Episode 021: Saremy Duffy of Chicken Boots

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EPISODE 021 – SAREMY DUFFY

Today’s guest is Saremy Duffy, founder of Chicken Boots. Chicken Boots is a company where knitting and sewing meet: thoughtfully designed and handcrafted bags and accessories made with knitters in mind.

Saremy started out her career in the apparel industry as a designer and pattern drafter. After years of working for others and then for herself as a freelancer, she decided she wanted to try her hand at making something completely different. For Saremy, the fun and the creativity of sewing is in the process. She loves figuring out how things work and fit together, making pieces that are both functional and beautiful. 

In this conversation we talk about her past in the garment industry, her struggles with that industry and her values as an environmentalist, and how she believes we can all come together through a shared love of craft.  She also gives us a fascinating peek into the operations at Chicken Boots headquarters. 

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“Craft is a really great way to bring us together to have organic conversations with each other and to reveal these really honest moments of people’s lives. 

While you’re crafting and your hands are busy, you learn a lot about each other. Those kinds of stories reveal how human we all are and how all our lives are valid. ” ~ Saremy Duffy

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In this episode

FIDM

Heather Ross

Cotton + Steel

Spoonflower

Rainbow Rowell: Fangirl, Eleanor & Park

Louise Penny Series

Ready Player One

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them

Iron Druid Chronicles

Find Saremy online:

Chicken Boots 

Instagram 

Until next time…

Head to iTunes and subscribe to Stash | Creative Conversations.  After listening, take a moment to leave a star rating or review.  Leaving ratings and star reviews helps the podcast rise in the rankings, making it possible for even more people to discover these conversations. And the more crafty folks and creative entrepreneurs that find these conversations the better!

You can also find the podcast on Stitcher  or your favorite podcast app.

Stay Connected:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Ravelry.

2016 Wasn’t all Bad: A Year in Review

I’ve never written a year in review post before. Truthfully, it seems a little daunting.

A year is SO long!

But something has been bothering me lately. Maybe it’s bothered you, too.

There’s an overwhelming message of negativity, sadness, and hopelessness being shared in the world and on social media right now.

From the loss of one cultural icon after another to mass murders and racial & ethnic oppression; natural disasters and the battle for natural resources; major political divisiveness and a growing sense of economic uncertainty; it’s easy to understand why a lot of people feel like 2016 was a disaster.

But focusing on the negative alone only breeds more negativity.

But I’m here to ask you: was 2016 ALL bad?

I bet, if you sat down for just 10 minutes you could create a pretty great list of things that were meaningful to you this year.  And when you see those moments all together, you will start to feel a little more positive about the year as a whole. And that may just give you the energy to look forward, to see the possibility in the future, and take the actions that can help move your life forward and perhaps help in some of those areas that felt so overwhelming this year.

This is just what the Stash Enhancers and I did at our most recent staff meeting.

We were all feeling a little worn out after the busy-ness of the holidays, and taking this time to shine a light on the rest of the year made us all feel a renewed sense of excitement for the year ahead.

Try it, and let us know in the comments what some of your favorite moments of 2016 were – crafting, or otherwise!

2016 at Stash

The year began in a flurry of excitement as we announced out Big Project for 2016: The Yarn Story Collection.

This idea came about late in 2015 in classic fashion, and we busted a move and called in some favors to make the first couple of chapters happened FAST.  Many thanks to everyone who said YES without hesitation and poured themselves into this new project.  We had 12 incredible fiber artisans collaborate with us to create some truly memorable yarns.

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You can go back and read the stories of these incredible women in the 12 chapters of the Yarn Story Collection here.

This year brought us visits from some incredible dyers and designers: Sabrina Famellos from Anzula, Brooke Sinnes of Sincere Sheep.

We were also able to bring in some smart, talented designers to teach classes at the shop: designers Bristol Ivy, Annie Rowden, Shannon Squire, and Lee Meredith all visited the shop.

We love bringing designers and artisans to the shop. Their knowledge and experience adds diversity and richness to our local fiber community. We all learn something when these talented folks come to Stash and share their gifts with us.
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Quince & Co_Chickadee

In 2016 we became a Flagship Store for both Quince & Company AND Brooklyn Tweed yarns. What what?!?!

This was huge.

We are thrilled to be partnered with these two incredible American yarn companies. The work they are doing to revitalize the American wool industry is admirable, and the resulting yarns beautiful.  We are proud to offer their yarn to our community.  You can find the full line of Brooklyn Tweed yarns in our Corvallis shop and online. Our selection of Quince & Co. yarns is always expanding and changing, so check in often!


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In May I loaded up my wife and a car full of yarn to head to Pasadena CA for Vogue Knitting Live.  We shared a booth with and partnered with Sincere Sheep (above) and Fringe Supply Co. to fill a booth full of beautiful and unique goodies.  It was fun to see some familiar faces and meet new friends in the sun of SoCal!

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One of our favorite annual traditions is having a booth at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene every June. This is a weekend fiber lovers dream of: barns and buildings full of yarn,  textiles,fiber, and the animals it all comes from. Getting to pet a Shetland sheep in the bard and then feel some finished Shetland wool yarn in the same place is a little bit of magic.

It’s always so fun to see some of our vendor partners, lots of customers and your finished objects, and of course: buy more yarn!  You may think that working at a yarn store makes us immune to the allure of yarn & fiber at an event, but let me assure you: it does NOT.

In August we said goodbye to our beloved Stash Enhancer Sydney as she moved on to NYC for graduate school.  Before she left, we did get to pay her tribute with her very own Madelinetosh colorway.

Read the story of Sydney’s Stash here. 

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Saying goodbye also meant that we said hello to a new team member, Aubri.  Her enthusiasm for fiber crafts plus her ability to authentically connect with everyone who walks through our doors makes Aubri an invaluable addition to the Stash family.

She is also revamping our class program for 2017, so keep watching our newsletter and events page for news!

Celebrating 5 years of Stash!

October marked our 5th year in business!  What a celebratory month it was, full of events and new merchandise and treats from all of you. Thank you so much for everything.

You can catch up on a lot of the stories and people that made up the past 5 years by reading these posts:

Stash Podcast Season 2

2016 was the first full year of the Stash Podcast!  This has been an incredibly fun and satisfying passion project for me. I love speaking with a diverse group of smart, creative makers and doers. Sharing these conversations with you is absolutely on of my favorite things.

In case you missed an episode or two, here’s the lineup of our 2016 podcast guests. Click on any link to listen now!

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This year had its challenges inside the shop and in the world at large. But when I take a moment to reflect on all that was good about the year, I feel so much better. I feel excited for all that we accomplished, the relationships we grew, the people that we helped grow as crafters, and the community that we support and encourage every single day.  And that’s not nothing.

Now it’s your turn: let us know in the comments what some of your favorite moments of 2016 were – at Stash, in your crafting life, or otherwise!

Episode 020: Stylist Stasia Savasuk

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EPISODE 020 – Stasia Savasuk

Today’s guest is style coach, power thrifter, and empowerment expert Stasia Savasuk. Her story is quite remarkable and takes us on a journey through her time in the peace corps to becoming a medical mother & fierce advocate for her daughter,  to her life now as a passionate supporter of women on the path to finding their style and invigorating their lives.

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I wanted to bring Stasia Savasuk on the podcast because of her fresh, unconventional perspective on style.  According to Stasia, style isn’t simply about knowing your colors or what shapes and proportions work best for your body (although those are HUGE in transforming how you look and feel in your clothes).  Stasia emphasizes the value of what she calls inside-out congruency, or showing the world who you are by the clothes that you wear. 

Now I know this may trigger some thoughts like “but it’s what’s on the INSIDE that matters”, or “I can’t afford to transform my entire wardrobe”.

I hear that.

But what Stasia is here to say is that YES!  It IS what’s on the inside that matters.

When you dress fearlessly, shamelessly, and powerfully YOU, you are showing that to the world and it makes anything is possible. 

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We talk about how taking risks in what you wear builds on itself and becomes this fuel into taking risks in other areas of your life. 

Stasia and I chat about all of this and LOTS more, including her tips for those of us making our own clothing. 

I know you’re going to love this conversation, and I truly hope it gets you thinking about your wardrobe (and LIFE) in and entirely new way. 

Click the play button at the top of the page to listen to Stasia Savasuk right now, or head to iTunes and subscribe.

In this episode

How to Find Your Perfect Necklace Length

Is Style Petty or Superficial? Should it matter? Raisa’s Story

A Peek Inside Stasia’s Closet

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We didn’t have a chance to talk about this, but Stasia’s Styled by My Child Project is how I initially discovered her on Instagram. Can you imagine giving your child free reign in your closet and then wearing whatever they choose for you ALL DAY? Stasia and Raisa did it once a week for a full year. Check out the roundup here.

What Stasia is Watching

Justified

Miracle on 34th Street

Rudolph

Harry and the Hendersons

Pete’s Dragon

Harry Potter movies

Find Stasia online:

Thrift Me Pretty

Stasia’s Style School

Instagram

Facebook

Until next time…

Head to iTunes and subscribe to Stash | Creative Conversations.  After listening, take a moment to leave a star rating or review.  Leaving ratings and star reviews helps the podcast rise in the rankings, making it possible for even more people to discover these conversations. And the more crafty folks and creative entrepreneurs that find these conversations the better!

You can also find the podcast on Stitcher  or your favorite podcast app.

Stay Connected:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Ravelry.

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What resonated the most with you in this episode?  Do you have a style resolution, wardrobe goal or a word of the year you’d like to share?  Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments below!

Guest Designer Classes: Andrea Rangel

We are so excited to bring designer Andrea Rangel back to Stash for a full day of fun classes on January 21st, 2017!  You may remember Andrea from her visit to Stash in the fall of 2014 (click here to read our interview with her!). Maybe you’ve seen her incredible patterns on Ravelry (The Knitter’s Dude, anyone?), or perhaps you’ve seen her designs featured in Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People, or Interweave Knits. No matter where you look, Andrea’s designs are fun, fresh, and a blast to knit.

We’re thrilled to be offering two classes while Andrea is here!

The first class of the day is “Arbre: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Pi Shawl.” Pi shawls are gorgeous, but they can seem intimidating! Andrea is going to walk us through the process step by step. From the pi shawl formula, to working lace from charted instructions, how to work an attached lace edging, and all the way through how to block your finished lace. The neat thing about the class is that you’ll be learning all these great skills while knitting a mini version of the shawl, rather than having to learn on the fly with your big project. By the time you’re done with the workshop, you’ll be ready to take on Arbre and other pi shawls!

 Click here for more information, and to register for this class!

 

The second class Andrea will be teaching is “The Basics of Stranded Colorwork”. If you’ve been eyeing a colorwork project, but aren’t sure where to begin, THIS is the class!  Maybe it’s been a while since your last colorwork project and you’d like a chance to brush up your skills.  This is your class too!  Andrea is well known for her beautiful colorwork designs, and she will guide you through everything you need to know to make your colorwork dreams a reality! Learn how to read colorwork charts, how to manage two balls of yarn at a time, how to catch floats, and how to make a beautifully smooth fabric, all while knitting a fun and colorful cowl! Andrea will also give you tips and tricks for color selection, and yarn selection to make your projects shine.

Click here for more information, and to register for this class!

We can’t wait to see you at the shop for these classes, and to see the gorgeous projects you work up after taking them!

Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care this Holiday Season

This time of year can be so full of to-dos that it may feel impossible to make time for yourself. Between shuttling the kids around to their activities, tending to work responsibilities, doing holiday shopping, or just keeping up with LIFE, the idea of adding one more thing feels impossible.

But I’m here to tell you that taking care of yourself during this festive time of year is crucial. If you want to enjoy yourself and not get burnt out, if you want to feel the joy of the season and not stress, sadness, or resentment, it can really help to practice a bit of self-care.

 4 Steps to Giving Yourself the Gift of Self-care

DECIDE TO GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF SELF-CARE

What does self-care even mean, anyway?!

To me, self-care means practicing self-love. It means connecting with my self in a space that is free of outside distractions, and treating myself super well.

When I say self-care, I’m not talking about a full on day at the spa (although that would be amazing!).  I’m talking about finding small pockets of time to be alone with yourself and your thoughts. Time to focus on the habits that bring you a feeling of calm, healthfulness, and strength.

I can hear some of you thinking:

“That’s all well and good, but isn’t that a little selfish?”

“Self-care is totally indulgent.”

“Easy for you to say!”

“I don’t deserve it.”

Whew.  I hear you. In fact, I’ve said all of those things to myself!  But I would never ever say them to a friend. So, why are we so judgmental with ourselves?  Why don’t we deserve to treat ourselves well?

Listen to me when I say this: You cannot afford not to practice self-care.  Especially this time of year!

Still not sure?  What if you replaced the word “self” with “health”?

Health-care isn’t selfish or indulgent or unnecessary.

This subtle shift in perspective really opened my mind to possibilities. Because healthcare isn’t selfish, it’s necessary!  I have to take care of myself to be around for my family and my business.

If you thought of self-care as a form of health care, what would it look like for you?

Block out time for your self-care daily.

 BLOCK OUT THE TIME IN YOUR DAY FOR SELF-CARE

Do you think it’s possible to find a pocket of 10-15 minutes in your day where you focus on your needs, your dreams, your desires?

Take a look at your calendar for tomorrow. Where can you fit in 15 minutes for YOU?

This could easily be at the very beginning or end of your full day. For me it’s often in that window of time after the kids are in school before I head in to work. Other times it’s after they go to bed. I sometimes use part of my lunch break.

The dishes and email and social media can wait. YOU cannot.

If you keep a calendar, planner, or bullet journal, write yourself in.  Schedule the time in your day for self-care. Once it’s on your to-do list with all the other things you’ve got going on, it’s difficult to ignore. Plus, you get the added satisfaction of crossing it off when you’re done!

Choose one self-care activity that feeds you.

CHOOSE ONE ACTIVITY THAT FEEDS YOU 

There are so many things we daydream of doing later, when we have “more time”. Building in these pockets of 15 minutes a day give you that time in an accessible way. Don’t spend them on Facebook. Spend them doing something that feeds you: body, mind, or heart.

Here are some of the areas of my life where I practice self-care:

  • Taking care of my body – yoga, walking, eating well, drinking enough water, taking baths

  • Taking care of my mind – reading, knitting and writing daily

  • Taking care of my heart – being in stillness with myself while making or meditating

If I do one of these things every day, I feel great. More than one, and I’m #winning!

Your self-care will look different than mine. It’s important to hone in on those activities that fuel you.

Now it’s time to brainstorm some activities or ways to practice your version of self-care.

Spend 5 minutes quickly making a list of all the things you wish you had more time for, things that connect you to YOU, activities that nourish who you are.  Don’t censor yourself, just get it all out onto a piece of paper.

Click here to download our free Self-Care To-Do List

After you’ve brainstormed some ideas, choose one activity to start with today.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s just for you, and not a chore or obligation you’re dressing up as self-care. 

4 Steps to Giving Yourself the Gift of Self-Care at the holidays

REPEAT DAILY 

Why spend time practicing self-care?

Because when you spend time on an activity that feeds your soul, it gives you energy. That energy can fill you up and fuel you to tackle any number of challenges and opportunities in your life.

Doesn’t that sound good?  Who couldn’t use a little more of that soul-fueling energy to power through the day with gusto?  I know I could, especially this time of year when I feel overwhelmed. Taking that short break to reconnect with myself, even for just a few minutes, can really turn the day around.

Look at your daily to-dos and schedule your time.  We make time for what matters, so I want you to put yourself on your own to-do list. Be uncompromising with this time. It’s only 15 minutes – protect it fiercely!

RELATED ARTICLE: Make Time to Create 

Over the past couple of years, it’s become a mission of mine to encourage you to make time for creativity everyday. We make time for what we value. And we should be valuing ourselves, too, don’t you think?!  Loving yourself and caring for yourself is not selfish, and it certainly shouldn’t come after caring for everyone else.

Here are a couple of our most popular posts about making time for creativity and self-care:

So now it’s your turn:  how do you practice self-care?  Any special tricks for making time for self-care at the holidays?  Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments!