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)!

Saving My Mailman One Good Deed At A Time

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I don’t wish to brag, but I did a very selfless act this morning.  In doing so, I expect I saved the very life of my rural mailman.

Before I humbly re-enact my heroic deed, I should explain how rural mail carriers are a whole different breed than your basic urban carrier.  Besides having to have cars with either the steering wheel on the right-side (which I know for my British readers, that is normal) or having to have a really long left leg and arm, so you can sit on the right side and still drive and work the gas/brake pedals, they also very often deliver packages deemed “not worthy of our time but we will still charge you an exorbitant amount of money to send it using our UPS rates” by other carriers.

In the past I have lauded the generosity and bravery and long-sufferingness of my mail guy, Tom.  A real rural hoarder’s, I mean collector’s, friend is old Tom.  I wonder how many strange packages he has delivered to my house over the years?  Remember the time I ordered a full-size saddle from EBay and it was delivered via the USPS shrink-wrapped in black plastic bags and poor Tom had to drive up to my house and honk (that is the way we do it around here, or I should say, the way TOM does it….I think it is a kindness on his part and not part of the Mail Carriers Oath….”neither snow, nor rain, nor huge dogs, rouge pigs or wild goats, shall keep us from our appointed rounds” (extremely paraphrased by author)).

So getting back to my tale of heroism….this morning at the butt-crack of dawn (9am), as I am just getting to sleep (caught some kind of bug and have not slept in three nights or days….more or less) out in my camper (tent bed, AC, medicinal hidden BlackBerry Brandy, no bugs or snakes), I hear the roar of Tom’s old car coming into the driveway and the melodic honk of his horn.  I am expecting some things via some kind of carrier so I think about jumping (hahaha…I kill myself….me jumping out of bed….a slow roll is more like it) out of my squooshy bed and since I cannot sleep in normal bedtime attire, I have just a t-shirt on and by the time I get into my lovely Lularoe leggings and a normal shirt plus my “when can I get out of this damn”  Playtex torture device, he will be home having dinner so my initial thought is to just go flying out wrapped up in my fake Muppet fur pink blanket.  Now here comes the heroic part:

I saved Tom the wonder carrier, the shock of his life by NOT flinging my ever so large, wrapped up in yards of long furry pink blanket body with dark blue-standing straight up from my head like some kind of Roman soldier helmet-hair, bare hairy legs and too big for me but work ok running (again….hahaha…running) to and fro the camper, red Crocs.  The poor man would have screamed like a little girl and hit the gas and probably ran smack dab into Scott’s large, but sunk once when he forgot to put a plug back in the engine when he was fixing it at the marina, fishing boat that has resided IN FRONT of the door to the garage all summer.

So, you see, my friends, not all heroes live in Texas….some of us live in the woods of northern Minnesota, saving one mailman at a time…..

You’re welcome,

The Queen (who really needs her own cartoon show or sitcom….just sayin…)

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September Blues

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This month is Sapphire Blue.  Took me two tries to get it this color.  But I think it is close!

I think I am going to invest in mock turtle-necks as the skin around my neck looks like I am a toad….now that I think of it, I am beginning to really look toadish.  Great…thank goodness this is only my temporary body.  My eternal body will be much less toadish I am sure.

Well, for better or worse, here I am…..

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Getting Ready to Live The Dream

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Pop on over to my shop/studio blog: thelumberjackandthegypsy.wordpress.com to see what my first artsy-fartsy class will be.  My goal is to make quick and easy projects for gals on the go who do not want to commit to several weeks in a row that the community ed classes tend to be.

One night and bam….you are done, project in hand.  Plus, you will get a chance to see what is in the shop before anyone else as I am not yet ready to be open to the public!

Here is a peek at the first project….remember to check out the studio/shop blog and follow me to see each week’s class or what is new in the shop area.

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Robyn

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