Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's MARKET Time!

... singing ... All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go ....... I'm leaving on a jet plane , don't know when I'll be back again ....
Well, not really .. I AM leaving on a jet plane tomorrow morning and my bags ARE all packed, but I DO know when I'm coming back. I'll be in the shop on Tuesday with all the new stuffs I've purchased from market and was able to put in a suitcase (I've packed a suitcase within a suitcase!). The rest will be shipped UPS and .. hopefully will not trail too far behind me!
I teach a class on silk gauze on Friday am, take a felting class on Friday afternoon .. and then get to start shopping where I can (depending on who is open for early hours) on Friday night!
My BFF Sharon (who lives just south of St. Louis MO) will be joining me either Friday late afternoon or early Saturday morning. I'm hoping for Friday .. we just don't get many chances to share time with each other anymore. I'll put her to work on Saturday shopping with me!

I hope everyone has emailed the shop to let them know what preorders they want placed! I'll be in touch with the shop by phone on Saturday .. then I'm on my own!
See ya all upon my return!!! Stitch Happy!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Felting IS Over - for this next week anyway

I had meant to post here yesterday, but Saturday at the shop was an incredibly busy day! Not complaining .. no no, not me .. just lots of customers in the shop all day long (fun people too!), lots of orders coming in all day long too. LouAnn and I were able to help everyone AND process all the orders, but didn't get to ring too many through. I guess that's what a Monday is for! To give you another idea of how busy it was, LouAnn brought me a Med. Fr. Van. Cappuccino before 10am and at 5:30pm, I'd still not had the chance to 'finish' it! Fun day .. tiring day .. Love Days Like This Though!

Anyway, this past week I had finished my felting sculptures and managed to 're-do' one scarf/shawl and make two more! PHEW
The Dogs were created with a Wool core, but 'covered' with felted dog hair the dog owner had combed and given to me so that each dog would be made with the real dog's hair! The really fluffy one IS Golden Retriever hair .. fuzzy! Mixed with a bit of beige Harrisburg wool AND 100% Camel wool! (yep real Camel - it's really too fine for needle felting as it shows every single needle poke. I bet it would be fabulous for spinning though!

Of course, it's really really hard to get any good Dragon 'hair' these days, so I had to turn to hand-dyed Buffalo (very expensive!) to cover the wool core base here. The horns and claws are 100% dyed Merino.

I'd created the pale blue scarf last week but it turned out really crappy looking. So, I decided to lay it out and re-felt over most of it - Dave has named this one "the scarf the mouse nibbled on" (as opposed to the others I had made which he called 'swiss cheese scarves")! Oh Well ...!

The green scarf was made with two different shades of wool, one that was dyed green and then over dyed, and one that was natural and then dyed .. the wool color is called "Leopard Frog" and has bits of yellows and some splattering of deep purple and bright turquoise in it. I'd purchased some wool yarn at the local
Knit shop that was also in shades of yellow-greens and greens, and laid that out on one side in rows with the two greens, and then in an argyle pattern across the stripes on the other side. The one side doesn't show well here, but it really reminds one of those old argyle sweaters you used to see. It's somewhat reversible as far as pattern goes


This last is my first attempt at a completely reversible scarf ... I used a Merino Silk blend so it's quite shiny ... black on one side, deep purple on the other. The black side was cross-hatched with a 100% acrylic yarn .. all different colors and glimmery. The purple side has some other yarns, some with sparkles in it, just patterned out ... and a few brighter purple 'curls' too. I'm quite proud of this one!

Well that's that .. I fly out Thursday am for Market and have to make out my LISTS so I won't forget anything. I can't even pack 'underwear' without having it on my list .. and listed for each day that I'll be gone. Can you say ... a bit too Detail Orientated???? sigh

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Day, More Market Hints Posted!

I wish I could come to terms with my adding all these advance Market notices .. it goes against 16 + years of my going to Markets. I'd be surprised when I got there, and couldn't wait to share my surprises with my customers upon my return!
But these days .. with designer blogs and websites .. there's too much being put out there in advance .. so why not add to my site? Plus, this way I'll know just what amounts of certain items to make sure I come back with. And I guess I shouldn't feel too bad .. there's always surprises the designers have for us that they don't tell us about in advance. So that, and the social/business interactions with the designers and other shop owners, is what makes a Market perfect!! So .. I'm still a adding!


Waking up, drinking enough coffee to actually know where I was when I fully woke up, and turning on my Kindle to find that the NEWEST book from DAN BROWN had been downloaded to my Kindle overnight while I was tossing and turning and trying to sleep!
Whoooo hooooo .. I can't WAIT to read it! But .. if I start it tonight, I'll never get my felting pieces finished and I'm on the final animal right now. And I have to do more outside scarf felting while this warm weather holds. And .. if I read it now, what will I read on the plane trip to Market??? I guess I'll be trying to 'learn patience' over this next week (and that will be a hard one for me .. miss no patience whatsoever!).

I don't get much time to read blogs, but when I do, I turn to 'my blog list' first. That's where I found the incredible Halloween designs that The Primitive Needle will have at Market! (They're already posted to my what's new page)
And, have you seen the designs that Donna from By The Bay has been doing? They're not released yet, but ... !
I absolutely love this stocking ornament! How cute is this? And, if you go to her current postings on my blog listing .. you can see her Poinsettia design .. It's stunning!!
And in reading Ladybug Lane's blog, I found that there is a free Halloween design you can download courtesy of Just Cross Stitch -
And .. if you've not seen the free Halloween design you can download yet from The Cross Eyed Cricket Collection, go here:
(I'll have their newest Christmas freebie as one of my 'complimentary charts of the month' for October next month!!)
oh oh .. nearly got caught fooling around on shop time .. gotta go back to work before that evil boss I have finds out!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Too May Lows and Not Enough Highs!

Sunday, I so looked forward to Sunday .. I was going to get my banking stuffs in order and get bills paid, go to the orchard to see if the Honey Crisp apples were in, and was going to create another felted scarf.
I guess the 2 highs of the day were getting my banking stuffs in order and bills paid AND going to the orchard and actually getting a huge bag of Honey Crisp Apples!! And .. they now have a Winery on site -making their own wines and you can sample taste each before you purchase. I HAD to get a Cranberry Wine .. you can't really taste cranberry, but you can smell it .. and there is a warm after-taste left in your mouth - DELICIOUS!! I'm going to take my mom there on Thursday to see if she likes it too .. she's liking wine these days .. and I will try a tasting of their semi-sweet Riesling (maybe their Cherry too!).

As for the scarf ... yuck! It didn't turn out .. it didn't turn out right at all .. I hate it .. it's disgusting .. did I mention it didn't turn out? So .. perhaps on Wednesday or Thursday I will FELT OVER it and see if I can rescue it that way. Can't hurt I guess ... I started the fulling process and just didn't have the energy to work on it when I hated how it looked. So it's only been felted and dried .. I'll let you know IF it does or does not turn out later!

And that evening, I tried to download purchased photo shop software (mine was lost in the great crash of '09), and while I did pay for it, the site would not recognize me to allow the download. So .. I decided to work on my laptop and do some adding to the catalog .. on DIAL UP! My Verizon Wireless does not EVEN work any longer .. we're not in the area for reception, even though THEIR RECORDS show that we are in a good area. Perhaps they should come to my house with their little devices and see for themselves? Dial up and downloading images are not two terms that can be used in the same sentence. So ... !

When I went to bed AND when I got up this morning, I just KNEW it was going to be a great day! It just felt that way (and besides, it had to be better than Sunday was!).

Got into the shop where I find emails and calls that my website is not working .. I had no idea (but that's fixed now .. thanks to Patrick, webmaster extraordinaire). Then got some more 'sneak peeks' of stuff that will be showing at Market to put on my catalog , only to find that my computer here at the shop was not actually on the same thought page with me either ... kept locking up. Didn't matter if I was on AOL or Internet Explorer, and no matter that I'm on broadband here .. Debbie's computer worked fine .. mine, not that well! Let's put it this way, I added about 6 items in just over 5 hours!!

Tomorrow is another day! And since I just found some more stuff I can add as sneak peeks, I will look forward to tomorrow!

This 'advance notice' of items to appear at Market is something 'new' for me. I've never been fond of the idea of being able to see what is going to be introduced until I actually GET TO Market .. kind of spoils the excitement for me. BUT .. with this economy and my finances .. I don't have the available cash just spilling out of my pockets to go shopping with. So, where I can, I'm putting the new stuffs up on my site for ALL to see .. and am gladly taking pre-orders! This way, I know I'm at least making 'most' of the right purchases. And besides, there will always be stuff to see at Market that aren't being 'leaked' to us now .. there's something to look forward to as well!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nick and the Squirrel Dispenser

Do you remember several blogs ago where Nick was 'telling you' all about the current squirrel epidemic and about his 'squirrel dispenser'?

Well, the Squirrel Fairy must have visited over the weekend and filled his dispenser up with squirrel again .. when Nick went outside, he went right to the dispenser at a dead run! He was overjoyed! Put in his quarter, pushed the button, and ...... wait a minute .... my squirrel didn't drop out! So ... let the game begin.

One hard push with his nose .. another push .. then push upwards so that it makes this huge clanking noise .. race to the other side and push again .. back to the first side, no squirrel yet, push it up and down a couple more times, then run around it barking!
(the pics were taken one after another .. these were the best, some he was just moving too fast for the focus to come out)

Then ... when all else fails ... run around like a fool as fast as you can with a stuffed toy carcass in your mouth! That'll let that darn squirrel know ... this is what could have happened to you!

More Felting N Stuffs

A two day holiday - what joy! Sleep in (I must have needed it on Sunday as I slept nearly 11 1/2 hours straight) .. laze around .. stay in sleep pants and tee shirt all day long with no cares! And the weather was wonderful .. double joy! Nick and I decided to do some more wet felting.

So we (um, make that ... I) put two long conference tables together, half in the garage and half out, and gathered up wool and bits and pieces of sparkly stuffs and yarns, and went to it. Nick's participation was just in being outside while I was outside .. with occasional forays after bugs, birds, chipmunks .. anything that moved (even falling pears from the pear tree!).
Sunday I pulled some glorious earth toned golds and browns and rusty orange wool roving and started laying it out to make a 'lattice' scarf. I then pulled bits and pieces of other wool and acrylic yarns, some with metallic and tiny pailettes in it, and laid that out along with the thin strips, filling in most of the openings. Wet it down, rolled it up and started working it.
This is what turned out .. one side has more glitz and sparkle to it than the other. Instead of Lattice work, it came out - as Dave refers to it - as "Swiss Cheese". I really like the effect!!
With all the different yarns that were used, and with the sparkly accents, there is a lot of detail to catch the eye!
Sunday I pulled violet pencil roving (deep purples to violets to grey blues) along with some really bumpy purple designer yarn, and started out once again. This again was a Lattice scarf, but a bit 'thicker' in places because of the yarn. Since the yarn was mostly acrylic, I had to put some wool underneath it to give it something to 'grab' onto and felt.
Like the gold/brown scarf, there is a bit more texture on one side due to the bumpy yarn used than on the other side.

Since that had gone well, and it was only about 12:30pm, I decided to do one more.

This is really 'zen-like' ... I had the radio on so I could time the rolling (5 minutes at a time = two songs) .. the music fades into the background, the birds were singing, the bees were really buzzing around the pear tree .. mosquitoes were biting .... oops, not zen like!! (On with the Deet) You can think with no distractions. And I found that I actually was planning this second scarf while I was working on the first.

I wanted it to be mostly black but the Pencil Roving I had was more pale grey to whitish to deep grey and just wasn't giving me the dark elegance I was looking for. Luckily, I had extra black merino so I started laying that out in thin strips intermixed with the greys. I also had some cool yarn that was made up of bits and pieces of bright shiny color on 'string', so I intermixed that as well. Then I decided to bring some of the color from the yarn out to give some drama to it. Red merino wool and red wool 'curls' were the ticket! Along with some other black yarns that had a bit of funky twisting to them.

As with the other two, one side has a more glitz and color to it than the other side. And, another 'swiss cheese' effect!
The down side? I HAVE to find a much higher surface to work on. My two tables are too low for all the bending and rolling that has to be done. My back was killing me all night long! I also would like to have a spot where I could work on these in the house .. not sure how they'd turn out in the garage in the winter. I just get too much water all over the place, so inside as our house is now is NOT an option. But .. I do like the scarves!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Felting N Writing

Had Wednesday and Thursday off this week (my regular days off) and decided, since the weather was so cooperative, to do some wet felting and nuno felting outside where I wouldn't make a mess that anyone (David!) would yell at me about!

When I was helping at the Humane Society sale in Cheboygan, I got a bunch of curtain material. Called Dave from there and had him grab my Noveau Nuno book .. told him to look in the table of contents under synthetics .. and had him tell me what kind of synthetics it said I could use. 100% Polyester! Yippee .. that's what these curtains were! Now .. I SHOULD have had him read the article to me, but that would have been asking too much. BUT had I had him read it, I would have found out that while polyester can be used in Nuno, it's not the best choice. It will, eventually, felt, but the results would not be the best. It was good for experimenting with however. And to give Dave some credit .. I didn't go back and READ that either .. until AFTER I was through with my Nuno project.

Nick has graciously allowed me to take pictures of him modeling my creations.
It looks 'ok', but .. not that absolutely wonderful (the shawl/scarf I mean). I'm going to felt it further and see if I can get it to work out the way I want it to a bit more that way. Either way, it's nice and warm!

My next creation, that same day, was a Lattice Work shawl. I used Pencil Roving for the layout and while the holes are not exactly all the same size .. I'm a rather impatient person it would appear (no .. not you Deb!) .. I like the way it turned out! It's in smokey greys and blues with a touch of green here and there. Very Highland-ly looking!

I have plans to do another of the Lattice Shawls over this Holiday weekend. I have some deep earth tones and bright brick reds in roving as well as some ribbon yarn, sparkly stuffs and funky twisted yarn .. I'm going to see how 'sparkly and glam' I can get it!
Wish me luck!

Used Clothing N Writing

Back from my 'vacation' .. a vacation where I spent from Monday afternoon till Saturday at noon with my hands in boxes and 'garbage bags' filled with donated clothing, used clothing, mouldy dirty clothing, clothing where mice and who knows what other little denizens of the dark lived in while in 'storage' in barns and garages and attics. I really know how to live it up on my vacation time, don't I?

Every year the Humane Society of Cheboygan County holds a huge rummage (white elephant) sale at the County Fairgrounds. You know those huge metal buildings where the livestock are kept? Well, that's where we are! It's a HUGE sale over 2 1/2 days ... with 6 of those 'barns' filled - one with 'guy' stuff, one with furniture and holiday items, one with kids clothing, toys and household linens, one with books, records, crafts and kitchen items, one with 'priced items' (the newer nicer stuffs), and one with all adult clothing. That's the one where I go to help out in.
The best part is I get to hang with my sister for that entire week, staying with her, working there with her, running the streets with her, and eating ice cream for dinner with her!

And I do not jest about the condition of the clothing. What do people think? They should be so ashamed of themselves for what they donate. Ripped out seams, badly stained, stuff that they would never consider wearing ever again where anyone could, might, see them. But I guess that they figure someone who can't afford much, who may be on a budget, who may be looking for a deal, who may be homeless, .. they would be GLAD to have clothing like this! Good thing we all have hand sanitizers with us! You really wouldn't believe it! But .. it IS a fun time!

This year I decided to bring my camera with me .. to record what it all looks like before the doors open that first sale day. So nice .. so pristine .. like a 'store' with carefully sorted piles.
Then .. the doors opened at 9am .. and after only 20 minutes ...............................
.All those carefully sorted, sized sections became heaping mounds of mixed mens, womens, pants, dresses, etc!
And then .. while we would attempt at different times to 'straighten' out the tables .. people would be standing right next to us, throwing everything around all over again. sigh

I did get some neat fabrics to experiment with my scarf felting with .. and Nick got some super stuffed toys to destroy! oh joy!