How the Turtle Got its Shell

Here it is, the first story gift guide. I decided to go with a short myth to test it out. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

How the Turtle Got its Shell

And that is how the turtle got its shell. Well at least according to the ancient Greeks.

Etsy artist featured in this gift guide are:

VintageGoldmine, jrowel20, dpsullivan, liliswan, HeadCaseByG, PeacockInvitations, DabbleDown, sunnydayrain, leatherprince, xianyun, ZenArtGlass, and styleywalls

I love mythology, so its probably good to assume a lot of these story gift guides will be myths or fairytales. I’d really like to try a mad lib type story gift guide sometime, and would probably put it together on twitter. If you’d like to participate in picking out the story elements follow me on twitter (barbedlotus) and check back here for the day I’ll be doing the mad lib. How I’ll do it is I’ll send out fill in the blank tweets. You tweet me back what you think should go in the blank and I’ll use the first from each for the story.

A Sweet Dark Thing

A couple weeks ago I realized I was out of perfume (hells, I only wear the stuff a couple times a year if that) so I decided to see what my fellow Etsians had to offer. I was pretty amazed at the creativity some people put into their descriptions for perfumes. It’s like your getting a mini story. I also loved that so many offered affordable sampler sets where you could pick a handful of scents. This was absolutely perfect for my minimal use of actual perfumes (pretty soaps are enough most the time as far as I’m concerned) and lack of decisiveness. And many of them had a wonderful romantic darkness to the photos, which in turn lead me on a wonder of the sweet dark things of Etsy and decided that would be my valentines theme this year.

So here you go:

The Etsy artists featured in this gift guide are:

MeenasMagickals, PosionApplePotions, gloilocksandbody, artistamuerta, JennyTremain, radjuli, Gypsymoondesigns, effigymasks, buddhagouda, wanderingmermaid, PetalMix, SimplyTempted, johnclark, LoveBabyGrand, undertheroot, mentionables, wingsofsin, piperwan, stilettoheights, HeatherlyDesigns, johnnyrich10, GeorgiaGriegoFineArt, NeatThings, ambientgirldesigns, nikkicandles, LiquidNymph, TrashAndTrinkets, whitemagic, kvodesign, and oddartist

Valentines Day is three weeks away, so if you’re planning on ordering your sweetheart something online you’d better hop to it, especially if your looking for something custom.

The Boom Effect

If you aren’t a podcast junkie you may not have heard yet, but early this month one of the first podcast authors Tee Morris lost his wife. The podosphere, family and friends pulled together and within 24 hours raised over $10,000 to help with expenses. However there is still the future of Tee’s little girl (nicknamed Sonic Boom) to look to now that he will be raising her one his own.

An auction is being put together at The Boom Effect to help build a future for her. Original artwork, signed books, a variety of services and much more will be available during the webathon auction on February 27th. All the money raised will be put in a trust for Sonic Boom.

I’ve donated a gift certificate for a custom pair of wings. You can see all the other wonderful items that have been added to the auction (and maybe even join in) at I hope to see you guys there.

Dragons To Keep

I’ve loved dragons ever since I was little. My favorite dragon has always been Kazul from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede. She was just such a powerful character and built my love of dragon characters that weren’t just some monster to slay.

Dragons find there way into nearly every art form, and so today I’m going to share with you the draconic artists I’ve stumbled upon.

The Etsy artists featured in this gift guide are:

eluneth, GoncherPaintings, Mokupepe, nonesuchgarden, seaspritesoaps, lundbergbros, skyfirearts, TheGoblinTrader, ningenheadwear, ss10001, VintageFiligree, celticfantasy2, RogueBodyJewelry, ppwoodcrafts, obrienclayworks, robertcurbello, contrary, CottonCandyBoutique, DragonRose, beicreations, GovindasWorkshop, BellaLili, pinktophat, and ArtfulMosaicSupplies

I’m debating on whether or not to do the first story based gift guide as the steampunk wedding one or not; and whether to do it in a kind of mad lib style or just do a story to test it out. If you guys would like a mad lib type story (where all of you help build the tale) let me know in the comments.

More Than One Way to Spin a Yarn

I’m absolutely fascinated with the fabric arts. There really is something almost magically about weaving, crochet, knitting, sewing.  It’s just so easy to get lost in spinning or embroidery (yeah, I’m one of those people that can sit down with a cross stitch and 12 hours later still be working on it and only get up because it’s gotten to dark to see the pattern). I’m hoping soon to be able to resume my large scale cross stitch projects, and will be sure to do a post about them when I do. If I can find the few complete ones that I still have in all the moving chaos I’ll probably post a picture or two. I took normal patterns and did them on monks cloth with unseparated embroidery thread. It creates this really great tapestry look to them.

There are a lot of phrases that take things to do with making fabric and use them to describe story telling, such as spinning a yarn or weaving a story or relating a plot line to a thread. Big tales often feel like a tapestry where every time you look at it you see some new detail. Two characters that really embody the wonder of fabric arts to me are Sandry from Tamora Pierces Circle of Magic books and Rose from East by Edith Pattou (I highly recommend both authors by the way, especially the unabridged audiobook versions). East has a kind of epic fairytale quality to the story and the heroine Rose is drawn to sewing from a young age; something her mother encourages as an attempt to keep her wayward child settled. Sandry is a mage with a form of ambient magic that revolves around anything to do with fabric. It sounds really mundane as just a concept, but the way it is used in the stories is wonderful. At one point she even accidentally spins several mages’ magics together. The way Tamora Pierce takes such everyday things and makes them something truly magical is what has made her my favorite author since I was eight.

Something I’ve recently been really interested in is yarns, particularly making them. I thought I’d share with you some videos I’ve come across in my curious wanderings.

Spinning Yarn on a Drop Spindle

There is actually a little mini series from this person that shows how to draft wool, using the drop spindle, finishing a skien, making two ply yarn with a drop spindle and using a wrist distaff; as well as a lot of videos of her cat (hell, who doesn’t like a cute kitty).

How to Make Yarn from Plastic Bags

A great vid for the basics of making plarn.

Plarn – Going Beyond the Basics

Okay so you already know how to make plarn. So how do you spin it for stuff that doesn’t require the mega hooks and needles. (Yes your speakers are working, there is actually no sound for this one).

Plying Plarn

Great info on how much you can actually get out of a single bag, and how much you get once you turn it into a two ply yarn.

How to Make T-ROPE T-shirt Yarn

This video has some great tips for making yarn from t-shirts, such as how to deal with different weights of fabric. I love t-shirt yarn. The stuff you make from it seems nearly bullet proof.

How to Unravel a Sweater for Yarn

These two are really short (probably would have done fine as a single vid), but give some really good tips on unraveling old sweaters for their yarn. There are TONS of knit sweater in thrift stores, and even though the sweaters are usually really ugly, they still have great yarn. So save the poor yarn the embarrassment and make it into something it doesn’t have to be ashamed of.

How to Make Toilet Paper Yarn

Ok, I’ll admit it, this was one of those video titles that I said “what the” and just had to click.

How to Spin Tissue Paper Yarn

Great use for left over packing materials and the remains of sewing patterns.

Spinning Yarn on a Pencil

If your house is like mine a spindle may be easier to find than a pencil, but for everyone else this video is for you.

Here are also some great Instructables I came across:

How to Make a Yarn Baller – Shows how to make a yarn baller using a drill.

Duct Tape Swift – Seriously, is there anything you can’t make out of duct tape? And I thought the cannon they made on Myth Busters was epic.

How to Make a Drop Spindle – Have some junk CDs laying around? Turn them into an inexpensive drop spindle.

And to finish off this post, here is a funny music video with a REALLY big ball of yarn. Next post will be the Dragons to Keep gift guide, see you then.

Now What Was I Doing?

I like many other people have vowed to get some semblance of organization into my life this year. I have about a million apps on my iPod to try and help me do so, but frankly if there isn’t an alarm in the program it’s just a waste of space for me.  I am one of those people who go to the store and bring back everything accept what I went for, will forget their keys six times a day, and can set something down and it is as good as vanished by magic half the time the moment it leaves my hand.

So I figured what better way to start off the year’s gift guides with a collection of things to get the chaos a little under control.

The Etsy artists featured in this gift guide are:

MyHandboundBooks, CricketSnappers, bomobob, PinkPersimmon, redstarINK, cicistudio, asignofthetimes, PerfectSentiment, ElizabethDavidDesign, srobison, pixelspluspaper, downstairsDesigns, grandmaslittlelilly, PillowSewCute, anycards, sweetbriarstudio, SunriseWoodwork, madebyloumms, gomonkeydesign, yarnplaycafe, slippedstitchstudios, funkychickendesign, boardwinos, and themuststashstore

The first choose the next theme tied. So I’m carrying those themes over into this poll. Which ever wins by the 14th will be the next theme.

Another new feature that will be incorporated with these gift guides in the introduction of story guides. What these will be are gift guides that tell a story using the images. I’m not sure exactly when the first one will be. I’m currently working out a couple different styles of these and hope to do one a month. For more on the up coming themes and gift guides check out the Gift Guide Schedule.