Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a lovely holiday, mine was low key and wonderful. I am so thankful for so many things.

It has been months since I have posted anything to my blog. I have had many reasons and with the holidays passing I felt a need to give an update and get my rear in gear with my posts. My lack of presence has not been due to a lack of creating, quite the contrary, I have been in creative overload for the last five months. After moving down from Hume, CA to my home town of San Diego, my family and I began the arduous task of opening a second coffee shop location. Our second Kaffee Meister location has been open for two and a half months. It has been a very rich and rewarding experience, it has also been one of the most exhausting periods of my life.

On top of starting a new business I have been making a new life, yup, pregnant. I am 30 weeks pregnant with my fourth child. This is probably the main reason for my exhaustion lately. All this to say I have had a lot on my plate lately. Busyness and exhaustion aside I am making it a point to get back to posting regularly. So this post will be a mix of some of the things I have been working on.

Fern Terrariums

I took my terrarium obsession to a new level this year. Ferns used to surround me in my mountain home and now I have found a way to add the green in my life inside my home. I used living moss from Home Depot and kept the ferns potted in the case where they were in a non watertight container.

I also planted some ferns in apothecary jars. I kept the lids off and planted the ferns directly into the glass containers. I then covered the soil around the ferns with some moss. I water them every other day or whenever the soil feels dry. They are doing great so far.

I also have been curating/designing some fun merchandise for the coffee shop. I have found lots of unique items and will be sharing them in posts to come. Here is a couple of images of some greeting cards I found. They were created by Tamara Hirn an artist based out of Australia. I have many of her designs available in the shop, here are a few examples of her holiday cards. You can find the rest of her work here.

Joy Greeting Card: $6.00


Merry Christmas Card: $6.00

I have been doing more graphic design with all the promo for the coffee shop. I designed my first coffee mug it was a very exciting endevour. If you would like to purchase one just shoot me an email, all prices exclude shipping charges. The front is simple and names the coffee shop and its location. The back has the quote “If all else fails there’s always coffee” which I have to admit is my personal mantra. The mug costs $6.00 not counting shipping, if you love them and live close to either of our Kaffee Meister locations come by and pick one up!

 

About a month ago I recieved an email from a woman who works with the organization I. N. Network International Needs USA. She told me that she had recently used my beginning knitting pattern “Its a Cinch Head Wrap” to teach some women in Kenya how to knit. I was so excited to hear more so I wrote her back asking for details and another woman from I. N. Network sent me the whole story. I was so moved by the email and photos she sent me that I thought I would share. It is so overwhelming to have something I created used to help women in need. Thank you, Terry, for sending me your story.

 

“Hi Elisa,

I am the I.N. Network employee who took the team to Kenya in June. Knitting is a new passion of mine and I thought it was so very funny when the leadership in Kenya asked if we could bring some new ideas for ‘woolen products’ to teach to the ladies who meet to do crafts. These women are called ‘women of Grace’ and meet once a week to create small items (knitting, crocheting, soap making,etc) to sell as a means of support for their families. Their stories are varied but I heard them referred to has the HIV/AIDS women and as widows. Many are former commercial sex workers who have been trapped in the horror of the worst sort of poverty. All were mothers and wanted the hope of a different life. “
“I did a tiny bit of requesting for help and received more yarn, needles and ideas than I could possibly imagine.”
“All of a sudden my house in Wisconsin was filled with knitting supplies from Michigan, Seattle Washington and beyond as women wanted to participate in the collecting of blessing. I made copies of your pattern for the ladies in Kenya, packed up and got on the plane for Nairobi. “
“I hoped to begin with knitting on day #2 as we had also brought some sewing/craft kits that the volunteers at Living Threads ministry.

had put together for us to use. BUT, No! New yarn was the excitement of the day for these 25 members of the Women of Grace. They gathered in a tent set up on the grounds and began to tackle the headband pattern immediately. There was not a lot of English spoken, so your pictures were perfect for explaining how to sew them together and also how to make the ‘cinch’ pattern. As Margit shared, there was one very frail woman who was struggling with the concept of knitting. I could tell that she was not getting along very quickly and needed extra help. I was concerned that Ann would be discouraged. When I went around the circle to help her again, I asked if she was understanding any of it. The smile back at me was stunning. She told me in perfect English, “I am so happy!”
“A bit of yarn, a pair of needles, a clean tent with friends. Even a break for morning tea time.

Yes, Ann, I am so happy too. To have met you, to have seen your joy, to have caught a glimpse of God’s grace in sending some practical love across the globe to a dear beloved woman of Grace. “
Wow! I feel so fortunate, to have had an unknowing impact (in a small way) on a few women’s lives. I am thankful that Terry included me by sharing the impact her non-profit had and the part I was able to play. If you want to have a stab at the pattern yourself I have included a link below. I am happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the pattern but as it includes video tutorials you probably will have a lot of luck with a couple of needles, some yarn, and a good movie. Enjoy!

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

J. R. R. Tolkien

{RAVELRY}      $5.00       {ETSY}

Created for the bohemian traveler this head wrap is versatile and easy to make. Due to the small size of this project you can knit it on a train or double-decker bus. You can keep the finished head wrap in your purse for the surprise storm or cold spell. It is reversible just in case you aren’t in the mood for the pattern, just turn it inside out for a fresh look.

For this design I used Merino Silk Worsted by Skein Yarns.

My sister was kind enough to model for this pattern. She is finally back for a short stay and then she will be off again on her world travels. If you want to know a little more about her you can check out her travel blog.
I had so much fun capturing these photos. Though it made me long for a chance to travel again. I shot these on a 28mm lens in the harsh yet natural light of the late afternoon. I am hoping to get several more photography sessions in with my lovely model before she leaves.

 

Photography: Elisa McLaughlin

Model: Natalie Emmons

I have been waiting to do this post until I was ready to release my newest pattern. My most recent pattern like many others was knit up using Skein Yarns. I knit this head wrap up in her Marino Silk Worsted weight yarn.

Colorways from Top Down  1. Inkstone  2. Pastel Sky  3. Wild Apple

I also knit this head wrap up in Spartan Merino Worsted which Skein does not offer for sale any more but is very similar (slightly heavier gauge) to Malabrigo Merino Worsted. I used this head wrap in my pattern photos because it best fit the look of the photo shoot.

I asked Kristin (the fiber artist who started Skein) if she would be willing to do a short interview. She has been such an inspiration to me through her brilliant color ways I thought it would be fun to know just a little bit more about where her inspiration comes from. She also was kind enough to send me a few pictures.

Q: How did you get started in dying yarns?

Skein: It began as a fun thing to try with some Kool Aid, then I started buying a few professional fiber dyes to experiment with and before I knew it, dying yarn became a full blown hobby and now it’s my full time job.  So it really began as a curiosity and I loved it, so I never stopped.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your colourways?

Skein: Everywhere!

Q: What would you say is the most rewarding part of what you do?

 Skein: Being a part of the fiber/knitting community.  It’s wonderful how many people I’ve met from all over the world, everyone is really supportive and there are so many creative people, I find it very inspiring!

Q: How does your experience as a knitter effect what you create?

Skein: I would say quite a bit.  When I first started dying yarn I wanted my variegated yarns to knit up into a fabric with ‘dappled’ colours and minimal pooling so I came up with a way to apply the dyes to get this effect.  I’ve never really thought about it until now but I guess when I’m creating new colourways, I like to think how the colours will knit up and then decide how to apply the dyes.

Here are  a few more photos that are all from Skein Yarns website. 

The last of the photos is a of a beautiful pattern Botanical Garden Shawl by Kristen that is available for sale in the Skein Yarns Shop for $5.00. I love it!

Still putting the finishing touches on the “Smock it to Me” Head Wrap, it should be live tonight. Don’t forget to check your inbox for the pattern release email (going out tomorrow morning) which will include a coupon that is good for any or all of my patterns.

Recently I was contacted by the primary writer for dearestnature.com and was asked to do a feature post all about my creative space. I was honored and so enjoyed the process of cataloguing things in my environment that inspire me. If you would like to see the full interview simply click on the photo below. I have included a couple of photos from the post for your perusal. Be sure to pop on over to dearestnature.com and check it out. I love everything about it especially the photography. Breathtaking!

 

Coming the end of this week “Smock it to Me” head wrap. Much to my chagrin this pattern is being released long after it should have been. For those who have been waiting…my apologies! My life has been a whirlwind of chaos for the last four months. We are a couple of weeks out from opening the second location of our coffee shop. If you want to keep track of the work I have been doing on the decor of the coffee shop you can check out our tumblr account HERE. So much work to be done.

My sister is in town for a short time so we have been having fun. I was so pleased to be able to have her model this design instead of having to model it myself.

I started collecting tea cups a year or two back. I have had wonderful luck finding tea cups at thrift stores and antique shops. The one thing that is really good to watch for is that the tea cups and saucers do not have cracks. Check that if they have a backstamp that both the cup and the saucer have matching stamps. A lot of times saucers and cups get miss matched and this takes away from the value if you have a miss-matched set. Here are some examples of backstamps. They are found on the under side of a tea cup and saucer. Often you can date and price your cup and saucer based off of the backstamp. Here are a couple of pictures of backstamps.

 

I love my tea cups and I really love taking photos of them. I love them so much I decided to stack them up and take pictures of them. This is just one of the weird ideas I have come up with while trying to find fun things to photograph. It was quite a task stacking all these tea cups. I am very thankful they didn’t fall over.

This is one of my favorite tea cup and saucer sets. It is Paragon Bone China. I haven’t figured out what the pattern is but I love the color and pattern.

This is another one that I love. It is Royal Tuscan Bone China.

Ok so after seeing these at the wedding I went to recently. I had to make my own!!!

I used vintage sheets for the fabric also a few yards of some fabric I picked up at Joann’s Fabrics.

I cut a small incision and ripped two inch segments of the fabric. Then I used jute rope and tied the strips of fabric to the rope. The sheets I used to make curtains for my room. The length was essential. If you are doing a long banner without using sheets be sure to purchase the length you want. If you want them to be two yards long purchase two and a half yards of each fabric pattern you want to use.

I also made a shorter banner to drape across my headboard. My headboard is a room divider made in India. It is so beautiful but a lot taller than normal headboards. I like how the fabric banner broke it up a bit.

For this banner I left the strips 12-16 inches long and tied them so each side is even. I mixed patterns and solids.

This process was very easy. If you need a little extra help you can always checkout this DIY also.

I had the enormous pleasure and honor of being in the wedding of two close friends this weekend. It was such an overwhelmingly beautiful ceremony. It was filled with so many personal touches. Not only did Karley (the groom) and Lauri (the bride) build a house but they also planned a wedding (with the help of their wonderful family).

Both Karley and Lauri are so creative. The result was a wedding that left me inspired. I took some photos of the reception decorations and some of the bridesmaids and flowers. Enjoy the inspiration!

I was in the wedding and helped with flowers and decorations so I didn’t get to take as many photos as I usually would at a wedding. The reception and ceremony both took place at the spectacular Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, California.

They made several fabric banners that were used to decorate parts of the barn. I loved the one they had behind the bridal table.

There were so many unique personal touches. I think that may be one of my favorite parts of going to a wedding. Seeing what is unique to the bride and groom.

The place settings were camping dinnerware that guests got to take home with them.

I put some feathers in a couple of the bridesmaids hair. Here is one of my favorites. She braided it in with her hair and it looked amazing! If you want to know how to do feather extensions check out my DIY. It is so easy and inexpensive.

 

I put some extensions in my own hair also. It was fun to get them in again.

Here is a great shop to get extensions from if you are looking to purchase some.

http://www.moonlightfeather.com/

 

The bouquets were amazing. And the best part is several parts of them were salvageable.

I dried the billy buttons (on the right) and I planted the succulents. Here is how just in case you ever want to reuse a bouquet like this.

I cut the floral tape off the succulent and planted it in a little pot of dirt. It is thriving!


After I finished I put an extra rose from my garden in the bouquet and let my daughter reenact the wedding.

Here are some of the lovely bridesmaids from the wedding.

Here is a photo taken on my iPhone of me and the sisters of the groom. We went for the serious Norwegian look.

I have been waiting to do this post for a while. Handmade dreamcatchers made with vintage doilies. I saw something similar to this on freepeople.com only they cost upwards of $100.00. I am always inspired to create when the alternative is spending lots of money.

So here we go! First there are a few materials you will need to complete this project.

1. Feathers – I found the most amazing feathers at moonlight feathers.com Here are the links to the feathers I used for this project. I also recommend them for hair extension feathers.

Large Reeves Pheasant Feathers

Small Reeves Pheasant Feathers

Macaw Feathers

2. Vintage Doily – the one pictured is actually a new, purchased from JoAnn’s fabrics. The other doily I used was purchased from an antique shop.

3. Sticks – ok so this part is a little tricky, I found pliable sticks and I tied them in a circle so they would dry that way. You can use anything that is strong enough to hold its shape but pliable enough to shape into a circle.

4. lace and ribbon anything you want to use to hang from the sides of the dream catcher.

5. Hemp String – I used this to secure the doily. It works great because it is stiff and you can thread it though the edges of the doily without having to use a needle and thread or crochet hook.

6. Wooden Beads – These and anything else you want to hang from the edge of the dreamcatcher.

7. Yarn – (not pictured) I used remnants from knitting projects. The blue was sock weight and the yellow was DK weight.

8. Glue – (also not pictured) You can use whatever kind of glue you want to attach the feathers to the twine and lace.

Excuse the quality of the photos for the directions. I took them with my iPhone on my way to a wedding. The first thing to do is cover the sticks or secure them together. I tightly wound yarn around them until they were completely covered. If you like the natural look of the raw branches you can wind more loosely.

Once you have completely wound the sticks in yarn tie in the end and you can move on to the next step.

Place the vintage doily in the center of your ring. You can start wherever you want with the hemp string. Wind the hemp string around the outside and every time you wrap through the ring put it through the edge of the doily.

Once you finish tie off the hemp string. Next tie strands onto either side of the dream catcher. I tied lace and jute and hemp string all together on the either side. Also tie a twelve inch stand to the top of the dream catcher. The twelve inch strand will become the loop you hang your dream catcher from.

Tie beads to the bottom of the lace and twine and attach feathers. You can use glue to attach the buttons and feathers.

Here is the finished product. They will hang in my room somewhere, I just have to figure out where.

 

Hang them up and enjoy!

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