Thursday, December 20, 2007

So Long Blogger!

Well, I just wanted to let all you kids to know that I'm moving my blog! Hooray! You can check out the new blog here.

And if you are an rss feeder (haha, that makes me think of bird feeders), make sure to add to your feed!

See you all on the new site!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A minor without knowing it

So over the last couple of years I have been pretty obsessed with art history. I have two empty spots next semester and was thinking that if it wasn't too much more, I could take enough classes to get my minor. Well, as I was looking at the requirements and the classes that I have taken it turns out that I might just have one and I just need to declare it! I'm going to talk to my advisor tomorrow to make sure everything is all set to go for graduating and declare what I have already done as far as a minor goes.

I feel on the brink of accomplishment and like I have been able to learn and grow so much through and around my studies. It has been a truly rewarding experience.

Did I really just type that? Crazy.

In other news, i'm not sure if I posted it here, but I had an interview with Jennifer of Craft Sanity awhile ago and it was published last weekend. If you want to hear me yammer on forever and a day about what I'm doing with craft leftovers and life in general, you should check it out. If anything, check out the show notes and the comments. I was deeply touched by how people responded to the interview. It positively made my day! That is the hugest reward, although I like it when I sell stuff too, that pays the bills. Nice comments pay into my emotional wellness fund.

Well, lots to do, talk to you later!

++ Kristin Roach ++

Friday, November 16, 2007

Breaking the Golden Rule

So for me, the golden rule for a long time has been to not drink caffeine after 5pm. I can get away with 4:59, but 5pm and I'm up all night. It's about to come to it. Give me that coffee. Bring it on. I have a long weekend and follow weeks ahead and I need to squeeze out every last bit of creativity and production that I can manage. That. This is where the title Over extracted comes from. It's taking it to the edge and then some until the coffee is over spent. Or I am over spent. In the case of coffee... not so good. In the case of myself.. well there is something satisfying about know that I have pushed myself to my capacity. The only thing that sucks. Well, my messy apartment. I could do with a clean up.

I participated in a rocking group show last night at the Pleasant Street Gallery, I'm going to be full of myself and only show shots of my stuff:

general peoples enjoying the show. Actually it is Katie on the left and Joanna as the pink blur I believe and Staci on the right in the other room in the red. All artist folks showing their amazing work last night.

This is the weaving project I have been working on and have shown you pictures of time to time. This is the first time I have shown it anywhere though.

Endangered Plant Species Panel Series

Part of the Larger Junk Mail Project (One Year of Junk Mail), This is "One Day of Junk Mail"

Detail of the Mobile and Cast Shadows

Here is a shot of how my "room" was arranged.

We had to take down today, and as it turns out I had to go to St Charles to participate in the Strategic Planning Task Force of the NIU College of Visual and Preforming Arts. I was the undergraduate representative. It was realllllly interesting. I don't want to say too much though. Anyway, point being that I had to take down last night, brush up on the material for today, then get up at 6:30, which turned into 7:20 because I stayed up even later looking for Sloane. So the cage was still open and she popped up on the bed and woke me up by snuggling my head. It was cute. It was a really long day.

It was really interesting though.

I did get about 2 inches on a large knitting project that is in the Christmas category, so it will stay nameless.

I have to work in the morning at Encore, which will help me make up the loss of pay from not working today.

Let's see:
Stretch hogs gut for drying
Give ferrets bath
Give myself a shower
Clean more
Finish pattern for tomorrow
Finish CLM December for Monday
Work on Sketches
Work on other patterns
Work on animations
Work work work.

So.... more coffee for me tonight foooor sure!

I'll see you all later, if I don't get too over extracted that is.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good Times

Well this week has been pretty darn good. Busy. But still good. Mainly because I actually got everything done that I set out to do. An amazing feat if I do say so myself. Tomorrow I'm heading out of town so there was pressure to get all the school type stuff done now instead of on oh say, sunday night. Geeze. So I have. Amazing!

I think what really helped was instead of continuing to freak out like I was on Monday (just really overwhelmed), I stopped, went to Panera, got some coffee, good food and planned out my week. I planned it out in a realistic way too. Not just "oh my gosh this is how much I have to get done by the end of the semester! aahhhhh!" I made a list of short and long term goals. I actually just took it out to the end of the semester. I lined up goals for each week and than within each week, each day. And at the end of each day I've been re-evaluating what I need to do, what I was able to get done, and go from there. It's worked really well. I think I'm going to have to keep it up.

I finished and documented my weaving project.
Posted new stuff to the shop.
As of tonight I will have my mold finished for the creepy beeswax fruit.
Got my second sock cast on and started.
Finished the overstuffed chair for the animation.
Talked to audio visual people about shooting the animation.
Started on the next Craft Leftovers pattern.
Cleaned some more.

Lots of other stuff too in there that I can't even remember. All I know is that I have routinely checked everything off my to-do list for each day. That makes me pretty dang happy.

Oh and I sold some more craft leftovers monthly. And some of the yarn I just dyed sold. And I just today sold the first Honey Bunny kit! I love that kit so much and I'm so happy it has finally sold!

Well, I'll talk to you later. Sorry no pictures this time. I thought it would be better just post without than not at all.

Have a good evening!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lovin' the Crochet

So I just started this bag last night, worked on it about an hour. Then just for 2 and a half hours today, if that. I had to get up and run around after Sloane trying to get her to go in the litter box, get off the table, then she got angry and jump/ran/leaped onto my chair and into my tea. Woo wee. That little girl is crazy. But I love her, and she is just oh so cute.

Here is the tea she tried her best to spill, but I saved it. Oh and here is the little red work chick linen tea cloth that I picked up at the Craft Sale I was in this past weekend. Aren't those little chicks just so great!

And seeing this picture I realize I have, from front to back, embroidery, crochet, knitting, and spinning all represented in this one shot. That makes me pretty happy.

Oh and just for the record. I love my sun tea spot coasters for my hot tea too, not just the iced.

So my market bag. I just realized that the photo is bad. So I'll take another shot when I get back from class. I followed the pattern and only made one slight alteration (added another row of sc on the strap and border so it would be a bit thicker). It's from the book Simple Crochet, the first craft book I every bought before I even knew how to make a proper sc stitch. It was actually from this book that I learned how to do all other basic stitch. Best crochet book every award... I'll call it the "I'm Hooked on You Book award" That's a long title, but I like it!

I think I would also give it to Loop d' Loop Crochet as well because that book is also just amazing. I can't wait to make the little jacket for my friend's daughter as well as the lace stockings for myself. I also want to make that big comfy looking orange jacket and the smart spike stitch cardigan is on the list too.

Oh and way long ago back in the era that was September 2007, I started my first ever toe up sock to see how much I can get from one skein of my hand dyed yarn. The knitting commenced and here I am! Just about ready to BO! That is one long-o knee sock. It actually goes to the top of my knee. That is so exciting. Now to make the second. I'm casting on tonight, right after I finish this one. I really want to get these finished before I start my Christmas knitting, countdown has begun. 2 weeks. Can I finish another knee sock in two weeks? We will find out I suppose.

Oh, that's a bit blurry, yuck. I'll pick up my tripod from my studio and re-shoot for sure now, promise.

Wow, so two posts in one day! I think I'm trying to make up for my absence these past 2 months.

See you all later!

ps - I listed 10 of the November clm in the shop yesterday, so if you missed it before you have until Monday morning to pick one up, then they are going off on their way to the Sampler.

Stringy things... mmmm... delicious

So I'm starting this new project dealing with issues surrounding genetically engineered fruits and veggies, and how it's done with animal genes, and most offered at your local super market are, and it isn't required info, I understand why it's done. I'm not saying that people are playing evil scientists, but all the same, it's kind of creepy. So I'm going to make some creepy fruits and veggies. One part of that is this:

And while doing research on hog's gut I saw this:
by artist Fran Reed on this site. And it got me thinking about creepy little fish fruits an veggies with scales and fins sticking out.... yuck yes. Creepy yes. Perfect. I'm kicking myself because I just bought and ate some fish fillets and pitched the skin. I'm not sure how I would go about preserving/working with it so it doesn't stink to high heaven... or at least so my apartment doesn't. There aren't the proper facilities to work with it at my studio. I also don't want to make anyone else suffer because of my smelly work. So at the apartment it will be.

I'm also going to be making a piece mold and casting fruits and veggies with beeswax. I'm pretty excited about that. I'll shoot some pictures tonight while I'm working on it.

I have a group show coming up on the 15th (thursday) at the Pleasant Street Gallery. I really want to show this work, but I don't think I'll have enough time to build my fruit display as well as all the fruit to fill it. So I'm making a crocheted market bag that I will place some in and hang that on the wall, or maybe on a little side table so it will look like you are just coming up on a market bag and then it will be filled with all these creepy produce.

I'm also, finally, all set up to weave the second part of the identity deconstruction project. So I'll be working on that this afternoon and hopefully burning it out monday night for the group crit. What fun right? That along with the first piece in the series will be in the group show too. I'm going to have flip books so you can see the burning of it without any fancy technology stuff.

Oh and how appropreate for Halloween. My friend and I both dyed last night. Hahaha, what a bad pun. No seriously though, we dyed a crap load of yarn and it was super fun working on it with another person. I think at first I was a little tentitive but then I got into it. I might have to redyed that first batch because it's not up to snuff:

I just feel like it needs something more. Maybe I'm just being neurotic about color and going over kill. I'm going to let it dry, skien it, then see what it looks like.

I did like this one though:

It's kind of interesting how this one looks kind of weirdo right now, but I can tell it will be beautiful once I get it skeined.

So there will be a big gpf update this Saturday as well as a big Craft leftovers update. How exciting right?

Well, I need to get stuff together for class. See you all later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday is Tuesday

I've been feeling in a funk the last couple of days, not sure why. Could seriously just be the weather. Or this professor I don't much care for who I'm letting make me miserable... that's my own fault though.

So instead of working on things this morning like I should, I browsed through my etsy fav list. What am I realllly wanting to buy at this very second?

A super cute library bag from Emily:

I haven't decided which one I want yet, it seriously might come to me buying both and giving one to a close friend who just had a birthday not too long ago.... hmm... that seems like a good idea. She loves the library as much as I do. I think I've been thinking about it because my books are over due, hehe, so that fine's sleeve is perfect for the perpetually late with my books me.

Emily makes everything so cute and so well crafted. It seems like most of the materials she uses are vintage and vintage inspired and I really like that. I know she's sold quite a few bags (saw it on her blog) and the people who got them love them. And even though she doesn't have feedback, I can vouch that you will get what you order in a timely fashion. So you should all get a library bag too. Then we can show them off in our respective public libraries with pride. I think they are great for kids of all ages, including myself.

In the same vain, I really like these here book card/pockets from Phobe:

I got a few from her before and really want to get some more. They are just so stinking cute. I put them in all the books I loan out so I can keep track of who has what, simply because I will forget who I gave books to. She ships out really fast and is a really creative maker. She has a lot of neat pins/broaches and such. Another one I highly recommend.

Oh one last thing. The November issue of Craft Leftovers Monthly is up in my shop and will be on sale until Sunday midnight, then will be shipped out on the 29th.

They haven't been selling super fast, but fairly steadily, so I think/hope they will sell out again. If you want one, I would get it sooner rather than later to be on the safe side.

Well, I need to head to class, blah.

See you all later!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Handmade Chicago and Updates!

Hey folks! It's been too long.

I just wanted to check in and post some about things and such.

First off the Handmade Market was really fun, I broke just about even for the day, and I met a whole lot of great people! I don't think I'll be doing it again though because they allowed smoking, and well, I sell yarn and no one really wants smokey yarn so I'm going to have to air it out now. Not to mention my throat is still on fire. No thanks.

I did learn a whole lot of stuff though and I want to share it with you.

Oh and before I get into a long list, I want to let you know that I'm going to have a booth at the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival's High School Craft Show. It's on the 27th and 28th (Saturday and Sunday) from 9am - 5pm. I just got verified today and scooted in on it at the last minute (apps closed like Sept 1st, but they thankfully had a couple of booths left, they have like over 100 vendors I think). Thankfully I was able to get work off so I'm all set... kind of... I need someone to give me a bathroom brake, any takers?

And here is a picture of my table (it was dark in there):

So "what I learn at my first craft sale ever":
-Make sure the venue is non-smoking if it's in a bar/restaurant type of place

-If it's inside and darker, bring extra light bulbs in case the one in the lamp brakes in transit

-Test not just setting up your display, but collapsing it to make sure it fits nicely under the table.

-If your space is limited and you just have one table, use an extra empty container as a "table" for your cash box/credit card swiper so it's not in your lap.

-If selling kits, have items made up from them as displays with the kit (even if you have nice pictures, people will be more likely to buy it, if they can see it and hold it)

-Hand out business cards with every purchase, make up little cards (like no bigger than 3 x 4 ish) with info about you and your business and contact info, especially if you do custom work (I do custom dyeing and Craft Leftovers is more than just making stuff, it's about bringing purpose to materials that at first glance are valueless).

-If a vendor likes your stuff/you like theirs, ask about swapping! Swapping is fab! (Another vendor bought some yarn and I really wanted some of her earrings but didn't make it back up to her both and she probably thinks I blew her off, I wish I would have asked about swapping with her.... I learned my lesson).

-If you are being friendly and chatty (which you should be) with your fellow vendors, make sure to ask what shows they like and if they think you would be a good fit, write it don't, you won't remember (I didn't and wish I would have).

-Pack a lunch

-Have all your admin stuff in one box (pens, pencils, tape, scissors, project to work on while your sitting there, cash box, swipper, recipe book, etc).

-Have all your display stuff in one box (if it will fit) including extension cords and table cloth and signs.

-Make your signs when you set up your display (I totally forgot to make signs.. lame)

-If you have a 6 foot space, use a 5 foot or less table so you can get around the sides.

-Have a banner (ran out of time to make mine, but will have it finished for this next one)

-Bring chairs (I had mine by the door, but neglected to take them).

Stuff that I did right? There were some things:
-Collapsable display stuff is great (all of my shelves and such fold into themselves)
-mailing list and business cards on the table in a prominate spot where people can see it
-If you have multiples, just put one out and store the rest under the table
-Freebees because people like those (I gave out free vintage buttons and print outs of the patterns)
-There were other things too, just your standard stuff, like change, having prices at 50 cent intervals so all I had to worry about was quarters for change.

Listen to the feedback the customers as well as people who pass you by give you (even if it's a snide comment, which thankfully I didn't this time) on everything from prices, product, to display/set up.

On to other things.....

I finished my first mobile for the Junk Mail Project that I'm working on. Basically I have been collecting junk mail for the past 6 months+ and am re-purposing it into objects of aesthetic and commercial value. In it's end product it will be a site specific installation with one year's worth of junk mail from just one person, me. I'm constructing mobiles, paper pulp forms with press molds, sheets of handmade paper, and sheets of quilling.

Here is a picture of the mobile (please ignore the background, i'm hoping to get professional shots of it soon), it's about 7-8' x 5-6' (i need to measure it):

And a detail:

The whole thing is less than 2 days worth of junk mail. Crazy right? The only thing I didn't like about it was the supports, the river reeds look a little, well wrong.... so in crit we worked on how I could make rods out of junkmail too. I'm going to work on replacing the supports in it. It might honestly be easier to take it apart and restring it completely. I'm not going to worry about that right now, I'm just going to try to get the new rods worked out.

I'm also working on a series of animations that will take place in a doll house that my dad built for me when I was growing up. I'm working on refinishing it (it's been in the basement for too long). I'm also working on making the figure and various props and clothing articles. I forgot to take a picture, but I have a little cardigan that I knit for the figure on size 000 dpns and a little tee shirt that has strawberries on it. I'm making little pants too, so when I get those finished up I'm make sure to post a picture of it.

Here is the doll house:

I'm working on also getting my apartment cleaned up and doing about a month's worth of laundry (I need to get rid of some clothing so I can't go that long without doing laundry).

Have a good week, hopefully I'll start posting more regularly soon, it's just been so crazy!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Oh Geeze!

In all my excitement I totally forgot to mention:

Handmade Market
Noon - 4:30pm
Saturday October 13th
@The Empty Bottle
1035 N. Western
Chicago, Illinois

Thanks Deb for reminding me about that important info!
Hope to see some of you there!

(My mom and I had a great time today picking pumpkins and gourds and squash, lots of apple cider was purchased as well, hooray!)

Friday, October 05, 2007


I just wanted to post a update for you all. I know it's been awhile since I posted. Partly because my camera battery has been dead and I've been lazy about charging it. Partly because school has kept me crazy busy.

So I'm in full swing of trying to get everything ready for Handmade Chicago which is in just one week! Ah! I'm making tons of kits and handmade goodies that will be great presents. You should come check it out.

Here is a flier:

It's Saturday, October 13th from noon to 4:30pm. It's going to be a smash. On the vendor end, all the tables have sold out and I know for a fact that super neat of people will be there. It's kind of interesting because some of them I will be meeting for the first time, and yet, I've been reading their blogs for quite some time. The Internet is amazing.

This will be my second public event for Craft Leftovers (the first being BlogHer) and I'm really excited/nervous/hoping things sell/scared they won't/what if I get lost/what if I can't find a parking spot/what if/what if/ what if/ oh heck. I'm sure it will be fine. My mom is coming up this weekend to help me cut and fold and prep. My friend Carolyn is kicking some butt and folding patterns and braiding draw strings and putting together zines. My other friend Jess is coming over on Sunday to lend her hand. And my friend and studio mate, Joanna, will be going with me to help set up, run the table, take down, fabulousness. She's really neat and does some amazing things herself. She also likes bringing purpose to cast off forgotten treasures. That's what most of her work is about, that and her personal habit of collecting and how her personality is hidden amongst and contained within those collections. She also listens to some amazing music (which is good because I swear if it weren't for my friends I would listen to the same ten bands over and over again... except recently because Jason showed me this).

Anyway, other art stuff. I'm getting close to having the first section of my mobile finished up. I was planning on it being the mock up, but I think it will actually be either the 1st of many smaller ones or the 1st part of one large one. Heck. I might even make several smaller (about 8' length x 4' circumference) and then one huge one. Honestly just doing the one took only a small fraction of my junk mail.

I have also started some other projects. One includes these drawing that I seem to do whenever I am really upset. I'll tell more about that later though. It's shaping up to be pretty neat.

I'm also working with a doll house that my dad made for me. It's the setting for some stop motion films that I'm doing. Also very neat.

Then some paintings. More paintings... and some drawings of the gulf of mexico sea shore creatures. Not really sure why. I guess they just remind me of my childhood, trips to florida, visits to my grandma... okay, so I guess I do know why they interest me.

Oh and on a side note. I have consistently done my dishes for the past week and let me tell you, I think I could get used to this clean thing. I kind of like it a whole lot. My apartment is slowly starting to go that way (Carolyn, you totally saw the disaster before the deep clean today). I've been pitching tons of stuff, moving things into my studio space (I have pictures of that on my dead camera, but they will come soon because the battery is charging), selling things so that's always a plus, and organizing! woot!

And it is so late and I'm not feeling like going to bed still, but I should, so I will, and I'm sure I will conk out in 1 min or less. It's been a busy day. I've made 6 crocheted items in the last 48 hours alone! Plus cleaning. Plus the Craft Leftovers Pattern. Plus working 9 hours today and 4 yesterday. Plus. Plus. Plus. I totally cleaned my bathroom tonight too. I do need to step it up though as far as making things goes. I'm itching to get back to my own project as is. I bought crap yarn from walmart for an afghan tonight because my fingers were just so itching to make something different. After the 6 dish cloth lets just say I get a little tired.

Hope this finds you all well, have a good week!

ps - here is a picture of all the skeins I wound for kits for the subscription this month, wow:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Toe Up Fantastic!

I dyed up some fab yarn on Wednesday and loved it so much that I decided I should make another batch for myself. I cast on this Friday and blah. I don't know that it was, I just didn't want to do another top down, lots of ribbing, blah blah blah sock. Plus, this yarn is so gorgeous the idea of wasting even one quarter of an ounce killed me. So toe up it is. Love it. Well, hate that I can't find a pattern that I like. At all. Anywhere. I've heard rumors of good patterns, but I didn't like any that I found. Not even a starting cast on. So I made up my own (which later I found out has been done for years, but whatever, I didn't see it anywhere and figured it out so that makes me think I learn knitting through osmosis or something, "internet knitting blogs show me your secrets *woooooooooooo* while waving the arms usually does it).

Anyway, I'm have this particular heel in mind, you know, the depression heel. It's the one that you add in separately so you can redo it if it wears out. By my thinking, instead of busting out a heel being bad, it might just be fun, I can change the color of the sock and it will be like a whole new pair! Exciting!

I'm totally sick right now, so some toe up knitting in bed while watching Sunday movies sounds good.

I do need to work on the CL Monthly today as well. I have it all laid out in my sketch book and need to transfer it all to digital media. I have some super fun stuff in mind.

Oh I posted a pattern for these little guys last night:

I really like them. I think I'm going to make more of the non-bias tape version (the bias tape one took about 5 hours to hand sew around the edge) for the handmade market. Which reminds me, I have a sidekick again for Craft Leftovers. She is really rocking and she's going to help me out in my studio with making kits and sewing and art stuff. It should be really good. I'm thinking if I get help, then I can offer more subscriptions. Oh yeah, 20 will be going on sale tomorrow (Monday) at 3pm in the Etsy shop. I'm also going to put more kits in the shop on Wednesday night. There is going to be lots of new kits, like this little guy:

I'm going to take some pictures of my new studio space soon and show you around those projects later this week. I'm going to go start that lazy thing that's good for today. I wish you all the lazing about you need too!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

CraftyPod Goodness

Sister Diane of the CraftyPod contacted via email about a month or so ago with some questions on craft overload. We did a follow up interview just 2 Sundays ago and now the show is up, wow she is fast! She interviewed quite a few crafty ladies for the show and it's packed with great insights on how to deal with and avoid becoming overwhelmed with all the craft goodness out there.

To listen to the show and for more details click here.

Thanks so much to Sister D, it was such a pleasure to chat with her and I am so honored that I was asked to participate.

And super thanks to all of you for inspiring me to keep at it, you totally rock.

In other news, I'm up to my knees in fabric working on the subscriptions that are due to go out tomorrow. I'm about to head into my studio to really get things knocked out (less distractions = more productiveness).

This is the box all packed up with vintage goodness to take to the studio. I'm so proud of how fast I was able to cut out 40 fat quarters of fabric. It's great that everyone gets something a little different, but man, I really wish everyone could get some duck fabric, that's right, I found this fabric with ducks on it! And duck ribbon to match! I love mallards, maybe a kick back to the times feeding them down by the river... ah, stale bread.

I'm thinking that given how fast things went (knock on wood), I'm going to take on 10 more subscriptions next month! We will see how that goes.

Anyway, back to work!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh the Dog Days of School

I'm going to be heading to my second day of class in about 15 mins here. I think I need to wake up earlier. I got up about an hour ago and have been packing up orders and letters and answering email.

I love making that personal connection to the Craft Leftovers readers, but I've been spending about 3-4 hours on average answering emails... too much.... I want to make stuff. So I'm going to try to be a bit more concise which is so hard for me. Because as all of you know, I love to ramble.

Anyway, other things:
My prof is trying to get me a residency for the Junk Mail Project. We were looking at ThreeWalls, but the deadline was in May (I just really started looking into it). I'm going to chat some more with her and another prof to see if they know of an appropriate space. I've also thought about pitching the proposal to Mess Hall. I would have talked to them first, but I think they have already had a project there dealing with recycling paper into art, which is too close to what I'm doing. I might just try to find a vacant store front and see if they will let me use the space for a month or two. A residency would be best/super fun.

I'm getting a huge sweet studio space that will be in the corner so I have two walls. I think it's about 12 x 12, maybe a little smaller, but if it gives you an idea, the one I have now is only 8 x 8. Also, it locks. Mine is just marked off by tape in the main open studio space, lame. I get a key to the building and the room. It's a lot more private.

We are doing a studio clean up tonight because the people last year left everything trashed. Hopefully some free stuff will come my way. That's the best thing about clean up. Everything from the previous year is up for grabs.

Oh one last thing, I almost forgot!

I started a Craft Leftovers subscription. It's on sale in the shop starting yesterday until Monday (the 3rd) or it sells out, ha! like that's going to happen! edited in: okay so it's almost sold out, that is so awesome/amazing. I'm shocked, flattered, can't believe it. You can get all the details on Craft Leftovers.

My favorite part is that you get a little Craft Leftovers Monthly zine! Woot! It's got a little project, tips for stress free crafting and living, little handmade and reclaimed goodies. The whole subscription is for a kit, the zine, reclaimed goodies, and a little handmade fun.

Oh and just getting back from school now, i had to cut it off before posting....

There is only one subscription left! Wowwy!

I feel falsely rich... I'm going to keep it all in my paypal account for now and use it to make purchases for the Handmade Market and of course shipping and handling. What great timing, I was just about to go to the thrift shop/antique shop looking for stuff for displays.

Anyway, I have to head back to class again. See you all later!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stuff I want

I've been going through a fashion crisis lately. I'm at a point where I don't really enjoy many of my clothes and never really feel swanky anymore. So I've been drooling over so many cute things that have been coming out lately. I feel like the clothes that have been coming out are the things that I would actually make, things I've made in the past. But I can't make all my clothes.... well, I suppose I could, but then I wouldn't have time to write 2+ patterns a week and go to school and work and cook all my meals so I don't waste money on eating out... oh yeah... and sleep!

Like this from Urban Outfitters:
I would so wear it as a dress and a shirt.
Or this:

I've been in an I want mode in general it seems.... like I want this:

I was thinking it would be really nice to put my yarn into for shows and such... but too expensive. I found it on ebay, but still too much.

This may not look so great, but imagine it filled with these:

And other reclaimed little goodies.

I have a couple things for display, mainly cardboard, which can be shaped and then covered in fabric. I have a neat-o Take and Read rack that I will use... and my red dish drain. I'm going to go to Lavish Thrift tomorrow and see if I can find something for the yarn and some of the hand made stuff. I only have a 6 foot spot, so I want some "shelves" so to speak that I can put towards the back of the table and then stuff in the front of that....

I'm obsessing... but that's what I do...

Good random news. I just heard from the head of the fiber arts department that I can continue work on my weaving... even though I am not enrolled in any fiber arts classes... and am not in the department because "The work is strong and I'd like to see you finish the series w/o rushing." She actually said that I could continue working on the loom until the end of the school year because she is not teaching beginning weaving again until next spring... woot.

I think I'm going to incorporate it into my sculpture class. I'm thinking... more wire.... large.... hmm.... crochet... wire crocheted forms................ okay I need to go get my sketch book, see you all later!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Woot WIP's

This is little guy will be tomorrow morning's pattern, go check it out over at Craft Leftovers to see the finished version and get your hands on the pattern.

Now I'm not going to tell you what this one will be, but this is pretty much the last, and least favorite part. It's going to be super awesome!

Oh and cool thing happened last night, I received an order over at Green Prairie Fibers! Woot to that too! I have this feeling that if people only knew the yarn was there they would buy it up like there is no tomorrow, but alas, I have a feeling I get lost in all the hand dyed yarn, even though mine is the best, hehe, well, maybe not the best, but really good.

This is what she bought:

I really like the tags because they go around the hank, and then when I wind it, it slides right over the little center pull cake. Oh and she also got a little free handmade stitch holder. It's just a little fancier than the ones I made for Craft Leftovers.

Oh I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but Sandi (the owner of the yarn shop I work at) has agreed to sell my stitch holders on a trial basis. We are going to see how well they sell and then she will/or will not order more... here is to hoping they sell well!

Anyway, I'm beat, long day, just finished up the pattern for tomorrow morning and I still need to do the dishes, so I will bid you goodnight!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

MacBook Loving

I posted about it on Craft Leftovers, but neglected, I'm going to say out of grief, to post about it here. My little ferret baby Sloane decided it would be a good idea to figure out how to climb up onto my bed, where I happened to have left my ibook and tea while I got up to go grab something or other, and play in my tea, on my keyboard, shorting the logic board, killing all ports. Sigh. I naively thought it may have a chance of being fixed. I was right.. but for around 750... another sigh.... another big purchase... and now! volia!

I am the proud owner of a new macbook and it has a fancy little remote. Which I'm not really sure that I need as I am always within hand reach of my computer.

It was an hour and a half trek to the closest apple store... an hour wait to see a "genius"... 5 mins of him looking at it to tell me I am f-ed... 20 mins in line because the lady in front of me was annnnoying.... 10 mins checking out because the guy was nice and went through everything with me and asked me questions and told me about this:

So now I am a proud owner of one of these babies:

For Free!

I got the green one, to which the guy checking me out said: "oh, good choice, green is nice." So I guess I made good choices. It was fun because I without knowing it really stroked my ibook which was in my tote and he said "it will be okay, let it go, your macbook will be good to you" hehe... I am grieving big time for my lost ibook. Not just all the data, but also just the physical item. I have become attached to it. The macbook seems so large in comparison. I just had the 12 inch, which was actually 11.5 inches.... this one is 13 inches. It's nice though and I'm sure it will work well for, well, work!

In other news, I'm am officially going to be at the Saturday, October 13th Handmade Market in Chicago from noon to 4:30. I will have a table there for Craft Leftovers and a basket for Green Prairie Fibers.

Oh! I also just did an interview with Jennifer of the Craft Sanity Podcast last Sunday and Sister Diane of the CraftyPod emailed me on Monday oddly enough to set up an interview for her podcasts! Things have been nuts around here since the conference. It's like everything has started to really take off.

In other Craft Leftovers news, I'm going to do a huge revamping to the etsy shop, mainly to the kits. As of the Sept 1stish update they will include alllllll needed supplies including needles and hooks and and and, well, you know, whatever they may need, except a sewing machine, because that would be rediculous-o. So the prices will be going up a bit. The handmade stuff, other than the catnip and lavender pillows and the reusable tea bags, will either go up in price or out of the shop. I haven't decided yet.

I'm hoping to also have some new kits when the shop reopens, but we will see how that goes.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll try to get some shots of some works in progress tomorrow. Oh and I start school on Monday..... blark!

Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Update time!

Hey kiddos! How's it hanging? I'm pretty good over here in the big DK... haha, yeah, big if you count all the corn as citizens! We are gearing up for Corn Fest at the consignment shop, marking tons of stuff to a dollar and thank goodness. We are running out of space and it's getting cramped in here. The dollar sale always cleans the place out!

Kind of a hectic rush before school starts again. I've been trying to get my apartment in order and unload tons of stuff to the Salvation Army. I have 4 bags packed up and ready to go, but I'm thinking that everyone else has the same idea or something because when I went to drop them off, the bins were packed, there was stuff piled around them, and it was rainin... well, no thanks. I'll wait instead of letting everything get rained on so they are chilling in my car until they can be dropped.

I'm also working hard to get Craft Leftovers 2 months ahead in the pattern cycle before school starts. I wrote 4 patterns this weekend so I'm getting closer. Only three more to go! My pattern testers are great and are working hard to proof everything for me. I send them kits in return so it's not completely a one sided thing. With the last pattern I sent them some little fancy soaps too, so they get more than just yarn and fabric.

BlogHer was great, I did a full write up over on Craft Leftovers sense that was the reason I was invited. It's been great! I've had several orders from the shop since I've been back... am I using since and sense right? what's the difference in the spelling, someone totally needs to fill me in, I've never been able to get it straight, anyway... and a huge increase in visitors and comments on Craft Leftovers. It was so much fun, it is so much fun. I did exceed my bandwidth, again, which is kind of neat because that means people have been downloading the patterns.

I got a second opinion on Beuler and he does have a mass and only has maybe a month or so to live, maybe less, maybe more, it's hard to tell without knowing what it is. Even the doctor said that it was a pretty hopeless case because of how big and where it was. Sigh... $500 in vet bills only to be told he's dying. It is a relief to know one way or the other.

I know I've been really absent lately, which is unfortunate because I think writing about my day to day helps to keep track of things, think about stuff in different ways, get feedback, and chart progress. So. I'm going to try to post a bit more often about stuff that's going on with pictures and stories and whatnot. Let's see if that happens.

Best wishes everyone!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend fun

Well after doing all that dyeing, getting it into the shop, and finishing the pattern for Craft Leftovers this week I neglected to name the different yarn color ways.

So now I have renamed them, done drawings for them, and all but two are up and ready.

I picked the color names from Field Book of American Wildflowers by F. Schuyler Mathews. It's a book I have had for a long time and have always enjoyed imagining what the flowers would look like just by reading the passages. I have spent many hours day dreaming about colors and floral types. It seemed appropriate to name the color ways after what has inspired my own color sense: flowers. More specifically wild flowers.

This time around, because it was an after thought about naming them, I picked selections that matched the colors. From now on I'm going to do it the other way. I will pick a plant and interpret the colors that the discription brings into my mind's eye. Then look up the plant in color to see what it really looks like after I dye it. All of the dye lots will have illustrations of the images on the tag as well as an excerpt of the passage.

For example, this is the passage that I found for Monarda Didyma:
"A brilliant and showy wild flower whose scarlet-red color is strongly relieved by its usual background of shady woodland. Commonly found beside streams on the border of woods." - Field Book of American Wild Flowers by F. Schuyler Mathews

Here are one of the drawings I did today:

This is the yarn:

And this is what the flower looks like in color:

Now about natural dyeing and why I have decided to slow down on it and start dyeing with acid dyes. Basically what it comes down to is that handling heavy metals in my kitchen isn't something I feel comfortable doing on a regular basis. And unfortunately heavy metals are something required for natural dyeing. So less often, smaller batches, more control, less danger of breathing it in or spilling it. Also, it's a long processes, and while I'm still in school, I don't have many full days off to spend dyeing. Acid dyeing is easier to fit into my schedule. Next year though, Jason and I, are planning on building a dye shed outside for me with really great ventilation and not around my cooking surfaces.

So for now, more acid dyeing, less natural dyeing. More safety in my home.

I've also been thinking about some other things to make for the shop to round it out a little. I've been thinking about making some stitch holders and maybe some needle clutches (like the pattern over at Craft Leftovers for this week). We will see. We will see.

I'm also playing at spinning more and want to get my hands on a wheel.... sigh. Where would I put it though? I would have to toss some more furniture. I mean seriously, who needs that stuff anyway?

Jason came up this weekend and it was oh so nice. It had been awhile and we mostly just lazed around all day.

Well I'm going to play at spinning a bit, so I'll see you all later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Get Your Yarn On!

Go check out all the really sweet yarn now in the shop!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Good stuff, good news, good day, long post

Lots of stuff to report today.... no surprise there considering how long it's been since I posted last.

I was in a funk and feeling down... and no, as jason asked, I was not feeling funky or ready to "get down get down get down.... funky town" or however that goes... although him saying so did make me smile and laugh. I sure do love that guy.

Anyway, enough of that, I was feeling down and low and sad and it must have been that time of the month because I sure feel a-okay now.

I'll start with the most recent and work my way back.
This morning I exceeded my bandwidth for the month over at Craft Leftovers and had to up it. I have had too many downloads for the month! Exciting right? I was pretty surprised and happy about it. I am going to have to start paying more for bandwidth though... so people need to start buying more from the shop or using the donate button to help make this happen. There have been over 300 pattern downloads this month and it's only the 17th! And I haven't even converted all the patterns to pdfs yet so most likely more than that!

It's kind of interesting to think that a year ago when I started this is was shocked/excited when I got 50 hits a week, now Craft Leftovers is consistently getting around 1300+! My average per a day went from 7 to 160! and it a good day was 20 now it's 400! Anyway, I'm excited to say the least.

I know it will take time, but I am a little bummed that the shop doesn't sell more because I really enjoy making kits and finding new "leftover" materials from thrift shops and donated stashes and etc. Oh well, that will come too, it will just take time.

Okay so next thing:
More yarn! I dyed with lettuce yesterday and instead of coming out "blah murk" it came out "lettuce green." It's so pretty.

And I also tried my hand at acid dyeing for the first time too! It looks so great and now I'm hooked! I did two, then another skien, then another, and another! I'm saving one for myself, but the rest I'm going to add into the shop. The official update time is Friday at 5pm! So check it out. I'll save my reasons for not sticking to naturally dyed yarns in the next post, it will give me something to talk about for sure.

Oh and I can't remember if I told you or not, but I finally found a wholesaler for natural yarns. I'm going to keep offering the natural dyed in the superwash merino, but the acid dyed is a superwash merino with 15% nylon. Perfect for socks! I'm also playing with wool roving and bulky yarn for felting. I'm going to try out some hand painting tonight with blues, yellows and greens. I think on my first shot I accidently felted the roving... woops. Try again. Too much agitation. I think I'm going to have to hand paint that and then steam it.

And yesterday I felted, that's right, after two years of knitting I finally made not just one, but two felted projects. I'll show them later once I take a picture, hopefully of the ferrets playing in the one.

Speaking of the kiddos, Mr B is frisking as ever and is eating more more often, but is still not eating on his own. I don't mind getting quality time with him 4 times a day though. Sloane is still all sneezy and I think she is allergic to wool! go figure right? I've been cleaning like mad so hopefully she will show improvement soon.

I do have some bad news. I didn't get into Renegade.. blah. That's okay though, it has helped me to work harder at getting Craft Leftovers more professional looking. My friend is doing packaging design for me, along with some promos, and I'm working on being a better photographer. Renegade wasn't really the right venue anyway, I think they are more alternative art than alternative craft. Whatever. I'm looking into some small little "crafty" shows that are like $25 a table and are all about everyone is welcome to sell their stuff. I like the idea of craft shows with crafty old ladies, those were always so fun to go to growing up. Kind of like a craft garage sale feel. My friend jill says that Craft Leftovers is more suited to a "grass roots" kind of movement than trendy indie movement. I think she's right. Sometimes I do dream of being a trendy ass hole i must admit. Sigh. To fit in somewhere. I suppose I never have so why would I now.

The other thing that I have been thinking about is being a vendor at a fiber festival, like the midwest folk and fiber festival. I think it would be easier for me to get into with Green Prairie Fibers. I could sell my hand dyed yarn and then the kits from Craft Leftovers. There are quite a few good ones in this area. Eventually stitches midwest would be awesome to go to, but that's like a 5 year goal because it's so pricey for a booth.

I might do a small fair in the fall, but mostly it will have to wait until next year because all the deadlines have passed.

Oh so another cool thing. CRAFTzine is going to feature some of my patterns in their pattern podcast! Horray!

So I think this is long enough. I'll see you all later this week!

ps - more stuff:
I just finally got my act together in starting to prep for the conference. I made Craft Leftover Patches. And Deb I haven't forgotten you, your's is on it's way now that I actually made some!.... now where did I put your address.... hmm...

Does anybody else want a patch? I'll be putting some into the shop after Aug 1st or you can find me at the conference and get one from the grab bag.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh so long...

Okay, lots of stuff going on, but I'm not going to post about it now, I'm just too tired. I've been working hard (5-6 days a week at the job) and then on Craft Leftovers and yarn stuff.

I just wanted to pop in and let you know I'm having a:
buy one get one half price sale in both my shops:
Craft Leftovers - kits and handmade goods

Green Prairie Fibers - naturally hand dyed sock yarn

So that's it for tonight, I'll update later this week, Saturday pm sounds good. I have some pictures and projects to share. Honestly CL has been taking up a lot of time... but that's good right? My friend and I are working on redesigning all the packaging, logos, banners, business cards, promos, etc. I'm also putting together another Sampler to go out in just 4 days! Yipes! Back to work!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ferret Update

So Mr B started to get really sick soon after (about 3 days) after I got Sloane. And then she got sick too...

She got better, Mr B got worse and stopped eating.

I took them both to the vet tonight and found out that Sloane has allergies it seems... to dogs!

Mr B...well... he's not doing so great. He has a mass that has pushed his heart down about an inch. And the mass is larger than his heart.

I'm not sure what to do outside of spending a crap load of money on tests that may just tell me what's wrong, but not fix it or try to make him as comfortable as possible. Maybe it will be a mixture of both. I think I'm going to get an ultrasound done to rule a lot of stuff out or maybe know what it is. But more than that I'm not sure what I can afford.

He seems to be taking it a whole lot better than me, that's for sure. He just kind of mosies around and then heads to bed. I'm mostly worried about the not eating on his own thing. I don't like force feeding him. The doctor said that if he stops drinking I'm going to have to put him down.... which I don't really want to do either... sigh. He's like my baby. He's my best friend too. I guess I'll just do whatever I can and knowing that I did my best to help him and keep him comfortable will just have to be enough.

Anyway, I'm pretty exhausted, I'm going to bed. Hopefully some good fun stuff soon.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Stuff!

A new ferret!

Mr Beuller has been wanting a girlfriend for a long time now, and I finally got up the guts to ask my landlords if I could have another ferret..... And they said yes! I had a hard time not hugging her to death. They are most likely the best landlords I have ever had.... well i've only had one other, but they are the best I have heard of as well as had. I really lucked out.

I took Mr B to the store and he met 3 lovely ladies, just like a dating show, sniffed all their butts, not so much like a dating show, but I suppose it could be. And seemed to like this little lady the best. Oh here's another picture:

That's them sleeping together. They aren't totally married yet or anything, but seem to be getting along fairly well. He started to get cranky though because he was tired and she wasn't. He's 3 years old and she is about 3 months old, if that. So she has way more energy than he does. Plus he was a bit over stimulated from all the ferret fun and then showing her all over the house. He followed her around and then she followed him.

They both got a bath, which they both hated, then they spent about a half hour rolling round in towels and licking themselves dry. So cute.

So I got another ferret because mr b really did need a girlfriend. Even when I'm home I'm working on stuff and I've read that unless I want to adopt him out, I better get him a buddy or he will get depressed and self destructive (like biting his tail so he looses fur) or just get lethargic and sad. He's been doing the later a whole lot and I have been pretty worried about him. Then when Jason came to visit, he even commented on how he didn't look so great and seemed depressed. And then he offered to help pay. So I asked my landlords today and they were just like "sure, what's one more going to do?" Sweet!

Oh yeah! her name is Sloane, like ferris beuller's girls name in the movie.

So I went ahead and tried my hand at silk screening by masking it off with glue. I just used an embroidery hoop to stretch it.

This was the first one:

I like the logo for the first one, the "crochet+knit+sew=craftleftovers" but it was too detailed, so I cut it back to just the craft leftovers and the ball of yarn and spool of thread.

So yep, anyone want a hand printed craft leftovers patch?