Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Drive-By Food Post

I can't remember the last time I baked a ham, until this past Easter. I tried this baked ham recipe and it was so good, I made it again just last night, but substituted some sesame ginger sauce for the 4 t. of butter, and it was again oh-so-tasty! Here's how it looked today, before I made myself a ham & cheese sandwich for lunch:

A little Jambon still life with one of my paintings in
the background and last night's super delicious baked ham.

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's a Finished Project!

Happy Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday, everyone - and guess what? I've actually completed a thing not for publication. Woohoo!

This is a thank you Etched Ice Cowl for the model who was kind enough to model it, as well as a few other things, late last year. When we were done with the shoot and she told me which design she wanted for her thank you, I pulled some old swatches in appropriate weight yarns and had her start feeling them for softness. She stopped pretty quickly when she got to a swatch using Drops Baby Alpaca Silk. I do admit to loving this stuff - it's pretty much like yarn crack - even though several of the colors are less than inspired, I'd still like to have a boatload in the entire colorway set. She'll receive this thank you in a few weeks (and of course it's late!), and I hope she likes it. I think it turned out rather well, even if I do say so myself.

And now for the third installment of my 4-part art journal from last year's LYS tour. This is the day that was all about water. I've also played around in Photoshop and think I've come up with a way to float the typed copy over my handwritten in such a way that you should be able to read it on the artwork as opposed to separate copy underneath. Let's hope this works the way I've planned! Incidentally, if you want to see the traffic I journal about on this day, check out the photos I took along the way and blogged about here last September.

Just a little over a week until the Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace blog tour begins! Get your blog tour shoes on, people, and be prepared to visit six wonderful blogs and read all about the book. Who knows, you might win one and then you can join the Ravelry a-long and make something from it with us. Whoot!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

I live in one of the most beautiful corners of the planet. I never take for granted the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.

I leave you with an enduring recent morning photo of the Puget Sound's grand dame.

Monday, April 20, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again ...

... for the annual, worldwide, week-long knitting and crochet blogging extravaganza! Check out this year's daily blog prompts here. I'm in it yet again, and unlike last year, will definitely participate the entire week. Will you be participating?

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Spring Flingy Thingy Update + The Next Art Diary Installment

Hello everyone and happy Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday! This week, in addition to the second installment in my art blogged adventure from last year, I'm also showing some updates on my current projects being made in conjunction with the Voie de Vie Spring Flingy Thingy in my Ravelry group. I do hope you'll join us, because in addition to wonderfully book + yarny prizes you could win at the end of May, you just never know when a surprise yarnie present might be awarded.

While others have made or are working on the Wright Fur Collar + Pin, the Markham Headband, and the Bomber-Inspired Hoodie Vest in the Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace a-long, I've been working on two of the cardigans in the book - the Definitely in Africa Cardigan as well as the Nichols Cardigan. My own Definitely in Africa cardi is coming along nicely: I'm  
One of the front pieces of my very own
Definitely in Africa cardigan. I'm farther along
now, since this photo was taken mid-week.
just about done with one of the sleeves as well as completed the first front piece. I've worked the pieces of this cardi in this slightly out-of-turn manner (at least for me) just to ensure I have enough of the yarn I'm using up from stash - I do, so it's full steam ahead.

My Nichols Cardigan had a slight re-tooling after I swatched the motif using two different yarns in stash. As you'll see below, it will now be cream on cream, which will be quite lovely. The motifs for this cardi go really fast, so while there's only one in the WIP photo, I'm almost done with half of the amount I need. The shrug on this piece takes a little longer, so I'm working rows as I can here and there.
The first few pieces of my
Nichols Cardigan. I do love this
cream-on-cream treatment.

It's definitely a springtime cardi frenzy for me, because over in my first public test I'm working a version of my Frosted Espresso Cardigan alongside my two current testers (and if anyone would like to test this pattern along with us, you're cordially invited). I thought I was going to use Berroco's Andean Mist for my version, but in my attempt to spring clean the stash, I opted instead for a yarny cocktail of LB Collection Silk Mohair in the wisp colorway and Lion Brand Sock-Ease in marshmallow. While I still need to purchase additional amounts of both of these yarns, I will at least use up the amounts I already in the stash. I love this.

My Frosted Espresso Cardigan swatch. These
two Lion Brand yarns play nicely together.

Now on to the second installment of my art diary from last year's LYS tour. This is from Day 2, and as you'll see, things didn't quite go as planned. Oh well, that's the nature of the tour here in the Pacific Northwest, especially when one is attempting to use public transportation as much as possible.

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you next week.

Day 2:

Spend the morning reworking the crawl game plan because I didn’t make it to all the locations I wanted/planned on yesterday. I am bummed that I will not be able to reach all the rest of the stops via public transportation due to store locations + timing of visits (1 store from Day 1’s botched itinerary isn’t accessible by public transportation at all and 2 others not accessible via bus on Sat/Sun). I am also just a little crawled out from yesterday’s marathon session, so decide to take it easy and stay close to home. Keep finding great, sticky North American-sourced wool, so buy the Jamieson’s for comparison. Also pick up some Noro. I simply cannot resist Kureyon’s siren call, even though it’s not technically new to me. That’s just the way the yarn wound today. Also got some HiyaHiya circular knitting needles (40” cable, size 10.5) that I need for a project, at a store owner’s recommendation that the HiyaHiya cable is very flexible. The day ends on a good note, but was definitely bumpy at the outset.

Monday, April 13, 2015

An Open Letter To The Muses

I offer this to the goddesses: enough mohair for a smaller version
of  the Flying Blanket from Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace
Dear Muses:

I hope things are well with each of you up there on Mt. Olympus. Recently I've been getting the feeling from some of your feedback that you think I'm kind of slacking off at the moment. I know that the mountain is quite a distance away, and perhaps the gods have given you obstructed view seating of us mere mortal artists, so let me provide you with a recap of my last 15 months.

Ok, let's just get the big gun out of the way first: I published a book. A book! Yes, an actual 200+ page book. Not only did I come up with the book's concept as well as design and make all 17 designs in the it, but I did all of the research (3 bibliographic pages worth), created all of the book's artwork, shot all the photography, laid out and formatted the book, wrote the entire contents, tested the designs, and indexed the puppy all by myself. Me. No one else. That alone should have taken me far longer than it did (and I beat myself up because I was 2 months over my own self-imposed deadline).

While I was doing that (!), I also had 17 additional designs published in print magazines, e-zines, and a hard cover craft publication. There were many days I got little to no sleep, let me tell you.

I also have consistently blogged here at Voie de Vie the entire time - in fact, I've been creating content here (writing, photos and other artwork) since the end of 2010 (although we could say since the beginning of 2011 and call it good). I have also maintained a small but growing Voie de Vie online store, as well as maintain and continue to sell patterns via Ravelry and Craftsy.

I've also done some artwork for publication (even though it unfortunately made it to the editorial cutting floor), as well as written some articles for publication;  there's also been a painting or two in there (which I miss right now - I'm itching to do some more painting). And I won't even discuss the consistently-busier-than-normal day job.

Now I know that some of you might look at production as a sign of success (and I definitely had a great last 15 months, no doubt about it!), but there also comes a point when it starts to feel like production, and then that's no good. At least not for me. I'm in the process of recharging my creative batteries (and you'll definitely see more on that later this year).

So in closing, I hope dear Muses you will see how far I've come, and that there's a time to create behind the scenes, and a time to show all that creativity off. I don't want to challenge any of you or anything, because I know of Thamyris and know what you did to him. I value my eyesight far too much. I just thought a little friendly recap was, you know, in order.

One of your mortal artist followers down here -

Friday, April 10, 2015

How About a Little Art Diary ...

I affixed background paper and lined
diary paper to an 8 1/2" x 11"
canvas board.
... on this Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday? The subject is fiber-based, promise!

Hello everyone - and here we are, in the beginning of April. As I wrote here last September, I created some content for an e-zine that never made it to print (the content, not the e-zine!). Now that I have possession once again of the content, I thought I'd share it with everyone. It's timely as well, since the focus of the original art diaries (there are four of them) was one of the major LYS tours here in the Puget Sound (and if you look at the photos from my September blog entry, you'll see most of the fiber I picked up along the way, some of which I'm using now in various projects).

So, to get people primed for this year's 10th anniversary LYS tour, over the next four weeks I thought I'd not only share with you my four days' worth of art blogging from last year, but also a little sneaky peek at my particular art process on these pieces. I really had a great time creating all of this - I did a lot of the background prep work prior to the tour, but the writing and the finishing touches I did in real time, during and immediately after the blog tour. 

Here I've painted the outer edges with acrylic paint,
then used a dry brush dipped in iridescent bronze
powder to make it shimmer. Markers add highlight
and sponges dipped in acrylic act as stamps. As
you'll see on the left, I've also started to use some
ephemera from the LYS tour (the map). 

Here's the final art diary piece for day 1. Since I floated the diary text electronically
over my handwriting and then used my snipping tool to create a jpeg, the diary
entry is a little hard to read, so you can see the entry below. The tablet cover is
the project that went with this content and was published at

DAY 1:

Today is all about driving. I get a slightly later start than I plan (you know, the coffee and bagel run),  but I am thrilled to be on the road and heading to the northern-most stop on the tour – Blaine. Weather? Perfect. Music? Pharrell William’s Happy + the latest Nikki Yanofsky as I get closer to Canada and pick up a local British Columbia radio station. I score the main color for the tablet cover in the Blaine sunshine with views of the water right across the street – Berroco Comfort’s saturated color and silky feel win me over. In Bellingham (just south of Blaine), I snag some of the new Harrisville Designs’ Shetland in a gorgeous deep blue. Psst: it’s only being carried by 10 retailers; this is New England in a yarn hank. I fall for Frabjous Fibers’ Peace Silk, don’t take a lunch break till 4:00 pm, and end the day getting lost (my one and only time of the day) on the way to my 9th LYS. It stays open past 8:00 pm to accommodate my lame navigational skills, for which I’m super grateful. Get home more than 12 hours from the start of my day. Exhausted … but, you guessed it … happy.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It's a Bloggy Tour Announcement

Happy Fee-Fi(ber)-F.O. Friday, everyone! Where oh where did this week go? Where oh where can it be? It's lost and gone for certain, out there with the unmatched socks.

Nevertheless, I'm here to tell you that the Voie de Vie Spring Flingy Thingy is in its infancy here in my Ravelry group. People are starting to make their way to both the Frosted Espresso Cardigan test as well as the a-long for Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace. Do come and join us, won't you? We're having fun picking just the right yarns for our projects at the moment.

Speaking of the book, I'm thrilled to be able to announce the stops on its blog tour, which will take place between Monday, 5/4 and Sunday, 5/10 (Mother's Day). The wonderful participants include:

                  Monday, 5/4        Dream in Color
                  Tuesday, 5/5       Crochet Queen: Royal Ramblings
                  Wednesday, 5/6  January Yarns
                  Thursday, 5/7      Neighborhood Fiber Co.
                  Friday, 5/8           Wonder Why Alpaca Farm, LLC
                  Sunday, 5/10       Wooly Cakes and Wooden Spoons
                                          (Stefanie of Knitspiring Odyssey's brand spanking new home)

Remember that all the comments left each day will earn the author a chance at some yarny + book prizes in my give-away at the end of May, a chance at the grand prize package that includes a Scenic Seaplane Flight Tour donated by Kenmore Air (and of course you need to be in the greater Puget Sound for this prize, or get your awesome self here ... like ... pronto), and that's on top of those blog tour participants that give away a copy of Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace. I hope all the people will visit every tour stop and give each blog owner your time and attention. 

In the interim, I'm going to enjoy choosing more yarns for projects. I sooooooo need more time so I can make.all.the.things.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It's My Spring Flingy Thingy - No April Fooling!

Hello everyone - it's April!!!! March might come in like a lion, but April and May in these parts might just positively roar. 

Welcome to the Voie de Vie Spring Flingy Thingy - where the focus will be on Voie de Vie designs and awesome yarn, and where pretty much any activities might earn you an entry for wonderful yarny prizes and a chance for a grand prize when it's over that is just spectacular.

So let's get to the particulars, shall we? 

Spring Flingy Thingy dates: 4/1 - 5/31
Where: In my Ravelry group, here on my blog, on certain of my Pinterest boards, my Twitter feed, my book's Facebook page, and my Instagram account.
Why: To celebrate the publishing of my book Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace, all things Voie de Vie design, as well as the wonderful yarnies big and small who support my design efforts.
How: You'll earn one entry for one of four book + yarn prizes, and one grand prize (described in just a minute) if you do any and/or all of the following: 

(1) like my book's Facebook page
(2) follow me on Pinterest or Instagram
(3) join my Ravelry group
(4) participate in Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace's a-long in my Ravelry group and post a photo of a completed project by the end of May
(5) leave a comment on any of the blog sites that will be participating in the Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace blog tour 5/4 - 5/10 (and more on the tour on this Friday's blog post)
(6) join one or both public tests in my Ravelry group during April and May and complete the test
(7) purchase any Voie de Vie single pattern or pattern e-book anywhere I sell (Ravelry, Craftsy, Big Cartel) during the months of April and May
(8) repin any image that contains either one of my designs AND/OR one of the yarns used in Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace from my Pinterest Voie de Vie designs boardVoie de Vie Designs Out There in the Crafty Wild board or Fiber Fanatic board

There are eight awesome ways to get in on the prize-a-thon that will occur at the end of May. From all of the entries generated above, I will be giving away 4 Leather, Lace, Grit & Grace book + yarn prizes, and one grand prize that includes the book, a yarn package from Cascade Yarns complete with project bag and enough yarn to make a Cochran Puffy V Shoulder Warmer and a Seattle Scenic Flight Tour for 2 from Kenmore Air! (Of course, if you're not already in the Puget Sound, you'll have to get yourself here on your own, like, ok?!)

There will also be separate yarn prizes for those who complete a project in the book's a-long, and there will be more information in my Ravelry group on that.

All in all, it's going to be one heck of fun spring here at Voie de Vie!