Monday, April 26, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Merkaba Jewelry

After a break last week, I'm refreshed and ready to write up a great spotlight today! I have been having fun looking through some Artfire stores and happily came across Merkaba Jewelry. This shop owner, Jennifer, features some great hand-knit scarves and scarflettes along with some handmade jewelry.

What first drew me to this store is how cozy her scarves and scaflettes look! Once I opened an item, I learned that she uses Lion Brand Homespun to make these great pieces. I personally LOVE Homespun yarn. It is so soft and fun to knit with. If you remember my pictures of Max and Izzy on their striped blanket, that was knit with Homespun. Because of its texture, it is incredibly forgiving if you make a small mistake. However, if you need to find said mistake, it can take a while because of that same great texture! But back to the store... I was surprised to find such great hand-knit items in a store with jewelry in its name, but these do look great! The buttons she uses on those scarflettes really make them pop!

Equally as impressive is the jewelry in this store. There is currently a small selection of earrings and bracelets. I really feel each piece's elegance comes from its understated simplicity. Jennifer states that her jewelry is for every day women. Her pieces are certainly affordable and can dress up any outfit. She encourages every woman to feel pretty and hopes her jewelry (and scarves) can help you do just that.

I think Jennifer writes it best when she says, "Because each day is special, you deserve to feel like a queen even if all you did today was walk to the mailbox." I don't think I even made it as far as the mailbox yesterday, but sometimes those are the best days. Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom, so she certainly understands the need to feel special on those not so special feeling days. She never leaves her house without earrings! That's a rule I need to start living by. If I don't pack jewelry in my gym bag, I'm out of luck since I shower at the gym after 6am class! I always wonder why I don't keep more earrings in a pocket somewhere.

Jennifer also has an Etsy store and a blog. Her Etsy shop has a larger variety of her work. I chose to feature only items currently offered on Artfire.


I certainly look forward to meeting other Artfire artists - I hope you do too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Patriot's Day!

I enjoyed a nice three-day weekend in Maine for Patriot's Day. I do love minor holidays! :) But settling in and food shopping tonight didn't leave time to write up a spotlight. I have just enough going on this week that I don't think I'll be able to fit it in. My plan to write it up in advance yesterday was hampered by too many hours of outlet shopping in Freeport with my mom!

But my spotlight will be back up next week, possibly my first artfire shop!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reversible Cables are finally here!

After weeks of thinking about reversible cables, I finally made my first scarf with these great cables! It was so easy to do and looks great! It's now posted in both my Etsy and Artfire stores. I was able to use my new yarn from Herschnerr's and even have one skein left over in this color for another project. I can't wait to make a matching scarf in purple with my other new yarn! Here are some pictures:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yard By Yard Knits is now on Artfire!

I've heard talk of other sites similar to Etsy but hadn't checked anything out until this week. After a little research, I decided to give Artfire a try and have opened a second store! At least I can mostly copy and paste from one store to the next, so hopefully this won't become too overwhelming! :)

I will be adding items to my new store over the next few days. Be sure to check it out!

Now, I have many new artists for my spotlights!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - Katherynmd

I am the first to admit that I hate coffee. However, I love the smell of coffee and am also a huge fan of anything coffee flavored (ice cream, DD's coolattas, candy, etc). I've yet to be able to replicate the taste of coffee ice cream or candy in an actual cup of coffee. But Katherynmd has such appealing pictures, that it makes me want to try again!

Katheryn is the second generation in her family to be in the coffee business. Reading through her profile, one learns how much attention and detail is put into creating all the great flavors in this shop. Every individual coffee has its own strengths and sometimes its own weaknesses. Katheryn strives to combine the strengths of coffees from around the world into her specialty blends. Before making it into her store, the blend must pass the taste test both black and with cream and sugar. Experience has shown that some blends work well either black or with cream and sugar. This shop owner wants her blends to please each customer's individual tastes.

Katheryn does a great job describing each blend, highlighting its overall flavor and all the subtleties that exist as well. Her Midnight Rose blend has "hints of gentle fruit, nut & perhaps smoky tones", while Sweet Mountain Mocha "is very clean with subtle fruit tones escaping from it’s background." All of Katheryn's coffee is organic and is sold in 1lb bags. Her coffee is available ground or whole bean.

Here is one of my favorite features in Katheryn's store - she will personalize the label for you! If you send her someone's name, she will incorporate it on the label. She can offer this because all of her coffee is made to order. They are packaged in heat sealed bags and has a shelf life of two years. Katheryn offers some great tips in her profile to help keep your coffee fresh:

1) Never keep your coffee in the freezer or refrigerator as it dries out the natural oils in the coffee.
2) Air and light can significantly impact coffee. Therefore, keep your coffee in an airtight, non-transparent container once it is open.
3) Bad water will only lead to bad tasting coffee!

I'm always impressed with other Etsy sellers who strive to do good in their community. Katheryn is a proud member of Etsy Project Embrace, a group whose purpose is to create awareness and support for people suffering from cancer. Many team members donate a portion of their proceeds to the American Cancer Society.

Katheryn also has another Etsy Shop, Things Olde and New, where she sells vintage goods, antiques, jewelry, and one-of-a-kind items.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cozy Cat Beds!

I was very excited a couple years ago to come across a pattern for a knit cat bed. How much fun would that be to make? The cat bed was my first adventure into knitting for pets. Although I don't have pictures on hand, my first bed turned out a little too loose. The sides don't stay upright, so it's more like a big rug for the cats. However, my mom's cats, Sammy and Suzy, LOVE it! Suzy tends to suckle the bed and carry it around the house with her. It really is quite the sight watching her try to walk around the house with this huge bed in between her legs. You never know exactly where it will show up next. If left on my mom's bed, Sammy will curl up in it and bask in the sunlight. What a life!

My older sister saw this cat bed and decided that her cats, Duke and Chornushka, also needed one. I had learned my lesson and knit my second cat bed much more tightly. The sides still fold down sometimes, but it does retain its shape much better. Duke and Chornushka became quick fans of their bed. However, because theirs is smaller, they don't both fit in it together. Chornushka is the runt of her litter, but Duke is anything but a runt! He is all muscle, and his legs might be taller than Chornushka's entire body!

So, not surprisingly, I received a request for a second cat bed. Now they can sit side by side in their beds and watch the world go by them. When they heard that their cousins, Pheoda, Max, and Izzy, were famous in my blog, they wanted their spotlight as well! Duke is in the green and blue bed, and Chornushka is in the pink one. What cuties!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sarah's Spotlight - The High Plains Knitter

Dianne, aka The High Plains Knitter, is a fellow Etsy Knitter. She writes a weekly blog interviewing other members from our team. You can read her "Etsy Knitters and Chrocheters on Parade" here. After writing about countless other Etsy Knitters (including myself!), I thought it was time that Dianne received the spotlight. She was always the first one to send out a congrats for being including in or making a treasury (before short emails were outlawed of course!) She is also the first to help answer questions and is certainly one of our more active members. Thanks Dianne for being such a great team member!

Dianne has been knitting since the age of nine. Many people can credit their grandmother to their interest in knitting, but Dianne credits a baby-sitter. Her list of professions includes a dj, developmental therapist, and homeschooling her children. Now that Dianne is retired, she fills her time with her knitting, crocheting, and spirituality. She offers a large variety to items in her store, The High Plains Knitter.

Dianne uses quality yarns and designs her own patterns. Her store currently has 132 items for sale, including scarves for all seasons, scarflettes, brooches, sweaters, wrist and neck cuffs, applique flowers, hairpins, rings, headbands, and even a few patterns! How on earth am I going to pick only five pictures for this article? What's really nice about Dianne's store is the way everything seems to tie together. I knit scarves, baby items, and pet apparel. I love making all of those items, but it really is a random collection. Dianne's own style works it way through every item in her shop, and even though there's a huge selection, it all just seems to fit.

Dianne enjoys custom orders and welcomes special requests. One customer commented, "I can't believe you made these so wonderful, just from a description in my head. I can't believe you nailed it the way you did." Except for a few scarves, if I don't have a picture and a pattern, I'm lost. But that's what I love so much about knitting - that I can follow a pattern from start to finish and end up with a great product! Others love creating their own patterns (for people like me!)

In addition to being a member of the Etsy Knitters Team, Dianne is also a member of the Etsy Texas Crafters, and the AWEteam (Art Walk Etsy Team).

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sneak Peek!

Here is the first look at my new pet bandanas! I've been calling them Doggie Bandanas, but the small size does fit cats, too. Pheoda can finally model something! One note of warning: a cat's tongue will stick on yarn. Poor Pheoda - she had to learn this the hard way during her photo shoot! This was my first outdoor photo shoot for my store. We have some great spaces in our yard, so I'll have to do more of this.

For one week only! Mention this sneak peek at check out and save 10% on your pet bandana! Good through midnight on 4/10/10. If you pay with check, I will email you a corrected receipt.  If you pay with Paypal, I will refund you the difference. Visit the Pet section of Yard By Yard Knits for more details.

Brody models the medium bandana in camouflage:

Here is the medium bandana in topaz:

The large bandana in camoflauge:

The small bandana in camouflage:

Pheoda models the small bandana in red: