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 :)