Don’t you deserve a gift most of all?  Join us in the beautiful North East Kingdom of Vermont at The Highland Lodge in March 2011.  Put this experience on the top of YOUR gift list.  See you in Vermont!


Details and Registration at  Or contact The Lodge at 802.533.2647;


The above is a quote from Bob Dylan that I am re-quoting from my Art Prof Bob Ecker.  It is Dylan’s answer to the question of how he saw himself and what he was doing (the actual question was something like “Are you a poet?”).   Bob Ecker, my Drawing and Painting Prof concludes that moving and faking is at the core of making and understanding art, if not art itself.  I’m doing a little more of both these days.

MotherWarriorGoddess MutliMedia Technique Study 1 (c)Tara Jon Manning

MotherWarriorGoddess MutliMedia Technique Study 1 (c) 2010 Tara Jon Manning

I’ve been back in the (painting) studio.  It’s actually all one studio, but to me it’s different depending on which table I am sitting at (design/yarn, drawing, computer, painting).  Here is a recent technical study.  Moving – looking past the faking while faking all the while.  Thanks so much, Bob, both of you.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!“>
Buy Handmade! Make Handmade!

This holiday season, I am trying going to make things from what’s on hand – not buying anything new.  This is a bit more interesting (read “challenging”) than I anticipated.  I have SO much raw material on hand – yet still find myself thinking – “well this would be so much easier with some blanket binding – if I stopped by the fabric store – NO – make binding from fabrics at home.”

At first it was about perfection, then about laziness, now it’s about the fact that it tonight is the start of Chanukah, and Solstice/Childrens’ Day is next Monday, and Christmas is in two weeks.  Then comes my wedding anniversary, and then new years’ – all perfectly acceptable gifting occasions (did you read that second to last one, Bill) .

There’s very caffeinated knitting, mad felting and speedy handsewing going on here in Boulder.  (Note: speedy handsewing means drawing a lot of blood – one drop at time.)

Things are still secret, but I will reveal pix soon.  They’re awesome.  And, I am upcycling, recycling, making from raw, baking, and who knows, if we get down to the wire, giving stuff I love away to someone who is drawn to it.

Interestingly, my little MAKE IT journey did start many weeks ago, like late October – but handwork is slow.  Sometimes, as I’m sucking the blood from my thumb after the most recent jab of the needle, I wonder if the giftee is going to like it, if they will even care that I went through the conscious effort NOT to contribute anything except some biodegradable scraps to the ecosystem.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter – just as with any manufactured gift one would purchase to give.  Most of my peeps “get” that I make stuff, and genuinely appreciate the handwork quality.  People who may not know me as well ask where I bought it – a compliment.  In the end, I am walking the walk and having pretty good time – except for the needle pricks.  And, every one of the above mentioned occasions – and then some (next comes Groundhogs, Valentines,  and bunches of other “days”)  that make for great gift giving if everything isn’t done “on time.”

If you aren’t able to sit and draw blood, or have run out of time with your own holiday handwork, or don’t do handwork but think it’s really awesome – PLEASE make or support handmade in your gifting plans. A quick websearch or visit to (if you don’t know what is, make sure you have a chunk of time to browse – just sayin’) – that’s all you need to do.  Or, go to a funky little gallery or handmade boutique near you and see what sorts of neato little things you find.

Support your local artists (even when that means YOU), your local businesses, and handcrafters – not just because one of a kind and creative expression are WONDERFUL – but because you can do your little “Copenhagen” bit by reducing the waste stream, shopping local, helping out an artists, and reducing the amount of “stuff”, er, raw materials in your stash.

PLEASE if you have suggestions for the most awesome places on the web to buy handmade or find quick project ideas, leave a comment! And everyone, visit  You can take the pledge, and read more about this wonderful network.

Off to draw more blood, sweat, but no tears.  Joy of the season to all – Tara

I’ve just added an instant “new classic” toddler sweater to the Ravelry Store.

The Botanical Argyle Toddler Sweater

on Ravelry! Pattern only $5.00 US.

Featuring the rich and beautiful colors of natural plant dyed, “Greenspun” yarns, this little sweater jacket is hip yet classic. A quick knit, this pattern features several fun techniques – including intarsia and duplicate stitch.

This sweet sweater is the companion piece to the Botanical Argyle Vest from my book Nature Babies. (Which, BTW, it looks like you can get for a song and a dance, a steal (ouch!) for less than sixs buck on – buy em up for all your crafting friends – Great Holiday Gift!  Includes upsourcing and recycling material, organics, and beautiful handwork (knitting, felt and sewing).

The yarn shown is Botanical Shades’ Worsted Singles with a put up of 225 yards per hank – which I first discovered several years ago at Rhinebeck. 2 Hanks of the main color are needed.

If you start it now, you still have time to finish it for the holidays!

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