Thursday, August 30, 2007

Our 100th Post!

Dear Readers,

We are very pleased to announce that this is our 100th post! As our one year blogiversary is approaching, that means we have averaged about 2 posts per week over the past year. Go, us!

As an exciting little switch-up from our normal format, we each wrote a bunch of interview questions and then both answered them. For your entertainment, here is more information than you ever wanted to know about the crafty lives of Shayne and Kelly. Enjoy!

Who has had the biggest crafty influence on your life?
(We did not plan to answer this question the same. We swear.)
Shayne: Well, my grandma taught me how to sew and do cross-stitch and stuff. Randy’s not a crafty influence, so much as super supportive of my craftiness. At least he doesn’t refer to things as the "Crap Store" and my "Crap Room" like a certain ex-husband used to do.
Kelly: Growing up, definitely my grandmother. She's always been crafty (knitting, sewing, needlepoint, everything) and really encouraged me to make crafts as a kid. She taught me to knit and also to be innovative and experimental with various supplies. As for my current craft influence, Bill is so supportive of me and my crafting that he has a huge influence on it.

Describe your perfect craft room.
Shayne: My perfect craft room would be a huge square with shelves along all the walls. The shelves would be about five feet high (as tall as me, don’t want stuff out of reach). Then I would still have space to hang art and whatnot above the shelves. There would be a sliding door to the outside so I’d get natural sunlight and be able to quickly attend to things like spray-painting. There’d be a sink, microwave and toaster oven, so I wouldn’t have to leave the room to use those sorts of things. In the center of the room would be a big square table, with room for a small crafty get-together. Actually, I’d want one wall to be free of shelves, to have a desk for business stuff and a sewing table so I could leave my sewing machine out all the time. I think I need a fifth wall.
Kelly: I'm pretty darned close to it right now, actually. I've got lots or room for storage, good light, a big craft table, a computer desk, and space for Bill to hang out. The one thing I would love to have in here is a comfy chair -- something to curl up on and read or do lap crafts. But I don't really have the room for it, so I guess I can go in the living room for that.

What are some current "to do" crafts on your list?
Shayne: When I get my embroidery machine (and oh, I will get it), I intend to embroider rude words on any fabric-y items I can get my hands on.
Kelly: I have a lot of upcoming holiday crafts. I'm shocked that it's just about September right now, so it's time to get rolling on the fall/Halloween crafts. I've been "planning" to knit a sweater for almost a year now, but somehow, I always manage to find something else to knit instead. Another friend of mine just had a baby, so I was thinking about a quilt. We'll see. For this question, let's just say... hrmmm... yeah... whatever random thing that next crosses my path.

What’s your favorite craft tool?
Shayne: I love my Carl paper cutter. We call it Big Carl. Big Carl can cut up to 30 sheets of text-weight paper at one time. Love love love the Big Carl.
Kelly: Hrm. In the Big Tool category, I guess I would say my sewing machine. It's not fancy, but I love sewing, so it's special to me. In the Small Tool category, I have been in love with the Crop-a-dile (which I mentioned in this post) for a little while now. It's pretty slick. Oh, and I'm pretty wild about my button maker. I guess that's a Medium-sized tool (although it's quite heavy!)

What craft tool would you most like to own?
Shayne: An embroidery machine!!!!!!!!
Kelly: Mmm... serger!

What craft are you too chicken to try?
Shayne: Screenprinting. The whole process scares the bejeezus out of me. Craft magazine had a how-to article in a recent issue saying how easy screenprinting is to do. There were about a billion pages of instructions. Easy?
Kelly: Apparently, the damned Gocco! I've had it since December and still haven't had the nerve to try it! I don't know what I'm afraid of! I guess the idea of committing to a design that I'm going to want 50+ of. That seems crazy to me.

What are your favorite places to buy craft supplies?
Shayne: As far as big box stores go, I prefer A. C. Moore over Michaels. They always seem to have more, better and newer stuff and the employees appear to be actual crafters rather than sullen teenagers. Unfortunately, the closest A. C. Moore is about a half hour away. As for mom-and-pop stores, doesn’t it seem like they’re awesome the first time you go and then kind of dull on subsequent trips? But my all-time favorite place to buy craft supplies is Paper-Source. There’s a big one in D.C. and I just want to buy everything in there!
Kelly: That's tough, as there are a lot of good places around here. Of course, our shared love of the Paper-Source is well known. I also adore Scrapbook Territory, which is 100 times more awesome than that name implies -- it's most certainly not just for scrapbookers (as I do not scrapbook myself). I was in Vancouver last month and went to a very cool store for ephemera called Ruby Dog's Art House. Ack. I wish I knew of a place like that locally. For yarn, I like Article Pract in Oakland and for art supplies, I like Flax (they also have an amazing paper selection there, which you know I love). I love too many fabric stores to list here, which is probably sick. But for cotton, I like New Pieces in Berkeley, Quilt Fans in Alameda (which has just moved to an awesome new space, even closer to my house! Ack!), and eQuilter online. For non-cotton, the soon-to-be-closing [sniff! sniff!] Poppy Fabrics in Oakland is amazing, as is Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley.

If you were a flavor of ice cream, what kind would you be?

Shayne: Um, I don’t think I’d like to be ice cream, no matter what the flavor. I’d probably melt and make a huge mess.
Kelly: I really have no idea. I don't know why I asked this stupid question. I guess... Rocky Road. Cause it's got a bunch of crazy stuff in it. Or something.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what one craft would you take to work on until you got rescued?
Shayne: I guess I’d take yarn and a crochet hook. I could make stuff like a hammock if I was stuck long enough.
Kelly: Is there electricity? If so, I'd take my sewing machine and my fabric stash. If electricity is a no-go, I'd take knitting. I could knit myself a hammock and, erm, a net to catch fish (although I don't really like fish, but I guess if that's the only thing to eat... I'll eat it... or maybe I could trade with someone for a coconut... or something.) (God, I hope this never happens to me.)

What’s your favorite finished item you’ve ever made?
Shayne: “Robot Prom" and “Robot Goes to Europe.” Robot makes me happy. :)
Kelly: This is a tough one, but I'm going to have to say this quilt (which was a gift for my best friend):
What’s your favorite color scheme?
Shayne: Pink, magenta, fuchsia, raspberry, pink, pink, throw in a little purple, did I mention pink? Pink!
Kelly: I don't really have one. I love all colors. Really. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I had a favorite color/color scheme, but I just can't decide! There are so many good ones!

What’s the first craft you remember ever making?

Shayne: I would make Carrot Kids and Broccoli Kids out of yarn. My mom still has a couple.
Kelly: I don't know. But I do have this horrible coil pot that I made when I was in 2nd grade. So I guess I was 6 or 7. It was some sort of weekend craft program at the local public school. Looking at it now, it might not have been *that* bad... if I had just stuck to one color. Oops.

What craft have you tried that you would never do again?
Shayne: Plastic canvas recently drove me batty! There’s no white space! You have to stitch through every single hole!
Kelly: I tried soldered pendants last year and could not get it! But I think I may have to try again anyway. That diaper bag I made was a killer -- I think I said I'd never make one of those again.

Is there a color you wouldn’t be caught dead in?
Shayne: I wouldn’t be caught dead in yellow, any shade, any hue, because I’d look like death.
Kelly: No, although there probably should be and I just don't know what it is. I wear every color and have no idea what colors look good or bad on me. I'm pretty sure someone is going to call What Not to Wear on me one of these days.

Where is the weirdest place you have ever crafted?
Shayne: Not that weird, but I do origami in restaurants. A few years ago, I decided I was going to learn how to make one thing from memory. So I made about twenty origami parrots in a row to drill it into my head. I always fidget with sugar packets, straw wrappers, those sticky paper napkin rings while waiting for my food. Now I can make teeny tiny parrots out of empty sugar packets.
Kelly: This isn't that weird, but I've knit at hockey games. At least, I don't think it's weird, but a lot of people come up to me and ask me questions like it's weird, sooo... I'm assuming they think it is.

We hope our [very few, but very awesome] readers enjoyed this insight into our crafty minds. For your future viewing enjoyment, we have even added a real banner to this site! Yay!

Shayne and Kelly

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Only ten months late...

Dear Shayne,

As I mentioned in this post, I've been working on a bag for Jenny's birthday, which was... erm... last October. It ended up working out for the best, though, because she has just started a new job so... new bag for a new job! Yay!

She requested a bag for carrying papers to grade (she's a middle school teacher [AKA "saint"]). She wanted it to fit snugly over her shoulder (although it also has to fit over a winter coat -- I actually put my winter coat on to try it on for fit!) and to have a flap to keep out the snow.

Here's the bag:
A bag for Jenny!

(The flap looks uneven in that photo, but you can trust me when I tell you that it's not.)

Her main request was that it be easy to leave open while she's grading -- so she can just pull the papers out or shove them back in pretty quickly. Like so:
Jenny's bag, open

Also, if I could put a pen holder or two in it... that would be okay. I aim to please, so here they are:
Pen holders in Jenny's bag

She got the bag yesterday and said that she loves it. I hope that it works well for her purposes and, if it doesn't, well... I can make her a new one!

Happy Birthday, Jenny! You've got another one coming up... anything you want me to make for you? You know... sometime in the next year? ;)


Friday, August 24, 2007


Dear Kelly,

So I've been under the weather for a few months now and try to spend as much time as possible in bed. (I think I've come to the end of the Internet during this time.) Last weekend it finally occured to me....I could do some kind of needlework in bed!

I went to the craft store to get something to stitch and happened by the plastic canvas supplies. I've never done anything with plastic canvas. Next only to crocheted dolly toilet paper cozies, I've always thought that plastic canvas is the tackiest craft a crafter can craft. Imagine my surprise when I saw that there was not only rough, primary-colored yarn, but metallic cord. Sparkly black, silver, pale pink, HOT PINK metallic cord! I bought up a bunch of supplies and headed home to think of a design.

I decided on a simple skull in hot pink and black and got started. Did you realize that there is no white space when working with plastic canvas? Nooo, my friend, you must stitch through every single hole. I thought it was going to take me a year to finish a four-inch square. Or four days that felt like a year.

I finished it last night and shoved it in the scanner this afternoon. The scan doesn't do the sparkliness (did I just make up a word?) justice, but here you go:


Monday, August 20, 2007

New bag, old bag

Dear Shayne,

I am working on a new bag that I can't post yet because the recipient reads this blog (at least, I think she does -- Jenny, you there?) and I don't want her to be spoiled. I expect to be done with it tomorrow, so she should have it Friday and I can post photos then.

In the meantime, working on this bag reminds me of a bag I made over a year ago... before we were keeping this blog (our one year anniversary is coming up, if you can believe it -- what shall we do for it? Hrmmm...)

I think you may have already seen this bag. Aaand... we really only have a handful of readers and they've probably already seen this bag too (as I originally posted it on craftster) BUT I was pretty proud of it, so I'm going to show it off again -- it's certainly one of my most difficult sewing achievements to date.

I made it for a personal swap with Bonnie -- she spun me some gorgeous yarn in return -- she's an amazing spinner! This was a gift for a friend of hers who was having a baby (it's a diaper bag).
Diaper bag exterior

I am remembering that bag now because it was the first time I ever used fusible fleece (which I also used in your wristlet) and I really like it (obviously, since I'm using it again).
Flapped pocket open

The bag I'm working on this week is much simpler (and smaller) than that diaper bag, but has some similarities in the strap and the front flap. No extra pockets on the side, though -- those almost killed me (plus, Jenny requested a very simple bag).
Interior shot

I remember being ever-so-pleased when I found this interior fabric (Bonnie picked out the exterior fabric from Tonic Living [awesome fabrics and great customer service] and I found that interior fabric locally). I wonder how that bag has held up. It probably looks nothing like these photos now, after more than a year of use.

Photos of the new bag on... Friday (or so!)


PS - This post was brought to you by parentheses (because I seem to really like them!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New toy!

Dear Shayne,

Whee! I got a new toy!

My friend got married last week and she asked me to make her some... yes, buttons. (Everyone wants me for my buttons, right?) She wanted quite a bit of text on them and I only make lil' one-inchers, so I thought, "Hrm... if I get a bigger button maker... I can make Iyabo's buttons now. And then... I can make MIRRORS!"

I'm not so crazy about big buttons, but I AM a fan of cute mirrors. So I bought a 2.25" button/mirror maker. Whee! Oh, I said whee already, didn't I? Oh, well... this is just going to be a Multiple Whee Post (MWP).

So far, I've only used it to made the buttons for her wedding:
Buttons for Iyabo's wedding

She wrote the copy -- people's names with something pertinent/funny about them. Here are two of my favorites:
Buttons for Iyabo's wedding

Hee hee.

Next up: Mirrors! Sooo... what do you want on yours?


Monday, August 06, 2007

Another IKEA sprucing

Dear Shayne,

No idea how I found this picture, but a few months ago, I stumbled upon this photo and fell in love. My sewing supplies are currently housed in a sticker-covered tackle box... useful when transporting my stuff around, but not so attractive in the craft room/office.

Therefore, I made this:
IKEA, revamped

It started life as a 9 drawer IKEA FIRA. I used decoupage glue and covered the papers with a decoupage finish... I was worried that unfinished paper would get all finger-printy after time, so hopefully this will help ward off my slobby ways.

I'm pretty pleased with it. Now I just have to put all of my supplies inside!


PS - How did the Craft Room Cleanup go?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Digital Easy

Dear Kelly,

I had this nice, long list of design ideas for the shop and I lost it. One of the few I could remember was The Periodic Table of Monsters. After little monster research, I nudged a table around in Word and voila!

In craft room news, my mom is supposed to come over Friday and help me get everything cleaned up and organized. Yea mom!


Edit: P.S. For sale at Novelty Kitten :)