Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Sticks and Strings" model....

Miss Bella in her new hat! A Christmas gift from her Mom, a super salesperson I met online....
Bella's Mom was an "agent" for me in her hometown, and many items, (Santa plates, and hats), were sent to her because she advertised these at her workplace! Thanks, Jenn....and Bella!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Almost ready....

to shut down the workshop until the new year. Some orders are still filtering in, but should not take too long, unlike the list that was facing me last week! This is the point in the year at which I run out of things...or misplace them....or forgot to order them....etc. Each of the figures that I make requires that I sew and paint heads and hands. Of course....I ran out of the prepared ones. That is a delay of two days. Because I had one figure left to make, it caused my eye to wander to some of the figures that I had removed from the collection for various reasons...a process done a few times of year to make sure that the figures meet the quality control inspector...me! In a very "Dexter" like move, the hands were removed from one of the figures to apply to another. A bit creepy, but "saved the day". Reminds me of making macrame owls "back in the day" and using guinea hen feathers to apply to the finished piece. No guinea hen feathers to be found in any supply store in this whole city....but happened to notice some on a guinea hen at the local animal farm during a visit with my young child....and no, I was not that desperate. No guinea hens were harmed in the making of said macrame owl!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Sister Delta Hand"...the tree topper!

This tree-topper was the result of a special order placed at the "One of a Kind" show. The buyer wished to have a non-traditional (make that "nun-traditional") tree topper to grace the decorated tree in his home. Card games are the norm for the entertaining in his home, and this "sister" will sit atop the tree, and with her hidden hand of cards, is "in the game" as well.
Fun assignment! Also, food for thought for next year's line....adding "Nun of the Above", the angel nun, done up as a tree topper!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday prep!

Back from the "One of a Kind" show in Toronto, (a five-day stint...most vendors do an 11 day stretch! I admire them for their fortitude!) and happy to say that the "sisters" were warmly received. Thanks to Cathy, who helped throughout the five day show plus set-up, and to Karen, who came for a few days of the sale. Thanks to them, visitors to the show were introduced to the "sisters", because an explanation of the concept ("sisters" sharing "habits"), plus pointing out the "punny" names, required more than one person at the booth!
There was a wonderful array of items for purchase at the show, and I did try to restrain my spending. Managed to find some unique, handmade gifts....always so appreciated!
Although my own house requires "decking", it will be about a week before I surface from the work that was waiting for me upon my return. The "sisters" have been popular on the websites, and hat orders still are coming in. Add to that some gifts that I wanted to make for my own friends and family. Not complaining, though! It will all "happen" as it usually does! Notice...not a word about preparing Christmas feasts or baking holiday treats....something has to "go" and it may as well be the kitchen tasks! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reading with "Sister Paige Turner"

"So many books, so little time"....how true! Just like fitting in time for the gym, scheduling a reading time into a busy day is part of my routine. I manage to "work in" the reading....the gym, not so much!
Wanted to pass along a book suggestion..."The Best Laid Plans" by Terry Fallis. This book is entertaining from the very first page, and is filled with humor, puns, mishaps, clever language, and through all of this, a journey through grief. I have purchased copies as gifts for friends who all share the same opinion. Can't wait to dive into the second book "The High Road"! Insight into the workings of Canadian government as well, but one would certainly not have to be Canadian to enjoy this read!
Preparing for the "One of a Kind" show in Toronto should keep me away from the reading for a while....the time is "closing in", and as usual, the quota in my mind is beyond what I have time or energy to prepare...but I will give it a try! Hope to see you if you are in the Toronto area at that time...Booth P30, from November 24th-28th!

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Sister Act", The Musical....

was just featured in tonight's episode of "Dancing with the Stars"....and reminded me of a great email I received in January of this year. A recipient of two of the "sisters" from the "Nun of a Kind" collection contacted me, because she was involved with the musical being prepared for Broadway. She suggested that perhaps my "sisters" might be a good "fit" with the show as one of their souvenirs. For a few weeks, I lived in hope that this might happen, even though it is never likely that handmade is attractive enough in a business setting like this. Some nice conversations, great comments, but, it was not to be. I did, however, receive some of the items that were in the giftshop on Broadway because a friend of mine did go to the show when she was in New York in September. I have the Playbill even though it is unlikely that I will actually make it to the show myself....and heard that it was fantastic!
One of the "sisters" did make it to 42nd Street, though...sent as a sample, and hopefully gracing someone's bookshelf there now! The dream was great while it lasted!! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Very Special Sister....

is the reason that this particular "Sister" has been created. At shows, I am often asked to create a new "sister", and this request was a reminder of one of the reasons that all of this began in the first place! The request was for a nun for a piano teacher....and my own piano teacher was one of the three special "sisters" which prompted this site. Pictured here is "Sister Mary Melody"....my own special Sister was Sister St. Louis, who taught music at a local convent. Every week, I would take two different buses to reach that destination, and from the age of eleven until she retired just before I left for university, I spent an hour a week with this very patient woman. Although I love to play the piano (and do it less and less now), I cannot imagine listening to students struggle with the keys each week, hour after hour. She was always very encouraging, but firm. When she celebrated her fiftieth year in the order, she gave me a gift of the rosary which she wore during that time, and it is a very special treasure to this day. She prepared her students through the practical and written portions of the conservatory work, and again, I must applaud her patience. She is missed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Darling Model!

sporting a cute beanie that matches her eyes perfectly! I wish that I could borrow/hire her for modeling all of the hats that I make!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Three New "Sisters"....

are being added to "the order" of "Nun of a Kind", as preparations are well underway for the fall shows, now in "full swing"! Pictured here...."Sister Liberty Bell", for my American friends....the patriotic "Sister"
The "sister" who is now financially "free"..."Sister Bernadette"....lists can be made to suit....
and "Sister Maddie Tate" (thanks again, Annie, for the name!), the "Sister" who enjoys yoga!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What's in a Name???

From time to time, one hears a name and wonders what the parents were thinking....and this was brought to mind the other day when while watching some film credits (am I the only one that wait for this?? I just have to read those for every film!) I noticed the name "Chris P. Bacon". Add to that list other names of people met along the way....Mary Christmas, Sara Lee, Robin Hood, Easton West....and many more. Any names to add to the list??

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Sisters" at the show....

The first show of my "season" was held this past weekend. Outdoor shows are always a concern because of the weather, but this show was also at a new venue, run by new volunteers, the Rotary Club of Sarnia/Bluewaterland, so it was like a brand new show to me even though I have done this particular event for many years. "Art in the Park" moved from its previous location to a larger park "down the road", which offered "on site" parking, and more spacious areas for display. All was extremely well planned, with vendors and shoppers alike being very pleased!
A beautiful day, wide open spaces, food booths, garden areas, and about 100 vendors....
The "Sisters" enjoying their new "habit-at" at this show....along with some of the other creations available that day!
The new park, a beautiful park along the lake, which is really under-used in this area, proved to be an excellent choice for the sale. The Rotary Club should be more than pleased with the visitor turn-out, and the compliments about their show. Their volunteer base was excellent, and it is likely that this event will run at this location for many years to come! Ordering that fabulous weather was a good move, too! :)





Monday, September 5, 2011

The Sole Sister....

had a huge influence on my shopping "habits" this summer! She, the "sister" who loves shoes, was with me in spirit during my shopping expeditions, forcing me to purchase nine new pairs of shoes! Insanity! Truth be told, all of them were on sale, and the pricing was so good that the stores were practically paying me to take them home! (that's my story and I am sticking to it...)
The sad fact is three pairs of these shoes are totally not useful for my daily life, at this point. The five-inch stilettos are not going to be too useful for craft shows, working in my workroom, or the occasional days in the classroom. They did make it to a wedding this summer, though!
The other shoes were a little more practical, and added to the massive collection I already have, I am sure that they will eventually see some use. Can a "sister" have too many shoes? I think not!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year....

and one that many people, young and older, are dreading, unless they are the fortunate ones leaving for university or college for the first time....Otherwise, this "back to school" business is not so appealing! I spend fewer and fewer days in classrooms these days, and do not have to rush back to prepare a classroom, etc., so the upcoming weekend holiday holds no sense of "dread" for me. The signs that summer is fading, after a very late start, is the upsetting part!
On the other hand, it is also the beginning of craft show season for me. I do not do summer shows, partly because I exhibit many Christmas decor items at my shows as well as the "sisters", and partly because....well, it is too nice for me to work on the few weekends that we have in the summer! So, the next few months will be spent working frantically on all of the items that are in various stages of production in my workroom. Nothing like a deadline to make me work at optimum speed! In the next few posts, you will be introduced to the five new "sisters" who are joining the order for the fall shows. My mind has been working, even though my hands have been more idle than they should have been!
Enjoy these last "official" days of summer!
(photo....www.shorpy.com)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Annual Spending Spree!

Our annual trip to the tent sale at the "Spinrite Factory" took place today! Cathy was the chauffeur this year, and we did our usual route....Our first stop was at a quilt shop. We are getting better about restraint at that shop. Cathy purchased what she needed, and I purchased....nothing! (that is a "first"!)
Our second stop was at the tent sale. We had never been there during the first week before, so seeing so many people in the tent, and so many people in line was a big change...but did not stop us! The first year that we went to this sale, we scoffed at the fact that the staff gave us a garbage bag, presumably to fill with our new "finds". We could not believe that anyone would buy so much yarn. We took home about three garbage bags full of yarn bargains that day. We became "believers" in the tent sale!
This year, Cathy refrained from buying any yarn, stating that she had not yet used up the yarn from last year! (I didn't know that we were supposed to do that before we bought more!??) I, however, was in my glory! I found many colors of cotton which I had not been able to find in our stores, and kept filling those bags. We discovered as we carried them out of the tent sale that cotton is much heavier than the yarn which we usually buy, so it was an adventure getting them to Cathy's car. Cathy carried one of the heavy bags....she goes for another therapy session on her back tomorrow. I hope that the tent sale did not ruin her previous treatments! The bags which are loaded in the car contain all of my "treasures" from today's sale. However, there is still a main building in which to shop. I managed to buy only a regular sized bag in that part of the store!
On our way home, we visited "The Wagon Shed" in Arva, Ontario, which features spinning, quilts, yarns, handmade articles, etc. The owner spent a long time with us, explaining the business, and telling us her stories. What a great place to go to create! I envy her this great spot! She was piecing together some quilt blocks when we arrived, and moved over to her spinning wheel while she spoke with us. Talented, and interesting!
My next chore is to sort out my "candy" from today....move all of that yarn to an appropriate spot in the house! Some has made it to the hall tree bench in the front hall (for immediate use) and I expect that the rest will be packaged in bins, and placed in my craft storage unit....along with the rest of last year's yarn purchases not yet used! :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Great Gift idea....

from a talented artist at "Etsy". A unique way to record the guests name at a wedding rather than a guest book....this wedding tree, personalized poster! A unique gift on its own or with another item, this poster can be ordered already printed up, or as a PDF file to have printed up as you wish. I opted for the PDF file...partly to avoid delivery "headaches" and fear of postal delays, and partly because I was just not organized enough to order it in time for that option! This particular one comes with a stamp pad which the guests use to add their fingerprints to the tree, along with their names. Although I love this option, I feared that the wedding guests might not like to risk getting the green ink on their wedding finery, so I opted for the printed tree.
This printed tree PDF file arrived promptly, and was sent off to the local print shop, where, for a reasonable fee, it was printed on 18x24 poster paper. The finished copy was presented to the wedding couple, along with a frame, as part of their wedding gift. Very pleased with the results and the ease of completion, and plan to order another, which will be printed with colored leaves for an upcoming fall wedding! For other unique gift ideas, or to purchase a wedding tree for a special gift, visit Lovliday's shop at "Etsy"!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Wedding Wabbits"....

"Tis the wedding season around here, and needed to have something for a "topper" to the gift. This particular bride has a pet rabbit....so in honor of her bunny, I created this little wedding couple. Great fun to make, and loved decorating them for their "big day"...


The "bride to be" loved them so much that it is very likely that they will be the topper for the wedding cake! ....and they will live "hoppily" ever after.....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

First Triathlon....

in which I have ever participated! No, not as this "dashing dude" who has been in a running race...
or this cyclist....but as someone who puts the numbers on the runners/riders/swimmers. My idea of a personal triathlon is quite different...stop, drop, and roll...? eat, drink, and be merry...?
This local triathlon today saw many participants ready to brave our still humid, hot weather to be in various parts, or all three of the activities. After "marking" these people (with permanent marker, no less! Apparently, sunscreen takes it off your skin! Good to know!), I did watch the swimming event. A great day for this...the water was perfect, and the temperature a lot warmer than in other years. They are still riding, and running out there now....but I am back home in the air-conditioning! My "event" is over for another year! :)
(photos courtesy of "Shorpy.com")

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Heat is On....

and how are you all coping with it? We wait all winter for this, but it has taken a while to get here and is quite a shock!! Sister Esther Jen here is suffering from her own personal "summers", but she is a good example of expressions on faces during this heat wave!
The "heat is on" for another reason....very slack about getting items ready for the upcoming shows, and September is just around the corner! Work best under pressure, so have set myself up for it once again this year!
In the meantime, find somewhere cool to sit, something cool to drink, good books to read, and a minimum of work to do....and we should all survive the rising thermometer readings, which we will wish for once again in a few short months!!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Clever, clever!

As a person who is obsessed with puns, had to share these photos taken earlier this year of some clever names given to these boats.
This one is particularly clever! I wonder if it is prone to sudden surges of heat....
Simon and Garfunkel would be proud of this one!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

from "Nun of a Kind"! A glorious day here...great for all of those special celebrations! Hoping for an equally beautiful day on the 4th for our U.S. friends!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Photo help for "Etsy"....

I love to create. I hate to take photos. I do not have the ability, nor do I want to take the time to learn a complicated photo editing program. I have little success with a light box. Love a pure white background for photos, but no matter what, could never seem to find the "cure" for my photos. Instead, I would head back down to the sewing room, and sew something rather than try to fix/improve my photos...and this fixing/improving is such an important task for "etsy" photos.
Enter a new app available to "etsy" shops...this app is called "Fotofuze", and one can access it directly from the "etsy" account. The photo correction process involves choosing the photo (which you upload into their site), and then using a "highlighter" with your computer mouse, to fill in the item and the shadows. You then have a chance to preview, and then upload the corrected photo. Once you have the five that you may want for any given listing, the corrected photos can be uploaded directly to your "etsy" site. Amazing! You can see in this first example that my background is quite yellow. Not bad, but not what I was going for....

In the corrected example, the background is completely white! Love it! Even a "techno-peasant" like me managed to do this! Working my way through my photos until I get a chance to re-do some of them (remember, I run to the sewing machine instead of the camera!), but the results for the ones that I have finished so far are much better than the originals' background. The service is completely free. However, if you wish, and this is a feature that you would find yourself using, along with some of the other apps or sites available, one may choose to contribute a given amount to be distributed among the sites that you like. (through "jungl.com"...explained on the site) This is an option....otherwise, totally free!
Since I have two shops, I tried to use the app for both, and even though I thought that I had registered each separately, I must have made an error somewhere, because for a while, they were "mixed". Have no fear! Support at Fotofuze returned my plea for help quite quickly, and worked with me to solve the problem. (and by "worked with me", I mean they solved the problem...the part I did was tell them about it! :)
So, if you are having the same photo difficulty as I am, you might like to try this app!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer...finally here??

After the longest spring rainy season ever it seems, the summer season is finally arriving! The "kick off" to the summer craft show season began as well...our local "Artwalk", and "Art in the Park" in Windsor, Ontario. Both enjoyed spectacular weather this weekend, and thankfully so. Last year, both shows had to shut down early because of violent weather, winds and rainfall. It is great that the organizers and the vendors were able to enjoy strong crowds, and likely, great sales due to the better weather this year. Sadly, because of family commitments, I was not able to attend the shows, either as a vendor or a buyer!
This week promises to be warmer, and more humid. Perhaps you will be enjoying the lake, a pool, or a garden hose like this one shown "cooling off" children on a hot summer's day. After the winter we had....bring it on!
(photo courtesy of "Shorpy.com")

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Kids" in "Lids"

Examples of some new "kid lids" added recently to the "Sticks and Strings" site...rolled brim "cloche" with soft pink daisy...
Again, featured with a moss green daisy....
One of my favorites...cream on cream....with a layered flower...a great photo "prop"!
And a lovely young lady wearing the rolled brim beanie with the "popcorn" texture and a three-layer flower....

The "Sisters" are going to be jealous about all the time I have spent making these items! Our local hospital shop is now carrying the infant sizes. The trick will be not to spend more than I earn in there! So many lovely gift items for all ages....

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Garden of Weedin'"

and pruning, and trimming, and clearing, and dividing....amazing how our very rainy spring has managed to help cultivate everything into "overgrowth"...and even the weeds! A recent sunny day allowed a partial start to the yard. Thankfully, my yard is not quite as overgrown as that shown in this photo....(thanks to Shorpy.com for the photo!) but it will take several days to get around the yard in hopes of bringing it to its best. Why is it that it seems like a good idea to add gardens when one first moves into a place, only to realize that the upkeep easily becomes a chore rather than a joy? When all is finally "back in shape", (and the weather cooperates to allow for this to happen), many hours will be spent out there enjoy the fruits of my labor...reading, floating in the pool, enjoying coffee on the deck....and trying to avoid noticing that those chores all need doing again!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Girlfriends and other "sisters"....

probably the most important people in your life, other than immediate family. The ones who listen to your problems, (usually without judgement!), love to hear about new events in your life, "aunts" to your kids, and laugh at "life" with you!
There are "Lucy" friends, and "Ethel" friends...the leaders and the followers. The "Thelma" friends and the "Louise" friends....looking for adventures. Most of my life, I have been "Lucy" to my friends....mostly because of my "Lucy" moments, not so much for leadership! However, of late, one of my best friends is rapidly gaining the "Lucy" crown....and we share many laughs because of this. She has delivered shoes to me from the gym, thinking that I left them there, when, in fact, they were not my shoes, and someone might have been wondering how she was going to get home from the gym without her shoes...she has run into a building to retrieve something, and jumped back into a running car, while her running car was sitting beside this one....she has forgotten that she brought her car to the gym, and walked to the coffee shop without bringing her car with her....and so on, and so on! Her mishaps are my amusement, and laughter is the best medicine! (plus, I am glad that things like this happen to someone else for a change!) :)
Who are you in your relationships with your friends? "Lucy" or "Ethel"??

(photo: Shorpy.com)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing "Moms" everywhere a day filled with sunshine, flowers, and family! (dinner served by someone else would be nice, too!)

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Sister Holy Matrimony"...

the wedding planner, is so happy that the Royal Wedding day is finally here! She was certainly instrumental in organizing the events of the "big day", and is happy to see that all is progressing as planned.
Seriously, when one knows how much planning goes into a regular wedding, can you imagine the work involved (not to mention the expense!) in this one? Beautiful couple, and I look forward to watching the whole thing, which I have taped. Fan that I am, I did not get up at 3 a.m. to witness the event, while wearing my hat, and sipping my tea! How did you spend the Royal Wedding day??

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kidlids....

seem to be the only creative thing that I am managing these days...the sewing room has been totally neglected while we deal with some family matters, so at the end of the day, sitting with my yarn, and turning out these little hats is my "fun". Pictured above is a "Dapper Dude" kidlid, for a young man...

a two-toned rolled brim with flower for a young miss...
daisy flower "cloche" for yet another "look"...
All of these hats are currently available at the "Sticks and Strings" website...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Clutter....

and how to deal with it....the big question. Very little going on in my creative world right now because I am helping someone unclutter their home because of an impending move. Before I can say that I am amazed at how much "stuff" this person has accumulated, I have to think of how much I, myself, would have to "purge" if facing such a move. Much easier to say...donate, yard sale, re-cycle, or trash, when it is someone else's stuff. My vow, when this is over, is to start on my own home, and get rid of any excess clutter until there is "nun" left.....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Connie's Tea Room....

in Petrolia, Ontario, is a wonderful place to "do lunch"! Connie, pictured with the gift of "Sister Amelia Love", is the proprietor, and the person who works so hard to prepare delicious meals for lunches...along with her fantastic selection of desserts! I meant to take a picture of the favorite dessert that I sometimes always seem to order, (a lemon cheesecake, topped with lemon, and dare I say it...whipped cream!) but somehow, this dessert disappeared before I remembered to take a photo!
Connie designed and decorated her tearoom, and it has become a favorite place to visit when in this little town. The "Victoria Playhouse Theatre" is nearby, and during the summer season, Connie's becomes a busy little spot for theatre-goers as well. So nice to see this talented young lady "living her dream"! I just hope that my visits out there are not too frequent, given the fact that I cannot resist the dessert!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Reverend Mother of Purl....

has a new home! This special version of "Reverend Mother of Purl" was created by special order for Janice and Caitlin of "Heaven is Handmade", a lovely new yarn store which opened in our town last fall. At this shop, one can purchase the most wonderful artisan yarns, and the ladies are always willing to lend a hand with knitting issues, sharing ideas, and general good knitting "company"!
"Reverend Mother of Purl" in her new home beside a "knitting" chair...along with a regular size version of this selection.
Just one view of the great selection one can find at this shop. "ZigZagStitches" project bags are available here, as are lovely yarns from Zen Yarn Garden. If you are a knitter, and you are in the area, you will want to stop in to have a look!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beautiful Snowfall...

but I certainly hope that this was the last one of the season! A week ago, we had a "surprise" snowfall, and although beautiful, we all thought that spring was finally here. Our lovely little local library nestled among snow-laden branches...
and one of our local parks wearing the last (we hope!) coat of winter!