Monday, June 29, 2009

Vintage Find of the Week

What's special about this find is not the object, its the manner of it's discovery. Last week my father decided to tackle a small plumbing project in my parents house, and We ended up dragging ourselves into the basement crawl space with a drop light and a wrench. After wrestling the pipe out of the space we were retreating when I glanced up under the floor, and noticed a pair of knitting needles.
They were sitting in a small pile of detritus that had obviously been dropped through a floor grate over the years, including two old antennae that I suspect were being used to fish out said dropped things. One has some rust on the end where it must have sat under a drip, and the other has a dented tip, which must have happened before they disappeared under the floor boards. My mother claims no memory of these needles, so they may have been dropped by the previous owner. That means they've been down there for at least 26 years... Held up pretty well eh?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tips on Craft Fair Booth Set-up

Yesterday I had a fair up in Longmont, and next week will be the first date of the Denver Handmade Craft Fair. So here's a little info on how I do my set up.
First rule - Use everything you bring. The different levels created for my pottery display are actually the boxes I packed the pottery in. The bowls were all wrapped in the fabrics as well. So I stack the assortment of small boxes up-side down and lay out fabric over them. I use several old bed sheets with asian floral patterns, and a few smaller pieces I bought for the pattern. Different styles of work would want different fabrics. See the tilted bowl on the left side? That is sitting on the inside of a roll of tape, covered in origami paper lots of levels are good for showcasing the best parts of the work.

For my bags I have a laundry day moment. I have two standing clothes racks and a pvc frame. I tie rope across and clip up my bags. The pvc frame is tied to my pvc tent, and there is a line stretched across the back of the tent too! Don't forget to let your tent serve as a display space.
The bags are all transprted in crates, so I leave the spare stock draped over the crates for browsing. People won't want to look in cardboard boxes as they look too much like backstock.

Lastly is the yarn. I store it in plastic bags, but for display a set of baskets is best. People who buy yarn like to feel yarn so make sure it is easily accessable! Behind the yarn is a crate i used for pottery, it has a spare box and my newspaper packing materials inside, and has been turned over to be a table for knitting needle organizers. (All the knitting stuff in one place, good cross marketing.) When my booth is set up the only thing left in my car is my snacks. Everything I used for packing is used for display. The cashbox is stashed under the tablecloth, with no cash in it of course, only recipts and credit card slips, the cash stays in an apron pocket!
I had a good day yesterday, I hope I'll do half as well next week, I'm looking forward to it! If you want to be a vendor be sure to contact me!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Real life Review from a Real Person

Not a robot, I swear. This is a review I found recently from a lovely customer who bought some items from me in the local Brick and Morter

"On my way to Sweet Action the other night I fell in love with a bag in the window. I even took a picture with my cell phone to remind myself.

I happened in the neighborhood today and made a point to go back and adopt the purse before someone else did.

"I saw a sign that said they were handmade by someone here in Denver, which just made me want it more. I went in and announced my interest in said bag and the two employees (possibly the owners) let me know that the woman who makes them works there and was actually in at the moment. They went and rustled her up while I found a book to get, it is a book store after all. Pink, who makes the purses let me know that they have a lifetime guarantee and that mine even had a matching cuff bracelet. Do I look like the type of person to split up a family? So, with my cuff, bag and book I was a very happy customer.

I am going to come back and browse some more when I don't have a singular reason for the visit. The atmosphere is very comfortable and relaxing. As far as the eye can see are books. Paradise!"

There it is, you can read to original on Yelp .

Friday, June 26, 2009

Longmont Farmers Market Tommorow

It's been a while since my last fair, I hope I remember how to set up the tent! If you live north of Denver stop by the Boulder County Fairgrounds and check it out!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Denver Handmade Craft Fair Update

Well, things are looking good. We've got 8 booths with more than a dozen artisans, and many more on the way! I'm already looking forward to seeing all the amazing stuff in person. We've got jewelry, bags, glass work of many kinds, knit stuff, yarn, purses, wallets...all sorts of stuff!

Of course there is the bureaucracy of the Parks and Rec system, they were not upfront about many things. Today's conversation included..
"So you are going to have vendors?"
"er, yeah. It's a craft fair"
"Well, you are going to have to have police there because there is money being exchanged..."
And of course I'd been told one thing by the Park supervisor and other things by the Downtown office.
"So you are going to need waste hauling"
"Ummm, we shouldn't make much garbage, it's a craft fair. No food vendors. I can just haul the garbage away myself..."
"No, you need to have a company contracted for that."
"..." speechless at the stupidity of it all.
Fortunately that is easy to solve, I already have a company, now it is Green Jeans Recycled bags and waste management... ^.^

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Peonies of Summer

The flowers of Summer are hanging heavy in my parent's yard. Big fluffy peonies, like this one from Tionamarco. Ours came from Grandma's yard, and they bloom even lovelier each year. In honor of these early summer visitors, here's a collection of red flowers from the wonderful crafters of Etsy, bring a little handmade home.

Why red flowers? Red is classy. Red makes you look exciting, mature, mysterious. LittleBrownBird has these hairpins, deep rich colors for a little bit of flair. I love love love brocades, the texture and depth, a wonderful way to use the heavy fabric.

Now in our yard, the peonies are actually pale pink and brilliant fuschia. Never fear, AnniesDesigns makes piles of cute little flowers for all your craft emmbellishment needs. These crocheted flowers are dying to be tacked on to things, or just strewn around your home for color and whimsy... They are cheap enough to be decor for the plant allergic!

Ever seen quilled paper work? I have, in vintage craft books, never in real life! I admit that the quilling paper in the Craft Shed got recycled into handmade paper, who would teach this to 9-year-olds? But lo and behold DizzeeLizzee has kept the skills alive, turning out beautiful curled paper pieces and shelacing them to death. A piece of jewelry that will have people asking "Wow! What is that?" in the nicest of ways.

For little starburst of color, these marvelour earrings by Schoolofcharms are more than just pretty, they're made from upcycled/vintage materials. I have to include at least one in each post... I can't help myself! And these are wonderfully matched, makes me wish I had pierced ears...

And the best for last - "Last Chance Sale" that is. Littlelesiw's wonderful kanzashii style hair acutrements in brilliant fiery red. If you want to draw attention to a nice coif this is the way to do it, and brilliant and flashy is always good for summer fashion! (What am I talking about, flashy is always in style...)

In fact, red makes everybody look good, so liven up your outfit!

Update: the Denver Handmade Craft Fair has 5 Vendors fully committed and several more with applications on the way... where's yours?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hike to Hanging Lakes

Just a short way up the Canyon from Glenwood is a hiking trail to Hanging Lakes. It's been a tourist attraction for almost as long as the Springs! We drove, but one could take the easy bike path at Railroad grade up from Glenwood.

The hike is up a steep creek bed which climbs out of the canyon. The trail has seen very heavy use, but it is fairly difficult. Rocky and winding, at least there are lots of nice places to sit and rest by the side of the creek...
The trail is a little over a mile long, but takes over an hour. The walls of the canyon spur are lovely book cliffs that host a clinging forest.

Finally one comes to a section of pipe handrails and super steep stone steps. Likely built by the CCC this section is tricky and a little scary for those of us who don't like heights...Ahhhh, then the lovely azure pools!
The water is super clear, fed by a spring from above. The spring minerals are depositing layers slowly on the pool bottom and anything that falls in. There is a boardwalk to prevent damaging the pools.

Lots of little chipmunks around, these guys have figured out that tourist carry snacks, though they must not see anyone in the winter, they're not as fat as most "tame" critters get.

A few more natural wonders, this "oil shale" columbine. Petite and pale yellow it thrives in the unique soil chemistry, and nowhere else. These plants are perched on the top of the waterfall which cascades down from the pools to the creek below.

And these little fishies! (Trout?) They enjoy the shade of the trees and the calm parts of the pool. I'm not sure if they ever more downstream though, as it really is a big drop in a few places on the stream...

We braved the steep climb down, it's a good thing we went somewhat early in the morning as the crowds were building on our desent. All kinds of people were on the trail, families with little kids, old folks, those crazy people who like to jog on rocky mountain trails...

And little ol' us. I felt a bit out of shape but we didn't have any trouble getting there. Now I've got the hiking bug again I think I'm going to plan a backpacking trip, with any luck the rain will let up for a few days1

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vacation in Glenwood Springs

So the boy got a week of vacation, so we took a few days to be tourist in our own state and head to Glenwood Springs. This means that we didn't quite outrun the weather. Fortunately that means the first night was a rainbow over the hotel... (see, eternal optimist)
So I went to the Local Yarn Shop this morning Mountain Valley Textiles. Besides being a Yarn shop they sell a number of lovely colorful hand woven goods, made on the dozens of looms which were click clacking away upstairs. Most of the weavers are handicapped adults who have been given a chance to create, a cause worth supporting! And these pieces are more then nice enough to buy for the wares, not the charity.
Glenwood Springs is a lovely town nestled in the valley along a river. Just down the road from Aspen and a few ski resorts.
Right along the river sits a train track on one side (you can still ride the train, if you don't mind the Amtrack schedule, or lack there-of) and a big hot springs on the other. Really this is the big reason we came, to relax around the tubs.

We're back to Denver Saturday night, and we should be enjoying ourselves until then!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If your cat were this dumb...

...Would you leave him there when he got stuck? Hasn't happened yet, but it's only a matter of time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Estes Park Wool Market

So I went up to the legendary Estes Wool Market this weekend for the first time. In fact it was the first time going to Estes in my life! (I know, born and raised in Colorado, but the 'rents don't care for crowds, so we stayed well off the beaten path.) Lot's of critters, lots of yarn, too much cute! Like the bunnies. Fluffy, fluffy, bunnies.

And the goats, like small ornery sheep they push around and butt their pens. Some as regal as this fellow, some recently sheared and scrawny looking....

Some desperately vieing for the days hay. All little guys, the tallest goat I saw was a Mama with bloated udder, just barely as big as an average sheep. But they seem about the same size around, just the legs are shorter. Much of the cuteness may be however, not in the diminutive size, but the lock of fuzz that obscures their eyes...daaaaaw!

Next I headed to the alpaca tent, in search of fluffy fleeces. This guy still has his fleece on, waiting to show before being sheared for the summer. He's a nice mottled color, and very proud. Not only did he get his own pen he wasn't nekked yet...

Of course that means he wasn't sporting a mowhawk either. That's right kids, if you let your family shave you for fiber they will leave you a little poof on top so you can hang with the cool kids. Alpacas of all colors hang together, no discrimination in the camilid world.

Next it was sheep time, curly haired teesdales...

And super shaggy I dunno what that is but it must be hot! The little ringlets hanging down are lovely, but it is summer here.
Most of the sheep were more ordinary types, just fluffy white things! (ok, not really white, they do get a little dirty after all...) Many sheep were in all kinds of high tech form fitting blankets to keep the fleece clean, I kinda like a little bit of "barnyard matter" to remind me were the yarn comes from, maybe just me.

Then there was a tent marked "Paco-vicuñas". They are a cross-breed, mixed with their wild ancestors. They have a fleece with very fine fibers (20 micron or so...) This guy is desperately trying to explain why the fiber is $25 bucks an ounce...

Then there is the seep to shawl team. Seems only one team showed up this year, too bad (any one wanna do it next year? I got a loom..) but these ladies did it anyway! Each day of the fair these ladies had been starting at 8:30, carding and spinning off a washed fleece to supply yarn for the weaver...

The weaver starts her day with a warped loom, and waits impaitently for the bobbins to be filled. She was nearing the end of her warp by 2 PM and preparing to take her product to the judging tent (gee, I wonder what place they'll get, I hop the judge gives them good feedback!), A lovely white shawl in a subtle weave pattern.

All in all a good way to spend a Marvelous Sunday afternoon in the Mountains of Colorado!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Yep, it's that time again, the Art Student's League of Denver's Summer Art Market (ugh, that's a pile of acronyms). I went today, pleasant weather and a good crowd. Much of the painting is strictly student, sort of boring landscapes and portraits etc... It sounds cruel I know, but that's my opinion. There are a few people making marvelous stuff (mixed media assemblies, colorful screen prints are just a few) but what really shines is the 3-d stuff. Yes, slight bias, but I used to be a painter! There are many talented folks in the ceramics studio who made some fabulous stuff for this show, I hope they do well!

The show continues tomorrow, 8:30 AM- 5 PM. It's taking up the intersection of 2nd and Grant near the South Broadway shopping district, don't miss it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer is here, and I have the awesome Etsy picks to prove it!

Of course, summer this year isn't all sweltering heat and beating sun. In fact it's been dreary rain all day with hail and wind to make it really ugly out. I know we need the moisture and all but this is rediculous!
I guess it will extend the season of spring crops like strawberry and peas. But our warm season plants are suffering from not enough sun! What happened to a little thunderstorm every after noon?

But, I could take this lovely quilt and hang it over my window when ever it's rainy...think I'd need a queen size though! ForComfort made this wonderful wall hanging while longing for summer days and lush grass, and I would be happy to hang it year round! Lush greens and flowers are kind of the order of the day...

Now for flowers you can carry around, there's none nicer than visart's! These marvelous beads are ready for any project that's looking for a little touch of color. The garden will wilt and wither, but these will last a lifetime! Or, if you're not so crafty one could take the string of beads and wear them as a necklace right out of the box!

Here we have a lovely Lavender bloom, sparkle and lace, just the thing! RodeoQueen's choker is romantic and colorful, a perfect accent to a summer outfit for a night out dancing. All the textures will make people want to just reach out and touch it, a great way to meet folks! Summer nights are after all, even better then summer days...
Or this lovely light and airy shawl from vikki0908. The colors truly are Aubergine, and it makes me want to go check the garden for signs of eggplant blooms. The way the weather has been here in Denver, this would be just about the right amount of warm...

How about a summer colored bag for carrying around the rest of this stuff? Sineminugur has made an adjustable tote just right for a walk in the park, or a bike ride (my favorite!). You will have to wait for it to come from Istanbul (not Constanstinople) but I think it would be well worth it!

YART sale on Etsy!

Looking for Handmade goods on the cheap? This Weekend is the YART sale, with tons of Etsy sellers offering sale items. Every category has affordable items, and lot's of really cool stuff! Go check it out if you haven't already.
This is an item from kenjiku which uses recycled materials (I just love recycling) go snap up the finds!