Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Spectacular success!

Whew. I made it to Christmas Eve! I've still got plenty o' knitting to do (at least in my head) and tons of new yarns to knit with, but I'm going to attempt to take a night off tonight, so my queeze and I can enjoy one night without the distractions of knitting and computers. I'm sure there will be some withdrawal, but I think we'll survive.

Last weeks Holiday Spectacular at the Magic Stick was a ton of fun. I just wish I had been able to see the live music from my little corner of the world, which was separate from the stages.

Thanks to Shannon (Comfortably Lovely) for including me in the Handmade Holiday Shoppe and organizing everything. There were a lot of people there raising money for C.O.T.S. and buying up wonderful handmade goods.

Here were my fellow shops:

1. The Silent Giants (who did the poster)
2. City Bird
3. Comfortably Lovely
4. Michele Maule
5. La Femme Monkita (moi)
6. Brash Design
7. Kenny Corbin Photography/Karpov the Wrecked Train

Here are a few photos from the event. Thanks to everyone who checked out my stuff or bought something! We had a great time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

La Femme Monkita is Indie 5 Collective featured artist!

Ali at, who ordered a custom cowl and featured it in a video on the YoutTube Channel Indie5.

Check out the video HERE and be sure to check out Ali's SHOP. I got some great personalized temporary tattoos from her for the little ones in my life!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Island knitting

I'm away nannying for my sister on her family vacation this week. I may be inside while the kids nap, knitting away, but the view is gorgeous.

Check out some knew colorful cozies I have been making!

These guys keep me entertained while I work away.

Up next is a benenfit show next Friday -- December 19th -- at the Magic Stick. I will be one of a handful of vendors offering last minute Christmas gifts. TOns of good bands are playing that night, all to benefit C.O.T.S. -- the Coalition on Temporary Shelter.

Check out a list of bands on the flyer below!

Monday, December 1, 2008

La Femme Monkita turns 1!

It's hard to believe it, but it's been one year since La Femme Monkita opened its (virtual) doors!

It was an extremely busy first couple of months last year, and, after a few months of slow down for the move of our world headquarters to the great Detroit area, I jumped right back in this fall.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me, whether it has been with purchases, knitting pointers (Jay), putting up with incessant knitting while we hang out (many), offering your personal opinions (ditto), or everything (Dan).

I'm still having a great time -- I just wish I had MORE time to do it!

In honor of La Femme's first anniversary, I'm offering free shipping for one week! That's right, there will be free U.S. shipping and $3 international shipping on all purchases and custom orders placed before 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8.

Thanks again to everyone -- you know who you are. And check out the new stuff in my shop! I've added about 10 things since my stash was depleted at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair 2 weeks ago.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Check it out:

Branching out!

My inventory was greatly depleted after the Detroit Urban Craft Fair and I'm trying to build it back up!

Check out some new coffee cozies, a hat, wristwarmers, scarflettes and more at MY ETSY SHOP.

Up next: Sights and Sounds Holiday Spectacular Dec. 19 and the Magic Stick -- vendors for last-minute affordable shopping, 20 bands and it raises money for a good cause -- what more could you want out of a Friday night?

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. I'll be knitting my little fingers to the bone!

La Femme Monkita

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Craft fair burnout

I'm a few days out from the Detroit Urban Craft Fair and I'm still recovering! (Does it mean I'm out of shape if my calves still hurt from standing all day?)

It was great to spend the day with Jay, as each of us did our part to explain the finer points of each others' goods.

Jay had a lot of luck with her coin purses and bags and even sold a few of her mom's great woven bags.

I basically sold out of my coffee cozies and watched many of my scarves, cowls and scarflettes find good homes. Now I will spend the next four weeks building on my remaining inventory for the Detroit Sights and Sounds Holiday Spectacular Dec. 19 at the Magic Stick. I was asked to be one of a dozen vendors at the event, which includes 20 bands and is a fund raiser for C.O.T.S..

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, including my family, friends, and co-workers. And thanks to Handmade Detroit for putting on such an amazing show and the Detroit Evolution Lab for the amazing food. We pigged out on the portabella mushroom wraps, vegan mac-n-cheese, spicy sweet potatoes, and all kinds of baked goods, including my new favorite -- the fruit and nut nuggets. And I have the feeling I will be trying to duplicate that lemon vinaigrette for a long time.

It was so much fun and I hope I get the chance to do it again next year!

Here are a few pictures Jay took of our booth (it was packed!).

We -- and many others at the DUCF -- also are featured on Detroit Fashion Pages. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Detroit Urban Craft Fair preview shout out!

I'm vending at Detroit Urban Craft Fair on Saturday and the craft fair posted its first vendor sneak peak today.

Two of the nine vendors posted were me and my booth partner, Jennifer Joy Creative!

Check it out HERE!

Hope to see some of you at the craft fair on Saturday.
I can't wait to check out all of the amazing vendors and eat all sorts of vegan goodness from the Detroit Evolution Laboratory!

Check out their menu for Saturday HERE!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The next level

To pretend I will ever be able to pull something like this off isn't possible. But it's fun to imagine. Here's a quick snapshot from a feature on Kanye West's blog.

Check out the full blog posting HERE.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Knitted Ash from Evil Dead

Check it out!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

LFM featured in Petoskey paper!

Ten years ago (yikes!) I had an internship after my sophomore year at MSU with the Petoskey News-Review "up north" in Petoskey, Mich. I lived in Central Lake for the summer and commuted about 45 minutes each morning, with the sunrise over the bay to my left.

My friend Beth, who I first bonded with in the parking lot on my second day of work -- when a deer crashed into our newsroom and the police ordered us out of the building -- contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if my coffee cozies could be included in the paper's holiday "green" gift guide story. Of course, I said yes!

Look for us toward the bottom...

By Beth Anne Piehl
Special Sections Writer

The first day of Christmas, a partridge in a pear tree.
If only they would’ve stopped there.

The 2008 holiday season is a chance to get back to basics, give green gifts that take into consideration our generous but delicate environment, use of sustainable materials and the ability to make eco-friendly choices that can endure the year through.

And retailers are making it easy to “go green” this holiday season – all you need to do is ask.

“Some customers are asking for ‘green’ products, and some are just impressed when you tell them about a particular product’s green-ness,” said Jennifer Shorter, of Grandpa Shorter’s Inc. downtown Petoskey. “One woman was in last week and her family had decided on having a green Christmas. All gifts had to be either made from recycled materials or purchased second-hand. She bought recycled wool mittens for the girls on her list. She was excited because they were also Michigan made.”

The ideas in any Green Gift Guide are innumerable: bikes, organic foods and wines, fair trade coffee, recycled and recyclable materials, nontoxic cleaning supplies and toys, etc.

Sommer Poquette, a Petoskey mom and expert in the area of green living, as the founder of Green and Clean Mom (, said starting with the wrapping and packaging is a gift itself.

“If somebody is looking to green their Christmas holiday, I would suggest people look for things that have very little packaging,” Poquette said. “That’s extremely wasteful.”

Parents can encourage their kids to reuse by wrapping gifts in newspaper and having children decorate with sponge paint or stickers. “Why give someone a green gift and then give it to them in something that isn’t ‘green?’ That’s just silly,” she said.

Shopping locally and eliminating further packaging is another conscientious step for parents and gift-givers to take, Poquette offered. And don’t take for granted that all toys are safe; she advises parents to be on the lookout still for lead paint, and suggests that wooden toys are a better choice.

“Think about it as parents – how many toys do your kids need? A few quality toys that are nontoxic and aren’t just going to end up in a landfill can go from generation to generation,” Poquette said.

Green gems
Poquette’s reservoir of ideas runs deep. She suggests:

- Make homemade “play-dough” for kids and package it in reusable containers.

- For skin care products, make sure they’re Parabin-free and packaged in recycled bottles.

- Support fair trade producers whenever possible. The Grain Train in Petoskey, for instance, sells fair-trade chocolate. A gift basket of fair trade goodies –chocolate, nuts, coffee, etc. – and organic wine, packaged in a reusable gift basket, makes a great present.

- Buy local whenever possible to reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating shipping and packaging. Buying candy that’s not packaged in plastic, such as at Symon’s General Store and Kilwin’s, is the best route.

- Give a green cleaning starter-kit. Fill a tin bucket with plastic squirt bottles, vinegar and baking soda, and buy “green cleaning” books at a local bookstore like Horizon or McLean & Eakin. “Put in some microfiber cleaning cloths and there’s your eco-friendly gift,” Poquette said. “That’s cheap – it’s cheap for you and for the person receiving it, because they’re not going to have to buy cleaning supplies for awhile. All they have to do is add water.”

(Microfiber cleaning cloths are available at the Grain Train, Meyer Ace Hardware and online; an online service,, can have a supply regularly delivered to a person’s door, with one cloth replacing 15 rolls of paper towels.)

- After a recent scan of local shops, Poquette also noted eco-friendly baby shoes, Isa Booties, at Parkside North, and organic stuffed animals and fashionable reusable shopping totes at Cutler’s.

- Grandpa Shorter’s carries books on living and decorating green; mittens, hats and scarves made from recycled wool sweaters; and purses, laptop bags, CD holders and totes made from recycled billboards.

For the health of it
One of the ultimate ways, of course, to green up anyone’s life is to reduce the dependence on fuel; not to mention, a way to save a few bucks.

In the small communities around Northern Michigan, biking to and from work, shopping, and leisure riding is both convenient and feasible, making giving the gift of pedal power another green idea for ’08.

“In recent years, using bicycles as a form of transportation has become more popular, partially as a result of cyclists’ desire to be kinder to the environment, but more significantly as a low-cost way to get around,” said Christian Janssens, owner of Latitude 45 bicycle shop in Petoskey. “... Cut out the local car trips and you will make a significant impact on the environment by reducing automotive carbon emissions.”

Giving someone the gift of time to exercise is an added benefit. “By taking a little more time to transport yourself to and from work and choosing to use a bicycle, you will get a great daily workout doing something that you would have to do anyway,” he said.

When buying a bike for a gift, consider:
-- There are some great bicycles available that are fully equipped to allow adults to start riding their bike for transportation, such as the Transend DX from Giant Bicycles.

-- When selecting the right bike for a child it is critical to make certain that the bike is not too big for them and thus unsafe, but not so small that they will outgrow it in 6 months. Other key features to consider when buying the right bike for your child are training wheels, the type of braking system (coaster brake or hand brake), whether the bike has gears or is a single speed, and the color. Giant Bicycles has a selection of kids’ bikes, with one of the more popular models being the MTX125, a 7-speed, light-weight aluminum bicycle with hand brakes.

-- For BMX kids’ bikes, the Eastern Traildigger is a popular option with quality parts at a good value.

-- What about price? At a professional bicycle store, where all bike purchase prices include certified assembly, free professional fitting and follow-up service support, plus extensive warranties, prices range from $110 for a 12-inch kid’s modelup to thousands for a super light-weight road bike. Most adult bikes sold range in price from $300 to $1,500.

Knitting the world into a cozier place
Kirsten Buys, an (Ionia) native who worked for the Petoskey News-Review in the summer of 1998, continues her reporting duties at a downstate newspaper by day and spends her free time knitting unique scarves, coffee cozies and other wearable products from a line of plant-based fiber materials.

She started her own business, La Femme Monkita ( in 2007 and was invited earlier this month to show her creations at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair. Her collection includes scarves, scarflettes, blankets, wraps, shawls, baby blankets, coffee cozies and ice cream pint cozies.

While Buys does create items made from wool, mohair and blends of wool with other plant-based fibers, she also offer items made from “vegan” yarn -- yarn that is made solely from plant fibers or is synthetic (“which is washable and nice and soft and warm, so most people like that too,” she adds.)

Her coffee cozies were born from her environmental consciousness. “The idea is to technically ‘save a tree,’ or at least a branch, by refusing the cardboard cozy they give you with your order,” Buys said. “So, it only made sense for me to make them out of an environmentally friendly yarn. My favorite is this cotton/modal blended yarn that is super soft and shiny. I often pair it with some of the amazing vintage buttons I got from my grandmother’s collection and others that have been given to me or that I have found, from garage sales to eBay.”

Read about how she makes crafts her designs at

Energy awareness, in a compact package
For those on the list who have everything green and in between, one more unique gift idea is a home energy monitoring unit. Brands such as Kill-a-Watt, PowerCost and Wattson (available online) offer monitors that tally a home’s energy use in real time, and display to the homeowner how much it’s costing them.

The monitors make it easy to see which appliances are sucking up the most electricity, and how to save money by conserving. Manufacturers state the monitors can help reduce a home’s electricity use by 5 to 20 percent, by encouraging homeowners to turn the thermostat down and switching to compact fluorescent lightbulbs, for instance.

The units cost around $150, which is far less expensive, presumably, than five golden rings, two turtle doves and a gaggle of dancing ladies.

Monday, October 27, 2008

LFM in full swing!

The winter months are closer than I would like to admit and, although I'm knitting like crazy gearing up for the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, I'm also posting my new items to my Etsy shop.

So, here's a look at a few of the new items I've created lately, as well as a couple of my mascot, Tobias. While I usually try to keep my yarn and my items free from the cat hair that surrounds me, I just couldn't resist this on Saturday, when he went to great lengths to try to weasel his way onto the couch with us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New hoodies from JJC!

Jennifer Joy Creative has just added four new tops to her Web site and they are AMAZING, so I felt the need to post immediately.

Go check out her Web site. She posts items here for her mailing list members the day before she posts them to her Esty shop, just so her list gets first dibs -- her stuff usually goes pretty fast.

She's got a bunch of cool accessories, skirts and hand spun and dyed yarn too, so check it all out.

I'm so excited that I get to peddle my La Femme Monkita wares with her in a couple of weeks (yikes!) at the Detroit Urban Craft Fair Nov. 15.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Less than a month!

It's now less than a month until the Detroit Urban Craft Fair and I'm trying to get as many items as possible finished before then -- Nov. 15 and 16.

In recent days I've finished a new scarflette that's one of my favorite things ever -- made in a checkerboard design of teal and black with vintage sequin buttons. And, I whipped up a coffee cozy (and sold one so it kind of replaced that!).

I post them to my Etsy shop, assuming they won't sell before hand, but maybe I should start hanging onto some things.

Oh, who am I kidding. I just want them to find good homes -- I don't care whether that's through my house or the fair!

Here are a couple of pics of some of my new stuff!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Den Herder Design gives LFM a shout out

Jesse Den Herder of Den Herder Design posted a little shout out to La Femme Monkita on his blog, Working Class Designer.

Jesse designed all of La Femme Monkita's hang tags and business cards, working from the design of the banner on the LFM Etsy shop, created by graphic designer Brooke Clark.

Many thanks to Jesse, who is working on some amazing stuff of his own, so check out his blog!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Criminal granny gets sentenced to knit

Now, this is a punishment I think I could handle.

Read about it HERE.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gearing up for the big show!

Just thought I would give a little update on all things La Femme Monkita.

I just finished the custom Manchester United blanket for Liz and Tony in Chicago. Their little one is due in a few weeks and Tony's birthday is this week, so Liz wanted to surprise her Irishman with a baby gift that's actually geared toward him. It should arrive in Chicago today, so I hope they like it!

Other than that, I'm just gearing up big time for the Detroit Urban Craft Fair.

Because I finished the MU blanket, I'm now setting out to knit as much as is humanly possible in the next six weeks so I actually have something to sell! Fingers crossed...

I sold my Michigan scarf yesterday to my friend Amanda Jo, who's preparing for a long, cold Boston winter, but that means I need to make another one for the show -- or at least I would like to. (You can see it in my sold items in my Etsy shop under sold items -- for some reason it's not letting me link straight to it).

That's about it! We're just trying to think of everything we can to have fun and have an inviting table. My booth partner and one of my best friends, Jay, is doing her best to get everything ready for her Jennifer Joy Creative line of hand dyed and handmade clothing, accessories and hand dyed and hand spun yarn. She even figured out a way for us to be able to accept credit cards, so that's pretty cool.

Hope to see lots of people out at the show!

La Femme Monkita

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's a shame about Rodrigo Possebon's injury

OK, so I don't really know a thing about Rodrigo Possebon. But I do know that his Manchester United "football" (soccer) team colors are red and yellow.


Becuase I'm almost done making a custom Manchester United blanket for my friend Liz in Chicago, who's buying it for European-native husband, Tony.

They're due to have a baby in about two months so. After some back and forth, we decided to go forward with a blanket that's a little bigger than your after baby blanket so it could still provide a little warmth to Liz or Tony when they're holding the little one (who will be a soccer fan whether a boy or girl).

We got an official MU patch that will go on the bottom right corner and in the top left corner, I knitted an "MU."

It's not as easy as you would think. Doing a single S for the recent Spartan blanket was one thing. But after this one, I don't think I'll ever again to two letters side-by-side.

From now on, they'll go on top of each other!

Anyway, I tried to make the "M" a little different so it would maybe look a little "cooler" and I ran it by Liz who says that she loves it and that Tony will too.

I should be able to finish it up tonight and now just have to wait for the patch to arrive and then it's off to them in plenty of time for Tony's October birthday.

I'll be sure to post a photo of the finished product when it's all done!

I've got one more custom on deck and then I need to get trying to stock up my shop for the Detroit Urban Craft Fair.

More soon!

La Femme Monkita

Monday, September 22, 2008

Way to go, JJC!

Just wanted to give some props (is that the right way to use that word, kids?) to Jennifer Joy Create for being featured on the EcoEtsy blog recently.

Way to go, Jay! Check it out HERE.

Jennifer Joy Creative and La Femme Monkita will be sharing a booth at Detroit Urban Craft Fair in November -- I better get moving!

I'm still working on some customs and then I have to get cracking so I can have a full booth to sell at the craft fair. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Detroit Urban Craft Fair: All Systems Go!

Detroit Urban Craft Fair got its vendor list up on its Web site today! Other than seeing that I need to have a square or rectangular logo made, it's very exciting.

The logos all link to the Web sites or Etsy shops for the 66 booths that will be at the fair, Nov. 15 at the The Fillmore Detroit, formerly the State Theatre.

For my logo I used the banner to my Etsy shop.

You'll see my booth partner -- Jennifer Joy Creative.

Check out the full list of DUCF vendors HERE.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Knitting for change.

OK, so the knitting had nothing to do with Obama, change or wanting change, or needing change for a dollar.

But last night I had to cover Barack Obama speaking at North Farmington High School. The only problem? Press had to arrive about 2 1/2 hours early. One of the Secret Service agents searching my bag found my knitting (with wooden needles so as to not set off any detectors) asked, "Expecting him to be boring?"

I responded, "Not at all, when he starts in two and a half hours."

My two competitors and I took our spots behind the media barricade on the floor when we noticed they put chairs up on the balcony behind us for overflow press. We decided it would be a better vantage point and moved up there. It was perfect. Obama's press entourage took up more than the space below, so it was a wise choice to move regardless.

Although at first I kind of dreaded the circus I thought it would be, I actually got in and out quite easily. It was an interesting night, an interesting event, and no doubt a snapshot in history (in a way).

And to top it all off, I got quite of bit of knitting done on one of my custom orders done before it started.

Click HERE to read my story.

Click HERE to see what's been added to my Etsy shop lately.


Monday, September 8, 2008

La Femme Monkita coffee cozies to be featured in Relevant Magazine!

Relevant Magazine contacted La Femme Monkita Friday morning asking if they could feature LFM's coffee cozies in its Nov/Dec holiday gift guide!

I immediately answered yes, of course!

I had never heard of Relevant Magazine but it seems to be the "cool" Christian magazine, geared toward young and hip Christians, from what I can tell.

I quickly finished two more cozies to give them a real variety of choices and sent about 10 photos to them on Sunday morning.

The two new ones I finished Friday are posted in my shop HERE and HERE.

I've got two custom baby blankets I'm working on for friends Liz and Amanda and purchased the yarn on Saturday. It's a new yarn I've never worked with, but I've got a good started on Liz's blanket and I really like it. It's a little warmer (perfect for fall/winter babies) and I love the colors.

Hopefully at some point I can get going on items for the craft fair in November. I have a feeling it will be here before I know it!