Author Archives: thelumberjackandthegypsy

About thelumberjackandthegypsy

The lumberjack is my husband and he owns Arrowhead Wood Products; Arrowhead Toboggan and Snowshoe; and Lake Superior Furniture Co. and is the exclusive manufacturer of wood shutters for Summit Hill Shutter Co. The gypsy is me, and I have a passion for teaching people to tap into their creative side, even when they think they don't have one! I did not grow up creative or artsy and I was in my thirties before I started sewing and creating things. I am a rug hooker; artisan teddy bear maker; painter (from pictures to large pieces of furniture!); knitter; doll maker; needle-felter, repurposer; sewer; decorator; blogger; glamper; reader; vintage jewelry maker; junker; and now a shop owner. But the lumberjack and I feel our greatest gifts in this world are our four grandkids and our daughter and her husband and our relationship with Jesus Christ. We have been married for more than 33 years and most of that time we have lived out in the country on a hobby farm where we have raised chickens, turkeys, ducks, goats, pigs and beef cattle. We also homeschooled our only child for her entire school years. We lived out our dream of being like the The Little House on the Prairie and they were great times. I also have a personal blog: rantingsofamadqueen.wordpress.com where I tell stories of what life on the farm has been like and other things that pop up in my very weird mind. I prefer "quirky or eccentric" instead of weird (sounds more fascinating and less creepy)!

Lost Photo Ops Today

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I am NEVER camera ready….ah..both physically (you will rarely ever see me with make-up in a photo taken at my house at a gathering because I am “time challenged” and am honestly stepping out of the shower as guest arrive, so there is no time to put on “my face”) and literally (oh, how this word is misused and abused).

Today was no exception.

I was driving to my studio (how fun is that to say!!!!) and I noticed off to the side of the highway,~a tall, stately, bright yellow sunflower growing on a septic mound.  Immediately the thought I had was, “If a sunflower can grow so beautifully straight and tall on a pile of sh*t, there is hope for me”.   It was like a sign from God that all the troubles we are going through at this moment, and they are seemingly insurmountable, are like that septic mound and by God’s grace and mercy,  I can “bloom majestically”  where I am in life.  I cannot tell you how much peace I felt in that moment.

My second missed photo op came later down the highway, when I noticed a gathering of horses and cattle, up on a hill, surrounded by farming equipment and just before the old wire fencing, stood an American flag.  Out in the middle of nowhere.  To me, that message was, “THIS is the real America, not the political disaster going on in Washington, not the ugliness of this group of people hating that group of people, not the latest saga of celebrity divorces or break-ups or melt downs, but REAL every day life.”

I tell ya, I got all choked up and teary-eyed and felt such love for my country and the good people who live in it and for all those hard working farmers and small business owners and emergency personnel and nurses and doctors and every other person who works for the good of the “whole”, not just for themselves.

I wish I would have stopped and taken the photos with my ipad so you might feel what I did, or better yet, your own set of “feels”.

Maybe next time…..

The Queen of Missed Opportunities

Gramma’s Gone Green (for reals)

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August’s birthstone is Peridot and in honor of all of you who have birthday’s this month (Diane B!), I have gone green.  Can’t say it is exactly Peridot but hey, a girl has to make do with whatever is out in the marketplace so PRETEND it is Peridot green, for my sake.

I also styled my hair in my own creation which is a mix of ocean wave and…..well, whatever.  Not sure if it will start any new trends but I’m rockin’ it today (at least in my own mind….where, if I think of it…I tend to rock a lot of things but not everyone seems to see it that way….hmmmm)

So what do you think?  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not easily offended so tell the truth.  This is the first time ever for me to have totally green hair and I think I like it!

For anyone who cares, I used Directions dye in Spring Green over freshly bleached hair.

Off now to stop some traffic….oh,wait, I guess green is “GO”…hope no one gets hurt by confusing me with a traffic light….cause we are both tall and slender…(in my world, I am, so don’t rain on my parade!)

Love from The Green Queen

When You Least Expect It, God Moves

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IMG_1950Last year I wrote about finding the perfect place for a shop/studio but it was WAY out of my price range and as the year progressed and my energy level waxed and waned and Scott was so incredibly busy with his new businesses, I pretty much gave up the dream.  After all, if “someday” hasn’t come by the time you are 62, maybe you just better forget the dream and face reality.

But I had forgotten the “God Factor”.  You see,  I have been praying for years about having my own little shop/studio where I and others could make stuff and sell it.  I love the making of things just not the keeping of things!  I had thought about EBay and Etsy, and even put some stuff up for sale but my heart really wanted to teach what I know how to do and to have a place where my friends could come and craft with me anytime they wanted (and I would not have to clean my house or make food!).  But until I got my “old age” money, I had no income to really rent a place nor did I want to have the stress of “having” to sell stuff to make my rent.  So I put the dream on the back burner….

Last summer, Scott started the Lake Superior Furniture Company in addition to his toboggans, children’s old fashioned sleds, and snowshoe company and we tried to make a website ourselves but got hung up on the shipping costs of our products.  They are astronomical (at least for common folk) and so it sat, generating no business but costing us money every month.  The wonderful older couple that sold us the Arrowhead Wood Products business and property also have an old building that they used for their offices and businesses and they said we could rent the front of the building so we could have a “Showroom” for all of Scott’s products and I could make stuff to put in there, too.  So we redid the space 75%, and then it sat and sat and sat, waiting for me to get in there and get things going.  I even went as far as moving a bunch of my craft stuff into a side room where I could work without being seen by the public, yet be within earshot of the showroom.  But I just could not find the ambition to go there and work.  Until……

I was corresponding with a young woman who also has Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and she has a blog with thousands of followers and she even started a petition and got 40,000 people to sign it to get more funding for research into these “orphan” illnesses and she took it to Washington and met with people who might help get the funding.  Anyway, I was telling her how impressed I was with her spirit and fight and how I had finally given up my dream and it was a bittersweet decision.  Well, she wrote a lengthy reply back and said that I should not give up, that each one of us must make the most of the life we have and how we must encourage one another to try to make our dreams still happen.  Long story…short….she really inspired me to rethink my decision.

A few days later, I had some neighbor gals in and we were catching up and I mentioned the showroom to them and it was like I lit a firecracker under them!  They were SO excited and wanted to be a part of it and said they would come and help me get it finished and craft with me and maybe even put their things in the shop on consignment.  So in this past week, we moved everything that was being stored in there to a different room so we had a “blank canvass” to work with.  Scott had already put in a new floor, had the ceilings painted and put up the rusty, old, tin roofing he had bought for me for the top half of the walls.  So most of the work had already been done.

I started a new blog for the studio/shop so if you want to read more about it and see the before and during photos please go to: thelumberjackandthegypsy.wordpress.com

The name is obviously, “The Lumberjack & The Gypsy” and I already bought business cards, address labels, a banner to put outside and some other things from Vista Print.

I am so excited to begin this new chapter of my life.  It has been a hard three years for me since I quit working….I felt I had no “purpose” in life.  No reason to get out of bed every morning.  But God was faithful and His timing was PERFECT and I KNOW that His hand is in this venture.  Money is not the object here, it is fellowship with other crafters and hopefully, teaching folks how to find their artistic voice.

Please feel free to share the website with anyone who (whom? I do not know the rule for this and it drives me crazy) may be interested.  I will be putting photos up there as the shop/studio blossoms into my dream so please stop by the blog to see how we are doing and what we will have to offer for sale and what classes will be taught in the near future.

We are located a half-mile from Black Bear Casino on Old Hwy 61.  Super easy to get to and there is a super good restaurant in Carlton called “The Streetcar” so you can shop and eat!!   I hope to be open sometime in August and it will be 10-4 on Fridays and Saturdays to start with.  Classes will be during the week or on Saturdays (I have the classroom part partitioned off if need be!)

Please let me know what you think of this new adventure for me.

With love from your Queen who now has Purpose

 

 

If It’s July, I Must Be Ruby

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In keeping with my “Color A Month” year-long hair odyssey, this month my hair is the color of July’s birthstone~RUBY!

I used Directions Hair Color in RUBINE over my Pearl colored hair from last month.

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I have about a half-inch root growth and I didn’t want to re-bleach it since I will have to bleach my head probably twice for next month’s color so I already have some white showing in the front of my hair.  Oh well, it will just add a bit of “rocker chic” to it!!!

Here I am in all my RUBY glory.  Please note I am not photogenic nor can I take a selfie to save my soul but ignore the face and focus on the hair color!

After attempting to take a non-horrific photo of myself, I sat down with my hubs to ask him which photos I should use and there was a guy on TV who had (in my opinion, ugly, greasy-looking hair) and I said to hubs, “Man that guy has ugly hair”….the look he gave me was absolutely priceless.  I guess RUBY is not his favorite hair color…..who knew?  After 33 years of countless haircolors and hair cuts and hair disasters, you would think he would be so used to my “quirkiness”, that nothing would phase him anymore.  I wonder if he is ever embarrassed by me?  Naw……it is what keeps us together…..I keep him on his toes….he never knows what he will come home to!

So until next month (I can’t wait to be Peridot!!!)

The Queen of all hair colors

The Smell of Memories

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Today as I was washing the dishes, I got three distinct odors wafting under my nose; dish soap, Mexican seasonings and chlorine bleach.  It was quite a combination I can assure you, but it brought to mind my Gramma Lou. That got me thinking about how smells trigger memories.

The smell of chlorine bleach brings thoughts of all the times spent at my Gramma Lou’s house because she always seemed to have her white’s hanging on a line down in the basement.  To this day, the smell of wet, bleached clothing is my favorite smell.

The smell of grilled hot dogs brings camping memories of dear friends, laughter around the campfires, and my daughter’s childhood.

Freshly cut wood makes me think of my husband since he loves to work with wood.

Cinnamon, cranberry, praline, and caramel scented candles remind me of the wonderful days I spent working at my favorite shop years ago and the woman who owned the shop and how I was privileged to help her walk down that pine needle path to her forever home.

The smell of gasoline, tires, and oil takes me back to when my dad worked a second job in a full-service gas station and how he would take my sister and I there when he wanted to wash his car using their equipment and how if we were lucky enough to get a candy bar from the candy machine in the office, how it tasted like gasoline.

The inexplicable smells that came from certain stores like Woolworth’s (it had to do with the lunch counter space, probably the grill and the oil….but I can still smell it in my mind) or Glass Block (once you got in through those revolving doors, you could smell “class”.

The old beautiful musty smell of the libraries of my childhood, the dust sparkling around in the late afternoon sunshine, the quietness…almost a reverence.  I miss that and the ease of use of the 3×5 index cards in the card catalogue cabinets.

The odd smell that would permeate the West End of Duluth (way before the waste transfer system was there), I never knew if it was from the two bread making companies or the Arco Coffee company roasting their coffee beans.

The smell of the girl’s shower room at the old Goodfellowship Club, which by the time I used it was at least 50 plus years old.  The dankness of the  past lingered in those old peeling cement walls.

The overwhelming scent of hairspray and perm solution in the beauty salons where I would wait for my mother and once had my own hair done and they put glittery sparkles in my hair (little did they know they would spark a life-long passion of having unusual stuff/colors in my hair!).

The smell of sweetness and tobacco and old building at the liquor store my grandfather used to bring us to in Oliver, WI.

The awful smell of alcohol and disinfectant at the hospital and doctor’s office.  Just walking in there would make me sick to my stomach.

The feminine scent of talcum powder brings my darling Aunt Mayme to memory.  A beautiful soul who spent most of her life looking after everyone else and had the first place of her own at the ripe age of 81.

The smell of leather recalls the old man at the shoe store who always made me feel a bit uncomfortable for reasons I don’t think I could articulate back then.

The scent that has never gone away of the girl’s bathroom in the catholic grade school I attended and has not been used as a school since 1969 but all through the years I have attended functions there and have used the bathroom, that same smell is there.

The smell of iron in water teleports me back to my aunt and uncle’s house out in the country (I always hated to have to have a drink of their water since it tasted “funny” to this city kid).

Those are just some of my memory smells, the odors that transport me back to the 1950’s and 60’s.

Today’s smells that will take me back to this time in the future are the smell of my grandchildren; the unpleasant smell of decay in my old dog, Maxx; the smell of Mod Podge and chalk paint; and smells that I encounter now that I do not place any value in, once smelled in the future may bring back a memory of just this exact day.

Care to share any Smell Memory with me?  I am sure we all have them but perhaps they come and go and most folks never pay them any mind.

My sense of smell is acute (that is why my nose is bigger!) and my mind is always active so I am more sensitive to “Smell triggers” than many people.

So are you taken down Memory Lane when you smell a certain smell?  Please share.

Until the next thought pops up here,

I remain your smelly Queen

Quick and Easy Craft Project

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I love when a friend comes over and I can do an art project or craft with them.  Since I am Queen of Craft Supplies, I can pretty much come up with something fun on the fly.

My friend, Jeanie, came up on Thursday and since we both are writers, I thought it would be fun to do a project with that in mind.  Here is my finished product sans a frame….got to get to the old craft bus to dig thru the stuff in there for a frame to compliment the picture.

img_1870.jpgYou could adapt this project to any kind of interest.  If you had a friend who was into photography, you could do words and photos having to do with cameras/photos, etc and then get a stencil (or make one) of a camera!  The possibilities are endless.

I used:

Canvas boards

Old magazines

Mod Podge

Sponge brush

Copper metallic chalk paint

Acrylic craft paint in Metallic Silver

Black chalk paint

You could substitute the canvass boards and just use cardboard and paint over it to have a background color; white glue for the Mod Podge; a regular 1 in. Paintbrush instead of the sponge brush; any kind of paint for the chalk paint.

Steps:

We spent a while looking thru magazines for words that spoke to us or encouraged us and cut them out.

Then we put Mod Podge on the back of the words and placed them on the canvas boards (funny how different Jeanie and I did this…I slapped the Mod Podge down on the whole canvass and then put my words down in a random fashion while Jeanie first fit her words as she wanted them on the canvas and then put the Mod Podge on the backs of each word and then placed the word down where she had it).

Then we put a coat of Mod Podge on the whole canvas with the sponge brush.

Let that dry for 15min. and then placed the typewriter stencil where we wanted it (Jeanie placed hers to line up with the bottom of the canvas while I just eyeballed the middle and slapped that sucker down….you can see that I am an unstructured artist while Jeanie is very precise!)

Jeanie chose to do her typewriter in metallic silver acrylic craft paint while I did mine in copper metallic chalk paint.  Jeanie was going to outline her typewriter stencil in a very fine black marker while I decided to add a layer of black chalk paint a bit off of the placement of where I had done the copper so it would give it (I had hoped…I never plan these things, I just go with the flow and see what happens!) some dimension.

I let mine dry overnight and then added another coat of Mod Podge over the whole thing and BINGO….it’s finished.

To make a stencil yourself,  you can find a drawing of what you want on the internet, print it out and then make it bigger and using packing tape, cover the drawing in packing tape and then use either a sharp, pointed scissors or an Xacto Knife, cut out the drawing making sure you have a lot of cut outs in your design so it isn’t just one big blob!   I do mine differently, I print, tape and then cut out the basic design and then trace it on whatever I am going to stencil, then cut out another layer of the drawing and trace that, and continue doing that till it is done.  I don’t bother with the stuff I can free hand paint.  Easy Peasy.

If anyone is interested in doing this and wants more info, just let me know and I will empty my brain of what I know to help you out.  I will ask Jeanie to send me a photo of her finished piece and add it to this post when she does so you can see her’s also!

Happy Crafting,

Your Ever Creating Queen

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I am blessed to be the grandma of four young grandchildren:

Jack who is seven,  is kind, helpful, tender, has a memory like a sticky trap (those of you who have vermin will know what this is) and is the most energetic child I know!

Lola is five and is very independent, speaks her mind, artistic, imaginative, stubborn, smart as a whip (those of you who have been “whipped” know how it smarts!) and witty.  (She once spoke to her grandpa with an “attitude” and her mother said she was not to speak like that and to only speak nicely to her Grandpa and to apologize.  After three minutes of total silence from her, she looks up and smiles and says to her gramps, “I am so lucky to have such a handsome grandpa”!  No apology, but she did speak nicely to him.  I swear I don’t know where she gets that from! LOL)

Avril is three and is model material.  She is so beautiful, long blondish hair, with gentle curls at the end, blueish-green eyes, two big dimples and smiles all the time.  She is coy, and will do anything her older siblings do, has a tremendous sense of balance (did not get that from my side of family!), has a giggle that makes you laugh whenever you hear it, physically tough, and can give you the “stink eye” if she wants something and you say, “No”.  (That does come from my side of the family!)

Lastly, (though I hope not!) is Zane who just turned one this spring.  He is all smiles, loud, loves to throw things, bites, (We call him Sunny Baudelaire from the Lemony Snickets movie) may grow up to be a drummer and like all my grands, prefers Grumpa over Babushka!

Yesterday the Wild Ones (as I lovingly call them) came to celebrate Father’s Day.  I made a big pot of cheesy broccoli soup (I even roasted the broccoli first) and a banana cream pie and a butterscotch cream pie and did up all the dishes and vacuumed up the rug in the great room (where I try to keep Zane corralled since Heaven only knows what is on my bare floors) and so by the time they came, old grandma was pretty worn out.

Since getting my “old age” money, I have been buying the kids stuff every month to keep here and this month it was a pop-up house with a screen porch and it comes with a pop-up refrigerator and stove and little storage box.  The sucker is ten feet long.  And four or more feet wide.  I got it so they could play in it out on our back deck.  I had actually forgotten about it but Lola spied it behind the couch and pulled it out in the box and then began to take it out and try to set it up in my great room.  The weather was nice outside so after it was up, Grandpa decided to take it out to the porch and set it up.  Sounds great, yes?  We brought out rugs, blankets pillows, chairs, dishes, etc. to get them all set up…..

And then the weather changes and the wind starts to blow and it starts to rain, so everyone is running in and out of the house bringing all the stuff back in including the house.  I was attempting to move the stuff they were pitching in so we could get that house in and I stepped on a wooden block and it threw me off balance and I started careening toward my curio cabinet with the large glass doors

IMG_1852 making weird noises along the way while my daughter looked on in what I can only describe as “humorous horror”.  I always find it so amazing that I have the time to imagine what the pain is going to feel like when I finally hit the ground when I fall or in this case, what the damage will be to my body as I crash through the glass doors.  Well, my guardian angel must have been on it’s toes because I was able to veer to the right and only just miss the cabinet.  My daughter was laughing her fool head off and  I am waving my arms like a robot (“Danger, Will Robinson, Danger”) and making sounds like I am in labor, trying to rid myself of the adrenaline rush from my near-death experience.

So we get the house in and back up right and the kids decide it would be so fun to “wear” the stove and refrigerator and to rip the Velcroed door off and then scream in mock terror at the person hiding in the appliances.  Now, I am extremely laid-back in my parenting/grandparenting thinking about my possessions.  I have only one or two things that have great sentimental value and those are out of harms way, the rest I could not care less about.  So normally, the grands can pretty much do what they want and Babushka ain’t gonna care.  But for some reason, I got semi-upset over the misuse of the pop-up appliances and the rough treatment they were getting so I was trying to gently tell the kids to please not wreck the stuff (cause I would hate to hurt their feelings) but my message wasn’t being clearly heard.  And grandpa is just as bad at listening!

IMG_1848 So the kids decide to change into their super hero costumes (my great room has a section that is full of kids stuff) and attack Grandpa.  Now, mind you, this is in the room that is 24×20 and has a large table and chairs, a huge hutch, a large curio cabinet with glass doors, a piano, a couch, two big chairs, an ottoman, a library table filled with plants, two tables with lamps on them and all the kids toys PLUS now a 10×4 tent house smack dab in the middle.  Doesn’t leave a whole lotta room for wrestling.

IMG_1853(Photo was taken on a different day….notice there is no GIANT tent in the middle of the room)

So in the course of the super heroes trying to take down the bad guy, someone knocks over my large outdoor/indoor umbrella and it just misses my head by an inch.

IMG_1855And my daughter says, “Maybe we should leave before you guys kill Gramma.”IMG_1845I always figured either my stupid dog would kill me (now it is even worse, since I have to have throw rugs down so he can walk better but he still walks like his back legs are on ice and has to follow me everywhere so he is more dangerous than before and he tried to bite me last week but he is a post for another day) or housework (as I did have the canister vacuum fall on my head as I was vacuuming the stairs awhile ago) but now me thinks maybe a grand will take me out!IMG_1851And today my house looks like it has been “GRANDALIZED” (the new term I just made up for how your house looks after your grandkids have been there!)IMG_1844The dishes are piled up on the sink, the furniture is still moved, the house-tent is still up in the middle of the room, and all grandma wants to do is lay on the couch in the lower living room and watch a movie.  I hate to admit it but it takes me days to recover…..and to put the house back to it’s normal level of disarray, dirt and clutter!IMG_1847But in a couple of days, I will be texting my daughter to see if they need a date night and that old Grandma is up for a stay-over-night that will include Zane for the first time and I will gladly suffer the mess and the stress (I find as I get older and more recluse, I don’t tolerate noise and commotion the way I used to and too much talking or listening wears me out emotionally) and miss them when they are gone.

Yes, I am one blessed grandma and I count every visit as a gift (plus it gives me stuff to write about afterward!).

IMG_1846May you all be so blessed,

Your Babushka Queen

Grandparenting is not for the weak!