ Etsy Store.
Second, I couldn’t leave you without a picture, so here are some cute ones of Zuzu and I.
The weather here in Northern Illinois has been gorgeous the last several days…sunny and mild – all the way up into the 60s! Because it’s so nice, we’ve taken “the girls” (Mina and Zuzu) to the Canine Corners Dog Park at Searls Park. The dog park is a great and inexpensive place to help exercise and socialize your dogs. In Winnebago County, Illinois, all you have to do is go to the Park District office or Carlson Ice Arena to purchase tags for your dogs to wear (or, in the case of Zuzu, who’s so little that she doesn’t wear a collar, for you to wear for her). The first dog is $25 for a full year and subsequent dogs are $15 for a full year. You can also purchase single session or half season passes.
We’ve rarely had problems, although we have had some. Last year another dog decided he didn’t like Mina and attacked her. She now has two small scars on her head from where that dog bit her. There have also been instances where bigger dogs have gotten rough with Zuzu. In those instances, either Todd or I will scoop her up and tell the dog/dogs to go away. Mina will also intervene by ramming those dogs, and in some instances, nipping them to get away from Zuzu – Mina is a great big sister! In almost all instances, however, the owners of the dogs are right there to discipline their dogs.
We’ve only ever been to Searls, but it’s perfect for us. There’s a small covered area when it’s a bit too windy, a big grassy area where the dogs can run and play, and a newer path system through a small forest that is our favorite. Below are some pictures from our visit today.
Ripley has got to be the best cat that my family has ever had. We got him in 1992 from Winnebago County Animal Control, and he was estimated to already be a couple of years old. We had discovered that we had a field mouse problem in our new house, and we needed a mouser. In the spring and summer he’d go out in the morning and come home at night. We did that for a few years until Ripley became too good of a “provider” for our family. Every day we’d open the door and there’d be a dead and decapitated animal on our door step. He was just trying to take care of us by providing meals for us. This became too much for my mom when my dad was traveling a lot, so he then became an indoor cat. He seemed to be okay with being indoors all day so long as he had a comfy spot to look outside.
I think it was in November of 2006 that he had to be put down. He was very sick and couldn’t keep his food down anymore. He had spent 14 great years with my family, and probably lived about 16 years total. It was a sad, sad day when he wasn’t in our lives anymore.
I made this Remembrance Shrine to Ripley for my son Logan, who had a special bond with Rippers, as he was sometimes known. I kept it somewhat simple, considering he IS a 20 year old boy, but I couldn’t stay completely away from the glitter.
Materials used: cigar box, wooden balls for feet, paint, Melody Ross paper, glittered black card stock, blue rick rack, Crafty Chica glue and blue glitter, black chunky glitter, Jim Holtz idea-ology token, and Me & My Big Ideas embellishments.
I got the recipe at Bullwrinkle.com. I used the Everyday Biscuits recipe. I didn’t have any chicken broth, so I substituted by dissolving a chicken ramen noodles packet in 1.5 cups of water. The girls seemed to like it! When I make these next time, I’ll halve the recipe. I only ended up using half the dough. Here’s the recipe:
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons dry parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons honey
5-6 cups whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 ° F (180 ° C).
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the parsley, garlic, broth, honey, and egg. Gradually blend in flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball, and roll to 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. Using small bone-shaped cookie cutters, make biscuits! Transfer to ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart. Gather up the scraps, roll out again, and cut additional biscuits.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn over. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on both sides. Let cool overnight. (After we finish baking all batches of biscuits, we turn off the oven, then spread all the biscuits out on one baking sheet and set them in the oven to cool overnight. The extra time in the oven as it cools off helps make the treats crispier and crunchier.)
Makes several dozen small bones that keep and freeze well. We like these biscuits because they’re quick and easy and we always have the ingredients on hand to make them. Our boys like them because they’re good!
Today was craftily productive for me. I can tell not only by my finished projects, but also because I’m covered in glitter from head to toe, and my hands have bits of glue all over them.
The first project was inspired by mine and Todd’s initials. We jokingly call ourselves “T-n-A.” I bought the styrofoam letters at Michael’s months ago (they were $1 each). Two weeks ago we went to IKEA and found small shadow boxes for only $2.99 each. I covered all three letters in blue paint, then slathered them in glue. I added Crafty Chica Bollywood Blue glitter to Todd’s “T”, tiny stars to the “N”, and Crafty Chica Glamour Queen Green glitter to my “A.” I then added some stars to the T and the A, too. Todd found some cool black glittered paper at Michael’s, which I cut to fit the shadow box. I mounted each letter off of the glitter paper by hot gluing tiny spools to the backs of the letters and placing them in the middle of each square of paper.
My next project today was a Remembrance Shrine to Annabelle. You may remember that we had to put our family pet, Annabelle, down on January 18, 2010. She was 15 1/2 years old, and had given my family all those years of love and loyalty. I wanted to create a visual reminder of how special she was and still is in our hearts. I created this shrine as a surprise for my parents and Logan for when they get back from their cruise this Friday.
The last thing I created today was a Good Luck Shrine. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it…if I’ll keep it for myself or give it to someone. We can all use a little good luck!
We’re only 18 days into this new year, and it’s already proven to be one of massive change. Your Craft Assassins haven’t made a post for a while, but our lives have been turned topsy-turvy, and we’ve been thrown a big curve ball.
Amy’s former employer had been talking about layoffs since May 2009, and the axe finally fell last week. Amy thought she was safe from the impending layoffs, but it turned out that her lack of seniority (six years of service) wasn’t enough to save her in the end, and she was laid off. Things had gotten pretty tense, and she was in a near constant state of panic on a daily basis. It’s been quite a curve ball thrown our way, one that we were blind sided by, but we’re going to make it through. We are trying very hard to believe that everything happens for a reason, and we will rise from this in a better place than we were before. Amy used this past week to navigate through the unemployment process, and to wallow in a little bit of self pity, but she’s coming back strong. She only has this semester left at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before finishing her Master’s in Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree. At that point, she’ll have the degree (with an awesome GPA) and experience (six years managing various areas of a mid-sized urban library) to make her marketable to any number of libraries around the country.
Through everything, Todd has remained a rock of support, love, and understanding. He’s helped Amy to realize that there’s nothing wrong with her for being laid off. He’s also kept himself busy by embroidering some of his shirts to jazz them up. As you know, he’s a HUGE fan of the argyle. He jazzed up a striped shirt he got from Kohl’s with his argyle pattern. While embroidering the shirt, he even stepped outside of his color comfort level by buying a green shirt (Amy’s favorite color, his is blue) and using orange and purple as the argyle pattern colors. He also has started on a fun Western-style shirt he got from Burlington Coat Factory by adding “Zombietini” patterns to each space above the pockets. He has another idea for some lettering across the back, and we’ll report more on that when it’s finished.
Today was a very sad day for the Craft Assassins as Amy’s family’s dog Annabelle was put to sleep. She was a 15 1/2 year old Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie), who provided her family with 15 1/2 years of love, devotion, and companionship. She was given to Amy’s son Logan on his 5th birthday back in 1994 because, as Amy’s mom Linda reasoned, “Every boy needs a dog.” The past year, and last several months had been particularly hard on Annabelle and the family. She lost a significant amount of weight because she didn’t want to eat anymore, and her hearing and sight were pretty much gone. Logan and Amy’s parents just couldn’t prolong Annabelle’s suffering anymore. We hope she’s in a better place, running around, being the cutie she is.