Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vote in the Etsy Thread Artists Poll for October 2009 Thread Artist!!

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items In Fibers

The Etsy Thread Artists Monthly Poll for the October 2009 Thread Artist is nearing its end!!

The winner of the Poll will be Featured on our Team Blog and the front page of our Team NING social network.

These Polls gives our Team an idea of what people admire in Thread Crochet - so if you would like to voice your opinion, go over there and vote!!

We have over 40 members now and they do quite a variety of different objects in Thread Crochet. Maybe you have seen something by one of them that you particularly like -- well the Poll is at the top right of our Team Blog - just click on the shop for the Thread Artist you like!!

If you feel like it - you can browse through the shops that are listed on our Team Blog -- or do this search on Etsy and see which Thread Artist you would like to vote for:

Maybe something just catches your eye - well go ahead and vote for that person!

We are having this Poll Monthly, so you can always vote for whoever you want to the next month!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

ARTISAN FEATURE: Sherry of Sherry's Garden

Ruth Sandra Sperling

Sherry of Sherry's Garden and I became "Internet friends" over time after "meeting" in an online crochet group. As things went, we started emailing outside the group about all kinds of subjects in addition to our crochet. We've kept up over time -- and I always have liked her crocheted flowers in so many different perky colors. I make my own for my own crochet, but for all those out there who just want to pick some up to put on -- who knows what -- Sherry of Sherry's Garden may be the best shop to go to ....

Sherry of Sherry's Garden

Question: What places do you sell your Thread Crochet on the Internet?

Answer: I only sell on Etsy:

Question: Do you ever sell your own Thread Crochet offline? If so, Where & Why?

Answer: Donate to Hopefully Yours, a thrift shop in Burlington, Iowa that benefits Hope Haven, school and residence for mentally challenged kids & adults.

Question: What kinds of Thread Crochet do you do (including methods, techniques, materials etc.) and prefer?

Answer: I make crochet flowers as supplies for other crafters, some are acylic/polyester and some are cotton, most done in size 10 or 20 threads. Lots of colors and sizes.

Question: Are there any particular Thread Crochet designers that you prefer? Please Name them, state Why & What kinds of designs.

Answer: I love the floral crochet doily designs! RSS designs and Demet's lovely work, all of the great ladies that make the floral doilies.

Question: How did you learn Thread Crochet? Did (Do) you teach yourself or take classes?

Answer: I taught myself to crochet for the most part, my grandmother helped me some.

Question: How long have you been doing Thread Crochet? - Go into your Personal History in it as much as you want to here, such as why you started doing Thread Crochet and any inspirations and/or people who interested you in it.

Answer: I started doing thread crochet 40 years ago. My grandmother made doilies and I loved the look of them, and she was such a great lady I wanted to do something to please her and to as creative as she was. I did doilies and tablecloths for a long time, then found the flowers were quicker and more useful to other crafters. Just about any color combination works for me, and there are thousands of possibilities.

Question: Are there other interests in your life that you would like to discuss (hobbies, charities, other careers)?

Answer: The only other interests in my life are my family and my pets!

Question: To anyone who is interested in learning and doing Thread Crochet, do you have any suggestions or recommendations?

Answer: Go outside the norm with your crochet. Experiment with colors and textures and go with what pleases you.

Question: Do you have a blog or website where you discuss or showcase your Thread Crochet?

Answer: My blog is about a lot of things; my crochet, sewing, cooking, and most dear to me, dogs.

Please Note: My Features are based on the artisan's answers to questions I give them and the photos they send me or choose or approve -- I give all artisans I Feature full editing rights.

Friday, September 18, 2009

GIFT GUIDES on Etsy Thread Artists

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items In Fibers

Etsy Thread Artists, my Etsy Team for Thread Crochet, has Gift Guides on its blog - listed on the right of the blog, a little bit down.

It was decided by our members to have Gift Guides on our Team Blog, so that we can showcase our work and give our viewers an idea of what we make that might be good for Gifts!!

I have items in all of them. I think they are a great idea!!

Below is a picture of one of my items from each of the 5 Gift Guides we have so far - with the name of the Gift Guide (which links to it on our Team blog) -- and each picture links to my respective item on Etsy!

Fall or Autumn or Harvest Gift Guide:

Americana Gift Guide:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Angeles National Forest - Along the Metrolink Tracks

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items In Fibers

Even though the skies have been clear over my house with no noticeable smell of smoke (at least to me), the Station Fire is not totally out yet and I am still checking the InciWeb Incident Site for the Station Fire whenever I sign on the Internet.

I think this InciWeb Site is really great for the people in the communities around the Angeles National Forest - or for anyone who cares about what is actually going on. I do not depend on the news reports, though I do occasionally read news articles online and check the pictures and videos. I like really being informed!!

Well, Monday and Tuesday this week I also went down to Los Angeles on the Metrolink train - it runs on tracks east of the Freeway, Highway 14, and through areas of the Angeles National Forest - mostly west of the Station Fire as far as I knew, but I wasn't sure what I would see on the train trip.

I watched carefully for signs of the Station Fire and I am happy to report that there were very few signs of it, though it looked like there was some blackened land back in the mountains east of Acton. The familiar trees and bushes mostly looked they always had - including Thousand Oaks (which was evacuated for a few days).

Basically, the Fire-Fighting Crews were quite successful at containing the Station Fire on the western edge - including keeping it out of Placerita Canyon and away from Sylmar and Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, which is quite a relief!!

They also kept it contained enough to keep it out of the east Antelope Valley, where I live!

Though they are still working on the containment line - and there are still hot spots - it is now 93% contained and the full containment date is now Sept. 22nd.

I am not surprised it is taking so long - I can just imagine the fire creeping through the brush and chaparral in the crevices and canyons -- in past years I spent enough time up there to realize the terrain that the Fire-Fighting crews are dealing with -- especially with chaparral communities that have been growing for years and years and have not burned for 40 years or more. I can just imagine the walls of chaparral in some areas!

I am just Hugely Thankful that the crews have enough experience and training to do what they are doing!!

In our Mediterranean Climate of our California forests, I have had to face and deal with the fact of fire in these forests for years now. Having talked with Fire and Fuels Specialists in the California region of the US National Forests at Public Meetings, I have learned a lot.

Our beautiful landscapes of California unforutnately have droughts, fires and floods -- but the way they evolved, they are well-suited to recovery.

This so un-natural fire happened and now all I can personally do is look to the recovery.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Angeles National Forest - The Improved Situation Today

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items In Fibers

With the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest in such close proximity - in the mountains south of my home, I have been checking the InciWeb Incident Information for information daily - and often several times a day for updates.

I am glad to be able to report that per that report this morning, the Station Fire is 84% contained - it never spread over the north ridges of the San Gabriel Mountains so that you saw it from where I am in the east Antelope Valley -- due to the hard work and skills of all the Fire Fighting and Fire & Fuels people working on it, which I give a Huge, Heartfelt Thanks to!

They have worked so hard in the days since the fire spread to aproximately 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest.

Having been to U. S. Forest Service meetings regarding Fire & Fuels - having heard professionals in the field speak and show information - with some demonstration -- and having spent many hours of my time in the very area that the Station Fire is in, I have some reality on what they have had to deal with.

This Current Towercam Image from the 150-Foot Solar Tower at Mount Wilson Observatory (courtesy of the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy) shows a view from Mount Wilson Observatory - and it shows plenty of trees left!! For us tree-lovers and ecology-minded people, that is important!

It also shows their success in protecting Mount Wilson, with its Observatory and Communication Towers and Facilities.

It also gives an idea of the ragged terrain.

As discussed in this Wikipedia article on Mediterranean Climate, there is a lot of Chaparral in this climate -- and there was in the Station Fire area. Based on reports after the fire started, some of these areas had not burned for over 40 years - or over 100 years. Reading this other Wikipedia article on Chaparral may help for people to understand this climate and its ecology.

I can only conclude from reading these articles, that some of the fire may have been beneficial to this Chaparral ecosystem in some places because of the Fire Ecology of this ecosystem - though this is hard for the people living here to deal with. Chaparral species are adapted to certain fire regimes, which may be difficult to maintain for various reasons, including the human conditions and financial costs.

Understanding what is going on can be very helpful in dealing with these situations and I recommend reading the following articles on Wikipedia:

Fire Regime
Prescribed Burn

-- And this article from the Western Ecological Research Center of the USGS on Fire Ecology Research is informative and has many links to various documents. (Hearing Dr. Nathan Stephenson of the USGS discuss Fire Ecology and Fire Regimes at meetings for the development of the Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan [also a Mediterranean Climate] was very enlightening. See Science Advisories referenced on that page, including some Advisories by Dr. Nathan Stephenson.)

The end of the Station Fire is hopefully very near - they have the estimated total containment date as Sept. 15th.

Now we need to deal with the rehabilitation and restoration.

The US Forest Service has established the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team as part of the Rehabilitation.

Treepeople has the California Wildfire Restoration Intiative , where they will work with the US Forest Service in replanting the burned area - hopefully to maintain a native species population.

The Station Fire has been a frightening experience, but we have a future to look towards!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Ruth Sandra Sperling

The very first time that I saw Klaire's Silk Paintings, Pillows and Scarves, I knew I had found the work of an artist that I would always love! I believe it is the combination of the colors, subjects, themes -- it just appeals to me so much aesthetically that I brighten with a smile every time I see them! So to share it with any readers of my blog, here is a Feature of her and her artwork:


Question: What is(are) your Craft(s)/Art(s)?

Answer: I would be classified under artist, when I am doing a painting, and I suppose a designer when I am creating a silk scarf, or silk pillow.

Question: Places you sell your Craft(s)/Art(s) on the Internet?

Answer: Etsy -- and Yessie

Question: Places you sell your Craft(s)/Art(s) off the Internet?

Answer: Galleries in local area

Question: What/Who has been the inspiration behind doing your Craft(s)/Art(s)?

Answer: I'm not sure I can give the inspiration a name.I like to say it's the muses. They use me as they choose to.

Question: Can you briefly explain to our readers how you do your Craft(s)/Art(s) (methods, skills, materials)?

Answer: All I can briefly say is the process of creating on silk is quite a labor of love. Starting from the day the blank white silk arrives. The silk needs to be laundered to remove the residue from the silk worm. Then the silk is tabbed and pinned to a frame, where the designs are hand painted onto the silk in increments using gutta, French dyes, or paints. This step can take many days or months. After the designs are placed on the silk, it dries for 24 hours. After drying, the silk fabric is placed and layered between folds of unprinted newspaper, or cotton sheets. Then rolled onto a coil tube and placed into a steamer for 2-3 hours (this steaming process sets the dyes deep into the fibers of the silk). It is this steaming process which brings out the mysterious images I speak of in some of my description. See the painting "Bluebird Garden". Images of human forms show up between the statue and the rose bushes on the right. The dyed pieces are removed, laundered again to remove any excess dyes. Then each finished piece is ironed. A silk painting is mounted with pins onto a formcore board, then framed. I will work on paintings, and silk scarves at seperate times.

Question: How did you learn your Craft(s)/Art(s)?

Answer: I was attending an art class on water colors when I happened upon another class that was teaching silk art. I took it to relax and Zen out.

Question: Are you continuing to study your Craft(s)/Art(s) - and, if so, how?

Answer: I am always reviewing and updating my skills by taking classes, or reading.

Question: What is Your personal history in your Craft(s)/Art(s)?

Answer: I attended the Cooper Institute of Art--then because of lack of funds had to find a real job.

Question: Are there other interests in your life that you would like to discuss here (hobbies, charities, other careers, etc.)?

Answer: My creativity extends to writing poetry. I have been published in several college magazines. I also write children's stories, and illustrate them. I also help with the recruitment and activities on Design Style Guide: .
My real job (until I retired) was that of a Registered Nurse. Before that a fulltime mother to 4 children.

Here is a poem that Klaire wrote:

"Can Anyone Hear?"

Will I answer
the question at night,
after the day pregnant with light
has curtsied and bowed
to the presence
of blackened skies?

The stars whisper
their truths to ears
gone deaf.

By: Klaire L. Martin
aka MysticSilks

Question: To anyone aspiring to do the Craft(s)/Art(s) you do, do you have any
suggestions or recommendations?

Answer: Learn all you can. Ask questions of those with more knowledge in your art, or craft. Then just enjoy!

Please Note: My Features are based on the artisan's answers to questions I give them and the photos they send me or choose or approve -- I give all artisans I Feature full editing rights.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Angeles National Forest - My View of the Current Situation

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - Internet Shop of Handmade Items In Fibers

I took the above photo in April 2005 from a field just east of where I live in the east Antelope Valley. It is looking south from the Antelope Valley to the San Gabriel Mountains - which are now, in September 2009, hot and dry -- and burning.

Various sections of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest were my stomping/hiking grounds for years and years. When I had time off -- and even sometimes when I had independent work and I took my work up there with me -- I spent hours of my life driving, picnicing and hiking through various forested areas: Big Tujunga, Switzer, Charlton Flat, Chilao, West Fork of the San Gabriel River, Mount Gleason up through Littlerock Dam area were some of my favorite places to go.

Unfortuantely, I am now sorrowing that so many of these places are in the Station Fire area.

I am really worried that Old Growth areas and Wilderness Areas are burning -- and not always at the low to moderate intensities.

I can only frevently hope that the canopies of the larger Old Growth is not burning.

For up-to-date information on what has been named the Station Fire (the fire burning across the Angeles National Forest), see the Incident Site Website by InciWeb.

Knowledge gives one a better ability to deal with something analytically, even if emotionally affected.

I've been going to US Forest Service meetings in California for 10-15 years now - for the Angeles National Forest and the Sierra Nevada National Forests. As part of studying papers and documents, I have learned about the climate of the California forests. They are different from most of the rest of the country -- they are classified as a Mediterranean Climate, which is discussed in fairly plain English here on Wikipedia. Mediterranean Climates developed ecologically and geologically in certain ways and their characteristics are discussed in a rather understandable language for the average person on Wikipedia.

Also, it was through the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign - and their Conservation Strategy, which I have a copy of, that I found out about the Globally Significant Biodiversity Hotspots that are identified by the International Conservation Scientists of Conservation International -- including the California Floristic Province, which the Angeles National Forest (where the Station Fire is burning) is part of.

The following quote off of the Wikipedia article on the Mediterranean Climate discusses that "....these communities are well suited to recover from droughts, floods, and fires....":

"The Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome is closely associated with Mediterranean climate zones. Particularly distinctive of the climate are sclerophyll shrublands, called maquis in the Mediterranean Basin, chaparral in California, matorral in Chile, fynbos in South Africa, and mallee and kwongan shrublands in Australia. Aquatic communities in Mediterranean climate regions are adapted to a yearly cycle in which abiotic (environmental) controls of stream populations and community structure dominate during floods, biotic (e.g. competition and predation) controls become increasingly important as the discharge declines, and environmental controls regain dominance as environmental conditions become very harsh (i.e. hot and dry); as a result, these communities are well suited to recover from droughts, floods, and fires.[3]"

But I can't help but wonder - recover to what?

I can only fervently hope that the larger Old Growth is only getting fire scars on their trunks and that the fire is burning at a low enough intensity over most of the area so that natural recovery through heating of the seeds buried in the soil will bring a vibrant new growth to the area come next Spring!

Looking ahead is what we must do.

As an average citizen, I can't do too much about the fires actually burning, as I write this, in the Angeles National Forest. But I can look ahead and see what I can contribute to -- and I will be contributing to the TreePeople Mountain Forestry program for replanting areas that do not naturally heal.

Please take a look at the website of TreePeople and their Mountain Forestry programs - specifically their California Wildfire Restoration Initiative, where they have already posted about replanting the Angeles National Forest after the 2009 fires!!

From the California Wildfire Restoration Initiative of TreePeople:

"We advocate planting the most appropriate species prescribed by the Forest Service. Our aim is to plant the right tree in the right place with the right spacing apart. However, sometimes the best approach to restore burned areas is to stay out of the area and let it heal naturally."

I keep fervently hoping that the majestic, cathedral-like trees of Charlton Flat are still standing when it is all over.

A Huge Heartfelt Thanks to all the Firemen, US Forest Service staff and scientists -- and all the volunteers who are working so very hard to contain the Station Fire and save as much as we can of the Angeles National Forest and the communities around it!!!!!

--- And keep in mind, not all of the Station Fire area is actually burning -- and low intensity fire may be beneficial to the ecosystem -- and in some areas the fire has been low intensity.

We will still have a forest when it is all over, even if some of it needs restoration!!!