Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I am so incredibly flattered to be the featured seller on Etsy today. When I got the news I giggled the entire day. This is a big thing, I'm not generally a giggler. A smirker, sure, but not so much a giggler.

I've been working hard for the past few weeks to get some items made for the shop while keeping up with life and keeping my feature a secret. Not easy, on both counts. I'm excited the big day is here though and want to thank everyone for putting up with busy self during this time.

I'm a huge fan of Etsy, of its community, and of the handmade ideal. If you're not familiar with Etsy, please go check it out and support the thousands of people trying to carve out their creative niche in the world.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Something new

I was working on an ornament project last night, something that had been in my head for some time now, when all of a sudden the project turned into something different. I love when that happens! (I believe in happy accidents) So what had started out as ornament has turned into brooches and I have to say I'm pretty excited about them. They're Ok, so anything with moss and nature is pretty much me, but nonetheless... It feels good to be excited about a new project.

What I've done is made a nest from a piece of felted sweater and sewn in some bead eggs and attached it to a bed of "moss" (wool locks) and sewn in some teeny tiny wool leaves that I made, also of felted sweater. I sewed the moss and nest onto a backing and added a pinback.

I hope to get these in my Etsy shop this week, but am quite certain I'll be making one for myself in the meantime. :D

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Something new

I'm a little short on time to do my Sunday window shopping post today (boo!) but I thought I'd show you what I made this weekend. I guess I was feeling Christmassy when I made up these holly ornaments.

The leaves are reclaimed leather from a thrifted coat. They're a wonderful aged green, and I did a little bit of machine embellishment on them. The berries are vintage buttons from my collection, in a mix of red and gold. I had a hard time letting a few of these go, but they looked so right on the ornament that I eventually convinced myself to give them up. I sewed these ornaments together, without glue, so as not to damage the buttons. The hanging loop is a narrow length of red satin ribbon.

They're a new venture for me, and one I'll likely try again. I hope you like.

holly by golly - ornaments of reclaimed materials - set of 3

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Busy busy busy

Whew! What a couple of weeks it's been around here. Busy, busy, busy, and it doesn't look like my schedule is going to clear up anytime soon. It may be a bit before I get back to "normal" but I wanted to pop in and let you know what I've been working on.

Today was acorn day. I prepared gobs of wool for felting and did indeed get some felting done. I had gathered more acorn caps the other day when our weather was nice, and they've been cleaned and ready to go. I have a few projects in the works that are a slight departure from my standard acorns, and I can't wait to get them finished so I can share them with you.

I was also able to get two felted scarves made this weekend, something I truly enjoy. Yesterday it was a bit colder and the suds from the felting process froze to my work surface. Yikes! I'll get the finished products photographed soon.

I hope you're all enjoying your own projects and busy lives. As a parting shot, here is a photo of my pre-felted acorns on my workbench. Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008


It's a chilly day here in Minnesota. It's almost noon and we haven't quite hit 25 degrees yet. It's a day for staying in and sewing, and that's exactly what I'm doing. Off to stoke the woodstove and make some hot chocolate and then cozy up to my sewing bowl.

The view from my back door.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Working on the weekend

I spent some time this morning organizing the studio area. It's been largely unusable since this spring's floodings. My work tables were piled high with materials of every imagineable type in an effort to save them from the water so I've been doing all of my working in the living area of the house (much to my hubby's chagrin). I got down there early today and started to make it a usable space again and I can't wait until it's finished.

As a reward for my hard work, I treated myself to some sewing time and some of hubby's fresh from the oven soft pretzels (with mustard, naturally). I'm working on some teeny owl brooches today out of felted wool sweater material. They're each about 2" tall and have little vintage mother of pearl buttons for eyes.

What are you working on today?

Friday, November 14, 2008


I had to sort through one of my (many) unsorted boxes of vintage buttons today, in search of a specific type of button. I told myself I would go in there, find said buttons, and then put the box away. This never happens, but I was hopeful. Alas, as usual I got caught up, running the buttons through my hands and marveling at some of the more unusual. I'm always excited when I find "non-buttons" in these unsorted boxes. I've found everything from old keys, rings, very old marbles, dog tax tags from 1917, and doodads and oddities of every nature. Today I found a red enameled metal rose, a mother of pearl belt buckle, something that may have been a belt piece, and a little three-pronged doodad that says "victor" on it. TREASURE! I guess it's the small things in life, huh? If I can't go diving for treasure in the deep blue sea, I guess I'll be happy diving for treasure amidst old buttons.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Night owls

Last night was a rough one. The little ones are coming down with colds and were up most of the night, in tag-team fashion. That means I was sneaking bits of sleep on the couch in between calls of "mommmmy" and demands for water and cuddles. I did get a chuckle around 2am when my youngest, who was sleeping on my lap, yelled out "mailbox!". What on earth was he dreaming about?

It was a really clear night and the moon was still nearly full, illuminating the woods in a beautiful glow. The stars were out and the dipper was sitting right in front of my window. Without the interruption of city lights, the stars are really something to see in my neck of the woods.

I had hoped to see some activity, owls swooping for prey, coyotes checking out the compost pile, acrobatic flying squirrels, something, but all was quiet and still. Except of course, for my little night owls.

felted wool owl ornaments I recently finished, of recycled sweater wool with vintage button eyes

Monday, November 03, 2008

Virtual home show

Catnip, I've sent you an email with details. Thanks so much, everyone who stopped by.

We’ve gathered together some fabulous ladies who make some of the sweetest hand crafts around. We’re bringing our very best creations from our homes to yours in this unique two day online shopping experience. Plus, we’re giving away door prizes so don’t forget to leave a comment on each blog to enter. It’s not too early to think about shopping for those special folks on your Christmas list so please keep them in mind as you browse these fabulous offerings:

Notebooks: Sue Bleiweiss
Gadget Cozies: Ginny Harvey
Toys: Felicia Haywood
Felted Items: Lisa Jordan
Needlebooks & Sewing: Jenn Maruska
Pottery: Julie Thomas
Tags: Karen Wittkop

As you look around on this stop on the virtual home show, you'll notice that you're surrounded by the woods. That is where much of the inspiration comes from for my creations.

Hi y'all, I'm Lisa Jordan, resident crafter, artist, designer, creator, and dreamer behind Lil Fish Studios. Join me for a batch of cookies and a nice cuppa coffee, will ya?

Living here in the woods of central Minnesota, it's hard not to be moved by the colors and textures that abound in nature.

I'm moved to do my part to live responsibly and abide by the three R's...reduce, reuse, recycle. As a result you'll see many recycled or repurposed materials in my craftwork. Using the wool from wool sweaters for felting is one of my favorite pursuits.

Aside from crafting, I'm a mom of 3 busy boys (with a new baby on the way), wife to a brilliant husband, and supervisor of two English Bulldogs, 3 chickens, and 1 fat goldfish. My little guys love to craft with mama and I try to engage them in crafty activities while I'm working, but the bulk of my creative endeavors take place while they're sleeping. Because seriously, toddlers can demolish a work in progress in 3 seconds flat. I also enjoy cooking, especially with the food we grow in our large garden, hiking in the surrounding woods, fiddling with various power tools, and getting my hands dirty in general.

As my thank you for stopping by, I'm offering up a door prize of an assortment of 6 wool heart ornaments, made from felted wool sweater material. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know you were here and I'll enter your name in the drawing. Hurry, the home show ends on Nov. 4th and the winner will be drawn on the morning of Nov. 5th and announced here on the blog.

Thank you so much for attending this Virtual Etsy Home Show! I’d like to invite you to the next stop on your tour:

Jenn Maruska who has mad sewing skills and makes the most incredible needlebooks.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Gearing up

Now that Halloween has passed, I feel myself gearing up for the Christmas season. I realized when I listed these new acorns in my shop this morning that my mind is already in frantic get-everything-done-before-Christmas mode.

Felted wool acorns - set of 3 - holly

I have a number of handmade gifts to complete this year. OK, well, start and then complete. On my list this year are new blankets for each of the boys, a couple of thumb pianos that I started last year but never completed, more felted worms, and super hero capes. I hope I'm able to summon up the energy to get all of these things done! For the time being I'll need to stop accepting new custom orders in my shop and focus on these projects and the custom orders I've already accepted. So if any of you out there know how to squeeze a couple extra hours into the day, I'm all ears.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Ah, it's my favorite holiday, Halloween. Time to get dressed up and beg the neighbors for candy.
The weather looks to be beautiful here in Minnesota and the whole family is looking forward to going out tonight. (unlike last year when it was 15 degrees)

If you're not quite up to hiking around with a bag of sugar, here are a few treats that I've had my eye on that will be a bit easier on the dental work. Enjoy!

This super cool piece of woollen art was made by Woollyfabulous. It's made from felted wool sweater material and is utterly amazing.

Felt brooch

One of my favorite indulgences is this wonderful sugar scrub by Skinandtonic. Her scents are amazing and the quality of her products is comparable to your high end department stores. This is the treat to pick if your poor skin is suffering from dryness. You'll love it.

Not Yer Average Hipster Sugar Scrub 8 oz

These magical little pumpkins are the perfect seasonal decorations, by tizib. Lovingly needlefelted they look at once earthly and ethereal. I can see these on a nature table from fall through Thanksgiving.

Magic Pumpkin

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Small things

There are "small things" we can each do in our lives to live a thriftier, more earth-healthy life. In looking at my own habits, I've identified some things that while not earth-shattering, have simply become a way of doing things for me. I thought perhaps I'd share some of these things weekly and hope in turn you'll share some with me.

Today's small thing is... re-thinking tissue paper. I haven't used tissue paper in a few years, that is, of the traditional sort. I happened upon the idea of using the tissue from sewing patterns while browsing my local thrift store. I like the way they look, they allow me to reuse, and I can find them affordably.

The extra paper from the pattern is used for envelopes, cards, and tags, with the excess paper being used to create handmade paper.

I'm sure there are other great ways out there to wrap without using new, bleached tissue paper. Perhaps small bits of fabric would be an option? Newsprint? Magazine pages?

What else are you crafty beings doing out there? I'd love to hear.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Small things

There are "small things" we can each do in our lives to live a thriftier, more earth-healthy life. In looking at my own habits, I've identified some things that while not earth-shattering, have simply become a way of doing things for me. I thought perhaps I'd share some of these things weekly and hope in turn you'll share some with me.

Today's small thing is... making your own stuffing. I work a lot with felted wool sweater material and after I've cut my designs, I'm always left over with small bits and odd shapes of wool. Some of these are large enough to save but there are invariably bits that are just not big enough to reuse. I cut these bits into even smaller bits and use them to stuff all of my stuffed projects. The wool makes a fine stuffing for projects large and small - even though large projects get a little heavy (great if you want to win a pillow fight the dirty way).

By using what we have, we eliminate the need to buy new and also help cut down, literally, on some of that inevitable "crafter's clutter".

You all have crafters clutter too, right? :D

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Small Things

There are "small things" we can each do in our lives to live a thriftier, more earth-healthy life. In looking at my own habits, I've identified some things that while not earth-shattering, have simply become a way of doing things for me. I thought perhaps I'd share some of these things weekly and hope in turn you'll share some with me.

Today's small thing is....thinking "repurposed" for your envelopes and tags. Let's face it, we like pretty papers, and there are a lot of pretty papers out there to choose from. There are many offered now that are made of recycled content with earth-friendly dyes, but many more that aren't.
If your aesthetic runs like mine, however, you'll be inevitably drawn to vintage and repurposed papers. See, I love the slightly yellowed look of old paper, I like its texture, and I love its history. Instead of buying new, I make my envelopes and tags out of old book pages, vintage sewing pattern instructions, and vintage sheet music. But hey, why stop there? In the photos below, I'm using a 1933 shorthand textbook that I found in a free pile at a yard sale, but you could use phonebooks, catalogs, junk mail, your kids' endless supply of take home information sheets from the PTA, whatever you have around. How about paper shopping bags or old holiday cards?

Last week, Kelly from macaroni and glue, commented that she saves "...little bits of kraft paper, snippets of patterned paper, etc. It's amazing how often you can avoid buying something new if you're not wasteful in the first place!"

Impact? Depends. If you use a lot of paper, opting for a free source such as a catalog or saving those snippets of paper, could save you a fair amount of money and make you feel good too. What's better than that?

And if you don't have the time or inclination to make your own, a quick search on Etsy will yield some beautiful results.

Stop those unwanted catalogs at:

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Small things

Today I'm considering the "small things" we can each do in our lives to live a thriftier, more earth-healthy life. In looking at my own habits, I've identified some things that while not earth-shattering, have simply become a way of doing things. I thought perhaps I'd share some of these things weekly and hope in turn you'll share some with me.

Today's small thing is...saving strings. I use a lot of embroidery floss in my work and am often left with short tails or pieces I've split into thinner threads. Instead of tossing these, I save them for when I only need a little bit of thread and I've been surprised at how often these come in handy. Impact? Teeeeeeeny tiny, but if every little bit helps...

Friday, October 03, 2008


We lost a loved one this past weekend. She had been ill, and though she'll be missed, her passing comes with comfort knowing that she is no longer suffering. After the busy-ness of the week has passed, family gatherings, the funeral services, etc., it's back to the business of life. No time to curl up and feel sad, there are children to feed, obligations to complete, and stalled projects to continue.

I do find myself creating comfort in small ways these last few days; baking bread, mending clothes, checking off to-do lists... Tasks with purpose and completion. Necessary tasks, humble tasks, comforting tasks.

I can feel that familiar pull towards the spontaneity of creating however and I'm eager to get back at it.

And life goes on.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The blues

Can you tell how I'm feeling today?

It's a chilly, overcast day here. I'm low on sleep, feeling a bit out of sorts, and well, a little blue. Painting usually helps me feel better, but the toddlers are so busy that it's not practical for me to spend any time with that pursuit. I think I'll go sew a few hearts. That will help.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Adventures in mommying take 554

Saturday night I experienced a new adventure in mommying. My youngest, the terrific two-year old, decided to sample some wild berries. We had been outside, taking a leisurely stroll through the woods and stopped by our garden to pick some tomatoes. While hubby and I were putting the tomatoes in the wagon, we looked up to see said terrific two-year old (TTYO) stuffing his mouth with purple berries. I yelped "NOOOO" and leapt over to him, squashing plants in the process, and tried to pry them out of his mouth. He was at the same time, trying to stuff more in. So, not knowing what he had eaten or how many, I scooped him up and ran inside with a plant sample. Hubby and I were on dueling computers, frantically trying to identify this plant and its berries. We kept coming up with a variety of nightshade, striking terror in my heart, but couldn't identify which one. Not wanting to risk spending too much time on it, I wisked TTYO and the plant sample to the ER, using my finest former-Chicago-commuter driving/speeding/passing skills in the process.

I should mention, that all the while, TTYO was completely calm and was perfectly content going out for a drive.

At the ER they checked his vitals and tried also to identify the plant. With the help of poison control and the internet, they determined that the type of nightshade that he had eaten was not the deadly nightshade (whew!). Given the length of time that had passed since he had ingested the berries, it was clear that he was going to be just fine. He was offered some stickers and a stuffed animal (although he asked for a horse instead), and we were on our way home.

Hubby did identify the plant as the Eastern Black Nightshade and it is not as toxic as some of its relatives. The green fruits are more toxic than the ripe ones, and TTYO would have had to have eaten 20 or so to get sick. Nevertheless, if you see this common plant in your yard, you may want to remove it if you have kiddos that eat anything and everything, just as a precaution.

TTYO is just fine. Mom has 17 new grey hairs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A new road

I've been wanting to try my hand at wet-felting scarves for quite some time. I've gathered the rovings, pictured my pieces in my head (no, I don't keep a sketchbook, just ask my old prof. Used to drive her crazy), and just waited for the right time. That time came last night and although my first attempt had some flaws, I'm downright tickled with it.

My inspiration has been the calico-like patterns of the fall leaves. My friends and I used to go on a road trip to Devil's Lake in WI hiking each fall and sit on the bluffs admiring the foliage. It looked like someone had thrown a quilt over the rolling hills, and I loved it.

I attempted to capture this feeling with the scarf and it is a mish-mosh of a fall colored calico. Sure, this one has some holes and my technique needs some tweaking, but I must admit I really like it, holes and all. It was a road worth traveling and one I'm sure to be trying again soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vintage button bouquets in action

As a crafter, I think there are few things more satisfying than knowing that one of your objects has been appreciated. Sure, the creating is fun, the sense of accomplishment when you complete a project is great, but knowing that you've made someone happy is just the best. I was lucky enough to feel that surge of satisfaction today when I received an email from one of my customers for whom I had created wedding bouquets and bouttonieres out of vintage buttons. She was sweet enough to send me photos of my work "in action" and I just had to share them with you.

The couple had chosen ivory, pool blue, and yellow as their colors and the end result is such a happy combo. How can you help but smile when you see it?

Here you see the bridesmaids' and the bride's bouquets. The bride had chosen a mix of ivory with touches of her accent colors, and mostly yellow with touches of blue and ivory for the bridesmaids.

The bridesmaids each carried a bouquet of 12 stems while the bride's bouquet had 28.

The groom and his groomsmen each had coordinating bouttonieres with reclaimed tan leather leaves.

Thank you, Carlee and Ryan, for allowing me to be a part of your special day. Congratulations!

*All photographs courtesy - Drew Wilson


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