Crafty Love! Guitar Stuff

As y’all have probably noticed, I’ve been playing a whole lot of guitar lately. I kinda go through phases with it and play nonstop for weeks, but then I burn myself out and have to stop because my fingers are blistery and in so much pain I just can’t play anymore. I really enjoy playing an instrument that I can actually use to entertain my friends and make them laugh and smile, as opposed to the classical violin and piano I played growing up. I’m just not interested in the seriousness of that anymore. There were a lot of reasons I stopped playing those instruments…I don’t have a piano anymore…I got burned out after playing violin every day for 17 years…I wanted to learn something new…I was sick of being defined as “the girl who plays violin”…I wanted to be able to play popular music and sing and try to have a voice people might actually enjoy listening to that doesn’t sound like a 13-year-old in the church choir.

Nowadays if I play violin, I mainly play Old Time Appalachian tunes that remind me of songs my great-grandpa Phin learned growing up in the mountains of North Carolina and used to sing to me when I was little. I would lay in the floor on my back in front of where he sat on the couch, and put my knees on my forehead and my feet on his knees. He would sing, “Shady grove, my little love, shady grove I say…shady grove, my little love, I’m bound to go away.” And then he would push my feet towards the TV and flip my legs back over. It was the greatest game, and he had to sing that first verse of “Shady Grove” every time before he flipped me — it was required.

Check out this cool  guitar stuff on Etsy!

5×7 Fine Art Print, Las Guitarras
$9 by Zuppaartista

Recycled Guitar String Pendants
$26 by Plucking Pendants

Handmade Picks in rosewood, ebony, bone, and horn
$29.95 by Brossard Picks
*Disclaimer: I gave my dad these picks for Christmas last year, and he loved them. He actually gave one to a covetous picking buddy, whose response was, “Gee, at least I got one thing I wanted for Christmas this year!”

Acoustic Guitar Pick-Up
$35 by Mojohound Music

Personalized Note Cards
$18 by Dean Penn and Paper

Crafty Love! Outdoor Weddings

Favorite wedding memories from my family:

My parents got married in 1975 in my mother’s parents’ living room. My mom wore a simple cotton hippie dress and daisies in her hair. My dad wore a powder blue suit and left his long hair down. The best man had car trouble on the way and left his jacket at the garage. Halfway through the small ceremony, my grandmother stopped the minister to point out he had skipped a step — the part where he was supposed to ask if anyone had any objections.

When I was about four or five in the early 1980’s, I was the flower girl in my uncle’s wedding. I remember sitting in the floor in his sister’s room while he got ready. As he leaned into the mirror to adjust his bow tie, he sang to himself, “Oh here she comes! Watch out boys, she’ll chew you up! Oh here she comes! She’s a man-eater!” Thank you, Hall and Oates for providing that very special memory that my cousins (his children) prefer I don’t recount. ūüôā

When I was nine, I was a junior bridesmaid in a cousin’s wedding. There was a junior groomsman (a nephew of the bride) who was to walk me down the aisle. Unfortunately, when we watched the video afterward it was clear we were the only attending couple who felt it necessary to sprint to the altar. At this same wedding, the brother of the groom had a terrible time trying to light the candles in the church and eventually had to give up so the bride could walk down the aisle. That couple has an 18-year-old son now who has inherited the truck that his dad used to flee the premises for honeymoon-land. He is still finding grains of white rice.

This weekend I will be attending the wedding of some very good friends in Asheville. In true Asheville fashion, it will be held on a farm, and there is camping for people who would rather sleep outside than stay in a hotel. The happy couple met years ago when they belonged to the same African dance group — she was a dancer; he was a drummer. Sometimes I look around me and think I am so fortunate to know the various amazing and interesting people that I have met over the years. Congratulations to Breanna and Greg! Here’s to a long and happy future. I have to go buy a dress now! While I’m doing that, you guys can check out some outdoor wedding related items on Etsy.

Moss Covered Centerpiece
$10 by Spotted Leopard

100 Bird Seed Favors
$95 by 2 Birds in Love

Ring Bearer’s Bird’s Nest
$14 by Garden Side Studio

Firefly Lantern
$24.99 by Bragging Bags

Crafty Love! Tree Houses

The other day I was watching my neighbor climb a tree in flip flops. I love it when grown men act like little boys. Not in an immature kind of way, but in a playful, zest-for-life way. This time of year I always start to miss tree houses. When I was little, my friends Matt and Nate had a big, rickety tree house in their back yard. It was my favorite thing about playing at their house. Nate, the little brother, was often banned from it as punishment for some obnoxious stunt he pulled on us, like the time he locked us in the second floor bathroom from the outside and forced Matt to climb out the window to run down and give him hell. My first love had a tree house, too — big and open. It always reminded me of a boat. On balmy spring days we’d climb up there after school and kiss for an hour over our textbooks, pretending we were doing homework.

There was also an elderly man named Kinchen who lived on my street in a rambling white Victorian house with a veritable tree fortress in the back. He had built access ramps and walkways all over the place so he could still enjoy it, even though he was probably in his eighties at that time. He lived with his sister, Rebekah, in the old family home place, and they only inhabited one or two of their numerous rooms. I think the purpose was to minimize the amount of space requiring heat. When we visited, Rebekah would swoop through a sealed door and emerge in a wash of frigid air, with a plate of gingersnaps and glasses of tea. In the summers, we would have our cookies and lemonade outside on one of the many platforms attached to the tree. They always seemed a bit like children to me. Ancient, white-haired children.

$58 by Jenna Rose Handmade

$15 by Breezy Tulip

$25 by Slow Shirts

Crafty Update: Mosaic Window

I started making this mosaic window a while ago for a friend’s housewarming gift, but now that I am moving into my own house, I think I’m going to keep it. I hardly ever keep the things I make — usually I either sell it or gift it. But I think this will fit perfectly with the aesthetic of my new home. Plus, it has taken a really long time, and I’m not sure I want to give it to someone who may not appreciate that.

As you can see, it’s not QUITE finished. But almost. It takes hours to get just 20 pieces in place properly. I’ve literally been working on it since last summer. I thought about grouting it, but it’s already so heavy, I’m sort of afraid to do that. Plus, the design is so busy it doesn’t really need any additional outlining to set it off. It’s an antique window, and I wouldn’t want it to rip out of the wall and break once it’s hung.

It may look completely random, but there are actually some purposeful motifs going on if you look close enough. And there are also two sharks teeth hidden in the design from the collection I inherited from my great-grandfather. It’s been a fun project, and I’m anxious to see it hanging in front of a window to see how much cooler it looks with light coming through.

Crafty Love! Lamps

As I gear up for moving into my new house, I’m still on the hunt for cool housewares. There is no better place to find unique stuff than on Etsy. Here are some of my favorites this week.

I love lamps. And I love patchwork. Obviously, this lampshade was made with me in mind. I particularly like the fact that it can be a ceiling lamp shade as well. Although, the new house has practically no overhead lights, which I actually prefer. Lamp light is so much more relaxing. $68 by Folly and Glee

Oh, look! Another lamp! I have a weird attraction to modern design, even though I don’t use much of it in my home. I love this cherry blossom design, and I’m always drawn to things that glow from within. This artist also makes an autumn leaf lamp that is a tie for my favorite. And her descriptions are awesome: “If I could observe the world on a full time basis I would do this as a cherry blossom tree in a Japanese garden. My body firm as the trunk and my arms spread wide to the sky, fragrant blossoms hanging from me filling the air with their sweet scent. It would be peaceful. I would be beautiful.”¬† $91 by Zayra Design

One day soon, I’m planning on graduating from my $1 coffee table that I’ve been using since college. There’s nothing wrong with it, except maybe that it’s a little small. Small has been good for the most part. I’ve lived in small places. I just think it’s time to move on. So when I get my new adult coffee table, hopefully I’ll actually have room for coasters, and I will be using the ones pictured above. I’m not sure what it is about them that appeals to me, but they’re kinda funky, and I like that. $14.95 by Funky Chicken Design

Crafty Love! Random Stuff I Like

I am so excited to tell you guys that I’m moving in just a few weeks! Not across the country or anything — just around the corner. But I am going from a small one-bedroom apartment (which you’ve heard me complain about incessantly) to a wonderfully cute and quirky two-bedroom house. I have been fantasizing about the day I could have my own craft studio and a fenced yard for the Bird Dawg again. The house is in a great, walkable neighborhood, and it has hardwood floors, French doors, a fireplace, an apple tree, and a huge 1/3 acre yard for Birdy to run wild. It’s like her own personal football field. She has met it already. They are in love. So I really can’t wait to start decorating and making curtains and so on. I stumbled across these fine art photographic prints on Etsy today, and I think they are so beautiful. I’m thinking a series of frames behind the sofa. It’s time to abandon the ubiquitous Georgia O’Keeffe poppy print. It’s pretty and all, but I need something more unique. These colors are gorgeous, and I think they will look great in my new living room. $25 by Raceytay

I have a serious thing for stained glass. And useful art. And nature-y things. And candles. Oh, and what do we have here? A beautiful stained glass lotus flower tea light holder? Yes, I think this would look perfect in my new house, on an end table, or the mantle, perhaps. The artist has another one available in clear glass, which is also beautiful. But I think I like the colors more. $45 by Stephanie Burciaga

Jenny and I have been lamenting the early arrival of oppressive heat. Spring and fall are by far my favorite seasons, as I am not really a fan of extremes, and it seems as if this year winter is skipping right into summer. It’s April! It’s not supposed to be 85 degrees yet! Gah! This is one of the reasons I live in North Carolina — we have actual seasons here. But apparently we’re getting cut down to two. Hot and cold. Even when it’s super hot outside, I really don’t like to wear shorts all that much. Lightweight pants are my preference for comfort and style. You don’t want to see my pale legs any more than I feel like showing them off. Plus, my skin is really sensitive to the sun (thank you, Scots-Irish ancestors), so with too much exposure I basically turn a mottled red, which then itches. Not fun. I figure these Thai fisherman pants are just the ticket. They’re made from organic cotton, which is breathable and light and softens with wear. And it’s a traditional Thai garment. It’s pretty freaking hot in Thailand, right? I bet they know what they’re doing. $18 by Khao San Road

Crafty Love! Random Stuff I Like

I dream about the day my sewing skills will allow me to create something this beautiful! I think I need to take a quilting class. I love this pattern, and anything that involves lots of blues and greens makes me happy. Also, it’s eco-friendly and organic. Always a plus! $125 by Little Wren and Gwen.

I really think that your dog’s collar should say something about them. I mean, why not? I happen to like finding pink collars for Birdy that don’t look ridiculous, because it drives me slightly insane when people think she is a he. She is so not a he. She is prissy, prancy,¬†girly, and sweet. Her last pink collar finally bit the dust, and she’s currently sporting a turquoise one with turtles just because I had to find a quick replacement. I think this pink flowery one really would suit her much better, though! I wonder if it comes in extra large.¬†$16 by Amanda Brewer Textiles.

I’ve always loved museums of any kind, although it is always an exercise in restraint for me because I want to touch everything. This textile wall art really appeals to me because feeling the texture is a part of the art. I also really like the colors. I like rainbow-hued things. As Jenny and I have often discussed, it’s too bad that they now symbolize a community we’re not a part of. I had a friend in college who had a huge rainbow flag in her apartment. Her mom came to visit and said, “But, honey. You’re not gay.” And she said, “I know that, mom, but the colors are so pretty!” $45 by Ozzart.

Crafty Love!

I don’t drink much coffee, although I find it difficult to explain why, because I do like the taste. Coffee ice cream, for example, is one of my favorites. I’m just not so big on the hot drinks in general, unless it’s reeeeeeaaally cold, and I’m outside and need warming up. Then, I’d probably choose 1) Hot Apple Cider 2) Hot Black or Chai Tea 3) Coffee 4) Hot Chocolate, in order according to preference. I might drink hot drinks more often if I owned this mug, though. I love the unique shape and embellishments. $25 by Metamorphoses of Clay.

I drink wine only slightly more often than I drink hot drinks. But I could seriously become a collector of wine bottle stoppers. I really like them and the endless variations you see, but they’re one of those things you don’t buy for yourself and you don’t give as a gift because you’re afraid the recipient already has one. I don’t have any of these, so if anyone wants to help me start my collection, you’re more than welcome to enjoy the first beatifically corked bottle with me. This design looks like it would feel really nice in your hand — cool and smooth, with a nice concave¬†middle for gripping. $25 by Wayne Willcox.

I really really really really really want a pair of these pants in every color they offer. I know it’s not the sexiest thing a girl could wear, but they look so comfortable. And now that I am over 30, I choose comfort. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve always chosen comfort. What makes these pants even cooler (in my mind and certainly less cool in others) is that they are unisex. Soft and durable hemp linen — it’s good for the environment, and it gets better with age. Covet! $74 by Intertwined Designs.

Crafty Love

A new blog feature, to be a regular one. Because I like cool stuff that people make, and you care what I like. ūüôā

I’m just throwing this out into the universe in the hopes that someone will repeat it to the appropriate party one day. This awesome-in-its-simplicity white topaz ring is what I want if I ever become engaged. I¬†could not¬†care less about diamonds. So, friends, remember to pass that along if you ever need to, K? One day it may come to pass. $65 by Garnet Girl Designs.

Every girl needs a compact mirror sometimes. I need one more often than most people because the light in my cavernous apartment’s bathroom sucks, and therefore I am beginning to rely on friends (or¬†their lighted car visor mirrors) to tell me when I need to pluck my eyebrows. This is unacceptable. I totally want one of these cute little hippie chic compacts, although I’m not sure I could pick a favorite. I’m kinda partial to that first one in the green and purple. $3.75 by Kung Fu Cowgirl.

Now that mass-market retail has once again embraced “hippie fashion” — a term my mother abhors,¬†since she wore patchwork because she had holes —¬†I have a really hard time finding uniquely boho things to wear.¬†I¬†have a certain style¬†that I like, but I¬†don’t want to¬†be at¬†a festival or show wearing a¬†skirt whose brand or origin¬†one can¬†easily identify.¬†It’s also hard to find suitably non-Ann-Taylor-looking clothing for occasions where tie-dye is simply not going to pass. But the¬†construction and detailing¬†on this tunic¬†are so nice, I think I could even get away with wearing¬†it to the office. Maybe. So unique! $74 by Chopstix Waits.

Crafty Update: Green Upgrader

I’d like to give a shout out to a cool website that is currently featuring my recycled map stationery in their holiday gift guide: Green Upgrader! I am really psyched to be included in the group of eco-friendly gift ideas that they’ve assembled. This is a super cool site, and handmade (especially eco-friendly) gifts are the “in” thing this year. And hopefully every year!

My recycled map stationery can be purchased here!

It’s really very affordable, and you can feel good about buying a product that supports sustainability and an independent artisan. Perfect for your favorite traveller or eco-minded pal.

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