Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This Book Was A Tree

As someone who strives to live a life steeped in nature, I was curious when Marcie offered to give me a copy of her new book, This Book Was A Tree, to review.  "Ideas, adventures, and inspiration for rediscovering the natural world" sounded right up my alley, though I wondered if I might not know this stuff already.  I mean, I do pride myself on being in tune with nature, and a bit of a nature nerd, after all.

Well, I needn't have worried about that.  Not only does Marcie provide projects and challenges for getting us closer to nature, she provides a very important component, the "why".

After browsing the book, the kids and I decided to make a nesting material ball.  The book told us how to do it, but also "why".  It helped us understand the intricacies of nest-building and got us to think about what feathered friends live in our neighborhood.  She encouraged us listen to the birds and gave us tips on identifying them by their songs.  She also suggested how we might apply what birds already know about constructing a simple home, to our own lives.

I like that this book has something for people of all ages.  My young kids will enjoy the fun projects- the pinhole camera, the sundial, locating Fibonacci sequences, my teenager could appreciate the science behind these projects, and I appreciate that the book encourages a thoughtful application of these projects and ideas to one's own life.

We hung our nesting ball in the plum outside our kitchen window where we can watch our feathered friends who come to visit it, and where it will serve as a daily reminder for me as to what goes into my own nest.  I have the feeling this is a book I'll refer to often.

Want to read what other bloggers had to say about this book?  Check it out:

4/2    Mindful Momma
4/3    The Long Thread
4/4    Maya Made
4/7    Rebecca Sower
4/10 Tinkerlab

And if you'd like to purchase a copy of your own, click HERE.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

new things

I took a class yesterday in which I carved stamps and experimented with them on paper with layers of acrylic paint.  It was a change of pace, and though I'm clearly no expert on stamp-carving, it was a fun way to spend a few hours on a Saturday.

It's good to try new things, don't you think?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

sleep and stones

My old friend Insomnia stopped by last night.  He was invited in by Charlie the dog who decided that he needed to whine to go outside and stand on the porch, doing nothing, at 3am.  At 3am.  Did I mention 3am?

Insomnia hangs around with our other friend Worry, and wouldn't you know, he had to dominate the visit as usual.  It's one thing to have a visit with Insomnia but then there's Worry yapping away all night.  Thankfully Worry tends to be a night owl, and mostly wanders off once the clarity of day arrives.  I think he knows that once day hits I'm going to get up and do something about his chatter.

All that visiting has me feeling a little puny today so I'm planning on an extra cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast.  I've already been out to the coop and gathered eggs.  The act alone lifts my spirits, but so will their golden goodness on my plate.


I have a pile of green stones in my bowl right now, in a variety of sizes.  I'm planning to do a study in green, an homage to the grass that is starting to push through, the awakening of the earth.

I'm looking forward to seeing all those green stones together.  If any of you would like to have all those green stones together once they're stitched, email me: (lilfishstudios(at)gmail(dot)com with an offer.  Otherwise, they'll likely be sold individually once completed.

Well, up and at 'em.  I hope you all have an energetic day.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

channeling my inner robin

I needed some nests to decorate with in the sales gallery at work so I channeled my inner robin and made some of out of wool and twigs.  The grasses might still be buried under snow, but there is always a supply of wool and twigs around.

Have a cozy week, all.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


 What an arts-filled week I've had.

  Aside from my day job with an arts non-profit, and my usual stone-making, I had the opportunity to take a felting workshop from the Textile Center, attend a wonderful event at Great River Arts in Little Falls, and celebrate local artist Greg Rosenberg, whose amazing agate lamps and stained glass now grace our local library.

Next week I'll help hang the artwork of schoolchildren in our gallery, attend a class with my kids where they'll paint cool fish, and then attend a block printing class by Carla Benjamin.

Whew!  There'll be hardly any time to do laundry!  (she says, not at all sad)

My life is not all art, of course, but it certainly is a wonderful part of it.

Have a great weekend all.  I hope art finds you too.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

middlin' stones for sale

Those smallish/middlin' sized stones I've been working on are now in the shop, in grab bag style.
By listing them as a grab bag, and not having to photograph and create a listing for each individual stone, I'm able to offer them at a lower price.  So, if you're purchasing, you won't get to choose your specific stone but I hope the right stone chooses you.

In my shop now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


Minnesota spring weather cancelled my felting class last night with its freezing rain and snow which meant I was left with a batch of strawberries stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with balsamic glaze, hummus and carrots, and a big bowl of caprese salad.  

What to do, what to do?

Why, enjoy of course.

The kids ate the entire plate of strawberries in about 2 minutes and the salad didn't last much longer.  
We're troopers like that.  Hitting that problem head on.

I'll be scheduling felting classes which will be open to the public.  I know most of you are far away, but if any local friends would like to take part, I'd be thrilled to have you.  I'll post details as they're available.

It's time for me to head out into the snow.  Have a good day, all.

Monday, March 31, 2014

finger knitting and no work stuff

I promised myself that this weekend I would not do work stuff.  I mostly kept my word and instead dyed lots of fiber, made some yummy treats for the class I'm teaching tonight, and taught my youngest how to finger knit.  She caught on right away and soon she had taught her big brother how to do it.  So far she has made herself a scarf and a bracelet, with plans for a blanket in the works.
I just might have to learn to spin some of this wool, to keep her supplied with yarn.

How was your weekend?

Happy Monday, all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Some medium-sized stones have cropped up on my worktable.  Larger than an art-o-mat stone but smaller than my larger stones.  Middlin's.

I haven't decided yet if these will become grab bag stones, go into the Sales Gallery where I work to benefit our non-profit, or something else.  In the meantime I'll keep adding to the pile and we'll see what happens.

Happy mid-week, all.

Friday, March 21, 2014

stone completed - as in greece

I finished a stone yesterday for my project.  I had high hopes of having all of my stones completed by now but then life tangled my yarn and I had to focus on other things.  I'm not going to set an official deadline for myself, lest that tempt fate to throw more tangles my way, but for those of you who have been patiently waiting for me to stitch your stones, work is underway.

Today's stone came to me all the way from Greece where Ariadne gathered it from the beach at the foot of the the Olympus mountains.  The thought of the water guided me in the color choice for the wool and the idea of grecian ruins and the lovely bits of sea finds that Ariadne incorporates into her own work led me to add random stitches and clay beads.

I hope the stone captures a bit of what you experienced while gathering it, Ariadne.  Thank you for sending it to me.

The gathering slowly grows.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

woo hoo!

It felt (no pun intended) pretty awesome to open up the new issue of Fiber Art Now and see some familiar lumpy, stitchy forms inside.

And the cover coordinates so nicely with the stone I'm working on.

My happy moment of the day.  Hope you get plenty of happy moments today too.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

a golden oaks stone

Reflecting on the passing of a life, holding things close, and the life that springs up in places we might overlook.

A pebble is trapped under stitches, reminding us of what we hold close.  Icy ferns embrace.  The colors of lichens atop wool I dyed using leaves from the forest floor.

In my shop now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

small and quiet

I've been in my new job for almost a month now and I'm still learning so much my head is abuzz at the end of each day.  Sitting and stitching on a stone helps focus me on the small thing in my hands and away from all of the open questions and tasks left undone.

It might be avoidance, to some degree, but perhaps also self-preservation.  It is a loving thing to give yourself some of your own time and to nurture those things that make you happy.  Even if those things are as small and quiet as a stone.

What are you going to do to nurture yourself today?

Sunday, March 09, 2014

another stone

Clearly I'm on a roll.  I managed to finish another stone this weekend, in between taking my kids to a puppetry workshop and watching the second Hunger Games movie.  I guess I really needed my stitchy time.

Inspired by those cool little lumps in the slime mold family.
In my shop.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

a late night stone

Last night I found myself needing some serious stitching time.  I needed to clear my head and "check out" for a little bit so I sat at the kitchen table in the dark with my trusty old gooseneck lamp and worked until way past my bedtime.

A mound of french knots and tiny glass beads surround a cluster of coral.  Edges creep outward, growing, reaching new ground.

I'll put this in my shop this morning.  
Right after I have another cup of strong tea, to help keep me upright.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

a bird in the... plans

I'd like to start teaching classes at the Art Center so last night I was playing with shapes and found this little guy in my palm.  Perhaps a few songbirds will be my first project.

If you were learning needle-felting, what sorts of projects would you enjoy?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

card sets on sale

Have a letter you need to write?  Blank notecard sets are on sale 50% off in my shop, while supplies last.
They can also be hung as art.
Or possibly folded into origami pterodactyls, if you're so inclined.

Find them here.

Monday, March 03, 2014

blooming brooches all done

All done!  10 wet-felted wool flower brooches completed.  I'll be submitting these to the committee at The Crossing Arts Alliance where I work to see if they'd be a good fit for the Sales and Gift gallery.  It would be fun to have some of my work in there.

This one has a clay bead center made by my talented friend Haddie.

Speaking of my work...I started a Pinterest page for The Crossing and need more artsy souls to follow.  If you're a pinner, let me know either by following me over there or by leaving me a comment here with your profile.  I'd love to connect with you there.

Happy Day!

Saturday, March 01, 2014

taking matters into my own (pruny) hands

Spring is definitely not ready to spring.  Our high temp for Sunday is supposed to hit zero.  Again.  I'm not even discussing what the windchill is going to be.  I won't.
Some flowers were in order so I spent a few hours making some.  It was good handwork after spending a morning with mind-work.

Just wool, wet-felted.  Lots of soap, bubbles, and pruny fingers.

My plan is to turn these into brooches but right now I'm enjoying seeing them sitting on jars while they dry.  A shot of color against that snowy backdrop.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quadrat piece completed

Yay!  It's completed!
This is the needle-felted piece I've been working on.  Inspired by a call for art at the resident's gallery in the Franklin Arts Center where I work.  The theme is work that is exactly 12" x 12", and since mine is not an exacting nature, I had to ponder how I might be able to fit that requirement.  It wasn't until I started poking at some wool that I decided that I wanted to do a piece reflecting a portion of the landscape in my mind.  Like a quadrat, a tool scientists use to isolate a standard unit for study.

Though this scene is plucked from my imagination, it definitely has its roots in reality.  For example, my fungus here is influenced by the orange peel fungus by the duck pond in my backyard.

A sprouting plant with downy leaves is similar to the mullein by the driveway.

Waxed thread becomes my take on sporophytes that dot our back woods.

Pebbles and sprouting grasses atop mounds of moss and earth.

And pebbles, plucked from lakeshores, naturally.

This was a really satisfying piece to work on, especially since it allowed me to conjure up images of greenness in this otherwise winter-white landscape.

The frame was made from some planks I had in my workshop.  This piece hangs on the wall and I could see myself doing a whole series of these.  Hmm...

12" x 12"
needle-felted wool, cotton thread
by Lisa Jordan


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