Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Set-up at the Fair!

The Denver County Fair is invading the National Western Stockshow Grounds, I got there early to be able to drive right in and toss things from the car directly into my booth!
I fiddled with the layout for quite a while, I'll be using the booth for four days so I need to make sure it's just right! My tables and racks are laid out, so I can go right in tomorrow and start hanging bags. I'm looking forward to an exciting weekend, and it will all be inside in the coolness...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Unflattering Portraits

So I've been wanting to share this with you guys for a while, but I had to work up to courage! At a local First Friday event there was an artist doing "Unflattering Portraits". Like a caricature only you know how bad it's going to be from the get-go! So here it is, courtesy of the Misanthrope Specialty Co, fine art meets that awkward photograph. Check out the site to see all the horrific wonders!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finds - County Fair

It's almost time for the Denver County Fair! It's the first time this fair has been held for several decades and it promises to be huge. There will be everything from arts and crafts, to a circus and great foods. Come by the National Western Stockshow Grounds July 28-31st to check out all that the Mile High City has to offer. I will be there peddling my wares, along with many of my crafty friends and the Denver Handmade Alliance. It's the height of summer, so it's time for summer fun! Not much has changed since this photo, from Maclancy.

We could all hope for some blue ribbons, like this pig from WanderingWhimsies!

What's your favorite carnival ride? UrbanDesign's great pendant makes me want to hop on...

Adoreable sheep pincushions from BossysFeltworks, so cute!

A permanent set of festival yummies? Make your own with this pattern from UmeCrafts

Heeere piggy piggy... such bright colors! Brooch by TheClimbingViolet

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Saddle Bags

My leather-working kick has not worn off yet. The feel of supple skin and the challenge of the medium combine with the sweet smell of hide. Today I made a side bag that can be attached to a belt or similar costume piece. All the sewing was done by hand, with each hole punched by hand awl.
Some vintage strap stays from a bag of old notions grace the front. I left it otherwise unadorned so that it can be used equally with steampunk, fantasy and everyday garb. I may however devise a system of interchangeable accessories to give it more flair. I could make a pair and feel even more like a pack mule...
It's nice to have a small break from my usual sewing from time to time!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Muppet Skins

That's what I call dyed wool fleeces, hanging on the line they seem to be fluffy colorful remains from a stuffed critter. But when I stack them on the dining room table and set up the drum carder they become a curiosity magnet...
One of my roommates became fascinated with the workings of the carder, so I showed her how to use it. 24 hours later she has carded all the prepared fleece I have... I swear this is not slave labor! I didn't even get out the horse whip!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Finds - Full Moon

Last night's full moon passed thru glowing cloud banks to bathe my yard in it's pale cold light. Even tho it comes once a month I never feel like the illumination last long enough. As the cycle turns I can only wave at the moon goddess knowing she'll return in 4 weeks...

I don't know how one paints on a feather, but ConjourUp does. I am impressed and enthralled... a delicate medium for an ethereal subject?

If you find yourself missing the light at the moon wanes enjoy this hand-sculpted silver cast pendant from Bronzegirl1. The slightly polished surface is a good parallel to the pockmarked moon.

Werewolves beware, one could wear the moons bright face on a shirt and bring it out into the world in broad daylight! This sweet shirt from BlackBirdTees has the detail and contrast to make people howl...

Reflecting light dancing across water, this stained glass piece from DianesGlassWork seems illuminated from within. The soft swirl of colors is captivating, imagine filling a room with this scene by hanging this piece in a window!

The glow of that satellite preserved in wonderful woodgrain. JoshuaRutherford has wonderful wood plaques highlighting the phases of the moon and the arc of the sun, all in native hardwoods with natural finishes.

Am I the only one drawn to that bright light? Seems not... These lovely cards from ScarlettDesign with a large graceful moth using the moon for navigation remind me that other creatures of the woods love the soft glow of moonlight.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Garden Update

Now, for your viewing pleasure, some garden veggies thriving in the combination of wet and heat we've been having. My kitchen will soon be full of fresh foods every day!

How does your garden grow?

Monday, July 11, 2011

To Yarn or Not to Yarn...

Shouldn't be that hard a question right? But it is right now... I've done a consignment of yarns to Fabric Bliss here in Denver to see if they can sell any there. So far feedback has been good! But then the hard question - can I spin enough to supply a shop and carry it myself online? If sales go well there I may let them become my exclusive outlet, but then I've got the "all-your-eggs-in-one-basket" scenario. I guess we simply must keep crafting and let the fates decide! No matter what the answer will still be "Yarn"...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Firstly let me tell all you readers, my family has an addiction. We cannot, will not, ever, throw away stuff that might possibly be useful. We are borderline hoarders. On the upside, the garage and basement have always had boxes of fabulous old junk to dig thru.

So I decided to pit some of this crap (ahem, I mean interesting junk) to good use and create a non-functioning gadget. Sure I'd love to invent a functioning gadget, but frankly my mastery of space-time concepts doesn't get much past black hole event horizons...
The main object here is a simple wooden box, bought at a hobby shop. I did have to tighten up the corners and all the screws ("Made in China" you get what you paid for) before starting. I stained it with mahogany oil stain and finished it with linseed oil. This is the messy part!

I then cut some decorative parts out of brass sheeting. The metal is fairly easy to work with, but it dulls both razors and scissors fast so always cut metal with junk shears. I created a symbol with a large gear cog and wings - I've decided this is the emblem of "The Royal Exploration Society" and I will wood burn that into the side.

I then hinged a second piece of wood into the top, added handles (from old windows) and a hook set to keep things open. The dial is an old barometer scavenged from my parents' house.
I will continue to add dials, switches, wires and parts as I find them around the house and at estate sales. I will need to antique the new brass so it matches the old brass a little better. I have debated antiquing the entire contraption when it is done, but it makes more sense for me that is has traveled time, and thus despite being made in the 1880's it is only a few years old... right?

I'll post more pictures as it comes together, then we have to decide what it actually does... If you could build an invention what would it do?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Craft Fair Round Up

There are a plethora of crafty happenings this month, so I better see all you Denver handmade lovers out on the town!
On July 9th there is the Handmade Homemade Market. I won't be selling there, but expect to see me bartering for local goodies!

July 11th - the Denver Handmade Alliance round table talk about wholesaling. Bring your expertise and your questions to Hooked on Colfax at 6:30.

July 16th - the fifth anniversary of Fancy Tiger. The Craft store will have super sweet fat quarters of their custom printed fabric to give away with purchases!

July 17th - the Lucky Pearl Bazaar will be happening all morning on Old South Pearl! Come check out handmade and vintage amazingness.

July 28th-31st - The Denver County Fair! This is four days of crafts, food, animals, eco-friendly living, competitions, music and art. Plan to be there at least one day, but a four day pass might be needed to take it all in...

August 6th - the Horseshoe Craft and Flea market will have lots of fabulous local finds as well.

Looking forward to a busy month, I'm hoping to get some camping and a few trips to the Ren Fest in as well. Somehow I always find time to make stuff too...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Talkin' Trash

Sunday is trash night in my neighborhood. Everyone sets out their bags and bins for collection, I take a stroll to look for good pickings, and marvel at the piles of refuse we consign to the heap each week.

Many of the houses around me are piled every Monday morning with three or four big black trash bags, each and every week the people that live there manage to create that much waste! I can't tell you how to fill those bags, it's a mystery to me, but I do know the things I do around my household to reduce waste...

The most important, as always, is to reduce what comes into the house! When shopping I (of course!) use cloth market bags. But I also use cloth bags for bulk foods and produce, or reuse old plastic bags. Buying bulk foods not only saves on a lot of packaging, it reduces wasted food. One buys what their household needs, and never too much.

If you focus on eating foods that can be bought in bulk or reusable packaging you also see a change in your diet. Avoiding excess packaging often means avoiding processed foods as well.

Naturally, not everything you want to buy comes in reusable packaging. From food to clothing to household goods almost everything has some kind of wrapping nowadays.

When you're shopping you can however consider the fate of the packing material. Is it cardboard? Paper? Annoying hard plastic blister packs that require bolt cutters to open? When you can pick the item that has minimal packaging, and is recyclable. While it's better to not create the waste in the first place, if you have to try and recycle it!

Ready for the really hippy-dippy stuff? Compost. Seriously. If you have even a small yard or garden the soil enrichment is priceless. There are many styles of bins, turners and boxes - or you can just pile stuff in a corner. It assuages some of the guilt of a ruined dish if you know it's being composted into next years garden. Separating out all the food waste will also keep your garbage from smelling!

I keep a small flip top trash can in the kitchen to collect funky food, my parents always kept a yogurt container. You need something with a cover for inside, then empty it regularly. The pile shouldn't ever smell outside, after dumping kitchen scraps just toss a little dirt or leaves on top to keep away flies.

There are also options for the yard-less. Under-counter vermiculture bins are perfect for apartments or small houses. Some progressive cities are creating municipal compost programs with curbside collection bins. If there's a community garden in your neighborhood they will often have a compost pile you can contribute to.

There are a lot of small things you can do to reduce your environmental impact, and managing your waste stream is a good place to start. Consuming with the thought in mind "how much garbage is this going to make?" shows companies that we care about packaging. Recycling everything that you can preserves natural resources. It's easy to have a much smaller bag on the street corner on Garbage Day!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finds - Cool Breeze

The summer heat has finally come to Denver, I've been hiding inside as even the shady porch gets too warm by mid afternoon. Can I get a cool breeze please?
Lovely photograph by Gbrosseau

Colorful yarn from TheyToldMeSew
Cute pin for accessorizing by VanCocoaDesigns
Classic earrings from BlueBeadStudio
Cute repurposed necklace from SweetEllaBean
Adorable skirt from Vickytzo