Thursday, June 30, 2011

Strawberry Huller

A lot of you commented on or asked about the little tool from my jam post. It's called a strawberry Huller. We bought ours at a local market but, I happened to find it on line in case anyone else is interested. You can find it at for a mere $2.50.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Do you know the story of

Well, neither do I. Not the whole story anyway.

There's Fleeto the Rabbit of course.

And a school bus...possibly a magic school unusual sort of school bus at the very least.

Though I don't know the whole story yet, the bits and pieces are starting to come together. The story of Fleeto the Rabbit. Hmmmm...

Monday, June 27, 2011

For the love of toast!

It's that time again! The brief window of local strawberry goodness has arrived and of course, we made jam.

We have become a seasoned, well oiled machine when it comes to our annual jam making. At 10 am on Sunday I brought home the berries, by noon we had 33 jars of ruby red deliciousness to take us through to next year.

This morning I sat at the window with my coffee, a thick slice of bread slathered with strawberry jam, and thought how the best things in life are made by hand. Oh how I love toast!

As if that were not enough goodness for one weekend, I also received a special parcel in the post from across the big pond. Pomona of Little Cottage Comforts, had a giveaway recently and I was the lucky winner.

Honestly, with all that's been going on 'round here I had completely forgotten about it until it arrived. What a gorgeous surprise! A lovely book on button jewelry and the very generous Pomona included the prettiest pieces of fabric and some sweet buttons too!

There really is nothing like getting happy packages in the mail to cheer one's day. Thank you Pomona! Oh, I just popped over to her blog and she is having another fabulous giveaway, go see!

What a good way to start a new week.
Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

This, that, and a little bit of the other

Woke up this Saturday morning to find that the Engineer had hatched a plan to take Pony Girl fishing! So, with some quiet time on my hands, I made myself a large cup of delicious coffee and took a little tour of the garden. Just to see what I could see.

The lavenders are in full bloom with their heady scent luring the honey bees.

Peas! They were planted so late I wasn't sure but, here they are coming along nicely, sharing space with tiny spiders.

A riot of potatoes!

Introducing the newest member of the flock, Cookie! She's a Barred Rock pullet, very sweet. Unfortunately, our other 2 ladies have not been ladies at all, instead they have been quite rude to the new girl. It is to be expected, pecking order is very real. Still, each day they seem to grow a little more used to her presence and soon the novelty will wear off. I hope.

Well, I'm off to pull weeds, mow lawns, and maybe stop for cake.

Lovely weekend to you all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Feltycuffs: A Tutorial

Due to my recent aquatic adventures, my 'makers mojo' and I have not been getting on too well. Something about me being unbalanced (go ahead, make your jokes now) and the concentration and constant looking down of stitching, made me a bit queasy, dizzy and blurry. Now that I am finally coming 'round a bit, I felt the need to make something - anything. I thought that I should start off small and simple. Then fortuitously, I received an email from a friend asking me to recommend some sewing projects that might be suitable for 10 year old girls. I sent her some links and then later, she asked if I had any ideas that could be accomplished by 3 girls during a crafty sleepover with beginning sewing machine skills. I thought about it for a while, and finally resorted to Feltycuffs. Do you see what I did there? Instead of 'Fistycuffs' I said...yes, well.

Felt is awesome, it's a no fuss, no muss material that makes up some seriously cool projects. It also ticks all the right boxes for a kid craft. However, once I started playing around with the felt, I started to imagine all the cool grown up stuff I could make using the same ideas.

The first thing I came up with was a woven felt wrist cuff/bracelet. I will be showing you in a brief, step by step tutorial how to make your own. So, here we go!

Gather up some felt scraps.
You will need 2 pieces for the main cuff part. You can measure your wrist with a tape measure, making sure it is not too tight but, a comfortable length on your wrist. Once you have that measurement, add 2 - 2.5 inches (5.5 - 6.4 cm) for overlap. I cut my pieces 8.25 inches (21 cm) long by 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) wide. Then cut some skinny strips of felt slightly longer than your main pieces. I cut 4 strips.
Using a rotary cutter and mat make this quick work, you can also use scissors.

Now, working with the top piece of your main cuff (I used gray), use a craft knife* or small embroidery scissors, and a ruler to make 4 rows of small slits in the felt. To make this more even, you can place markings on the wrong side of the felt with a fabric marker. Make your slits just big enough for your skinny strips to fit through. I made my cuts every 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) along the length and in 4 rows across the width. I did not mark mine so they came out a bit wonky.

* If you are doing this project with kids, you will want to supervise use of the sharp craft knife.

Now start weaving in your skinny strips. It's up to you if you want to alternate the pattern. Try to be fairly gentle, as you don't want to stretch out the felt too much.

Once you have woven in all the strips, trim off any excess length.

I gave my finished piece a quick press with the iron before I continued.
Next, Match the edges of your 2 cuff pieces, wrong sides together.

Using a simple straight stitch on your machine, sew around the outer edge, using 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) seam allowance.

In one end of your cuff, make a slit with a craft knife or scissors just big enough for your chosen button.

On the opposite end, sew on your button. Wrap the cuff around your wrist to help find the proper placement of the button.

Ta Da! A super cool, super easy woven felt wrist cuff!

After I made this one, I couldn't stop. So, I made 2 Super Star cuffs for Pony Girl. I used the exact same technique for the cuffs but, without the woven element. I simply cut out 2 simple star shapes out of contrasting felt and appliqued them to the cuffs with a straight stitch.

Here is Pony Girl rockin' her cuffs!

(click the pic for 10 times the awesome!)
And I still couldn't stop!

What about a simple and elegant napkin ring? Does anyone use those anymore? I used to love looking at my mother's small collection of vintage napkin rings when I was a kid. I thought it would look so nice for a special dinner.

Wait, there's more!

What about place holders? These would be so pretty at a wedding, special party, or just because.

So yes, endless possibilities! I made one wrist cuff with a crochet flower sewn on that turned out lovely. It was too dark to photograph by that point. I keep thinking of other ways to use this very simple idea. How about you, can you think of some?

As always with my tutorials, please feel free to ask questions. And, if you make this project, or one inspired by this project, I would love it if you uploaded a photo to the "Lola By You" flickr group!

Have a super star day!

Oh, I almost forgot. Lola has a new Facebook page come check it out!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thank you

I am slowly surfacing, feeling a little better and hope that I am truly on the mend. I have been humbled yet again by what an amazing group of people you all are. I can not thank you enough for all the beautiful comments and emails you have left for me and my family lately. You have made me feel so cared for and encouraged, and I can tell you that it has meant the world to me. You are all extraordinary!

I am thinking that things will be getting back to normal (well, as normal as it gets around here anyway). And if all goes well, I might even have a little tutorial for you tomorrow, fingers crossed.

Have a wonderful day and again, Thank You!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I have been under the water
Under the weather
I have been under the water for 2 weeks.
I have been muddled, murky, blurred, befuddled, and also slightly deaf.

So, if you've noticed that I haven't been coming 'round well...I'm not quite myself.

The old medicine didn't work, there are high hopes for the new medicine. It's bigger, stronger, faster, but it's undertow makes me even more deep divery.

Another side effect seems to be self portraiture. Perhaps there will be a renaissance of the 'Experiment'. But for now, I think I will take a little break and hope to see you soon on dry land.

Be well.

Monday, June 13, 2011

So Long Good Buddy

Our ongoing battle with the neighborhood raccoons has sadly taken a casualty. Our dear little red hen Fran, is no longer with us. She was a lovely lady chicken, queen of the roost, our best egg layer, and she will be sorely missed.

a young Fran in 2009

So long good buddy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fishing for Winners!

Hello there. Today I announce the winners of the Mollie Makes Magazine Issue #1. I was positively overwhelmed by the responses, and you all had such lovely things to say about what lifts your spirits on a dreary day!
Now, I had to come up with a way to pick the winners. I assigned each official comment entry with a number. I just couldn't bring myself to use the random number generator thinger, what's the fun in that? So, I decided instead to go fishing. First, I needed a pretty blue bowl full of paper numbers.

Then of course I needed a fishing pole. Pony Girl's Barbie pole is nice and festive looking. For "bait" a little dolly with loads of sticky tape stuck to her head.
Next, I perched myself and cast my line.

There she goes, diving in!

Oh, I think I've got a bite!

The first catch of the day is #68! Michelle - The Royal Sisters said, "I like nothing better than sipping on a cup of tea, a very cozy crochet blanket on my knees, a couple of chocolate biscuits and happy kids who find time to play "nicely"...
and of course some spare time to catch up on some blogs, magazines and patterns..."

Second catch of the day is #9! Sherri B. - Little House in Paradise said, "Usually on dreary days I head to the cookbooks to find something yummy to cook up, it makes me happy just thinking about it."

Congratulations ladies! Now, just send me your addresses to and I will send out your magazines in a jiffy!

Thank you so much to all who entered, I do so wish that I could send you all a copy. Thank you for sharing your happy comments with me. Issue #1 of Mollie Makes comes out in the US tomorrow at Barnes and Noble and Joanne's, so if you are in the states and did not win one of my copies, you can pick one up then! Issue #2 comes out tomorrow in the UK!

I am hanging up my "Gone Fishing" sign for the next few days. I will be back next week, hopefully with some crafty bits to show you. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A reminder

Today is the last day to enter the Mollie Makes issue #1 giveaway HERE! I will be announcing the winners tomorrow. See you then!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekend Summary: In which the weather turns, long losts are found, confessions are made, we come over all neighborly, and the weather turns...again.

You may have surmised from my post title that I am feeling a bit rambly. So settle in if you've a yen for a good ramble. Here we go...

The weather turns -
Beginning Friday, a heatwave broke out (relatively speaking that is). The sun was a star and sweaters were considered but, ultimately found unnecessary. It was a weekend where I pondered how people are like plants; after winter's interminable dormancy, we stretch our necks out to the sun, unfurl our tendrils - leaf and bud and bloom...and begin to brush up against each other. Suddenly, a whole social scene comes to life. You got your birds, your bees; your flora and your fauna. It occurs to me that I may be taking this a bit too far. All I am saying is, everyone is out and about interacting and smiling at one another because the sun is shining.

Even yours truly, through some deviance of nature, was transformed from 'House Mouse' into social butterfly.

Which leads me to Confession #1 -
I confess, when it comes to social networks such as Facebook, I have a love-hate relationship. Wait, let's call it a fascination-trepidation kind of thing. Whilst I sometimes feel a bit silly about the whole thing, I have also had the opportunity to re-connect with old friends that otherwise would have been out of reach.

Which in turn leads me to long losts being found -
Through the slippery slope of Facebook, yes you guessed it, one of those long lost friends showed up. Plans were made, a meeting took place, and 13 years (give or take) is a lot to catch up on. We did our best and as I was driving home I felt so glad to have the chance to know him again.

When I got home from my meeting up, I found the Engineer on the front stoop sitting with 'The Quiet Bachelor', our across the street neighbor. Yes, the season has started. This is where we come over all neighborly - for the next night was spent with our neighbors to the side, in front of a fire pit, summer drinks in hand, and the lazy feeling of a backyard get-together settling in.

Sunday was Family Dinner alfresco. There was a gorgeous feast, a wild rumpus commenced, and of course frozen pops. Amidst all these goings on, in all of this summertime feeling...the days jovially skipped along. Which is what us leads to Confession #2 -

I am a terrible mother. I got so caught up in our 'Sunshine Family' weekend, that I completely forgot about the very big important end of the year school project that Pony Girl needed by Monday morning. As I write this, it is late Sunday night, the girl all tucked in and sleeping. So, if I'm up early and small miracles happen, she will wind up at school with a presentation of the basic facts and a doubtlessly shoddy diorama.

As we were cleaning up from our family dinner, the weather turned again, with thunder and lightening and of course, drops of rain.

Edited to add: It is now Monday afternoon and I can happily report that small miracles do indeed happen. Pony Girl went off to school with her project tucked under her arm, a trial run of the presentation under her belt, and a pair of pink feathered curly antennae atop her mop for good luck.

I am wishing you all your very own small miracles this week.