I spent Sunday and Monday in Anaheim at the CHA show, seeing the sights and meeting up with a few crafty friends — it was amazing. The show filled five cavernous halls of the convention center and in two straight days of walking I don’t even think I got to see more than half of it… but I certainly gave it my best shot!
Pink Craftie and I took the train to Anaheim on Sunday morning and then got a cab to the show. My first stop (after picking up my press pass) was Kathy Cano Murillo‘s demo table at the Duncan Crafts booth, where I got to make a matchbook shrine.
Duncan makes one of my all-time favorite craft supplies, Aleene’s Tacky Glue, so I was thrilled to get a sneak peek at some of their new products (a spray version? wow!)…
I also got to check out a bunch of other general crafts booths (which included everything from paints to jewelry supplies) and then headed over to the evening keynote event, headlined by Martha Stewart!
We got seventh row center seats, in a HUGE ballroom with immense screens all along the front/stage area. Martha came out to wild applause and spoke for about 45 minutes, mostly covering her craft projects from Martha Stewart Living and her other publications. She very briefly previewed her upcoming craft product line by showing a quick peek at the label style (which I unfortunately didn’t get a good picture of), but it looks most like the center image below…
…and she mentioned that it will be all be chocolate brown with off-white text and blue backgrounds. It seemed like everyone was really hoping she’d give more details of the new line (like what it includes and when it will be available), but that one little peek was all we got, and then she went back to talking about her favorite projects from MSL over the years and gave a few anecdotes here and there. I did find this more detailed recap from Michele and Kate of Photo Express about the private pre-show Martha did for her larger vendors, which is super interesting — looks like the products will be paper-crafts oriented, for one thing. The CHA show itself was seriously about 70% scrapbooking and paper crafts booths so I guess that makes sense, come to think of it.
One thing Martha said that really stuck with me was “‘Make it beautiful’ is the mantra I repeat to myself several times a day,” and the lush slideshow of the projects she’s done professionally and personally definitely reinforced her philosophy. She took a few questions at the end, thanked us all for coming, and left to rock-star-style cheering and clapping.
Her giant posters just outside were a hotspot for photos — lots of people lined up to pose with those after the show! Of course Pink Craftie wanted to get another snapshot with Martha too.
Then I got to meet up with Linda and Christina from Adorn magazine for dinner, which was lovely, and got a copy of the beautiful new spring issue! The shrink art jewelry, i-cord monogramming, and paper silhouette projects were all instant favorites.
And they’re offering a $9.99/year subscription on their website right now, which is such a deal… wow.
On Monday morning, we met up with Vickie Howell and Jennifer Perkins at a breakfast party for a new designer jewelry book featuring tons of Jennifer’s pieces. Vickie is on a West Coast tour with stops in the Bay Area, Portland and Seattle… check her blog for all the details.
We walked the show for the rest of the day and then Pink Craftie got to have a joyous reunion in the press room with her CRAFT family — Sherry, Carla, and Katie! It was so nice to see them — a couple of hours earlier, Sherry and Katie had spotted Pink Craftie peeking out of my bag earlier in the afternoon and flagged me down in the New Exhibitors section, which was hilarious.
We went to a DIY Network party that night to celebrate their new book line, which was super fun, and then I headed back to LA late that night with 40 or 50 pounds of magazines and catalogs in tow, and collapsed into bed.
It was an incredible spectacle. I’m so glad I got to go! And I’m telling you, I can’t wait to try out that new tacky spray glue, I think it’s going to be so cool.
I got back from two days at the CHA show late last night, which was amazing, but thoroughly exhausting. I’ll post my pictures, some favorite finds, and a mini-review of the Martha Stewart keynote presentation tomorrow… but in the meantime, mark your calendars! There’s a super cool one-night only art event this Saturday night, February 3, in Portland, the Wurstminster Dog Show.
Over a hundred artists (including Jill Bliss, Susie Ghahremeni, Amy Ruppel, Kara Yanagawa, and Ryan Berkley) are showing work in all mediums — each representing one of over a hundred different dog breeds. After the opening, all of the pieces will be available online at the Wurst Gallery site, as a benefit for Dove Lewis Animal Hospital in Portland.
If you have a chance to check it out, I’d love to hear about it! And I can’t wait to see pictures, since attendees are encouraged to dress as their favorite dog.
to go on the surprise second round of the Kim Family Auction. When all the bidding ended a few weeks ago on the donated art and craft pieces, the person who won the Jill Bliss and Neblo Peklo prints didn’t return e-mails or pay for the artwork. Boo. So now they’re back up, in a 24-hour auction hosted on the Kim family auction site (not eBay), and the bidding will all unfold in the comments of the two posts in question.
I put the very first bid in on Jill Bliss’s prints, and I’d be ecstatic to win them… but more than that, I’d love help raise some money for the Kims. So please, feel free to go outbid me with abandon! Just be quick about it — the bidding ends at 6 pm Pacific tomorrow (Sunday, January 28).
I was planning to write this up tomorrow morning but then I thought, there’s no time like the present, and I’m catching a train out to Anaheim pretty early to go to the CHA show. I’m bringing my camera along and hoping to have a chance to post some photos and write up the craft craziness tomorrow — we’ll see! If the tickets haven’t sold out I’ll be one of the kajillion audience members at Martha Stewart’s keynote speech tomorrow night. Fingers crossed!
I first learned how to knit in 2000 (the same year I learned how to sew with a machine, discovered getcrafty.com, and started my handmade business). And in the ensuing six (seven? wow!) years I’ve always knitted a little bit here and there, but almost always in the cold months — I think the pig cellphone cozy is the only warm-weather project I’ve ever pulled off successfully.
Here’s a picture of the first thing I ever knitted, a striped brown-and-blue acrylic scarf as a Christmas present for my brother David. I remember it so well! I started it in the fall on size 7 needles, didn’t like how tight it was knitting up, switched to 9s along the way, and kept going on that thing like there was no tomorrow. But since it was my very first project, I couldn’t decide how long to make it. So when I saw him at Christmas, I decided to skip the surprise — I went ahead and showed it to him in progress so he could try it on and pick just the right length himself. It was such a triumphant feeling to bind it off and hand it over, and he wore it all winter. Success!
So since this is my favorite time of year to knit, I was excited to get the Winter Knits kit (written by Sara Lucas and Alison Isaacs) and try my hand at a few things — especially these felted star Christmas ornaments, which are quick and easy to make. The 25 projects are a nice mix of gift-y things (like baby booties, Christmas stockings, and a patterned cosmetics bag) and things to wear (like hats, scarves, and adorable fingerless gloves), with a nod to all skill levels. When I get my knitting confidence up, I definitely want to make the gorgeous modern throw pillow, a simple and stylish piece with one huge circle of contrast color on each side.
And I love the little instructional booklet, which is the perfect size to throw in your craft bag and bring along — it’s the perfect mini-reference if you’re an infrequent/permanent beginner knitter, like me, and need a little reminder of the stitches and techniques you haven’t used in awhile. The sleek little box also has a pair of circular needles, a skein of yarn, stitch markers, and a yarn needle tucked inside, and each project is printed on a colorful card for easy reference. And the photographs are extra-beautiful, a very nice touch.
If you want to check out some other reviews from more experienced knitters, Natalie and Stacy both liked it a lot too — Stacy also has pictures of the baby booties she made in red, which I thought were adorable!
As I’m sure I’ve
complained about mentioned before, we live in a really small place (well, small by non-Manhattan/Tokyo standards) and most of the rooms have to serve about eight work or crafting purposes — it seems like I’m constantly either setting something up, or clearing it away. The living room has a mini-sewing station by the window, and the coffee table doubles as a jewelry-making hotspot. I make soaps, bath salts, and shrink art in the kitchen, and when we’re cooking we are constantly shifting things around to buy some precious counter space. The bedroom has all of our books, so I’m always running over to reference something or track down a cool project. And since our tiny bathroom has a separate shower and a bathtub, we recently converted the rarely used tub to extra storage, hidden behind a vintage flowered sheet… so if I need random jewelry supplies now I dig through the stack of boxes there.
But our dining room, aka the small space between the kitchen and living room, is the real workhorse. Andrew and I both sit here facing each other at the table, typing away on our nerdy white laptops half the time…. and eating dinner six inches away from your e-mail is not what I’d call relaxing. So my next mini-home improvement project, after finishing the kitchen curtains, was making this room I’m usually in from morning til night a nicer place to be.
I’d been eyeing this collage-painting by Lisa Congdon every time I’ve gone to ReForm School for months. I really wanted it, but of course when you live in a small place you have to be choosy with what you bring home, and sadly we don’t have a ton of uncontested wall space. But I just loved it and every time I saw it I wanted it more… and then this month at the Alyson Fox opening, it just called my name, and this time I answered!
I found this “hello” keyholder at Branch Gallery in North Carolina two years ago, and I was immediately captivated by this little squirrel. (I wish I could remember the name of the artist to credit him, but it’s not signed and I haven’t had any luck searching online yet.) This adorable little thing keeps me sane and together when I’m traveling too much, or heading out on short notice — our Portland keys live on these hooks, and with this little guy in my life, I can just grab them on the way to the airport. And when I get back to LA, he’s there to say hi and take them back from me for safekeeping. My nightmare is realizing halfway through a flight that I’m locked out of my life in Portland, or digging frantically for my keys in every random junk drawer in our place as a cab waits (or worse, my plane doesn’t), and this squirrel has saved me from that predicament over and over again.
So it seemed like fate that I found the good-bye to go with my hello — and I think they’re lovely together! I just scooted hello over a few inches and now good-bye fits in beautifully — I can see them from my little workspot and they make me so happy!
And it really reflects how I feel these days too, always coming and going. Freelancing deals some random hands sometimes; I just found out that I’m going to the east coast for a quick work trip next week, and then I’ll get to go to Portland for a week after that… all good things, but now Andrew may be heading in the opposite direction on a different project, so kind of crazy, too. It’s hard when you don’t get to see your husband for the better part of three weeks!
But in the meantime, I have a cute little visitor here on my “desk” — pink Craftie! Marie just sent her to me yesterday and I’m looking forward to taking her on adventures over the next few weeks, before I pass her off to Kyle in Portland. So she’s cheering me up while I work today, and it will be nice to have a friend along on my next few trips.
If you haven’t checked out the incredible Japanese fabrics, craft supplies, and books and mags on superbuzzy recently, today is an extra-good day to take a look. Mariko and Kelly are updating their site with tons of new stuff, fresh from Japan, at 1:00 pm Pacific time — just a couple of minutes from now, actually! Mariko posted a gorgeous sneak peek on her blog yesterday, and wow, I don’t know if I’ll be able to resist the button-card canvas, or especially that vintage handkerchief print…
There’s also a superbuzzy flickr pool of their customers’ handmade projects, from dresses and handbags to felted slippers with appliques — super inspiring. Hopefully I’ll be posting something of my own soon, too — I ordered these cute, cute owl prints a couple of months ago and have been saving them for just the right project.
So if you need fabric, notions, or a charming tote bag with a girl walking her dog on it, look no further… and if you’re good on craft supplies at the moment, do yourself a favor and don’t click, it is unbelievably tempting over there! Mariko and Kelly have really outdone themselves with all the cute.
I recently got the second issue of CRAFT magazine… and wow, it’s gorgeous!
Of course there are about a zillion projects I want to try (the first to catch my eye were the carved eraser stamps, repurposed house slippers, tin and paper earrings, and the linocut 101 tutorial). I love the columns, especially Jean Railla‘s fascinating take on Modern Crafting… and I just want to send out a huge thank you to Susie Bright for tipping me off via Susie’s Home Ec that Gingher offers a lifetime sharpening/reconditioning service for their scissors — my poor overworked fabric shears are going out in the mail tomorrow for some TLC!
And I was so excited that CRAFT featured my a-line skirt kits alongside all the killer crafty stuff in the Bazaar section — that’s Torie modeling hers! Natalie even mentioned the flickr pool of a-line skirt pictures to check out… thank you so much.
Speaking of the kits, I’m adding some new fabric options early next week, plus a few limited edition prints and patterns — yay!
And if you’re planning to whip up some extra-special v-day cards this year, well, you won’t want to miss the CRAFT Recycle Your Heart contest…
Just use secondhand materials to make your own original card designs, add photos to the CRAFT flickr pool, and tag them craftvdaycontest. The deadline is February 9, and the winners will be chosen by celeb judges Megan of Not Martha, Garth of Extreme Craft, and Tiffany of Tiffany Tomato and announced on Valentine’s Day. The fabulous prizes include magazines and CRAFT t-shirts, and all the details are here.
Cool — I see a perfect excuse for a trip to the thrift store in my immediate future, right after I scout out our recycling bin!
Megan invited me out last week for some crafty shopping, and she took me to some of our favorite places in the South Bay — plus some new spots I hadn’t been to before. Our first stop was Penzeys Spices in Torrance, since they close pretty early. It’s the only one in the LA area, though they have locations all over the place.
I love it there! There are hundreds of spices and blends, arranged alphabetically, and you can wander around the store picking and choosing exactly what you want. My favorite thing there is the black sesame seeds… they’re addictive, now I use them in everything when I’m cooking.
Then we headed to the amazing Marukai 98¢ superstore in Torrance — home of all small things cool and Japanese, where everything (except larger stuff like furniture in the showroom on one side) is 98¢ or $1.50.
They used to have one crafty aisle in the middle/back of the store, but now they’ve done some rearranging and it’s splintered off into a few different areas. Sewing notions, buttons, and zippers are all near the center now, paper and packaging stuff is off to the far left, and yarn, beads, and knitting needles are to the right of the exit. And adorable animal-shaped housewares are everywhere.
After shopping we went out for dinner at Flossie’s. I was just in North Carolina last month, and got one sweet, sweet chance to go to Don Murray’s then, but when I’m here on the West Coast I miss Southern food so much — so this was such a treat! I ordered red snapper, cornbread, black-eyed peas, macaroni and cheese, corn pudding, sweet potato pie, and iced tea, and couldn’t put much of a dent into it. Which is a good thing, really, because we went to Beard Papa for unbelievably delicious cream puffs afterwards. A perfect Friday — and I didn’t even hit any traffic.
If you go:
Penzeys, 21301 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance; 310-406-3877
Marukai 98¢ superstore, 22850 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance; 310-791-3919
Flossie’s, 3566 Redondo Beach Blvd., Torrance; 310-352-4037
Beard Papa, inside Marukai, 1620 W. Redondo Beach Blvd #116, Gardena; 310-538-2909
Sister Diane is one of my all-time favorite people: she’s a kick-ass wedding officiant, a tireless Church of Craft organizer, a maker of beautiful things, a killer zine writer, a gifted teacher of everything from blogging to button-making, a podcaster extraordinaire, and a lovely friend. And now the woman of a million cool community projects (like Craftypod and Portland Church of Craft) has just unveiled one more… DIY Alert, a brand-new site listing anything and everything crafty going on in Portland, day by day!
Check out the color-coded calendar to see what’s happening, arranged into neatly organized categories: classes, events, craft shows, or out and about (aka “road trip”). And of course, you can also submit your own events for the calendar. So cool.
Diane also offers a super-customized weekly e-mail service: when you register, just check off what crafts you’re interested in (crochet, quilting, sewing, etc.) and ignore the ones you aren’t as crazy about. Your messages will be streamlined and filtered accordingly, so you will get a heads up about things you’re excited about, but you won’t have to hear about stuff you wouldn’t have wanted to do anyway. There’s a free 30-day trial to see if you like it, and after that, it’s super cheap: $5 for 6 months, $10 for a year. If my math is right, that’s 19¢ a week!
Speaking of cool new crafty sites… have you checked out lov.li yet? It’s a one-stop announcement-community art market-blog-meeting people-photo and video posting (whew!) site that’s free to use, created by Portland designer and photographer Patrick Sullivan. You can message friends, sell your work, or set up events through lov.li… and it’s global in scope, so go ahead and stake out your little spot!
You can join local groups (like the bay area crafters or the Paper Diva Exchange in PDX) or find one for devotees of something cool (like Felterrific! or the Purse Posse)… or start your own with a page of photos and blog entries, like the Portland Church of Craft’s.
Here are a few pictures from their last meeting (when 65 people came to crochet with wire and beads!):
…and speaking of Church of Craft, the Los Angeles chapter met yesterday, which was a lot of fun! Getcrafty‘s own Christy Petterson was visiting from Atlanta, so we got to hang out and make felt flowers among the knitting and cross-stitching. It was great to see Brenda, Cathy, Tootie, and Christine, and meet lots of new people too…
I’ve lived in this apartment for nearly two years, and somehow I’ve never actually made curtains for my bare and boring kitchen window during all this time. I guess I fell into the not-sure-how-long-we’ll-be-here trap, and hesitated to cut up any of my pretty vintage fabric for a relatively temporary living situation.
But when we got back from a month of traveling, and our neglected apartment was in dire need of a pick-me-up, I put the curtain project back on the front burner. And then I spotted the cheerful flowered tea towels we got at Crate & Barrel last year and realized that maybe I didn’t have to use anything precious… and a $2 tension curtain rod from the hardware store and a vintage button windfall at the Rose Bowl flea market on Sunday sealed the deal. And a couple of hours later, our kitchen is so much cuter.
These dishcloth curtains are quick to make and ultra-easy, since all the edging is already done for you. You could also try using vintage or new scarves (filmy ones would be nice) or cut a patterned pillowcase in half and hem the side edges.
Two matching or similar tea towels (mine measured 26 inches long and 20 inches wide)
Sewing machine (recommended)
Needle and thread
Assorted vintage buttons (I used about 50 for mine)
Tension curtain rod to fit your window
1. Fold the short end of each dishtowel down to form a channel for the curtain rod (mine worked well at 1.5 inches — so it slipped over the ends of the rod but wasn’t loose). Iron or smooth it down and pin it in place. This will be the top of your curtains.
2. Stitch each seam by hand or with a machine. Test it to make sure it fits over the tension rod, and rip it out and re-sew it if it’s too big or too small.
3. Now it’s time for the fun part: arranging and sewing on the vintage buttons! Hand-sew each button on, bringing the needle and thread through three times to hold it in place.
I added one to the center of each flower, and used lots of different styles and sizes in orange, red, green, and yellow. It could also look great with a repeating print and identical buttons… or a simpler style with a button here and there as an accent. I threaded four needles, each with a different color, and just picked up a new one every time I added a different color button, but you could use the same thread each time if you like for simplicity.
4. When you have finished adding as many buttons as you want, slip the curtains onto the tension rod and place it where you’d like it in the window. This is perfect for a cafe-style curtain, with window peeking out above or below, rather than a measured or fitted style.
It would look really cute with vintage rick-rack, ribbon, or lace all along the bottom too… there are a million ways to customize your curtains.