Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Loom action

Ah, holidays. Free time. As sad as I always am that Christmas is over, meaning it's a whole year until it comes again, it is followed by a lovely period of total free time. No social obligations, no gifts to buy/wrap/deliver, no cooking to be done, nothing. Just a pair of pjs, some movies, some books, and lots of crafting and cat cuddling. It's pretty awesome.

I took the time to finally warp my loom! Setting up a weaving project is very daunting. You have to make all your decisions at the start (without really knowing how it'll turn out) and if you find you don't like it when you start weaving, you're kind of out of luck. So, it's easy to procrastinate getting started. Also, it seems very complicated. I have a set of step my step instructions that I've followed on all of my projects so far and it's always worked out, so I did that again.

I started with a pile of amazing yarn - an angora/something blend (I forget), it's stupidly soft. I found it in the form of a men's XL sweater in the thrift store which I unraveled ages ago (oddly satisfying). It's been washed and sitting, waiting for a project worthy of it. I decided it would be perfect for a woven scarf.

Here's the warp being made on my warping board (scored that for $10 at a yard sale, sweet). I added some colour by putting in a few random stripes of blue and purple rayon boucle.

Sleying the reed. (Weaving terminology makes it sound very serious.)

I should mention at this point that I really don't know what I'm doing. Weaving concepts such as sett are still very fuzzy to me... but I proceed anyway.

And everything seems to be working because.... I'm weaving!

This is my view while weaving:

One day, that will be a super soft scarf of awesomeness.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

mmmmm, marshmallows

Wow. I didn't realize that I hadn't posted since October. I might have to rethink my approach to blogging. One of the things I worry about is posting too much, but I think it's safe to say that I could up my frequency. Also, Kalin and Lisa pointed out to me recently that, what do you know, people actually read the blog! So ... hello!

We're coming up on a new year, and though the Christmas season was busy, it's also been a sort of purging, kick in the butt time for me. It forced me to get crafty despite all the distractions that I had let take over my life. I actually pulled out the sewing machine!

Sewing Inside, Snow Outside

Although, one of my favorite gifts that I made had no sewing involved.

Cocoa Kits!

Cocoa Mix w/ Homemade Marshmallows

Oh my goodness. So easy. So yummy. Will make you so obsessed with finding tiny cookie cutters.

Now I know Christmas is on it's way out for this year, but you still have time to whip up some batches for any Jan. 1 polar bear swimmers you may have in your life. It's also great for kidlets who have their birthdays in the cold months.

I got the cocoa recipe from LollyChops. You could go one further and use her gift bag template (which is awesome) but I didn't use it because: 1) I don't have a colour printer 2) I'm pretty obsessed with mason jars right now 3) Maked Megan is home again which has flared up my obsession with packaging.

For the marshmallows I used this Marth Stwart method. But you also have to check out this adorable tutorial. Here are some things to keep in mind when making marshmallows:
-The stuff is STICKY. It will get on anything it touches. BUT it washes away very easily. A little hot water and off it slides.
- I put in a little peppermint extract as well. WIN!
- When I do this again I'm going to spray my spatula with cooking spray. This stuff is STICKY.
-Beware: You really do need a high quality mixer for this. I used my cheapo hand mixer and the white goop makes so much resistance that the mixer went totally kaput. You need you some metal insides to handle this stuff.
- I don't think they mention this in the recipe I linked to, but you'll want to dredge your marshmallows in icing sugar to keep them from sticking together (and make them even yummier).
- Try not to leave these until the very last minute like I did. The marshmallows need to sit for at least 3 hours to set and the dredging takes time too. I was up until 2am finishing. Do as I say, not as I do.

Cocoa Mix w/ Homemade Marshmallows


Monday, December 22, 2008


It is seriously snowing out here. Again. It's like a real Canadian winter, except that no one has winter tires or proper boots. =) But, it means I get to stay snuggled up inside doing happy things, which I'm very happy about.

One thing I did today was package up the soap Peter and I made to give as gifts this year. It's a blend of a pile of oils (we have so many oils in our cupboards) and is quite fabulous. It looks kind of wonky but it's a good hard bar of soap with a great lather and moisturizing properties. It's a cinnamon/clove scent (essential oils) which we like. Here's hoping people l like it!

I'm off to bake cookies!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Odds and Ends

A little list of randomness:

1. Only one week until Christmas. I have all my self-made gifts over 50% done, and the rest of my gifts are almost complete. By the weekend they will be. It's also feeling like Chistmas today. There is almost 2 inches of snow at my house and it's still snowing. The weather people are predicting a white Christmas.

2. I bought a second Blythe. She is a Natasha Moore who I've named Amalina. She is beautiful but I haven't spent much time bonding with her yet. After Chistmas I hope to make some clothes for her. Here she is with georgie:

3. I was working at the yarn store last Saturday. A woman buying yarn had a wallet made by boje designs. Their stuff is absolutely gorgeous.

4. For my birthday (two weeks after Christmas) I always buy myself a gift. This year I am going to buy a namaste bag. They sell them at Urban Yarns as knitting bags but are great big purses. I'm getting the Newport design in Turquoise I think.

5. My next task today is doing up a pdf of the felt flower tutorial I posted a few weeks ago. It will be available later this week.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Craft Fair Buy!

Just want to share some of the awesomeness I picked up at the West End Craft fair. I got this adorable little pouch for a friend. It's made of soft grey felt with a bird fashioned from layered ribbon. Totally unique. The silver lining is a perfect contrast to the felt too, a very nice touch.

By WeeWorks (who I can't find online anywhere).

Got Craft Dec 08

This picture in no way conveys the incredible crowds that were packed into the hall for the first hour or two of Got Craft. It was fantastically busy: 1200 people through the door over the course of 7 hours! It was a great way to end the crafty year for us and Maked now has money to do all kinds of crafty things next year! Who knows what we'll get up to!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


We had a busy two weekends! Today was Got Craft - a fabulous event packed full of amazing vendors - I think it's our favorite craft fair. We had a great time again and sold out of a lot of our items! It was really nice to meet so many people who have our sense of humour and style! We're going to try to get what's left up on Etsy and then relax a little, turn our attention to holiday crafting and start brainstorming for next year!

Hopefully that will mean more blog posts! Right now - we're exhausted!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Cycling Ankle Cuffs

In the midst of the insanity of our craft fair season (we've got to make some stuff for Got Craft this Sunday because so much sold at the West End fair!).... I'm announcing to the world our newest product!

That's how excited I am about them - I can't wait until the craziness is done to do it calmly, I have to do it NOW. I think they're the PERFECT gift for cyclists, something useful and fun and inexpensive, so I wanted to give people a chance to snag one for christmas!

If you cycle, you may be familiar with these dealies:

The cuffs that you put around your ankle to keep your pants out of your bike chain. Ankle cuffs, pant cuffs, cycling cuffs - whatever you call them.

They're usually neon yellow, which is very good for visibility, but terrible for style. I'm quite confident that the lights and reflectors on my bike keep me visible, I don't need my ankles to shine too, especially since I usually ride during the day. I'd rather have something pretty to keep my pants in check.... so I started making pretty cuffs.

Here's the first one available online in an awesome houndstooth/hot pink fabric combo:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

At the Fair

Hi! We're at the West End Community Centre Holiday Craft Fair all weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Felt Flower Acessory Tutorial

Supplies you should gather before starting:

1. Scraps of felt in two different colours (3x3 inches is plenty)
2. Cool button, about 1/2 inch diameter
3. Glue Gun
4. Scissors
5. Object to glue flower onto

How to Make:

1. Cut 5 petal shapes on the small side of 1 inch long out of each colour of felt. You should have 10 total.

2. Cut three circles slightly smaller than your button out of the felt. There should be 1 of one colour and two of the other, it doesn't matter which though.

3. Decide which colour you want on the top of your flower. I usually pick the lighter of the two.

4. Take one circle and put hot glue on it. Arrange 5 of the same colour petals on it and let the glue set.

5. Take a second circle and glue it onto the top of the petals.

6. Take your second colour of petals and glue them onto the circle so that they fall between the first set of petals.

7. Flip the flower over. Take a second to admire it then glue your button onto the middle.

8. Glue your flower on to item you have chosen.

9. Take the last circle of felt and place it on the other side of them item you glued your flower to. This just makes it more secure and finished-looking. Sizes can be adjusted as much as you'd like.

10. Admire again and prepare to make more.

Suggestions for uses:

1. headbands, alone or clustered
2. large bobby pins
3. alligator hair clips
4. ring bases
5. pin backs
6. magnets
7. push pins
8. Anywhere else you see fit!

** NOTE: Click here for instructions with photos in PDF form!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gifts for guys

I have two guys to buy for this year. One is my 7 year-old nephew, the other is my 20-something boyfriend. I am trying to buy all handmade which means most of my shopping is being done on etsy. However, I find that guys are the hardest to buy handmade for. Here's a few things I've found that you might want to consider for the guys in your life.

Mountain Mama Chichas beautiful but simple old-school shaving sets.

Mariclaro makes cool laptop bags with recycled materials.

The Steam Punk Trunk is where I found interesting but durable keychains made from watch insides.

For the little ones Things 'n Stuff makes toy catapults.

Sticking with a green theme Bottle Bottoms reclaims empty bottle and makes new glasses.

If I had a baby they would totally wear this onesie by We R Onesieful.

Memphis Weaver makes beautiful hand woven guitar and camera straps, plus other cool stuff for you.

These clocks by Pixel This use reclaimed hard drives and bike gears and are perfect for nearly anyone.

I almost forgot one of my favorite shops! Purpose Design makes awesome spice kits for the man-cook.

So go off and buy, or at least search for, the perfect handmade gifts for men in your life. They are out there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It's getting to be that time of year - people are asking me what I want for Christmas!

While trying not to be totally consumerist (I have asked for donations to the local SPCA in my name because I'm a sucker for poor, orphaned pets), there are a whole pile of pretties sitting in my favorites list on etsy and I have shared some of them with people in case they are inclined to support indie artists. ;)

Here are a few, selected at random from a very long list of awesomeness!

Beautiful leather wallet with an antique key by UrbanHeirlooms


Simple but beautiful silver headband by mylavaliere

Simple but stunning aluminium pendant by SarahLynneDesigns


The coolest, most stylish cat bed ever by likekittysville


Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Hobby? Sure, why not!

I need another hobby like I need a hole in my head.

I've already got craft supplies tucked into every drawer and cupboard of my tiny Vancouver apartment (and my boyfriend keeps insisting that he needs space for his stuff too - wants to use the dresser drawers for his clothes instead of my yarn... what?).

So when my mom emailed me these pictures... of the spinning wheel she got from a friend for me, I was simultaneously very excited and kind of alarmed. Whoo hoo free spinning wheel!! But, yikes, another craft!

Fortunately, the spinning wheel is at the family cottage in Nova Scotia, so I'm safe for a while. We really, literally, don't have space for it here. (We're already struggling with the floor loom in the apartment, small though it may be for a floor loom.) So, the wheel is mine and it will be waiting for me, when I'm ready to take up a new craft, and when I've got space for it in my life (both physically and time-wise).

It's funny how this need to create can be so consuming. I sometimes have to force myself to put down the craft supplies, stop the ideas running through my head, and just go outside for a walk with my boyfriend. I have to tell myself to just... stop. There will never be enough time to do all the creating I want to do, I need to kind of embrace that fact and remember the importance of balancing the creating with spending time on other things.

Who knew the gift of a spinning wheel could cause so many philosophical musings?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hot Water Bottle Fashion

I'm so excited  - I finally have pictures of our latest product!   We tried these out last year and they were popular so we've improved them and made more for this year.   

Hot water bottle cozies.   To make your hot water bottle both fashionable and snuggly!   We rescued neglected wool sweaters, felted them, and made them into adorable outfits for hot water bottles.  They're soft and fabulous to snuggle with.   We had a good crop of sweaters this year, so stay tuned to the etsy shop as we list some - or visit us at one of the craft fairs listed in the sidebar later this month.

(The first one is listed in our shop.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

fiber excitement

1. Tomorrow I am starting to volunteer at a new exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I volunteered in the past but this is by far the most exciting position yet. Kai Althoff is taking up the whole fourth floor this winter and one of the rooms is a collaboration between him and Travis Meinholf called "The Weaving Space". Here visitors are welcome to weave using a laser cut rigid heddle back-strap loom. All the woven strips will then be stitched into blankets and given away. The concepts behind Travis' work are so interesting and I am so excited to be a part of the exhibit.

2. I am officially the newest employee of Urban Yarns! I start training tomorrow morning and will be mostly working at the Point Grey store. I am very excited to be around that much yarn and people who are excited about it, even if only a few times a week. I just have to make sure to pay my bills before buying any yarn. Or any fabric for that matter, considering how close The Cloth Shop is.

oh, here's a picture from Travis' flickr showing a bit of what he does, and yes, his loom is on wheels:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Winning streak!

I think I'm making up for not winning anything for the first half of my life (seriously, I never won anything as a kid/young adult)!  

My latest loot is a super cute little pouch from Klo Designs, check it out:

Whoo hoo!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Got Craft December

One of our favourite fairs in Vancouver is Got Craft. It always has a fabulous group of vendors and equally fabulous customers who appreciate unique, handmade items. It just has a great vibe with fun, upbeat people (which makes a huge difference when you're working at a fair all day long).

The next Got Craft fair is December 7 (details in the sidebar) and they've just announced the list of vendors - check it out. Looks like it'll be another great fair! Lots of new vendors I don't know, which is exciting.

We still have some products to finish but we're very happy with some of our new items that we dreamed up just for this craft fair season, including the new neckwarmers and more uses for our collection of vintage buttons!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bootie Tutorial Link

I saw this awesome tutorial the other day when I was looking for mini-projects to make out of our felted sweater scraps. If you've got some and have babies in your life you must look at it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Product!

We're very excited about a new product we've been working on for the holiday craft fair season.  They're all ready to go and I couldn't resist listing one on etsy because I think it needs to be shared with the world - such prettiness shouldn't be kept under wraps!

These are our lacy neckwarmers.  Perfect for those jackets that don't leave enough room for a full scarf but still let your neck get cold.... this pretty item will keep you warm without the bulk!

We used fabulous hand-dyed and hand-spun wool yarn by a local artist: Yummy Yarn, crocheted up a pattern design by Kalin (Maked girl),  put on vintage plastic buttons and voila: prettiness!   (click images to get bigger versions)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Winter Warmth

We are in the middle of our production for the two winter fairs we are doing. There's partially made stuff at all of our houses, but there's also completed stuff too.

One of our new items this year that we've already mentioned are the crocheted neckwarmers. (Also good head/ear warmers!) These are complete except for putting tags on them. Here's a sneak peak:

One item is not new, but we only do them for Christmas and haven't ever sold them online. They are Hot-water-bottle cozies made from felted sweaters. We have a larger selections of colours this year and are putting appliques on some of them. The aren't fully sewn together yet, so this preview picture is a bit mysterious:

Then we have an item we don't sell at all. For Got Craft! we have to submit "Swag" that will be put into giftbags with items from other vendors and given to the first 30 people in line for the fair. These bags are awesome so it's definitely worth waiting early for them. In the spring we did fabric covered buttons, and this time we're doing pins made from vintage buttons. Here's step two of the process completed:

Also, I have an interview for the yarn shop on Wednesday. Send lots of good vibes my way. And I have another crocheted related job opportunity I have to send info out for tonight. exciting all around.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

best job ever?

ok, so that's a huge exaggeration. However, it is a pretty awesome job opportunity. I'm looking at getting a second job and I found out one of the local yarn shops is hiring!! It's only one day a week, and probably not much pay. However, it would be super fun, I'd get to help people craft(!!!!) and get a discount. I'm going to go tomorrow and drop my resume off, with a cover letter detailing all my fiber skills.

And just so this isn't picture-less, here's a cross stitch project I started, but some where I must have miscounted because it's off. This project is doomed to incompletion because I hate un-stitching cross stitch. Does anyone even do that?


Monday, October 20, 2008

Bath Bombs

You may recall a few weeks back when I mentioned that Peter and I had scored a whole pile of supplies for soapmaking for cheap. It was actually supplies for bath products (which included soapmaking stuff). I recently took the time to find out what a lot of the things were for - making bath bombs and bath salts. So, since I had all the stuff to do it, I got a book from the library and did it!

First up - Jasmine scented bath bombs. Easy. I'll have to find time to draw a bath and test them out though.

Since we have about 53kg of sea salt (ridiculously inaccurate estimate), I made a batch of bath salts too (no photo).... so I really need lots of free time so I can test all my new bath products. ;)