Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas is over

Well, I know I promised myself that I would have a weekly post to the blog, but nothing hit me earlier in the week.  Now here it is, Christmas evening and I find myself at the keyboard.  I am hoping that everyone had a wonderful day filled with family, food and gifts. Here at the Jersey shore, I am sure many people are still displaced from Hurricane Sandy, but my wish is that they found happiness with friends or family while waiting to return to their homes. 

While cleaning my desk off this week, I came across the picture below.  It is from a special order that I did last Christmas for a family.  I think there are 3 generations of women in this picture enjoying the family flatware.  There are also 2 pictures below of orders that were placed this Christmas for families. 

So as this Christmas season draws to a close, I hope that all of our Tempest in a Teapot families are enjoying their surprises, and that everyone has a happy and healthy 2013.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

...I Could Express The Inner Me!

Just came back from a great weekend away.  Barb and I haven't been away from the business for months so we thought it would be a great time to go see our friend Suzee and her dog Daisy. And while we were at it, we were going to see a new friend that we made at a show in Stone Mountain, GA.

For a long time, I have been trying to decide how I should look on the outside so that it represents how I feel on the inside.  I am an artist.  I create things.  I get dirty doing it.  I make a mess.  All of these things contribute to what I decide to wear when I work.  About 10 years ago, we had a logo designed by an artist we had met in Frenchtown, Val Sivilli (www.civilianbasics.com).  We then had her put the logo on t-shirts and we wore them EVERYWHERE.  People soon knew who we were as soon as they saw the logo.  Great bit of advertising that was. I wore those t-shirts with shorts in the summer and yoga pants in the winter for years.  They were serviceable and didn't show the dirt (and comfy too!).

When I started making jewelry, the logo shirts just weren't right for showing off the new work, so I started wearing plain t-shirts.  Really?  Not very artistic, but I was just stuck for what else to wear that would show off the jewelry and hide the dirt!  Enter Wendy Wehmeyer of Schuylkill Haven, PA.  The answer to all of my wardrobe dreams.

Wendy is the brains and talent behind Rough and Tumble Vintage (LIKE her on Facebook).  Wendy takes vintage clothing and does a special tie dye technique on them.  We are not talking your '70's rubber band, glow in the dark star burst pattern.  She uses very earthy colors and instead of starting with a solid color piece of clothing, she uses all vintage finds which can start out as florals, stripes or plaids.  This under-layer adds a whole new dimension to the tie dye.  From a distance, the finished pieces look like they are made from batiks (which is a whole different process using a wax resist to create the patterns).  Here is an example of a batik taken from http://www.connectingthreads.com
Packed Leaves (Harvest)
Here is an example of Wendy's tie dye:

As soon as I saw Wendy's booth at the show in Stone Mountain, I knew I had found the answer to my style dilemma (I know you thought it was dilemna, but that its a topic for a whole other post).  I have been drawn in to Wendy's magical world where plaids and polka dots actually do go together!  Wendy has become my muse as she speaks to my inner artist (they also hide the studio dirt!).  So here's to you Wendy, my muse, my inspiration, my friend.

Check out Wendy's website www.roughandtumblevintage.com.   

And here I thought I would never find  my inner self.  Thank you Wendy!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Whose Idea Was This Anyway?

We are gearing up in the store for a busy holiday shopping season.  Our theme this year is "A Hand Made in the USA Christmas (on a budget)".  You will be pleasantly surprised with how many items we have been able to collect with prices under $30!  We know that with the devastation Hurricane Sandy and the 'noreaster Athena (or Sandina as our friend Lisa calls it) caused, a lot of people will be shopping on a budget this year.  We have gifts items such as jewelry, art work, several styles of key chains, soap, tea tins, candles, more jewelry, chocolate covered cherries, window charms, little wind chimes for your car and much more.  We also have other gifts, all made in the USA ranging in price from $30 - $500.

Tempest in a Teapot specializes in wind chimes and jewelry made from reclaimed silver plate and glass beads.  These items are made in our studio/store in Point Pleasant, NJ. We also do custom requests if you have your own pieces of silver that you would like made into something special as gifts for the family (or just a little treat for yourself).  There is still time to have that special something made before the holidays arrive.

So onto my "Never Thought" for this post...or in this case "Whose Idea Was That Anyway?"

I've tried my hand at a lot of different crafts over the years, and I have tried knitting several different times.  I can whip out a basic scarf like there's no tomorrow,  and I have completed a sweater (and another one on the needles).

The designs range from really basic (my speed) to really complex.  MY problem with knitting patterns is how do you know when they are written incorrectly?  On the really complex ones,  the part that really boggles my mind is "Whose idea was it to try this in the first place?".

I only know what I know (and therefore what I NEED to know), and I don't know what I don't know.  So, you knit and you knit and you knit according to pattern directions until you have to required amount of rows (or length via the gauge).   You hold it up and say to yourself "I think I made a mistake".  So you patiently rip all of the rows out and start over again, this time diligently following the directions, making notes when you stop, until at last, you are at the designated spot.  You hold it up again thinking it will be perfect this time, yet low and behold, it looks the same (sound familiar?).

So, now did I make the mistake and not do a stitch properly, or is there a problem with the directions? How do I know?   Do I just put it down and hope the knitting fairy comes by to fix it, do I rip it out again, or do I just roll it up into a ball and throw it into the corner with all of the other unfinished projects?  I've taken projects to the local knitting store (where they supposedly know how to knit and read directions), and they just look at me like I've grown 3 extra heads (which in this case might come in handy) when I ask for help.

Front of First Sweater
Back of First Sweater

Well, they say to try, try again and here is my first attempt (or 5th or 6th because I get a lot of use out of my wool) at a sweater.  As you can see from the front view, I ran out of wool and had to pick up a new color in order to make it the correct length.  I can't tell you how many times I knit the arms only to have them be different sizes and lengths each time.  On the picture of the back, see the pattern of 3 different rows?  Well, the first row was a mistake, but I said to myself, "Self, let's just make this part of the design!".  So I added 2 more incorrect rows to complete my design and then kept on knitting.  The buttons are not correctly spaced, and there are a myriad of other errors, but it is completed and I do wear it.  Never thought it would happen.

Anyway, here is a link to a pattern that I think everyone that knits and wears boots needs to try.  I promise to post pictures if I get a pair done.

Boot Candy    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/boot-candy-knitting-pattern

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