Some Saturday

I feel as though there are so many things that I want to do, and I get started on one project, which inspires so many more.

For instance, I mentioned this chess baord idea to Odin – the inspiration for which was a request for a 6″ knitted chess piece for a fashion show in September (more info on that later).  Six inches at a tight gauge offers loads of detail, if I can manage.  But from this commission came the inspiration for the whole chess board, and from that stemmed the inspiration, with a little help from Odin, for another game board, which currently decorates my desktop in this fashion:

I will not tell you which game I am working on.  Just count how many sides there are, and maybe that will tell you.  Any guesses?

Apart from this obsession distraction, I have a pair of wings that I kind of need to get completed this weekend.  These are the DaVinci wings, which will be used by one of the characters at the Bristol Renaissance Faire this summer.  At least, that is the intention.  Trial one sort of failed.  What I had intended to happen with the materials didn’t actually happen, and I had to remake half of the frame before I could begin again.  So this is what I have:

All that remains to be done now is attach the fabric, which still needs to be cut, but should be fairly simply to attach once I get to that point.  It will be a combination of machine and hand stitching.

Despite these works in progress, I do have a sense of accomplishment from my achievement yesterday.  I did finish one commission, at deadline, and mailed it off to it’s recipient.

I tried them on before sending them, but couldn’t find a way to take a decent picture.  They are very cute, expandable, and sturdy.  I hope the recipient likes them, and will hopefully be able to share photos of the completed ensemble here or on my website.

For now, it is a beautiful, sunny day, and our house is a mere 3 blocks from the beach.  We are going to have a picnic!

Don’t Tell Me You Are Bored

It is, in case you haven’t noticed, summer.  With summer comes the absence of school, of a schedule, of a house free of child.  For someone who works from home, this is difficult.

This is the first summer we are spending in Chicago, the first time I do not have family to call on or childcare at my fingertips.  I have enrolled Ellette in a 3 day a week gymnastics camp for the summer, so that I can stay on the schedule at the coffeeshop.  However, even though that gives me plenty of time at home, that is not very productive time.

Ellette is an only child, an only grandchild, and is used to being adored and doted on by those grandparents.  She has always been surrounded by classmates, or visiting family.  I simply do not possess the time (and often patience) to spend every minute of my day with her.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are rough for both of us.  I have deadlines to meet and she has the energy of a 6-year-old.  She cannot stay cooped up in the house all day, I simply do not have the ability to take my work to the park with me.  There are no electrical outlets for my sewing machine.

Today, we walked to the Brothers K Coffeehouse to get out of the house for a moment.  I consider this a somewhat productive venture since we were out of coffee anyway.

While there, I asked Ellette to help me write a list of everything we can do this summer, as well as things she can do by herself.  I stressed (and have been stressing since) that I need uninterrupted time to clean up my studio and work on stock, that I have commissions that need to be completed this week and those are things she cannot help me with.

I know there are parents out there in my situation – a house full of kids for the summer and a fragile sense of sanity to bear them through it.  So, I will share my list with you!

To do together:

  • nature hikes and picnics
  • baking experiments
  • Sidewalk chalk murals
  • Museums and parks

To give yourself a break:

  • Teach your young one(s) how to knit or crochet, and give them little instant-gratification projects.  I gave Ellette some crocheted butterflies my grandmother has made and told her I could teach her how to make them, and she is very excited about it.
  • Painting – still life, abstract, whatever! Set your child up with paints and a smock and tell them to paint whatever comes to mind – what they see in the room, an event or person, or how they are feeling at the moment.
  • Learn to tend a garden – this will get your child outside and learning about the environment.  Kids love to see that their hard work pays off with flowers or vegetables.  You can sit outside with them while they work and put in some valuable knitting time!
  • I have this book called 365 Days of Crafts and it is wonderful.  Inside it’s pages are ideas for everything!
  • Ellette and I collected branches on our walk home from the coffeehouse to make fairy furniture and houses.
  • We have buckets of plastic beads and thread and Ellette has been making her own jewelry.
  • A collection of flower pots, plates, and cups can be painted and put to use.  Children will appreciate having their artwork used around the house.
  • A large collection or books and magazines for the young readers can keep them quietly occupied for hours.  Trips to the library are even more exciting.
  • Ellette likes to draw pictures, write letters, and make cards for our friends and family far away from us.  When she is finished, we put them in an envelope and send them off!  She practices reading and writing while letting loved ones know we’re thinking of them!
  • If it comes down to it, make a list of chores your child(ren) can do unsupervised.  If need be, place a value on each chore, and when the child saves up enough points, they can decide a reward.  For instance, sweeping the floor is worth 2 points, doing the dishes 5 points.  10 points can be turned in for ice cream, 20 for a trip to the beach, etc.  Ellette doesn’t tell Odin she’s bored anymore, because every time she does he responds with chores she could be doing.  When he is watching her, she finds ways to occupy herself.

While this isn’t everything, it is enough to get you started!  If you have any ideas to share, please do.  Everyone can benefit from this information.

In the meantime, I am trying to finish two pairs of wings, a dozen top hats, and I have just been inspired to knit a complete chess board!

Custer’s Last Stand

This was my first festival here in the Chicagoland area and it went off with a bang.  The threat of rain quickly dissipated, children came out in droves with their parents, begging to be turned in to fairies and dragons.  There was music, tons of performers, historical reenactments, and loads of sunshine.

But, words fails me.  We suffered a little camnesia this weekend, but did manage to take a few spectacular pictures to sum up the busy two days.  I was on my feet most of the time, didn’t get much of a break Saturday and managed to take some time to walk with Ellette on Sunday.

So, highlights!

Welcome to my shop: Little Green Pixie

We carry costumes for children:


(Shown here with wings Alice and Grainne)

And even your pets!:

Oh, and I like to paint:


There were wonderful transformations all around.  Odin and I had a lovely time and will definitely be returning next year.  If you are in the Evanston/Chicago area and are interested in a face painting pixie, just send me an email at thewishingstarAThotmailDOTcom (changing the words for symbols).

Also, keep an eye on the “Find the Faery” page to find out what public events I will be at so you can stop by to say hi!

What’s up this week?

I have two commissions I am working on – the Da Vinci wings and Charizard wings.  I will be making more plushstaches, baby wings, and top hats.  I am also designing wings specifically for dogs, per request.  I have a few ideas for how to work those out.  Full week!

Take My Word For It

I have completed several projects.  Trust me.  As I propped the prototype for the Aviator Cap, my camera battery decided it was time to die.  And I could not find the charger.  Oops.

Speaking of, the Aviator Cap is looking pretty snazzy.  Yesterday I cast off the wedding gift, with less than a yard of yarn to save my cute little pixie behind from racing to find another skein and needed something new to work on (even though I have an unspeakable number of projects on the needles…)  I opened my closet door to look for yarn, and two skeins of Lion Brand Chunky Organic Cotton in natural and brown jumped out at me.  Literally.  So, I cast on what I hoped would become a smashing Aviator style cap.  The first attempt was ripped back pretty quickly.  The second attempt contains an error which I do not know how I made but will be worked out in the next sample.

The pattern for this hat will be available by the end of next week.  I am pulling out of my stash several skeins of yarn with which to make even more of these wonderful hats.  It is knit with chunky yarn on fat needles, and the prototype only took a few hours, so the following samples should become increasingly easier.

The Aviator cap was both inspired by as well as influenced the creation of Aviator DaVinci wings, which are actually an order from one of the performers (and a friend of mine) at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.  The wire frame is set up in my studio right now, weighting to have the membrane applied, sealed, and the leather straps attached – I must admit I am having the most difficulty trying to figure out an attractive way to attach leather straps which can withstand the weight of the wings (they are actually fairly light) as well as the force of any jostling throughout the day.

I suppose it is best that my camera battery died, because in my head I am envisioning the most spectacular photo shoot involving my renegade steampunk/renaissance aviator “outift” – really just a corset, white blouse, and brown wrap pants, the Aviator Cap, and the DaVinci wings.  Works in progress are fun, but funky photo shoots are even better.

So, take my word for it.  By the end of next week, there will be at least two new products!  Trust me, I would never be pixie led

Oh look, sparklies…

Random Monday

I have been a little out of the loop lately, and I apologize.  Partly this is because I have had an absence of verbal inspiration and part has been the influx of deadlines and chaos.  So, instead of a coherent post about one project in particular, you get random bullet points.

  • My friend Rose is getting married.  Initially, I was going to make her a shrug and she knew about it because I had to get her measurements.  Then, the shrug got the better of me and underwent corporal punishment via violent frogging.  The beautiful, white, Berroco Vintage has since been cast-on in a wholly different incarnation of which she knows nothing.  This is an even better wedding present, I wager, and so no photos or further information will be given.  Great gift, terrible blog fodder.
  • The wedding is July 2nd.  I am severely behind.  Maybe not so terrible blog fodder.
  • To break up the panic of wedding knits, I cast on cowls in chunky weight Cascade 128 for some instant gratification.  Except that the humidity sky rocketed and temperatures are nearly unbearable.   It’s summer!
  • The blue skies and sunshine has been highly distracting lately and my desire to be shut up inside working on woolen projects or sorting through piles of fabric has diminished greatly.
  • Even though, I have tons of new ideas involving the several boxes of lace I acquired from my grandmother’s craft room.
  • I spent this afternoon, when not working on the wedding gift, cutting circles of fabric to make floral adornments for the lace objects and top hats.
  • I also spent some time cursing the top hats I was trying to hand felt, gave up, threw them in the washer for two cycles, and then decided that they still need a bit of hand felting.
  • There is one week left of school.  ONE WEEK!
  • Ellette is spending a week with my parents.  Read my blog that week – I bet it will be really interesting.  Filled with all of the things I have accomplished by not having a 6-year-old making messes and telling me she’s “bored”  (can you imagine what “bored” must feel like?)
  • I paid a bunch of bills today, and it very nearly made me cry.
  • After Ellette returned home from school, I  cracked open a bottle of beer and went outside to play with sidewalk chalk.  I get the feeling that a majority of my summer is either going to be drawing flowers and fairies on the pavement or getting sand in my shoes.

Holding On

Last weekend, I took a trip up to Milwaukee, to visit my mom and grandpa and help clean out my grandmother’s craft room.  My mom had told me of the piles of boxes and fabric and the cabinets nearly bursting with surprises.  I always wondered what exactly was in there, but was never permitted to look around.  My grandmother was a bit protective of her belongings.  I hear her voice echoing in my childhood constantly about not wearing shoes on her carpet, not playing in the living room where the tall glass cabinets held her china knick knacks and so on.

Sunday, then, was a bit surreal.  I arrived at my grandparents’ house, with news that my grandpa had taken a tumble and was in the hospital (and he is mending, thank goodness), and my mom wanted to get through the boxes as quickly as possible.  She had moved about half of the craft stuff out of the upstairs room and into the middle of the living room, where it would be easier to sort through.  We made three piles – one for mom, one for me, and one for donation.

I admit, it was a little strange, digging through piles of holiday crafts, never finished sewing projects, and boxes upon boxes of silk flowers.  I couldn’t help but wonder what she had planned to do with it all, and what she would think of what I was planning to do with it all.  I felt a little guilty in taking things from the pile and for not taking things.  My mother kept telling me that if I even had a short fused idea about an item, I ought to take it with me, because in this situation I would not be able to go back to get it.  After Sunday, it would be gone for good.

Needless to say, I ended up with far more than I know what to do with, and the promise of a trip in the not too distant future to clean out the other half of the craft room.

I took boxes of beads, buttons, and findings…

These funny little fuzzy animals, which Ellette quickly laid claim to…

Some beautiful fabric, which I am not quite sure what to make with…

Silk flowers….

And silk flowers…

And even more silk flowers.  Some of them were quite cool, however.  Like these metallic leaf bunches:

And these blue velvety roses

I took far more hats and baskets than I know what to do with

Ribbon and several boxes of lace

I am still cleaning up my studio and reorganizing to accomodate the sudden influx of supplies.  Much of it has caused inspiration (tons of the lace will look great on my top hats!)  So, if you keep checking back over the next month, I am sure you will see much of this stuff being used!

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