Saturday, July 30, 2011

Portlandia: Sock Summit edition (Put a bead on it!)

Dear Shayne,

One of the classes I took at Sock Summit was all about beaded knitting. The absolute highlight of the class was the instructor, Sivia Harding. I feel silly to use this adjective, but it's the first one that comes to mind... Shayne, she is magical. Just magical.

Over the course of three hours, she managed to pull from her bag roughly 40 or so beaded knit samples (including, but not limited to: shawls, socks, mittens, gloves, sweaters, scarves and legwarmers) that simply blew the crowd away. And Shayne, these were all her own designs. Not only is she prolific, but I just love the way she gently encouraged us: "It's easy," she said softly, "Just try it -- it's not hard."

That's Sivia for you, quietly encouraging everyone to simply add some beads to our knitting. As if it's no trouble at all. She convinces the class with her gentle style and her magical bag of tricks. Yes! I can add beading to my knitting! Yes, I absolutely can!

We learned to make a pattern for some gorgeous beaded mitts in class, and we received a pre-beaded skein to start the project:

I'm not sure I'll make those exact mitts, but I do feel empowered to put some beads on my knitting! The biggest hit in the class was her pattern for a gorgeous pair of gloves called Fluency. A. May. Zing. If you click that link, you'll see the fingerless version in the bottom photo -- I am totally making those. I've already bought the pattern and have the yarn... now I just need the beads.

As for the title of this post and the joke I just could not get out of my head... have you seen the show Portlandia? Totally hilarious. One episode makes fun of the current craft trend to put birds on everything: Put a bird on it! During class, I kept thinking, "Put a bead on it!"

Put. A. Bead. On. It!

And I will! Stay tuned...


Friday, July 29, 2011

I can read charts now!

Dear Shayne,

When I started the day, I could not knit from a chart. Thanks to an amazing class with JC Briar this morning, I now can!

Using this:

I knit this:



Sock Summit Day 1: Awesome!

Dear Shayne,

First day of Sock Summit was great! I took that self-striping yarn class and learned a lot. I also started a little project... which I've ripped out a few times so far... it's been a rough start, but I'll stick with it. I think.

There was, of course, some shopping. Yay! I bought a very cute knitting bag, a knitting related comic book, and, of course, a bit of yarn.

We also walked around Portland (aka "Craftyland") some and hit up a few crafty shops, including a darling boutique called Redux and the groovy Bartleby's Letterpress Emporium.

And then we finished the day the way every day should end... with yarn and wine!

Tomorrow, I learn to read charts (in theory...) and take a class called "3-2-1 Roundabout". Wish me luck!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Live from the Sock Summit!

Dear Shayne,

I'm at the Sock Summit right now, using my phone to post (apologies if this ends up looking horrible -- haven't tested it much.)

As you know, I don't actually knit socks. As one charming lady said to me in the Registration line this morning, "You're here for the yarn, aren't you?" Yup. I sure am!

Also, the classes. I'll learn techniques that can be used for non-sock knits. And, of course, the knitters! My friend Katie got checked in this morning by the Yarn Harlot!! WOW!

Plus, I do love to make fingerless mitts, which are basically socks without the bend. So there ya go!

Ok. Off to my first class -- all about self-striping yarn. You'd love the yarn I've got -- it's purple and pink and non-wool. Photos coming soon!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In the Mood for NYC

Dear Shayne,

Last week, I went on a whirlwind trip to New York. Seriously. My friend and I left on the red-eye Wednesday night and came home on Friday evening. We were on the ground for 36 hours!

The purpose of our trip was to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met. If you haven't heard or read about this show at all, click this link, watch the video, and look at the images. Go ahead. I'll wait.

It was... amazing. There is no other word to describe it. Absolutely amazing. That video is great, but nothing compares to seeing the work in person. Just... did I say "amazing" already? Oh, yeah. I did. Cause it was.

After the exhibit, we did a bit of Crafty Shopping in New York. One place I had to hit was Purl Soho. I read the blog and I've heard nothing but good things about it. It did not disappoint. My only regret is that I was so exhausted when we got there that I could barely focus on everything in the store. Check out this awesome display of knitted swatches:

I've been eyeing the Lap Duvet project on their blog and it was great to see it in person -- I totally need to make that!

I bought one thing while I was there -- a stack of wool fabrics, dyed as a single lot. It was called "Tomato," so how could I resist? I think these will become a quilt:

(Photo taken from the Purl Soho site. Theirs were waaay better than mine!)

We also went to M&J Trimmings and I did not snap a photo, but WOW, Shayne. The selection is astounding, the displays are fantastic, and the shop itself is So. Well. Kept! The whole time we were there, the folks working were straightening things and keeping everything in order. If you've ever been to a fabric store and seen the trims and ribbons all over the place, you know how great this is.

And the stuff! The stuff they had there! Nailheads, ribbon, sequins, rhinestones, lace, silk flowers, hardware and more... it was impressive. I was actually too overwhelmed to buy anything, but I'll be keeping this place in mind for upcoming projects. It was just... wow.

And on Friday, we hit Mood. Do you watch Project Runway? I've seen this shop tons of times on the show, but never realized how HUGE it is. And, again, the selection was just tremendous. This is a typical shot you see on the show:

In reality, multiply that same shot by 100 and you have the entire three floors of Mood. And it's all good stuff! Look -- here is a selection of just striped jersey fabrics:

Just striped jersey! This isn't even the tip of the iceburg! Lace, brocade, upholstery, a whole room for leather! Here is a shot of some gorgeous upholstery fabrics:

I bought one thing here -- a gorgeous piece of fabric that I am supposed to make into a skirt, but I'm not sure if I can ever cut into. For one, I cannot decide which side I like better:

It's taffeta with a lace overlay and embroidery. I love it so. Maybe I'll just hang it on a wall and be done with it.

The best part of Mood? The people who worked there -- everyone was so nice! We feared a snooty sales staff, but were so pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone was.

The only thing that was less-than-perfect about the trip was the weather. Gah. The HEAT! But the air-conditioning worked everywhere we went, so it was like there were Crafty Oases throughout the City. Whew!

I want to go back to NYC again soon when I have more time to spend.
Also, when it's cooler. ;)


Sunday, July 24, 2011

2011: The Year of the Quilt

Dear Shayne,

I hereby dub 2011 The Year of the Quilt. And that's not a bad year, is it? ;)

In the past year, I've made quilts for the twins (technically 2010, but within the past 12 months...), a quilt for my mom-in-law, and a group-made quilt for a good friend's baby.

And now... a quilt I made for my cousin:

This past year has been a rough one for her, so I thought she could use a quilt (who couldn't, really?)

This is the first time I've bought a "collection" of fabrics to make into a quilt. These were by Moda and the collection is called "Prayer Flag," but I can't find it on their site now. I did that to make things easier, but I ended augmenting the selection with fabrics from my stash (of course).

Once again, I had it machine quilted at New Pieces Quilt Shop in Berkeley. I selected a heart pattern and they had an awesome variegated thread that matched the colors in the quilt beautifully (click to see it close up):
Quilting detail: Front

It looked especially great on the back:
Quilting detail: Front

For signing the quilt, I am currently hooked on the permanent fabric markers. I guess the embroidery is nicer, but by the time I feel like I am "done" with a quilt, the last thing I want to do is spend several more hours embroidering it.

So for this one, I just signed it with the marker:
Quilt signature

I have already run it through the washing machine and dryer and it didn't come off, so I have faith that it will last for quite some time.

I took a bit of a risk with that binding -- I was nervous about the polka dot fabric -- but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

I've got two more quilts currently brewing in my mind, so you can expect to see more before the year is over... perhaps I'll even make one for myself! (What a concept, eh?)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Miniature Dinner

Dear Kelly,

My oldest nephew is the pickiest eater on earth. The very pickiest! In an effort to get him to try something new, I made him this miniature Italian dinner:

salad on the left, bread on the right

He ate it, but I also had to pay him a buck fifty.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just pretty!

Dear Kelly,

Here's a little swatch of Martha Stewart glitter markers:

I think the ink keeps the glitter well-contained so that you could have them in your house :)


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fun with rub-on letters

Dear Shayne,

Of all the crafts we do, I find the rub-on to just be so... satisfying! I think you bought some print-your-own rub-on paper when you were here last -- did you ever try it? I may need to get some.

At any rate, here's a quick-n-easy project, but I was pretty pleased with the result.

I bought these rub-on letters on sale for $1 at Flax awhile back (remember that place? We went there when you were here -- you got overwhelmed by the giant paper room):
Rub on letters

And then I pulled out a little postcard book I got at the Chronicle Books warehouse sale (you may have to time your next visit to coincide with that event, Shayne -- totally awesome!)
Book of postcards

And then? I rubbed some letters onto one of the postcards! (You saw that coming, didn't you?)

Aside from the kerning issues and my trepidation that this will not make it through the mail unscathed, I pretty much love it:
Finished postcard

Since the Letter Writing Social, I have been writing more mail. Yay!


Christmas in July (and skip this if you're easily offended)

Dear Kelly,

I have a dear co-worker who is actually a big freak and hates Christmas, so I made her this ornament:


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Super cool envelope

Dear Shayne,

Remember when we scored on $1 calendars a couple of years ago at Chronicle Books and then made envelopes out of them?

I just found my old blog post about it and realized... I've already posted this envelope -- it's one of my favorites!
One of my favorite envelopes

Made from the Art of Modern Rock calendar, I loved this one. Finally sent it to someone who really appreciated it, so it found a good home this week.

It's cracking me up that my other favorite envelope also included a Lisa Simpson stamp. That little gal makes everything better!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Long-awaited Light Fixture

Dear Kelly,

We had been living with this:

for about five years. The bulb blew and Randy was just able to reach the light fixture to change it and then it just fell out of the ceiling.

We *finally* were able to have someone out to change the fixture (super tall stairwell requires special ladder) and I fully intended on choosing an inexpensive light. Honest! Until I saw this:

The picture really doesn't do it justice. The inner glass is modern and frosted. The outer glass is rustic and full of tiny bubbles. Next stop - paint the stairwell and hallway!


Monday, July 11, 2011

Renegade re-cap

Dear Shayne,

On Sunday, I went to Renegade Craft Fair in SF.

Of all of the craft fairs, Renegade is my favorite. Fort Mason can be a bitch for parking, but the building is really cool:
Renegade at Fort Mason

And whoever selects the vendors does a great job -- nice variety and really high quality stuff. I didn't buy much... sometimes I experience a sort of "purchase paralysis" when confronted with so many awesome things to buy. Does that ever happen to you? It definitely happened to me yesterday.

In fact, I only bought these vintage letters (K for me, B for Bill):
B + K

Oh, bummer! I've just combed the Renegade site, but I cannot figure out where I bought these. I did not get a card from these folks and I paid in cash, so no receipt. Extra bummer because they had a ton of great stuff. I has a sad.

The good news is that I saw lots great other stuff. There were some amazing decoupaged globes by ImagineNations. My favorites were "Peace" and "Rock My World." They were totally gorgeous and so well executed. Loved them.

Had a great experience at The Poster List's booth. I saw this poster there and said, "Hey! That's my phone case!" Just a few weeks ago, I bought a phone case from Uncommon. You can upload your own design, but I got paralyzed by the possibilities (apparently a theme for me right now), so I chose the Poster List's "Don't Waste Time" design:
Phone case says it all

When I showed it to the guy at the booth, he was super excited to see it and was so very genuine. It was really nice -- you could tell he was just thrilled to see his design out "in the wild." He even took a photo of it. Yay!

Lisa Swerling was there with her beautiful Glass Cathedrals -- shadow boxes, many of them glitter covered, with tiny figurines living inside and a clever caption floating above them. I am not doing them justice, but you can get some idea at her site -- go over there and click around. If you ever get a chance to see this work in person, Shayne, do it. We could not stop smiling at this booth!

Speaking of smiling, have you seen Fomato Cards? Hilarious, nutty, and brilliant. Total chuckle-fest here. Love, love, LOVE the Tarjé card -- she nailed it!

I was sorely tempted by the fascinators at Poppyhearts. I think I might need this one in purple. Like, now. I was also enthralled by the gorgeous giant clips, but could not decide on a color... decisions, decisions!

Venice_eQ was selling laser cut fleece scarves with song lyrics cut into them. Here are a bunch in their Etsy shop and they had even more at the show. The awesomeness of this knows no bounds. I didn't see a song that I just had to have, but I think these would make a great gift.

As I mentioned yesterday, I met Sass&Peril, creator of my foxy print. Very sweet and friendly.

Loved the fabric wall decals from Petit Collage -- especially the pennants. So darling!

Aaaand... I am most certainly going to need a copy of Evil... or Coffee? by Paul Friedrich for my workspace. (In fact, I would have bought that there, but the artist was absent when we stopped by.)

As I write this re-cap, I am clicking through the vendor list and I think next time I go to one of these shows, I should get a look at who will be there before I go. I am definitely having the "Aww... I missed that?!" feeling right now that I think would be alleviated by studying ahead.

Also...this re-cap could also be called "A Journey of Indecision." Odd for me, as I am usually pretty decisive. Guess I just couldn't pull it together this time. Good news is that the Renegade Holiday Market will be back here in December. And, of course, there's always the Internet. :)


Letter Writing Social with LWA

Dear Shayne,

On Friday, I attended a Letter Writing Social put on by those postally-gifted gals at the Letter Writers Alliance. I got there late, but had time to type up a couple of letters:

It was very fun -- the clackity-clack-clacks and Ding!s of the typewriters were super cool.

And then, of course, I had to shop a bit, as the event was held at Rare Device -- that awesome little shop where you bought me my oh-so-perfect coin purse. They always have great stuff there.

I got this print by Sass&Peril:

I then met the artist at Renegade on Sunday! Small crafty world, eh? (Full Renegade report coming shortly, I promise.)



Saturday, July 09, 2011

Cross-stitched Cupcake

Dear Kelly,

(Can you tell I'm going through photos to find crafts I've yet to post?)

I cross-stitched this cupcake (pattern from bombastitch) for my sister for her birthday:

I made a swirl at the top instead of the cherry and framed it in the hoop, which I covered with pink ribbon. Now I want a cupcake.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Portland = Craftyland

Dear Shayne,

As I mentioned in my last post, Portland Oregon is super crafty. Love. It! Here are just a few ways that Portland spoke to my crafty soul this past weekend...

At Powell's City of Books (a book lover's dream, I tell ya -- it's a city block of books, four stories tall. No joke.) they had marked certain books in the knitting aisle with a little tag:
Sock Summit is coming!

What is it, you ask? Well... it's an indicator that that author (as well as many others in the aisle) is a teacher at the upcoming Sock Summit:
Sock Summit is coming!
(If "Sock Summit" sounds familiar, it's because I've raved about this event before... here, here, here, and here! I actually never finished that original sock and I'm pretty much resigned to never being an actual "sock knitter," but it's a really cool event for anyone who knits... even if they don't knit socks!)

The coolest part about it? Sock Summit does not start for another 3 weeks. And they're already marking books for it at Powell's. I'm super excited about Sock Summit and this just fueled my fire even more. Thanks, Powell's!

Beyond Powell's, when we walked the lovely streets of Portland, we were simply bombarded by crafty happenings. We walked by Oblation Papers & Press and saw this amazing display of ribbons:

They have giant letterpress machines in back, churning away all the time. Let's see some more of those ribbons:
(Sorry, Shayne, didn't get a shot of the other side with the pinks and purples -- you'll just have to go there yourself!)

We continued to walk around and stumbled upon... Crafty Wonderland!
Crafty Wonderland

Last time I posted about Crafty Wonderland, it was a monthly craft show. And now it's an all-the-time shop! It's crammed full of good stuff, Shayne. It's like walking into Etsy.

I bought this fabulous tote bag there, made by Snap Design out of Portland (of course):
Snap Design tote bag

It's vinyl and I absolutely love the stitching:
Snap Design tote bag: detail

Check out this awesome quilt that was hanging in the window:
B E A U T I F U L window display quilt
B E A U T I F U L !

When we were walking another day, we saw the Button Emporium and Ribbonry:
Button Emporium and Ribbonry
(Sorry about the crappy photo. Trust me when I say it looked super sweet.)

Unfortunately, they weren't yet open for the day. But I'll be in Portland again at the end of the month, so I'll be sure to stop by when I'm there.

As we continued walking just a bit further, we also saw Knit Purl. A yarn shop, of course. Again, we were too early for them and no photo this time but you gotta trust me: everywhere you go, it's Craft! Craft! Craft! in PDX.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

You're famoose!

Dear Shayne,

As you are already well aware, you are sooper famoose! I rarely go to physical bookstores anymore but I was in Portland, OR this past weekend, so I had to hit Powell's City of Books (the bestest ever bookstore in the whole wide world.) (Seriously.)

Portland is a super crafty city, so Powell's is a super crafty bookstore! Of course I spent some quality time in the craft book aisles. (There are several aisles, Shayne. That place so rocks.) And look what I found -- You!

First, in Craft Corps:

And then in World of Geekcraft:

Yay! It's you! In print!

In my next post, I'll share more details about the amazing crafty goodness that is Portland. Right now, I need to rest up from our trip!


Potter Puppet Pals on a Plane

Dear Kelly,

Are you familiar with Potter Puppet Pals? If you're not, go check them out. The skits will make you lul.

Last summer, while we were on our way to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I had the pouch of craft supplies you sent me for my birthday in my carry-on bag. When I pulled it out and grabbed a barf bag (is there a nicer term for those?), Sam and my nephew Dylan demanded puppets. Behold, my five-minute Potter Puppet Pals:

Then they proceeded to make fun of me for having the craft supplies with me in the first place :/


Sunday, July 03, 2011


Dear Kelly,

I was on Craft last month!


Saturday, July 02, 2011

Linen Closet

Dear Kelly,

I have the world's smallest linen closet. Seriously, it's so pointlessly small, I don't know why the builders bothered. The amazing thing is that it was still fitted with a miniature folding door that was old and hideous (sorry no before pic!).

Finally sick of it, I took the door off, had Randy shove it in the attic just in case, and went through my fabric stash. I found this great length of bright floral, decorator weight fabric that happened to be just as tall as the closet. All I had to do was hem the bottom and make a pocket at the top for a tension rod because the width was also perfect - selvedge edges are good enough for me.

The closet is still too small, but at least it's pretty now:

I plan on doing this to the rest of the closets in the house.