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Two new Etsy Treasuries! The first one features my dragonflies from GoblinsMarket and is titled Beautiful Flying Jewels. Thank you so much, Monarchdancer.

Yes, the dragonflies are available in assortments.
You pick the colors. :)

The second one is titled Autumnal Inspirations and is curated by TheLadiesAnn. Thank you!!

Autumn is Here

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It is official. Autumn is here. Soon the greeny greens will be gone. No longer will a floaty silk scarf keep your bare shoulders comfy of an evening. The nights are cold - not just cool - we have had at least two hard frosts here in Almost Canada and actually had to build a fire last night. Last night Bry and I went for a walk and I was wishing for a pair of long underwear even though we kept up a pretty brick pace! Even Ziggy was happy to get back into the house and warm up afterward.

I have a love-hate relationship with Autumn. It is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year here with glorious colors in the foliage and dramatic skies. The bugs all die in the first frost and the days are still bright and sunny. Clear nights allow for an amazing view of the sky without the bitter cold of winter. Harvest starts to come in, including Beets and squash and this year, purple potatoes! The first payroll check of the year shows up mid September and we can afford to buy tissues again.

However it is also the time of year that Bry has to go back to work and I hate that. I wish I could keep him home all year long. I hear that lots of married couples get tired of each other during vacations. Hasn't happened to us yet. Of course, I love having the Daddy around to take some of the demands of childrearing but the main thing is that we still love to talk and listen to music and work and play together. The fact that we can't get outside together during this beautiful time of year is particularly galling.

This year has it's own stresses associated with Autumn. Bry has had to take a half-time position with BOCES because the other available offer was just not reasonable for our family. He probably could have pulled rank with his seniority and kicked some other teacher out of a position they were comfortable in but neither of us felt that was an appropriate response to our situation. Make someone else miserable, too? Not likely.

So that first paycheck of the year was pretty pitiful. In fact, I believe that we now qualify for food stamps! I am currently lamenting my month spent recovering from whiplash (thanks, Maxx) which allowed the garden to get out of control and significantly reduced our yield. However, I'm not panicking about money. Bry is scheduled to start tearing down a barn on Friday and he should be able to re-sell and/or re-use some of that lumber. He and his brothers are talking about starting a guide service in the spring and GoblinsMarket is growing at a pace I'm comfortable with. It is not bringing in a lot right now but it is paying the credit cards and meeting its own needs financially. Studio Tour and Holidays are coming and that always bings in steady trickle of comission payments through February. In spite of the fact that our family is systematically being weaned away from a steady, regular paycheck, I feel pretty confident about our ability to get by.

My creative goals for this autumn are to
- get ready for holiday sales by producing many more scarves than I have in previous years - don't have a real number yet.
- make christmas gifts for the family
- start a line of holiday ornaments for Luna's Baublebilities for the local markets.
- get vintage style earrings and pendants into ForArtSake in Malone
- bring in new filigree findings at GoblinsMarket
- get silk fusion kits and hand dyed fabric up at GoblinsMarket
- help get the insulation in and the wall board up, window casings stripped and re-installed so we can stay warmer
- Give LunasBaublebilities Etsy a bit more attention, especially with scarves, so that it can be successful, also
- Finish participating in the Take it Further challenges this year
- get studio cleaned so that I can do some real silk painting some days when Maxxis off at Pre-K. I miss silk painting!

I could go on, but that is probably more than I can actually handle! Now - Off to get some of those things done!

Oh - and here is my favorite Pickled Beets recipe:

7# beets
4 cups vinegar (I use white)
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 Allspice seeds (I hate cloves)
4-6 onions

Trim the beet tops, leaving 1" of roots and stems to prevent color loss, wash and cook until tender. Cool.

Trim off roots and stems, slip skins off and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Slice onions to similar size.

Put spices in a bag and mix in large pot with vinegar, salt, sugar and water. Boil. Add beets and onions, simmer 5 minutes. remove spice bag. Pack beets and onions in cans, leaving 1/2" of head space. Process in boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

Yum, yum. These make excellent tangy treats during the long dim. Bry particularly likes to have them with tuna noodle casserole.

joeyandaleetha - Etsy Bloggers Featured Artist

10:29 AM Posted In Edit This 3 Comments »
I recently joined Etsy Bloggers Street Team. The purpose of a "Street Team" is to form a community of Etsy artists who share a common interest and want to cooperate with each other in the business of promoting their shops. I've been poking around the message board and peeping into other Etsy Bloggers shops and having lots of fun! There are so many talented people at Etsy!

Each month every member of our Street Team posts a blog entry about the month's featured seller. This month's seller is our team leader, joeyandaleetha. This amazing woman is the mother of two very small children who sews the MOST amazing baby wear and accessories. Her designs feature fun little monster faces on well designed clothing items. I don't know where she finds all the wonderful fabric she uses - she's got the most amazing designs!

Here are some things I found in her shop that I thought were particularly nice or clever:

I love this dress. Molly would have been so cute in it! Maybe she makes them in teenager size, too?

Maxx would totally love these pants!

These wrist cuffs are a great idea - babies are always pulling at mom's clothes - why not give them something of their own to fiddle with?

And, really, where else are you going to find clothes for your baby to wear for Day of the Dead celebrations?

Many Hands Make Light Work

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Saturday was a hectic day around here - but very productive! About 30 members from our congregation came out to help us get some projects done on our house. We have been feeling so overwhelmed and incapable of getting this place under control that the help was really appreciated. I am truly amazed at how much was accomplished:

The front door was removed and a wall was put in place of it, the steps to the new entry way were leveled and installed and the frame for the entry way "porch" was put up. This may sound trivial but the steps we are talking about are composed of huge sandstone slabs. They kept our neighborhood engineer busy for several hours.

The broken tree was brought down and chopped up, several other bits of small dead wood were cut down and chopped and they were stacked along with 14 other cord of wood. The twigs suitable for twig furniture projects were stored in the barn.

The side rear foundation and cellarway recieved some much needed attention and a section of wiring was finished so that I now have more than one outlet in my computer room!

One participant volunteered some tile she had purchased last year and decided she didn't want after the return date - so I'll get a new floor in the living room or kitchen. The walls in the living room were scrubbed and insulation was put up. The window and door for Bry's garden shed were repaired and installed and a new cover was made for my Brother-in-law's boat.

Several women helped me tear the weeds out of the garden and take out the potatoes and some of the beets, we even found a few viable tomatoes left in there and the zucchini is still producing. They then went on to rip and tear out an old flower bed full of small exotic trees that had outlived its loveliness before we moved in seven years ago.

Lots of other small tasks were accomplished - Bry feels that we got more done in one day with all that help than he could have finished alone in a year. Now we can spend our remaining time and energy finishing the stripping on the livingroom woodwork, putting up the wall board and finishing the new entryway prior to tearing off the old porch before it falls off!

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera out that day. Chrissy took lots of photos so I'll have to borrow some from her.

I do have photos of a little red eft that Bry and Maxx found in the cellar on Friday. He was quite a lively little fellow - we hope he winters over well down there! (I also have to remember to reset my white balance before using the flash - these photos are eerily blue!)

Another wonderful thing that happened this weekend is that one of my dragonflies made it to the front page of Etsy. It was in a treasury by justclaying along with other beautiful minty green items. I had a great weekend selling custom orders for dragonflies and now I have to put Molly to work helping me enamel another 70 of them tonight to replenish my stock!

A Late "Blog Carnival" post

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Like all things in my life - I am slow to get challenges done. I haven't posted anything of real substance in the TIF challenge in a couple of months and this week I didn't get to my post for the September 15 Blog Carnival in time. But I'm going to post it anyway because I took the time to work on the project a bit and take photos.

The theme was to take a favorite color and use it in my work. Well, I have no favorite colors, but I did just order some seed beads of different sizes and shapes in a beautiful matte metallic gold/plum iris sort of color. I love the beads. They have a very iridescent quality but the matte finish makes it possible to see the myriad colors that make up that iris tone. Metallic finishes tend to just be reflective and I don't enjoy the colors as much. It is also interesting to note that a lot of these colors - the tawny browns and plummy pinks and vintage gold - are being seen in a lot of color forecast guides for the next couple of seasons.

A few weeks ago I started with a sampler of the shapes I had purchased; size 11 round, size 8 round, 2mm triangles and 3 mm squares. I really like how the sizes, shapes and color come together and I intend to make a bracelet cuff using the same basic pattern in odd count peyote stitch so that I can have a truly symmetrical pattern this time.

In the middle of the bracelet cuff, I intend to affix this lovely Swarovski rivoli caught in a medallion woven in circular right angle weave. I know that sounds oxymoronic but if you know what right angle weave is and think about it for a minute - you will understand how it can be worked in a circle. I really enjoy working on medallions lik ethis but I had frgotten how difficult it can be to affix the rivoli in the center firmly. That extra bit of weaving seems so tedious to me, it is difficult to avoid the temptation to do a shoddy job on a part that won't be on display.

I also took a few photos of some new beads I just got in from bluemarblebeads at Etsy. I think I must be on an earth tones kick. I am also loving all of these fun shapes of "vintage" lucite beads. They are so lightweight and have so much sparkle, one can make some great earrings with them without worrying about giving customers "droopy earlobe syndrome."

New scarves, challenge themes and Pre-K

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So - Here are some photos of some of my new scarves. I'm still working on getting these done and loaded up into my shop but I thought that I would at least show off the Iced Poppies accidental colorway. I hated it at first but it has grown on me. It really is beautiful. I wish I felt like I could reproduce it.

The next scarf is in the Helmsman colorway. The final scarf photo is a terrible shot of the scarf but a lovely one of my girl.

Thursday was a good day for Maxx. I don't know why he wants to make such silly faces for the camera but it sure is cute! I did slick down that shock of hair before he hopped on the bus.

Getting on the bus was no problem the first day and he was all smiles and happiness when he got home. He broke down and cried when I put him on the bus today. He looked sooooo sad. I wanted to take him off again and bring him inside but I resisted. He really needs the time with other children and I need the help and advice of his teacher. Not to mention the 4 hours of "free time" this gives me. I got 20 new items loaded up at GoblinsMarket on Thursday!

On Friday, His teacher called to tell me she had noticed some difficulties on Thursday -Maxx wouldn't hold her hand, used "NO!" a lot and engaged in a lot of sensory stuff that indicated some potential problems (flapping hands when he ran or walked, etc...) nothing surprising and I'm really glad that she is tuned into what she sees from him. We used to see the hand flapping a lot when he first came to us but it had mostly disappeared by the first 6 months. He was doing it when he got off the bus Thursday so I knew that he was a little stressed. I feel that he is going to need a lot of support as he enters the big world and it is reassuring that he has a teacher who wants to communicate about his needs with us so much. I also feel that I need to be very sensitive to this transition period and help him feel secure. How does one do that with a 4 year old who communicates so poorly?

I've got 3 challenge themes I'm working on right now. The first one being the August Take It Further challenge, which was about balance. I've dreamed up a barn swallow mobile idea that I want to develop so I've been fighting with a home made pattern. I think I'm making progress but I'm NOT going to show it to all of you because the early stages are so embarrassing!

The next theme is from the EtsyBloggers street team blog carnival. We are to choose a favorite color and make something in that color. I'm half done with that challenge. I'm working with some beautiful gold/plum matte metallic seed beads and a volcano rivoli. Photos may be ready in a few days.

The final challenge is the September Take It Further challenge which is lists. Boy do I have lists. Itend to embellish my lists a lot. Perhaps I'll dig up some old embellished lists to share with you!

Oh - and here are some beautiful, tasty pink potatoes I took put of the garden Thursday. These are all from just one plant! How amazing - an entire meals' worth of 'taters grew from just a little chunk of potato stuck into the dirt and horse poop back in May! How cool is that?

What happened to summer?

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Summer is officially over. Today, Bry had to be in at work at 8:00 am for "coffee and conversation" prior to long drawn out meetings with and lectures from various administrators at his new job. Do administrators know how much teachers hate these things? Don't they realize that, for the most part, this time would be better spent working in the classroom?

Be nice to teachers. They are tired.

August was a hectic month. I had a successful day at the Music Heard Up North concert and art show Asgaard Farms. The weather was beautiful, the crowd was friendly and outgoing, everyone who stopped at the Arts Council booth (as seen in this lovely photograph) was interested in local art and handmade gifts. I sold many scarves and earrings and learned a lot more about the local fashion climate than any magazine article or "color forecast" map could have told me.

For instance, earlier this summer I dyed a few scarves in my Cebola Church Pallette (wheat and sage ribbon below) because it looked so pretty on the ribbons. I was a bit worried, wondering if they were going to be a miserable mistake but these scarves were the first to go and while they were in the booth, they were the first thing that most people coming in touched. I probably could have sold 10 of them. So, Molly and I will be mixing up some more of those colors this week!

In the same dyeing session, I had attempted to dye some scarves in my Sea Poppies pallette but they turned out very strange with an icy greyed out brown accent instead of a nice, rich black plum. I was very disappointed and was ready to toss them and call them a loss but Molly Bryn advised me to keep them and people loved those, too. Unfortunately, I can't figure out whet went wrong with that dye lot so I can't reproduce it. Aaargh! I still have a couple of those and will post photos as soon as I can get them taken.

The Saturday before last, we climbed Mt. Azure with Bry's sister, Molly, her 5 kids and our cousin, Karen and her two oldest. Maxx made it all the way to the top on his own. He is such a big boy! He also helped with haying yesterday at Grandma & Grandpa's. He's still too little to drive the tractor but he was helping throw bales around in the hay loft. He will make a great Farm Boy when he gets bigger.

Here's a photo of everyone but me and Devon on the big rock at the top of Mt. Azure. Apparently, it is traditional for everyone to pile up onto this big rock for a photo when you reach the top. Devon and I don't buy into the tradition. I took the photos while Devon whacked bits of moss with a stick.

Maxx starts pre-K on Thursday. I have been very stressed about this because of Maxx's shyness and his attachment issues but when we visited the room and met his teacher last week, he really enjoyed being there with the other kids and the toys. His teacher was great about spending some time with us talking about his food allergies and his needs in terms of attachment issues and assured us that she would work with the school counselor and us to help Maxx with adjusting. Best of all, she made a special effort to engage Maxx and took the time needed to coax intelligible answers out of him in a friendly way. I think things will work out well. IF I can get him on the bus Thursday morning! Our neighbor's son will also be attending Pre-K and is in Maxx's class so that will make everything easier for all of us, I hope.

Current projects:

I'm trying to make a miniature soft sculpture barn swallow in flight. What a nightmare! I've been through 3 models and they are all atrocities. I've ordered a book on sewn soft sculpture that I'm hoping will help.

I need to dye more scarves in preparation for the holiday season!

Earlier this summer I bought some seed beads of various sizes and shapes all in one color - a beautiful matte metallic plum/gold shade - that I'm dyeing to work with. I've done an experimental sampler in peyote stitch that turned out very nicely and now I want to construct a beaded medallion with a fuchsia rivoli in the center. That will take some time. I'll post some photos of all of these in the next few days - I hope!
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