Saturday, December 25, 2010

Year-End Sales - My Memories from Growing Up & This Year in My Own Shops

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

Some might see this as kind of funny -- some might find it downright boring, but for me one of my Memories from growing up in the Chicago, Illinois area -- was the week between Christmas and New Years and the Year-End sales in the downtown stores on State Street!!

Now, we are talking of the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's -- after College in the 1970's I moved somewhere outside of Illinois -- and I have no idea how it is like now.  Though there were a few malls in the suburban areas back then, where I did some of my shopping with my family for Clothes and Books and other things -- I will always remember the main department stores on State Street -- along with some of the smaller shops - Marshall Fields, Carsons, Sears, Montgomery Wards.

For some reason, at the end of the year during this last week, between Christmas and New Years, they always had the most fantastic things in the stores for a school-kid, like me -- and I sometimes use to get some things at fantastic sale prices!!  It was a great time to spend some of that Holiday Gift $$$ I had gotten!!! 

When I was in College, one year when I was down on State Street during that week, I found this really neat Handmade Turtleneck Sweater that just totally fit in with the way I dressed on my College Campus -- and then I found a cardigan that matched it prefectly.  I remember being so happy!!  I also remember getting lots of complements on that Sweater - I think the Sweater was One-Of-A-Kind and no-one else (or only a few other individuals) had anything like it!!!

Well - My Online Shops on Artfire and Etsy are nothing like those stores on State Street in Downtown Chicago, but I have decided this year to do my own little Year-End & New Years Sale:  25% off everything in these shops through January 5, 2011!!

Everything in my Artfire Studio and my Etsy Shop is Handmade, One-Of-A-Kind -- though I can re-make something I have made before, everything is Handmade by me One-At-A-Time!!

(By the way -- the photo at the top - my Avatar all over the Internet - is actually a closeup of a One-Of-A-Kind Crochet Tapestry that I made and actually have for sale in my Artfire Studio here!!)

For those of you who I have given Coupon Codes to for different Specials - you can still put your Coupon Code in - in addition to the 25% off price!!  (Etsy On Sale 25% Off Sale here!)

Happy Holidays -- and Wishes and Hopes for a good 2011 for All!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Artisan Feature of OOAK Handmade Mosaics from Memories In Mosaics

Having gotten involved with quite a Number of Artisans of various different Arts and Crafts, over the last few years I have seen quite a bit of Handmade pieces that are very impressive.

But these One-of-A-Kind Mosaics by Memories In Mosaics on Etsy and Design Style Guide -  well, they are quite awesome!!

So, I am doing a short Feature here of just a few of the Mosaics created by Chris of Memories In Mosaics - not only OOAK Mosaics, but these three are all different things.

You might want to take a few minutes and browse through the Shop, Memories In Mosaics one of these days!!

A Mosaic Mirror on a Southwestern theme - with a Talavera Sun Face!

A Lazy Susan Made of Upcycled Beach Glass!

A Mosaic Table Made of Broken Dishes!

(all photos above link)

-- Ruth Sandra Sperling of
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

Friday, November 26, 2010

STARS for Decorating - of course Handmade!

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

Most of my Handmade works are Inspired by Nature -- but I include in that the Sky and what you find in it -- including STARS!!

On and off the last several years, I have done various designs with Stars in them - the best place to look is my Public Gallery of My Designs In Fiber , where I have pictures of work I have done for years!!

But I have a few items for sale now in my online shops - these are smaller ones suitable for Holiday decorating this Winter Season:

If you see anything in my Public Gallery of Fiber Designs that you would like Custom Made, contact me by email!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Handmade Gift Suggestion for One of the Nights of Hanukkah

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

This time of year there are lots of thought about Gifts - what to give, what you will get - maybe a wishing list????

As most everyone who has read my blog, I am big on Handmade!!

For everyone - for every Holiday and Occasion!!

I am also very big on Recycled!!

Debby Arem Designs, who I Featured here on my blog back in October of 2009, is one of my favorite Artisans of Handmade.  I love her Recylced Circuit Board items - actually, some of them make me laugh, but what it comes down to is that from old Printed Circuit Boards, which would otherwise be trashed, she makes some really neat items -  which you can see in her Etsy shop, her Artfire Studio or her own website!!

Not only is she making neat things for people to buy -- but she is doing all of us and the planet a big favor by Recycling or Reusing these Printed Circuit Boards!!

The one pictured above - a Magnet with a Hanukkah theme made from Recycled Circuit Board -- might be a great little gift for your "lover" of Geekery for one of those nights of Hanukkah!!

There are plenty more Handmade Gifts in Debby Arem's online shops!!

Have some fun -- and think -- by supporting Handmade -- and buying items made from Recycled materials, you are doing yourself and everyone and the planet a favor!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Crochet Tapestry in Thread - of a TREE

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ETSY

Anyone who has read my blog knows from my writings how much I love TREES!!

Well, I transfer my love of the live TREES to my Designs In Fiber!!

This is one I did in Threads - yes, it is basically the same pattern or charted design of my Tree Tapestry Pillow ( ), but done in finer threads in slightly different colors - and is smaller.

It is made with the beautiful Pearl Cotton Threads by DMC, which comes in some wonderful variegated threads, which I used for the ground, tree trunk and branches - and tree canopy! DMC Pearl Cotton has a colorful, lustrous, pearly effect, which shows a little bit in these photos!!

The Border around the Tapestry is a Graphic Filet Crochet Design which looks like a fancy picture frame and has a bit of a texture to it from raised stitches around the Tapesry.

Yes - I did it to look like a little photograph (I am a landscape photographer!) - but doing it with Fibers gives it some depth and texture -- and I like it!

You can find it in my Etsy Shop!!

Doing Images in Fibers is one of my favorite things to do -- some are smaller and some are larger - like the Rooster in Textured Filet Crochet!!

Some of my Images in Fiber have found homes -- I hope all of them will some day!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Deadline for Comments on Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan - Extended

Ruth Sandra Sperling

As I have been posting here about the Giant Sequoias and the Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan - I thought I would post an Update!

The U.S. Forest Service has extended the official Comment Period for submitting comments on this Management Plan one month - until December 3rd, 2010!!

So, if you would still like to -- you can still submit your comments during an official comment period.

Being public lands, public can always make comments on the Giant Sequoia National Monument, but getting them in during official comment periods mean that your comments are counted in their evaluation for the Final Environmental Impact Statement - in this case, an official Management Plan based on President Clinton's Presidential Proclamation!

I wrote some comments in a previous blog post about my choice of Alternative - Alternative C - with some specific comments, but when I wrote my letter, I went "all-out", as they say -- it ended up 9 pages long!! I want Natural Processes restored as much as possible!!!

But this is an important issue for me - for me, all the meetings, and documents and comments by me and others have been totally worth it!! I wanted to know what was going on with this forest, which is one of my favorites of all I have been in -- and I found out!!

So, if you want to make some comments still - Go for it!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Time for Comments on the 2010 Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan

Ruth Sandra Sperling
- in Southern California

It is time -- for me to make my public statements regarding the writing of the Management Plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument (GSNM) as regards to the current Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) of August 2010. Since 2000, I have been to numerous public meetings discussing the issues surrounding this monumental job of managing the Giant Sequoia ecosystem for resiliency and ecological integrity.

I have written about this a number of different times here on my blog -- see the blog articles under the label of Giant Sequoia National Monument.

If you choose to, you, too, can make comments on the Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan before the Comment Period ends on November 3rd, 2010.

-- You can mail comments to (they need to be postmarked November 3, 2010):

Anne Thomas, Team Leader
Giant Sequoia National Monument
1839 South Newcomb Street
Porterville, CA 93257

-- Or Fax them to (559) 781-4744 (which is what I am doing)

-- or go to the Limehouse Portal, join online and make your comments within that format online.

Here are my comments on this matter that is so important to me -- for my blog!!

After attending public meetings regarding the management of the Sequoia National Forest, the establishment of the Giant Sequoia National Monument and the development of its management plan -- and studying various pieces of information that I learned either by listening to discussions and presentations or reading documents regarding managing the Giant Sequoia ecosystem, including regeneration of Giant Sequoias -- and now having reviewed the Alternatives presented in the current Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the GSNM, I have come to my own conclusion on what is best for this Management Plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

This is my own conclusion -- not offered by anyone to me specifically -- and this is a matter of personal integrity for me, as I feel with the options available and the management direction that will get the results I am hoping for -- it is the only choice.

My choice is Alternative C - not the Preferred Alternative of the Forest Service, Alternative B. I am not sure what the Forest Service will do, so in my comments, in addition to stating that I want Alternative C, I am stating some of the specifics of it that I like -- so that these specifics can be incorporated into a modification of Alternative B, if that is what is done.

Here I am going to quote the "Alternative Theme" for Alternative C from the DEIS and several key statements regarding it exactly:

"Alternative C would protect the objects of interest and manage Monument resources to promote resiliency, adaptability to climate change, and heterogeneity across ecosystems. This alternative responds to the issues of managing the Monument like Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and fire spreading to tribal lands. It was developed to manage the Monument similar to SEKI in a manner that is consistent with Forest Service regulation and the direction of the Clinton proclamation. It was determined that some management policies or direction from the SEKI would not be applicable to the Monument because of difference in law, regulation, and policy for the two federal agencies. In this alternative, restoration activities would focus on area that have been affected by human use and occupation."

And here are I am going to quote some specific statements from the Alternative C details - as these details are why I think this will make the best Management Plan for the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

"Protection of Objects of Interest: "Alternative C focuses on allowing natural processes, limiting treatments to areas of human use and influence. To address fuels buildup, it allows limited mechanical treatments, with diameter limits for tree cutting, and subject to the restrictions in the Clinton proclamation and focuses treatments on both prescribed fire and naturally occurring fire. …."

"Promotion of Resiliency: Alternative C would emphasize resource conservation that allows natural processes to prevail and focuses on the restoration of natural processes to areas altered by human use by employing tactics that minimize the tools used for restoration."

"Promotion of Heterogeneity: Alternative C focuses on allowing natural processes, limiting treatments to areas of human use. To promote heterogeneity, it would use both prescribed and naturally occurring fire."

"Recreation Opportunities: …. The alternative proposes to change the current recreation opportunities by focusing on developed recreation sites with new development in recreation opportunity areas."

Here are 2 more quotes from the "Resource Areas" section of the Detail on Alternative C, detailing the perspective of The National Park Service, which is what this Alternative C is based on (from page 89 of the DEIS):
"The National Park Service uses the best available technology, within available
resources, to restore the biological and physical components of these systems, accelerating both their recovery and the recovery of landscape and biological community structure and function. …. When a park development is damaged or destroyed and replacement is necessary, the development will be replaced or relocated so as to promote the restoration of natural resources and processes."

" The [National Park] Service will seek to return human-disturbed areas to the natural conditions and processes characteristic of the ecological zone in which the damaged resources are situated."

My decision is based on the fact that, based on scientific discussions I have heard and read, I feel the following points are extremely important in managing the Giant Sequoia National Monument -- and that Alternative C incorporates them and operates per them the best.

1. Ecosystem management
2. The only way to achieve resiliency for the ecosystem (and sub-ecosystems) that the Giant Sequoia National Monument is, is through constant and current on-going site-specific analysis and research to develop current, new science, as needed -- using the methodology of adaptive management to do actions on the land.
3. Fire is the First Tool of Choice -- and that includes managed wildfire of unplanned ignitions (also called Wildland Fire Use). You can study the characteristics of the Mediterranean Climate that the Giant Sequoia National Monument is part of to understand this more fully.
4. Though there are definitely trade-offs between vegetation management, fire and fuels management and wildlife and plant habitat management, I feel that The National Park Service direction to return human-disturbed areas to the natural conditions and processes is the best and will result in the most optimum balance between all managements and less negative impacts to the Wildlife and Plant (including trees) Habitat on the GSNM.
5. Though Recreation and Scenery are important for Tourism and the people who visit the GSNM, I feel that the Ecological Integrity and Resiliency of the ecosystem is of higher importance overall and that when setting priorities, Ecological needs should outrank Recreation and Scenery -- otherwise, I am afraid we would end up with a trampled forest, not a healthy forest. I suggest reading The Land Ethic by Aldo Leopold in his book, "A Sand County Almanac"!!
6. There definitely needs to be current scientific criteria for determining which trees are to be removed so that the Clinton Presidential Proclamation is complied with: “Removal of trees except for personal use fuel wood, from within the monument area may only take place if clearly needed for ecological restoration and maintenance or public safety (Clinton 2000, p.24097).”
7. Dr. Nathan Stephenson, who has many years of experience in restoration and regeneration, including on-going research, in The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Service, stated during the discussions of the Scientific Advisory
Board Meetings
in March 2003 (I was there personally and heard it and noted it) that gaps for regeneration result in more successful regeneration of Giant Sequoias - if you burn the hole (gap). As Giant Sequoias are “shade-intolerant” species and require a certain amount of light and fire for ecological health, burning the hole (gap) for regeneration accomplishes both - of course, it needs to be done in safe conditions.

Since the 1980’s, I have spent time in what is now the Giant Sequoia National Monument Lands - unfortunately I saw huge trucks with large logs on them from logging operations; I saw a slashed clear-cut on a back road of the Southern Portion of the Giant Sequoia National Monument west of the Western Divide Highway and east of the Tule River Indian Reservation. I have seen and photographed re-planted areas that look like orchards of trees - looking all the same age (even-aged), looking all the same species (homogeneous) - in the vicinity of Nobe Young Meadow on the "Road to Windy Gap" - not too far from the Peyrone Giant Sequoia Grove.

I have been going to forests since I was a child - in early years with my family, in later years on my own or with friends. I know from personal experience what a real forest or woods are. Due to the past history of logging, homogeneous planting and fire suppression in the Sequoia National Forest, there are areas of the Giant Sequoia National Monument that are not, from my own personal observation, "real" forest. With no personal offense to the current managers of the Giant Sequoia National Monument, I am concerned for the health of this forest ecosystem, hence my choices and opinions above.

My fervent wish is that we can "fix" some of the mistakes of the past and restore the whole ecosystem to a level of health in our current climate conditions, so the forest continues to survive, as the scientists and Forest Services calls it - be resilient - for our pleasure and our health!!

The Giant Sequoia National Monument is a vast mix of living organisms that respond to current conditions and require certain conditions to be healthy, just like you and me. I believe that it will come down to a large amount of continued current on-going, on-site, site-specific analysis and research to see what works NOW!!

I feel that managing the Giant Sequoia National Monument as closely as possible like the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park -- and collaborating and co-operating with them and their scientists -- is the only proper way to do it. After all -- the Giant Sequoia National Monument and the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are physically "intertwined" and are both part of the whole Giant Sequoia ecosystem.

PLEASE NOTE: The above is not exactly my official Comment Letter on the 2010 DEIS for the Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan. Some of the statements in this blog post are duplicated in my Comment Letter or reflect my statements in it.

ALSO: For information on the Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan public process - the Science Data including many documents - and the comments of the Science Review Panel with Sequoia National Forest Responses -- click on the linking phrases!!

If you have read all of this -- I hope you have found this informative - and interesting -- this is all the opinion of Ruth Sandra Sperling (no one else and I do not represent any organization). Why??? Because the Giant Sequoias are important to me -- and I want to share it with the world!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Guide to My Fiber Designs in Fall or Autumn Colors

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

Fall or Autumn Colors are a Color Palette or Theme that some people decorate in -- Goldish Yellows and Oranges and Coppery or Reddish Browns reflect the Colors of the turning leaves in the Fall Season. Purples reflect the harvested fruits of this Season, which is also Harvest!!

Personally, this is one of my favorite Color Palettes for decorating my own home - actually because of its "earthiness" - as relates to the Nature on Earth!! Some might say that my decor is "Country", as I have a lot of naturally finished woods and things in "earthy" colors, but some might say I decorate in a Fall Color Palette!!

So, I enjoy making things in these Fall Color themes and I have a variety of Designs In Fiber in both my Artfire Studio and my Etsy shop that are in these Fall or Autumn colors.

This last one is "something to wear" in Fall Colors!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Selling Some DMC Pearl Cotton Size 8 Again - on ARTFIRE

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs Crochet Supplies on ARTFIRE

Above is a Slideshow of photos of some of the DMC threads that I use in my crochet -- and sometimes sell Balls or Skeins of.

I can buy DMC Pearl Cotton in some quantity - so I am offering a few colors of Size 8 that I have enough balls of to spare some - here in this ARTFIRE shop!!

I use a lot of DMC threads for a variety of reasons - of course, Quality, but also the choices of Colors -- and their Pearl Cotton is just one of the most beautiful threads I have ever worked with!!

Also, the fact that their threads are Colorfast is a huge selling point with me, as I often crochet and knit projects with multiple colors in them -- so the fact that the threads are Colorfast is very important to me, as they don't bleed!!!

I just want to emphasize how beautiful DMC Pearl Cotton is - you can use it, of course for everything, but it makes beautiful 3-dimensional and textured crocheted and knitted accents.

I use it a lot for 3-dimensional Flowers and Leaves - here are some photos of some examples (some are for sale and some already sold):

If you crochet or knit and would like some samples (a few inches of a thread in certain colors) - contact me through ARTFIRE!!

Some people also use Pearl Cotton for Needlepoint and Embroidery.

Check the DMC USA website for more information on these threads -- and the colors available!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Collection of Handmade Art on ARTFIRE!!

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

My newest Gallery of Handmade Art (that is sometimes functional) - this time on ARTFIRE -- in the Bright and Cheerful Golds, Oranges and Reds of Autumn!!

Click on the widget above to go to it on ARTFIRE!!

I have also been included in a variety of ARTFIRE COLLECTIONS by others!!

Finding some beautiful HANDMADE - these are new items just on ARTFIRE!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Another REUSABLE BAG - This One's For Me!!

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

One thing is that I do what I advise -- especially when it comes to Reusable Bags -- and Handmade ones that are alternatives to the plastic or non-natural material ones that you find for purchase in stores.

Above is a photo of a Smallish Drawstring Bag that I just finished this evening - for Myself!!

I have this "little something" that is kind of odd-shaped that I always have to carry with me whenever I go out for more than a few minutes. I have to periodically take it in and out of the bag.

So, my Solution was to make myself a little bag in the shape and size I needed -- and make it drawstring, so it is was easy to open, take it out, put it back and pull it shut -- and have it stay shut. The bottom is totally designed by me -- I like tweeds , so I "made" a tweed by using 2 strands of size 10 crochet thread - one in Burgundy and one in Lavender - holding them together and the crocheted result looks like a tweed.

I sized it to exactly fit the "little something" and easily pull closed.

I am very happy with it -- but then it is a Custom Order for Me!!

When I have the time, I make other bags for myself for various uses. I love crocheting them in a variety of colors!! I need to make a bunch more - will show them here on my blog when I have them made.

This is part of my personal campaign to reduce the plastic in my life - at least not to purchase more and it is working - just need more time to get more bags and/or baskets done!!!

I have a small variety of Handmade Reusable Bags in my Etsy shop -- I can do a Custom Order for you to your specifications either through my Etsy shop or my Artfire Studio!! Or even by private email, if you choose -- see upper right-hand corner of this blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

Another piece in one of my favorite crochet techniques - CELTIC WOVEN CROCHET!

This one was a lot of fun to put together. I enjoy doing Celtic or Irish Crochet anyway. I used a Medium Emerald Green for the "Stems" around the "Flowers". I used a Medium Violet Purple and a Light Violet for the "Flowers".

Here is a closeup showing the detail of one of the four motifs in this whole piece:

Four of these motifs with a small Fill-In Motif sit in White Lace "netting" with a twisted edging in the Emerald Green and White!!

I just really like it - the way the final finished piece comes out when you do it using Celtic Woven Crochet. It is a little different -- and I think, so beautiful!!

In addition, the Purple and Green threads used are the beautiful, lustrous DMC Pearl Cotton -- one of the really beautiful threads available in many colors!!

(This item is made by Ruth Sandra Sperling -- and the photos above are All Rights Reserved and they link to the online listing.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Fall Color Palette Reflected in my Newest Fiber Design

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

Though I have always liked some Turqoise in some things in my life, as Pantone (and others) decided that it was the "2010 Color of the Year" -- I took a look at putting some Turquoise in some of my "Designs in Fiber".

This is the first time I have incorporated Turquoise into a Fall or Autumn or Harvest Seasonal design - intentionally. It is in the current Fall Color Palette!

It is sort of an experiment for me, though I have found that I really like the combination of the Yellow/Orange/Turquoise -- and I did this design with contrasting rounds - not just for the colors - but the contrasts really shows off the crochet design.

Here is a closeup, to see the details more clearly:

I am curious how others feel about this -- it is Thread Crochet (considered Vintage or Old-Fashioned by some) in some new, modern, lively colors!

(You can find it in my Etsy shop and I want to also include it in my Design Style Guide Portfolio.)

Leave a comment, if you would like!
(I only approve comments in English)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

FORESTS - Refuge, Place of Life and Joy -- Inspiration!!

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY


All my life since I was a little girl - Forests of all sizes have been some of my favorite places to go.

When I was little, they were places to go to with Family or on Hikes with school or "day camp". My Family would go to various places on vacation -- and often some time spent in the Woods or Forest was part of it.

By the time I was in college, finding some Woods or Forest to go for a walk in was a way to "get away from it all" and find some peace -- and some joy in life! I would spend hours and hours either off in some Forest I had found - or walking through the country to get there!!

The Trees, the Wildlife, the feel of the earth beneath your feet -- there is really nothing quite like it!!

Throughout my adult years, I have traveled from coast-to-coast at different times to different places in the United States and I have been to quite a few of the Forests!!

So, when I started doing my "Designs In Fiber" (about 7 years ago), Forests and Nature seem to be a major influence in my choices of designs, subjects and colors.

So here are a few pieces that I have made over the years - Inspired (one way or another) by Forests (keep a watch out for more I want to make and will showcase on this blog)!!



OAK LEAVES IN THE FALL (as scattered on the ground)

HOLLY BERRIES ON IVY LEAVES (like you find around a Forest)