Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Sunday Six

Wow- this week ran away with me!  I had a pretty trying week M-Th, and had no energy to direct to the blog. 

It is hard being a mommy- my oldest seedling is having trouble at school, and all of my energy this week, both internally and externally, was directed at helping him succeed.  With my husband in California for work (we all miss you like the dickens!), I have to make sure I'm careful to keep my priorities at the forefront.  Being a mom is #1!!

So, for this week's Sunday Six, I'd like to focus on family.  Gifts to buy or gifts to make to honor your children or young people in your life.  *wipes tiny tear*

1.  Sima G- A wonderful jewelry designer who I've been following over on her blog- Simag Personalized Jewelry.  Her hand stamped pendants are simple, elegant, gorgeous, and meant to honor those who you love.  Whether you choose English or Hebrew, she will custom make your charm.  Run, don't walk, to her blog, then stop by her AWESOME shop.

2.  At Mousehouse, Megan makes lovely things for her children.  My absolute favorite is the Colour Book.  Go over there and get inspired to make something for your darlings- particularly if you have some of the little ones.  Her ideas are so great- look for the ice toy post- GREAT idea!

3.  Lavender and Limes- Christine is a wonderful mommy- her posts are filled with love and crafty inspiration for our little ones.  Check out her felt farm playmat- ADORABLE!

4.  I found the blog for one of my favorite plushy-makers- Penguin & Fish.  If you're dreaming of making or buying a plushy, run to the blog or the shop.  Your sprouts need these to snuggle with!

5.  A shop that I knew I had to feature- AuntyAnnDesigns, aka "the sock monkey lady".  If you're looking for sock monkeys, you need to run over there and snatch one of these darlings up for your little angel.

6.  And last, but not least- Just Another Day in Paradise.  I first got hooked on her blog when she featured a boy's cuff watch that was upcycled and I HAD to make one for Odin.  I stayed for the reading, tutorials, and wonderful mommy adventures.  Beautiful blog.  Her newest tutorial is a Valentine's themed owl.  I want one!

Love them.  Squeeze them.  Make stuff they will treasure.  Show the whole world how important they are to you. 



Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Editing photos with Picnik

I recently discovered Picnik, a free photoediting software.  It really is amazing, simple, and free.  You don't have to download anything (i.e. no virus worries), and it has turned some of my *shrug* meh photos, into these:

I don't really understand all of the options, but I took most of my photos, which were too far away and included background images like the neighbor's house across the street.  Some were overexposed, underexposed, colors showed up poorly, etc.

So I went to Picnik, uploaded my photo, hit the autocorrect option on the exposure, and cropped the photos to just showcase what I had made.  I really like the outcomes- like these:

A few more recent offerings from my shop!

Go edit!  Make your pictures Gorgeous!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A few degrees warmer..

I was all alone until last night for 3 whole days!  My boys were gone at grandma's to visit their cousins, and the house was quiet.  Absolute peace.  I got a lot of work done for the shop.  I ate cereal for 2 out of 3 meals.  I didn't change out of my pajamas except for one time.  It was almost bliss.  But when I picked them up last night and brought them home (they were so exhausted, they fell right asleep), I realized that the house immediately felt warmer.  More like home.  I love being a mother.  For your viewing pleasure, and a good way to wake up; here is my youngest seedling Declan trying to cheer me up last summer when I was sick...

Kids are amazing.  And cute.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Sunday Six

It's time for the Sunday Six!  This is the day I feature the blogs I've been lurking in all week, and show off their talent so that you too can see and read with your coffee in the morning!

 1.  One of the best loved blogs in the crafting world, Angry Chicken has a broad focus- foodiness, crafting with her kids, sewing.... the list goes on.  Amy Karol is a very talented woman, and her posts are always full of humor, injected with joy, and full of love.  Her Bend the Rules books are awesome.  She also does some awesome work with aprons, and runs a second site Tie One On.

Go on, go time waste.  Lots to read with Amy.

2.  Until Wednesday Calls.  Wednesday is her daughter, so she gets some crafting in when she can.  It really is a bright, crisp blog with tons of ideas and tutorials.  I found it early this week, and I've been lurking through the archives.  Check out the tutorials for little girl clothes, great barrettes, and finger puppets.  Almost makes me with I had a daughter to make little skirts and hair bows for.  Almost. 

3.  I know I've featured A Lemon Squeezy Home before, but you know that I can't resist a good Pride and Prejudice project.  And she made these awesome pillowcases for sleepovers this week that I have to make a couple of for my boys.  She has such amazing taste!  Not that I'm tasteless, but my taste is kind of blah.  Must be a holdover from the early 90's grunge music I listened to so much of...  I digress...

LOOK!  Christie teaches us how to use Picnik to make printables!  I soooooooo want this frame on my wall.

And! the awesome sleepover pillowcases I want to make-

4.  Another new blog to read!  If I keep this up, I'll have to get up at 4 am in order to read all the blogs I love so much.  I was attracted to Cubic Dreams because she makes lovely upcycled garments- something I want to begin doing soon.  But I stayed for the images, and lunch ideas, and well... the list goes on.  Go over and read and take a look at the beautiful photos.  Read, stay awhile.  Peruse the archives.  Leave a comment.   Just beautiful.

5.  Mushroom Villagers.  Another blog that I discovered this week.  Yes, she does grow mushrooms.  Which is cool enough on its own; but look at all the wonderful sewing she does!  So many ideas of things to make for my boys!  Backpacks, coloring wallets- just so awesome.  I wish I had that type of ingenuity.  And check out her new craft space!  soooooooooooooo jealous.

6.  Over at MADE this week, I found these book bags that I have to make some of.  I'm sick of searching under beds for lost library books.  Anyone seen Diary of a Wimpy kid?  I may have to pay for that one.

So, now you can blame me for losing time in blogland.  I have to run!  Happy Sunday all!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What is Etsy?

I know. I've been away- mostly because I've been sick as a dog, but also because I've been really busy with my Etsy store. I've still got plans for a couple of tutorials, the Sunday Six is tomorrow, and I've got lots to talk about-

First though, as I blather on and on about my business to people at work, I find that over half of them have no idea that Etsy even exists!

So, what is Etsy? Etsy is a giant store. Think Ebay, but without bidding wars or ugly crap that no one wants. They provide a storefront for sellers who create handmade items. They also have a large portion of their stores that offer vintage goods. And when I say vintage goods, I don't mean old broken vases and junk that you so often see on Ebay. It is a feast for the eyes.

You can even find homemade sweets and food!

You can find vintage dresses!
T-shirts you can find NOwhere else!
Apparantly, You are mustache... lol
A better one.  Only a Harry Potter fan will get it.

Jewelry, Furniture, Pottery, Art, clothing, accessories.... The list goes on and on.

The shop owners are nice, and they have all opened up shop at because they want the best customers- customers who care about quality.

So, if you've never been- there is something for you over there!  Start here .

You might be there all day.  Just warning you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I'm congested. And my throat hurts. I had a dream that I was trying to find honey in my cabinets for my throat.


No rest for the weary. It is midterms week, and I may not stay home...

feel sorry for me?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sunday Six

I was called a "talented designer" this week.  Me?  I guess I do design things, but do I deserve the moniker of "designer"?  I aspire to do so, but I still can't believe that someone else sees me as such.

Now these people?  I call them designers.  Talented designers even.  The photos speak for themselves.

1.  Sewing in no-man's land.  She recently put designed this beautiful baby outfit for Project Run and Play that I almost want a baby girl to put it on.  And her aprons?  To die for. Go over there and give her some bloggy love.  Wow.

OMG! Cuteness overload!  Now THAT is designing.
2.  This Mabey Heaven.  Hair accessories that require a sense of design that I cannot seem to fathom.  I love her materials and the unexpected materials and shapes.  Check out her upcycled sweaters and skirts too.  Talented Designer.

3.  Moda Bake Shop.  The Moda Fabrics ideas blog.  All their patterns are "recipes".  Tutorials galore.  Amazing eye for the awesome.  Sometimes I just go over there and stare at stuff for 30 minutes or so.  Talented Designers, all.

4.  Alma Stoller.  Just go.  A feast for the eyes.  Amazing Ideas.  Fabulous photos.  Fantastic-ness.  Enough superlative adjectives?  Mixed media art and jewelry.  Just go.  Talented Designer.

5.  Trey and Lucy.  Hair accessories.  Simple, yet innovative needs for the home.  Adorable pics of the kiddos.  Giant Fabric Flowers to go onto anything.  Original ideas.  Talented Designer.

6.  And last, but not least.  You want talented designers?  Go to the Paradise Blog.  This is the group of designers from Etsy shops that I got together with a few weeks ago to chat, shop, and commiserate over low sales weeks with.  All talented designers.  And people I owe thanks to for much of my shop traffic and sales. Thank you Paradise.

There you go.  Talented designers all.  Me?  I'm still not sure.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why do I choose natural fibers? Why?

Ok, both in my knitting and upcycling, 99.99% of the fibers I use are natural fibers.

Icelandic Wool!  Alpaca!  Angora!  Cotton!  Cashmere!  Hemp! Linen! Merino Wool!  Silk!

Why do I look down my nose at acrylics and their other unnatural fiendish accomplices?

Several reasons. 

1.  First and foremost, I am a hippy.  A true, "dyed in the wool" (pun intended) crunchy granola, Henry David Thoreau luddite.  Natural fibers are renewable.  We can get more of them.  There is a very small carbon footprint associated with "growing" them.  (Other than the famed methane releasing farts that are supposedly causing all this global warming-a ridiculous premise, btw.)  These fibers come from animals, plants, or in the case of silk, caterpillars.  These fibers do not come to us as the by products of petroleum refinement or some dude in a lab manipulating chemical polymers for maximum stretch, and then producing them by superheating stuff with a coal fired factory.  No, we cut it off of animals or plants, spin it into thread, and then knit or weave it into something beautiful.

Sheep Grazing.  Just had their wool sheered off.  Not scary at all.
Refining Crude oil, using leftovers to make acrylic fibers.  Scary.
2.  Ok, now onto more marketable reasons for enjoying natural over man-made fibers.  Warmth.  Wool, Alpaca, Cashmere, Merino?  All super warm.  Even when soaking wet- warm.  Even when wind is howling around you- warm.  Acrylics?  Not warm.  They are not made to have the natural loft and density of natural fibers.  They have not evolved over millions of years to keep an animal warm in the snow.  Warmth is why we stole the damn fibers off of the animals in the first place.  Cold?  Then wear natural fibers.

Wool=Warm.  Just look at me!  It's 20 degrees outside.  Do I look cold?

Acrylic= not warm.  I did a google search for images of acrylic sweaters outside.  Couldn't find one.  It was too cold.
3.  Safety.  You got a beautiful acrylic blanket you say?  Well, don't go to sleep with it on.  Acrylics are flammable.  They are made from fossil fuels you know.  It will melt and adhere to your skin.  Scary.  Sleepwear has to have a label in it if it contains acrylic go here to read about them, warning you NOT to sleep in it.  No such warnings on silk, cotton or wool jammies and blankets. 

Pilots and soldiers (I was a soldier for seven years, so I know from experience) can't wear acrylics while flying or in the battlefield, because the melted acyrlic would be almost impossible to remove from the wound.  I'll save you the details.  Bad news bears.

4.  Comfort.  Natural fibers breathe!  They were grown NOT to make an animal sweat.  They were grown NOT to stick to your skin.  They were grown NOT to hold every smell of every room you've ever been in.  Test this.  Go outside in an acrylic shirt in the summer and run around.  Change into a cotton or silk shirt.  Do the same thing.  I'm right, and you know it.

Those are the most important reasons.  Consider the ecological impact.  Consider safety, warmth, and comfort.  It's really a no brainer. 

And a bonus!

VIRGIN Acrylic!  VIRGIN ORLON Acrylic!  Like the Spray paint!  Won't fade!
This tag is everywhere when I go thrift shopping.  What the hell is virgin acrylic?  Some marketing punk decided that Virgin wool needed some competition.  Do you know what virgin acrylic means?  I found this here

"What you don’t seem to understand is that “Virgin Acrylic” refers to the fact that the acrylic sweater was never worn before. Once you bring it home and wear it for more than 20 minutes (unlike mattress tags), you are required by law to remove the “Virgin Acrylic” label. This also applies to stores when they accept virgin acrylic sweater returns. They can loose their license to sell virgin acrylic if it is discovered that they have not pulled the tags or scribbled out the word “virgin” on returned sweater labels. As to the frustrated male acrylics; wrongo, sweater breath! The acrylic is an assexual, self-reproducing organism. Duh!"


Now you know, and as GI Joe would say; knowing is half the battle.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I owe you a rant....

 I am currently drudging through semester grades, and midterm exams. 

I promise to slam everything acrylic soon! 

And I decided on the tutorial I'll be posting this week:

Double Breasted Cowl, Fully Lined Cowl!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's so easy, a 7 year old can do it!

I was moping around the house yesterday, because my husband was out again during daylight hours working.  I really wanted to list some new items in my shop, but they needed great pictures to show them in their best light.  *pun intended*

Enter Odin, my seven year old.  "Mom, I can take your pictures!"

I decided I would humor him, and let him give it a shot.

THIS is what he did!

Super Warm Trendy Cowl
Funky Buttons and Cashmere
Fully Lined Reversible Beret
Tweedy Floppy Beret
Funky Buttons Cowl
So there you have it.  He was so excited when I showed him that his "work" was uploaded on the internet.  That his photos were soo good, that I needed all of them in my showcase.

He was tickled pink.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Sunday Six

I've been busily crafting my heart out over here, but I always have time with my coffee in the morning to peruse the many, many wonderful blogs in the blogosphere.  Without the inspiration I have found online, I don't think I ever would have started crafting in the first place!

I wanted to be just like them.  Heck, I wanted to BE them.  That included emulating these super sewers/knitters/chefs/photographers/artists in words.  I'm not there yet- it's a journey that I am enjoying every day, and SOMEDAY I will be the one to inspire someone else.  Let us hope they have a better camera than me though. 

I started this blog at the beginning of December to showcase my thoughts, work, and to promote my new Etsy store.  But on Sundays, I share with you some of the bloggers who still inspire me every morning with my 2 *cough* or 4 cups of joe.

Here we go- people who inspired me this week....

1.  33 Shades of Green- Roman shades have always confused me.  I'm the type of sewer who has to stare at things for three hours before I click and figure out how to make it.  But Alissa has broken it down in an amazing tutorial.  She also knows how to cook, work with paper, knit, decorate, and sew.  You want to hate her, but you can't.  Just give her credit.  This chick rules!!!!!

2.  Ysolda- I just found out this week (thanks Dawn at A Few Good Yarns for the heads up) one of my favorite knitting designers has a blog.  So I've been lurking over there each morning this week, going through the archives and awaiting a new post, as if that means she is talking directly to me.  To ME!  I've knitted many of her patterns over the years, and I might be pretending that I am a cool knitwear designer from Scotland while I'm knitting.  Don't tell anyone, I'd be embarrassed.

3.  I was featured on One Pretty Thing with my fingerless gloves tutorial this week, for the second time!  My first was my apron from a skirt tutorial.   Each time I was featured, I just about peed my pants.  Rachel has two posts each day, collecting all the amazing tutorials and inspiration from the blogosphere.  Not only do the projects amaze me, her diligence in browsing all of the available tutorials out there and organizing them into intelligable posts TWICE each day flabbergasts me!  Go over there, whatever craft you do, and get inspired.

4.  I graduated with this girl.  Erin and I haven't spoken for years, as we both had kids, I joined the Army and moved out of town, etc....  But I recently discovered that we've taken parallel paths, and she is a crafter/blogger!  On Crafty Bits n Pieces, Erin does the crafting; her husband does the art design!  So cool, and I'm glad to be linking an old friend.  She recently posted an upcycled pillow tutorial!  Just how parallel are our paths?  Crazy!

5.  Aly&Ash.  I might die of cuteness overload.   THE PHOTOS!  Not only are her fabric flowers and hats adorable, but Jax can take a photo to die for.  Frame-worthy.  I aspire to someday take photos like this.

6.  Need more than just six in one day?  Go over to Today's Creative Blog, where they try to list a new blog every day to inspire and amaze you.  So that one day, you too will open up your blog!

Go.  Be free.  Get inspired.  I do, every morning.  And someday... I may have a following... But until then, I'll keep writing, crafting, and posting.  Drop me a line letting me know who to peruse and feature next week!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Working hard!


I'm working today on some new berets, scarves, gloves and such!

Coming up this week:

Sunday- The Sunday Six

A rant on the use of natural fibers over acrylics.. 

Photoshoot of all the new goodies!

I hope to put together a new tutorial as well, hopefully by Friday...

In the meantime, I will be stitchin' my little fingers off!

Happy Crafting!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Etsy Friends... And a challenge...

So I joined this group of like-minded crafters in the Etsy community this week:

Shopper's Paradise Forum

I've had so much fun getting to know everyone, and this week they offered up a creating "challenge."

The rules?  Create an item inspired by a song.  The "Lyrics" challenge.

My entry?  It doesn't compare to some of the artistic greatness that is found on paradise.  But at least I tried.  I was inspired by "Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles.  A cowl in ocean cruising shades of cashmere with funky polka dots for the goofiness of the song.

Shop for it in my shop.
  Oceanic Colors, Funky Polka dots.  Cowl in Cashmere.  Fun, yes?
Here are some of the other entries from the group that are awesome.  See the caption for the inspiration.
Eve of Destruction

Goin' to the Chapel
Now and Forever

Cup of Peace
The Song your Heart Learned to Sing

Thanks to all my Etsy Paradise Peeps!  You rule!  These are just a sampling.  Run over the forum thread linked at the top to see them all.