Friday, December 16, 2011

Stock in Tissues

I've been pretty darn sick over the past week.  Like rooooooough kind of sick.  It's been an absolute challenge getting my last orders out this week and it will sincerely be an act of God or a Christmas Miracle that my fingers don't cramp up on the last few.  I'm just glad to be back in a working state both physically and mentally.

I wanted to give a big THANK YOU to all of my customers though.  This season at Tumus has been alot of things, but insanely stellar seems to sum it up pretty well.  Even some of the newer ornaments did well which is unusual since they were introduced in late Fall.

In any case I'm off to sew once again. I should really invest in stock of Puffs or Kleenex with the amount I buy. I kind of feel like there's no way one could ever have too many tissues.  At least not at this time of year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


A couple of weeks back I received an email from a lovely lady looking for a custom ornament.  To be truthful I wasn't taking on any more custom orders since the shop had been so insanely busy already, but I read her request to see what it was she wanted.

It turns out Emily wanted an ornament made of her son's favorite stuffed toy, Doggie. Each year Emily and her family set out to find an ornament for Collin, their little boy who sadly had passed away in May 2010 from complications of the treatment of cancer, he was 2.  Immediately I changed my perspective on Emily's request.  It's not everyday these types of requests come thru.  It is after all, hard to say no to something with this much meaning, but it's also intimidating.  

Would I be able to live up to Emily's hopes of giving her an ornament to help her family remember her little boy?
For Collin

I told her I would try.  And one night I cleared off my worktable and set out free forming Collin's Doggie.


I didn't make a paper pattern to help guide me along.  This had to be one-of-a-kind and something that I wouldn't make again because it would always belong to Collin and his family.

3D felt
Ears and Eyes

I didn't stop working on it.  I didn't want to over do it.

Doggie gets a name

2 parts
And then Doggie was done.

I haven't heard back from Emily yet to know what she thought of the ornament, but I don't think it's something that I'll need to wonder.  Some things you just know inside your heart and head already.
From Me with Love

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tumus Going on Holiday

If you have something favorited in my Tumus shop you'd better get there quick!
I'm closing up for the Holidays tonight December 12th at midnight EST.

All orders will ship out by Saturday December 17th at the latest.  After that I plan on vegging out, drinking hot chocolate, finishing my Holiday shopping and visiting with family.  I'm sure there will also be lots of sleeping in, video games and pajama lounging in there as well.
And I will finally be baking the cookies I've been craving since Thanksgiving.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Damn Nature Damn Life, You Guys Are Amazing

Sometimes, even though we are in truth just tiny specks of dust careening thru space on an iron rock (as Carl Sagan once put it) it's hard to image a more beautiful place.  It's hard to imagine NOT living here and being told that Earth isn't damn incredible.

TimeScapes 4K from Tom Lowe on Vimeo.

Seconds Of Beauty - 1st round compilation from The Beauty Of A Second on Vimeo.

I wouldn't be surprised if you got a tightness in your chest and even dabbed at your eyes a bit. Remember that no matter what's going on at this moment in your life the fact that you can exist is damn amazing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Found and Loved!

I had to run errands out in miserable weather on Monday. It was pouring rain, cold and windy, but I needed black thread as I'd run completely out.  While I browsed thru the craft store I came across a really adorable UK magazine called Mollie Makes.

Their slogan is Living and Loving Handmade.  I even love the covers of each issue.  So clever and vibrant and it's always a handful of lovely crafts that you can find featured in the issue.

They also have a blog you can follow: that's updated nearly ever day.  There you can download crafty patterns for a small fee and view how-tos and techniques.  I'm very keen on this magazine but it costs a pretty penny for a US subscription (almost $100 for 12 issues) Santa if you're listening!  Still if you're in love with the handmade life and meeting artists and designers who love it as much as you this periodical is definitely for you!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Early Christmas

This video's gone a bit viral over the past few days and I can clearly see why.  If you're in need of some cheering, man-candy or just a reason to feel happy for the good fortune of others then this video is for you.  The HMS Ocean is returning home to the UK from deployment while aiding NATO forces in Libya.

Honestly who doesn't love a muscled seaman in a Christmas pudding hat?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First Snow

It feels a bit surreal to see the first snow of the season.  It's still makes me smile and get a bit excited.  It's cool you know?  And these flakes were FAT.  Fat, wet and coming in buckets.  When I snapped these pictures it had just started, but now just barely an hour later the ground is already covered and suddenly it feels very much like Christmas.

Backyard snow

Snow starting to fall

I haven't decorated the inside of the house yet, but the outside lights are strung up and glowing warm and colorful outside my window.  We have those big, plump C9 bulbs.  Not the LED's either, the old fashioned ones.  The ones that will always remind me of being home.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

'Arry Pott'r

 I'm takin' a break from the Holiday jabber to rehash some vacation fun.
Admittedly I'm a big dork over Harry Potter.  I'm sure you could've figured that out after seeing this year's Halloween costumes.  But seriously Harry Potter was so well written and just delightfully done that I can't wait to read it to my future kids.  It's just a damn good book.

(the broom ride is inside and you can walk thru most of the castle on your way to the ride it's really cool)

This year I had my Hogwarts dreams fulfilled and we got to visit the theme park at Universal Studios.  It's alot smaller than you'd think it would be, kind of crammed into one end of the park, but they did an amazing job on recreating the look and feel of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.

It's almost winter-like

Even Honeydukes was packed with just about every candy they had in the book, though I was disappointed with the Chocolate Frogs it was still bright and lively inside.


I sampled the Pumpkin Juice.

The good stuff

and decide the stuff that's fresh from the tap was better.  Yes, they have Pumpkin Juice on tap and it's actually VERY good.  I must say though I think a Harry Potter themed park would've done better further North.  It felt weird to be walking thru snow covered streets with tourists in shorts and tank tops with temps in the low 90's.  They had random walking performers stop and do short "meet and greets".  I missed the "Toad Choir" by about 15 minutes but managed to see the Beauxbaxtons.

Pretty faces, haughty graces

Ollivander's wand shop even did limited wand castings in which Ollivander himself picked out one person to fit a wand to.  It was very neat, though the wait was insane.

The only way to travel

All in all it was a fine time walking thru it all.  I'm glad we went.  Summer vacations always seem so far away once the season turns colder.  Do you remember your favorite summer trip?

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Smattering of Ornaments

There coming in herds now

There's a small comfort that this week is Thanksgiving here in the States.  While I'm looking forward to having an excuse to bake in the middle of my busiest November ever, I keep wondering how on earth I'm going to actually manage to even get the rolls started.  I'm guessing it'll be the last thing I do before I go to bed on T-Day Eve.  It wouldn't be the first time I went to bed covered in flour.

Still I half wonder if my Tumus dog ornament will make another unexpected appearance around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  If it does I'll probably be done for the season earlier than expected, but right now it's all a matter of chance.  It's got so busy that I had to reorder more business cards. 

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel

Somewhere in all this mess I have to figure out when I will be able to get out and dig around in what is now mud in my flower beds.  My bulbs have arrived, with the exception of my Day Lilies, and are in need of planting.  I really don't think I'd ask for more "hours in the day" because I'm sure whatever it would be filled with would be more urgent than planting flowers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Seeing a Horizon....sorta

I've dug out from the pile of orders I received almost two weeks ago and I'm down to the last 4 from that batch.  I feel like I fell behind and I could not get caught up.  I really don't know what it was this time around because normally in November I'm right on schedule with everything.  I dunno I guess life just sorta head butted me into the prone position and I felt too old to get up that fast.


But I'm not really "old".  I think I just needed some nice words and some reassurance that what I was doing was appreciated.  It hasn't been easy.  There have been some strange ups and downs with custom orders lately.  People deciding that after they received their ornament that it wasn't what they wanted after all even though it was exactly what they ordered.  But Chris says, don't let it get to you.  He's right. I can think that all my hard work will be rewarded with kind words, but we all know what happens when we assume.  Still thank you to everyone whose enjoyed their ornaments, both happily and some half-heartedly.  Your feedback helps me grow and move on.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Everything is Amazing Right Now...........And Nobody is Happy

Two of my favorite people Conan O'Brien and Louis CK.  They both put it all in perspective and it serves as a good, humorous reminder that if you can't be happy with what you have now you probably will never be able to be happy with anything in your life.  

Be happy for your everyday miracles and realize that everything really IS amazing right now. No matter what you're going thru.  High five to my bloggy friend Lupin and her new personal motto.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Guinness Paw

I had a very unexpected bit of luck last Friday.  I got a rather big "spot" on the Etsy Holiday promotion page for Personalization, which has since rotated to feature another category as of Monday at midnight.  In fact it was so big it's practically buried me in orders.  While there's alot to do and so much to get in line I have to make sure that I'm keeping my wits about me these days.  I'll admit it's hard.  I am, afterall, very much human and the Holiday rush can be overwhelming when you don't foresee lucky windfalls.

When the unexpected happens it's usually human nature to spaz out, which I did in spades on Saturday.  It's not easy to accept a windfall when you strive so very hard to forge your own path.  I work so hard to uphold extraordinary customer service in a business that's personalized down to the last detail and make sure that each ornament I create is something I, personally, would be proud to place on my tree.
I need to reaffirm to myself that I can do this.  That I can uphold the quality that I place in my products. 
I may be a bit absent in the next few weeks, but I'll try and update as much as humanly possible.
So keep me in your thoughts and prayers because each year it seems that I'm given more opportunities to prove that I am capable of taking the heat and giving back to my patrons.  Without my customers I would truly be nothing and that means so much in a world that's so focused on mass produced quality.

p.s. My parents are so very proud of me for being able to do what I do and love it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallow's Eve

 Pumpkins and Mums
Halloween is always fun.  This year Chris and I went as Hagrid and Hermione from Harry Potter. You'll have to forgive the blurriness as they were taken without a tripod and we wanted to get to our costume party.

Hey! Is that a magical creature?


We even tried our hand at "pumpkin art".

The rickety old house

No matter how you spent it this year I hope you had fun.
 Scardy Cat

I still don't think I'm ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I like Fall too much.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Retiring the Tank

Anyone whose ever owned a good, solid sewing machine knows the sadness that comes from your machine breaking down in the middle of a project.  My Pfaff 1475 has been a real trooper over the last 5 years that we've owned it.  It was first my husband's and then it was passed on to me.  Now it's going back to the hub's because the mother board is going out on it.  To fix it will cost around $300, but Chris is convinced he can fix it himself in house.  Despite his offer (and best intentions) I think it's time to move on for me. I'm getting a newer "used" classroom model from our local quilt shop. The Pfaff Expression 2.0.  We're also getting one for his mom which I secretly hope she doesn't ruin within the year.  She's got a bit of a "bad touch" when it comes to anything computerized.  He's hoping that since both her and I will have the same models that I can help her if she gets stuck....(insert laughing sigh here).

They don't actually make this model any more and the design itself is barely a few years old, but it's a beauty.  I'm not very keen on computers in sewing machines, but since that seems to be the "wave of the future" I've been forced to go with the flow.  This machine sews like silk.  It has a super wide throat (which means we may have to modify my beautiful sewing table, eep!) to accomodate bulkier projects.  Even the computerized display will tell you what foot you need to attach and a suggested tension for your thread.  It's like sewing has become too easy nowadays.

I remember learning to wind bobbins and thread the machine on my mom's old Singer.  It wasn't easy, but it was a work horse.  Many Barbie's were well clothed when I was at the machine.  Still I can't help but give the ole' 1475 a good salute for a job well done.  It's not down and out yet, so I hope I can keep it around for a bit longer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Doodle with Tea

I received a second custom order request last week from a wonderful girl in NY.  She'd already purchase a custom Bulldog ornament the week before and asked if I could design an ornament for her Labradoodle, Lani.  I'd never done a 'Doodle before so I set to work researching the breed a bit, looking over Lani's picture and sketching out possible patterns.  New dog breeds are always a challenge to scale down properly.  The original drawing was extremely huge compared to my other ornaments, but it turned out really lovely once the size was adjusted.

A Doodle and Tea

The ornament could not have been timed better because the rain had just set in for the week.  It also allowed me to break in my new Totoro teacup I'd brought back from Japan, Epcot while on vacation.  I love how dainty it is.  If I'd had the money and wasn't afraid they'd break on the trip back I would've bought the other 3 designs they had in the display.

Totoro teacup

Sipping tea from this cup makes me feel very girlish and happy ^_^

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Arrrre Yooooou Reaaaaady?!

Wrestling announcements aside, raise you're hand if you're ready for the Holiday Rumble? To help you keep it in perspective today is exactly the 2 month mark before Christmas.
That's right....2 months or 69 days away.  
The fact dawned on me during the most normal of routines while baking an apple pie.  I'll bet you can guess what prompted the sudden realization from the picture below.

Holiday Apples

Once the pie was in the oven I made sure to get all my shipping and packing supplies ordered by the end of the day.  It's good to get reminders even if they are subliminal.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Battle Wounds

This weekend we did 2 mountain bike rides.  John Bryan on Saturday and Caesar's Creek on Sunday.
JB is now officially "cake".  Caesar's Creek however, will be spoken of in hushed tones of fear and loathing.  It kicked our butt's to next week and back.  I seriously thought my heart was going to explode! How do people BIKE up half those hills?! I'll never know.  Sure it's possible because anything is possible, but

Poor Chris got mauled by his peddle ramming into his shin, the bruise is about 6 inches long.  I slid down a ridiculous hill sideways while walking my bike down.  My crank/gear area nailed me right above my ankle and it's swollen to the size of a walnut.  There were 4 of us and we were muddy, exhausted and banged up, but we rode those trails anyways and we did some crazy stuff that seemed ridiculous.

You might say, Rebekah, you're crazy to keep riding trails like that! I say, why not? Just because I get so hurt I cry and get pissed off at how hard it is I still managed to ride on and tough it out.

But let me just tell you it will be a long while before I haul myself back out to that trail.
Respect yo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I know I've been very quiet this week and it's all because I've been working, working, working. Here's a new limited edition ornament that'll be popping into the shop tomorrow.  This little guy will be my FIRST ready to ship ornament and of course he's only here for this Holiday season!

Beware the Penguin

I've been working on orders and prepping for the Holiday season, but the most exciting work is getting ready for an appointment with a local shop to discuss selling wholesale to them.  
This has me unbelievably psyched up mostly because I've been dragging my feet for two years about asking this shop in particular.  But I did it and I'm totally going to nail it, I know I am.  Even if I don't get the business I'm incredibly proud of myself that I actually asked, presented my work, set up the meeting and am following thru.
Some times it just takes bullying thru the doldrums to get where you need and want to be.

Monday, October 10, 2011


(taken on a hike at John Bryan State Park)

I don't know why Fall makes us all look back on the year that's nearly past us, but I think it's a good thing.  Just remember to wear your mud boots when tromping thru the forest.

Friday, October 7, 2011

John Bryan

Slug comes free
If you don't mind driving there are several State Parks around my area. One of my local favorites is John Bryan.  It's situated right beside another park/nature preserve, Glen Helen, and both are beside the hippie/indie/artsy town of Yellow Springs (which also has my favorite farmers market and honey), but that's another post.  We've taken up biking in hard earnest this year.  Both trail/mountain biking and paved biking on the local pathways.  The mt. biking has me hooked though and it's so much fun even if I'm slow.
Last month I brought my camera on one such trip out to JB and captured some amazing pictures of all kinds of fungi.  

 Mama, big sis and baby

Creme Brulee

Of course this meant having to stop every mile or so to snap a quick shot and then hop back on my bike.  I don't know if it annoyed the others or not, but they all loved the pictures once they saw them.  They even stopped and waited for me to catch up by a "field" of giant Puffballs.

My size 9 foot

Now the mushrooms have all gone and dried up and we're in a streak of amazing weather for the first week of October, but I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Of Crafty Thangs & Business Pangs

Earlier in the year you may remember the Log Cabin quilt I made for my niece Abby

Abby's quilt

and then came along Project 14 for Craft for Hope: Christmas in Dixie

Stocking for Project 14

I forced myself to work from my stash when making those stockings and they were the first I've ever made, but I caught the sewing fever again.  This means two things. 1) That what I was hoping to do with Pinpinn as it closes down from selling pincushions feels even more right.  2) I have an excuse to buy more fabric.  Seriously though it's exciting.

I've noticed that as this year draws to a close the changes that Etsy has launched has really made the whole site feel much like a closed loop or a very confined circle.  It's becoming harder to push people towards my shops for various reasons and it's discouraging.  There are a few personal factors hanging around with my decision about Pinpinn and also the urge to really become a business and meet potential customers.  In other words I'd like to start selling at craft shows, just a few.  Etsy has me feeling very stuck and the longer I'm there the more claustrophobic I feel.  Because Tumus is set up on a "made to order" basis I can't really sell at shows, but I've reached out to a few local places to advertise at this year.  

The idea I have for Pinpinn though has potential, the kind that makes my tummy kind of flip and my brain go into overload when I try to sleep. It's funny when you have those kinds of ideas.  I don't know how well it will go or what kind of reaction I'll get or even if it's something people will want, but it feels good and I know my area and what people buy around here so it's very possible.  So possible it's scary.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Name that Fern!

 I need your help in naming this fern.  I totally forgot what it was called, but it's absolutely the coolest thing I've seen a plant do outside a Venus Flytrap. This plant was in our Behind the Seeds Tour at Epcot.

The guide joked with us that she has one at home and when new guests arrive she likes to show off her fern.  As the guests are ooo-ing and ahh-ing over it's neato defense system she'll bump the table and the whole plant with contract ALL of it's itty bitty leaves at once.  The guide then likes to tease the new dinner guests by telling them they've killed her plant.  Of course it's not really dead and the plant will open itself back up in a matter of minutes.  Spurred on by this news 3 younger boys in our group promptly gave the potted fern a good shake and made it wilt before our eyes.
Boys will be boys.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Behind the Seeds Tour

Veggie "DNA"

Of all the things we did on vacation this was probably my second favorite (sorry but Harry Potter was just too cool)  The "Behind the Seeds Tour" at Epcot basically went "behind the scenes" of their hydroponic gardening center and let us release ladybugs, eat hydroponic veggies and generally look in awe at all the bare rooted, MASSIVE plants growing around us.

Nicole and I observing our bounty

All the while asking questions about how the systems work, what's actually in their hydro solution and how you can build your own hydroponic garden at home.  If you want to do anything extra at Disney it always costs more, but because of that the groups are usually smaller and definitely more intimate.

Pumpkin Hammock

There were so many unusual things going on, not to mention the reDORKulous size of the fruit and veggies.  As it was all inside a giant greenhouse they had fans to circulate the moist air.  The outside walls were lined with corrugated cardboard which trapped the moisture the fans were pulling out of the greenhouses and that water would drip into a tray and off to a holding tank where it would be recycled back into the whole system.  Pretty spiffy, eh?

Even more amazing were how fast the plants grew in a soil-less environment.  Pepper plants were literally maturing within 2 months if not less.  Lettuces were ready for harvest in a matter of weeks.  It's so low tech it's high tech.  I've seen hydroponic gardens done with 2 liter pop bottles on a PVC frame, but this place was on a whole other level.

Fast Grower

I wouldn't mind working in a place like that, you'd learn so much, but I don't tolerate Florida heat that well and I burn too easily.  C'est la vie.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Mushroom Update

Copious fungus
I received this email the other day when I sent out an inquiry about the Ohio Mushroom Society.  I asked why there were no events in SW Ohio and if there were any other clubs of the fungus or foraging type around my area.  This is what I got back.

" Rebekah,
Unfortunately, we do not have any active members in SW Ohio and there are no local clubs there.  This could change as in the past we had members in Xenia and we forayed at John Bryan St. Park.  Those members have  passed on and no active members have surfaced. "

That really makes me sad.  This particular society is most active on the opposite side of the state from me and all the events are over there too.  I don't want to drive 4-5 hours across the state for an event.  I don't understand why there is no local push for groups like this around here??  It's insane that the members closest to me have all but passed on from this life and no one has taken their spot.  It's like society doesn't give a poo about Nature or what she can do for us.

Down but not out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brain Overload

I think I'm going thru a learning spurt.  It's one of those spurts where you can't seem to find ENOUGH information and the stuff you do find you read until your eyes are about ready to fall out of your head. And then you ask a question, which leads to 10 answers and not all are reliable or accurate so then you have to research the answer.  What I'm getting at is this "wild foraging" thing is the new black for me.  But I don't want it to be a fad so I'm really trying hard to read up on it and learn.  I want to be resourceful in my own backyard or local (non-treated) woodland. 
I've been so inspired by Lisa over at Lilfishstudios and her amazing treks into wild foraging.  It is truly amazing. I've also been able to track down a few other noteworthy foraging blogs thru her and Google.  I've been gobbling up so much info that I've got to back off or else suffer overload.

Red Mushrooms

But here's the depressing part.  For some reason wild foraging in Ohio only seems to come about in the Spring and it's almost entirely because of Morels.  There seems to be a distinct lack of guidance when it comes to edibles in the wild other than mushrooms.  In fact I've never eaten a Morel in my life.  Maybe if I went to our resident "green/hippie/artsy" town Yellow Springs I could find someone but even then I would really have to work at finding local, knowledgeable people who go out in the field to find and forage for these things.  Maybe I should start a group or put pressure on the local parks and state parks to make these groups more accessible.  If the park agency aren't spreading the word I sincerely hope it's not because they fear thousands of people will converge on the supposedly fragile ecosystems.  Well there are fragile systems and people in masses tend to be plagued with a "herd mentality". But I still want to know why is this hard? Why do groups not exist to pass this know-how down to other generations?  I mean, honestly why do people not care about knowing this stuff? And if they do care why are they not out talking about it more?  You can't spread a gospel sitting on your ass.

It may just boil down to a complete lack of caring.  That seems to be the general consensus nowadays. I've found that over the years as I've become older my perception on things has changed (shocking I know), but deep down I've always loved nature.  I think that the further removed from nature you become the less you care about where things come from.  In the end all things come from the earth, even chemicals.  To me if you don't care about where anything comes from or starts from it's the beginning of the end.  If you don't know how to survive then how do you live?

It's my hope that as I learn to live that I also learn how to survive and thrive...and lets face it, probably get wet and muddy in the process.  I personally believe that you can never become fully "green" because you will never stop learning how to be resourceful and respectful of the Earth.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Trip and A Half

Last week we went to the "Happiest Place on Earth".  
We had a "ball"

While I would beg to differ on the title of "happiest place" it was definitely a different sort of place.  We haven't been on a vacation since our honeymoon in Charleston so it was time we went out of state for a change. We also jumped over to Universal Studios for two days so we could geek out at Hogwarts.
I'll be talking a little more about each place once I've settled back into a "normal" schedule again.
Some days were better than others.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stockings for Craft for Hope's Christmas in Dixie

This year's weather has just been insane here in the States.

And the thunder rolls

Thanks to a heads up from Lupin over on Bugs and Fishes I found out about Craft for Hope's #14 Project: Christmas in Dixie.  You can read more about it here.  It's a special project to help families hit hard by this year's devastating tornadoes by bring back some holiday cheer in an unexpected way.  The project is making handmade stockings!  If you wish to participate the deadline is September 23rd, 2011, that's when your stockings need to be at the address posted on their blog.

There are some basic requirements but the key is they should all be handmade.  I'm very excited to do as many stockings as I can, even some pet themed ones, before the deadline.

For those who lost everything this year I hope that we can help you start some new traditions that you can rebuild with, our hearts and prayers are still with you all :)
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