Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunrise Cowl and a Chain of Inspiration

It's interesting how we become inspired and how what we do can inspire others. It can create a chain reaction.

Take for example, the colors of a sunrise like this one:

Popo Sunrise by rainy city

A sunrise in a similar colorway was experienced by a traveling master dyer extraordinaire. From his vantage point one morning at the "hill station" of Darjeeling, he saw the sunrise over Mt. Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. It inspired him to create this colorway.

This sweet pencil roving by Crown Mountain Farms was purchased at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this year, from the nomadic traveller himself, who told me the story of its inspiration. The image of exotic travel at a high altitude stayed in my mind the whole time while spinning this fiber.

At first, I thought to pair the super bulky two-ply yarn thus created with some lace-weight yarn from the ever-growing, ever-changing stash that lives in my studio. The idea was to make a scribble lace scarf.

Then the inspiration came to just let the colorful luscious fiber stand on it's own in this cowl:

The cowl is a sample that was done as a prototype for more cowls to come. It can't be sold because it has touched my soul and I cannot part with it.

The love affair with the colors in the fiber did not stop there. A challenge had gone out among Etsy sellers to create a treasury to include this lovely necklace:

Sunstone Necklace by AcornAlleyDesigns

So this is what resulted next:

To check out any of the goodies in the collection, click here.

What inspired you most recently?  If you are willing, share your inspiration in the comments.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Been making handwarmers for gifts this year . . .

Busy, busy, busy!      

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Last Harvest

On the deck two weeks ago . . .

were a lot of unripe tomatoes and some herbs.

Wise Sage

Creative Oregano

Dreamy Rosemary

Dancing Chives

And for Samba:

Catnip and Wheatgrass

Then came the first freeze last week and I grabbed what was left of the tomatoes

and made some green tomato cake with brown butter icing for Thanksgiving weekend.

This is amazingly yummy. If you've never made it, checkout recipes here and here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

for Web Developers:
An immediate shout out and heartfelt thanks are due to Marion and Hazel at Webic-design for my new website and redesigned blog. Marion is a genius web developer with amazing code-writing ability, and Hazel is a brilliant and hip young graphic designer. I cannot give enough accolades about working with their company, Webic Design. I am ever grateful to both of them for putting up with me and my novice questions during the web design and implementation process.

for Blog Readers:
The fact you stop by here to read and often leave comments is so absolutely wonderful! It makes me want to be a better writer and to find interesting things to share so that you keep coming back.

for Great Co-Workers:
Having a part-time day job keeps me going and enables me to create art and make fun accessories without always having to panick about how to pay the bills. Having great co-workers is such an added bonus.

for Friends and Family, especially Mr. Cha Cha:
What can I say? I am who I am because of you and your support. I'm sure that I don't say thank you often enough.

for Samba:
What would I do without your meows and cuddles? You are my sugar pea.

Thanks to you all. Have a perfect holiday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Pastiche

Bake a pumpkin, fake a pumpkin, make a pumpkin. Or just rub pumpkin on your face. What will be your pleasure this Thanksgiving? An inspirational collection from Etsy:

Velvet Pumpkin Pattern eBook by Nancy Deliz

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Head for Hats

Valerie has been very busy lately. Don't you think she is about the loveliest head model on Etsy? I am so lucky to have found her.

Here she is modeling the seedy and twisted cap, a new design for this winter. It comes in several colors, and soon I will be listing some kits in the store so you knitters can make your own. This cap is very warm!

Personally, I love the hunter green. It's the color of the uniform cardigans we wore in high school with hunter and grey Pendleton plaid skirts. This color brings back great memories.

Valerie also looks good in a beret:

But she prefers a good cloche. She says it make her feel like a movie star.

If you are looking for a quality winter hat this year, I hope you'll stop by the shop.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Teacups, Animals, and Fashion

Exploring the offerings on Etsy becomes a thrilling pastime heading into the gift-giving time of year. Heading toward the holidays, I am always on the look-out for artists whose work inspires me to promote them here on the blog.

Yesterday, I found such an artist in Amber Alexander.

Amber's charming and whimsical prints feature adorable animals that are huge on personality. Amber loves animals and hopes that her work will change the way that people look at them and appreciate them. Her work is always evolving, and her watercolor technique is amazingly good.

Many of Amber prints have sweet, clever descriptions. I spent a good hour in her shop looking at all the photos and reading the little vignettes. It was such a good mood generator. Join me in a tour of a select few.

The first three are connected by the teacups in their paintings, although, I am sure it's wine in the cup of the last one. The teaser captions are from the descriptions in Amber's shop. Click on the animal's name to  read more of his or her story.

Byron "likes to read Shakespeare while sipping black tea heavily sweetened with honey."

From the second she started out that fateful day, Tilly had a feeling that she had bitten off more than she could chew.

Dionysis: Beautiful little Greek Squirrel God . . .

The next three charmers are fashion queens, or princesses more likely:

Dolly skipped through the forest, stopping to nibble wild strawberries and clover . . . 

Miss Elsie despises having her portrait painted. But mother . . .

When Olive picked out her new dress, she thought it was the bee's knees, but now . . .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bring on the Cold Weather!

This time of year it's fun to bring out all your lovely knit goodies from storage. I just love feeling all snugly in a special scarf, sweater or winter hat.

Coming to the shop soon is this extra snugly scarf, called "Wine Bars". It is knit up from two different yarns in a traditional pattern done in a modern way. The wine bars are knit from a soft commercial yarn that is a wool/acrylic blend. The lighter garnet stripes are of my own handspun bulky 2-ply yarn. This particular scarf has a lot of heft and will really keep you warm.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Press! ... and Roses

All the staff, Valerie, Amelie, Samba, and the midgets, were so excited that they threw a big old party last night to celebrate. They were all wandering around bleary-eyed this morning. 

The occasion? Knot-Cha-Chá!™ has received some press over at the Lillyella blog because Brenda, of Phydeaux Designs fame, interviewed me for the blog's regular feature, "On Top of Your Day Job." In the interview I reveal so much more about my nefarious past than I do here on this blog. 

The Lillyella blog is a great spot to read about fashion, food, home decor, and handmade goodies. Be sure to go check it out.

Meanwhile, I'm still busy reshooting photos of inventory in the shop, like this hand-knit OOAK art scarf that I knit from my own handspun yarn.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bracelets in Cube Paradise

It was such a beautiful autumn day: a freakish warm 70-degree surprise in early November, and I couldn't justify calling in sick to stay home to bask in the sun. No deck, just desk, for me.

Well, at least I could brighten up my little spot in cubicle nation. First, I chose to wear some cheerful bracelets that remind me of summer,

and next, I looked at all the blinds around my corner spot

and drew them back so I could enjoy the sun and the lovely forest of trees surrounding the parking lot.

Heavenly! It's always easier to work with the sun on your back.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Photo Reshoots

I have been so busy reshooting photos for my Etsy store! Partially this is because the Etsy site has changed its format to a wider one.  I needed to change the ratio aspect of the lead photos so that in gallery view the photos do not look like they are jumping off the page at you. The other reason is that a lot of my photos needed major improvement. I am almost through changing out photos for everything on the first page of my shop. Phew!

Also, there is that stack of product ready to be listed if only there were photos ready. Valerie is happy to be working again. She sat around aimlessly for a lot of the summer, playing cards with the circus midgets and drinking beer. She was really starting to get fat. As soon as she knew she would be modeling again, she went on a huge diet. Here she is, looking svelte again: