January 29, 2014

January 28, 2014

Snow Art by Simon Beck

An avid skier, Simon Beck owns an apartment at the Les Arcs ski resort in France.
One day, apr├Ęs-ski, he set out for a nearby snow-covered lake, and 
for the fun of it, planned out a design and walked its outline in the snow.
Deciding that snowshoes would make the process easier,
he was soon creating more intricate patterns, taking photos and posting them online.

Surely his background in orienteering and map making 
help him to plan out the geometric patterns, 
but he must also have a strong artistic side 
that encourages his creativity to take off!

He draws out a design on paper using a ruler and a protractor, then  heads outside.

His tools of the trade?
A hand-held orienteering compass, a measuring tape,
and a clothesline attached to an anchor for making curves and circles.
Plus, of course, his snowshoed feet.
(snowshoe shod?)

On average, each design takes 10 hours to complete.
That's a lot of great exercise, tromping on what he says is ideally about 9" of snow!

Some areas of concern: safety when walking out onto an ice-covered lake,
keeping warm throughout the day, and finishing with enough daylight left to take photos.

Simon would like to publish a coffee table book with photos of his snow art.

And in case you were wondering...
Yes, as a kid, Simon liked playing with his Spirograph set.

Here's Simon Beck's Snow Art page on Facebook.

Images used with permission from Simon Beck
via https://www.facebook.com/snowart8848.

January 24, 2014

Hand-dyed, Hand-spun Yarns by Susan Nadelson


Susan Nadelson loves color! Seriously rich, saturated color.
In particular, she loves the colors she creates when she dyes wool.
She does that in two ways:  
the traditional pot-of-hot-water method with color tones
developing gradually, or space dying, with instant results. 

But Susan doesn't stop there.
She spins the wool into yarn. Gorgeous yarn!
And then comes the knitting.
Fabulously textured sweaters to warm body and soul!

I first met Susan this past autumn while she had a booth at Tyler State Park's 
Crafts in the Meadow. You can see my post on that event HERE.
As she sat and spun yarn, she talked about her craft.
I was just enthralled and couldn't get enough!

Before I go on, I'll use the best word to describe the talented Susan Nadelson: passionate.
I witnessed this first-hand during my visit to her cozy Lambertville, NJ home.
She loves what she does. She absolutely exudes it.

I was thrilled with the time we spent together!
She was so eager (and patient) to answer my questions.
Here are some photos from our memorable afternoon~

Hand-dyed bags of wool wait patiently to be selected for the next project. What a variety of shades!

This is Susan's hand-cranked drum carder, which aligns the wool fibers
and blends different colors together in preparation for spinning.
This forms a batt, which can either be spun as is, or
formed into a roving, or long rope, and then spun.


Now we're talkin'! The electric carder is a quicker way to do it.
To demonstrate, Susan selected a few shades of blue
and a pretty green to blend together as a sample.
Not only was she blending colors, but also types of wool.


Susan relied on foot power to show me how the roving is spun into yarn.



Here's the mini skein of our sample yarn.


Now, these are examples of space-dyed rovings. Vibrant for, sure! 
Susan explained that when she conjures her color conglomerations, she likes
to add an unusual shade that you wouldn't think would blend, a "poison" of sorts. 
And it works. It adds interest and that spark of the unexpected!


Here, Susan spins one of her space dyed rovings into yarn.


This spinning wheel has double foot pedals.



Feast your eyes on these yarns...




...and how amazing they look after having been 
magically transformed by Susan's knitting needles!


On Sunday and Tuesday afternoons, and evenings by appointment,
Susan invites knitters and wanna-be knitters into her home
to gather 'round her kitchen table for a casual, relaxing knit-fest.
She's there to instruct, encourage and enjoy the evening of socializing. 
No fees, she just asks that they use her yarn and patterns.


Time consuming? Yes, indeed. But so very worth it!
How can quality like this be beat?


Susan sells her rovings, yarns, and hand-knitted sweaters and accessories.


You can reach Susan via e-mail at 


January 22, 2014

Back Bay Pottery

Christine Silbaugh, of Back Bay Pottery, is from Los Osos, California.
She creates fabulous pottery pieces in her backyard studio. 
In addition to dinnerware and kitchen accessories in rich hues 
like deep sea blue, aqua mist and spicy mustard, she makes 
fun buttons, jazzy house numbers, and birdy business card holders. 

Check out my favorites here, and then visit her Etsy shop and Facebook page!

Images used with direct permission from Christine Silbaugh.

January 20, 2014

Sassy Succulents!


I've been smitten with succulents for some time now.
I"ve see them on Pinterest and notice them everywhere!

I decided it was high time to head out to get some for myself.
They'd add an earthy, natural touch to my decor.
Plus, I hear they're very easy to take care of.


Lots of choices at the store.
I wanted a mix of cacti and their friendlier brothers without spikes.

Here's what I ended up with.
(Also brought over a pot of Hen & Chicks that I already had.)


Gathered up some pots from around the house that were being used for other purposes.
Although a few were purchased from stores, I had a couple that were handed down to me, 
some from handmade pottery shops, and a few were flea market or antique store finds.


The mess begins on my newspaper-covered kitchen table.


And messier still. Dirt on the floor, dirt on me.


Finished and so happy with how they look!


This green stoneware planter was my mom's.
It's mid-century vintage. Mom would've loved seeing me use it this way.


I picked up this shallow hand-thrown pottery dish at a shop in the Poconos for $3.00! 
What a find! When I saw it, I had envisioned using it for this exact purpose.



Now to find a home for each one.
Here's what I came up with. Lovin' the results!

Ideal spot on the windowsill above my kitchen sink~


The jade plant goes next to the kitchen hearth~


Fits perfectly on this sunny windowsill~


Grouped in a basket tray for the living room coffee table~


What a fun project!