Category Archives: Shopping

Etsy Site Updated for Fall

upcycled felt mittensWell, anyone familiar with Etsy knows there is a year-round craft fair taking place online. On Etsy, you can find just about anything you want made by amazing artisans and crafters. I visit it regularly and have made many purchases over the years.

Today I finally updated my Etsy site: Andrea’s Yarn Basket. On my Etsy site you will find fall hats and scarves, as well as crochet wire jewelry, bracelets, and upcycled mittens. I also have hand-spun yarn, felting supplies and de-stashed yarn.

I hope you check it out!

Meeting Other Artisans

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.

Upcoming Arts & Crafts Event!

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 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!

Network Charity Brunch and Arts/Crafts Sale in Denville 2/26

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;; Stella & Dot Trendy Jewelry, Handbags and Accessories

Somerset Fly Fishing Show: The Ultimate in Creativity!

fly fishing showThis weekend is the annual Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, NJ . Now, why would I bring this up on a fiber-arts blog? Well, a few different reasons.

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!

2010 Christmas Bazaar, Saturday December 4

This weekend I am happy to again take part in the second annual Christmas Bazaar at the Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Christian Church on Beach Street in Rockaway, NJ, Saturday, December 4. This is a great event with a wide variety of crafters and artisans that is very well run. You will definitely find unique items to fulfill every gift-giving need! This is a cozy show that brings in a great group of artistic individuals directly from the community.

Additionally, the food for sale is great! Looking for wonderful ethnic goodies like pierogies, halushki, holupki, kielbasi & kraut sandwiches, and other baked goods? This is definitely the place! I am definitely looking forward to a few snacks!

The bazaar will open at 9:00 a.m. to the public and will end at 3:00 p.m., so there is still plenty of time in the afternoon to get your tree!

I hope to see you there!

My Ultimate Fiber Christmas List

It is the time of year when everyone makes their lists. So, here is my ultimate fiber Christmas list.

pocket spinning wheelWhile at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival this year, I saw the original Pocket Wheel. This wheel has a great feel and spins like a dream. This is on the top of my ultimate fiber list!

To go with the pocket wheel, I’ll need to get some fiber. That  means getting fiber from Laurie’s Lambs! Additionally, Susan’s Fiber Shop and The Woolery have great fiber options.

To go with my new wheel and fiber, I of course need to add a new spindle to the list. This is easy. I have always wanted a Moosie spindle from Journey Wheel. These amazing spindles are made from Moose antler sheds. While we are talking about spindles, Golding spindles are always just beautiful and spin like a dream! I have always wanted the Golding Spindle“Midnight Sky” spindle.” Team Golding is incredibly talented and should be seriously considered when looking for that special spindle.

At the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year, I treated myself to a mini glass crochet hook from Michael and Shelia Ernst . Well, on my ultimate fiber Christmas list, I want the full one! They are just gorgeous. The Turquesa model, please. Also while at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this past May, I won a Weavette in an auction. These are incredibly tough to find. I would love to get a few more in different sizes.

Fiber arts and books always go hand-in-hand. That means, I have lots of books on my list! First and foremost, Creative Crochet Lace: A Freeform Look at Classic Crochet by Myra Wood is at the top! Myra is a wonderfully talented artist and an even better friend.

During the past year, I have been fascinated by hyperbolic crochet. That  means I have to add Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes to my list. If you have seen hyperbolic crochet, I highly recommend you check it out!

Along with crochet and spinning, I also love to felt and enjoy reading the history of fiber arts. That means I have to add Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times, The Art of Felt: Inspirational Designs, Textures, and Surfaces and In Sheep’s Clothing: A Handspinner’s Guide to Wool to my list.

Last, but  certainly not least, I have to add a felting machine. I currently do needle felting, but would love to try it on a machine. Janome makes some great machines, but I hear the Singer felting machine is just as good and less expensive. I also saw a mini felting machine somewhere once; that would be perfect!

So there you have it. My ultimate fiber Christmas list. What’s yours?

Make the Handmade Pledge this Holiday Season

take the handmade pledge More and more are starting their shopping for the holiday season earlier each year to have the best selection sot he perfect gift can be found. Well, each year I work to buy handmade items and I hope you will too.

There are a number of great reasons to buy handmade items. First, each item is unique so you are providing a gift that no one else will have. You will be supporting artists, which is always a wonderful way to ensure the arts are available for future generations by spreading the word about how great it is to give and receive handmade items.

Some may wonder where they can find handmade items. Well I am here to tell you, it is easy! There are always plenty of local craft sales where you can find great items and support those right in your community. You can find great items online at sites such as ArtFire and Etsy.

So I encourage you to take the handmade pledge and give truly unique gifts made with love!

Peters Valley Arts and Craft Show Next Weekend

Peters Valley The weekend of September 25 is the annual Peters Valley Arts and Crafts Show at the New Jersey Fairgrounds in Agusta, New Jersey. If you have never been to this event, you should definitely attend! This event highlights some of the most amazing artisans you could ever imagine. The holiday season will be here before you know it, so this is a great place to find truly unique gifts and support the arts at the same time.

If you go to the Peters Valley website , you can also get a coupon for $1 off admission to the show. I hope you decide to check it out. You will not be disappointed!

Tan Thru Golf Gloves: Just Plain Cool

tan thru golf gloves OK, I’ll admit, this has absolutely nothing to do with fiber arts. However, when I saw these this week, I thought I would share them. Why you ask? Because I do applaud things that are interesting, innovate and creative.

These are tan thru golf gloves for women. When you golf, you only wear one glove. As a result, you can get an uneven tan. Now, I don’t golf, but I have purchased, and used, golf gloves when fly fishing and I have experienced the “uneven tan;” hated by all women (including me). I thought this was an interesting product that shows great creativity. They come in half length and full length and come in a variety of colors, which I always like.

At some point a few years ago, I remember seeing tan thru bathing suits for women. I am not sure if they ever took off. My guess they didn’t is because, in general, women (like me) hate wearing bathing suits. But many women do enjoy golfing, so I see this product being much more popular.

This brings me to my “question of the week.” OK, I haven’t had a question in awhile, but it sounds better than a “question of occasion.” Have you seen a product recently that you thought was just interesting, innovative, creative or just plain neat? Maybe it is related to fiber arts, maybe it isn’t. But, ultimately, this blog is about creativity and innovation, so go ahead and share! I would love to hear from you!