Monday, November 30, 2009

Wow what a weekend!

Hello my friends. What a crazy, long, fun, productive, and wonderful weekend. I have so much to talk about I actually don't know where to start. So for want of a more creative way to organize things I will start with Thursday.

My Honey and I had a great day. It was just the two of us this year and we had a great time. We laughed our way through cooking a huge turkey and some of our favorite trimmings. Now I'm not going to lie I did miss my Thanksgiving family a lot and kept calling to see where they were in their celebration; Is the turkey in? Is the table set all beautiful? How was your meal? What movie are you watching? But it was fun just the two of us.

Then came Black Friday and Saturday.
Friday and Saturday the New Metal Artists, the Los Angeles chapter of the PMC guild, had a boutique Sale. We had a lot of fun, the jewelry was beautiful, and the sale was very successful. Congratulations to all the New Metal Artist members who participated. We did it!

Than I had a Black Sunday also.
Sunday I did Patchwork in Long Beach and it was great. The view in front of me all day was a show packed with people. And if I turned around this was the view behind me...

Beautiful right? I really can't recommend a Patchwork sale to strongly. The artisans were all of a really high quality and super nice to chat with all day. I have some fun stuff to share on Friday regarding the amazing work of my Patchwork sale neighbors. Whether you're a seller or buyer Patchwork puts on one hell of a show. Thank you Nicole and Delilah for putting on a really wonderful show. They even provided the best weather anyone could have asked for, sunny with a mild breeze.

My weekend was jam packed with fun, friends and sun shine. I hope your Thanksgiving weekend went as well.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Gift Ideas 2

I'm making another bid for buying handmade this Holiday Season with my weekend eye candy. Why buy a gift the recipient can get at the Gap near their house when you can get them a handmade something? And because the answer is "So true" here are some more handmade gift ideas.

$10.00 and under

1. Whimsy and Spice - It was hard to pick one goodie over another but in the end I had to go with the brownie, although a close second was the chocolate marshmallow.
2. Bead Siam - I really love the cool and simple leather bracelets on this site. Click over and check them out.
3. Vervain Savon - These soaps are so beautiful you don't need wrapping paper, just put on a bow and you have a beautiful gift.

$25.00 and under

1. Nature Design - They have all these wonderful wooden items. I featured their great coffee scoops a couple weeks ago.
2. JJ Evensen Art - I love these fork hooks, and check out the Peace, Rock On, and Fork You hooks, hilarious.
3. Dee Beale's Hand Pulled Prints - I love these prints so graphic, simple and elegant. I had a hard time picking just one, so I'm not, I also love the Cornflowers.

$40.00 and under

1. Granny Purse - The clutches available from this artisan are really fantastic. A can't miss gift.
2. Foxy Girl Boutique - Isn't this ring sensational. Anyone would love it.
3. Darrielle's Clay Art - I don't knit but this bowl is killer. Their sponge holders are pretty sweet also.

$60.00 and over

1. Eight Seasons - Okay you are going to love these bags, they are out of this world fantastic. Because I can't pick just one you have to check out Pod Pouch in black also. You won't regret it.
2. Chocolate and Steel - Christine's work is so well made and her finish work is impeccable. And if that's not enough she is having a great Black Friday thru Cyber Monday SALE. Really it's amazing; FREE shipping and a FREE stud earring with purchases over $75.00, you must check it out.
3. Hydra Heart - These shoes are so cool. I want at least three pair but I had to go with the Lotus Mary Janes but the Flora Flats were a very close second.

I hope your Holiday shopping is going well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's just my honey and me, in Culver City for Thanksgiving this year. And I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm actually looking forward to cooking thanksgiving dinner. I almost never cook and by that I mean I almost NEVER cook. So don't worry this will never be a cooking blog. I'm sticking to very traditional dishes; Turkey, mash potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and an experimental stuffing. No green bean casserole because I'm from MN, the only state to have its own word for casserole "Hot Dish", and if I never eat another "Hot Dish" in my life I will die happy. Macaroni and cheese and lasagna are exempt from this hot dish ban. And the honey thinks peas go with mash potatoes so there will be peas. Am I the only one that finds that strange?

I usually spend all my holidays in Stockton and I'm going to miss the French/ Italian/ American fusion thanksgiving my dear friend V puts on. If you think that's not possible, your totally wrong. The turkey is cooked with these amazing Provence spices, there's this, dream about all year, risotto, and a very traditional fruit salad. We all dress up, not too fancy, but just fancy enough to make it special. And in true European style yummy wine in the kitchen, on the table, and in front of the fire after dinner. I'll miss this dinner so much, people and pageantry, but I'm looking forward to spending the day just the two of us.

I hope your Thanksgiving is special, happy, and full of love. I also hope your turkey is juicy and fully cooked.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I love to Gift Wrap

I honestly think one of the best parts of giving gifts is wrappping them. Today I'm off to get my gift wrapping supplies for my Holiday gifts. So I thought I would share some gift wrapping inspirations. Most are from last year. I think I maybe the only person already wrapping gifts.

The blog Bugs and Fishes has a lot of fun ideas check it out if you can and Wuhao has information on cloth wrapping gifts, very eco friendly.

And can I say gift tags?
I love them. You can find these amazing tags and many many more on etsy;
1. Fancy-Schmancy Letter Press from - Old Tom Foolery
2. Paper Eclectiques
3. Muddy Feet
4. Shim and Sons - also one of my favorite blogs by the same name.

I hope this helps get you in the mood. I know I'm already wrapping and listening to Holiday music 24/7 on Pandora Radio, much to my honey's dismay.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Gift Ideas

For the next few weeks I'm going to use Weekend Eye Candy as a way to share my Handmade Holiday Gift ideas. I hope you see something you love or get inspired to buy handmade.

$10.00 and under

1. Cafe Boulet - They make great green coffee cup sleeves and other accessories for the trendy café goer.
2. Studio Petite - Jennifer Lambein has these super fabulous mini prints for just 5.00. Can you image, art as a stocking stuffer.
3. Intentions - Soap that looks good enough to eat. Intentions makes such beautiful soap, if it looks this good can you imagine how good it must smell.

$25.00 and under
1. Made by Swirly Girl - For the dancer in your life this is a beautiful set of cards. She also sells really great prints.
2. MaReRi - Mareri makes amazing bags and purses. She also has a cool blog by the same name.
3. Pinkkiss Pottery - I love these whimsical striped vases. The pottery in this shop is whimsical and yet classy, really great work.

$40.00 and under

1. Designs by Maya*Made - These are the cutest burlap buckets ever. This shop has a lot of truly original home decor, you will want it all.
2. Pelpa - This London based artist is making the perfect gift for the person who has everything; a handmade, hand painted, one of a kind; finger puppet. Who could ask for anything more?
3. Stave Creations - Talk about beautiful up-cycling. This artisan takes oak wine barrel stave's and makes them into beautiful home decor.

$60.00 and up
1. Ivar's Design - These up-cycled barn wood frames are to die for. The wood in these frames is estimated to be 100 years old.
2. Pink Perch - This is the cutest monkey mobile ever. This shop has the cutest mobiles, there I've said it, the cutest.
3. Bure - Bure Felts - Can you believe these felted slippers are in my shop's colors? I love felt and this shop has some amazing felted products.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Craft Sale Cash Wrap

One of the things I learned at my first show is that check-out can get a little chaotic. To make the process simpler I created a handy cash wrap station for myself.

I found a vintage box, in this case an old steno machine case.

Then I cut dividers out of card board and covered them with fun fabric.

And voila, looks and works great.
The only thing the images don't show is that I have a clip board velcro-ed to the top with of the case to hold the receipts while I write them out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Take the Hand Made Challenge

Now that we are all on the hunt for that perfect Holiday Gift I would like to issue the Handmade Challenge to my friends and family.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!
With money so tight and the economy so scary we are thinking more about, not just what we want to buy, but who we want to buy it from. If you go to, insert big box store name here, and buy something you are a drop in their huge pile of gold. But if you buy from, insert name of individual artisan here, you are helping that artisan make a living, stay home with the kids, or helping them support their crafting habit. If you buy hand made you are that artisan's customer and supporter not just a consumer. I hope that sounds as upbeat and fun as I mean it to sound. Take the Challenge, truly unique and one of a kind gifts are in your future.

And don't worry I'm not going to abandon you to the wolves of finding hand made gifts. I have some ideas for you and I will be sharing a ton of them over the next month and a half.

A great place to start your hunt is on etsy, Paper Stitch, 1000 Markets, or one of the other handmade market places. I will share more in the next post.

okay now for the gift ideas. I have 4 categories: $10.00 and under, $20.00 and under, $40.00 and under and $60.00 and over. I hope you enjoy them and get inspired.

$10.00 and under from Nature Design
Standard size coffee scoop to measure the quantity of coffee to coffee machine. These may also be used for simple decoration or as a souvenir. 15g (4.5 x 1.5 x 1.2 inch). These super cute coffee scoops would make a great stocking stuffer or teachers gift.

$20.00 and under a print by artist Elle J.Wilson
All her prints are individually printed by the artist. They are printed on Specialty Bockingford Watercolour Inkjet paper, which gives the print the look and feel of an Original watercolour. Each print is hand-signed, titled and numbered by the artist Elle J. Wilson and comes with a Signed Certificate of Authenticity.

I have one of these prints and I absolutely love it.

$40.00 and under a sweet ring from Chocolate and Steel
Christine's work is really lovely, impeccably finished, and loved by many. This ring is made of reclaimed fine silver. It is a beautiful pure bright silver. The ring band is roughly 1/8" wide and has a hammered texture on the outside. The tiny heart is stamped deep into the organic shaped metal, oxidized and measures about 3/8" in diameter.

And on a personal note Christine is a warm, giving, and inspiring person who I'm glad to call a friend.

$60.00 and over this sweet bag from Thongbai Tatong

This item ships free, all the way from the Netherlands, to anywhere in the world!

The exterior of the bag is made of dark grey home décor cotton with floral print in camel color. The middle part, the top and the straps are made of medium weight cotton canvas in coordinating camel color. The three appliqué flowers in the middle are made of black cotton canvas. Contrasting red hand stitches around the applique and red machine stitches on the exterior, including the straps, are added to give some fun and unique look to the bag. The lining is made of natural unbleached cotton. There are five interior pockets of different sizes and one pen slot. They are made of unbleached cotton and lined with beautiful home décor weight floral cotton print.

I hope you liked my first four ideas. You will see many many more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm an Ad Man - And Give Away Alert

This is just a quick post to do a little bragging and pimping.

Chocolate Ad003
The pimping is to tell everyone that Christine of Chocolate and Steel is having a give away hosted by etsy stalker, one of my favorite sites. You can win the fantastic heart ring featured in the above ad. She is showcased and gave them a really fantastic interview. Christine is upbeat and inspirational, the interview is a must read. So go check it out.

And the bragging is that I created the above ad for Christine and I think it turned out really nice, if I do say so myself.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Display is Born; last entry

As you all know, I've been obsessed with creating my display for craft shows. See Parts 1, 2, and 3 if you doubt me. Well this Sunday I put the display to the test at the Rose Bowl Flea Market/ Arts and Craft show and it was a success. I got several compliments on the display from other vendors and Christine of Chocolate and Steel said the colors really popped. I really value her opinion so that made me happy.

I think the only things you haven't seen are Table 2 and any of my work on the displays, so lets start there.

Here's table 2. I'll be tweaking it a little but I'm mostly happish.

And Here's table 1 all dressed up with my work.

And last, but not least, here's how are booth looked all together.

And now you probably want to know if I hit my target budget...Yes. WhooHoo. So the final tally is thus:

Table clothes; Michael Levin Loft 2.00 a lbs cotton fabric. $10.00
Frames; Michael's Arts and Crafts 1.00 pine frames. $10.00
Floral Foam; Michael's Arts and Crafts $8.00
Potpourri; Michael's Arts and Crafts. $10.00
Blue Craft Paint; Michael's Arts and Crafts. $2.00
Grand total $40.00

I'm so excited. Now, full disclosure, before the SD show I did buy a cool sign for $25.00. And I bought a vintage box for $8.00 to turn into a cash register, which I will show you soon. So at the moment I have $73.00 invested in my booth. But I think I have done a good job not braking the bank for this part of my new business. And although the frames may be an obvious choice, I really like the way the whole thing has turned out.

Tell me what you think of the final product. I would love to here your thoughts.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Display is Born; part 3

I know I'm suppose to do a weekend eye candy, but I'm so excited about how my display is coming together I just have to continue with this series. As you remember the challenge is to create a stylish display on a $40.00 budget. So far I have altered some $1 frames from Michaels, added felt to floral foam for in the frames, and now I'm adding decorative potpourri. Yes I said potpourri.

While at Michaels trying to get materials to bring to life the inspiration I got from Anthropologie I gathered all these organic "objects de art" from the floral section, you know the stuff I'm talking about. But it was so expensive I realized there was no way I could buy the variety of items I liked. Then I spotted a big bag of potpourri. It had several interesting organic elements in one $10 bag, problem solved.

Here's the potpourri just out of the bag.

And here are some of the visual vignettes I created with it.

Money spent to date 29.00. Table two is giving me more problems than table one. Aargh! I'll try to show it to you tomorrow or later today.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Display is Born; part 2

Thanks for stopping back. Yesterday I told you about my display inspirations, frustrations, plans and what I did with the Michaels $1 frames. Today is all about the floral foam and how the frames and foam came together. The color in the bottom pic is more accurate. Why do colors change so much from picture to picture sometimes? Aargh!!

I painted the foam for the picture frame inserts with the same blue that I used on the frames and glued brown felt, in this case a felted jcrew men's sweater, to the front. As a total aside, I find that jcrew wool sweaters felt up beautifully. Now back to the topic at hand. Half way thru painting the foam I started to worry I would run out of paint, so I didn't painting the foam inserts for the boxes, that's why they are still white. I think this is going to bite me in the bum, because I have plenty of paint left, but now that I have added the felt there's no good way to paint the box inserts. Boo.

Here is the total effect so far. Table #1 done.

I'm very happy with how this table came together. I have real concerns about table two.

Frames - $10.00
Foam - $9.00
Cheese boxes, bamboo boxes, felt, and decorative stickies - in house.
Spent so far - $19.00
Money remaining in budget - $21.00

Come back tomorrow and I'll show you table two and what I did with the potpourri. So far operation "low/ no budget but nice" is a success.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Display is Born

I have my first LA Craft show this Sunday November 8th at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. And I'm just now getting my display put together. I know crazy last minute right? And if you knew me you would know that I'm not usually a last minute person. But I've had a hard time getting all my ideas to come together into a cohesive design. So for inspiration, I spent this past weekend in my personal retail "mother ships", Anthropologie, Santa Monica and Hollywood. I love these stores, I always feel like they have somehow gotten in my head and set up the store just for me. I can't afford to buy anything at Anthropologie put I love to "shop" there.

Awash with inspiration I hit Michael's. I got 10 frames, $1 each, floral foam, and potpourri. I already have my table fabric at home. My hope is to put together a light weight/ versatile display for about $40.00, using the items from Michael's, things I have around the house, and the inspiration I found at Anthropologie.

First up the dollar frames, bamboo boxes, and cheese boxes from my aunt. $10.00

I gave the frames a "Blue Wash" with watered down craft paint in my HSB blue and then.....Check in tomorrow and hopefully I will show what's up with the floral foam. Cross your fingers it all comes together. Attractive and low/no budget is a hard combo to pull off. I'm almost bald from pulling my hair out.