Monday, December 5, 2011

Mushrooms & Beehives

so, i know it's cliche to say that you get inspired by nature, but sometimes you just can't get past the literal truth of it. this past week i've been deep in the Quirky Forest, exploring some of my favorite natural themes and celebrating the simple shapes that i find so beautiful and funky.


they make me want to dance around amidst the trees and invite
some crazy little forest friends to come out and play. can also be hung on your holiday tree to bring some creativity to your favorite indoor greenery :)


what a sweet way to keep long hair up and out of the way
without the icky "hat head syndrome" that you get
with most winter hats. also good for those with dreads.

the Funky Beehive can also be worn as a cowl around the
neck. it stretches up high enough to cover your
mouth and nose on chilly winter mornings too!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

RIOT Rooster Indie Craft Fair


calling all lovers of indie crafts!

Friday, November 18th and Saturday, November 19th brings a return of Roanoke's favorite indie craft fair @ the h2o heater, 813 5th St. SW (5-9 on friday, 9-5 on saturday)

featuring handmade, upcycled, recycled, odd & useful gifts!

Red Rooster Coffee Roasters (mmmmmm....)
Renegade Printmakers
and oh so many more awesome local artists

music by: Another Roadside Attraction

best of all, it's free to stop by, browse, mingle with cool people, and enjoy the talents of local folks. maybe you'll even get a few holiday presents purchased and help support our creative community :)

the Quirky Forest will have handmade quilted bags, handknit purses, cabled cowls, felt bracelets, funky felt rings, and some new items that i've been working on including: felt mushroom ornaments and fabric "pennant-style" banners/bunting, perfect for setting that party atmosphere or for hanging in a child's room!

stop by and say hi, i would love to see you :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

it's not about surviving the storm, but learning to dance in the rain

halloween is quickly approaching and as i sit here and type this i can see the material for the boys' costumes peeking at me from a pile of fabric. and yet, i can't seem to motivate myself to start them. i easily have at least a dozen excuses but really there's only one and it's been a tough week.

sunday was the 6th anniversary of Piper's birth and I'd like to say that it gets easier each year, but that would be a lie and there's no point in trying to fool myself or anyone else for that matter. the realization that this is simply what it is has hit me hard but i refuse to be knocked down.

i learned how to dance in the rain again a few yrs back but there are always spells where the storm seems relentless and i worry about being washed away, when song lyrics make me cry, and every little thing is a reminder of what could have been had she been born healthy.

but i need to be hopeful and feel brave, so i'm gonna put on my red cape, bake some cookies, and watch for the storm clouds.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ku-ku for cowls

ok, so it's officially fall and even though the days are still pretty warm, my mind can't help but happily drift towards the possibility of upcoming days of cool, crisp weather. autumn is absolutely my most favorite time of year (and not just because i'm a libra) and brings with it a return of some of my favorite things, namely, pumpkin gobs, halloween costumes, fleece jackets, hats, and of course the simplest of accessories, the scarf.

i eagerly waded into my wool stash a few weeks ago, pulling out merinos, cashmere-merino-silk blends, and of course big chunky skeins. once i had myself surrounded with all the lovely colors and textures i tried to figure out what i was going to make with them all. after searching through a bunch of old patterns books and looking on the web for new scarf patterns to try, i finally stumbled upon one for a mobius cowl. now, i had never made a cowl before and certainly never anything that was a mobius but i was intrigued by what seemed to be a complex creation and decided i needed to at least try it. after watching a few tutorials on youtube (search Cat Bordhi, you won't be disappointed) and grabbing some bulky Araucania Limari yarn, i dove in to the process!

this was the first one i made:

then i decided to try some contrast on the outside edges:

verdict: i like the mobius. when you first look at it, it's hard to tell where it begins and ends, but then, that's the whole point, huh?

after that, it seemed only natural to try some other patterns. playing around with a cabled vines stitch pattern that i've used in the past for hats and fingerless gloves, i make up some more cowls. grabbing the merino-cashmere-silk blends as well as some merino-cashmere skeins that i had been holding onto, a half dozen more cowls were created. i really love the way the cable pattern pops with these yarns.

sometimes though, the yarn needs to just speak for itself. this was the last one i made. jokingly referring to it as the "candyland" yarn that jumped into my hands from a display last week at Yarn Explosion, i literally had to have it. not sure i'll be able to part with this one, the colors are just soooo pretty!

final conclusion after 2 weeks of cowl making: i hope my scarves don't take it personally, but i have a new fall LOVE :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Quirky Quilted Bags

no big surprise but i LOVE bright colors and bold fabrics. i get mesmerized by walls lined with patterned bolts of cotton and tend to lose a fair amount of time trying to decide which ones to buy. i've heard this is a fairly common problem amongst my fellow sewing enthusiasts, which makes me feel slightly better about the ever growing stash that fills the white cabinet in the studio. sometimes though, i have trouble finding just the right combination of both pattern and colorway and need to search the web for my heart's desire. there are plenty of lovely on-line shops to fill the void, with beautiful selections and comparable prices to the brick and mortar shops around town.

i was lucky enough to find all these showcased fabrics on ETSY, browsing through their site is always inspiring, and being able to easily compare prices from shop to shop is definitely a bonus. i miss being able to run my fingers across the bolts but it's equally exciting when the ordered goodies are dropped off in my mailbox!

these are a few of the bags that will be available at the Grandin Village Community Market, Arts and Music Day on October 1st. they're even more beautiful in person, and literally have so many pockets you'll never lose your keys, phone,or chapstick again! so if you're in the neighborhood pop on over and say hi from 9am - 1pm. facebook fans of the Quirky Forest automatically get 10% off any bag that day (yes, that includes the wool felted ones too).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

fun and funky felt rings

oh felt, in your lovely hues and soft texture, how i do love you...

so, i've been collecting 100% wool felt for a few yrs. bits and pieces have been used in many different projects but i had quite the stash peeking out of a bin in the studio, waiting for just the right project to come along. imagine my excitement then when i came across the cutest pattern for flower rings in issue #3 of Mollie Makes magazine!

here's a couple of pictures of the rings i made in the last 2 days:

i've been experimenting with the pattern, changing the length of the center strips and design of the outer layers, tweaking it slightly for a few different looks. a couple of examples:

all together, i've made an even dozen so far but have a feeling that these might become addictive to make :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Little Bit Hippy?

why yes, i am, actually :)

although not a true hippy since i was born about 25 yrs too late to ever be considered as such, i do like the values and lifestyle associated with that genre. i guess that's why i'm so excited to announce that the Quirky Forest is being featured this month at Roanoke's own, A Little Bit Hippy, located in the upper level of Tower's shopping center.

i met Heidi, the new owner, when i wondered into the store one day last month looking for some yummy smelling perfume oil (mmmmm, coco mango is divine) and we got to chit-chatting. it's so nice to meet another kindred spirit out of the blue and her ideas for revamping the store are awesome. there's plenty of new merchandise but she's stayed true to the central theme that has permeated the store for the last 12 yrs.

so, if you get a chance, check out her blog and stop in the store to take a gander at not only her merchandise but mine too! highlighted items include dresses, quilted bags, as well as a few plushie "wishes" for the kid in all of us.

A Little Bit Hippy blog (where Heidi says some very kind things about my items) plus info about shop hours, her goals, and mission to move into the next generation :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

settling into new space

the last few weeks have been pretty crazy... kids finished another school year, did some traveling, and finally wrapped up the great house purge culminating in a yard sale and 2 very large loads of items taken to Goodwill. my husband joked that the house rose a few inches once it was all gone, hahaha.

i had a purpose though and goal in mind besides just getting rid of unwanted things, i was able to move my craft space (which was previously in a small room upstairs) down to what was our living room. this was a scary proposal to Mike and it took me a while to convince him that i needed a larger and more efficient space to work. at last he agreed and i set to work moving all of my craft supplies downstairs. we reworked the room upstairs to become a game/music space where the boys could practice guitar and piano or just hang out. so far the swap has been working out fantastic. i don't have any "before" pix but here's a few of the new and improved home of the Quirky Forest:

afterward: woo hoo! we took down the old ceiling fan over the weekend and put up some stylish track lighting instead. it's so much brighter and friendly :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

spinning round and round and round

i love dresses which is funny because i was never a big fan of them when i was little. always more of a shorts/jeans and t-shirts kind of kid and then later a grungie teen in early 90's i was disdainful towards the overly girlie concept of dresses in general. foolishly equating them with being an archaic tradition. i laugh when i think about that now as i spend most days in either a skirt or a dress, be it spring, summer, fall, or winter.

versatile, comfy, and cool, dresses are a staple of my wardrobe and i'm always in search of new ones to buy or make. generally speaking though, the style of dresses that i'm most drawn to are somewhat hard to find and many of the fabric choices leave me feeling... well blah. i need colors, bright, happy colors in easy to care for cotton, not synthetics that are too tight or unflattering.

so, when i found this awesome book of patterns called Sewing Clothes Kids Love and the corresponding web site and flickr group i was very excited. now of course, as the title suggests, it's a bunch of patterns for kids but with a few modifications i realized i could adapt it to fit me! hooray!

the following are my first attempt at making the Feliz Party Dress, i went with the beautiful Amy Butler Soul Blossoms line:

i'm currently cutting fabric to make a few more, mixing up some old and new material and using different designers. can't wait to twirl around all summer in these!

Friday, May 6, 2011

feeling feverish...

...ok, so not like flu feverish or even my dreaded spring-allergies-which-turns-into-sinus-infection feverish (although i've had my fair share of that in the last few months) but rather that manic feeling that tends to overtake me in the spring and makes me want to wash down all the walls and start chucking unwanted stuff out the windows. i guess this is what some might call a "spring fever" and i've got it bad.

there's a growing mound of gently used toys, books, clothes, and bedding in the corner of the living room. each piece that i add makes me sigh but i hope that they will all find new homes where they're loved and appreciated.

unfortunately, all this de-pack-ratting (yes i'm in the mood to make up new words today) has left me so tired that i simply don't feel like creating anything. i have a few projects that i'm in the process of finishing up and a couple of commissioned pieces that need to be completed before the end of the month but i just can't even think about starting or designing anything new until i free my house and my mental state of all this clutter.

i would post a pic of Mt. It-Must-Go but i'm kinda embarrassed about the size of it already and know that there is still the attic and basement to go through... oi vey.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

twirly, whirly hoop dreams

i'll confess that the ability to hula hoop has always eluded me. fairly certain that i tried to figure it out when i was a kid, but for whatever reason, could never quite get the hang (or swirl of) it was one of those things that i simply chalked up as something that wasn't meant to be.

as an adult, i assumed it would be something that i didn't really need to know how to do and subsequently pushed the thought aside but lately i've been curious and a little intrigued with the hooping lifestyle. a few weeks ago i picked up a lightweight hula hoop at the toy store, thinking i would give it a whirl. even if i didn't like it, i knew one of my boys would claim it and either learn to do it themselves or use it to try and teach the dog some new tricks. $5 and a few days later, i was shocked that hooping wasn't as hard as i remember it being, in fact, it was pretty fun!

this of course led to a search for online hula hoop info and what i found was a whole community of people who LOVE their hoops. intrigued as i read more about the different sizes, weights, and designs, it was natural that i should decide to try and make my own. (as it turns out, that cheapo one from the toy store is actually a little too small and light for my body) so, off to Lowe's i went yesterday on a quest for supplies.

pvc tubing- check
duct tape- check
tubing connectors- check
electrical tape- check
pvc pipe cutters- check
play sand- check

spent the afternoon reading through some of the online tutorials and watching a youtube on how in the world i was supposed to use my handy dandy new ratcheting pipe cutter, by the time the kids arrived home from school, i had 1 brand new spiffy hula hoop to show for my efforts. unfortunately, it was still a little small for me, but keegan gladly claimed it for his own and i attempted to make another one for myself, finishing it after we were done with dinner.

so, here's my preliminary thoughts on the process... i don't like duct tape. it's bright and pretty and it's amazing all the wonderful colors they make now, but wrapping the tube with it was a gigantic pain in the butt. it didn't lay right, was hard to get it to stay on a nice angle,and when it overlaps too much, the results are just not pretty. i had better luck with the electrical tape though but realized very quickly that this is one of those things that takes practice to get good at, kinda like hooping itself. i like that i will be able to remove the tape and update it if need be, either with better tape or new colors :)

... and with that, my hooping journey begins, time to get those hips moving!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

bangles never FELT so good

so, i've always liked the look of bangles but the clack, clack, clack of them banging around as i moved always threw me off. i think that's why i find wearing these felt bangles to be so much more my style. they're soft and quiet, extraordinarily durable and the bright colors add a "pop!" to my favorite outfits.

it's easy to mix and match them too, depending on my mood and what colors i'm feeling like on any given day. all one color, complimentary colors, triadic color scheme or the whole rainbow, the possibilities are endless!
sometimes i just wear one, other days, 5, but i usually stick with odd numbers. (matches my quirky, asymmetrical demeanor, i guess)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

seeing red

red, red, red
everywhere i look i'm seeing red. most likely because it's february and we get bombarded with pink and red decorations, cards, and clothing but i've got red on the brain for other reasons too and find myself drawn to this bright vibrant color like a ladybug to a tomato.

so inspired, i started a few red projects. the first is a knitted wool hooded cape, a la little red riding hood, but as i quickly realized, i really need to order more yarn cause there is no way i currently have enough to even come close to finishing it. knitpicks must surely love me, it's a shame i can't get any kind of frequent shopper di

today i attempted to make a pom pom from an old t-shirt. results were so-so but not bad for a trial run. need to make my cardboard pattern a little bit bigger and take better care when trimming it up at the end, but the color is pretty and it's making me smile hanging from the window in the laundry room :)

i've also started writing, revisiting an old idea that i began outlining over a year ago, which is coincidentally a new version of an old favorite fairy tale. yep, you guessed it, little red riding hood strikes again! she's permeating my every day life in more ways than i care to admit, lol.

Monday, January 24, 2011

this little piggy went to jersey....

who's that peeking around the corner?
chrissy's little piggie!

per special request, a large plushie piggie for my favorite jersey girl :)

i'm thinking that maybe it took a detour to the market and had some roast beef before finally arriving. (note to self: when the post office says it will be in NJ by tuesday, they really mean more like friday)