Wednesday, September 30, 2009

World Wide Etsy

One of the things I find so amazing about Etsy is the universality of it. It is amazing to me to think about people all over the world connected through this thing we call the web, and yet we are so disconnected in other ways. I was just looking over my Google analytics this morning and thought I would give you a synopsis of the facts there...
  • My shop has been visited in 63 different languages - not surprisingly the top are English, French German and Italian... Finnish was number 19.
  • People from 83 different countries (the shaded area in the map) have visited jill2day - again, the top five are not surprising, US, Canada, UK, Australia and Italy
  • Lebanon leads the way for number of pages per view at 10 (followed by Serbia and Greece)
  • Oman leads the pack for time spent in the shop at 19 minutes (maybe someone just forgot to leave!) followed by the Czech Republic, Lebanon, and Chili
  • New visitors are from the Dominican Republic, Jersey, Jordan, Bahrain, Swaziland and Guatemala
  • So far I have mailed items to a couple of places in the UK, Greece and Spain, we will see who is next!
I find this very hopeful. The more we all communicate, on even this very minute and mundane level, maybe we will start to seeing each other as individuals, who shop, and eat, and relax, and surf, and have families, and not just as other 'foreign' countries alien to us.

Chck out this video I just received about this same thing: Social Media

Have a good day today - wherever and whoever you are...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Repeat, threepeats; Loyalty and trust

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but I choose to differ. I think repeat customers are. I am thrilled to find out that any customer got everthing they expected when they purchased an item, but I am especially happy when they liked it so much they come back for more!

If only they knew how that pushes me to try to come up with new and different style, color combos, and also to make sure everything that goes out the door is going to be a great experience when they open the package. New customers are always welcome, but special thanks to those for whom loyalty and satisfaction has brought them back again (and sometimes, again...)

Lots of new things!

Several new sweaters and three new scarves just went up on Talk about hitting both ends of the spectrum... three of the sweaters are inspired by the colors of the Hot spots of the world; SanDiego, Hawaii and the Carib', and one of the scarves is inspired by the coldest place in WI - the home of the ice bowl: Lambeau! There is also this one, for Chicago!

My friend has just been doing a great job of modeling for me. I particularly love the fun we had with the scarves (this is the Lambeau)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Photos done, son home, Saturday morning

Good morning world. Managed to get some great photos yesterday - even with the cloudy weather here is one showing my friend just having fun twirling in one of my coats (they just make you want to do that!!). She showed up with two bags of sweaters that she and another friend had found at a thrift store. So nice to have "elves" and friends.

My son is home from college for the weekend. I can tell because there were voices in the living room until 4:00AM and empty pizza boxes on the table this morning. It is great to have him here, although I will probably see little of him.

Need to work hard today. I have scheduled showcases for the next couple days, so I want to make sure that the store has great items in it for everyone to see. I think I need some color... maybe pures and teals.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ramblings from a lazy day...

It is rainy and a bit dark today. My friend is coming over for photos, so hopefully it will get brighter. I just finished a new sweatercoat. I think I have to name it PumpkinPie2day - it is soft oranges, tans and cream, with just a dash of nutmeg sprinkled in. It should be posted by tomorrow

I have gotten some wonderful feedback from my customers lately. I just heard from another of my custom item purchasers... she had me make a cape for her. It turned out to be really fun to work on and (if she doesn't mind) I may have to make some more... here is a picture of hers.

Next, I had several heavy 100% wool sweaters that I was accumulating, so I finally got them all put together into one cardi and posted it last night.... it was sold by this morning! It will be going to live in a coastal city of Canada wher I am sure it will serve its owner very well this fall and winter. Much of the wool came from Irish wool sweaters, so it should be like going home for them! Here is a close-up of all its supreme wooliness! To see the rest of it you can go to WoolyBooly2day.

I have so many ideas rolling around waiting to happen... need more Halloween cuffs SOON, Have a pile of white and offwhites - think I may try a "Wedding2day" sweater coat for the fall/winter bride... maybe capes, and plenty of more sweaters and scarves... so what am I doing sitting around here talking to you? Off I go...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Its a blue day....

Sent off this custom sweater yesterday - love the style and the colors - more importantly so does the customer and her daughter....

Then I uploaded a new sweater coat... also in blue..Blueberries 2day .

Then to top it off I added a couple of scarves...Pnutbutter and Jelly and Blueberry

I know you are there! Even if your not here!

It seems that Blogger is having tech probs and Followers are not showing up. This has been reportedd, and is a global issue not just my site!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New stuff on its way!

Yesterday was a good day in the studio. Finished one custom project and finished a couple for the shop. Now I just need the sun to come out so I can take new pictures! Until then, here are quick snaps I took yesterday of one of the items - the items will be posted today or tomorrow...

The custom project was a cape that was requested. I really like the way it turned out, and will post it after the customer has received it. Might be the start of a new style to offer!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Etsy Humor

Recently The Etsy Forum had a post asking for people to tell an amusing thing they have learned from their craft - they received 83+ pages of replies! Thought I would save you the trouble of all those hundreds of replies, so I culled out a few of my favorites...Enjoy.
  • Never apply chapstick before sanding
  • I have learned that if you are not very calm and careful when mixing your dye powders, that it is very easy for some of it to get dispersed into the air. You don't realize till later when you sneeze turquoise or fuschia...
  • Never set your refreshment glass next to your brush cleaning bucket when you are in the heat of painting... you either ruin a perfectly good drink or drink a perfectly awful toxic sludge.
  • If your hair and the plastic clip in it catches on fire do not use the palms of your hands to put the fire out!
  • People will always lift up a doll's dress to see what she's wearing underneath.
  • Do not apply gold leaf when you have a cold...
  • If it ain't broken don't fix it. If it is broken, don't fix it (there are professionals for that sort of thing).
  • Cats, dogs, and unfinished afghans should not be left alone for even 5 minutes.
  • It's fun to bang metal REALLY hard with a hammer!
  • The scissors are where you left them... but where?
  • To respect the apostrophe...a bottle of sewers aid is very different than a bottle of sewer's aid. someone should have told the manufacturers.
  • Don't sit on that comfy couch when you know you have lost that crochet hook
  • I have learned that it takes 7 minutes to get to the ER, and that the ER uses super glue, of which I have a cheaper supply of at home
  • When your spouse bites down on a bead in his food, put away all beads for at least two weeks.
  • Never scratch an itchy nose without first putting your needle nose pliers down.
  • A drill bit that will go through granite or marble will also go through a thin plastic tub and a dining room floor.

Friday, September 18, 2009

10% off all cuffs

Just for you blog readers, a special deal. If you order any of my cuffs Saturday 9/20/09, you can get 10% credit back on your Paypal. Just purchase the cuffs through Paypal, write "blog special - 10%" in the notes from buyer, and I will post a refund to you. Hey - what the heck - go for it!

Comfort and Fit

I have received many nice words of thanks and feedback on site, but today had to be the tops. In an email separate from her formal feedback a customer wrote:

"I left you some good feedback, but words cannot express how happy I am with that sweater! Putting it on was like the moment where Prince Charming places the glass slipper onto Cinderella's foot. Nothing off the rack has fit me so perfectly!"

That is just the best for me. I really want my garments to feel so incredibly comfortable and useable. That is why I prewash everything - so the garment will be soft and "broken in" already. It is why I choose styles that swing, or twirl or wrap in comforting ways. And it is why I try for garments that will spans sizes, and look good no matter how loose or tight you want to wear them, or how many layers you want (or don't want) under them. Glad to hear it is working!

Cuffs Galore!

Today I am in the Accessory Showcase. To support that I have added several new cuffs to the shop, and willbe adding more through out the day. Here are two examples - a subdued one, Steely Cuffs and a fun one, Circus Cuffs!

Hopefully I have included something for everyone.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I have just been notified that I will be one of the 60 Artisans to show in Craftacular Nov 28th of this year!
This is a show of local (Madison, Wisconsin) contemporary crafters. I am very excited to be part of this group and I love the fact it is held on the "shopping mall weekend" as an alternative for indy shoppers! This will be my debut to the Craft fair marketplace, and it will be so nice to be able to talk to my customers face to face!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Restocked and Ready to go!

Well after my exciting Etsy Promo weekend, I am now restocked and ready to create again!  I have several custom orders that should be fun... A birthday present, a college football fan's team colors, and a present for Mom among them.
My scarves seemed to go over well, so I will be making more of those - maybe matching sets with mittens or cuffs. I have been thinking about purses - especially since getting my jjill catlog and seeing a sweater hobo bag they are offering. BUT mostly I just want to make more coats! They are so much fun to make and the possibilities are endless.
Along with the many plain colors, I found some really interesting patterned sweaters that will be interesting to use within upcoming sweaters/coats; here is a peek at some of those!
There seem to be some very adventutous women out there, so I think they will be well received!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fiber and web

Several years ago I stumbled into the world of Fiber Art. I had been involved with "the arts" and graphic design most of my life, but I was not previously aware of this community. What I found was a world of very talented artists - yes mostly women - dedicated to both aesthetics and technique and very aware of the long heritage of "women's arts" from which today's art quilts, needlework, altered clothing, basketry, and other fiber expressions find their roots. This history was acknowledged personally buy the makers, even though the media, academics and gallery owners still discounted these forms as (uh-hum) craft (with a lower c) not Art.

What I also found was camaraderie and a support group like no other. Perhaps I should have know of its existence, because as a child I had witnessed my mother's long standing 'sewing club' gather at our house. Even then I sensed this was about much more than sewing (and dessert). Fiber artists (and other "crafters")use their hands for expression, expect few accolades, share advice rather than guard secret techniques, and for the most part, worry far more about being creative than being competitive.

Now I have stumbled into this blog, facebook, e-commerce community. The rap is that this is a faceless community that lacks the personal contact of the real world. I have not found that to be true. Whether it is finding 'lost' acquaintances on facebook, making new ones in Etsy forums or as Etsy customers, or bumping into fellow bloggers, the communications have been wonderful and widespread.

The responses I have received regarding my post about Dorothy have been amazing and comforting. Many from people who know/knew niether her or me, but nonetheless left such heartfelt words. I thank all of you... now go hug your mothers, mothers hug your kids, and go create art and craft - or support art and craft.!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Good bye Dorothy.

My mother-in-law passed away today. She was 92 so it was neither unexpected or completely unwelcome by her. For the last seven years of her life she lived with us. She and I were about as different as two people could be. I often thought this was why we never had a problem with each other. We were so different that there were few commonalities to disagree about! But I do believe we had mutual admiration and respect.

Dorothy was the consumate homemaker. She made they best pie crusts ever produced on the face of the earth. Cleaning was not a chore, it was a source of pride and a constant force in her life. Even if she were not a product of the depression, she would have taken care to make sure everything she owned lasted as long as they were still useful - and in some cases longer!

She worked for many years as a clerk in the linens and bedding department of H.C. Prange in Appleton WI. There are many CEOs who could take lessons from her on how to take pride in what you do for a living. Her customers were her friends and her friends were her customers. She turned down offers to be "promoted" because she was already doing what gave her total joy and satifaction. Well into her 80s she would still extoll the virtues of one sheet manufacturer over another!

Her husband died when she was in her 50s and from this point on she was forced to be far more independent than she probably planned for or was comfortable with, but she found her way admirably. Her way was to establish a zone of comfort through routine and constants - whether that was friends, food, or functions. High School classmates remained friends, neighbors were her neighbors for decades, and the bridge club commarderie lasted well beyond the games.

My children, her grandchildren, were her joy. To this day I am sure she believes that Brian will someday be president. Her days with us became brighter when she heard Lanny come through the door after school and she so enjoyed his presence during her life with us. She spent hours watching all of her pictures of the kids and grandkids in the digital frame on her table.

She is one of the millions of people on this earth who live and die without making waves or marks, but she did make impressions. Dorothy your impression will long be on our heart. You will be remembered and loved. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

More Quilt Awards!

I just was notified that the art quilt I had in the Fine Fiber and Folk Art Show (in illinois) won one of their three awards. I am very honored by this, because this is a show of all types of fiber works (baskets, weaving, felting, rugs, etc etc) not only quilts.
The quilt I showed was "Reclaimation". It is a collage quilt using many techniques. It is based on photos that I took after a house burned down. It incorporates digitally manipulated photos (printed onto fabric) found objetcs from the site, traditional quilting techniques, and machine embroidery.
This is one of my favorite art pieces I have made. I like how it uses the eye of the artist to find beauty even in destruction; it pushes the limits of quilting and truly integrates several expressions of art - photo, quilt, collage,...
Thank you Northwest Area Arts Council for the recognition and appreciation!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Check out my quilt work

The Whistler House Museum of art recently had their "quiltscapes" show. My quilt "Chris' barn" won the Whistler award. Thanks folks!  This was great recognition. I did the quilt "plein air' - in the style of the impressionists - on site at my friend's farm. ( that is why if you look close you can probably find both seeds and mosquito carcasses!). I put down all the fabrics, and then later (in the studio) added the stitching.
I love doing this, and have another one from this sumer under way. There is nothing better than looking at the actual scene when you are creating a landscape. it reflects the atmosphere and mood - not just the objects! ( just ask onet about haystacks!)

Sooner or later I will get some of my quilts added for sale on time, need time!!!

OMG - unbelievable!!!

Etsy's listing of my shop has caused a wonderful whirl wind of activity on my site! A number of sales and custom inquiries. THANK YOU ETSY... and thank you to all the interested customers. The cockles of my heart are warm and i am so creatively juiced right now!

The Power of Etsy promo

I am featured in one of Etsy's articles today. The item they highlighted sold immediately, but hopefully it will bring many more people to the shop to view other items!

I woke to a whole batch of convos (that is Etsy speak for emails) today. One from an international customer, one from a fellow etsian who was Facebooking a link to my site, a couple of purchases and some various other inquiries - what fun!! It is so great to be able to have customers waiting for me at my shop in the AM. Just glad they can't see me in my robe and uncombed hair!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I have been amazed at all of the nations represented when I look at my google analytics. Then this past week I had my first international order - England. Now it is the Etsy World Wide Shipping Promo weekend.

From now until to Midnight Sunday (EST) No shipping charges! This can be a huge discount for my sweaters. So I hope those who have been discouraged by shipping cost before will take this opportunity to try my items!

Aussies - this means that you can have new sweaters for the spring time evenings; Brits - get those fashionable cuffs with no additional shipping charges; Timbucktoo what have I got for you?? We'll see how this goes!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fun Research!

Recently a customer asked if I could do a garment that would reflect the Mexican cultural influences. Coming from this land of Svens, Trolls and Lutefisk, doing something based on Scandinavia would have been easy!
So I have started researching Mexican traditional garments. Some great information and inspiration!

First there is the Huipil. This is a traditional garment top that is somewhere between a poncho and a blouse. The structure is simple, but the decoration is what makes it. The intricate work at the neck and shoulders really gives the garment a structure that it would otherwise lack. I think it might be great for a sweater type garment - heavier knits around the top with softer drapey knits on the bottom...
The other garment is the Quechquemitl, or as we all know it the poncho. But, again, it is the vibrant designs that really make this garment. some are small and just shoulder covers, and others are large. Very versitile and efficient to produce on the loom.

Anyway, it has been fun to research this - who knows where it will lead, stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Section coming in Shop!

Decided that I needed to make some scarves out of some of these wonderful fabrics, so here they come! I will be posting some basic designs today, and working on some additional more unique designs. Here is just an idea of what is to come... this is my Chili Scarf.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Welcome to fall in WI

My dog, Gina, and I walk on the bike trail that runs 20 miles both east and west from our home. Today it was truly fall.
This picture shows the beginnings of the color, but what it can't show is the way the smell has changed from sweet-moist to savory-crisp, how the sun light bathes everything in yellow not white, how the bird sounds have changed from songs and trills to chirps and taps (woodpeckers), and the sight of the squirrels and chipmunks carrying nuts as big as their heads! Makes my mood change from outdoor-active and nomad to indoor-nesting and rooted.
Just thought I would let the rest of you in on a little "up nort'" fall ambiance. BUT lest this get too schmaltzy... I am also stuffed up from the pollen and goldenrod and Gina is covered in burrs!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shades of things to come

SCORE! Big sale at Goodwill today, here is my "pile of potential". I really had to chuckle, because as I was checking out, the young woman (who has check me out many times before) looked at me and said "boy, you really like sweaters, huh?!"

Yes I do... North Crest, Hilfiger, LandsEnd, Claiborne, Talbots, Jantzen, etc. etc... just bring 'em on and I will transform them into jill2day tidbits! Stay tuned for the results.

Espresso, Mocha, and Lattes

Now the influence is dark rich Coffee (and maybe a little licorice and chocolate)! mmmm, just the comfort of fall warmth. Here are snippets of my newest three listings. I was so inspired by the herring bone black and tan and the graphic black and white sweaters that I found recently, that I had to make a coat, sweater and cropped sweater all from the combo of those and other sweaters I found.

I love the combo of black and brown! check them out:
Espresso2day, Latte2day, Mocha2day

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Colors of the season

I guess as I was being influenced more than I thought about the colors of the season. Here are my three latest sweaters and photos of the fall colors that are surrounding us in Wisconsin right now. I love these colors; they are both the most subtle of shades as well as the most vibrant. Then, on top of that, they get bathed in the low golden sun of September and October.
Just fantastic.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It is fall!

Today in the studio, I really felt the fall.
Here is a snippet of a posting that will happen tomorrow. This item has all the best of fall - the colors, the wool, the leaves, the warmth. I love it! Even the name is where to go for the fall - Bershires2day!

Also coming is Persimmon2day... a great pullover swing style sweater with colors to span the seasons - warm peaches surrounded by browns.

Finally a special sweater design specifically for the plus size woman, Meadow2day. It has a wonderful neck line, and a shape to set off the curves. It also has an adjustable tabs to give the sweater the freedom to swing or the structure to hug - whicever you choose.

These will all be available by tomorrow evening.