Thursday, November 29, 2007


Gadzooks! We hired a maid service to come tomorrow! I can't believe it! My husband rather hilariously suggested it as part of our holiday preparations. This may be the very first time our entire house will be clean all at the same time.

The problem is that I have to find a place today for all of our cluttered piles. My usual way of cleaning is to do just a little bit at a time and I will pick up the pile of whatever, dust or vacuum underneath it, and put it back where it was. Our drawers and cupboards are neatly organized, probably because half our stuff is rarely back in them. For tomorrow, I even have to clean up my sewing area and I haven't yet made these little fabric trees for our holiday table. When I told my husband all that The Maids will do for us. They even will change your sheets! Take out the garbage! Load the dishwasher! He wondered if we could afford to have them come every week.... We can't but he's a sweetie!

This is a very uninteresting post... I must admit that I'm still avoiding all the organizing I have to do right now...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

First Holiday Decorations

Out in blogland and in my neighborhood, people seem to have all their holiday decorations up! I prefer to do a build up that climaxes at Christmas Eve. We bring out the Advent box when Advent starts and I usually have to go running around for the correct colored candles. ( I think, pink purple and white, or maybe blue pink and white... whatever.. the middle one is white...)

Our Advent box has the Playmobil Nativity scene for the kids, all our Christmas books the prayers and lessons we like to do. I am feeling that a lot of the stuff I wrote up for our nightly ritual was appropriate when the kids were really little, but now they really want to talk about deeper theological meaning. We'll see how it goes once it officially starts Sunday night. Although we aren't Jewish, I like to take a break when Hanukkah starts to talk about that holiday too and use the books I have from the classroom when we covered all the winter holidays. We like any excuse to make potato pancakes and doughnuts.

We put the tree up about 2 weeks before Christmas because otherwise it looks pretty tired by the holiday. I've had to ask (beg?) the extended family not to get us any more Christmas decorations because we do NOT have one more surface available for decorations no matter how special. I can not seem to follow my own mandate, so this year I made the Holiday Dangles Garland from over at Allsorts Her pattern has paper cutouts for the dangles, but I was feeling inspired to do these felt disks:

Felt Ornaments

That photo was taken before I finished them all. It's been so overcast and our house is darkish during the day, I'll take a photo of the whole thing when I've hung it in the right area.

I did another small craft show last night. It was fun and I sold more than I did at the big one a few weeks ago. I'm hoping to list the rest of the stuff at etsy. Maybe the sunlight will cooperate with my camera later in the week.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

High Five

Since I didn't make the turkey, we find that we are woefully lacking in delicious Thanksgiving leftovers. My husband likes the turkey sandwiches better than the regular meal. I might cook a small turkey this week just for us just to make up for it.

Meanwhile, This video cracks me up every time I watch it:

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!

We are off to my parent's house for the Big Meal. This is the first time my Mom has ever hosted. Well, there was one year in the 70's when there was a snowstorm and we couldn't get out to Iowa, so we went out with the neighbors to a restaurant. That one was pretty lame.....

Anyway, since my Iowa grandparents all passed away a few years ago, I've been hosting and it's fun, but Mom let me have a break and wants to do it at her house. How's this for a change? My mom is calling me for turkey roasting tips! I've just finished making my stuffing contribution and the house smells like Thanksgiving even though we aren't making any turkey over here.

This may very well be my favorite holiday because apart from the meal and a bit of traveling. It's just sitting around being grateful and not too much extra fuss. My husband and my dad like to spend the whole weekend watching the high school football championships on the local television. They get really into it, and especially like the quick games with few commercials.

Our life is full of abundant joy! Blessings to everyone!

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Japanese Craft Books

I have more Japanese books to share. This one is ISBN483472509X and the title is "Small Felt Creations" How could I pass that up?


I love these felt containers with embroidered details:
ISBN483472509X detail1

or how about these little needle felted cuties in perfectly sized cottages:
ISBN483472509X detail2

This book also has patterns for small felt pouches, containers, coasters, even a few lovely flowers. Patterns are allin the back of the book and not on a fold out paper insert. I do prefer that!

Next is an embroidery book, ISBN4529042383.

This other embroidery book
is an all time favorite of mine, so I was hoping this one would be more of the same sort of thing. This new one is cute, but instead of lots of motifs and patterns, it is more of an inspiration book. I can't read any of the text, but I think it showcases the work of some very talented people. Some patterns are provided.

ISBN4529042383 detail1

Here is an adorable quilt with cross-stitched people and several charming samplers. The book does not have these patterns, but this is inspirational!
ISBN4529042383 detail2

Finally, I've been wanting this one for ages. It was the most expensive at about $18 US. ISBN9784072488812
This book shows how to carve your own adorable stamps. Instructions are visual and very clear. Most craft stores sell kits to try this on your own. I've tried it with my daughter and it was fun! I need to get the permanent fabric ink though...

ISBN9784072488812 detail1
Who needs to read Japanese when the instructions are as clear as this? The stamps work on a variety of fabrics (with the right ink) and just need a simple heat set with the iron.

ISBN9784072488812 detail2
This owl, sun and butterfly are just a few of the dozens and dozens of ideas for stamps in this book.

See more Japanese book s and projects over at Crafting Japanese. After a long hiatus, I think they are back up and running.

People always ask me, so here's my spiel: Because it is in English, I order my Japanese books from YesAsia. Searching there is tricky because their search engine stinks. You do an advanced search using just the ISBN numbers, no letters. If a book is out-of-stock- or otherwise unavailable it will simply not come up. Sometimes I find a book I like and then browse around the other suggestions and pick things out that strike my fancy. You can check the Japanese books on ebay. They provide way better descriptions and photos but never provide ISBN #s.... It can take a month or more for books to arrive from YesAsia. Shipping is free to the USA for orders over $25US

Another good source is SuperBuzzy. I haven't ordered from them, but my friend gets their adorable fairy tale fabric when she can.

Again, HERE is the link to my flickr photoset of craft books.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More Flowers

I added some of my Felted Crochet Flowers to my Etsy Shop.

Red Pointsettia Yellow, Pink, Brown Flower

I also added one of my Monkey Totes: Monkey Sweater Tote

There is sort of a trick to listing on Etsy. You have to tag everything carefully or items seem to get lost in the masses of listings. I have to get involved in the forums over there to get the skinny on successful selling. There is even a whole board dedicated to it over at Craftster. Obviously the key is self promotion. I think I have to work on that, as all my blogger connections are crafty like me. In the meantime, I checked out the prices for overseas shipments and my things are light so it isn't that much more expensive. Crochet flowers available worldwide!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Etsy Shop is up!

Finally! I opened my Etsy Store! Click HERE to see! I'm at Special thanks to my friend novastarlet. She helped me with the banner.

I only have one listing though... I put up my Robot tote. This tote is one of the favorite things I've ever made and it is a very good size too. I hope it sells, but it will be very hard to part with him.

Click HERE for the listing. I'm hoping to add some crochet flowers today too and a smaller monkey tote. Yesterday I got every wool sweater they had at the Salvation Army store to make more totes. Unfortunately, I think I only got about 8 sweaters. I'm really in the mood to work with wool right now!

Business cards are on their way from the printer. For the moment, I'm only going to ship to the USA and I'm only accepting Paypal.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another Birthday

This one is important! P9020118

My Dad turns 70 today! He's celebrating in Hawaii with my Mom. Dad is such a wonderful, generous, supportive, smart, and loving person, I'm at a loss for adequate words...


We love you Dad! Happy Birthday! I'm going to make you a big batch of granola. You can have it when you get home!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Craft Critique Review of Show

Over at Craft Critique, Martha posted about our craft show experience. Check it out HERE. I'd say that after getting your crafts together, the biggest trick about doing a show is pricing your stuff correctly. This is tricky, but I did my research over at etsy and tried not to make things that are really labor intensive (like piles of handstitched felt mascots) because I don't think people want to pay that much for my time...

Our sales companion, Sarah even put out some beads she made ages ago when she was experimenting with polymer clay. We all agreed that these are "vintage craft supplies" and I think she sold some too.

I was knitting this scarf at the craft show. I used some hand spun yarn my Mom gave me last Christmas. (Mom knows just what I like). Unfortunately, the scarf came out shorter than I prefer and needed some oomph so I got the other skein of yarn she gave me that Christmas and crocheted a funky ruffle trim. I love it now! It's just in time for the chilly weather too. The scarf is double seed stitch: 2 knits and 2 purls done in 2x2 grids all the way until you get the length you like. It's a good pattern that lays flat. I won't explain how to do a crochet ruffle. It's easy though! Crochet uses way more yarn than knitting.
Funky Knit Scarf with Ruffle

Friday, November 9, 2007

New Camera!

Yay! Thanks to my hubby for getting me just what I wanted for my birthday including a homemade chocolate cake with raspberries. My daughter picked out a funky necklace at the craft show and my son got me Simpsons dvds that we can watch together.

New Camera

Photo taken with my old camera.... I thought I wanted a nice SLR, but maybe changing lenses isn't really my thing. This one has better more user friendly settings than my old one. We actually did some research and this one has some top ratings. Hopefully it can take brighter more detailed shots!

and completely outside of crafting... Roger Ebert says this video is the greatest YouTube video of all time. See if you can name all the movies. Roger did, sort of... from his AnswerMan column: "I got them all. Not always by title, of course. A lot of them I correctly identified as, 'Oh, yeah, that movie!' "

I'm pretty sure I've seen all 100 of those movies, or at least 90 of them. How about you?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

2007 11 07 003

Today, it's my turn to turn 40! The other day I got my YesAsia gift to myself. That was a good gift! Above is the Hello Kitty banner stitched for my by CupcakeGuru in our Tea Towel Tour swap on Craftster. I left the theme of my towel open, but I did suggest the fact that I had a big birthday coming up, so my partners went with that theme.
Detail of Hello Kitty: 2007 11 07 007

SlyBetty stitched this squirrel dreaming of a party:
2007 11 07 001
2007 11 07 005

Here's a big celebration cake by fenifer. It has one candle for each decade of my life:
2007 11 07 002
2007 11 07 008

BlueSparkie did this parade of sweets. Mint chocolate chip is one of my favorite flavors! How did she know?
2007 11 07 004
2007 11 07 006

I stitched up this chocolate layer cake with raspberries. My husband and daughter baked a real one for us last night.
2007 11 07 009

And here is the whole towel:
2007 11 07 010

Isn't it awesome? It is a very special thing to have things like this stitched for me personally. Many warm thanks to my swap partners!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

YesAsia Order Delivered!

I've been watching the door since October 25 when my order from YesAsia finally shipped. Yesterday was the big day and there on the front stoop was my package! HOORAY!

I ordered 9 books as a birthday present to myself. All of these are good ones too!

Here is ISBN9784529042659. It is mostly felt food patterns. I recognize some of the things from our felt food swap on Craftster:

Here is a page from that book. Felt hot dog and hamburger:
ISBN9784529042659 detail1 I want to make one of those hot dogs,but mine will be Chicago style with no onions. I don't know how one could do celery salt with felt.. I'd have to work that out....

I think this little book is the one that was holding up my order. ISBN4834764419 ISBN4834764419

Just look at the sweet little projects here:
ISBN4834764419 detail2

That's just a peek. I have more photos in my flickr file HERE, and I may blog some more of them later.

This afternoon we have a Brownie meeting. I'm one of the leaders, but the thing with co-leaders is that we sort of assume the others are planning and then we realize at the 11th hour that we aren't quite ready...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day of Rest

Phew! The craft show was fun. It was big leap for me to craft for selling and I found it to be very rewarding. It was the first time for this particular show and I thought they had very good vendors. I forgot to bring my camera.... The talented ladies at the table next to ours had the most glorious pouches, wallets, and dolls made from fabric. When they began unloading their stuff, I moved my fabric things to the other end of the table so it wouldn't be upstaged. When I took my daughter around to look at things, she just wanted to go back and look at the fabric at their table and she picked out a beautiful pincushion. Oh, she's a crafty one all right.

We had a steady trickle of customers, but the show was never really busy. Our table was a good one because with three of us, we had an eclectic mix of stuff. By the way.. Martha! I forgot to buy one of your button bracelets! I am very happy with what I sold and I have extra inventory for my empty, quiet etsy shop. I have a couple hurdles before I get that shop really up and running, but watch for a Felted Sweater Robot Tote listing soon!

This pouch will also be available.. eventually:
Green Critter

PS- I'm really sick of Dr.Oz on Oprah. He's on three days a week! At least it feels that way. I'm pretty sick of Oprah altogether, but I love to sit at home in my pajamas judging celebrities on talk shows...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My First Craft Show

My First Craft Show

It is likely that I made too much, especially since I'm sharing the table with Sarah and Martha from The Chicagoland Craft Collective.

The show is tomorrow (Sunday, Nov. 4) at Durty Nellies in Palatine, IL.

I made crochet flowers:
Felted Crochet Flowers

Travel tissue holders. I know that a lot of people make and sell these, but mine have rick-rack and gussets:
Tissue Holders

Embroidered applique pouches:
Embroidered Applique pouches

Assorted felt envelopes:
Assorted Felt Envelopes

And several felted sweater totes with embroidered applique:
Red snowman toteGrey Snowman totePenguin Sweater ToteMonkey Sweater ToteRobot Sweater TotePink Felted Sweater Bag

Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Halloween 2007

The kids were so excited about Halloween they could hardly get to sleep. I'm not sure how I feel about Daylight Savings Time being moved. Many of our neighbors have lights and cool doorways that show off best in the dark. On the other hand, as soon as the sun went down, it got really chilly.

Above, my son is a werewolf. I sewed up his fur pants and tunic last Halloween when he was a less scary regular wolf. My daughter is a Pixie Fairy. I purchased her costume because it seems silly to sew something like this when it is available so cheap at the stores.

I'm never sure if I have enough candy to hand out. I don't know why I worry, because we always have some left over. Since my children are older now, they go to more houses and this is the first time they came home with more than I gave out. There were a few boys who came around several times before I got wise to them. They were coveting my Milky Way bars...

Too Much Candy
I don't what we are going to do with all this! My son is 10 and he only just figured out that we eat some of his candy every year. My husband confessed to stealing his Snickers and I always go for the chocolates and caramels. Daughter hates Tootsie Rolls and Butterfinger, so she gives me those.

I hope your Halloween was fun!