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1  Re: IYP 26: So you think you can craft! Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: October 18, 2014 05:34:36 AM
Hi everyone, I'm back from 3 weeks of vacation.  The first thing I did when I got home was open my package from Knickertwist.  She sent me the most gorgeous box of thoughtful goodies.  I took like a gazillion photos so sit back, grab a cup of tea and be amazed....

Even the card she sent is made of awesome.  I think sharing a bottle of wine with Knickertwist might be on my bucket list.

She sent me Graphic 45 paper stacks and a tag album!  G45 is my favorite paper supplier, and these are all things I didn't have in my ever-expanding stash. 

Gorgeous flowers.  Just gorgeous. 

I can't tell you how excited I was to find some of Knickertwist's handcrafted Christmas ornaments in my box!  The wishing star says "sparkle" and she included one of her cheeky snowballs.  Lucky me!

A tiny frosted container of Christmas Magic.  Smiley  What a sweet little treasure.

She included one of the faerie specimen bottles collected from around Pixie Hill.  I've admired these forever.  The label reads: Cleaning the ducts last week we uncovered several houses.  Cheeky things!

She included a little bench for the faeries in my garden.  I need to craft a tiny garden around it and will make that one of my 2015 project goals.

My first ever domino pendant, and it's Halloween themed.  Halloween is pretty much the only time of year I wear any jewelry besides my wedding ring and I'm thrilled to have a Knickertwist piece to add to my collection.   Smiley

This was a special request.  I am gathering pieces for an altered puzzle and she kindly agreed to complete a piece for me.  I told her it was 'artist's choice' and requested something of her signature style.  Isn't it lovely?!

This blew my socks off.  It's a painting of our goat Summer.  She was a triplet whose momma rejected her at birth so I raised her on the bottle.  She follows me around everywhere even though she's a momma herself now.  This captures her beautifully! 

This little book took my breath away.  I believe it to be a found journal of faeries who obviously live somewhere on our property.  My husband and I were both amazed at all of the details, and laughed at some of the journal entries.  I'm going to include all of the pages and their handwritten notes here.

They evidently included notations of things they find fascinating.

We have a small flock of sheep on our farm, this is of interest to the fairies.  This journal entry reads: "Sheep are a good source of milk and warmth.  Stay on their good side."

Hmmm.... this explains a lot...  "When raiding the pantry, tis better to make many small raids than one large one.  The humans won't suspect a thing."  I believe they've taken notice that I spend a lot of time in my kitchen canning and preserving. 

This page states "The pond is excellent for swimming" and "Stolen inventory: Feed, Grain, Tomatoes, Cheese, Wool"
Our house overlooks a large pond and these are all things readily found on our farm.  And frequently go missing.  Grin

"Flattery will get you far with the chickens" and "For warm fresh eggs be extra flirty with the hens".  So true! There are a few soft chicken feathers that were collected and included with this page. 

This entry reads "IMPORTANT: Beware of anything with horns"  Our fairies are very astute, that's an important rule on any farm!  There's also a note warning "More bad news, Sam the buck goat is back."  We lost our buck last winter and our veterinarian supplied us with a buck from our original herd.  We gave him and his wife goats to get their farm started years ago.  Sam arrived back 'home' a few months ago.  Apparently the fairies have taken notice.  They have also collected a bit of fleece and tucked it in here. 

I think they have taken notice that I like to make cheese.  A lot.

This page notes "Looks like another hard winter.  Thank the gods for that little indoor garden."  I believe we will be sharing our greenhouse bounty with the faeries over the next few months!  There are also a few almanac pages included here. 

This entry amazed me...  it refers to the addition of a new guardian dog puppy we brought home late spring.  She's a great pyrenees named Lizzie Borden and an incredible and slightly blurry photo of her is included here.  "Be wary around the animals.  They attract predators.  On the bright side, critters often get blamed for faerie shenanigans."  "The humans have a new beast.  We must warn the little ones to stay clear of the fluffy thing called Lizzy"  LOL!

An entry dedicated to our garden!  It reads "Despite being told to show restraint, Doogle took all of the bush beans"  and "We must take extra precaution not to be noticed".  Ha!  We had blamed the complete loss of our bean crop on deer!  After losing our bean crop for two years running, we had decided to give them up for good.  Now that we know the faeries have been enjoying them, I think we need to keep planting them after all.   Smiley

My husband found an obsidian egg in our potato patch during harvest this summer(!)  This entry reads: "Disaster.  The obsidian egg is lost.  Crisp was drunk in the potato patch and lost the treasure."

Here's a photo of what he found:   Grin

This page includes an entry stating "Excellent harvest of peanuts"  This cracked us up!  We planted a huge patch of Virginia peanuts this year for the first time (we live in Virginia) and only one plant yielded anything.  This explains it! 

The last page pretty much summarizes the objectives of our small farm.  Grow Your Own Food.

This tiny journal is exquisite as is everything else I received.  It proves that someone is watching us at our daily toils (or at least is reading our blog).   Cheesy  I have wanted to do an IYP swap with Knickertwist forever and am so happy it finally happened.  Thank you so much for the beautiful, amazing, and extremely thoughtful package, Nichola.  I'm so very touched and grateful.   Kiss
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2  Wonky Gorey Quilt in CHALLENGE 102 ENTRIES by MissingWillow on: September 06, 2014 07:16:23 AM
When the fantastic Knickertwist agreed to be my partner for the current Invite Your Partner swap my first emotion was panic, as in what on earth am I going to make her?  Then I remembered she hosted the Edward Gorey swap and I had some Alexander Henry Ghastlies fabric in my stash that is so very Gorey-esque and know that she has pinned a quilt or two in the past so decided on a lap quilt for her. This was my first try at a wonky quilt, I found it lots of fun to do!

Here's a closeup of one of my favorite squares.

And another. 
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3  Re: Mini 13 Days of Halloween Round 6 in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: September 02, 2014 12:20:35 PM
(I will be opening from October 19-31)

Alrighty... I opened my first package today and was absolutely thrilled to find this delightful adjustable candelabra!  It has transparent spooky images that seem to be floating inside of the clear glass balls.  Awesome!  Thank you so much coocoosnest!

A zombie chia pet!  How awesome is this?  And so very 'me'.   Cheesy

Three of the thickest, squishiest, perfect sized crocheted (I think... I'm so very yarn-challenged) pads for our holiday table.  I need these so bad, they will not be stored in early November.  

Practical Magic coasters!  One of my favorite movies ever!
This one shows them on the roof of that gorgeous house at the end of the movie and says "We Owens women have always created a stir"

A photo of Sally that says "Plant lavender for luck and fall in love whenever you can"

Gillian's says "Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder and Keep rosemary by your garden gate"

Midnight margaritas!!!  "Eye of newt and toe of frog.  Wool of bat and tongue of dog.  Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting.  Barbados lime is just the thing.  Cragged salt like a sailor's stubble.  Flip the switch and Let The Cauldron Bubble.  How Convivial!" 

Aren't they fantastic??
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4  Re: Halloween in June Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: July 10, 2014 01:22:16 PM
My box arrived from quaggy today.  I might have mentioned that I collect zombie sheep....   Cheesy  It's the most darling, perfectest, awesomest treasure box! 

Here's a shot of the box, she decorated it with spiders all around. 

The top has the most gorgeous zombie sheep embroidery!  It's the perfect shade of green.

A closeup of the sheep's head.  She used a zipper (I bow to your skills) which opens to show the sheep's brains.  SO Clever!

The box wasn't empty, it's full of fun Halloween extras.  I am going to put that glass tea light holder on display right now.  I don't care that it's July!   Thank you so much, quaggy!  I'm so happy to finally be able to swap with you!
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5  Re: Living Off The Land in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by MissingWillow on: July 04, 2014 09:54:08 AM
That's a great question, dulcet.  Smiley  This is what we're doing in our retirement.  It keeps us busy!  We did work full time for the first few years when we got started but were only able to handle potted vegetables and a few sheep at the time. 

I would encourage anyone with no space wishing for a garden to consider growing in containers.  Here's our back deck a few years ago, it's full of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, herbs and citrus. 

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6  Halloween Placemats in Halloween Decor and Parties by MissingWillow on: July 01, 2014 02:14:53 PM
I made these placemats for quaggy in the Halloween in June swap.  She had mentioned in her questionnaire that she'd enjoy a set of them.  They are all the same except for the central images, which all are inspired by vintage monster movies. 

Here is an 'action shot' from quaggy because I didn't think to get a photo of them in place on my table before I sent them (duh!)   Cheesy
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7  Re: Altered Spool Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: June 26, 2014 09:48:00 AM
You guys... our fantastic co-organizer surprised me with an altered spool and I just LOVE it!  A gorgeous wrapped wire tree with a swing made from the top and bottom of an old spool from her Grandmother's sewing box.  What she had no idea of knowing is my dad made me a single rope round swing like that when I was in the 2nd grade and I had it until I left home for college.   Smiley  Look how shiny it is in the sunlight!

Here's a view from above.

And a lovely close-up I swiped from her.   Cheesy 

Thank you so much, Helen.   Kiss Kiss Kiss
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8  Living Off The Land in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by MissingWillow on: June 19, 2014 10:06:30 AM
My husband and I have been feeding ourselves for a few years now and have learned so much in the process!  A few years before we began this adventure, we stocked up on how-to books so had some good book learning and reference materials on hand.  I've been putting food by and making soap for many years and have always had an herb garden so had a tiny bit of a background but no clue what we were getting ourselves into.  It's probably a good thing!  Our farm had two horses and a donkey with a very poor fence and small barn when we bought it.  Good fencing was one of our first expenditures, followed by a big barn built to our specifications (hay storage, feed room, tractor bay and lots of shelter space) a few years later.  

As far as farm animals go, we thought we'd start with chickens but actually found ourselves with two guardian dogs and three sheep one fine afternoon.  Two tiny goat kids came along a few months later.  Here are a few of our breeding stock.  

Our border collie Jack helps work our sheep.  He's trained to both voice and whistle commands.  He's amazing.  See the fading orange dots on the sheep's foreheads?  They all got vaccinations, hoof trims and health checks last week.  We corral them all together then mark them with stock markers as each is done to make sure no one was missed.  Having large animals means you have to learn to do a lot of things yourselves, it's not easy to get them to the vet.  My husband and I were both EMTs so have been comfortable splinting broken bones, administering shots and assisting with deliveries as needed.

We recently got a great pyrenees puppy Lizzy, who will grow up to be about 120 pounds and will guard our animals some day.  Right now, she's just a ball of energy.

We keep a few dairy goats that I milk and make cheese from.  My husband built my milking stand. Before we started this adventure, I took a three day farmstead cheesemaking course at NC State U and I learned a lot about cheesemaking from just reading books.  I also purchase milk from the grocery store for making cow's milk cheeses.  Not having a dairy breed of sheep hasn't kept us from trying to get sheeps milk, but it took three of us a half hour to get about a quart so it's only been attempted once.   Cheesy

Here's a long range view of our garden.  We're up to 14 raised beds now plus 4 inside the greenhouse.  We try to grow just enough of each thing for ourselves, and also try to keep all of the beds planted Spring through Fall.  The garden is surrounded by a fishing wire fence to help keep deer out.  We also have a separate in-ground area for potatoes and asparagus.  We save a lot of things to replant every year, like garlic, shallots, potatoes and vegetable seeds.  We also have an orchard with apple, peach, cherry, apricot and pear trees but have yet to get one piece of fruit out of it so have kind of given up.  Stoopid deer!

The greenhouse is used as a season extender. We're able to start tomato and pepper seeds indoors in January because we know we'll have the greenhouse available in April to move the plants into.  We've also overwintered cool crop vegetables such as carrots and kohlrabi with great results.  

Here's a view of a typical daily harvest from last Summer.  Tomatoes, hot peppers and shiitake mushrooms which we grow on logs.

This is what I harvested this morning.  A half a bed of shallots and some pickling cucumbers.

We also grow microgreens year round inside the house. We've dedicated a room just for that adventure.  This is our fifth year for those.  Of everything we do here, it's the microgreens that keep us at home for the most part.  They have to be watered twice a day.

We have two hives but lost our bees over the winter.  We plan to order more in December so should be back in business with honey next Spring.  Picking up bees is a pretty exciting day!  You drive ever so slowly with tens of thousands of bees in the back seat of your car.  

As you can see, we did eventually get chickens.  They arrive in the mail as 2-3 day old chicks and get moved into a brooder under lights until they have enough feathers to stay warm.  It's a pretty exciting phone call from the P.O. when chicks arrive.

My husband built a chicken tractor to raise chicks on pasture.  The goats think it's a toy.

If anyone would like advice on anything we do, feel free to shoot me a PM.  Or if you would like to know of a good book on a particular topic.  We still have that extensive library and refer to it often.   Smiley
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9  Alice In Wonderland Spool in Completed Projects by MissingWillow on: June 15, 2014 04:10:11 AM
I made this for PerfectlyBohemian in the Altered Spool Swap.  Alice in Wonderland was near the top of her list of themes.  I started poking around in my stash and realized I had a good start on some Alice related embellishments but couldn't figure out where to find a spool just the right size for what I envisioned.  I noticed some clearance polyester cord on clearance at WalMart and talked the salesperson into letting me have the spool if I bought the last of the cord, so for 90 cents I was all set!

I appliqued some butterflies on a bit of embellished dot fabric and that became the base background.  I added a white rabbit and 'drink me' potion.

There are also Alice playing cards in the garden.

And a lock and key amongst the flowers, butterflies and ladybugs.

I made the tables for the top, using a real pocketwatch face for one of them.  I made the macaroons and glazed cake out of polymer clay.  It's a little hard to see, but there's a mad hatter's hat under one of the tables.

A nice touch, the 'Curiouser and Curioser' locket on top of the spool opens to images of the White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat.  

Alice sits on another spool wrapped with fancy trim and beads.  
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10  Re: Altered Spool Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MissingWillow on: June 14, 2014 12:50:12 PM
Beautifully done, goatgoddess and KC!  I, too, love all things Halloween.  I got an in-process preview of the fairy hill.  Too cute for words!

PerfectlyBohemian and cackle came for brunch this morning so I got an in-person swap and a lovely lovely Craftster visit.  I might have said I like zombie sheep in my questionnaire.   Grin  Check out the awesome felted zombie sheep spool she brought me! She's a lovely shade of zombie green and has some rib bones and showing on her side. 

Two of her legs have rotted away down to the bones.  Ha!

PerfectlyBohemian used a spool for the body of the sheep and embroidered an amazing scene inside! 

She learned from my blog that we have a new guardian dog puppy named Lizzie and calls this "The epic tale of how the Great Lizzy saved Missing Willow Farm!"

Zombie sheep are chasing healthy sheep and Lizzie is chasing the zombie sheep.  I love how some of their legs are falling off as they run!  LOL!

Just for the record, here's the real Great Lizzy and one of the sheep she's guarding.   Cheesy

Thank you so much for coming to the farm and bringing me a treasure to add to my little collection.   Kiss
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