Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A New Era. In a Couple of Ways...

With this little guy I've turned a corner in my creations. Mickey Moose is the first to have an accessory ~ if that's what you want to call his little red scarf. It's a small thing, but it's new. It sets him apart from the freckles pack. He has me thinking of new directions and new accessories. It's stretching my boundaries a bit and I'm dreaming up small little things that could add personality to my animals.

In retrospect, it is a natural progression. I'm quite comfortable creating my animals now; so the next step would be to add a little something ~ make it new again. Just one more way to set my little guys apart and make them unique.

Well, that and the fact that today I embark on a totally new adventure. My beloved tank of a Singer sewing machine - which I purchased in 1974 for about $100 - has died. So after agonizing hours of Googling and jumping on forums last night, I will be sewing machine shopping today. It was interesting to learn that in the 35 years since I last looked at sewing machines, they, too, have leapt into the 21st Century. Sadly I also learned that Singer sewing machines (which my Mom's family has always sworn by) just aren't the quality product they used to be. Seems the ancient vintage one I own (yes, it's referred to as vintage - oh, man...) still ranks as a reliable beast; but the ones made by Singer in the last 20 years are put in the crap category.

Which complicates my search a lot ~ not only am I looking at new technology, I'm seeking out the best brand. Everyone has their favorite ~ their own stories and their own experiences. I've got it narrowed down to two brands, two models and from there it's just a crap shoot. I'll be visiting two sewing centers today and making a hopeful, shot-in-the-dark decision.
That being said, yes, of course I'm excited about getting a new sewing machine that can bust a few fancy moves. I just wish it had been my choice (more time to research and "try on for size") and less a necessity. And the learning curve has to be short because there are many bunnies and puppies and mooses and penguins to bring to life. Like now.

So off to the sewing centers I go. Although there will be a learning curve (and it had better be fast one!), the timing is right, I think. I see some fun and exciting possibilities opening up for me and my friends. I think I'll look back and see all this happened for a reason. :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

M & M's and Puppy Dogs for Breakfast

That's what went thru my head as I unconsciously reached for an M & M (or should that be M singular?) this morning around 4:00 am. I'd already been up for 45 minutes. I had caught up on a couple of emails; checked into my morning websites and started sewing. Don't ask me why I've developed this habit for extremely early morning hours. All I know is I love what I'm doing; I have a lot to do; my interests are wide and varied (I just sent another photo/essay/quote book off to print on Saturday); and I'm getting a lot done.

When I spoke with my 91 year old Mom the other day she laughed at how I seem to be morphing into her. She, too, has always had many interests and has never spent a bored day in her life. She, too, got by on just a few hours of sleep a day ~ she raised 5 kids and worked full-time as a nurse on the night shift at our local hospital. I told her I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather be. :)

So with one dog down this morning, I've five more to make to complete the special order of nine Christmas dogs. They will come to life in a bit. First a walk in the park with my real live dog and my camera are in order ~ one last day of Indian Summer left and I don't want to miss it!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thinking Holiday...

And the holiday frenzy begins... Even though it's a bit of a challenge to picture snow falling, candles glowing, family gathering today as the window above my desk is blowing a warm 80 degree breeze into my studio. *wink*

Yet I am filling a special order for 9 dogs in various holiday-themed fabrics. One down, eight to go... This is the first little guy ~ Nicholas.
Too much fun. :) Puts me in the mood to get my own holiday critters ready for the shop in a couple of weeks!

Monday, October 12, 2009

It seems like ages since I've been able to add someone
new to the shop. I've been busy organizing (made a storyboard which I'll blog about one of these days) and a few special orders ~ they're starting to flow in for the holidays. :) Which makes me smile. :)

Anyway, ever since Joey the Giraffe went to live with a sweet little heart patient, I haven't had too many "wild" animals in the shop. It was time. So meet Samantha.

Samantha says:
"Hi, my name is Samantha and I am a giraffe. I wasn’t really born in Africa, but my ancestors were. I’m looking for a best friend who likes to visit zoos (as long as I’m on the people side of the fences) so I can see my distant relatives. Right now I live mostly with bunnies and puppies and bears, but there are two elephants so we share conversation about the old country.
I am soft and cuddly and ready to find a home! I like chocolate chip ice cream, bicycle rides, Wii bowling and hugs. I hope you’ll think about taking me home with you. And if you like strawberry ice cream, I’m flexible."

She's just hanging around looking for ice cream, so if you're in the market for a giraffe stop on by :)

Friday, October 9, 2009


Not all my "Breast Cancer Comfort Friends" are obvious. Take Suki here. She's a little more subtle in her support. She sports cheerful polka dots with a pink background, but she also wears an understated breast cancer pink ribbon around her heart.

But she is full of love and support; comfort and hugs, too. She and many like her are available in

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sisters and Mothers and Daughters...

A while back I said I would talk about why breast cancer awareness is so important to me. Two of the reasons are pictured here. One is no longer on this plane. One is sitting here writing this.

On the left is my Aunt Myrt (short for Myrtle, but we have always called her Myrt). She is my Mom's little sister. That's Mom - the party girl on the right. I took this photo last year at my Mom's 90th birthday party. Which explains the tiara. But if you ask me, I think she deserves to wear it every day! :)

Aunt Myrt was diagnosed with breast cancer so many years ago I can't even remember when it was ~ late 60's, early 70's maybe. And honestly, at that time and in my Midwestern Norwegian-rooted family ~ we just didn't talk about things like that. I do know that she had a double mastectomy and for years - actually to this day - has suffered after effects from treatments and recurring problems. But see that smile? It has rarely left her. Which makes me love and admire her all the more.

Another Aunt - Lois - was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time, I believe. Again, Midwestern... Norwegians... we just didn't talk about it. Again, (I believe) a double mastectomy and recurring problems for years. She died a few years ago and I have to think that the many years of treatments, etc. helped to wear her body down.

Mom? Well, Mom had a lumpectomy several years ago and bless her - it was benign. As a tribute to her sisters she took part in a clinical trial for tamoxifen (a breast cancer fighting drug) for a couple of years before the FDA approved it. She felt it was the least she could do.

As for me, from the time I was 20 years old I dealt with fibrocystic breast disease ~ you know, the ol' lumpy breast syndrome. I started with yearly mammograms in my late 20's and continue to this day. Before the mammo machines were upgraded across the board, I had to be sure they put me in the right room ~ you know, the one with the super duper machine that could see thru ultra-dense breasts. I've had more ultra-sounds than I can count; needle biopsies (those aren't much fun - like being shot with a nail gun); met with cancer doctors to determine exactly how high-risk I was and ultimately underwent surgery myself - to remove a large myserious lump. That was the strangest surgery I've ever had. I was awake, talking with the doctor and the nurse as the doctor operated under a local anesthetic and removed this big lump. TMI - definitely for me. I wanted to be asleep...

I was one of the lucky ones ~ it was benign. But it was a wake up call for me. I began to appreciate my days more because I knew ~ there but the grace of God... And I knew I needed to give back for those who haven't been so fortunate.

Over the years I've done different things to help the cause but the biggest to date has to be my "Breast Cancer Comfort Friends" featured in my shop. And now you know why each little bunny and puppy that leaves my shop to bring comfort to someone suffering is so very special to me...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hope the Bunny is a TV Star!

I can't thank Kim and Kirk and 9News, NBC in Denver enough for featuring one of my "Breast Cancer Comfort Friends" on their 4 o'clock news Friday, October 2. You're the best!

Take a peek at Hope the Bunny's television debut here
And her friends are awaiting adoption here!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thank You 9News!

Hope, a Breast Cancer Comfort Bunny, was
featured on 9News NBC Denver yesterday! (Video to follow!) Pretty cool seeing one of my little guys on TV ~ and they were very generous to post my Etsy shop address, too! Thank you, 9News!
Hope is part of my month-long campaign to raise awareness (and a couple of buckaroos) for breast cancer. 20% of each sale of one of my breast cancer comfort friends will go to Susan G Komen for the Cure.
Many of these little guys are highlighted in my showcase today in the gift guide, so stop on by and get a hug. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ella the Elephant

Ella is going to be joining her Breast Cancer Comfort Sistahs in the shop on Saturday. freckles & friends is taking part in a gift guide showcase on Etsy then ~ stop by and see who else may be joining her!