Monday, November 29, 2010

Latest Batch of Yarn

Here is my latest batch of yarn. As soon as I can get nice pictures and figure out names for them, I'll be listing them on etsy, in the Celebrations store. If you'd like to speed up the process, you can suggest some names :) What cities do those colors remind you of?

My attempt at daily posting really fell apart, and I missed like 10 days. All I can say is that it was a rather busy 10 days.

Remember the serger research I mentioned? Well, I went to the dealer to check out their Black Friday preview sale, and found the one I had decided on 55% off, so needless to say, I now have a serger. All I need to do now is figure out how to use the thing! Surprisingly enough, I have never used one, in all the time I've been sewing.

Last Saturday evening, I went to a friend's full moon gathering and housewarming party. Colorful kitchen towels and/or dishcloths had been requested to break up the beige a bit, so I brought these 2 towels for a housewarming gift.

 I made this floursack towel in the same batch of dyeing, and I think it's going to end up being an embroidered altar cloth.

I had some good knitting fun this week, too. Finished up the scarf, and started working on the matching hat. The hat went super fast! And then, I was left with no knitting to work on. My hands did not like the sitting still that entailed. So, I made plans to go to the local yarn shop and get myself another project. I am not a big Black Friday shopper, and never have been. I do like to go out to a few selected places, though.

Once we got to the yarn store and started poking around, my husband picked up some yarn and said that he liked the color, and that it felt nice, and that if I wanted to make a scarf for him, he would wear that. So, while another scarf had not necessarily been on my list of near future projects, I jumped on the opportunity to make something  for him. He doesn't generally actually want me to make anything for him! Because he likes plain, simple things, and doesn't like to make anyone go to extra effort on his behalf, even if it is fun effort.

I love it when it starts getting into cold weather. Winter squash, and soup, and other good, hearty winter food is SO nice. I got to make one of my favorites the other night--kielbasa, pierogies, and onions. So simple, and so good. Basically, you just slice up some onions and sautee them in some butter. Add some sliced up kielbasa, and then a few minutes later, throw in the pierogies. (I like potato and cheese) sautee everything until the pierogies are nice and golden. Add a little bit of beer while it's all cooking (or use water if you must.) Then, have the beer that's left to drink with your delicious meal!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hand dyed!

When I say that something in my shop is hand-dyed, I really mean it. See?

I worked on a few different dyeing projects today. Most exciting, I managed a good black dye job on some towels and a shirt, and I'm just delighted. Black is really hard to get right. I'll take some more pictures after I wash things out tomorrow.

I promised to tell you about my new tarot deck earlier. It's the Shadowscapes tarot with art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, and I just love it. It has faeries, foxes, fish, swans, and a bunch of other creatures, and the art is absolutely amazing. Here is a handy affiliate link if you feel like taking a look. :)

You'll have to remind me to do a post about my tarot collection sometime. I am not sure off-hand how many decks I have, but I think it's in the 25-30 range. Tarot is a good tool, but each deck is also a nice little collection of art, and they can be really nice for studying various mythologies, too.

Who likes coupons?

I am taking a short break from attempting to turn my kitchen many shades of most colors (AKA dyeing stuff) to find something to eat and share something happy-making.

Etsy has finally come out with a coupon codes feature! So, I have set up coupon CODE10 in both of my shops, good for a 10% discount on your purchase through the weekend.


I also have a new tarot deck I'd like to talk about, but the washer just stopped so I need to get back to work for right now. I'll come back later this evening. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gloomy Day

It's been so gloomy the last couple of days, all I really want to do is curl up in bed with a snuggly cat and a book or some knitting. Alas, I have been much more virtuous than that, filling orders and getting things ready to dye.

The towels I embroider come sewn with polyester thread, so they're not great to dye. Every once in a while, though, I'll come across one that is really crooked, and I can't use it without taking out the hems and cutting it straighter. I generally set these aside, and after I take them apart and cut them straighter, I sew them back together with cotton thread so that they'll dye well. I have an order for the wonderland designs on a rainbow of colored towels, so it's time to fix up the stack of (now formerly) crooked ones.

I have yarn, towels, and cloak linings to dye for sure, and if at all possible, I'd like to get in some fringed silk shawls, a dye painted dress, and some dye painted altar cloths.

On the knitting front, I have learned to do ribbing, and my scarf is officially over halfway done. So, half a scarf and a hat to go, and then I need a new knitting project. Sighhhhhh... you people are going to make me join ravelry, aren't you?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In which there is a cute cat, and a trip to a yarn store

I thought it might be nice to start with a picture of my cat being cute. I got a thread order in yesterday, and they packed the box with crumply brown paper. As you can see, crumply brown paper is snuggly and comfortable.

I missed blogging yesterday because by the time I finished up at the PaganPacks faire, my hands were very tired of typing, and my head was starting to hurt again/still, so the best thing to do was go to bed. The faire went well, though, and I managed to get many new listings up in both etsy stores. I actually have every tarot bag that I have in stock listed now, which may have happened once before, years ago, but I think this is actually the first time it's happened. I also got all of the winter/yule/christmas/hanukkah towels listed in the celebrations shop. I have more planned, but there's a nice bunch there.

Today was a busy day of running errands, as is usual for a Saturday. The Red Cross would have really liked for us to give blood today, but I decided this morning that I couldn't truthfully answer "Are you feeling well and healthy today?" with "Yes." Oh well. They will still want blood next week.

I finally decided what fabric to line the kids' cloaks with, and went to JoAnn to get it. It's going to be tie-dyed! I am getting really excited to see how they turn out. Got some Yule shopping done while we were there, too, which is good.

Had my first visit to a yarn store this afternoon. Didn't buy anything, but only because I want to finish my scarf and hat and decide if I still like knitting, before I start building a stash. Yeah....I'm pretty sure I'll be going back and buying yarn, but at least I have an excuse not to for the moment.

Speaking of knitting, here's the progress I've made on the scarf. Not bad at all, considering that I have not been devoting much time to it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let's hear it for prosperity magic!

It seems that the prosperity magic I mentioned on Tuesday was effective. Now with a little bit of luck, I will be crazy busy from now until Yule :)

My favorite prosperity magic, and what I have found to be most effective, is to find something good to spend some money on, and do so with purpose. No, grocery shopping doesn't usually cut it.

I am sorry that I missed blogging yesterday. I was fighting a migraine for 2 days, and when I sat down to the computer last night, it got bad enough that I just couldn't deal with looking at the monitor. Luckily it was more annoying than debilitating most of the time, because I had to get some product finished up, packed, and shipped.

My plan was to get things together yesterday, and then take a trip downtown today, and then I realized that the post office would not be open today, due to Veteran's Day. So, I figured out which package could wait until this weekend, and got the rest ready to go. I had 2 international packages, so I needed to work with actual people during business hours instead of the APC (automated postal center) whenever I happened to get there. I adore the APC!

While I was downtown, I stopped by The Painted Cupcake (warning: music on website) to get a coconut cupcake and do my part to support local business. Then I realized that cupcakes do not qualify as actual food, and I was HUNGRY, so I headed over to the library and Provence for a 4 cheese panini--white cheddar, muenster, brie, and swiss cheese on pugliese bread--a grown-up, totally decadent version of grilled cheese.

On the knitting front, I learned how to purl, and did stockinette, and a yarn change! Woohoo! (My knitting friends tell me that this is the last time I will ever be excited about stockinette.) By the time I am done with this scarf, I will also learn ribbing, binding off, end weaving, and blocking. Plus I get to do a hat with all of that, plus decreases and seaming. I am happy to find that knitting doesn't kill my wrists and hands the way crocheting does.

Tomorrow is the PaganPacks Oak Seed Moon Online Faire. The faires are a lot of fun, with games, prizes, fun people, good sales, and the opportunity to make new friends and support pagan businesses. If you get a chance, be sure to stop by. It runs from 11 AM to 11 PM EST, in the chat room here:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blatant theft in this post.

I did not embroider that cool menorah design. It is the new design for the day at Urban Threads, and I just stole their picture to show it off. That's not to say that I won't be embroidering it, because I totally will! Possibly tomorrow, depending on how quickly I get my orders taken care of. Anyway, there is something you should know about Urban Threads. They are one of my favorite places to get embroidery designs, and I am always happy for an excuse to spend more money there. So, if you ever decide to go browsing around there, and see something that you need to have embroidered on something, let me know!

Today, I stayed busy embroidering Goddess towels, getting some packages ready to mail out, and doing an inventory of my thread so that I could order more thread. I get to mail a package to Australia this week, which is exciting. I always love it when I get to add a new country to my list of places I've sent things!

I pulled out the rest of my fall decorations and put away the specifically Halloween decorations. I think I should be able to find the time to go out and hang up the fall stuff tomorrow. I will see about getting some pictures to share.

As proud of my knitting as I was yesterday, that did not stop me from undoing it all. Once I had a better feel for what I was doing, I decided to pull it out and start over, because I would actually like for this scarf to be wearable when I get it done. It looks much better now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Peer Pressure

Happy Monday everyone :) It has been a good and busy day, including sewing, digitizing, prosperity magic, and plenty of peer pressure.

I woke up this morning to actual SUNLIGHT coming in my window. I am always happy when the time changes for daylight saving time or to go back to standard time. It will definitely take some getting used to the darkness in the evenings, and it will make it a little more difficult to practice driving, but it is SO nice to wake up when it's light outside.

Started out my work day by hosting the Pagan Team's Monday Morning Coffee Chat on etsy. One of my teammates pointed out this beautiful team treasury with a tree theme that I'm in. There was silliness, and fun, and sharing of new creations, as usual! One of the new creations is something that I suggested that NwyvreWeaveWyrks ought to make a few weeks back, and I think that it turned out really cool. Go check out this awesome purple and black chain maille necklace with an ourobouros pentacle!

After the chat, I worked on a bit of digitizing, and then headed downstairs to take care of some machine maintenance and work on some more quilt block piecing. Then, after the mail got here, I succumbed to peer pressure.

I have mentioned my knitty friends before, and how I started dyeing yarn so as to have an excuse to have a yarn stash, even though I don't knit. Well, a couple weeks ago I had to order some yarn for a custom dyeing order. While I was shopping, I saw a learn to knit kit and a basic knitting tool set, and they fell into my cart. (Betcha didn't know that things could fall into a virtual cart. They can.)

When my package arrived, I swore that I would just LOOK at things, and set aside the learning to knit stuff until I got a few things done. I unpacked everything, and petted the yarn, and did not find the knitting tool set. Oh, sad! No knitting for me. Made a phone call, and they promised to send out the missing tool set right away, so sorry!

This time, when I opened the package, I forgot to tell myself I had to finish other things first, and decided to try learning to knit.

Ta-da! That is actual knitting! Rather wobbly and uneven knitting, yes, but KNITTING!

Theoretically, it will become a scarf someday.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Productive weekend

Just wanted to stop in for a short visit while dinner is cooking. We're having chicken tikka masala and spiced okra tonight. It's one of my more time consuming meals, but oh so good.

The chicken has to be cut up and put in to marinate overnight, and then the cooking is a 3 step process. Cook some onions and brown the chicken, then put the chicken in a baking pan and cook the sauce, then add the sauce to the chicken in the baking pan and bake it.

The baking time is perfect, because rice takes half an hour to cook, and the baking takes half an hour, so meal timing is a piece of cake.

I'll be sure to post the recipes sometime soon, along with a link to the company I buy my spices from. They are awesome, and at least once or twice a year, I get a box of spices in the mail that makes my whole house smell good and spicy for days. Makes me wonder what my mail carrier thinks about my spice packages.

Weekends are often spent running errands, and true to form, we didn't spend a whole lot of time home this weekend. At least, not home AND awake--we both slept in late both days, because we both seemed to really need the rest. Got some stuff I need for dyeing, and the first of the Christmas/Yule/Whatever shopping done, plus did the last bit of research I needed to do before deciding what serger I'll be getting. Good, productive weekend!

Friday, November 5, 2010

The garden is cozy for winter

There's my garden, all snuggled in for the winter! The chest in front of the plants usually sits back in front of the window where the plant shelf is now. The quilt on top of the chest is one that I made, with corduroys, denims, flannels, and other good, heavy fabrics. It has several pockets, too.

We're supposed to get a hard freeze tonight, so most of today was spent taking care of the garden. I cut down the tomato vines and everything that is dead. I rearranged the furniture in the living room to make room for a shelf so that I could bring in the plants that are likely to survive the winter.

There are still a few plants out on the balcony. I have some petunias, marigolds, and a few other flowers that are going to die, whether I bring them in or not. Since I have limited room inside, I decided to leave them out. They're still pretty, if nowhere near as lush as they used to be, and it's possible that they'll last a decent while longer.

Now all I need to do is get the cut stuff bundled up and off the balcony, and clean out the bathtub. It's full of dirt and bits of plants, since I gave everyone a nice soaking as they came inside.

Before I go for today, I have one more picture for you. It's my garden, back in July, when it was very lush and jungle-y.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quilty fun

Oops, missed a day! I'll have to keep trying to post every day anyway.

Today, I have sewing pictures for you. First of all, I told you that I picked up a lot of fabric within the last month. I meant it! Here's a picture of it all, washed and folded. Actually, no, not quite all of it--there's a bundle of scrappy batik pieces that I forgot to put in the picture. Anyway, the purple and green at the top right are corduroy that I'm going to use for a couple of kids' cloaks. The gold brocade at the bottom of that stack will be the lining for a cloak made of dark green velvet. There's a good bunch of black twill there for a simple cloak, too.

This picture is one that I took when I got up from my sewing machine for a minute and thought "oooh, that looks pretty!" What you're looking at here is a whole lot of 1.25 inch fabric squares, sewn to each other on the way to becoming little four-patch quilt blocks.

Once they are four-patch blocks, they will be combined with these triangle pieces to become snail trail quilt blocks.

Like these! 8 down, 262 to go.

I designed the layout for this quilt, bought the fabric, and cut out all the pieces about 3 years ago. Then I got too busy to work on it, and put the carefully stacked pieces away neatly in a cabinet. I've pulled them out a few times since then, decided I was too busy to work on it, and put them all back.

Hopefully, I will soon get too busy to work on it again, but I just felt like the best way to get settled in for a bout of sewing was to put in some work on an old project. At any rate, it's going to be really nice when I get it done, and it will be beautiful and warm on my bed! Even if it does take me another 3 years to finish.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yep, no doubt, it is definitely November.

I know, right....any idiot can tell it's November. We just turned the calendar page yesterday, so this is not exactly remarkable.

What I really mean, though, is that the whole November thing is pretty obvious, even without the calendar thing. My garden that looked like a lush jungle not too long ago has morphed itself into Halloween decorations. My email inbox is due to be purged of the thousand or so emails that didn't get deleted right away, but also didn't get read over the last couple months. The heat has been turned on.

Long, warm skirts feel so nice, and the sweaters are back in rotation. The laundry hamper gets much fuller much faster, due to the aforementioned warm skirts and sweaters.

And, most tellingly, there is an embarrasingly large stack of fabric sitting in the vicinity of my sewing room, waiting for me to wash it all. I spent a week in Utah, where there are quilt shops in abundance. Plus, I decided to make cloaks/capes this fall & winter, so I bought the babric when the prices were good, regardless of the fact that I knew I wouldn't have much sewing time until November.

And now it IS November! I get to wash the fabric, and start figuring out the details...what do I want to embroider on that green velvet cloak lined with gold dragon brocade? What kinds of appliquees do I want to use on those cute bright kids' cloaks?

I left it later than I intended, but I decided to list my sugar skull pincushions for Dia de los Muertos anyway. I just listed the first one, and I'll be getting more of them up this afternoon.

I need to find more tie-dye printed felt, because the sugar skulls I made with the bit I had were AWESOME and sold out within a day of getting them finished. I have to at least share a picture.

Also, I just found out that I won a prize! I am delighted! Go check out The Year of the Cats blog, where she has links to 10 other awesome blogs today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!

Congratulations to DK Spins, who won the witchy towel giveaway. I'll be getting that package mailed out as soon as I can once I get the address.

To everyone who participated in the giveaway: Thank you so much for your input, your sweet comments, and your excitement. I've been having a wonderful time getting to check out some new blogs and shops, and following some new people on twitter.

I have several friends who are positively giddy that November is here, bringing with it an opportunity to try to write an entire novel in one month. I wish all of those crazy people all the luck in the world! I will not be making any attempt at novel writing this month. I am, however, open to the alternative possibility that is NaBloPoMo, wherein someone attempts a blog post every day for a month. Even that seems like a stretch, considering how frequently I have blogged this year. If you have any questions or thoughts about things you'd like for me to blog about this month, feel free to ask your question or suggestion in the comments and I'll see what I can do.

As promised, here is the costume picture! The bottom of the skirt is not showing, which is a bit of a shame. I took several different types of fabric, all black, sheer to some extent, and shiny or glittery, and cut them into long triangular pieces. I sewed a zig-zag stitch along the edges, which made them kind of curly. Then I layered them all up, attached them into a waistband, and had a skirt that really barely qualifies as a skirt. Then I used some tulle and ribbon and made a nice fluffy overskirt. The bodice, as you can see, is made of several different fabrics. You can't see it in the picture, but there is a crescent moon appliqueed on the back. The shirt under the bodice is made of fun sheer metallic spiderweb fabric. You know, that stuff you always pick up and WANT at the fabric store, without being quite sure what to make with it?

Oddly enough, this was the first time I've ever dressed up as a witch for Halloween. I guess it just never seemed necessary :)