Monday, October 22, 2012

My kind of DIY video

I love video tutorials as much as the next crafter - but sometimes I'm not really into making a specific thing (project) as much as I want to really properly understand how to do a thing. Why certain things work the way they do - if I can get that bit, then I can usually figure out the rest.

That's why I'm excited about this proposed idea by Kim Werker and Ben Z Cooper to produce a series of tutorials that focus on the fundamentals of various kinds of skills. Except that makes it sound boring and I know Kim, so I know it won't be boring - it'll be awesome. Their goal is to arm us all with the confidence that comes from understanding enough about something to figure out what questions to ask next - that is a powerful thing.

If you're into this kind of thing, then please join me in contributing to their campaign to raise enough funds for a pilot season!

Kim explains it far better than I do....


Friday, October 19, 2012

Craft Fair!

Blim Market
Heritage Hall (Main St @15th Ave)
Noon - 5pm

I'll be working a table at the Blim Market on Sunday, Oct 21. The organizers and give away a table for free to a group doing something awesome - I told them about my greeting card project to raise funds for animal rescues and I got the Oct table!  Yay!

If you're in Vancouver, please drop by! I'll have the greeting cards and other cool Maked stuff - with all proceeds split between HomeFinders Animal Rescue and Katie's Place Animal Shelter

Monday, October 01, 2012

Cats & Kittens in support of... cats & kittens!

When I started getting the super lovely photos from my volunteer photographers for Orphan Animal Pics, I quickly realized that I needed to do something with these great photos besides post them on the internet.

I figured there had to be a fundraising idea there somewhere. I mean - cute photos of kittens are a surefire win, right? My general approach to fundraising is to find things people buy anyway, and create a product they can get from me instead. This is how I came to operate a mini-corner store out of a filing cabinet at work - selling my co-workers food at outrageously high prices to raise money for animal rescues (nearest store is 5-7min away; my co-workers are all very busy people=lots of $ for charity).

This time, I'm trying greeting cards!  I've got 4 designs: 2 birthday, 1 holiday/christmas, and one blank\all occasion.

The proceeds from all of the cards will go to animal rescues in/around Vancouver (HomeFinders Animal Rescue & Katie's Place Animal Shelter - since their cats are featured on the cards this time).

If you're the sort of person who sends cards - and these tickle your fancy (or might tickle the fancy of a recipient), please consider buying a few of them. My hope is that this print run sells out and I can do more designs!

All the cards are posted in my etsy shop.  Please feel free to share the link widely. Let's raise some $ for these great rescue groups!

There are 2 birthday cards featuring adorable kittens (funny cards), 1 blank card and 1 holiday card (that should make you chuckle).

Sunday, September 23, 2012


It's that time of year, where Peter and I make soap (cold process)!  This time we're planning 2 projects, one is the base go-to soap that Peter loves (modification of this recipe), and the other will be something new (I get to pick)!  We did our usual soap first and it went well.  It's sitting on top of our fridge, setting up - just have to wait a few weeks before we can test it out.

What I wanted to share this time around was 1). what we use instead of fancy soap molds, and 2) where do you get lye in Vancouver?

1. I dream of a wooden loaf mold. But, we make soap once a year and we get by without it. And I have a zillion craft supplies, so I'm trying to refrain from buying this one (I do check craigslist for it every now and then though, shhh).  So, we just line boxes with freezer paper and fill those instead. Our favorite box is one of those ones you get from the dollar store. They're very sturdy and pretty too. :)

2. When we first wanted to make soap, we were drowning in oils (I had purchased someone's supply) and had no lye. I searched the internet and could not find where to buy lye in Vancouver. I think possibly you can't buy it in Vancouver proper - but we found two places in the surrounding area: Galloways in Richmond, and Cranberry Lane in Port Coquitlam & Richmond.  So there you go, if you're in Vancouver looking for lye - they have it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lip Balm, Finally

A while back I purchased (via craigslist) the soap & beauty making supply stash of someone who had had kids and sadly decided it was going to be a while before she had time and space to do things like make soap or anything else. At the time I was just looking for basic soap making supplies, but for a steal I got all that and a pile of essential oils and tons of other supplies. I actually had to research what some of this stuff was for. The huge quantity of beeswax, I soon learned, was for lip balms. So I've been meaning to try making some for ages. The internet says it's easy, which is nice.

Tonight I finally did it! I started with a base recipe and modified it slightly according to the general guide here.  I can't tell you if I like this product yet, but if I don't, I have enough supplies to make approximately 2853 pots of lip balm, so I can probably do another batch. I'll let you know.  And the internet was right - this was stupidly easy. Frankly, finding the lip balm pots was the hardest part! (Daiso)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fashion Mod Help

I just found this dress in a thrift shop ($8) and had to get it because she skirt portion is this lovely printed velvet. However, I'm not so into the gold metallic ruched top (also it's currently strapless, unless I hunt down some straps to hook onto the loops, and I prefer my clothing to have straps).

My short-term plan is to wear it with a short cardi over the top (hide the gold) - but I'd love advice & inspiration photos for permanent alterations to make the dress a bit more classic and a bit less disco (there is a time and place for shiny metallic fabric, I just don't think it's on top of a lovely velvet skirt). I'd love a new black top portion to this, something with straps.

The tricky part is that the dress has a side zipper that goes through the gold fabric.... so actually removing the gold & replacing it will be tricky (my sewing skills, especially re: alterations, are pretty weak)!

All ideas/suggestions are welcome!  Also - yay for thrift store finds!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Things You Might Like

A list of random things you might find cool or useful...

Juniper Moon Farm Blog - this awesome blog chronicles the adventures of running a fibre farm - everything from sheep of the day profiles, to the anticipation of waiting for lambs (cows, puppies, goats) to be born, shearing, yarn dyeing... you name it, and all with a great sense of humour. Juniper Moon takes the food CSA concept and applies it to yarn.  This is one of the blogs I check every day.

I have a thing for reading very old books on etiquette, and instructional books for young women on how to be proper ladies... it's so fascinating, so of a different world. People are digitizing craft patterns & cooking books from previous eras.  How about "Dressmaking Made Easy" from 1919?  Or "Woman As Decoration" from 1920? (check out the chapter "Establish habits of carriage which create good line" !). Or "The Ladies Worktable Book: containing clear and practical instructions in plain and fancy needlework, embroidery, knitting, netting, and crochet." from 1845!

Less craft related but still very interesting: "The Ladies Vase or Polite Manual for Young Ladies" from 1849 with chapters on "Behaviour to Gentlemen" and "Conversation". Or from 1785 (!) - "Essays on Various Subjects, Principally Designed for Young Ladies"  It's endlessly fascinating. 

Make your own sewing desk - with your machine flush mounted. This DIY project caught my eye - this couple took an Ikea desk and with a little DIY ingenuity (and power tools) turned it into a fantastic sewing table with the machine mounted underneath. It's virtually impossible to find a sewing table that is modern & attractive, so this seems like a great idea!

Modern macrame project!  I've never done macrame before, but am tempted to by this project (with tutorial) for these stunning & modern bracelets! Aren't these fabulous? 

Saturday, September 01, 2012


I've been spending a lot of my spare time doing cat photos as part of my Orphan Animal Photos project, so crafting has taken a hiatus.

Except that crafting never fully takes a hiatus! I went on a short trip to Vancouver Island to do some camping & walking through rainforests and in my downtime I crocheted a hat! It wouldn't be a vacation if I didn't have some kind of craft project on hand.

I recently got my hair cut short again and I sometimes fail to blow dry it right away; my thinking is I can pop on this hat and my hair will dry reasonably flat, even when I'm too lazy to blow dry... we'll see how that goes. In any case, it never hurts to have more cute hats around.

The pattern is available here (free) & I used some random, unlabeled yarn from my stash.  I love that the colour of the hat so perfectly matches the rainforests I've been wandering around!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Orphan Cats

My latest creative endeavour doesn't involve beads or fabric, although it did involve yarn at one point. It was another photo shoot of shelter cats - part of my ongoing project to work with talent photographers to get great photos of homeless animals to spruce up their online profiles and help catch someone's eye (and heart) so they get adopted.

This time around it was a photo shoot with Cindy from Muddy Love Pet Photography - we had a fantastic time and the photos she sent afterwards made me so happy! I know one of the things the volunteers at rescues struggle with is getting photos that show the animals as the really are: beautiful and unique and wonderful. Cindy really made these cats shine.

To help capture the work being done by these volunteer photographers, I put together a website with some photo galleries. It's still a work in progress, but I'm pretty pleased with it - please check it out, let me know what you think!

Now my task is finding some new websites (Vancouver-area) that are willing to post these great photos along with the animal profile so we can get these creatures some exposure.  If you have any suggestions, please comment!

And if you have space in your home and life for an animal, I really encourage you to adopt from a local rescue; there are so many wonderful animals waiting for homes. If you can't take on an animal permanently - consider signing up to be a foster home for a local rescue group: all the fun of a pet, none of the long-term commitment!

Coming soon - a progress update on my epic crochet spiral project (the project I actually learned to crochet to make, and then forgot about for several years).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wood & cats

I was posting a few items in the etsy shop and, as is inevitable, I started poking around, looking in some shops I had favourited a while back.  A few years ago I purchased a lovely wood necklace from a seller in Montreal, 3dots, and now she has even more items I lust after.... this fabulous bracelet, for example.  And this necklace - stunning!

Then there is Untamed Menagerie who makes stuff like this necklace - isn't this unique and wonderful?

It's been a while since I browsed around etsy - it's lovely to see so many fantastic artists producing cool stuff.  Time to make a wishlist for myself!

Unrelated to falling in love with jewelry on etsy:  photos of cute cats!

My talented photographer friend, Ben Johnson, and I did another photoshoot for HomeFinders Animal Rescue.

They had a batch of adorable adoptables that needed some good profile photos for their online listings so we went to help out.

It's quite fun wrangling the cats - they get freaked out by the camera and lights, or they're kittens and move too fast, or they're very chill and easy - you never know how it'll go!  We did some bunnies this time too, which was new!  These cats all really need loving homes and are all available for adoption!

kung-fu cat!

hello bunny!

Super fluffy Azlan.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I've got a coat that's pretty snug, definitely no room for a scarf.  So I quickly made myself this cowl - something to keep my neck warm, without the bulk of a scarf - win!  I used yarn I got in a shop in Riga, Latvia, that I can find no trace of online, and a pattern from a shop somewhere in the US, so it's an international project really. I love the pattern - it's got great angles and makes a soft, drapy fabric (assuming you pick the right crochet hook size for your yarn, of course).

 It's good to start and finish a project quickly sometimes!  And I had this ready just in time for snow!  (It doesn't snow much here in Vancouver, so this kind of weather is a big deal.)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Holiday Finishing

One of the best parts of vacation time during christmas/new years is having some time at home to finish up projects. I seem better able to buckle down and finish things I have been slow about getting around to.

I finally finished my concentric squares baby blanket, for example, which turned out well. It's got lovely drape, I think. 

Kitty clearly thinks the blanket is hers and made herself right at home.

The yarn I used is discontinued, which is too bad, as I like it (a superwash bamboo blend from Elann).  Discontinued yarn also makes it hard to finish when you run out and still need 1 ball. Luckily for me, someone on ravelry had it in their stash and was willing to sell me the 1 ball I needed - I don't know what I would have done pre-ravelry!

Feels good to start the new year with a complete project! Seems like a good time to start a new one!