We’ve all had it – the slump. You can’t focus. You can’t take ideas you’ve had and act on them. Almost zero creative spark. You sit and watch television and can’t do anything else. Except sleep. You are a champion sleeper. And the migraine’s aren’t helping.
That’s where I am at the moment. I keep saying “I should be blogging,” but it doesn’t happen. I look at the pile of books to review and giveaway and just can’t motivate myself to do any of them.
The slump. It’s rough.
Maybe it’s the heat. If you live in Jersey, you know how ridiculous the heat has been lately. It does make it hard to focus.
So I know I am WAY overdue to post. I just want you to all know I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ll be back…soon.
What do you do to help get out of a slump? I would love for you to share!
Today was a wonderful day. I had the opportunity to head to The Spinnery in Frenchtown, New Jersey for a class about how to spin thick/thin yarn (known as slubs) and coils. I wanted to take this class the last time it was offered, but I was still doing battle with my ankle after surgery. Well now my ankle was amicable and ready for class!
My day started with a lovely ride to Frenchtown. If you have never been there, I highly recommend it. Once you are off the highway, you are surrounded by historical homes, open fields, and preserved farmland. Today was the perfect day for this ride. Roof open, windows down, Billy Joel on the radio. Just wonderful.
The class was taught by master spinning teacher Rebecca Dioda of Simpatico Fiber Collective. She made the day fun and informative by giving an explanation, then demonstrating, then helping each member of our intimate group get started. We started by unplying a base (yes, sounds uncounter-intuitive, stay with me). Then we started with our main fiber, making thick and thin “slubs.” She made it look so easy! Then we all started giving it a try. Well, lets just say the easy chatter became serious concentration. As we progressed, we all seemed to improve.
What I really found funny as I was working to master this I thought back to when I first started to spin. Initially, I was very good at spinning…rope. Then I improved to thick and thin. Then I learned to spin more even yarn. Now that I need to spin thick and thin yarn like I did in the beginning, I found it very challenging. Go figure.
So it was time to start to ply our base and
our slubbed yarn together. Plying has never come easy to me, so I was definitely thinking about multiple techniques simultaneously.
Of course I forgot my lazy kate. Luckily Betty, owner of The Spinnery, came to my rescue and had one I could use. Rebecca taught us the importance of “vrooom!” in our spinning when preparing for a coil. She made the entire process a lot of fun!
So I went to work. I quickly determined I needed at least one more hand. My lovely Majacraft Rose was not in the mood to ply without issue. She is currently in a time out so she can think about her cranky
behavior. Hold core in one direction. Hold yarn at a 90-degree angle. Spin in the opposite direction of the yarn. Pinch. Roll. Push. Pinch. Spin more. Vroom! Don’t let the yarn wind before they should connect. Oh my! Like I said. Lots to think about.
After some mumbling to myself, and encouragement from Rebecca, I started to get some decent-looking coils.
I still have a lot to do to become
more comfortable with my coils. But I definitely felt like I understood the process by the time I left. Of course I can never leave The Spinnery without picking up a few things. So what did I get? More fiber and core to practice!
After class I took a little time for a late lunch, pick up a few treats, and then the ride home. It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait to try again!
The following is a press release from a wonderfully gifted fiber artist Bonnie Meltzer. The exhibit will be at the Buckley Center Gallery, University of Portland and will run from January 13th until February 6th. A reception will be held Saturday, January 18th from 2:00 – 4:00 with a short gallery talk at 3:00. I hope you check it out!
Coal mined from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming would travel on barges and trains through our beloved Northwest (including the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area) and on to Asia by mega-ships. At the time of this writing, three out of the six coal terminals are still waiting for permits to be approved or denied. Three of the original six proposals have withdrawn but the three left would have a destructive daily impact. Dozens of trains will stop traffic and spew toxins. Meltzer not only makes art about the issue but testifies at hearings, organized an informational rally, and writes a Facebook page about coal.
Born in New Jersey, Meltzer came west to get her MFA in Design at the University of Washington — and she never left. She has exhibited throughout the Northwest and across the nation. Her work is in many private and public collections including the the National Science Foundation, the City of Portland, the Community Music Center and the University of Washington School of Business. The sculpture, “Global Warming”, which will be shown at this University of Portland exhibition, is on the cover of the new book The Fine Art of Crochet by Gwen Blakley Kinsler.
When Meltzer saw Thom Caccamo’s ceramic fish skeleton series and Kelly Neidig’s traffic and cloud paintings she invited them to exhibit with her. Their artworks fit right into the coal and environment theme.
If you are in the northern New Jersey area today and looking for something to do and enjoy this beautiful weather, there is a wonderful event going on I highly recommend you attend. The Peters Valley School of Crafts is hosting Annual Open House & Historic Bevans Day Celebration. This is a great event that I have attended several times in the past.
There are tours of all the different studios, which include blacksmithing, ceramics, fiber, fine metals, photography, weaving, and woodworking. At each studio visitors will be treated to an artist demonstration of that media! Additionally, there will be artist demonstrations scattered throughout
campus and professional artists selling their wearables, jewelry,
ceramics, sculpture, and more!
The Peters Valley Store & Exhibition Gallery features fine craft from over 300 artisans.
There are hands-on activities for the kids include making paper and weaving on a loom. For the adults, there will be an exhibition of roughly 12 different artists selling their work.
You can learn more about historic Bevans from the Walpack Historical Society. Bevans was the town formerly on the grounds where Peters Valley is now located and many of the builds of Peters Valley are original to Bevans.
The event runs from noon to 5:00 p.m. today. For more information, check out the Peters Valley website. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
“The Jersey Shore of my youth, it is gone. No question of my mind, we will rebuild it, but it won’t be the same,” ~Chris Christie
I am a proud Jersey Girl. I have posted in the past for my devotion, pride, and love of my state. Well like many this week, my heart is breaking.
I’m lucky. I made out very well. We have had minor inconveniences. I look at what my state has been through – it just breaks my heart.
Me and my friend Gina at my Uncle’s
bungalow in Seaside prom weekend.
While Jersey is often the butt-end of jokes and many think of stupid so-called “reality shows” are New Jersey, many of us know better. We know the jewel we have.
Like many, the Jersey Shore was my birthright. My Aunts and Uncles lived in Seaside, right down the street from Rainbow Rapids. I spent prom weekend at Seaside, piling people into my Uncle’s bungalow after a ride down the Parkway blasting my Meatloaf cassette in my 1986 Mercury Cougar. Yes, I was the essence of cool.
It was a right of passage we took for granted. Playing the wheel at The Union Jack. The Chair Lift. Skee-ball at Lucky Leo’s. The Casino Pier Carousel. Cheese steaks at The Midway. Clams at the raw bar under the Log Flume. Cotton Candy. Kohr’s Frozen Custard. Salt Water Taffy. It wasn’t just walking the boards for me; it was the food. All the stuff you weren’t allowed to normally eat – those rules went right out the window Down the Shore. I could go on forever.
Our view from our motel room at
The Crusader in Wildwood.
After I was married, our Shore plans moved further south to Wildwood and Cape May. Our spot was The Crusader – a classic Jersey Shore Motel. One year we went straight down the day my husband finished school in June. It was great.
Now… I’m speechless. Watching Chris Christie after his first tour of Seaside – it broke my heart. When he said The Midway was gone. That’s what did it for me.
But let’s face it. We’re Jersey. We’re tough. We’re Jersey Strong. To live in a state that is mercilessly made fun of – you have to be tough. We’ll be back and better than ever. But for those of us who grew up going “Down the Shore” – it will never be the same.
I pray for those who lost everything that they will find the strength to move forward.
We are all doing our best to help. With that said, all proceeds from my pattern sales will be donated to The Red Cross to help my fellow Jerseyans. If you are in need of a crochet pattern, I hope you will consider making a purchase. You can find them on Patternfish, Ravelry, and Craftsy. And if you don’t – well, I hope you will consider making a donation to The Red Cross.
Today I participated in a unique craft and lecture event at Saint Clare’s in Denville. While the attendance was light – and on such a beautiful fall day, who wants to be inside – I did have a great time and was able to meet three incredibly talented artisans.
Next to me was Miriam Seiden. She had some of the most lovely jewelry I have seen in quite a while. Her work was of high quality, incredibly creative, and certainly unique. She used a lot of big stones and silver in her work she had available. Each piece made a statement.
Ameenah Designs designs capes, shawls, vests, coats, and hats. Each piece is made by her and has great style and quality. It is easy to see the care and creativity in her work.
My favorite, I think, was Peach Fuzz Fiber Art. She had great bags, fiber bowls, jackets, shawls, and other incredibly creative items. Her free form-style work had just the right touch of whimsy!
Overall, it was a fun day, even though we didn’t have many customers.
On September 23rd, I will be a part of a unique event in Denville. The Image Forum. This event is sponsored by a physicians group and will be a lot of fun!
The Image Forum will be held 11 AM Sunday, September 23, 2012 in the Urban Auditorium inside Saint Clares Hospital on 25 Pocono Road, Denville, NJ. The event includes a light brunch, chamber music, several medical lectures, and an arts and crafts show. The best part is the entire event is FREE to the public! Simply register in advance (so they have an accurate head count) by calling 973-994-2484 or emailing Lmichaelson@nj.rr.com. Please tell them you are my guest.
The medical lectures include understanding thyroid cancer, today’s use of cosmeceuticals, what’s involved in permanent makeup. Additionally, there will be a presentation by the non-profit Center for Food Action and music will be provided by The West Essex Chamber Players. A variety of medical professionals will be on hand to answer questions about skin health, breast health, and plastic surgery.
There will be LOTS of artisans, crafters, and unique shopping opportunities, including home decor, unique accessories, custom made table cloths, couture clothing, jewelry, scarves, shawls, hats, Lia Sophia jewelry, Longaberger baskets, and more!
I am very excited to be a part of this event! I hope you will consider joining in on the fun!
This year’s World Wide Knit in Public takes place this year from the 9th to the 17th of June – second Saturday to the third Sunday in June. There are great events all over the world, but I wanted to let you all know about a great upcoming event in my neck of the woods – my beloved New Jersey.
On Saturday, June 16th from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Nonna’s Yarn Cafe will be hosting an event to knit and crochet squares that will be made into blankets for St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville. They will supply the yarn and patterns, you bring either a size H crochet hook or size 8 needles and the fun will definitely appear!
Nonna’s Yarn Cafe is located on Broadway in the center of Denville. I hope you will be able to participate!
On Sunday, February 26th, I hope you consider attending a Network Charity Brunch and Arts/Crafts Sale in Denville. The event includes a medical lecture, chamber music, light luncheon, and an arts and crafts sale – all free! The complete event is listed below, if you would like to attend, please RSVP to 973-994-2484 and tell them you are my guest. I hope you decide to attend!
Urban Auditorium: Saint Clares Hospital, 25 Pocono Road, Denville, NJ Lecture: Pediatric Injuries: Concussion by Rositta Michael, M. D., F.A.A.P. Permanent Make-Up: Scar Camouflage by MaryAnn Velardi, Dermatechnician Plastic Surgery: Trauma and Scars, Lorelle N. Michelson, M.D., F.A.C.S. Tribute: The Center for Food Action Musical Selections: The West Essex Chamber Players
Shopping opportunities: Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten, Fiber Artist; Anne Woodman Jewelry Design; Artisan Silk Flowers and Wreaths; Baubles Beads & Gemstones; Handmade, One-Of-A-Kind Jewelry by Ms. Barbara Bloom; Christabel Unique Concepts in Glass Jewelry; Ganise Creations…because jewelry ought to be fun!; Gem-N-I Fine Jewelry; Gina Bratter Designs One-of-a-Kind Art To Wear…Jewelry, Clothing, Accessories; Glam Sucre Fashion Jewelry; Healthy Changes Health and Wellness Center Personal Growth, Development and Hypnosis; House of Treasures Lavender & Eucalyptus Bath & Body Products / Spa Wraps / Masks; Jeanette’s Jewelry; Lia Sophia; Linda’s Things Custom-made stationery, decor and gifts; Mary Kay; Sachi of Tokyo Exotic Handcrafted Purses; Scentsy: Grissel & Dee; Silpada, .925 Sterling Silver Jewelry; Sophia’s Salts and Spices; StationeryObjects.com; Stella & Dot Trendy Jewelry, Handbags and Accessories
First, as many of you know, I am an avid fly angler. My husband and I are the owners of Reel Simple Fly Fishing . We attend the show each year to demonstrate fly tying techniques, lecture about fly fishing for still water species and sell our book, Ten Flies, Simple Ties.
OK, so if you aren’t into fly fishing, you may be asking why would you want to go? Well, many of the materials used in fly tying can be directly applied to fiber arts! For example, Glenn and I use wool, alpaca, various yarns and more in fly tying. So, a fly fishing show is a great place to stretch your creativity!
If you decide to check out the Fly Fishing Show this weekend, please stop by and say hi. I promise you will not be disappointed!