Sunday, November 22, 2009

Minnesota Holiday Treasury on Etsy

Look at all the beautiful and festive choices found by Minnesota artisans in this Etsy Treasury! Just click on the title above to sneek a peak! Remember the HandmadeMn Street Team is having a Black Friday through Cyber Monday holiday sale this upcoming holiday weekend, your chance to buy and give handmade and great savings to boot!

Friday, November 20, 2009

starting school

ANNOUNCEMENT!!
Hello all, I just wanted to let everyone know that I will begin teaching felting and knitting classes in the up coming weeks at the Monticello Community Center in Monticello, Mn. If you click on the title above it will direct you to the community center website for all classes and schedule. In December I will be hosting Christmas decoration classes for youth and adults to add some fiber fun into your holidays. Also check out the class for making a beautiful Birds Nest necklace for that special someone on your holiday list!

Friday, November 13, 2009

HandmadeMn Street Team Holiday Sale!

Today is the first day of the HandmadeMn Street Team Holiday Sale. Over 40 Minnesota Artisans will be represented this weekend for the beginning of the holiday season. So many beautiful products, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list.

Click on the Title above and you will be directed to the HandmadeMn website which lists all the participating artists by their merchandise niche.

Happy Shopping!!!


Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
VantasticDesigns.etsy.com

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My first Etsy Treasury!

I am so excited! My first etsy treasury! Check it out! http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=89708

Saturday, October 10, 2009

2 Days of Dying

Sorry I have been absent for so long, I know this is not good for a novice blogger who in no uncertain terms would love to increase her friends and followers, but my excuse is at least been a productive one. Things have been going well and I have been working hard on increasing my inventory. But I would like to stay abreast of things so that I don't have too much to catch up on! So at least here are some pics of some recent work. My friend Brenda and I have been busy!


Not bad for two days worth of fun!


Beautiful verigated pre-felt


Super wash for Thrumb Mittens


Silk hankies


And a look at a final product!

Happy Felting!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thank You



Thank you to my new friends at handmadeMN for featuring my needle felted vase on their web page!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Proud Mom

As you may know I recently traveled to Washington D.C. to be with my son Peter. He has been with the military since before his graduation from high school and is now stationed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Norfolk Virginia and has just recently returned from a seven month deployment to support our troops in Afghanistan. At some point in time while serving on "The Big Stick" he was asked if he would be interested in donated bone marrow, it would take very little time...just swabbing the inside of the mouth...and he agreed. The chances of being matched are small as most donations are made by family members of the recipient. But after several months he was contacted and told that he had been matched, and in fact the match was as perfect as possible considering donor (Peter) and recipient were unrelated. Was he still interested in donating?? You bet!! The donation process was handled by the C. W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Program based out of Washington D.C. The DoD program is one of 200 participating marrow donation programs with the coordinating center in Minneapolis Minnesota. The NMDP provides a national coordinating center where patients can become matched with volunteers who registered at donor centers like the C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Center.
When Peter called home to let us know that he would be donating his father and I were surprised and very pleased. He also let us know that the DoD would be willing to fly me out to be with Peter during his procedure. The program assigns a coordinator to work with Peter on setting up upcoming procedures and all travel plans. So on August 4th I flew into DC where I was met at the airport and transported to the Leavey Convention Center, a hotel and convention center attached to Georgetown University. Peter's flight out of Norfolk was delayed so he met me at the hotel.



On the morning of the 4th we were met in the lobby of the hotel and guided over to the Lombardi Cancer Center where the procedure would take place. Peter was prepped for surgery and off he went. I was told the procedure would take approximately 90 minutes and I could return to the hotel room where I would be contacted when he was out of recovery and back into a hospital room. During the procedure they made four incisions, two into each hip, then used a drill about half the size of a pencil to remove the marrow from the pelvic area.



At about 11:00 a.m. I went back to the hospital to sit with Peter. He was awake and doing well. That evening we were treated to a special dinner of steak and lobster, a little thank you for his donation. He spent that first night in the hospital and was released to the hotel the next day with pain meds. We spent that entire day and evening relaxing and resting in the hotel. On Friday we ventured into DC for a little exploration. He was told to take it easy and at the time we thought we were. We walked to a shuttle on the campus that would take us to the nearest metro station where we boarded a metro train that took us right to the Smithsonian Museum.



We took it very easy and just walked through two of the Smithsonian buildings. Peter was interested in the Space and Aeronautics museum while I was more interested in all the beautiful gardens surrounding all the buildings!



We later went through the American Indian Museum.



Both museums were fantastic!



We took the metro back to the University just in time to meet our ride to the airport. Everyone involved from the Dod program were terrific, from our coordinator Tim, to the nursing staff, to our driver! They all took care of us well and thanked Peter profusely! Back to Norfolk where Peter recuperated on the couch while mom cleaned the "bachelor pad".

The following Monday Peter reported for muster at 6:30 a.m. and then proceeded to medical where they wrote orders for a weeks worth of convalescent leave. And
he surely needed the entire week to recoup! The pain was not bad but the achiness and stiffness were just not letting up. By Wednesday his coordinator was becoming a little concerned that he was not bouncing back as he should...maybe we overdid it in DC?? On Friday I took Peter to the Portsmouth Naval Hospital where they did an xray to make sure that a hematoma had not developed and ran blood tests to make sure his hemoglobin was back to normal levels...everything appeared fine. MORE REST!!!

We did take a car trip on Saturday up to Colonial Williamsburg to do a little sight seeing and shopping, it was hot with occasional drizzles but we walked slow...



Peter was back to work the following Monday and I flew home on Tuesday...and it has taken me this long to catch up and get back into a routine.

I highly urge everyone to consider donation, not necessarily bone marrow... a donation of any kind can save a life, restore sight, etc.

For more information on bone marrow donation go to http://www.marrow.org/

Monday, August 3, 2009

DC Bound

I am heading to Washington DC then on to Virginia for a few days to see my son Peter. He is in the navy and is traveling to DC for a bone marrow donation procedure. The dept. of defense's CW Bill Young bone marrow program is (very kindly) flying me out to be with him durning this procedure. I will let you know how everything went in a future post...Kathy

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Duck Lady


I would like to preface this blogspeak by saying that I put in a call to my sister Pat, who is the family archiver, before posting to make sure I had my memories in tact...Pat is the memory keeper, archiver, vault of family history for me if not the rest of the family. But that is a whole other story...


Today I would like to share a photo that a friend of mine, Bonnie (Bonz), took at her home on Eagle Lake in the great state of Minnesota (note to self). This was her message that accompanied her facebook post...”do you think they discussed the need for SPACE between each one, just took the pic about 10 minutes ago...the Geese families came to visit & line the shoreline & do notice they NEED their space wouldn't ya agree ?”. I laughed so hard when I saw this picture I actually snorted! I commented...”they think the rocks (inuk???) are another goose? I cant remember how to spell it Bonnie! you have erected a goose beacon! “. A goose beacon to call all traveling geese to come and rest awile. This picture of Bonnie's brought back so many childhood memories that it was a long while before I navigated away from the picture.


I love this picture because it reminds me so much of my home on the north end of Long Lake where I grew up. We had wonderful neighbors...one of them being my maternal grandparents. This was a wonderful condition to grow up in...your grandparents right next door!!! I remember packing a suitcase full of books one day and telling my mother I was running away from home...right next door of course. On the other side were the Nichols, Lila and Clifford. As far back as I can remember I thought of them as elderly, like a second set of grandparents. They lived right where Rice Creek exited the lake so in the summers Mr. Nichols would bring in sand to line the beach. He had a dock on wheels that rolled right in and out of the lake...it was the ideal spot on the lake to swim. We all spent hours and hours in the water, so much so that our beds would rock with imaginary waves as we fell asleep to the sound of crickets, fish jumping, frogs croaking, mosquitos hovering. We had an ideal childhood and I wish I could tell my parents how much I appreciated it.


Back to the Nichols for they are the true subject of this story. If a robin hatchling fell out of its nest we would find a shoebox and bring it to Mrs. Nichol. I would spend hours in Mr. Nichols' (Nick) shop, he had a home based business and he loved having us there. They were the nicest couple. And what has this to do with a picture of geese lined up along a lakeshore you might ask?


Lila Nichols became known to us as “The Duck Lady”. At first I think it was just the kids in the neighborhood that called her the “Duck Lady”, but shortly she was known nationwide with that moniker. It started one year when the New Brighton Sportsmans Club approached Lila to ask if they could supply some corn for the mallards that would swim close by in the fall/winter on their way south. Talk about snowballing...after just a couple of years there was not only mallards but Canadian geese as well. They were being fed so well that it disrupted migratory patterns...the ducks ended up staying all year round.There was cross mating with domestic geese that someone on the lake owned creating some pretty strange looking creatures. There were domestic geese with the coloring of a mallard and mallards that were pure white. It only took a couple of years before the sportsmans club decided that this was not a good thing and stopped supplying the feed. But that did not stop Lila. She supplied bag after bag of cracked corn for her feathered friends.


It did not take long before there were complaints to the city from lake property owners with health concerns about these non migratory invaders. You see during the winter the ducks and geese stayed almost exclusively on the northwest corner of the lake where there was open water from the creek letting out but during the summer the swarm would disperse and leave their droppings everywhere. And I mean everywhere, so much so that people were no longer able to enjoy their lakeside property and beaches. Poor Lila was in for a fight of municiple proportions.


The city really never had a chance, after Lila was told to cease and dessist network television picked up the story. You see Lila's grandon David worked for CBS, more directly, he worked for Charles Kuralt for his Sunday Morning program. When the story went national cries went up across the country to stop the city from interfering with the poor old “Duck Lady”. The city knew they had been out manuevered and stopped all legal action to stop her from feeding the ducks.


While I could empethize with Lila and her duck friends, my heart went out to the property owners on the lake. By this time I was grown with a family of my own. As my family was growing so was Lila's duck family. She even had a female mallard living in the house as a pet! When my husband and I would go to visit my folks our dog would bolt from the car and beeline to the back of the house knowing there was something great back there to chase. But there was no question that my children could not enjoy the lake the way I had as a child. No wading, no barefeet in the backyard, no swimming, no standing on the shore fishing...it was just too dirty. The grass had been destroyed near the lakeshore from the ducks using there bills to feed on bugs, the droppings could not even be stepped around. It was nightmarish.


I have not been back since my parents and Lila have passed away but I hear from my uncle who still lives on the lake that it is slowly coming back to its natural state. The ducks are no longer fed so natural migration has returned and the ducks are no longer a year round event.


I miss living on a lake...the natural rythms that accompany the seasonal changes, the sound of waves lapping the shore as you fall asleep, the joy of jumping in on a hot summer's day...I don't miss the ducks, sad to say.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Me Project

I have a question for you...Is there a way to create without clutter? This is of course a rhetorical question and you are under no obligation to try and answer, for I am a lost cause when it comes to clutter. I always have at least three or four projects going which all use different supplies, all in different locations around the house...drives my poor husband batty at times.
Over the long weekend I decided to do a "me" project. I have been working so hard and long on projects for the opening of my Etsy shop, getting ready for Shepherd's Harvest, the Farmer's market, church's "Ladies of Faith" projects...I couldn't remember the last project I did just for the pure enjoyment of creating.
A while back my local scrapbooking shop closed its doors...sad face here...and was having a close out sale. One of my purchases were four large wooden letters. They measured about ten inches in height and I purchased a "K", "P", "V", and and"S"(for Kathy and Preston Van Schepen). In my home growing up my mother had fashioned a wall grouping in our living room of two pictures my father had taken in Oregon and in the grouping she put two large brass letters, "V" and "J" for Vern Johnson. My idea was to emulate this grouping in my master bedroom that I have been redecorating. I had also purchased great paper to cover the letters with in the colors I knew I wanted in my bedroom, Robin's Egg Blue and Brown (Beige, Tan, whatever). The paper had these colors plus a color I would not have thought to include...a kind of limey green.
Shortly after this purchase I did distress the wood of the letters and added the purchased paper but I had not even looked at them since and it was closing on a year! So on Sunday I dug them out and proceeded to embellish them....let's see I would need some co-ordinating paper and stamp pads, and some form of lettering (pull out all my alphabet stickers, tiles, dominoes, old typewriter keys, scrabble letters, stamp pads, etc.). I think some paint would help (acrylics, oils, watercolor pencils, etc.) and I want to use that putty paint stuff ( need stencils, putty knife, cleaning pads, etc). Now lets see...some ribbon, staples, crystal glaze, buttons, mica dust, old lace, acrylic beads...and on, and on... before you know it there wasn't much room left on the table. Now I know what you think..why doesn't she put things away once she has used them? I thought of that, really I did! But I was only on the letter "K" and had three more to go! what if I needed it later? hmmm...save myself some steps and just leave it out...I swear by the time I was finished I had everything on the table and nothing left on the storage shelves.


Shhhhhh! It's all still there waiting to be put away, but don't tell anyone! Now...on to the next project!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Farmer's Market

My Thursdays are spent in preparation and working at the Monitcello Farmer's Market. My friend and mentor, Brenda and I were looking for a venue for our "stuff". Both of our families are feeling the pinch of these economic times and we didn't have a lot of up front money to put towards the ever increasing cost of vendor's fees at local craft shows. This felt like the ideal solution. The fee was VERY reasonable considering we would be able to show our wares weekly from mid May to mid October was fantastic!


I attended an informational meeting in April, but I still did not know what to expect on opening day. What I found was community. The camaraderie of my fellow vendors as we get to know them, they are all fun and very helpful, amazing! I suppose we a micro community of sorts. There are produce and flower growers, photographers, bakers, artisans (inlcuding me), musicians, authors, and more. We all rush to set up so we can wander and visit the neighboring stalls and catch up on what our week was like.

I look forward to every Thursday because I love to people watch (reason I am state fair lover). The customers are all wonderful. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. The market brings back the small town feeling of community that is so lacking in many communities today. We all take time to smile and say hello, get to know one another, make our community personal again.

My daughter Paige has been joining us since school let out. Her first week was Kids Week at the market so she took the oppurtunity to make some extra money (always needed by a teen) by doing face painting for the children. I think she was surprised how much she enjoyed herself. She has taken to come and help out every week to break up the some of the monotony of mid summer when you live out of town. This is a social event for her as well seeing as we live a bit out of town. I think she comes to check out the locals if you get my drift...

Below are just pics of a typical market day I hope you enjoy. I hope you have some fun this summer by visiting your local farmer's market! And please come and visit my etsy shop at www.vantasticdesigns.etsy.com Kathy














The fantastic looking produce came from Greenbush Farms LLC in Milaca Minnesota...the farm of Chuck and Joe Long. You can reach them at greenbushfarms@gmail.com