Valentine's Day approaches... Handmade gifts, to me, are especially meaningful for a holiday that's all about the labor of love, so I'm knitting up something special!

I know there's a lot of people out there that don't really like Valentine's Day for one reason or another. I, however, am not one of those people. I'll take any excuse to do something special, especially if it's for someone I love. When I was a kid I tended to make valentines for my classmates instead of buying the fold-and-tear variety, and it's a tradition that's carried over to my adult life: I'm knitting a little something special for Johnny this year. (Don't worry, he knows!)

He found this fantastic cowl, made buy Susk and Banoo, on my Pinterest and asked me if I would make it for him. The moment I said yes he emailed me the link and bought the same yarn that was used for the one above! (Which, by the way, is Rowan Cocoon in Mountain. She used only 2 skeins and it looks like I'm going to need 3 to finish to the proper dimensions.) 
I can't help but swoon for a man that buys yarn and looks up his own patterns! Susk and Banoo called their version "The Hemingway", and it's made from the Purl Bee's "Lovely Ribbed Cowl" pattern. I'm very nearly done and we're both incredibly excited for him to wear it.

If you've been following my Instagram, you'll know that he's taken up whittling recently, and a little birdie told me that I am getting something very painstakingly hand-carved as my gift this year! And on the actual day we have plans to make each other simple embroidery floss friendship bracelets before we head off to a romantic dinner!

Last year I made Johnny a piece of embroidered art, shown above on the bottom left. I used navy embroidery floss on an open-weave muslin with bits of my favorite vintage fabrics to freehand a Venn Diagram about us. I was inspired by Lisa Hannigan's sweet song Venn Diagram and I have some sketches for other graph-type designs to complete a series in the future.

Also, just a bit of news: my first-ever baby cardigan pattern is in the testing phase, so hopefully it will be available to buy very soon! I'd still be interested in taking on one more pattern tester, anyone want to volunteer?


Oh the Cuteness at the first ever DG Expo in San Francisco! A lovely new fabric and design expo, designed to foster smaller local manufacturers.

I had a wonderful opportunity before the holiday rush hit to help my friend Ivy, who works as a sales rep for Robert Kaufman Fabrics (among others), with a new little trade show in San Francisco. I've mentioned her before on here, as the lovely lady who brings dead stock fabric swatches for quilting to my stitch & bitch group to give away. (Thanks Ivy!)
 I think I've mentioned on here that someday I'd like to open a little brick and mortar shop to sell fabric, craft supplies, and handmade gifts, and getting to go to some trade shows in the industry has been so fun! This was the first-ever DG Expo, and the response was so great that they are planning one for the east coast coming up and will definitely do the event annually here in the Bay Area. It wasn't s super huge event, but it was aimed at smaller independent manufacturers of fabric goods, and it was so fun to meet all the local designers who came to our booth.

And here's someone else that I got to meet: Ron Kaufman, the grandson of the Robert Kaufman. He's Ivy's boss (that's Ivy on the right), and was just an all-around super nice guy! The three of us had lots of fun hanging out in the booth and helping designers find the perfect fabrics for their projects.

Our space was small, so we just had room for this little bit of display, plus a banner on the other end, our table, and 2 racks of swatches. I got to take home a couple of the sample rolls of fabric, including a confetti chambray and red & white stripe twill, both of which will hopefully be turned into dresses soon!

As you can imagine, I spent my down time drooling over all the amazing fabrics in our booth! Everything was so cute, and now I'm dying to order some for projects, but I'm on a stash-busting run at the moment and it will have to wait.

And, of course, I got to wander about and look at all the other booths. There were $100/yd hand-stitched fabrics covered in tropical feathers, fine silks and cashmeres, beads, buttons, appliques, and millions of other delicious fiber goods. But, of course, Moda's booth caught my eye the most with their array of cute prints. The 1930's umbrella prints above are just too sweet!

And look at this pre-quilted adorableness! Loooook at it!

And, I know I said I'm stash-busting, but dangit, hot air balloons in yellow and grey people! I die.

Not to mention these lovely textured nautical prints. The whales are the best!
All and all, I had a great time and hope to help Ivy do more shows soon!


New Retailer: JorCal Hat Company in Willow Glen, California is now carrying my Fascinators!

Big news! All of the fascinators pictured above have been picked up for sale by JorCal Hat Company in lovely Willow Glen, CA, a beautiful little piece of San Jose. The owner of JorCal, Michele, is a lovely lady, and I am so happy and grateful that she wanted to carry my fascinator headbands. As you know, each one is one of a kind, so once it's gone it's gone. That being said, if you're in the area I highly recommend the entire main drag of Willow Glen for its restaurants and shopping, and JorCal in particular for their amazing fascinator selection ^_~. 

But if you're not local, I have some other models for sale in my etsy shop, and the one above on the top left is the last of the batch I haven't listed or sold because it is decidedly Christmas-y, though one of my top favorites. If you're interested in purchasing that one or having me make you a custom fascinator please feel free to email me at ohthecuteness@hotmail.com, otherwise I'll just save it for next Christmas.
If you've been following my Instagram account (@ohthecuteness), then you've seen some of my other fascinators that I made for my Christmas craft fairs. But I realized I never did find the time to share any photos from those fairs, nor photos of every single headband. So here's a little recap.

Here's the entire set I made this year, minus a few vinyl record hats from the top row because all the ladies who work the RAC fair like to wear them around and funnel shoppers to my booth. The first one to go was my least likely pick, the red one on the far right with the bright green vintage plastic chief about to give you a hatchet to the head. Glad that it's out in the world being rocked by someone, I love it!

I spent a lot of time this year gathering new vintage bits for these guys, and I am so pleased at how they turned out. I nearly sold out at the RAC, and total sales were the best yet!

I'd forgotten I snapped a photo of my snowball surprise balls before they were snatched up by excited shoppers. There's Valentine's Day versions for sale right now in my etsy shop!

There's a little sneak preview of a new shop item/ crochet pattern I've been working on: crocheted amigurumi mushroom baby rattles!

And another little sneak preview: tiny taxidermy necklaces and wall art.

And here's the booth I shared with my friend Nadine of Birdy Boutique Photography at a small fair at our local chiropractor's office. More fascinators found new homes and we all had a great time!


Tutorial: How to turn a vintage tin dollhouse into a caddy to hide your printer! The obsession with tiny houses continues...

Hello everyone, it's time for my first project of the new year! A little tutorial on how to convert a vintage tin dollhouse into a rotating caddy that hides your printer and printing supplies!

I've always wanted one of these dollhouses, ever since I saw them in antique shops with my mom as a kid. Now when I see them in antique shops they're always over $40 and never in the greatest shape. Well my friends, the dollhouse gods smiled on me in the new year, as I found this little 1970's beauty at the Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland for about $20! And it had a ton of the original furniture with it too! It's missing its door and its chimney, but I'm sure I can make some suitable replacements out of cardstock someday.

She's got one gash on the edge of the roof, and was absolutely filthy when I brought her home, but a little elbow grease made her shine. I took a look in my office and decided that if it was going to live there, it would have to serve a function. I thought about storing papers and mail in the rooms, but that would have meant that I would never see the front of the house, which I like more than the inside. Then I saw my Ikea hack ironing board (made from a lazy suzan) and I had the idea to gut the house and place my printer inside, and set it on a lazy susan so I could turn it around when not in use!

I figured there had to be a way to get the walls out, and upon closer inspection I found the little plastic nuts and screws that held everything together. 10 minutes later, with the help of a flat head screwdriver, I removed them all and the entire set of walls slid right out!

I kept the walls along with the bag of hardware and furniture, in case I want to let my kids play with this someday in the event that my old balsa wood house takes a turn for the worst. And the tiny sewing machine table that came with the furniture is in my office with my collection.

With the addition of this small turntable I got at Target for about $7, and a little heavy lifting to pull my antique sewing machine table away from the wall, I had a fully functional rotating dollhouse printer caddy!

Makes me smile every time I see it! Hope this inspires you to do something fun with an unconventional item!


Win an anatomical heart surprise ball from Mama G's Big Crafty Blog! Just in time for Valentine's Day!

Surprise! My long-time internet friend, fellow crafter, and writer of the wonderful craft blog Mama G's is giving away one of my Anatomical Heart Surprise Balls for Valentine's Day!
Go to her website and leave a comment to enter, and while you're there check out all the wonderful free patterns and tutorials she has. The contest will run for one week, so don't miss out! Although, of course, if you need some insurance there are some left in the shop too!


Surprise balls are in the shop! Crepe paper sculpted into handmade anatomical hearts filled with prizes?! Yes please!

Pretty cool right?! I'm incredibly excited about these Valentine's Day anatomical heart surprise balls I made! They're made from about 64 feet of heavy German crepe paper streamers, which I cut by hand and wrapped around seven little toys: 

How cool would it be to get one of these from your love on Valentine's day?! You unravel it like a ball of yarn and at the end of every color of streamer out pops a prize! Can you believe that only one dot of glue holds the whole thing together? So cool!
I've been having a blast picking out all the little toys for each different kind of ball, and I tried to choose vintage-inspired prizes that I enjoyed as a kid (And, honestly, I still enjoy them now!). I've gotten some surprise balls in the past that didn't have very good prizes inside, like paper fortunes or candy, so I wanted to make sure mine were top-notch! If you check out the listing on Etsy, I have a little breakdown of why I chose each prize.

Also, if you've been following my Instagram at all (@ohthecuteness), then you've probably seen me making these ones during the Christmas season:

It's a lump of coal! I also made snowballs for "Nice" people, but I sold out of those at the craft fairs I did. I'm glad I had one coal left to keep in my office. They were filled with gags and jokes for "Naughty" people, and the snowballs were filled with more friendly, cutesie toys. I'm having a blast coming up with new ones for each holiday, and I will only make 12 for each batch and no more. 

But, in addition to the special holiday ones, I'm going to be creating Boy Birthday, Girl Birthday, and Congratulations surprise balls, as well as offering to make individual custom ones to suit someone's specific tastes, or big custom batches for party favors. I'm just waiting for some blue crepe paper to come in and then I'll be able to make samples of each one for the shop!