Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giveaway Winner Is ME!

Wow, well it must be my year, because i have had another wonderful thing happen to me! I am the winner of the "Quit Your Day Job" giveaway on JL Stephens Couture blog!

Jen, a.k.a. Jstephens13, of JL Stephen's Couture was featured in an Etsy Storque blogpost. Jen's story is an inspiring one! She quit her day job to be home with her new baby. She supports the family through her Etsy sales! Read the etsy storque article that tells Jen's story.

Don't miss her Etsy store! Great handmade original bags of all kinds, as well as funky fun jewelry!

Wow, thanks, Jen, for the giveaway! And thanks for your very inspiring story!

Wishing Stones

A blog by Kristin Malotte features my Beach Treasure Pouches this week. A lovely post about Wishing Stones...everyone should have a wishing stone, don't you think? Don't miss her etsy shop either, lovely jewelry!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Using the ranomizer, the winner of the latest horsehair basket giveaway has been determined...comment #46. Barb from Congratulations Barb! Stay tuned for another great giveaway!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Consider This Your Invitation

If you are in the vicinity of
Durango, CO, next friday,
please consider attending the

Opening Reception
of the

Fiber Celebrated 2009
Juried Exhibition.
Friday, July 31, 2009,
7 - 9pm
exhibit open until
September 21.
The exhibit is at the
Center of Southwest Studies
1000 Rim Drive
Durango, CO

If you can only go on the weekend, there are special hours August 1 -2, from 11 am - 4pm.

One of the two pieces of mine in the exhibit is shown on this postcard that announced the exhibit. Can you spot which one? To see if you are right, and to see my other work that is included in the show, see my Facebook Fan Page.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

World Crafts Council of North America on the WWW

The World Crafts Council of North America's new website has gone live! The World Crafts Council was founded as an International non-profit, non-governmental organization with UNESCO(the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization .) They assist in international cultural exchanges about crafts and crafts people. Their main objective is to strengthen the status of crafts as a vital part of cultural and economic life, and to promote fellowship among craftspeople of the world. The new website includes Museums Featuring Crafts, Professional Schools of Crafts & Craft Centers, Professional Councils & Guilds, and a Photo Gallery of Crafts.

I am very pleased and proud to have been invited to be listed as a craftsperson on the World Crafts Council website in their Photo Gallery. You will find my listing under the heading Fiber Arts, in the United States.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Beach Treasure Pouch is in a Gift Guide!

Over at Etsy, they are in full swing for summer. I posted a few days ago about being in a voter poll.

The Best of the Beach Bums is where they announced the winner of the beach contest. Congratulations, ladramaqueen! She received 207 votes on her lovely handmade, vintage-inspired swimsuit.

My entry, the Beach Treasure Pouch, received only 46 votes. Thanks to everyone who voted for me! Thanks to you all, they have chosen it to be included in their gift guide: The "Member's Choice" Guide. It is the very first entry, they chose the refreshing mint green pouch for their layout.

So, still planning a trip to the beach? If you check my Etsy Shop, you will find a whole rainbow of woven Beach Treasure Pouches to choose from. And I can make them custom, as well!

Happy Beachcombing!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Giveaway!

This money I am again giving away a horsehair basket. You can find the particulars in the Etsy Treasury Team Blog. (Thanks to Sandie, Etteam blogmistress who does such a lovely job of keeping up our blog!)

The Etsy Treasury Team is a great group of people on Etsy who make focus pages called Treasuries...sometimes the pages have a theme to them (like The Three Little Pigs or Summer Fun) and sometimes the Treasury page is a lovely composition of harmoniously-colored items, and sometimes it is just a great collection of fun stuff! Treasuries are a great way to find wonderful items on Etsy, but also something of an art form.

Sometime take alook at the two Esty Treasuries: Main Treasury and Treasury West and see what I mean. The Etsy Treasury Team's Treasuries are listed in their Update Thread (start at the LAST page for up-to-date treasuries, they expire in a few days!) on the Etsy Forums.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Basket Vacation Last Entry

On the last day of my vacation this year, some of the local weavers from the basket guild (Basketweavers Guild of Bedford County) came over, and we worked with some waxed linen to make little necklaces. It was a fun project, and I hope next year maybe they will come over sooner so we can weave more together! Here are some of the little waxed linen projects I started, so I could show them some waxed linen tips.

Well, that’s about it for the vacation photos...’til next year!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Close to the end of our stay, I noticed a hummingbird casing out my baskets. She really stayed around a long time, and then sat up in the tree that shades my weaving area and tittered at me. I guess I was dense. She was accustomed to some of the old visitors putting out a feeder. But we didn’t have one.

Not to disappoint her, I made one, and here it is! I used an empty bubble container, drilled a hole in the cap, and covered it with red duct tape. Then I looped a waxed linen net around the bottle and filled it with sugar water.

It did not take her long at all to find it, and she sipped til we left…We did have to keep tipping the bottle up so she could reach the juice. What fun!

Next year, I will be sure to put it out right away, now that I know she comes around looking. I wish I could have caught a pic of her sipping, but she was a little shy. But I did catch a much slower fella eating….

This little guy was enjoying a big mushroom in the front yard of the farmhouse…geesh, I never knew that was what a slugfest looked like! He really did a number on this mushroom. I love mushrooms, too. Don’t blame him a bit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have to interrupt my basket vacation pictures and story to tell you about the Etsy voting page i am featured on right now.

One of my little beach treasure pouches is featured in a competition on etsy where users vote for their favorite item. YOU can vote for whoever you want...maybe you'll vote for me?

These little pouches are hand-woven using a very ancient technique, and are great to wear 'round your neck wi
th treasures in them. I featured one i made on vacation just the other day in another blog post.

The original pouch featured in the competition has already sold (thanks, Cathy,) but other, very similar pouches are for sale in my etsy shop, in assorted colors. They can even be made custom!

The winner of the competition will be featured in an article on etsy about beach goods. Thanks a bunch!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Basket Vacation, part 5: Looping

Other weaving projects from my trip to PA:

Each year I find a smooth creek stone to weave round. My kids usually like to walk to the edge of the property, then down to the creek. We walk IN the creek all the way back to the farmhouse. It is a lovely way to cool down, and the dogs love it, too.

This year I used hemp and made a little drawstring pouch to wear, with my creek stone inside. I also wove a little pouch to keep my digital camera in while I was wading down the creek!

Just so everything wouldn’t be perfect, our water pump went out the first day there. It was 45 years old, so I suppose we could hardly complain. We were 4 days without running water. Thank goodness for the creek! At least we could haul water for flushing toilets.

In the very prolonged and filthy process of locating the water pump (buried in the muddy front yard,) my husband found an exquisite little glass bottle, which he presented to me. I'm sure it is very old. What a lovely little treasure! I immediately looped it so I could wear as a flower vase.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Basket Vacation, part 4: Grapevine

Every once in awhile, my husband comes up with something he thinks I should be able to weave.

This was a bunch of grapevine that was on some trees he cut down. Wow, should I use it or not? What a tote it was to get this back out of the field, across the swinging bridge, all the way up the hill to the weaving tree! I guess I had better use it.

I like grapevine in NC, but in PA, it is different. It dies back in the winter, is best cut in the fall. Again, I am only there in the summer. The young growth is snappy, green, and unusable. The old growth is brittle and not very flexible. The useable pieces are large. The best thing about them is the exfoliating bark, which is a rich milk chocolate color. I collect a bunch of bark every year, and have coiled with it, working on plaiting with it.

But what to do with the vine itself? I have used it for rib basket framework and ribs…but found I had to spin cordage to weave the rest of the basket, as there is nothing flexible enough to use for weavers. I have also used it in large wicker baskets, but they require more material than I was able to collect this year.

So, I made a big random weave garden pod. These are fun to make part of the landscape. I ended up leaving this one for my cousin, and I think she will like it in her natural yard. It is big enough that her children or dog may even like to hide in it! They look especially great when planted next to climbing plants.

This pod also contains some smilax (greenbriar,) Virginia Creeper, honeysuckle, and pieces of Autumn olive I had left over from the other baskets…it is something of a “use up the ends” sort of basket. I worked on it over the course of the week, you probably caught a glimpse of it in day 2’s post.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Basket Vacation, part 3: Insects

One of the things I have to be prepared for on this trip is insects. Boy, do they love me! In NC, it is mostly mosquitoes, ticks and in May/June biting flies, but then they are gone. In PA, there are also all sorts of gnats and little sweat bees that don’t seem to hurt anyone else – but they love me. They sting or bite or whatever it is they do, and usually on my ears or neck. So you will see me all covered up, even in the heat, and with a bandanna wrapped around my ears. What a pain! One thing that really seems to help keep them away is Florida Special Insect repellent. It is a great product I order online, from . Made from natural ingredients, it has a strong fresh scent, and even helps to sooth bites that have already occurred. You should try it, it is great!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Basket Vacation, Part 2: Autumn Olive

Here is the Autumn Olive, Eleaganus augustifolia, basket i said i would talk about in my last post. I know it is crude, but i am pretty proud of it.

This fast-growing shrub quickly invades open areas and is considered a nuisance by property owners.I began playing with weaving autumn olive in 2002. My first attempts were dismal. My previous collecting/ weaving experience was limited to vines, and I found the Autumn Olive inflexible by comparison. I also could not deal with the extreme taper of the branches.In the interim years, I am beginning to understand what parts of the plant to harvest and how to use it.

I am thinking it probably should be managed and handled like willow. Since I have never had a willow basket class, I am pretty much flying by the seat of my pants, here. Usually I bring a book on vacation for ideas on how to handle this very tough plant, but this year I forgot to bring one! Oh well, time to test my memory and creativity!

I have been cutting the one-year old growth and trying to go back to the same places each year, to make withes to weave with. Problem is, I am there in the summer. They are supposed to be cut in the fall. But I have no real option. I also am cutting some new growth to have something to weave in the tight spots. Here you see me carrying it on my head, down to the creek to soak in order to make the border. I usually weight it down with rocks and leave it most of the day, or overnight.

This came out pretty well for a “garden basket,” which is all I have ever figured out to do with them….. This is a process- focused thing for me, the act of making the basket, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, the soothing repetitiveness of the weaving, interspersed with the challenges, is very recreational.

Here are some photos of some of my previous years’ attempts at using autumn olive.

When I come home, I put them out in the garden, and they keep for a few years, anyway…

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back from a Basket Vacation Retreat!

Well, just home from my annual trip to PA – my wild basket retreat each year. It is a family-owned farm, and my goal is to make baskets with what I find there. Yes, I bring a little other “stuff” just to make sure I have weaving material, but most of the time I weave whatever I can find in the woods.

Here I am the first day, collecting. This is just honeysuckle. By now, I have scoped out most of the open areas, but there is still woodland and a lot of tangled briars that I need to bushwhack through to say I really know what is there. That multiflora rose, mixed with black raspberries and smilax is a tough combination! Hence my surplus US Marine camophlage pants…they can take it pretty well. This is a pretty dramatic contrast to the dresses and skirts i wear at home every day. I wear pants so infrequently, the dogs get excited when they see me wearing them - they know it means i am going collecting!

And here are some honeysuckle baskets that I made throughout the week. Since I am working the honeysuckle green, it has a lot of shedding bark, and is somewhat brittle. But it makes a lovely little rustic basket.
Traditionally, honeysuckle is dried, then boiled and “skinned” to make it very white and flexible. No time for that, though.

I generally average about a basket a day. This year, I gave one small one away, not shown here. Otherwise, this is my yield for the week. Some are started with cordage made from honeysuckle bark and grasses. (Actually, the big one is back is Autumn Olive, but I will tell you about that in another post!)

In this last pic you can see the pond below the farmhouse and the swing...what a lovely, peaceful place! Come back to read more about my vacation later!