Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice everyone! After today we can look forward to the days getting longer and Spring's eventual return.


We experienced one of our rare winter snows this past weekend,


lovely coming down


and mostly gone by today, typical for NC. Some of the Nest residents were not at all happy with the snow, but they found the bird watching to be excellent.

bird watching

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Decking the Nest and A Recipe Too!

Well the tree is up, some of the presents are wrapped, carols are in heavy rotation ( my favorites being Jethro Tull's Christmas Album and The Sounding Joy by The Mair Davie Duo...good stuff!) and the cookie making is about to commence! I thought I'd share some pictures of my tree and a great easy cookie recipe. First the tree and it's trims...

As you can see, it's a mix of handmade, antique, and just plain silly...note the crab? Also it was recently pointed out to me that a lot of the ornaments are vertical...well I do love icicles and of course I have all those gorgeous okra!

This last ornament is very special to me because it once belonged to my great aunt Florence. She was my grandmother's older sister and one of my favorite people of all time. Her own grandchildren lived far away, so she lavished all of her huge store of affection on the four of her eyes we could do no wrong. Aunt Florence was a fantastic cook and going to her house always meant some wonderful treat would be waiting for my siblings and me. This recipe was one of our favorites and in my mind Christmas just isn't the same without these yummy cookies.

Flossie's Party Cookies
1 cup Butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted white flour
10 oz. milk chocolate ( can sub bittersweet chocolate)
chopped nuts ( for Xmas can sub crushed peppermint

Cream butter and sugar until light. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Add vanilla then flour. Blend well. spread in an 11x17 jelly roll pan and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with broken bits of chocolate. Let these sit for 1-2 minutes, so they melt, and then spread evenly over the cookies with a knife. sprinkle with the chopped nuts (or peppermint). When cool, cut into squares and store in a tightly covered container in a cool place.

To give credit where it is due, the dark chocolate and peppermint idea comes from my sister and it really does make for a lovely and yummy Xmas version.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Last Ones!

TheHoliday Crew

Well the last ones for this year anyway. I loaded these ladies into the shop this morning and now I'll be working on presents for the next few weeks. Every year I say I'll get them made in advance, and every year I end up with a bunch to make right before the holidays...I must be a pressure junkie. I'm planning on closing the shop on the 14th so I can concentrate on cookie making, present wrapping, egg nog drinking and all that other fun holiday stuff, but I promise to still keep updating my blog until I reopen in January. So wish me luck and no tangles as I delve into my tasks... and I will see you soon!

...and in the same Holiday spirit, I made a fun Ornament treasury today that you should definitely take a peek at here!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Winter Fae and an Okra Digression

Well I managed to get her finished in time for the last day of free shipping in my shop...Whew!

And since I have you here, I thought we might discuss Okra. For those of you wondering what the heck does okra have to do with anything...I'll get to that. Since some might not even know what okra is, let me start there. Okra is widely grown and eaten here in the South. It's used to thicken stews, sauteed and frequently dipped in batter and fried. Frankly I'm not a fan, I think it's slimey and disgusting however you cook it. BUT a dear friend of mine has for years now been making the most incredibly beautiful ornaments out of dried okra ...the best use for it in my humble opinion! Each one takes an incredible amount of time to make, all that hand painting and gluing of individual beads, and they are simply stunning on a Christmas/Solstice tree. I have about 30 on mine that I've acquired over the years so I can attest that they are fantastically durable too. But probably the best thing would be to show you, so check these out.....

Aren't they amazing? I would go blind putting on those beads! She also turns tiny ones into beautiful brooches.
And the best part is that she has now opened a shop on Etsy, Fabricated By Dena, so go right now and take a peek. If you're looking for something truly unique to add to your wishlist this year, I think you may have found it... and you don't even have to eat this okra to love it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Free Shipping!

Don't miss out on Free Shipping world wide on all items frommy Etsy shop, the Fairies' Nest, today and tomorrow only. And just in time I've added a couple more pixies to the shop ...

I'm hoping to add another bigger doll as well so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Dolls at last and a bit of a Sale!

At last... meet Holly my new art doll! Yes, I have finally finished a new art doll as well as a couple of little holiday dolls. There are two more of the larger dolls on my table almost ready and I'm all caught up on commissions, so I'm feeling pretty productive these days. Of course I'm spending the rest of today and tomorrow getting ready to serve Thanksgiving for 23 people so I imagine that feeling will be very short lived.
But here's a little Holly pixie as well....

And in the big news folks it's sale time once more! All items in my Etsy Shop will have free shipping for 4 days; Friday Nov. 27th through Monday Nov. 5th. So come by and take a peek!

As I mentioned, Thanksgiving is almost upon us and I am very thankful for all the wonderful folks that I've met through my blog this year, thank you so much for the support and love you've shown myself and my creations.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Welcome to the Nest!

I've been nose to the grindstone the past week...I've always wondered about that phrase, how could a bloody nose possible infer hard work? but I digress...and I have lots of work in progress but nothing that's ready to show yet. So I thought that this week that I'd take you on a virtual tour of my studio. Ready?

As you can see I tend to be ridiculously organized...except for work table which, despite last weeks excavations, is already starting to be lost under piles of fabric again. It's not there yet but I bet by the end of next week we'll be talking serious mess...okay maybe just serious for me the neat freak.

I have added a couple more mice sets to the shop (and they're pretty darn cute) as I was able to carry them with me when we went out of town last weekend to celebrate my mom's 70th birthday. A delightful party was hosted by my sister, and my brothers actually managed not to set fire to anything, so a good time was had by all. (Seriously, the fire thing is an issue with them but we love them anyway.) Hopefully I'll have some new dolls next week and a bit of news as well. See you then!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Of mice, bunnies and best laid plans...

Okay I truly did intend to make a new art doll after my last post, but I'm afraid that my own compulsiveness got in the way. Here's what happened.

First I decided that I needed to clean off my work table before I could start anything as it was piled sky high with all the debris left from my last several pieces. So I did... and it was a bit like an archeological dig, I kept finding dolls in various states of completion. When I was done I had;
1) a bag of lavender baby heads
2) a sweater bunny all made up and waiting to be dressed
3) some beautiful wool yarn I was planning on using to develop a sweater pattern
4) the completed heads and paws for two mice that needed me to design them bodies

So I decided that I need to get all of these finished before I started anything new. And here's what they all became!
The heads!
The bunny and the wool.
(This is my first attempt at designing a sweater. I like how it came out but there are some changes I'll make for the next one. Maybe I'll post the finished pattern here?)

The mice

So now my table is (mostly) clear and I'm ready to start a new doll...but what will I make? You'll just have to wait and see!
And I'll leave you with the marvelous pumpkin that our resident master carver created this year...hope you all had a wonderfully spooky and fun Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

On the Work Table

So this is what I've been working on lately...Lots of commissions and a few other new items for the shop. Can you tell what holiday most people are ordering for?
What's on the Table

Now that most of the month's commissions are finished , I'm going to take a break and make at least one art doll...because it has simply been WAY too long. How does one balance commission work, which pays the bills and is certainly therefore very welcome, with the creative need to make something new and wonderful and in my case usually not as marketable.The bigger dolls just don't sell, particularly in this economy. This has really been a struggle for me lately and I'd love to hear how others manage the balance of art and commerce...not afraid to ask the big questions today am I!
Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Autumn Treasures

I thought I'd share a few autumn lovelies I found this week on my morning walks...

The fungus have been amazing!




and of course there are the leaves which are just starting to change...



Next time some new dolls... in the meantime, Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I made up a few star ornaments for the shop. I'm almost out of my collage fabric now so it looks like these might be the last for a bit.

Fabric Stars

To make the collage fabric: I scatter glitzy yarns, fabric, and other fibers on a piece of satin; place a piece of netting in a matching color on top, pin the cloth and fiber sandwich together, run a few seams over it to hold it in place, take out the pins, and then go crazy sewing all over it with metallic threads using free motion embroidery. The finished material is incredible! But it is very time consuming to make so it may be awhile before I can launch into making more.

And despite the fact that I don't have much free time, I still decided to make a pot scrubber with recycled net bag "yarn" . I saw the idea here and thought "I can do that!" ....Ha! Crocheting the stuff was practically impossible...and the endeavor involved way too much bad I put the project away for awhile to let it "percolate". Finally I realized's the hook that's the problem, it catches in the little square holes! From this realization it was a small step to the idea of knitting the thing instead. Pretty neat way to recycle those bags...

Yeah, it's a little wonky in shape...but it is my first attempt so be kind.:)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cats and Tags

My new tags came and I've been working on some more wallets...

Aren't those tags great?! I ordered them from a shop on Etsy, Avlor. Amy, the shop owner, was an absolute dream to work with and she developed the perfect tags for me...fairyish of course! New laws here in the US require that all children's items have tags with all this info and Amy's upcycled cotton tags were the perfect fit for my natural toys. (In case you're wondering, DOM stands for "date of manufacture" and I write in the date I finish a piece after that.) And then I liked them so much I started putting them on my other items as well! I guess I went a bit...tag happy?

Calliope was trying to steal the new kitty wallet...

But I wouldn't let her have it and then I wouldn't let her stand in front of the computer monitor either...the nerve of she decided to look peevishly out the window as I typed...

and eventually when I did not give her my undivided attention...a few pets and scratches obviously don't count...she left in a huff. I'm sure I'll be paying for this later.

Now I'm off to make roast duck for dinner. It's the 27th anniversary of my being married to my best friend, who is also a totally amazing guy, and we're celebrating by cooking an amazing dinner together in our lovely new kitchen...roast duck....YUM!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ah, October

With the coming of October, Autumn seems to really have a arrived at last. I love the crisp feel in the air, the tangy scent of fallen leaves, the bright colors of the trees in contrast to the muted colors of the dying grasses and purple mists. I think this is the time of year I actually feel the most alive...not to mention I look SO much better in cold weather clothes! ;)

"The scarlet of maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
to see the frosty asters like smoke
upon the hills."

- William Bliss Carman

So I've been making autumny things lately. I made a few dolls like this fall berry pixie...

...and then I felt the need to work in my recycled sweater wools so I made a few wallets. I love this leaf one!

Then I made a few non autumn others, like this flower one (which was supposed to be a very simple flower shape but the thread kind of took over and became a vine and then there were leaves and beads know how that is....)

but I'm waiting on some new tags before I add any more than these two to the shop. I love my new tags! I'll post some pictures with them next time. And I leave you with this...

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."

- Elizabeth Lawrence

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Drum Roll Please......

Today was the day to pick the winner of my birthday gift away, and since it was my youngest son's birthday, it only seemed fitting that I let him do the honors.

The names all ready to be drawn

Some in the family are totally uninterested in the process

Max, blindfolded and ready to draw

The winning ticket!

As you can see the winner is Susie McMahon!! Congratulations Susie! Thank you so much to everyone who participated and all your lovely birthday wishes. I had so much fun doing this that I may have to make it an annual event!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Okay it is absolutely pouring rain outside and I could have sworn that they said that the chances of rain today were nil...."We'll see about THAT," says Mother Nature.

But on a completely different subject,(and jumping around a bit) I finished another storybook doll today that I wanted to share with you. Here is Rapunzel, a pensive child, what with all that hair to lug around and being locked in a tower and all that...

And only two more days to sign up here for my birthday gift away.....

Monday, September 21, 2009

We Won!

Thanks to all the wonderful support of our fans and friends, Maeve won the Woodland poll on Etsy!! Woo Hoo!! You can read the post here. And a huge thank you to all of you for your support! I'll be dancing around the studio for a bit.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Maeve is in the Running!

Maeve, my Fall Fairy Queen has been nominated for the Fall Equinox poll on Etsy! How awesome is that? If you have an Etsy account and would like to give her your vote, you can do so here. Wouldn't it be cool if she won?!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Birthday Gift Away!

Hello everyone! Tomorrow is a big day for me...drum roll half century birthday! Fifty!?! It's hard for me to even wrap my mind around the fact that I've been alive for 50 years... it seems such an impossibly short time since I was small enough to ride on my father's back, play house in a big chair (with my sister and two brothers!), and hide in the tall grass of the field behind our house. And I'm sure it was just a moment ago that my children were sweet little babies and I was a new and fairly terrified young mother. Now they're young men, still sweet but so grown up! Of course it seems that way to my parents too, I was talking to my Dad on the phone yesterday and he seemed astonished that I had the audacity to get this old! :) I guess in his mind I'll always be his little baby girl with the bow scotch taped to her head.

My First Birthday

So since it's a nice, round, and rather eventful birthday, I felt that I wanted to share my big day with my friends online. To this end I've decided to have another gift away and hold a drawing for the little birthday pixie at the top of this post. She's holding cake of course...what's a birthday without a bit of cake?

All you have to do to enter is simply respond in the comments section of this post and you're in...easy peasy! If you are a fan of The Fairies' Nest on Facebook you can leave a comment there as well and be entered twice...if you're not a fan... and why is that?! can become one by clicking on the fan button at the top right side of the page. Make sure that you leave some way to get in touch if you don't have a blogger or Facebook profile! I'll throw all the names in a hat and have a drawing on October 1st. That's my youngest's birthday so it seems fitting...maybe I'll even let him pick!

Good luck everyone!