Lee Charlton: The Five Question Interview

Lee Charlton is the artist/owner at Felting Farmer Lady where she creates sculptures with wool, spins, and knits. She also sells hand-dyed fibers, roving, and handspun yarns for other fiber enthusiasts.

She lives on a small homestead farm in Central Texas with her husband and a host of critters.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

We moved to Bastrop County in 1985 along with a group of friends when we found a most beautiful spot of land in the western part of the county.  It just happened to be in the Elgin ISD.  We raised 3 children here, all of whom attended the Elgin public schools.  In 2005 we bought a sweet little farm just south of Elgin which we share with 2 sheep, a pig, 3 donkeys, an old bull, 4 dogs and a cat.  The farm welcomes all sorts of visitors and especially the grandchildren.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I am not one that holds still well and love when my hands are busy.  Taking wool and creating beauty just fills my heart, it’s plain and simple.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

I have always done crafty things but until I retired in 2011, had never attempted an art form that needed to be developed over time.  In the last five years I have learned to keep at it over and over and over again until what is in my mind communicates with what my hands create and the result pleases me. I have learned how to run a small business, all sorts of social media promotional stuff that is a pain but necessary and tackled creating a website which I am quite proud of.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Hmmm, I have to divide my time between creating product for my on-line business (I sell wool to others who do needle felting and spinning so process a lot of raw wool by washing and dyeing) and my own creating.  Needle felting is creating sculptures with wool.  I also spin yarn, knit and most recently, have dived into botanical printing. Botanical printing is a process that draws out the tannins from leaves onto wool/silk and cotton fabrics.  I use natural dyes to modify these prints as well.

This time of year I am busy planning upcoming workshops, doing taxes and all the fiddly stuff one has to do. I have several large projects swirling in my head that I want to tackle this year.  Spring will be a lovely time to get started.

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie! A good apple pie is the essence of life.

feltingfarmerlady.com
@feltingfarmerlady
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Free Printable Valentines

Do you still send Valentine’s? I realize (like me) you may only have faint memories of stuffing valentines in your classmates’ Valentine’s mailboxes, but these free printables just might be just as fun at the office, yoga class, or stitch & bitch.

Print, fold and tuck these tiny valentines on copy paper or card stock. These will fit into a 4-Bar size envelope, or just tuck one, as is, in that special someone’s laptop bag.

Download the free Valentine printable

Tip: Be sure to print in landscape mode and at the best quality your home printer can output. 

PS. Check out last year’s cute critter printable Valentines here

Emma Clark: The Five Question Interview

Emma in her home studio

Emma Clark is the artist/owner of Ferret & Fern where she creates nature-inspired illustrations and handmade accessories, responsibly crafted to minimize environmental impact.

Keeping with her love of nature, Emma tries to source her materials as responsibly as possible. Using ethically sourced fabrics, or second-hand fabric from clothing, fabric, and remnants when she can find them. 

She makes her own natural dyes, sourced or grown locally when possible, and also uses non toxic printing inks.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

We moved to Elgin initially because we could afford a place downtown, being able to walk to shops and bars was really important to me. Having lived here a while though, I realise how much Elgin has to offer in the way of community and life style! Small town life is definitely the way forward 😊

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

This is a hard one… I don’t think I could name any one thing, if I don’t create anything I get itchy and anxious. I find the process of creating intellectually challenging and incredibly rewarding. Making something beautiful from a simple idea is the best feeling! 

Turmeric Dyed Organic Silk Scarf

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

How to open myself up to people to build new and better friendships. That owning a dog is just as amazing as I thought it would be! That I make art for myself and not for others.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Original art for “It’s Hot in Texas” print

 I’m making a crochet cardigan, I’m reading a book called Overstory, and watching Carnival Row and Picard

5. Cake or Pie?

Cake vs sweet pie – cake! Cake vs savoury pie – pie!

ferretandfern.com
Etsy shop
@ferretandfern

Happy Groundhog Day!

It’s official, Spring will come early this year!

There are so many reasons to love this odd, quaint custom…

  1. Men dressed in top hats and tails gather to greet a groundhog.
  2. A groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil.
  3. A town named Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
  4. Gobblers Knob.
  5. That this gets news coeverage every single year.
  6. It’s like a real life Beatrix Potter experience.

A Perfect Roast Chicken in Your Dutch Oven

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been relying heavily on your Instant Pot and allowing your once trusty and well used dutch ovens to sit there just waiting to be loved again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Instant Pot, but in all that hastiness I miss the lingering fragrance of a slow roasting chicken, beef roast, or baking bread, along with the anticipation it creates.

I am going to revisit a few of my favorite dinners, which are best suited to baking, roasting, or braising in a dutch oven.

The following chicken recipe is perfect. No lie. The brilliance of how the crusty bread and vegetables create a rustic dressing is really nothing short of genius. So simple and so amazing.

My 21-year-old oval 5 qt. Dutch oven has been benched for a while, it’s the perfect shape and size for a chicken and trimmings.

I roasted mine with ciabatta, carrots, and red potatoes because I’d already used my butternut squash for soup, and was not planning to put on real pants and go shopping. I drizzled extra virgin olive oil on everything before popping it in the oven. The recipe didn’t cal for it, but I felt it needed a litle. Next time I may make it without. Oh, and I didn’t bother trussing it either.

The ciabatta proved to be the perfect choice, the edges were toasted and the rest chewy and flavorful. A baguette would be great too. You want lots of crust in this dish. Trust me. The carrots and potatoes were yummy, but I’m already thinking of other veggie combinations:

  • mushroom, leek, and fennel
  • wild rice, mushroom, and leek
  • Sundried tomato and artichoke hearts

Note: Just leave all the leftovers in the Dutch oven and refrigerate. I popped mine in the oven at 350º for about 30 minutes to reheat. The trimmings were even better reheated. I swear.

I took this one step further and tossed in some aromatics, filled the pot with water, and placed on the stovetop to make stock. Why not?

Here is a link to the recipe here

PS. Try this Buttermilk Roast Chicken and catch up on Conan O’brien Needs a Friend

The Sound of Her Voice

I was really surprised at how much I loved the documentary about Linda Ronstadt The Sound of My Voice. I guess I never realized how much of a maverick she was.

In the mid-eighties I waited tables at a small Mexican restaurant in the southern California mountains, and Canciones de Mi Padre and Trio were on heavy rotation. Hard to beleive both those albums came out in 1987. People would always jump a little when she belted out the first two notes of La Charreada. It was fun to watch so we always made sure to have it at full volume. Her voice was crystal clear and powerful!

Links

Watch it on CNN or Amazon Prime
Canciones de Mi Padre, Linda Ronstadt
Listen to La Charreada
Trio, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt

Hedgehogs, Squirrels & Snails… oh My!

Craft the Seasons by French artist Nathalie Lété.

I’ll admit to fangirling and being easily swayed by an Instagram post on @looplondonloves of Helena Bonham Carter clutching a copy while shopping at Loop. I was intrigued by the cover art enough to order one. Yes, I usually do judge a book by its cover.

When I received my copy I was struck by its whimsy and beauty so much I quickly ordered one for my niece for Christmas, thinking she’d like it too. The projects in the book are meant to be cut out and used. If I can ever bring myself to pull these pages apart I may need another copy to have one intact. This book is so lovely. IMHO it would be appreciated by all ages 7+.

Links

Buy the book Craft the Seasons by Nathalie Lété
Website Nathalie-lete.com
Instagram @nathatlie_lete
Loop website loopknittingshop.com
Instagram @looplondonloves

Resolution #1 Keep Learning

If one of your resolutions is to learn mesoemthing new (hello ukulele), then the folks at Bluprint have a deal for you! Especially if you’ve been wanting to learn how to knit, quill, decorate a cake, or like me, crochet a cute cactus. My friend Martha let me know that Bluprint is offering free classes until 1/7. Sign up for free and craft your little heart out this weekend.

I’ll be crocheting a cactus this weekend, what will you make? Time to get crafty my friend.

mybluprint.com

Ceramic Christmas Trees

One of my favorite things to pull out every year is this lovely painted ceramic tree that my mother-in-law Edna sent to us years ago. I beleive she painted it in the 70’s but not really sure. I love how pearly white it is, somehow kitcshy and elegant at the same time. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Obviously you can buy these ready made and just plug it in, but if you want to get your hands on an original vintage tree, you’ll need to search eBay and thrift stores. Better yet, ask your aunts and grandmothers if they may have one tucked away.

Read about the history of these DIY gems here