Tag Archives: shop local

Meet Maker: Tinker Creek Handknits

Photo by Amanda Malone at Amanda Kelly Photos

Lisa Uotinen, of Daleville, Virginia, began knitting right after she graduated from college in 1993. Back then, she was working full time at Colonial Williamsburg and needed something to do on breaks between shows. There were no classes available then, so she learned by watching people around her and from books. She took a break when her children were born, but picked the hobby back up almost a decade ago.

As her talent developed, she decided to sell the items that she was making. In April of 2016, she opened her business, Tinker Creek Handknits. Most of her yarn comes from Cascade Yarns and is ecologically-friendly, made from natural fibers and minimally-processed wool that hasn’t been dyed using chemicals.

Photo Dec 08“When you buy minimally-processed wool, some people really do fare better when they have it on their skin because there are no chemicals or dyes. You are also choosing to support a sustainable industry in an environmentally-friendly way,” says Lisa.

Of course, wool itself is a sustainable industry. It is one that has proven to be useful for centuries. Lisa harbors no ill will against yarns that are processed, because the sale of that wool also helps the farmers who raise the sheep that provided it.

“People are becoming more aware of the impact they have on the environment. This is just one way that I can choose to support an ecologically-friendly industry. There are people who have made chemically processed yarn, and there is nothing wrong with that. Whenever you are using wool, you are supporting a sustainable industry,” she explains.

Tinker Creek Handknits is operated out of Lisa’s home, where she also raises three young daughters. All three know how to knit, but it is something they have pushed to the back burner as they have grown older. Instead, they help Lisa in other ways—like modeling her creations and giving their opinions on what will and will not sell.

“Their sense of style is usually right on point,” she says. “If they don’t like or wouldn’t wear something I make, chances are that it isn’t going to sell. They are teenagers, so they are on trend and know what will look right for people their age.”

Instead of buying your knitted items from big box stores this winter, make sure that you are supporting small businesses like Lisa’s. Not only are you putting money back into your community, you are also creating a relationship that will allow you to own unique and personable items. Lisa is happy to create custom lengths and knit with requested colors for her customers. That, of course, is the difference between something that you can specifically request and something that is mass produced.

Lisa will be unveiling new products and styles in early 2017! Follow her on Instagram (tinkercreekhandknits) or visit her website, www.tinkercreekhandknits.com to stay up to date on the latest products and to purchase something new for your winter wardrobe!

Shop Local in 2017!

We talk about giving back to our community a lot in Bella, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to shop local. The holidays are behind us, and too often at this critical time of year we fall into the slump of making purchases that are convenient at stores where items are on sale. That habit, though all too common, hurts both small businesses and the consumer.

With a simple swipe of your card, you are making a decision. It’s the old adage “quality versus quantity.” You aren’t going to find the same quality items at department stores that you will with local business owners. So, here are some simple ways you can change your habits for the benefit of the community this year:

Buy a new rug. When cold weather comes, we find ourselves redecorating the interior of our homes. One small change can mean a lot for a room. Start by finding the perfect rug at Oriental Rugs Gallery. You can count on your investment lasting for years, and it may be just what you need to enjoy all of the seasons to come.

Try new ingredients. You’ve found some great recipes to start of the new year, but you have no idea where to begin with the oils you need to purchase. Oliveto can help! Their oils are great for bread dipping, salad dressing, as a marinade, in place of butter or vegetable oil, and more! They also have balsamic vinegars that are perfect drizzled over fruit (and the occasional pastry!).

shop_localFind the perfect outfit. It’s never too early to get ready for Valentine’s Day. If you’re already searching for the right dress, Punch Boutique has you covered. (P.S. Ladies, you’ll never go wrong with blue—it stands out in a sea of red!) Pair your gorgeous outfit with a pair of boots or dress shoes from Yarid’s. Anyone who has ever purchased accessories from this amazing store knows that they are quality statement pieces that last for years.

Finally, don’t forget to stop at Chocolate Paper! Whether you’re going for a small, unique gift to give a friend, that planner you forgot to buy before the New Year, or a little chocolate reward for yourself—this is the place to find what is perfect for you!

Most importantly, don’t let the New Year and after Christmas sales at department stores trick you. They only exist to clutter our homes with things we don’t need. Shop with a purpose where your money does the most good for both you and your neighbors!

Oriental Rug Gallery
5999 Franklin Road
Roanoke, VA 24014
540-776-2808

Punch Boutique
3117 Franklin Road SW #6
Roanoke, VA 24014
540-904-6743

Yarid’s Shoes
4714 Starkey Road
Roanoke, VA 24018
540-266-7750

Oliveto
3565 Electric Road
Roanoke, VA 24018

Chocolate Paper
308 Market St. SE #3
Roanoke, VA 24011

Extraordinary Women: Gina Bonomo

Gina Bonomo, owner of Wool Workshop, is a large part of a movement that is redefining the knitting community. Sewing, knitting, and crocheting are regaining popularity, and the influx of younger customers in the market is challenging the concept that these hobbies are exclusive to older generations. Her attention to detail, passion for creativity, and use of social media to promote and sell her products have made Wool Workshop the place to go for unique and trend-setting yarn and patterns. However, what keeps the customers coming back is not only the quality of the product they are getting, but the welcoming learning environment that the store offers.

What made you want to start a boutique yarn store?
I owned a shoe store called Sole Mate for over ten years. It was humming along really nicely, and it was very established. Then my best friend was diagnosed with lung cancer in Richmond. I felt like it was a good time to spend more time with him. I tried to look at the big picture of what was important. I wanted to open something there, so I decided to sell my shop to my manager. I also signed a non-compete agreement that said I could not sell any clothing, shoes, or accessories in the New River Valley or Roanoke area.

I was preparing to move up there and start a whole new business venture, and he died. I did not want to put down roots there if he wasn’t there anymore, so I had to rethink what I was going to do.

I had always been knitting things for people and enjoyed that creative side. This was at the same time that the scarf-craze was happening. Knitting was becoming mainstream. So I decided to open a knitting shop, and it was exactly what I needed. It was healing my soul from the loss of my friend and the business I didn’t have anymore.

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Photo courtesy of Wool Workshop

Let’s talk about the name “Wool Workshop.” Why did you choose it?
Workshop implies a creative space. I don’t like to view this yarn shop as a brick and mortar retail location, but instead as sort of a think-tank, fashion-driven, garment-driven space. It fits with my fashion background and what I have been doing my whole life. I know when I first opened, people didn’t see the connection, but I still feel like I’m in the fashion industry. We are creating garments with sticks and string. I don’t feel like that is a stretch at all. In fact, it is more creative and fashion-driven than what I was in before.

Why do you think knitting is increasing in popularity now?
Sewing, knitting, and crocheting, and many other handiwork things got lost when women went to work. Leisure time went away, and in terms of the garment industry it became cheaper to buy a finished garment than it was to make one yourself like our mothers and grandmothers did.

We are so tech-driven now, and I think that is making us begin to move towards things that make us feel human again and less like machines. Knitting allows people to get back some of the things they have lost. It is about regaining some leisure time and things that have meaning.

How do you choose the yarn you offer to your customers?
Anything local is very appealing. We get something in from a local farmer, and people know the cotton was grown, picked, dyed, and processed in Virginia. Customers love that, because it makes us feel like we are looking out for each other.

I also stay on top of the trends just like clothing stores. There are things people want to knit with and things they don’t want to use. We pay attention to the Pantone colors of the year, and we also offer a lot of products from popular Indie dyers.

When you aren’t knitting or helping others work on their projects, how do you spend your time?
I like to read and spend time with my kids and my husband. I run file miles every day, and I have for the last thirty years. That’s really important to me. I like to keep moving—it makes me a more interesting person to get out of my little circle and see other shops. I am an entrepreneur first and foremost. Of all the other things I do, like designing, my main thing is I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I’m a retailer. I’m having the time of my life really. I could do other things that would make more money, but I just want to be fulfilled, live an authentic life, and be happy.

For more information on Wool Workshop, visit www.skeincocaine.com. Follow @skeincocaine on Instagram for special yarn auctions every Thursday and Friday! Finally, don’t miss Stephen West—the biggest name in knitwear design and knitting. He is coming to Roanoke and Wool Workshop on June 11-12.

Bella Girl’s Night Out: Lucy in the Sky

bellagnoNew boutique, Lucy in the Sky is now open and is located inside the upper level of Towers Mall. Lucy in the Sky offers handmade jewelry by Lucy herself and local artists. The one of a kind boutique also sells art by local artists, books, candles and accessories ranging from purses to scarves and more! In the future you could expect to see classes offered on how to create your own jewelry and art. 

Be sure to stop by check out the new boutique and join us for our Bella Girls Night Out, Thursday (November 13) at Lucy in the Sky!

 

Written by Kristi Hall

Bella’s Fall Fashion Essentials

SCARVES! Chunky, oversized scarves are something every girl should have in their closet to keep warm and complete a simple outfit. Floral or printed infinity scarfs are also a way to go, especially on a warmer day. La De Da is a great place to find trendy, one of a kind scarves.

bellafallBOOTS! Ankle boots, combat boots, cowboy boots, knee high boots, biker boots, booties – ladies we love em all! Boots are something that never go out of style and can be fashionable but functional. If you’re looking for the perfect place to find a stylish boot, Bush-Flora Shoes has a great selection! 

WATCHES! Mix up your arm candy with a watch. Watches are becoming more popular and the different styles of watches are never ending. Choose your favorite watch and add a bangle to enhance the statement. Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade, Fossil and Guess are just a few popular watch brands but adding a simple boutique watch is still very simple yet a statement piece. Yarid’s boutique offers several different brands of watches that are sure to give you that final statement piece. 

bellafall1CHUNKY CARDIGANS! MUST MUST HAVE! (By the way, you can never have too many or too many colors) La De Da has several different fashionable cardigans that would add a perfect layering item to your fall wardrobe.

TIGHTS! You can still wear your favorite dresses and/or skirts with a cute pair of tights! Make sure you stick to fall colors and don’t head for the bright, summer floral dress. Patterned and solid color tights are very popular to spice up a plain dress or skirt. But if you are looking for a safe and settle way to go, you can never go wrong with simple black tights. H&M has tons of printed leggings and tights that will be sure to add some flare to your outfit!

 

Written by Kristi Hall

Bella Girls Get Healthy!

When Bella girls Cory, Stacey and Hayleigh decided to try Pure Barre together, they knew they would need to commit to the workout routine in order to see significant changes in their lives. By signing up for a three-month membership, and committing to attending class at least three times a week, they began to feel healthier and lose inches within their first month.

“The first class was a killer!” Cory laughs and says, “I definitely felt it for a few days afterward. I have really been challenged, in a good way, to improve my overall fitness level.”

pb1In fact, all three participants are starting to notice a difference in their bodies. “I have noticed tremendous changes in my upper body strength in particular,” explains Cory, “and I am definitely tightening my core.”

Pure Barre is different from other workout programs. The moves are small, and the repetition really inspires change in your muscles. The instructors understand if you need to modify the movements to make them safe for you, but they encourage you to push yourself and reach your full potential. They also let you know when you are doing something right.

“I love how the instructors praise you by name in class,” says Stacey, “that helps when you are really trying to focus and have that mind/body experience. It is also incredibly helpful that, if they see you in the wrong position, they come over and try to help you. They want all of us to get the most out of the time we spend there and their attention to our strengths and weaknesses helps us achieve that.”

Fitness Goals:

Cory: “My fitness goals were to integrate a regular fitness regime to my week again after several months ‘off.’ I also want to strengthen and tone my body.”

Stacey:”My goals were very simple. I just wanted to get through the first class! Going into something with no idea what to expect is always a scary thing. I have found the workouts to be easier to complete each time, and I love the fact that when I stretch the next day I feel my muscles hurting. I know I am doing something right!”

Hayleigh: “I definitely wanted to tone and strengthen my body, shedding some of the weight I have gained in the past two years. For me, this is part of a lifestyle change. My ultimate goal is to have more energy and be healthier—losing weight and inches would be an added bonus.”

pbDieting:

To get the most out of any workout routine, it is important that your other daily choices reflect your new healthy lifestyle. Cory already had a well balanced, low carb diet that she continues to follow. Stacey and Hayleigh, however, had to make a few changes.
“I am trying to keep it low carb,” Stacey explains, “I am eating more fruits and vegetables—staying away from beer and bread. It kind of defeats the workout to indulge in those after class.”

“My biggest problem is turning down a slice of pizza when my husband makes one for dinner,” says Hayleigh,” However, the more healthy food choices I make, the more energy I have throughout the day. I also sleep better at night if I let him have the pizza to himself.”

All three women are excited to continue the program and share their results with you over the next three months. In the meantime, you should check out Pure Barre for yourself and let us know what you think! Visit their website, www.purebarre.com to find a class that fits your schedule.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Ladies, Father’s Day is right around the corner! A lot of dads are hard to shop for– but we have some great suggestions for those of you who still need to find the perfect gift. No matter what you choose, don’t forget that quality time is the most important gift you can give to the dad that you love.

Dad can always use a comfortable recliner. Quality brands, like La-Z-Boy, can be purchased at Grand Home Furnishings in Roanoke across from Tanglewood Mall. They are having a sale this weekend, ending Monday, in which you can get up to 51% off of ALL La-Z-Boy furniture. Selecting the right color, style and size is important because this could be a staple in your home for years. Visit their website for more information on the styles they offer and to find out if a location near you carries the one you love most!

We just received samples of this cologne, and you are going to love it! A new line of British Sterling fragrances was released in April called H.I.M. It is short for “His Imperial Majesty” and a nod to King George VI. Eventually, the brand plans to release a full line of luxury grooming products in addition to the fragrances that will combine quality, innovation and style. For now, the two fragrances, “Reserve” and “Private Stock,” are available for purchase at many stores in our area. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

father_and_kidsMany of us have been there– your husband or your dad are complaining half way through a shopping trip that their shoes are uncomfortable. Or, his flip flop breaks midway through a family outing. Find out his shoe size, and take a quick trip to Bush Flora in Towers Mall. They offer a wide selection of comfortable and stylish shoes for men. With summer vacations and many backyard barbecues on the horizon, we all know how important it is that your favorite fellas are wearing the right shoes.

Happy Father’s Day to the dads in our lives and yours! We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Grand Opening: Potentially Chic

Potentially Chic has always been a fantastic place to visit. Whether you are redecorating your home, looking for a new centerpiece, searching for the perfect gift for a friend or just browsing local shops, they always have unique items at prices that will fit your budget.

They have recently moved from their location on Grandin to 3215 Brambleton Avenue. The new store is 2600 square feet and has given them the opportunity to offer a much wider selection of merchandise than they were able to at their previous location.

10411229_324081124406774_5286709028749392521_nThey have been open for business for a few days now, but their official grand opening is right around the corner! You don’t want to miss their beautiful new store– decorated and ready for both old and new customers.

Join Potentially Chic on Saturday, June 14, for their Grand Opening and One Year Anniversary Celebration. There will be a ribbon cutting at 10:30 am, cupcakes, drawings and a few surprises! Make it a girl’s day out and bring your mom, sister and friends!

We will see you there!