Saturday, November 30, 2013

weekend, volunteering, and cards

Ahhh, the weekend.  Hard-earned after my first week of (outside-the-house) work.
Today my youngest boy and I are volunteering at the Crossing Arts Alliance and visiting my favorite potter to show some support on Small Business Saturday.  I'll take my helper for a treat afterwards, a little mom and son time that we'll both appreciate.

Later I'll be packaging up more greeting cards that will soon be in my shop.  More information, and photos, coming soon.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Happy Saturday!

Monday, November 25, 2013

a winner and some news

Thank you to everyone who played along in my giveaway.  I love that so many of you make compliment-giving a regular part of your day.  I can't say I'm surprised, I've long known that you are all a kind and caring group, but it was still so nice to read all of the affirmations.

My kids picked a name this morning and Traci J is the winner!  I've sent you an email, Traci.  I hope you enjoy the stone.  It brings my warmest wishes with it.

And a little news...  Starting today I will be working full-time in a job unrelated to lil fish studios.  We've met some unexpected challenges this year and I need to make a more consistent financial contribution to help keep our family afloat.  I will still be tinkering with wool and wood, dyeing with plants, wandering in the woods, and sharing my experiences here, but I'm not yet sure how frequently that will be.  I'll figure it out in time and I hope you'll stick with me while I get my footing.

If you have extra, I could use your happy thoughts.

Thank you, each of you, for joining me here under the poplar and pine.  Your support has meant the world to me.
 I hope you all create a wonderful start to your week.

Happy Monday.
x. Lisa

p.s. the kitten doesn't have anything to do with my news, he's just there to lighten the mood.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

little shrooms in the shop today

A trio of tiny terrariums will be heading to the shop this morning, right after I finish photographing them.

Each scene made of wool with a few stitched details.  No wire, no glue, just fiber.

They each come with a small glass dome to help keep them safe from dust and kitty claws.

They're sewn to wood bases that I make by hand of oak and poplar from my woods.
Little labors of love, they are.

I appreciate these captured moments from the woods on these cold wintry mornings.  Even on days that I can't venture out to be among the moss and mushrooms, I can still conjure up that feeling when I'm surrounded by these pieces.

If you'd like to have a look, check HERE later this morning.

Thank you!  Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 22, 2013

a stone giveaway

"If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story, it would be, still more than its own, the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it, of the winds that whispered to it, of the birds that sang around it, of the storms that visited it, and of the motherly tree that held it and fed it until its petals were unfolded and its form developed."
Lucy Larcom
I am reminded lately of how my life is impacted by those around me.  I have people in my life who lift me up, who remind me of the good in life, the good in me, even on dark days.  I've been showered in good thoughts and kind words and their sunshine has shaped my story.  I hope my sunshine smiles upon them to impact their stories too.

So, in reflection of this, I'd like to have a little giveaway.  
The winner will be sent this little 'Bloom' stone, all wrapped up and ready to be gifted to someone you love (and that person can be you, if you'd like).  All you have to do to enter is go pay a compliment to someone - it can be a simple "I like your scarf" to a stranger or a heart-felt expression of appreciation to someone you love - and leave me a comment here on my blog letting me know you've done it.  I don't need details (though if you want to share, that's fine), I just want to know that you've helped make someone's day brighter.

This giveaway is now closed.

A winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on Monday morning, November 25th, 2013.  I'll ship worldwide, so everyone is free to enter.  Please be sure I have a way to contact you, should you be the winner.

Thank you, and good luck!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

found! acorns

While looking in my supply closet yesterday I found a few baggies of wool acorns and acorn ornaments that I forgot to list.  How did I do that?

I'll be adding them to the shop sometime this morning.  If you wanted some but weren't able to get any, here's your chance as I won't have any more this year.  Unless of course, I find some in the other supply closet...

Happy Wednesday all!

Monday, November 18, 2013

into the trees

It's deer hunting season here in Minnesota which means we haven't been out walking in the woods lately.  Since we're surrounded on three sides by hunting land, I get uneasy about letting the kids play outside, even with their blaze orange hats on.  All of this indoor time has made us all a little stir crazy.

I tried to quell some of that excess energy that was coursing through my kids yesterday by having them make some little tree ornaments for the upcoming holidays.  The older boys cut circles out of felted sweater and they all worked on stacking them for a while.  The activity held their attention in spurts but over the course of the day a small forest grew on our table.

The next job will be to sew them all together and add the trunks, something we'll work on together.

Since yesterday was the last day of rifle season we'll be able to venture back out in the woods today to be among real trees.  I can't express how much I'm looking forward to that.


Julie made some colorful little trees this weekend too.

Today I'm mailing off stones to their new homes.  A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by to look and to those of you that gave my pieces a home.  Thank you.

I hope your week is a good one.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Here they are, my latest stitched stones.  I think there must have been some extra magic attached to the stones I hauled home from gitchigami because these stones really flowed for me.  They're larger than most of my stones and feel really nice in the hand.  Visually, I find this batch really appealing, too.  I hope you do as well.

I decided to try something new and though I'm not sure it's something I will do after this, I felt it was worth a try.  Instead of putting these in my shop as normal, I have put these up on ebay.  You'll notice that they're priced below what I normally price my stones of this size and complexity so if you're so inclined to bid on one, you might just snag yourself a bargain.

The auction is only up for a short time, but for those that seem to miss out on the stones when I list them, I hope this will provide a larger window of opportunity.

Below are the stones I have available and their individual links to ebay.
You can see a list of all of the items I have for sale on this link HERE.  I do combine shipping for multiple purchases so feel free to bid on more than one. :)

If you would stop by and have a look and help spread the word I'd really be so grateful.

Thanks so much, everyone!

stones coming tomorrow

In the past few weeks I've stitched a total of 10 large stones, including this snowy stone I showed you a few days ago.  All of them will be for sale starting tomorrow in a different venue than my normal shop.  I'll have lots of photos and more information for you tomorrow.

Hope you're all having a great day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

at the intersection of craft and snack

Pomegranates are in season here in the US and we're enjoying a box of them from California.

They're a favorite around here and we look forward to having these as a special treat.

It's a bonus that their skins give dye, a golden yellow.   I've been drying the skins atop the wood stove in anticipation of combining them with these locally-grown lincoln locks.  So while we may be disappointed when the last fruit is eaten, we'll enjoy them once again in the dye pot.

Hope you're enjoying your week.  Happy Wednesday.

Monday, November 11, 2013

snowy stitching

It's snowing this morning.  It isn't the first time this season but it's cold enough for me to think that maybe mother nature means it this time.  We're almost at our predicted high of 22 degrees so it seems a good day to stay in and stitch on a snow stone.

I've got my white thread, stone, and beads, and a cup of tea beside me so I'm pretty well set.

To the Monday!

Friday, November 08, 2013

a few good hours in the Crossing Arts Alliance Sales & Gift Gallery

Yesterday I spent a few hours volunteering at the Crossing Arts Alliance Sales & Gift Gallery in town.  The Crossing Arts Alliance , located in the Franklin Arts Center,  was once a Jr. High School.  In fact, my husband ran through those halls at one time.  It is now home to artists' shops, galleries, dance studios, and artists' apartments and is a real gem in the community. 

photo by
I brought along a stone to stitch on during the quiet times and stationed myself at the counter, smiling at my surroundings.  

Paintings adorning the walls, pottery and wood bowls begging for closer inspection, shibori scarves in gem-like colors, jewelry, sculpture, bags, hats, pine needle baskets propped up on old chalkboard trays...  It was a nice place to spend the day, tucked in among the local artistry.

I fell in love with this 'Two-Holer' vase by my neighbor Haddie Hadacheck.  It wants to come home with it, it told me so.

I thought this oil painting was especially lovely too, especially when flanked by a silk scarf, pine needle basket, and pottery.

The artist behind that amazing chest of drawers - Mark Munson - stopped in briefly at the shop.  He recently had a show at the Q Gallery , also located in the FAC, and I got to see more of his work there.  Such fine woodworking in a really unique style.

What's this?  Mushrooms, wood bowls, and pottery?  Yes please!

This artist, Carolyn Abbot, had these amazing pleated silk shibori scarves on display and a few naturally-dyed scarves too.  Gorgeous stuff.

I'll be sharing some more photos of these pieces and more on the Crossing Arts Alliance facebook page.  If you look closely you might catch a photo of me behind the counter on there.  If you're ever in the area, make a little time to stop in there and look around, and if I'm in the Sales Gallery please come say hi.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

meddling with mushrooms

I've taken a break from stones to meddle with mushrooms for a while.

These little sweeties will be under glass soon, and now that my new bandsaw blade has arrived, given some little wood bases too.

Pics soon.

Happy Thursday.

Monday, November 04, 2013

starting with stones

A new stone finished, a new stone started.

An early start to the day, courtesy of that daylight savings time shift, had my fingers at work before dawn.  I suspect I'll be slightly less energetic at the end of the day than I am right now.

Those that follow my page on facebook may have seen this photo already, but as you can see I have a few stones on my table.  The small ones are headed to Art-o-mat but the large stones will wander off to my shop as soon as I finish a few more.  I'll keep you all posted.

I have an interesting week ahead of me and having these stones in front of me, all color and weight, somehow makes me more grounded and uplifted at the same time.  Like a good stretch, if that makes sense.  I don't know, I haven't had coffee in a while, that might not make sense.
Hope you all have a great week.  Happy Monday.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

onion skins in the dye pot

I've been saving up my red onion skins and finally had enough to add them to the dye pot.  I've been wanting to dye another scarf like the one I made last year, but was hoping this time for the khaki green that red onion skins can give.

And yay! I got it.
I haven't yet laundered and pressed them here in the photo, so they're deeper in color and much more wrinkly than they'll be later, but you can get the idea.

If you want to try getting these shades on fabric from your red onion skins, here's what I recommend.  Simmer your onion skins in your non-reactive pot for about an hour or until the color has drained from the skins.  Strain the skins out and add your pre-mordanted fiber.  I use an alum mordant on the cotton fabric, simmer in the dye liquid for an hour then turn off the heat and let it sit overnight.  The next day I pull the fabric out and let it dry before dipping it in an iron solution.  You'll see the color start to change right away.  I let it change for about a minute and then I rinse the iron solution off so it doesn't weaken the fibers.  You can make the iron solution by soaking a steel wool pad in vinegar overnight, then removing the wool pad.  The resulting liquid is your iron after-dip.
I dyed the floss with a slight modification.  Instead of using alum as a mordant, I simmered the floss in a tannin solution then let it sit in soy milk overnight before rinsing it and adding it to the dyepot.  I found that the floss took color up better than normal in this way.  The orange is the color given just from the onion skins and the greens have been modified with iron.

Red onions are one of those dye stuffs that seems to be a bit fickle.  Sometimes I get great color out of them and sometimes they're a bit lackluster.  On the upside, they're generally easy to find and inexpensive.  Worth a try.  If you want to see some of the colors I've pulled from them before you can also have a look at this post.

Have you tried onion skin dye?  What were your results?

Saturday, November 02, 2013


As you might know, I offer a few tutorials here on my blog.  I love encouraging people to explore crafting with nature and enjoy sharing my knowledge.
With the holidays coming up, now is a great time to make a few poinsettia brooches, tiny birch bark canoes or mushrooms from  natural materials for the tree.  Maybe a few felted stones to keep your hands busy?

I offer each of these for free and hope they are fun and helpful.  What you'll notice that's new though, is a "Buy Now" button on each of my tutorials with this statement:

"If you find this, or one of my other tutorials, helpful and would like to make a monetary contribution to help me keep wool in my basket and ideas flowing, I'd be so grateful.  By clicking the "Buy Now" button below you can choose your own price for the tutorial.  It's completely optional, but oh so appreciated."

That pretty well sums it up.  My tutorials will continue to be free, but they do take time and effort to develop and write.  I share tips to help you avoid mistakes that I've already made through trial and inevitable error.  If you're able to, and would like to, contribute, it would mean a few more locks of wool in my basket so I can keep exploring and sharing.

Thank you.
x. Lisa


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