Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Craft Therapy and healing

It all seems a bit fuzzy now, but the night of the fire we went straight to the Floyd Hotel. We had nothing but the clothing on our backs. Shortly after arriving we met with red cross who provided basic necessities like soap, tooth brushes, blankets etc.  So the next day the first thing we did was head to town to buy clothing.  We went to goodwill and purchased 2 pair of pants, 2 shirts and a sweat shirt each. We also purchased food, and let each of the kids pick out a new toy. We were in survival mode, and our needs were very minimal.  However for me, buying new craft supplies was a huge priority.  i didn't need much, just a few supplies so i could continue to make my bendy dolls.  It really wasn't a want, it was truly a need.

This picture was taken the second week after the fire when we were staying above the garage at a friend's house.  i had several wonderful friends send boxes of craft donations.  Supplies to make bendy dolls, yarn and crochet hooks, fabric, beads and even doll making supplies.

My dear friend Justine told me "I just KNEW that you needed to make those dolls. I know how important it is to still be YOU even in everyday matters, I cannot imagine how vital that could be when your world is literally melting."  

She was right on.  i needed to make the dolls, i needed to crochet, i need to cling to anything that would keep me from falling apart completely.  i need to craft both as a distraction, and as a way to heal.

 So only two weeks after closing my The Enchanted Tree FB page/shop indefinitely  i reopened and began to sell my dolls again..

Making hand made gifts for my children has always been incredibly important to me. When i think about all that we lost, it's all those handmade items made by me, and others that really hurts. So once we were 'settled' in the rental house i immediately began making my kids handmade gifts  
i had made my daughter a new doll every year that she as born. i had made her crocheted dolls, rag dolls, felt dolls, bendy dolls and waldorf dolls. 
So i had an intense need to make her a doll.  The first new doll  i made was this felt elf/fairy for my daughter. Because i had limited craft supplies i just used what i had on hand.  It was intended to be a fairy, but when my daughter saw it she wanted it without the wings. i plan to still make the wings, but  she'll be able to take them on and off. 

My boy is 11, so i wasn't sure if he would want a doll.  For x-mas i had made him a Harry Potter Bendy set, and was planning to replace them eventually. However, when i asked if he had any interest in a doll he requested Gandalf.  So this is the doll i made for him. i would have liked to have used different shades of gray in his cloak/robes...but i used what i had. i still think he came out pretty neat, and i love the way the staff turned out. 

Last year, for my daughters 6th birthday i made her a 16" Waldorf doll. You can read all about it here.  It was such a beautiful doll, so much love and time was put into her. :(  With my girl's 7th B-day coming up in June i suddenly was over come with the need to make a new doll.  

So last week i sat down and created this lovely waldorf doll.  Having not made any waldorf dolls in over a year, i am pretty happy with her.  i felt such a need to make her that she was completed in only two days. i still plan to make more clothing and accessories for her.  We will be in the RV at the time of my daughter's b-day, and i doubt i'll be doing much sewing there. So i'm trying to get as much done as i can before we move over there. 

She is 12" tall, and all the materials for her were donated from various friends...making the doll even that much more special. Although she was made by my hands, it was the love of many that helped her come to be.   She does not yet have a name, and i would love suggestions if you have one.  i've been thinking Grace, but i'm not quite sure that its the right name for her.  i would love something that represents the combined love that is put into her.

i have such a terrible time wrapping up these blog posts. i'm not the best of writers, and i typically spot lots of typos weeks later when i'm deleting the spam comments. :)  i guess i just wanted to express gratitude once again to all those who have helped us along the way.  It's one of those things i think about every single day.  i wake up and put on a skirt sent by one friend, a shirt from another. Almost every item in this house that belongs to me, connects me with someone else.  i wake up every morning grateful for all of the people and  blessings in my life.

Although i know i'll never be able to replace all the handmade items we lost in the fire, i am making new things and i am healing in the process.  It's going to be a long road of healing, but i know we'll get there eventually. Thank you all for your continued support.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Twisted Flame Glassworks artist feature and giveaway!!

i always enjoy featuring and helping to promote new artists on my blog. 
Alan Jeskewitz, is a  borosilicate glass artist out of Chicago area. His etsy shop features many lovely glass pendants at really great prices and all pieces include free shipping!  

A bit about Alan.  

"Working as a technician at a large telecommunications company, in Chicago, I have always looked for a creative outlet to escape. I have worked with wood, clay, paint, metal but nothing would hold my interest until I met glass.  Being an avid fisherman I decided to combine glass and fishing. Designing and producing a line of lures was fun but took a turn down a path I decided not to go down. Moving to a more art rather than function approach to glass has been an amazing learning experience. Buying every book and video I could find and watching every You Tube video made about glass, In three years I have been able to learn a lot but still feel I haven't scratched the surface on what flame working has to offer."

 " I'm finally at a point I feel I have learned enough to start to sell my work, I have opened an Etsy store and began to get my work and name out there. I have a lot more to learn and as I do my art will change as I grow with this amazing creative outlet."

You can view more of Alan work in his Etsy Shop Twisted Flame Glassworks.  If you are looking for a certain shape or color pendant, you can contact Alan directly about custom orders through etsy. 

You can also connect with Alan on facebook at Twisted Flame Glassworks

All of his pendants are made with borosilicate glass on a torch and annealed in a computerized kiln to remove any stresses to the glass. The annealing process ensures that your pendant is strong and durable enough to last a lifetime.

. The lamp worked flower pendants are all one of a kind and each one is signed and dated by the artist.  This one has an encased cubic zirconium, so lovely!   Most of the pendants in his etsy shop are priced between $10-$50,  very affordable for a piece of hand made art! 

Alan has generously offered this beautiful glass pendants to a lucky reader!  The pendant measures 26mm and is 12mm thick. It has a cubic ziconium encased in the center, and a steel loop. This piece would look stunning on a simple cord necklace, or incorporated into your own beadwork.

Please enter on the rafflecopter form below, you may have to wait a moment for it to load.
Open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Bendy Doll FB Giveaway!!

Hey folks! i'm giving away this lovely little spring flower fairy, over on my facebook page. Entering is easy, but you do have to enter on the FB page and follow all the steps to be eligible.

 To enter:
1. LIKE The Enchanted Tree
2. LIKE this post.
3. SHARE this post. (you must post publicly or it won't count)
4. Leave a comment on the post letting me know that you 'LIKED & SHARED" and why you'd like to win! 

Easy Peasy! Good Luck!
Winner will be picked on April 30th.


i was beginning to wonder if winter would ever end. We were hit with a surprise snow/ice storm the first week of April.  Finally, the winter has retreated and the flowers of spring are appearing everywhere.  We've been spending a lot of time at the property, cleaning out gardens and flower beds, hiking through the woods and playing down at the creek.

These little yellow wood violets are one of the first to appear.  They cover the floor of the woods, and are a welcome splash of color in area that is still covered in brown dead leaves.

 Bloodroot also blooming, and the may apples and trillium and just starting to poke out of the ground. i also found a wild ginger for the first time!  Funny how i can explore these woods for over a decade and still find new things. They are always changing.  i love this time of year, and could spend all day wandering through the woods looking for wildflowers.

We've been getting lots of creek time.  The kids would be here all day, everyday if they could.

We spotted our first snake! A sure sign that spring is here to stay!

The past few weeks have been full of ups and downs, and i will try to update eventually.  i'm also going to work on posting a few artist features/giveaways and product reviews again, as it's a nice distraction and helps me to keep this blog active.  i'm giving away a spring bendy doll over on FB this week, and will have a post up later today with the link and instructions for entering.

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.  ~Proverb

Friday, April 12, 2013

Where we are and a bit on gratitude.

Just a little update. i was hoping to do a better job of blogging our journey, but honestly it has just been so overwhelming and exhausting. We spent the last month putting together our personal possessions claim.  This was incredible difficult, not only because of the amount of stuff we had...but because we had to try and remember it all. Up until this point, i had kind of blocked it all out. i knew we lost everything, but i hadn't really put that much thought into what 'everything' was.
   So every day i would mentally 'walk' though my house, opening drawers, cabinets and closets and writing down everything that i could possibly remember. i carried a notebook with me because i always seem to remember things at the most random times. This process took a lot out of us.  Once we had the lists completed we then had to look up the retail prices and replacement cost for each and every item.  We had something like 55 pages of items to go through.

We just finally finished that up about two weeks ago and now the focus has been on where we will go next. We are only guaranteed to be here until the end of April.  We live in a very rural area and so there are very few rental options.  There really is nothing that's close to our property. Moving into an apartment in Floyd just isn't an option.

i just want to go home. It's not even a want at this point, i need to go home.  With our animals at our other property we are driving back and forth daily to check them. Most of my favorite chickens are dead and i worry that my dogs will eventually run away and not return, get hit by a car, or get shot for chasing the cows down the road. Despite having both the chickens in a fenced pen, and the dogs in a kennel, they always find a way out. 

We have talked about a few different possibilities for temporary housing.  My first thought was a trailer, but our property isn't flat and there is just no good place to put it with out it being in the way of the construction crew.  So then we talked about a yurt or an RV.

As much i love the idea of a yurt, once we started to pricing them we quickly decided it wasn't go to work for us.  The basic yurt cost is low, but once you add the platform, and insulation (since we'd need it in the winter) it starts to get rather expensive.  We would also have to buy appliances and furnish it and it was just really more than we were willing to spend.  So then we started to seriously look at RVs.

We looked at a lot of RVs. We drove to Roanoke, Christiansburg, Galax and Mount Airy (NC). 

We spent weeks searching through the craigslist ads, visiting RV lots and trying to narrow down what we would need in an RV.

One of the really nice things about an RV is that it is furnished. We will still have to buy pots and pans, flatware, dishes, bedding etc.  but it coomes with the major stuff.  This one was our favorite (in our price range) has a full size sofa that pulls out into a sofa bed. A dinette set, which also turns into a bed. A masters suite with a queen sized bed, closet, built in dresser with tons of cabinets. 

 It has a lots of storage/cabinets which is really nice since there isn't a whole lots of space.  The kitchen space has a fridge w/freezer, gas stove top and oven, a microwave, sink, lots of cabinets and food pantry!  There are also two bar stools on the other size of the counter.  There really is an amazing amount of space in it.

There are built in bunk beds for the kids, and even a closet!   The bathroom is to the right, and it has a sink toilet, and mini bath tub w/ shower.  We should be able to hook it all up to our well/septic and electricity at the house site.  Once we get through this step of finding our next temporary home, we are hoping we will be able to relax a bit, and start to focus and plan for the rebuild.

We cannot give enough THANKS to all of those that have helped with donations of money, physical items, love, kind thoughts and prayers. We appreciate every bit of it more than can be expressed in words.

There truly have been SO many people that have helped us out in SO many ways. It is hard to imagine what it have been like to go through this without the support of so many loving individuals.

Once i finally get back to blogging a little more regularly.  i really hope to do a series on Gratitude. There are many individuals and businesses both big and small that i would like to recognize for their gestures of kindness and love. THANK YOU, not only for helping us but for the beauty, light, kindness and positive energy you all add to the world.

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Gandalf” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit