Thursday, December 30, 2010

Purple Reins!

Yay! It's about time purple gets its well earned recognition. Oh the time we could have saved if only someone had asked my opinion about it years ago...  :-) You can imagine my joy when I read the following article.  (Taken from

Purple reigns as the new neutral
No longer considered edgy, the royal color has gone mainstream in home furnishings.

Move over, beige, there's a new go-to hue for the home. Purple's reign started on the fashion runway a few seasons back, then in small doses on the homefront. Now it's front and center -- on pieces big and small.

"It started as an accent color," read on

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

That's what my Grandma and my mom always used to say. Is it true?  I don't know. But I most always believed what they said.

This year for Christmas, I made each of my family members a pair of handwarmers. Just simple little cozies filled with rice to warm in the microwave.  But even if their hands got warmed up - I know they would still have warm hearts!

I made the warmers just the right size to fit into the pockets of their winter jackets on our cold Wisconsin mornings!

Boys - plain. Girls - flowers...of course!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Etsy in the News

Since I'm a seller on Etsy, I love to see good stories about it.

It's just plain nice to see positive stories about it and it's also a great way to help new people discover the many amazing things Etsy has to offer.

This morning I read this article about Etsy in the online New York Times.  Check it out! Three cheers for Etsy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Greetings

Happy Holidays to all!

Seems like we just asume that some things have been going on forever. Take holiday greeting cards for example. It feels like they've always been sent to family and friends. With today's electronic world, I hope that age-old tradition doesn't get lost. I, for one, love getting holiday cards in the mail. Yes, the US mail.

Below is the first commercially produced greeting card. I don't know what year it was - because the Huffington Post didn't tell me!  But I did think it was darn cute!

Taken from

Happy holidays to all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wrapping Presents

I spent a good part of Monday night wrapping presents. I used plan brown kraft paper and my oddly colored dyed recycled t-shirts strips.

All in all, I guess they didn't turn out as bad as I thought they might (meaning the odd colored strips).

I like wrapping presents and tend to do most of them at the same time - but I also find that doing that, I can get a little sloppy towards the end. Let's just hope that I wrapped the favorite presents first!

Who's There
Donut who?
Donut open until Christmas

Monday, December 20, 2010

House and Home

I made wool house keychains for some of my friends this year for Christmas. Thirty-five houses. That's alot of houses! :-)

They ended up being a little different than what I originally planned - but at this point, I don't know if I even remember what I originally planned!

I also made little gift tags that said "Happy Holidays from My House to Yours" and attached them to the key chain with plain old-fashioned string. I began house distribution today in hopes I get them all delivered - whether in person or US mail - by Christmas. I have a feeling that the US mail ones will be a little late (haven't addressed or mailed them yet!).

Houses, houses, and more houses!  Happy Home Holidays!

Dye 101

No, I'm not going to try and teach you about dying fabric. I believe I need lessons.

I've dyed lots of things in the past (heck, look at the stains in my sink if you need proof!), but my latest dying project didn't turn out quite how I had hoped.

I wanted to dye reclaimed t-shirts (red and green) and then cut them into strips for strings to tie on my Christmas packages (wrapped in plain brown kraft paper).

When I had them in the dye bath, they looked like great, bright colors of red and green.  After drying, they appeared more like orange and a blah.

But you know what?  I'm going to use them anyway.  When put together, they look a little more festive than orange and blah.

Strips cut - pulling into cord.

Rolled balls of orange and blah cord ready for wrapping!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Busy Like An Elf

I took the day off from work last Friday to do my Christmas shopping. Surprisingly, I was able to get most everything I one afternoon! I can't believe how organized I was on my plan on attack. (Generally, I wing it - and don't often prepare ahead of time....who knew?)

Of course, I am also making a lot of gifts (as I often do). Sometimes I think that my friends and family must tire of my handmade gifts - but this year is pretty financially tight - so it's most economical for me to make gifts. So they're getting my hand work again!

Since last Friday, I've been busy, busy, busy with shopping and final preparation of gifts. However, I still have to wrap EVERYTHING! But I think I'm pretty darn prepared for that step.

I'm too darn tired right now - so I'll take some photos in the morning and share a few of them with you in the upcoming days.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don't Forget the Kitties

My son and his girlfriend have two cats, Lucy and Leo.   I sure can't forget about them this Christmas.

Since they love to play, I decided that they might like some little wool play toys.

Do you think they'll keep them occupied until New Year's?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Recycled Wool Blanket

I've been wanting to make a recycled wool blanket for some time now. I just haven't gotten to it. But one of my projects for a Christmas gift was a lap blanket for my son and his girlfriend.

I finally got it done this weekend!

Many of the pieces came from an 2XL men's wool trench coat. I had originally seen it at one of my local thrift shops for $15.00. I, being quite cheap, was tempted, but didn't want to spend that much on a coat.

One day last week I went into the shop and everything was 1/2 off!  I grabbed the coat as soon as I saw it. Nice deal!

My son is partial to darker colors, but I wanted to make sure that I added one spot of nice purple (upper left corner of the first photo).....just so he could see it and always think of his mom.  :-)

PS. Don't worry - they don't read my blog - so they won't see this before Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

How to Properly Shop for Recycled Wool Sweaters

Need I say more?  :-)

No, this isn't MY van - but it cracks me up! This is taken from one of Jill2Day's Facebook entries. Honesty is a good quality.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm Wholeheartedly Touched

I was just browsing through my friend, Brene' Brown's website, Ordinary Courage, to see what new and fun things she had going on that I might be missing out on. (Heavens....I wouldn't want to miss a darn thing that Brene' does!)

I was very surprised and touched when I happened across a pillow that I did for Brene's blog last year! On that link, she was talking about the authenticity movement that has been started by many and that continues to grow. She wanted to create a space on her website to honor some of the work that has been done and continues to be done to encourage the movement.

It literally brought tears to my eyes to see that I was included as part of that phenomenal occurrence.

I can't tell you how much I respect and admire Brene's work and the encouragement she gives to so many people.  Bless you Brene'!

A pillow that I made and donated to a drawing held through Brene's website during 2009.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hotel Comfort

During my recent trip, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in downtown Chicago. The hotel really amazes me.

It's not just the very nice, clean and updated rooms. (Which I believe that travelers so often take for granted.) PS. Free wi-fi.

It's not just the beautiful view from my 22th floor window.

It's not just the lovely, tastey, ewwy, gooy pizza happily and promptly delivered to my room on Saturday night after two long days of running a conference. (Although this was definately a great highlight!!)

Nor is it just the lovely lobby and dining area on the 15th floor.

But it is the same wonderful staff that greet us year after year. Many of the folks that we get to see each year, as we hold our conference in their beautiful meetings rooms, we have seen for many years. They range from the wait staff in the main dining area, the banquet staff that constantly behave as if we are doing THEM a favor by making all our needs met, to the bell hops that greet us with a grand smile as they wave and say "Welcome back!".

They indeed are people who believe highly in customer service. . . and it shows.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Home Again, Home Again and the One of a Kind Art Show

I was just in Chicago. During my trip, I was able to take some time and attend the One of a Kind Art Show in Chicago. My, what fun.

There are over 600 vendors who attend the show. Their incredible talents are anything from fiber art, reclaimed clothing, fine art, and pottery, to fused glass, handmade candies, and sculpture.

I attended the show by myself - which actually worked out quite well. I was able to play the part of an excited human ping-pong -bopping from side-to-side, stopping at what would catch my fancy and able to bypass those artists that my immediate attention didn't want to go.

I collected alot of business cards and flyers and can't wait to spend more time online investigating the many talented artists work online.

This is the second time I've been able to attend this event. Without playing favorites, I couldn't help but immediately determine my winner of the "favorite booth award" from me this year. It was an extremely talented glass artist - Alison's Stained Glass. Her work was so creative and well done - nearly breath taking for me. I stood looking at her pieces with my jaw in dropped position.

Below is one of her works. I have to say that the photo doesn't even begin to do the piece justice. It is so much more amazingly brilliant in person. Oh, if I had a million dollars. . . 

Photo taken from

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sleep Tight

My "baby" Charlotte is often a big help to me. She loves me every day, smiles when I need it, snuggles when I'm sick or cold, and helps me eat leftovers.

Now she's found a way to help me with my wool too.  That's a good girl! :-)

As said by Ernest Hemingway, "I love to sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Losing My Head

I went to a craft show this morning in a neighboring town.

To participate.

Got there early to set up.

It was cold.

I was early.

It's tomorrow.  :-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

I have so much to give thanks for.

Unfortunately, I forget about many of those things on a daily basis.

May I be guided to remember my many blessings and be thankful for them each and every day.

Great illustration borrowed from

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Six Days

Six days.

Hard to believe.

I've gone six days without caffeine.

I've over-indulged in Diet Pepsi for way too many years.

Since my bout with the flu, I haven't had a Diet Pepsi.

I'm doing surprisingly ok (after working through headaches this past weekend). But this is kind of how the inside of my mind feels...

Nasty Thing Update

For those of you who have been sitting on pins and needles...

(Of course, I know no one actually was!)

One mouse down.

I know.

More to go.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebrating Creativity Show

I'm honored to be a part of the Celebrating Creativity Sale at The SPACE this weekend.

Unfortunately, I've been down and out with a nasty flu bug since Wednesday night and have not been able to attend the show at all. Friday night was the opening with special music playing in the early evening. I'm so disappointed  that I wasn't able to be there - how fun and festive it must have been!

Fortunately, one of my friends (thanks Jody K!) stopped in The SPACE on Friday and took some fun snapshots for me. So I'd like to share some with you as well.

IF they ask me to participate again next year, I'm going to stay clear of all flu bugs for weeks before!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wool Owl Ornaments

I made some new wool owl ornaments this week.

I had to take them outside for a quick photo shoot in the wee-little-chilly-hours of the morning. I hung them up on my frigid clothesline - which begged to get put away weeks ago (it's retractable) but I refused to give in to the thought that winter was really, for darn sure, coming. The owls shivered. Aren't they supposed to be able to handle the cold better than that?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Things You Don't Want To See

Mice. I really hate them. I see no need why God created them. They just scare us and bug the heck out of us.

I've been seeing "signs" of mice the last couple weeks in my house. You know what I'm talking about. "Signs."

I thought the most reasonable thing to do would just put a nice tempting peanut-butter-dolloped trap on my kitchen counter. It's been there for about two weeks. Peanut butter intact. No mice. "Signs" still appearing.

Last night I decided to take a slightly different approach and place the baited trap carefully in one of my drawers - fully expecting that I would take the lead in this darn game.

Here's what I found this morning. I think he landed on Boardwalk and I've been sent to jail without passing Go.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebrate Creativity 2010

I am very proud and excited to be a part of an annual "Celebrate Creativity" art show at The SPACE in New Richmond, Wisconsin. It will be held this coming weekend.

I've never participated in a show like this, so I really wasn't sure what or how much I should try to be prepared with. With all the other commitments I have had this fall, I basically ended up with "what I could" - meaning I worked to get things ready for the show but, as usual, was wishing I had time to prepare more items.

When delivering all my goodies last Friday, I saw several posters/signs they had prepared and placed in a variety of areas that made me feel like I had really missed the boat and should have had a lot more product prepared than I had. (Insert small panic attack here.)

However, I was very relieved when I shared my concerns with the sweet gal at The Space and she assured me that I had prepared just the right amount of things.

So...ready or not, here we go! Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Etsy Sets New Records

The following is a pretty exciting announcement from Etsy regarding it's sales for the month of October.
As the seasons change, Etsy sets new records and continues to foster the handmade way of life! The stats:
  • $29.9 million of goods were sold by our community in October, 12.4% higher than September's $26.6 million.
  • That represents 1,677,986 items sold for the month, 14.5% higher than September's 1,466,039.
  • 2,452,359 new items were listed in the month, 11.6% higher than September's 2,196,970.
  • 322,466 new members joined the Etsy community in the month, up 41,928, or 14% from September.
  • 842,291,766 page views were recorded on the site in October.
The $29.9 million of goods sold by the community represents a 55% increase from 2009's total. At the same time, items sold were up 41%. All the October stats represent new Etsy records!

I have to say that I am pretty darn proud to be a part of that community! Cheers to Etsy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Re-Recycled Wool

Is it considered re-recycling if I have already used recycled felted wool sweaters to create new items and then donate them to someone else as a new item?

Ok, I know that doesn't really make sense - but I just thought that re-recycling sounded like a fun thing. So I guess to really re-recycle, someone would have to take one of my recycled scarves apart and make it into something totally new - like maybe a wool billfold (do people call them billfolds anymore, or are they wallets?).

Well, anyway...just wanted to share a pillow and scarf that I am able to donate to one of our patient-aid employee-donation campaigns where I work. They will go up for online bidding next week. I hope they are able to make a little money for the campaign.  (I don't like the coloring of these photos either [like some others that I posted recently]. Daylight savings time has made a mess out of my prime-daytime-natural-light-outdoor-photo-time!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Making Recycled Pin Cushions

Well, as promised, here are some Big Honkin' Pin Cushions...

These are a few of the pin cushions I made with thrift store/tag sale wooden salad bowls. Incredibly, t hey were only a dime a piece and look like they were never even used!

I was hoping to post these on my Etsy site, but I've decided that I will bring them to the sale that I will be doing this weekend at The SPACE in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

Whattcha think? Do you have enough pins to fill them? Uhhh....without a doubt, I do.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Truly Good Consignment Wool Sales


I received my first check from the shop in Minnesota that I supplied with some of my wool items earlier this fall. When you venture out into a new area/location with items, you never are quite sure how they will be received. So I was happy to see that I sold five of my items already and it's not even prime holiday shopping time yet! And, the shop owner has asked me to drop off more items anytime!  (ALWAYS great to hear!) :-)

Generally, when sales are made, it can really help you determine what type of items are most popular and where to focus more energy and time for future goods. However, this time, I sold a scarf, a pillow, a set of coasters, and two different types of pin cushions. Basically, one of each of the items that I supplied her with. The good news is that they were all well received!  The tough news is that there's not one or two things to focus on for replenishing items. Well heck, I guess all-in-all it's just darn good news!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Peace Please

I need just a little extra peace today. I'm feeling over-whelmed, under-loved, over-worked, under-needed, over-indulged, and under-organized.

Ahhhh..... I think I'll be alright now.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Big Honkin' Plans

I got these wooden salad bowls at couple recent thrift store visits.

As with most things I get my hands on, the salad bowls have a whole new life ahead of them.

I've created an itinerary for the bowls. It goes something like this:
  • See bowls.
  • Buy bowls.
  • Take bowls home.
  • Prime and spray paint bowls. (What? Of course!)
  • Stack bowls and place on back porch cupboard for at least two weeks. (No sense rushing things.)
  • Use some fun recycled wool sweaters and turn them into some big honkin' pin cushions. (Big Honkin' Pin Cushion photos to be posted soon.)
  • Post for-sale on Etsy page for some big honkin' bucks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pillow Talk

I was working on some pillows last night and decided to go circle crazy.

The first pillow was simply different circle pieces (ok, there were also come squares that I threw in there to shake it up a bit) machine sewn in a decorative-oh-my-gosh-have-you-gone-sewing-nuts-kind-of-way.

The second pillow was in the Alabama Chanin fashion (similar to what I did previously with the recycled t-shirt fabric) but I've never tried it with wool. It was kind of fun and I'm thinking that maybe I'll try one with different sized circles next!

(Sorry - I had bad lighting for these photos, so the color is muted and dark - but I decided to just use them anyway!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Birds, Birds, and More Birds

I made about a dozen birds this weekend. I really like making these little buggers, although they are a bit time consuming.

When it was photo-op-time yesterday afternoon, the sun was just right to make some of these shots extra fun with the light and shadows.