Monday, September 28, 2009

Nice Nasturtiums

It's an absolutely beautiful day here in western MA. There's a nice breeze and a warm shining sun. Our fall bearing raspberry canes are finally bearing ruby gem gifts! Although the nasturtiums in my garden are beginning to come to their end, they've been a bold and colorful blessing upon our summer salads. I took a few pictures of them a few weeks back when they were in their prime...I hope you've been enjoying the outdoors as the warm season winds down. Get out there and take it all in while you can!

Have a great week!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Karen's Picks :: Vol. 10 :: Trick-or-Treat

Halloween could quite possibly be my favorite celebration of the year! I love getting dressed up and decorating the place. A few years back, my Love and I went crazy decorating and preparing the yard for trick-or-treaters. We even created a small cemetary. Our front door was on the side of the house so candy seekers needed to come into the yard and come down our walkway. We rigged up a line that ran from a second story window, over the walkway, and down into the yard. Then we hooked up a pulley and attached a ghost that I made. When people wandered into our yard for candy, my Love would let the ghost fly down the line over the heads of our unsuspecting guests. I think we scared more of the parents who stood back and waited; the kids were so distracted by the prospect of sugar that many of them never even noticed the spirit flying over head. Sadly, now that we live way out in the woods, we don't get any trick-or-treaters. But that only means that we need to take the party elsewhere!This week's 'Karen's Picks' highlights some of the wonderfully spooky and creative halloween offerings of Etsy. I hope you're inspired to go big this year!

These earrings are delightfully dreadful;they would be a great accessory for a witch costume! (I've had the same witch dress (pictured above) for at least 20 years... it's my default costume when I don't come up with something else). By cheryloz, $12.I have fond memories of Burt and Ernie. They're such genuine friends! This is a great costume for the little tyke who is easily frightened... it's soft and friendly! Burt is available too! By NotTheKitchenSink, $20.I'm glad that we have a holiday that honors bats. The recent outbreak of White Nose Syndrome in bats is both sad and scary... our ecosystem is so delicate and intricate. We need bats to eat bugs like misquitoes! Anywho, this necklace is adorable and worth wearing all year. You can by one from SoStrawberry, $6.50.When I set out to find some spooky treats for you this morning, I had no idea that I would find something so extravagent and spectacular! This would be AWESOME to have at your home fright-fest! It even closes up! I want one! By VonErickson, $3,500.
Did you know you can get makeup on Etsy? This stuff is vegan, chemical free, and never tested on animals. It's the Twilight Character Makeup Kit and comes with a pot of Twilight foundation (to give you a pale, vampire-ish look), Karmic Red shadow, Black Steel shadow, a Baby Kabuki application brush, and an apple flavored lip balm in deep red; a complete set for all your ghoulish needs! By pinkquartzminerals, $30.
I'm absolutely in love with this little guy! He makes me melt. By zparkleys, $45.I've had my eye on this shop for a long time. The Mary Janes that this girl embelishes are incredible. I want a pair. So cute and unique. These ones are perfect for the Halloween season! By emandsprout, $24.
If you're going to go trick-or-treating, you'll need a bag to carry all your treats in! The transluscent ghost on this one is especially spooky! By eminandems, $15.Pumpkins are great decor for not only Halloween, but also Thanksgiving. These needle-felted gems are bold and vibrant and are the perfect accent for your home or office! By Tutuki, $18.
Spiders are the architects of the underworld! Set the mood with these hand engraved Web Candle Holders by daydreemdesigns, $14.
Happy Friday to you! Enjoy your weekend and don't foget to start planning out your costume!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Don't Want stART to Stop...

This weekend's stART On The Street festival in Worcester, MA was fantastic! No one could have asked for more perfect weather... It was crystal blue skies all day and a comfortable 70 degrees. There was roughly 250 vendors and a whopping 30,000 attendees!
I got to meet lots of friendly shoppers and had a lot of great conversations with people. The energy was high and the place was packed. And to top it off, I had great sales!I've decided that the best part about making wallets is that people who have formerly purchased them like to pull them out of their bag and show them to me. I love seeing my work in action! One lady was kind enough to step into my booth and exclaim, "Buy her wallets; this is the best one I've ever spent my money on!" as she waived her's through the air. This not only made my day, it made my year! (If you're out there reading this, Thank you; you're the best!)

Another great aspect of the day was having the opportunity to meet some of the vendors. The vendors right around me were all awesome. I bought an original drawing from my neighbor to the back, Erik Nasinnyk. I love it and am now just trying to figure out where I should hang it. I was quite pleased to have Dawn from SleyTheDent stop by and introduce herself. I also got to meet Liz of MadeInLowell which was a treat. It's nice to have the opportunity to meet others who play a similar game of Life as you. I wish there was more time for it at these types of events.

It will take a while for the glow from this weekend to wear off. It's days like Sunday that keep you going when times are tough. It's not just the boost in sales; it's the feedback, the dialog, and the relationships that you build with the people who are directly supporting you and their community. Hooray for shopping local and shopping handmade! I can't wait 'til next year!

These are a few of the human tape sculptures that were made as part of the 'stART In Motion' theme for this year's event. I snapped a few pictures at the end of the day when I went to retrieve my car... needless to say, the lighting isn't great... but you get the idea.

Happy Autumn to you! Enjoy your week!

Friday, September 18, 2009

stART Treasury

I am frantically running around trying to get ready to leave for Worcester for the weekend. There is always so much to do to get ready for a big show! Luckily, the weather forecast looks great... upper 60's to lower 70's with no chance of rain... perfect for a fall street festival!

A few weeks back Dawn, from SleyTheDent.etsy.com, made a treasury on Etsy that was composed of things you may find at 'stART On The Street'. If you didn't get a chance to check out the treasury when it was live on the web, here it is for you now! I thought I would post it today to show off more of the wonderful items you'll be able to find this weekend.
Remember, stART On The Street, Sunday, September 20, 11-5, Park Ave, Worcester, MA, Be there, or be Square.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Karen's Picks :: Vol. 9 :: stART On The Street 2009

This Sunday, September 20th, is stART On The Street in Worcester, MA. It's one of my favorite shows of the year! This is a HUGE event that offers a little something for everyone. There are roughly 250 vendors from all over New England that will be hawking their handmade wears along Park Ave. You can also expect live music, street performances, kid's activities, and local restaurants serving up the good eats. The festivities run from 11am to 5pm... get there early to make all the rounds... there is tons to see and do! The event is FREE but be sure to support this amazing not-for-profit group (stART) by purchasing one of this year's 'stART In Motion' t-shirts (By artist Scott Boilard), a tote, and/or bumper stickers. This group of dedicated volunteers has truly helped to reinvent Worcester as a cultural arts hub!

This week's 'Karen's Picks' highlights just a few of the artists who will be participating in stART On The Street. Remember, there will be almost 250 vendors in attendance, this is an event worth checking out! Here's a preview of what you'll see on Sunday... Enjoy!

I love the color of Carnelian. These earrings are striking yet elegant. The perfect addition to your little black dress. By FancyFreeMe, $20.It does not get any better than a hand-painted greeting card; especially when it's as cute as this one! By happydaystudio, $5. Hold your pants up while showing your strength and resistance against the evil powers that be with this super hip ceramic belt buckle. By harmonyarts, $20. (*Please note: this artist just notified me that a family affair has come up and they won't be able to make it. Please support this artist's shop on Etsy!)Coolest bookmark... ever. I want to get one this weekend! By heatherjeany, $2.I love to knit. Unfortunately, it's been at least a year since I've picked up my needles. I'm hoping to get a project or two going this January when things calm down a little for me and my business. This yarn makes me want to knit NOW! It's gorgeous! Handspun and hand dyed. By inlerah, $25.With all of the sewing that I do, I'm a sucker for cute pincushions. I'm also a cupcake junkie. I would love to get one of these for Christmas (hint, hint). By madeinlowell, $28.This upcycled wooden pencil box is adorned with vintage rulers and is the perfect scholastic addition to any desk. Be studious. Be organized. Give your pencils a real home. By MalcolmStudioShop, $22.Crystal Popko of PoPkO is one of my favorite local vendors. She's awesome and sweet and makes gorgeous butterfly jewelry! (I also really love her Glitter Pop Party Rings!) Here's one of her vibrant butterfly pendants... Gorgeous! By PoPkO, $65.This floral brooch is too cute! Made from upcycled vintage zippers, you can feel good knowing you look good and you're saving material from the landfill! Hooray! By zippinning, $22.I can't ever get enough music (which I suppose is a good thing because my boyfriend is an audio engineer). I desperately want to learn how to play the guitar. I may need to add it to my list of activities for January. I know that I'll want an awesome and colorful guitar strap for when I'm a rich and famous rock star. I really like the handwoven straps that are made by SleyTheDent, $39.I hope you've enjoyed this preview of all of the wonderful things that will be available at stART On The Street. Come on down and join us for a day of fun and celebration!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Balloon Festival Postponed

Today's Balloon Festival in Look Park has been postponed until tomorrow because of the rain. Unfortunately, I was not made aware that this event had a rain date and packed my car and drove all the way down to Florence, only to discover that it wasn't happening. I was up at 6:30 am, ran around like crazy to make sure I would be on time, arrived at the park 10 minutes early, and then was back home again by 9:30. Although I'm irked with this situation, I suppose it's a good thing that I don't need to sit in the rain all day long. With this last-second change of plans, I'm not quite sure how I want to spend my time today. I think I may hunker down in my studio and get some sewing done. stART On The Street in Worcester is coming up next week and I want to be fully prepared... it's often my best show of the year! I really enjoy the stART events in Worcester and I'm looking forward to going back to my old stomping grounds (I went to school there at Clark U.).I tried to capture the rings of the raindrops in the pictures... I think I need some more practice at it :)

Stay dry and enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Karen's Picks :: Vol. 8 :: Making A House A Home

As you may know, from previous posts, I've been busily trying to makeover my house in the last few weeks. Our roommates have moved next door and My Love and I are living on our own for the very first time! I've been piecing together a lot of housewares from my mom and step-dad's old barn... there's enough dishware in there to open a restaurant. I've also got my eye on some wonderful handmade creations on Etsy! I know Karen's Picks was 'Domestic Delights' just a few weeks back but I couldn't help myself from picking out more home treasures. So for this week, I bring you 'Making A House A Home'. Enjoy!

I love this wreath for several reasons. First, it's made with real leaves. Second, I love pressed leaves; you just can't replicate the smooth and simple lines of nature. Third, it was handmade in New Hampshire, home to my childhood. By NHWoodscreations, $18.Fresh baked bread is a scrumptious treat! Although I like my bread sliced, sometimes I want it thick and sometimes I like it thin. That's where your very own bread knife comes in handy. This one is a functional beauty; I'm wild about turquoise inlay! By redrockzone, $29.95.It never hurts to look good while your cooking. This lovely oven mitt will protect your hands, as well as add to your modern day Betty-home-maker charm! By Mybb, $10.My dad built a beautiful shaker style table for me a few years back. It's been in storage as I've moved from one big crazy house to another. I've finally busted it out to add to my living room. Now all I need is some coasters to protect it's lovely finish. This one makes me smile and it might need to find a new home on my table! By robotcandy, $6.Now that we have more rooms to fill in our house, we'll need some more clocks. We don't carry cell phones around these parts 'cause they don't work up here in the hills. So we tell time the old fashioned analog way. This Autumn Moon Clock is simply spectacular! By CyberMoon, $16.
Light switch plate covers are a great way to personalize any room. I've seen a lot of great ones over the years; from vintage comic book images, to fancy home dec fabrics. But this one may top the cake. The detail in the design is simply exquisite! I love it! By brightcolorart, $30.Soft, creamy, luxurious... your feet will die and go to heaven! This amazing 5'x 8' rug is made from discarded t-shirts; it was hand-dyed with coffee. I want one. By talkingsquid, $499.In the year that I've been living up on this hill in the woods, we've lost power quite a few times. The first time, it was out for 6 long days. Subsequently, I've learned to keep lots of candles on hand and I'm always looking for new ways to hold them. This forged steel candleholder would look great on my wall and would likely come in handy. By baconsquarefarm, $65.A great couch calls for a set of colorful, comfy pillows. This one is made from a beautiful teal cotton with a lovely nature sillhoute print. By joom, $16.Ok, so now that I've got my house all re-decorated and feeling home-like, it's time for me and My Love to sit back and relax with a glass of wine out of an amazing goblet like this one. Cheers to handmade beauty! By MuddyWaters, $18.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's picks... I was a treat to pick them out! Happy home decorating!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Excuse # 847,626,511,013

If you're a member of my family, or one of my former teachers/professors, you know I'm full of excuses as to why I'm never on time. I promise that's not what this blog will turn into... despite me making a lot of excuses for myself lately. That being said, I'm gonna do it again just one more time. I failed at getting Karen's Picks out on time again this week. But this excuse is a good one! I've been moving. Not to a different address, but to a different room in my house. Our housemates have moved next door and my love and I are stretching out into the entire house. It's an exciting time but there's SO MUCH to do! It's the first time that either of us have lived without roommates. Recently, I realized that in the ten years since I left my mom's house, I've lived with over 100 people! I love all those people dearly and have really enjoyed living in co-ops and community situations, but the time has come for us to live alone. So have patience with me as I clean, sort, reorganize, paint, build a bookcase, and rebuild my box-spring that I cut in half to get up the stairs. I promise I'll fall back into a routine soon!

Enjoy your long weekend!