Friday, June 29, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Part Eighty-Four

You've met John here before, as well as here and here.  The quality of his work, though, is so breathtaking that he's worth another look.  So... look.

I do get suck a kick out of the "fight like a girl" pendant, but I really want to own this last tourmaline one.  Take note, people, since my birthday is next month!

For more of this beauty, check out his shop!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vote for Me!

Well, for my item in Fabric of my Mind.  Remember my busy book?  The one I made for my nephew?  Well, the pattern and instructions are for sale at Fabric of my Mind.

There's this blog that supports handmade, Made for Me by Oaklie, and every week she runs a Great Finds contest!  And that busy book is in the contest this week!  I'm in the lead right now, but every vote can count.  So here I am, asking for a favor.  I'm asking that you go to the contest page and vote for Fabric of my Mind.  It doesn't require you to sign up for anything, just scroll down, click the dot next to my shop name, and then click "vote."

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Craft Wars: Pilot Episode

I just watched the pilot episode of TLC's new show, Craft Wars, which I DVRed last night.  I was skeptical, but I have to say, it's fun!

I honestly didn't know much about it before watching.  I had seen the commercials, which of course piqued my interest, but I didn't check the TLC website or do any research to find out how the show would work.  As a result, I was really surprised to see only three contestants and figure out during the course of the episode that each one is a whole new competition.  I'm used to watching Project Runway, Top Chef, So You Think You Can Dance, and other long-running competition shows that start off with 12+ contestants and narrow them down week by week.  I was also surprised that the contestants had family members and teams of assistants.  It kind of makes me want to apply for the show and bring Eric with me!

I'm not sure whether I like this 3-player, one competition a week format.  It does make things easier for people to compete, though.  They don't have to drop their lives for a few months to do it, which is great.  But I felt initially like I couldn't get as invested in the contestants like I do with these other shows.  When you have one week after another, you get to feel like you know people and have your favorites.

So I was surprised at how much I wanted the schoolteacher who won this episode to come out on top.  Of course, that has to do with what I saw in the quality of her design and construction.  Really, that's where affinities should lie in a competition like this, not so much with personality.

I was so stressed out for the contestants with their one hour "make a gym bag" initial challenge.  Maybe this is where I started to like the schoolteacher.  That poor woman trying to get a glued piece through the sewing machine & having issues... that's something I'd do.  Totally.  I just know it.  And though she didn't finish, I did love the design and construction of the bag she was making, so I was glad she got to stay.

It made sense to me that the yellow bag was the loser.

I wasn't a fan of that ruffle around the bottom, and as someone with furry pets and occasionally dusty floors, white on the bottom of a bag seems a little crazy to me.  But beyond that, the judges were right about how she glued in the tennis racquet bottom.  No way was glue enough for the bottom of a gym bag.  I do love my hot glue gun too, but I realize its limitations.

By round two, I kind of went in rooting for the schoolteacher, since I also liked her bag better than the other contestant's, which I thought was just too overdone.  My sense of style comports more with the cleaner look of that black/white/red bag.

And during the second round, I felt the same way about the contestants' play houses.  While I appreciated the interactivity of the "school bus" play house, the messiness and hodgepodge way it was decorated would honestly drive me nuts.

By contrast, the clean lines and stellar construction of the "schoolhouse" play house really won me over.

This is a play house I'd be proud to have built, and that's what it comes down to.  And let's be honest.  A play house is a play house.  Kids don't necessarily need it to have built-in activities.  Kids have toys they'll bring in and imaginations that will populate a play house better than any chalkboard wall.  This house could be a school, a club house, a place to "play house," or probably a zillion other things that my 41-year-old brain is too old to fathom.

So, who else watched?  What did you think?  Love the format?  Hate it?  What'd you think of the challenges, availability of assistants, and project results?

So... June's Almost Over

It's hard to believe that we're into summer & June's almost over already.

I've been keeping busy, obviously.  I'm working on another washcloth for the shop, and taking breaks to knit something for myself for the very first time, a sweater!

I've actually done a bunch more since this photo was taken; it's at about 9" now.  In 5" I'll have to start accounting for the armholes.  Yikes!  This is my first article of clothing aside from scarves.  Eric is happy I'm doing something for myself, though.  It seems I really do make everything for everyone else or the shop, not much for me.  And this is an easy way to start; it's just a sleeveless shell which will be great with jeans or even under a suit jacket.

I've also been watering the wildflowers I planted.  There's a lot of green happening & the occasional flower.  I was kind of hoping for this burst of color... besides green.  At least they seem to be healthy, which for a brown thumb like me is huge.

And we had our annual Mardi Gras in June party, at which we serve crawfish & other Louisiana-themed food.  I made two pecan pies and two dozen cupcakes.

And it was fun to watch the two-year-olds.  Our nephews (center and right) and the next door neighbors's son, also 2 (left) were completely enamoured with the fish.

That's all the fun stuff.  On the not-so-fun side, I got into a car accident that's had my car in the shop being fixed for over two weeks now, and it's driving me crazy (I'm fine, don't worry).  And we found out we have to move, so we're house hunting.  I hate moving, so I'm not looking forward to this.

So... that's been our June.  Hope yours has been all fun with none of the other stuff!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Part Eighty-Three

You've met her here before, and here too...

So, let's catch up, shall we?  She's added some more adorable stuff to her shop, like bibs with matching booties.

And hair clips for the kiddos.

Also for the kiddos, she did up this awesome girlie skirt.

Of course, there are still awesome hats.

And check out this gorgeous vintage quilt that she made & then more recently revamped!

So... more news.  In addition to her current Handmade Artists Shop, she'll be opening a second shop soon for her gorgeous glasswork!  Stay tuned...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Just in time for the Summer Solstice Sale!

Thieves' Oil Lip Balm has come to the HAFshop.

Thieves' Oil, the mix of spices and perfumes that kept those now infamous rascals from contracting the bubonic plague as they ransacked houses, is the same mix of essential oils we use in this lip balm, together with beeswax, cocoa and shea butters, vitamin E, and other moisturizing oils.

Steal a kiss!

And more news... we're phasing in our new lip balm containers.  So far you can buy Orange You Glad I'm Your Honey Lip Balm, our awesome mix of orange essential oil, honey, shea & cocoa butters, vitamin E, and other moisturizing oils, in the new containers, both at Reef Botanicals and in the HAFshop.

We've heard our customers' request for the lipstick style container, and we've responded.  Enjoy!

The Sun Came Out!

It had been raining for a couple days, so I decided to do up another Handmade Highlight, focusing on sunny works by my fellow artists at the Handmade Artists Forum.  So I bring you... The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow!

You can see the actual Highlight here, and from there check out each piece in its artist's shop.  Trust me, it's worth it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Solstice Sale!

From the first day of summer, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at 12:01 a.m. through Friday June 22, 2012, at 11:59 p.m., shipping will be FREE on all orders over $25 at,, and

Priority Mail in the US, Regular Mail in Canada.


Also, new in Fabric of my Mind...

An amazing bird stiltwalker.

Sheep in a field in County Kerry, Ireland.

And a red lily.

Artist Spotlight: Part Eighty-Two

Remember that awesome book I won?  Well, it's time to tell you some more about her, Andrea of Blue Highways.

She lives with her husband and boxer dog in northeast Ohio, and she does book binding and art full time!  An avid reader, she's always loved books, and now she makes some of the most beautiful ones I've ever seen.

She loves working with different fabrics and papers, and all different types of closures.

She also loves to try different binding techniques, each of which is gorgeous.

Heck, even the innards of her books are beautiful.

So why the name Blue Highways?  According to Andrea, old road maps used to have the back roads, those less traveled, printed in blue.  Those are the roads preferred by her.

Since she also encourages customers to contact her for custom items, working with them on size, fabric, binding, page count, type of paper, and more, be sure to check out her blog for ideas.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


On more than one front.

First, about this past weekend and the Carlstadt Fresh Air Market... I had a blast!  Eric came in the morning and helped to set up, then stayed 'til one or so.  He ended up buying coffee from a local roaster, pickles from a local pickler, and rolls & pie from a local baker, then heading home to make our dinner.

Meanwhile, our friends Tori & EJ stopped by to visit and ended up helping for a bit too.

That's Tori in the photos.

The fun thing about this market was that there was no one runaway hit item.  People bought shampoo, makeup brush cleaner, facial scrub, mud mask, shaving soap, all different other soaps, candles, and lip balms.  It was pretty cool to see so much interest in so many different products.

And the washcloths got a lot of attention, partly because while I was sitting, I started a second trinity washcloth, which I've since completed.  One woman actually commented that they're great for babies because they're so soft.  I hadn't thought of that, but she's right!

And my other success... I won the Highlights contest at the Handmade Artists Forum, and got to choose a print from Nancy's WildWireArt!  I chose "Flow," and it came today!

It looks even better in person, and Eric loves it.  Now we just have to get it matted & framed.

So how was your weekend?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Part Eighty-One

You've met this artist, Nancy Pace, here before.  But she's been up to a lot!  There's the gorgeous jewelry, of course.

She even does custom pieces for her customers, so if you don't see something that exactly suits you in her shop, be sure to contact her and see what she can do for you!

Now she's also listed her artwork too!  There are some really fun and decorative pieces painted onto repurposed denim.

And then there's her fine art, available as original paintings or prints.

Check her out and make sure to follow her blogs, one here, and one here.
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