New Kids on the Block

We moved to Evanston in October.  We survived our first winter easily – there were no social functions or expectations to bother us and it was perfectly acceptable to be holed up in our apartment, perfectly content not to be outside in the negative degree weather with the car deep snow drifts and bitter winds.

Today, however, was the first real day of summer.  There are just two short weeks before school is out (and I still don’t know what to do with Ellette for the summer!), there was a series of storms over the weekend, which meant that as soon as the sun came out today, humidity levels sky rocketed and even the shade was muggy and thick.

Today, the world slowed.  People were outside – the young boys across the street had a yard sale, people tended gardens, went to the beach, took bike rides, and simply enjoyed the sunshine – and complained about the heat.

My day was spent, after an emotionally exhausting weekend, making chili for the afternoon’s block party and cleaning up my craft room to make room for what crafts I inherited from my dearly departed grandmother.  Odin spent most of the day building a wind surfer, which he has been a bit obsessive about.  And then I packed up my juggling toys, we loaded our chili onto a platter, and we walked to the next block, which had been barricaded from cars, included a fire truck at one end, and a bouncy castle in someone’s yard.

This was my first experience in this type of setting – the traditional block party.  I felt so strange, and spent more time juggling with the kids than chatting with the adults.  At least with the kids things are simple.  What cool tricks can you do?  Let’s play catch and run in the water and let me tell you all about what I hate about this kid who sits next to me or the weird thing so-and-so can do with yogurt.  There’s nothing to decipher and no clique to infiltrate.  You just are.

Odin geeked out with the dads and husbands.  We met up again to talk with some “neighborhood freaks” as they classified themselves and had a grand time talking about Germany and Evanston and the differences between and then I was drawn to helping kids juggle and Odin disappeared.  Shortly after the party was over, and Ellette and I made our way back home.

In all, it was a very fun day.  Good to get to know our neighbors, Ellette made friends, and we had delicious food.

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Running Away with Inspiration

I do apologize, but these little gears have sent my brain’s gears into motion at top speed.  I swung by World Market yesterday, looking for further inspiration.  I picked up several paper fans, which I plan on heavily modifying via knitted lace.  The inspiration for this came from a similar project I found on Ravelry here, and which I plan on knitting myself for the summer – provided, of course, that I somehow find the time for it!

I also have a really interesting concept for a thrummed aviator cap, which may or may not turn out the way I envision.  Either way, I will shortly be stash diving to making a sample!

So, while these ideas are forming in my mind, I cant seem to produce anything worth blogging about.  I keep trying to figure out how to write out my thoughts, but I can’t imagine you are at all interested in hearing my geeky rant on steampunk exploration and it’s applications with yarn.  Although, I could very well be mistaken.  Interweave has recently produced an ebook from 19th Century England and has been encouraging readers to “dive into Victorian knitting.”

I don’t know what’s going to become of me!  I’ve worn away the skin on my left index finger, between the second and third knuckle, from the sliding tension of yarn at every available moment.

Photoshoots to come; it has been rather rainy here lately.

Like Clockwork

So, Sunday night there was a steampunk performance at the Celtic Knot, by the Absinthe Minded Professors.  My inner gears started turning, and after doing some Ravelry searches, stitch counts, and purusing the world wide web, I was inspired.

I figured out what I wanted to do and couldn’t stop.  I stayed up way too late working my way through a skein of Rowan Bamboo.  I have 4 more to work with in this colorway, and two more in a slightly steampunk color as well.

I haven’t quite decided exactly what to do with it.  I keep laying it out on the table in different combinations, is it a scarf? A shawl? A bracelet (or many?) ? – any suggestions?

I Found Fairies in the Park

Today the sun was shining,bringing warmth and humidity to Chicagoland.  Ellette and I took a walk this morning to the Brothers K Coffeehouse and spent a few hours playing games and knitting.  Then, we decided to trek to the park with a box of wings and take pictures.

Inbetween playing on the jungle gym, she was my very cute model of the pixie hats I make.  I finally managed to get them on etsy – here, here, here, and here.  The one hard part of getting her to model was that she kept getting bored and goofing off.  I have many photos of her stomping through the grass making funny faces, hoping I would catch at least one decent pose.  In the end I had to coach her a little in “How to Act Like a Fairy.”

While she was working out her energy on the playground, I used my classic method of tying wings to tree trunks to take photos.  While this is not the ideal method for photographing the goods, it works well for the less expensive things.  The more expensive items usually get their own photo shoot.  Like this one:

and this one

These sets have been sold, and thusly moved from the “for sale” bin to the portfolio bin.  The pictures are no less stunning!!

So, I photographed my nylon wings:

This set now available here.  The rest still need to be uploaded – there were many.

And my favorite – the Celeste Wings.  This was a design I created after discovering the appeal of “fluttering” wings.  They are still affordable, while being a bit more “grown up” and sturdy.

So far, there are three sets listed on etsy, including those pictured above, and they are available here, here, and here.

Also, if you have an idea for a custom order (or just in general), contact me!!  I can give you a quote (or quotes) for the style and materials.  For instance, I am working on a pair of DaVinci wings for a friend – steampunk and sturdy and perfect, and doing everything I can to fit it into her price range.  Sketches are being drawn and tiny prototypes made to find out what design works best for her needs.  If you are interested in your own pair of wings, send me an email at thewishingstarAThotmailDOTcom.  In the subject, write “custom wings” and let me know what you’re thinking, what your price range is, and when you need them by, and I will contact you right away with my ideas!

(PS: the two modeled photos of wings are courtesy of Wolfie – a dear friend a wonderful photographer to work with!)

Not in Dubuque

I know, I should be in Dubuque right now working at the Renaissance Festival.  Severe thunderstorm warnings kept me tucked inside last night, deciding it would be much safer to stay home Saturday and head out Sunday.  Except that now my car is not starting.  Odin and I were outside for about an hour trying to assess the damage and how to fix it.  He’s still out there trying to figure it out.

Me?  Today I decided to go to the YEA festival, which happened to be going on not two blocks from our apartment.  Ellette’s school was set up, so we were able to see the wonderful things the artists in her class and school were making.

It was a lot of fun.  We saw many creative creations from the different Evanston schools and saw many of Ellette’s classmates.

Then, after about an hour of wandering, I decided to ask someone if I could set up a face-painting table for the remainder of the festival.

Well, everyone loved it and I handed out loads of business cards.  It felt good to be in the middle of a street festival again, although I wasn’t dressed up like my usual faery self:

This is my favorite picture of my get-up.  I love being Pixie the Face Painter.  Kids love her.

Around the middle of the day it began to rain.  I was amazed at how quickly the volunteers asked if I needed help – rain coat, trap, awning.  I was handed a tarp, but didn’t really know what to do with it, and then a parent offered to help.  It was heart warming to watch as the line circled me, with the kids in the middle, waiting their turn, and the adults on the outside, holding up the tarp – over the crowd, myself, and my paints.  It was wonderful and I kept thanking the kids and the parents for being so kind and cooperative.  I love watching communities come together like this.

Since my car is not starting, I will not be in Dubuque tomorrow either – which is kind of a bummer because I need the work.  I suppose instead I will be photographing the stock and listing it on etsy, as well as getting some items ready to mail to the consignment shops I work with.  Check back tomorrow to see what I list and how to get it for yourself!

A Janesville Faire

So, Friday I left with the little pixie to visit the Janesville Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin.  The weather forecast looked bleak, but we kept our chins up anyway.

The wind threatened to carry away my booth on Saturday.  But we still had fun.  At least the sun came out for us on Sunday.

Ellette found many things to do to occupy herself, including making friends with the other little girls there.

Including watching every single show by Suitcase Shakespeare and helping them set-up, clean-up and making sure the cast was properly taken care of inbetween shows.  (Thanks guys – you are awesome for putting up with them so gracefully!!)

There was a juggler.

And belly dancers

Ellette was in charge of the camera for shows so there are not that many good pictures.  But that’s ok, these are cool too.

My friend Kirk attempted to hula hoop

And failed

I ate Elephant Ears

And met all manner of fantastical creatures

I just kept reminding myself that everything is an experience that helps us grow, and the people you meet along the way make it all worth it.

Next weekend I will be at the Dubuque Renaissance Faire.  Come on out!

Chaos is the Life I Lead

My studio floor has been covered in fairy wings that are drying and getting ribbon put on.  My sewing table is covered in elastic and plushstaches.  The dining room table has tufts of tulle covering it.  There are boxes everywhere.  Yarn is spilling out of every available nook and cranny.

This afternoon, after living in a pig sty for the past few days, I made a push to cleaning.  Mainly because I promised Odin the writing desk would be moved out of his wood room by Friday.  And, my studio floor had floating bits of dust, ribbon, sewing thread, buttons, flowers, and needles that needed to be cleaned up.  I’m trying to reorganize while finishing inventory and it is driving me bonkers!

I’ve been dividing my work into three categories.  That which must be finished by Friday (wings), that which can be completed on site (tutus and some sewing and knitting), and that which must reach a point before I am able to complete it on site (top hats).

All of this, while I had to drive to the DMV to register my car, only to arrive and realize that I did not bring some necessary information.

It is now beginning to storm.  I can feel the thunder shaking the windows a bit.  There are still workers hammering away at the exterior of the house.  I have a feisty kitten attacking my feet.  And all I want to do is finish knitting the wedding present for some friends I will be seeing this weekend.

Next week I will provide you with better updates.  I promise.  Until then, I am trying desperately to hold on to my sanity as I am living in this chaos.

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