Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm the woman who has her Christmas tree up and lit by November 1.  By then the lighted garlands are swagged and twinkling across the porch, held in place with a red bow on each spindle.  The well-behaved, well-dressed Dog and Cat grace the cover of the handmade cards mailed to everyone on The List, with plenty of time to send extras to those not already on The List.  The homemade sugar cookies are in the freezer.  They have been lovingly made using the cookie cutters my Grandma gave me throughout my childhood.  The cookies are frosted red, green and yellow, sprinkled, and outlined using the tiniest tip on the end of a pastry bag.  The perfect presents are wrapped in coordinating paper, adorned with fancy bows and sorted by family under the tree - the tree that holds on its branches my growing collection of vintage glass ornaments.  I’ve made each of my nephews a unique ornament with their photo in it, having chosen the best picture from the year’s activities.  By now I’m just waiting for the festivities to begin…

This year I’m.  Freaking.  Out.  A little bit.

I’ve never been this far behind.  The porch is dark, the wicker furniture and dirty grill are still out there.  Not a single card has been made or mailed.  I can’t find The List.  I thought I could skip the decorated sugar cookies this year but I was asked to bring them to the family celebration this weekend.  I still need to buy some presents, and the ones I have already are waiting unwrapped on the dining room table.    I guess it’s alright that the presents aren’t wrapped, since the tree isn’t up anyway.  I haven’t begun looking through the thousands of pictures I’ve taken this year to find the most appropriate one for each nephew’s ornament.  Two customers haven’t received their orders yet and I’m nervous they got lost in the mail.  I think I’m getting an infection.

HO HO HOwever, I keep telling myself to look at the positives.  Like, I couldn’t get an early start to the season because I was in the studio preparing for holiday craft shows and events that I did with one of my closest friends.  Thanksgiving was spent with some people who mean the most to me. I’ll be keeping my promise to my husband’s nephew that I’d bring the fancy cookies to our Christmas celebration.  And I’ll tease him about eating so many.  By next year the mess from sealing the basement will be cleaned up, the boxes that were moved to the garage will have been sorted, and the Christmas decorations will all be in one place.

I’m looking forward to unwinding at Yoga on Friday, my parents coming from Illinois, and all of us heading up north to the cabin for Christmas.  Can’t wait to stand around a blazing bonfire at my husband’s Aunt Jeannie’s house, a beer in one hand and a fire poker in the other.  People will stop by and we’ll catch up.

On Christmas morning I’ll be thinking about people opening gifts they received that I’ve made, hoping they are happy.  The cabin will be full of people and pets.  We’ll eat too much and not care. 

We have another Christmas celebration to look forward to in January with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews.  We can enjoy our time together without having to fit it into the packed weekend.
Well it’s looking like this year may not be a white Christmas.  It will be only the third time that has happened here in twenty years.  Maybe that’s why it just doesn’t seem like it's a few days before Christmas.  Normally we’d be planning to snowmobile up north next week, but the bright side is that there will be more time in front of the fireplace with my nose in a magazine.  With my momma.
And there will be no decorations or tree to put away after Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I’m really wishing my online store was active, now that my local events are done for the season.  I’ve been getting requests for it, so it’s something I will be working on first thing in the new year. 
In the meantime, I thought I’d post some of the inventory I have in hand, ready to ship in time for Christmas (if ordered in the next few days or so).  We can discuss payment options if you’re interested in making a purchase. 
Please leave a email me directly at berge.rager@yahoo.com if you have any questions.  I like to keep the process very simple and easy!
As always, I welcome custom orders if you prefer a different color or size. 
FINGERLESS GLOVES/HAND WARMERS
(all buttons are vintage)
$24 per pair:


FLEECE HAT - SIZE MEDIUM
$29 each, or $25 each if ordering more than one hat

FLEECE HEADBAND - VARIOUS SIZES
$12 each
KNIT HEADBAND - SIZE LARGE
$16
(all buttons are vintage)


SCARF - OLIVE GREEN OR BROWN
$34 each

FLEECE HAT - SIZE SMALL
$29 each, or $25 each if ordering more than one hat

CHILD STRETCH HEADBAND
$10 each:


VINTAGE SCRABBLE TILE NECKLACE
Includes chain and sparkly bead, you pick the letter
$10

GAME PIECE LETTER NECKLACE
Includes chain and sparkly bead, you pick the letter
$8

MIXED MEDIA NECKLACES
Features pop bottle caps filled with vintage paper and resin, bone beads, metal piece sign and other bits and baubles
$37

Features pop bottle caps filled with vintage account ledger paper and beads
$18

Features vintage postage stamp adhered to a wooden game piece and sparkly purple beads
$12

Custom Orders Welcome!

Thanks so much for stopping by to take a look at my creations!
xoxoxo
Hmmmm...
Lucky the Studio Cat
Somecat found Santa's hiding place
and got his catnip toy out of the package last night.
BUSTED!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last year as I was just getting started on this creative venture, my sister hosted a party at her house to introduce my art and jewelry to our circles of friends.  My three little nephews had so much fun straightening jewelry displays, counting change, and helping at the checkout.  They kept asking me when we’re going to do it again. 
Well last Thursday, we did it again!  My last sale event of the season was held at my sister’s beautiful home, and what a fun way to end a year bursting with creativity! 
My three little nephew elves helped again this year.
They ran the 'cash register':



They wrote customer invoices:

They made signs:

And they were in charge of high-tech security:

I really appreciate the wonderful words of support and encouragement from this fantastic group of women. 
Love that they stayed awhile for wine and treats, chatting and enjoying each other's company. 

Photo By: A Nephew Elf

And they didn't mind when I asked a few of them if I could take a picture with their new stuff! 

Embellished Hat with Vintage Button
   

Sparkly Bracelet with Vintage Bling
  


Necklaces & Fingerless Gloves
    
    
Vintage Scrabble Tile Necklace


Handmade Fleece Mittens

Fingerless Gloves
 
Handmade Fleece Hat


Thank you, friends, for a lovely evening!
xo xo xo xo xo

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Just peeking in as I finish up some studio projects under construction.
My last sale of the season is tomorrow evening in Illinois.

I'll be seeing this little guy tomorrow, and my two other nephews. 

YIPPEE!

Friday, December 2, 2011

I’ve come to a conclusion.  I have a love/sort-of-hate relationship with selling my creations. 

The love part comes when I’m in my studio with my black Lab snoozing on what was once our bed comforter, my tiger kitty is belly-up and snoring on the corner of my drafting table under the warm track lights.  I have no time constraint.  No plan.  Everything flows.

Love is when I talk to my creative friends every day about projects we’re working on, something we’re stuck on, sharing ideas and brainstorming.  Usually giving or receiving encouragement, depending on the day.

Love is seeing something I’ve made being worn by someone, and it suits them perfectly.


Here's lovely Karen wearing the hat created especially to match this coat.
Love how she wears the brim at an angle!




Lucca chose this hat that matches her coat and scarf.  So cute!
 


Madison tried on a few colors and styles.  As soon as she put this hat on, we all agreed THIS was the one!
 

It's moments like these that give me a burst of creative energy,
a feeling that I'm on the right track creatively.

It's the sort-of-hate part of selling my creations that I’ve been struggling with lately. There’s a lot of self-imposed pressure to make something completely original, all the while hoping people will like it enough to buy.   If I could afford to, I’d just give away the stuff I make.  You like this?  Here, take it!  I really don’t want to go on and on about the toils of pricing or marketing….we’ve all been there.

On a more personal level, I’ve been feeling out of balance.  I’ve let too many important things go by the wayside this year and it’s time to re-focus.  I have an event next week that will be the last of this holiday season; then it’s time to hang up my hat for awhile.  Got some thinking to do.  A tree to decorate.  Meals to cook.  Friends to call.  Hands to hold. 

Harmony...that's what I'll be working on.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

hTWISTED SISTERSg
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE

You Are Cordially Invited
To Join Artisans Amanda & Jody

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1
 from 3-8 pm at Wausau's City Grill
For Their Annual Open House

Featuring Handmade Jewelry, Hats, Gloves,
Accessories, Ornaments,
Embellished Glassware,
And Much, Much MORE!

Their Super Talented Friend PJ
Will Be Singing & Playing Acoustic Guitar!

Grab a warm drink at the bar,
listen to some great music,
and hang out with the twisted sisters!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just got back from a fantastic Thanksgiving with my family in Illinois.  My parents and I all stayed with my sister’s family for a few days, which meant lots of Auntie time with my three nephews (my favorite thing ever).  This year we went out to eat for our big dinner on Thursday, so no one had to cook or clean up.  Actually, none of us really enjoy cooking all that much, so for us it is SO the way to go.  I hope we do that again.
I took some sewing projects with me to work on during the down time, of which there is hardly any, normally.  My youngest nephew got in on the sewing action, and we made scarves and neck warmers for a few of his stuffed animals.  Then we made him a money pouch with a wrist strap.  I was so preoccupied making sure he didn't cut himself with the sewing scissors that I didn't snap any pictures of these creations.  Priorities... 
My creative Momma helped sew on embellishments and snaps to fingerless gloves and pouches.  Here are a few of the things we finished: 
Fingerless Gloves / Hand Warmers

- and -

Cell Phone Cases / Little-Stuff-Pouches

I’m forecasting much more of these artsy little guys in my future, they are so fun to design.
Now I have to decide which little pair of gloves goes to market, and which little pair stays home!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I love Christmas songs.  Love, Love.

Today during the bizarre at the elementary school, my love was tested.  Being broadcast from somewhere near the baked goods were THE most depressing versions of Christmas songs ever recorded.  On a continuous loop.  Throughout the morning.  And early afternoon.

Needing a change of scenery, I meandered down the hallway that was blanketed with class art projects. 
This was my favorite:





I really want to try doing something like this!  I studied each one and decided which is closest to my own likeness, if I were to do a self-portrait too. 


So I've added "Cubism: Picasso Self-Portait" to my bucket list. 
Probably after the holidays.

For now, I have some uptempo carols piping into the studio.  Must sing now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We’ve been getting ready all week long!


 Hope you can stop by Saturday and say hello!
Rib Mountain Bizarre
Rib Mountain Elementary School
2701 Robin Lane
8:30 AM to 3 PM

Thursday, November 17, 2011

At our event last week,
someone asked about making headbands for little girls.
Ask and ye shall receive...



Jody and I will be participating in the Rib Mountain Bizarre this Saturday at the Rib Mountain Elementary School, so I figured that would be a great place for the headbands to make their debut.
I have to admit it took me almost all day to make these.  They are a departure from what I tend to make (and a tad bit “crafty”), so it took a little stretching of the imagination to get the concept.  Plus I couldn’t use my three nephews as my inspiration for these frilly things, so I had to rely on my own inner child in a big way today.
I need to do that more often.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh My Gosh.
I couldn’t wait to post about my Goodwill find today...



A whole shoe-box size container of vintage buttons!
 
Metal ones.  Bakelite ones.  Crocheted ones.  Pearly ones.  Furry ones.
Not sure yet which one is my favorite.
I'll let you know after they've had a bath.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Greetings!
Hope you are enjoying the early holiday season!



My creating friend Jody and I have been busy in our studios making all kinds of new things for our upcoming holiday events and shows - we're calling it "The Twisted Sisters Holiday Tour".  

Our first event is today at St. Clare's Hospital in Weston, WI:

ST. CLARE'S CRAFTY FOR A CAUSE FUNDRAISER   7:30 AM — 4:30 PM
The Volunteers of Ministry Saint Clare's Hospital in Weston will be holding their 6th Annual "Crafty for a Cause" Craft Fair fundraiser in their Conference Center
(Entrance #3).

Just a few of the handmade items we'll be featuring are:

Unique Jewelry
Fleece & Embellished Fashion Hats
Glam Gloves
Ornaments
Stocking Stuffers
Much More!

We'd love if you stopped by to say Hello!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hello, and thanks for checking in!  I’ve been busy sewing in the studio, experimenting with new hat styles, gloves and mittens.  For a long time I’d wanted to try making fabric accessories.  Truth is, there are two things that always got in my way of ever trying:  having to follow a pattern (I’m generally not a very good direction follower), and being a perfectionist regarding my own handiwork.  But...it's amazing how much motivation a fleece sale at the fabric store provides!  I bought yards of soft fleece in all my favorite colors and got right to it.  I wrote about my first batch of hats in a previous post:

First Batch of Hats

These first few hats took me a long time to make, but I've figured out a way to make the process a little bit quicker.  

I've had some inquiries about other colors and sizes for kids' hats, so that's what's been on the palette lately:
More Colors & Kid Sizes Too!
It's been fun experimenting with different styles, fabrics and embellishments:
New Hat Styles & Fingerless Gloves!

Oh, and here's what happens when you nap on the sewing table on top of the fabric scraps:
Lucky the Studio Cat

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today I'm feeling so very blessed and grateful for girlfriends.
My Great-Grandma Edith is the pretty lady in the middle.

When I moved here from Illinois almost nine years ago, it took me a long time to meet people.  I had a wonderful group of girlfriends back home, but they were several hours away.  And I really missed them.  Oh how I wished I could meet some people who were just like me.

In the last couple years, I've again been blessed with a fantastic and diverse group of girlfriends.  I can't say they are all like me, or that we all have the exact same interests.  But that's what makes things fun and interesting, don't you think? 


Today I spent almost all day in the company of girlfriends.  An early morning Starbucks date and a few giggly hours in the studio with two new friends followed by a phone call from a dear, dear friend from home.

And now I sit here, a few more phone conversations later, realizing how very lucky I am to be surrounded by such lovely souls.

I hope they know how much they mean to me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I’ve always loved hats.  I think that’s the only thing I like about cold weather…it’s a good excuse to wear a cute hat.  I’m constantly on the hunt for fun and trendy hats to buy and embellish with fabric or wool flowers, beads, and the like.  It was fun having the embellished hats at the market this summer, watching people try them on and pose in front of the mirror (insert tilted-head kissy face look here).
I’ve been ready to take the hats one step further and make some warm winter hats from scratch, going through the whole process of cutting out the pieces, pinning, sewing (then removing the stitches and re-sewing correctly), and my favorite part of embellishing the hats with flowers and doo-dads.  Last weekend I was home with nowhere else to be, so I got out my bins of soft fleece that I’ve been stockpiling for just this occasion. 
The hats were surprisingly fun to construct (except for the removing of stitches and re-sewing correctly part).  Let me tell you, it makes life so much easier when you’re using the right kind of sewing machine needle and thread.  I was prepared for a wrestling match with my machine, but we didn’t have a single altercation during the process of making these five hats.

These warm and cozy hats will be for sale at the shop in the Wisconsin Museum of Quilting & Fiber Arts near Milwaukee.  Now for the next batch…one in hunter’s orange for me to wear while walking the dog during hunting season.  And a matching one for the dog.  You’ll definitely see us coming.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The other day I met with a client who recently moved from Atlanta to our area of Wisconsin, so she has yet to experience a winter here.  She told me about a message her Spanish friend had sent her, which basically translated into “you’ll be fine if you wear the right armour”.

I was thinking of that as I created my first made-from-scratch fleece hat...


No one said we can’t have cute armour.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Hello from The Farm!

I'm just back from a wonderful trip back Home for the harvest.
I really need to get there more often.
It was great for the soul.
I'll be posting some more pictures when I get settled in!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CATCHING UP…
Now that the summer frenzy has calmed a bit and the cooler weather has kept me cooped up indoors, I've been working on editing photos, finishing projects, and catching up.
I figure a little late IS better than never
to post some pictures of the last two weeks of Market Place Thursday in Wausau.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Jody & Amanda

We invited our friend Patti to play and sing in our area of the market.
She is super talented and we loved having her there!

Miss Patti

It was a gorgeous sunny September day and sort of difficult to think of wearing wool hats and gloves, but here in Wisconsin I guess it's never too early to debut cold weather ware.

Vintage beret and mohair gloves embellished with hand-knit flowers and vintage buttons.
 
Fingerless wool gloves embellished with felted wool flowers and vintage buttons.

Nothing pleases us more than when our customers show up wearing things we've created!

Pam wearing a Creative Looks by Jody necklace and bracelet

Melissa wearing a Happy Heart Studio bird and nest necklace. 

Deb wearing a Happy Heart Studio vintage element necklace
 These twinkle toes belong to Amy, Melissa and Jody.

 

So Fun!!

Thanks again to Patti for sharing her wonderful talent with us for the day,


and for keeping us forever entertained!