Sunday, November 29, 2009

The post with everything in it.

This is what I've been up to lately:

:: Picture take by Ailsa (5)
See the green line? (you might not if it's small) That's why I have the new camera in my hands. I realized I've been dealing with that problem for over a year now. That means editing just about every picture I take. Time for a change.
And I think Ailsa is ready for a real camera of her own - a lighter one than my old one, though!

:: Home news
1. Superglue fixes cuts. But it's not pretty, and blood always makes a story more dramatic. Even when it's not really. And I realize once again how calm my kids are compared to other kids. She took it all in stride and was more annoyed about having to wait at the walk-in clinic than anything.
2. I love walking. So when the bus got stuck I was sure happy to be on foot. 18 blocks in crisp weather is just where I wanted to be. Funny story, though, we ended up eating out in the city and mom ended up at our house with the kids because we were all stuck in different places because of weather.
3. Getting up early means you get to see the amazing colour combinations mother nature comes up with. Orange and blue and pink and yellow today. Magnificent. Perk #2 is getting some thinking time in while it's really quiet in the house. Precious.

:: Store News
You already know about the sale going on right now in my store. I just added a free gift with the next purchase (or two, maybe). I got crafty yesterday and have an extra little something for you.

Also, thank you to Dawn at Doe Studio for the long blog post about the swap stuff I sent her (remember her from this post?). It's always fun to see how someone else photographs the same thing as you.

:: PS I am looking for a good home for a camera. Has bleeding hot pixel problem, but if you tend to shoot in good light it's not a big deal. Can possibly be fixed (remapped?), but I don't know for how much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My crazy quilt treasury

Here is the screen shot of the treasury I mentioned below. Just think of all the projects you could make.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

News and Soft Blocks

NEWS: Sale in the shop. free shipping for a limited time only.

Need a gift for a baby shower, or for your favourite one year old? I've had a lot of fun making these soft blocks lately. They're so easy and customizable for whatever you're good at. I know some people crochet them, and some people quilt them, and, of course, I use felted wool sweaters and embroider 'em.

The idea is from one of Amanda Soule's books. Check out the thread in the pic above. It's hand-dyes from this shop. I just love the colors. It's called moonlit sky.

The stitches above are one of my new favourite combinations borrowed from crazy quilters. Herringbone, zig zag daisy and french knots. I think french knots improve just about any project, and now I'm remembering where all the blue thread I was looking for went...

So, this one I sewed and then turned inside out and stuffed with polyfill. It's very light and more "ballish" than "blockish".

The next one I made was sewn on the outside and again stuffed with polyfill. I really like the sewing on the outside better as you get crisper corners.

Check out the little hidden pocket that I made. It's just small enough for a baby to stick their finger in. I tried it out on my almost 2 yr old and she thought the pocket was a riot. I wish I'd gotten better pictures of this guy. My eldest daughter embroidered a happy face onto the green side in glow in the dark thread.

The third try had sewing on the outside again and was stuffed with wool scraps. It's much weightier and more square - doesn't bulge out on the sides like above. I think I like that the best, but I'm not sure what other people would like. It would definitely take longer to dry if you washed it. The last one's a gift that hasn't been given yet, so no pictures. I like to play with colors as well as textures. These are for babies and that's what they are interested in. There are lots of bumpy bits, ribs, flaps and extra soft wool.

For everyone who keeps asking, no, I won't be offering these in my shop anytime soon. I would have to price them too high for anyone to afford because of the work involved. You'll just have to have a baby and I'll make one for you. Or make one yourself, cause they're oodles of fun.

blog swap - Doe Studio

I was so excited to get this package in the mail the other day! It's from Dawn at Doe Studio, an etsy artist from Keswick, Ontario. We swapped, so I like to think she was ripping the wrapping at the same time I was.

Here's the package as I'm about to rip all the packaging off! I tell you, I like gifts as much as anyone, and it was hard to stop and take a picture first.

Dawn's store features beautiful crocheted scarves, hats and blankets as well as tile pendants and original photography. This scarf is what she sent me. I had to put it on right away - for pictures, you know...

It's a long tendrilly thing, and anyone who knows me well knows it suits me perfectly. In fact I am wearing it at the office today as I type this... with the same outfit even.
It's soft and perfect, and I love it.

I had the opportunity to ask Dawn a couple of questions, and here's what she had to say:
A bit about yourself : I am a wife and mother of one very busy 4 year old boy. I am an Office Administrator by day and fiber addict by night! I love to crochet, take pictures and basically keep my hands busy with all kinds of crafts! More personally, I recently finished chemotherapy to treat a pregnancy related cancer called GTD and have been cancer free since June (yaaay). I am currently training to participate in my first half marathon in Toronto in May 2010. I enjoy being active and love mountain biking with my hubby!
( I read about the cancer on her blog, and can't imagine what that must be like to go through. Good for you for pulling through, Dawn)
What you get most out of having your own business: I love meeting new people, some of whom are customers, others are mentors and even more are fellow artisans. It’s such a wonderful community to be a part of. I love when a customer receives my items and is genuinely impressed and loves it! I really get a kick out of it!
(I answered this question almost identically, I just realized. I think Auntie Dawn and I would get along well in real life.)
re: Inspiration: When I crochet, I am inspired by the fiber that I am working with. I imagine someone actually wearing the piece or sitting by the fire wrapped up in it! And when it comes to taking photography, well I just go outside and let Mother Nature do the talking!
Really it all began when I was a kid. Seeing my grandmother with the knitting needles and crochet hooks were awe inspiring. Seeing what she could do with them and what she could create was even cooler! My Mom also crocheted and taught me when I was about 10. I loved the feeling of making something with my hands, something tangible from tangled bits of yarn. It was freeing!!
Is it craft or art? For me, this is art. I create something from a strand of yarn and turn it into a fashion statement or a warm blanket to snuggle your new baby with. It's not just something that you cut and paste together. It's something that I pour my heart into.
Dawn has a giveaway going on on her blog right now! You could win a scarf, a necklace and glass tile pendant or an 8x10 print - yes, 3 chances to win.
She is also currently planning a Christmas Open House in early December - I wonder how much a plane ticket would be....

Thank you, Auntie Dawn for the lovely gift! I am very much appreciating it. I hope you will all check out Dawn's beautiful store. It's the people like this that make shopping handmade so worth it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

ok, I admit it, I am such a geek!

I need a new quilt for me. I've got this big huge idea to make a crazy quilt in 4 sections and each section is a different season. So there I was, geeking on etsy for supplies and then treasury opened, and voila:

I want to make a crazy quilt.

The thing is that I know that this is the kind of project I'm not good at. It's big. How am I going to finish this before I go completely crazy and start something else? Does anyone else have this problem? I was born in the sign of the butterfly. I flit from project to project collecting ideas. I get distracted easily by the next great idea. I'm a great idea person, not so good with the follow through. Anyone else out there have the same problem? How do you deal with it? I betcha all artists have a bit of this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pass the Peas II - Shawl Pin

This is what I've been up to this weekend:

This was a special request for someone who bought a peas pendant from my store.

It's made of peridot beads, reclaimed sweater felt and sterling silver.

The pin has been hammered to harden it.
Of course, I had to try it out on a shawl.

And the end of the pin is curled like a tendril from a pea plant.

I do hope the intended recipient likes it, and it finds a good home somewhere where it is used and loved.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Household Bookshelf

The Household Bookshelf

I picked up this priceless book at an antique store this summer and have been itching to tell you about it since then. I feel like I’ve met a new friend and her name is “Housewife”. She’s earnest to care for her family the best way she can. She’s grounded in old-fashioned found-on-on-the-farm goodness but she’s busy and responsible for a lot so she has to take shortcuts when she can.

Here’s the preface:
“This cookbook is planned to meet the needs of the average homemaker if today who does not wish to spend her time and energy in preparation of food that she can buy easily and find satisfactory.”…

This excerpt on canned soups illustrates the mood of the book rather well.:
p. 367
"Canned Soups: Naturally these cost more in money than the same soup made at home, but the cost in time is much less. Canned soups are of course seasoned, but to an average taste, so that further seasoning to the family taste makes them more savory, and combining two soups often produces a new one."

It is, ironically, followed for recipes for soups made from scratch. There is such a sense of the struggle to strike a balance between modern conveniences and old fashioned values. A struggle which I think we can still relate to today.

My book was well loved. There are several hand-written recipes on scraps of paper, recipes cut from newspapers and even an old shopping list tucked in throughout the book. Most of the writing is difficult to decipher, but obviously it was treasured by someone. One thing that amazes me is how clean the book is. There is absolutely no evidence of it having actually being used for cooking, though I'm sure it was. It smells old, and I love that.

My mother would enjoy the recipe for Welsh Rabbit on page 33. I remember her making this when I was little. There is a 2 page discussion of the history and fundamentals of this cheesy dish served “on the soft side of half-toast with the crusts removed”, which, if followed, apparently “nobody could fail”.

I know this dish as “Welsh Rarebit”, but, apparently, I am wrong.

“ Even the name is a matter of discussion. “Rabbit” is really what it should be called, “rarebit” being a sophistication of the original jesting name. A scoffer thinking to make fun of Dr. Wiley’s food decisions once asked him “As a Welsh Rabbit is neither Welsh nor a rabbit, why not seize them all as misbranded?” And the Doctor genially responded, “Yes, if it went into interstate commerce, being eaten in New York and the consumer going over into New Jersey to sleep, it would be misbranded unless it were eaten by a Welshman and a hair (hare) put in the dish.”

I have no idea what that means, but I love it!

On the back of one recipe cut from the newspaper was this news article of a harbour fire. I wish I knew more about it.

And I'll leave you with one last piece of advice, which I think is as relevant today as ever. At least I'm sure my children would agree:
“Also the mother who, thinking to be clever, mixed the hated spinach with the beloved mashed potato, and found her small son weeping over the mess, trying to pick out the spinach and sobbing out, “She’s spoiled my nice tater,” is an example of how not to do it.” P.105

Friday, November 6, 2009

C is for Cookie!

I can't tell you how much fun this treasury was to make! Here's the screen shot I promised.
Unfortunatly I didn't get one of the 'fresh shops' treasury.... was too busy setting up a facebook page for silver sisters and jumping for joy over selling the peas pendant. But don't worry, I took a good look at the construction and made a pattern so I can do another one if someone wants one.

And one more treasury...

click here.

New Kid On The Block

Go HERE to find out why I'm doing a happy dance right now...

My Pass the Peas Please pendant is attached to an article on etsy about undiscovered shops which is linked to the etsy finds email newsletter (see below) as well as a gift guide.

This is a big deal for little shops like mine because we need all the extra exposure we can get while we're still undiscovered. That's what it means to be undiscovered. I have to thank Cindy for the nomination. Be sure to check out her shop and see what the big deal is about blurple. And of course, I wasn't kidding when I said you should go see the original article. You would truly make somebody's day (you have no idea) if you purchased from them. And, then you can say you knew them when...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Me Want Cookie!

Click here for my new Cookie Monster treasury. Just for silliness.
Did you know it is the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street? Wow, that show has staying power. Now I'm pretty against most kids' TV out of principle and because it's just plain annoying to watch but Sesame Street has a soft spot in my heart. It's wholesome, it's funny, kids get it, adults don't mind it.

My favourite episode is one where Oscar the grouch (my fav character and alter ego) gets confused.
It goes something like this:
He's grumpy about something.
But he likes being grumpy so that makes him happy.
But he doesn't like being happy so that makes him grumpy.
and around and around.

It speaks to me on a metaphorical level but I haven't quite figured out the message yet.

What's your favourite Sesame Street episode? What really happened to Bert? and is it wrong to hate elmo? Life's big questions. Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

all who wander are not lost.

And the screen shot that I promised.

I wander.

I've got a new treasury - go here.
I'll post a screen shot after it expires.
The caption reads:

It's not true, I do give up sometimes, just not yet!
I keep doing these treasuries that are so personal to me.
What can I say, I'm a thinker.