Sunday, December 12, 2010

nearly half past december. WHAT?!?

I've been on a terrible blogging hiatus. No time really. Wrapping up classes, trying to make and buy Christmas gifts. I took a class today, work of course and oh yea, I've been all over the place. Literally. Last weekend I travelled to the OOAK Show and Sale in Chicago with my mum, sister, and darling little niece on the train. The 3 and half of us always go to the Ann Arbor Art Fair each year and OOAK Show. I always look forward to these precious days where I am surrounded by some of the most important and loved people in my life in a completely art saturated environment. I saved my pennies this year for Chitown knowing that there were a few artists I just couldn't go home without owning one of their pieces.
 My first major purchase were two beautiful little pouches from Robyn of shibangdesigns. I met her last year at the show in the etsy pavilion and bought one of her small coin pouches that also happen to fit smaller cameras (like my own!) I loved it so much that when I was perusing her shop before we went and spotted another beauty, I asked her to save it for me so I could snag it at the show. Of course I couldn't just get one though and ended up getting one of her "cosmetic cases." I'm sure it will end up being for crochet hooks or even occasionally used as a clutch when I'm feeling fancy. Here work is so lovely and extremely high quality. I'm a real sucker for it because she not only screenprints and sews everything herself, but dyes the wools that she uses for the fabtastic floral designs.
 At the Ann Arbor Art Fair this year I fell in love with Adam Egenolf 's stunning crystalline glazed pieces but his booth was so busy I couldn't even do my handle test of his mugs. Anyone who knows me or has been to my house knows that I have an extensive handmade mug collection. Every art fair I attend, another mug (sometimes two) comes home with me and thanks to the bars and hooks I acquired at IKEA over the summer I can continue a bit longer without finding a new means of display (oh and don't worry each one gets plenty of use too!) I know where each one came from and they were all picked for a very specific reason and are never purchases unless they feel JUST right in my hand.
 Anyhow, back to the Egenolf's work. I happily discovered that he was also at the OOAK show and after much debate decided I would rather have one of his "Grab Glasses." It is so comfy to hold onto and is the perfect water glass for me down in my studio.

My major purchase was from Sarah Chapman. I have admired her work every year we go to the show because on top of having a unique style and being extremely talented, she uses awesome textures, patinas, AND, most importantly to me anyway, cold connections. We all know my love affair with riveting so it is always nice to see someone else using these under appreciated means of joining metal. I had such a lovely chat with Sarah and picked out this little beauty after a bit of debate between it and an equally grand piece with a trilobite fossil inside of it. In the end the allure of this piece having the window on both sides won me over.
 But alas, I did not return home without a mug. In fact, the mug was my only non selfish purchase as it was for my husband. This massive mug from Zach Medler just screamed Joe and there were so many other great pieces to choose from. I especially loved a small covered jar that had a little couple block printed on it with an umbrella and rain coming down. His surface decorations with block printing were so different than anyone's I had ever seen which was quite refreshing indeed.
The trip wouldn't have been complete without obtaining one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Chicago Mix popcorn from Garrett's. Whoever decided that caramel corn and cheese popcorn should go together was an insane genius. MMMMMMTASTIC!
 So yea, I was selfish. Sometimes, one needs to indulge, especially when the next three weeks are going to be nothing but gift making, buying, and working. Anyone else splurged lately?  :D

Next time, my amazing experience tie dying with the farmers at Special Dreams Farms.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

productive time in the studio

Isn't it amazing how there are just times where you mosy into your studio space just to putter and you end up having a storm of creativity? It seems like lately I've been "having" to go down there so I almost dread it but tonight I just wanted to play. I didn't actually finish much but many ideas happened and lots of photos were taken.

I did some serious carder maintenance. The poor thing hadn't been taken off the table in a while so it was a bit scary under there. I can't believe how much texture I use that gets completely lost underneath!?!? I a bit embarrassed to show that picture. :D I did however snap one of my my carder after it was all cleaned up.

Then I carded! I only carded a few batts but they were both a blast. I made one that is very in the holiday spirit. When I pulled it off the carder it was one of those "ooooooh," moments. It is called Decked Tannenbaum and it is packed with sparkle and texture. This one is gonna go in the shop update tomorrow! (11/22/10)

I also carded a batt using my own fibers as a base with some lushmommy and handsandnotions fibers to fill it out. I mixed some of sara's (lushmommy)"sunned mushroom" mix of fiber she dyed me with a wee bit of some special fiber that Faun of handsandnotions dyed for me, a smidge or two of my own fibers plus a whole lotta texture to create a very earthy batt to go with my gorgeous SAL batt from Laila of laigrai that I got the other day. She included the most adorable little woodland mushrooms with the batt so I thought it only fitting to use the sunned mushroom mix. :D VERY excited to spin this up tomorrow night.

I've also finished a few yarns recently. I finally conquered my fear of n plying. I had had to learn how in a spinning class and did so poorly at it (not a good idea to try when you are still kind learning how to spin!) that I refused to try again. I never thought about the fact that it could be done with a chunky fun yarn that I like so I decided to give it a shot with the thick and thin single I made out of hobbledehoy's garden compost batts. I have a very tiny fiber optic Christmas tree and I think this yarn will look way better than the finger knitted garland Adele and I made last year for it. :D I'm actually really looking forward to getting the decorations out this year. It has been so hard the last few year to get in the spirit living with a super scrooge...
The next yarn is going to go to a dear friend for a special project(s) she is going to be working on. I spun a handsandnotions batt called Estella over a core and added in some poofy beehives coils with some of my hand dyed BFL. There are TONS  of vintage notions (lace, flower motifs, etc.) and some afghan salvage all spun in as well. I had a blast with this yarn!
Finally, I wanted to show another peek of what will be part of the update. :D I have dyed up so many silk carrier rods and cocoons and will be debuting them in the shop tomorrow. Here's the "motherload."
Phew! That was a big post! Update will start tomorrow between 4:30 and 5 PM EST Hope to see you there! :D

Monday, November 8, 2010

New item offerings for update November 15!

So I've been talking about new item offerings in my shop announcements for some time. Well, now that things have slowed down a bit, I am finally getting them ready and will be posting them next Monday!

First of all, there will be several new fiber offerings and combo. packs. Here is a little preview of what will be coming to a shop near you (or at least your fingertips) in full color!
I have also been scouring my favorite local thrift stores for super goodies for the next brand new offering I'll be putting out into the world. I don't want to give it all away now but here is a little sneak peek as to what it might be:

I am super excited about these and have only shared this delightfully silly idea with a few people. :D

Are you excited yet?  Because on top of it all, I might just have a few items finished to finally go into the "Wear It" section of the shop. Now that is exciting news since it has been empty the entire time I've had the shop. Good intentions but no time really... Now that temperatures are finally dropping (I think anyway... it is supposed to get up to near or over 70 tomorrow! It's NOVEMBER! can we say what the hell Michigan?) But it isn't unbearably humid and hot and the snow isn't flying so no real complaints here, just confusion. At any rate, the "drop in temp." means I actually like to sit with a pile of yarn and partially made garment in my lap.

A few new yarns will be hitting the shop next week along with several new batts. Previews to come Friday here and on flickr!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finally announcing...


Miss Laila, come on down!!!! Your name was randomly chosen out of a tiny box by my husband! :D Because the pins actually consist of 3 colors I will be using all three to create the Sullen Storms colorway. I can't wait to see it on one of your beautiful creations!

This giveaway was much smaller in participation than my last one and all of you have been so supportive and wonderful in the short time I've known each one of you.

Kate, thank you for being one of my first jewelry customers on etsy. It may not seem like a big deal but it really meant a lot to me, the jewelry world is tough out there on etsy. It was that much sweeter that you were a repeat customer. I hope you and your friend are still enjoying your candy bracelets very much.

Dani, Christina, and Dru, and Laila, you all are completely awesome fiber friends. I am completely floored by your support. Despite only having met two of you, I feel like I actually know all of you because of all the kind words, supportive notes, suggestions, and really just a way to be able to express ideas to people who actually "get" what I'm trying to do.

That being said, I'd like to offer a small gift to each of you who were not the prizewinner to show my sincerest appreciation for your participation and support. I think I actually have everyone's address so just pop a little comment here if your addy has changed since I have had to send anything to any of you... probably Christina? and dru, I will get those moths out to you then, sorry I'm a slow poke, I wanted to make sure I had them packaged very carefully. :D

Thank you all so much for your color suggestions as well, I will be making some variation of each one so look for em' in the shop!

Next time: pictures from Fiber Expo!

Monday, October 25, 2010

i bet you thought I forgot...

BUT I DIDN'T! The blog giveaway winner will be announced tomorrow! Sorry I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to randomly draw someone. :D

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

one seat over

Joe and I went to dinner the other night at one of our favorite local breweries, Dark Horse Brewing Company. We usually prefer to sit at the bar but it is often packed in there so we were quite pleased to find that there was plenty of room for us there. We sat down with the seat on my right open and the one to his left. I know, stupid right? Well Joe is tall so I thought he'd wanna sit and the end to be able to stretch his legs out. Silly man of course sat 3 seats in instead. So after joking with him how silly it was, I sat down to and we resolved to move should anyone else want to sit down.

A very nice couple who clearly frequent the brewery more than we do since everyone working there knew them (I'm not entirely sure they weren't the owners...) came in a bit later, so I asked if they would like us to scoot on down. We had a little small talk, joked a bit, and discussed what beers we were drinking and then went back to our conversations with our spouses.

Soon after we were discreetly told by our bartender that our first round had been taken care of.

I had one of their yummy homemade lime sodas for my second drink as I was driving and was shocked to find out a few moments later when we were ready for our bill that someone had taken care of the entire thing.

We're sure it was the couple that paid but we weren't supposed to know. Shocked, I tipped the bartender/waitress the twenty bucks I had in my purse.

Such a small gesture from us that resulted in a reaffirmation of my faith in human kindness all because we moved one seat over.

A large thank you from the bottom of my heart to that couple. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

giveaway ends wednesday 10/13

see post 100 for details!

AND, just so you know that I'm not wasting this gorgeous day, I actually sat outside to write this post while the dogs chewed on sticks. The colors are getting to be so beautiful!
 and then I had a puppy photoshoot! .... I wish I could have caught Dillion with his "stogie" in his mouth. Joe walked outside and Dillion greeted him holding a piece of a very small branch that looked like a giant cigar in his big doggie mouth!  I did manage to snap a few of my cute canine companions playing on this rare Indian summer day. (I was wearing a tank top!)
they are happily playing inside now... right underfoot of course. :D

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shop Update Monday 10-11-10

Sneak Peeks :D 10 batts going in the shop tomorrow in all.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Chicago, puppies, rainbows, and wool

As promised a wee post about chicago.

At yarncon I got to hang out with my fiber friend Dani of pumpkinhaus where we both got to meet the lovely Laila of laigrai. It was so wonderful to meet with these incredible ladies with whom I have so much respect for and common interest. Dani doesn't live too far from me so we can pal around anytime, but Laila came all the way from NY to do the show so it was kind of extra special for us all to get together. Both of them had absolutely gorgeous booths at Yarncon that I wanted to buy every little thing from. This of course was what I forgot to photograph but we did get some photos snapped of us outside of the Pick Me Up cafe.
I also got was so lucky to stay with my pal Julie while I was in Chicago. It is so nice be able to catch up with old friends and to be able to see little parts of places like Chicago you would never even stumble upon without the help of someone who knows the place. We went to China town for dinner Friday and went into the Hoy Poloi gallery located there. Lot of really cool stuff but all that came home with me was a silly little eye poppin monster and some Tim Burton playing cards for Joe. Julie got one too which led to a hysterical photoshoot for the benefit of our dear Hillary who would have been in on it were she not oceans away. This may be my favorite one...
Prior to the weekend of Yarncon I was feeling pretty burnt out so it was nice to be smacked in the face with something as rare as a double rainbow on my drive to spinning night. The "double" was very faint but as you can see one of them was incredibly bright.

After relaxing most of the week, I began to itch to spin finally. I had missed that urge since I had kind of been forced to do so over the past month to build the meager inventory I managed. While at Yarncon I couldn't resist getting one of Laila's gorgeous batts but since it was only about 2 oz. I decided to pair it with one of my own. I tore them both into strips and drafted them a bit together. I was a bit worried at first but I think I am happy with the results so far.

Very fall festive I think, mostly mossy woodsy looking. I also had someone who thought he was helping.
Thanks for the cuteness support Frank.

psst... HEY! you're gonna miss the GIVE AWAY!

I mean seriously people, possibilities of free things don't come along every day. So if you want a chance at one of my Cosmic Poppy Shawl Pins, check out post 100. All the details are there. :D

Still open for a bit but I've only had two comments so far and wanted to make sure that it wasn't just my lack of blogging as of late that was causing the hold up.

At any rate, I've finally been able to breathe a sigh of relief as I finished my back to back to back weekends of shows. I'm quite happily sipping one of my favorite Michigan wines, Leelanau Cellars Great Lakes Red if you were wondering, and trying to catch up on the internet side of things. Funny how time gets away when you are INSANELY BUSY!

So for a quick recap of things:

First stop, the ol' alma mater of Adrian. I had a terrific time though sales were slow at Art A Licious. I I have participated every year the festival has been held and it honestly has gotten better as years have passed. Sharing a booth with Starr is of course always a treat as well. :D Plus! I made this rockin' hat for my friend Kendra while sitting in the booth, she is the model of course.

 Next stop, West Branch, MI. Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool was such a wonderful show. Nice people, plenty of setup time and easy to access the building to do so which is always a plus. I did wonderfully at this show and did I mention how nice the people were? Jill had a booth next to me and mom was there for cheap help. Many laughs over the weekend on the beautiful fair grounds. It was rather windy, chilly, and rainy or I would have gotten some pictures of the already turning colors in northern Michigan.

Do you like my giant bag of popcorn and bottle of squirt... yeesh you'd think I would think to take things like that out of these pix by now...

Finally, Chicago. Oh, Chicago. That will have to be another post I think. :D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

100 posts (GIVEAWAY!!!,) 2 shows down, 3 pepsi's, and 8 dyepots

My word! What a few weeks I've had!

Art a licious while fun was a bit of a bust. I always do this show because it is one of few times where I like to go back to my Alma Mater. Always a fun time and the show has improved over the past few years. Starr was an amazering booth partner as always and it was lovely to catch up with friend and go to the tea pantry in Tecumseh.

Last weekend was Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool in West Branch. I had a really great show for the first time but grossly underestimated my time to replenish stock.... hence the 8 dyepots and 3 pepsi's The woolies are cooling a bit now before I rinse and put em' out to dry for some serious batt making tomorrow evening.

I scored a few really nice fleeces at NML&W ( a teeswater x and a Border leicester lambie fleece) and I got my beautiful horn to be made into jewelry soon. I am thinking that horn and antler pieces will be my January Brownstone show pieces... more on that later. :D

And finally, I had hoped to have a beautiful post full of pictures from the past few shows in this post but instead, you get the cliff's notes update of the past few weeks. Sorry folks. The most important thing, I think anyway, is that this post marks my 100th post and I'm having a second giveaway! The only real request I got was for jewelry so I have decided to go with it.

Who wants a shawl pin?
I mean really, who wouldn't? :D

To win one of my shawl pins , please suggest a color combo and a fancy name for it in the comments here. I will randomly draw a winner who will receive a pin in their suggested colorway and I'll add it to my line.

I'll leave the window open for commenting for about two weeks so suggest away!

Thank you dear readers and wish me luck at Yarncon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

the newest addition to our little family :D

and what is this? post 99? next post will be announcing a giveaway!!! :D

Saturday, September 11, 2010

a scrumptious dinner indeed!

so I was toodling around etsy the other night and ended up on the storque blog where their guest curator Ele of Kitchenist blog had posted a most delicious looking recipe for savory broccoli cakes. I vowed I would make them the next night with dinner.
 Joe was running a bit late getting home from work so I had plenty of time to get these all whipped up and have dinner on the table by the time he finished his paperwork when he got home. I felt like such a good little domestic wifey. Oh, and don't think for a second this happens all the time. In fact, Joe cooks far more than I do and had just made a very wonderful pork loin the night before accompanied by some perfectly cooked carrots and smashed taters (one of my most simple favorites from the time I was very little.)

I am terribly stressed out right now because of the once again lofty goals I set for myself and my current lack of motivation. Getting a little creative in the kitchen was just what I needed to ground me a little bit again. Plus I got to use one of my favorite mixing bowls! Usually this vintage beauty is reserved for looks only with its other two nesting buddies but I couldn't resist using is for the photo opps!
 I halved the recipe that was given because I knew the three of us wouldn't go through 12 of these "biscuits" in one evening. I don't like to stray from recipes the first time that I make them but I did make one small addition  to it with a good tablespoon of dill weed.
 I highly recommend this recipe, very tasty, especially when warm as it has been much cooler here. I've been quite ready for Autumn to arrive this year. Winter on the other hand could stay at bay for some time and I'd be pleased.
 Are there any recipes you've recently discovered?

Well back to the studio!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

something has been bothering me for some time....

and I thought maybe making another piece would help.

You see about a year and a halfish ago, a friend asked me if I could make a necklace for his girlfriend for their anniversary. "Of course!" I said because he is an old friend and despite having only met his girlfriend a few times I felt totally comfortable doing it... at the time.  I had made my mom this pendant for her birthday.
This is the piece my friend saw which led him to commission the piece for his girlfriend. His only real specification was hearts because there was a significance in their relationship. It was their 5 year so he asked that there be 5.

So what did I do? I designed, I fiddled, I showed him a few ideas and chatted to him about a few. Unfortunately he is a ways away so he didn't actually see the work in progress. Because he had raved to me about this piece, I felt like the commission should have the same materials, so I incorporated an antler slice into it as in the one for my mom and came up with this.
I was actually thrilled with the finished product. I don't much care for hearts because they are usually so trite, so I made them kind of stylized and got creative with placement, not only cutting a tiny one directly into the antler slice, but cutting a hidden special one into the back.

Well, my friend seemed to like it a lot BUT, still did not mention one VERY significant thing about his girlfriend. SHE'S A VEGETARIAN! So a few weeks later when I spoke with him, of course I asked him how their anniversary was, how she liked it, etc. I knew by his tone it was not good. This necklace will never be worn. It will sit in a box because while a wonderfully sweet gesture from her boyfriend, she is put off by it. Special, but not to wear. I can't really blame her, but I still feel awful about it. I tried even to talk to them about it, to set things right, make a  new piece, or rework the current one with another material in the place the antler and received the, "No, no, you didn't know," " it is special still,"  "I don't want to put you out."  End of discussion.

 I have a whole bag of antler slices that have been crying for attention because these two pieces were such a joy to make but the aftermath of the second puts a pit in my stomach every time I think of trying something. It also made me think... ya know, it is a NATURAL THING for deer to shed their antlers, just as sheep and goats sometimes lose their horns in gripping headbutt battles or even just because they need to. I'm am fairly certain no animals were harmed to create these pieces. In the future if I purchase any more, I WILL BE CERTAIN THAT THAT IS THE CASE!  Needless to say it still bothers me.  A LOT.

Well not today my friends. Because I challenged myself. Here before you is a brand new one of a kind piece in my antler slice series of art jewelry and I adore it.

 It still needs a patina to "age" it a bit, but my liver of sulphur went bad so it will have to wait till the new gel type comes that I ordered (very excited to try that btw!)

Hopefully I can get my hands on some sheep horns soon, I think they'd make for really interesting mixed media pieces with some wool incorporated with the metal.

P.S. any thoughts would be welcome.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a personal challenge

Busy weeks coming ahead.

4 shows in the next two months.

Reroofing our house this weekend.

Starting teaching again at both the college and the art center.

So what am I doing?

I am implementing a self challenge. Every day unless I am away at a show, I will make a new one of a kind piece. It doesn't have to be extravagant. I just have some ideas bouncing around in my head and while I love my poppy and candy lines very much, they get to be a bit blah after I work on them all evening. So, every day I will make a piece and I will post. Hold me to it. Seriously. But not too seriously because I might have some double shares in certain posts. I really need to keep away from this computer so I can get some work done. I just keep falling down those rabbit hole searches on etsy that lead to more and more fabulous things. Inspiring, but doesn't really help me get any work done.

Look for a star tomorrow here. You are sure to find it... if not there is Thursday. :D

Monday, August 23, 2010

Best Day Ever

I had such a wonderful day today. My mom had been wanting to have a day out with "her girls" meaning my sister, Carley, Adele, and I. We had all been wanting to go see the Chihuly exhibit at Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids so we decided that would be the perfect destination. 

After a short sidetrip to the Fulton Street Artisan Market so I could visit my new friend Heather of the Paper Peacock (<---check that link for her etsy shop) to snag some more of her incredible hand sculpted porcelain buttons we wandered to lunch and finally to the gardens, but not before Carley popped a few wheelies in her stroller with the help of her mommy. :D

I was like a little kid at the gardens, so thrilled to finally make it to a Chihuly exhibit. I had been rather upset that I didn't make the short drive to Kalamazoo at the KIA a few years ago when they held one. All of that glass was incredible!
The children's area was great fun and also a wonderful way to cool down if you stood near the fountains the kids were playing in.

Of course there are other great artist's work exhibited there.  Some of Deborah Butterfield's horses were prominently displayed and a few of Tom Otterness's sculptures remained there from a G.R. wide exhibit a few years back.

Each time I go to Grand Rapids I think of my friend Hillary who is currently in Morocco as a Peace Corps Volunter. Seeing this sculpture made me miss Hillary even more because the last time I was this close to one of his sculptures was on a visit to see her. I do believe some silly pictures are floating about the interweb of us with our friend Julie and some finger puppets perhaps? Soon my friend will be home and I will be so glad to see her again.

Anyhow, a lovely day indeed. Such a rare occasion to be able to get us all together, it will definitely be a cherished memory.