Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I've been saving this bit of holiday cheer to share with you closer to Xmas. Every year at work, I head up the "adopt-a-family" program at work. A local charity that helps families in need throughout the year assigns families for adoption that need help over the holidays. This year, we adopted 4 families with a total of eight kids ranging in age from 4 to 15. They send over their wish lists for Christmas gifts, and we collect what we can, wrap everything and donate to them. Even with the economic downturn this year, my co-workers were generous as always and we put together a ton of toys - from Barbie dolls to an iPod, plus gift cards to Target, Best Buy, Blockbuster and a variety of other places. We also do a food drive to collect non-perishable goods and top it off with a grocery store gift card for each family. I thought it might be fun to share some photos of the process. =)
On that note, HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you all!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis shiny indeed

Our anniversary evening was lovely last night. We exchanged gifts (I got him an xbox 360, he got me a watch) and then went out to dinner. The server at the restaurant coincidentally was the same guy that headed up the waitstaff on the evening of our wedding reception that we had there. He gets two thumbs up from me! After dinner, we went to Best Buy to get a second controller for the xbox and then played a few rounds of Kung Fu Panda with the new toy. I am pretty much horrendous when it comes to video games, although he has now been instructed where to get a good deal on Guitar Hero for me. Hehe.

So, on the more crafty end of things, I've been hearing about people unraveling sweaters and reclaiming yarn for a while. I've never been one for patience when it comes to thrifting, but while out searching for a horrible holiday sweater for a party this weekend, I figured I'd take a look at some other sweaters to give recycling the yarn a try. I found a nice cabled sweater in a cream color. The fiber is a wool/cotton/acrylic blend and it was $5.99 at the local thrift shop.

With a little help from this tutorial, I have so far removed one sleeve, which came apart pretty easily. There were a few knots and breaks while unraveling the first sleeve, but overall a quick and easy experience. The yarn appears to be about fingering weight and I have no idea how much yardage so far, but the ball I made is about 4 inches in diameter. That's just from one sleeve! I'm going to be able to make a lot of socks with this I think...and I also think it's going to encourage me to experiment with dying the yarn. Yup, I might be out of control!

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Year Ago Today

It's crazy to think that one year ago today was my wedding day. I'm wondering how the time passed so quickly and thinking of all the things we've done in the last 12 months - most importantly buying our first home.We banished my parents, who are visiting from England for the holidays, to my brother's house so that we can have the day to ourselves. This evening we're going out to dinner at the restaurant where we had our reception for out of town family (best filet ever!) We'll be enjoying some live jazz and a bottle (or two) of wine - normally wouldn't be drinking on a Monday night, but special occasions don't count.

He's been trying to guess what his gift is for the last week since I snuck it in the house, wrapped it and shoved it in the downstairs storage closet. Seeing as first anniversary is traditionally a paper gift, I keep telling him that I wrapped a 24 pack of toilet paper for him. I don't think he believes me though. On the other side, he got me something "shiny", which I'm pretty sure is jewelry. Pictures of my new "shiny" gift to follow!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There's a hole in my cashmere!

Now that the weather has finally reduced itself to a nasty cold here in L.A., the winter clothing has been making its way out of the closet. So, when I put on one of my favorite sweaters this morning, I was definitely distraught to find this hole....I will say that the hungry moth that chowed down on my sweater has good taste seeing as this is the only cashmere sweater I own!! I'm pretty sure the incident occurred in the apartment I used to live in as I would find the occasional moth there. The weird part being that I haven't lived there for nearly 2 years and I've definitely worn this sweater since then. However, seeing as the hole is on the bottom toward the back, perhaps I just never noticed. Since taking up various fiber arts in the last couple of years, I've been a lot more conscious about watching for moths in general.

Of course, having found the hole this morning, my first thought was to check the seams to see if the yarn can be reclaimed and I'm completely in luck! I can't bring myself to rip up the sweater and recycle the yarn just yet, but I'm so happy to know that I have that option available to me. When I can finally bring myself to do it, I'm going to have a ton of pretty orange and cream lace weight cashmere to play with. Just like the clouds outside right now...there is a silver lining.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Important ruling - CPSC and the little guy

Many of you may not have heard about the new Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations, due to go into effect on February 10, 2009. The new ruling, known as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed in August 2008 and was originally intended for more stringent testing of children's items imported from foreign manufacturers, including testing for lead and dangerous phthalates in children's items. However, this will affect anybody who sells items for children under the age of 12 in the U.S. and will require them to seek stringent testing of their items. It includes toys, jewelry, clothing, school supplies, and anything else you can think of that may be used by children.

Although the laws were created to increase regulation of imported items, those of us in the handmade line of work will be directly affected by this as the way the act was passed did not address the impact this ruling would have on the safer items made in the U.S. The certification testing that this regulation requires involves a cost of $300+ per batch. A batch is considered to be a group of a single product that all where made using the same material lot - therefore if you make handknit baby blankets, they would need to all be made from the exact same yarn and dye lot to be considered a batch. The manufacturer of the yarn is not responsible for testing, only the maker of the end product. Given that those making handmade items for babies and children are generally making something that's one of a kind, or at least in limited amounts, this would essentially put stores making handmade items for children out of business given the financial repercussions of compliance. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and possible jail time.

If you'd like to read up more about the regulations going into effect, here are a few helpful links.

FAQs on the CPSC website

Handmade Toy Alliance
CPSC Petition
GK Law Article
Fashion Incubator Article

Whether you are the maker of handmade children's items, or someone who enjoys buying children's items that are handmade here in the U.S. with care, this will affect you. Those of us who handmade things for children and babies ask that you look into this law and contact your congressman, the CPSC, local media outlets, or take a few minutes to sign the online petitions regarding this ruling.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm featured on another blog!

I'm so used to being the one featuring sellers on a blog that it was a pleasant surprise to be asked to be the featured seller on somebody elses! Check out meanbean's blog to see. =)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Smells to smile about

Thank you to everybody that commented on my post below, providing a commentary on commercial vs. handmade. It's encouraging to know that I am not alone in my thoughts and I will say that I have learned a lot from the experience. From now on, I will certainly be a lot more careful about choosing where I sell my goods and make sure that I have the right audience to appreciate the work that goes into making each item with the love of my craft.

I am finally getting around to photographing and listing in my Etsy store the items that are left over from the vendor fair, starting with the scented sachets I made. It brought a smile to my face this morning when I opened the storage tub and the fragrance of lavender and mulberry filled my nostrils! It also made me laugh a little to think about when I brought home all the sachet pellets and the entire house was filled with "girly smells" (as my husband described it). I can't describe how fun the fragrance is through the computer screen, but take a whiff. =)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Commercial vs. handmade...the truth in action

As you may be aware, I have spent the last 3 weeks knitting, crocheting, sewing, taping, sticking, and who knows what else in preparation for the vendor fair I attended yesterday. After all of that, what was the end result? To be honest, I was a little disappointed.

I am very proud of my craft(s) and it's certainly an honor to be able to share that with the outside world and get a concept of what the general public thinks. After all, while I certainly appreciate my husband's opinion (and thankfully he's very good at being honest), it's also nice to know what a complete stranger thinks.

After yesterday, it's been confirmed in my mind that there is something to be said for an appreciation of the art that goes into handmade. I was one of 6 vendors that attended the fair - three of us selling our handmade wares, the other three were offering mass produced items (namely purses, framed posters and holiday cards). This was really a true test of handmade vs. commercial in my mind.

I found that I certainly received a lot of "oh, you're so talented" or "oh, your things are so cute" comments. I received admiration and comments about knitting being a dying craft, but this somehow did not translate into a lot of sales. While I did make a few sales, most people would squeal how adorable one of my items was....then go purchase a purse from the booth next to mine. I may not be the best salesperson alive, but the commercially made bags sold themselves, whereas I found myself constantly explaining my craft, what inspires me, why I love it as much as I do.

The kicker truly came when a nice looking gentleman in an expensive suit and tie came by and was looking at my 5"x7" matted photography prints. He noted how nice the prints were and inquired how much I was selling them for. I told him that they were $20 (which I still consider to be under priced but I had to go with my anticipated audience on this one) and that, as the artist, I would be happy to sign the print if he'd like. He exclaimed "$20?!!" as if I'd just asked him to hand over his soul and scurried off into the distance. At that point, I didn't know whether to cry a little, or laugh. The vendor next to me sold over 20 framed generic reproduction posters (he sold an amazing number of Kobe Bryant posters) with a price ranging from $35-$65 in a little over an hour, while I quietly pondered the value of my art.

It didn't improve when another person came over and asked me how much it costs to make my notecards - I believe the comment was "I mean, this can't cost you more than 50 cents". My husband told me later that the correct response would be a pro-ration of the $2000 camera, the travel costs to the different locations, the time taking the photographs, downloading them, organizing them, picking the perfect shots, uploading them to the printer, costs of the prints themselves, the shipping, the cardstock and the time taken to mount each one by hand. When you think of it like that, the notecard being sold for $4 is a steal. My husband's answer may have been the more direct approach, but I found myself justifying how I shoot my photographs and the time I take to carefully compose each shot because I'm not much of a believer in post-production (hence my business name). The man seemed surprised that I don't just hold down the shutter button and click about then see if I got a good shot later. I eventually gave up trying because I didn't feel like I needed to explain myself to him and remembered to not take it personally - although it's a really hard thing to do.

When I returned home slightly disillusioned by the day, I started looking at the humor of it all. While the masses may not appreciate the skill involved, I can be happy with myself knowing that I can create and do it well. At the very least, I regained the cost of my materials and I am now able to move forward with a supply of holidays gifts for my friends that are already made, and of course a month's worth of Etsy listings for my shop!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Don't bother me, I'm crafting!

I think I've been firmly entrenched in my crafting bubble over the last 2 weeks. While I had made a bunch of things for the last craft fair, when I really started thinking about the upcoming craft fair this Wednesday, I started panicking...just a little (ok, a lot). My biggest concern was that I just wouldn't have enough inventory for a building with 2,500+ tenants. So, I put my head down and got to work, even creating my own little excel spreadsheet (I'm a big nerd like that) to track inventory with. As of last night, I have 109 items!!

While knitting and crocheting up a storm, I realized that my hands might fall off, so next thing you know I'm sewing scented sachets, eye pillows, purses, and doing holiday penguin rub-on transfers to candle votives. I'm very proud of my insane achievement though and excited to get to show it all to a bunch of strangers on Wednesday!

One last thing on the needles for now and then mostly organization and sewing on buttons to finish everything off. Of course, many pictures from the show to come.... The good news is that the husband and I just started the planning for our bathroom remodel and of all goes well this will be a nice head start on paying for the floor tile!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seems obvious to me

I've been trying to think of fun and quick projects to make for the corporate craft fair I have coming up and was thinking that logically, they must all drink coffee right? Why not make them coffee cup sleeves? I have the cotton, I can improvise a design and they're just so darn cute!

The real question here is how many would be a reasonable number to make for a building that has 2500+ coffee drinking tenants....

Monday, November 17, 2008

16 days and counting

...until my next craft fair. My friend is the property manager of a huge high rise in downtown LA and has invited me to be a vendor at their holiday fair. She witnessed the extravaganza of crafting that happened before the craft fair in my own office and I am honored that she wants to include me in hers.

The big difference is that her fair involves being in the lobby of her high rise with 2500+ tenants there to potentially purchase my wares. Imagine the look on my face when she told me that my table space is 12ft!! First thought was - what the hell am I going to make that will fill 12 feet of space?! Once the mild anxiety attack passed, I immediately got to crafting, which is what I've been doing ever since. So far I'm 3 pairs of baby booties, 1 scarf, 1 neckwarmer, 3 hats and am nearly done with my second crocheted edging on the fleece baby blankets I bought. I also bought a ton of photo mats, with photographs on their way from the printer to be either matted and sold as prints, or turned into notecards. I am also lucky that Hollylynne has agreed once again to partner with me on this one and send over some of her jewelry.

It's been 4 days since I found out about the fair and my hands already hurt. I think it might be time to bust out the sewing machine so that I'm not in crochet fever and can give my palms a break for a little bit. I don't know if I'm going to make it the next 16 days without having a seizure of sorts because even outside of the crafting, I need to make tags, price charts, finalize my display etc. I just hope to make enough money that I can book a massage!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Entirely too cute!

I'm currently in the process of taking the inventory that I crocheted and knit up during the week before the craft fair and making it ready for sale in my Etsy store. I've been sick all week (not related to the anthrax scare in my office) so it's been hard to move up off the couch and take care of business, so to speak.
I know I previously mentioned the booties that I'd been making and last night I separated some to donate to a local children's charity through my work and started photographing others to go up for sale. First up are this super cute pair that I am tempted to make in adult size for running around the house. I sense that I wouldn't do so well on the hardwood floors in our new home though - this is based entirely on watching my husband slide around in his socks very "Risky Business" style (a/k/a when Tom Cruise wasn't crazy).

I'm definitely going to be listing more of these over the next few weeks, and of course some things for us adults too!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A craft fair and an anthrax scare...

...all in one day!

So today, I continued with the tradition of helping to organize our annual holiday craft fair at work. It was a much quieter event than in past years, but unfortunately it sounds like that's the way things are right now. I was happy to make a little extra cash over my lunch break, given the insanity of my crafting over the last week in preparation. My biggest thing has been making tons of little booties. I think I was inspired by my nephew, Ethan, and once seeing just how cute the darn things are, I made a LOT of them! I was also happy to be selling jewelry on behalf of my buddy Hollylynne, who happens to be betrothed to a co-worker of mine.My booth, with knit/crochet accessories, handspun yarn, photo notecards, and Holly's jewelry.
Here's a few more pics of some of the wonderful vendors we had join us.

So, at the end of the fair, while trying to help people break down their booths, the next thing I know our head of security very quietly came in and told us to evacuate the building. I'm wondering what on earth that is about and trying to figure out how to get the vendors out without them having to abandon all their goods. I guess 4 years as a fire warden and my CPR training did teach me something though as I managed to work some magic and get everybody out of the room safely.

I'm wondering what on earth is going on when I find out that there was an anthrax scare on the other side of our building, which we share with various radio stations. Apparently it was in relation to the Prop 8 issue here in California (although I don't know for which side) and the radio station had received a threat of some kind involving some powder. If the fire department, police, helicopters and hazmat trucks outside were anything to go by, it was a pretty freaky situation but thankfully was a scare and nothing else.

Just another Friday I off to photograph all my goods to be put into my Etsy store!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An ocean view...

It's been a while since I have really looked at the treasuries on Etsy. There used to be a couple of hundred to view, but now there's 500+ at any given time. However, I was notified that I was included in one and was very proud to pop on over to the treasury world and take a quick gander. It's also the first time that "The Guide" print (top row, center) has been included in a treasury so I was very happy that it would be getting a little extra exposure.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness giveaway winner!

I am happy to share that Cindy Joy is the winner of the beautiful print, donated by Lanae Photography, for my Breast Cancer Awareness giveaway.

Thanks to everybody who checked out the delightful items being donated to this worthy cause!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

My co-worker wanted to decorate a Sarah Palin pumpkin at work this year. Strangely enough, I happened to have some yarn that I'd just spun up in my office that looked suspiciously like Palin's hair with highlights. Makes me feel less like a complete nerd for always having yarn with me (correct, it's not just taken over my house, but it's been invading my office too!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and that gave me the idea to find some wonderful shops on Etsy that are donating a portion of their proceeds to the Susan G Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness, support and finding the cure. Here are some beautiful items that you can buy to help with this cause...scroll to the bottom of this post for a little extra incentive!

From Kays Krafts:Breast Cancer Awareness Memory Board - $24.99

20% of the proceeds to be donated.

From Wags Creations:Give Hope ....Coaster Set - $15.00

100% of the proceeds from this will be donated!

From Liebling Designs: Pretty In Pink Necklace - $25.00

10% of the proceeds to be donated.

From Coasters And Cards: Stamp Out Breast Cancer Card - PIF

This is a Pay It Foward (PIF) listing for $0.21. You will pay the $0.21 to get this card, which will be donated. Same goes for any other cards in the Pay It Forward section of this shop.

From Lonesome Road Studio:pow dominOh effect pin - $8.00

10% of the purchase price to be donated.

From Buster and Boo: The Pink Ribbon, a scrabble tile pendant - $6.50

50% of the purchase price from this item will be donated.

From Four Dog Day:Nancy's Rose of Inspiration Fundraising Card - $3.00

$1 from the sale of each card will be donated.

From Fervent Butterfly:Candy Flower - Red Flower on Water Fine Art Photo Print - $10.00

35% of the proceeds from this photo, and any other photo in the Pink For October section of this shop, will be donated. Also, 10% from any other categories.

From Bead Brat Originals:Think Pink Cotton Candy Pink and Sivertone Slider Bracelet - $28.00

30% of proceeds from the sale of any item in the Think Pink
section of this shop will be donated.

From Whats That Smell:
Pink Sugar Soy Tarts - $5.00

100% of the sale price to be donated

Seeing as this is a giving thing, let's get some sales going to assist with donations! Lanae Photography has graciously donated a 4"x6" copy of the print shown below as part of a contest. All you need to do is find a store on Etsy that is donating part of the proceeds from an i tem to Breast Cancer Awareness, and post a link to either the store or the item in the comments here. The only rule is that it can't be a store already shown here!! On November 1, a winner will be chosen and this print will be yours.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My first big home project!

One of the things I was super excited about moving into our new home was fixing the ridiculous window treatments that had been left in the house. Every single blind in the place is too long and the blind in our bathroom is an interesting shade of aquamarine that doesn't match anything we own! The first thing was to actually put up a curtain in the living room because it didn't have one. I dragged the husband along to Joann with me and he helped me pick out some gorgeous olive colored microfiber for our curtains and is even the one that found the perfect thread for it! I looked up some videos on how to do tab top curtains and I was ready to go.

It was a 3 day process because attempting to cut and sew a 90" length of fabric that's 54" wide and doesn't press (which is something I wish I'd thought of before going the microfiber route) takes a while. In the end though, I am extremely proud of what is my biggest project to date and one that we look at every day so I can only imagine how much it would have sucked if I'd royally screwed it up! Anyway, here's a picture for you which also shows our pretty new dining table and the centerpiece my mother-in-law gave us a while back that's never had the perfect place to be shown before.I have to love the fact that the sun is poking through in the middle of a hot So Cal October....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Monkeying around

Seeing as the holidays are fast approaching, some of you may already be thinking about decorations and unique ornaments. This year, I have a really fun suggestion for you - why not adorn your tree with an Ornamonkey? I can tell that you're wondering what on earth an Ornamonkey is. Well, check it out!This little guy is a felt ornament made to resemble a real species of monkey, with a new species of monkey released each month. Each monkey is collectible and comes with a dated bio-blurb about the species and its conservation status. The felt is eco-spun felt that is 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Created by a real primatologist, this is a great opportunity to learn something about the monkey while having a wonderful conversation piece for your holiday gatherings!

To find out more about the Ornamonkeys, visit Recycled Ideas on Etsy where you can see more species that are available or join the Monkey Of The Month club (spaces will be available starting in November). Also, click on the "win a monkey" bug on this page to find out how you can win your own monkey. Now, that's not a phrase I use every day! =)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A tale of two customer service departments...and 5 desks!

In our attempts to finish buying the furniture for our new office, the husband and I decided to head on over to Target to look at some desks for his DJ equipment. Naturally, we found one we liked in a gorgeous expresso brown wood, plus picked up a desk for my sewing machine, and headed off home to get to work building it. What we didn't realize at the time was what a saga this was about to become.

Monday night...Desk #1 - Got it home and found there was a big chip in the top of it. Popped it back in the box to take back to Target.

Tuesday night...Desk #2 - Took the first desk back to Target, explained the problem. Left a few minutes later with a replacement. Husband gets the desk home, starts building it and comes up the stairs cussing up a storm to ask my opinion on why one of the pieces doesn't fit. Realized it was definitely drilled on the wrong side/upside down. Now, for those of you that have built your own furniture, you know that if the holes don't match up, there's no hope!

Wednesday morning - Called Target's guest services department. Very nice man tells me that he's going to call my local store and have them pull a replacement piece out of another box for me and that I should just go over there with the one that's messed up to exchange them.

Wednesday night...Desk #3 & #4 - Arrive at guest services in the store to pick up my furniture part. Very helpful associate pops off into the warehouse to go get me a "correct" one. Comes back with a desk box, opens it up and pulls out the piece...which is also drilled backwards. Tells me to stick around for a minute while he pulls the last one they have in stock (which of course means that I have to use that time to buy toothpaste, dishwasher soap and browse some jewelry...after all, I'm in a Target store!) The guy returns from the warehouse with the last desk in that color, opens it up and yes, you guessed it, it's drilled wrong!! Yeah, big ooops. Fortunately, they had the desk in another color, which I opted to take...on the condition that they opened it up and checked that the piece was drilled the right way around (which it was). Thinking all was well, I'm then told that I actually have to go home and get the half-constructed parts because they need those to give me the exchange. Grrrr! Stupid stoned factory dude putting holes in the wrong side.

This morning...Desk #5 - Shoved all the half built pieces into my car and made the security guard help me carry the desk into the store at 8am this morning when they opened. Desk #5 had my name written on it in Sharpie and was waiting for me. It's sitting in the back of my car now just waiting to be built tonight. I guess time will tell if we've closed that particular chapter of desk buying!

At the same time, I did use this as an opportunity to build my karma points by calling Target, and the furniture manufacturer, to let them know that there was a manufacturing problem with the desk and both customer service people were so incredibly grateful that I brought it up. So, if you see a desk recall notice in Target, think of me. =)

As much as I love that store, 4 times in 36 hours seems like it might be pushing it a little bit don't you agree?!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A new fascination

Yesterday was a first, as my husband was actually telling me to get off my butt and go to Joann. The plan was to get supplies to make another window treatment for one of the downstairs windows. Of course, he should have known that I was going to come back with more than just the fabric for the window and a curtain rod.

Given that Joann was having their Columbus Day sale, all their red tag fabrics were 50% off, and they were having a $0.99 sale on Simplicity patterns. This of course was entirely too much to resist and I had a lot of fun rummaging around for some great deals (which isn't hard when you can buy super cute fabrics for under $2/yard). It was especially gratifying to be told on the receipt that my savings for the day were $46!!

During my search, I discovered that I have really developed a love for brocade fabrics. The history of these fabrics is just as rich as the look of the fabric itself. They have been used as an indication of status and to signify ceremonial events. Perhaps it is my Chinese heritage, or the huge Indian culture where I grew up in England, that makes me love the style of fabric. Either way, I am very drawn to them and came home yesterday with three different styles of brocade fabric - a red and gold, a turquoise and gold, and a baby blue (I forgot to take a picture but the picture here is really similar to what I purchased). I have a couple of tops planned, although these are the kinds of fabrics were I get nervous using them in case I mess it up!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A little Project Runway talk

As the most recent season of Project Runway nears the end, I do have a little to say about last night's episode. Firstly, as much as I was sad that Jerrell got a little too whacky with his wedding dress creation last night, it's really nice to see three strong females doing their thing for fashion week.

As much as Kenley drives me nuts, you can't say the girl doesn't have a style...even if parts of it appear to have been "inspired" by another designer (see the design by Alexander McQueen below left, by Kenley below right). One thing that bugs me, apart from her whining, is that she can't seem to get out of her niche. That being said, I think she'll do really well within her niche.
Korto has a great personality; very down to earth and I think that reflects in her designs. While I do think she missed the mark a little with her wedding dress last night, I have enjoyed her previous creations. The dress shown to the left is one that I like, despite being someone who's not much for crazy prints. I thought her bridesmaid dress was nowhere near as bad as the judges made it out to be, although given where they are in the competition I think they wanted her to find a happy medium between the over and under whelming that they kept talking about.

Finally, Leanne is my favorite to win right now. Apart from anything, she has an Etsy store!! She has such a classy style that is well structured, yet flows beautifully (see the dress inset right) and I really enjoy her humble nature - the absolute every day kinda girl. I'm really excited to see her final collection because the hints we got in the show last night looked really interesting and so well designed. The wedding and bridesmaid dresses were beautiful and I would be happy to wear either.

Of course, waiting another week will be torture to find out who made it, but it'll be an exciting finale this year for sure!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

We have a winner!

I am happy to announce the winner of the contest I have been running this week to win the set of notecards (shown in my post below)!

The winner is The Giving Tree on Etsy. I was really happy to check out her shop and see that she is donating proceeds from her October sales to charity on account of it being Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Thank you to my co-worker, Karen, for picking a name out of the hat.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

100th post and a contest!

I noticed the other day that I was coming up on my 100th post here on my blog and it seems like a good time to have a little contest to share with you as a thank you for visiting my blog.

So, here's what I have for you. Post a comment here telling me what photographic images you love to see on notecards. Next Wednesday, (October 8) I will pull a name out of the hat for someone to win this set of floral notecards, featuring my photography! The photos are mounted on blank notecard stock so that you can write your own message inside, and can easily be pulled off and framed too. Each card comes with a matching envelope.

Please don't forget to leave your name and a method of contact so that I can let you know if you won. =)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby's first photo shoot

Well, it's been a crazy week and I feel like I've got a million things to catch up on now that the move is over and I have an internet connection again! We moved all our stuff on Thursday, spent all Friday morning with workers installing things, and then took off to Vegas on Friday afternoon to go visit our nephew, Ethan, and take a much needed break from the pile of boxes in the middle of the living room.

Seeing as I haven't had much opportunity to take pictures of things recently, I was more than happy to oblige when my sister in law asked me to do a photo shoot of the baby for his birth announcements. Naturally, my camera was buried somewhere in the new place so I needed to use their little camera and some creative natural lighting with adjusting the horizontal blinds, but I think they came out well. Ethan was particularly well behaved and slept through the entire thing!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday morning humor

Seeing as my crafts are all packed, I don't have much to share in that respect, so I thought I'd share a brilliant little video from when Richard Simmons appeared on Whose Line Is It Anyway?
This has been a favorite show of mine for a long time (including a crush on Ryan Stiles, who is just too lovable!) When a co-worker shared this video with me, I was in tears and my face hurt a little from laughing. Mondays mornings are definitely a good day to need some manic laughter, so I had to share...enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What have I been up to?!

Well, it's been a thoroughly eventful week for me. Firstly, dealing with our escrow company has been um...a bundle of joy? More like making me want to pull my hair out and throw things. Last night we were able to finally sign the final docs, which means all we have to do now is get the loan funded (should happen tomorrow) and registered with L.A. County (should happen Friday) and then keys will be in hand!! May our new lives in our new homes begin.

I've got 6 yards of a beautiful microfiber just waiting to be turned into curtains and I can't wait to take care of that. I'm excited to try sewing curtains and I'm also very hopeful that it's as easy as it is made out to be on the videos I've been watching on you tube. In addition to that I'm thrilled that I'm going to be gaining a dedicated craft space, and creating a couple of stairwell galleries for my photography. =) For now, I will continue putting things in boxes and living out of my suitcase (seeing as we sold both of our dressers in anticipation of our new bedroom set.)

Secondly, I am happy to announce that as of this morning I am officially a U.S. permanent resident. Almost exactly 11 years ago to the day, I got on a plane out of Heathrow to start my new life at UC San Diego. I'm truly happy to say that, while I love England (check out the picture of my local pub back home) I'm really excited to be staying out here as a very proud Brit in California. After all the trials and tribulations of staying out here legally through student and work visas, walking into my green card interview and trying to show someone that the last ten years of my life with my new husband are truly legit is definitely an experience that brings you crashing back to earth. When the official said "Congratulations, I'm approving your petition," it took a lot for me not to jump around the desk and hug him.

So, to sum it up, I certainly wasn't expecting to find the love of my life a couple of days after getting off the plane but if you have an 18 year old daughter who meets a cute guy in the dorms that's willing to give her and her friends a ride to a frat party, don't discount the fact that 10 years on they might be happily married and with a new house purchase on their hands. =) It's been a rocky road but I know if we can support each other through the last couple of weeks we've had and still maintain somewhat of a sense of humor, it will be getting better from here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Interesting effect

This weekend, a friend of mine brought over her yarn stash that she said she was never going to use. I've been so good about not buying yarn on account of buying a house that this was of course a complete delight! While rummaging through her "donation" to my cause that afternoon, I came across a long crochet hook with a hook on each end. I had no idea what it was so immediately had to go do some online research to find out! Turns out that she had given me an afghan hook, also known as a cro-hook, or it can be used for Tunisian crochet. You might be wondering what on earth I am yapping on about at this point, and I had no clue either so let me explain a little more!

The difference between Tunisian crochet and regular crochet is that loops are created and pulled up onto the hook, then the piece is worked back and forth without turning the work. It creates a pretty cool woven effect, which I love the look of.

A double ended cro-hook (which is what I have) has a hook on each end and is similar in technique to Tunisian crochet, but is great for working two colors. Essentially you work with one color from each end. Check out this information from if you'd like to know more!

I started making a cowl using the Tunisian crochet method last night using some pretty novelty yarn from my stash. The pictures below show the interesting effect that happened with this particular yarn.
Front side (above) & back side (below)
The front side has the textured woven look that I was expecting, but the back side has created a really fun fuzzy look that reminds me of a pile of pebbles. My original plan has now changed and I will be making this into a reversible cowl! Stay tuned for finished pictures and of course the listing in my Etsy store.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm officially in love...

...and yet we've never met. I have to share this picture I was just sent of my nephew, Ethan. Check out that smile. I'm madly in love with this child! My husband had better watch out or I'll be leaving him for a younger man. Hehe.