Highwood Pumpkin Festival

Hey everyone! I’m back after a short vacation, although it seems like forever since I wrote a blog post. We didn’t leave the area, but my husband took some time off so we could celebrate my birthday and our anniversary (they’re four days apart). I wanted to go to the Highwood Pumpkin Festival, and even though it wasn’t that far away from where we live, we thought it would be fun to turn it into a weekend getaway and stay at a nearby hotel.

Unfortunately, it was raining all morning on Saturday and it was freezing cold! So the pumpkin festival wasn’t exactly festive, although we tried to make the best of it. It was pretty cool to see all the carved pumpkins, and Penny won a prize at one of the carnival games! Here are some pictures of the festival:

I had also wanted to go to the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve on Sunday, but it was just too cold to put Penny through a hike. So we’ll have to save that for another day. We did enjoy ourselves in spite of the weather; we went to an amazing Italian restaurant for my birthday, and Penny always loves staying in hotels. We even got to go for a swim since there was an indoor pool! Mostly it was just nice to relax and spend time together as a family. Now we’re ready to get back to the daily grind!

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

New in the Shop: Yellow

Nope, still not tired of my sari silk ribbon. I did change things up a bit this week, though, with a necklace and a cuff. Still very fall-ish, but they can definitely go from one season to another.

Since flowers aren’t the first thing most people think of during the fall, I thought it would be fun to throw one in there. I took some dark yellow sari silk ribbon and strung on a large mustard yellow faux leather flower. The ribbon came out a little peachy in the photos, but it’s more dark yellow with some pink running through it (I’m finding that the lighting and my camera tend to bring out the more subtle colors in the ribbon). You can click on the photo to see it on Etsy.

Yellow Faux Leather Flower Necklace

Yellow Faux Leather Flower Necklace

I like this next item so much I’m tempted to make one for myself! Same dark yellow ribbon, completely different result. I crocheted a wide cuff, and the colors that came out in it are so pretty. Lots of muted pink, green, brown, and orange besides the yellow. I finished it with an antiqued brass chain so the size can be adjusted to fit your wrist.

Crochet Sari Silk Cuff

Crochet Sari Silk Cuff

Stay tuned next week for a glass vial necklace that I’m working on!

Finally Finished!

My regular readers may (or may not) remember me mentioning a tedious knitting project that was taking me forever. Well, it’s finally done! Four months and two crochet projects to break up the monotony, and I have a nice shawl/scarf-thing for fall. I can’t say I’m super-duper happy with the finished product; it’s still lopsided after blocking, but it definitely looks better than it did. It’s also waaaaaay shorter than it’s supposed to be (there’s no way my gauge could have been off by that much), so wearing it is kind of a challenge.

On the other hand, it was a good experience for me to try something new, and now that I’ve taken the plunge with my first lace pattern, I won’t be so daunted by them when I see them in future projects. And I really like these colors!

Here is the pattern on Ravelry if you’re interested. And if you’re wondering, no, I did not pay that much for a pattern. It was in a knitting magazine that my husband and Penny gave me for Mother’s Day. :)

New in the Shop: More in the Eco-Friendly Department

I am really enjoying these recycled materials I’ve been working with lately. Mostly because of the unpredictability of the final product. The colors in the banana silk yarn are so varied, that just when I think, “Oh, it’s gonna be a red bracelet,” some yellow pops up, then more red, and then I remember that I’m just making a bracelet and not a rope with which to escape Rapunzel’s tower. Anyway, this is just a basic crochet chain, but with all the colors and little loose ends, I think this is quite a unique bracelet. You can click on the photo to see it on Etsy.

Multicolored Recycled Banana Silk Chain Bracelet

Multicolored Recycled Banana Silk Chain Bracelet

I had to trim a little off the end of the bracelet, and not wanting to throw it away, I cut the scrap in half and made a pair of earrings! It’s been forever since I made earrings, and I think it’s something I want to get back into.

Recycled Banana Silk Yarn Earrings

Recycled Banana Silk Yarn Earrings

Finally, I got around to making an infinity scarf/necklace with that new burgundy sari silk ribbon I got a couple of weeks ago. I also recently got some little hammered antiqued brass rings, so I used those to group together the different strands of ribbon. This is another item that I was excited to see the finished product, because there are so many more colors than just burgundy, like deep purple, pink, peach, brick red, and brown.

Burgundy Multistrand Sari Silk Infinity Scarf Necklace

Burgundy Multistrand Sari Silk Infinity Scarf Necklace

I don’t think I’m quite done with this stuff, so stay tuned next week to see what else I come up with!

Arm Knitting

A lot of you DIYers probably heard about arm knitting last year when it became really popular. Since I’m not always the most punctual when it comes to following trends, I’m just now trying it out. It was a little trickier than I thought it would be, but once I got the hang of it, it was a piece of cake.

I started with a cowl (you can find the pattern here), and I also made a shawl/vest thingy (pattern here). The cowl is nice and chunky and should keep me nice and warm during the winter. The shawl didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but it’s still kind of interesting.

Arm Knit Cowl

Arm Knit Cowl

A couple of tips before you try arm knitting: if you have kids, make sure they are either asleep or otherwise occupied for at least an hour. Because they will ask you to get something for them immediately after you cast on. Also, don’t drink coffee or any other large drink right before you get started. Just trust me on that one. :)

Have you tried arm knitting? What did you think?

New in the Shop: Fun Stuff for Fall

I’ve got two new items to show you this week, and even though they would look great any time of year, I think they’re especially perfect for fall.

The first item is a wrap bracelet made of banana silk yarn. Wondering what banana silk yarn is? I did too, when I first saw it. Basically, it’s recycled banana tree fiber. According to the Etsy seller I ordered it from, it is vegan, cruelty-free, and a fair trade product. I just think it’s pretty darn cool. I love the mix of colors in it, and it is a really soft material, which isn’t exactly what comes to mind when you hear “recycled tree fiber.” You can click on the photo to see it on Etsy.

Red Banana Silk Adjustable Wrap Bracelet

Red Banana Silk Adjustable Wrap Bracelet

This next item is something that I had planned on making almost a year ago, but I didn’t get around to it until now. Last year, I made a pair of dreamcatcher earrings, and I always thought a necklace would look good too. Well, I finally got around to making it! It is made of antiqued copper materials, just like the earrings, so they could make a matching set.

Antiqued Copper Dreamcatcher Necklace

Antiqued Copper Dreamcatcher Necklace

I’m thinking about making another sari silk infinity scarf, so keep an eye out next week!

Shop Re-Brand

So yesterday I mentioned that I was changing things up in my Etsy shop and here on the good ol’ blog, and my regular readers probably already noticed the change. I’ve been feeling lately that my Etsy banner didn’t really fit anymore with my jewelry style(s). I always really liked that mod flower design, but it just didn’t seem to flow with what’s in my shop. And I’d also been thinking about changing the theme on my blog to something a little more grown-up. So, I set out to re-brand Jewels For All.

The first thing I did was Google “free Etsy banner templates.” There are quite a few to choose from, but I found mine here. I wanted something that had neutral colors so it wouldn’t clash with whatever items I was featuring in my shop, and a combination of rustic and sophisticated (not that I think I’m sophisticated, I just want people to think I am :) ).

To put the text on the banner, I used a site called PicMonkey. It is free (you can pay to upgrade), and it’s a great way to edit photos, add overlays and text, even make your own design from scratch. It’s the same site I use when I overlay text on a photo for one of my tutorials. It’s extremely easy to use (just upload the image from your computer and start editing) and has tons of options, even in the free version.

Here are the before and after Etsy shop banners:

Of course you can scroll up to see the matching blog header, minus the “By Stef.”

I wanted my avatar on Etsy to match my banner, so all I had to do was crop the banner down to a square (I used the right side of the banner), add my text, and resize it because it was too small.

new avatar

In addition to a new shop banner and avatar, and a new blog theme, I’ve been working on my branding for when someone actually buys something! New packaging and business cards give a much more cohesive look. I got these cute little boxes for bulkier items (smaller items go in little muslin drawstring bags, which was what I did before), and I have similar envelopes for enclosing the receipt, thank-you note, and a business card.

So what do you think of the new look? You can click here to get the full effect.

If you’re an Etsy seller, what have you done to create your brand?