Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wedding earrings for Mum!


Oh la la!  I finished a few more earrings for my maids and Mum -- all in the calla lily theme with bronze, teal, peach, and berry as our colors. 

I also tried out a new font for my watermark, but I think it is a little bit too spooky!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Knitting quotes

The only place where housework comes before [knitting] is in the dictionary. ~Mary Kurtz

Really I don't dislike to cook, but what you cook is eaten so quickly. When you [knit], you have something that will last to show for your efforts. ~Elizabeth Travis Johnson

Knitting Club

Fascilitating a knitting club meeting in a high school is a bit like juggling with tangled yarn balls that you're trying to keep in the air all at once!  It is challenging to do well, but once you hit your rhythm... you're set for a while. 

Today, we had a new knitting club member.  I taught her how to cast on and do the basic knit stitch, and then she sat on the couch in my classroom in concentrated silence.  My other club members, two quiet, shy girls, were sitting on adjacent couches, absorbed in their projects.  The only sound in the room was the soft hissing of yarn friction and the occasional "tink" of needles touching.  You could have cut the air with a knife - it was like these young women were taking an exam! 

Once our new member was set to continue on her own for a while, I went to get my newest project - an alpaca neckwarmer for my dad for Xmas.  It is gorgeous yarn that I found in Spooner when I was visiting my parents up there last weekend.  I am just knitting  him a "turtle neck" in the round with a knit 5 purl 5 design for thick, sumptuous ribbing.  I sat down in my classroom chair and started casting on for my project, when I realized how incredibly soft the black yarn was!  I just had to share it! 

I broke the icy silence in the room by taking around my alpaca yarn to show the eager knitters.  They oohed and ahhed at its equisiteness, and then they started to share ideas about their projects.  I asked them about gifts this year for the holidays - bringing up my yearly pledge to make all my gifts.  Pretty soon a conversation and brainstorming session was going about what we should make our families for the holiday season.  It was truly a successful "stitch and bitch" session if I do say so myself.  ;)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bonding with the boyfriend's mom

Crocheting was my second foray into fabric arts - my first inspirations actually came as a 4 year old when I started making wrapped and sewn Xmas ornaments out of felt and colored string.  :)  So, it came as no surprise that I was pretty advanced for a 2nd grader when I took the "Learn to Crochet" summer school class.  Too young to take the class I really wanted to - baton twirling - I satisfied my summer hunger for knowledge (and getting out of the house during the afternoon) with a crocheting class of little girls in summer clothes.  We each brought a bag of cotton yarn, which, over the course of a week, we learned to crochet into square pot holders.  Every afternoon we sat together in the back of an elementary school classroom with little sea green industrial school-chairs rounded up around our instructor, a retired school-teacher herself.  Mrs. Ninas was a wizened, wrinkly woman with big thick fingers that could move yarn in deft, swift motions as she talked.  I remember thinking that her lips and body were puffy and her skin was a translucent shade of pink that comes from sitting in a dark den knitting, rather than stretching your legs in the warm summer sunlight outside.

Despite my critical assessment of Mrs. Ninas' physique, I really loved learning to crochet from her.  She was warm and patient, the way you want your grandmother to be, and she would tirelessly help us unknot, restart, and just generally fix our projects for us.  In fact, I liked crocheting class so much that I took it again the following summer, rather than baton twirling.  That summer we were each supplied with a plastic shopping bag full of 3 skeins of yarn in watermelon colors, which were to become... you guessed it - little square watermelon potholders.

At the end of this second week of crocheting camp, I still hadn't finished my potholder.  The watermelon design proved difficult for me to follow, and the class culminated on Friday afternoon with me dumping the white plastic bag into a laundry basket full of old dress up clothes in the bottom of my closet.  "Watermelon potholders are dumb," I thought with disdain as I tossed my half finished project into the basket.  "In the hot summer, which is when you'd use a watermelon-themed item, don't you eat cold foods anyway?" I wondered.

I remember how sad I was when I heard that Mrs. Ninas died a few summers later.  Perhaps it was her warm puffiness, or her patience with my unfinished potholder, but I was really sad that we never crocheted together after that class.  I guess it didn't occur to me that she probably didn't "hang out" with little girls from her crocheting classes, especially ones who'd rather be outdoors than in a dark den crocheting pointless potholders.  When I heard about her death, I knew it was final.  My fingers couldn't recreate those once-familiar patterns of movement to crochet.  Although I'd tried to pick up the project from my closet a few times, when I hear about her death, I knew my crocheting career was over.  I threw the unfinished, pointless potholder away.
But lately I've had the strangest urge to learn how to crochet again.  Today I saw these adorable purses online, and I thought -- hey, they're the same shape as the potholders!  :)

I realized then that I have a new crocheting partner - Jase's Mom.  I've been really wanting to bond with her over fabric arts anyway - we're both knitters, but she also crochets these beautiful blankets.  It will be a perfect bonding opportunity!

Have a little help from my friends...


Although I was proud of being a ONE-WOMAN-MACHINE - doing all the financial investing, designing, creating, photographing, modeling, and listing of my creations - all by myself, I finally had to ask for a little help from my friends. 

Paula White, a dance student of mine, offered to come over to my apartment to take some photos of my goods.  It ended up being a very successful afternoon! 

This is one of the photos that Paula took of me in one of my new fascinators.

I was so pleased with the photos of my work that I recruited a few friends to model my fascinators at the dance studio this weekend.  Although we didn't have the gorgeous late afternoon light that Paula and I worked with (on my balconey), I think I got some beautiful shots of the flowers in different hair.  Specifically, I recruited Kelly and Ra, who have very beautiful and unique hair.


I'll post pics when I manage to get them off of my camera...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Marvelous Musings


I've learned that I really like Ranunculus!  I think it looks nice with the pearls and beads nestled into the petals - like a delicate bird's nest.

I ordered some tiny white ranunculus flowers online from afloral.com, and I was very pleased with them!  They are like these tiny bells, just waiting to be filled with white pearls, shells, and glass beads.  I think I shall use these to create my bridal hair piece, which I've been working on designing for about 4 months now.  So far, I know that I want to have two flowers - one at each temple - that hold my hair back and hold up a silver chain circlet, which I think I found the perfect bead for!  I ordered everything on etsy.com this week, and I'll surely have many new ideas once I see the actual beads.

Fantasize



Doesn't it look like my fascinator is actually a fancy thought bubble sprouting from my temple?  I love it!  I decided to call this one fantasize because it reminds me of a beautiful thought bubble.  :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Etsy


SUNBEAM

"Buttercups in the sunshine look like little cups of gold.
Perhaps the Faeries come to drink the raindrops that they hold."
~ Elizabeth T. Dillingham, A Faery Song


SUNBEAM has a striking yellow silk flower filled glass beads and fresh water pearls twisted on thin wire and nestled into the petals - just like fairy raindrops!  :)

I was quite proud of how this listing turned out, don't you agree?

Blue

"Blue
Oh, so lonesome for you
Why can't you be blue over me?
Blue
Oh, so lonesome for you
Tears fill my eyes 'till I can't see"
~ Patsy Cline



This luminescent blue necklace reflects light differently indoors and out! The striking black-wire-wrapped blue glass heart pendant looks navy blue when seen indoors or in the shade. However, when direct sunlight hits it, a striking brilliant blue is revealed!  The blue glass beads on the necklace react the opposite way to light - looking duller in sunlight and iridescent in shade or indoor light.

I ADORE this set...  I'm not even sure if I can sell it, but admittedly I need the money --- not to mention that I have a lot of blue jewelry already. 

Re-energized


Seeing Sasha bask in much-missed sunlight this morning, I got inspired to take some photos of my new jewelry line - WHIMSY - outdoors.  Beautiful!  The warm, bright morning sunlight brought out new elements in my work that I couldn't capture with the camera otherwise. 

Not to mention how re-energizing it was for me to get outside again!  I think I'm going to make time to walk to work this morning, rather than taking my car and rushing about as usual.  :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wedding set

I'm so excited!  I finally decided on a design for my bridesmaids' earrings for my wedding set that will be a gift to them.  I am using materials I love, and if I have left overs, I plan to make a few things to sell in my souk.  I know my mom will want a set too... what about Jase's mom?  I wonder if she'll want some earrings to match the bridal party?  I bet she will. 


I just purchased the materials from etsy sellers this morning, after a long night spent shopping, drawing plans, and comparing prices online.  I decided on a calla lily theme, using these beads as the "center piece" of the design.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tramps and Thieves...


I've really enjoyed the custom orders for wedding flower sets that I've gotten this fall.  It is so fun to collaborate with a bride who's coming up with color combinations, flower ideas, and a vision of what she wants her "big day" to look like.  The brides I've worked with have been sweetly excited about their flowers and custom orders.

However, it hasn't been entirely fun and games!  First, one of my packages of supplies for a wedding in January was stolen from in front of my apartment door.  That's right.  Bad vodoo karma mysticism vibes are coming that thief's way - let me tell you!  The worst thing is that when this foolish thief stole my package, they didn't realize that they were getting lavendar freesia stalks in silk, green ivy, and delicate white lily of the valley bushes...! Geez.  What are they even going to do with that box?!  I wish they'd just give it back to me.

Unfortunately when I complained to management, they claimed there was nothing they could do. They have installed cameras in some areas of the buildings, but other than that they can't do anything.  *Hrumph!* 

Tonight I reordered the supplies from the same vendor, but shipped them to my boyfriend's house with hopes that they'd be safer in transit there.  I sent an etsy-convo to the buyer apologizing and giving them a discount on the item they ordered.