Sew Busy!!

I am not bustling in malls, standing in lines, or really buying much of anything for Christmas this year, but I am sew busy!!  ( I know my titles can be a little corny, sorry, I just can’t help myself!)

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I have been sewing up a storm and my latest creations have been a flurry of more up-cycled Merino PJs.

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If you have not tried this, really you must!!  I love those German Woolies, but with a $5 Thrifted sweater you could turn this……

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Into these…..

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Or take this…..

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cut like this…..

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And make this….

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and these…..

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And be lift with just a tiny pile of waste

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that will no doubt be used someday soon for something soft and sweet.

And that Cherry Red Grandma cardigan

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Christmas Jammys!

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Oh what fun we have on cold wintery days!  I may not have any money for lots of stuff, but who needs stuff when you got skills, now that is Christmas magic!!

Happy Winter magic making to you!

Barter Bounty

This weekend we had a cozy day inside the Eurythmy room at the Santa Fe Waldorf School Holiday Faire selling and swapping our wares.  I thank all of you who braved the weather and came out to find me & my gems & calendars.  I really did feel supported by you all and meet some really great new folks too.  The Waldorf Craft faire, though small, was so totally sweet & full of amazing hand-made beauty.  I guarantee all us crafters have other jobs, maybe many, but that means crafting is a deep love for us, something we make time for, and it shows!! Every hand-made item in that room was so imbued with care and spirit I was drawn to almost everything!  Luckily we have an amazing crafter culture here and everyone was willing to trade with me!!  Here are a few of the treasures I swapped for.

My dear friend Rachel made these amazing little felt vegetables

My dear friend Rachel made these amazing little felt vegetables

Magdelena made these little wool sheep along with cows, alpacas and The holy family, a Christmas staple where she is from in Austria

Magdelena made these little wool sheep along with cows, alpacas and The holy family, a Christmas staple where she is from in Austria

Jane's little clay beings are kind of a small obsession of mine, ~I hope she at every show I ever do!!

Jane’s little clay beings are kind of a small obsession of mine, ~I hope she at every show I ever do!!

Heather's Amazing fragrant bees wax candles, you just can't get enough of this time of year

Heather’s Amazingly fragrant bees-wax candles, you just can’t get enough of this time of year

And there new book and video about top bar bee keeping, so cool!

And Heather and Les’ new book & video about top bar bee keeping, so cool!

Miranda made special bean bags just for yesterdays show, luckily I scored a few!

Miranda made special animal bean bags just for yesterdays show, luckily I scored a few!

And yes a little something for myself from a new friend- Lee High

And yes a little something for myself from a new friend Lee High

Hallelujah the Christmas swapping is done!! Hope my family doesn’t read this blog!!

Holiday Sparkle!!

You didn’t shop on Black Friday, good for you!!  Skipped the annoying email temptations of Cyber Monday, well done!!  Hope you gave something for Giving Tuesday, even if it was just a smile to a stranger…..but you may still be wanting to get a heartfelt, handmade to gift your kin.  Well, this Saturday you can shop in good spirit at the Santa Fe Waldorf School Holiday Faire.  It is a wonderful family event with all kinds of seasonal celebrations, activities and food and yes, faire.  It is such a fun way to celebrate the season with your family and sneak off for some shopping knowing all are well.

Freshly made earrings

Freshly made earrings

For those of you that don’t know, I am a jewelry designer among gardener, mother, teacher, photographer and many other things.  That was how I made my living before family & baby, but now is really just one of many things I love & try to seek time for in the wee hours of the night.  However, I do Holiday shows every year that are well, tremendous.  With one show this year, my inventory is overflowing and truly exquisite, if I do say so myself.   Selling at  Santa Fe Waldorf School, also feels really good, as it benefits the school scholarships, making this amazing education accessible to a diverse community.

Crysoprase for the heart & Rainbow Moonstone for the divine femine,

Chrysoprase for the heart & Rainbow Moonstone for the divine feminine,

The Faire is this Saturday, December 7th from 10-3pm.  The Santa Fe Waldorf School is located at 26 Puesta del Sol, which is the first street to your left after crossing I-25 on Old Pecos Trail. The school is situated at the very end of Puesta del Sol, on your right.

Appetite to speak your truth, Aqua Marine to help you flow & Labradorite to connect you to inner magic

Apatite to speak your truth, Aqua Marine to help you flow & Labradorite to connect you to inner magic

I will have lots & lots of Jewelry with great gift wrap, as well as my 2014 ‘The Gardeners Year’ Calendars for sale and even Hand Saved Seeds from my garden.

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Come celebrate the season, visit me & support my little cottage industries.  If you can’t make it (or want to do a little pre-show shopping) visit my Esty Site.

Up-cycled Woolen PJs

This year a dear friend told me the story of St. Martin, who is celebrated for giving his cloak to warm a cold stranger.  She told it to us while we were cuddled together, children in the folds of our legs, our lanterns a glow, lighting our way through the dark stroll around her pond a few weeks ago.  It was a magical evening and something she hosts every year in honor of the Martinmas festival, celebrating illuminating our inner light.  IMG_2116

This same friend is one who strives to see the light of each being and do what she can to bring it out, hold it up and help it glow.  What a blessing it is to have friends who will light the way for you, teach you stories and songs and accompany you onto the darkest trails into the night and then guide you home.  Well, that night she also told me the traditionally woolen garments were gifted on Martinmas, to prepare you for the long winter ahead and I thought it fitting to share my latest Recycled Sweater project.  It was super easy and almost like alchemy the way this

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turned into these

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Like this: 1st I cut off the sleeves

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Then I made a rough pattern for the little sleeves and cut those out.

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Then I had all these parts and rearranged them into thisImage

once I could see what I was doing, I trimmed up the shirt and re-assembled it.Image

Then I sewed the

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sleeves together to make the pants. I was planning on making underwear pants like these..which works great when you have to be creative with too little fabric.

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but this sweater was big enough I didn’t have to, so the easier the better!  I just cut off the knit band and sewed it on as a waist band…And I go these snuggly little Merino PJ’s ( which cost $4.99 in materials at Salvation Army!)  Nope, just can’t beat that. IMG_2109

If you want to learn how to make some up-cycle magic of your own, that very same friend is teaching a class on Nov 23rd, see more here.  So here’s to getting cozy and shining that inner light!

Gigi’s hats

Sitting in front of the sewing machine on this rainy Saturday morning I set to making the 4th ‘Eddie Cap‘ for Jaengy.  So many people have asked me about this hat I swear I could have sold 100 right off his head… However I have no ambitions of making 100 hats, so I thought I would post where I got the pattern so you can make your own, and give credit where credit is due…  the pattern is another mama’s and you can find it on her blog Mushroom Village.  My versions are a lot less refined; not lined, without a firm brim, and I shortened the brims substantially, but her tutorial is what got me here and for that I am forever grateful.IMG_9794

This hat making journey started because my son was born with a huge fuzzy head.  It still is very large (90%) and he still has very little hair.  This precious nogin seems very important to cover and care, to keep him warm and protect all those developing thoughts.   So I began with my own rendition of a pixie cap when he was a baby, made from the sleeve of an old beloved cashmere sweater from Salvation Army I had worn for years but was developing a hole in a very conspicuous spot– ( though would have been great for winter breast feeding..hehe)….

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He rocked that one for many moons, probably everyday of the first year.

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This one I knit in about an hour was the back up, cute though not as soft.

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When summer came I attempted a little Boy bonnet but improvised my own version and it wasn’t going very well.  I knew it was time to go back to the drawing board when I took him out in public and the guy who runs the local coffee shop said plainly,”What do you have on you son’s head!!”  I couldn’t help but laugh and admit defeat!

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With some serious searching I luckily came across the ‘Eddie Cap’

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This one was made from an old cotton button down of his dad’s and it turned out to be perfect for summer.  After this, I was on a serious re-purposing mission and was lucky enough to come across this handsome wool Pendleton on a thrift store run.

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It looked like it had been shrunk so no grown man could wear it, but it was perfect for us.  I did some made up in the moment moves to leave on the collar, button strip and wrist cuffs.  I just cut off the sleeves and reattached them much closer in.  I then sewed up the sides to fit a 18 month old and hemmed it appropriately.

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I then lined it with an old cashmere robe I had to cut up because wool moths had found it and it made me look pretty sorry wearing it around the house.IMG_7783

Totally inspired from my Pendleton experiment I cut a ripped sleeve off of one of Joel’s Pendletons and made it a short sleeve.

I then whipped up this ‘Eddie’ with the other sleeve.

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Lining it of course with the cashmere robe as well.

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I must admit, I sure was pleased with myself at how warm I kept my little nugget that winter.

FYI, If you find old Pendletons at thrift stores that are nice but size small, they serve perfectly for re-purposing, or you can of course mail them to me and I will use them gladly.  This little boy has many more winters ahead!!

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This hat was the winter back up made from the left over yard from his 1 year sweater( not pictured)

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And of course a matching one for cousin

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Then there was the most recent ‘Eddie‘, which was worn without fail every day this summer, and notice the 2 year old version doesn’t have a chin strap, he is so used to hats now he voluntarily puts it on when we leave the house.  This beauty served us well all summer, though sadly was lost last week.

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So enter the Fall/winter 2013 version….Well I am not done yet, so that will just have to be another post altogether.  But I hope this inspires you all and gives you a  place to start with your own hat adventure.

Garden Cottage Studio Craft Shack!!

This is really a dream come true!  Humble as it is, a 8×8 Pallet and Mud shack….it changed my whole life and for this I must thank my wonderful husband and his crafty hands– Thanks Joel!!

Garden cottage in evening light

You see it all started last March 2011…Baby was on his way and we needed to turn the studio/storage room into kids room….So while I sat, very pregnant watching…Joel built us this little number from some old pallets picked up behind the hardware store, some mud and straw (instead of a baby shower we had a cob party!! Thanks Everyone) insulted the roof with packing peanuts, (that thrifty guy), and finished it off with a marvelous over hanging roof that added outside storage and of course shade, nothing says loving like a porch!!

This photo was taken of the same spot a few years earlier. Where the Cottage now stands was an outdoor shower over the well house

Now, almost two years later, on this cold winter day, I sit snug in this perfect little space creating like I was born to do.  Gems hang in the winter light among pattern books, sewing machine, yarn, and all kinds of materials to weave together into something beautiful, someday.  My challenge is pacing my creative self, knowing in time it will all get made, and  tearing myself away when life…or my toddler need tending.  I just feel so grateful for this space, quite, calm, focused, a sanctuary for my spirit to rest and my hands to run wild.

New Jewelry for Next weekends Holiday Craft Show

New Jewelry for Next weekends Holiday Craft Show

Because my husband is a crafty genius himself, I thought I would share the making of this little craft shack, and a few of Joel’s words about the process.

When my wife and I were expecting a baby, and my shop was too full of stuff to work in, we decided to build a shed on top of the concrete slab roof of the well house. We’d been using it as root cellar for a couple of years and also needed a pantry and a place for the used sunfrost freezer we’d bought.  Our goal was to build an attractive (it is right outside our living room window) temperature-stable, weather tight structure using as much waste material as possible. It also turned out as a good way to use up scrap wood cluttering the yard.

You can see the concrete slab over the well house is the floor, and the pallets being placed together as the frame

I decided to do a modern twist on the traditional jacal technique of Northern New Mexico. Upright posts are set in the ground and the whole thing is plastered over with mud.  Instead we used wooden pallets and filled and plastered them with strawy mud. Using four portland cement pallets (very strong), a 4’x 8’ “ pallet for plywood, five pallets from a cabinet shop, and miscellaneous pallets from behind the hardware store, I pieced together the walls. First redwood 2 x 4 plates were screwed to the concrete slab using tapcon screws. The pallets were attached with scrap pieces of 2×4 screwed flat to the plate that keyed into the voids in the pallets. Short pieces of scrap 2x 4 also tied the pallets to one another.

Door came from Habitat for Humanity restore and because we already had it, Joel build the doorway to fit it…it is a lot harder going the other way around.

The south wall went up first because it was against the neighbor’s fence. It was sheathed with T 111 before being stood-up. The front wall included some straight lumber for framing out the door and window openings.  A 2” x 8” ridge joist resting on upright members in the wall pallets carried the four cabinet shop pallets. The OSB on these pallets serves as the ceiling, the 2×4’s the roof joists, and the one-by skids are the nailers for the metal roof. The inside was sheathed with 1/8thinch pine plywood and the south wall and ceiling  insulated with packing peanuts.

Roof framed for extra over hang

The pallets were filled with a straw-rich cob mixture using dirt dug in the yard. This was all plastered over with the same strawy mud mix. The straw bridges the wood members and the wood members act like wood lathe to hold the cob in place. 

Strawy Mud stuck in the walls

The whole thing then got plastered over with earth plaster. The final coat was an aliz of Carle Crews’ recipe (see her book Clay Culture).

Final coat of clay plaster

Using a pallet base, a floor of douglas fir seconds was installed along with a ladder and trap door to make the root cellar more accessible. The building including electrical cost about $500 mostly for metal roofing. Many have said that would be a great extra bedroom. The big front and side overhangs make the building.- Joel Glanzberg

All Done, Pretty as a picture!!

Oh what a difference just a little shack of one’s own can make  It has already taken on so many forms, a storage shed, a herb drying/potting shed, a studio space for me to make jewelry, sew and knit, a writing studio for Joel’s New book….and hopefully some day we will..Have an outdoor kitchen under it’s eves, grow mushrooms in the root cellar, use it as a bedroom for our son when he turns into a teenager… and who knows what else the future will hold for this 8×8 shack of love.

West side storage for bikes & garden tools, love that over hang

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And of course the freezer with the trap door to well house/root cellar

Stocking up space

Grilling out front

Outdoor living

Creative space

Garden cottage, looks like it has always been there, tucked away in the garden

Ode to Flowers

My flower garden is in full glory right now, humble compared to most, but so inspiring to me.  I am not the first human to be inspired by flowers, I believe almost all of us our.  How could one resist such splendor, color, scent, symmetry… Some paint flowers, others weave words about them….I spent most of Monday trying to mirror the soft peaches and light greens of the roses in my jewelry making, attempting in my own way to mimic them, to be guided by them, to honor them in their perfect beauty…..

The sweetest smelling soft country roses outside my front door

This is what I came up with

These danglys

And this to match

Pink and green!! Love this combo

And this

Rose buds on a chain

On our walk I feel in love with the wild sweet peas, fushia, light green and white…….I guess that is the essence of my creative process, not something I write about often, or even know how to put into words.  It is much more an experience of beauty that guides my hands and imagination….Hmmmmm what will I make today?

Light through the sweet peas

The Swing is now a Flying High Chair!!

So you saw the swing and seemed to love it as much as we do. THANKS, I was astounded at how many of you cheered us on!!  Jangy also loved it , so much in fact he didn’t want to get down for meal times, which we are enjoying outside on the porch just about every meal now…So daddy came up with this cool tray that comes on and off for meals.

Swinging through lunchtime

Now we sit across from him and all share our meals right here.  And the best part is, no more sweeping the floor!! Anything that falls the birds, ants and who knows else will get later.

Removable Feeding tray

Joel took some cherry he had from left over flooring in Jangy’s room and made the sides.  Drilled holes and cut out notches for the dowels to fit in.

Pine tray with little indentation so food won’t get away

The tray top is pine which he used a scorp on, (a tool that cuts in a U shape) to make the indentation so the food would roll off.)

Pictures of Scorps from
“A Musuem of Early American Tools” by Eric Sloane

Drilled the pieces together, made a little wooden lock so it would stay put.

Wooden lock

Sanded it then rubbed the whole thing with Walnut oil and Tada…so cool.

And there you have it, a flying high chair.  Then we gave him Kimchi I made from Carrots, Turnips, and Cabbage we grew and he gobbled it up…..Oh a parents pride!!

Jangy is munching on a Kimchied Turnip slice!! That’s our boy!!

Making a Baby Swing- DIT

My husband and I do lots of things together well, but making things together is a kind of newly found joy.  I guess it started with our home, our garden and our baby of course, but actually designing & crafting something together is not something we have really done yet.  Saturday morning we spent nap time together drinking coffee and searching for images of baby swings.  There were lots, mostly plastic, some beautiful wood, some cloth and all kind of shockingly expensive.

We could have probably got one used, but it spurred a fun conversation about design and technique, craftsmanship & quality and of course our shared love of homemade.  I truly admire my husband’s fearless DIY attitude.  He can look at things and understand how they are made, alter them in his mind and tada!! he has made it with his own two hands and more likely than not with things he had stashed away in his shed, salvaged, saved for a rainy day.  For this project we put both our design minds together, rummaged around in our stashes and here is how we spent our Saturday DITing (Doing it Together).

It started with an old pair of Mountain Kakai’s, really nice sturdy work pants, worn, loved and finally ripped above the knee.  I stashed them in the sewing box to fix or transform someday and that day was today.

I basically looked at the swing I most admired and realized it was a basic cross of fabric.

This awesome swing I found on Pinterest from an Australian company called Swingz

I turned the pants into shorts and proceeded to line up, pin and cut the legs of the pants.  I got kind of engrossed so it didn’t photograph this part of the process but I tried to cut as little as possible and use those strong triple seams whenever I could so this swing wouldn’t make me nervous as my little baby swung around 4 feet above our brick porch.  It was a basic bucket seat with sleeves for dowels to slip into so the swing would have a skeleton to hang from.  That is where my husband came.  He drilled the oak dowels, cut and sanded them so they stuck out a bit from the sleeves.  Then he got an old climbing rope slipped it through the sleeves as well, made a few knots, and hung it from a carabiner and big eye bolt in the viga on the porch.  And just like that–there it was……smiles for all!!

We all love the swing and have spent hours playing with it already.  But more than the actual thing, we love being together; envisioning, creating, recycling, using our hands & stashes of saved goods, staying home and enjoying the sunshine……and as we like to say around here ‘Why DIY when you can DIT’?

My Handmade Garden Fence

Well, I made myself a garden fence today…why do I post about it?….  Well because it was fun, creative and free, which are all inspiring to me, I thought they might be to you too.  I know it would have been easier to drive down to Home Depot a buy some easy insert lattice action, but who knows where that wood comes from and who puts it together, and heck why buy when you can DIY.  As I have said before I am also time rich and cash poor…and happen to live 100 yards from river with a generous willow patch…so I really saw no other way than to make it myself.  That and I had a vision of what I wanted and I knew I couldn’t buy it.  I  started with my inspiration.An amazingly beautiful fence on a meticulous farm in Patagonia, Chile we visited a few years back.  It was so tidy, keeping in these perfectly white sheep who were keeping the green, green grass perfectedly trimmed…. we might as well have been in the England…or as we called it Douglandia…but I will save that story for another time.  I also got a little inspiration wasting too much time on Pinterest.  Anyway, with the babe trying to pull himself up by hanging onto the rose bushes, a fence was in order around here. So we went down to the river & gathered a ton of really tall straight willow branches, trimmed off the side & top little branches….until we had nice clean long weaving sticks.  I actually did buy a few stripped cedar latillas which I cut down to 3ft each to use as the posts.  I would have used willow but Joel reminded me cedar was a lot stronger and would resist rot in the wet garden a lot longer than willow would.  I sunk them into the garden about 2 ft apart and about 1 ft deep with a sledge-hammer and then I was ready to weave.This was taken right as I sunk the first cedar posts…….And this was taken when I was down the weave.  It does the trick of keeping Jangy out of the garden and he sure seems to like it pulling himself up on it.His pure delight was more than I could have hoped for.Which made my delight all the more.

If you are inspired to do the same, just a little note– I used way more willow than I imagined I would have, I think there is something like 50 ten footers for a 1.5foot high fence.  Lucky willow is an abundant renewable resource here. Use what you have, the is earth is generous with her offerings if you know how to see them.  Here is a cool link called the Willow Bank for further inspiration