Turning junk into treasures…

I got to spend one night with my new friend and fellow quilter, Debbie Fisher. She and her husband, Jack, have a house way up on a hill overlooking the Cumberland River near Nashville. Debbie invited me to stay with her before flying home from Kentucky. Their house was peaceful and quiet. I loved the wind blowing through the trees.

Debbie’s background is in floral design, but what she does is way more than working with flowers. She credits the man she worked with for teaching her how to turn junk into art but can I just say that she has a whole lot of talent on her own.

Objects that I would (and have) thrown away can be amazing when handled well. Look at this light fixture…

Silver plate holders for casserole dishes, flatware, and the bottom from a pressure cooker combine to make a really great chandelier over her breakfast table. Debbie uses family ‘junk’ most of the time and she knows where the flatware came from.

And the family cheese graters make a fantastic light fixture.

Debbie’s mentor made dolls from junk. Maybe I don’t get out enough but I’ve never seen anything quite like this…

If you have a drill with a ceramic bit and wire, you can do this too. I am not personally a fan of porcelain dolls but these made me smile. If I ever do make one, mine might be creepy on purpose.

Debbie makes junk dolls that are a collection of the stuff you would find in a junk drawer. She builds an armature from heavy wire over a foam cone. There is a doll’s head on top, with a pretty collar. Then she hangs family junk on the doll.

She knows where everything came from and the story behind it.

I wish I had kept more of my family’s junk but I still have some and I am going to make at least one of these. Not with a doll’s head (again, creepy) but something else on top.

But wait! There’s more! Why oh why did I make the silver plate ice bucket we got when we got married go away?!

The table was Jack’s dad’s work bench, cut down to fit the kitchen. And the rolling pins are perfect below it.

I used to hang plates on walls. Why did I stop? Who knew that more could be better? Could it be that I’ve made too much stuff go away? Maybe I need to go antiquing!!!!

Lastly, the fairy garden in an old wheelbarrow. I have one of those and this could happen in my yard, soon-ish.

There you go. You have now been inspired by Debbie too. Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your art with us all!

Wednesday Giveaway

Barb Walsh is this week’ winner—congrats to Barb!

She will receive a very cute (and functional!) pincushion made by Cohana. It goes nicely with the Knickknack bags and totes on my site by the same maker.

The wooden base of this pincushion, with its uniquely plump, round shape, is made from fragrant cypress from the Kii Mountains in southern Japan. The bottom is flat to keep the pincushion from rolling. You can run a cord through the leather loop and use it to attach it the pincushion to your bag.

Click here to shop Piece O’ Cake online.

Home again, home again…

I’ve been back from Hawaii for nearly a week. Jet lag is over, the piles on my desk are mostly gone. The laundry is done and summer is here.

I do miss Hawaii. I miss having a MaiTai under the Banyon tree at the Beach Bar, watching the sun go down.

I miss watching Jack be a kid, doing brand new things in a place so unlike home.

We did a fair bit of waiting for things… like food from food trucks. We didn’t let the wait bother us, we were patient. That is something I am doing my best to hold onto… patience while waiting.

I kind of miss the sound of roosters. I wouldn’t mind free range chickens in our neighborhood but I don’t think they’d last long. Coyotes, birds of prey, and cats would probably love the idea :-).

I don’t miss the roads on Kauai. The main road runs around the island in a U-shape. There isn’t a road where the cliffs on the north side of the island are. If you are in Princeville and want to go to Waimea Canyon, you have to take the long way around to get there. It’s not that far by mainland standards, but speed limits are low, there are usually only 2-3 lanes, and being in a hurry is a bad idea.

The road on the north side of Kauai hugs the slopes in many places. This is an island that gets a lot of rain and sometimes roads and bridges wash out. This is a spot on the 2 mile stretch of road between Princeville (where we stayed) and Hanalei (where we went pretty often). One of the lanes is mostly gone, washed way down the slope. It’s a long drop. Traffic is cut to one lane.

Driving is never risk free. We drove this road in the same way that the locals do. However, every time we were on this bit I said a little prayer.

I miss the colors of the ocean, sky, and sand…

Sadly, not every beach is pristine.

We’ve all heard about plastic in the ocean but finding it on beaches where I’ve not seen it before got my attention in a big way. The amount of plastic on some beaches was shocking. I gathered those big pieces inside a 3′ square space on the beach near Lydgate Park.

I looked for shells on every beach. Instead of colorful beach glass, I kept finding colorful bits of plastic. And, in case you are wondering, the shell gathering was not particularly good. It could be that pretty, whole shells are hard to find, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there isn’t a correlation between that and the pollution.

It’s depressing, right? But this is a real thing and it’s better to see it because ignoring reality changes nothing.

We all do our best to reduce our use of plastic but if you live a ‘regular’ life like we do, it’s impossible to live without plastic. However, I’m trying to do better. I am going to stop being so quick to replace something that is not recyclable just because I want it in a slightly different color or shape. I’m going to pay more attention to packaging. Feel free to give me other ideas.

Back to happier things… we all miss Wailua Shave Ice! FYI: we really aren’t that red in real life. The umbrella and tables are red and we are basking in their glow :-).

I found a shave ice machine on Amazon and it’s not expensive. I could make my own flavoring from coconut milk and fresh fruit. But I have a feeling that after a couple of weeks the machine (made from plastic I’m sure) would be sitting in the cabinet gathering dust. Dang… we’ll just have to go back to Hawaii!

Wednesday Giveaway

Del is this week’s winner. She will receive a spool of Aurifil’s 80wt, 100% cotton thread in gray (#2615). This thread is very fine and it is strong. I use it for English paper piecing. You can also use it for hand applique if your stitches are not too long. Try it, you’ll love it!

I’ll be back next Wednesday with another Giveaway. Happy stitching!

Click here to shop Piece O’ Cake online.