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second storie} indie market

If you’re going to be in the Rochester, NY area during the Thanksgiving weekend, stop by the Small Bird table at the Second Storie} Indie Market to say hi! It’s at the Visual Studies Workshop at 31 Prince Street on Saturday, November 28th (11am-6pm) and Sunday, November 29th (11am-4pm). Last year’s event was fantastic, and the artists who work behind the scenes have been busy making this year’s event even better. Check out the awesome vendor list…it’s a great opportunity to buy handmade for the holidays! Hope to see you there!

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.

hat fail

I started knitting Piper this summer. It was supposed to be a travel knitting project, but it was so much fun to knit that I had it nearly finished before I even left! But the closer I got to the end, the more doubtful I became in regard to this hat’s wearability. It took me forever to get around to blocking it. Because I was scared. Turns out, I was right.

My fears were realized. It’s wonky. The brim is a little too loose and the middle is a little too tight and the slouch isn’t as “slouchy” as it is “scrunchy.” And it doesn’t slouch/scrunch well on its own. I had to arrange…and arrange…and arrange the hat for the second photo. Not something you can grab as you’re running out the door, nor something you can trust to stay put and not leave you looking like a dork in public. And if you can’t trust your handknits, who can you trust?

I’ve definitely seen cute Pipers out there. This just ain’t one of ’em. It’s a shame because this hat has such great details like the cleverly constructed piping and the turned-under brim. Perhaps I should have knit the beanie version rather than the slouchy version, perhaps I should have double checked my gauge, perhaps I should have tried it on as I went. I do have to say that it was really a fun knit. I guess the other nice thing is that you never cut the main color, so that’ll make the yarn easier to reuse when I frog this thing. Drat.

living room

There are still quite a few things for me to do on my house (and the rest of the homeowners shout “well, DUH!”), but I actually have most of the rooms arranged and decorated to my satisfaction. The bulk of the work was done over the summer…morning, noon, and night…and I’m quite happy in my little nest. 

Here’s a “before” photo of my living room…

And the “after”…

I really didn’t do much except arrange (and rearrange…and rearrange…) my furniture and tchotchkes. I kept the taupey wall color, but I did paint the trim white to match the rest of the house. For some reason it was painted the color of gumwood. Which is definitely not the same as gumwood. At all. I incorporated a few vintage finds I’d collected from various garage sales and junk shops and Etsy sellers…

There’s a little nook on the other side of the room near the staircase…

My favorite part of the room is definitely the fireplace. It’s a gas insert, which I thought was incredibly cheeseball at first,  but as it turns out, I got used to that modern convenience right quick. Go figure. Now that the weather has cooled off, I’m SO enjoying knitting by the fire. 🙂

More pics on Flickr.

pre-shopping

I hate jumping into the holiday season too soon (and yes, it IS too soon!), but I also hate feeling stressed out by holiday shopping. This is about the time of year when I start casually picking up items here and there and tucking them away until it’s gift-giving time. It seems to makes things a little easier on the pocketbook, too.

I spent the whole weekend chained to my workbench (with a plan of attack this time) and did a big ol’ shop update yesterday and today!

mosaic2

This just happens to coincide with the opening of the latest Poppytalk Handmade Marketplace. This month’s theme is Indie Love. It’s meant to be a “pre-holiday” market, for those of us who make lists and plan ahead and all that nerdy stuff. There are also several more items ON SALE at  the Small Bird Outlet! This is a great time to grab some of those discontinued designs before they’re gone.

I’m really pleased with some of the new pieces I’ve made for the Small Bird shop, and really excited about some of the pieces I have planned…as soon as my new materials arrive…

new stuff, despite myself.

There are about 6 weeks left until the Second Storie Indie Market and I’m starting to realize that I need to git on it if I’m going to feel ready and not stressed out (as the little voice inside me says, “fat chance”). Real life tends to get in the way of the things I want to do. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way from time to time…or maybe all the time.  

I’ve had limited opportunity to work in my jewelry studio lately, and the last couple of times I’ve sat down at the workbench I feel like I’ve lost my jewelry mojo. I realized that I get really excited to get into the studio when I have a bunch of ideas swimming around in my head, but that I don’t actually wind up accomplishing much. I guess I’m too “type A” to work that way. I’m a list-maker. So I’ve been filling my sketchbook over the past few weeks with new designs and variations on designs and some half-baked ideas, as well. I know I won’t have time to complete everything I want to make before the indie market, but at least I have a plan of sorts. Or a general direction, at the very least. And the good stuff will get into the shop, eventually.

I’m working on incorporating more irregular shapes, new patterns, larger pieces, and maybe some color. In the meantime, I do have a few new pieces now available in the shop: 

Perseverance Necklace II

Perseverance Necklace II

Little Saucers Bracelet

Little Saucers Bracelet

Mark your calendars for the Second Storie Indie Market on November 28th and 29th in Rochester, NY!

back to work

Summer was busy with home improvement projects (some of which are finished and need to be blogged, some of which are still in progress), but back to school has meant back to knitting and back to jewelry making. One of the best things about my new house is that I have a proper jewelry studio in my basement. Having a dedicated studio (i.e. a place to make a mess!) has made such a difference in how I work. I acquired a couple new pieces of equipment that I previously didn’t have the space for, so I’m finally able to incorporate some techniques that I’ve been wanting to try for what feels like forever. I’ve got a sketchbook full of new designs, and I’m hoping to have several more new items before showing at the Second Storie Indie Market at the end of November! My new favorite is the Druzy Quartz Ring. It’s BIG. And really pretty, but not too pretty, if that makes sense. Look…

There are a few more new items already in the shop and more to come! If you want to keep up with new item listings you can subscribe to the Small Bird RSS feed, too!

Happy Autumn!

travel knitting

Soon I will be leaving behind all the house renovation/redecoration/remodeling to be with my family, by the water, for an entire week of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Now, I haven’t actually packed a thing, but I made good and sure that I had a few travel knitting projects ready to go.

The projects that I already had on the needles didn’t seem very vacation-friendly, so I decided to start a couple of new projects I had been eyeing for fall. I picked up a few hanks of good old Cascade 220 Heathers and cast on for Napoleon.  This vest seems to be one of those projects that has enough going on to keep the knitting interesting, but not so much going on that you wouldn’t actually want to wear it. I got quite a bit of the lower back completed and the tucks are just so cute. I’m kind of worried about the crochet edging (since I don’t crochet), but it doesn’t look like anything too, too complicated. I hope.

I always like to get my travel knitting started before leaving on a trip, just to make sure I have all the needles and notions that I need, and so I can look up those weird stitches that I always forget how to do, like that wacky “p2tog tbl” or something. So I also cast on for Piper…and now I can’t put it down! The construction is so clever and the piping is fantastic. I spent a lot of time looking for just the right color combination in the yarn shop. I usually play it pretty safe when choosing colors for projects, and I wanted to go a bit bolder with this hat. I was trying to decide between a couple of different color combinations when I spotted this beautiful aubergine heathered skein of Cascade 220. Nearby was the most delicious coral color. I put all the other yarn back and decided this color scheme would be absolutely perfect! For whatever reason I failed to recognize that the original pattern called for dark brown and orange. And I chose dark purple and coral. Yeeeaaah…I am SO creative.

As soon as I cast on for Napoleon I realized how long it has been since I spent some quality time with my knitting needles. I missed it more than I realized. Hopefully I’ll come home with some finished knits!

dining room progress…

The house is starting to come together. Some rooms are nearly finished, just waiting for a few tweaks here and there. The dining room, however, still needs more than just a little tweaking, but I couldn’t wait any longer to start getting it into shape. I just couldn’t look at this anymore:

Now, I look at this:

That unfinished wall is waiting for a sliding glass door which will lead to the back yard. But the light fixture has been changed, the furniture is arranged, and I couldn’t help putting some color on the other walls…

That particular soft aqua hue wasn’t easy to find. It’s Araucana Blue by Matha Stewart, in Behr paint. The bottom half is just primed. The other big project in this room will be to create wainscoting on the bottom half of the wall. But for now, even the white primer is better than that pink paint!

I still have to hang artwork, shelves, and curtains, but I’m happy with the way it’s turning out!

the “before”

In a previous post, I mentioned that I had purchased a house. Since then, I have closed, moved in, and started tearing the place apart…which is why it’s been so long since I blogged. It’s not that the house necessarily needs a lot of renovating…you know, if you’re into pink and flowered and striped wallpaper. Which I am not. For me, the best thing about owning a home is not the investment or the rite of passage or the not sharing walls with strangers. Although all those things are great, what I’m looking forward to most is creating a home that’s a reflection of myself.

Funny how you can fall in love with a place, knowing that you want to change nearly everything about it.

I started this process pretty much the day after I moved in.  I’ve changed light fixtures, arranged furniture, ripped down wallpaper and painted and painted and painted. Some rooms are coming along nicely, but none if them are quite finished enough for me to show “after” photos just yet.  So here are a few “before” pics of my new nest…

staircase

staircase

living room

living room

dining room

dining room

kitchen

kitchen

bedroom

bedroom

“After” photos are not far behind…I hope…