Sunday, February 26, 2012

my week

This week was a busy one. I have still been spending nearly all my extra time building Heartbeat Artistry's online presence. But, to get out of the house, the girls and I met up with a few friends and saw the new Studio Ghibli film, The Secret World of Arrietty, which is based on one of our favorite children's books, the 1953 novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

The telltale imagination of a Studio Ghibli film was perfectly captured in this story, which follows the life of the tiny people who live hidden from "human beans" beneath the floorboards of a quiet country house. The daughter, Arrietty, is seen by one of the "beans," which leads to an exciting and suspenseful adventure. The movie was just as delightful and fantastical as the book.

Yesterday, I was quite under the weather. I took a nice long nap in the morning, but it did not help that I awoke to the shock of finding the kid's play room a complete wreck. A disaster. Debris everywhere. I could barely even get the door open. In fact, it was so far gone, that I had to take a picture. You likely would not have believed me otherwise.

I recruited Esme to help me tidy. She even boxed up a handful toys to pass along to someone else. We will be moving rooms around soon so that we can paint and repurpose a room or two. I will try to post before and after photos of the remodel for your viewing pleasure. The rest of the morning was spent on a few chores around the house to catch up on things--laundry, dishes, and straightening up my desk. As for the afternoon, I spent most of the day parked on the couch to revive my good health. Two of my kitties cuddled with me to help move my recovery along, first fluffy Butler, then sweet Midnight.

My knitting also kept me company today. I worked on a hat for my dear cousin's new baby to wear after her birth. The first one I made turned out to be too large for a newborn, so I adjusted the pattern very slightly. I will post photos as soon as the hat is gifted.

I have a handful of goals for the next few days. First of all, this cold needs to go. Next, I need to clear the toy room of furniture and toys and prepare to paint the walls. Finally, I need to figure out another knitting project to keep me going in the evenings during story time.

But in the meantime? I have my happy girls to read to me and my dear husband to brew hot tea for me to sip as I get better.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

a day on the town

The whole family was together for a wonderful day, which we decided to spend out on the town. The sun was shining and the weather was perfect for walking and wandering and looking, so we spent a good couple hours outdoors.

We wandered in and out of a few shops and stopped in a cafe. In one little shop, we came across some crazy finds, which the girls heartily tested out right away. Evelyn found this crazy bejeweled feather ring.

Think that's good? Check out Esme's gawdy green flower ring! And the headband sets it off perfectly.

We also went into a woodshop where David picked out several different woods to work with on upcoming projects. He found walnut, a couple types of rosewood, yellow heart, sycamore, and red heart. Most of these blanks will become hand-turned handles for whips.

So what makes for a perfect day out? Being together with my sweet ones. Laughing about the little things. Hugs. Warming cups of yum. Sweet smells and dabs of whipped cream. Colors. And charms. Dirt, evergreens, and long sidewalks. Fashions and finds. The sun and the smiles.

Friday, February 17, 2012

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . .

Sunday, February 12, 2012

sweet baby things

Knitting projects! It seems like I have a dozen going all at once. And sometimes I am very bad and do not take pictures of those that are finished. This weekend turned into a catch up of sorts -- time spent finishing the last few rows on this project, sewing in ends to that, attaching notions on yet another, and photographing the latest of many baby gifts. 

I wanted a little something sweet and sassy in my gift giving this time around, so this little sweater made it on to my needles. For a baby girl, I chose hot pink and hot orange in my color choice. The pattern is Kids Seamless Sweater by Soulful Hues. I used Lily Sugar'n Cream -- a solid cotton that will be great for springtime wear. The pattern was a breeze, though I made a few alterations in order for the sweater to fit a wee one (see my notes at the bottom of this post).

The sweater came together smoothly and quickly. I paired the sweater with a lovely ruffly skirt in the same hot pink. What a lucky find for this little baby girl! And now, we will shower her sweet mama in love and gifts as we wait none so patiently for this little baby girl to join us.


I altered the Kids Seamless Sweater by Soulful Hues in order to fit an infant and it worked out perfectly, ending up at a 3-6 month size. My notes for a striped sweater, using a main color (MC) and a contrasting color (CC), are as follows:
CO 52 stitches on in MC using size US 7 needles.
Work 10 rows of K1P1 ribbing in MC.
Change to CC. K one round, complete one round of increases as described in pattern (K2 M1). K three rounds, complete second increase round (K2 M1) [approx 116 stitches]. K three more rounds.
Change to MC, K three rounds.
Next round:  K14, put 29 sts on waste yarn, K29, put 29 sts on waste yarn, K15. K six rounds in MC.
Change to CC, K 10 rounds.
Change back to MC and finish bottom of sweater as per pattern instructions, with K1P1 rib for 10 rounds.
Arms:  Place 29 stitches back on needles. With MC, K2tog right under the arm (where you will have to sew up the tiny hole later) then complete seven rows of K1P1 rib in MC. Do the same for the second arm.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

heartbeat artistry

About a year ago, my husband began stepping away from the corporate world and integrating himself into an artist lifestyle. He now spends many of his days in his studio or office, creating more and more artwork. As he has began building up quite an inventory these last few months, I have been spending most of my spare time developing an online presence for his artwork.

David's artistic experience goes back quite a few years. In 2001, David established his business, Heartbeat Artistry, primarily focusing on drum making and professional drumming. Between 2001 and 2008, David's drums were featured in our shop at the Bristol Renaissance Fair in Kenosha, WI. Other businesses began carrying his drums, as well, including WardBrodt Music in Madison, WI, Lakeshore Music Conservatory in Racine, WI, Schmitt Music in Racine, WI, Astor Street Dance Studio in Milwaukee, WI, Absolute Music in Fairborne, OH, Sheepish in Racine, WI, and Parana Gaming and Mega Bites in Racine, WI.

David's drums are incredibly unique. With a ceramic body and fixed tuning, the drums have a full, rich, resonant bass tone, called the "doum," and a crisp, clear, solid high tone, called the "tek." The colors are vibrant and fresh, not only the body of the drum, but also often in the tie-dyed heads. 

Why ceramic? Ceramic has a clarity and distinction that tends to be absorbed in wooden drums and a depth that is lacking in metal drums. The sheer enormity of the sound of a ceramic drum is quite unlike anything else you will find. Over the last decade, David has further developed and refined his drum-making techniques to maximize the natural properties of ceramic and skins, and perfected the art of selecting the exact perfect skin for each drum.

David's drums are based on traditional hand-drums from the Mediterranean, North African, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. His best-selling styles are based on the goblet-shaped doumbek, the larger djembe, and the Persian zarb.

Having taken piano lessons starting at three years old, and playing trumpet once he turned seven, David has always had an ear for music. He went on to study Jazz Theory, taught instrumental music, and performed trumpet and percussion at events across the country. Once David got into drum making, other artistic mediums just began rolling. David has expanded his artistic repertoire to include sculpture, watercolor and ink, and woodworking. Much of his artwork is featured in studios, galleries, homes, and restaurants around the country.

In 2011, combining his love of wood-turning with his long-time hobby of whip-cracking, David took up whip making. As they are made of nylon paracord, David's whips can be cracked in adverse weather conditions without being damaged. His preferred style of whip to work with is based on the Florida Cow Whip because of the unique inserted thong allows for a variety of handle sizes and styles. David hand-turns his handles on a lathe in a variety of exotic woods.

All of David's artwork is handmade, from start to finish, at our indoor-outdoor home studio. While much of his works are sold online in Heartbeat Artistry's Etsy store and through our ebay store, David often attends events across the country, whether it be as a guest instructor, a performer, or a vendor. As for the business end of things... well, that is where I step in. As I said before, much of my spare time lately has been dedicated to developing an online presence for Heartbeat Artistry. Weekly blog updates, ebay auctions, and Etsy listings are a few tasks I have taken on. It makes me feel like I can be a part of my husband's work when I advertise it for him. And hopefully it shows him that I support him and his creativity.

Running a family business is difficult and challenging, but it also gives us so much. The children love going to events and helping out in the studio. They are more than happy to dive right in to a bucket of clay, get covered in paint and glaze, and pick out colors for the next whip. They are proud of the work they do and boast about the projects they had a hand in. Running a family business has helped to bring us closer together.

Visit Heartbeat Artistry at our blog:
Visit our ebay store:

In addition, we are offering readers free shipping on all orders in our Etsy shop placed by February 28th. Use code SHIPME at checkout.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

surprise, surprise

This week has be filled with beautiful weather. Sunshine! Temperatures in the 50s and, yes, even 60s! We opened windows and doors to air out the house. One mild night, we slept with the bedroom window slightly ajar. It was refreshing! Even though it is still early, some of the trees are starting to form the starts of buds, hoping springtime will arrive with a flourish.

On Thursday, when I got home from a very busy day, I walked in to set my bag down by my desk, and there was a big package, plopped down on my desk chair. A package? For me? Surely it was for my husband, and he had just set it down in a hurry. I checked the label. Nope. My name. I checked the return address. Cambria! Ah! A surprise from my friend! My insides jumped with excitement. I literally threw down everything I was holding and tore open the package. So. Fast. Inside was a beautiful, hand-made quilt in vibrant colors. "Oh." It was all I could say. 

I knew said friend was working on something special for me. And I have something in the works for her. But I did not expect that it would be something so perfect. It is everything I envision. Bright colors and patterns. Lovely and beautiful.

My friend and I have been going back and forth for a few years now, sending surprises and swapping art and crafts back and forth. But this quilt has so much to live up to. I am working on something unique as revenge, and I started it months and months ago. But life has kept me busy and it is not yet ready. I pledge to buckle down and finish it soon so that I can ship it off for a surprise my friend will never expect.

Thank you, Sam. Your work in incredible.