Latest Designs at Beads & Brass

Here are the latest bracelets added to my shop on Etsy. Don’t forget – free shipping to the US and Canada ends this Saturday!


Felted Bobble Hot Pad

I’ve never been interested in creating a felted knit piece, but after I found a pattern for a felted bobble hot pad on Ravelry and fell in love, I decided to give it a try. The free pattern is by DROPS design and is available on

Surprisingly, the hardest part for me was finding 100% wool yarn. The pattern called for bulky weight yarn, and I checked out two big box craft supply stores and had no luck. I’m sure I could have found it online or at an independent yarn store, but because I’ve never felted a project before, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on yarn in case I created a giant mess. So I ended up holding two yarns of aran weight together.

Hot pad

My first two attempts at felting were disappointing. Another knitter suggested I check out this website for some felting tips. It seems the key is wash on low water setting to create a lot of agitation. My third and final attempt came out much better!

Hot pad

As my first felted project, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I’m planning to make this project again for some Christmas gifts. Next time, I’ll buy bulky weight yarn and make the finished piece square.

Pattern:Knitted and Felted Christmas Hot Pad by DROPS Design
Yarn: Stitch Nation Full O’ Sheep in cream
My Ravelry project: Felted Hot Pad

Whole Orange Walnut Cherry Muffins :: Recipe

This is one of my new favorite muffin recipes! By using a whole orange, peel and all, this muffin has a wonderful sweet citrus flavor. I also used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I’m under no delusions that this made these muffins healthier, but I think whole wheat flour gives baked goods a richer, fuller flavor. If you’ve never baked with whole wheat flour, I definitely recommend it! I would suggest going half and half with all-purpose flour so that your baked goodies are still fluffy.

Whole Orange Walnut Cherry Muffin

I found the original recipe here on I made quite a few mods, such as using whole wheat flour, swapping in dried cherries, and adding crushed walnuts.


  • 1 orange, cut in to 16 small pieces and seeds removed (with peel and pith)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine (to soften, let butter sit out until it is no longer cool to the touch)
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • Coarse sugar for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Put orange pieces in food processor (or blender) along with orange juice and process or blend until pureed.
  3. Add egg and softened butter to food processor and combine; pour into large bowl.
  4. Combine dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add all at once to orange mixture. Stir to combine.
  5. Add walnuts and cherries and stir to combine.
  6. Line muffin pan with liners. Fill muffin cups, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes; remove from oven and let stand in tin for 5 minutes before removing muffins.

Etsy Treasury :: June 22, 2012

‘Lost in the North Woods’ by beadsandbrass

Summer means camping. Remember – don’t feed the bears.

















Treasury tool supported by the dog house

Chevron Knits

You cannot get away from chevron right now. It’s every where, from floors to clothes to stationery. Since I love to knit, I’ve searched around for some great chevron patterns. I love the subtle look of a chevron lace stitch in a solid color for cowls and scarves.

All of these are free knit patterns, but you may need a log-in for certain sites.

chevron knit cowl

chevron hat, scarf, and gloves

Handmade by :: The Indigo Forest

Group of gnomes

I first saw the creations at The Indigo Forest a few days ago and I was blown away. Not only are all of the pieces beautifully handmade by Kellie, the shop owner, but there is a variety of different mediums and styles. Below she answers a few questions about herself and her shop.

1. Give me a little background about you.

My name is Kellie and I’m the creative force behind The Indigo Forest. I live in central North Carolina with my family and love all of the beauty this part of the country has to offer.

I’m a mama to two wonderfully mischievous boys and I have a little one on the way. When I’m not chasing my little ones around, you’ll usually find me crafting.

2. How did your Etsy shop, The Indigo Forest, get started?

I started my Etsy shop at the encouragement of my mother. It was something that I always wanted to do, but was a little hesitant at first. I knew nothing about keeping up with a shop, but I’m so glad that I pursued my dream. I have learned so much and have met so many wonderful, talented artisans through Etsy.

3. Is Etsy your full-time job?

Well, being a mama is my full-time job. The Indigo Forest is more of my creative outlet. Don’t get me wrong though, it is a job. I am just lucky enough that I don’t have to get up early and leave every morning!


4. What do you enjoy most about creating handmade pieces?

Hmm…Everything! I love the whole process of starting with nothing and creating something truly unique that will bring people joy. It is amazing every time I finish something to go “I did that, I made that with my own two hands.” Being able to take an idea, something you see in your mind and to make it appear in front of you is always exciting.

5. I love your gnomes! How did you come up with the Waldorf toys?

Thank you! I was inspired by the many other Waldorf artisans out there to start creating my own pieces. I loved working with natural materials to begin with and with myself having small children, it seemed like a natural place to venture into.

6. You have a variety of items in your shop. Is there a particular medium you prefer to work with?

Like I said above, I love working with natural materials. Wood, wool, cotton, etc.. If I had to pick a favorite medium, I guess I would have to say wool, in all forms. The feel and the smell of it is soothing to me.

7. How would your describe your creative process?

I wouldn’t really say I have a “process”. An idea will just pop into my head and when that happens I usually write it down or I have to begin creating it as soon as possible. I try to just go with the “creative” flow.

8. Do you have any creative goals for the next few years?

Well, I would still love to be creating and selling in the future. As far as actual goals go, I don’t really have any. I find it best to just see where life will take you.

9. What do you do outside of Etsy? 

Outside of my shop and taking care of my children, I love to cook! I have a passion for whole, real foods. Making food from scratch and being able to share it with people always makes me happy.

For the Love of :: Being Green

I received this email today. See my thoughts below after the email.

Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person…

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.

When I started reading this email, I liked it. But as I read on, I started to get a little annoyed. It’s true, people used to do a lot more things by hand / without electricity.  People also spent more money to buy things that lasted longer than a year/season. And people were also not as quick to replace things that weren’t broken just because they were no longer fashionable. But I wonder how many of these “old people” still do all of these things? It would be great if they did! It seems to me that the “old people” were the ones who adopted all of the conveniences that this writer is criticizing.

I don’t buy bottled water, I ride my bike to the store if I can fit what I need in my basket, I would love to take a streetcar or trolley downtown but Minneapolis ripped out all of their streetcar lines in the 1950s (see my previous post about MSP’s steetcars), I have quite a few friends who use reusable diapers (no kids myself), and I used to cover my books with paper bags.

My husband and I have been making a conscious effort to consume less stuff (cause in the end, most of it is just stuff) for the last two years. For the last 6 months, I’ve refused to buy anything made in China if I can avoid it. Clothes are absolutely no exceptions, but it gets tough with electronics. It’s been my experience that items made in China just do not last, and they’re not meant to. These items are produced quickly and cheaply, and are meant to be replaced after a year or two.  It got a little tricky around Christmas, but I did it! My hubby embraced my goal, and all of the gifts he gave me were made in the U.S.

What are your thoughts about this email? Are you a “smartass young person” who likes to be green, or are you one of the “old people” who knows the real meaning of green?