Wednesday, November 19, 2014


This magnificent buck was our back yard visitor last Friday night, and he had not one, but two girlfriends with him.   Isn't he beautiful?

He is quite healthy and buff!  A 10-point buck as they say, and he has a beautiful set of antlers.

Those antlers got to rubbing on one of my little trees and pulled it enough to make it lean now, and broke off a branch.  They are beautiful animals, but I give up trying to grow anything around here. Sure, they are healthy - they ate all my green beans this summer!  

I come from a family of deer hunting men.  Next week, my husband, dad, brother, uncles and nephews are all on their annual 10-day hunt in Wisconsin.  Mom comes to stay, and we shop, eat out, hit the quilt stores, work on projects and eat out some more.  I am exhausted from work and ready to enjoy the time off and do some tatting and sewing for a change.

It always cracks me up to see the most beautiful bucks right in our own backyard as the men in my family are preparing for their hunting expedition at the cabin.  I just 'shoot' them with my camera.  If I can :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Our Fall color is truly stunning this year, and is lasting longer than what I remember as usual.  The colors vary from year to year, and never cease to gain my full admiration.  

The reds and oranges almost look fake, and the golds just pop.  Truly amazing nature!  Just driving anywhere has a breathtaking view in many directions if you take the time to look.

This tatting was my attempt at some fall tatting splendor - ha!   Hardly compares, though it's a good attempt with color :)
Dahlia Motif, New Tatting book by Tomoko Morimoto
Lizbeth 'Falling Leaves' size 20 thread

On our walk last night, a couple of deer were inquisitive enough to watch us.  Ruby wanted to say 'hi' from much closer than we were able to get!  

Soon, everything will turn brown overnight and the leaves will fall, once again leaving the branches bare and dreary looking until Spring.  This is my absolute favorite time of year!  Too bad it's so short - but I guess that's what makes it so special.  A couple more days, and it will all be over!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Day of Autumn

Happy Autumn!  I love this time of year - the trees are so beautiful and seem to change colors overnight.  And the color is different every year based on the weather conditions from spring throughout summer - an interesting piece of nature and science.  The days right now are sunny, upper 60's to low 70's F and chilly nights in the 50's.  Unfortunately, this is a short season, and those of us that live here know what is in store for us very soon! [The other 4-letter word - SNOW!]

This is the maple tree that overhangs my backyard deck.  Crazy - just one colorful leaf so far!

And way out in my backyard, the wild sumac turns red practically overnight.  The sumac is really pretty all along the roadsides.

On Sunday, I met a friend at a winery we both enjoy.  (Yes, we have vineyards and wineries here in Minnesota and Wisconsin - a LOT of them, in fact!) This particular one is in Wisconsin, near the border with Minnesota.  The colors were just beginning, so I couldn't resist a few photos.  It's really so much prettier in person.

The St. Croix River looking at Minnesota from Wisconsin

Chateau St. Croix Winery, modeled after a Chateau in France

Grapes growing in Wisconsin

This upcoming Saturday, I will be heading north again for some wedding planning fun with my daughters and my mom - and a certain wedding dress. The colors should be spectacular - and I hope to get a few more photos.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Josephine Rings

Josephine Ring Medallion - (pattern HERE)
Lizbeth #154 (Wildflower Garden) size 20 thread
I've realized that small tatting projects suit me well these days.  I have a doily I'd like to start when the snow flies and the evenings are longer, but some quick projects to satisfy the bug will suffice for now.  There are some quilting projects to work on too - but I better continue going to work until I win the lottery. 

I saw this on Pinterest over the weekend, and decided it was a perfect small project to remember how to make those Josephine rings.  The pattern page is great for choosing technique-specific patterns to practice.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hydrangea Doily

Lizbeth #181 (Cranberry Bush) and an Ecru thread, size 20
From the book 'New Tatting' by Tomoko Morimoto
Yes, the pattern is called a doily.  A table topper, even - which I guess is pretty accurate - it does go on top of a table.  Actually, it's pretty small to be what I would call a 'doily'.  But it makes a very pretty coaster.  An easy tat, quick little one shuttle motifs attached together with a simple edge around.  Not my best tatting, but it won't be entered in any competitions!

A set of these to use with small wine glasses would be great, but even my coffee cup would hide it.  How would you use this dainty coaster?  I'm considering stitching it to fabric for a more practical, useful coaster, but I'm not sure I would put anything on top of it anyway - it's too pretty to cover up.

On another subject, our Twin Cities Tatters group met yesterday, and I think we had the biggest group ever!  Six of us adults plus a mom with two young girls eager to learn after seeing demonstrations at the state fair a few times. They even seemed to get that flip pretty readily.  Maybe tatting will be the new craze! OK, probably not, but it's fun to see that there really is more interest in tatting than I think sometimes, especially in the younger generation.  

Saturday, September 6, 2014


A relief! Though the cortisone injection hurt like a bugger, I am able to use my thumb again and get back to putzing around with the things I like to do.  (Not to mention perform my paid JOB a bit more comfortably as well!) It's amazing how much one can miss the thumb.

While I was unable to tat or sew or write, I read a few good books. I have been keeping track of the books I read on 'GoodReads', per Fox's suggestion. (Thanks, Fox!)  I do read more than I thought, so it's been a good way to keep track. I have also gotten a book club started with high school friends - lots of good book reviews and suggestions there as well.

I have never been much on audiobooks, but now that I can tat again, I've finished my first one.  A long drive to visit my folks prompted me to try again, and when I got home, I found that listening to a book while tatting was so productive!  The process to burn the required 8 CDs so I could listen in the car seemed like it took forever.  Then when I got home and had 5 more CDs to listen to, I chuckled about the fact that I had no CD player to listen to in the house, and moved the book to my phone so I could listen on the bluetooth speaker. Technology.  I have a book I'm reading from a cloud library on my iPad, and listened to an audiobook from my phone while tatting.  Crazy! But I just love technology and the things I can do with it.

So, I've FINALLY had a chance to try out a simple pattern in the 'New Tatting' book by Tomoko Morimoto - the book I've had since the end of July.   Three more little motifs and an edge, and this will be a coaster.  I like this simple, colorful little dive back into productivity :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


We continue to have a yard full of tiny little frogs.  This little guy joined me at our bonfire the other night.  I kicked him off my chair when I realized he was frighteningly close to my HAIR . . .

I went in the house for a few minutes, and when I came back - he was there again!  Persistent little bugger.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Little Inspiration . . .

I've been focusing a lot on work and other things lately and . . . not much tatting.  BUT, last weekend at our Twin Cities Tatters gathering, one of our tatters shared some tatting books she found at her library.  My own library does not have many tatting books, but she was lucky to find several!

This one really caught my eye:

It's by Tomoko Morimoto, the daughter of the one and only Teiko Fujito.  This book is from 2012, but I don't recall seeing it mentioned much before.  It has really nice motifs and small items to work up quickly, plus a few beautiful doilies.  This book, and some talk of Renulek's beautiful doily tat-alongs, really inspired me to get a new tatting project started.  My T.A.T. projects are going kinda slow - not inspiring enough to hold my interest at the moment, but I was really thinking about getting back into the tatting spirit.

So, I ordered the book, and got it Friday - the same day I found out I have "Trigger Thumb".  Yep.  Tendonitis in my right thumb/hand. Dr.'s orders were "no use of the right hand"  all weekend, plus anytime outside of WORK for a minimum of 1 week. [I'm already finding it hard to hold a glass of wine in my left hand, ha!]

It's not like I've been idle since my last post (in JUNE) though.  I have picked strawberries and made jam (twice), read a couple of books, started a book club of high-school friends, and felt the sewing bug bite hard enough to visit the quilt shop and make a few aprons.  Not to mention working.  A lot.

This simple apron pattern has a dishtowel attached to the front - something I thought would be very handy, as I'm always looking for the towel to wipe my hands on.  (Usually, my butt is covered in flour and I completely miss the apron anyway.) 

 I  made one apron for each of my girls, and eventually made one for myself too :) 

And, in the latest family news, my baby is engaged.  This little cutie-patootie has turned into a beautiful young woman who is bubbling over with joy!  And who has lots of ideas and plans that Mom gets to be in on :) It's so exciting to watch.

Isn't life grand?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Can You Believe it's June?

Two months have gone by since my last blog post - life has taken over!  I'm working a new job within the same office, while still doing the old job until someone is hired.  Makes for an exhausted brain.  And now it's June (can you believe it?) - graduations, weddings and so much gardening work to fill my "spare" time.

I've been tackling my T.A.T. projects, though bit by bit and slowly as time (and well, desire) allows.  Currently I'm working on varying picots - so many ways to add dimension and intrigue to a tatted piece with a picot alone.  If I were a designer, I'd be up all night trying to figure out some clever pattern using interesting picots!  I'm a much better pattern-follower than designer ;)  I will be sharing some more of my thoughts on unique picots.

Minnesota has finally decided to have some Spring/Summer weather.  After all the wintry depression I posted about, it's time to share some of my beautiful views of late!

My birds are back, and so much fun to watch - bluebirds, pheasants, orioles and finches:

We have deck weather again!

And even when it's rainy, it's a beautiful shade of green out there. So, so much better than all that snow we had.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pinterest, Shutterfly and Mod Podge

. . . oh my!

Sometimes I love a quick craft. Not something that looks cheap or homemade, but something quick and easy that actually looks pretty nice.  

OK, I'm too cheap to buy wall art too.  And I love many ideas I find on Pinterest.  Oh, and I love taking photos too - I just don't always know what to do with them. has allowed me to put my photos in books, on mugs, and make cards.  So I put all that together and made a piece of wall art for the walls in my freshly painted home office with a photo I took a couple of years ago in Gamla Stan, Sweden.

I just love this picture of a door in the old historic town.  I just think it's a cool old door.  (Funny to see the Operation ID sticker on the window - I thought that was a U.S. thing.) 

I cropped the door from this original photo:

The idea on Pinterest was to mod podge a photo to a canvas.  Hhhmmm.  I received an email from Shutterfly offering a FREE 16x20 print.  JoAnn's had their canvases on sale for 50% off.  Already have the mod-podge.  Hhhhmmmm.  Ordered the print for about $6 shipping, bought an 18x24 canvas, and . . .

I painted the outer edges of the canvas black with some acrylic paint, sponged on a layer of mod-podge and adhered the print to the canvas.  (This is where you need to press and position the print, as well as make sure there are no bubbles.)  Easy peasy.  Two coats of mod-podge over the top of the whole thing, and ta da!  An 18 x 20 piece of wall art in about one hour that easily cost less than $20.

 It looks even better in person - my coworkers were impressed, and there are now several photos and ideas spinning.  I have a couple more photos of my favorite canines that could work . . .

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Love Cultural Stuff :)

I have always been interested in cultural things - all of the different traditions and crafts from around the world are amazing! I don't know where this interest really started, but I was exposed to folks from other countries periodically ever since I was a little girl. I've also always been interested in learning about my own family heritage and traditions. 

I recently asked an old friend (Helen) that is 100% Ukranian to show me how she makes her beautiful Pysanky eggs at Eastertime. An interesting process, indeed!  The egg, the designs and the dye all have very detailed, symbolic meanings.  Helen uses the wax resist method that she learned as a child, so I found out how difficult it is to 'write' a design with a line of hot wax.  Each layer of the design is 'written' in wax with a special tool (kistka), and whatever color is under the wax remains as it is placed in the next dye color.  This wax-relief method of coloring works in reverse of how you might paint layers of color.

In any case, it's very difficult to keep the wax lines nice and straight.  With some practice, there are some beautiful designs to be made!

Finding out we were using raw eggs was a little intimidating.  Some people blow the egg out, but Helen has always just used raw eggs brought to room temperature.  The egg eventually just dries up, and is, of course, sturdier to work on than a blown out egg shell.  She does not have many eggs left from over the years, because they do tend to break in storage sometimes.  Apparently dogs like to eat them as well (eeewww) so keeping them out of danger becomes a necessity.  The smell could be pretty awful, to say the least.  

Two layers of wax and dye at this point - one covering what will remain white, and one covering what will remain yellow.

Above is the egg (on the left below) after every color has been dyed.  I covered the large areas that were to remain red with wax, and it went into the black dye last.  After all the dyeing was complete, I held it over the flame on the stove to melt all the wax and wipe it off.  

I remember my mom making some very pretty Easter eggs by painting designs with melted crayon wax onto the eggs with a toothpick.  The colored wax was the design on the white eggs.  This was a process as you can imagine - the egg AND the melted wax had to be just the right temperature for everything to work properly. I'll have to ask her where she learned that and what country/culture that was from?

I accomplished making these two very basic Pysanky eggs in a few hours.  I don't think they turned out too bad for a first try :) 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Somewhere in Mexico . . .

. . . there's a Flowering Quatrain bookmark.
[Free pattern found HERE]

Very much like this one:

I was enjoying my break from this Minnesota winter on a beach in Mexico, when a vendor noticed me tatting and asked about it.  He was so interested, and wanted to see how it was done.  I showed him, and we chatted about it for a bit.  I told him if I had one finished, I would give it to him.  "You'll finish soon" he said, "I'll be back tomorrow"  [No pressure!] and off he went.

I did finish, but didn't see him the next day.  I left the bookmark with my aunt while I was off shopping for an afternoon, and sure enough, he stopped by to find me.  My aunt gave him the bookmark, and he was so thrilled by it!  He came back several times to say thanks, but I hadn't returned yet. He didn't work the following day, so I never did see him again.  

So, somewhere in Mazatlan is a Flowering Quatrain bookmark being thoroughly enjoyed by a local beach vendor.  Funny how tatting gets around!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wow - I can't believe it's almost the end of February already!  I've been busy non-stop, but don't feel like I've accomplished much.  Ever have that feeling?

It's been a techie start to the year so far, new software at work and trying to use an iPad vs. a laptop at home.  It's very different trying to do some of the same things on an iPad when you're used to Microsoft!  I find it very difficult to blog on the iPad.  

And, we are having a looooong, rough winter here in Minnesota.  Schools have been closed several times, and we have snow like crazy.  I'm usually OK with whatever winter brings, but this year it started in November, which is early, and we have had more than usual snowfall along with more than usual below zero temperatures. Not to mention when it snows so much, the skies are cloudy and gray looking, so we really miss the sunshine. 

Yesterday, however, we had a beautiful sunny day.  The snow really sparkles!  I love how the yard looks when the snow is untouched.

It's hard to capture the sparkle of the snow in pictures, 
but here's a try:

And Ruby the Sun-Worshipper was
THRILLED to bask again.  
[Yes, I have flip-flops out all year long.]

I've decided that since I can't decide
what to TAT, I'm going back to working on
Phase II of the Tatters Across Time
Proficiency Program.  Which won't help my
blogging lack, since I can't show any of it!
But, I've had this 
phase for about . . . um . . . 4+ years.
I hope they will still take it when I get it done!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sadly, No Tatting

The weather is ridiculous in Minnesota this winter!  I should have lots of time to tat since we are not spending time outside, but I'm on a little break and doing some major home organization as well as hitting the gym 3-4 times a week.  On top of working all day.  I just don't feel like doing much of anything by the time I can sit down and concentrate!  (I am, however, eyeing up that new Lizbeth Twirlz thread . . . )

In any case, it's SO cold here that schools are closed for the third time this month.  Due to extremely cold wind chills.  We have a wind chill advisory in effect until tomorrow . . . it's about -30+ degrees Fahrenheit out there.  And we are supposed to get this again next week.  With +30 temps in between, mind you.  Nothing like a 60 degree or more fluctuation over just a few days.  

I think it's so cold my phone can't compute the weather!

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014 Begins!

2014 is off to a good start with projects!  Though not tatting or sewing, I did manage to get a room painted - much to my own delight.  I have hated the colors of this room since we moved here 8+ years ago, but we chose to do all other living areas and bedrooms first.


This room was painted blue and gold - not my colors, but I guess if one has bolder taste . . . It was good for them.  There was a wallpaper border at the top of the blue wainscoting too, but in my haste to remove it I forgot a photo.  I could not WAIT to cover that blue, but started with the gold walls.  Textured gold walls. 

Here's a close up of the colors that have nearly driven me mad:

Yuck.  Why would anyone . . . ? 

Getting there . . .

This is more to my liking:

A few finishing touches are still needed to put back a little color, but this more boring color scheme is much more soothing to me :)  But shoot me if I ever think painting this wainscoting again is a good idea.  There are so many crevices to cover!

And while I was at it, I re-painted these little antique sewing drawers into a piece I want to use for jewelry.

I wasn't crazy about the whitewashing job that was done on them when I purchased them, so I thought I'd paint them while I had all the painting stuff out.


And then when I saw all the drips and thick paint, I decided to distress them a bit.  To cover up the new flaws I created.

LOL.  Nothing like painting and then sanding it off again!  But I think it looks better.  Now I will just add some felt to the inside bottoms of the drawers and I can use it.  

So.  That's how I spent the first week of 2014.  I hope the rest of the year is this productive!