Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lake Season

Lake Sign Lucky Enough

Lake Season

Now that Memorial Day is behind us a lot of us start thinking and dreaming of those long lazy days spent at the lake, on the beach, or  out on the screen porch with the grill going and enjoying all those wonderful smells of summer!   Guess that is what I have been thinking about lately because we have ended up with a whole line of lake, beach, and porch signs. This  Lucky Enough Lake Sign is  new this year.

Lost at the Lake Wood Sign

  This one is a favorite of my husbands since he loves the Northwoods and almost any lake that has fish!  ( which most do but catching them is another story )  This Lost At The Lake Sign makes a great Fathers Day gift.  Lost at the Lake Sign

Custom Lake Sign

This sign was a custom order requested by a customer and I love the way it turned out!  If you have a favorite lake you would like a sign  made for just contact us at our Etsy Shop and we can custom design one for you!  Or you can email at

A Day at the Lake Sign

Here are just a couple of our little "Rope Signs"  that are small enough to tuck in almost anywhere.  They look really nice sitting in a wreath! Rope Lake Sign  They measure 11" X 6". 
These are just a few examples of our summer line in our Etsy Shop 

"The Porch Wreath"

Happy Summer!! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Celebrating Handcrafted

Hat Trix

Fabulous Hats & Bridal Millinery

Sun and Shower Hats
 This is third in a series featuring wonderful handcrafted items and the people that create them.  I have been kind of into hats this past year.  I've discovered I really like wearing hats because they are fun and can really turn an outfit into something totally different and special.    HatTrix  is the shop I  ran into this spring at a craft show and was so impressed with their unique creativity and quality of their handcrafted hats.  The owners are Paula Thompson and Mary Jo Stockman.  They are located in Minnesota and love making hats for every occasion;  just to name a few....fabulous Kentucky Derby hats, carriage driving hats, fascinators, Synagogue hats, red hats, sleighing hats, Dancing in the Rain Hats.  They will even incorporate fabric from your dress into your custom hat for that one-of-a-kind look that says "Designer"!

Pictured here is their famous Sun and Shower Hat in green.  This hat is made of breathable and water repellent fabric.  They use the same water sealant used on tents to keep you dry and the lining is 100 % cotton for comfort and ventilation.  So fashionable and fun to wear even when it isn't raining!  Oh...and did I mention that the lining is always a colorful fun print and accents the color of the hat!

Selection of Sun and Shower Hats
 They come in a lot of different colors but they will also do a custom color for your hat.  They are light weight, breathable, and crushable making them great for traveling. So if you happen to be going to the 2012 Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth  in London this June just might need one of these!   They come in small, med, large, or can be custom sized if needed.  The standard colors are navy, red, burgundy, gold, tan, and black.  Spring and summer colors are tango, peacock, fuchsia, and latte.  The sash can be any color you would like for accent.

They are great for lots of different events and outdoor activities like sporting events, golf, gardening or just that dance ( ok walk ) in the rain!

Their Story:

Hat Trix is a small workshop assembling, sewing and trimming all kinds of fashionable hats.  About a year ago we rented space and installed our sewing machines and work tables for our business in Bloomington, MN.  We make fabulous hats and bridal millinery in our business, but it all started with carriage driving!

We started showing our horses in carriage pleasure driving classes more than 20 years ago.  Hats were part of showing, but there were very few sources for anything other than beach hats and gardening hats.  We wanted something more fashionable.  The solution was making our own!

We looked at pictures in old books, magazines, and calenders; found inspiration in old moves ( especially from the 30's ).  We learned how to steam hats to change their shape and how to sew on flowers, feathers, and other kinds of trim.  We read books on millinery and eventually studied with working milliners.

We found out how we could "repurpose" vintage lace, furs, and costume jewelry.  We were enjoying the process of making hats that got noticed!

Paula modeling a Sun and Shower Hat
Fashion Hats
 In addition to the Sun and Shower Hats they also do these wonderful fashion hats!  On their website, HatTrix, they also have evening and bridal,  featuring those great fascinators so popular right now along with Birdcage veils.

So after visiting the website stop by their Etsy Shop  at this link. Yep, these gals are also fellow Etsians!   So much fun to see all the variety and creativity of these two ladies!  If you want to get in touch with Paula or MaryJo their phone # is 612-412-4287 or email at: or visit their Etsy Shop.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jan Dwyer Collectibles

 Jan Dwyer Collectibles

Handcrafted Exclusively in Catalpa Wood

This is my second post in a series featuring fellow artisans doing wonderful hand crafted designs.  Jan Dwyer of Jan Dwyer Collectibles, along with her husband Dean, design and carve the most fabulous decorative items from Catalpa wood.  Jan is a fellow artisan that I met a number of years ago at art and craft shows.  Jan and Dean both love designing and creating and it shows in every piece they create!  They have quite a variety of items from vases, animals, trees, lamps, Nativity sets, mirrors, flowers, leaves, and butterflies.  And they are adding new designs as we speak!

They start by actually cutting down Catalpa trees that need to be removed for various reasons.  After the wood dries they can start turning the catalpa wood into beautiful designs for home decor.  One of my favorite items are their vases.  I love the grain and bark on the vases. What beautiful examples of nature!  The vases are available in a lot of different sizes and shapes, so are perfect to use together in an arrangement.  In this closeup picture you can really see how the grain and bark are exposed and become the main feature of each vase. 
Closeup of Catalpa vases


Here is a great example of just one of their lamps.  All the lamps have some exposed grain along with intact bark on the column of the lamp.  The lamps also come in lots of different sizes.


 These two little creatures are just a couple examples of the many animals Jan and Dean carve out of Catalpa wood.  I think almost any animal you would want, they probably already have in their line of animals.  One of the most popular right now are their owl designs.  They even have several perched on actual tree branches.  So Cute!!

Their Story:
I have been in the crafting business for around 30 years!  I have done something creative my entire life!  My kindergarten teacher told my mother she thought I would be an artist!  Because of my husbands health issues he is not able to work long hours, but loves being in his wood shop, creating with  his hands.

We use only one type of tree, the catalpa.  Catalpa is a soft wood, therefore the bark shrinks with the wood when it dries and does not come off like most bark of other trees.  We use the bark side of the wood in most of our designs.  Catalpa has a beautiful grain and an interesting bark.  I draw most of the patterns and my husband, Dean, cuts them out on a band saw.  I then carve the pieces using a palm sander, spindle sander, and dremel tools.  Our finishing process includes some staining to bring out the grain, as well as 6 coats of finish which is brushed on over several days.  Dean makes all the lathe-turned pieces, such as lamps, vases, cone trees, etc.
 I am constantly thinking of new things to design, create and challenge us both!  I believe there isn't anything as satisfying as having someone admire and want to purchase something we have designed and created!  It is always fun to meet like-minded people at the art and craft shows as we travel around the country.

Fall Leaves

They also do very intricate work shown here in this plate of leaves made out of Catalpa.  What great fall decor just to have some scattered on a table. 

Cone Tree

The cone trees are turned on a lathe by Dean.  Jan then applies a stain to bring out the beauty of the grain which gives the tree its distinctive appearance.  No two are ever alike!  I love the moose too!  He looks pretty awesome! 

Had to include a picture of the owls!

If you want to get in touch with Jan Dwyer Collectibles their email address is: Or you can reach them by phone...641.369.2791.

Catalpa Tree

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Celebrating Handcrafted

 Handcrafted and Custom Designed Handbags

by Rebekah Scott Designs

 I have been doing a few craft shows lately and found some remarkable handcrafted items.  Since this blog is about celebrating handcrafted,  I wanted to share with all of you some of my best finds along with their wonderful and fun stories. I love discovering people that are so excited about what they do that they put their heart and soul into everything they design and create.  This is what handcrafted is really all about. 

Many Designs to choose from!
  For starters:  Rebekah Scott Designs .  Rebekah designs the most fabulous bags!  I met her at a craft show in the Minneapolis area.  She started sewing and designing at a very young age. Her Mom taught her how to sew, always encouraging her creativity.
 So now she travels to some of the best craft shows in the country and also sells on  You can find a lot of her great bags here in her Etsy Shop.  In addition to handbags, Rebekah also features baby shoes, headwraps, and other accessories.  And she does custom handbags! 

"The Mindy Bag"
 One of my favorites is called the "Mindy Bag" shown here.  It is lined with a beautifully colorful fabric, features 7-9 inside pockets, is 100% washable, has a cell phone pocket, and a key ring! It measures 13" X 15", so has plenty of room for all your stuff!  One feature that I think is great is the over the shoulder handle.  It is very sturdy and is a nice accent to the bag. 

Rebekah Scott

Her story:
I grew up West River in Philip, South Dakota. From a very young age, I was always playing in mom's sewing scraps; I could spend hours designing Barbie clothes and hats for my friends. Around the age of ten, I was sewing stocking caps and selling them on the playground to friends. I give my mother all the credit for teaching me how to sew. She spent many long hours helping me sew suits and prom dresses and even bathrobes for demonstrations. Mom also spent many long hours sewing outfits I had designed in my head and needed her to figure out just how to sew it.
I again really got excited with sewing and designing when my graduation gift for college was a serger from my mom and dad. I continued to save money at Christmas by sewing purses for my friends and family. Word spread fast and soon I was getting calls from people I had never met placing orders for purses. I started small until it took over my life and I knew that this was something God had prepared me for all my life and it was time to embrace it!
I am inspired by my own busy life with 2 little ones and how to simplify my life. so I add lots of pockets to the purses along with being washable-  can't be any better than that!

Rebekah  does a great job of designing bags that are useful and fashionable!  Be sure to check out her Etsy Shop, RebekahScottsDesigns.   Later this month we will be doing a Giveaway of one of her designer cosmetic bags! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Photo's of Springtime in the Yard

Robin's Nest

Just poking around out in the yard this morning and found this very content robin just sitting on her nest in a tree right by our front porch.  She hardly notices us!  She is totally intent on her main focus right now!!  So Cute!!

Pink Dogwood Tree with nest

This is our Pink Dogwood tree right by the front porch ( the one with the robin's nest).  It is blooming but hard to see in this picture. This is very strange....but the large Oak to the right in the picture actually has a heart design in the bark.  Totally natural. I really had absolutely nothing to do with it!! 


Wow, something must be tasting pretty good here!  The Goldfinches are everywhere. They even fight for a spot at the feeder although it does look like one is politely waiting his turn!

Pink Clematis

Also found this Pink Clematis blooming its little heart out this morning.  This plant is several years old but has never really done well.  Maybe this is the year!!  When planted I had visions of a solid mass of blooms covering the lattice.  Any suggestions on how to coax Clematis to grow?? 

Happy Spring!


New Classroom Decals Do Your Best Ideas for using these would be to either place them on a classroom door,...