Mice and the giveaway

One of my sheep tea cozies is in a giveaway right now (on the HandmadeMN blog). I’ve been enjoying the comments from this giveaway: the first way to enter is to leave a comment saying what item you like from my Etsy shop.

So far most people have been enjoying my new mice pot holders. These are very new to me; the first ones were posted on Etsy just a month ago.

Where did the idea come from? A neighbor of ours who lives a block away has one of the coolest houses and yards I’ve ever seen. She bought this fixer-upper house years ago and has been painstakingly fixing it up ever since. She likes things old fashioned and simple, so the kitchen has old cabinets, an old cast iron sink, an old gas stove, etc. One day when I was visiting I noticed an old pot holder hanging on the side of the oven. It was a little mouse and the cutest pot holder I’d ever seen!

I borrowed it from her to see if I could make a pattern for myself. I cut it open, turned it inside out, and figured out how it was made. And it did look old. The “stuffing” inside was a couple of old blankets. I would guess it was many decades old, but who knows. I have since found one or two similar designs in different Etsy shops, and one claimed it was a design from the 80s.

Either way, I think they are adorable and of course very handy to have around the kitchen. I’d much rather have this kind of mouse than the living kind!

If you haven’t yet entered the giveaway for the sheep cozy, you have until this coming Sunday.

A question to my followers and lurkers: would you be interested in a giveaway of the mice pot holders?


New Tea Cozy

My little sister can take the credit for this one. I don’t know why, when there seems to be talk of sheep all the time, I hadn’t thought of this earlier. When I was last talking to my sister she mentioned that she hoped someday to have sheep so she could spin the wool – and somehow the image of this new tea cozy popped into my head. I had to hold onto it and perfect it in my mind for a week or so until the wooly material arrived in the mail.

I made two of these for the market this morning and both sold! So I guess I’m not the only one who likes sheep. =)

I’ll be making more (of everything!) for the upcoming Powderhorn Art Fair next weekend!!

Market, take 2

Last week as I was trying to decide whether to do the market or not, I kept looking at the weather reports every few minutes, trying to find a site that gave hourly forecasts. Every site was different! No one could agree on whether it would be stormy or not or when it would or what it would bring. It seemed like we were most likely in for a little rain and some thunder and lightning, maybe even hail – but maybe not. (They forecast a storm for the prior week and nothing happened at all!)

With that in mind I sent an email to the Market manager to let her know I’d be there. I added that I didn’t know what the weather would do and maybe it would be a little crummy, but I’ve got to have at least one bad market day this season, right?

I am not usually in the habit of making prophetic statements, but this was truly an exception.

We were supposedly going to get rain and storms as early as Friday night and all night long. But nothing happened. Saturday, 6am, dawned bright and beautiful with not a cloud in the sky and even comfortably cool. We loaded everything up and headed off to the market to set up. I was all set up just after 8:00 and sat down to do a little finish-work on a few projects I’d brought along. A little breeze had picked up and about 8:30 clouds had started to roll in and there was a very large, dark, ominous bank of clouds in the west that sort of looked like it was heading our way.

Always a positive thinker, I kept saying, “no, it’s just a beautiful summer day, nothing is going to happen, there won’t be any rain,” etc. And there wasn’t any rain – but all of a sudden there was wind. Out of nowhere it got really windy. My tea cozies and other things blew down, and then blew off the tables. Other things started blowing around. The tents started lifting up and all the vendors ran to hold on to their tents. I was so grateful for my new weight bags that kept the tent mostly on the ground. Even so, I had to hang on to the tent with almost all my weight to make sure it didn’t fly away when really big gusts came up. I did see two tents sort of implode and get destroyed by the wind. In the midst of this there was a huge crash and sound of breaking and a collective groan went up through the vendors and people in the market: two full shelves of pottery had blown down and crashed to pieces in the wind.

The market manager ran through telling everyone to drop our tents. Customers helped hold tents, and in between gusts of wind we all picked up bits that had flown all over and lowered our tents. Luckily it had not rained a drop yet or we would have had an awful mess to deal with. Folks with smart phones were calling out that more waves of storm were approaching, and then the lightning started and none of us felt safe under our metal canopies! The entire arts/crafts section decided to pack it up and head for home!  I never took things down so fast: I just grabbed everything I could and crammed and stuffed it into my bins and got the lids on just as it was starting to sprinkle. We loaded everything back in the car and headed for home. Within an hour there was a massive downpour of rain. But I was safely inside spending hours cleaning and straightening and fixing everything up.

Amazingly, the storm passed and by 11 or 11:30 the sky was blue and clear and the weather was perfect. The vegetable vendors all stayed on at the market! Luckily for them, veges aren’t as susceptible to rain and wind as arts and crafts are.

So, that was truly the worst market I’ve ever had! I didn’t sell a thing and I was slightly terrified for awhile there that my tent was going to blow away as well as all my things! But I survived, and I’ll be back this Saturday! It promises to be an absolutely glorious day with no prediction of wind, rain, or thunder/lightning.

And I have a brand new tea cozy design to debut. It is very likely the cutest thing you will ever seen in your life. Come on down and meet the new cozy! Saturday, July 30, 8am – 1pm.

Farmers Market this Saturday

I’ll be at the Midtown Farmers Market this Saturday, July 2. It looks like it will be a glorious day, the beginning of a three-day weekend for most people. I hope I’ll see you there!

I’ve got a bunch of new potholders, new tea cozies (including the always-popular elephant cozy), three new toaster cozies, and I’m hoping (hoping! hoping!) to have a couple new shopping bags – one with chickens and one with bikes.

Come on by and say hi!

Giveaway! Giveaway!

If you’ve been drooling over one of my tea cozies but are too cheap (or poor!) to buy one for yourself, your opportunity to get your very own for free is coming up!

The blogger behind Mad in Crafts is celebrating her 30th birthday this year with a month of crafty giveaways. I donated a tea cozy to the cause which will be on the block around June 17.

I’ll post again to remind folks. May the most tea-cozy deservingest (I don’t think that’s a word…) person win!

Chicken zombies

Let me explain.

I make these chicken tea cozies. People love them! Well, at least they love looking at them; not buying them. Whatevs. They started out with me trying to jazz up some really boring tea cozies I’d made. Every so often I’ll dig out a couple of these boring cozies and make all the parts to turn the cozy into the “excited chicken!” cozy: comb, beak, wings, and eyes.

That’s been my afternoon project today (in preparation for an art show I’ll be at later this month!). I like to line up the chickens and pin on all the different parts and then sew them all on at once. I just had the eyes left to do. They’re made of felt so they stick to the face of the chicken – which I do just to make sure I don’t cut out too many.

And I keep one finished cozy on hand to compare placement, size, etc. So I’m cutting out these eyes and slapping them on, then I look up and realize, “This looks like a band of zombie chickens about to do some harm to that poor finished chicken!”

And, of course, I had to blog about it. =)

In defense of tea cozies

I started making tea cozies a couple years ago and started trying to sell them last summer. I’m not really sure how this happened. I think I made one or two for gifts and then it grew from there. Sometimes I wonder, “Why on earth am I doing this!?” Especially when I see people responding to them.

(a “frilly” cozy)

Here’s a hint: how many of you readers are thinking “what the heck is a tea cozy!?”

I would guess about half of you have no idea what I’m talking about – even if you see the pictures. That’s about the ratio when I’m selling them at the farmers market. Half the people know what they are, the other half think they are hats!

(sleeping cat cozy)

So let’s back up. A tea cozy is a padded cover for your teapot. It keeps your teapot, and your tea, nice and warm. If you don’t have something wrapped around your teapot the tea will cool off quite a bit quicker. And, though I cut into my business by saying this, anything will do for a tea cozy! Before I made my own I wrapped a small towel around my teapot – and that did the trick just fine.

(the excited chicken cozy)

I’ve managed to sell half a dozen or so of these tea cozies in the last year (so obviously I haven’t quit my day job!). I was thinking about tea cozies and teapots and, I admit, waxing philosophical, the other day.

(this little piggy cozy)

What does it mean to have a teapot (and hopefully a tea cozy!)? What does it mean not to have these? I saw in the answers to these questions the state of our society (remember: waxing philosophical!).

(dinosaur cozy)

We are a nation of people who desire instant gratification. We are impatient and always on the move. There is no time to make tea in a teapot, let alone boil water on the stove. We’ll take the hot water dispenser or a mug of water in the microwave, and plop in a single serve tea bag. Which reminds me – we’re a nation on the lookout for the cheapest price, which means there is an awful lot of substandard, nasty tea on the market. We’re also a nation of individualism and isolation. Back to that single-serve tea bag in the individual mug.

(elephant cozy)

Having – and using – a teapot, means patience and taking time. I hope it also means selecting a higher quality tea. And – unless you’re drinking that whole pot of tea yourself – it means sharing time with friends or family. Sitting around the table, eating tasty (homemade?) snacks, sipping hot cups of tea, and catching up on life. Doesn’t that sound great?

(my first dinosaur cozy)

(Coffee drinkers – you’re not off the hook! Coffee can also be made the “instant” way or made more slowly and savoured, and enjoyed with friends instead of alone.)

(another chicken cozy)

So here’s your challenge: if you have a teapot, dig it out, dust it off, invite a friend or two over, and drink some tea together!

(stars & galaxies cozy – a birthday present for my brother)