Friday, October 2, 2015

October Arrives

I was worried that the only thing I would ever knit forever and ever was feather and fan wash cloths. 
I love this green and white variegated yarn

It's the only thing I've wanted to knit for months.

Finally, I'm in the mood to knit something new and slightly larger than a wash cloth. I think it's because we finally got a few drops of rain and the temperature outside dropped from scorching hot to reasonably comfortable. Changing the calendar page to October seemed to help, too.

Photo/Pattern by Lisa Chemery

Last night I cast on and knit a few rows of a bolero for my niece Lily called Entrechat, designed by Lisa Chemery.

This color is called Jumping Jack
I love it in the dusky pink, but I'm knitting it in variegated Cotton Batik from Universal Yarn. It's super soft and Lily loves lots of bright colors. 
This little deer was made in Japan, I think in the 1950s - 60s
My quest to find cute and unusual vintage items for my Etsy shop continues. I'm fortunate to live in an area with lots of thrift shops and estate sales.
I believe this micro mosaic bracelet comes from Italy circa 1970
 My family has been generous about giving me vintage jewelry from their stash to sell in my shop.
Vintage beaded necklace
For a year now I've belonged to a book club that reads young adult (YA) books exclusively. It's a wonderful group of women that includes educators, writers and booksellers. This summer I pretty much abandoned adult fiction for contemporary YA novels, and I have to say I've enjoyed it immensely.
For the Record was hard to put down 
Thank you to Yarn Canada for featuring my free patterns on their website.
Happy October to you.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stylin' Photos

One of the most challenging things about having an Etsy shop has been learning to take decent photos. I have poor natural lighting in my apartment, but taking pics using lamps and fluorescent lights gives the photos an unflattering yellowish cast. When I read blog posts and articles about how to succeed with Etsy, one of the things that is constantly emphasized is the importance of good photographs, and at times it has almost made me freeze up because I've felt my photos are just not good enough and I didn't know how to improve them.
After three months of struggle, experimentation and frustration, I finally feel like my photos are getting better. Instead of dreading photo sessions, I'm getting excited about coming up with ways to creatively style them. I want to share some of my favorites with you.

This photo is for the green depression glass creamer, which sold to one of my favorite customers. All of the items in this pic are for sale, which allowed me to reuse it several times.

I like finding props to add to the photos to show how the item can be used or displayed in someone's home.

This photo is for the vintage tin box, which sold pretty quick.

A book that helped open up my creative flow is American Junk, a large book of photographs of the interior of homes filled them with quirky, unique vintage and antique finds. Of course, looking at other people's photos on Etsy is also inspiring. There are so many talented artists selling their work there.

This photo is for the folding breakfast tray. I wanted to add a lace napkin, but needed to make sure you could see the actual tray. That wrinkled cloth beneath the tray makes me crazy.

I take most of the photos in the kitchen under a bright fluorescent light and then play with the settings a bit to brighten it up and get rid of any unwanted yellowish or pimk tone. I haven't ben entirely successful with that, but things are slowly improving.

Vintage spools of silk and cotton thread in an antique French bowl that belonged to my grandmother.
I love having a mix of textures, patterns and colors in the background, like in the above photo of the spools of thread. When I use a cluttered picture like that as the main photo, I try to keep the remaining photos simple and clean, as shown below.
A more minimalist look at the spools of thread. 

In the above photo I used a free photo editing program called FotoFuze that allows you to give your Etsy photos a nice white background.

For the milk glass compote, I added a crocheted doily and Dum-Dums.
So far I have taken all of the photos with my iPhone. I tried using my digital camera and was surprised to discover the pics did not look as good as the ones taken with my phone.

This photo is for the ceramic tree stump , a vintage item from Japan. I wanted to show how you might use it to display small treasures at home, plus I love those little woodland creatures.

Thanks for looking at my photos! I'm continuing to look for ways to improve them. I guess that's a lifelong practice. Any suggestions you have are appreciated.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

End of Summer -- Finally!

I confess I'm relieved summer is almost over. We're in the midst of a drought here in California, but there are predictions we'll have an El Nino this winter and I can't wait for rain! I love cozy wet weather way more than dry hot days.

Lily keeping cool on a hot August day

I didn't do much knitting this summer-- just a stack of cotton wash cloths, my favorite item to knit.

This stitch is called Chinese Waves

Feather & Fan pattern, my favorite

I've been on a big YA (young adult) book kick the last few months. One of the best was Boys Don't Knit (In Public). Funny, funny, funny! It reminded me of Marion Keyes' early books. I'm excited to read the next in the series.

It was written by a man who doesn't knit!
I did lots of treasure hunting for goodies for my Etsy store, Tiny Sacred Things. One of the best finds was this pair of Lantern Moon rosewood knitting needles. So light and gorgeous and lovely to knit with. (They are still available in my store if you are interested.)
Are you glad summer is ending?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pooh Bear

I love the idea of creating gifts that combine handmade items with non-handmade products. While browsing in a secondhand store earlier this summer I came up with an idea for a Winnie the Pooh gift set for a baby shower or toddler birthday.

My local yarn shop, Green Planet Yarn, had the perfect Pooh Bear colored yarn, so I knit up a couple wash cloths in a feather and fan pattern. They are cotton and very soft.

A vintage looking plate, candy tin and story book completed the gift set.

I didn't have anyone in mind when I put it together, but I heard a couple days ago that a woman in my book club just had a baby. It's nice having ready-made gifts on hand for these occasions, although I wonder how appropriate it is to give items purchased secondhand. I'll have to think about that one.

I love my wash cloths

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The 3 1/2 Year Scarf

It's sizzling hot here in Northern California today, the kind of day where you stay inside with the air conditioning blasting and a bowl (or a tub) of rocky road ice cream on your lap.
Definitely not knitting weather.


However, early this morning I finally finished knitting this scarf, which I started in February of 2012.
I've always known I'm a slow knitter, but 3 1/2 years for a simple drop stitch scarf is a record for me.
In any case, I'm pleased with how it turned out and might actually keep it for myself. The yarn is hand painted silk and so soft and lovely. It's fingering weight that I knit with a size 8 needle.
Hope you are staying cool.

Monday, July 20, 2015


She's four years old now and so funny, smart and beautiful. Seems like just yesterday she came in to our lives.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Brittany Black Walnut Needles

Several months ago I was cruising around my neighborhood thrift store when I came across a giant pair of ornate knitting needles made of dark wood. I'd never seen anything like them, and my first response was ... "Ick."

Too big, too fancy, too strange looking. Fortunately I didn't follow through on my instinct to leave them on the shelf. I bought them for a couple dollars, went home, did some Google research and discovered they are rare, vintage Brittany needles made out of black walnut wood. The needles were discontinued years ago when black walnut wood could no longer be responsibly sourced in the United States.
Since then I've been obsessed with finding more pairs of these needles. The wood is smooth, lightweight and a dream to knit with. And I confess the fact that they are hard to find makes them oh so appealing.
Recently I came across a couple pairs. One pair I bought online and they arrived broken. The other pair are a perfect size US 10 and available in my Etsy store here.