Monday, January 30, 2012

New Mittens, Old Sweater! a challenge!

A new etsy team--Blogging Business Artisans--was launched last October. This team was formed to support and help its members grow artistically and professionally.  It's been a great joy to be a member of this team.

The idea was conceived of holding monthly challenges to help us grow and stretch our imaginations.  Team members must complete 6 of the 12 challenges within a year.
The first challenge is presented by Deb of storybeader and is called New Techniques.

"This first Challenge was set in motion because I'm always wanting to try new projects but stress about where to find the time?  So, BBA members are hereby given permission to set aside time to work on a new project you haven't tried before. It can be within your field of expertise, but doesn't have to be. This Challenge also asks members to blog about your New Technique at least once during the month of January and talk about your progress." 
Last year, I became interested in creating new items by cutting up and re-working old sweaters.  I began to collect mostly wool sweaters from thrift stores. I looked online and brought books home from the library.
Soon, I had a first project in mind-mittens.  I found the perfect sweater.
(sorry, I don't have a photo of the sweater before I cut it up.)  
The first thing I did was to felt it in my washing machine.  I added hot water and detergent.  I put the sweater in a zipping pillow case cover to control the errant pieces of felt fuzz.  After washing, I put the sweater (inside the pillow case) into the dryer on hot till dry.  There was no scientific method to this procedure.  I would take whatever I got.  What I got was a nice soft wool fabric. 
yes, that's me.
About this time, my friend Nancy Gamon, invited me to come to a "sweater chop shop" at her studio.  Four of us attended.  There was soon a mound of sweaters on her large work table.  We chopped and chopped and some of us sewed.
I made a paper pattern by drawing around my hand and added about ¼ inch for a seam allowance.  The pattern was pinned on the front of the sweater and through the back as well, wrong sides together, in order to incorporate the snowflakes.  The mittens were then cut out.
Now for the part I'd been temporarily avoiding.  I got out my new sewing machine (which I've barely used) and the manual. 
Directions were studied, the bobbin was threaded, mittens pinned, and I began to sew.
It was a little tricky sewing around the thumb.  For one thing the fabric is fluffy and dark.  I was able to mark a stopping point (at the base of the thumb) with a white marking pencil and that helped.  I'm not used to this new machine yet and the foot pedal is still a bit difficult for me.  Also, I've sewn extremely little in many years. 
Next I wanted to add the red binding from the front of the sweater to the cuffs of the mittens.  I decided to hand sew this on because I didn't want any stitching showing.  Before adding this, the mittens had a nice finished cuff edge because this was the bottom of the (now former) sweater.  I wanted to preserve that.  I also machine sewed the raw edge a couple times to keep it from raveling.  (Was this red yarn wool?  hmmmm... The sweater tag said it was made of wool, so why is it so loose?  This is the unknown you get with a thrifted sweater.)
the finished mittens!  soft and warm!  (sorry for the bad photo)  

This was a challenge to complete.  There were definitely times when I was out of my comfort zone.  However, now I have some cute new mittens.  I would like to make a matching scarf.  I just have to think how to cut up the remaining sweater and how I'd like to put it together.  I'm dreaming of some other sweater projects as well!  (a pillow, knitting needle holder, more scarves, wine bottle bag.  I may make some flowers and add them to a sweater I have already.)

Intrigued by our team challenge?  Come on over to our BBA BLOG, and see what others have made!   

QUESTION:  Have you made anything lately which challenged you artistically?     

photos by me © 2012  all rights reserved       

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald

a sculpture in Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Cincinnati, USA

 a "drive by shooting" In January 2011,  probably in Kentucky

Laocoon sculpture by Alexander Liberman (welded steel, 1982)

I have Jovially Journaled a Jaunty Jumble of Jagged Js!  Just for Ms Jenny's class on the letter J.  Come on over and visit some more Js.  You will have a Jolly good time!  HERE

I'm joining up with SkyWatch Friday as well.  hosted by Wren, fishing guy, Sylvia, Klaus, and Sandy.  Come join in this awesome meme, and see skies from all over the world. HERE 

photos by me © 2008-2011

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Treasury Round Up

I've been featured in some lovely treasuries lately!  Thanks to the treasury makers!  
This is Part One of two.

Sharla of Beaded Tail featured my set of 4 tie dyed bright rainbow washcloths in Hearts, Frogs and a Cat OH MY!  (My Blogging Business Artisans teammates sure know how to brighten up a winter day!)

Sharla makes beautiful jewelry and donates a portion to animal causes.  These cute kitty earrings can be found HERE.

Karen of Mystic Wynd featured my red silk scrunchie in Skinamarinky Dinky Dink, Shinamarinky Doo (Gifts that say "I LOVE YOU" from the Blogging Business Artisan Team.)

Karen makes lovely jewelry such as this Spring green retro necklace.

Sheryl of Sher Hastings Designs featured my pink silk scrunchie in Love, Romance, Flowers, and Hearts  (From the softest shades to the vibrant reds, these things represent love and romance in my mind.)

Sher sells her graphic designs such as this one--Love is in the Air--in her etsy shop and on her own website. She also designs patterns for sewing.

I'm linking my Treasury Round Up with Rose's blog Random Creative.   Come see more treasuries here and link up your own treasury posts!  Rose will leave the linky up through next Saturday.

photos by each individual artist © 2011-2012  all rights reserved!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Idaho scenes

please enjoy these random photos from a trip I took to Idaho, USA in 2008

fog--Blanchard, Idaho

scene from the road

Huff Lake, Idaho--peat bog
not solid ground!  a floating mat on the edge of Huff Lake.  It is made of sphagnum moss and sedges resting on water. More inland, the mats are thicker and are on top of deep muck soils.  Miniature islands of peat called hummocks grow around the base of trees on the thicker mats.
picnic lunch on a beautiful lake
thimbleberry--Rubus parviflorus
A young hiker introduced us to the luscious thimbleberries.  YUM!  Careful!  Bears like them, too!  Thimbleberries are larger than raspberries and taste like raspberries, but milder and sweeter and softer.  They grow in sunny patches in mixed deciduous forests. The plants are thornless with woody stems that are two to three feet tall.

pearly everlasting--Anaphalis margaritacea
Beautiful flowers abound in the higher elevations!
shoe tree--Nordman, Idaho
I wrote about this shoe tree HERE.  I asked the question, "What is one strange thing you've seen in your travels?"  There are a few links on this blog post.

Alphabe-Thursday is a favorite meme! Come and join in the fun! You will be charmed and perhaps even enlightened! See more entries HERE. This week our letter is "I." 

photos by me ©2008

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

for the love of books! a LINK LIST

A recent POST by my bloggy friend Storybeader inspired me to write a post about books as well.  Deb wrote a link list of a few of her favorite book sites. 

Here are some random book links I discovered:

ONE:  follow your book's adventures!  Want to give a book away randomly?  Book Crossing lets you download a label which you then affix to your book.  Give it to someone or even more fun, "release it into the wild."  When someone picks it up, they can log on.  You are then able to follow your book's travels.  How fun is that?! 

"When another reader finds your book, they can enter the BCID on and report that it’s been caught. Journal entries about your book allow you to see where your book is, who's reading it now, and follow where it goes next." 
According to the website 850 thousand members have registed close to 7 million books which are traveling around 130 countries!

TWO:  Give! Consider sending books to US Troops.  Here are a couple sites:

Books for Soldiers 

THREE:  Sell! Book Scouter helps you to sell your books for the best price. This site compares prices from over 40 book-buying websites.  It's free, too!  

FOUR:  Join bloggy friends!  Blog Books is a site whose members "read books, blog books, write books, and publicize books."  Members participate in forums, events, groups, and chat.  Join for free!

FIVE:  Enter a contest! I was perusing my bloggy friend Ruthie's BLOG, Live Love, Laugh, Write!  I clicked on her "Books Read 2012" tab and discovered a blog that has a book reading contest.  How fun!  It's called the Bookmark Break Challenge.  Keep track of the books you read this year and....Instead of me telling you about it, go HERE to Who's Your Editor?'s blog and read all about it yourself!

SIX:  Trade!  Go to Deb's POST to find out about a book trading site called Book Mooch.

I have not used/participated in any of the above.  But now I just might!

PPS:  Deb was inspired to write a link list, as was I, by our bloggy friend Rose of Random Creative.  She likes to post link lists on her blog on Saturdays.  HERE is her most recent Link List.   

The photos and logos in this blog post are © by the individuals and organizations represented.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It's January.  It's cold and gloomy outside. 
Can you think of a better way to spend the day than napping on soft pillows?!

I am linking up with Cats on Tuesday by Gattina.  Come on over HERE to see some great kitty stories!

photos by me © 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Secret Santa Revealed: Part Two

I'm part of an awesome team on etsy--the Blogging Business Artisans, brand new in October!  We have lots of fun events planned.  One of these was a Secret Santa Swap.  Participants signed up stating their likes and dislikes.  Sharla of beaded tail (with some help from her husband) made the assignments.

My Secret Santa was Judy of J N Originals.

Judy sent me the most wonderful gift!  Just wait till you see what it is!

Oh WOW!!! 
It's a beautiful hand~made journal!!  Wait till you see the inside!
I open it up and discover it has a beachy theme.  Perfect!

a pocket with seashells and lovely tags!

Just look at this paper!  a sailboat!  (One of my favorite things to do on beachy vacations is to take a sailboat snorkeling cruise.) 

Waves, and oh look!  There's an inside pocket.  (I already have a few items stashed in there including a map of a favorite island--St. Maarten.)

another beautiful seashell pocket with tags!  and a little note on the back of Judy's business card.  That will stay in the book.

This journal is filled with lovely paper, some patterned, some blank.  Here's another seashell pocket page.

Once I calmed down a bit from the excitement of receiving such a lovely gift, I began to think about what I would put in it.  This journal will be a treasure.  There will be photos and written memories of beach visits over the years.  When I was a young child living on the East Coast of the US, my family would go on beach vacations.  (Here's a POST about that long ago time with photos.  At least one old time photo will have to go in this journal.)

Here's a couple photos from when my kids were young.

My parents lived in Naples, Florida, and we would visit them (of course!).

In more recent years, I would take my sketchbook, watercolor pencils, and a paintbrush with me on vacations.  I made a few sketches.  These should go in the book as well.  I may tip them in.


This journal is most certainly a treasure!  Judy constructed it sturdily of lovely fabric.  It has a velcro closure.  The journal is made up of 3 wonderful signatures.  I can't wait to start adding my memorabilia!

Judy, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

LINKS to Judy Nolan's websites:
This Creative Journey 
Word Walks

J N Originals 
Mister Pen Quin 
Dancing Thimble 
2nd Chance Treasures 


interview by Storybeader

photos by me © 2011 & 2012