Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bold, Rich Colors

I just joined The Blogfire Guild of Artfire and am happy to participate in their Blog Carnival this week. I thought I'd share some beautiful, rich colors of handspun yarns.
Dragon Song in Beautiful Bamboo is hand-spun and hand-dyed from fellow EtsyFAST teammate kittygrrlz.Etsy.com



This beautiful handspun "Cronus" yarn from happyneedle.Artfire.com actually reminded me of crocus flowers and leaves. So rich and colorful.

Featured EtsyBlogger - DonnaPool


donnapool loves photography and vintage photography ephemera...and cats!
You can find buttons, magnets, note cards, photos and more....at donnapool.Etsy.com



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Let the Sunshine In

Finally, the sun is shining! It's still very cold and white with snow, but it's a sure sign that Spring is on its way. I thought I would dig out some fun colors to brighten up my shop a bit. Here's a sample, with more fun designs to come...

Monday, February 23, 2009

New for Monday - Fun with Fiber


Something old, something new... nothing borrowed or blue.

I thought I'd show some of the bracelets and cuffs that I've been making with the handmade knitting needles featured in the earlier tutorial post. These are a fun way to use up some wool that's too small to do anything else with. My hand-spun bits are still precious to me since the colors are so beautiful. When combined and, sometimes, felted, the end result makes for fun with fiber! Some of these are listed in my Etsy shop, with more to follow.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Far from Gilligan's Island


My oldest has been sick and home from school all week. The sight of him snuggled up on the futon, with the laptop close at hand, brought back some memories....sort of.
I remember being home, sick on the couch, but the only choices I had were "Gilligan's Island" or "Bewitched." Along came "Scooby Doo" and my younger brother who always got to choose.

My oldest is back to school today...hopefully he won't call from the nurse's office. My youngest is home now, unfortunately. I think I missed Nick Jr. shhhh. (I had no idea they made "Olivia" into a tv show.) I really don't like seeing them so sick, but I do admit that I LOVE being a Mom.
Well, Nick Jr. didn't last too long. She's back to watching "What Not to Wear" and "John and Kate Plus 8" - sigh.

Love "Olivia" too? NickJr.com has some fun activities. They have a printable puppet theater, calendars and even iron-ons.

Fun Friday Finds

Here are some pretty new designs to brighten your day from fellow Etsy ClevelandTeam members.
From simpleelementsdesign - Crayon Box Bracelet
From autumnsanticsstore - Frosty Pink Trapeze Earrings

From Mandizzle - The Braidy - Couture Braided HeadbandFrom fatbasset - A Touch of Spring Original ACEO Drawing

Search "ClevelandTeam" on Etsy or visit ClevelandHandmade.com for more fun finds!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Weekend Getaway


I thought I'd share a few pictures from a not-so-quiet weekend getaway. We went to my sister's birthday party at my aunt and uncle's house. There were lots of people, lots of kids, and lots of cats there as we celebrated. We had a "Lord of the Rings" movie marathon. Only a few made it all the way through to the end, but it was fun having a room full of people and watching it on a big screen with surround sound.
I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the whole house from outside. There was quite a bit of snow. Here are a few indoor shots of Alba, their spectacular log home.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Valentine's Day breakfast treat includes Ghirardelli chocolate-dipped strawberries, a sweetheart cookie and coffee with homemade Dulce de Leche! (Try Alton Brown's recipe...mmm.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A How-To Experiment

While I always thought it would be possible to make your own knitting needles, I never really had a need for them. I have quite a collection of various sizes and types. The only dpn's (double-pointed needles) that I have are quite small however, and I wanted some larger ones for some thick and bulky yarn that I have. None of the local craft supply stores carry any of the bigger sizes and my LYS (local yarn shop) isn't that "local." So, I decided that I would try to make some and see how it goes.
My Mom joined a knitting group recently and she mentioned that they were making them with wooden dowels and a pencil sharpener. I thought that sounded like a great idea.


So, I took my needle gauge with me and went to the hardware store. For 69¢ each I got two dowels each, of two different sizes. Some to fit the size 11's and some size 15's. Because the dowels aren't metric, it's not an exact fit and I couldn't get size 13's like I wanted. It is an experiment after all. I ended up with 3/8" and 5/16".
I cut five pieces of each size and sharpened them with an old school pencil sharpener. I'm not sure if the newer pencil sharpeners would work for the bigger size. This one was actually from an old school - back when the first grade pencils were as thick as your thumb. This technique doesn't guarantee that the point is centered on the dowel. If you are lucky enough to have a husband who makes his own wooden arrows, then there is a tool that you can use that will make the point exactly centered, but it's not crucial for this.
I'm not used to wood-working, but I did find two types of sand paper laying around. I used the coarse size first, finished with the finer grain, and polished them with a cloth. They're not perfect, but they seem quite usable to me. I'm sure you could make regular knitting needles by gluing a bead or something onto the opposite end of the point. You could also rub them with linseed oil, or even paint them if you'd like. I'm sure someone has posted a fancier tutorial than this, but I haven't searched for one. You may find some more points, or a better way to make them.

Here's another trick you can do with knitting needles. My Mom made this set unique by adding some beads as an embellishment. Take your needles with you to the bead shop to make sure the hole size of the bead will work with your needle size. Just glue them on. One tip would be to use smooth beads. These bumpy ones are pretty, but sometimes get caught in my yarn.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Come Together


The tragic news of the Australian bushfires has brought the Etsy community together in an appeal to raise funds for the Australian Red Cross. Items are being donated to OzBushfireAppeal.Etsy.com and all proceeds are being donated to the Red Cross relief fund.
You can help by either donating items, or by making a purchase from the shop. Visit OzBushfireAppeal.Etsy.com and click on their profile for donation information.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

MMmmm Brownies!


I thought I'd share a Brownie recipe that's quick and easy. You don't need to grab a box of mix to enjoy a quick dessert. (Just don't forget the ice cream!)

Easy Brownies from Scratch

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9" square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a saucepan, melt 1 stick of unsalted butter over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of sugar, mix well. Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, mix well. Add dry ingredients. Mix in 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts, if desired.
Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake for 25 or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center. Allow to cool in the pan and cut as desired. Serve with ice cream and whipped cream.

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Homespun


I received an email from Lion Brand Yarn, showing their new colors of Homespun. While there are some pretty new choices, unfortunately, they're all the "painterly" or striped colorways. Sometimes this works, but sometimes it doesn't. If you're trying to match up two sides of a sweater, for instance, the color differences can be a big distraction. They work well for shawls and blankets, especially the shawls that are worked out from the center like this one.

I found this homespun-style yarn at Hobby Lobby. It's called Epais and is described as "A Colorfusion Yarn" and is made in Turkey. It comes in one, big, gorgeous 14 ounce skein. I meant to take a "before" picture of the yarn, but I was so anxious to work with it that I forgot! This color is called "Fantasy" and is a beautiful blend of antique rose, mauve, gold and green. Here is the finished "Rose Garden" shawl that I made with it. There were some other beautiful color choices, some of which reminded me of feathers and ren-fairs. You can see what I mean about the big color changes and how that might not work for some projects. Maybe I'm just too particular, but for sweaters and such, I prefer solids and not the big obvious stripes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team Shop of the Week!!


The Etsy Twitter Team Shop of the Week is a girl after my own heart....beautifulbridget.Etsy.com! You can tell that she LOVES yarn as much as I do. With a shop full of fun and beautiful designs, beautifulbridget lets her creativity shine on!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Venues


I added a capelet to my Art Fire shop this morning. Recent discussions about not having all your eggs in one basket had me thinking. I opened my shop on Art Fire a few weeks ago. It's not as fully stocked as my main squeeze, Etsy, but it's...an extra basket.

I hadn't realized how many potential selling venues are available online these days. Two of my fellow EtsyBloggers have been blogging a series that gives you the run-down of many different sites. Check out the list from TiltCreations HERE...and from Rose Works Jewelry HERE. You'll find tips for Art Fire, Silk Fair, Crobbies, Mintd, Lollishops and more!

Monday, February 2, 2009

6 more weeks!

Happy Groundhog Day! It looks as if Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and is predicting six more weeks of winter. I can live with that...if it snows. If it's cold rain and mud then forget it!
(And yes, I can type Punxsutawney without even looking it up. I went to college near there in Indiana, PA for awhile!)

In other news....WooHoo!! Big congrats to my Pittsburgh Steelers! We enjoyed the Super Bowl last night, as stressful as it was. They always play the whole game and never give up. They proved that last night. I got this cool picture from my tv LOL. Our dinner wasn't so super though. I had big plans for the sauerbraten beef roast that had been marinating. It was ok, but a bit dry and, well, sour. The spaetzle were delicious and made up for it. The pictures were too dark and ugly to share. Today has been spent trying to organize receipts for taxes and trying to make sure I stay caught up for 2009. That is one of my new year resolutions!

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