The Black Squirrel's Indiegogo Has Launched! We need your support now more than ever!

This is the concept drawing I created for The Black Squirrel. The shop is going to be amazing!

Hello friends! What a crazy year this has been! But finally, as of yesterday, my big dream has a chance of becoming a reality! We launched our Indiegogo campaign to fund the creation of a brick and mortar and online fabric, yarn, and craft supply boutique in Oakland, CA! We're off to a great start but we need lots of help getting the word out about it.

This is the concept drawing of my ideal storefront.

I built this campaign over the past year with practically no resources, except all my lovely crafty friends. Likewise, I have no money to put into advertising, but I'm not worried about that because the crafting community has always been such a tight knit and loving one! If you've been a follower of Oh the Cuteness and enjoyed our free patterns and DIYs then you'll be happy to know we're really upping our game for The Black Squirrel's blog. I've learned a lot from my decade of blogging on this site and if I can manage to open this new physical shop, I'll be able to devote so much more time to writing new patterns and creating lovely posts. It's going to open up a whole new world of possibilities for both the online and local crafting communities, which is the most important goal.

And this is my concept for the classroom space, a very important part of the shop.

So please, even if you can't contribute monetarily (though we have so many awesome prizes to choose from that I bet you'll want to once you have a look), please take a few minutes to share our campaign wherever you can! Turns out Indiegogo uses an algorithm to decide which campaigns get featured in their newsletter and on their main page by how popular the campaigns are across social media, and by how many visitors they get. So please post it to your Facebook, Twitter, Goole Plus, and Pinterest accounts as much as you can!


Big changes are happening at Oh the Cuteness! A new shop, a new location, and a new format are in the works.

Hi everyone! I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted here, but I have a very good excuse this time that I think you will all be very excited about. Big changes are happening and big plans are being made!

First of all, I'm no longer living in Campbell (And yes, this means I had to disassemble and box up the amazing craft room... Le sigh.). At the moment I've got everything I own except for the essentials put in a storage pod, and I've spent the holidays with my mom and dad, and the new year with my sister, and now I'm planning on returning to my beautiful city of Oakland to finally start working on my big dream...

I'm very proud to introduce to you The Black Squirrel, a brick-and-mortar and online fabric, yarn, and craft supply boutique! It's been my lifelong dream to own a little craft shop and I've decided it's time to go for it! The shop will stock a variety of beautiful trendy yarns and fabrics, with a focus on sustainably and locally made items, as well as some handmade gifts and a rotating selection of craft supplies that will coincide with some of the awesome classes we will offer. The classroom space can also be used as a workspace for customers and as a gallery space for local artists. The overall design of the shop will be light, bright, and inviting, and I'm hoping it will become a creative hub for the crafting community in the Bay Area.

I'm extremely excited, and also pretty intimidated, because in the new year I'll be launching a Kickstarter to fund it. I'm spending all my time setting up the campaign and anything I can think of for the business, but I'm going to need a lot of help from all my friends, family, and fans to get the word out about the Kickstarter once it's launched. You can head over to the new website, http://www.blacksquirrelfabric.com and check out what I have been working on. There's nothing in the shop yet, that will have to come after the retail location has been established, but there is a super cute free baby cardigan knitting pattern over on the new blog:

As well as a new free pattern for a chunky crochet set:

The really exciting part about this set-up process is getting to interact with so many people in the crafting community. I've been connecting with all my creative friends to collaborate on the rewards for my campaign (There's some really cool stuff!), and I've been communicating with the community at large to get their opinions on items to stock, shop design, and everything in between.

Currently I'm looking for people who can help spread the word about the Kickstarter campaign when it's time to launch it. If you're interested in helping, please send me an email at blacksquirrelfabric@gmail.com and I'll add you to the mailing list. There will only be a couple newsletters about it, and mostly it's just asking people to share it across social media!

Also if you're interested in voicing your opinion on the shop I'd love to hear what you have to say! You can head over to our new Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/blacksquirrelfabric, like us, and be sure to turn notifications on so you'll get to see our posts. (I'm so annoyed by the way Facebook only shows your page posts to 7-10% of the people who like your page. Grrr.) I've been posting updates and questions on the page, as well as links to fun tutorials from all over the web that I think my readers would enjoy. Join in the conversations and tell me what you want to see!

My Instagram and Pinterest accounts, which used to be under my Oh the Cuteness name, have been switched over to The Black Squirrel. If you're not already a follower you can now find them at http://www.instagram.com/blacksquirrelfabric (@blacksquirrelfabric) and http://www.pinterest.com/squirrelfabric (@squirrelfabric). I also set up a new Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com/squirrelfabric (@squirrelfabric), and all of my Facebook updates are tweeted. If you'd like to speak with me directly with any questions, opinions, or ideas you can email me at blacksquirrelfabric@gmail.com.

So you may be wondering, what does this mean for my handmade company and this blog? Fear not, because I also have some fun plans for Oh the Cuteness that will have to wait until the new shop is up and running, but they are exciting all the same. I'm planning on turning it into a handmade collective in the future, a place for my friends, who find trying to stock a whole Etsy shop on their own a little too daunting, to sell their beautiful handmade goods. The blog and Twitter will become part of the collective too, which means lots of new creative minds and more fun content! One of my big goals with my new business is to encourage more people to be creative and I think having a collective is another great step.

So there you have it folks, and I hope you guys are as excited as I am! Please do contact me if you have any questions or comments at all, I'd love to hear from you! And stay tuned for more updates!


Shop Update: New lacy newborn baby bonnets and glitzy adult bike beanies are up for sale in my Etsy shop!

There's some seriously cute crocheted goodness up on my Etsy shop right now! Look at how adorable this little lady is, and she's modeling one of my Victorian-inspired baby bonnets that I just listed. Thank you so much to Nadine form Birdy Boutique Photography for taking this shot!

I originally made a bunch of these bonnets for a craft fair, but the sprinklers came on and I had to pack it in! If you're not following me on Instagram yet then you're missing out, as I did a presale of these with free shipping before I listed them on Etsy! Come find me @ohthecuteness if you want in on future sales!

Also up in the shop are my crocheted bike beanies:

I wrote this pattern myself specifically for people who ride bikes. They fit really nicely under a bike helmet and they're very squishy and stretchy. The yarns have little gold filaments in them too for some extra sparkle! There's only one Autumn colored one left so don't miss out!


Tutorial: Alice in Wonderland Inspired Toddler Apron. This quick and easy playtime accessory has a bodice that is made to be fitted to a variety of kids quickly and easily!

My best friend's little girl turned two recently and she decided on an Alice in Wonderland theme for the party! My birthday present to her was to help with party decorations and sew her a little white apron to complete her Alice-esque look. I had a feeling it was going to be adorable so I took photos along the way and have made them into a tutorial for you guys! 

This apron tutorial is special in that you can adjust the size of the apron to fit the child you're making it for, and if you leave some extra fabric like I did you can rip a single seam and resew it to make the apron last even longer! Kids grow so fast, and it's silly to get rid of something handmade if there's an easy way to alter it to keep it useful! I hope you all enjoy this one!

How to Make a Toddler Apron
You'll Need:
1/2 a yard of white fabric
2 yards of white eyelet lace trim
3 yards of wide white satin or grosgrain ribbon
White thread
Embellishment (optional)

1. Cut a 12 inch wide strip that is the length of your fabric from selvedge to selvedge. Fold all the sides in 1/4 inch and press, then repeat to create a small rolled hem on all sides. Stitch the hems in place all the way around with a 3/16ths seam allowance.

 2. Cut your lace trim to the same length as your strip of fabric plus 1 inch. Fold and press the ends of the trim over by 1/4 inch and repeat, then stitch in place to make a nice rolled edge:

3. Stitch the lace to the back side of the rectangle's long side. On the opposite long side, either machine or hand sew a loose running stitch all the way along, then pull the threads and gather the skirt until it has shrunk down to about 20 inches across. I like to start from the center and work outwards. Tie a knot at each end to keep the ruffles in place.

4. Cut your length of ribbon in half, and trim the ends into nice V's so they don't fray. Find the center points of both the piece of ribbon and the gathered skirt and begin pinning them together, with the ribbon covering the row of stitching used to make the gathers. Sew with a 3/16ths allowance from one edge of the fabric to the other.
Now, you could stop here and have a sweet little half-apron, but if you want the bodice here's what you do:

1. Cut a 12 x 12 inch square out of the remaining white fabric and make the 1/4 inch rolled hem on all sides just like you did for the skirt piece and press.

2. Cut your remaining length of ribbon in half and trim one end on each piece into the nice V's. Take your square of fabric and open up the last of the rolled hems you just pinned. Lay the cut end of the ribbon against the raw edge of the fabric and refold the hem. Pin in place with the ribbons trailing off the top of the fabric:
 Here's what it looks like on the front:

3. Cut two 10 inch pieces of lace trim and roll the edges as you did for the skirt, and stitch the rolled hems in place. Pin the lace along the outer edge of the ribbon ties, starting at the top of the fabric. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. With a 3/16th seam allowance, stitch all the way from the bottom of the fabric to the end of the lace trim.

5. Finish sewing down the top and bottom rolled hems. This leaves you with a nice bodice piece that can be as long or as short as needed to fit the child properly.

6. Layer the bodice behind the skirt and, with the skirt at waist level, decide how far up you want the bodice to come. Pin it in place and sew the two pieces together from one edge of the bodice to the other. There will be an extra length of fabric with finished edges hanging behind the apron's skirt. As the child grows taller, the seam connecting the bodice and skirt together can be ripped out and the fabric of the bodice can be moved higher and resewn to help prolong the life of the apron!

I hope you guys like this tutorial, it goes very quickly! If you make one be sure to share a photo in my Flickr group or tag me @ohthecuteness on Instagram! Happy Crafting!


Recipe: Baked Cronuts Two Ways. Filled with sweetened marscarpone and topped with a lemon glaze, or decorated with marzipan crumbles and bing cherries

Hi everyone! Alexandra and I are very excited to share our new recipe for baked cronuts today! Truth be told, neither of us have had the opportunity to try an actual cronut. They sound amazing but as if a regular fried piece of dough wasn't bad enough, adding a million layers of butter inside sounds like overkill. 
But the idea of a tender, flaky piece of baked puff pastry dressed up like a donut sounded just right, especially if it incorporated some seasonal fruit, and so our baked cronuts were born! You can make either of the two flavors, but we found our favorite was stuffing everything into one huge, hard-to-eat monstrosity of awesomeness. There's no photos of that scene, but you get the idea...

 First, assemble your ingredients:
1 package Dufour Classic Puff Pastry (one sheet will make about 12 cronuts)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 roll of marzipan, finely chopped into crumbles
A pint of ripe cherries, pitted and cut into eighths
8 oz. tub of marscarpone cheese
1 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp milk
Tiny bit of flour for keeping pastry from sticking

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Allow your sheet of puff pastry to thaw completely before unfolding it onto a sheet of parchment paper sprinkled with a little flour, then use small and large cookie cutters to cut out your donut shapes. We used a cute scalloped one, but round, or even hearts or squares, would be cute too. We also saved our scraps and baked them up separately to munch on later with leftover glaze and toppings!

Transfer your sheet of parchment to a cookie sheet and spread the rings out. Brush each one generously with melted butter. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until firm to the touch and nicely browned. If they deflate as they cool then they need to be baked a teensy bit longer.

While they're baking you can whip up the glazes, fillings, and toppings. If you want to make the lemon glazed version, start by combining the tub of marzipan with two tablespoons of powdered sugar. When they're well mixed, spoon it into a baggie and clip the corner for piping, or use a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.

When your baked cronuts have cooled, slice them in half very carefully with a good serrated knife. Use a sawing motion without applying too much pressure to keep them from crumbling. Pipe a generous amount of the sweetened marscarpone filling into the bottom half of the pastry.

 To make the lemon glaze, combine 1/2 a cup powdered sugar with the zest and juice of a lemon, adding the juice slowly while stirring until the glaze is relatively runny. If the juice wasn't quite enough liquid to make the glaze thin, add a tiny bit of milk to achieve the right consistency. Dip the top half of the cronut into the glaze and sandwich it with the filled bottom half and immediately apply your sprinkles so they stick:

If you want to make the cherry and marzipan version, make a plain glaze by combining the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a tiny bit of lemon juice and about a tablespoon of milk to achieve a runny consistency. Dip the top of a whole baked cronut into the glaze and top with the cherry slices and crumbled marzipan and enjoy! And if you want to be truly decadent, stuff a glazed cronut with the cherries, marzipan, and marscarpone all together and chow down... You know you want to.


Shop Update: Herb and Spice Trivets, Vintage Button Art Pieces, and DIY Yarn Bombing Kits!

There's a ton of new cute items up for sale in my Etsy shop this week! These herb and spice filled trivets, which I talked about making for a craft fair, are finally listed in the shop!

As are these wonderful vintage button art pieces I made. I've been collecting vintage buttons my entire life and I'm so happy to have these special ones out of the jars and on display! The one in the top middle is sold, and the center one is mine, but the rest are in the shop waiting for new homes! I've also listed a framing option for them if you want yours to arrive nicely framed!

And lastly, I've created a new version of my Yarn Bombing Kit that comes without a knitted piece included, for those of you who want to make your own and ship it off to a friend!

Happy shopping! ^_^