Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Sabrina's Leaf Gallery

Who doesn't love a little touch of nature? Sabrina of Sabrina's Leaf Gallery makes beautiful stoneware and porcelain leaves. Come visit the store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/SabrinaLeaf.

Sabrina has been selling handmade treasures with her husband since 1991. He taught her everything she needed to know to become the expert potter she is today. In her profile, Sabrina lists nature as her biggest inspiration. She uses the colors and leaves around her in the Southern Washington Cascade Mountains to create jewelry, plates, wind chimes, and more. All of her items include the imprint of a leaf. Sabrina uses leaves from her own garden and the forest near her home. She forms imprints of these leaves on clay and then hand shapes, builds, and refines the clay leaf into an object. Sabrina creates her own glazes and then fires each piece in her kiln. Her stoneware is food, dishwasher, and microwave safe.

Equally as impressive is the fact the Sabrina and her husband have built their own studio. Both their home and studio only use solar panels for electricity. And I was very pleased to hear that they share their home with six cats. I checked out their pictures on Flickr, and these kitties are certainly adorable - and photogenic! One looks just like how I imagine my cat must have looked as a kitten. But back to the spotlight...

Reading through Sabrina's profile and looking through her shop, one can't help but relax. Her work is beautiful and inspirational to say the least! It definitely makes me want to toss the knitting needles aside for a weekend and take up pottery!

Be sure to check out Sabrina at the following:
www.flickr.com/photos/vinceandsabrina - here's where you can check out the kitties!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/vinceandsabrinaspottery
Twitter: www.twitter.com/sabrinaleaf
Website: www.vinceandsabrina.com

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Lazy Saturday

My younger sister's cat, Max, has been taking to sleeping on her gas stove to stay warm. My sister, Kristen, tells me basements are rare in New Orleans, so her wood floors have been quite chilly during their recent cold spell. Hence, the cat on the stove. A few weeks back, Kristen tells me I should knit Max some booties. My first thought is, "Yeah, okay, whatever..." So I jokingly tell her that if she finds me a pattern, I will indeed knit her some cat booties. Knowing my sister, I should not have been surprised that a short time later, I received the following pattern in my inbox:
This is not the best pattern, but it is the only one out there for cat booties. I have looked and could find nothing else. I did not, however, search for dog booties and wonder if an extra-small or small dog booty could adapt to a feline paw.

While I have succeeded in not trying any dog sweaters on  Pheoda, I decided she would have to test out the booties for sizing. Attempt #1 (following the pattern exactly), lasted approximately 0.1 seconds and came off in one shake. As you can see by the picture, the leg is quite short and not well tapered. The pattern also creates an odd break between the leg and paw. I think this is designed to allow the foot to bend but does not fit well onto the paw. I changed the cast off edges to more gradual decreases.

This morning, I revised the pattern and ended up with Attempt #2. Due to the increased length in the leg, this booty lasted 0.2 seconds on Pheoda and came off in two shakes. I figured this was about as good as I could expect with a cat booty and called it finished!

When I told my sister that the pattern only seems to be for front paws, she was quite upset that Max would still have cold back paws. I've since told her that if he wears his booties for any extended period of time (as in MUCH longer than 0.2 seconds), then I can adapt the pattern for the back paws. Of course, her other cat, Izzy, needs booties too. The pictures here are Izzy's booties. Max's will a blue/white mix.

What a way to spend a Saturday! I am happy to send my revisions to to the pattern to anyone who may want to try these out for their cat! Just leave a comment with your email, and I'll get back to you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Etsy Knitters Celebrate Valentine's Day!

Now that Christmas and New Year's have passed, it's time to get into the Valentine's mood! The Etsy Knitters are always a busy group, and now we're gearing up with our red, pink, and white yarns! Hearts and love abound! You know how we'll be spending our weekend. You can check out all the great creations by searching "EtsyKnitters Team & Valentines" under Handmade in Etsy. Below are some pictures of our Valentine's Day items. These first three are from my shop.

These are a sampling of items from other Etsy Knitters!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Crafthope

I've had terrible internet problems this week, so I'm a little behind. I'm hoping I can keep my connection long enough to finish this spotlight! Today I'm featuring Craft Hope, which is the brain child of two mothers, Sarah and Jade, wanting to help earthquake victims in Haiti. All proceeds (minus Etsy fees) will go to Doctors without Borders in Haiti to help the relief effort. You can visit this shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/crafthope.

Sarah and Jade have been taking donations from the crafting community and adding them to their store. Unfortunately, donations are only being accepted through this evening due to the high response they have received. There is an incredible variety of items in their shop, ranging from blankets, accessories, crafting patterns, and artwork. They hope to reassess in two weeks to see if/how this project will move forward.

The response from both crafters and shoppers has been overwhelming to say the least. Craft Hope opened on January 14 and has already had over 1,000 sales. This is truly impressive, both for the number of items being donated and the number of items being purchased! What a great idea this has been. Jade and Sarah set a goal of $5,000. They were quickly approaching $10,000 in sales on Monday. I only wish I had heard of this great cause sooner! I will definitely be back to see what new items are added and shop around.

Sarah and Jade acknowledge it can be tough these days to trust people claiming to send proceeds to charity. We've all heard stories of scams arising when tragedy hits. Sarah and Jade will post their transaction to Doctors Without Borders on their website: http://www.crafthope.com

Be sure to check out this great store! It might be too late to donate an item, but it's not too late to shop!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Sweaterettes

Happy one month anniversary to Sweaterettes! This great shop opened one month ago today and has already had one sale! The shop owner began knitting over 30 years ago when she was only 7. You can visit this shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Sweaterettes.

I have to admit that I found this shop through Link Love. I came across so many great shops this way and thought it was only appropriate to spotlight one of them this week. This shop features both knit and crochet fingerless gloves and gift bags. What really drew me to this store is the mini-sweater gift bags featured! These are incredibly adorable and the perfect gift wrap for a small gift - jewelry, ipod, gift cards, cell phones, etc.

I come across a lot of knitting patterns for fingerless gloves. Since I'm always so cold, I can never quite imagine wearing gloves without fingers. But this shop owner makes them look fashionable and fun. I can definitely picture myself in a pair of these on a crisp fall day when you just want a little extra warmth but don't need to pull the winter gloves out yet!

In addition to etsy, this shop owner also has her own website: http://www.sweaterettes.com/. This site sells knit and crochet patterns for fingerless gloves, mini-sweater gift bags, hair pin lace, scarves and scarflettes, and handbags. One set of patterns that intrigues me the most is the 3-D Afghans. These finished products  must be truly impressive! Several patterns, such as these afghans, are available in crochet, hand knit, or machine knit. All patterns are available by PDF through email or through regular mail.

You can also follow this shop with Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Sweaterettes

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Loving Link Love!

So I've been a little lazy this week with my poor blog. I'm happily planning vacation for late spring, and my computer time has gone into hotels, airfare, planning! I did manage to finish and post another dog sweater in my store, but I think it took me two nights to weave in a few ends of yarn! I've already received a request for a larger size, so I'm pretty happy about that.

In addition to travel plans, all the rage this week online has been Link Love. Maybe I just never heard of this before, or maybe it's just taken off in the last week, but it's all over facebook right now! Everyone is posting their etsy shops, facebook pages, twitter pages, and blogs for others to check out and fan. I have to say I always debate whether or not to fan someone just because they fan you first, although I do tend to do it quite often. But when you're looking for fans and followers, this is a great idea! And I've had a lot of fun looking at other people's pages, shops, and blogs. It just takes a lot of time going through all the links!

But I do thank all my new followers who have found me through Link Love!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Bailey Bowls

I told myself no animals this week after featuring animals or animal products the last couple of weeks. But then I came across Bailey Bowls and knew I had to feature this great store! You can visit the shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/baileybowls.

Lisa is the shop owner, and Bailey is one of her dogs. As Lisa says in her store, Bailey gets all the credit! He even has his own line of ceramics, so he's doing well for himself. One piece in her Bailey Ware line also features an image of Lisa's other dog, Luna. It must be nice to incorporate a piece of your family into your artwork. I could try knitting Pheoda's profile onto a dog sweater, but that might not look quite so nice - or sophisticated!

Lisa makes all of her pieces individually. In her profile, she talks about the maleable and pliable nature of the clay, which draws her to it. I think she showcases these features of the clay really well in her work. Along with fine lines and clean edges, there is a bit of whimsy to her creations. Attached to a mug are three kittens running around, attached to Luna's food dish is Bailey, painted onto a bowl are lady bugs. One different movement with the clay would lead to an entirely different finished product!

I'm impressed with the selection of items that Lisa offers in her store. She has a line of colanders, Bailey's ceramics, tableware including several adorable salt and pepper shaker sets, buttons, soap/sponge holders, and business card holds - just to name a few. All of her pieces are food safe, microwaveable, and dishwasher safe. I certainly think she does Bailey proud!

Lisa is a proud member of the Etsy Mud Team and SFEtsy Team.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010!

Thank goodness for a long weekend! I always feel less pressure to work on more knitting when I have an extra day off. Today, I have happily organized a bunch of photos from this summer and uploaded my Christmas pictures from last week. I also got to play around with Photoshop Elements which I received for Christmas. The direction booklet is not the most helpful, so it was a lot of trial and error, but I was able to successfully edit some pictures and list a new baby sweater in my store! Actually, the Adobe website has some helpful videos. Unfortunately for me, my computer kept restarting the videos at random times, so it wasn't too helpful.

I have one other knitting project in the works. All I have left to do is sew a button onto a dog sweater, and then I can get that ready to post as well. I have loved all my dog sweaters so far, but this one seems to have an odd shape to it. I love when you get to the last part of a pattern and realize that the directions don't really add up. Sigh... so I had to improvise a little bit, and maybe I should have improvised a little bit differently! This sweater is also larger than my other sweaters, so perhaps I'm having a hard time with that. But it will be in my store soon, and another project will be finished!

After cleaning up the apartment, the next big project is deciding what knitting project to start next! I received two new knitting books for Christmas that I absolutely love ("Vintage Knits for Modern Babies" and "Doggie Knits")! I also received my annual day by day knitting calendar, so I am all set with patterns for a while. Now the fun begins in decided what to make first. Happy knitting!