Tuesday, February 19, 2013

More Amore

My husband Bob says Valentines Day should be every day... and he is right, hearts and love never really go out of season. I must admit, I do have an affection for hearts, not just on February 14, and, of course,  that goes for chocolate too, FOR SURE... Anyway, my computer was down the end of last week and so couldn't finish up what I had hoped to share in regard to heartfelt projects. I am beginning to wish I could just push the calendar back a week. I seem to be playing catch up ever since Thanksgiving.  I want to celebrate these holidays, but I just can't seem to catch up to them in time.  I seem to be be celebrating in another time zone that is a few days different than real time.  But... better then, than not at all.   You know how different cultures have different calendars? I think I am on the Dotty calendar...  :)

Anyway, I WAS able to make these wax paper and crayon chips hanging hearts shown above as inspired by Martha Stewart Crafts, and hang them  from a dormant branch and put them in the window behind my husbands chair in the dining room. I hope he will enjoy them as a little token of my affection.  They are just made by ironing two sheets of wax paper with bits of crayon gratings, using a flattened brown paper bag on either side to protect iron and board.  I precut some hearts made the old fashioned fold and cut way and then used those to trace onto the wax paper and cut the hearts, then punched holes, and put a thread  hanger for each heart that I attached to the branch.  I would have loved to have done this with my children.  I thought of them as I made this as it is just the kind of thing we used to do when they were home.  I did it with them in my thoughts and heart, and felt as though they were right there with me and part of my project.

I had spoken before about how the littlest things can make someone's day special.  I received a packet from a friend of our family who knows I love hand made things.  He  had cut these from the eraser like blocks (as well as some regular linoleum blocks) that we have from Speedball and printed them on a type of handmade paper.   I just love the whole set of them. Simple designs that make you smile.  We carry the blocks and the ink in the shop,  and I know our son Matthew has enjoyed cutting these and making his own cards when he was younger.  You can place on them whatever design you want, and they cut fairly easily.   They really make great handcrafted cards and  prints, which may be easily duplicated as you just reink and print however many you want.  I am inspired by this set of prints by our artist friend, Michael Sweem, and hope to try making something similar in a  spring theme.  As you can see, the designs don't have to be elaborate or exact to be effective, and you can even trace with carbon paper a design directly onto the block from a photograph or previous drawing by photocopying it and then tracing the image right on to the block before cutting. It was such a nice gesture to be given this set of prints.  I adore them. They are each about 5 x 7 inches.  They were such a nice surprise to receive in the mail, and definitely brought a smile to my face.  I think I was supposed to have them to give away for Valentines Day, but I haven't been able to part with them yet.  I just will enjoy them a little while longer before I give them away.  I like ALL of them. :)  SIMPLE yet SWEET...

And so...in light of the simple AND sweet things, I did something I have been wanting to do for a few years.  I can't believe it has taken me this long to just stop and do this, as I have had this idea for awhile to use our scrapbook papers and embellishments to decorate our Lake Champlain Fine Signature chocolate bars. 

I first started by taking off the Lake Champlain wrapper and slipping a little secret message on a piece of paper under the gold foil.  This was done with a rub-on on  a piece of handmade rice paper cut to size. and then placed on a sheet of clean white cardstock.

I then cut down a piece of scrapbook paper and wrapped it around the bar, and used roller type adhesive to seal. 

On the front I placed embellishments and of course some adhesive jewels.  I have seen something similar to this to buy, but I, of course, wanted to make my own with my own little treasures, stickers,  and embellishments. 

 This would also make a great birthday or Mother's Day gift. I was thinking it would be fun to do them as a Saturday workshop at the store sometime,  just for a fun get together, so we will keep you posted when we would do this. You could decorate more elaborately, but even just this was enough to make an ordinary chocolate bar extra special.  I like the gold foil and the thickness of these Lake Champlain Signature Bars.  They work perfectly.  The one pictured above  went to my husband. I placed it in a cello bag  for a nice finishing touch.  Now I just have to let HIM eat the chocolate inside.  He hasn't even started eating it yet. Are you kidding me?  If it was mine, I am afraid that bar would be LONG GONE....

I will surely continue my heart projects throughout the year as hearts continue to be a motif I am fond of.  I even recently started a Pinterest board of my heart finds.  http://pinterest.com/thenetloft/hearts/
Ah yes, my continuing Pinterest addiction...I may need professional help soon.

Last but not least, my heart love has brought me to share with you this sneak peak at some hand made totes with leather handles, wool and metallic embroidery, and some even enhanced by just a touch of sequins.  How can a heart lover (and bag lover) resist...isn't it funny that one can NEVER have enough totes and bags... they each have their own purpose and pursenality, and there are just TOO many cute bags and totes to have just one.   We will have these in the shop possibly by Mother's Day and they will come in multiple colors and  designs.  They are each one of a kind and have a drawstring closure.    I thought they would be perfect for knitting projects or for just "stuff".   You cannot see the metallic thread very well in the photo, but it has just the right amount of glitz with the gold to perfectly accent the wool embroidery.  We will let you know when they arrive. There will be a limited number and each a unique handmade creation of color and texture.  Love those hearts, especially the sequined ones.

So, my friends, happy hearts to you...  In the midst of all of life's struggles and pains and ups and downs,  a little heartfelt love and those extra little touches of handmade thoughtfulness and remembrances always go a long, long way. 

The best to you as February zooms by.
with love,
Net Loft Dotty

Saturday, February 9, 2013


For someone who loves just even the thought of paint, paper, glue and glitter, what is there not to like about Valentines Day? (and of course there is the chocolate  :) )... It's time to pull out all those ingredients and lay them out on the table and get cutting and making paper treasures.  Who doesn't love getting a valentine?   Let those you care about know with just a little gesture.  It doesn't take much and sometimes it can mean a whole lot.  When I was younger, I remember  going to the dime store with my mother,  and buying paper doilies, glue, and construction paper so I could make my valentines for schoolmates.  I had so much fun glueing the doilies onto the paper, and coloring pictures on them.  I loved stuffing them into the homemade envelopes and sealing them with those stickers you had to lick.  You can carry on this tradition.  It doesn't have to be elaborate.  Get out your glue and scissors and slip a special something on someone's desk or mailbox this week.  A smile for you and a smile for them... you know, it's the little things.   People say that all the time,  but you know,  it's true.  Those little things can add up to big things in the midst of daily life.

What I want to try this year is getting some yummy chocolate bars, like the Lake Champlain we have and decorate them with scrapbook papers and jewels and embellishments.  I wanted to also make  heart macaroons and dip them in the melted chocolate drops we carry.   I thought these yummy treats would be a nice compliment to my handmade cards...I will let you know how they turn out.  and then.. I was also thinking of making a mini album with a poem and a few photos.  There are so many ideas for these little books and other Valentine goodies...felt hearts, crochet hearts, knit hearts, heart mobiles and garlands.  I think the brainstorming has begun. Oh dear, I better get busy...stay tuned for show and tell.

Have fun...
with love....and a little chocolate...


Sunday, February 3, 2013


Hello my handcraft friends,
Sorry I have been “gone” for awhile. Aside from some family health issues,  this is the time of year I am knee deep in piles of business paperwork.  Each day I have been wandering through trails of receipts and invoices attempting to bushwack a clear path hoping to see a little light shine through my overgrown forest of financial statements.  

For now, the looming mountain to climb ahead looks QUITE forboding, and  though a few life delays have slowed down the journey, …start I must, which I have, if there is any hope for me of surviving being potentially buried alive.  After hours of  sorting, filing, recording, and figuring, to  relieve myself from that feeling as if I am sinking in a quicksand of engulfing papers and piles, I have been rewarding myself with a "little" Pinterest escape.   (http://pinterest.com/thenetloft/)...ahem

Hmmm.. oh dear oh dear oh dear…Oh my goodness, and though I love seeing all the beautiful pins, one problem for me is that I see so much . ..  so so SO MUCH.   It is exciting, however,  to see all the crafting and needlework going on, worldwide.   The photography is so beautiful and so enticing and it appears that everyone everywhere is being SO creative around the clock,  and, here I am at my desk shuffling papers, practically handcuffed to my computer.  As I take my Pinterest relief sessions, I end up with so many ideas and inspirations,  but somehow think  there is so much life that gets between my ideas and what is realistic for me to accomplish.  It sort of relieves my creative urges to scroll around and appreciate others workmanship, but eventually, I think, I end up feeling sort of like I am sitting on the couch watching the travel channel on a vicarious journey to a virtual destination.  

You know, I realize that inspiration is great, and the photographs ARE really quite lovely BUT eventually I actually need to do something more than collect ideas. I have to act on those ideas and I don’t have to do them all at the same time.  It is just a little this and a little that along the way, even in the midst of my paper shuffling pile pushing that make all the difference in personal sanity and  in eventually accomplishing my/those handcraft heartfelt desires.

 And so, with that said, my latest reward during bookkeeping season has been at the end of the day, and sometimes late evening as the paperwork sometimes goes quite late, my reward is to at least do something creative, ANYTHING. 

It is said that you cannot do it all, and that is good to know in the midst of feeling absolutely overwhelmed by so much that is gong on out there.

but I know that you can do it SOME…

Sometimes it means squeezing it in imbetween the cracks.  In doing so, however,  I don’t end up feeling  quite so cracked.  That creative inkling can be filled in numerous ways, and this time I  let the inspiration nudge me in a variety of creative  directions, such as...

a  late hours scrapbooking session….finishing a  photojournal of friends...

some midnight mushroom dyeing...

a little watercolor painting of some Christmas thank you’s

needling up a  stitch or two on the beginnings of a linen needle roll

And ...  just a wee little knit with some of Shelly’s Snowcapped WInter Solstice Cashmere Silk Yarn http://southofultimathule.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/winter-solstice/
(delicious to knit with I must say...this is a reversible cable pattern I am working up,  the turquoise is the provisional cast on)  ... yum

A little here
A little there

It is like taking a look at the wildflowers along the way as I trudge upward on the paperwork trail.

A little joy wedged in the wee hours…Hope you are making time for that wonderful reward of handcrafts in the midst of busy daily life as it is a great way to unwind, to destress and make something sweet and beautiful.  If you are looking for a little inspiration come by the shop and we will help you find something that will be a perfect handcraft fit for you.

There are so many wonderful ingredients, including some new felted woven wools for wool appliqué projects, and some wonderful new knitting books, and a great batch of new knitting patterns that will be there soon from some new designers to the shop. Right now I am at the needlework trade show, and of course, overwhelmed by so many colors, design, patterns, and projects..  Do I REALLY have to sleep???

I have you in my thoughts as I wander the aisles, hoping to find the right selection of good quality materials and ingredients to be worthy of your time and energy.
It makes it worthwhile when I think of each of you and always love to see your finished projects.  We love when you bring them in to show and share as it inspires all of us to start and finish our  own projects.  When I am tired and worn out, sometimes it is hard to be motivated, but once started,  the reward is always so great…I saw this calligraphy on etsy by Calligrapher Jo Miller.  (http://millerlinedesign.com/

I like how this is printed on a blanket of words. Life gets busy and full and cluttered  and  when it comes to creative projects, sometimes I just have to remember to BEGIN .    I once read, "Creativity begins when you do"… I like that and I find that it is true..  Once I get over the momentum of getting started  I find more ideas emerge and beget new ideas.

Valentines Day is right around the corner…lots of inspiration on Pinterest  (of course).  After wandering around online, come see us if you need some ingredients when you are ready for your Valentine creative dream to come off the screen and into your hands.  We are happy to help you get started.

All the best to you …
Net Loft Dotty