2016 Christmas Mantle Line side by side

Rustic Christmas Mantle Decor

 

The wood chips have been flying over here in Lost Upon A Time land. The holidays are fast approaching, and I’m in hopes to join the ranks of makers with a line of goods made just for this season. I’ve designed some smaller pieces meant for the Christmas mantle or gallery wall.

Smaller pieces translate to faster turnaround time (if I’m doing it right- which isn’t always the case), and thus a lower price point. The new line is in keeping with LUAT’s aesthetic, and quality. Three pieces so far have passed the test. And the fourth… the fourth was a disaster from the start. I’d like to think I have a head start for Christmas 2017 with that baby.

Developing the Christmas Mantle Line

Christmas Tree cutout

The tree came first. It’s a fun shape to cut and is a bit whimsical. A friend suggested adding a piece of wood for the trunk, which brought to mind an old yard stick I had. I have to say, that little bit of ruler makes a world of difference to this piece. It adds so, so much. Don’t you think?

Close-up of Christmas tree trunk

The next in line was the Christmas Star, at the suggestion of a friend. (I’m so glad for friends.) I had been working on another design that wasn’t going well (see above). A star seemed easy enough; and it was. Until my cutting blade broke mid-slice and rapidly gouged the face of the wood leaving a string of punctures.

The Christmas Star

I can’t exactly spin that as a star-dust trail. It’s not a shooting star. But it is a prototype, and it will live in infamy among the rest of my “unique” holiday decor for years to come.

Lastly, I created an ornament silhouette, reminiscent of the vintage ones that hung on my grandmother’s tree. I tried several shapes, but simple won out this time. I’ll likely add more designs later.

Wooden vintage Christmas ornament silhouette

Prince Charming and I mulled over several ideas for the top of the ornament. The piece of ruler worked so well on the Christmas Tree trunk, that I thought I’d use that for the ornament’s cap. But it just doesn’t seem to do the trick. However, we’re already working on a different idea. (Okay, if I’m being honest, my Prince suggested the perfect alternative. Hmm. It seems that everybody else has all the good ideas; I just have the saw.)

Photos are not my strong suit. You know this by now, I’m sure. And I love you for enduring my efforts. It did occur to me that you might like to see the size of these pieces, however. I took these shots below in an attempt to give you an idea of scale. (They give me the idea of kilts and Mardi Gras. Not the feel I was going for, but festive none-the-less.)

Collage of the Christmas Mantle line

 

The Details

Each piece of The Christmas Mantle line measures roughly 8 by 8 inches, and 1.5 inches thick. They weigh somewhere around 2-3 pounds.

They’re $25 apiece, or purchase all three for $65. (And I promise, there won’t be any “stardust” on them.)

You can order them here. If you’d like 10% off your order, sign up for my (non-spam) e-mails here and get a discount code sent to you right away.

Rustic Christmas decor on sled

 

I’m still developing The Christmas Mantle line and have more rustic holiday decor to come. What would you like to see included? (Cause everybody else has all the good ideas anyway. Ha!)

~m

 

 

 

Izzy, therapy chihuahua

Izzy and Gamble: The Story of Dogs in Service

Making sawdust sure feels good sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong- it’s always pretty fun. But it’s something special when what I’m making is telling someone’s story. This summer, I had two custom orders that carried with them significant meaning. Both pieces featured dogs- if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you know that’s nothing unusual. I make a lot of dogs. In fact, most of my pieces are inspired by rescue dogs. Rescued wood- rescued dogs… it’s kind of my thing.

But these two pups, Izzy and Gamble, they’re different.

they are the ones who rescue.

Gamble is in training to become a service dog. Izzy is a therapy dog.

Tell me, when you think of a therapy dog, what comes to mind? Maybe this?

 

Izzy, therapy chihuahua

 

Meet Izzy.

Izzy is the physician-prescribed therapy dog of Marissa, a beautiful soul. (And no, a chihuahua isn’t the first canine breed to pop into my mind either.) Intelligent, kind and creative, Marissa is plagued by anxiety and panic attacks. If you’ve ever experienced anything like that, you know just how life-altering it can be. However, Izzy can bring calm like nothing else. This little pint-sized pup has changed Marissa’s life. This gal is going places, friends. She’s a brilliant chemistry student, passionately working toward her PhD.

 

Izzy, asleepThose ears, though.

Marissa has gone to great lengths to keep Izzy by her side- even to the point of losing her housing. Talk about stress! But she’s a fighter. She tackled the stigma of mental illness, the shade thrown by local media, and this girl fought for her rights.

She’s long wanted a piece of art that represented Izzy, and how much she loved her. I can’t begin tell you how honored I was when she asked me to make it. Together we chose the shape, and she already knew what colors she wanted.

Close up of chihuahua piece
foot detail of chihuahua piece

It was so rewarding to make! And I must say, the piece turned out beautifully.

 

Long haired chihuahua made from reclaimed wood, in blues and purples

It’s now home, hanging on Marissa’s wall. Seeing a snapshot of it made me smile- and cry a little. It’s profoundly humbling to create with your own hands a work that reflects someone’s heart. With scrap wood and paint, no less.

And now, Gamble.

After their long-loved beagle crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Kellie (another beautiful soul) and her family really missed having a pup. They came to the decision to take part in training a service dog; and after contacting Paws With A Cause, they found themselves with this guy.

Gamble, service dog in trainingIsn’t he adorable?

The family understood the terms- they’d have him for 6 months, then return him for his next stage of training. There, he’d spend phase two in a correctional facility training with inmates. After a third, more specialized training period, he would then be ready to go to his forever home as a service dog.

As you can imagine, Gamble stole their hearts. He chewed their shoes. And before they could blink, those 6 months had passed.

Gamble, the black lab, as a puppy.

 

Knowing they day was approaching, Kellie asked if I would make a black lab for her. (Umm, of course!)

reclaimed wood boards

 

the black lab I made for Kellie

Kellie is generous-hearted, talented, and a go-getter. Her family is a pretty great group of people. They’ve poured so much energy and love into Gamble- all for the benefit of someone they’ll likely never meet. It was such an honor to make this piece for them. When she saw it for the first time, she cried. I cried. (Oh my word, pass the Kleenex, will you?)

I drove away thinking about these two – Kellie and Marissa. And their pups. Though Izzy and Gamble have very different roles, I found it interesting to glimpse into their situations. The service dog in training, and the therapy dog at work. The family who lays the groundwork, and the woman who benefits in the end.

I really love making special pieces that tell someone’s story. Your’s is unique.  Is there something you’d like me to make for you? Let’s talk!

It’s coming…

Hey Friend!

I’m making some changes around here. Good ones. I wanted to give you a little notice, since we’re friends and all.

I’ve already changed up my header. (See it up there? What do you think?) And I’m making some color and navigation tweaks. Soon you’ll see my e-store roll out, and I’ll be posting information on my handmade wall art.

Stay tuned…

Thanks, Friend!

 

White peony bloom with insect

Beautiful

Sara is her name; I remember her face. And her children’s faces. Her words. Her photographs. Her dreams.

Her blog, Farmama, was deeply inspiring. She and I shared so many common interests- but she was living the life I only dreamed about. Her world fascinated me. Just by her nature, she attracted a community who fed a part of their souls by reading the posts she shared. She was honest, vulnerable, creative. Read more…

Close-up of my DIY house numbers display and title graphic

DIY House Numbers Display

Forethought.

Rather, lack thereof.

Wasn’t I just writing about that?! Apparently, I’m not a quick learner. Don’t get me wrong; I’m really happy with my project. It looks just the way I envisioned it… minus a few cracks. It’s beautiful, bright, and functional. Mostly. Mostly functional. ( * sigh * )

You’ve seen the cool address signs on Pinterest, right? The ones that use tons of nails or screws? Like this one: Read more…

dried sedum flower stalks painted blue, green and magenta, title text "Make a wreath from yard waste

Make a Wreath with Yard Trimmings

“Wreath maker” is not a phrase I use to describe myself. Don’t get me wrong- I love wreaths. They’re unbeatable for bringing charm to a home or workplace.

However, I can’t say I enjoy making them. My visions of creating wreath grandeur usually find themselves in the trash can, accompanied by a very sour mood. I’m just not good at it.

But still, I really like wreaths. And goshdarnit, I sure wanted needed one. Read more…

curly wild onions in soil and graphic text "Foraging and Using Wild Onions"

Wild Onions: Foraging and Using

They can look pretty weird; I’m not going to lie. Weird and fascinating. I know they sure caught my eye the first time I noticed the curly cue tendrils of wild onions jutting out of the ground.

As I write, I’ve already made my first “shopping trip” through my yard snipping wild onion stalks and dandelion leaves. Soon my wild violets will be blooming. As I roam around, filling my colander, I can’t help but think that these edibles are some sort of peace offering for enduring the cold dormancy of winter. Read more…

old Chrysler wheel with flat tire caked in mud

In the Eye of the Beholder

“Did you make that?”

If you're a maker, you know there are two ways to take this question: compliment or condescending.

We have a burning need to create written into our DNA. We can’t NOT be creating. Creatives yearn to make beauty, to make a point, express what we struggle to articulate, or, just fill a need. We toil away to bring our ideas into reality. And oftentimes, we collide with the reality that our skills aren’t up to par. But we carry on. Because making is what we do.

Can you relate?

Read More

Small boat drifting at sea in sunset, title, "Waiting for a diagnosis"

Waiting For a Diagnosis

According to Prevention.com, it can take autoimmune disease sufferers 5 to 10 years to be diagnosed. Here in the US, there are nearly 24 million autoimmune disease patients, as estimated by the NIH. However, if you’re asking the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc., that number jumps to 50 million. In contrast, cancer affects about 9 million, and heart disease 22 million.

There’s no question that the rate of increase for autoimmune diseases is out of control. Once considered a western world problem, it’s now a pandemic crisis. And medicine is nowhere near understanding – much less treating – these complex conditions. Read more…