Friday, August 31, 2007

Colorful things that I want..

Uh-oh. It is Friday and I didn't post all week. I spent 2 days substitute teaching art and I was apparently too wiped out to type. Evenings were spent peeling glue off of my arms from our projects! That sub job is my fav!

I want a Timmie from MPatrizio. They are so cute and like to travel.

Allison Strine is one of my favorite sellers on Etsy. She makes the most whimsical collages and offers them in the form of pendants and cards. True wearable art! And they have the greatest sayings! I have one - I want a few more but can't decide which ones!

Monday, August 27, 2007


The August issue of CROQzine came today. Picked it up from the mailbox just in time to look through it in the carpool line. (I love zines and small mags because they are perfect to stuff in my bag and whip out when I need entertainment.) There is lots of travel related articles, vegan recipes as always, projects interviews and more. There was an interview with Thea Starr, a crafting supermom that made me feel a bit inadequate! Check it out!

Immature - and not out of the closet

While I won't divulge my age, I am apparently an immature adult. I have a thing for the collectible vinyl toys that I think are so cool, as well as cute and adorable Japanese characters. I make(and buy) stuffed creatures, wear Hello Kitty, and wrap packages with Cram Creme tape. But I won't admit it. I went to a great store today that was a mix of awesome vintage clothing and accessories, re-worked clothing, fantastic cards, paper, and gifts and tons of kitschy things. I found myself buying BlueQ totes and a Hello Kitty belt buckle and saying they are for gifts. I bought my son dozens of blind box collectibles at the Kidrobot store in NYC only to commandeer them for myself so he won't 'lose' them.

Walk into my home and it looks like any other nice home (not over the top but nice). It lacks my personality in the main areas. Go into my home office and you will start to see more. In between the craft and decorating books and my long time collection of McCoy pottery (been gathering them before they became popular and knocked off on Ebay) are a basket of Dunnys , a container of souvenir floaty pens and an Amigurumi panda. It's not until you get to my craft room that the stickers, buttons, stuffed owls, collaged boxes, Blythe, and the wide assortment of Japanese cute attack your senses.

The first craft book on the subject of stuffed, crocheted, or felt creatures was Plush-O-Rama by Linda Kopp. The books' subtitle says it all: "Curious Creatures for Immature Adults". That about sums me up. I'm afraid to come out to my peers about my love for cute and indie things. The women I am around on a daily basis just wouldn't understand (or would they?) Their homes barely look like they have children in them, let alone toys for grownups! There are many out there that 'get it'. Individualism, cool, cute, handmade, recycled - whatever. I think it is better than the mall. Maybe I am in the minority but I like what I like. Wish there were craft groups nearby, as there are in Austin, San Francisco, Brooklyn or Seattle. I, and others like me, are grateful for the terrific blogs, zines, and websites that keep us in touch with the things that I hold near and dear but still keep in the closet.

To sum it up best, a quote to me from a friend who works at the local Saks store...
On learning that I purchased a sewing machine, she blurted "you aren't actually going to make your own clothes, are you?"

Friday, August 24, 2007

Busy Bee that I am

Back to school blew in like one of Florida's annoying hurricanes. I went from leisurely mornings with coffee and my youngest son to to being the mom taxi virtually overnight. It's all good. Musings....

My friend and I just signed up for a class at the local museum art school. They have so many choices it was hard to choose. We settled on a jewelry fabrication class. I think it was the introduction to blow torches that intrigued me. It starts September 10th - we can't wait.

I have only boys, and even though my mother tells me repeatedly that I am better off because boys are easier (yeah yeah yeah) I am not going to have the opportunity to create a fabulous doll house with a daughter. The cutesy pink crafty creations and Hello Kitty motifs are painfully obvious that they are for me. I am lucky, however, to have creative boys. One son manages to get his school artwork submitted for local contests and the school calendar and doesn't seem bothered a bit to mix art in with his football persona. The youngest is the coolest of all. He parlays his obsession with stuffed animals (that have taken over his room) into many creative endeavors. He writes and illustrates journals and books about them. Takes them places and photographs them (and uploads and saves them on his computer with the freebie giveaway camera his grandfather gave him). He got a new bed over the summer and decorated the walls over it with all kinds of things. Printouts, stickers, box covers from Japanese Godzilla toys, and more. I usually hate stickers and tape on the walls but he actually made it look like an interesting and growing collage.

I received the Vinyl Wall Art (see previous post) today (fast production and shipping!) I have them temporarily taped to the wall before I mount them. These are going to look adorable - and I have a feeling this decorative medium might be addicting.

Another Etsy seller that I like and wanted to share is Artgoodies. They have dish/hand towels printed with great looking motifs, including birds, deer, squirrels and other wildlife as well as cupcakes. They also print the designs on to aprons and little stuffies. I bought some towels for myself then sent a few to my Uncle as a gift.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

How yummy is this tote?

I have dozens of Etsy sellers that I love bookmarked with the intent to share them with you. I found this adorable wool felt tote and had to mention it. Branching Out Designs created this lemon yellow bag that is actually a 7"x7" mini tote lined with polka dot fabric. Embellished with a bow, it comes with a coordinating barrette. Aimed at a younger fashionista, I have a penchant for small bags (and big bags and everything in between) and this is just the size for a wallet, phone and a few beauty supplies. Larger totes are available, as are mini totes in other styles, such as the colorful zebra pattern.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Simply Charming Necklaces

Ah, shameless self promotion. My kids are finally back at school and I was able to upload the remainder of my photos from my newest pieces of jewelry and list a few on Etsy. Not liking to wear heavy jewelry in the summer, I created my new line of Simply Charming necklaces. I love to layer jewelry so I created these necklaces on thin sterling silver chains with fabulous handcrafted charms. They can be worn alone or put together on one chain. I like to wear more than one necklace. The colors are vibrant enough to take you into fall and perk up those bland clothes we are seeing on the racks. They are available on my Etsy shop.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Decorating A-peel

It seems to be becoming a trend that I am blogging on things that I buy - I need to show some restraint!! There are just so many cool things out there in shopping cyberspace (and cities and towns across the USA) that I am able to find needs to fill! My new craft room has pretty bold built in drawers, cabinets, and shelves in a bold shade of red. The walls, however, are (ug) white. And I don't have the patience to search for, hire, and monitor a painter (nor do I want a DIY project at this time). I found a fabulous quick fix to boring walls - Vinyl Wall Art! This business has advertised on blogs, which is where I first saw it, and then saw that they have an Etsy shop - Holly. I order a few birds and some flowers in some bright and cheerful colors to make my room fun. In addition, there are funky vinyl decals for cars - car art - that express the owner as a 'knitting nerd' or 'crafty geek'. Love these. I'll post a photo of my room when they arrive and get mounted.

Friday, August 17, 2007

More delicious books

Here are a couple more amazing books I found in NYC. I wish I could show you what is inside!
Button jewelry and crafts

Bags of Parisians (incredible - photos of bags, embellishing bags, what Parisians have in their bags...)

Exciting mail day today - I received this amazing bunny cookie jars today! I mentioned last month that I had to have them - and now I do.
They are designed by artist Momoyo Torimitsu for Cerealart. I ordered them through Velocity. They will sit on top off my kitchen cabinets and add some POP! No silk vines and baskets for me!

Delicious Inspiration

I binged on many Japanese books in the decorating and crafts section of Kinokuniya bookstore in New York City this week. I can't read Japanese but am absolutely enamored by the photographs. They are creatively inspiring! Kinokuniya is a two story bookstore in Rockefeller Center that has a huge selection of books, magazines, cards, gifts, wrap, plus a bit of t-shirts, toys, and more! They have a website but it entirely in Japanese and not very graphic.

I first read about the Jeu de Paume books on the decor8 blog. There is a flickr site that she found that were photos inspired by these books. I made a mental note and found them at Kinokuniya This book is called Ateliers de filles - Ladies' artists studios. Gorgeous!
Chambres l'enfants de Paris - Childrens Rooms in Paris is another book with fabulous photos that are a riot of vibrant color. I don't even have a need to decorate a childs room anymore but see so many inspiring ideas for myself.
My son and I felt very cool munching on the delicate Japanese Pocky snacks that were sold at the counter. We opted to try the chocolate mousse and dark chocolate flavors over the more unique flavors that we couldn't read. They are addicting!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fiesta Bear

I made this cute little stuffed bear, inspired by the motifs from the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I need to work on my embroidery skills.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wait until you see what I bought in New York!

I'm back! I went on a shopping spree at the Japanese bookstore in New York City (twice). I was so enamored and obsessed with the books and other cool things there that I went a little crazy. I shipped the first batch home them went back a second time and bought more to bring home. I will post photos of my many treasured purchases as soon as I unpack or recieve them. There are decorating books, craft books, including zakka, amigurumi, button crafts, fabric flower , and more. It only costs me a few extra Godzilla toys for my 8 year old son to be patient while I obsessively pull out books that I can't read. He enjoyed the chocolate Pocky snacks, too. I'll be back with photos....

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Off to NYC

I won't be posting for the next few days (unless my iphone wants to work faster than it currently does.) I will, however, be scouting around for cool, creative, and just plain interesting places while I am there. Stay cool (or dry, depending on your geographic location.)

Come back and visit on Thursday!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Random Thoughts of Craftiness

Summer vacation is almost over for us - time to get back to the busy schedule that we live. I intend to make the most of the last few weeks of no alarm clocks and free time. That will include a few mini trips and starting new craft projects (of course).
I just returned from the local JoAnn store with some clear vinyl to use on various projects that I intend to make. The online world has certainly filled my creative brain with more ideas and inspiration that I would have ever seen in person or magazines. This afternoon was filled with trial and error in regards to sewing vinyl (it sticks). I turned to the Craftster forums to get tips (tissue paper, teflon foot). I also picked up some yarn so I can take a crochet project on the plane and work on some cute little amigurumi. What shall I make.....
While cruising online for sewing tips I couldn't help but look at a few of my favorite blogs and sites. For those of you who have seen the crazy/cute/mean/adorable creations at Cotton Monster, there is actually one for sale. I'm thinking...I'm restraining...I'm going to NYC in 2 days...Check out this guy:
I am wearing a fabulous shirt from one of the coolest stores in Boston called Johnny Cupcakes. They have the most innovative, hip t-shirts and the store is designed like a bakery with items being packaged in bakery-style boxes. Items are displayed in bakery cases. Don't let my allegiance to the Boston Red Sox influence you.
Planning my trip to NYC with my 8 year old will be fun. We have lots of fun places on our list and fortunately he is a very cool little boy who has KidRobot high on his shopping agenda. I informed him we will be visiting Kinokuniyo, the Japanese bookstore in Rockefeller Center. Perhaps I can coax him into a few more stores that will appeal to both of us. I'll be blogging on my creative finds next week.

Finds of the Day

I haunt the craft book and magazine aisles of all local bookstores. I have mentioned my addiction to these. I love to look at the pages of the myriad of cool and beautiful crafts that others create with wishes that I would or could sit down and do it myself. Usually, though, I am content to enjoy the books.

My latest craft obsession, as I have also mentioned, is crocheting - specifically amigurumi. I have longingly looked at books and websites dedicated to these adorable crafty creatures and have purchased a few from online crafters/artists. One of my favorites is a little purple our that was created by Elisabeth Doherty of Gourmet Amigurumi. Her work is outrageous - tops in the field. She published a book on her craft and I was lucky enough to come across one in our local B&N. What a great book. Most of the amigurumi instructions are for intermediate or advanced abilities (I have a reason to practice and hone my skills!) Check out the book, called Amigurumi - Super, Happy, Crochet, Cute.
Later this evening I was sitting down with my fat free vanilla ice cream and reading the blogs that I have booked marked for daily entertainment, I came across an interesting post in one of my favorite blogs, Cuteable. It seems the folks at Cuteable started their own social networking site for indie crafters. I have never been very active on the other popular social networking sites. I wasn't technically savvy enough to use it to much advantage (hence the look of this blog - still pretty basic) or to keep creepy strangers from constantly from wanting to be my friend. There was something about this new site and it's mission that I found intriguing. It is aimed to attract more like minded individuals, yet in a broad range. Indie crafters and artists, retailers, bloggers, shoppers, etc.. And it seems that there are so many of the same people reading and creating the various craft blogs. The names of often seem familiar. So I joined. I'll start lurking around there and let you know what I find. Check it out yourself here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Relaxed and Refreshed

No posts for the last week means I was on vacation. A relaxing week was spent in a casual, tropical setting among kind, creative people and a laid back attitude. Love that.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands on Florida's Southwest Coast is a fabulous place to visit. I almost hate to talk about it to others for fear of making it popular and crowded. It is a tourist destination, having been listed in many 'top beaches' lists in books and magazines and the Travel Channel. The islands are chosen for the reasons I mentioned and the fact that the beaches hold an incredible bounty of shells! Beach goers are constantly walking along the coastal waters bent over searching for beautiful specimens, causing islanders to name this posture 'the Sanibel stoop'.

During our trip we are treating to the typical island scenery - colorful shops and restaurants, houses painted in candy colors, many with pretty mailboxes and signs carved and painted with the creatively personal name of their home (Pair-a-dice, Sea-renity). For nature lovers, wildlife is abundant. We have spotted American Bald Eagles, who thankfully are no longer endangered and nest behind the local Dairy Queen), alligators, armadillos, dolphin, and scads of tropical birds. Local nature centers provide information and tours, by foot, kayak, or boat. Art lovers can visit many galleries, the communities' BIG arts, local theatre, and annual art and craft shows. World famous artist Robert Rauschenberg resides here.

The crafty person in me sees the shells as free craft material with unlimited potential. I share this with a large contingency of artists and crafters on the island who meet for a weekly shell crafters club meeting and crafting day and help put on a well known Shell Fair every year. There are shops around the island that sell all the supplies one needs to make shell covered boxes, mirrors, holiday ornaments, shell animals, jewelry and more. And if you don't find the shells you need or want to add different types, they sell those too. Shell crafting is a terrific family craft. While I created a mirror with both found and purchased shells, he covered a box and made shell buddies by gluing on google eyes.

I'm glad to be back (kind of), and am relaxed, refreshes, creatively inspired, and ready to start gluing shells (and more mosaics - but more of that another day).