Saturday, March 31, 2012

Summertime Blues - and pinks, greens and yellows!

Summer is on its way, but that doesn't mean the sweaters have to be packed away!

I have just listed several new  sweaters into my jill2day shop. There are long ones, short ones, cardigans, and pullovers... and are all just lovely colors (today and tomorrow I will be adding more wrap style sweaters too!!)

Some of these sweaters would be great alternatives to a sweater shirt for those casual outings (see this one shown on the left). Others would be great alternative for a jacket.This black and blue long cardigan, shown on the right,  is especially wonderful for this, it is longer and would be so great to grab and go through out the summer.

I have also listed a little shrug type cardi.Note the sparkley decorative button at the collar (it hides the snap closure). Then I added some cotton knit cabled wonderfulness... one coat and one pullover! These three are so soft and the colors are just right to pair with your summer linens and cottons! They are all shown below.

Don't be afraid of sweaters for the summer. Face it, most of our time is in air conditioned offices, stores, homes, and cars... and many times those are cooler in the summer than they are in the winter! These non-wool garments are perfect for both office or casual use paired with your Capris or skirts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My very own sculpture gallery

Back to my woods again!! As I walk through the woods, I sometimes realize the futility of being an artist. It has all been done; it is all around us. While the drive is to recreate it, the need is just to see what is there. I do love art museums, but sometimes I think they are our visual "second hand stores"!

The real trick is in recognizing the beauty around us - everywhere; not having it served up to us in a silver frame! (NOTE: this is said with all due respect, awe, and love for the creations of my many artist friends... you show us what your eyes see, and I thank you for that.)

Sculptors work so hard, with every material, to create interesting forms. Nature does it everyday. She is just far more patient. Letting the wind and water and temperature do its work over seasons and years. But the line, repetition, texture, movement, balance and every other principle of art that we artist strive for, are right there in the tree stump or rock. I am so happy that during the day, I can go visit my Blue Mounds Wood 'sculpture gallery' whenever I want a little break from creating for jill2day, or just need inspiration.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Birds, real and Etsy!

If you have been around my Facebook or blog, you are probably aware of how much I like our birds. we are so lucky to have a great variety that stop by and eat at Jon's Diner!

I have really enjoyed seeing bird art by the artists on Etsy.

Here are three of my favorite Etsy bird artists:

Dean Crouser
The first is DeanCrouserArt Dean is an Oregon state artist.

This chickadee is wonderful, but his shop is just full of critters of all sizes each done with these wonderful splashes of color. Watercolor is one medium that I have never been able to master, so I have true respect for the technique used here as well as the aesthetics. Check out his shop and his animals.

Wire Animals
The second is wire animals, a Seattle Washington artist.I love this bird! Again, I am astounded by the technique as well as the fun beauty of these wired critters! If you would like to see a video of Nakisha making one of his birds watch here.

Ballet Art
And the third artist is Ballet Art an artist from Montebello, California

You have got to go check out all of his art. The dancers are fantastic, and everyone of his drawings just captures the essence of his subject.

I found this cardinal to be absolutely charming; even this cardinal from my porch loves it!

Yellow large/extra large sweater

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tall friends

As many of you know by now, I am lucky enough to have a woods in my Blue Mounds, WI backyard. Mostly it is ignored by humankind, especially in summer when it is well protected by poison ivy, nettles, barbs of every kind, and ticks are omnipresent, but in spring I can go visit. I like it best then anyway. Free from the frills of foliage, the trees can reach with abandon! I went wandering recently and rested by a few of my favorite tree friends. I love the textures of the bark, the fuzzy green of the moss, and the polished smoothness of the now bark-less old timer.

During the day I can watch them standing guard out my studio window. At night, when our bedroom windows are open, I can here them talk. The soft squeaks as the winds sways them against each other. The occasional crack or creak as an old limb gives way. The general rustle.

I think I wouldn't mind being a tree. It would be a long and lazy life of welcoming others to nestle within your arms. You would provide shade and protection, and food for future generations. All the while feeling the sun's rays, the rain's moisture and the earth's security around your roots. And after many years, if you are lucky, you disintegrate, first into a beautiful sculptural form, then into the ground.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tagline; What does it mean

When I redid my jill2day shop recently, I also changed my tagline to:
...always one-of-a-kind...always eco-friendly...always snuggley perfect

So what does this mean?

One-of -a-Kind
click here for this listing
You will never see your garment duplicated. No patterns are used, it is sculpted individually on a dress form, with unique materials. I find some pretty wonderful fabrics in my supply searches, but usually only once. So the size of a sweater or the unique attributes of it will often determine the final size or style of the garment I make... never to be seen again!

The fabrics used in this garment were sourced at charity-based resale shops. All were chosen for their uniqueness and quality, all were given new life, and all were saved from the landfills. All suppliers were chosen for their philanthropy and good works in hope of also keeping my garment socially responsible.

Occasionally, people have questioned my cutting up perfectly good garments, especially when they are in stores often thought of as providing low-cost clothing to those in need. I did a post about this when I first opened, if you have that question, click here.

Snuggley perfect.
Comfort and durability are sewn in with an industrial serger. This means the insides of the garment is smooth and unfettered by seaming, instead the seams are made decorative through the use of colored thread and appear as a design element on the outside of the garment!

My designs are all original, are designed for casual and comfortable fit on all body types. The distinct flare of the back, and the wide sleeves (on most garments) are two of the considerations for comfort. Of course the afghans are just plain comfy on their own!
Click here to see this listing in my shop
Because all of the fabrics are pre-used, they also have that comfort that is usually found in your favorite old t-shirt or jeans, but now can be worn to the office in the guise of a business sweater!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tunnel vision

The Military Ridge state trail is across from our house. During the winter it is also a snowmobile trail. It is built on old railroad tracks, so it has the tunnels and bridges of the old railroad. it is a great place to wander, wave at passers by, and watch the change of season. Soon it will be in its summer glory, but now it is still recovering from winter.

Yesterday I wandered. I got a bit hung up in the tunnel. It was sunny on the outside, but the melt was not quite finished on the inside darkness. I am struck by the patterns that this light/dark and wet/dry makes. So of course I had to photo some of them!
gray wrap sweater

People often ask me where I get my color combo ideas for my upcycled, reconstructed sweaters, and I have to admit that many times they are not initially conscience choices, but the editing of them requires very conscience decision making!  I think that somewhere in my head, there is a folder labeled "colors/textures seen" and my gut just goes there and pulls images like these.... then comes up with ideas like these two sweaters available on jill2day.
black and tan cardigan

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Snuggley times return.

On Thursday I reopened my Etsy shop. I had closed down for a while to regroup and renew. It is up and running again complete with many new sweaters. I have cardigans, pullovers and wrap sweaters.

one colorful wrap!
The wrap sweaters are really my favorite! They are so very versatile in both size and use. (Just between you and me, I also call them my "menopause sweaters"!) They are lightweight, can be open or closed, and look great over either pants or skirts. If I were still in an office, I would have one at hand at all times for those varied meeting room temperatures!
Black and gray wrap
They all have the flared back that my other sweater do, so they are fun and flattering as well. I love finding the stripes to play with, or finding two different, but compatible, fabrics so I can make them asymmetrical. These sweaters are so very popular at my shows, and it is amazing to see the variety of body types that can wear - and look great in - the same sweater!

some are bright
I have also just added some new afghan blankets to their section. There are more coming soon. I so wish people could reach in and tough these. Nothing better for snuggling up in on the couch! Great to keep in the car for those snoozing passengers too!
... and some are neutral!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

How to turn a negative into a positive.

A fellow Etsy seller (and a few other artists) were recently put into a very bad situation. I will not go into detail here, but lets just sum it up by saying it involved copyright infringement, and the scamming of some very well-meaning people. It was the kind of situation that could easily have resulted in lawsuits, and anger of the worst kind. Instead, this group of artists has chosen to turn that energy into the positive support of a very deserving cause. They have started a group, Artists Lending Support, to support the research of ALS. They have a facebook page to which artists who want to make donations can link.
check it out!!
I have listed this sweater on their site, and I will be donating the proceeds from the sale to It can be purchased from my Etsy shop, and I will forward the money to them.

While the cause is deserving, it is the manner that these artists chose to respond to their situation that I have found amazing. Particularly when we are witnessing so much hatred and negativity in politics and elsewhere, to see a group respond with such kindness has been heartwarming. Again, the details are not important, or what they want to focus on, so I do not mean to be coy or mysterious, just take my word for it; The world could use a lot more of this type of attitude and delivery!

The two  charities that this group supports are:

The first one is for research funding:

The other charity is for individual patient care:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hope, homes and relics

Sorry I have not been around much lately! I have been taking some downtime from 'virtual' life, and trying to focus on a few items in my 'real' life! But it is spring now. Pasque flower results need reporting, nature is bursting, and I am taking photos, so here is March in my backyard! Very early, and way too warm for the Ides of March! (I just noticed it was almost a year ago to the day that last I apologized to you for not being around!!)

HOPE: I love the first emergers! The mosses cling and grab at the sun they will never get a chance to see after the big boys emerge. The skunk cabbage is always out early and I just learned (on NPR) that it can create its own warmth to speed growth in the spring. Amazing, huh! Finally is the Pasque flower. It tries so hard to look like a discard lump of fur and not a tasty spring morsel. The flowers should be here in a couple of days... but if you can't wait you can look at last year's here! Only it was in mid April!!

HOUSES: When the snow is gone and the leaves haven't budded, it is possible to seen some houses that would otherwise be missed. Now I know where all those woodpeckers at our feeder live! The center photo is an insect home it is only about an inch long and was on the side of one of the trees.

RELICS: Again when the snow melts but the grasses are not yet risen, you can get hints of the drama of the winter past. Clumps of fir along the deer path. This is one time of year, you do not have to be a tracker to see where the bunny trails are! And some just didn't make it through the winter... but perhaps others did because of their demise.

So it was a great walk in the woods, but I was not alone. We are so lucky to have a pair of Red Tailed Hawks that live in our woods. They have been around many seasons now. They hunt in the valley all winter, teach there young in the summer, and occasionally use our bird feeders as bait for their dinner. But they are glorious. However, they did not appreciate me being in their yard. Much screeching and flying about! So I went back to my own yard.