Friday, January 30, 2009

Snowing ~~ AGAIN....

I don't mind snow. Really, I don't. It makes everything so clean and pretty.

Typically, I enjoy it until one day in February I wake up and say, "OK, enough. It can go away at any time now."

It seems that day in February is coming sooner and sooner each year. In fact, it is still January and I said it already! But this is what we woke up to here in Central NY

Don't forget to visit me on etsy, shophandmade and artfire!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

FiberArts Guild ~ Artfire Studio

Artfire is spreading like a wildfire and I am having so much fun there! I recently joined the Fiber Arts Guild and would love to feature some of my guild members occasionally on my blog. So here is the first of many more to come ♥

If you are looking for a kit to start spinning your own yarn, check out Maine Woods Yarn and Fiber ~

bagsandmorebypam has wonderful crocheted accessories, including some great fashions for your pets!

And creativejenv has a great selection of bags for all occasions

I couldn't be more excited to join this group as there will be so much variety and fun!

Don't forget to visit me at etsy, shophandmade and artfire!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good Morning

This morning photo taken from my porch reminds me to appreciate the beauty of the world.

Amid all of this snow and ice, I can't seem to get my summer garden out of my mind. I have been planning what veggies and flowers I will plant this spring for 3 days! Maybe I am just getting tired of the cold and dreaming of summer.

My newest lavender felted bowl reminds me of summer too!

Don't forget to visit me on etsy, shophandmade and artfire.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Remembering Vietnam

Yesterday I was going through a box that contained photographs, old greeting cards and letters which really brought back some memories. Some things were within the last few years and some went way, way back. This post is going back to childhood....

We lived in the average neighborhood in the 60's where everyone's mother had the Jackie Kennedy look and children ruled the block. Every home had at least 3 kids and you always had someone to play with. We lived on a very important corner lot with one road leading to the copper mill that my dad worked at and the other leading to a brand new Air Force Base. Life was good and as children, our most pressing responsibility was to make sure we were home in time for dinner. THAT was the cardinal rule!

However, a young bachelor AirForce pilot rented the house next to ours for a few years. I remember him as very handsome and always so friendly to all the neighborhood children. He was the only adult that would have time to play ball with us and we had a grand time with him. Now, this was the Vietman War era and as young children we may have been sheltered from the reality of that war, but I soon found out what was really happening.

As all military personel, he was sent on his mission and I would write to him and he always wrote back. Until one day I received this letter from his mother:

6 November 1967
Dear Valerie:
The letter you wrote to Joe (Capt Joseph T Kearns) AP San Francisco, was sent back to us.

Joe has been missing in Vietnam since June 3rd. That is the reason he didn't write, I gather from your letter that he must have dropped you a note now and then since you mentioned you hadn't had a letter in a long time.

Well, Valerie, it was nice of you to write to him and I know Joe was very happy to hear from you. Now if you could remember Joe in your prayers so that he will return home safely some day, that would be very nice.

I will keep your letters for him. He will be glad to know that you got the nice 100 in your printing. You print very nicely for a girl who just turned 8 years old!!!

Be a good girl, Valerie, and don't forget to pray.
Joe's mother

After finding this letter yesterday, I searched the web for missing Vietnam soldiers. Joe was officially listed as killed in 1978. I can't imagine his mother hoping for over 10 years that her son may still be alive.

I have not kept many things from my childhood, but I have always kept this letter. I will always have a place in my heart for Joe - the handsome pilot in his Air Force uniform who gave his life during the Vietnam War.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

All Things Red

Valentines Day will be here in just a couple weeks. It is a time to tell your partner, your spouse, your children, your parents and your pets how much you really do love them. A day to remember all those little things that your family and friends do for you and to show your appreciation.

Wouldn't it be nice if we remembered that each and every day?

Today I pledge to say thank you with enthusiasm to my husband every day for taking out the garbage without being asked. I pledge to hug my children just because at least once a day. I also pledge to call my 80 year old mother each evening just to say good night and to remind her that she has been the biggest inspiration in my life.

I also pledge to smile when I am in the check out line at the grocery store, not cut off drivers on the interstate, and pleasantly say "I'm not interested" to telephone solicitors.

So, here is to red, the color of love... May you celebrate every day!

Don't forget to visit me on etsy, shophandmade and artfire.

Friday, January 23, 2009


On of my 09 resolutions was to experiment with the goal of improving the end product. So I have been trying alot of different things and my most recent discovery has proved a success!

One of my goals is to make felted (fulled) bowls sturdier. I learned that by adding a strand of fingering weight yarn to worsted weight that it really added some beef to the bowl (see previous post). But then I thought.. what if I double the double? So I set forth by making two bowls, one slightly smaller than the other, attaching them together and putting them through the felting process.

The result ~ A REALLY thick felted bowl in contrasting colors...
This one is done in greens and has a very striking result

This took about two weeks to dry completely after several cycles of processing. I have some great ideas for color combinations but would love to hear from you with what colors you would love to see. Please leave a comment with color choices and be on the look out in my shops for some more.

Don't forget to visit me on etsy, shophandmade and artfire!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's Been So Cold ~~

It's been so cold here in Central NY! Two straight weeks of subzero temperatures is enough already. Tuesday the high was 13 degrees and it felt warm. There is definately something wrong with that!

This cold spell really makes me want to cuddle and knit. My most recent creations include:

This lucious scarflette made with alpaca and peruvian highland mix. It is so soft and knit with a lace and cable design:

This paperback book cozy that just feels right and really does make readinig a pleasure:

A nice little neck warmer in wool and acrylic blend in lovely green cables:

And a lined knit wool cable purse in 100% wool that will hold all your necessaries:

Don't forget to visit me on etsy, shophandmade and artfire

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Before and After ~ Felting a Wool Bowl

Today I wanted to show everyone the before and after of the felting (fulling) process. I find it amazing what happens and thought I would share with you.

Here is a photo of the crocheted bowl before the felting process. At this stage it measures 8 inches wide:

And here is the after, measuring 6 inches:

Amazing how the colors meld and the bowl takes shape! Another wonder of wool ♥

Don't forget to visit me on etsy, shophandmade and artfire!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Ugly Bag Delima

Ok, so a bought this really interesting yarn on a whim. I had no idea what I was going to make of it, but I picked up 2 balls. I was confident that I would make something amazing.

How can you go wrong with earthy tones, texture and wool? All the components of a great scarf, right?

Well... I started out knitting it up as a scarf and I totally did not like it.... not one bit. So midway through, I changed my mind and thought perhaps it would make a great bag. Nope.. not really a cool bag either, but that is what it ended up as.

Now, I could market this bag as a necessary accessory for your Halloween costume if you are dressing up as Wilma Flintsone or Betty Rubble. Or, I thought it would make a GREAT gift for your 'favorite' sister-in-law or co-worker. Then when you see them ask them why they aren't using that 'lovely' bag you gave them. (Guilty of passive-agressive behavior).

But I am just at a loss, so I am looking for your help to name this bag and give me suggestions on uses for this ugly bag. Please leave your comments here and just for fun we can come up with a marketing scheme and see if anyone buys it!

Don't forget to visit me on etsy, artfire and shophandmade

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hooker Spotlight ~ HandsDelight

It is below zero here today... So Cold

Today's Hooker Feature has made with love items that are toasty warm!

HandsDelight is a stay at home Mom that loves to crochet in her spare time. Spare time is defined when not keeping track of all her children and homeschooling two of them! And her work is fabulous

I hope you will enjoy her shop as much as I do!

Monday, January 12, 2009

EtsyForCharity ~ Artist of the Week

EtsyForCharity is a team of etsians that donate items to be sold in the EtsyForCharity Shop. All proceeds of the sales from this shop are donated to a charity of the month. January's charity is National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Please be sure to check out EtsyForCharity as it has a great variety of items and you will be sure to find something on your shopping list!

This week I am featuring Surly who specializes in creating fabulous ceramic jewelery for men and women. I actually got lost in her shop as her work is amazing!

Come in and look around for yourself:

♥Surly-Ramics is a proud supporter of all things fuzzy and donates to the Humane Society, The ASPCA and The Society for the Protection of Animals LA. They are also a proud supporter of Planting Peace.♥

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Daisy's Week in Review

Well, it has been a busy, busy week!

Daisy finally was named and her work assignment has been established. She is one busy sheep now!

New items in my shop include:

Knit Scarf - Classic Ribbed - Mother Earth $40

Knit Scarf - Classic Cable - Montana $40

Knit Scarflette - Classic Cable - Blue Swirl $25

Knit Cowl - Blueberry Cream - $25

Knit Cowl - Pumpkin Spice - $25

Felted Bowl - Blue Snow - $17

Felted Bowl - Basketweave - $17

Felted Bowl - Daisy $36

Felted Coin Purse - Purple Passion - $20

Knit Quick GetAway Key Fob Wallet - $12.50

I am running a sale through Sunday Evening in my Artfire Studio - 20% off and FREE Shipping to my very first customer! Just mention 'Artfire Rocks' in note to seller and I will refund 20% through paypal.

Next week be on the lookout for another scarflette, two great bowls and a beautiful knit purse!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Meet Daisy ~~

The voting is over and my sweet little sheep now has a name!

Daisy is the creation of greenbeansnstrings who made lovely sew in labels for me. I got additional help from hbcorner who made sweet banners and avatars to match. I just love them both.. and if you are in the need of labels or banners/avatars, I strongly recommend them!

The winner of the contest is zjayne and I just have to mention that there was quite a contest going between zjayne and noradora. Right up until the last hour, votes were coming in. Nora would gain a bit, then zjayne would go a few further, then nora, then jayne. I really felt like I was watching a horse race! And just so you all know.. jane and nora are SISTERS! Who said a little competition between sisters isn't fun?

So, now that the voting is complete, please come and visit Daisy often as she will be taking on alot of resposibilities in my shop. She will become my official spokesperson... urr.. spokessheep and will be in charge of my promotion and advertising from here on out. It's a big job, but I know she will do a grand job!

Check her out on etsy, artfire and shophandmade ~~

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Voting Is Now Open ~ Name the Sheep!

Thanks to everyone that offered suggestions!

If you suggested the winning name I will contact you for your mailing information.

Have fun voting!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Name My Avatar Contest ~ Phase One

I am so happy with my new avatar, banner and lables that I just smile everytime I see them. But I just can't decide what to call the cute little fluffy sheep.

So I am running a contest to "Name the Sheep".

For the next 3 days, I will gather suggestions from you and on January 7th I will run a poll on my blog and ask for everyone to vote for the winner. On January 10th I will announce the winner ~~~ And the winner will receive this lovely knit scarflette. Valued at $25 this scarflette is knit with a wool/acrylic blend that is soft and functional. With three rows of classic cables and wooden buttons, it will keep your neck warm in style ~~

So all you need to do to participate is:
Leave a comment here with your suggested name for my sheep
Leave your contact information, either your etsy shop, artfire studio, blog address or e-mail address
Keep checking my blog between Jan 7 and Jan 10 to vote and see your progress

On Saturday, Jan 10th I will announce the winner and mail the winner the scarflette free of all costs!

So get your thinking caps on and come up with a name for my cute little sheep. I haven't decided if it's a ram or ewe yet... so all names are acceptable!

Have fun!

Please visit my etsy shop,

artfire studio and

ShopHandmade Store!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It Pays to Experiment~~

Presenting my newest bowl titled "Poppies". It is made with a new found technique that gives stability and thickness.

For quite awhile I have been trying different ways to make my felted bowls stonger, thicker and overall sturdier. And I think I just found the easiest way. So easy, in fact, that I am hand slapping my forhead as if I should have had a V8. And there is an added bonus of terrific color enhancements with this method as well.

Normally I would use one strand of worsted weight wool yarn and work my magic. This does produce a great felted fiber in the end, but for vessels and bowls, I would prefer a thicker stronger fiber. I've made a few bowls in which I would crochet double length, fold them over and sew them together to form double thickness as in this bowl:

This method takes alot of calculating as one side needs to be a bit smaller than the other, but does have a great result.

I have also tried crocheting two strands of worsted weight together which works ok... but doesn't felt with that finished look that I like so much.

My amazingly simple discovery is that by crocheting one strand of worsted weight along with a strand of fingering weight will give that little bit extra to the product that gives the bowl added stability and helps keep their shape. The bonus is that I now feel like a painter mixing my paints because combining different color shades gives the bowl it's own unique colors!

I start with two strands of wool ~ one worsted weight and one fingering weight

I changed my hook from H to J

And then I go to town:

The colors will blend during the felting process so the individual stitches and colors will not be visable when completed. I used two different yellows in Poppies, and as you can see, the shades blend to form one color with a bit of heathered look.

So, now I have met one of my 2009 resolutions (finding ways to improve my products) and it is only January 3rd! Can you see my smile? I have a beautiful green one drying now that will be posted later this week.

Hoping you will come visit me on etsy, artfire and shophandmade to view my new work during 2009