Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday is my day: LilouColours

Off we go to the UK to visit Ingrid! The first thing that caught my eye in her Etsy shop (, with scarves, bags and yarns) were all the beautiful colours - it's no wonder that word is in the name! This week Ingrid takes us along to show us her creative day. Enjoy!

Hello, my name is Ingrid (a.k.a. Lilou) and I live in the small village of Bollington, in Cheshire, England, with my lovely husband Andy and my two hedonistic cats.

This is a day in my life:

I get up. I laugh seeing my hair in the mirror. I've decided to let it grow again and must endure the awkward "Hulk meets Jedward" stage.

Off to the kitchen, where I make sandwiches for Andy: On the menu today is camembert and Paté. Andy works hard, as a painter and decorator and this is my way of thanking him.

Next, I feed the 2 cats who have been waiting patiently, while I my coffee steeps... Andy is off to work and it looks like a beautiful sunny day.

I am not a morning person, so I need all the help I can get! Coffee time is my personal time, when I check my emails, catch up on news and chit chat on the Etsy thread. This a really relaxing time for me. When my coffee mug is empty, I know it's time for a shower.

I'm all dressed and ready to start the day. I need to do some indigo dyeing today, so I turn the heat on for my vat. Indigo is a beautiful dye, but the process can be a little complicated and time-consuming. It requires a fair amount of planning.

I have a bunch of silk skeins that need to soak, before they can be mordanted and dyed tomorrow. So it's off to the bath for a little dip.

I hope on the loom and start weaving. I have been playing a lot with painted warps lately. It seems I am most happy when there are many colours, constantly changing as I weave. I get up frequently to refill my bobbins, with my manual bobbin winder.

Weaving is a very repetitive task, so I love listening to my favourite songs, as it makes the time go by, as I enjoy watching the clothe change in front of my eyes.

I go check on the indigo vat. The temperature and colour looks good, so I dip the yarn for about 8 minutes. Then give it a quick rinse and watch the transformation happen, from yellow to blue. Indigo requires many dips for darker shades and the yarn must rest in between, or the colour will not develop.

Back to weaving and my music.

Time for another dip in the indigo vat.

I think it's time for some food now, as I am getting a bit peckish. It's a beautiful sunny day, still, which is a rare treat here in the Peak District, so I'm in the mood for a fresh tomato salad, with mozzarella and basil from the garden, and a little slice of home-made bread.

I look at my cats and wonder: Where did I go wrong? That was supposed to be my life!

Back to my loom. My lilac scarf is near the end. Once finished, I cut it off the loom.

Before I can wash the scarf, I need to knot the fringe, so it doesn't unravel. This is a tedious task (and not my favourite), as I need to pick 8 threads at a time, to make a smooth slip knot. I enlist the help of a pin to do this, as it makes it much easier to separate the ends.

I am musing at what colours I want to play with next... I am without a doubt a colour junky and can never get enough of them...

I need to prepare my next set of scarves, for next week. First I need to measure the yarn on what's called a "warping board". It is a simple frame with pegs, around which I wrap the yarn to a pre-determined measurement. These scarves have 442 ends, so I got up and down 442 times!

I need to finish a couple of cushions I started last week, so I can list them on Etsy, in my 2nd store. I love these gorgeous kimono fabrics, they really perk me up in the afternoon, as they are quite fun to work with. I am also enjoying my fabulous new Janome sewing machine, which I recently bought second-hand on ebay. It is so smooth compared to the old dinosaur I was using before.

Time for a tea break. Checking my emails, etc.

Back on the loom, and a more music. I start a new scarf with the remaining warp and this time I decide to use a pastel yellow. It's surprisingly perky and I can't wait to see what it will look like on the other end, where the warp is lilac again.


Andy is back from work. He has had a really long day, finishing a big job for a customer. We decide to go for a walk, as the weather is too good to be true! We go through the cricket grounds, come face-to-face with a wandering dalmatian, continue to the canal and look at the ducks grooming themselves at the end of a long day.

I haven't made any plans for dinner this evening, so we decide to enjoy a meal at a nearby pub. I have a glass of wine, we enjoy a simple meal and an evening conversation. Chatting about our move to Chester next week, how we will miss Bollington but at the same time, can't wait to move to our new place. Chester is a beautiful town and our new place has a much better studio space and storage.

We walk back home, after a long, productive day, ready to start all over again tomorrow.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday is my day: Kanelstrand

This week we travel up to Scandinavia to say hi to Sonya in Norway. You can see more of her beautiful felted jewelry in her Etsy shop, but don't forget to take a look at her day first!

Hello and welcome to my day!

I am Sonya and I live with my family in a pine forest by the sea on the Southernmost tip of Norway. The area around my home is so fascinating that it fills my head with creative ideas which sometimes storm me and leave me sleepless.

I run a handmade business on etsy where I sell my organic felted jewelery with Scandinavian design. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to devote to creativity full time.

I am so happy that you are going to join me on a Spring Friday and I will get to show you so much of the beauty around my home!

I wake up and the first thing I hear is bird songs. Yes, the birds are finally back after a long and cold winter and you cannot imagine how happy I am to have them around. I go downstairs, where my husband who has already taken our daughter to school is waiting for me with warm waffles and jam. We have breakfast while he is updating me on the latest news.

I check on our little pet rabbit who enjoys life on the balcony but is often scared by the sound of the wind.

The weather is lovely and from my balcony I can see the glittering sea. I can’t wait to go out but first I turn my laptop on and check my emails, the etsy forums, and read the comments I have received on my blog the previous night. I love it when there is a discussion on my blog! I go through my Google Reader and write a blog post.

It is time for a walk! I have so many places to go to, and they are all in the wild. I am a photographer, so I take a close look at every little detail around me. My first stop is a lovely glasshouse with a peach and a fig tree inside, as well as many roses. But today my attention is attracted by the tender and young cherry tree just outside the glasshouse. It is so beautiful in its blooms!

After a good while photographing the lovely cherry blooms I turn and see I have company. I love the deer living in our forest! They have grown so much used to people that sometimes they get really near.

I continue along the path that leads to one of the beaches and when I get closer I see a not-so-solitary swan in the water.

I follow the path to the second, the third and the fourth beach. Each of them has a different color of sand and different reasons to attract me. The walk through the pines with this breathtaking view of the sea and the scattered small islands not only gives me a chance to take amazing photographs but also charges me positively for my creative work.

Before going back home I decide to climb the hill right behind our house to get a full view of the sea.

I am back home and it’s time for more work. I am developing new designs for my bracelets and since I have an idea for increasing the diversity in my etsy shop, I get to crocheting and felting. I love reading but unfortunately it takes up the time I use for crafting. That is why I have resorted to audio books, so now I load the CD in my laptop and continue listening to Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.

We love home baked bread and I decide to bake one for lunch. I continue working while the bread is in the oven.

Our daughter is back from school and we have a quick lunch of fresh salad, cheese and warm bread. After that we get to our tasks.

I go out to meet my husband in town. Our house is 10 minutes away from the center and it is not long before I am walking on the river promenade.

I love to stop in front of this restaurant. They are baking their own bread and very often there is some old bread left in a basket for everyone that wants to feed the birds. So, I take the opportunity.

I meet my husband and we head to a cliff overlooking the town. The weather is so inviting and we never miss an opportunity for good photos.

Afterwards we climb down and before sitting in our favorite jazz cafe we check out some shops. Although it is still spring I can feel the coming of summer already, looking at all the lively and sunny colors.

We enjoy the best cups of hot chocolate around and have a nice chat with friends.

We head back home but since our way follows the curves of the beach we feel tempted to stay there for an improvised sunbathing session. We are 2 minutes away from home anyway, so we finally decide to grab a blanket and to take the sunbathing seriously. In the meantime, our daughter is ready with her homework and joins us for a fun game of badminton.

It is time for the family dinner. We prepare grilled vegetables and enjoy them while talking over our day, school, books, news and ideas.

The three of us take a final for the day walk together.

Boardgames are a favorite family pastime for us in the winter but when there is nothing special on TV we play them in spring as well. There follows an hour of train journeys through Scandinavia.

It is time for me to go back to my virtual part and comment on some blogs, see what is going on in etsy, check my Facebook and Twitter, go through my Google Reader and sketch up some ideas for blog posts. I also work a little bit more in the quiet darkness of our living room.

I normally go to bed between 1:00 and 2:00 o’clock but tonight I will do that earlier because tomorrow morning we are going on a journey.

Thank you for spending the day with me and good night!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday is my day: Kirschbits

Our trip around Europe and the world continues with a visit to Van in Germany! She makes stylish and colourful bags, including hobo bags, messenger bags, clutches, wristlets and more - you can see them in her Etsy shop Enjoy!

Hi! My name is Vanessa, but you can call me Van. I live in Schleswig, a very old town already existing during viking times, that is located at the end of the Schlei fjord in the northern most part of Germany.

Today is Friday and it is a special day. Sadly very few crafting, but a lot of outdoors and photographing. After some days of planning, I'm going on bike to visit my friend Petronella (P8 Accessories, Kraplap, P8iosities) from the Etsy European Street Team! She lives in a very small village on the shore of the Schlei, around 30 km to the east of Schleswig. Very close to Arnis, the smallest city in Germany.

It is a pretty exciting day as I've never made such a long trip totally alone. So I woke up early, but not early enough to say "Tschüss" (bye) to my son when he left to school, around 1 hour before. But it is early enough to capture our playful and crazy Lumi (our cute white cat), still partially asleep in her favorite place: beside my husband's legs!

Matthias is still sleeping, so I have to get the camera silently and capture Lumi, who cleverly opened her eyes to have that expression of "let me sleeeeep".

Then Matthias woke up with the sound of the camera and after cuddling Lumi, he went gently to take the already brewed coffee for our first morning mug of coffee, to enjoy it as every morning, together in bed. Love my coffee mug, who was the perfect birthday gift. A designers coffee mug!

Then while Matthias checks his mails, and the news of the day, I get my crafting basket that I have beside my bed, where I have yarns of different colors, and the boxes with beads. I love crocheting a bit in the morning and in the night before sleep. So today I made 2 crochet flowers that I want to begin to experiment adding them to my bags creations. And to one of the flowers I added a wooden bead. Love the result! As you see in the image I've been also experimenting with different chained beads. Let's see what time and play will bring!

After Matt is done with the news, he gives me the Mac and I check mails, convos, news from Venezuela, weather forecasts for the day and of course the EST thread of the day.

Matt made a quick but healthy breakfast, some defrosted berries mix with cornflakes and milk for him, and my favorite apple, oatmeal, almonds and yogurt! Delicious and full of fiber that I'll need later!

At around 9.40 am Matt leaves to work in Flensburg at the regional newspaper, and I took some few time to advance a bit in some patterns I need cut for some wristlets. I finished the cutting and made some order in my working table to have everything ready to be sewn.

Ups it was getting late! I had no chance to take photos of this part of the day as it was a bit late. I made some stretching and cardio exercises, then took a quick shower, packed my bag, made a sandwich, got an apple and filled my 1 lt. bottle with my favorite energizing drink: water, carrots, orange and lemon juice.

All packed and ready for a long ride. Let's go! I picked up my bike from the basement, put my favorite bag (Haddeby, crossbody messenger bag) and the bottle in the back basket, in the front bag the sandwich and the apple, and gone!

Around 15 minutes later, outside Schleswig, I went through this beautiful bikes and walking path. The first rape flowers field was shining through!

Biking on and on... around 40 minutes later I was in the middle of this amazing road, surrounded by more rape flowers fields. These yellow fields are a trademark in this region. Love them, love the color, love the perfume (like honey and roses), and its the call for summer! (This year they blossomed 2 weeks before).

Some dozens kms ahead I got finally the first sight of the Schlei after a big big yellow field. I went on a slightly shorter way through the area of Angeln here in the north-east of Schleswig-Holstein, instead of biking along the shore, so the view of the Schlei was something I was waiting for since a couple of hours, and for me was the finishing of the second stage of my trip.

Loved the feeling of being one with the nature, so few cars passing by, almost no bikers at all, it was just me, the yellow, green and blue of the almost completely clear sky.

Then I started the last part of my trip, arriving to the town of Lindau where this beautiful Dutch Windmill is still working.

At the end of this town there is a famous bridge to cross the Schlei. It is a one way bridge, shared by train, cars and bikers or walking people. All in one. So when there is traffic, the waiting cars files can be quite long! Even more when the bridge is up for Sailing boats to cross! It is a very old bridge and still working very well.

To my surprise, when I arrived to the crossing, I found that they were working on -precisely!- the railroad at the crossing I needed to take! I didn't want to cross the bridge but to continue along the shore. And that was closed! How annoying and scary moment! I would have to turn back and bike across a hill and give a huge round without being sure where I was going to end! I went close to the working site and asked one of the men if it was possible to.... and without letting me finish he said to me and a skating boy beside me (who also had a face of "please please please"): "on foot very carefully cross there in the corner!" The boy and me thanked him and crossed the railroad quickly (I was carrying my bike in my arms!). On the other side there was this long line of cars waiting to cross the bridge. I stopped in front of the restaurant to take a photo of the scene.

Some meters away to the east I could capture Lindaunis bridge at its best!

And to the other side, while munching my apple, I took this breathtaking view of the south shore of the Schlei.

Few kms ahead was my destination. So I packed up strength and after the short stop, continued on the recently made (still in the making) bikes way along the street. Some minutes after and finally I saw the beautiful house with the blue frames and the nice "Art button" poster outside. I arrived!!! As you can see in the photo courtesy of Petronella, I was still alive and with the camera in my hand)

Peggy ran to me in a single cry of desperation and welcoming as just she can do it! So lovely! I got my camera once more and captured Petronella with Peggy on her arms.

I rested under the sun in P8's backyard, while she permanent refilled my glass with fresh cold water and we talked for a couple of hours in the sun. Totally relaxing. We talked a bit about everything, and also checked fabrics and ideas for a dress I need soon for a wedding. Then in the night Matthias arrived from his work, and we had a delicious fish bbq Pieter cooked for us.

After the fresh strawberries ice cream we had for dessert, we were dead tired, full and happy.

Night was closing in, the moon shining and the stars blinking in the blueish sky. The cold breeze was shaking us, so Pieter lighted up a quick fire using the coal of the bbq. Was beautiful as well!

Matthias had a great time experimenting with the flames and sparkles.

Then it was getting pretty late and we were all tired but happy, so took my bike to the car, packed in and went back home. It was the perfect closing for a perfect day!