Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tis the Season

Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Lk. 2: 10-11)

Merry Christmas to all from Swift Weavers!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Swap

Over the weekend I finally had the opportunity to create a white on white ATC cards and a white on white chunky page for two swaps on the site. And while I love white on white it is hard to come up with a project that has no color at all. In the chunky page I did incorporate a silver tone which I think still qualifies (?). A white on white project is also hard to scan and produce a good image for uploading. That said here they are:

Sunday, December 5, 2010


One of my favorite artists is Lisa Vollrath of Ten Two Studios. She is an amazingly prolific artist with a million fun ideas, tutorials on how to accomplish them, and digital products to use to produce them. She has another website entitled Go Make Something, her own blog and also a facebook site. This month for Christmas she is giving away a series of digital images everyday. You can find them at this link on the Ten Two Studios site. They are well worth it.

There are many free or low cost digital images out there for use in your own private artwork. Some are available for use only in your own personal art and some available for use in art for sale. Be sure to investigate each individuals terms of use policies before you use anyone's artwork so you don't infringe on their copyright. There are also many sites out there which have copyright free images available for use. Many of these sites may be found by following the links on the side bar of this blog.

Happy hunting!

Winter White

I arrived back home in Benson just in time for the first big snow of the year. It came down all day and night Friday, light and airy, quiet and peaceful, white on white. The perfect inspiration for two swaps I have due mid-month for the site.
One of my favorite color schemes is white on white. I love how much can be said with so little.
I was recently looking through an issue of Midwest Living in which a couple had done their Christmas decorating in a white on white theme. It was quite simple but elegant. White is cold, yet calm and serene. It speaks to us of purity and goodness, hope. It is clean, fresh, new. When I picture the color white I see snowflakes and winter. I see delicate lace, the luster of pearls, white doves of peace, the fire in an opal.
Just because something is white does not mean it has to be colorless. Actually the quality of white in the light spectrum is not the absence of color but the combination of all color. One of my drawing teachers in college was known for fabulously detailed color pencil work. I was particulary awed by her colored pencil drawings of white objects such as rabbits. Somehow she managed to never lose the white quality of her subjects even though her drawings were in color.
White is the color of new beginnings. Every artist or writer who faces a blank white page or canvas know how it feels just before you commit pen to paper. Scary. However, more often than not what emerges is beauty, like newly fallen snow on a winter landscape.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blogging and Babies

Conner Trew
Not an easy task taking care of babies and finding time to blog! Having traveled to sunny Florida to assist my brother-in-law and wife with their new twin babies and bringing plenty of knitting projects and my laptop I find that just checking email is a challenge.
The twins are just precious, one month old tomorrow, a boy and a girl. He is a big eater and burper, she, much more ladylike, eats with a little kissing sound. It's amazing how fast it comes back to you: the jiggling, patting, walking and bouncing. All to get a baby to sleep! I have been helping with Sienna, their three year old also. She is very sweet and easy to entertain.

Kayla Trew
It is super hot for me here in Florida. In checking the weather back home I find that the cold has finally come to Benson. High's around 40 and snow on the way, while I sweat in 75 degrees. Thank God for air conditioning! While you may be envious I tell you it is not all too comfortable when you are not used to the heat and humidity any longer.

Mark and Marissa have a comfortable house, with lots of fruit trees in there yard. Pineapples, bananas, mangos, oranges and advocados all for the taking by stepping outside. Amazing! I am sure my two weeks here will go very quickly but I do look forward to being home even if it is freezing!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knitting Nite

Thick yarn, big hooks and an easy pattern were the order of the night at Swift Weaver's as 8 girls scouts and their 2 leaders stopped in to learn to crochet. Making a super chunky cowl neckpiece seemed an easy-to-do project for the girls and many of them caught on quickly. It is always a joy to be able to pass down the crafts to a new generation.

People have always knit or crocheted for many different reasons beyond just producing garments or giving gifts. There is a satisfaction in a job well done, surmounting a new or challenging project, learning a new technique, creating something beautiful, keeping busy, giving to charity, relaxing the mind, exercising the joints, and gathering with others. In this day and age it is so easy to be busy, busy, busy. Knitting and crocheting allow us to be "busy" in a relaxed way, recharging the body and spirit.

We have a dedicated group of knitter's who meet every Tuesday afternoon from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. here at Swift Weaver's. Originally the group began by knitting helmet liners for the men of the armed forces from our area who were to be deployed overseas. Over 600 hats were knit by the women of Benson and the surrounding area. It was amazing! Not having had enough of hats, they turned their attention to chemo caps. Inspired by different patterns and yarns many hats were made and donated to our own hospital here in Benson and also to Rice Hospital in Willmar. Some were and still are given out here at the shop directly to patients or relatives. A need for hats for dialysis patients at the hospital in Willmar has presented itself and we will be knitting for that cause in the coming months. Anyone wishing to participate may stop by Swift Weavers's for yarn or patterns. Don't knit or crochet? Donations for yarn purchase are also accepted.
What are your favorite reasons to knit or crochet? We'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


It looks like winter has finally arrived though I would swear I was at the beach in the middle of a hurricane. What a wind! I blew into Our Redeemer's for Smorgasbord dinner tonight. I just love to see everyone dressed in Norwegian costume. I especially like to see everyone's out in their Norwegian jewelry. It is just beautiful.
I am getting ready this week and next for the Clara City craft fair which is November 6th. I have been to it many times but never as a vendor so it should be interesting. I'm sure many in the area will be going. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

TIME is My Enemy

With another year gone by and a birthday coming up TIME is on my mind. At this stage of my life opening this business was an effort to fulfill my desire to work as an artist. Trying to keep in mind Grandma Moses career as a folk artist took off when she was in her 60's I leapt into the fray. There is a warm and welcoming community of family and friends at Swift Weaver's/Bugs and Flowers without whose support I would not have had the heart to try. To all of you I say "Thank you."
Community support for local businesses is necessary if they are to succeed. In this day and age we also have to be aware of another type of community in which we must involve ourselves in order to succeed. And so this week I have spent TIME jumping into the arena of social media and the internet community. Along with this blog and a flickr site I now have a business facebook page and a twitter account. While the setup is fairly painless, as with all internet pursuits, it takes a large amount of one's TIME to post, upload pictures and design pages. However, in order to compete in this an ever evolving marketplace it is a must do. And so feeling a little like Alice down the rabbit hole I have taken the plunge. I am committed to updating my social sites a little more frequently in the hopes of at least establishing a small following of craft and fiber enthusiasts,especially those at home. With TIME as my enemy I prepare for battle. Next up - selling on Etsy and a website of my own. Yee hah!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Make and Take Is Back

After a long and busy summer I am happy to be able to start the monthly Make and Take Night back up at Swift Weaver's. Our first project will be a Collaged Candle inspired by the latest issue of Cloth Paper and Scissors, my favorite idea magazine. Using a combination of paper and fabric I have crafted these collaged candle's as samples. Make and Take will be at Swift Weaver's on Monday night, October 18 from 6-9 p.m. These candle's work well with as holiday decorations or gifts. The sample's reflect Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Vintage theme's. Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 30, 2010


Ahh, spring. When a young man's fancy turns to love and Minnesotans to gardening. And who can blame them. After a long, cold winter we are experiencing a very mild and wonderful spring here in Benson. I just love the gardens here in our town. Most of them are beautiful and full of hidden treasures such as birdhouses, old antique pottery, and a wide variety of garden art. Inspired by a recent swap which involved birds I pulled out the miniature birdhouses I purchased last year during Crazy Days. I decorated these tiny havens with paper, ink, glue and paint. A final varnishing and they are ready to pop into large houseplants, peeking out of the foliage and bringing a little of the outside in for the year round garden enthusiast. Nicknamed "Sweet Tweets" Birdhouses here is a small sample... with more to come.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Continuity and Quilting

So much for blogging once a week. It sounds so easy until you find yourself with so little time. At any rate - I received a call this week about the Minnesota Quilt Show in St. Cloud. The show is Saturday, June 19th and a group of quilting ladies west of here know as the Hands Across the Lake Quilt Guild are sponsoring a bus trip to the show. To sign up call Erlys Sis at 320-839-3786. The bus will leave Milbank at 7 a.m., Ortonville at 7:20 and Benson at 8:05. This is a luxury bus tour for the cost of only $28. Reserve your spot, first come first served for seats. The show will have a variety of quilt styles, from heirloom, to contemporary. Special exhibits consist of children's quilts, State Fair quilts, Fiber Art collections, Studio Art displays, hand dying and surface design. Something for everyone! I won't want to miss it... don't you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Minnesota Monday

Well this week, especially today, has been about snow, ice, and WIND. But let's put all that out of our minds.
Last week I was working on ATC cards for a Very Vintage Card Swap with the Red Lead Swap Sisters on Yahoo groups. Swap groups are easy to join and fun to be involved in. Yahoo has many groups which share and trade art through the mail, which is a good way to support the post office in this electronic day and age.
Artist's Trading Cards have been around for awhile. The idea is to create a card sized piece of art to be traded with other artist's around the world. The ATC standard size is 2.5" x 3.5". That is the only real rule other than they are never to be sold but only traded. The medium, method and variety of cards are subject only to your imagination, though many groups will set up a theme in order to stimulate creativity and to focus the swap. The swap I am currently making cards for is a Red Lead Paperworks swap. The theme is Very Vintage and uses 2 Red Lead images and one Red Lead word stamp.
Artist Trading Cards allow for small scale creative exploration of techniques and mediums, are fast and easy, and are fun to collect. On these ATC's I took a printed bag I picked up some time ago shopping and used Tim Holz's Distress Ink "China Blue" to colorize the background. I used the color "Corduroy" to further age the background. Distress Inks are easy to use by rubbing the transparent ink onto paper or cardstock. You can combine the colors for many different looks. They can be further enhanced by misting them with water for a variety of effects. I brought out the photo by using a slide mount punch to cut out a frame from a very glittery blue paper. Some vintage lace ribbon, Red Lead vintage bottle image and there you have it - a Very Vintage ATC.
To learn more about Red Lead Paperworks swap sisters or to join the group visit and enjoy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Make and Take

Starting the new year off right usually signifies a fresh start marked by the purchase of a new calendar, planner or date book.
So for our January Make and Take Night we made our own.

The choice was a desktop CD calendar or a clipboard calendar for your wall. The calendars were blank, allowing for dates to be filled in and the possiblity of redoing them for many years to follow by just replacing the calendar grid.
To the right on the side bar is a slideshow of the great work generated by those in attendance. Thanks to all who participated.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti during this time of crisis for their country.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year

So I have started a blog. Who would have thought? and what do I have to say?
A lot if I meet you in person, I would lay my whole life out in front of you if you ask. Testimony. A testament to God.
So what do you say to a cyber community? Do you pretend they are not there? Or do you pacify yourself with the thought that no one will probably read this blog anyway? Pretend it's your online personal journal and buck up the courage to write what you think and damn the consequences?!
What do I want this blog to be about? Well - art for one. This new year I am resolved to really investigate and find my own personal muse.... to focus. I am resolved to get involved with the internet art community via Flikr, Etsy, Facebook and this blog. I will be sharing photos of projects made by myself or of people who visit my shop and take part in the creativity and experience of art.

God - for two. Because He IS the first priority of my life. I put art in the number one postion because I have always spent time with God. In scripture, in Bible Study, in church, in life. But art is the reason I have gone cyber with it and Him.

Politics - for three. Part of living in the world and being in this online community is a recognition that we are all a part of this great big world. And we are all different, all have our own opinions, our own reasons, rationalizations, justifications, etc. etc. etc. And we should not be afraid to express them no matter what. That is freedom of speech and the foundation of democracy. From time to time I just might want to state what and who I stand for in this space. And so I will. On that note , I say to the Florida football player who wears his faith on the field - right on and God bless you.

And so I begin...