Toadstool Love

Lately I've noticed that my love of all things cupcake has subsided slightly, giving way to a new love; all things toadstool. I keep finding great little bits here and there that are covered in mushroomy goodness and I can't help but take them home. I've found tiny spun cotton toadstools on etsy and larger crepe paper ones at the World Market, sweet little magnets and clips in yellow and red in Japantown, and postcards, notebooks, and wall hangers in a fantastic little boutique by the lake called Urban Indigo. But wait! There's more!
I finished another thing on the apartment to-do list. I painted and hung the shelf of my dreams above my bed with some help from Dennis. I got it for 14 dollars at a craft store and painted it white, then I painted the pegs red and added white polkadots: insta-toadstools! I'm using it to hang all my scarves and display all my fun little plushies and other junk I like to look at. I got the toadstool kaleidoscope and Playmobil mushroom dude from work, naturally. I just love working at the toy store but I have way too many little toys now, lol.


Christmas-y Goodness

I think this year I was a little slow when it came to getting the house decorated for Christmas. Usually I get it done in the first week of Decemeber so I have lots of time to enjoy it, but I've been so busy! But I did manage to set aside some time with Dennis and the cat to make a garland for the kitchen while we drank hot cocoa and watched Prancer.

I know, everyone makes fun of me for liking that movie so much but it really is one of my favorites this time of year. Also on the list is Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, and of course all the old Rudolph claymations.
Anywho, on to the garland. I got a package of dried orange slices last year at a farm shop near my parent's house and I had an idea to make a garland with them. I always see these amazing garlands in magazines made from whole walnuts or nutmeg and knotted ribbon and I've always wanted one, but I also wanted something colorful and nice enough to leave up year-round.

So I was shopping for presents at World Market and I found packets of whole nutmeg for a dollar each and I got 5 of them. I borrowed Dennis and his drill and he helped me drill holes in the center of each of them. The whole house smelled like nutmeg! Then I picked out a ton of red, green, white, clear, and turquoise vintage beads from my stash and grabbed some deep red linen embroidery floss.

To start, I threaded a long needle and sewed thru one side of an orange slice and tied the thread with a few square knots. Then I threaded 5-6 different colors of beads and then a nutmeg, more beads, another nutmeg, then more beads. Then I sewed thru the side of another orange slice and tied off the thread tight. I kept going until I used up all the orange slices and the resulting garland is super long and smells heavenly, and it looks super cute with the little holiday vignettes I put up in the built-ins. I especially like how the orange slices look when light shines thru them, kind of like little stained glass windows.

I can't believe those little trees were $2.50 at Target. There were only a few left when I found them and I should have bought them all, what was I thinking?! Oh well. The little deer are from the toy store where I work.
And the tree is covered with all the old ornaments Angela and I had. Very cozy this year, just the way we like it.



Sorry it took me so long to post this, but I've been working 9-10 hour days at the toystore the past few weeks and by the time I get home I don't have any energy left! It's great that the store is busy, though. And what makes it even better is that my boytoy Dennis is working there with me now while he's on the hunt for a more permanent possition elsewhere and we have lots of fun together.

Anywho, my first craft fair was a complete success in my eyes; Monica made a ton of deliciously-scented flax-filled eye pillows out of Japanese fabrics and flannel, and I brought my etsy wares along with some new earrings, owls, and scarves, and we ended up making about 100 dollars each! Not quite the sold-out fantasy I had in mind, but good enough for me since a little extra cash goes a long way this time of year. But even better than the money was the experience I got - I met tons of amazing artists and even got to trade for some of their wares. I love trading with people so much! I have to give a shout-out to my new crafty buddy and etsy seller JaneBox, whose booth was my absolute favorite at the craft fair and I'm so sad I didn't snap a picture of it, but go check out her etsy store! She was kind enough to trade me a couple of her a-freakin-dorable quail egg candles in a sweet little moss-filled nest for one of my owl pincushions! I love them sooo much!
Also, we were sharing the table with an amazing artist who had traveled across Europe and kept a journal of watercolor paintings. They were stunning, and my favorites were some still lifes she did of some figs when she was laid up in Greece with a sprained ankle. I almost bought them straight away, but I figured I'd wait till the end of the night. She sold 2 of the 3 almost immediately and I knew the last one was meant to be mine. It was freezing cold in the open and airy studio the fair was in, and I was making scarves to sell out of chunky yarn while we sat there. She didn't have a coat so I let her wear one and at the end of the night I asked if she would trade me for the fig painting and she said yes! She chose a citron yellow sarf and a camera case and I got the most lovely painting of hers. I'm going to have my roommate frame it and hang it in the kitchen!
I can't wait to do some of the summer craft fairs next year! Monica has a lot of connections and friends in the oakland art scene so hopefully she'll get more word about some fun little events we can get into.
I'm going to post a little how-to later on for a cute christmas garland and I'll show off all the cute decorations we put up. Happy holidays!


Very Last Minute

I got invited to share a booth with a friend of mine at a craft fair that's on the circuit for the first friday art walk in downtown Oakland. I found out about it wednesday night and have been crafting like crazy since. It's Friday, Dec. 5th from 3-10 pm at The Warehouse Red Door Gallery at 416 26th Street. Come out and see us if you can, it's bound to be a good time. Pics will come later for sure.


I've Been Busy...

Another shop update! I've got a ton of new stuff up in the shop just in time for the after-Thanksgiving-shopathon. All of the cards I made are finally listed. Took me long enough, I know. They were quick and fun to make but I didn't think of how long it was going to take to list over 40 of them while I was making them. Oh well, they're in there now, I just hope some of them sell so it'll be worth all my time and effort, lol.

Along with the bagillion cards I have for you *ghasp* SEVEN, count 'em, seven new owl pincushions with more on the way soon enough. It's been over a year since I've made some, but I got burnt out after making so many and I needed a break. I'm enjoying it again now and I'll try not to do so many that I get sick of them.

Also in the store are some lovely new crochet accessories I've been working on, as well as some made by my mom. So stop by and get some Christmas shopping done early! Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!


Shop Update!

Just letting you all know that the new items I made this week are up for sale in the etsy shop, along with a great pair of vintage costume jewelry clip-on earrings I found at an antique store while I was looking for vintage tea towels. More on that later. Be back soon!


Beads and more beads!

Dennis and I went to Ikea a little while ago and ended up bying an inexpensive, huge tub of Hama beads. You remember Hama beads, right? Those little plastic cylinders you put on a special little pegboard in pretty patterns. Then hopefully you get to iron them together before something terrible happens to it and you have to start over again. It's tedious and actually pretty hard to do, it's a wonder kids like them so much. I'm not yet convinced Dennis has the patience for them, but I ended up finding lots of inspiration at an awesome blog called Sprite Stitch. I love old school video games and have been wanting to incorporate them into my crafting for a long time. So I decided to make a set of coasters featuring the mushrooms from Super Mario Brothers!
They'll be up in the etsy shop soon. I want to do some with Final Fantasy characters on them and some PacMan ones too. In other news, I've got a bunch of new kinds of beautiful vintage beads for sale in The Slug. My personal favorites are some I found at an antique store in Alameda:
Unfortunately I don't have many of them, I want more so I can make a big strechy bracelet for myself. I hear tell there may be some floating around the flea market next month, so keep your fingers crossed! They remind me of toadstool mushrooms, a theme I've been really into lately. Hopefully soon I'll have some mushroom-themed goodness in my etsy shop as well.


Busy Bee

Ahh, the craft table's all nice and clean and it's been so nice to spend the day working on crafty goodness. After a year of living here I finally put that ribbon rack up in its proper place a couple of days ago. I made it from a couple cheap pine mini shelves and dowels from the craft store. Only other thing needed is a drill.

I finished a scarf made from ArtFibers yarns. It's made from red and pink Quipu and orange Valparaiso. Instead of weaving in the ends of yarn as I switched colors, I left them loose and tied them with weaver's knots, then trimmed the fringe to 3/4" and I adore it! I still can't decide whether to keep it or sell it, but selling usually wins out.

I finished a little zakka lunchbag that I started lord knows how long ago. It's crocheted from cream, chocolate, and robin's egg blue yarns and the pattern is from one of my many Japanese craft books. They always turn out smaller than you think they will, but somehow they're still the perfect size; fits a soda, sandwich, and fruit just fine. I lined it with a vintage cloth napkin I found at a thrift store and added a vintage basketweave linen handle. I'll probably do a shop update sometime early next week.

I also made a pillow to photograph etsy stuff on which will hopefully make it easier for me to get things listed faster. I just couldn't find a consistently good way to photograph my stuff in this new home, but this may be it! Keep your fingers crossed.

And lastly I made a papercut inspired by this one from Craftstylish. I want to mount it on the handmade paper I photographed it on, but I'm not sure what I want to do with it. I tried writing a poem on it, but it wouldn't fit. I'll have to think on that one for a while. Oh yeah, and I got all of the halloween decorations put away. I hope this trend of getting things done keeps going, it feels good! Hopefully tomorrow I'll be making brownies and chicken pot pie for dinner (probably not in that order, lol) and squeeze in some crafting since I've already turned in my absentee vote. Don't forget to vote!


Just a quick update...

I added a rediculous ammount of links in the "Favorite Fellow Bloggers" section further down on this page. I had so many neat blogs languishing in my disorganized favorites file that I just had to do something about it. Now at least they're all in one place for easy access, and hopefully that means I'll read them more often and get more inspiration. (Speaking of inspiration, I'm loving those pink dahlias I got at the farmer's market, so pretty! I need to do that more often.) Major shout outs to everyone, so go check out all the new blogs!

In other news, I've been working on some hand-sewing projects, but mostly just little things here and there. The constantly chaotic craft table was cleaned up for the Halloween party, so hopefully it will stay that way long enough for me to get some real work done on my day off. Of course, that's never going to happen unless I get my butt off to bed. 'Night!


Happy Halloween!

I have a large collection of paper buckets, but I never could afford the antique ones. The large cat and devil are handmade by my mother and me. We used strips of brown craft paper dipped in liquid starch and layered them around balloons. Then we cut holes for the eyes and mouths and painted details on construction paper inserts. The designs are based on some of our favorite antique ones. Cheesecloth adds a spooky touch.
The kitchen looked really cute this year with little vignettes on the built-ins.
It was Dennis' idea to put the big spider behind the TV. I really like the way he looks and don't really want to take him down.
While visiting my parents we went to San Luis Obispo and there was this eight foot tall lego storm trooper walking around downtown. It was so cool!


Kitty Stuff!

My new job is at a lovely little toy store in the north bay called A Child's Delight. It's a lot of fun and it has helped furnish my budding Re-ment collection (maybe you'll get some pictures soon?), and I really enjoy working with the public. This past sunday the mall that one of the stores is located in was having a trick-or-treat for the kids, with every store handing out candy. We were encouraged to come in costume so I busted out ye olde fox tail and cosplay ears, plus a set of really realistic fangs and I went to work. Only one other person dressed up, and she was only there for 3 hours! It was fun being the odball in costume; the kids and parents alike loved it, and it was extra funny because the fangs give me a lisp when I wear them. Though the tail is by far the best part of the costume. People see me coming and they smile at the ears, then when I say hello they say "Oh my," when they see my fangs, but the best part is after I passed them by I hear them exclaim behind me "Oh my God look at her tail!" Lol! It's a real fox tail I picked up at a ren faire some years ago and it swishes when I walk, almost like it was meant to be there. I swear I must have been a cat in a past life, lol. Anywho, feeling very catty I came home and crocheted a basket for Kyoto's toys to live in. They're always getting everywhere and were in desperate need of a home, and he likes digging around in them. It's made from scraps that ammounted to less than 2 balls of Sugar'n Cream cotton yarn in natural, though if you wanted to make one I bet one of the new large size balls they're selling would be the perfect ammount. I did a few rows in the middle from some leftover hemp, the same stuff I used in my first zakka bag. It's fairly large and I used an H hook so it's a tight weave so it'll be durable. Here's the pattern if you'd like to make one for your goodies that need a home.
Round 1: Start with an adjustable loop and crochet 6 single crochet (sc) into the loop and join with a slip stitch. (6sc)
Round 2: 2 sc in every sc. (12 sc)
Round 3: *1 sc in first sc, 2sc in next* Repeat from * around. Do not join any other rounds. (18 sc)
Round 4: *1 sc in next 2 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (24 sc)
Round 5: *1 sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (30 sc)
Round 6: *1 sc in next 4 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (36 sc)
Round 7: *1 sc in next 5 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (42 sc)
Round 8: *1 sc in next 6 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (48 sc)
Round 9: *1 sc in next 7 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (54 sc)
Round 10: *1 sc in next 8 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (60 sc)
Round 11: *1 sc in next 9 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (66 sc)
Round 12: *1 sc in next 10 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (72 sc)
Round 13: *1 sc in next 11 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (78 sc)
Round 14: *1 sc in next 12 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (84 sc)
Round 15: *1 sc in next 13 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (90 sc)
Round 16: *1 sc in next 14 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (96 sc)
Round 17: *1 sc in next 15 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (102 sc)
Round 18: *1 sc in next 16 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (108 sc)
Round 19: *1 sc in next 17 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (114 sc)
Round 20: *1 sc in next 18 sc, 2 sc in next* Repeat from * around. (120 sc)
Rounds 21-25: 1 sc in each sc around. (120 sc) Switch to hemp yarn at end of round 25.
Rounds 26-28: With hemp, 1 sc in each sc around. (120 sc) Switch back to cotton yarn at end of round 28.
(At this point if you're tired of crocheting you can do 3 to 5 more rows of cotton and bind off, but I did more mostly to use up yarn and because I wanted a rolled rim for the basket, inspired by this one from Little Miss Meshell, who is no longer blogging unfortunately.)
Rounds 29-41: sc in each sc around and bind off. (120 sc)
Roll the hem over and enjoy your basket!
Meow! =^. .^=

If you have found this or any of my other free patterns useful and would like to help me keep creating them I accept PayPal donations!