Week Of Wonderfuls

Mary Jane

MaryJanesFarm Magazine sittin' atop the fence post.

It’s been a week of wonderful things.

First Up: MARYJANES FARM magazine. I love, love, l-o-v-e this magazine. I guess it speaks to my inner fantasy to own an old stone farm house with shutters and a big red barn. The beauty of this mag is that it encourages everyone to be “a farm girl at heart” no matter where you live and how many chickens you do or don’t have.

I’ve been waiting eons for a new issue and guess what? Now you can buy a regular subscription! The folks at Mary Jane’s Farm obviously hooked up with a publisher (they used to do it all by themselves, whenever they got around to it). And while I’m slightly disappointed that they now accept ads–not accepting ads was innovative–I’ll take it in exchange for more regular issues.

You can hear a podcast interview at CraftCast and find out all the things the founder Mary Jane Butters is up to. She has a new book out, too, that I’ll be check out next time I go on a Barnes & Noble date with friends.

Luxuriously squishy moss near the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Luxuriously squishy moss near the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

New England Fare: Clams, mussels and lobsters from a clambake.

New England Fare: Clams, mussels and lobsters from a clambake.

Vacation in the Sun: Just returned from vacationing in New Hampshire (again). Got in some family time and outdoor time. Finally it was sunny and we got in some mini-hikes and a classic New England Clambake. Plus we visited the great Science Museum where the kids got to see lots of wild animals up close.

New fabrics to add to my stash!New fabrics to add to my stash!

New Fabric to play with: Kris of Monkeyfoot Designs she passed on to me some scraps of fabrics from Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry. And lucky me! Her PortabelloPixie Farmers Market order came in while I was visiting so I came home with some adorable prints (note the apples and stripes and firework flowers). I’m itching to stitch these up into some new coffee cuffs.

Yummy dinner at Mama’s Restaurant & Cafe Baci, Hackettstown, NJ: On the last leg of the journey south, the kids and I stopped for a bite in Hackettstown, NJ and I was in heaven: Mama’s Restaurant & Cafe Baci has a gluten-free menu. Not just a box with 3 items, but 4 pages of gluten-free pasta, pizza, breadsticks and dessert (carrot walnut cake, anyone?). It was awesome to order a huge bowl of penne pasta with Alfredo sauce, shrimp, artichokes and asparagus, and not worry about how I’d feel later. Plus, I had garlic herb breadsticks, pipin’ hot Italian bread with butter and white cake with white icing to go (all gluten-free!). I’ll be heading back there.

Sunflower's cousin Ceillie
Sunflower’s cousin Ceillie

Saw Sunflower: My 5-year-old couldn’t wait to see our resident garter snake and name it. Big strides I say, because my 5-year-old still screams bloody murder at the tiniest insect. But she appreciates snakes. Yeah! Sunflower is her name because she’s black and yellow.

Blueberry cream cheese hearts. Yum!

Blueberry cream cheese hearts. Yum!

Homemade Breakfast: My 5-year-old decided to make breakfast this morning. She found a recipe in a back issue of My Big Backyard magazine. We didn’t have strawberries so she used the blueberries we picked last week and the blueberry jam I made from our pickins. Yummy!

Captions and sharing: My web guru (aka my husband) updated my version of WordPress and look! I have captions on my photos! I’m so excited. He also figured out while my Notable Reads (down there on the left, below the Crafty Crow button) were not working. He’s a computer ace! So click away now to see the bird mobiles and watercolor techniques.

Opie as Art


This is Wenda, modeling horse hair earrings. She made them on Sunday at Out of Our Hands during the Horse Hair Earring Class.


Wenda brought some of her beloved Opie’s tail to class. She cleaned the hair ahead of time and was ready for braiding as soon as she walked in the door.


We had a great time at the class, braiding and gluing, chatting and creating. Wenda walked away with a momento of her favorite horse and can tell everyone, “I made these myself!”

HH7-13Class5If you’re interested in attending upcoming classes Horse Hair Earrings or Horse Hair Bracelets, contact me or Out of Our Hands. We’re putting together dates for these two classes now. All supplies are included, but you can bring your own horse hair if you choose.

Not everyone is so crafty or has the time, so I create horse hair earrings and bracelets for others, as well. Head over to the Horse Hair Jewelry page to find out more.


Eureka 14

Ever wonder how artists go from idea to product? Me, too.

On Friday, I took photos of a new idea to see how it developed. Here’s what happened:

Eureka 2

Idea! As I was gathering supplies in my studio to work outside, this hematite circle and blue fossil bead in a random dish o’ beads caught my eye.

Eureka 6

I also wanted to use porcupine quills with these materials.

Eureka 3

Three quills, to be exact. This is a good start, but I don’t like the way it hangs.

Eureka 4

Eureka 5

Eureka 7

It needed something in the middle to stabilize it. And it needed more color. However, the triplet of quills didn’t slide over the beads, so I took off the bottom jump ring. Definitely not the look I was going for. Added a new jump ring at the bottom, but it was too big so the quills slid all the way down to hematite.


Pshoo! (that’s the sound of beads hitting the floor). I dropped the whole thing. Beads EVERYWHERE. Just a few seconds before I thought, “I should put tape on the top of this in case I drop it.” Should have listened to myself.

Eureka 9

Back on track and figured out a different way to get the quills over the beads.

Eureka 10

Don’t like the beads, so go with turquoise heishi. Roadblock! Heishi holes aren’t big enough to slide onto headpin.

Eureka 11

Found a different turquoise heishi that fits on the wire


Finished earrings! I love that the quills can spin around the heishi, so the earrings change as you move. What do you think?

If you really like them, you can buy them at my Etsy Shop.



I just returned from vacation on an island.

Birds! 6I just like to say that because it sounds like I went somewhere very exotic.

It is an exotic place in its own special way. Not exotic in the floating pool-side drinks and cabana boys style, but the opposite extreme of exotic where the cabin didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing.

There I am on the island’s rocky beach bordering Lake Champlain sewing birds.Birds! 5

After mentioning my vacation to many different people, I realized this type of experience really is “exotic,” foreign to many. I’m surprised at the number of people who have never “showered” in a basin or carried their water supply somewhere.

When you have to carry your water from a lake, then boil it before you can make coffee, do the dishes or bath, it really makes you consider energy consumption and waste in a whole new way. My dear friends who invited us to their cabin are considering different solar options for powering their cabin. I highly recommend this kind of vacation as a crash course for anyone who wants to reduce their energy consumption, go green, reduce their carbon footprint, or whatever you want to call it. Try this lifestyle for a few days, and it will make you rethink your whole household.

Surprisingly, my 5-year-old didn’t complain once that she had to put shoes on and walk with a flashlight to the toilet in the middle of the night. The lack of conveniences didn’t phase her when she had snakes to watch and water to splash in.

Truth be told, we did have cell phone service, which was helpful when we sent the men out a huntin’ to the mainland for ice and pizza to go (it was a vacation, after all). And the kids had battery operated toys to keep them entertained while we made dinner. The whole vacation was such a blast!

Before setting out to the island with–dear me!– no internet service, we did more traditional vacationing by visiting family.

Birds! 3

My nephew was baptized and I made him this bird mobile for a gift. Shall we say they’re doves to go with the baptism theme?

No matter what kind of birds they are, they are so cute, and they’re my latest crafting obsession. I downloaded the pattern from Spool Sewing blog.

So cute, so simple and a great 3-D project for beginners. Getting them to balance is tricky, but the eye hooks are key.

I’ve become so enamored with these birds, I want to make them for everyone. My nephew got the first flock, although I think his mother may have claimed them because she loves birds.

The cabin on the island got the second set. (This photo is not the best!)

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Through 6 hours of driving, daytime kiddie naps and lakeside resting, I stuffed and sewed birds. I even got to take my sister-in-law’s Janome sewing machine for a spin stitching them up. Sweeeeet machine!

On the island I found odd-shaped driftwood for the mobile.

These birds look like they’re talking to each other.

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I used awning fabrics and regular cotton for those birds, but was thinking of spraying them with Camp Dry so I can hang them outside.

Next I’m hoping to make a flock or two for home…one for my porch and one for my 2-year-olds’ room. I’ve got all the time in the world right now because mentally, I’m still on vacation.