Sunday, December 20, 2009

new etsy banner!!!

Hooray! New banner!!!

Was just fiddling about and actually managed to get it finished fairly quick once I figured out what I wanted to do. :)

ooh, ooh! AND!!!! I actually carded something! and, and, I cleaned my studio and organized. Now I just have to get those last few Christmas gifts finished....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

...and free shipping too!!!

Everything in the shop now has free shipping for U.S. buyers for the holiday season! :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sale in the shop!

Just a quick line to say that all my batt sets are 10% off for the month of December. 

More new items coming to the shop soon! :) 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

knitting and new items for the shop!

I am really beginning to struggle with how many different media I work in. One becomes the focus while many others neglected. I suppose I've always been this way, but I think it is just that there are not enough hours in my days. I managed to combine two of these long neglected crafts the other night during my first viewing of White Christmas for the season. I sat and needle felted to my heart's content creating several little domes. I've been thinking about pincushions a lot lately and knew that these little domes were destined to become the 'cushion' portion. I then took some vintage fabric I found at an estate sale this summer, sewed a little pillow with a hole cut in the top, filled them with rice and jasmine, and sewed the cushion in with a nice sturdy blanket stitch. Here they are:

Most of them are going up for sale in the shop tomorrow.

Also going into the shop are the latest creations in my candy line! They are the first non jewelry piece in this line, FETCHING HOOKS! They are more commonly known as orifice hooks but my friend Jill was telling me last night that she found them as fetching hooks recently. I think that is a much more lovely name than "orifice." So anyhow, I have a few of these that will be going up for sale tomorrow. So excited!


Two handspun yarns and at least one batt set will be accompanying these brand new items tomorrow!

I also began knitting my very first project that is NOT a scarf last night. I've already taken it out 3 times (Jill helped the first time I took it out) but, I am absolutely determined and I think I am on track now. I have been resisting knitting for quite some time now because I've always felt like it takes SOOOO much longer and that it is much more difficult than crochet. (Un?)Fortunately about a week ago, when I went to purchase the GIANT pom pom maker, I came across a new line of yarns and patterns at the Your Local Yarn Shop here in Battle Creek. This shop already carries a multitude of glorious yarns and patterns but this new line was so up my alley. It is called Spud &Chloe and they have some of the neatest patterns and a beautiful color palette. Their site has some free patterns too! I fell in love with a pattern for the first time. I left it where it was but...

copyright © Spud & Chloe
Candy Stripe Jacket
Well, I thought about that pattern for over a week and finally decided that since I couldn't get it off my mind, I was just going to have to buy it and take the plunge. I'm very lucky to have an excellent knitting friend (Thanks Jill!) who helped me get started. If all goes well, I may even post the finished project. :) How selfish of me to start knitting myself a sweater when I should be working on Christmas gifts...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

a productive day...

This morning I woke up feeling like it must have been noon because I was so refreshed. Amazingly when I looked at the clock it was barely 9:30. I laid there a bit longer and then got up, showered and started baking and cooking. Joe had a lot of baking to do too so we were fighting over utensils and the kitchen (he won mostly.) Despite that I was able to finish making one of my favorite desserts for Thanksgiving at his grandmother's house, apple carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting. Joe made two pies (chocolate pecan and lemon meringue) and our favorite spinach and artichoke dip. I made sweet potato casserole, which is always a must for the holidays with my family so I like to share it with his.

Here's the cake all frosted and pretty!

and Joe's pies... or at least the chocolate pecan one, just a little bit of the other one showing here. The light was going so pictures weren't the greatest.

Ever notice  how desserts are prettier than main dishes ever are? I think normal foods have to get plated before you can REALLY fancy em' up, but desserts can just stand on their own.

Now we just have to prepare for Thanksgiving at our house again. Luckily I've already tidied up everything and will just need to do a quick run through with the normal upkeep. I also cleaned up my poor wheel today. I did the holiday market out at the local farmer's market yesterday and realized when changing bobbins how terribly dusty it was.  The market was pretty much a bust, everyone was cleaning up about an hour early. I did meet a few very nice people though, including a weaver who bought some of my yarn. We chatted about Penland and John C. Campbell Folk School because she splits her time between here and North Carolina. If I could move to another state, I must admit that North Carolina would be in my top five. So beautiful and within a day drive from home and family, not to mention the fantastic art community. 

OH! Adele and I made ornaments after we got back from the holiday market yesterday. We just stuffed some make your own glass ornaments with odds and ends that we had around but they were a lot of fun!

oh the simple things...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

i heart tools

I recently realized that I have way more tools in my arsenal than my husband will probably ever have. I wasn't sure how I should feel about that situation until I picked up the latest issue of Lapidary Journal's Jewelry Artist. At first I was a bit miffed because I am usually so pleased with the content of this magazine and its projects that I have stopped even perusing it in the store before I purchase it. I got it home and immediately flipped to the contents page only to find that there were only two projects in it! I was about to have my own little private fit until I realized that it was  special "tool" edition and the articles and fancy pants tools they had in there were amazing!

I am constantly surprised by this magazine. When I first discovered it, it was still just Lapidary Journal and I was still quite the beginner to metalwork. I still feel really intimidated when I am around other jewelry artists about my skills but I'm working on that. I think when the publishers of Bead & Button came out with their publication Art Jewelry (which I am also a big fan of... I guess while we're at it, I may as well admit my magazine problem too...) they really felt like they needed to do a major revamp of the mag and they did a fantastic job. Their writers are often humorous and I really enjoy the articles as well as the projects.

But yea... tools. :) That was what I started out talking about. There was a really great plier article that made me laugh out loud at the quizzical husband wondering why his wife needed so many different pliers. I too, have many pliers... and hammers... and well yea, lots of tools.

Then I started thinking about it, and my tool addiction is not just for metalworking. I have so many little gadget type tools for fibers that I think I may just have a problem. Many of these are actually for things that do not require them but the company Clover makes such wonderful little things like various sized pom pom makers, yo yo makers, etc. that I am sucked in. I blame the bright colors on the fancy little doo dads contraptions.

Anyhow, there it is, out in the open. I have a problem, and you know what I plan on doing about it? I'm printing off the 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby tomorrow so I can buy the GIANT pom pom maker. Because who isn't looking for the perfect pom pom to top off their newly finished knit hat?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well, I thought that I was done for the year with shows but I have decided to try the Holiday Market at the local farmer's market here in Battle Creek/Springfield. It is on Saturday, November 21, from 10 AM to 3PM. The Farmer's Market building is located at the front of Begg Park on Dickman Rd. I have heard that their "specialty" sales have lots of good stuff at em' so we'll see how it goes. :) I think Adele is going to help me at this one. She has been bugging all season to come to a show with me and help. I think it will be a fun day. We are going to make our own Christmas ornaments afterward and watch Peter Pan. It has been decided. Definitely.

I also wanted to share for all you spinners and weavers out there that my friend Jill has begun offering winding stations in her etsy store here that are hand crafted by my dad. They are super handy, well built, don't take up much space, AND are cheaper than those made by the big wigs.  Here are a few photos I snatched from her shop:


The absolute perfect way to get the most out of your swift and ball winder. You can of course also wind directly from you bobbin that will conveniently fit over one of the eight steel rods provided.  You can also ply from them (Jill's rescued me last week at spinning night when I was plying a yarn I had spun from gorgeous lushmommy batt.) Speaking of that yarn...

Sara carded this one up special for me. There were so many locks in it! (if you haven't figured this out by now, I LOOOOOOOVE LOCKS!!!) Such a drool fest it was sooo gorgeous.  I quite foolishly started plying in the wrong direction. I don't think I've ever done that without catching it before. What a mess! Luckily mom was there to help me detangle, untwist, and start over again. So in love with this one, I'm not sure I'll be able to let it go. Don't have any idea what I would make though...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

some things...

today I realized that I love:

...a hot bath in the middle of the afternoon
...when jazz singers choose French instead of English
...making pancakes for the friends that stayed the night after our little party constant need to be doing something with my hands, and that I would prefer that would be a craft than a keyboard

and finally,

That I am finally starting to feel like saying that I am an artist is an accurate description.

I mentioned a quote recently about what a true artist is from Ellis Havelock. "The true artist is not the one who draws and paints, but rather the person whose life is adjusted to beauty in every thought and action." I think I am getting closer to that now. It's hard not to when you live in a state that normally has a few inches of snow at this time of year and instead you are able to barbeque and sit by a nice fire without a jacket in the middle of the night.

I know it won't last but I'm grateful for it. There is nothing more beautiful than being surrounded by so many people you care for, eating lots of good food, and sharing some good microbrew. These are the reminders that there is beauty in everything.... even the mountain of dishes in the aftermath.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Art Center Happenings

I had the pleasure of teaching not only a workshop but a class this past month at the Art Center of Battle Creek. I have taught a few classes and workshops at the art center in the past year or so, but I have to admit these classes I just finished were by far the most rewarding for me. I was able to finally teach my first jewelry class, which was very exciting. It was a 4 week (one night a week) course in cold connections. We mainly did rivets (which are my favorite type of cold connection) to create jewelry pieces. I had such a blast and felt really good afterward because I had finally taught some metalsmithing. I have really only been able to teach fiber and textile related techniques since I graduated that I felt like maybe it just wasn't meant to be with the jewelry. I felt like it was a challenge and now that it is over, I feel really fulfilled and like I could do it better the next time. Here are some finished pieces from a few of my students.
 Kathleen's Piece:

Heather took a photo of her own finished piece which you can find on her blog here. It is a cute little owl head she cut out and embellished and it is just maybe the cutest darn thing ever.

The workshop that I was able to teach this month was my own little brainchild of a build a bear type workshop. Since Halloween was coming up i proposed that we do it with monsters. Well the workshop date ended up being the morning of Halloween and there was nothing that could have done a better job of getting me in the holiday spirit. I made the little shells of all these little monsters and made various colored legs and provided extra felt for the kids to make mouths, teeth, spots, etc. I also provided safety eyes and some little other odds and ends. The kids were SOOOOOOO amazing. I had everything from a 2yo to a 12 yo and all of them were just absolutely imaginative. There were monsters with eyes in the back of their heads, monsters with huge pointy teeth, tiny hearts, and even a wrestling belt. Not to mention that all of the parents (and grandparents) who stayed all the way through class were so amazingly helpful, kind, and understanding. Things went very smooth and I would have to say it would not have went that way without them. I had a fabulous time and I think everyone else did too. Here are some of the little sweetie-pie monsters!

The Fall art walk also happened this past month. I had a little table at it and did some demos. I chatted with SO many people. I was truly amazed at the turnout and the interest people took in each individual's work. For the first time that I could remember, I felt like my hometown was a really great place to be. I noticed that day how beautiful the sculpture and the fountain at Mill Race Park are  AND was given some real proof that some people in Battle Creek really care about art. I was lucky enough to have my friend Jennie next to me with her amazing art dolls. She was very sweet to take some pictures of me and my little setup too.
You can find her blog at The Prim Pumpkin and her etsy shop here.

October was quite the month and while I'm sad to see it go, I'm also happy to be able to relax a bit and get my house back in order. I can't believe what  mess it became so suddenly. It took me nearly all day today to clean the dining room up.

Finally, I wanted to announce some new items that will be appearing in my shop soon. I am going to start offering some handmade fiber related tools (soon,) some handspun jewelry with handmade metal clasps and embellishments like seen here:
I also am experimenting with natural dyeing this week and will be putting those items up for sale if all goes well. I picked through a pound of mohair and a pound of icelandic earlier in preparation. Dyepots here I come!!!


OK, I am finally udpating the shop tomorrow but thought I would put a few sneaky peek pictures up here and a little bit of what has been going on in my world.

We, had another incident with the house a few weeks ago in the form of our tub which had gotten a crack in it, leaking down through the floor causing our kitchen ceiling to bow and get a nice big hole in it. everything is essentially fixed now and we are just working on getting all the dust cleaned up from dad helping us out with the ceiling. needless to say, i haven't had much time to get anything done.

i am going to start natural dying later today once I get everything cleaned up. It is my first attempt at it but i'm going all out. I picked up some alum, two things of concord grapes (I may have to eat a few of those because they smell so darn good,) beets, and two large stew pots at meijer. I already have some black walnuts and am going to cut all my snapdragons from the garden since they are clearly done for the year. I also have a jar in the basement with some of my scrap copper mixed with vinegar and ammonia in hopes that I might have a nice copper sulphate solution (I think that is right) for another mordant option. I'm very excited to see how everything turns out and will post pictures as soon as I get the dying dried out.

Adele and I went to the library the other day and she reluctantly let me pick out a few books to read to her. I have had so much fun revisiting some of my favorites when I started reading chapter books. Last time we went I picked out The Fantastic Mr. Fox to read. I always loved Roald Dahl's books when I was younger and reread many of them but somehow had missed this one. When I saw that Wes Anderson (one of my favorite director/producers anyway) had adapted it for a delightful looking film I decided it was time to read it. Adele was a little leary at first but after the first chapter it sucked her in like all of Dahl's books tend to do. This time at the library I picked out a few of James Howe's books including Howliday Inn, Bunnicula, and The Celery Stalks at Midnight. I'm really thrilled to read these books again, I'm just going to have to trick her into starting one, hopefully she enjoys these ones as much as I did.

Finally here are some of the new items going in the shop:


and a little something else :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

busy, busy...

I finally updated the shop today with some new listings. I was thrilled to finally get back to carding, actually finish a few new yarns, AND finish a necklace that had been in various states of undone for well over 2 weeks. I posted them all today! :)

The necklace was an idea I'd had for a while and last night, it was just time. I had all but one of the beads made and then just had to assemble the actual piece. I'm really quite happy with the results but I think I'm going to make some necklaces that are just a simple chain with one candy bead as a pendant for the Holly Mart.

I'm going to being demonstrating cold connecting at the Fall into the Arts art walk this Friday from 5-9 at the Kellogg Foundation with some of the other instructors. I'm really thrilled to be involved with the Art Center of Battle Creek. It has been one of the things keeping me going as far as knowing I did the right thing going to art school. Knowing grad. school can't happen for quite some time, I feel fortunate to have the center as a resource.  I am teaching a cold connections jewelry class there right now and am really enjoying myself. It is the first opporunity I have had to be able to teach any metal working class there and am so lucky to have a laid back excited class. I was terribly nervous going into it but everyone was so great that it quickly passed.

Next weekend is the Fiber Expo in Ann Arbor. Jill and I are sharing a booth. I am really excited to be doing a larger fiber show. I've got some shawl pins in the works and am going to be selling blank notecards with pictures of my yarn and a few of the alpacas that I visited a few weeks ago. I also am going to be making some custom orifice hooks with my candy beads. Very excited!!! just not enough time....

Even more exciting is that I am going to be able to try out the bulky flier for my spinning wheel TOMORROW!!!! hooray!! Can you tell I'm excited? That might get my mind of the Spinolution Mach wheel I've been dreaming about for at least a little while...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"the true artist..."

my poor neglected blog... over two months since my last post. practically three really.

I've been reflecting a lot more lately. I use to have a calendar that had an awful lot of quotes in it and one was, "If you can't do what you like, like whatever you do." Now I do what I like when time allows and I don't have a mess on my hands like here....

Due to the fact that we had a large crack in our cast iron plumbing pipe (most likely the original to our good ol' 83 year old house,) many things had to be moved from the 'storage' side of the basement to the studio side. This amongst wedding plans and knowing I had a show barely two weeks after we got back from the honeymoon a great reorganization took place. It progressed...

and I now have this:

Hooray for order! Well it's mostly in order. I have my metal bench down here. I am so thrilled about it. I haven't had a good space to do metal work in really ever. Certainly no place designed specifically for that purpose and only for me. I have been far more productive than ever and am cranking out lots of pieces in my latest small batch production lines.

I've also finally designed some pieces that incorporate my handspun. I'm especially happy with these little chandelier style earrings.
I also spent some wonderful time with Adele and my bestest friend when she brought her son over. What a lovely afternoon.

AND AND!!! I went to an alpaca farm with a coworker. A baby had just been born that morning! I bought over 2 pounds of alpaca fiber. I'm going to try my had at natural dying with that and the pound of mohair fleecey locks I've been hoarding all summer. Here's some of the cuteness!

The second picture is the momma and her new baby. Way too adorable.

I had an art fair two weekends ago back in Adrian. There was a beautiful fairy ring of mushrooms outside the house I stayed at.

...and some more beautiful fungus at the park that I happened upon while disc golfing with joe.

I've even gotten some fiber going on the hackle! Very halloween-ish.

and finally, back to where I started. I've been thinking about my whole life situation really. I am now a happily married girl with a happy homey little place of our own, but I HATE my job. The people are great. It is just the job. It robs all the time that I could be spending doing what I love. Two quotes are increasingly becoming the root of this restlessness I am feeling to DO something about it. The first being,

"Sometimes, the pain of not doing what you love forces you to take a chance." - Stephen Goetschius, sculptor

and the second,

"The true artist is not the one who draws and paints, but rather the person whose life is adjusted to beauty in every thought and action." - Ellis Havelock

I need to live and breathe these quotes. They just might be the key.

The new artful blogging came out a while ago but, I just got the chance to snag in about a week ago. Every time I pick up that publication I am just absorbed, inspired, and baffled. I don't feel so bad about neglecting my blog now... I've been very busy but, going through all those gorgeous images gave me that extra push to get in here and give it another go. On that note, I leave an image of my best version of those lovely photos people take with their magazine tucked in there. I've been frantically crocheting these little spinning wheel hang bags out of my art yarns for the show this weekend. They hang so well on my wheel with a little orifice hook and oil pen in them.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

the past few weeks...

Whew! It has been so busy the past few weeks, I just haven't had a moment to blog really. Two shows are over, and, while I didn't do amazing at either one of them, I had a good time. I worked hard and got a lot of jewelry done. Not as much as I would have actually liked to have gotten done but I still have a few months before my next show... and barely that till the wedding. Mom has been so hard at work at the bridesmaid dresses and they are so cute! Very simple looking and hopefully comfortable for the girls to wear. Adele's little flower girl dresses is way too cute too!

My bench is quite the mess now but can easily be cleaned off, which is good because I have a major piece I have to finish this weekend. I snapped some pictures of work in progress for the shows. There is just something about that major grouping of all the same little components that is so satisfying.

I got a chance to use my new cases that were gifted to me at the art fair. I was really happy with my humble little booth. I'm learning a little bit more every time I set up for a show, eventually I might get it just right. :)

It was sooooo windy though! I almost lost an entire heavy case all over when the wind kicked up. The booth next to me lost their canopy off their EZ Up when it happened. I was so concerned for them I didn't realize that my case was flying backward. LOL! Everything was okay though, and my idea for using peat pots to display my earrings on was a hit!

For the fiber show I had been accumulating some lovely vintage green suitcases and used them to display my batts it. It worked out great. One less bin that I needed to pack because the display was how I transported everything. It really worked out beautifully and I got lots of compliments.

I did realize one thing for sure after these shows. I need a bigger car. The little Saturn and I have to be very clever and play some serious car Tetris to get everything packed in properly. Luckily I've had plenty of experience doing so with that car after 4 years moving back and forth from college in it.

I can't wait to get back to spinning and carding at this point though. I got just a tiny bit burned out on the metal for a while. :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another show...

Just an add-in on the show schedule. I will be at third annual Fiber Expo held at the Washtenaw Fair Grounds in Ann Arbor October 24 and 25th sharing a booth with Jill of Fuzzy Wuzzy Fibers. Should be a great show! :)
I am going to put an updated schedule on the side of my blog so it is visible all the time and will be posting as I figure out any more shows I will be participating in.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A wee preview...

all righty, I have been working my little fingertips down nearly to the bone, filing and cutting metal, frantically needle felting, carding up a mini storm, staining wood, buying the last few "booth ingredients," and missing a lot of sleep. I tell you what though, as stressed out as I am, I'm pretty happy. I mean really, I'm quite content. If I could quit my day job and just have the WHOLE day every day to do these things, I'd be happy as a wee little clam. Unfortunately, throwing that day job in the mix just makes me super antsy at work to get home and get bustling away at all the things I need to do that I actually enjoy... and then I end up blogging first... Here are a few pictures of some earrings designs I've been working on:

Anyhow, rather than working at the moment, I am impatiently waiting for the treasury listings on to drop because I have a fabulous set of images to make one from that I made almost a week ago. Waiting, waiting, waiting.... I just never seem to be able to time it right. It's all Peanut Butter and Grape themed but in a somewhat clever way for part of it. I found a lovely handspun from an etsy seller that had little plastic grapes spun into it and I just had to find a way to work it into a treasury and what better than peanut butter and jelly right? I'm going to hold off posting this so I can work the screenshot in here...

I also made a Goober and Grape batt set. I'm saving it for the fiber show and if it doesn't fly away there I'll be posting it in the shop. But there will be a sneak peek on my flickr tomorrow hopefully. :)

I'm really excited for the fiber show. Last time I tried to sell my batts to people who could actually seem em' was at a high school craft show and they did pretty well there so we'll see what happens in a more appropriate setting. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Another one!

I was featured in another treasury this week and just wanted to share the lovely stuff that was in it! Plus, I still heart etsy! :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

who knew i'd love....

digital cameras and blogging...

I mean really, it took me a while to start blogging and I'm still not completely comfortable with the idea BUT, I have found myself thinking about things and knowing they'd be a good blog blurb.

Well, I was just going through photos and came across some real beauties I took a few weekends ago. I made Adele a big batch of the ultimate bubble mix and took her out her bubble thing so she could make massive bubbles. This is by far one of the coolest inventions EVER! Here's a great photo I shot of her making them. I can't believe I took that photo! Not because the composition is that fantastic but I was shocked I was actually able to capture the bubble so well. On top of that, this happens to be one of few where Dillon didn't sneak into the photo. He needed to have his own little photo shoot though.

To feel this blissful and childlike on a Saturday afternoon is definitely something to be cherished.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

awww! i heart etsy :)

I'm featured in a dandy treasury along with my friend Sara. It's everything Root Beer Float! How cool. Anyhoo, here's the screenshot :)

Sara's is the yarn in the upper right made from the very same colorway of the batt set I have in the treasury.

How fun! :)