June, 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s summer already. I feel as if I’ve just taken a giant leap into June from January, 2012. The past several months have been very busy, presenting surprises,  not all of them welcome-  but also, lots of exciting and challenging projects for me to try. You may have noticed my website was down for a while~ that’s because it got hacked. A lot of work on my son’s part, set me up with a new website.  Unfortunately, I’m having problems uploading my photos onto the site. A listing with no photos,  doesn’t work-   but my items, (currently 96 products,) can always be found here, at my Etsy shop. Please come and take a look and as soon as I’m able to get my website working smoothly, I’ll let you know with a new blog post. I’m hopeful it will be soon!

I’m very excited about the recent completion of one of my newest projects,  a hand smocked, hand embroidered decorative throw pillow. This is something I’ve wanted to try making for a few years now- you may even remember me mentioning it, many, many blogs ago. It took a long time to summon the courage to give it a try, but I finally decided to jump-in and tackle it. I found it extremely challenging, taking weeks to make since it’s almost entirely done by hand. It’s one-of-a-kind, and I think you’ll agree, definitely unique.  I’m very pleased with the results. Here is a picture,  and other views can be found in my Etsy shop~

Most recently, I’ve been spending all of my time knitting. I just finished knitting a baby blanket for my nephew’s soon-expected, baby boy. I created this blanket  without a pattern, designing it as I knit. It was a lot of fun to make! Here are a few pictures of the finished blanket- 

  I learned to knit when I was 12 from a good friend whom,  it seemed, could do everything. She was 13!  Little did I realize then, how invaluable her teachings would become. I have now been knitting for most of my life and it’s absolutely at the top of my list of favorite things to do.

I’m excited to try some new patterns that I got for some knit animals that will join the lambs and bunnies, of which I now have several,  in my shop. Currently I’m in the process of completing a little knit outfit, size 12mos., consisting of hand knit long pants & a little hand knit poncho, so that will be the next new item you’ll see in my shop~ as well as in my blog.

The past year’s been kind of a tough one for Pascal, who turns 13 July 4th. Though he no longer hears or sees well, we try to continue our walks as much as possible- weather permitting. Although yesterday’s 102` heat didn’t motivate either of us to even walk out the front door! I try to bring my camera on most of our walks, constantly looking for new pictures for the note cards that I love making. Within the past few months I’ve listed several new sets of cards with lots of fun and beautiful images to see, so if you have a minute, and enjoy looking at pictures, please feel welcome to stop by my etsy shop and have a look~

I hope you are enjoying summer, with it’s beautiful flowers and long, carefree days. I hope to be back soon with news that my website is fully working-  and with lots of new listings for you to see~  Until then, Enjoy!

    

Happy New Year!

~*~ For some reason, the large photos at the beginning of my posts are getting distorted. Until I can resolve the problem, if you click on the photo, you will see it the way it is supposed to be. ~*~

Happy New Year!!! Our first day of 2011 has brought rain~ lots of it!  I love rainy days & couldn’t be happier! It’s a wonderful way to begin the new year. So far, this winter has brought us a good amount of rain; hopefully enough to ward off the possibility of a drought and water rationing this summer.  Already the hills have turned a deep, lush, velvety- green that promises beautiful photographs for this season’s  note cards. 2010 was a good year, bringing the addition of two baby boys to the family. On January 26, my daughter’s third child, Colton, was born; a little brother for Grace & Sam. Then two weeks ago, on December 17th, my son & his wife had their first baby, a little boy, Henrik! With the new babies my attentions went to knitting, one of my very favorite things to do!

I knit a sweater for Colton, finishing it just weeks before his birth and I’m about to begin knitting a blanket for his first birthday. When my son & his wife announced that they were expecting a baby boy I decided to knit a blanket for him. Though I’ve been knitting since I was twelve, I’ve always chosen a pattern to follow. I have never tried  making my own design before. I started Henryk’s blanket from a pattern that I chose, but when I got to the middle section of the blanket,  I began getting different ideas about what I’d like to see in the middle of the blanket. I realized that I didn’t have to stay with that pattern , just because I’d started with it, I could actually do whatever I wanted to do with the blanket, and so I  ventured out to create my own design. I had a great time creating my own blanket. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would love to start knitting baby blankets for my shop; blankets that, like my dresses, would be my own designs & creations and would be, like all of my handsmocked & embroidered dresses, one-of-a-kind! It took a month to knit Henryk’s blanket, so I’m not expecting to be able to make many blankets, but when I can find the time to work on them, I would like to be able to have at least one for sale at all times. Knitting Henryk’s blanket really whet my appetite for knitting. With Christmas quickly approaching, I decided to knit scarves for gifts for family members this year. I enjoyed doing that so much that it wasn’t long before I found myself thinking that I’d like to be able to knit scarves to sell in my shop too.

While looking through knitting patterns I came across  a pattern for a toy, knit lamb that I thought was adorable, and so I knit one for Henryk based on the original “Fuzzy Mittens” pattern.He turned out so cute & while I was knitting him, my mind was racing ahead to different ideas & variations that I might make to this pattern. I am currently finishing one for Colton for his birthday, and then~ yep! I’d love to knit some more to have in my shop!

And so, the new year is going to bring lots of new items to my shop!  My handsmocked & embroidered dresses, were  joined last year by my photographic notecard sets as well as by a few, one- of -a- kind, hand-embroidered onezies . I recently added a new hand-embroidered  onezie outfit to the shop & this year and plan on adding more. As soon as I am able to knit them, I’m very excited to be adding several handknit items in 2011~ baby blankets, scarves, knit lambs~ and whatever else I feel like knitting!

And last, but definitely not least, I’ve resolved to make a very concerted effort to post in my blog no less than once a week. I know I have a bit of a dilemma here, in that everything I’m planning on making requires a substantial time commitment. I don’t yet know where or how I’m going to be able to find the time to do everything~ and that leads me to say that surely 2011 is going to be a year of challanges! I thought I’d add a few pictures of some of the knit things that I’ve mentioned here so you will have an idea of what kinds of things you can expect to be seeing in my shop over the coming year!

Here’s to a wonderful 2011 for everyone!


Cards ‘n Dresses ‘n This ‘n That

Sugar & Spice

Today, stormy- heavy winds and lots of rain~ perfect for staying in and working! After working on knitting a baby sweater and making and listing notecards for two months I finally feel ready to return to making dresses! I never intended to be away from sewing for so long, but I always seem to underestimate how much time something’s going to take. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. If I knew before starting how long  a project was going to take,  maybe I’d never start!

I’m not complaining. It wasn’t a bad two months. I have loved knitting for as long as I can remember. I find it very relaxing and enjoyed it even more because I was knitting it for my grandson, who’s birth will be sometime this week!  BabySweater

The notecards are a much newer project for me, as I began creating them just this past year.  I love photography and I love making the cards. It was very easy to spend that much time working on them. The hard part was pulling myself away~  but I love making hand- smocked & embroidered dresses, too, so it’s time to go back to dress-making,  but before I do, I’d love to give you a glimpse of a few of the photos you’ll find on the notecards I’ve completed.

I added a fourth collection of notecard sets that I’m excited to introduce. It’s titled, “This n That”and is simply an assortment of four photographic cards, tied together by theme, color, or in an obscure way. The photo above is from one of the cards in that new set. It is a photo of the artwork from the front of one of my handsmocked & embroidered dresses. It occurred to me that the scenes on my dress fronts would create very unique & fun notecards, and I’m pleased with the results.

Below are five more photos that appear on some of the cards just made. Each set is ooak and consists of a combination of 4 photographic blank cards. This represents just a small fraction of what you’ll find on Rabbit Whisker notecards.

Wh.Primrose copy ** Fall on the Pond Ducks 2

1 little bird ***

I hope you will come and enjoy looking through the different sets. A few of the sets have pictures of Pascal, some of which you may have seen in previous blog posts~

The wind outside is blowing sheets of rain against my windows, it’s steady beating reminding me that I still have lots of work to do, LOTS-  (no underestimating time here.) I’d like to be able to tell you a bit about the new dress,  but at this point, all that I know is that it’s going to be a size1. My next step is to go to the trunk where I store my fabric, and choose whichever appeals the most to me to be working on right now. Once my selection is made I’m hoping for an onslaught of design ideas. Other than knowing the size I’m going to make, the dress will be as much a surprise to me as it will be to you~  Hopefully by the next time I write I’ll be able to post a picture of a finished dress- or at least pictures of an, ” almost-finished dress- ” (if I’ve underestimated my time again!)

Long Sleeves!

FullB

I have just listed the first of my long-sleeved dresses in my etsy shop and on my website. Two posts ago I wrote that I had decided to add some long-sleeve dresses to my shop and I had just finished cutting this one out, so I’m very happy to say that it is now finished and in my shops ready to go to a party, school~  or wherever your little girl would wear a dress.                                                          IMG_0493

I’m pleased with the way that this dress turned out. It reminds me of something out of Hansel and Gretel; in fact, I can picture Gretel wearing this dress! The embroidered scene in the center could be straight from the forest where Hansel & Gretel dropped their trail of bread crumbs. I can picture them coming upon this forest stream where a mother goose is teaching her two goslings to swim, and stopping to watch for a minutes before continuing on their way to the gingerbread house~ The eyelet trim on the sleeve ruffles dress the dress up a bit as well as tie in with the fabric’s design and the white, heart-shaped buttons mimic the hearts in the fabric’s design.

The addition of long sleeves  I think, besides being more practical for colder days, changes the “look” of the dress a bit. To me, the shorter puffed sleeves give the dress a cute, poised kind of look while the longer sleeves seem more relaxed and “artsy.” I like both styles equally well, but I find it interesting that something so simple as a sleeve length can change the overall look of the dress. It will be fun to have two sleeve lengths to choose from in my shops. I’m just beginning to cut out my next long-sleeved dress. It will be a size 3 and will probably be available in about two weeks- the time it usually takes to make one dress-  I plan on doing several more dresses with long sleeves so that you will have a nice selection to choose from, so be sure to check back occasionally to see what’s new in the shop!

Nov. Flame Fall is my very favorite season, so I’m excited that it’s just around the corner. I’m looking forward to the end of the hot temperatures and dry hillsides and the arrival of cool, breezy but sunny days, and brilliant colors as far as the eye can see!

They’re Here!!

Tulip copy 2

Does this picture look familiar to you? You may already have seen it because it ‘s one of the photos that I’ve used in a set of four blank notecards that you can find in the new notecard section of my shop. For the longest time I have wanted to make my own notecards and I’ve finally begun! My love of photography was just the  motivation I needed to ignite the spark and set me off-

And set me off it did!! I spent about two weeks  working until 1,2 &3:00 A.M. putting the notecards together; not because I had to,  there was no great rush. I was having so much fun creating them that I lost all track of time and tightly wound myself into a  sort of,  creative cocoon!  I couldn’t,  (didn’t want to-) stop!

I wanted to group the cards so that they related to each other and could  be hung as a grouping on a wall, if one preferred to use them in that way. The concept being similar I would think,  to the one used in creating an Etsy treasury – (I’ve never tried creating a treasury, but I think this is the concept behind it~)

For the present, I’ve arranged my cards into three different series, each consisting of sets of four different notecards. The first series is called The Language of Flowers and consists obviously, of flower pictures or scenes; Whisper! copy like the tulip above, this rose photo is another example of the kinds of pictures you will find in this series, either in sets that are listed now, or sets that will be listed.

When I look at my photographs of flowers, they often look to me as if they are talking, which is the reason for the series being given this title- ( Between you and I, looking at the photo of the rose above, you see the hands cupped around a mouth, as if the rose is whispering some deep dark secret-  don’t you?)

I have only begun listing my sets. There are many, many more made, but not yet listed, so keep checking, because I will add new sets as these sell.

You can find my notecards listed in my website shop or in my etsy shop.  I’m really, really hoping that they will sell so that I’ll be able to continue making them, as I’ve become totally addicted to my camera and to the art of making note cards!  In my next post I ‘ll describe  what the other two series of cards I’ve created contain and show you a few examples of those~   here are a few more previews~        *****Baby Daffs. copy Embrace the Light copy

Say Baaaa!

“B”stands for Bark– and it also stands for “Baaa”~

Say Baaa

To Pascal and I the distinction is pretty clear, but you’d be surprised at how many people are surprised when Pascal “Barks” instead of “Baaas”-  Really!

Over the years, we have been asked so many funny questions~ If I could only get Pascal to say “Baaa” when we’re asked, it would be wonderful! I keep working on it, but so far, Pascal’s clinging to his  “Bark;”  loud and proud!

If only-   Here-  just the other day is a wonderful example of how perfect it would have been  had Pascal responded, “Baaa”-

We were driving home, ( Pascal buckled into his seat belt in the front passenger seat,)  and  stopped at a traffic light. My window was open just a crack; just enough for the nearby sound of laughter to slip in and grab my attention. Looking in the direction of the laughter,  I looked up into the truck that was stopped beside me. The woman next to the window was looking directly into my car at Pascal and I could see just the top of the driver’s head as she craned her neck amidst her laughter, to see over her passenger and into my car as well. I smiled, (their laughter making it impossible not to,) and the first woman motioned me to roll down my window . I did, knowing full well what was coming~

“Is that a lamb in the front seat with you?” she asked. They were still laughing, but I could tell they both were serious about their question.  As has happened so many times in the past, all of these deliciously fun answers began competing in my mind………. pick me! pick me! Just as I was about to tell “the big lie,” Pascal decided that he’d answer the question himself~  “Bark! Bark”   That made them laugh all the harder! “We thought you were driving around with a lamb in your front seat!”  The light turned green and we continued on our way,  their laughter echoing in my ears.09

I tried once again-  “Pascal, say Baaaa”-  He looked at me-  “Pascal,…… Baaa!”  I looked at him, he looked at me,………

“Bark!”

In my last post I mentioned that I intended to add notecards to my shop. I now want to officially announce that they are here!!! To begin with, I have two series of cards, the first is called The Language Of Flowers and contains sets of 4 blank, white notecards and envelopes, measuring 5.25″x 7.25″. Each card is mounted with a different, glossy, 4″ x 6″ photograph taken by me. Each card in a set is a different card, and each set differs from the other set, so be sure when you look,  to look at all four cards in the set. I have many more sets made up, waiting to be listed, so be sure to keep checking to see what I’ve added- This is the kind of picture you should expect to see in the series, The Language of Flowers~Standing Out in a Crowd

The second series is called Notes From Rabbit Whiskers. These notecards are basically the same as the first series, except for the subject of the photographs. To anyone who knows the handsmocked, hand-embroidered girl’s dresses that I make, these might seem a bit familiar~  and very unique!

The next series is one that I  haven’t composed yet, but will very soon, so keep looking! This series will have sets with photos of beautiful scenery!

I Love making these cards and can’t seem to stop. I’m very excited for you to see them, so please come and enjoy! They are listed in both my website, and my Etsy shop!!!

What…….Photos?……In a Dress Shop?

8928PinkSky So——What do you think, do you like it? Would you like to see more pictures like this, and what do you think these photos would look like on blank white notecards??? Hey—–these could even be framed and hung on the wall—–what do you think??? Thoughts like this have been going through my mind for months now. I had to find out-  to quench my curiousity!

In my last post I wrote that sometime in the near future I planned on adding a note card section to both my website and my etsy shop. And so I am!!!  I have been working on note cards until 1:00 A.M. for the past few weeks and I think I’m finally ready to list them in my shops!

In the past, every time I’ve posted flower photos in my blog people always comment on how much they like them. Now you’ll actually have the opportunity to buy them and own them yourself or give them as gifts to somebody special! Many of the photos are pictures of flowers,  but there will also be  photos of****Clearly Pink——– well, it’s a surprise! You’ll just have to come see!. I think they turned out great and I’m very excited for you to come see for yourself.

This has been such a fun project. I’ve  loved making the cards!!  (I always knew I would~)  They should be up in my shops in a day or two, so come by and take a look- I think you’ll like what you see-!8112HyacinthBlues

*****Dance in my Head copy

Good Things Happen!

Wake-up! It's Spring!Pascal and I just returned from our morning walk. We are still having beautiful spring-like weather. It’s really becoming convincing, even though I know better~  I’ve never known the end of January, beginning of Febuary, to be spring; not this early- at least not in northern Ca. It’s really making me anxious to go out and work in the garden!

I forgot to announce in my last blog, some good news! If you’ve been to my etsy shop or my website you may have already noticed~  I’ve decided because of the depressed state of the economy, that the $25.00 reduction in the price of each dress for my sale that began in December ’08 and  ran through the end of January, ’09 will remain indefinitely. The current prices reflect what will now be considered the regular price, rather than returning to the pre-Dec.sale amount.

The other wonderful news is that the CPSIA law that was supposed to become effective Feb. 10 has been given a one-year “stay” so that it can be further reviewed and necessary changes made before being put into effect. I am very hopeful that the focus will be on the source of the problem, lead in the paint of imported toys from China,  and possibly,  in some metals used in children’s jewelry. There is an excellent article in today’s  Etsy Storque giving all of the details of the ruling.

And finally, I mentioned in an earlier post, that I have discovered so many wonderful shops at Etsy that I would like to share with you, and I want to feature some of these shops and their items from time to time. So~ being the beautiful “spring” day that it is, NOW seems like a great time to get started!

In honor of the CPSIA law being granted a “stay,” and because those of us involved in handmade products for children want the very best and safest items for children, it seems fitting that I start by featuring some of the wonderful unique, one-of-a-kind products for children that are now available for you to buy because of the “stay” granted.

The first shop from Etsy that I’d like to feature is my friend’s,  NeedfulThingsofSalem shop. This shop has a wonderful variety of one-of-a-kind items ranging from hand-knit, and hand-crocheted, to sewn items, quilts, stuffed animals and many other fun items. I would particularly like to feature some of the beautiful  creations for babies in this shop.

One of my favorites is the beautiful crocheted baby blanket in white with baby-blue trim around its border. This would make a beautiful gift for a newborn baby and would be perfect for either a girl or boy. There is a cute pair of matching hand-crocheted booties that would make a lovely “pairing” with the blanket.

Another of my favorites for babies in the shop, also happens to be a blanket.  This blanket is totally different from the one I just mentioned,  and reflects the amazing and diverse skills of this artisan.  A hand-appliqued, Teddy Bears and Hearts, baby quilt, is created in beautiful, soft, pastel colors with a deeper blue border. To complete the baby’s room, there is a matching, hand-quilted wall hanging. Can’t you just picture these two in a baby’s room?

Among the other wonderful baby items that are my favorite, the following two, either individually, or as a set,  would make wonderful baby gifts. The first is an adorable, cuddly, stuffed, white bunny, just right for hugging! Either by themselves, or combined with the bunny, these delicate white booties made from Irish lace, would make a beautiful gift for a baby girl.

There are so many wonderful items to be found there, and a wide and reasonable price range;  treat  yourself to a fun shopping experience. Go explore the many handmade “treasures” of NeedfulThingsofSalem~  Enjoy!

CPSIA…. Think About the Children

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I love children too! I have two grandchildren of my own who I love dearly and want them to have the very best, illness- free lives, possible. I would be devastated if they were to get lead poisoning. I don’t think you could find anyone involved in the business of “handmade” who doesn’t want to see children protected from everything that could be hazardous to their lives. I don’t want children to get lead poisoning either. It must be stopped. But enforcing this law is not the way.

As the law now stands, it has the potential to create an infinite amount of hazardous avenues in our children’s lives. Think about it.  Thousands and thousands of shop owners and creators of handmade items for children will have to go out of business once this law is enacted because the vast majority of us cannot afford the exorbitant fees required to get each of our items individually tested. The children whose medical expenses, food, shelter, clothing, and other expenses necessary for a child’s support, are currently being met with income from their parent’s small business, will suddenly be left “out in the cold, “deprived of all   necessities.Income for the majority of small business owners, currently is used, at the very least, to supplement living expenses.For many, income from their “handmade” business is the sole source of support for the family.

Think of the thousands and thousands of children whose parents are suddenly going to find themselves jobless~ In today’s economy, their unemployment is not likely to change soon. How will these children be fed, clothed, have roofs over their heads, medicine, and all of the other things children need?

This well-intentioned law is going to backfire with disastrous results for our children! It HAS to be prevented from happening Feb.l0! In an effort to support the fight against this law, I phoned Congressman Dan Lungren’s office yesterday after reading on etsy that his aide was looking for stories about the impact the CPSIA is going to have on the lives of small business owners. I spoke to Alexandra who wanted our stories to give to Congressman Lungren so he can help  fight  this law when Congress meets.

Alexandra made the very good point that the this law was written in reaction to the lead found in children’s toys that were being imported from China. That is the problem that needs to be addressed. Restrictions need to be put perhaps, on children’s items imported from China, as opposed to every item a child under 12 might come into contact with. As she so well said, the CPSIA law is the equivalent of someone getting badly injured or killed in a car accident, and the government, in an effort to ban future car accidents, says that  all driving will be banned.

Please think about the impact this law is really going to have on children. Is this really what you think is the best way to solve the problem of lead in toys imported from China?  If you don’t want to witness the effects this law will have, not only on small business owners, but on our children then please help in our fight to prevent this laws enforcement. Write letters. Spread the word to everyone you know.

Do you know,  as of today, most people haven’t even heard of this law– yet it was passed a year ago—yet it’s scheduled to be enforced in a little over TWO weeks!!

Think of the children…………….

Grace&Sam,jpg