Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blog Re-Design Underway!

I have recently started a new blog for all my knitting, spinning and fiber related entries. You can find it here! The Star Box blog is therefore getting a MakeOver, so please excuse the mess while I reorganize everything. From now on The Star Box will cater to Paper Crafts and Rubber Stamping, while Michigan Spinning will cater to all things WOOLY!

Thanks for visiting ! New entries will be online soon!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Late Night Fiber Dyeing!

FINALLY! I was able to get some fiber dyeing done late last night and finished up early this morning. I have been so swamped with Rubber Stamp orders that my spinning, dyeing, and knitting have all taken a back seat to stamp carving. Not only was I able to accomplish a good batch of dyeing last night, but Friday night I was able to spin and ply 120 yds of fingering weight yarn in a Mohair/Angora that I blended up myself on my Fancy Kitty. I am going to make another Mohair Angora batt today and spin a bit.

But enough about that, let's get back to the dyeing you say? Well. I have a new little FELTING PROJECT KIT (more on that later) that I am putting together to sell in my Michigan Spinning shop and so I dyed up a whole bunch of corriedale wool that I have been stockpiling. My felting wool is basically the leftover bits from the combing/carding part of processing my raw corriedale. I do alot of needle felting and I don't like to waste any fiber. There may be small bits of VM in this fiber, but I hand card and pick it after dyeing to remove as much as I can.

I use Greener Shades Dyes for my fiber dyeing. I really like them. They come in 9 colors and I am like a mad scientist when I am dyeing and always mixing colors and trying to create different shades and vibrancy of color. I am very pleased that I was actually able to get 2 shades of gray from the black this time. Black has a red/blue undertone and sometimes I end up with purplish or blue tinted purple, but this time I think I got it right with the black. YAY!

My college age daughter was watching me dye and in response to my happiness over achieving gray she said rather sardonically
" all these colors and your jumping for joy over gray?" 

I am really excited when I am able to achieve a new color or shade of a color and so YES, this gray had me dancing and leaping about the kitchen like a crazy person. Maybe next time I will try for BLACK! I hesitate to dye for black because I know it is hard to achieve. I do keep natural black on hand in other fiber breeds such as Alpaca, Icelandic, Black Welsh Mountain, and I just got some Shetland from a friend. But I would like all the fiber in the kit to be the same kind, so I will either have to dye for black or find some natural black corriedale wool somewhere out there.

Once this wool is dry, I will hand card it into batts, pick out any remaining VM and then divide it up for the FELTING PROJECT KITS.  Still can't tell you what they are. You will have to remain in suspense until I get them all put together! No Hints......and No Peeking!

I still have more of this corriedale washed and ready for flick carding. Now that I have gotten a bunch of the felting wool ready, I need to get back to preparing the spinning wool again. It is a never ending process. But I love it nonetheless.

I think after I spin up some more of this Mohair/Angora yarn I may try my hand at dyeing skeins too. Stay tuned for that.

Once I get the FELTING PROJECT KITS put together I am going to do an instructional video for my YouTube channel showing step by step assembly of the project. I will post a link when everything is ready.

Happy Felting!

OOPS!Before I go I must share with you the pics of my new little baby bunnies. They are both 
German/English Angoras (mostly English, their daddy has an unknown amount of German in him and mommy is ALL English) They are only 6 weeks old and the cutest lil bundles of fluff I have ever seen!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

 Yesterday we went blueberry picking in the morning, today, I made homemade blueberry french toast casserole with homemade blueberry sauce.

My nieces thinks this dish looks good enough to be served at the finest of hotels. I pulled out my pretty blue and white china bowls and we had a lovely breakfast together. 

We went shopping last night for a few missing ingredients for blueberry syrup, and my little niece printed this recipe from a machine at the grocery store. It is called "Get Stuffed French Toast" and is available at Family Fare courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  It serves 8 and takes 10 min to prep and 1 hr to cook. 

I took a full loaf of french bread and cut it in slices and tore them into small pieces. I greased a 9X13 in baking dish and put down a layer of bread. On top of this I laid thin slices of Wisconsin Havarti Cheese, then I added a sprinkling of fresh picked blueberries. Next, I layered the remaining torn pieces of french bread and set aside. 

In a seperate bowl, beat 6 eggs, 4 cups milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup ( I used homemade syrup), 2 tbsp melted butter, and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Pour this over the bread and cheese mixture and press down on all the ingredients with a spatula. This will make the bread soak up the egg mixture. I then sprinkled fresh picked blueberries on top, sprinkled on some more cinnamon, and covered with tin foil. Bake this at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. 

Serve with homemade blueberry sauce and enjoy. 

For the homemade blueberry sauce, I put about 3-4 cups blueberries in a saucepan with 1 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar and brought to a boil, all the while mashing the berries with a potatoe masher. I let it simmer for a few minutes and then drizzled it over our french toast. 

YUMMY! We all loved it. I am sure I will make this again and again using a different fruit each time. 

We may be picking Raspberries next week. I think Raspberry French Toast will be Awesome!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blueberry Picking

My dad took me and my nieces blueberry picking this morning at a local farm. It was a great time. We only spent about an hour and a half there, but I picked a whole bucket. I told everyone else they were pitiful pickers because their 3 buckets combined equaled the amount in my bucket. The girls complained that it was too hot and they were going to dehydrate , I just chuckled and told them I was sure they would live long enough to leave the blueberry patch.

 In the end we spent $12 on fresh picked blueberries and had a great time together. Afterwards we went out to lunch at a local wings joint that offers a wide variety of sauces for their wings, and then we went home and browsed blueberry recipes online.

Tomorrow morning we are making some "Get Stuffed Blueberry French Toast" , blueberry scones, and blueberry syrup. I will be sure to share pics when we are done cooking. My nieces plan to get up early just to bake. I 'd better set my alarm to make sure I get up on time.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Postcard Art - Graffiti Style

This card is 4X6 and is all hand drawn using sharpies and hi-lighted with the ever elusive sharpie white permanent marking stick with an extra bold tip. If anyone knows if they have a fine tip or ultra fine tip white sharpie, please let me know where I might find one. 

This week's theme for Sunday Postcard Art is Street Art! I was a little stumped creatively at first, but I started doodling and the next thing I know I had a bright colorful card that reminded very much of graffiti. I don't live in a big city, but little bits of graffiti have popped up around my own home town, colorful cartoony characters and puffy words that the city is slowly painting over.  And occasionally when I get stopped at the RR tracks in BC I am able to sit back and admire the graffiti art on passing railway cars and wonder what city the car was in when the artist created such colorful work.

I hope you enjoy my little submission as much as I enjoyed making it. It has really inspired me creatively and I think I am going to spend this afternoon making some ATCs.

Thanks for the artistic jumpstart Sunday Postcard Art!

Friday, July 2, 2010

And The WINNER is ...........

Congratulations Cindy Jo!
Now you can add 3 more stamps to your collection! Just pick any 3 stamps from the Giveaway post , there are 7 total, and email me with your selection and your shipping address. Your stamps will go out in the mail on Monday!

This drawing was done the old fashioned way. Each name was written on a slip of paper, folded up, and placed into a bowl. The paper pieces were mixed up, and my 9 yr old niece happily drew a slip of paper out of the bowl and read the name to me.

Thanks to everyone for participating and making this a successful Giveaway! I hope to have many more in the future so be sure to stop by once and while and see what's going on :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rubber Stamp Giveaway! 4th of July!

Comment on this post until 11:59pm today , July 1st, and you will be entered into a Random Drawing to be held tomorrow, July 2nd,  at noon. If enough people comment, I will giveaway 2 sets of stamps. There are a total of 7 stamps with a 4th of July theme, so I will break them into 2 sets.

Here is the first stamp. It is a large stamp to be used for a background stamp or embellishment on colored or decorative paper for card making, scrapbooking or any other paper art.

The stamp shown here has a slight error, I missed the cross of the "T" in  the word "equality", so I will be carving a new stamp to giveaway.

here are 3 more stamps in this series. The last 3 will be uploaded later this evening so STAY TUNED!

Here are the final 3 stamps in this series!

The winner will receive their pick of 3 stamps from the entire set!

Good Luck! and Happy Stamping :)

Monday, June 28, 2010


Here is just a sampling of some of the Hand Carved Rubber Stamps ON SALE NOW at The Star Box on Etsy. Buy One Get One of equal or lesser value 50% off.  If you love cardmaking,  rubber stamping, collage or making altered art, this sale is a must see! Check it out - and Happy Stamping :)

Snail Mail Stamp

5pc Art Doll Stamp Set

Marie Antoinette Art Doll Accessories Stamp Set

Chandelier Stamp

PostCard Stamp Set

Skeleton Keys Stamp Set

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Faerie Cakes, Birthday Wishes, and Spinning!

What better treat for a Birthday Girl than creamy rich chocolate Faerie Cakes complete with wings and Faerie Dust! These scrumptious little morsels were made especially for me by my cousin Holly Marie! Check out her blog sometime for wonderful knitting patterns, knitting, spinning and yarnie goodness too. These Faerie Cakes were first seen on a lovely little blog called Attic 24! These were made using a Salad Dressing Cake Recipe and my cousin's own recipe for butter cream frosting. I have asked her for the frosting recipe, but she says it's a secret and refuses to give it up!

These are pics of a batt I carded and spun up on Friday. It is a blend of all different fibers in shades of blue and sprinkled with brighter colors. It is mostly corriedale with some bamboo, merino, mohair, silk noil, angora, and firestar for sparkle. I call it Metropolis, and I have plans to knit something pretty with it.

I was able to get in a bit of spinning today in the sunshine! I stayed up late last night and carded up a batt of various shades of orange and blended it with yellow, pink, magenta, purple, blue, blood orange, and white with some firestar for sparkle. I started spinning it this morning and as of right now, it is all done. I will skein it up tomorrow and set the twist. You will find this yarn available on My Etsy by Tuesday.

I am going to be pretty busy this week getting batt samples together for the July Phat Fiber Box, and I am also submitting some items for The Spotted Box Sampler, so I will try my best to blog each evening and share little glimpses of my life with you. I am still working on the studio revamping and finishing up orders for my other Etsy Shop, and I hope to have some new stamps for sale soon as well.

Happy Spinning!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bashful Handspun Yarn

I am so excited! I just sold my first handspun skein on my new Michigan Spinning Etsy Shoppe! I purchased this Merino Alpaca Fiber from Jehovah Jireh Farm at the recent Fiber and Animals Fest held right here in Marshall on June 12th.

I call it Bashful and it was single spun on my Kromski Minstrel and measures 271 yds at 12wpi and now it's SOLD! YAY!

I am still working on Revamping the Studio. No pics yet, it is still a mess, but there has certainly been some progress. I hope to have it all completed tomorrow night, but we'll see what happens.

Still working on Stamp Orders. Every day brings more orders in and I am very thankful for each and every one and for the Lord's blessing and provision.

Lord willing, I will have some time tomorrow to card some new batts and add some more items to Michigan Spinning on Etsy.

Have a good night :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Revamping the Studio!

Spontaneous Combustion Batt 5.6 ounces! This is the one batt I didn't sell at the Festival
So I spun it up myself and will share some pics of it in tomorrow's post.

I realize I haven't blogged in a while and I promise to rectify that shortly. When I first started my blog I had envisioned writing daily posts and then it dwindled down to weekly posts, and now sadly I am lucky to post once a month.

Well, I am making a commitment that I will blog everyday from here on out. You are my witnesses, and I expect you to hold me to it and call me out if I fail to follow thru! It is a wonderful thing to be able to share the projects and accomplishments of the day, as well as brainstorming sessions, new projects and patterns, dreams and goals for future endeavors with all of you. Currently I am reorganizing my Studio to fit all of my new Vintage Fabrics and supplies as well as to set up a fiber prep station for carding my batts and storing my raw and dyed fibers. I will share some pics of the new set-up tomorrow.

I am extremely excited to be starting 2 new business ventures this month. My Michigan Spinning store is up and running on Etsy and soon will also be accessible at and I just opened a vintage inspired shop on Etsy called Sew Simply Vintage where I will be selling handmade aprons, household linens, baby linens and various other vintage and vintage inspired items.

My Star Box Shop is still going strong and will now be devoted to handcarved stamps and paper crafts only. I will be submitting some new stamp designs to The Spotted Box sampler box for July so be sure to check it out!

On the fiber front, I will be a contributor to July's Phat Fiber Sampler box as well. I am ecstatic over that and hope to send in enough samples to get a sampler box of my very own! We'll see if I can manage 50 samples this month. Expect to see samples from Michigan Spinning frequently in the Phat Fiber Sampler Box as I am determined to join in every month.

My first Fiber Festival event was on Saturday June 12th and went over pretty well. My cousin joined me, and I am thankful she did because I was not 100% ready for the event and my booth would have been a pitiful display without her. I did sell what I had, but I wish I was able to accomplish more in time for the show. The small success has encouraged me though, and my next show will be very well stocked. I spun up 4 skeins of yarn from Saturday to Monday and I am currently knitting with one, and the other 3 are going up for sale on the Michigan Spinning Etsy shop, so check them out.

On the home front, the family and I went out to pick strawberries at a local farm yesterday and so now I have 9 quarts of strawberries in my kitchen just waiting to become freezer jam, strawberry syrup, shortcake topping and maybe even a pie! It is way too hot, 90 degrees, to stoke up the stove today, so I am going to process all my strawberries bright and early tomorrow morning! I will definitely share some pics at the end of the day :)

Next post: Strawberries, New Studio Space, Carded Batts, Current Knitting projects, new yarns...............just for starters!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wonderful Wool! Dyeing to Spin!


My very first spinning wheel arrived on Friday afternoon and I gleefully assembled it and started spinning - yarn pics to follow at end of post. I am so excited to finally have a wheel. I am getting ready for my first Fiber Fest in June and so I really needed this wheel to spin up yarns for the show and to sell on My Etsy.

I also purchased my first Fancy Kitty Kitten Carder. This is the fine 90/120 carder, and I also purchased an auxiliary swift in the Medium cloth as well for carding some textured art batts. I am so excited. My auxiliary swift will arrive on Monday and then I will be carding batts like crazy!
This is my first hand dyed, hand pulled roving. I call it RARE EARTH, because when I saw the colors the first words out of my mouth were "Wow, it so earthy!" I also washed and prepped this fiber from the raw state. It is from a 80/20 Corriedale/Sussex mix breed whole fleece purchased from a local farm.
This is the very first yarn I have spun on my new wheel. It was made using the RARE EARTH hand dyed roving. I also added in some ribbon shreds and some ribbon roses. I just love it. I know I am just going to get hooked on spinning art yarns!

Here's a close-up!

And this is the roving I used. I had 2 batches of this dyed up for a total of 4.2 ounces. The final skein is 4.4 oz and 124 grams.

Here is the very first Batt I carded on my friend's Fancy Kitty before I purchased my own. I used the same Corriedale Sussex fiber, only this was the leftover bits from flick carding locks, and from pulling the rovings. I spun it up on my drop spindle and have not taken pics of the finished yarn yet.
This is the fiber I used to make the Batt above.

This is a pic of all the fiber I dyed that day. I dyed all this in about 30 minutes in between morning and evening service last Sunday.

Well, that's all I have time for right now, I can't wait to share some more Fiber Fun with you all. I plan to make some spinning and carding videos for my YouTube Channel once I get my drum carder on Monday. So STAY TUNED!