New Items?

My Etsy shop has been in a sad state lately. I've been letting it go pretty badly since the semester started, so it's my goal to beef it up again this week. I've also been toying with the idea of starting a second shop for my jewelry, so the yarn and the jewelry are separated, but I'm not sure yet.
As if that's not enough to think about, I'm also starting some wood-burnings for fun. Who knows were that is going to go- hah- maybe I need to start doing some craft fairs....
Here is one of them, and I've got six more ready to be drawn on. Also, I went to the thrift store a couple of days ago and hit the jackpot. I got all this for $10!I got:
- 2 new scarves from Target
- A jacket and a tank top from Target
- A pretty glittery headband
- A new long-sleeve shirt and
sweater from Old Navy
In the fiber realm, I've spun three new yarns this week, and this is my favorite. It is super bumpy and bulky merino plied with a orange wool yarn. It is super squishy!
I've also started brainstorming for my EcoArt Project, and I'm really excited to get started on it. I'm going back and forth between doing a project involving handmade recycled clothing, or handmade recycled bags. Either way, I'll be trying to take a positive angle on consumption, and the encouragement of smart consumption.
But more on that when I'm further along with the project. :)

Rings and Things

Nate and I celebrated Valentines day the weekend after valentines in Chicago. You can read about it at his blog here. I am bringing this up so that I can show you the lovely ring he got for me! It is made from an antique spoon, and sized to fit. I really love it!
If you want to get your own, you should go to LTCreatesJewelry's website on Etsy.
I'm also in love with the watches :)
Today I got a chance to go to the thrift store between classes, and got a bunch of great clothes.
Other than a little fun, there has been a LOT of painting going on here:
This painting is still in progress, I've probably got about 6-7 hours to go on it.
I've also been working on some oil paintings. I have two done and one in progress as of now. Thats about it for now, I'm exhausted and its only Tuesday! Yikes!

Getting Back in the Groove

We had the week off from classes, so I tried my best to get some of the things that have been piling up on my back burner out of the way. Also, Jacki came down for a visit. It was a pretty chill visit, she had a job interview here, and we went out for Thai food and did a little shopping. It was a good time, and I brought my camera, but still somehow failed to take pictures. I did however take pictures from a couple weeks ago when our good friends came down for Nate's birthday. It was so nice to catch up with our Oshkosh friends, we've been missing them!
We've had a busy last few weeks around here, and I've still managed to be somewhat productive. Here are a couple of projects I've recently finished (or gotten around to taking pictures of). The first is a baby blanket for Nate's cousin's new baby boy Jeremy.This is a hat I made for my sister that is on the way to her in the mail. It is super soft and cozy and I love the yarn. It is Farmhouse Yarns lumpy bumpy yarn. Can you find the naughty kitten?I wanted to thank all of you who replied to my last post and who e-mailed me, we are doing a lot better here. Classes start back up again tomorrow, and I hope with that the healing process will begin for our campus. I hope you all are doing well too.
:)
Yesterday was a completely shocking day to say the least. I went to work in the art office, considered going to the library to do some research for my art history class, and decided to go home early because Nate had the day off from work. Soon after I got home from class, Nate's dad called asking if we were alright.
There had been a shooting on campus, and 6 people were killed and 12 injured.
We were and are still in a state of shock.
We are both safe, and are really thankful no one we know was hurt or killed. But at the same time we are both grappling with how this could have happened.
It was so surreal to see our campus on the news all evening. It just didn't seem like it actually happened.
We live right near the hospital, and could hear the helicopters transporting people out of the hospital. It was all very chilling.
This is just beginning to set in, and with the reality of this comes the healing process. I have faith that we can bounce back, and I have to say that as a NIU student, I feel proud of the way the school handled the situation.
I'm sure we'll learn more and more as time goes on, but for now, lets keep those directly involved with this terrible shooting in our thoughts and prayers.
(Image from the Associated Press)

Some Happy Little Moments

Yesterday someone asked me why I sell things on Etsy. We were having a conversation about how much I actually make for my time, and I told her it is probably a little bit over minimum wage. She was kind of confused as to why I would keep doing it if it didn't "pay well."
I responded that it pays in other ways. First of all, there is no stress involved, I can do it on my own time, and I really do enjoy the creative process. Secondly, I just love the personal connections that Etsy (and selling handmade goods in general) brings about. I've had many customers who've e-mailed me after receiving items to tell me what they are going to do with them, or just to say that they loved what they got. I've also bought a few things over Etsy that I truly adore, and not just for their worth, but for the connections they have given me to others. Lastly, I've always been a great advocate of doing what you love no matter how hard it is. I sometimes ask the question to others: Is it really work if you are doing what you love and getting paid for it?
I've had two customers that have recently sent me some much appreciated love, and I wanted to share their stories with you. First there is Grace, from Uncommon Grace, and she recently purchased some yarn from my shop. A short while after she had purchased the yarn, she posted some pictures of her finished project on her blog. If this doesn't brighten your day, I don't know what would!
(Photo by Uncommon Grace)
What a cutie! And what a wonderful hat!
Her blog's name is very fitting to her personality, thanks Grace!!
This leads us to the second customer who has also been so very kind. Stephanie had recently ordered a skein of yarn from my Etsy site, and a few days after she got the yarn in the mail, she sent me this message:

"Hello my Illinois friend,

I received the yarn and I wanted to tell you a little story.

When it first arrived, I hadn't noticed the yardage in the listing and thought "what can I do with this?" it didn't seem enough for a scarf and I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to use it. Then, this Monday, our oldest dog became quite ill. Her name was Sophie, a shiba inu, that was really my son Nicholas' dog. She was 11 and had been doing poorly for some time. We had to have her put to sleep that night, and I haven't seen my big young man cry like that since he had been a little boy.

I don't know why, but I found myself drawn to your beautiful yarn. I picked it up and just started knitting. It gave my hands something to do. And I found myself knitting a hat for Nicholas. My first hat. From a free pattern on the web shared by a Mark Thrailkill in London. He writes "feel free to distribute [the pattern], copy it, profit from it, learn from it, discard it, and/or share it. pah! on copyrights, they keep loved ones warm!" So, Mark Thrailkill from London taught me how to make a hat with your beautiful yarn.

It's almost finished, and while not perfect, it is lovely. I am going to sew a label for it "XOXO, Sophie." To keep Nicholas' noggin warm. I just thought you might like to know what happened to your yarn once it left your hands.

Just had to write,

Stephanie"

I has some serious tears in my eyes after reading that one. I think it has a lot to do with my having pets for the first time, and the sheer sweetness in Stephanie's willingness to share with me the story of her hat. She was also kind enough to send some pictures of the hat she made. Isn't it beautiful! And it was her first hat!
(Photos by Stephanie with help from Nicholas)

And here is the shot that will make your eyes tear up:
Thank you Grace and Stephanie for your kindness.
Crafting has become more and more of a way for me to connect with others, and I feel as if I am a part of a meaningful "chain" of creativity. I love it when something I do inspires someone else to try something new, or create something they may not have thought they could do.

Sorry for the wordy post, I'll leave you all with a picture of Rascal, who loves to be naughty, can you tell? :)