Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I must have been a very good girl this year.

I hope everyone got what they wanted for Christmas, I know I did. Not only did I get my photo lab that I have been drooling over, but so much more!

I have to thank my wonderfully talented husband for it all. He built me a new computer, (I was not expecting it at all), and on top of that I received (drum roll please) electric spinning wheel!!

Holy smokes I thought I had died, and gone to heaven! I was totally floored, I sat there, and stared at my gifts, dumbfounded.

This guy has created an absolutely stunning piece of machinery called the Electric Eel Wheel.
It comes both fully assembled, and  in kit form, which is what my husband purchased, and built. I have been wanting to try spinning for years now, but couldn't afford a wheel. I thank my lucky stars my husband is so  talented, and was able to make it for me.

He bought me a few little bags of fiber from JoAnns, the kind for needle felting. He had hoped it was the right kind of fiber. I wasn't sure myself, but they make for good practice.

Christmas Eve I spun my little heart out! It looks awful I know, but I couldn't be more proud. It's like that garter stitch scarf I made that first time knitting. I only have one bobbin, so I had to wind what I did on empty ribbon spools, now I know why I don't throw anything away!

The green is my first attempt, the red my second one I did Chirstmas day while my family watched. As you can see it's a little better it's less coiled, and a bit more even throughout. Here's my wheel, with what I did tonight on it, I get better each time I practice.

 It looks so easy when you watch spinning videos on youtube, but it's tough stuff. What's worse is that if you start to tense up, things just get harder, you really do have be very zen about it. But, trial and error is half the fun. I bought a few books to read as well:

"The Intentional Spinner: A Holistic Approach to Making Yarn" by Judith McCuin "

"Spin Dye Stitch" by Jennifer Claydon"

I love my wheel, it's hypnotic, and addictive. I'm currently out of fiber to spin and I'm itching for more!

I wish everyone a Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'd like to talk about an obession of mine.

Although my shop doesn't showcase much of it, my obsession is knitting. I am a self taught as no one in my family knits, although almost everyone crochets. About 5 years ago I bought a knitting  CD at a local craft store, a pair of  size 8 needles, and a skein of Red Heart yarn. I was determined to learn.

I popped the $10.00 CD into my computer and watched it a few times, took up my needles and never looked back. In just a few hours I had learned a double cast on, knit, purl, and binding off. I also knew I was hooked. After I did this for a few more hours, of course I wanted to make the most cable ridden sweater I could find, but I knew better. I started simple: a garter stitch scarf.

While knitting this scarf, which I thought would never be finished, I dove into the knitting/fiber world head first. I did what every knitter does. I made a stash. To this day my stash has no rhyme or reason, I see something I like, I buy a few skeins, and add it to the hoard. I am no fiber snob, I think acrylic yarn is beautiful, and has it's rightful place as much as any cashmere, merino, or silk. It's all together, stuffed into big plastic bins, waiting for the project it is destined for.

Like I said before I am self taught, I had no teacher, but a few books, you tube,  and plenty of trial and error. I've taught a few people to knit since then, and they all get frustrated just like I did. I tell them I didn't get to where I am by stopping, you'll get there if it's what you want to do. And if you don't, to hell with it, try something else at least you know you did your best!

I did finish that garter stitch scarf  after about three weeks of slow, determined knitting. I wore it proudly that winter and still have it. It's lumpy, with some stitches too tight and some too loose, but I keep to remind me that we all have to start somewhere.

So I guess the point of this post is to try something new, who knows you might fall in love with it.

Books I enjoy that have helped me over the years:

Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Knitting Book  - I would say everyone who knits should have this. It talks about everything from casting on to how to knit a hidden pocket into a sweater. So thorough and easy to understand. Also has a very interesting stitch collection in it.

99 Stitches To Knit - This book is the first knitting pattern book I bought and I still use it a lot. It's full of very clearly drawn stitches and very easy to understand directions. It's how I learned to cable knit.

Stitch N Bitch Nation - I bought this because it has a great chapter on how to redo patterns to specifically suit your needs. It's a great way to understand patterns, and to learn you don't always have to do what a pattern says. It also has lots of funky patterns of all difficulties.

There are tons of others, but these are ones that I really enjoyed while I was learning.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saturday Shopping: Gotta Know When To Fold Em.

Origami- ori meaning "folding", and kami meaning "paper"

From cranes to icosahedron, I have been fascinated by origami for years now. However, I'm not very good at it myself. I can do simple things, but nothing compared to beautiful pieces others have done. So get that cup of tea, or coffee, and take a few minutes to browse these lovely shops, and see the wondrous things they have to offer.

I love the warm and cool colors in this. This would be gorgeous anywhere in a home.

 Giving one of these to someone would be better than any thank you.

I want a whole Christmas tree full of these, in various colors please! It reminds me of a kaleidoscope!

It certainly would be a Happy Birthday to the one who receives this card. It's so pretty!

What origami collection would be complete without the ever popular crane? 

Well I hope you've enjoyed this Saturday shopping trip, now go show these artists some love and attention!

Next week due to it being Christmas there will be no Saturday Shopping. I hope everyone has a great holiday and gets everything on their list.  Now I have to go finish making my Christmas cookies. Have a great day everyone.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday Shopping

So on the weekends, I've decided I will dedicate my blog to other shops, and the spectacular things they make. This week the subject will be terrariums! I adore them big, or small! My grandmother had a large one when I was little. She'd fill it with fake mushrooms, tiny figurines, little houses and colored marbles. It was magical to my young eyes. Here are a few that also spoke to me!

Couldn't you see this on a desk, giving someone that bit of green inside their gloomy cubicle? Perfect.

A tiny tree inside of an ornament, so sweet.

This can sit on your table, and remind you that the beach is closer than you think.

Isn't it darling? I just love it!

So it's true, good things come in small packages. I hope you go and take a peek at the wonderful things these shops have to offer. Some are brand new, some are veterans, but all create wonderful things for us to enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

So, what's the one thing I want for Christmas? A table top photo lab. It was only recently that I discovered there was such a thing. I was rummaging through Amazon trying to find something for my husband to get me for Christmas and came across this:

Isn't in neat? I am giddy with the thought of it! My full time job is closed the week between Christmas and New Years,  so I can spend my vacation sleeping late, drinking coffee, eating cookies, and taking new and improved photos of my creations. I haven't been this excited for Christmas since I was a child!

Have great night everyone!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So let's give it another try.

I know how important it is to blog if you make your living creating handmade things, so I'll give this another whirl.

What do I want to accomplish from this blog?

1. To get my work out there for people to see and enjoy. This of course is a no brainer.

2. To make more friends in this wonderfully weird, passionate, serious and silly world of crafting.

3. To say what's on my mind.

2 and 3 will be the hardest for me. I really do fear putting myself out there. The phrase "It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt" is something I live by. A blog is so the opposite of that! I'm going to have to accept that I'm gonna say something dumb at some point. I also have to accept that there will be some who will dislike it, and stop reading. However, there will be some that will know none of us are perfect, enjoy my writing all the more for it, and continue to read. And those are the people would like to reach out to.

So, that's what I want to accomplish, make friends, learn from them, perhaps teach a few, and speak up more.

Everyone have a wonderful night.