Saturday, November 16, 2013

Native American Brick Stitched Feather Earrings


I am back to bead weaving again after taking a little break. The earrings at the left are some that I had started a while back but never quite finished. I decided to finish them. It seems that I have quite a few projects that I started but never quite got to the end. In this project size 11 Miyuki beads are brick stitched in the shape of a feather. Any color combination could be used. I put a couple of Indian Red Swarvoski crystals on the I-pin to enhance the earrings and give them a bit of sparkle. There are many other ways one could enhance these earrings. For example a ring could be placed between the feather and the I-pin and a silver bead or other small item could be placed on the ring to hang down over the feather. I decided to stick with the crystals. You can find these earrings for sale at Sirocco's Trading Post. I invite you to stop in and take a look.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Trade Bead Bracelet


I am continuing with some additional bead stringing before getting back to bead weaving. I assembled a couple of simple single strand bracelets using left over trade beads. Over the years I have made and sold many bracelets of this design. They have been called Gypsy bracelets, Hippie bracelets, Bohemian bracelets, BOHO bracelets and various other names. But they are a fine way to use up leftover beads and no two bracelets ever come out the same. I have the bracelets for sale on my Icraftgifts Sirocco’s Trading Post. I do hope you will stop in and take a look around.

This bracelet has a lobster claw clasp. Bracelets with a lobster claw clasp can be a bit frustrating to put on by oneself. But here is a tip to putting on such a bracelet. Tie a 12 inch length of thin flexible cord (like beading cord) to the ring on the end of the bracelet. Run the other end of the cord through the lobster claw. Put on the bracelet and pull the cord tight. That will bring the two ends of the bracelet together. Put the tag end of the cord in your mouth (yes, you will be using your teeth as your third hand) and keeping it tight, use your free hand to operate the lever of the claw and hook it to the ring. Remove the cord. I use this method all the time and it works well for me most of the time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Turquoise and Coral Necklace


I decided to take a break from bead weaving and leather work and instead, do some simple bead stringing to break the monotony of the weaving. My first project was this simple single strand necklace. I combined sponge coral heishi beads with some turquoise nuggets. One can never go wrong combining coral with turquoise. It seems they always go together no matter what the design. The project started out as another bracelet but I had enough beads to make a necklace so I made it long enough to be a necklace. I designed it as a mans necklace but it could just as well be unisex. You will find this necklace for sale in my etsy Sirocco’s Trading Post. Stop in; take a look.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Native American Beaded Bracelet on Leather


I am continuing to experiment with bracelet construction. In my last post I explained that I sewed leather tabs with snaps directly to the ends of a beaded bracelet section. In this new bracelet, shown at the left, I started with a soft leather band with snaps and sewed the beaded section on to the leather. This is certainly not a new technique but I wanted to test it against the technique of sewing the leather tabs directly to the ends of the beaded section. This technique takes a bit longer to make and uses more material but it makes for a very strong, long lasting bracelet. The down size is that it must be made to match one’s wrist size. It is not a one size fits all. I once again used the 4mm Miyuki cube beads for this project. The rather large beads used allow only a simple design, so the color selection has to make the bracelet. The colors in this bracelet are perfect. You can find it for sale in my artfire Sirocco's Trading Post store.


Hand Painted Table Lamp


I found this interesting hand-painted lamp and lamp shade over in Tiger Creek’s gift store. It is a small decorative lamp just a foot tall. Its vibrant colors give it an attitude all its own. Stop in to Tiger Creek’s Gift Store and browse the wide variety of gifts and hand made items.


Monday, October 14, 2013

The Eye a Halloween Horror Film


Here is a movie that can set you to screaming. It is The Eye. A Blind violinist, Sidney Wells and played by Jessica Alba, receives a corneal transplant to restore her sight. After receiving the transplant she begins seeing people after they have passed away. The Eye is a 2008 supernatural horror film. You can find the DVD of this movie in the Tiger Creek Gifts on-line gift store. It might be the perfect movie for a Halloween night.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dried Apples


Several years ago I planted an apple tree on our Northern Minnesota property. I planted a Haralson apple tree as it is one of the few apples trees that can survive the climate this far north. It is a full size tree, not one of those dwarf trees. It’s about 20 feet tall. The Haralson apple was introduced by the Minnesota Horticulture Research Center in 1922 and was named after Charles Haralson, a superintendent of the U of M breeding farm.

The tree has survived, sometimes struggling and sometimes flourishing. One time a few years ago a bear broke off a large branch leaving a significant wound in the tree trunk and in another year the leader stem mysteriously broke off but the tree continues to survive. It produces heavily one year and then lightly the next as is normal.

This year we got a bumper crop of bright red apples. We had a long cool wet spring and a long warm fall. Both are important to apple production in this climate.  And, this is the year the tree would have heavy production.

So, now the question is what to do with all the apples. Of course we will just store a lot of them. They store fairly well. In addition there will be apple sauce, apple pies, apple crisp and whatever else I can find to make with apples. What ideas do you have for using the apples? Right now I am drying apple slices. They make great snacks.

Check out my on-line garage sale at Sirocco’s Curios. You never know what interesting you might find.

AppleTree 002 AppleTree 006







Friday, September 13, 2013

Hand Crocheted Purple Scarf


The color purple is the blog theme for this week and there are many that claim it to be their favorite color. Take a look at this fine hand crocheted scarf in the LadyAnn Toboggans store. It is listed as mauve berry color but it is purple to my eye.

To me certain colors can only go with certain items. Purple might be a good color for a scarf but you probably wouldn’t paint your house purple. Red is good color for a car but you probably wouldn’t wear a red suit. Well… I guess there is one guy who likes to wear red. He brings presents to my grandkids every winter. Grey is my favorite color. It just seems to go with anything. It fits everywhere. You can have a grey car, wear a grey suit, or pint your house grey. It just works everywhere.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Handmade Greeting Cards


Our On Line Sellers blog theme for this week is paper. The first thing I thought of was Monica’s TaylorMadeForU ecrater store. Monica makes all kinds of paper greeting cards. They are, of course, all handmade. She is very creative. She designs and assembles each card herself. She has a good selection of cards in her store for immediate purchase. But, she will also do custom work. Besides greeting cards she also makes gift tags, place mats and a variety of other paper goods. Remember, Halloween is just down the road, Thanksgiving is down the road and around the corner and Christmas will be here soon. If you need greeting cards or if you have birthdays coming up or if you are hosting any sort of party, check with Monica for all your paper goods.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hand Made Key Chain

Key Chain.jpg

Keys! We all carry numerous keys in our pockets. I seem to have accumulated an unusually large number of them I have multiple keys to the multiple vehicles in my driveway. There are the house keys and I have keys to my adult children’s homes. There are the boat keys and a variety of other keys. The list goes on and on. I might have more keys than I have passwords. Well, no, that’s not true. I have way more passwords. But I still have a lot of keys. It would not be so good to have all those keys just lying loose. I would loose track of what goes where.

All of the sets of keys are on various key rings or key chains as they are sometimes called. And, all of the sets of keys are kept in a nice little birch bark box on my desk that I cleverly call  the key box. Each key chain has its own special hand made design making it easy to grab on to the correct set of keys.

Tiger Creek Gifts has a wonderful set of hand made key chains in her store. One is pictured above. I am sure you will want to take a look at the others.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Occupied Japan Ceramic Tea Set

Occupied Japan


Occupied Japan ceramics are still highly sought after collectables. During the American occupation of Japan after World War II from 1947 to 1952 exports from Japan were required to be stamped Occupied Japan. Many pieces so marked were toys. You will find this cute little Occupied Japan tea set for sale at the Sirocco’s Curios on-line curios store.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Signed Original Painting Neon Electric Lights


I was wandering through the Tiger Creek Gifts store when I came across this intriguing painting. Titled “Neon Electric Lights,” it is created with acrylic and metallic paints on a piece of high quality black Artagain paper. It is an original one of kind. I have always envied those who can draw or paint. It is certainly a talent that I have none of. Drop in to Tiger Gifts and see other original artwork.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What is Chintz Pottery

Chintz Vase

This is an adorable little pink rose chintz wall pocket. Chintz is a name given to patterns that consists of many small flowers and leaves covering the pottery. The patterns were popular in England near the beginning of the 20th century. Royal Winton was a major manufacture of pottery with such patterns. Dinnerware with the chintz pattern is not as popular anymore but pots and vases are still sought after.

This particular piece has pink colored roses running all down the front and sides of the vase. Gold trim surrounds the top. The body of the piece has gentle swirls that wind up to ruffles at the top of the vase. It gives the vase a Victorian feel. The inside is glazed and all white. The back is unglazed and white with a hole for mounting on a wall. It is 7.5 inches tall. This piece is a contemporary piece from China.

You can find this item for sale in Sirocco's Curios on-line curios store.

The Park Bench

Park BenchMy project for this week was to recondition an old park bench that I had in storage. The finished product is at the left. I bought the metal components for the bench at auction last year and they have been laying in the garage since. I didn’t pay much for them; it seems that no one else wanted them. I thought it would not take much to bolt some 2X4s across for the seat and to make a wood frame for the back.

Well, it turned out to be much more work than I anticipated. That seems to happen to me a lot. I found that readily available dimensional lumber does not fit in the cast groves of the bench sides so I had to rip 2X4s to fit. That takes a lot of time and it makes for a lot of sawdust. In addition the bench seat is curved so I ended up using my block plane to shape the wood a bit. The metal parts were rusted so I had to clean, prime and paint them. It just turned out to be more than I wanted to do. But it came out OK.

I don’t know why I get myself into these projects. They usually consume more resources (time, money, and energy) than if I just went and bought a finished product. Well, I guess actually I do know why. I like to work with my hands. I need always to be making something, or repairing something or repurposing something. Just buying a finished product seems so benign. As Monk would say, “It’s a blessing… and a curse.” Now, I need to decide where put this thing. It’s very heavy.

When I am not fixing or repurposing something you will usually find me in my little studio making adornments for sale in Sirocco’s Trading Post. Stop in to the trading post and take a look around.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Scheurich Keramik Vintage German Pottery

Pitcher W German

This fine vintage pottery pitcher is from the Scheurich Keramik company in West Germany. It was produced in the late 60s. This decorative piece is green with raised relief of fruit, grapes, and leaves. The interior has a dark glaze.

Scheurich Keramik was founded in 1928 and is still active today. It is one of the largest producers of pottery from Germany. The under side includes the “W. Germany” Hallmark and the numbers 419-18. The “419” is a product number while the “18” is the height of the vase in centimeters. Nearly all of Scheurich pottery is hallmarked in this fashion.

You can find this piece for sale in Sirocco's Curios on line curios store. I invite you to stop in and look at the many items available.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Men’s Brown Leather Slip on Sandals


I came across this fine pair of BROWN men’s sandals in the Le Petit Marche store. While I wear moccasins most of the time, I do frequently wear sandals especially in the summer heat. I rarely wear shoes anymore. My toes are seriously distorted from bouts of gouty arthritis so regular shoes don’t work for me anymore. But I like a good pair of sandals. I can’t wear the kind that have a thong between the big and second toe for the same reason I don’t wear shoes very often. These shoes would work but they are a tad too small for me. Stop in to the Le Petit Marche store and take a look at the various men’s footwear available.


Noritake Hand Painted Nut Bowl

Nippon Candy Dish

Some time ago I listed this outstanding hand painted Nippon nut bowl in the on-line store Sirocco’s Curios. The makers mark on the bottom is a green “M” inside a wreath of leaves and the words “hand painted Nippon” encircling the wreath.

Prior to 1890 pieces from Japan were marked with Japanese characters or were not marked at all. After 1890 American imports were required to be marked with the country of origin in English characters. The word “Nippon” means “Japan” and pieces were so marked until 1922 when the requirement was changed. After 1921 the word “Japan” had to be used.

The “M” in the wreath stands for “Morimura” and is the earlier name of the Noritake Company. It was introduced in 1911 and continued until 1921. It is clear then; this particular nut bowl was produced in the time period 1911-1921.

The bowl is in excellent condition for something that is nearly 100 years old. Stop in and take a look. Just click on the picture.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Early American Press Cut Glass Vase

Clear Vase

Early American Press Cut (EAPC) is clear glassware first produced by Anchor Hocking in the very late 1950s and continued for around 10 years. The most common pattern is the Star of David pattern. Collectors so labeled the pattern because of the starburst and a star with in the pattern. There were many, many pieces produced with the pattern. It quickly became something to collect and is still highly sought after today.

I came across this EAPC vase in the attic and listed it today in Sirocco’s Curios on-line curios store. I invite you to stop by and take a look.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hand Made Greeting Card Simple Pleasures


Grass! “Grass” is the blog topic for this week. That word can have a completely different meaning for some folks than for others. For me it means that soft green that I see on most every suburban yard. Sometimes I envision a vast expanse of prairie grass like what used to be here in the Midwest.

Sifting through our scavenger hunter’s stores I did not find much that meets the “grass” theme. But, I am partial to this cute greeting card from the TalorMade4U store. And, I can see a little grass growing under the bench pictured on the card. I know it is a bit of stretch to connect the card to grass theme. But, still, it is a cute card.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Ceramic Bunny Rabbit



Every Sunday the Online Sellers Network puts up a new blog theme for its members to blog about. It is always fun for me to sift through member stores to see what I can find that fits the theme. This week’s blog theme is “Rabbit.” I found quite a number of items that fit the rabbit theme but I like this ceramic rabbit that I found in Eccentric Thrifter’s store. This bashful little rabbit is brown with grey accents and stands 9 inches tall. Stop in to Eccentric Thrifter’s store and take a look around. She has hundreds of items for sale to delight the thrifty shopper.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Elephant Themed Stationary Set


“Communication” is the Online Sellers blog topic for this week. Communication is such vast subject one could write volumes about it. Put simply, it is the sharing of information between individuals by means such as speech, visuals, signals, writing or behavior, etc. While texting and tweets over the Internet are popular today, it was not long ago that the post office was a main carrier of messages. I still enjoy sending and receiving hand written notes via the post office.

Tiger Creek, one of our bloggers, has a nice selection of stationary and other supplies for sending that hand written note. Stop in, take a look around.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Etched Duck Cordial Glasses

Etched Glasses


These delightful etched glasses that I found in the Bargain Express store caught my eye and thought they were perfect for this week’s Online Seller’s scavenger hunter theme of glasses. The glasses have images of ducks in various poses etched into the glass. The five ounce cordial glasses are footed with a short stem. They are stemmed wildlife barware. Bargain Express has many other collectable glass items in the store. Drop in and take a look around. Just click on the links above.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Feathered Ponytail Holder


510faa3f0b0e1_115670bThis week we scavenger hunters are searching for hair products. I came across this cute feathered pony tail holder in Katzz's Kloset. It is perfect for any occasion. In addition you can spruce up your hat or handbag, also, it is stretchable and can also be worn as a pin by attaching a pin to the back part. Take a look!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beaded Bracelet with Snap Closure


I have been experimenting with a new construction method for making beaded bracelets. One using the new method is shown at the left. The beads are weaved together using regular beading cord and then leather tabs with snaps are sewn directly to the ends of bracelet. The large 4mm cube beads used in this project lend themselves nicely to this method of adding the leather end tabs.

In the past I have made these bracelets using a stretchy bead cord and then connecting the ends together to form a closed bangle. You can read about that older style in this earlier blog post.

I used earth tones of black, white, and red clay colored beads in a geometric design. It is sometimes referred to as a modified tipi design. You can find this bracelet for sale in my artfire Sirocco’s Trading Post store.


Monday, April 8, 2013

It’s a Hairdryer


Do you remember these hairdryers from years go? Most of the home hairdryers I see today are of the hand held blow dryer type. What is convenient about the old bonnet style dryers is that once you put on the bonnet, hook up the hoses and turn it on, your hands are free to do whatever. And, when your hair is dry, the dryer folds away in a hatbox style portable case. This particular dryer is available in my curios store, Sirocco’s Curios. It is used but it works well. The brand name is Dominion. It was a popular brand in the 1970s.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Seeking Ancestors

American West


Some people love to travel and see the world. I don’t seem to be one of those. Oh, I like to travel alright. It is just not real high on my priorities list. When I do travel I prefer to travel to the places where my ancestors once lived and try to imagine what life might have been like for them in their time. I am somewhat of a family historian.

One place I like to visit is Denmark. My maternal grandfather was born in Denmark. I have accomplished quite a little genealogy work over the years and I know right where my grandfather’s parents lived back in the mid 1800s. I’d like to see it in person. I am not sure if I will ever get there though.

Last year my wife and I went to Montana to visit a relative. It was a driving trip, meaning that we drove from Minnesota to Montana. On the way we stopped in Medora, North Dakota. It is a tiny town on the western edge of North Dakota. That is where my Grandfather’s brother, James Christen Rasmussen, homesteaded some land in late 1800s. At a book store in Medora, I paged through a book about the history of Medora. There in the book and to my surprise were old photos of young Uncle Chris. He was one of the original pioneers of Medora. I bought the book.

The Teddy Roosevelt State Park now sits on the land that was once my uncle’s homestead. If you ever visit that State Park and you step into the lobby of visitor’s center, you will be standing approximately where my uncle’s log cabin used to sit.

Speaking of books, I’d like to call your attention to a couple of old historical magazines that I have in my store, Sirocco’s Curios. They tell about the American West. You might appreciate these magazines whether you fancy travel or not.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My First Moccasins


I spent the past weekend at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum near Onamia, Minnesota. I was there for a two day moccasin workshop. I came home with a pair of Ojibwe pucker-toe style moccasins. They are shown the picture at the left. Cute, don’t you think? This is not the first pair of moccasins that I have ever made but it is the first pair of this style. They are the traditional style of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe).

There are dozens of moccasin styles. I only know a couple. And, there are dozens of ways to adorn them such as with flaps, fringes, different kinds of fabric or leather and of course beadwork, etc. It is another whole art form. The moccasins that I made are very plain, of course. But I will be making a few more pairs only with some adornments.

You may wish to look at some of my other handiwork at my etsy store, Sirocco's Trading Post. Just click on the link.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Minnesota Winter Storm

February Winter

Yesterday (Sunday) a strong storm passed through Northern Minnesota and dropped nearly a foot of snow here on the ole homestead. I spent most of today (Monday) running the snow blower clearing paths.

I cleared the driveway and a large area for parking. I cleared a path to the big garage 100 yards away and another path to my little studio. I cleared a path to the wood pile, a path to the bird feeders and a path to the deer feeder. I also had to do a path to the mail box. The whole place is becoming a labyrinth of paths. Oh well, it’s better than wearing snowshoes. The image on the left is a photo of the deck from inside the house.

I sometimes wonder what it was like for my Native American ancestors who lived here 200 years ago. They lived in teepees or wigwams with just an open fire in the middle of the structure and some animal skins to keep warm. It must have been a hard life.

On the other hand, a few days ago I found myself stuck in traffic just barely creeping along. I was on my way to the appliance store to get a replacement heating element for the kitchen oven. It had burned out. Frustrated, I was thinking, “wouldn’t it be nice if we could just live the simple life of 200 years ago.”

Well, so much for my ramblings. Instead, let’s talk about jewelry. I came across some boxes of vintage fashion jewelry and I have begun adding some to the Sirocco’s Curios store. This item is a fine Trifari goldtone necklace. Take a look. I will be adding many more items over the next few days so keep coming back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Valentine Hearts



This week’s blog theme word is “hearts.” I suppose it is an appropriate theme since Saint Valentines Day is just a couple of weeks away. I could also think of it as an invitation to blog about heart healthy activities and diet.

I don’t have anything in my Sirocco’s Curios store that lends itself very well to the blog theme. So, I started surfing around and looking for an idea to blog about. I came across the lyrics to the song Peg O’ My Heart, published back in 1913. Now I can’t get that song out of my head. It just keeps playing over and over in there. That picture above is a forest somewhere in Spain. I thought it was kind of cool.

Since I didn’t have anything in my store that fit the theme, I found items that other Ecrater Stores Network (ESN) members have for sale in their stores. I made up a little collage of the items.  

Just click on any of the links below and you will be whisked over to that store.

Great Works of HeartHearts1

Red Boots

Forest in Spain

Be My Valentine

Welcome Heart

Heart Dishes

M&M Heart Candy Dish

Heart Shaped Cake Pans

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Horses and Western Cowgirl Boots


Horses…When I was a young boy (that was a long time ago) I had a horse. Yes, my parents owned horses and I had one of my own. His name was Smoky and I rode that horse all over creation. The kind of horses we had was quarter horses. They are known for their short distance speed and their agility. They were show horses and they were entered in events at various fairs and rodeos. Usually, the event was a short race or a barrel race (a woman’s event). And, they were frequently in parades. I personally was never in any of those events or parades. I just liked to ride around at will and I did.

Many people go to a dude ranch or some such place to go hose back riding. But that is a much different experience than riding around at will. At a dude ranch the horse thinks of its rider as just a lump of cargo and the horse just follows the horse in front of him. When one rides around at will, the rider must steer and control the animal. It is not long before a bond forms between the horse and the rider. The horse knows just what the rider wants and the rider understands the needs of the horse. They become close friends, each speaking to the other in their own way. That is how it was between SmWestern Style Bootsoky and me. I haven’t ridden a horse in years and, of course, Smoky is long gone. But sometimes I think about old Smoky and it is then that I realize that I miss my old friend.

I didn’t look for anything in my ecrater shop that fits this week’s blog theme of horses. But, just across the way at the Le Petit Marche store you will find some fine western style cowgirl boots in the window. I encourage you to mosey on over and take a look. Just click on the links above.