Mar 302010

Like the question about what came first, the chicken or the egg, Vicki of DizzyDragonflies’ addiction to yarn has led to dyeing, weaving and knitting—or did these activities lead to the love of yarn? In any event, Vicki says, “I have always loved creating items. My main love has always been yarn, knitting and crocheting. By accident I started selling my hand knit items, people offering to pay for me to make them something that I had on or had given to a friend . . . Now I have tried my hand at spinning and hand dyeing yarn, and love them both.” She is thrilled that she can sell things she truly loves to make.

Vicki uses Kool Aid and/or Jacquard yarn dyes in her work, resulting in wonderfully rich colors such as the yarns shown below. She can custom dye as many skeins as you wish if you contact her through her shop.

Likewise, when you see an item in Vicki’s shop that she has sold to someone else, she can duplicate it for you in a color you choose. Her cable knit scarves are especially attractive.

If you are interested in seeing how Vicki dyes her yarn in a kettle, you can see the step-by-step process in the Bright yarn tutorial on her blog.

Vicki’s love of “all things yarn” has been fed by the yarn community, a closely knit group (pardon the pun!) that loves to exchange ideas and tips. Another Etsy seller, Spin, Knit and Life, introduced Vicki to spinning, which led to the purchase of a spinning wheel. The first item she dyed was spun from that wheel and incorporated into a lovely sweater.

Through another friend on Ravelry, a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to gather and exchange ideas and information, Vicki learned how to spin yarn onto a core.

If you love yarn as much as I do, you’ll want to visit Vicki’s shop and blog. You’ll also find her on the Web in these additional locations:

Ravelry (you will need to join this site to view Vicki’s page):

© 2010 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artist and may not be used without permission.

Mar 232010

Many of us have participated in online swaps and exchanges that culminate in sending off through the mail an item that has been created. Past swaps in which I have participated have included exchanging handmade holiday ornaments, posting photos online, and making a seasonal gift for a partner as part of the Boomers and Beyond Etsy Street Team. This time I signed up for a journal swap during the month of March, an activity in which a number of EtsyBloggers agreed to participate.

Each day we complete a page in our journal according to the assigned topic, and during the first week in April, everyone mails off her journal to a partner. In my case, my partner is a young lady from Thailand who is a mechanical engineer during the daytime, but a jewelry designer after hours. She calls herself Patch, and sells her handmade jewelery at Patch First Shop on Etsy.

Patch’s beautiful, timeless jewelry creations, which are perfect for bridal, prom and formal occasions, feature pearls and CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements. My favorite piece in her shop is a 53-inch pearl necklace, highlighted with a single silver vintage flower brooch. If classic, elegant jewelry is your style, you will definitely wish to visit Patch’s shop.

Handmade Jewelry – Simple Long Pearl Necklace
– 53 inches with Vintage Silver Flower Brooch,
© 2010 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artist and may not be used without permission.
Mar 042010

It has been quiet here in Blog Land, so apologies go to my readers who have visited this page repeatedly since December, only to discover that nothing new was being reported. There have been happenings, but I guess I haven’t stopped long enough to write about them.

About the same time in early January that my husband lost his job due to a restructure, we officially joined the Sandwich Generation, dividing our time and attention between life here in Iowa, visiting our son in Chicago who is getting married in August, and visiting my father in Wisconsin who moved into assisted living in early January. My father has been dealing with some health issues, so after a family conference we all decided that this was a good place for him to be. Moving is always easier said than done, especially when you’re moving from a house in which you’ve lived for forty-plus years. We are now regular travelers on the roads between Iowa and Wisconsin as we get ready to sell my father’s house. When we can, we stop in Chicago to see our son.

This is also the time of year when our volunteer commitments ramp up; my husband and I are both involved in the creative problem-solving program called Destination ImagiNation, and it is currently tournament season. Between training and appraising and answering e-mails, we find it’s important to take time for ourselves  in order to keep our energy levels high. To meet that need, John and I joined WeightWatchers Online and are watching the line on the graph descend. It’s a good feeling.

There is nothing that is more regenerative to my own spirits, however, than creative expression. As busy as we’ve been the last couple of months, I’m afraid that I have not been writing, stitching or crafting very often. So, I’m more than ready for a new creative challenge. To that end, I–along with 15 other fellow EtsyBloggers–am participating in a journal swap. Not sure what that is? Think about blending an Advent calendar containing 24 secret doors with an old-fashioned junior high-style slam book. Every day for a month, you write a journal entry about a specific topic. At the end of the month, you send your journal to a fellow blogger you’ve never met, and a different blogger sends her journal to you. In the process, you meet two new friends and learn a little more about yourself. In my case, I’ll be sending my journal to a woman from Thailand, a land about which I know very little. I wonder how much she knows about Iowa?

The EtsyBloggers Journal Swap for March is the inspiration of Storybeader, another EtsyBlogger who credits the Web site called Swap-bot for the idea of swapping items through the Internet, but especially ratbrazine for the journal swap twist. I’m sure there are many variations on the journal swap idea, but if you decide to do your own swap, you may find the topic list for the EtsyBloggers Journal Swap to be helpful:

1. Write an introduction or short description of yourself. Include your blog banner and a photo or drawing of yourself. Make this your first entry.

2.  Make a list of 25 things you want to do in 2010. These can be as simple as “participate in the thread every week” or as big as “save up for an overseas vacation.”

3. Cut out a local news article and paste it into your journal.

4. List the URLs of the latest four favorites from your Etsy shop page. Are these items on YOUR wish list, or for somebody else?

5. Copy your mate’s Etsy banner, and make a greeting card with it. Attach it so it can be used.

6. List 10 things you can see from where you’re sitting.

7. Turn your journal around and write an entire entry upside down. Your choice of topic.

8. Make a suggestion about your mate’s blog layout, that you think will help him/her.

9. Take your business card or another marketing tool, and use it as a centerpiece for a drawing.

10. Write down lyrics from a song that inspires you, moves you, or creates a strong emotion.

11. Write about an issue in the world that is important to you, and tell why.

12. Describe your day in one word. Write this word in large letters across the page.

13. Write about another Etsy team to which you belong. Do you recommend this team to your mate?

14. Write about something in your mate’s profile.

15. Write about a project you are working on right now. This could include arts, crafts, a presentation for work, etc.

16. Glue an envelope into your journal and seal a secret inside. When you receive your journal, you can open your mate’s envelope or choose to leave the secret hidden.

17. Write down a recipe.

18. Write about the town where you grew up. Are you still there? Have you gone back to visit?

19. List 10 reasons you smiled or plan to smile today.

20. Write with multiple colors on the same page. Your choice of topic.

21. Describe your favorite place to write in your journal and why it’s your favorite.

22. Attach an artifact you use in your Etsy artwork, and describe it.

23. Write a blog post about a favorite item in your mate’s shop. Write the URL here and explain why you chose it.

24. Tear or cut up a photo and glue the pieces back together randomly.

25. What’s your favorite color? List what you have that is this color.

26. Make a promise to yourself today and write it down in your journal so that it fills the entire page.

27. List 5 books you recommend to your mate and 1 book you hated.

28. Glue in an artifact from your day. This could be a business card from a place you visited, a ticket from a movie you saw, a stamp from an envelope, etc. Tell your mate about it.

29. Make a list of things you sense right now for each of your five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, sound.

30. Talk about the weather.

31. Press a flower or leaf between waxed paper and attach it to a page.

© 2010 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.