Our Thanksgiving was really nice, and I hope yours was too — things were very relaxing and low-key all day and then we headed over to a big potluck dinner with friends later on. I made salmon with chanterelles and leeks and a big pan of vegetarian stuffing, and we got to try about a zillion other delicious things people brought, too. The four-day weekend has some pockets of work here and there but this is the most time off we’ve had together in months, probably since the week Pearl was born, come to think of it. So I have a lot of things to be thankful for.
I’m thankful for Andrew and my precious Pearl and having some nice hours to spend with them, for my family far away, and for cell phones so I can catch up with them all; I’m thankful for my dear crafty friends and the pleasure of reading and seeing all the cool things they’re up to; and I’m very grateful that people want to stop by sometimes to read about what I’m doing, which is a huge compliment. Thank you for reading my little blog in the sea of cool colorful craft blogs! I am thankful for our home and that we have enough to eat when I know that some of our neighbors don’t, and very thankful that there are organizations that work hard to help those who need it that we can support. And I’m thankful that after some scares this year, my family is healthy. I have had other years that have gone differently and I don’t take it for granted.
So, on that note, I wanted to pass on something that’s dear to my heart today. My friend Linda has organized a fantastic fundraiser to benefit her sister Ann’s family while her brother-in-law Jasenn fights kidney cancer. Her Etsy shop, Hope for Jasenn, has a really lovely array of crafty gifts from lots of people in this community, with more on the way. Linda says, “100% of the profits from every item sold in this shop will be donated to Jasenn, Ann and Tegue to help with their everyday expenses. All of the items in this shop have been donated by generous crafters and friends, and I’d love to show my sister’s family just how supportive we crafty folks can be.”
Linda has a beautiful crocheted hat and vintage bird brooch up for grabs, Kayte and Betsy have donated signed copies of their wonderful books Complete Embellishing and Knitting for Good, Nancy is offering one of her gorgeous handbags, and there are lots more things to browse — I have already done some shopping myself!
My mother is a four-time cancer survivor and it means a lot to me to be able to pass along a bit of support to others who face the same fight. So along with lots of other folks I have donated a signed copy of my book and two double sets of my new kits. If you happen to be interested in either of these things, please head over to Linda’s shop! Thanks so much.
My friend Jen of DIY Lounge and Knot Ugly Designs passed on all the details of the Secret Society Sale, which is going on this Sunday, 11/30. There’s a fantastic line-up of vendors selling everything from handmade chocolates to letterpressed cards. And best of all, the artists and crafters are generously donating 10% of their sales to the Oregon Food Bank. Admission is free, and they encourage a non-perishable food donation at the door, too. We’re definitely going to try to make it over there — looks like a super fun afternoon!
A few other cool things I saw:
Pink Chalk Fabrics is having a nice Thanksgiving weekend sale (including free shipping on orders over $25 in the US, 10-30% off some beautiful things, and a chance to win gift certificates galore — plus a portion of sales go to the Helpline House Food Bank).
and Martha‘s having a sale, too!
If you celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you have a lovely and peaceful holiday. I’m excited to hang out with my family, cook some of our favorite things, and meet a sweet new baby this weekend!
I am a huge fan of Sunset magazine (not to mention their indispensible Western Garden Book) and I am so excited that Ivy Manning thought of me for her crafty holiday gifts feature in the new issue! I have subscribed forever, and it was downright thrilling when it arrived this week and there I was on page 30. A huge thank-you to Ivy, Sunset, and their fantastic photographer, John Clark.
John was kind enough to include some of my favorite things in the photo with me and my hot pink Solo Earrings: our prized Justin “Scrappers” Morrison painting, my modern heirloom quilt, and my Cathy of California flower brooch and pincushion.
The interview is in the Northwest edition of the December issue, and it’s also posted on their site. I really like the way it looks in print (I share the page with Hopworks Brewery and Soupcycle, both right here in my neighborhood!) so I put a photo up on flickr so you and my mom can see the whole thing, too.
I got to talk about some of my favorite local-and-everywhere resources for holiday crafting ideas, including DIY Lounge, Cool Cottons, Crafty Wonderland, and CRAFT: magazine, and Ivy spotlighted my own video tutorials for making the Solo Earrings and Vintagesque Necklace from Bead Simple, too.
So in honor of the article, I have finally added new Bead Simple earrings and necklaces kits to my Etsy shop! They come with vintage beads, findings, and complete written and illustrated instructions — everything you need but a set of pliers. There are lots more details over at beadsimple.com and in the kit listings, but I’ll just add that to celebrate the kits seeing the light of day after all these months, I am offering free shipping on any kit, plus a free Solo Earrings kit if you order a signed copy of my book, through next Tuesday, 12/2.
It’s been a bit of a rough fall, and it’s nice to have something cool out in the world! Thanks to the folks who have already mentioned that they saw and liked the article — you have made my week.
update, now that I’ve had a few days to think about it: I’m so honored to be featured in the magazine but I’m feeling a little embarrassed about being called an expert or a guru — not my usual terminology for sure! I am definitely a craft enthusiast and loved getting a chance to talk about my favorite things, but I hope posting a picture of the piece and writing about it didn’t come off as personally braggy. It wasn’t meant that way, and the other thing I wanted to own up to is that I designed those little kits eight months ago, when my book came out, and just haven’t had the time (with a baby running the show) to actually put them out in the world until now — not very expert. Anyway, the pitfalls of being a formerly very shy girl are everywhere in life, I guess…
I have hardly started to think about holidays myself, but now that it is the Week Of (for some of us, anyway), I’m about to steel myself for a trip to Trader Joe’s for the Thanksgiving grocery list. I tried to go last night and well, everyone else in Southeast Portland was already there, so I was forced to procrastinate.
If you are also thinking about holidays and more specifically about setting your table with little fancy touches, I have a couple of projects to share! I can safely say that at age 34, I have lived a pretty casual life so far and haven’t used napkin rings very often… but why, I don’t know. We use cloth napkins every day and they might as well be adorned with a pretty little something. So now I have successfully made a collection of handmade napkin rings, and even if I have not gotten to the grocery store to get the actual food yet, I have adornments for the table. And if you have a few minutes, some beads or buttons you’re fond of, and some 24-gauge craft wire, you can too!
I posted this tutorial, the Button Holiday Napkin Rings, at CraftStylish this week. I really like how these turned out. The secret, which you can read more about over there, is wrapping the wire around an empty toilet paper roll.
And these Table Trinkets (I love the name they gave this project!) I made are in the current issue of CraftStylish Holiday Decorating Ideas magazine. There are four coordinating sisters, the Delicate Charmers, and one exuberant cousin, Brassy and Bold. You can make matching or assorted rings, in any combination you like — I chose goldstone, green, and amber beads to go with gold charms and really liked the mix.
Don’t miss this magazine — it is filled with lovely, inspiring holiday projects from some of my favorite crafters. Kayte and Diane both wrote more thorough reviews with lots of fun pictures, but I’ll just add a quick and enthusiastic endorsement: thanks to CraftStylish, I have now made napkin rings, and our table is going to be trinket-ed this year! Hooray!
Hooray, my gocco inks and supplies came (from the highly recommended, super nice Northwood Studios) and Sarah, Caitlin and I are going to re-print my election postcards this afternoon! I’m excited to print another round. I’m heading out to get another paper color shortly… as much as I love red sparkle it’s time for a new celebratory combination.
And afterwards the Blazers take on the Kings. More excitement! Pearl is already a big fan, although she’s not really allowed to look at the TV yet. I’m not sure how soon she’ll be going to a home game, either, though she did tag along with me for three of them last season.
Hope you have a happy weekend. I’ll post some card pictures as soon as they’re ready, and I’ll start gathering up addresses and mailing them out the first of next week!
Our household is still collectively a bit under the weather so the non-essentials have fallen by the wayside this week. But this afternoon was so beautiful in a low-key fall-but-not-raining-(!) kind of way that I pounced on the chance to take Pearl on a long walk. We looped all around Southeast, dropped her little pink crocheted hat somewhere, stopped at Hot Lips for a slice and a boysenberry soda, retraced our steps to find the hat patiently waiting on the sidewalk for us, met Rachel at Little T for a coffee, and headed back home for naptime. So while Pearl slept I realized I was hungry again, and I had just enough energy left to make myself some soup.
I love soup but it’s hard to find just the right one, if I don’t make it myself… mostly because I don’t eat meat and I’m allergic to potatoes (good times, let me tell you!) so that rules out everything on the grocery store shelves but the occasional can of vegetarian chili. So I made this one up.
I’m not much of a food photographer and it was about midnight-black outside by the time I took this, so sorry, it’s not very artful. I also got some seven-grain carrot bread at Little T (hanging out next to the bowl) and oh my god, that stuff is good. I started by neatly sawing off a piece, polished that off, and grabbed the next hunk of it without a whole lot of ceremony. Hopefully there will still be some left when Andrew gets home. Maybe.
Anyway, along the lines of the slack point-and-shoot food photography, here’s my recipe for lazy soup. Pretty much everything I used came from Trader Joe’s, but you can substitute what you have in the cupboard.
Bring one container of vegetable broth to a medium boil and add about a third of a package of celentani pasta. After a couple more minutes, add any vegetables (I used half a package of frozen soycutash, though I have been known to chop and include actual fresh vegetables when I have more in the tank), and after a couple more minutes, add one can of diced tomatoes and a splash of olive oil. Simmer until the pasta is just the way you like it and everything else will hopefully have caught up too. Serve in a big bowl with parmesan and carrot bread.
We are slightly under the weather around here so I’ll keep it simple today and point you somewhere else: I wrote up this how-to over at CraftStylish this week to make an any-big-charm centerpiece necklace. The handsome star of mine is from Ornamentea if you’re in the market for an octopus in particular…
I’m in a rush but wanted to post about some awesome, AWESOME stuff in LA this weekend! Man, I wish I could make it down there. Weren’t we all supposed to have personal jetpacks and moon colonies and time machines by now?!
and coming soon…
And if you are in Portland, Alicia is having her first book signing Sunday night! See you there…
We had some lovely visitors this week — Mr. and Ms. A-Go-Go came all the way from Los Feliz to hang out! We went to Burgerville, Knittn Kitten, and the Little Blue Waffle Wagon, got rained on, got some sunny moments, and took some pictures… they are awesome folks.
And here Jessica and I are with Miss Pearl. Man, I have some tiny eyes when I’m tired! To distract you from that particular feature, let me draw your attention to the sneak peek at my necklace, which is one of my favorite projects I’ve done for CraftStylish — the how-to will be up on the jewelry-making section this weekend.
Pictures of the Kitten haul to come… I found some great stuff, including 7+ yards of a vintage cheater print destined for a holiday gift project.
In one last bit of Thursday-ness, I wanted to mention that Rebecca Pearcy is offering 25% off any Chirp bag or wallet from her Queen Bee line. We were reading the paper this morning and I was horrified to see that a large manufacturer of children’s products ripped off off her beautiful bird design. Ugh! I am so impressed that she’s chosen to respond with 1) a good copyright lawyer and 2) by offering all Chirp pieces at a special discount for her customers through Saturday. I have a Chirp bag and wallet myself so I can attest to how lovely and durable they are — I’m a huge enthusiast! This one is possibly my favorite handbag, ever.
ps: thank you for the kind comments and emails about my sign getting swiped. I really appreciate them! I have a crafty plan and I’ll keep you posted.
So, I pretty much stick to writing about positive stuff here — basically, things I like (with the exception of discriminatory constitutional amendments) and projects to make. But today I have a request to make, if anyone in Portland can possibly help. It’s just a little thing, I guess, but it’s gotten under my skin.
This week someone took my Obama yard sign out of our front yard. It’s just a standard one, but I bought it at the Division St. headquarters when I was volunteering there, and decorated it with pennants that I hand-printed with Lise and Sarah while we were registering people to vote, and it means a lot to me — it represented my hope. I loved seeing other people’s signs when we were out and about, and this is the first time we’ve ever had our own yard to put our own sign in, which was exciting in itself. I wanted to keep it for Pearl, to show her what we were doing and what was happening when she was a tiny baby, and most of all that what we hoped for all these months actually came true. It made it through rain, wind, Halloween, and election night, and now someone has swiped it to be their own souvenir, or ruin it, or sell it, or whatever.
We’ve already bought another one on eBay (there are 30,000 Obama items up right now, if you can believe that, from the kajillion people selling New York Timeses and buttons and signs and every other thing that ever stood still long enough to be Obama-d) and once it comes, I guess I can re-print the pennants and keep it safely inside. But it doesn’t feel the same, and I’d like to at least make a try at tracking it down.
So I put up a craigslist posting offering a $25 reward, no questions asked, and I thought I’d mention it here too, just in case. Stranger things have happened, and maybe you’ll notice it out and about somewhere… and if someone does go to the trouble to return it, they are welcome to the cash and the new sign. I’d much rather have the one we decorated ourselves, and I doubt it matters as much to anyone else.
I was on the fence about what to do about my HOPE flag and pennants up on the porch, but I’m leaving them up for now. They mean a lot to me too, but I don’t want to have to hide anything I was ever excited about inside where someone can’t swipe it. And I can make more of those too, they aren’t valuable to anyone but me.
So, I have ordered more gocco inks and I’ll be reprinting my election postcards as soon as the supplies get here… along with some encore pennants, it looks like.