Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remsen Barn Festival 2010

My weekends seem so busy lately! Last Saturday was the Niagra Celtic Festival. If you read the post about the Celtic Festival, you read my story about we were at a local bar & grill for dinner and Mom and I were pondering about when the Remsen Barn Festival was this year. It's usually in mid-late September and we usually go to it with my Grandma (she lives near Remsen). Not 10 minutes later, my Grandma calls my Mom's cell phone and told her that the Remsen Festival was the next weekend! So guess where Mom and I went this past weekend!...

We take a picture at this guy's booth every year. Mom bought a rustic, wooden trellis from him about 15 years ago. It was in her garden for years and we used it in my wedding. His prices are very decent and he always does very good business at the festival. His trellis archways are priced at only $100. Mom talked to him and he said that he prices his work asking the question "how low can I price this?" instead of "how much can I get for it?"

There was a photographer that Mom bought a photo from a few years ago. The photo is of "our spot" on Moose River. This year, Mom wanted to buy one for me to have in my house. She was going to buy a copy of the one she has (which was taken in the fall), but then we found one that was taken in the summer, so she bought me that one.

This picture is from a booth that was selling rag rugs, placemats, potholders, and coasters. (I loved their booth setup. They had a lot of vintage trunks and suitcases to display their products. I wish I'd taken a picture of the booth itself!)

I love the colors in this placemat!

One of the ladies was sitting there making a potholder. They also sold the looms so you could make your placemats/potholders/coasters yourself.

Grandma bought a small potholder/coaster sized loom and a package of Christmassy pre-cut fabric. She was frustrated at first, but she eventually figured it out.

Mom bought a placemat-sized loom...

Here's Mom's finished placemat. She finished it during her lunch break at work and photographed it on the hood of her car! I love the reflection of the clouds! Mom said the picture makes it look like the placemat is a magic carpet. :)

The crazy part of me is considering trying to have a booth at Remsen next year. I go there every year anyway...I might as well try to sell some of my work there!

Fall in the Adirondacks's fall.

Fall is my favorite season. When I was a kid it was a toss-up between Summer and Winter because I loved swimming in Summer, and playing in the snow/sledding in Winter. Actually, I think Summer won out as my favorite because there was no school, and my birthday is on the first day of Summer. Of course Winter has Christmas...hmmm... I do love Christmas.
But as an adult, my favorite season has changed. I still like swimming, but Summer gets SO HOT and I'm ready for it to be over by mid-August. And I still enjoy snow (and Christmas!), but Winter is SO COLD for SO LONG!
Fall is perfect. It's got pretty, changing leaves and cool, but not cold, weather. And apples... I love apples. Fall is a lovely in-between season, but never seems to last long enough. Summer always lasts too long or winter starts too soon. Of course, maybe that's why I love it so much...Fall doesn't last long enough for you to get sick of it. Fall has learned the showbiz rule of "always leave 'em wanting more".
But enough of my thoughts on the seasons...on to some pictures!

This is "our spot" on Moose River in the Adirondacks. We usually come here in the summer to swim and jump off those big rocks into the water. But last weekend, Mom, Grandma, and I decided to stop here on our way back from the Remsen Festival of the Arts (aka: Remsen Barn Days). I'll elaborate on the Festival more in the next post.

It was chilly...but I still had to fight the urge to swim (not having a bathing suit kind of helped in suppressing that urge).

Monday, September 20, 2010

Godzillaaaaaaa! RAWR!

Oh NO! Godzilla is attacking!

No's just a custom Godzilla plush I made for a fellow RNESTer.

I photographed this 8 inch little guy in front of a poster I recently bought of "The Great Wave off Kanagawa", "Hokusai's most famous print, the first in the series 36 Views of Mount Fuji" (yay for Wikipedia for making me sound like a smart art geek! )
I thought it was an apropriate background. Even though I know next-to-nothing about Godzilla...other than he's a big dinosaur-like creature of Japanese B-movies. I've never had the desire to watch any of the movies (how many Godzilla movies are there anyway?...not counting the 1998 remake.)

Wow...Wikipedia to the rescue again...there have been 28 Godzilla movies!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Niagra Celtic Festival 2010

CJ and I went with my parents and some friends to the Niagra Celtic Festival today. I'd never gone before. I saw signs for it last year, but kept forgetting about it and never ended up going. So when I first saw signs for it this year, I made a point to put it on our calander. Plus I ended up becoming a fan of it on Facebook, so that helped me to remember as well!

CJ and I both have some Celtic blood (Scottish, Irish, English, and I have some Welsh)...and we love pretty much all things Celtic (music, art, etc). CJ wore a kilt for our wedding, and wears it every year to the Renaissance Faire (which you may already know if you've been reading my blog for awhile).
He wore his kilt today as well, but in a more casual, modern style with a long sleeved T-shirt and sneakers. We've never been to the festival before, so I didn't know what would be appropriate to wear...whether wearing our Ren Faire outfits would be over the top. I found out that it would have been entirely appropriate. There were people in full costume everywhere, not just the vendors and re-enactment people. I'm definitely wearing my dress & corset next year! (I only live 20 minutes from the Festival, so I could have driven home and changed if I had REALLY wanted to).

CJ's clan, Clan Sinclair, was represented at the "Clan Row". It was one of 14 clans represented there today. The people at the booth seemed very excited to meet another member of the Sinclairs and were telling us all sorts of history and stuff about the clan. They seemed like big heritage and family history buffs. They took our picture and said we may be in their next newsletter.

This T-shirt shows the family crest and motto: "Commit Thy Work To God". A very good motto, I think. The only way it could be better is if you substituted "work" with "life".

CJ and Mom shared a Guiness (which Mom describes as "the cappuchino of beers"). I must have more English in my blood... because I prefer tea. I think beer is yucky, but don't judge those who enjoy it in moderation. They wanted me to try some, so I dipped my finger in the foam and tried a tiny drop...blech. The only way I'll drink beer is if the words "birch" or "root" precede it! Mmmmm...birch beer. ;)

We spent some time at a Chainmail Demo, where the vendor let people actually try their hand at making chainmail. CJ figured out how to do this "rope" chain pattern and made this keychain. The guy let him keep it! (wasn't that nice?) Now CJ wants to order some chainmail rings to make himself a necklace.

We saw these gorgeous Irish Wolfhounds! They are HUGE dogs! And even though I have a little dog...I have a special soft spot for big dogs! There were lots of dogs around, and we would run into the same dogs more than once. There was this pair of Mastiffs that we ran into a few times (sorry, I don't have any pictures of the Mastiffs!) One of them was one year old and had a brindle colored coat. He was only a year old but he was HUGE and had a head bigger than King's was! I really wish I'd thought to take pictures of them.

This Irish Wolfhound was only 5 months old! Luna seemed okay with it. The funny thing is that she would bark at little dogs (we saw a Corgie, a Skye Terrier, and a lot of other little breeds) but she was usually okay with the big ones like the Mastiffs and the Irish Wolfhounds. We think it's because she was used to being around King (Awwww...I miss King! :'( ~sniffle~ )
While we were at dinner, Mom and I were wondering when the Remsen Barn Days Festival is (since it's usually in mid-September) and then about 15 minutes later, my Grandma called Mom to tell us that it is next weekend! (Wow...Grandma must be psychic!) So guess where I'll be next Saturday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Creating Etsy Treasuries

I've discovered the fun of creating Etsy Treasuries lately. "What are Etsy Treasuries?" you ask? Well, on the Treasury page, Etsy says "Treasury is Etsy's ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery." Basically, you create a list of 14 items found on Etsy. Usually a Treasury has some sort of theme...whether it be color, content, or both!
At the last RNEST meeting I was at, it was said that "If you make treasuries, you're more likely get your items featured in treasuries". I've seen it in action because once I got featured in treasuries, it made me want to make some of my own!

I think a good tip is to make treasuries inspired by what you're making lately, and then mention it in the description (and maybe include a link to your blog. *wink*)
After blogging about Foxy Moxy yesterday, I was inspired to make a fox themed treasury...

I like to send a "convo" (an Etsy email message) to the sellers whose items I've picked to let them know they've been featured...because I know I'd like someone to do the same for me when I've been featured. The only pain is that I have to go through and induvidually send 14 convos, which is time consuming, even with cut & pasting the text. Etsy's blog had a post about wanting to know what new tools and features they can do with the site, so I left a comment suggesting being able to send a group notice to all the sellers included in a Treasury. (I know it's more of a modification of an old tool than a new tool, but I figured it was worth a shot.)

Last week I made a treasury of turquoise monsters...

The great thing about making a Treasury (and sending notices to the featured artists) is that it helps you make connections to other artists and gain exposure for your own shop. Just this week I've noticed that I've gained at least a few more fans on the KiraArts Facebook Page and had more comments here on the blog. (of course posting to The Needle blog and Cute Plush Livejournal community probably helped too!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Foxy Moxy

Meet my newest creation, Foxy Moxy ("Moxy" for short). I saw a fox doll in my new "Sew Me, Love Me" book and decided I wanted to try my hand at making a fox...

I had the perfect material in my mind to make it too. I got a bag of sweaters and scraps from a friend last year and I still had the remnants of the perfect soft, rusty orange colored sweater. I've used it for other projects, and I still have some pieces left (maybe enough to make another fox?) But I'm kind of dreading when it's all gone. I wish I had yards more of this soft, orange, knitted, felted material.

Moxy turned out so cute that I just may not be able to part with it! Sorry folks, this Moxy fox probably won't be making it into the shop any time soon. Of course I have this habit of keeping my favorite plush for myself for awhile, but sometime (it could be months and months later) I'll be packing for a craft show or just cleaning the studio and decide it's time to sell a particular critter I've been keeping. I actually feel kind of bad for wanting to keep this for myself, since it's really such a great doll (if I do say so myself!). It's the type of doll that you can see a kid drag everywhere and not be able to go to sleep without.

Terra decided to come investigate while I was trying to photograph.

But then when I tried to get a better picture of her investigating, she decided not to cooperate.

This was my first time attempting to attach arms with buttons. It's a cute technique and definitely gives that old-school, vintage kind of style that I'm finding myself more and more drawn to. I'm convinced living in a 100 year old house and being in farm and Amish country is what's done it.
But I also have family roots in farm country and a Great Aunt who was very much a handmade kind of woman. Oh, how I wish Aunt Grandma was still alive. Of course, she was 82 when she died when I was 11. I'm now 28. So if she was still alive, she'd be 99. I believe and know her soul is in heaven now, but I kind of feel like I carry on her spirit. (does that make sense?) did this simple plush blog post about a cute fox I made turn into super-duper family nostalgia that brings me to tears? (seriously...I cried while writing that last paragraph!) I have a whole bunch of other related thoughts that aren't making it out how I really love and appreciate my still living Grandma (who reads my blog...Hi Grandma! I LOVE you!)

Anyway...moving on. I got the inspiration for the button-arm attachment technique from the "Sew Me, Love Me" book too...

Out of all the books I looked at and considered buying that day at Joann's, I'm glad I decided to get this one. I ended up being able to order some of the others from other libraries and have had time to look them over, but I like the one I bought the best. I'm not sure what it is. I think it's that whole vintage and recycled feel it has, whereas the other books are a bit more sleek and modern. I still like them, and wouldn't mind having them, but I'm glad I made the choice and bought the book I did.

For the record...I promise I did NOT copy the fox project in the book! I just remembered glimpsing a fox in the book with a triangular head and wanting to make one. I figured out the "pattern" myself. I didn't even remember that there was a tutorial for a fox! Sorry, I just felt the need to clarify! ;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Sock Dogs

Here are some more socks I made from modifying a pattern I found in Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. You can see my previous blog post about it here. (did I ever mention that I DID get the book for my birthday? Thanks Mom!)

This purple dog's square face makes it look a bit like a Scottie dog. (I'll have to make one like this from a black sock sometime)

Here's a Dachshund made from a knee sock.

And this sweet little hound dog is made from a pair of beige crew socks. I used a shank-style button for the nose and ended up needing to hot glue it into place to prevent it from flopping around. I ended up gluing the eyes down while I was at it.
This dog's destination is a community gift basket kind of thing for Esther, a little, 3-year-old Amish girl who broke her leg and will be in a full body cast for some time. To cheer up little Esther the Amish community in my town is putting together a "Sunshine Box". It will consist of inexpensive toys that are individually wrapped. The idea is for her to open one a day. I found out about it through some of my church friends who are friends with some of the Amish families in the area. I hope this little sock dog will help brighten Esther's days as she recovers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Featured Studio on RNEST!

I was featured on the RNEST blog yesterday! Their "Make-It Mondays" series is now featuring a different artist each week, interviewing them about their creative process and workspace...and I'm the first artist to be featured!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

So Many Books...So

The hubby and I went on a "date" tonight, which consisted of shopping at JoAnn Fabrics (ah, simple pleasures!). I went with the express intent on looking at the books...particularly plushie-making books. Now some might say "Kira, you already know how to make plushies. Why would you need books about making them?" Well, my question-askers, I enjoy gaining inspiration and new techniques from these books. Plus...I LOVE BOOKS!

This first book, Sew Me, Love Me (shown above ), was the one I ended up deciding to buy (with my 40% off JoAnn's coupon!). It's a very cute book and I'm gaining inspiration already. The rest of these are on my wish list...

Make Your Own Misfits is a fairly new book that's been talked about all over the plushie blogosphere lately. The Craft: Blog actually had a giveaway for this book when it first came out a couple months ago, but, sadly, I did not win it.

There is a book called Stray Sock Sewing that came before Stray Sock Sewing Too (the book shown above) but I didn't find it in the JoAnn's book section.

Socks Appeal


This book, Wild and Wonderful Fleece Animals, isn't the typical quirky, offbeat plushie book, but I think I could learn a lot from it and adapt the projects to my own style (and it comes with patterns!).

I can just bide my time and gradually build up my plushie book collection. The frugal part of me wants to just check these books out at the library, but...
#1: For books like these, that I will probably be referencing them a lot, it would be so much nicer to own them.
#2: The libraries near me don't carry any of these books
#3: I could place a "hold" on one of the books if I find them in the Nioga Library System (basically, if another library in the system has the book, I can have them send it to my local library so I can pick it up)...BUT...
#4: Most of these books are "new" and you can't place holds on "new" books. Blech.
***EDIT: I tried placing holds on a few of the books (just to test it out), and I just successfully placed holds online for "Socks Appeal", "Stray Sock Sewing" and "Stray Sock Sewing Too"! SWEET! I guess they're not "new" anymore! ***