Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

stamp happy

My taste in jewelry usually leans toward the fairly simple side. But while I appreciate clean, modern shapes, I still like my jewelry to have a little…something. For a while, I have been using precious metal clay to create textures and patterns in silver, but recently I’ve been experimenting with metal stamps.  At first I used them to add just a bit of detail to accent a gemstone, then I tried creating clusters of stamps as texture, and finally began using them as the center of interest (in place of a gemstone) in several jewelry pieces.  I’m really liking the results…

I keep adding new shapes to my metal stamp collection and playing with different combinations, trying to discover the patterns that best suit my aesthetic. I’ve also found myself wanting to create larger, slightly more involved pieces, too. Not that anything I make is huge, by any means, but it’s been really satisfying to create some pieces that take a little more time, more material, more work. Because sometimes less is more…and sometimes more is more.

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new year, new shop!

I’m excited to announce that my brand new Small Bird Jewelry site is finally up and running! I’ve been working behind the scenes for a while, and I’m still doing a bit of tweaking here and there, but for the most part, things are good to go and the shop is open for business!

I’ve been selling on Etsy for close to two years, and my time there has been great. I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot, but after considering all the pros and cons, I felt that it was time to move forward. Just a bit. I’m reluctant and even a little sad to leave Etsy. It’s been Small Bird’s first and only home…I’m comfortable there…you know how to find me there…and there’s something rather nice about being part of the Etsy neighborhood. But I’ve already started moving items from the Etsy shop to the Small Bird shop, and soon www.smallbirdjewelry.com will be my new online home. I’m excited to have my own little piece of The Internets, but I’m kind of nervous–I feel like I’m moving to a place where I don’t really know anyone, so I do hope you’ll come visit me in my new digs! Be sure to update your bookmarks and subscribe to the Small Bird RSS feed to see the latest item listings.

I know that you guys–knitters and bloggers–have made up the vast majority of my customers, and I can’t thank you enough for your support and kind words and encouragement as I’ve attempted to grow my little jewelry business.

Happy New Year! I hope 2009 holds good things for you.

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post-christmas update

The handknit Christmas gift were a hit! BOTH pairs of socks fit (miracle) and both sisters loved the cowls. When my sister opened the Tapestry Cowl, she was initially disappointed…because she didn’t think it was handknit. Which is, of course, the very BEST compliment. 🙂

During my various Christmas family gatherings I found a little time to knit and actually finished the Spiral Cowl for myself. It was a quick, easy, enjoyable knit; just what I needed after my Christmas knitting mania. It’s intentionally knit a bit on the larger side, so that it can either be worn loose or gathered and buttoned around your neck. Luckily, I had one leather button leftover from the Chevron Cowl. I used 2 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in Oceanic Mix on size 6 needles. And I just love a picot edge.

Just a couple more pics on Flickr.

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Christmas finish line

I made it. This was the year I thought it really might not happen, but I finished the Christmas knitting.

I made another pair of Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays. I knit a pair for my brother-in-law, and this pair is for my dad. I used chunky yarn on size 9 needles, and followed the directions for the woman’s size. (Heh, don’t tell my dad I knit him girl socks!) Initially, I used the chunky yarn on size 9’s and knit the man’s size, but they were clearly too big, so I ripped almost an entire sock and reknit using the smaller size. This is the first time I’ve ever knit socks and actually, they knit up pretty quickly (Love you, chunky yarn!) but I’m still not sure how well they’re going to fit. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow morning!

Which leaves…(dramatic pause)…the Tapestry Cowl. My knitting nemesis. Oh, boy. I realized pretty early on that I may not necessarily enjoy knitting this pattern, but little did I know I would come to dislike it so. But I should clarify. I LOVE the pattern, I despised the knitting. I think the real issue is that I probably don’t enjoy colorwork in general…as much as I wish it weren’t true. So having to constantly focus all my attention on the double knitting chart was exhausting. It’s complex (which is what makes it so beautiful!) so I couldn’t take my eyes off of it or even let my mind wander for a second, lest I screw it all up and have to tink back. And really, I like to do most of my knitting in a state of semi-consciousness, eyes glued to some trashy reality tv show on Bravo. That’s just how I roll. So that’s one of the reasons that the Tapestry Cowl and I did not get along. But since I chose to knit this as a Christmas gift, having that deadline looming made it that much more frustrating. Yar. Now, if the pattern wasn’t absolutely exquisite, I may have quit halfway through. And if you already love colorwork and you get a kick out of impressing the commoners with your crazy knitting prowess, this is the pattern for you! I’m sure many knitters would find this pattern incredibly enjoyable. On that note, the double knitting itself? Well, that’s quite the little fancypants technique, that is! It is pretty cool to wind up with a reversible piece of fabric. So I was rather intrigued by the process (if only for a moment) and I did like using the Berocco Ultra Alpaca Fine, so…there’s that.

I hope I remember to take pictures of the handknit gifts in action…

Merry Christmas!

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no time to talk

Two more Christmas gifts DOWN!

I finished an entrelac scarf for my Nana. I love how pretty entrelac looks after it blocks. That’s all. More details on Ravelry.

…and Log Cabin Socks for my brother-in-law. If they look big, that’s because they are. I had to knit them to fit his size 13 feet. Size 13? Are you kidding me?? I almost ran out of yarn for crying out loud! And I still don’t know if they’ll actually fit. Anyway, more details on Ravelry.

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christmas present progress

I lined up seven projects for myself this Christmas. I now have three and a half done…hopefully I can make it four by tomorrow…? But I’m feeling kind of ok about my Christmas knitting list. Not great, but ok.

So, to my sisters, who poke around this blog every once in a while, and ESPECIALLY my middle sister, who totally used to snoop around for her Christmas gifts when she was little, please do NOT scroll down, because I am about to blog about your gifts. I mean it. Both of you. Just go to another web page. Seriously! GIT!

Ok, just in case my pesky sisters are still on this page, I’m going to give them one more chance to peace. out. and start by admitting that I bought a Christmas gift for myself. It took a little rationalization, but finally I couldn’t stand it any longer and I ordered the Namaste Newport knitting bag in “peacock.” I am always shoving different knitting projects into different sized totes, and…stuff falls out…and…(sigh)…ok, for real, I am just in LOVE with that color! I had to check several online retailers before I found one that had it in Peacock and now I can’t wait for it to get here! I think we will be the best of friends. 🙂

I am SO glad that cowls are SO “in” right now! They are The Best Thing to happen to Christmas knitting since…I don’t know what. It’s just such a great way to be able to give someone a really special handknit. They’re substantial enough to make a nice gift, but small enough that you can try out a fancy-pants stitch pattern or a fabulous yarn without killing yourself. Not that I necessarily went overboard on either…but you could, you see. Over Thanksgiving weekend I finished two Feather and Fan Cowls for two (non-sister) recipients. It was a free pattern from my LYS, and you can get the details on my Ravelry project page. I can’t decide what I love most about this project; that it took almost no time at all, that the feather and fan pattern is so gosh-darned pretty, or that this yarn is absolutely delicious. Each cowl uses one skein of Classic Elite Lush, which is an angora/wool blend and if you’ve never used it, I suggest you do. Heck, just buy a skein and snuggle your face into it! That’s even faster than knitting.

This week I finished cowl #3, Veronik Avery’s Chevron Neck Warmer. When I first started, I was kind of “meh” about it, but now that it’s finished, I. Want. It. This is for one of my no-good-dirty-rotten-nosy-scheming sisters (are you still reading this???) and I hope she loves it. I used about half a skein of Berocco Ultra Alpaca in “couscous” on size 5 needles and think I have enough yarn left to make another for myself! The cowl stretched out more than I thought it would when I blocked it, but I compensated by sewing the buttons a bit farther in from the edge. I think it will be ok. And if/when I make another I will definitely be getting more of the same buttons. They’re really nothing too special—I found them at JoAnn!—but I just love the way that dark leather looks against the natural colored yarn with the chevron pattern. I’m pretty happy with this gift. Hopefully I will remember to take action shots of the neck warmer warming my sister’s neck and post them after Christmas. For now, more sedentary shots of the cowl than anyone probably cares to see…

The one gift I’m worried about finishing is the Tapestry Cowl. It’s still only about a third of the way done, and I’m SO slow at it. Which makes me procrastinate. Which is obviously not a good combination. So I guess I should go work on some socks now…

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how to throw an indie craft show

I had such a great time as a vendor at the Second Storie} Indie Market this weekend! The women in charge (Shanna, Rachael, Cris, JoAnn, and Karen) are fabulous. I’ve never seen craft show coordinators go out of their way like this to see to it that the vendors were so well taken care of. Everything from simply providing tables and linens, all the way to having an incredible brunch catered on Sunday morning, truly made you feel like you were a valued part of the event. I thought the variety of vendors was very well-chosen. There were several vendors selling the same type of product, but each had its own unique aesthetic. Since there wasn’t much overlap in product, there wasn’t the slightest air of competition. I certainly felt honored to be accepted amongst such fantastic artists and craftspeople.

Every single vendor I met was not only incredibly kind, but also incredibly generous with both compliments and advice. Everyone was very supportive of each other’s work and the warm fuzzies were flying, but it was also a great opportunity for sharing information on materials, suppliers, techniques, displays…you name it. Lucky me; my table was back-to-back with Amber Mahler, who makes probably–no, definitely–the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen. And she might be the sweetest person I’ve ever met, so be sure to take a peek at her shop!

The experience seemed very positive for shoppers, as well. Seemingly small details such as background music, complimentary coffee and hot cider, and a few sofas scattered around, encouraged people to actually spend some time at the event. Rather than buying and leaving, people were taking a few minutes to sit, relax, and mingle with other shoppers between making their purchases. Speaking of purchases, my aunt bought a print from Freshly Blended Press, I helped a friend pick out a set of three prints from Sarah Ahearn, and I was able to snag some lovely, funky little paper journals from Mackenzie Sasser, as well as an ornament and some printed gift tags from Shanna Murray and Hello Handmade.

Not only was it nice to make some sales and talk with the buyers, it was great to meet and hang out with other crafters. I’m so glad to have joined up with the Second Storie} family and I can’t wait to see how they grow.

I only got this one photo (give yourself 10 points if you spotted the handknit!), but you can see more photos of the event on Freshly Blended’s Flickr set!

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give it away, now!

I was so excited to find out that I won this giveaway on Indie Fixx last week! Rowena of Red Ruby Rose contacted me and simply asked which clutch was my favorite. 🙂 I chose the Aqua Pods design, and I can NOT wait to see it! Obviously, I’m going to need new shoes, now. There are so many gorgeous bags in this shop, and Rowena seems like an incredibly sweet person. I suggest you hop over to her shop, pronto!

Speaking of giveaways…there’s going to be a Small Bird giveaway on My Favorite Things this week! Molly contacted me a while ago, and I finally decided it was time to do a little shop promotion out there in blog land. I chose to give away the Cave Earrings, since I think they rather epitomize the Small Bird style, and are simple enough to appeal to a variety of people. If they don’t really appeal to you, but something else in my shop does, there should also be a free shipping code (good through the month of December) in the sidebar near my Small Bird logo. So be sure to check out the My Favorite Things blog this week! …the giveaway starts on Tuesday, I believe.

And speaking of shopping, I’m sure many of you have started your holiday shopping, and some of you have probably taken the Handmade Pledge! Well, I’m not going to pledge to buy exclusively handmade this holiday season (what can I say? I just love H&M too much), but heck, I’ve been giving “handmade for the holidays” long before there was ever a pledge to take!! So if you can, why not make your own gifts, or get out there and support your local artists and craftspeople and small business owners and favorite Etsy shops? It does a lot of good.

So then since we’re speaking of Etsy shops, I now have Small Bird gift cards available in my shop! A printed gift card will be mailed to you, looking all cute in it’s little brown paper envelope, ready and waiting to be stuffed into a stocking, or your coworker’s mailbox, or tucked into the branches of the Christmas tree, like my family does. 🙂

The Second Storie} Indie Market was wonderful!! More to come on all that handmade goodness…

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second storie} indie market

Be there or be square, kids.

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holiday knitting is ON

I finally made some concrete decisions regarding my Christmas Knit List and I’m putting the plan into action! Assemblage is taking a seat in the “way back” for now. Jewelry making has been taking up the vast majority of my free time, and suddenly I realized that I probably started my holiday knitting too late. My late start pretty much eliminated the idea of knitting a sweater for anyone…not that I was really jazzed to attempt another sweater for a family member anyway. So I had to choose some smaller projects.

What do you knit for Dad after you’ve already knit for him two ill-fitting hats, a really gigantic sweater, coffee cozies that he actually likes, and thrummed mittens that he refuses to wear because he thinks they’re “too nice”? The answer is, clearly, socks. The problem is that I don’t knit socks. Or, rather, I haven’t knit socks. Ever. I’ve had half a Jaywalker sitting at the bottom of my knitting basket for what I think must be years by now. I’ve just never been able to get into it. But socks were so obviously the solution to my Dad Gift Dilemma, that I decided I had to try again. I’ve always liked the Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays, but the size only goes up to a men’s 8.5! I needed a 9.5-10. So I decided to knit the pattern as is, using larger needles and yarn and hope for the best. (Stop laughing.) I had trouble finding the perfect combination of color (something heathered and natural looking), care instructions (machine washable, since he’d never wear them if they weren’t!), and gauge (chunky). So I settled on Plymouth Encore Chunky, which contains…acrylic. Yipe. Being so unsure of my sock knitting skills, I was hesitant to spend more for even a superwash yarn if I was just going to wind up tossing the whole project anyway. Yes, of COURSE I’m regretting it now! (Stop laughing). You told me so. I know, I know. But they’re actually looking nice and I think they might even be the right size and I’m fairly certain my dad will love them and positive that I’m knitting another pair for my brother-in-law.

(Know what? Sock knitting is kind of fun. No, I’m not crossing over to the dark side yet. But I am on my tippy toes peeking over the wall wondering what else you guys are knitting over there.)

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