Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Any regular reader of this blog knows that I'm addicted to scarves. I have more than I'll ever need, but they're also really hard for me to resist. When I first saw these recycled accessories made by Julia Gold of Jujuknits, my interest was piqued. Part necklace, part scarf, they're very unique. From her Web site,
"I started making Jujuknits for myself when I was looking for something lightweight to wear around my neck. I've always loved wearing really soft scarves and I wanted to create something that I could wear year round. I found that using jersey knits and old t-shirts were the perfect materials...and voila! Jujuknits!"
First, I saw one on Julia, then on a few friends, and then we started carrying them at Craftland. I eventually caved, I just love the colors in this one. It's so much fun to wear, and will win you lots of compliments!

You can buy your own Jujuknit piece from Julia's Etsy shop, or if you're in Providence, you can find them at Craftland.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Block Printed Stationery Class at Craftland

Saturday I taught a Block Printed Stationery class at the Craftland School of Craft. It was a lot of fun. There were two enthusiastic students who were eager to jump right in and start printing. One of the students did two prints of designs based on shells, and the other did two prints that were based on the stencils included in one of my favorite books on printing, Lotta Prints.
I worked on a print based on a photo we took at the Guayasamín museum in Ecuador. There was a collection there of Pre-Columbian tools and wood blocks and I was drawn to that sun motif. It's not quite perfect, but I think interesting enough to keep working on.
The new catalog is out for classes being offered in April and June. I'll be teaching one this Saturday, Journal Keeping for Inspiration, that I'm excited about. Also, in May I'll be teaching a basic Learn to Knit class. You can sign up for each on the Craftland Web site. Check out the other classes while you're there, there's some great stuff.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Rain Boots

I've been meaning to get cute rain boots for ages now, but am so bad about going shopping. If I can't buy it on Etsy or at Craftland, it just gets put off. Today, since I was driving past a Target, I forced myself to go in and finally buy some. They're hot pink with white polka dots, and are so cute I almost want it to rain again tomorrow so I can wear them.
As I was walking out to the car with them, I looked down at the rain coat I was wearing and wondered if it was going to be a bit too much altogether. Are loud pink prints ever too much on a gray, rainy day? I think not.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Spring!

This weekend was the first official day of spring, and the weather was unbelievable! Very unseasonal, but I didn't really mind. It was just gorgeous.

Sunday we went for a walk, another taken from the book Weekend Walks in Rhode Island. This walk was around Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, in Middletown, RI. Since this place would be a traffic nightmare to go to in the summer, an unseasonably gorgeous day in March seemed perfect. Our first official picnic and some salt air was just what I needed. (I don't know what it was about this bare tree against the blue sky, but I really liked its shape and had to take a photo.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

1950 New York Map

I'm working on a custom order for the lakes region of New York. When I pulled out my maps, I found a New York one from 1950. (Lately, people seem to be giving me piles of old maps, so I'm not sure who it was from.) My favorite part is that in big letters on the front of the map is the warning: Paper is Precious! Please do not throw this map away! I'm grateful someone listened and saved this map! It'll get a new life as a book. I also can't help thinking how times have changed. I feel like our maps today would say "Please throw this out as soon as you get home, so you can spend more money on a new one."
Also awesome were the little illustrations, and the chart of what the gas tax was in each state at the time. So great! Love the drawing of the bike rider, cute tie blowing over his shoulder!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that I don't generally post about cooking. Still, there are a few things I like to make, and Irish soda bread is one of them. Last night I baked a loaf, and had some for breakfast today. Why do I only bake this in March? It's so good!

I also made a really good Irish playlist. If you like U2, Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher, Thin Lizzy, and The Clancy Brothers singing Irish drinking songs, then you should come shopping at Craftland today.

I'm always excited about St. Patrick's Day in the morning, but I'm sure by the end of the day I'll be bemoaning all the drunkards wandering around Providence with shamrock headbands, and wondering why it is my cultural heritage is celebrated by everybody thinking they should get sloppy drunk. Don't forget people: you can drink beer every day of the year! You don't have to do it only today! I think I wrote this same exact post last year, too. You can read it here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Flat Stanley in Providence

Years ago D and I worked on our first Flat Stanley project for his nephew, and tomorrow I'm mailing off my second one. We love this project. We love traveling, exploring and learning about new places, so this project really appeals to us. Plus, we really love our city and love sharing with others what makes it a fun and unique place. We also have a travel mascot that we bring with us whenever we travel, so we're not shy about looking silly in public posing toys for photos. I also have a soft spot for paper dolls. All these factors combine to make us really good at this project.

Not surprisingly, they usually go home with a travel journal. This Flat Stanley's was more of a photo album or scrapbook. It's really cute. This little guy will head back to Colorado tomorrow morning and hopefully share some new info about the smallest state.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

300th Sale!

Yesterday I made my 300th Etsy sale! I had hoped to sell my next 100 books in 6 months, but it ended up being 7 months. (I did 95 in 6 months, but those last 5 were slow in coming.) My 300th sale was this journal made with a 1935 map of Rhode Island and went to my friend Julie. She also got a little surprise in with her journal. Thanks, Julie!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cure for the Blues

Saturday I found this surprise in my mailbox from my friend Kara. Inspired by one too many Facebook status updates about the lack of sun in Providence, Kara bought this from Choice Soaps. It's pina colada scented and you really can't beat that it comes with a little drink umbrella. It definitely makes me smile.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Block Printing

I'm going to be teaching a class in the Craftland School of Craft on March 27th on making block printed stationery. Today I thought I should brush up since it's been awhile since I've done it. I decided to do some cards with my home state. (It's funny, I did a bunch of test prints with red ink and couldn't figure out why I disliked it so much since I've been loving red lately. Then it dawned on me, Rhode Island is so not a red state!) I ended up printing them in a spring-y orange/yellow color. I'm happy with them. I do love the slightly mottled effect the block printing gives, as opposed to the nice, clean print of the Gocco.

If you're interested in learning how to do this, sign up here!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Denyse Schmidt Comes to Providence

It's an exciting weekend for Craftland, and for some lucky quilters. Denyse Schmidt will be teaching a day long class in the School of Craft. From the Craftland website:
Denyse Schmidt, renowned quilter, author and designer, joins us in the Craftland School of Craft for a unique hands-on opportunity to learn about her process. She’ll explain her intuitive design techniques, as well as the skills needed for a strong foundation to bring your own quilt projects to life. Students will create exciting work that will challenge the way you think about color, patchwork and your own creativity. If you’re a beginning crafter looking for the skills to tackle some of the projects in Schmidt’s books, or an experienced quilter who wants an opportunity to work with one of the most important quilters in the field today, this is the class for you.

You will be provided with use of our rotary cutters, cutting mats, and most of the fabric you’ll need for the day — as well as lunch!

Please note: You will need to bring your own sewing machine, thread, and a 1/2 yard of a single fabric.

You can sign up here, there are only a couple more spots, so hurry up!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Old Mill in Woonsocket

Friday I took a trip to an old mill in Woonsocket, Rhode Island to pick up some yarn. The mill had long since stopped producing anything and in recent years was being used as yarn storage for a company that was weaving elsewhere. The company went under, like so many other U.S. textile companies, and the yarn was there to be taken. Weaving yarn is far harder to buy since most stores only selling knitting yarns, so I scooped up far more than I have room for in my studio. (This weekend will require some reorganization.)

I love old mills, but seeing this one did leave me a little sad and pondering the American textile industry, which pretty much doesn't exist in the U.S. any more. A town like Woonsocket had once been a thriving mill town, in the state that spawned the American Industrial Revolution. Now, like most old manufacturing towns, it has high unemployment and a slew of problems.

I went here with two talented weavers and Linda from Alamode Stuff, and I'm glad a lot of this yarn will find its way into new projects and fabrics, and to the shelves of the textile department at UMass Dartmouth.