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.

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.

You’re Lucky She Hasn’t Killed You Yet

Today, we celebrate our mothers.  Those strong and industrious women who spent years of their lives ensuring we would grow up and live our own.  They fed and clothed us, even when we insisted on ripping holes in our jeans, dyeing our hair funky colors, and screaming that we hate them every other day.   How easy and tempting it would have been to “run out” of food or suddenly be stranded naked because we insisted safety pins and duct tape would keep us warm.

They shared in our triumphs and helped us through our sorrows.  They had the difficult task of learning when to step back and let us help ourselves and gain our independence, because the success of their job meant that we would eventually leave.  It is a long and arduous journey and in the end, all our mothers are left with is the gaping emptiness of our absence and the hope that we will continue to call and drop in, produce children of our own for them to dote on and so they can laugh at us when we comlpain about the hellions we are raising.

My daughter crawled into bed with us this morning, waiting anxiously for me to wake up so she could tell me how much she loved me and show me the gifts they had gotten for me.  In my dreaming state, I was briefly aware of her pointy elbows and impatient urgings, and of Odin telling her to let me sleep.  Eventually, I rallied myself awake and pulled her over to snuggle.

Why was she so excited?  While I was at work yesterday, Ellette and Odin decided to take a little treasure hunt to find me a Mother’s Day gift.  I wasn’t really expecting anything – just the ability to sleep in for once, breakfast made for me, and a clean house (and maybe an hour in the bathtub with a bottle of wine, a bath bomb and candles).

I have always wanted a writing desk.  An antique one with a little skeleton key to lock it with.  A place to stash secret letters and write in my journal.   I admired the romance and inspiration of them.  I loved the old stories that sprouted around them.  And for years, every time I enter an antique store, I do a check for the one I’m looking for.  Some are too big, some have roll tops, which I find unattractive, some were falling to bits, and many were out of my price range.

Well, I found one a couple weeks ago at the thrift store down the street from us.  I told Odin about it, how perfect it was and the key worked and it looked like it was in good condition.  And then I sighed, because by the time I would have had the money for it, it would be gone.  That is they way these treasures happen.

So, yesterday, Odin and Ellette snuck off to the shop and snagged it. They hid it in the closet in Odin’s work room.  And this morning Ellette pulled me in to show me.

It’s beautiful!  It needed a little TLC – the top was falling off and the shelf on the inside wasn’t stable because of that.  Odin and I spent some time this morning fixing it up.  Well, honestly, Odin did more of the fixing than I did.  I helped a little and then made coffee – which I think is technically helping.  Odin then took the hinges off, cleaned them up a little, and put them back on better.  Now it is drying in his work room and I’m trying to figure out where to put it in the house.

But the real gift was what Ellette gave me later.

This was the really special gift.  Handmade love.

So, today, take the time to tell mothers how much you appreciate them.  Because, without them, you wouldn’t be here.  They spent so much time on you, the least you could do is tell them you love them.

And not just mothers either!  Consider the amount of time and energy that is exerted by teachers!  Close female friends, spinster aunts who dote on your child, girlfriends who have spent significant time with you and your child, single fathers who play both roles!  There are so many out there who help “mother” children in some way, and they should be acknowledge for that.  It takes a village to raise a child, and it’s time to throw that village a party.

In A Funk

I must apologize for my lack of posting lately.  I have been in quite a funk lately, getting trapped in my own head.  Maybe there is too much time by myself, or maybe there is something else.  Either way, I have been kind of sinking inward, and that is just a sinkhole of disaster.

Of course, part of my absence is due to the start of my busy season, when I am preparing for and/or working tent shows and other fests and parties for 3 or 4 months.  I love this season.  It gets me out into the world, showing off and being my own boss.  I love making kids smile, I love meeting new people, I love the inspiration that follows.  Next weekend is the Janesville Renaissance Fair – which I have been working at for 3 years.  It has always been so much fun, and I am very much looking forward to it.  Last year, I almost sold out of wings, which means this year I am trying to triple my inventory.

The weekend after Janesville, I am working a new (for me) show in Dubuque, Iowa – the Dubuque Renaissance Fair, which is a fundraiser for Camp Albrecht.

I am still trying to fill a couple weeks after that, and then I will be at the Custer Street Fair here in Evanston, where I will be offering the compelte “Faery Transformation” – costume, fun, and face painting!  I am kind of excited for this one because it’s local, and having only recently moved to the neighborhood, I am hoping it will open many more opportunities for me.

All of my summer happenings will soon be loaded onto their own page so you can get a comprehensive list of where the Little Green Pixie will be represented.

Anyway, this has all had me somewhat distracted.  And, I apologize in advance, the next ten days are going to be jam packed with making stock and trying to scrap my spirit off the linoleum.

I completely forgot it was Monday until it was almost Tuesday, and realized I forgot to upload my Reconstructed segment.  (It’s all there, just hasn’t been published to the blog yet).  Would you prefer to get it tomorrow or have a double segment next Monday?

Tuesday I was feeling run down, worn out, and hung up to dry and my very lovely coworkers offered to take over the last bit of my shift so I could get out and relax.  Perhaps this was because by that point in my day I was the opposite of helpful.  I was spilling milk, mixing up drinks, forgetting things, and not feeling very social.  It’s hard to work an espresso machine and help customers like that.

So, I did the only thing I could think to do.  I went to the library, gathered a stack of knitting books, and sat down to peruse the patterns.  After which, I went home and cast on this:

This is the Louisa Lace Tunic from French Girl Knits – a book I highly recommend.  I found so many patterns in there I fell totally in love with.  This project was chosen simply because I have a little over 3 skeins left of the Cascade 128 Superwash merino that I was itching to use.  I am knitting it flat instead of in the round to add a little versatility.  Also, while checking out Ravelry, I didn’t think many of the projects that had already been made were terribly flattering.  There were a few body types and wool combos that were particularly appealing, but for the most part, it felt kind of shapeless – or worse, form hugging in all the worst ways.  Just – blah.  The folks who made it all seemed very satisfied with their creations, which – I’ll admit – is all that really matters in the end.  I know I couldn’t quite figure out the lace pattern in the round – something was off – so I can hardly be one to talk.

Ellette had a half-day of school today, so this morning I worked on top hats a bit and then mixed paints so I could paint more wings tomorrow.  I also made a new hat using the wicked green Madeline Tosh I picked up, but it didn’t want to felt cooperatively, so I’ve got it on punishment right now.

            

What I’ve got completed so far.  Click the photos to make them larger.  I am taking them with me to Janesville to get an idea of how the people react to them before I put them on Etsy – although I have somewhat of a fantastical following at that show, so it may not be in the realm of normalcy. (Have I mentioned how much I like that show.  I really like that show.  You should go to the show.  You would be my hero!)

Anyway, knowing I wasn’t going to get much done in the afternoon if I had a bored 6 year-old to contend with, I bribed her with a train ride, a yarn store, and a coffee shop if she would behave for the day.  She loves coffee shops, so that works pretty much any time of day, and for some reason, she really likes the Windy Knitty.  She likes to play hide and seek, play under the tables, touch the yarn and find colors she likes, and just be adored.  The owner is also very accommodating, which I appreciate.

I have been working on a design I would like to submit to Knitty for their Fall issue.  I think it’s a pretty neat design (and you can bet, if it’s rejected by Knitty, it will still be available to you!), so this afternoons jaunt to the fiber den yielded the perfect yarn for the project (after a bit of fondling and consultation – that sounds bad).

Once again, Madeline Tosh Merino in a beautiful Russet color.  Doesn’t that just scream falling leaves?  It makes me feel all warm and squishy inside.  Unfortunately, Knitty doesn’t want prospective designs to be displayed anywhere else.  So, until I know if I’m in or not, this makes very poor blog fodder, as I don’t want to risk being disqualified just because I want you to look at my wool.

As part of good behaviour, I told Ellette I would make her socks, so she picked out some Malabrigo Sock.

I can’t keep casting on projects or nothing will ever get finished!  Anybody got any good patterns for a girl’s size 13?

As if wool weren’t enough to push me out of my funk, I went to tell Ellette it was time for bed, only to discover this:

I must be doing something right if my 6 year-old wants to do nothing more with her evening than read chapter books to herself until she falls asleep.  There aren’t even any pictures.

http://livesoftheaerialists.com/

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