I find myself on quite a birdhouse kick lately--and it is showing up in everything from my whimsical birdhouse cushion to this simple little painted cutie above.  I have a birdhouse wallhanging in the works at the moment, and there are  a couple of unfinished wooden birdhouses sitting in my workroom that are patiently awaiting embellishment.  Oh, the possiblities.
Apparently I am not alone in my love of these diminutive dwellings, and I was delighted to turn on CBS Sunday Morning this week and find a segment on the talented Thomas F Burke and his fabulous birdhouse replicas
According to his website biography, "Tom Burke spent 25 years building custom  homes with his  father in Delaware. He still builds houses but now his business  card reads: “Builder of Fine Bird Homes.”

Burke combines his craftsman’s  skills with  an artistic bent to create replicas of historic buildings or a client’s home. “These birdhouses are whimsical, not architectural  reproductions,” says Burke,  whose custom work can be spotted in yards all  around Wilmington."
His fanciful creations depict everything from Martha Stewart's Bedford, NY home to George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch and can take months to make--and can come with a price tag of upwards of  $20,000.  They truly are miniature works of art, and it is well worth watching the interview here on the CBS website.
It is when I see amazingly detailed and intricate woodworking projects that I regret never learning how to construct things with saws and nails...  I may just have to take a course of some sort, because I am quite intrigued at the possiblity of a project like this!

I hope you're all staying safe during this crazy weather we're having--I was horrified and saddened to see the breaking news of the Oklahoma tornadoes just this afternoon, as I have been through natural disasters (several times, in fact), and I am well acquainted with the sick feeling of resignation that comes when the evacuation siren starts up and you see danger advancing.  There is nothing to do but round up the things that mean most to you--usually people and pets--and head to a place of safety.

My heart is with any of you who have been affected. 
Books have always been a huge part of my life.  I am a self-proclaimed bookworm--and proud of it!  From childhood onward I have been the girl with a book (or two) always lurking in her bag.  I read in cafes over a good strong Americano, on the train during the morning commute, while waiting in the Doctor's office... anywhere and everywhere.  For me, reading the first page of a new book is like slipping into a warm bath--comforting and relaxing.  The start of personal time well-spent. 

Some books stand out among the others, and this week I had the pleasure of enjoying one of them.  I finally received the copy of 'Orphan Train' that I had requested at my local library.  My husband picked it up for me and it came into my posession on Tuesday night.  I threw it in my bag yesterday morning and headed out to a series of appointments with waiting periods in between... which of course meant perfect reading time!  I became totally  immersed in the story and finished it last night at bedtime.  A thoroughly good read.

I won't bore you with all the details of the book (as I am sure not everyone is interested in the subject of the 200,000 children rounded up in NYC and shipped out on trains to the mid-west during the early 1900s), but you can take a look here on Amazon for the full publisher's summary. 
There is a great post about the historical background of 'Orphan Train' on (the author) Christina Baker Kline's blog, if anyone is interested.  I have to say that I really enjoyed this author's writing style and I think I may just look into her other four novels. 
To totally switch gears, I have been very busy on the projects front--and simultaneously too lazy to photograph and document my endeavors in a post.  I plan to remedy that this weekend and share my creations very soon!  Let's just say that I have rediscovered my love of seersucker and am finally getting around to sewing up something that I cut out over a year ago (right before the big flood disrupted my entire year)!

Happy (almost) weekend!
We've had one heck of a day here weather-wise--torrential rain, a possible tornado, and widespread flooding.  Thunderstorms have been churning around and around all day long, and it was the perfect weather for a bit of crocheting. 

I don't know why I always associate rainy, inclement weather with handwork, but I think it goes back to my days in theatre.  On rainy, horrible summer days in the wardrobe workshop we would put on old jazz cds to drown out the driving beat of rain on the corrugated tin roof above our heads.  We listened to everything from Cole Porter to John Coltraine while we stitched away, and to this day I think of a rainy day as an 'old jazz day'.
Today I took up my crochet hook and some pretty yarn left over from my Happy Flowered Garland project and set out to make a cat toy mouse.  I looked online for a bit of inspiration, but in the end I just made it up out of my head.  There's my continuity issue popping up again.  Oh well... 
Pussito is inside due to inhospitable weather conditions so I decided to treat him with the catnip-laced toy.  He was so sleepy that he bit and kicked it for about a minute and fell back asleep with his paws resting against it.  I guess that's his half-hearted seal of approval.

I think he's annoyed with me that he is wearing a girly pink and brown collar (I used one that I already had on hand until I can go pick up a suitably manly replacement for the one he lost earlier this week), but with Oliver, who can ever tell?  At least he got the blue catnip mouse... I'm going to make a pink one now for Sophie Puss.

If anyone is interested in crocheting a cute mousie toy for their feline companion, here is a whole page of links to free patterns. 

Happy Crafting!