fresh from the Makery: a belated happy holidays!

My holiday greeting to you, like my cards this year, is late.  I made my cards, I think for the first time ever, which is hard for me to believe considering I've spent most of the past dozen or so years making art and stuff and selling paper goods in some capacity.  It's kind of like going for a manicure, I guess - the manicurist never has time to do her own nails, you know?

But not this year.  This year, of all years (trying to essentially launch a business while caring for a budding toddler full-time is no easy feat - lots of folks do it, I'm sure, but not me, at least, not gracefully), I decided to make my own, mainly because I spied these stickers standing in the check-out line at Michael's.

Pink on a Christmas card!

I used the sticker as the envelope seal and the rest of the design of the card came from this small detail, including the palette - chartreuse, turquoise, and red - to the illustration used on the front (vintage ornament silhouettes, of course)...

 ...and the flashy red paper used for the envelope liner.

Here's to an equally sparkly 2010!


vote for me!

After voting for someone else's project, I figured what the heck, right?  I have a few holiday projects under my belt, after all.  So I submitted my Mother's Cookies Holiday Circus Animal ornaments to the Michael's Handmade Holidays contest.

You can rate all the projects that have been submitted to the site (click here to rate mine!). Up for grabs are Michael's gift cards each week and a grand prize that involves a trip to New York City to see the Martha Stewart show (including an unofficial detour to the Doughnut Plant...yum).

So you should vote for me...I don't get out much (evidenced by the fact that I make animal cookies out of felt).


orange is the new red & green

Thanks to regular reader and "Fiskateer" Kimberlee, aka Java Diva, one of the lead Fiskateers, Angela, contacted me a few days ago about being a guest blogger on their site. I was honored to have been asked and got to work right away on this candied orange slice ornament (orange is their thing, you know, as in the orange handles on Fiskars products, and I've been wanting to do a candied orange slice project with the French embroidered knots I've been obsessed with lately, and the project seemed timely, what with the whole citrus at Christmas tradition...). You can read more here.

I'm not giving this one away, or putting it up for sale in my Etsy shop. Nope, I think I'll add it to my own tree that we plan to get and decorate next weekend (which means Christmas is less than three weeks away...WHAT?!).

Now back to the online Christmas shopping and making cards...


fresh from the Makery: Mothers Cookies Holiday Circus Animals Ornaments

I know I wrote in the last Makery post that I wouldn't have another project to share until next Monday, but here I am, trying something different for a change and posting early instead of late. Don't get used to it, dear readers.

I started my holiday shopping list this weekend, browsing Etsy and other sites (yes, I aim to do as much of my shopping online as possible), and as usual, in addition to getting just a few ideas for the folks on my list, I came up with far more in the way of things I want for myself and project ideas, including Christmas-y stuff. In addition, during my latest trip to Target I spied the holiday edition Mothers Cookies frosted circus animals! They're different than what I remember - all white with red and green sprinkles, instead of a mix of red, green, and white frosted cookies - but even so gave me the idea for this week's project, a set of three felt cookie ornaments to add a little sugar to your tree.

Nom nom nom.  You can get a set for yourself for just twelve bucks!  In addition, I'll be offering the two winners of the cookie giveaway (winners to be announced by Wednesday this week) their choice of the pink and white cookie cards, as originally promised, or two of these ornaments.  I can also make these holiday edition "cookies" into greeting cards.  And there's still time to enter the giveaway - leave a comment on this post if you're interested.

It's felt-only cookies for me from now on, my friends. I'm vowing to get back to my diet 100% between now and Thanksgiving, when let's just say I won't be counting points...


fresh from the Makery: Mother's Cookies Scavenger Hunt

This week's "project" is actually a giveaway of a previous Makery project timed in conjunction with the Mother's Cookies Comeback Celebration. If you're a regular reader you know from the many posts inspired by the company's products in one way or another that I'm a fan. So of course I agreed to participate when contacted about the virtual celebration and related "scavenger hunt", especially when I learned it would involve receiving four free bags of cookies, two to keep, and two to giveaway (and seeing as how I joined Weight Watchers just a few weeks ago, I definitely can't keep all four bags myself!).  Between October 27th (that's today!) and November 10th, frosted circus animal junkies like myself will be featuring banners like the one you see to the right that you can click on to go to a cookie collection page where you can see how many cookies you've found and how many more you need to collect in order to receive a coupon for your next bag of Mother's cookies. Sweet!

To help get the party started, I'll be giving away two bags of cookies to two lucky readers (one each). Each bag will arrive with a free set of two of my 'homage to Mother's Cookies' notecards (one with pink "frosting", one with white, similar to the cards in the image above). If you'd like to participate, just leave me a comment to that effect on this post as well as your email address, if it's not included in your profile, so that I can contact you if your name is one of two I'll randomly select on Wednesday, November 11th.

The Makery will return to its regularly scheduled programming on Monday, November 16th.


Google Android Phone Case Version 2.0

To date, I've sold four of the Android phone cases I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. How cool is that?! Two of my recent sales were actually for version 2.0, so to speak, which I "mocked up" after a prospective customer "convo"-ed me about adding a few more features, namely a second, interior accessory pocket, a top tab velcro closure, and a metal D-hook attached to the side for car keys or a swivel hook/strap combo of some sort.

There's only so much you can do with felt and blanket stitch and the fact that these are completely handmade (I do have a sewing machine but I haven't used it regularly for almost 20 years), but I'm pretty happy with the revised version.  Ironically that customer has yet to buy one but two other customers seemed equally fond of the added features.  So it's all good.

The original phone case is still available, of course (just packaged the custom green and magenta case pictured above), and received a little love from this blog and this one ("an Android for grandma"!) a couple of days after I originally listed it, probably thanks to Neal tweeting about it and one of his followers re-tweeting it.  Not exactly going viral or anything, but I'm glad my little Android dude is getting some love.

By the way, the Makery will be a day late again this week, but this time it's not my fault. The "event" this week's "project" coincides with doesn't start until the 27th. Check back then for a true giveaway, times 2!


fresh from the Makery: mmm, cookies

Sadly, folks, I got nothin'. Last week was the week of inquiries into both Etsy shops (and I sold a cozy!) and I'm still catching my breath. Which makes it sound more impressive than it is. When most of your day is occupied by feeding, entertaining, and wiping the bottom of a cranky toddler, it doesn't take much to disrupt what you've learned to accept as normalcy over the past 16 months. Getting only six or seven hours of sleep each night catches up with you real quick. But I promise I'll make it up to you with next week's post, which will involve a partly edible giveaway for not one, but TWO lucky readers to enjoy.

Stay tuned!


fresh from the Makery: because Androids need cozies, too!

I'm a day late, but (not to toot my own horn or anything) I'm pretty pleased with this week's project - a phone case for all the other mobile device users out there (yep, that's right folks...there are gadgets made by companies other than Apple).

It was Neal's idea to make a phone cozy for his T-Mobile G1 (a bit longer and significantly chunkier than the iPhone), complete with a little green felt Android Robot stitched onto an accessory pocket on the front.  The example shown here and listed in my shop is actually the second version I made, not totally satisfied with the original prototype, which is now in the care of a certain 15 month old.

I used embroidered French knots for the eyes, of course, and learned the lovely blanket stitch for the edge.

Here's a shot of the cozy, in action:

Why is making cute (and occasinally, though not in this case, edible) stuff with felt and thread so satisfying?  It's a mystery I continue to try to unravel...


fresh from the Makery: Mothers Cookies Coffee Cozy

I've been wanting to do more with felt material in general (especially considering I still have quite a bit of the tan felt leftover from those DIY cat carrier covers) and with the theme of food in particular. I'm not sure why felt lends itself so well to making fake food, but I know I'm not alone in the discovery of this perfect pairing. I've also wanted to do more with the "frosted" circus animals that can be found so far primarily on paper products. Since I've already made one reusable coffee cozy/cuff/sleeve, putting the two together seemed like a perfect fit.

This week's project uses up a bit of the tan felt, along with a layer of pink on the inside, and features a "parade" of four animal cookies in alternating pink and white marching around the outside. And when you're not using it on a to-go cup of coffee or tea, you can wear it as a bracelet!

Okay, that last image is mostly a joke, but you could theoretically wear it as a bracelet on your way to your local caffeine fix.  And as I write in the Etsy listing, where for only twelve bucks you can purchase your very own handmade Mothers Cookies coffee cozy, this reusable sleeve is not only eco-friendly but also easy on your diet.  I don't know about you but I'm always tempted to get some sort of baked good to go with my already unnecessary enough (unnecessary in terms of caffeine and calories, but totally necessary for my sanity) vanilla latte (from Peets, naturally).  Maybe if I use this thing I'll be better able to resist that temptation.


fresh from the Makery: Britney Spears ornaments

The Makery is back!  And how fitting that I should choose to use up some mysteriously acquired Britney Spears stickers for my comeback project, no?

As often happens lately, I'm not 100% satisfied with the final product.  I think in order for these to work as ornaments, they should perhaps be round.  As is they look more like bookmarks, which was my original idea but later decided Christmas tree ornaments made way more sense.  Rounder and shinier.  But as is, in addition to stickers of Brit on the front and back, they include a hand-embroiderd heart outline around her face:

...and a red gemstone used to dot the "i":

The stickers I discovered during our recent cross-country move (the primary reason for the Makery's several months long hiatus).  I can't recall if I bought these myself or if they were some sort of gag gift (I remember Neal sent me the CD of her second album while I was participating in a work exchange program one summer in France...I swore it was a gag gift but secretly listened to that CD all summer), but either way they seemed fitting material to use for the Makery's comeback project.  Britney is making a comeback, right?

I have enough stickers to make ten of these and may continue tweaking them.  But for the time being, I'll be giving one away here, and the rest will be available for purchase in my other Etsy shop.  Need to add a little Britney to your Christmas tree? Leave me a comment on this post and I'll add your name to the drawing at the end of the week.

C'mon, you know you want to.


Mother's Cookies are back!

See what happens when I create a separate blog for the only thing I've been blogging about lately? But I've been thinking about blogging about all sorts of stuff.  If only I could blog directly from my brain, you know? Like on the way home from Target today, I could have blogged about the Mother's Cookies frosted circus animal cookies I was sampling right there in the car.  I'd heard rumors that Kellogg's had indeed resumed making the tasty little critters but had yet to spy them in any stores.  Despite a ridiculous sweet tooth, I guess I don't actually wander down the cookie aisle all that frequently.  But lo and behold, there they were.  You can read more about how learning about the company's demise last year led me first to make these cards for the Makery, which I shortly thereafter redesigned for sale in my Etsy shop, which I eventually tweaked a third time and that's the version I offer now.

I forget how I landed on this blog, but I like her comparison, especially the response of her 3 year old daughter (she happened to have a bag of the Halloween version, produced by the Oakland-based company before they went out of business...seeing the Halloween version, which was not, sadly, for sale at Target today, inspired these cards...okay, no more plugs, promise!). 

I agree that the new cookie seems crunchier, but otherwise I enjoyed them as much as I remember enjoying the old version.  On the one hand, I don't have a bag of the original cookies to compare.  On the other hand, maybe I'm just not as picky as Mary Cooks and her crew and/or maybe they weren't addicted to these cookies in the first place.  That said, I probably shouldn't plan on buying/eating this new version too often.  But I'm happy to have the option!


Mother's Cookies Notecards - Halloween Edition

With the four Halloween items added to my shop during the last couple of weeks of August, I thought I was all set for the official start to the holiday season...until I remembered that Mother's Cookies always produced a Halloween version of their irresistible frosted circus animals around this time each year. Since I had some orange felt on hand, I decide to make a Halloween version of my "homage to Mother's Cookies" folded notecards:

And of course, you can still find the classic pink and white version here. I'm working on a custom order of five of these little notes (and five of the embroidered felt donut cards) for a friend. I don't know what it is about those embroidered French knots - I never get tired of making them! After polishing off a dozen donuts from Peterson's Donut Corner with my husband over the last couple of days (picked up on our way home from a short visit to Escondido), I figure making felt versions of cookies and donuts is a huge improvement for my diet!


early bird Halloween weekend deal

For the Labor Day holiday weekend only, now through Monday, September 7th, I'm offering 20% off all Halloween items - stock up early!  I have two items in the shop now with a couple more on the way today and tomorrow.  First up is a set of 5 "trick or treat" mini notes in green, purple, and black, with a black cat motif - use them as calling cards at that Halloween bash or as gift enclosures:

Also on sale are these candy corn cards, part of the Knotty French series (using felt and embroidered French knots to create a diet-friendly version of the classic Halloween treat that you can send to a friend):

Enter "weekend deal" in your message to seller upon checkout and the discount will be refunded to you via PayPal.  And check back here for updates on additional Halloween items on sale over the next couple of days!


take that, Whole Foods

One of many things I prefer about the Bay Area over Boston is the produce. Now, before I get all smug in a way only Northern Californians can be, I will say that the Boston area does offer an increasing number of CSAs (community supported agriculture) and farmers' markets but only during the "growing season," i.e. the three or four months of summer. And they fill up fast. We started getting weekly boxes o' veggies (and a little fruit) last time we lived in Oakland from Full Belly Farm, but only a few months before we packed up and moved to Boston. When we got to Boston and looked into it the list for the following summer was, I believe, already full. After that we quickly got used to supplementing limited seasonal offerings with frozen staples like broccoli and green beans. But now that we're back, we've renewed our relationship with the Farm and the honeymoon is not yet over. We already have way more onions than we can use but otherwise we've been doing a pretty good job each week at incorporating whatever we get in our box into that week's menu. Having an addition to the family who loves melon certainly helps.


fresh from the Makery: in honor of my feline friend

The Makery is back.

Up for grabs this week are, I'll admit, the leftovers from a project I put together for my Etsy shop, a sister product, if you will, to the last installment of the Makery, before things got crazy with project move. I have three mini punches and wanted to create mini notes around each one. I posted the seahorse notes today and didn't plan on putting the pink cat version together right away but decided the project would be good distraction from the sad news this morning that my childhood kitty went to kitty cat heaven around midnight last night.

Ozzy (or "Ozzie" as everyone else always spelled his name...I don't think he really cared either way) was a cool cat. He was my 15th birthday present, a birthday I celebrated when we lived in Bedford, England, about an hour or so north of London. I remember we got him from a farm - he was the only tabby out of a litter of black kittens and it was love at first sight. But he was also, apparently, the runt of the litter and when we took him to the vet a few days after we got him home, clearly not doing so well, the vet warned my Dad to not let me get attached since she really didn't think he'd make it. Obviously, we nursed him back to health, an experience that had me convinced I wanted to be a vet until well into college. He went from being able to fit on my shoulder under an oversized flannel shirt I'd wear around the house (this was the early 90s after all) to being the longest, sturdiest domestic cat I've ever met, usually weighing in at a trim 16 pounds as a full-grown cat. In fact, I'm still convinced he was part European Wildcat. He moved with us from England to Germany, where he spent his only time as an indoor cat, and back to the States with me when I graduated from high school. Once my Dad moved back it made more sense for him to be with the more settled member of our family and they've been best buds over the past decade. He lived a good, long life and I haven't been around him consistently for quite some time, but that doesn't make me feel any better about his passing.

Anyway...in honor of Ozzy I wanted to use this little cat punch I have that's just about the same size as the seahorse punch I used for the mini thank you notes. I decided the cat cards would be simple hellos instead of thank yous. There are a couple of sets in the shop and up for grabs here are the four or five notes that didn't make the cut (they look fine, just a spot here and there where the adhesive didn't lay perfectly flat and they don't come with the little green envelopes, but hey, they're free). If you like what you see, you know what to do. And if you don't win the giveaway, which will be announced at the end of the week, you can get a set of three for a mere three bucks at the ol' Etsy shop.

I can't promise that the Makery is back in any consistent or consistently free way but I hope to start making stuff again on a regular basis. I've added beige felt and Britney Spears stickers to my craft supplies and of course now that I'm back in the Bay, I can always swing by the East Bay Depot for Creative Use for inspiration and materials. Love (and missed!) that place.

Here's to you, Oz. You'll be missed, cool cat...



Despite spending the past year mostly blogging about my seemingly endless battle with clutter (and how to creatively transform that clutter), after a week of eating dinner on the floor and sleeping on an air mattress that requires a nightly topping off (and still isn't that comfortable, even after a west coast upgrade), I am pretty much living for Friday, when we're schedule to receive and unload our Pod. In fact, our moving crate is already in the area, having arrived in nearby Hayward today but because of schedules and parking permits and other such nonsense, Friday is still the earliest we can get at it.

Can't. Wait.

More on the move later, as well as the bizarre but ultimately pretty great experience of being back in my old/new neighborhood.


shake your booty

Alright, folks, here they are, the long awaited SYTYCD booty - I mean, "cheerleader" - shorts.

I can't remember now why I wanted to make these (although I guess I do have a bit of a history of ironing velour letters onto cotton apparel), but make them I did. Good luck getting me into these things, though, so they're up for grabs on my Etsy shop. The shorts are 100% cotton, gray, "ladies" size medium, and the letters are hot pink (dare I say my favorite color these days?) and white.

And that's it for my crafty ways until the dust settles for us on the other side of the country in about a month or so. Unfortunately, the number of boxes I've yet to pack greatly outweigh the unfinished projects on my ongoing to-do list.

As for the show, I feel like the dancers are finally hitting their stride (so far, at least, as the night's episode is only about halfway over as I type this). I was really disappointed the judges eliminated Katee's roommate when they did (I can't remember her name! That's what happens when you wait several weeks to blog about it...). Otherwise the show got off to a great start with that very first number choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon. I'm enjoying their numbers as much as I did last summer, as well as routines put together by Dave Scott, Shane Sparks, of course, and even Mia Michaels. I still think she's a tad overrated but was pleasantly surprised by the group number she did on last week's results show. As for the dancers, I think the gals overall are pretty strong, although I think Caitlin and Karla need to get their hands a little dirtier, if you know what I mean. Of the guys, I like Chbeeb for what he does and his personality, but I haven't been all that impressed with how he's handled the choreography he's been dealt. My faves are Ade and Vitolio, with Evan a close third. Yeah, so I pretty much like just about everyone still. I have a hard time picking out favorites until we get to the top 10. 'Til then...


assignment consignment

Thanks to a friend and former student of mine, I'm sending this set of coasters

and this set of coasters

to this store, on consignment. They take a lot more than Etsy does but they do a bit better than a gallery and well, let's be honest, they weren't exactly selling like hot cakes anyway.

And that's just about it for my crafty ways until we settle in Oakland since I officially packed up my entire arts & crafts corner today. I have one final project that I'll post later this week (there's a little teaser for you, above) that will also provide a nice segueway to finally write a few words about So You Think You Can Dance, Friday Night Lights, and other recent television obsessions. Hey, a girl's gotta unwind, right?


flying + felines = fun

Right? No? Last time we flew cross-country we learned a few things about flying with your feline friends. Mainly, don't do it if you don't have to. But if you have to, sedatives probably won't do much good and if you can keep them covered they may freak out just a little bit less. I remember our one-way flight almost four years ago from Oakland to Boston. Our friends were so kind to pick us up while it was still dark out and drive us, all our remaining belongings, and our two cats to the airport. Our two cats who had just about returned to a feral state by the time we got to the airport, through the long check-in and security lines, to the waiting area near the gate, and then finally, to the safe, secure spot underneath the seats in front of us, where our feet should've been. After the two-hour ordeal I thought surely the flight itself would be equally hellish. But as soon as we tucked them under the seats like little carry-on bags, they calmed down, curled up, and seemed to sleep peacefully for the rest of the five hour flight. When we got to Boston I put my jacket over them as I waited for Neal to return with the rental car and they remained calm. Which is why this time around, on their one-way flight back to California with Neal and my mother-in-law, who has so kindly agreed to house them temporarily while we finish packing and make the move with the toddler in a few weeks, we decided to forego the drugs and instead focus our energy on creating some sort of cover for their itty, bitty carriers.

I was torn between using felt and fleece (having narrowed down my options to those two non-fraying materials because I knew I wouldn't have time to whip out the sewing machine for the job the night before the big trip...not to mention the fact that this is the sewing machine I've barely used since I was about 14) but in the end decided felt would probably offer the best combination of sturdiness and breathability. I went with the beige, which in hindsight seems unnecessarily drab, because I figured it matched the carriers and the light material won't soak up any sun they happen to be in during their journey.

First I created a template with some brown wrapping paper.

Then I made some minor adjustments to the template before committing any of the two yards of felt I bought for the job.

I traced the template onto the felt, cut it out, and attached some velcro to the corners to keep the cover fairly snug to the outside of the carrier.

It's like a nicely wrapped little package of kitty goodness!

The packaged kitties are en route as I type, so I'm not sure if this last-minute DIY project will, in the end, make all that much difference. Xander hissed at me initially but quieted down as soon as I put the cover on and I didn't hear so much as a peep from him for the rest of the car ride. Sophie, on the other hand, still managed to, um, relieve herself minutes after being crammed into the carrier, but fortunately did so before we left so we were able to clean her up at home and not at the airport. However, because of her little incident, she's now curled up on a kitchen towel instead of the plush mat that came with the carrier. But other than that and some minor howling on the way to the airport, Neal's pre-flight report seemed to indicate that all went as well as could be expected. Hopefully the carrier covers will prove to induce a calming effect on the other end of their trip as well.


crazy cat lady

It's that time of year again.

Even though we'll soon be headed to considerably less humid territory, we decided to stick with tradition and get the kitties groomed and clipped again. Typically, only Sophie gets the full spa treatment, since her cottony fur tends to mat and she absolutely loathes being brushed. She doesn't self-groom all that well either these days so we've actually had her groomed and clipped year-round since last summer. Xander, on the other hand, is quite the groomer. In fact, he licked himself straight to a self-induced skin infection, possibly brought on by the winter air made bone dry by the heater, which we kept a little warmer than usual this past winter with the latest addition to the family in mind. That seems to be under control but now we have this crazy medicated spray we have to massage into his fur and brush out on a regular basis. Fortunately, he loves being brushed, but to get things started we decided to have him groomed and clipped this time. As luck would have it, despite writing on their little cards that customer prefers the blended version of the lion clip, whoever did the clipping did not in fact blend the shorn areas into the fluff around the head, paws, and tail. But I think the little poofballs at the ends of their tails are just delightful, don't you.

Aw yeah, I've finally gone and crossed the crazy cat lady line!


stationery fit for a queen

I'm not giving these away for free, but in the spirit of the Makery, I wanted to write a few words about the latest addition to my more paper-based Etsy shop.

Folded notecards created from prints created from imagery from Sofia Coppola's film, Marie Antoinette - fitting, no? As I continued to sift through all the stuff we've accumulated during our nearly four years in Beantown this past weekend, I came across a couple of large sheets of screenprinted paper, proofs for the wallpaper I've blogged about a couple of times already. I didn't want to just toss them so I decided to make stationery from the best bits of the print proofs, layering a lighter weight blank text page inside and pairing each card with a handmade translucent, magenta envelope.

Each note is packaged in a clear cellophane sleeve and available for sale at three bucks a pop.

The listing is for one note only, but I have a dozen of these so just "convo" me, as they say in Etsy-land (short for conversation), if you'd like more and I'd be happy to create a custom listing for you. Collect all twelve!


new, weird, old art

I know I should be packing or organizing some element of this crazy, cross-country move, but I need a break. A sit down in front of my laptop for a good while kinda break. I spent the better part of Elias's morning nap yesterday struggling with my printer, so it's nice to spend a little time catching up on things that involve little to no hardware.

During my last weeks in Boston, I'm trying to check a few things off my sightseeing to do list, and yesterday re-visited the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln. The three miles from the freeway to the museum seem long but the drive is just lovely, especially this time of year, when you can really appreciate the foliage New England has to offer. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit gray and misty but we still managed to take a nice stroll through the sculpture park.

We followed that with a quick tour of their new exhibit inside, The Old, Weird America, which includes work by a couple of contemporary artists I quite like, including Kara Walker, Allison Smith and Sam Durant. Although I have to admit that I think I missed Walker's work completely (that's what happens when your companion is not even a year old). I believe I blogged briefly about Durant's work after our first summer in Boston, when his solo show in one of MassArt's galleries followed shortly after a visit to Plymoth and Plimoth Plantation. The thing I enjoy most about his work, strangely, is the way the diorama rotates, ever so slowly, almost imperceptibly so as to surprise you and maybe even reward you a little for hanging out long enough to notice. Allison Smith's work I first saw after a fellow Bellwether Gallery artist, Amy Wilson, visited the Museum School and mentioned her work during a critique. Smith's contribution to the DeCordova show is interesting but doesn't quite match up to the project I'm most familiar with, The Muster. Anyway, the show and artists are all worth checking out if you're into folk themes, American history, and historical reenactment. Amy Wilson's website is definitely worth a visit as well, so long as we're talking about art and stuff. She's an example of one of those rare instances when actually meeting an artist and listening to her talk about her work adds to your appreciation of her practice instead of taking away from it.


thanks fuh nuthin'

That was fun. Elias and I took a stroll to the nearest post office this morning to send that box o' yarn (that I ended up putting in a large envelope but that's neither here nor there) to lucky winner Java Diva. Can't wait to see what she does with all that leftover cotton yarn. Anyway, this is never my favorite outing. I usually go to a post office branch in a suburb south of Boston since it's close to an area of shopping I frequent about once a week or so. It's a decent walk to this particular branch, through a less than desirable neighborhood of Dorchester, past an auto shop that almost always features at least one ginormous SUV blocking the sidewalk. But things worked out this morning to go for a short walk and I had that package to send so off we went.

There were just two people in line ahead of me and yet I had to wait for almost ten minutes to get to the front. I always state what I want when I put my package on the scale, no extra services, thank you. Delivery confirmation? No thanks. Insurance? No thanks. Any extra services? No thanks. No, no, no, NO! I'm not the most patient person in the world but I'm civil, polite, sometimes downright chatty. Anyway, despite asking for first class, all I see on the screen is priority mail and it's a bit more than I anticipated. So I ask for clarification, thinking maybe she didn't hear me when I requested first class. She barks back at me that it's the same thing for a package this size and weight. Okay, how 'bout parcel post? Usually you see a list of options on that screen, right? So she huffs and puffs, takes the priority sticker off, punches in some other numbers and letters and offers me the parcel post rate at a savings of 8 cents. Well, for 8 cents more, I might as well stick with priority, and that's what I tell her. I'm not happy about the lack of options, and I guess I let her know that, but I didn't attack her personally. I proceeded to get exact change from my wallet. Meanwhile she's still fiddling with the computer in front of her and I'm thinking what is taking her so long to print out another priority sticker, right? So finally she plops on the parcel post sticker and I guess I snapped at her a bit, saying no, I said I was fine with priority if it's only a difference of 8 cents. She barks back, that's what I was trying to tell you. Really? Because I thought you were basically not sharing my options with me and instead trying to tell me that priority is in fact what I asked for when I asked for first class. Whatever, lady, just charge me for priority so I can get on with my day. Meanwhile, she's trying to get the cashier next to her to gang up on me, asking her if that's what she understood me to be saying when I said go ahead and charge me for priority. And looking at the line that's formed as if I'm the reason things take forever at the post office, not the fact that they chit chat with the locals and then try to offer you a bazillion services you didn't ask for. She hands me my receipt and tells me, in an annoying I'm killing you with kindness kind of way, I hope your day gets better. Listen, lady, my day was going just fine until I stepped into this post office. But thanks. Or as they say around here, thanks fuh nuthin'!

And it turns out I could have sent the half dozen or so skeins of yarn in one of those priority mail envelopes that they hand out - for free - for a flat rate of $4.95. I mean, maybe she assumed I wouldn't want to transfer over the contents of my parcel but at least she could have told me for future reference, you know?


Anyway, needless to say, with this move and all, as happy as I am to give this stuff away for free, I probably shouldn't be spending this kind of money every week on postage. And I don't want to make anyone who's "won" so far feel bad. Honestly, it's usually a matter of a couple of bucks. But I've got a lot of crafty stuff to give away over the next month and a half. So if I think something's going to be more than what I'd spend on a cup of coffee, I'm going to list it in my Etsy shop, as supplies, and essentially just charge the priority mail flat rate for the envelope or box that'll fit whatever's up for grabs that week. Deal?

All that said, if you're interested in the latch hook materials, here's the link to the listing. Because you can't list items for free on Etsy, the materials are technically $1, with shipping an extra $9. The priority mail flat rate box that should work for this stash of supplies is just shy of $10 so that seemed fair.

I mean, honestly, you'd think the economy being what it is, everyone fearing for their jobs, even some folks who never thought their job would be in jeopardy, that customer service would go up a notch. No such luck, not at the post office anyway. Not around here.


wanna be a hooker?

I'm a day late on this but, as they say, better late than never. And I am giving this stuff away for free so you can't really complain, can you? Not that you would...

Up for grabs this week is everything you need to make a latch hook rug, wall-hanging, or pillow similar to the pillow I made from a photo of Georgia O'Keefe taken by Alfred Steiglitz, originally blogged about here.

The pillow can be purchased for a mere fifty bucks in my Etsy shop.

At some point while I was working on the pillow, I must have purchased enough canvas and yarn to latch hook at least one other female artist's image. I'm pretty sure I even prepped several possible images to choose from but I can't seem to find them anywhere on my laptop, flash drive, or various back-up CDs. Doesn't matter too much since I'm passing these materials along to one lucky reader (hook included!). If you have some hookin' to do, leave me a comment on this post and I'll enter your name in a random drawing I'll do at the end of the week.

And stay tuned for more crafty giveaways of the raw materials variety in the weeks to come. Just six to eight weeks until our cross-country move. Yikes! I may need to do two or three posts a week to give away all the stuff I have in mind.