Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yurt Improvements: Camp Table & Stools (plus some other stuff)

I've been busy, but found a little last minute time to make some more improvements to/for our yurt. I've posted about Yurtle a couple times.  This time I painted some stools and a small table.

As you may noticed in the pic above, we've been using milk crates in place of chairs for a while now.  We've pretty much given up on those folding aluminum camping chairs everyone has, because our crates don't walk away on their own or get easily broken.  Not to mention crates are dead useful for packing.  They may not be the most comfy things and a little blah to look at. But, with limited space in the Jeep anything that serves more than one purpose gets a better chance at coming with us.

We had some leftover scrap wood from some previous yurt improvements, so we decided to make our crates even more useful by making wood tops for them.  This way they can be used as a table and some stools without having to dump out the contents and turning them upside down to do so.  These stools are a lifesaver when I need to lace boots.  I can also use them as a night stand next to the bed.  They also keep things out of sight when we are walking about.  Plus, I've found that most 13 gallon trash bags will fit perfectly over the crates.  This is great for storing perishables and items we want to keep dry and bug free.  The stool lids are made with a lip that allows them to sit down in the crate to seal it nicely.

Eight crates pack down to a convenient cube or can be rearranged to fit where ever we can get them in.  It's usually always a game of Tetris to get everything to fit in the car.

We normally bring between 6-8 crates depending on how much equipment we need and how long the trip is for.  However, with nine crates we found we can arrange them into taller bar stools and table.  ;)

But, a six or four crate arrangement fits just right inside the yurt with a couple spare stools for guests.  Later I want to go back and paint some black on the stool tops  leaving the border and center flower designs red for more contrast.  But, ideally I want to make some removable cushion covers.  My sis gifted me some black pleather that will work perfectly.

I think the table top is a wee small.  (Would make a perfect Viking shield.)  I would like to make a slightly larger one later, but it works for now.  This table was actually a round piece cut from the center of our new yurt crown you can see below.  We made the table top design to match.

Not long ago after the storm last year at TRF, we redesigned our yurt crown to make it lighter and more secure.  Since we were redoing it anyway, we thought it could use a bit of dressing up.  The cut out design allows better ventilation and light.  A friend said the design resembles a dreamcatcher.  Since we sleep under it, that would be fitting.  :)  We may just be a bit paranoid after last year, but those cables were added to keep the roof members from pulling out in any strong gusts of wind ripping through the door opening.

 Here's a closer look at the crown.

Also made some red shelves that hang on the wall, but I haven't gotten a pic of yet.  I'll try to get some action shots at TRF in the next couple weekends.  Really looking forward to staying in it again!  Now to get some last minute costuming and packing done!

Friday, October 17, 2014


Finished a witch shoe that's been in my work space for ages.  I've posted about it before, but finally got the details finished.  I just love how the long narrow shape of this shoe turned out.  (Daughter actually shaped the newspaper toe for me.)

With thirty-one Jack O'Lanterns all over it, I'm calling it "Pumpkin Patch".  Each JOL has a different expression.  Some are happy.  Some are sad, scared, surprised...a little of everything.  It reminds me of a pumpkin jewelry set I created for a craft swap a long while back.  They'd probably go well together.  :)  It's fun to come up with different faces for them.

One is in the center of the buckle in front.  Three in the inside sole.  Three are on the heel.  And, the rest are around the shoe along with various fence posts.

I used four copper wires that sort of sprout out the toe with flower beads on them.  And a black ruffle around the buckle to soften it up a bit.

This one is on it's way to New Zealand over the next week.  Should make it there by Halloween.  Hope it arrives safely.  **crossing fingers**

If you don't hear from me before then... HAVE A CRAFTY HALLOWEEN!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014


Finally finished a pair of paper mache witch boots for this Halloween.'s about time!

I've been working on this pair off and on for more than a year.  But, the illustrations are more elaborate then most of my work at this size.  (My hands and eyes just aren't what they used to be.)  There are four different scenes that tell the story of how Miss Witch meets Skippy, the Scarecrow.

"Miss Witch flew out on broom one day
Over rows of corn and bails of hay,
When she spied a scarecrow all alone
Perched high upon his wooden throne.

Up so high but looking low,
All dressed up, no where to go.
Crows caused him constant dismay,
Clawing and pecking him every day.

She asked him, 'How is it up there...
So far up there in the air?'.
Staring down at the ground
As crows cawed, he just frowned.

It did no good to try to balk,
For we all know scarecrows can't talk.
Oh, what poor Skippy Scarecrow would give
To sing and dance...just to live.

Miss Witch sympathized with his plight.
She pondered and conjured with all her might.
To cure him of his dreadful frown,
With a charm Miss Witch, she got him down.

Thanking her he tipped his hat,
Skipping away with a big black cat.
Skippy got his wish to be set free.
And, in the distance, Miss Witch heard... 'WHOOPIE!'"

"Miss Witch Meets Skippy Scarecrow" by mieljolie, © 2014

Here is the other side.  These are actually the first images in the series.

Here's a close up of Skippy just hangin' around.

You can own these boots, if you feel inclined to.  They're available in my Etsy store here.  Now to get a shoe finished!  Until then, keep on being Crafty!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

De-gnoming the Garden Bean Bag Toss Game

Daughter and her cousin enjoyed the Harry Potter party last year so much they requested to have one again this year.  Yay!  Hogwarts 2nd year it is!  We have a lot of planning and crafting to do before November!  We've got games and many many new creatures and objects to recreate.  Here is one project that is probably my favorite so far.

Bean Bag Garden Gnomes!

We made a total of eight gnomes for a "De-gnoming the Garden" bean bag toss game.  There is one large 12' tall one and seven smaller 10" ones.  Four with and three without acrylic eyes that I started putting on them before realizing they will most likely get scratched up when tossed.

Students (Players) will have to hunt down a gnome; tag it; and toss it over a fence (maybe into hoops) for a possible combined Herbology/Care of Magical Creatures Class.  We may have two different versions of the game.  One on timing and one for accuracy that will earn house points.  Students will get extra points for finding the largest gnome ("Arthur")  Yes, we decided to name them all after the Weasleys since they are the ones that introduced de-gnoming to us at the Burrow in the "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets".

Arthur and Bill

Charlie and Percy

Ron and and the smallest one, Ginny  (Didn't get good close ups of Fred and George.)

I tried to alter the pattern to appear more like the gnome illustration in the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" book.  About 10" tall with a potato-shaped head.  Couldn't figure out how to make hairy or horned feet, yet.  :)

While we were getting the pattern figured out, we made a couple prototypes.  Not knowing what else to do with them, we decided to paint them as golden gnome angels for our Christmas tree.  (Fred and George painted a gnome that bit one of them in "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" book.)

Looks like Fred getting ready to sneak back into the garden!  Bad gnome!  :)

Working on some Witch BOO'ts that I hope to have listed on Etsy this week.  Just finishing up some details and the poems for them.  I'll post when they are available.

UPDATE:  You can now have gnomes of your own from my Etsy store (mieljolie).