Cutie from Blue Girl xo

My days are being taken up with continuing to settle into our new home but there is really nothing new to show you (although I have tackled the studio head on but still a bit to go).  Therefore I went surfing some of my favorite blogs and thought I would share what Julie is doing over at the adventures of bluegirl xo.  She has been experimenting with spun cotton ornaments and created this cute little bird.  I felt really inspired by her creations (again) and thought you might be as well.  If you really want some eye candy follow Julie's Pinterest boards...a feast of color, creativity and fun.  

As for myself, I am setting aside organizing and get ready for my upcoming trip to Washington Island in Door County Wisconsin.  I'll be going to Sievers School of Fiber Arts and take a week long class in digital fabric design taught by Donna Kallner.  I have been to Sievers before but it was probably twenty years ago (Yikes! Is it possible it's been that long?) and remember it being a beautiful, relaxing place.  I can't wait.  After I get back I'll fill you in on the amazing time.  



As I mentioned yesterday, we moved into a new home about three weeks ago.  I've moved many times but this time I seem to have lost my motivation and organizational skills.  I look at the boxes, especially in my studio and I don't know where to begin.  I've been doing all sorts of avoidance techniques, in fact this blog post is one of them. If anyone has any ideas to help me get my mojo back, please let me know!  Until then I think I'll go knit!


Shelf Rehab

Completed shelves filled and ready!
We have recently purchased a home and are slowly getting settled.  With a new home comes all sorts of projects to make it live and look the way we want it to.  Some of the projects involve gardening, painting the bathroom, taking down some trees that were dying, putting in a fence and making the kitchen work like a charm.
Herb Garden
This week we took an old bookshelf, painted it a bright, clean white and added some legs to get it up and over the hot water heat element (did I mention this house is around 100 years old?).  We then put some shelves my husband made quite a few years ago above it and voila!  A great place to keep my cookbooks!
How the bookshelf began, but imagine it scuffed up and dirty!

Bookshelf and shelves attached to wall with my favorite kitchen art by Charlottesville artist Pam Black


Knitting in Public

The crowd knitting in public

This week is World Wide Knit in Public Week and my local yarn shop, Wisconsin Wool Exchange hosted an event on Sunday.  About 30 knitters, spinners and fiber lovers gathered under a tree in the Wool Exchange's parking lot and spent a lovely 4 hours chatting and playing with yarns.  
Meg Swanson and her beautiful sweaters
One of the highlights for everyone was a trio of very accomplished women who came to knit and share.   Meg Swanson, Elizabeth Zimmerman's daughter, knitting designer, columnist for Vogue Knitting and owner of Schoolhouse Press brought not just her vast amount of wisdom and encouraging words for everyone.  She also brought a table full of original sweaters that were the models for her new book Knitting With Two Colors.  A treat indeed!
Susan Strawn, author of Knitting America and writer and editorial advisor for Piecework magazine drove all the way from the Chicago area to join the group.  She brought with a darling mint green child's snowsuit made from a vintage pattern.  
Susan Strawn and Mary Rowe knitting away
Long ago I purchased a book called Knitted Tams, a beautiful book that alas, required more than my knitting ability at that time.  The book was written by Mary Rowe and she too joined the party.  
It was a beautiful sunny day, a great time to sit in public and knit (or spin, crochet and chat).
Many thanks to Maud and Jacquie for organizing and hosting the event.


Spring Surprise

We have had many rainy, gloomy days and this morning was no exception.  As soon as I get up I open up all the curtains and blinds in the house to let as much light in as possible.  This morning when I opened up the curtains I saw a strange object in the lawn...I thought, no, it couldn't be.  I looked from another window thinking what I saw was a misshapen leaf, but no, it didn't really look like a leaf.  I put on my rubber rain shoes and headed out to the front yard and sure enough a very large morel mushroom!  Morel mushrooms are the bounty of the heavy spring rains!  They are very distinct looking with a wrinkly cap and a hollow stem.  There was just one, but I'm hoping more spring up throughout the day.  Even if there is only one it will be sauteed in butter and served alongside dinner where I will savor it...and share what I have with John.


May Day Violets

There is a profusion of violets in my yard right now and with tomorrow being May Day I could make some violet filled May Baskets.  Making candied violets is another thing I've thought about doing with them.  I'm not sure I'll actually get to either one of them but if you are curious here is a link for several ways to candy violets.  Martha Stewart also has some nice ideas for making May Baskets.  Happy May Day!


Yarn Bombing

Covering the Tree

In addition to the gallery show Common Threads, there was also a community yarn bombing.  Folks knitted and crocheted pieces with their own or donated yarn and brought them to the gallery.  On a beautiful, sunny Saturday a group of volunteers gathered to sew the pieces together and wrap the tree.  Well, I say tree but there were so many donations several trees got decorated as well as a scooter, the bike rack, the gallery sign and a piece of driftwood.  Someone was even inspired to yarn bomb their car!

It all made for a colorful entry to the gallery and created lots of interest.  In fact some folks were walking by and joined in to help and spent quite a lot of time working on it.  A nice community effort!

Bike Rack


Toni's Yarn Bombed Car

Vince working on the sign



Inside the gallery
Friday night the exhibit Common Threads opened.  I met many new people, had a great time and if I do say so myself, the show looks fabulous.  Here is a photo of the gallery as well as the eight pieces I exhibited.  Unfortunately the images I shot in the gallery aren't as good as I would have liked but you get the idea...enjoy!

Soliloquy #7
Soliloquy #809
Soliloquy 935
Pastoral Wisdom
Birds and Berries
Keeper of Leaves


Common Threads

I think I mentioned quite awhile ago that I was invited to participate in an exhibit featuring textiles and I have been working on getting all of the pieces made.  Time has passed quickly and the show opens on Friday, April 20...just three days!  If you are anywhere near Stevens Point, WI come to the Riverfront Art Center and check it out.  Besides me other artists participating are Marilyn Annin, Donna Kallner, Ann Phillip, Pat Bishop, Kathie Briggs, Clairan Ferrono, Pat Kroth, Linda Witt Henke, Casey Puetz, Maggie Weiss and Trish Williams.  The show runs from April 20 to May 27. 


Spring in Chicago

Happy April!  The sun is out, the flowers are poking up and the trees have beautiful spring green leaves.  The mid-winter doldrums are finally over and ideas are flowing - thank God!  Last week my sweetie and I went to Chicago - he for a conference, me for fun.  On the night we arrived we took a walk and ended up on Oak Street Beach where I promptly took off my shoes and headed for the wet and a bit cold sand.  It felt great!  We found prints in the sand of someone that took to the beach in their roller blades - I suspect that was a tricky  walk!  We also saw this amazing shot of the setting sun coming through the buildings and illuminating a single tree -- so beautiful.
I spent the next day at the Chicago Institute of Art.  I saw much of the museum but I think it would take several days to see it all.  My favorite room was Asian sculpture...a huge room filled with Buddhas of every size and material and these little dancing figures.  It was so inspirational.  In addition to the Buddhas were Monet's, Van Gogh's, O'Keeffe's, Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and Grant Wood's American Gothic and so much more.  
After a day of culture I hit the Miracle Mile.  My goal was to go to American Girl Place.  I really have no children to buy for but I've always been fascinated with those dolls and when I got there I wished I was eight again!  It was a great trip and sprinkled in there was Chicago style pizza and excellent croissants.  It was a great city to explore and I have only just begun.  I can't wait to go back.


Easy Cupcakes

Happy February! Last night a friend mentioned that we are halfway to spring! As if that wasn't enough reason to love the month there is also Valentine's Day. Time to pull out the lace, pink and red decor and figure out ways to make the days special for your loved ones. It was also 25 years ago that my sweetie and I tied the knot. Yes, it was on Valentine's Day!

I wanted to start the month out with a special treat and I was inspired by all sorts of beautiful food on the Internet. However, I got a bit overwhelmed with the effort it would take to make the cakes and deserts. I remembered the white cake mix I had in the cupboard and decided to make some cupcakes. I decided to make it a bit special and took out half of the batter and added some red food coloring. I filled the cupcake papers with half white and half pink batter and swirled it around. I did get a little decadent and made a cream cheese frosting (1/4 cup butter, 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 pound powdered sugar and tsp vanilla all whizzed up with the mixer). Personally desert just doesn't count unless there is chocolate involved so I topped each one with a kiss and some sprinkles. It was easy but makes for a special treat. So, find a cake mix and whip up some cupcakes for your sweeties!


New Work

I have recently been asked to show my work in April at the Riverfront Art Center here in Stevens Point. The show is called Common Threads and will include several textile artists. This will be the first time my work will be exhibited in Wisconsin and it has really motivated me. I have gotten away from showing my work and I am finding that making new work feels refreshing and fun. Here is the latest piece I completed yesterday.
The trees are made out of rusted wire and the small house is made by weaving shredded money. No, I didn't cut up my money, I purchased a bag of shredded bills quite a few years ago and have done a few things with the material. I discovered that if I ironed the small pieces flat they could be woven into a really interesting fabric. I guess this makes sense because the paper money is made out of has a high percentage of cotton rag. Let me know what you think of it!



One of the hightlights of our trip to Colorado was a tour of the Celestial Seasoning's Tea factory. I have been drinking Celestial Season's Tea since I was in college and that was a loooooong time ago. All of Celestial Seasoning's tea is made in Boulder, Colorado and when we drove into the parking lot we saw a very colorful store front with graphic images taken from the art used on the tea boxes.
The tour begans in the tasting room where several teas, both hot and cold, were brewed and ready for tasting as well as individual cups of any tea we wanted to try. The tasting room not only has tea but also the original artwork used on the boxes. If you haven't looked carefully at the boxes, take a moment and pull out your teas and look at them. They have lovely illustrations. In addition they have a collection of artist made teapots that were great fun to check out.
After the tasting and a short film we went onto the factory floor and it smelled like heaven! There were bags of herbs and teas stacked to the ceiling. One of the rooms we went into was the peppermint room. They have to keep peppermint seperated from the other ingredients because it has such an intense smell. If it was kept with other ingredients it would start to change the flavor of the other herbs and spices. After standing in the room for a few minutes I could feel my head and sinuses start to clear!
Of course, the tour ends at the gift shop where I scooped up a few boxes of tea and a cute little dish in which to 1put my used tea bag. If you ever find yourself in Boulder, Colorado check out the Celestial Seasonings tea plant!



My sweetie and I just returned from a great January get-away. We went to Colorado and visited my cousin and a friend. The mountains were beautiful, the food delicious and plentiful and fun was all around. We didn't ski (haven't done that for decades and the idea of ending up with something broken didn't seem like a good way to spend a vacation) but we did take a gondola to the top of Vail mountain and took photos and had lunch. Here are a few photos of the trip.