Saturday, December 31, 2016

Yarn Balls Ring in the New Year

These wonderful specialty fibers showed up from my Secret Santa:

Are not they adorable? I cannot wait to ply all these specialty ribbons and novelty yarns into some art yarn! The girls in my spinning group are going to be jealous when they see these sweet bundles!

Now, you do not have to be a spinner to use these 2-yard lengths of fiber magic. You could use them to put fringe on a scarf, you could use them to decorate your gift boxes, or you could tie one in your hair.

Are you like me and find yourself drooling over such fiber goodness? Want some for yourself? Head over to FishBayElements and check out the great selections there.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Out of Yesterday's Bead Workspace

Here's the finished bangle from yesterday's post:

As soon as I'm done playing Santa, I'll get this listed in my Etsy shop. It's so pretty!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Today's Bead Workspace

I'm getting in the mood for New Year's Eve by making some flashy jewelry. Here's today's project:

A rose-gold sparkly bangle is in the works.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Gift for the Senses: Hagroot

A little bit of the Druid forest showed up at my door in a small box. It came from my Secret Santa on one of my Etsy teams:

In it are some samples of magical fragrances that I’ve been coveting for a while. Since the packing box, full of fragrant leaves, already had me dreaming that I was about to dance a reel with Jamie Fraser, I sampled the one called “Druid Forest” immediately. Oh yes, surely my name now is Claire.

This fragrance was magic! I can imagine the scenarios that accompany each of the other three fragrances in the box:

I am going to pretend that I am a goddess while wearing “Circe.” “Bone Queen” is going to get me ready for some meditation, and “Snake Oil” will have me shedding my skin for some mysterious travel between the realms.

The box came with the perfume-maker’s card. Hagroot is her name, and you much be prepared for the magic of these potions if you try them.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Blue Hippo Performs

This little gift arrived as a prize in an Etsy team drawing: an adorable blue hippo in a pink tutu. These hippos were handmade and sold to bring money to Azul Wasi, an orphanage for boys outside Cuzco in Peru.

This hippo is very talented. It was easy to train it to balance on one of the balls of my hand-spun yarn. It is also a very curious creature as you can see in the next photo.

Here it is examining a little shenanigift from a generous teammate. I haven't decided what to name it. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Today's Perfect Necklace

Fullmoon Over the Mountains - Amethyst Slice and Moonstone Necklace in Sterling Silver
by MirielDesign on Etsy.

The backdrop is a landscape oil painting, "Seaday," by Kuroarts on Etsy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hand Spun Harmony

Remember that hand-spun yarn that I showed you a while back? Well, here's how it ended up:

I combined my hand spun yarn with some single-ply commercial yarn in a large shawl.

The design has rows of garter stitch alternating with lacy sections of knit faggoting.

The dimensions of this shawl, which also can be worn as an oversized scarf, are 80 inches (203 cm) long by 17 inches (43 cm) wide. This one-of-a-kind piece is one of the more expensive items in my shop, because of the labor necessary to both spin the yarn and knit the shawl. It's in my shop waiting for someone to fall in love with it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Getting in the Gravy Boat

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. You are probably ready for a good holiday break. I sure am. It's been a harrowing year in the US with the election from hell.

The upcoming family time at Thanksgiving can bring its own stresses. Wouldn't it be great to just put on your leisure wear, get in the gravy boat, and float away?

Mid-Century Gravy Boat by Janastuff

If you can't do that, just put on your turkey hat and forget about everything except holiday parades, football, and cooking that Thanksgiving dinner:

Crochet Turkey Hat by Amyshandmades17

 Now, put up a big sign so everyone else gets in the right mood, too.

Holiday Banner by Thepaperdollshop

Then you can all eat your way into oblivion:
Holiday Tee by Nallashop

Give thanks because campaigning is over for a while, start thinking about whatever is best in your life, and count your blessings.

Have a spectacular day!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Not Your Grandmother's Pearls

My hand-knotted long necklace, "Impassioned Pearls," has creamy champagne freshwater pearls with pale pink and lilac overtones, elegant cut-glass lavender aurora borealis lozenge beads, crystals, and round glass beads with an antique-gold luster.

The necklace is hand knotted continuously without a clasp. Because it is 38 inches (96.5 cm) long, you can wear it long or wrapped twice around your neck.

Impassioned Pearls by KnotChaCha

You can wear these perky pearls with a ballgown, with a career power suit, or with a pretty everyday dress. You can also make a cheeky statement by pairing them with blue jeans and a T-shirt. Just for fun, I even wear pretty necklaces like this while lounging around the house.

Need a coordinating bracelet? This one pairs nicely:

Spiral Bangle in Lavender, Copper, Champagne and Blush by KnotChaCha

Both of these items would be great gifts for yourself or a special someone in your life.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Handspun Yarn for a New Scarf

Well, the afghan is still progressing, but I had to order more yarn for it. It felt like time to break for a different project anyway. (There are usually 3-4 going on at once around here.)

Here is some of my own hand-spun yarn that I made a couple years ago. This is a worsted weight yarn that I spun a few years ago. The smaller ball was made with some beehive coils.

It's going to be combined with some commercial yarn to make a mega-scarf. I've already cast on. Perhaps next week I'll have a photo for you.

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Knitting Obsession

Got a knitting or knitwear obsession? Me too.

All items are from Etsy shops. Click the photo to get more information on them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Growing the Granny Squares

It's coming along. The squares are multiplying and growing:

There are now two dozen each of three out of four motifs. Each square still needs an additional color round and a final round of the creamy white yarn.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Ghost Brides and Orphans

The best costume I ever saw was a ghost bride on six-foot stilts. She appeared one evening at an outdoor art event here in Portland on Halloween. A skilled stilt walker, she moved quickly in a tattered white gown with 15-20-ft long tattered trails of frayed gauzy fabric that flowed after her and blew in the wind. She took such long strides and was gone so quickly that I couldn't get my iPhone out fast enough to take a picture of her. I'll never forget the image of her gliding down the street. It was the coolest costume I have ever seen!

In the spirit of All Hallows Eve and the Day of the Dead, and in case you  might want to costume yourself as a ghost bride this year, here is a collage of lovely ghost brides and also some orphan dolls that are adorable.

Most of these items are from Etsy shops. Click on the image to go to the Polyvore page to read the description of shop and image credits.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Stressed Spelled Backwards is Desserts

In this stressful campaign season, we deserve some rewards. This "Friday Finds" post is a Polyvore photoset that I created from some wonderful finds from Etsy:

If you don't have the time or inclination to stay home and bake cookies, you can order some from the artisan bakers you can find on Etsy! If you are short on time for holiday baking, these bakers can help you with your entertaining needs.

If you click on the photo above, you'll go to the my actual Polyvore set. From there you can click on any element in the photo to follow a link to the seller's Etsy shop. You can buy all four of those yummy cookies in the spread above, the great "Sweet Thing" engraved dessert fork, the pretty fabric bunting, and even the antique white slip or the rockabilly macaroon dress.

Enjoy exploring these featured finds!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

In the Works

I'm working on some pretty hand-knotted necklaces for the shop.

Here's a peak at one called Gavotte in D Major.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Granny Square Seeds

Chez ChaCha needs a new TV-room afghan for this winter. I've been playing around with colors choices and think it's going to be these:

Hope it's done by winter. Check back for progress reports.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Debate Night Special: Fried Baloney or American Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Just for fun (or purely for the irony), if you're having a debate watch party tonight, you might think about treating your friends to iconic sandwiches full of the smoky flavor of fried baloney or the gooey goodness of melted American cheese.

There are a lot of regional varieties on both of these sandwiches. Check out these Pinterest boards for baloney sandwiches and american grilled cheese sandwiches.

Be sure to have some BBQ potato chips on hand, and for sides, try some deviled eggs and some Mean Beans:

And here is a recipe for a good Sucker Punch.

Enjoy. It's almost over.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Convertible Necklace

This hand-knotted necklace is fun, because it can be worn in lots of different ways.

View it in the shop

If you are into making jewelry, you could make something similar.

Basically, you want to make a two-strand necklace in which one strand is only slightly shorter than the other. Use a lobster clasp for the closure. Then make two dangles. One has its own lobster clasp, and you can attach it wherever you want. The other one is on a closed ring, so you would connect it to the lobster clasp of the necklace itself.

Here are some styling ideas:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Duttons for Buttons

If you are a button lover, and you live in the UK, you are probably already aware of Duttons for Buttons. If you are a button-lover planning a trip to the UK, you must plan to search them out.  They have three locations: Harrogate, York, and Ilkley.

 Mr ChaCha and I happened upon the shop in York.  Actually, he walked straight on by with his camera in hand, but I stopped dead in my tracks. Then I stepped inside and knew I would have to come back the next day to spend some serious time exploring their inventory.

Imagine a wall full of button bins stocked with every kind of button imaginable. Whether you are looking for glass buttons, metal ones, plastic, bone, rhinestone, pearl, mother of pearl, shell, leather or whatever--you are bound to find something of interest here.

My shopping spree yielded me 55 pounds worth.
(£s not lbs)

Here are some of the new additions to my stash:

The intention is for these pretty glass buttons to become part of button-and-loop closures on some bead-knotted or bead-crocheted necklaces.

Here are some from the more glitzy group:

I am looking forward to using them all!

This is only part of the haul that I carried home. Deciding which buttons to choose from all of Duttons's offerings took me a while, but it was a lot of fun. Check out their wall of buttons here.

If anyone out there has another good source for buttons, it would be great if you would share with us all in the comments.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mine on Mondays

Having a regular blogging schedule and plan is recommended by social media experts. I've mostly flown by the seat of my pants, so after my long absence from this blog perhaps a little organization would be a good idea.

Here's the plan for now:
  • Perfect on the weekend: a post will feature a perfect one-of-a-kind or limited edition accessory or article of women's clothing. It may be one of my own or it may be by another designer/maker. Limited discussion, because it is after all, the weekend.
  • Mine on Mondays: the post will feature one of my creations. You may find out something secret about the making of it. Or not.
  • Whatever Wednesdays: these posts could be tutorials, cover fashion history, show something interesting that I recently discovered, or just be some musings in general.
  • Featured on Friday: one or more of my finds from around the Internet, primarily from Etsy artists.

Today's item that I have to share with you is a shawl that I hand knit earlier this year. It's in my shop for now, but it's so tempting to keep it for myself.

This shawl starts and ends with a lacy border; in between, it has alternating bands of seed stitch and garter stitch. It is lightweight but warm.

For you knitters, the two fibers used are Meadow in cornflower blue, and Noro Silk Garden Sock Yarn in color 1 (mysteriously named "Soft Natural Brown"). The fiber combination of the two yarns together, based on the weight of each fiber used for the shawl, is 22% Silk, 20% Merino wool, 20% generic wool, 13% baby llama, 12% Polyamide, 8% linen, and 5% mohair.

It is as soft as can be!