Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's Doin'?

Well... lots.

I've joined the newly formed Carlstadt Green Team, a town committee geared toward caring for and wisely using the new park that was created down the street from my house!  The team runs a monthly Fresh Air Market there, and so I'm gearing up for my first one on June 10.  It's on 3rd & Broad Streets in Carlstadt, NJ, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., so if you're in the area, come visit!

In preparation, I've made brand new batches of Lavender Soap & Oatmeal Honey Soap, and this coming week I'll be making our Mock Turtle Shampoo.  I've also been stocking up on cotton bamboo washcloths for the market & shop.

So... I've added some new photos and washcloths to Fabric of my Mind.

This tortoise was munching away on a leaf; I suppose I caught him during his lunch break.

This aster was in my own yard a couple years ago, and I love this photo.  I may need to have one printed for myself to hang.

Much like the gardenia yellow basket weave washcloth I knitted previously, this one's in an awesome sprout green cotton bamboo.

And then, still on my green kick, I did this pebbled washcloth that's got a seed stitch for a nice, scrubby texture.

This eyelet washcloth would be great as a face cloth, since it's so soft.  I went back to the gardenia yellow for this one.

Meanwhile, I've added our Oatmeal Honey soap to the Reef Botanicals HAFshop, as well as the Autumn Harvest Square Pillar.

And in the yard this year, in addition to veggies, Eric is growing hops for his beer brewing.  So I decided to expand too, by trying some flowers.  They seem to be turning into a tropical rain forest, the leaves are so thick!  They started like this...

(And that lone twig in the mulch between the two patches of flowers is a blueberry bush.)

And as of a couple days ago, the first flowers appeared!  They're itty bitty, teeny weeny white flowers.

Can't see 'em?  Look.

And this weekend, we'll be in Vermont, but I'll tell you all about that when we get back!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Part Eighty

You've met her here before, Debbi of Yankee Burrow Creations!

It's wedding season now, as I was reminded when I had to go to two different craft stores for plain ivory ribbon, so I'll show you some of her wedding-appropriate items.

First, there's this invitation frame.

What an awesome and beautifully quilled way to turn your wedding invitation into a keepsake!

Then there's this great crocheted ring bearer pillow.

The classic white would go with any wedding color theme.

Last, but not least, I think this silhouette would be a gorgeous and unusual gift for a couple just starting in a new home.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Part Seventy-Nine

You've met this artist here before, Dee Bibb of Southern Country Creations.

When last we met Dee, I showed you some of the bracelets created by this teacher of the gifted & talented and book reviewer, and one pair of her earrings.  Well, she's been busy since then!

She's got some more bracelets I just love.

And some more earrings.

And on top of that, she's got some really pretty jewelry sets!

In the interim, though, she's also added some of her crocheted items to her shop, like these gorgeous and cheery coaster sets.

And this beautiful coverlet.

Awesome stuff, right?  To keep up with her and see more, be sure to "like" her Facebook page, check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bright 'n' Cheery

A few more things have gone into the shop, so it's time to share.

I found this cute star mold and made several sets of Mini Star Crayons.  They're small, cute, bright & cheery, and they'd make great stocking stuffers when that time rolls 'round, but right now they're great as party favors, "just because" gifts, or a gift for that creative type who's already got everything else.

Each set of 10 crayons, made from only the top brand, is similar to the one in the photo, with crayons in reds/pinks, oranges, yellows/light greens, dark greens, light blues, dark blues/purples, fuscias, light browns/white, dark browns, and black/greys/silver.

These are a lot smaller than the Jumbo Dolphin Crayons, so they're not for the kiddies under 3.

Also new in the shop are two photos.  One is of Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland, taken in April of 2009.

The other was taken in my yard in June of 2010, and is of orange daylilies.

Be sure to poke around the shop when you've got a chance.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Some new things in Fabric of my Mind

I needed to pay a little more attention to the newer shop, so I've listed two new photographs.

The first, available here, is a photograph I took at the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland, in the spring of 2009.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful place.  Hopefully, my memories and feelings show through in the photo.

I remember the day well, as well as the day before.  We'd actually gotten to Cashel the night before, intending to go straight to the Rock, see it, and then head on to the next town.  Well, we got there just a few minutes after they let in the last wave of people.  The ruins aren't artificially lighted, so they're really serious about not allowing latecomers.  I was really disappointed, until Eric reminded me that it was actually a day earlier than I thought it was - I so lose track of time when on vacation.

So that evening, we found a B&B and went to a dinner, probably the only one during our 10 days in Ireland that was at all disappointing.  What came after was awesome, though.  We consoled ourselves by going for a drink at a local pub, where we met some guys who heard our accents, found out we were on our honeymoon, and took us partying, first to another local pub with a band, and then to a club where the father of one of the guys was DJing at a private party we crashed.

While dancing at the club, Eric's foot got stomped by an Irish girl with big wooden-soled shoes, so the next morning when we got up and had breakfast, he was still pretty pained.  We walked the Rock anyway, and the grandeur of it almost made him forget his foot.

The second, available here, is a perfect red rose that was growing in my front yard in 2010 here in NJ.  I was able to find an angle that gave me the sky as background, and it's one of my favorite shots; so much so that it's the background wallpaper of my cell phone and has been for 3 successive phones now.

I've also added a third washcloth to the shop, this one in sprout green cotton bamboo with gardenia yellow racing stripes at both ends.  Soft and absorbent as ever, I really love the color scheme.

So... whatcha think?

Monday, May 14, 2012

So there's this chick...

Andrea, from northeastern Ohio.  I met her at the Handmade Artists Forum, which I've written about here several times.  Andrea herself is an amazingly talented bookbinder who has a shop, Blue Highways.

I've been coveting her hand bound books for quite a while now, and I finally own one!  She was creative and generous enough to start a contest at HAF, involving the Handmade Highlights, with one of her own books as the prize!  I created a Highlight based on my favorite song, Castle Walls by Styx, and had the most commenters, so I won my choice of one of her gorgeous mini journals.

I got it on Saturday and was so enamoured with it that I had to share.  First, her packaging is terrific; each book is wrapped in vintage newspaper with twine.  The newspaper around my book was from 1963 and very interesting to read.

Also included with the book was a pretty notecard with a message to me and a book thong, also made by Andrea.  It was blue cord with blue glass beads, my favorite color!  I knew that Andrea included a complimentary book thong with every book she sold, but had no idea I'd be getting one with a book I'd won.  I thought that was just really sweet.

Once I unwrapped the book, I got to see the fabric I'd chosen in person, these awesome batik sea turtles, of course in blue.

The book's closure is a blue ribbon with dark blue beads on the ends.  The flyleaf is fun and also sea-themed, with pictures of urchins and shells.

The binding, though, is what boggles my mind the most.  The book is hand-threaded in this lovely pattern of thread, that I think is the most beautiful thing.

The care and expertise she puts into these books is evident from front to back.  I'm so glad I got it, and know I'll be buying more in the future.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Part Seventy-Eight

You've met this very talented artist here before.

Although Janelle is no longer with us and able to create, her shop remains open, with the proceeds going to help her estate and family.  It's really worth taking a look, as her talent lives on.  Don't take my word for it, though.

Have a look.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happenings, Happenings

So... just because I've been quiet doesn't mean I haven't been busy.

I've been knitting my little heart out and adding some things to Fabric of my Mind, like these new washcloths.

This one is a basic washcloth (or dishcloth, if you prefer).

And this one's a cool basket weave with a seed stitch border.

I did both in an awesome gardenia yellow cotton bamboo yarn that is really soft and has a gorgeous sheen to it.  I understand that cotton bamboo is a great fiber in that it's got the strength of cotton and the absorbency of bamboo.  Not bad!  Of course, my very first washcloth, a duplicate of the basic one above, went to Eric for "quality control testing."  He uses it as a face cloth every day and loves it.  Of course, when he saw the basket weave, he wanted that one for "quality control" as well, but it made it into the shop.

I've also got 41" of Eric's cashmere scarf done.  Talk about soft!  It's insane how soft 100% cashmere is.  Insane.  I love knitting with it.

Meanwhile, I've been filling orders for Mother's Day gift baskets, of course, like this one.

The request was for "fresh" scents including soap and candle, so I stuffed in an Autumn Harvest candle, a couple Garden Party soaps, a Lemongrass & Sage soap, an Orange You Glad I'm Your Honey lip balm, and a When Life Hands you Lemons sugar scrub.

And then, since I can't seem to keep them in stock for more than a minute, I made another batch of Purity Makeup Brush Soap.

So there you have it!  Check back Sunday when I revisit a fellow artist for you.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another Look at the Handmade Artists Forum

So many things have been happening, and HAF has been growing so much, that I had to update.

The Handmade Artists Forum caters to and is committed to the promotion of handmade in all forms and in all venues around the world.  I've never met such a group of helpful, hopeful, wonderful artisans, all in one place.  Seriously.... business suggestions, product how-tos, honest but diplomatic critiques, and a general cheering section.  What's better than that?

Since the opening of a shopping venue, the Handmade Artists Shop, where you can find both Reef Botanicals as well as Fabric of my Mind, the number of of shops in Handmade Artists has grown immensely!  The variety is impressive, so be sure to stop by and check out what's there now.

Besides that, though, they continue to promote and support all handmade venues.

And news!  To better fulfill their mission to promote handmade everywhere, HAF has recently acquired It's Better Handmade!  The website, Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, and more!

We're all very excited about this, so come pop in and see what it's all about!
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