Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Needle felted kittens

I've been busy organizing and packing things up to sell or give away before I move, but I was having crafting withdrawals so I made this needle felted black and white kitten to go with my yellow kitten.  The new kitten isn't quite finished but I wanted to share.
needle felted kittens

needle felted kittens and dog

Kitty in tree

kitten s playing in crocheted tree

needle felted kittens

needle felted kittens

Needle felted pets

needle felted pets

needle felted pets

needle felted kittens with 8 inch Paulinette doll

Tuxedo kitten in progress

I love needle felting; it's so cool to watch a clump of wool turn into a critter.  I want to order some eyes in a variety of sizes.  I have some pretty cat eyes here, but they're way too big . These ones are too small.

I was up early, at 6:30 AM because my body aches from packing and moving heavy items, plus painting the shed.  It was fun, painting, but I'm not used to having to bend down to floor level then reach up over my head, repeatedly.  I have fibromyalgia and my whole body is complaining.

My almost 73 year old father rebuilt one wall of the shed, so I can only imagine how he must feel today...sore, I imagine.  He's a hard worker, always building things, but I felt guilty when he came over yesterday with wood to fix my shed.  The people who built the shed built it right on the ground, with no concrete foundation, so the wood was really rotten.  

My Dad's birthday is on the 23rd of this month; we're taking him out to dinner. He doesn't want a gift.  I'm not sure what to get him....he's hard to buy for.  I'll ask my Mom what he needs.

Well, I'm going to go pour a nice cup of coffee now. I have to list more items for sale.  
Take care!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Needle felting a kitty

I am so happy with my first needle felted kitty!  I've always wanted a little yellow cat but my allergies prevent it...now I can have all of the cat's I want, lol.

Needle felted kitten
I made the kitty without any armature, but she can still do a few poses.  She can sit down, or sit up, with her paws up.

Needle felted kitten
I hope one day I'll be able to make realistic animals, but for now I'm happy to be able to make these little guys.

Needle felted kitten
Here's the kitty looking at the ebook that I used for inspiration... mine is not modeled after any of the cat's in the book, but I did use the pictures for inspiration regarding shapes needed for ears and paws and tails, etc.  I also looked at pictures of real cats to get the slope of the back right.

Needle felted kitten looking at other felted kittens
From behind the kitty doesn't look kitty like but I think she's cute anyway.

Needle felted kitty looking at computer screeen
Needle felted kitty
She's tiny, only 2.5 inches long, but too big to be dollhouse miniature size.  She's the perfect size for my 8 inch dolls though.  I'll have to get a picture later.

I'm really enjoying needle felting and love that I can do it while watching TV!  It's so much fun to watch a lump of wool turn into a little critter.

I still have to glue the kitty's eyes in, and I may add whiskers; I'm not sure.  

Now, what should I name this kitty?  Any suggestions.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Needle felted kitty and catching up

Hi!  I've been really lazy about blogging but I'm going to make an effort to start up again.
I've been working on a new book, which takes up a lot of my time, but I love it.  When I'm not writing I'm crafting...I just love needle crafts and painting.

Here's the little kitty I've been working on today.  She's not done yet...I had to stop after poking my finger badly enough to bleed, lol.  I'll add more details tomorrow.  I should be organizing my house and packing for my move...I have to move home soon...unless I win the lottery, or unless my book starts selling.

Needle felted kitty in progress

Needle felted kitty by Haunted dollhouse
I wish I had a friend who needle felts too, because i'd love some tips.  It's really hard to add details without changing the shape of the critters.  I have an especially hard time doing the noses without squishing the faces.  I enjoy it anyway, and they don't have to be perfect.  Maybe one day I'll be able to do those super realistic felties, but for now I'll stick with my cartoony animals and people, lol.

Here's the feltie gang, so far. 
All of my needle felted critters so far, with plastic canvas houses and a crocheted tree.
 The purple bear was my first try; I had a kit with nice instructions. Then I did the white bear, on my own, based on a photo I found online.  He's supposed to be lying down.  I did the dog, baby, and bunny next, and have been wanting to try a cat for quite some time. I finally started the cat today. 

The felties.

 I bought the coolest books for needle felting, from Crafterica at Etsy.  I bought needle felted cats, and dogs.  I already had the wild animal book, but I lost it when my computer crashed.  The seller was wonderful; she sent it for me again, so now I can try some wild animals. The book has everything, from zebras to chipmunks.  I want to do a chipmunk, lol.
Here's the link to the cat book that I used to work on my kitty:

My Mom made an amazing meal for Thanksgiving.  Here are a few photos of us.  My Mom is the one with the towel over her shoulder.  
Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad's...pie and icecream!
My Dad is at the head of the table.  He and my cousin Lyle were holding their forks (or a spatula) here, waiting for desert, lol.

Mom serving desert.
 Here's my little dog Ben.  He's been staying with my parents for most of the summer. I had him for a week but then my parents took him back again.
I forgot to take a picture of Mac, and it was his first outing since the spring.  He was so happy to go see Grandma and Grampa.  He was so good about being lifted into the back of the Blazer, and he lay down in his pop up crate all the way there.  I was worried he might stand up and fall, and hurt himself, but he was really good, thank God.  He's heavy to lift, but it's worth it. I don't want the other disc in his neck to blow.
Benji relaxing after dinner.
I finally got around to working on furniture for the Haunted dollhouse I stitched up last Fall.

Furniture for haunted dollhouse.
I think this is my favorite out of all 3 of the dollhouses I made so far.The crocheted tree is perfect for it.

Haunted dollhouse in plastic canvas, with crocheted spooky hollow tree.

Kitchen cabinets.

Living room chairs.
WEll, that's about it.  I'll try to be better about blogging from now on.  Take care!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In a crocheting mood

I've been hit by the crochet bug again.  I made this cute Toadstool House (I wanted to call it a Magic Mushroom house, but thought twice, lol).
crocheted mushroom house
I also found a cute purse pattern and tried it:

crocheted bag
I like it, but it's very, very small.  A paperback novel would fit inside, but that's about it.

crocheted hotdog dog toy
I also made this hot dog toy for my dog, Mac.  He loves it!
Mac and his hotdog
Mac and his crocheted hotdog

Mac and his hotdog toy

Mac was very happy and energetic today.  He's 9 weeks post surgery, and able to walk in the yard for short jaunts now.  Every week I can let him walk more, until he builds up his muscles again.

It's been super hot here, so i have the fan right behind his crate, so he can cool off.   I have both air conditioners runninng too.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Money, money, come to me, financial bondage, set me free

OK, as you can see from my title, I'm being a bit melodramatic today.
I have good reason.
My finances are in the toilet.  Flush. Gone.
I'm not alone; I'm in good company, it seems.
So, rather than dwell on the negatives (and create weird rhymes), I decided to look for ways to make money.
I'm a writer. I should be able to make money writing.  I used to make money writing, before i took time off for my fiction.
So, off to google.  If you google freelance writing online, about.com, hubpages, elance, and odesk will come up.  Other sites will come up too, but I'm interested in these ones.

Of these, I found hubpages and elance to be the most promising.  I signed up for hubpages yesterday and started hubbing (hubba hubba, toil and trubba) (oh no, there goes the weird rhyming thing again!).

My hub pages

I wrote a hub yesterday, and a hub today, and if I write a hub every day for a year, I should start making money on it.  Some people make thousands a month.  I'd like to be one of those people.

And then there's elance.

I joined elance before, then forgot all about it.  I edited my profile today, scanned through all of the job ads, and save several interesting jobs to "my favorites".  Now I just have to make my profile more appealing by adding a photo, and getting verified.  Then I can apply for some of those cool jobs.

In the meantime, I went to look at a trailer today.  I really liked it.  My Dad showed up just as I was leaving.  I'd called earlier to ask him to come with me but his line was busy for two hours.  When I finally got through, my Mom said it was too late for my Dad to come, since he wasn't dressed or shaved yet.  So I went alone, and just as I was leaving, he pulled up.  I had no idea how he found me.  When I asked, he said he'd tell me later.

So, we went through the place again, and my Dad asked all of the same question that I asked, and he pointed out the same flaws that I pointed out, lol.  He wasn't as impressed with the place.  In fact, when he left, shaking his head, he must have driven straight home to complain to my Mom, because she called and offered to pay my mortgage for a year while I wait for a spot on the geared to income housing to open up.  I told her thank you but no thanks. I'm NOT taking money from my retired parents.  No way. 

I asked Mom how Dad had found me, since I hadn't mentioned an address, and she said she called the cab company and asked to speak to a driver.  She knew the trailer park was within the city limits because I told her it was on the bus route.  So she asked the driver which trailer park was in the city, he told her, and gave directions.  I swear, my Mom could be a private investigator, lol.

It was so nice of my Dad to show up.  He thought the trailer (a 3 bedroom) was cute enough, but he's worried about insulation.  I am too.  He also was worried that the realor wouldn't tell us how much the previous owner paid for heat bills per month.  He just told us that the owner used the wood stove for most of his heating needs.  My Dad said the woodstove would only heat up the main part of the house, and not the bedrooms.  It's not a big house though, so I think the woodstove would do a good job.  What do I know, though.

My Dad and I were both wondering if the pipes would freeze.  I guess I'll need to get the place inspected.

Either that or move to Ecuador or Panama or Costa Rica or the Phillipines; maybe Thailand.  Those are all places where people can and do retire on their social security checks.  Ecuador's mountain areas are supposed to have spring like temperatures year round.  I'd love that.  I just don't know how safe it would be, or how my asthma would fair in mountain air.  Or how the Ecuadorians would treat my dogs.  I need a dog friendly country.  Maybe Prague.

OK, so I'm babbling.  Anxiety does that to me.  Something will work out. 
Maybe I can shrink myself down and live in one of my dollouses.  Now that would be cool.

On the bright side, to change the subject, today marks 6 weeks of crate rest for Mac.  He only needs two more; woohoo.  He's been so good about staying in his crate.  I love that dog so much.  Ben too, of course.

OK, I'll stop talking now.
Have a nice day!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Something blue...a mini house?

My kitchen cupboards
I love the color of my kitchen cupboards.  They're such a pretty blue, and one of the reasons I bought my house.

I have ot sell my house soon, so I'm painting my little dollhouse to match my cupboards.
First coat of paint, Primrose cottage dollhouse.

Painting the Primrose dollhouse.

Mac on his 5the week of crate rest, post surgery; enjoying the deck.
Mac is supervising from his spot on the corner of the deck, under the tree.   He's starting his 6th week of crate rest...Friday will be 6 weeks.   He really enjoys this pop-up crate as a break from his regular crate in the house.

I've had some really bad financial news and will have to sell the house soon, so we're enjoying the deck and yard as much as possible.

I'm not sure what we're going to do next, but something will come up.  I'm hoping I'll have enough money left over after selling the house to pay off my bills and buy a trailer in a trailer park, so we'll still have a yard.  I need a yard, with the dogs, and the apartment rentals in town are outrageous; they all want to charge a ton of money (for the area), and discrimante against smokers and pet owners.  I'm not a smoker, but I have dogs and birds and fish, so I'm thinking a trailer may be our best bet for affordable pet friendly housing.  I'm just not sure how much it will cost to heat a trailer in Northern Ontario.  Lots of people live in trailers, so it must be possible.  The one I want to see has a wood stove, so there'd still be heat in case of electricity failure.  I've heard that trailers burn quickly though, so that's kind of scary.

I wish I was healthy enough to return to teaching.  I saw my doctor last week, and he said it's not possible; he told me "don't even think about it".  I'd end up in the hospital again, he said.

If I relocate to someplace like Ecuador or Panama or the Phillipines, I can live off $800.00 per month, or so people online who are doing it say, but then what about health insurance and health coverage?
What about my pets?  I've looked into ther countries, and some are OK but others are not.  Mac needs a good vet.  I need a good doctor.

I wish my book would have sold better.  I have others I can send out, to see if I can find a publisher or agent, but that's beginning to look as likely as winning the lottery.

Lots of people are in the same boat, with this terrible economy, so i'm not alone.

Something will work out; it has to.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Primrose dollhouse construction Part B floors

Staining the floor of the Primrose dollhouse
I am new to the world of dollhouse miniatures...wooden dollhouses, that is.  I've made a few cute plastic canvas dollhouses, which I love, but this is my first wooden dollhouse kit.

I've been reading a lot, so much that I'm almost crippled by the loads of info out there.  I can't seem to make a move without googling everything extensively, lol.

Anyway, my point is, I read on several blogs and forums that the dollhouse kit will "talk to me".  I didn't believe it, until i stained these floors.  My dollhouse told me it wanted a lighter color for the floors; a nice honey blonde.

Unfortunately, I was unable to hear the kit's pleas until AFTER I stained the floors this red...it's not cherry red, but the name is a type of wine, I think.  I can't remember...the fumes are getting to me, lol.

Primrose dollhouse kit :  floor staining
I like the color; I wouldn't have purchased it otherwise.  Well, maybe, as the 2 dollar sale price was awfully tempting.  But I do like the color.  The problem is, this one floor piece came out nice, but the other didn't.  It's because no two pieces of wood in this kit are equal.  Some are lighter, some are darker, some are dry as desert sand while others seem brand new.  It's a big pain, and a drawback to tab and slot kits, in my opinion.

It's not a problem, as I'm probably going to make a nice plastic canvas rug for the upstairs of this little house. 

I like the woodgrain showing through on this piece, though.  It reminds me of our neighbour's cottage...it was all done up in a similar color, in an Austrian chalet style. 

I wanted to do the walls up in a blue flowered pattern; I already have the paper.  But the blue flowered pattern is delicate, and won't go with this floor...I don't think.  I guess I'll save that paper for another room in the bigger house, the Laurel. 

I suppose I could stain some coffee stir sticks in this color and use them as beams; make this a sort of cottagy addition.  It's so hard to know what to do.  I keep changing my mind, lol.

One thing, I do need to make this floor shiny.  I'm not sure if I should apply a gloss, or modge podge, or what.  So, it's back to google for me.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dollhouse construction Part B

I am officially on Part B of my dollhouse instructions, lol.  Part A had 3 steps; I had to sand and paint the window frames and door frames, shutters, and flower boxes.  Then I had to put them together.  I got bored waiting for the paint to dry so also tried a dollar store cradle, lol.
This is my work area, outside on the deck.

Dollhouse miniature  flower box and cradle

Here's the other flower box.  This is the end of step three of part A of the instructions; yay, lol.
I wasn't sure whether to use carpenter's glue or the fast grab tacky glue.  I tried both and like the fast grab better.  It seems to hold well.  I'll do the main parts of the house with carpenter's glue, just in case.

The cradle was part of a set that I bought at the dollar store.  It had weird tab and slots; the tabs were huge, with hooks on the edge.  I cut them off.  I was going to put bows on the cut out parts, so it looks like I've tied a mattress cover set there, but now I'm wondering if I should just fill the cut out parts  in with wood filler or plaster and paint over them.

The wood was very thirsty; it took over 5 layers of paint to do these little items.

Smokey the bird, and Noel the bird.

Smokey the bird with her foraging toy.
Smokey is such a smart bird.  Last month, the vet suggested I buy her a foraging toy to keep her occupied and help her stop egg laying.  I told him she already had loads of toys, but he said a foraging toy will take her a long time to figure out, and will keep her from being bored.  I bought one, and Smokey immediately figured it out, lol.  In fact, she can get the treats out faster than I can put them in.
Each pie shaped compartment has one opening, and they all have to be lined up in order to get treats in, or out.   After the food is dropped into the top pie, all of the pies are twisted and turned so the holes no longer line up.  In theory, it should take Smokey quite awhile to turn them again so the holes line up, allowing the food to drop from the top compartment to the bottom.  Yah right, lol.  She twists them and is eating before I can close the cage door, lol.  Here she is, looking very proud of herself.

Smokey the bird.
Here's Noel, the bird, Smokey's friend, watching Smokey play with her new toy.

Noel has new toys too, but he'd rather watch Smokey play with hers, lol.  Smokey taught Noel to talk, and this is what I hear very day:  "Are you a bird?"  "No, you're the bird!"  "You're the bird!"  "I'm Smokey the bird!  Noel, are you a bird?"...and on and on, lol.
Then Smokey will yell, "Kathy, Kathy!  Are you a bird!"  After all of these years, she knows what I'll say.  "I'm a human being. You're the bird."  Smokey says, "Are you a dog?"  I tell her no.  She cracks up laughing, then asks, "ARe you a pretty, pretty girl?"  I tell her thank you, and reassure her that she's the pretty girl, lol.  Sometimes she barks, and I tell her she's not a dog, she's a bird.  Then she quacks, meows, etc.  She's a cool bird. 
Noel's vocab isn't as big as Smokey's, but he can say "Hi, hello, thank you, are you a bird, you're the bird".
Smokey's vocab is about the same as a 4 or 5 year old child's.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker?...

...no, not quite, but I did feel like a jill of all trades today...or at least a painter, carpenter, and furniture maker.  I know there's a name for furniture makers...makers of furniture...why can't I think of it, lol?

I painted a window box for my dollhouse, and a mini cradle.  Next I have to glue them.  I would have done the other window box too, but my dog, Mac, wanted to go inside.  It was too hot on the deck, and he apparently has more sense than I do because I didn't even notice that I was getting burned.  He was in the only shady spot, so he was OK, but I am lobster red.  Are lobsters red?  More of a pink, I think.

I only had 3 hours of sleep last night because the light outside my window was too bright.  I'm probably not making much sense, and I'm beginning to sound like Dr. Seuss, so I'd best call it a night.

Emma is listed on Ebay

I stayed up until 3:30 AM to finish this auction template.  I sure hope Emma will find a new Mommy so I can make payments on my credit card.  I have to pay down Mac's $6000.00 vet bill.
Oh, here's the link to the auction:  Reborn Emma on Ebay
I'm so sleepy I almost forgot, lol.
Well, cross your fingers that she'll sell.

I love crocheting!

Like my title says, I love crocheting, but I never thought I'd be crocheting...a tree!
Crocheted tree, home for needle felted bunny.

I found the pattern for this tree online.  It's called Fairy Hideaway, and it's by Karen Fitch.  Her pattern is easy to follow, with lots of photos.  If I make this again, I'm going to be sure to use a smaller hook and tight stitches, so the tree isn't so wobbly.  I think I'd put pipe cleaners in the tree branches too, because once I sewed the green pieces on, the branches sagged.  I had to run some thread through the branches and anchor them onto the tree.
If I do make it again, I also want to try making it bigger, so it will fit my bears.  It would be a perfect home for the bears.  I would also divide the floors so someone can live "upstairs", lol.
Crocheted hollow tree for needle felted bunny.
Crocheted tree, needle felted rabbit.