I was in Austin, Texas without a hat! I confess that I felt nekkid — I was out of balance. From the window of our fourth floor (haunted) room at the Driskill, we could see a hat shop called “Vertigo.” We took a break from our ghost hunt and headed over there to shop.
Because, every cowboy needs a hat
But, you don't have to be a cowboy to wear a hat.
And, you don't have to wear a cowboy hat.
We did not get cowboy hats! That would have made us look like tourists or something. Besides, I already have cowboy hats. Several of them. What would you expect of a fifth-generation Texan?
No, we got ourselves a couple of straw Pork Pie hats, because y’all know I love bacon! The young man who helped us make our choices was very knowledgeable, and told us something I didn’t know:
If you have a straw hat, never grab it by the crown! Not only does that make it lose its shape, it can cause the straw to break at the crown. Hold it by the brim.
There you go.
Now, I have a snazzy hat, my life is in balance, and I’m ready to go out on the town. I don’t look like a tourist — I just look like a poseur.
A few days ago, I was searching the internet trying (unsuccessfully) to identify butterflies I had seen at Wild-Connections Butterfly Farm. I came across this magnificent picture of a handmade jigsaw puzzle with a brilliant blue butterfly. When I discovered that it was made in Texas, I had to follow down all the links to “meet” the puzzle maker.
Butterfly jigsaw puzzle handmade in Texas
I found the home website, called Double Trouble Jigsaw Puzzles, and wrote to Katie to ask for more information. She lives in the Deer Park area, near Houston and was kind enough to give me some information about herself. Quite frankly, I was curious about how anyone up and decided to make jigsaw puzzles. Here is what she said:
“My family always knew me for wanting to make money; I’d be outside selling lemonade, snow cones, or trying to do chores.
Browsing through unique gifts for my mother’s birthday, I came upon a little custom puzzle and immediately fell in love with the idea and bought it. It wasn’t the well-known mass-produced cardboard puzzle; it was a hand-cut,wooden jigsaw puzzle. I received it within two weeks and had to hold back giving it to mom early. Together, we solved the difficult puzzle and framed it. I was later told that I could make puzzles like that.
Custom jigsaw puzzle
To make a long story shorter, I saved some money and went to Home Depot and bought a small scroll saw. I taught myself how to cut the intricate puzzles, and have now moved up to a professional saw. When I tell friends and family that I hand craft wooden jigsaw puzzles they are intrigued. I usually get a weird look and they ask again. I have to thoroughly explain the process and I usually end up showing them my video of cutting jigsaw pieces. Most are still confused about wooden puzzles so they just say, “Cool!”
I literally hand cut each individual puzzle piece on a quarter inch wood. There are many different cutting styles to use, and the pieces can be cut to the size of a dime or to very large children’s pieces a few inches wide. Larger pieces can be great for children, weddings, family reunions, and graduations because the guests can sign the back of the pieces for a unique guest book. The more intricate, meticulously cut tiny pieces are great for a challenge.
Ballerina Figural for custom jigsaw puzzle
Customers can also choose to have “figurals” placed in their puzzle. “Figurals” are custom puzzle pieces that are personalized in your choice of words, names, years, shapes, silhouettes, etc. There are many ideas possible in a custom puzzle. The more creativity, the more unique the puzzle!”
I looked at Katie’s Etsy shop and saw that she had a 5 x 7 custom jigsaw puzzle, using a picture that you supply, starting at $24 (they have about 50-60 small pieces in them). If you have ever held a wooden jigsaw puzzle in your hand, and if you like jigsaw puzzles, you know this is a decent price!
I definitely need to get a handmade jigsaw puzzle. When I have puzzles I really like, I keep them forever, and these look like puzzles to treasure. Is she paying me to say nice things? Heck no! This is not a pay per post. I’m just tickled pink to feature an artist from the Lone Star State, and I thought it might interest you! Keep her work in mind the next time you are looking for a gift that is one-of-a-kind.
Last weekend was the Dallas International Guitar Festival, and that is how we celebrated our anniversary. Mr. Tucker is crazy about guitars and guitar shows, and I like them well enough. I made him take me out to eat to compensate me for my time. I also held his wallet, so he didn’t buy another guitar!
I told you earlier in the week about the seat belt guitar straps that I saw for sale, but there were tons of guitars there, or course. Market Hall was jam packed with guitar vendors, with everything from brand spankin’ new guitars to very expensive vintage guitars. I promise that I’m only sharing a few of the photos with you in the slide show below.
Now just because some of the guitars were old don’t think that made them less valuable. They are still perfectly good. I’ve got a picture of an orange 1965 Fender Stratocaster that was for sale for $22,000. That’s right, there are three zeros there.
The first person you should see in this slideshow (if I did it right) is a 13 year old boy who has been a regular player at the show for five years! He and another young man were playing the blues and it was awesome.
The pictures I am showing you are guitars whose color or shape I liked. Heck no I don’t know what kind of guitar they are (except for that Stratocaster)! Ask MR. Tucker —he could tell you in a heartbeat.
The final picture in the set is my beloved husband playing a guitar. He isn’t a prodigy, but I’m telling you, people, when he picked up any of the guitars and started to strum he drew a crowd!
First click on the arrow, and then don’t be afraid to click on that box on the lower right corner of the slideshow. It will cause it to fill the screen. All you have to do is hit the “escape” button to make it normal again.
OK, the “perfectly good guitar” was a play on words. It references a John Hiatt song shown in the YouTube video below:
Y’all have a great day. If you are in the neighborhood, you will find me in the garden. That’s how I’m celebrating Earth Day. Come and pull some weeds with me!