Saturday, December 11, 2010


It's that time of year - where there just aren't enough hours in the day to do all the crafting one wants to (more so than normal even)!

I've got some finished projects lined up to show you, but in the meantime:

All the proceeds from etsy shop sales until Jan 1, 2011 are being donated to Lisa's Charity:water fundraiser.

Lisa is giving up Christmas and her February birthday and is asking for donations to Charity:water instead. Charity:water is a brilliant organization working to bring clean water to the 1 billion people on the planet who lack it. And they document their progress via photos, video, blog posts. They do inspiring work that changes lives dramatically and you can support them by shopping! So go shop!

The story of charity: water - The 2009 September Campaign Trailer from charity: water on Vimeo.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Knitting - a beginning

Last weekend I had some free time so I taught myself how to knit. Or rather, the internet taught me. Learning new things is so easy with the internet - tutorials abound, especially ones with helpful videos. I'm self taught in all my crafts and I remember how it used to be, back before high speed internet - you'd have to go to the library and get a book to learn. And if something in the book confused you, well... too bad - try another book. Now, you get stuck on something you just do a quick internet search and within a minute or two you'll probably be looking at a video tutorial that clears everything up. It's fabulous!

So far I've found knitting to be easy - a little awkward at first, but not as bad as I expected actually! I did knit when I was younger, but not very much. I remember I was a very very tight knitter so I probably got frustrated and gave up. But I wonder if that little bit of experience during my formative years at least laid enough of a foundation that I find the movements of knitting familiar. Muscle memory is a beautiful thing!

I finished my first knitting project - a basic scarf and have already cast on for a hat. It's perfect timing for me to get some knitting experience because on today I leave for a week of vacation (volunteering here!) with my friend Kim who knows how to knit - so I figure I'll work on a project while she and I are traveling and she can get me unstuck when things go wrong! Always helpful to have someone nearby who can figure how what you did wrong and get you back on track!

I believe knitting brings me up to 43 hobbies. What will be next? :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Crafty ears

I've been playing around in my jewelry supply stash, which has been sadly neglected with all the attention I've been paying to fibre and sewing related activities! It was good to get back to it.

Whipped up a few pairs of earrings. Thoughts?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More pins!

The Maked girls have been busy crocheting the adorable flower pins for the holiday craft fair. Great way to use up bits and bobs of yarn. This one happened to perfectly match the shirt I'm wearing. :)

This year we'll be at the West End Holiday Fair, held at the West End Community Centre on Nov 21, 10am - 4pm. If you're in Vancouver, come see us!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Safety + Blocking

Next up in the "Safety without the Ugly" line - a set of pins inspired by an old computer game. Probably something you'll recognize. :) The ghost is made of the super reflective material, and the pacman is made of high-visibility yellow material. I think they'd look cute on a messenger bag - and they'll add some visibility factor without being ugly. Yay!

On the crochet front - I've been working on the Alpine Frost pattern since the Winter 2008 issue of Interweave Crochet came out. I think it's long enough, so I've started to block it - since this sucker is going to gain a fair bit of length in the blocking process. Since I don't have a blocking board, I'll have to do this in little sections. The before and after is pretty dramatic, but I think I might need to stretch it even more when I block it, get it to open up more. In any case - feels good to be almost done this one!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Safety Without the Ugly

First of all.... I've had my stylist modify my hair again. I was getting a bit bored with the other cut, so this time we added fringe/bangs! I haven't had bangs for a good 10 years or so. I'm still adjusting to the new hair - sometimes I love it but sometimes it gives off a strong 80s vibe that I'm not so into. But having bangs is fantastic.... I was so tired of hair in my face... yay being able to see!

Secondly, the holidays are coming so my brain is now constantly thinking about things to make. My imagination is currently on a bender dreaming up ways to turn reflective safety material into cool and pretty things - stuff a stylish cyclist would be into. I'm pretty excited about my latest experiment which resulted in this flower brooch (below) - I think it's cute, what do you say? The idea is it's something you can wear on your coat or your bag and it's just a cute accessory... except it happens to be made of that hyper-reflective stuff like the stripes on a running jacket so when light hits it the right way it's uber-reflective like safety gear. They're rather finicky to make though, so I think I'll continue to play around with the material, but I think there's a market out there for bike accessories that provide the safety without the ugly. First one is listed in the etsy shop!

Let me know what you think - I can take honest opinions!
(first pic - normally it just looks grey/silver) (second pic - when light hits it directly, it's super reflective)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Fabric - start & finish

One of my co-workers, who I shared an office with for several months (my first time ever sharing an office) and so quickly discovered that she's fabulous - is having a baby in a few weeks. I pulled out my favorite fabric, got some minky fabric and set about making my favorite baby blanket (tutorial here).

This was my first time working with knit fabric. And I don't have a walking foot on my sewing machine. So I learned quickly the frustration of knit fabric! Stupid stretchy fabric! A walking foot is now on my wishlist.

I managed to wrestle it into a generally rectangular-shaped blanket and the finished product was a bit hit at the luncheon we had to send the mom-to-be off on maternity leave. It's always nice to give gifts to people who appreciate handmade items!

Hopefully it'll get lots of use. The minky fabric sure is soft, even if it's a pain to sew!

And, just as I finished that sewing project, a lovely package of new fabric arrived in the mail from Cloud9 Fabrics. I won it in a contest on JCaroline's blog (she sells fabulous fabric like this). This fabric is adorable and high quality - and organic. Seriously, it's good stuff. Clearly it needs to be made into a quilt... but I haven't learned how to quilt yet. And do I want to learn another new thing? Oh my.

Monday, August 16, 2010


The last time I was in a sewing class was in junior high home economics. I was forced to take the class and was very unimpressed that I had to. Woodshop, fine. Metal shop, fine. But sewing and cooking? I was insulted. I felt it was.... presumptuous to assume I needed or wanted to learn these girly things. I mean, they made everyone take them, it wasn't just me, but somehow, 13 year old me got a huge chip on my shoulder about the whole thing.

So I did not learn a whole lot - was too busy being a brat. I do recall making a hoodie and every time the instructor wanted to demonstrate how to do something, she happened to grab my project (without realizing), so really, she did 70% of the work for me. That was pretty awesome.

I've grown up and now voluntarily sew things. My how things change. I dream up things to sew, in fact. But my sewing skills are pretty basic. Fortunately for me, a fantastic new sewing resource has opened in Vancouver - Spool of Thread - a sewing lounge. Run by a fabulous young couple who know what this generation of crafters is interested in. This was confirmed when they listed their first classes and one of them was for the Emmeline Apron - a pattern I've had for over a year but haven't gotten the nerve up to tackle (having never read a sewing pattern in my life) - perfect!

I went to the shop yesterday and got to work with 4 other ladies and Lili's guidance. It was fabulous! Having someone there to take you through the process step by step is so helpful. I often think the hardest part of crafting, or learning a new craft, is overcoming the fear of mistakes (especially when cutting into precious fabric). It's so easy to hit a point of doubt or uncertainty and then just stop to avoid making a mistake.... then you can just waffle and procrastinate forever. Taking a class is a great way to get some practice, learn some new techniques, and just prevent you from getting hung up on any snags.

I finished my apron, and am super proud - it's by far the most complicated thing I've ever sewn (it's reversible) - and pretty cute if I say so myself!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weaving progress

I took a day off recently and had a lovely day at home. I've been listening to the book Slumdog Millionaire was based on (audiobook) while I weave and cuddle cats. It's been fantastic. A perfect quiet day at home to recharge.

I've made some progress on the weaving and am quite pleased with the pattern. That's the thing about weaving - you never really know how it's going to look until you're right in the thick of it. I find that very challenging. It requires you to commit without really knowing if you'll like it! In this case, it all worked out okay, in other cases I've ended with products that I wasn't so excited about (but others loved, so they found happy homes). Weaving is about learning to move forward even in the face of uncertainty.... I skill I could use practice at for sure.

Here's hoping I have enough yarn on my spool to finish!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chainmaille complete

I just realized I haven't posted pictures of my finished byzantine chain necklace! I can't get over how fast that project was - I remember the first time I did chainmaille, it seemed so hard and confusing..... now I find it easy, not sure why. Anyway, I'm very pleased with it! And I had enough rings left over to make a bracelet too. (click to see bigger)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


There is weaving in progress again, finally!

This is my first weaving project that actually takes advantage of all 4 shafts of my loom and had a complicated threading pattern. So far everything is going okay.... it's taking me a while to select a weft yarn that I like - I've decided to go monochrome and use the warp thread for the weft. I feel the diamond pattern is quite busy and having it in contrasting colours is too much for me.

Now that I've actually made that decision - this will probably go pretty fast!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cats in Plain Sight

One of the things that has always bugged me about living in a small apartment has been the lack of out-of-the-way places for the litter box. We're pretty good about emptying it very frequently so we don't have to smell anything, but still, seeing it in our living space is.... weird.

I've seen a few good Ikea hacks where people have successfully hidden their litter boxes (examples here), so I've been working on my own for a while. Our cats are very upright-facilitators, so we needed some piece of furniture that was quite tall, and the only space in the apartment that was available was the narrow area behind the front door, so it took a while to find the right bit of furniture for the job, but I think we did! It's actually a drawer unit from Ikea, designed to hold your PC. Fits perfectly behind our door and I found a plastic tub that slides in. The glossy white finish matches our decor (as much as we have decor right now), so I'm very pleased. Just debating on whether or not to fuss with hanging a fabric curtain or some other cover over the entrance or not. Thoughts?

Entryway before and after (please note that the tidy 'after' photo is totally staged, I expect this area to be total chaos within a day):

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Have I ever mentioned I have a bit of a thing for craft supplies?

It was all fine when all I did was beadwork, but since moving to Vancouver I've learned to crochet and weave, so now there's yarn tucked in every drawer and cabinet you see - open a cabinet where you'd expect to find a dvd collection and yarn will probably fall out. oh, and there's a loom in our living room. There are a lot of beads too, but they're fairly compact. I also got a sewing machine, so there's a cupboard in the kitchen full of fabric. Then there's the miscellaneous supplies - glue, magnets, the stuff I'm going to repurpose one day, the silkscreening inks, the wireworking tools, and all the associated craft books.

What I mean to say is that I kind of have a lot of supplies. I could stay at home and craft continuously for approximately 11 years, I think. I do feel like it's a bit over the top and I try to restrain myself - but then a local store goes and offers yarn that is normally $15/ball for $2/ball! Anyway. I seriously don't need any more craft supplies. Really. Even I admit that.

But then Got Craft - the local awesome craft fair that usually I'm a vendor at with my group Maked - had a contest.... and the prize was a Yudu which is a DIY screen printing system. A $300 screen printing system. I may have gone a little over the top to earn entries into the contest.
And it worked because I won! Yay! I'm excited to test the thing out - hopefully this weekend when I have time to make a mess.

The downside? The Yudu is enormous. I live in a 600 sqft apartment that I share with a Peter, two cats, a floor loom, and several bikes. I honestly have no idea where I'm going to keep this thing. It's currently on our coffee table. It's the same size as our coffee table.

Still - who can refuse craft supplies? Not me, clearly. I've got a bit of a thing, after all.

Thanks Got Craft and Yudu!!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Get Some Craft!

It's that time of year - when the best craft fair in Vancouver happens!

Got Craft? - is Maked's favorite craft fair. Since we're on hiatus, we're not vendors there this year, sadly, but you should go anyway if you can. I'll be there shopping. There's also going to be a DIY craft table put on by Spool of Thread (a sewing store/lounge that is about to open in Vancouver!). Plus good tunes, awesome vendors, and just a fabulous atmosphere generally. Seriously, it's that awesome.

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 10am - 5pm
Royal Canadian Legion :
2205 Commercial Drive (@ E.6th Ave), Vancouver

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chainmaille and pots?

I haven't had a lot of time to work on it, but my byzantine chain project is going faster than I expected. I also thought the tiny rings would be more fussy to deal with, but actually, they are a breeze. I could totally do smaller rings (if they were available)! I thought this project would be more frustrating, but it's turning out easy peasy. =) (I'm making a necklace, so I've got a ways to go yet.)

What did turn out to be difficult was finding pots for my indoor plants. I have one plant that we've had for 2 years - which is a VERY long time for us. We generally kill everything quite quickly. (I think we over watered everything in the past.) We never got a proper pot for our plant because we honestly didn't expect it to last that long. I was in the garden store the other day, getting little pepper seedlings and they had my houseplant there, which was handy because I didn't know what the thing was. Turns out it's a ficus! Except it has curly leaves, so it's cuter than normal. The lady at the garden store said I should have repotted it into a larger pot when I got it 2 years ago. Whoops. So I did that last week and bought a little asparagus fern and decided they both needed proper pots because I'm not going to kill them, they're going to thrive (even though the ficus can't seem to keep it's leaves).

I discovered that there is not a terribly large selection of modern pots in downtown Vancouver. I wanted something bright and sleek - something that would pop against all our white walls. Apparently this was asking for the moon. Most pots are very earthy-styled.... muted colours, fussy designs. I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for more interesting pots (needed them in 2 sizes too, which made it even harder) - I was actually surprised that there weren't more stores selling pots that would appeal to urbanites, seems like that would be a nobrainer for Vancouver stores.

In the end, I went back to the first store I checked and got some there. The big one is a bit dinged up, but they fit the bill perfectly otherwise - bright, sleek, shiny.... and were super cheap because they're actually christmas items! Which store was the one that came through with the good selection? Canadian Tire. I know! They actually have some very good stuff, consistently. So there you go. And the fact that it was so hard to find them, makes me that much more pleased every time I look at them. ;)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Finishing & Starting

It's funny how difficult it seems to finish projects sometimes. Starting them is so much more interesting! I've been very good lately about only starting projects when I've finished one I have on the go - so I don't end up buried under a million half-done works-in-progress.

I finished a big one recently - a baby blanket for a friend. I started out using a different pattern, but really wasn't feeling it at all, so about 1/4 of the way through I abandoned that and went with a crochet pattern I had done before and liked - the Tiramisu. Much better! It was a perfect mindless crochet project, good for keeping my hands busy during movies and it actually went quite quickly once I got going. The yarn got much softer after I washed it, which is good because I wasn't really enjoying it much. It's Elann's Superwash Bamboo. Finished it off with some yellow ribbon from my stash (yes, I have a ribbon stash, of course), and bask in the glow of a finished project. Feels good.

I started looking for crochet patterns to decide what I was going to do next, and actually decided to put the yarn away for a bit and tackle another project I've had on my todo list for ages... chainmaille. I got a package of tiny silver rings (perfectly laser cut by UrbanMaille) for my birthday last year and haven't tackled the project I wanted them for because it was kind of a daunting task. These rings are really tiny (see photo)!

But, the only way to start is to just start. So I started (see photo)! This is a byzantine chain which is a pattern I fell in love with when I first experimented with chainmaille several years ago. And since I like to do things that are ridiculously intricate and time consuming, this project fits the bill very nicely. Stay tuned, I'll let you know how I progress. =)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Olympics & Etsy Feature

Hello! I don't know if you heard, but Vancouver hosted a bit of an event recently. A sporting event. There were a few people in town and a couple of things going on.

It was fabulous. The Olympics brought this energy to the city that I've never experienced before - the streets were filled with thousands of happy, friendly people. I've never given so many high fives to strangers for no particular reason, or chatted with so many friendly strangers while waiting in line. It was simply fantastic.

Not much crafting happened!

That is - until Etsy featured our gold delica ring in their "Etsy Finds" newsletter! I returned home one day from working at one of the Olympic celebration sites to find a slew of orders in my inbox - which was a nice surprise. Thanks Etsy! I'm just finishing the last of the backlog of custom orders, so if you'd like a delica ring, now is a good time to snap one up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Concentric Rings to Start 2010

I had some time this weekend to play around with my beads and jewelry supplies - and made up this new necklace which I love...

There is something about the neatness of concentric circles really appeals to me.

These rings are made of brass too, so they have a nice weight to them, they aren't heavy, but they have enough weight that they lay nicely around the neck.

I went a little crazy with the picture taking!