Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Detour . . .

Well, as much as I've enjoyed posting blogs here, progress calls.  And change is good, right?

My new web site is here.  You'll find my new blog site there too. 

Hope you'll continue to follow me there.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Abandonment . . .

I can't stand the thought of someone coming to my blog and not seeing a new post.  I've been so lax lately--well, maybe lax isn't the right word--maybe distracted is more like it.  I have felt like I've abandoned my blog, though.  Too many pots on the stove to stir lately, and my blogging has suffered.  Yet, if you've ever journaled or blogged yourself, you know how therapeutic it can be.  I need to blog, and so, will blog.  Starting later today (I have to go spin now, but I won't forget you--promise) I promise to blog SOMETHING everyday!!  And I'm resolute in that.  Not sure if I'll blog here or on my web site or how that will work, but everyday I'll blog.  YAY!!!  Can't wait to visit with you all ever day!!!  Later.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

A good cause . . .

I was just about ready to put my laptop aside and get on with my day . . . I have a million things to do.  But sometimes that's easier said than done.  I had to check out just one more link.  I'm glad I did because I think this is a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e and for such a great cause.  And what bravery . . . I could NEVER do this--so I especially admire these lovely ladies.  Check out the Knotty Knitters 2011 Calendar, and be generous.  I can't think of a nicer way to spend $20. 

(c) 2010 Knotty Knitters

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Every day is a new beginning . . .

Don't you love that about life?  Everyday we have the opportunity to start fresh.  Whether you're on a diet, gardening, reading a book, or have lost your way . . . tomorrow means you can start fresh again.  The garden sitting half finished is only waiting for you; the book you put down meaning to finish "tomorrow" is still open as though no time had passed at all, and your body will benefit from a good diet today as much as it would have yesterday if you'd only stayed on that diet.  All things are new again.

I've started keeping lists of things I need to do.  My schedule has become so crazy that even as little as I cook, sometimes the dishes get piled up; I vacuumed yesterday and thought I'd broken my Oreck because it was making crazy sounds (a quick look and pulling out big paper and tape pieces solved that); and poor Mac is looking pretty shaggy right about now (he needs his winter 'do and I just haven't had time to indulge him).

But I have been working on a new project close to my heart.  I've loved all things handmade since forever.  I've never not loved handmade things.  So the sensible thing to do, of course, is to get more love in my life by also making things for others.  So . . . I'm starting my own business--something I've wanted to do for many years.  I've been working like crazy to put together my web site, my merchandise, my business cards, my style.  And it's coming together. 

My first project unveiling will be project bags.  I love using them and want to give others the opportunity to own what I believe is just the best project bag out there.  And they're beautiful.  Lots of linens, cute cottons, some pockets, some embroidery . . . just a little bit of everything.  But they're all beautiful.  I've already sold several to friends who are using them as gift bags (why didn't I think of that?). 

So please bookmark my site at http://www.grandmatutudesigns.com/ and visit back very soon.  We're almost ready to unveil some beautiful things.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Soap . . .

Some people are lucky enough to become grandparents at a fairly young age--say 40 or 45, even 50.  I, however, was forced by inconsiderate children (they'll love reading that, I'm sure!!) to wait and wait and wait . . . I thought I'd never make it to grandparenthood.  My daughter was nearly 30 when she had that sweet little girl to your right! 

So, when I tell you that I used to make soaps in my hippie days . . . oh so many years ago when I was oh so young . . . it won't surprise any of you, my fair readers, that it was something like 40 years ago that I made soaps.  Suffice it to say that a lot has changed in 40 years.

So, in all fairness, alas, I must call myself a soap making newbie again.  How lucky am I?  To have had the experience of making soaps with lard and lye so many years ago, and then to be reincarnated to now and making soaps with avocado oils, Shea butters, etc. is pretty cool, I must say.  What a difference!! 

But I wish my generation had been a lot more green conscious when we were "growing up."  All this saving the environment, minimizing your carbon footprint, and tree hugging stuff is new to us oldies in the past ten years or so.  I, for one, am doing my best, but sometimes I slip up.  My slip ups are due to various things, but it's usually for one of two reasons:  laziness (sorry, sometimes I just get tired) or ignorance (some of this stuff I just can't imagine).

So imagine my horror when I determined that one of the products I've used in my recent soap making is a gross offender, environmentally.  Palm oil is a key ingredient in many of the soap recipes available these days.  Come to find out, it's a major, major source of deforestation and destruction of rain forests and thus contributes significantly to carbon dioxide emissions.  Eek!!!  I didn't learn this until I'd run out of the little bit of palm oil I'd purchased and began looking on the Internet at sources to replace it and for alternative products that can be successfully used in its place.

Now I understand that you can't believe everything you read--and everything on the Internet is not necessarily authoritative.  However, until I can do my own research on the subject, palm oil is O.U.T!!!  None of my soaps will contain palm oil in the future.  Certainly, I will honor the oil I've used and will use the products I've made with it--but I'll also honor the future by boycotting the use of it until further notice.  If and when I determine that palm oil is an acceptable ingredient environmentally, I'll begin to use it again.  But until then, it's curtains for palm oil!!

I'm going to be selling my soaps at the upcoming Share the Harvest Holiday Gift Market on October 16th at Jacob's Reward Farm.   My soaps are luxurious--sudsy and full of good oils, like avocado and jojoba, and I think you'll love them.  Hope you'll come and see all the pretty things we're getting ready for you!!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two weeks away . . .

Today has been a fairly focused day as I get myself ready to gear down for the Share the Harvest Fall Gift Market.  There was a meeting of the vendors last week, and I'm really pretty excited to see what everyone is going to be selling.  For example, MargaretandPurl.Etsy craft baby items; Southern Fried Lace does monogramming; Tasty Eats At Home is a chef specializing in gluten free foods; Monica's Jewelry does the most beautiful bracelets you've ever seen; shefeltz does fabulous flower-laden wool handbags crafted from recycled sweaters; and myself--GrandmaTutu--I craft beautiful project bags and simple, elegant soaps.  Here's what I've been working on, and will be working on for the next few days: 
Here's a picture of my project bag I use for knitted sock projects. I love the silver bead closure.

Here are some of the colors you'll see on GrandmaTutu's table at the craft market.

I use a loofah on my heels--with the right kind of soap and a loofah, your feet will purr (hint, hint).

I'm not sure I knew what linen was when I was a kid; since finding linen, I'm amazed at the different prints available, rather than what I was used to for so many years--wheat, white, pink . . . now there are lovely, exciting prints.

Stay tuned for more progress reports. 

And mark your calendar:  Saturday, October 16th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Jacob's Reward Farm, Parker, Texas.  Be there or be square!!  You'll so wish you had if you miss it!!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Little Red Plane . . .

Some things are just too good not to share -- right away!  Like this -- so cute:

More blessings . . .

Life has truly taught me to never expect smooth roads and always expect the unexpected.  Sometimes it's hard, though, to acknowledge and accept, and to remember, that God has a plan for us.  Yesterday was an awakening for me.

My sweet son-in-law hurried late yesterday afternoon from Fort Worth to go with me to retrieve my treasure--the weaving loom, so generously gifted by C.C. Young Retirement Home.  I had reserved a Uhaul with a drop ramp to make it easier to use a dolly to load and unload the loom.  At the last minute, I asked Steven if he thought it might be better to go look at the loom and develop a plan first--then we could go back Thursday or Saturday and pick it up.  He agreed, but was concerned about the length of time--I assured him that the building and the loom were safe until spring, when the building was to be demolished.  This is what Susan, at C.C.Young, and Hinke, with Dallas Weaving Guild, had both told me.  So I felt comfortable with this plan.  And Steven had never seen the loom--I wanted him to be comfortable with the "job."

You can imagine my surprise when Security opened the door for me at about 4:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon to find the room empty--literally empty.  Every ounce of yarn, every piece of equipment, every pin and measuring tape, every scissor, and my precious loom were gone. 

I was heartsick, disappointed, sad . . . devastated.  Everything was gone.  I had built up such anticipation and excitement for my new venture.  I really was devastated.  I came home and closed my drapes, turned off the telephone, and went to bed.  I was just disgusted and disappointed that someone could come in and crumble my plans up so menacingly. 

Enter insomnia. 

I'm probably not very different from others--when I awaken in the middle of the night in the dark and quiet, I think about stuff--I pray, I plan, I dream.  Last night was no exception.   And in the midst of my nighttime lamentations, a soft, knowing hand reached out and gently shook me.  But it was enough to get my attention.  In my disappointment, I'd forgotten the most important lesson of all--that God has a plan for me.  Sometimes it's the same as mine; but more often than not it isn't.  The secret is keeping my eye on the prize.  Earthly things can tempt us so.  We can forget so easily that this time here is only transitory.  And forget that putting too much stock in the doings of this world isn't always the good or smart thing to do. 

So . . . weaving isn't in God's plan for me today.  Maybe another day--but not today.  And maybe not tomorrow, or any other day for that matter.  But God has a plan for me and I'm joyful and thankful for it.  God knows something I don't--and his plan is better.  So, again, I'm blessed.  I'm happy, even have a feeling of excitement, knowing that God's plan is playing itself out through me.  So blessed!!!

Today I'm working on my "stuff" for the fantastic craft fair that will take place at Jacob's Reward Farm:

Please, please come and support all these fantastic artists.  I make great project bags, plain but fantastic soap, and other fun stuff.  And this group is totally, totally talented--we're talking non-amateurish totally professional stuff my friend!  Take an hour or so out of your Saturday that day to check it out.  There will be lots of food, entertainment, demonstrations . . . just a really cool day.  AND, maybe the best part, is that you can get a bunch of your Christmas shopping done.  Whew . . . wouldn't that be cool????  Have a huge dent done by Halloween??  Love it!!!

Keep the faith, sisters.  Sometimes it isn't easy to see the blessings, but I promise they're there.  God really does have a plan.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Many blessings . . .

Everyday I thank God for blessing me so abundantly.  And everyday I'm amazed (but never surprised) that God blesses me so abundantly.  Today was very rainy in Dallas--but our plants, lawns, and trees needed the water soooo much!  The skies were gray and overcast--a good thing because I couldn't find my sunglasses!  And the cool, clear air was clearly enjoyed by everyone--I didn't encounter one person on the roads today who was speeding and trying to run me off the road (hahaha).  Overall, I felt pretty blessed today!

I also was blessed by unknown people.  I attended the regular Wednesday Texas Twisters spinning get-together last week.  While I was there, somebody (was it Marlene? or Kate? or maybe Peggy? or Lori)--my recollection isn't clear who--let us all know that a Dallas nursing home was clearing out their loom room and was looking for homes for their looms.

Well, I'm a total fiber geek . . . and hand woven things are just about my favorite things (my favorite decorative piece at Christmastime is a table scarf that I put on the entryway table each year--and always hate putting away after Christmas).  So I made the right calls and found the loom room at the nursing home and WOW.  It was love at first sight.  Hard to believe that had these looms not been claimed by new homes they would have been plowed under when the building is demolished next year. 

There were eight looms in the beginning--there were three left when I went this morning to look at them.  I met a darling Lisa, who claimed one; a Parker lady will be claiming the second; and I was BLESSED to be the recipient of the third.  Of course, at such an auspicious event, cameras are a must---right???  And I managed to remember to take mine with me.  Only problem is that I was so excited today that I didn't take a picture. 

However . . . here's a picture I found that looks very similar to mine, except the ratchet wheel on mine is much, much larger:
The wood is darker on mine.  But it's large like this one--the biggest one they had remaining.  I wanted the bigger, and most sturdy of the bunch, because I'd like to be able to make rugs.  And not only can I use yarns to weave rugs, scarves, blankets, etc., but I can also use strips of fabric (this is what my mother made rugs with when I was a child) to make sweet, woven rag rugs.  Cute, gorgeous, divine!!  Can't wait!!!

Here are a few of the things I came home with:

Gobs of beautiful yarns,
 Lots of shuttles and spools,
 and several excellent books.

And a cute, cute, cute little bench.
 I'll try to get to the nursing home tomorrow with a truck to pick up my sweet loom.  Truth is, I probably shouldn't be calling it "my" wheel until I get it home and tucked into its special place I've picked out for it . . . but I'm so tickled, I can't resist.  And whether my sweet loom makes it to my house or not, C.C. Young Retirement Center still must be applauded for their impressive act of generosity! 

And again . . . I've been blessed so abundantly!!


Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, Friday . . .

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday morning, it was all I hoped it would be . . .

Monday, Monday?  How about Friday, Friday.  Today was a "get stuff done," "let's get going," loving fun with my friends, furry dogs, tying up loose ends, good coffee, kinda day . . . and . . .

are you ready? . . .
I was at Jacob's Reward Farm when the shareholders' fiber was delivered by FedEx (poor guy--he had to work a little today).  I wasn't sure if Cindy would open the box and let me love on it a little, but I think she was as excited to see it and touch it as I was! 

And it was oh so touchable and oh so lovable!!

If you're a shareholder, you're going to love, love, love your share this year!!!   So . . . since you need a little something to dream about, let me tide you over until Cindy has a chance to blog better pix:
fiber, and

xoxo (I can hardly wait!!!!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My room français . . .

Those folks who easily and beautifully decorate are so lucky . . . so talented.  My sister, Sue, is one of those people.  She has that magic touch, eyes that really see, and impeccable taste.  She decorates with her talents. 

I decorate very differently.  Unlike my sister, and others who can look at a room and know where it should go, I am decorationally challenged.  You've been in homes decorated by people like me . . . boring, no great color combinations, furniture so badly put together that it can't even be call eclectic--it just looks bad.

Several years ago, however, I stumbled upon the most perfect, effortless, flawless method of decorating.  It's called "Theme" decorating.  You get an idea in your head of something you like, go to all the different stores and web sites you can think of that might have things that are in line with your idea, and shop like a madwoman (or man). 

Case in point is my guest room.  For years it was like a barren desert--forsaken, drab, dull--just a no-man's land.  That might be a good thing if you don't want guests to outstay their welcome.  Enter Theme Decorating. 

I took French in high school and, although I wasn't any good at it, I really liked it.  When my daughters were younger, I ordered an adorable Madeleine doll from etoys.com, at which my daughters immediately turned up their noses--too juvenile, not cool enough, not a Cabbage Patch Doll.  My daughter, Riann, has been to France several times, so I've received several gifts from her from her travels.

Enter my room français--my French room:

One of my favorite pieces is a Limoges Perrier-Jouet Champagne coaster (I think there's another name for this little item, but can't recall what it is--can you tell me?).  It's just so French and so cute . . . really fits the "decor."
Then there's my Madeleine tea set . . . just the perfect size for my sweet little Madeleine doll.
This is a little blue glass Eiffel Tower.  Impressive?  No.  Cute?  Yes.  And, again, it fits the "decor."
And here's a doll my daughter, Riann, had in her bedroom when she was quite a bit younger.  I think she decided to leave it because I had a "French" room by the time she left home.
And here's a cute little souvenir from Paris.  Cute, huh?  Very touristy.  Behind the souvinour piece is and old, hand carved Père Noël that took up residence in my French room.
And of course, no French room would be worth its salt without a little art work.
And a Madeleine Limoges.
And of course, color is everything.  My French country means reds and yellows.  I found a Pottery
Barn pattern several years ago--I bought several duvets so I'd have plenty of fabric for
a balloon shade, a bed duvet, pillows, etc., etc. 
And cutsie things around . . .
And a memory shadow box that my sweet older daughter, Erin, left at home for the French room.  I added silk flowers to make it look more French.  Cute, huh?
Hope you enjoyed a tour of my French room.  Perfectly decorated?  Probably not.  But I sure like it!  Come visit sometime and you can try out the bed--it's good too.  

Au revoir.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh em gee . . .

I can't believe it's been so long since I've blogged.  Shame on me for slipping so far into the abyss . . . I'll make up for it--promise.

So . . . today I updated this blog a tad and added a couple of little doo-dads on the side bar.  One of them is a quiz sponsored by This Garden is Illegal that tells you what kind of flower you are.  I love this garden blog and recommend that you follow it.  It always has something that's fun, interesting, and educational. 

So, it appears, according to the "flower quiz," that I'm a Nigella.  "What's that?" you ask.  Beats me.  I've never heard of a Nigella until today, but that's not saying much, really.  I'm pretty garden challenged, so I'm not surprised.  However, the site did have this to say about me:  "Many people think you are just a little bit odd, but you consider yourself just a little eccentric. You find new experiences exciting and fulfilling."

That pretty much says it about me . . . a little bit odd, a little eccentric, finds new experiences fulfilling.  In a nutshell, memorable? 

You might want to try it.  Have fun.  I hope you're a pretty flower, like a rose or a hydrangea or a lilac--something pretty that smells good. 


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Travels . . .

It's amazing how much time I waste spend on the Internet.  I wonder if any other generation has had so much opportunity to learn, travel, read, covet, shop, date . . . should I go on?

Today I traveled to Ethiopia with my friend, Heather.  She recently returned from Ethiopia, where she took beautiful pictures of the people and the places she enjoyed.  I loved this picture--so adorable. 

(c) 2010 Heather Fenwick Amare

I rattled around in the Farmgirl world.  I love what they're doing . . . but I'm still on the fence.  I want, want, want to get involved.  But will I have time for anything else?  Just this part of it, alone, will keep me busy too many hours of the day.

(c) 2010 Maryjanesfarm

I journeyed over to Christ Church Plano to look at the Roof Dog Run page.  If you live in or around the Dallas area and have never run (or walked) in the Roof Dog Run, you really should give it a try.  They have a lot of fun, and your entry is going to a great cause--The Casa Hogares orphanage at Arequipa, Peru--one of two orphanages supported by Christ Church.  The run is being held on September 9th this year--but it's not too late to enter.  Below is a video from last year's run.  Hope to see you there this year.

I then traveled to The Dizzy Sheep.  I take a gander at their daily special every day.  Never know when they'll have something I just HAVE to have.

(c) 2010 The Village Yarn and Fiber Shop

Nope, didn't find anything today that I had to have.  Maybe another day.

I went to Etsy to look around.  Love, love, love that place.   I can always find something I love.  And today was no exception.  I found two fantastic things that I think will end up in my house.  The first are felted spotted slippers that are just to die for!!

Aren't these just darling?  They're sold by Onstail from Lithuania.  Check out her store--really darling stuff!

And my second must have are these cute, cute dresses:

 . . . and just about everything else that NewvExtrave has in her Etsy shop.  Totally the kind of dresses I like to wear!! 

So . . . while I'm traveling on the Internet, my sweet husband is traveling home.  I suspect he'll be here tomorrow (earlier than I anticipated).  I can hardly wait.  I'm making his favorite dinner tomorrow night and I plan to scratch his back and put him to bed in his own bed!!!  He'll think he's died and gone to heaven.  xoxo

But for now, good night from me.  I still have a craft room to finish picking up and laundry to fold before I can go to bed.  Later . . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

Camping 101 . . .

Since my friends, Cindy and Maryann, are making it so easy, I'm totally tempted to join the Farmgirl Sisterhood.  They've stated a new chapter, The Little Red Barn Farmgirls' Chapter. It looks like so much fun, and they're doing a lot of the things I do everyday anyway--sewing, knitting, crocheting, spinning, embroidery, canning, cooking, etc., etc., etc.

And the badges . . . OMG . . . this just carries me back to my Girl Scout days--remember this?
(c) 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America

The Farmgirl Sisterhood badges are a little different, but oh so adorable!  I want, I want, I want . . .

© 2010 MaryJanesFarm
And to think that I can do other stuff that I love to do is really exciting.  For instance, I think badges like "Going Green," Entrepreneurial Spirit," and "Shutterbug" would be fantastic to earn.  So I'm sort of thinking this is a "have to do."

I could make these for the "cooking" badge, don't you think?

(c) 2010 Summer Craft Camp by Rachel Hobson

or this
(c) 2010 Summer Craft Camp by Rachel Hobson

Let me know if you find other camp girl type stuff you'd like to share.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Camera blues . . .

I'd love to win this camera tote:
If you'd like to enter to win it, go to the Thompson Family-Life web site and enter for yourself.  Who knows, maybe one of us will get lucky!  I hope so--I'm crossing my fingers and toes!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Never alone . . .

It seems that more and more I'm alone.  I don't dislike it.  But sometimes I'm bored.  Today, though, I've been inspired.  I'm not sure I'll ever feel alone again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My favorite things . . .

Some blogs have regular "favorite things," but I've not been very consistent doing that--it seems sort of copy-cat to me, and I want to be original.  So . . . I only post favorite things once in awhile. 

I came across this link to a beautiful online Christmas magazine--Holiday With Matthew Mead

I can hardly wait for my issue to come!  I particularly like this magazine because many of their advertisers are Etsy merchants, and I totally support Etsy!  Many of my friends use Etsy, and I'll be opening my Etsy store soon--how could I resist? 

Another of my favorites is The Vintage Pearl.  I coveted these for a long time, then got a necklace for Christmas from my daughter--mine has the birthstones, and I love it!!

Every time I spin fiber I'm reminded how much I love my Majacraft spinning wheel.  I have the Little Gem, and it is that--a little gem!
I might have a new favorite Blog.  Lolly Knitting Around is packed with great photographs, fun experiences, and just very stalkable stuff . . . her photographs are fantastic, illustrated by this a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e photo on her blog yesterday:
(c) Lolly Knitting Around

My friend, Kay, is so super talented.  Don't you love this scarf she did?:
You also should visit her Etsy Store.  I have some of her fiber on my wheel this very minute and it's fantastic!  The colorway, Tuscany, is completely gorgeous!  And her fibers are like butter to spin!!! 

(c) Cordova Studios
I can't wait to read this book.  It's sitting on my table right now--ready to be cracked open.
I love historical novels, and this one should prove to be as good as Gregory's other books.  I'll let you know when I finish it if it's as good as I'm suspecting it will be! 

What are you reading?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blueberry jam . . .

It seems like a million years since I last made jams or jellies, or did any kind of canning for that matter.  It used to be a fairly regular thing . . . peaches, pears, apricots, cherries, tomatoes--you name it, I canned it.  But I always loved making jams especially.

When I went to the The Little Red Barn last month, Jennifer and Claire brought a plate with watermelon and fresh, beautiful blueberries.  I later read Jennifer's blog and found out where she got her blueberries--she later helped me order some from Blueberry Hill Farms and I picked them up one day last week.  Rowan was with me when I picked them up and held them in her lap while we drove home.  Although I warned her about eating unwashed berries, her little lips were blue with them by the time we got home.  I had to agree that they were fantastic--so fresh, crisp, and organic to boot! 
After eating blueberry pancakes for nearly a week, munching on handfuls of them for snacks, and offering them up to visitors every chance I got, yesterday was the day that the abundance had to be made up into blueberry jam.  Rowan was here to help--she did a good job of mooshing up the berries with the potato masher and put the labels on beautifully!  What a great helper she is!!

The finished product is fantastic!  I'm so glad I preserved some of this flavor to remember in December or January when the winter snow makes fresh blueberries only a distant memory.