Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Favorite Stain-Fighter!

As the mom of three active children, I'm always looking for ways to make their clothing a little bit less of a 'disposable' item- as soon as one of the boys wears a shirt, it often has stains on it that won't come out.  I've been tie-dyeing clothing with issues, but yesterday I tried a new technique, low-water immersion dyeing.  It's even less effort than tie-dyeing, and I think I may like the results even better.

Both boys seem to like the turtle-necks that they're now allowed to wear to school again, and the older one is planning to make his computer virus costume for the FLL skit from a t-shirt dyed this way.

I like the way these turned out well enough that I'm thinking about dyeing some t-shirt blanks for the Hyena Cart Black Monday stocking in a similar manner, maybe even doing some Christmas presents?  Who knows!  I love finding new ways of using things I already have!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coming up for air

Once upon a time, I was an individual with a direction in life.  I was going somewhere, going to do something of value in my life.  Then that 'thing of value' became raising my children.  (yes, this is a very important thing to be doing, but...)  Ten years have passed with too little sleep to think very clearly, and with the most important things of every day being those very basic needs. 

Has everyone been fed?  Do I have enough food in the house to make dinner?  Are there clean clothes?  Are the clothes put away where they can be found and worn?  Is the house clean enough that it won't make anyone sick from the dust that accumulates?

Now my youngest is three (the little girl is mine.  she's next to her cousin), and I'm beginning to come up from underwater.  I'm still overwhelmed by her, housework, laundry, the essentials, but I'm able to look for more and appreciate more.  I can create, too, and I do so daily.


and colors
So I guess this whole blog post is in celebration- take a deep breath of fresh air, and carry on.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Twitterbird's Nest

"Twitterbird" is the unusual name of a studio on ArtFire. Donna Michel, the artisan behind the studio, creates jewelry from stones, silver, glass lampwork beads, and as seen in the picture of my favorite bracelet, sea glass. This studio is currently being featured by the Guild, and you can find more examples of Donna's work in my RSS feed, to the left.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Il Mare, Studio by the Sea

Il Mare is an ArtFire artisan located in Singapore. She describes her work thus: "Il Mare Atelier was created out of a desire to fuse art and jewelry into something unique, versatile, yet wearable and affordable. I take great pride in the materials I use. The gemstones must be eye-clean and I prefer to use goldfilled wires and findings as these are more tarnish resistant compared to other metals."

The ear rings I've chosen to show look like they're inspired by the Art Nouveau movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s. They're very feminine, very romantic. You can easily access more lovely things through the links in my RSS feed, located to the left.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This Weekend

This blog post is meant to be cathartic rather than informative. It may be more information than you really want, so please feel free to skip reading this one.

Our family went to visit relatives who live on the other side of the state this weekend, and I arranged for a friend and neighbor to care for our diabetic cat (needs 2 insulin shots/day) while we were gone.
I was aware that she'd had problems with alcohol abuse in the past, so I made sure that the only alcohol in the house was a small amount of rather nasty-tasting cooking sherry I'd bought a couple of years ago and never managed to use up. Then I didn't think about it again until we came home, couldn't find her to get the key, and found a pane of glass broken in the back door. We got inside, found that some of the glass had been cleaned up, but there was still a large mess on the floor. There was a message on the answering machine from the neighbor saying that her daughter had lost the key, gotten frantic about the cat, and broken the window to get in to give him his medicine. My husband kept wondering why she hadn't tried to call my cell phone first.
The neighbor's husband came by the next afternoon to deliver the key and tell me what had really happened.
She'd found some prescription medication in our upstairs bathroom (husband's for high blood pressure). She was acting strange after her first trip up to give the cat his shot, and more so after the second. He confronted her and confiscated the key. She came back to our house later and broke the window to get in. And all for a medication that, by the amount missing from the bottle, was at such a low dose that the effect had to be purely mental.
So, my son is losing his best friend (her daughter, who will now be staying at her dad's parents and going to school where they live), and I'm still fighting depression and shock. Because I've only left my children with three people that we're not related to, and she was one.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ArtFire Guild = Great Support Group!

From my love of spinning and dyeing, and from the relative isolation (physical, not total- I don't have any real spinning buddies nearby) in which I am learning these crafts, I've discovered a wish to share them with others. I want all knitters and crocheters to experience the wonderful tactile experience of working with good quality, natural fibers, and if I can help provide this sort of sensation I'll be a very happy person indeed.

I joined a Hyena Cart Congo (Serenity Tree) and opened a studio on ArtFire this spring to enable me to share my love of brilliant, saturated color and soft, fluffy, shiny fibers with others. And on ArtFire I found a lovely group of very supportive people in the 'Shops with Less Than (10) Sales' Guild. As you can tell from the name, the Guild is for people like me who are just starting out with online sales. The members help each other out with suggestions for online promotion, help in navigating studio setup, and take turns sponsoring a monthly "Where's Waldo" contest (for more information on the contest, you can visit the Guild blog).

The 'Shops with Less Sales' Guild members also take turns promoting each others' studios. So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Rose Tree Creations. This studio features Swarovski crystal jewelry, polymer clay sculptures and pendants, and amigurumi creatures. You can see the studio's most recent listings in the RSS feed to the left, and the photo for this post is my favorite of the pendants.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

After reading a thread on the Rav in Spinner Central about corespinning, I decided to try it during the Tour de Fleece. Hobbledehoy has a video tutorial about it, but for anyone who would rather be able to read or print out instructions, it goes something like this:
-Spin a single that you like.
-Wind the thread/yarn/crochet cotton that you'll use for your core onto a drop spindle.
-Put your biggest bobbin onto the wheel, along with the flyer.
-Set the drive band on the largest (slowest) whirl.
-Attach the end of your core thread to the leader.
-Unwind enough thread from the bobbin that the spindle can spin freely, hanging from the thread in your left hand.
-Start spinning very slowly in the opposite direction from the way the single was spun, attaching the single to the core thread (just let it start to wrap itself around it) Hold the single at an 80 to 90 degree angle to the core, and when you see the core between the wraps of the single, push the single up the thread.
-Let the core thread turn freely in your hand to unwind the twist- it was already stable and if you add too much more twist, the yarn will kink up!

And just keep going until you're out of single, core, or patience with the project! (I found that sub-laceweight singles were NOT a good choice for this! It took way too long to spin only about 70 feet of yarn. Next time I'll try something heavier!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today's the day... a first blog post

I don't know how many times I've been told that I need to start a blog. So why have I resisted for so long? Is it the number of hours spent writing stories and papers as an English major? Nah, that was 15 years ago (almost!). Is it the fear of exposing myself to the masses and falling short of my hopes, broken, rejected and unread? No, so far this feels more like a diary or journal than something I expect anyone else to care about. So then, why? I think it may simply be the commitment of time. Writing on a regular basis obviously requires contemplation, coherent thought, and the time seated before the computer with hands available for on-going typing. And up until this point, I have been doing everything in life expecting to be interrupted. Planning to be interrupted and how to continue working around the interruptions by including my children in what I'm doing, or knowing that they will have to be distracted for the time left until I can finish. I know that there will still be those interruptions, but I am agreeing to give myself the leeway to work around them, and to not expect immediate perfection in this, a new enterprise.