I’m Laura, owner of Appleberry Cottage. I love to share my primitive stitchery, primitive punch needle, hand crafted folk art, and heirloom crocheted baby afghans with you.
When I'm not crafting, I'm mom to 4 kids: Andrew, Matt, Rachel (17 yrs old), and James (12 yrs old).
I've been giving some thought to creating a pattern to sell. I had created these bowl fillers a couple years ago, and was asked if I had a pattern. I would be hesitant to sell a pattern, unless it was my own idea. I can say that these were my idea, and haven't seen anyone else copy them. I need to create another set to get a better photo to use on the front of the pattern. I thought I had an extra set of these lollipops in storage, but that's not the case. I must have sold them last year. So, I'll have to get some fabric and sew some more. Maybe I'll do them in all the same fabric this time. I'll have to get to work quickly, as Valentine crafters are getting busy! If anyone has suggestions for selling the pattern, please let me know. I was thinking of Ebay, since that's where I sell my crafts.
It's VERY quiet around our house today. Last night Andrew and Rachel went to an all night pre New Years Eve party. Several area churches get together and rent out places for bowling, laser tag, swimming, etc. They have rotating buses between the places, so that no one drives. I picked them up at about 5:30 this morning. They went to bed, and I was able to get some grocery shopping done before the crowds. :) Matt didn't want to stay up all night for the party, so he opted for a lunch out today. He's now waiting for the delivery of his new laptop, which is on the truck for today. Tonight James has a pizza party from church, but that ends at 7pm. I'm then staying home and getting some sleep!
Ok, not really the country of Iceland, but the iceland at our house! Yesterday, it started to snow. We got about 1-2 inches of snow. Then it started to sleet, and then freezing rain. Any untreated surface turned to ice. All the trees are still encased in a glass type coating. It looks really pretty when driving out at night! At least the roads are clear, and no big trees are down.
This was James last night on the driveway. The ice was thick. A little too bumpy for a skating rink, but still fun to slide around.
The Christmas gifts are wrapped, and ready to put out late tonight. James doesn't believe in Santa (he figured it out in kindergarten), so no need to keep the secret around here. Tomorrow we'll go to my parents house for dinner. My dad fell and broke his ankle yesterday, so he'll just be sitting around until they do surgery next week. Maybe they'll get a snow removal service next year, but his snow blowing duties are done for the year.
I just finished this snowman/snow angel cupboard hanger today, and just listed it on Ebay as a 5 day auction. (just in case someone wants shipping for Christmas) I used a graphic from Bird In the Hand Primitives, and slightly changed it for punching. I think I'll leave it on my cupboard in the dining room until it sells! After not punching for a few weeks, it was good to get back doing a project. I'm hoping to get more done later this week, and next week, once the kids are off school. Now if I can finish my Christmas shopping......
I decided to add a coat of dark walnut stain to the birdhouse. It was just too plain beforehand. I even stained the little bird to tone down the green in it. It now looks a little more aged, and a little less manufactured. I put the birdhouse on my kitchen shelf. I will replace the old plate with a stitchery. I'm trying to mix and layer the items on the shelf ~ a little wood, glass, metal, and fabric. The stitchery will be framed and add to the layer look in the back of the shelf. Now to find a graphic that I like and make something for myself!
Early this week, I had about 10 minutes in between errands and picking up kids. I didn't have time to stop home for all of 60 seconds, so I decided to stop into a local resale shop. I never find much at this shop, but on Monday, this little shelf/cabinet caught my eye. It does have 2 holes drilled into the back to hang on the wall, but I'm thinking of sitting it on the kitchen counter to hold all the clutter that accumulates there. The little gold drawer pull will have to go, as well as the stain. I'll keep it on the counter until I get around to re-doing this one.
On Sunday, I went to my favorite resale/antique store's open house. (Carriage House Antiques) It's a small store, but filled with lots of good stuff! I found another old grater to save for a punch needle project. I also found this cute garland with snowmen and stars. I put it on my dining room shelf to finish that display. (I still need to paint the frame on the cross stitch, as the shiny oak just doesn't coordinate)
We had our first big snow storm yesterday and today. The kids were disappointed that school wasn't canceled. But, after school, James was happy to go outside and build a snow fort. Last night he said he wants to live in Canada. When I asked why, he said so he could play in the snow more often. I think he's part Eskimo!
I got this adorable birdhouse earlier this week on freecycle! It's heavy, and the two birdhouses are glued together. I'm going to have to find a new home for it, but for now it's tucked back on my kitchen counter. I'm not sure if I'll add a coat of walnut gel stain to it to aged it a bit, or just leave it as is. I love the square nails that are the perches. And all this for FREE! :)
Today was the big 4th grade field trip to the Shedd Aquarium. The school backs up to the train station, so we walked to the train. It's quicker to take a train than to sit in traffic downtown. Since they don't give out reserved cars, I'm sure all the regular commuters just "loved" having all the kids on the train! :) They can have their peace and quiet back tomorrow.
I loved this pretty sea horse!
I just love the penguins. They were quite active today with all the hopping and swimming.
If an all day field trip wasn't enough, I came home and then went to a market research focus group this evening. I get to qualify for maybe one or two a year, and really enjoy doing them. (ok, I really like getting paid for my opinions!) I now have a little extra Christmas money.
It's finally beginning to feel like Christmas around here. We got our first snowflakes today! * * * * * * Now to ship off some ebay packages, finish some crafts, and get some Christmas cards ordered.
This past Saturday, our high school football team won the state championship game! My kids don't go there until next year, but we watched the game on tv. It was kinda fun to look for those people we knew in the stands. Lots of people drove downstate for the game, and it was worth the drive. I took Rachel to the celebration rally at the high school on Sunday afternoon. The more visits to her new school, the better. She even got a new t-shirt from me. It is her first "official" Cary Grove t-shirt. Of course, she had to wear it to school today.
The back of the t-shirt has all the scores of the games this season - undefeated! She now wants me to order the sweatshirts when the order form comes out. I think she's stocking up for high school. :) There's not a lot of school spirit for the jr high. Maybe because it's only 7-8 grade (some jr highs are 6-8). By the time December of 8th grade rolls around, they are already talking transitioning to high school, which leave jr high in the dust. So, I'm more than happy to start the stack of navy and white (school colors) apparel.
It was back to school and work today. Only 3 more weeks of school until we get 2 weeks off for Christmas. I think it will be a steady increase in excitement, which means a noisy lunchroom. Then if it snows this week, even flurries, that will get the kids REALLY into the Christmas mood!
Looking for free Christmas craft patterns? This snowman ornie that I made came from a freebie pattern at North Pole Christmas. http://northpolechristmas.com/ There's all kinds of free patterns at this site, so it's worth a click over there to check it out.
Happy Thanksgiving! Yesterday, Rachel and I made some pies to take to my parent's house today. We made French apple pie and pumpkin pie. I taught Rachel how to make a decorative crust with fork imprints.
I got the kids to go through our stack of old videos and DVDs yesterday. I don't know why we were hanging on to some of them, but it was time to sort and toss. I tried to divide them up into categories and listed some on Ebay, just to see what happens. I usually don't sell items other than my crafts, but it's worth a try. If they don't sell, then it's a trip to the Goodwill Store to donate them.
I quickly ran into a local thrift store on Friday, and found a couple items. The first thing I managed to find was a mini grapevine wreath ~ perfect for the pegs under the new shelf in the dining room. It was a *whopping* 19 cents! I couldn't pass that one up. The other item I found was a basket. It was heavy, and nicely stained, though it was VERY dusty. I came home, scrubbed it under the kitchen sink, and it came out great. It wasn't sitting really flat, so while it was drying, I put a heavy dictionary on top so that it would dry flat. Not bad for 50 cents! Now to find a home for it. I use baskets to display bowl fillers, as well as use the baskets to hold papers and clutter. So, for a total of 69 cents, I have 2 new goodies.
Matt came home with these dirty clothes today. He spent the night in Eagle Cave last night for Boy Scouts. He had a great time of climbing around and exploring the small nooks of the cave. These are his shoes that he came home with. Time to put those in the washing machine ~ with LOTS of Oxy Clean to get the dirt out.
There's no school this week, due to parent teacher conferences. The kids are looking forward to sleeping in. I'm planning on doing some cleaning. I still haven't done ANY Christmas shopping. I guess I'll have to think about that this week. The weather has been so warm, it's hard to think about Christmas. But, the forecast is predicting some snow flurries for Thanksgiving, so that might get me into the mood. :)
I finally got a few Ebay listings tonight. I put a 3 candle mats up for bid: a gingerbread, and two snowmen. I finished this cute little snowman ornie. I used some mini stitcher patterns from Primitive Stitches, and made them into a mini pillow. The backing in the same cranberry and ecru homespun as the hanger. I ended up blanket stitching around the edges, as I liked the way it looked. It was too plain without it. It's very lightly aged in my mixture of coffee and vanilla. I'm want to make a set of bowl fillers for Ebay with these. I might have to make few for myself, too! I finally got around to finishing one set of snowmen bowl fillers. I had cut and sewn the edges a couple motnhs ago, and they just sat on the table downstairs. The weather has been so warm, who's thinking about snow? :) I'm not going to complain about the above average temps after last winter! These snowmen are made with a pure white Warm N Natural, then aged. The photos don't show the color well at all. They are really nice in person, and I like the effect of the pure white cotton batting.
James had the opportunity to join the Boy Scout campout this weekend. He wasn't sure he wanted to stay overnight. So, he went for the afternoon. He was having so much fun, that he wanted to camp there last night. So, Russ and James stayed there last night.
I took Rachel winter coat shopping yesterday afternoon. We found one that she like, and that fit. We still haven't been hit with the really cold weather, but it will come - and she'll be ready. Now that she's not in girl sizes, it's more difficult to find great deals. We did find one coat that we both loved -it was only $299 - and that was discounted! Um, I think we took a pass on that one. :)
It's back to school tomorrow, and the big board of ed meeting at night. Will they close the school I work at? Or, will they pick an different one? Then it's the huge list of budget cuts that's proposed. For now, I'll just deal with making it until next week, when there's no school!!
I just finished more candle mats. Last week I sent 8 to a shop in Florida. This week, I stitched another 6 (2 of each of the above patterns ~ adorable patterns by Rhonda at Primitive Stitches). I used a mini cranberry & cream homespun for the backing, and really liked the way they turned out. Now I need to iron them, and see if they are all going to FL, or if any will be on Ebay. I do have one extra gingerbread mat that I will put on my selling blog as soon as I take some photos (or if anyone is interested, let me know). I've also started some snowman stitchery ornies/mini pillows. I have the stitching done, and just need to sew them into a pillow. I think I want to do it by hand, so that they stitches will show on the outside ~ I''m thinking of mini x's all around. That's my project for tonight.
This weekend, James had a scout outing to the zoo. Looks like the fountain/pool that is behind them is closed for the winter. It sure was a great weekend outside ~ warm & sunny - and this is in November!
The school that I work during the lunch hour at is most likely being closed at the end of this year. So, I'll be looking for another job. Maybe something with more hours and better pay, but with some flexibility in hours. Yep, I'm looking for the ideal job that doesn't exist! :) But, I know something is out there and I just have to wait and find out what.
I'm off to make some bread for Russ' annual turkey lunch at work tomorrow. He signed me up for a couple loaves of homemade bread. Time to get out the bread machine to make the dough, then bake it in a regular oven. Should I make cinnamon raisin or onion cheese bread?? Hmmm.. both sound good, so maybe both!
I found this goose at a thrift store yesterday. I thought it was cute. But that's the problem, it's "cute". But I bought it anyways. For $3.50, I could afford to ruin it, or use it as a pattern to make something similar ~ but NOT cute.
First, I removed the green bow (green isn't my color). I also removed the green ivy that was stapled with the grapevine.
Then the problem of removing the heart. Yes, it was "cute" in 1985, but not now. I googled how to remove glue from wood, and found my tip of the day. I could make this the tip of the year, as I can now use it on more items!! To remove wood that's glued together, use vinegar. Just plain old vinegar. I poured on several tablespoons onto the heart area (the goose was over the kitchen sink) and left it for a couple hours. After 2+ hours, I took a scrapper, and carefully pried the heart off the goose ~ and it worked!!!! Just one small dot of paint came off, most likely where I tried to pry it off without waiting the couple hours. I'm waiting for the wood to dry before I continue. (The wood was soft from being soaked with vinegar.) I'm hoping a quick sanding will remove all traces of the glue. Now to decide on what to do with the grapevine.....
So, if you find any thrift store items and want to update them by removing hearts, give this a try. I can't guarantee that it won't ruin the finish of paint or stain, but you can always re-paint and stain the item. Happy thrift store hunting!
I've found a new place to hang the bunny painting. It's the upstairs hallway. I took down a sampler that I had stitched years ago, and will move that to the dining room. It's a pattern from a historical sampler, and has LOTS of stitches in it. I don't like the frame that it's in, so I think that will on the list for painting and staining. Blue would be an obvious choice for color, but I'm leaning towards a tan or brown.
This chubby squirrel has finally chewed his way through the entire pumpkin! Yesterday there were 3 squirrels all fighting to get to the inside of the pumpkin and it's prized seeds. They managed (in between their fights) to clean out the entire inside of the pumpkin. I'm wondering if they will touch the 2 pumpkins sitting on the front step. It might be a little too close to the door for their comfort, but you never know!
Here's James all set to go trick or treating. He went out for quite a while, and got a ton of candy. Much of the candy disappeared last night, as he didn't like some of it and gave it away. Rachel is on the left. She had a couple friend come over to trick or treat, then have pizza and hang out. Everyone thought she was Hannah Montana, but she was dressed as a Barbie doll (too cold to wear a dress, so she wore jeans). Matt helped me hand out candy. We didn't have as many kids as in previous years. I think the kids are getting too old, and not as many new littler kids. So, those that came got more candy! It's now November, so time to switch the clocks back. I'll be goofed up all week with the time change. It's also my parent's 51st anniversary! Happy Anniversary to them!
I had originally thought of just using some dark walnut gel stain to darken the painting. After looking at a nice saltbox board painting that I have, I decided to paint the edges of this board black. The board had a nice top edge, which just gave a hint of black to the front. This paint really made the top stand out.
I then took my stain and generously applied it all over the painting. I wiped it off, and re-applied as needed until I achieved the look I wanted. I tried to leave extra stain around the edges, to help blend in with the black paint. This simple process really updated the look of this "expensive" piece! Now to decide where to hang it. I might even take a few trips to other thrift stores to see what I can find this weekend.
While I had my stain out, I decided to make over a set of stacking boxes from the 1980's. I had found these at a craft show, and they came tied with raffia (the boxes are glued together). I don't have a photo of before, but it was flat craft paint. I stained the boxes and it darkened them up. I think it makes them look a bit richer. I wish I could afford the antique Shaker boxes, but this will do for now. :)
I'll be looking for primitive garland to go on a couple shelves with pegs. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please let me know. I also would like some small keyhole baskets (one can't be more than 4" tall) for the same shelves. Maybe one of the larger craft fairs later this season will have some ideas.
I went to a couple craft shows this past weekend. I like to browse, just to get ideas and admire what other artists are making. The first show was at a high school. It was small, but very nice. I've attended every year for the past few years. It's advertised well, good selection of crafts, and best of all, free admission! I found this cute little sign to sit on a shelf. I also bought another sign that says, "Christmas", but in an antiqued white. I like the pumpkin one, as it can be used all autumn.
The second craft show was at the local community college. I had never been to this craft show, or even been in the college. They had no signs to show the entrance (strike one). They charged $2 admission (strike two). They had few customers, and WAY too much jewelery (imports - nothing original or hand stamped like my cousin does at Bella Michele Jewelry) and home party stuff (strike three). They had only 2 decent booths of good quality items. One was quilted items, the other was prim stars & signs. I won't be going back to that show.
This bunny sign I found at a resale shop this morning. It caught my eye. Not because it's a bunny, which I use to collect when I was a kid. But, I liked the hand painting, and I could easily tell it wasn't one of those made in China items. It did remind me of the 1980's, but it has LOTS of possibility! For a whopping $1.49, it was mine! I've been working on it this afternoon, so come back tomorrow when I can upload some photos!
I managed to finish a couple punch needle items this week. The first is an old fashioned Santa. On this one, I combined 2 different shades of gold/tan to create a tweed background. I finished it by attaching it to a hornbook. I wasn't sure of how I liked it earlier in the week. So, I sanded the wood, re-painted, sanded, and stained it with a walnut gel stain. Once I got the finish to be very aged, I sealed it with some clear matte acrylic sealer. I like how this turned out this time. The great thing about prim - you can always re-do it! :)
The second finish is a design by Primitive Betty's ~ just perfect for fall. I didn't punch a border on this one, but finished the edging with some black homemade cording that I sewed on. The entire piece was aged to give it a distressed feel. I attached this piece to another hornbook. I sawed, sanded and painted the wood in a maple syrup color. Then aged it with some walnut gel stain. There's not a lot of contrast between the paint and stain, but the overall effect is one of aged paint - the color of the fallen leaves. The paint picks up some of the color of leaves for a very rustic autumn finish. I'll get this one listed on Ebay this evening. This should be my last fall item, as I need to get going on Christmas!
The Santa is going to Michele at A Houseful of Boys. She won my craziest relative contest! OK, there was no contest, but I had to think of a reason to send it. I had won a giveaway of one of her hand stamped necklaces that she sells, so I'm turning her giveaway into a swap. After all, she's my favorite cousin! I'll have to get some boxes this week and send it on it's way.
Welcome to my house! It's not all prim, and it's not one of those that looks like a magazine, but it's a work in progress. I browse through so many blogs that have amazing homes that are prim perfect. I finally realized that many of these women don't have bunches of kids at home any longer ~ so that makes me feel better. I happen to have 4 kids at home, so a house HAS to be livable (and many times messy!). This is the front of our house. Yep, old gold 1970's siding. At least the sun has faded it so much, than it's now more of a tan/gold. I keep digging up the landscaping in front, as all the bushes die. I"m hoping the new things I put in this summer will survive. I do love the burning bushes! Every year they turn flaming red in the fall.
I didn't do much fall decorating outside. Last year, I missed the last yard waste pick up, and a hay bale sat all winter out in the snow. I won't do that again this year. Then, the pumpkins are food for our neighborhood squirrels. They already attached the corn stalks around the lamp post. Then they started eating the pumpkins! I'm waiting to see how long it will take them to eat their way through to the inside. Take the sidewalk to the back of the house, and this is what you see. We have a large cement patio, which we never use, except for grilling. We use the screened in deck, which is just off the dining room/living room. All our backyards open to each other. I get to enjoy the neighbor's perennial gardens - without any of the work! (but they can enjoy mine, too)
I planted one tree in the backyard a couple years ago. It was a small stick, no taller than 5 feet. It has taken, and is growing. Things don't grow in our area, as the dirt is clay, and is filled with rocks. So, I am happy that the one tree is growing.
Our foyer leads either upstairs or downstairs.
I have a couple peg racks to hold coats in the foyer. I had stenciled some vine and berry borders around the edges of doors and floors. It's getting pretty marked up from use and needs painting, but I'm not sure what I want to do yet. Do I paint the door leading to the garage and the front inside doors a tan/beige, while the rest of the walls are off white? (I'm thinking of doing the same for the LR/DR) I need to make or buy some type of new curtain for the foyer patio doors. It's a small slider door (that never gets used). I made a simple "temporary" muslin valance, but that's now 10 years old! I guess it's time to replace that. :)
I'll slowly get the rest of the house into other posts. Thanks for taking a look! I always welcome any suggestions/ideas. Laura