Monday, October 24, 2011

Hello Craft Summit of Awesome

On the heels of Rhinebeck, I took the Hello Craft Summit of Awesome plunge! How very fortunate I was that this amazing opportunity was held in the major city nearest me- Baltimore!

The venue was fantastic! The 1840's Ballroom made me want to get married all over again just to have the reception there. The lighting was not ideal for indoor photography, but hopefully I can share a glimpse of these cool diggs.
Upon arrival, we registered and then made our own name tags in the Make Something Awesome Area, which was open the whole time for our crafty pursuits.

The first session I attended was branding and Identity with Jeffery Everett. He spoke on logo design, brand, and how all of it ties together when marketing and growing a business.

Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel of Bust magazine were the Craftnote speakers and shared about how they started and maintained their DIY business for the past 18 years. Their story was interesting, inspiring and engaging. They followed up with a session on Shameless Self-Promotion, a talk well suited to the artists among us who just wanna make art!

Miranda Lievers led the next session on how to use light in product shots. This was quite informative and I was impressed by her tips for tweaking our technique ever so slightly for huge returns on our pictures. I found this session to be among my favorites.

My day wrapped up with a session called "Blogs, Books, and Magazines, Oh My!" led by Kate McKean, Lish Dorset, and Kari Chapin. Kate presented from a literary agent's point of view, Lish shared the blog writer's perspective while Kari shared her experiences as an author.
Her book The Handmade Marketplace was Amazon's #1selling craft book in 2010.

Day 2 highlights included an amazing talk by Caitlin Phillips of Rebound Books. She spoke about Craft fair booth set up and displays. Tina Seamonster offered some interesting insights on how every business has a story. Jay McCarroll of Project Runway Fame was the craftnote speaker on Day 2. Funny, authentic, and very personable. I wish him much luck in his future endeavors!

Danielle Maveal of Etsy spoke on Etsy success and offered one on one critques for Etsy Businesses. I enjoyed an interesting glimpse into the world of art galleries with Jaime Zollars and Diane Koss. There were so many opportunities for Indie crafters in these sessions. I attended one on email marketing with Amy Ellis.

Saturday offered sales talk, podcasting overviews, website tips and so much more. All Summit long there were opportunities to craft with letterpress, making sugar scrub, sewing tote bags, and making garland.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience! I met so many wonderful and inspiring Indie Crafters and my brain is full of information overload! I highly recommend this for everyone! Hope to see you at next year's Summit of Awesome!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rhinebeck 2011

Nice view from our hillside home in Rhinebeck. Beautiful sunrises over the mountains. I shared a cottage with 7 fabulous Ravelry friends. Face-hurting hilarity and laughter ensued.

The Sheep and Wool Festival was a blast. Always so fun to be inspired by vendors and fiber artists. The meet-ups are always good. Here's the Spunky/ Hello Yarn/ Southern Cross Fiber group.

Some other weekend highlight pics:

Amy(Boogie), Me, David

Erica(Weetsie) and John(Ironjohn04)

Dale(dirkhumblejunk) and Stacie(njstacie). Just Married!!!!
Check out the wedding dress she made in just 3 weeks. Love that she wore it again to the fest. Go, Stacie!

Too full of awesomeness to contain:)

Me, Tasha(nuttnbunny), Adrian(HelloYarn), John(ironjohn04), Stacie(njstacie), and Heather(Sparkcrafted)

Fleece hunters Tasha and Allie.


Christina(miukat)and Kate(DragonflyFibers)

Mmmm LOOP. Lots of action in that booth this weekend. Everyone kept going back for more. Steph and Kate, my favey faves <3. After we broke down the booth, Steph treated us to an amazing sushi dinner, sleepover and breakfast before hitting the road. Thank you again, Stephanie!

Sarah of Sanguine Gryphon, Gale of Gale's Art, my new best friend(lol) KateyJ, and Kate(Dragonfly Fibers)

I learned an amazing lesson this weekend. I have a very giving heart. I used to think sometimes that is reciprocated and sometimes not. To give freely and purely, without expectation is the point. This is how I roll. Yet, over the past week, I have been absolutely, gobsmackingly fiber bombed with so much giving that it blows me away. I received this amazing package in the mail from a dear soul I met in Ravelry. It was HUGE and filled to the brim with individually wrapped packages, each with its own lovely ribbon and hand written note. Everything in my color sense, all from my wish list. Thank you, Jen<3!

Then on our road trip, Kate gifted me a Jenkins Turkish Delight that Ed himself had given her! It is simply the most beautiful thing.

She also gave me a bag of sock yarn for hexipuffs and a bag of fluff to end all fluff. This bag was HUGE!!! It was an industrial size trash bag overflowing with her amazingly prepared and dyed fleece. This girl has a gift for fleece prep like you've NEVER seen before. Here's a peek:

I seriously never need to buy fiber again!
Yet there was a more subtle soul nourishing that transpired this weekend. The little things some people may simply take for granted but meant the world to me. The sharing of John's harvest, libations from Dale and Stacie's ongoing wedding feast, amazingly prepared meals, someone always offering a coffee, taking a plate, refilling my wine glass, rides back and forth. So much heartfelt giving. It really filled me and made me realize that giving is probably always reciprocated but maybe in the most surprising ways. Maybe even by people you've never given to before. Perhaps that's the beauty of it. and that's what makes it pure. I dunno...but it was beautiful. Never really gave much thought to karma before, but I'm pretty sure I've just experienced it. Thank you, all<3.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Off the Needles

Striped Study Shawl
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool

I really enjoyed this knit in a mindless knit kinda way. It's just that those rows and rows of garter stitch seem to be exponential. Just sayin.' Easy to get bored with this one. Would love to knit one for fall in charcoal and light gray. Just not this fall.

I also finished a handspun sweater for #7. Spun the yarn last fall from Hello Yarn's Peat colorway. Started the crochet in January on a trip to NYC. Babylove picked out his own buttons at Tender Buttons. Quite a number of city blocks we hiked for those little treasures. He exclaimed it was beautiful when I finished. Then promptly took it off.

I've finished a few smaller projects, too. I just realized I forgot to photograph the Chappy Newsboy Hat for a newborn. Just as soon as the little chap grows into it- have to have a shot for Ravelry. It was too cute. He looked like a little old man. Adorbs! This little hat below was a quick crochet for my neighbor's new baby, Owen.

Then this was a total knitter's ADD moment, cuz I knew I could whip it up in a Sunday afternoon. Needed a prototype for a workshop I'm teaching. It's The Bright Idea Scarf.

In the tradition of The New York Sheep and Wool Festival, I was hoping to have some kinda wow factor handspun garment to wear to Rhinebeck this weekend. Instead, I'm settling with the fact that it's all I can do just to get to Rhinebeck. A little like parting the Red Sea for me to step out of my life for a few days. This weekend promises to be a little over the top in the best kind of way. Such good company. What an amazing husband to encourage me to take an EXTRA day away. I was trying to figure out how to do Rhinebeck as quickly as possible for the least amount of impact on our family when he said, "I think you should take as MUCH time as possible!" So supportive of my life's work, so appreciative of how much energy it takes to raise our family, so genuinely giving, this man. Love my mister.

Oh, and one more crazy thing. I've been kickin' this book around. It's been around for a while. Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith is a creative adventure in pushing boundaries and stepping outside the box. The other day I discovered Wreck this Journal blogs and Flickr sets. It's a great concept. The whole idea is to express your creativity by way of creative destruction. Each page contains an exercise to encourage creative expression by letting go of perfectionist ideas that keep people from creating to begin with. I stumbled upon this Book years ago at the bookstore and thought it looked like fun. I've picked it up here and there over the years, but thought it might be fun to share the process with you. Go get your own copy and play along with me! You know you want to!

Monday, October 3, 2011


It's that time of year again. We've done it as a family for nearly twenty years. It amazes me to realize the duration of this family tradition. Nineteen or so years ago on a trip back from beautiful western Maryland, we stumbled upon a pick your own pumpkin place. The kids loved the hayride, the pumpkin picking, the apple cider tasting, the petting zoo. We stopped for dinner at this mom and pop restaurant out in the country with a covered wagon for a salad bar and a miniature train on permanent display to keep little kids entertained. We took home a loaf of frosted raisin bread and have returned to engage in this very same routine for nearly the last two decades. Our family has grown a lot since that first serendipitous visit to the pumpkin patch. The activities at the pumpkin patch have likewise grown and changed over the years. Today there are opportunities for scarecrow building, pony rides, face painting, and a moon bounce. Our four year old remembered the pumpkin patch and for days leading up to our family excursion he would count down to the big event. On Sunday, he literally woke up smiling and announcing that it was finally time to go to the pumpkin patch and jump in the pumpkin moon bounce.

That's one excited puppy! He could hardly contain himself!

Here's our fearless leader, aka, Captain Fun. I'm still loving those dimples after all these years;)

So #7, ever focused on his mission, got right down to the serious business of pumpkin picking,

while 3 of the girls worked it for the camera.

#1 and #4

#3 and #4

#5 hard at work

#6 planting a happy kiss on mama<3

Another fun day in the memory books.
Making memories is a beautiful thing.