Posts tagged ‘softies’

From My Cupboard to Yours


Appley Dapply,
a little brown mouse,
Goes to the cupboard in
somebody's house.
In somebody's cupboard
there's everything nice,
Cake, cheese, jam, biscuits,
-all charming for mice!
Appley Dapply
has little sharp eyes,
And Appley Dapply is
so fond of pies!
--Beatrix Potter

As part of the 3rd annual Holiday Ornament Swap, these little mice are off to cupboards in Nova Scotia, Missouri, Cape Town (South Africa), New Mexico, New York, Donegal (Ireland), Somerset (United Kingdom), Colorado, Florida, and Kwa-Zulu Natal (South Africa). Here’s hoping they bring holiday cheer, and find bits of cake and pie wherever they go!


December 13, 2008 at 12:12 pm 13 comments

Home Sweet Home

When my Anthropologie catalog arrived last week, I was immediately drawn to these photographs. It’s a crafter’s dream– an upholstered HOUSE. Look closely– the artwork on the walls is made of cloth. The paneling on the walls and the doors is all needlework. Even the light switches are stuffed! Impractical, yes. But so pretty!

I have house and home on the brain these days because we’ll be moving at the end of the month. We’ve been in Salem for three years now, which is the longest I’ve stayed anywhere in a really long time. There’s definitely something to be said for sticking around for a while and really getting to know a place. In some ways I’ll be sad to leave Salem because there are lots of things about this little city that I’ll miss. I’m really going to miss being able to wander around downtown on a whim. I love just heading down there on a warm Saturday with no idea where I’ll end up. Sometimes as I walk around the back streets of the Derby Wharf area or past the McIntire mansions of Chestnut street, I feel like I’m transported through time. I imagine what life was like here a hundred years ago, or two hundred years ago. I can almost hear the clatter of horses’ hooves as they pull carriages through the cobblestone streets. Oh wait, that IS the clatter of of horses’ hooves as they pull carriages (full of toursists) through the cobblestone streets.

I’ll miss seeing the harbor every day and smelling the salty air. I’ll miss brunch at Red’s, the Peabody-Essex Museum (which has a really cool photo exhibit of the art of Maori tattoos right now, check it out!), and frozen yogurt delivery until 11:00 pm! (Sometimes, you just gotta have it in your pajamas.) Of course, I’m NOT going to miss the traffic, trying to park downtown during a snow emergency, or shopping at the black hole that is Salem Market Basket.

As for our apartment, I do like it but I don’t think there’s much about it that I’ll truly miss. I’m definitely not going to miss having only one kitchen cabinet and almost no counter space. Sayonara, grimy bathroom floor. You are someone else’s pet peeve now.

April 7, 2008 at 2:10 pm 1 comment

Happy Coincidences

For my family, Christmas Day is often filled with coincidences. Perhaps we all have the same Christmas elves whispering in our ears at night? Sometimes things work out perfectly, and one of us receives a variety of different gifts on a particular theme: though it wasn’t planned, it couldn’t have worked out better if it were. Other times, we aren’t so lucky and one of us gets the exact same gift from several people. One year, everyone gave and received pizza stones. We laughed as the day wore on and pizza stone after pizza stone emerged from each neatly wrapped package.

This year, I experienced a happy coincidence of a different sort. As I’ve mentioned here before, I participated in the Holiday Ornament Exchange hosted by cake & pie and freshly{blended}. Since more than 600 swappers from all over the world signed up for the exchange, we were organized into groups of ten. I received many lovely ornaments, and one of my favorites was a little green fleece Christmas tree from Heather at Bumblebird. Imagine my surprise on Christmas Day when I unwrapped a gift from my brother and his girlfriend to find another lovely creation by Heather! It was a darling little elf this time, but of course I recognized her style immediately– so cute, soft and cuddly. Now the elf and the tree are reunited and will be treasured Christmas decorations always– all thanks to another happy Christmas coincidence.

I hope your New Year is filled with many happy coincidences of your own.


December 31, 2007 at 4:47 pm 1 comment

I’m a Winner!

I won a giveaway on one of the cool blogs that I read, Small Fox in a Big World. I am so impressed by the generosity of bloggers who share the benefit of their talent and experience in the form of tutorials, patterns, and even their own work! That last link, by the way, is my prize. Yippee! Now I’m dreaming up my own giveaway… it will have to wait until after the holidays because I have way too much to do as it is, but stay tuned.

I’m still a sewing novice. I know my way around a sewing machine at this point, but it seems that almost everything I sew involves some kind of “first”– my first zipper, my first dart, my first bias strip. Because of this, I lack the ability to determine at the outset of a project whether it will be easy or difficult. Several projects I have started, thinking they would be simple, have turned out to be rather time-consuming and confusing. I grumble about it and then try to remind myself how quickly the project will come together the second time I do it.

Here is a project that actually was quick and easy, even the first time! It took only about an hour, including hand-stitching the eyes and mouth. (The rest is sewn by machine.) I made it from a pattern in the wonderful book, Softies, by Therese Laske. I had considered buying this book and then I saw it at Urban Outfitters last week for half price, so that was that. There are several cool projects in this book that I look forward to trying, and here is my first:

Yes, it is what you think it is.

Okay, I guess it takes a certain sense of style and humor to appreciate this one. It also helps if you have a pet who leaves you little surprises around the house. See how nervous he looks? That’s because he knows how mad you’re going to be when you find him on your chair.

December 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm 3 comments

Holiday Ornament Swap ’07

While stranded by some nasty winter weather this weekend, I crafted up a storm! I don’t dare post about most of my projects because they are Christmas presents and inquiring minds who read my blog will want to know.

Here’s something I can post about today. I mentioned a while back that I was participating in Cake+Pie and freshly{blended}‘s Holiday Ornament swap this year. I mailed mine out on Saturday, and here they are:


I designed these myself based on Japanese kokeshi. I have a small collection of kokeshi, and my mother suggested them as an alternative to the matryoshka ornaments I was thinking of doing, which, while very cute, seem to be everywhere at the moment.

They didn’t come out quite the way I’d imagined (as things seldom do), but I’m happy with them… and happy they’re done. Many thanks to my fellow swappers in Group 44… the ornaments I’ve received so far are fabulous, and it’s been so much fun opening those packages!! Once I’ve received all of them, I’ll post a collage.

December 17, 2007 at 5:19 pm 3 comments

Bazaar Bizarre Boston

I went to Bazaar Bizarre Boston this afternoon. I didn’t buy much but I really enjoyed seeing what all the local (and some not-so-local) crafters are up to. If you weren’t able to make it, here are some of my favorite vendors from the event. They all have websites where you can check out their wares.



This table was very popular. There were lots of cool monster stickers, magnets and pins with a crafting theme. I picked up some monster stickers with sayings like, “I Make Stuff” and “I Deserve a Cookie.”


My Paper Crane

OMG, so so cute. Cuddly food toys. I love the ice cream sandwich and the sticky bun. I cracked up when I saw the toast that was sad because it was moldy and green!


Pepperberry Crochet

I loved these adorable crochet creatures– especially the octopi, gingerbread men, and bunnies. There was even what appeared to be a bloodthirsty zombie, which somehow managed to be cute too. I just noticed on the Bazaar Bizarre website that this crafter lives in Salem, Massachusetts. So do I… shout out!!


Sewing Stars

I loved their apple-head dolls– they even had a kit for you to make your own. They also had very nice zippered pouches.


So Softies

Cool crocheted creatures and cards. I loved the card with the peanut butter toast saying to the jelly toast, “We belong together.” So sweet.


Soto Softies

Lovely, modern, and very original softies.

What a gathering of talent and creativity. I will definitely be back next year!

December 9, 2007 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment

Backpacks, Birthdays and Broadway!

I couldn’t resist adding this little backpack to the doll for our niece’s fourth birthday, also from a Wee Wonderfuls pattern. The backpack came together much easier than the jumper did. Now that I’ve done the tiny backpack, I think I’m ready for my first try at a tote or shoulder bag.


For more about putting this doll together, check out my last post, this post, and the Wee Wonderfuls patterns.

We had a nice time at our niece’s bithday party yesterday. Lots of little ones running around, but the chaos was pretty contained (it helped that it only lasted two hours!) The kids had lots of crafty activities to do, including painting T-shirts, making picture frames, and decorating their own cupcakes. The birthday girl was very happy indeed.

In other news, this week I am getting psyched up for three events I’ve been looking forward to:

One, on Wednesday, a trip with my mom to NYC to see Cyrano de Bergerac! With Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner! We were nervous for a while that this trip wasn’t going to happen because of the stagehand strike, but the strike has been settled. Yay! I’m hoping we can also squeeze in some shopping (Kinokuniya?! Purl?! Muji?!) and a visit with a friend who lives in Manhattan.

Two, on Saturday, my husband’s band is playing at a children’s charity benefit. They play a little of everything, but mostly classic rock covers. Afterward, we’ll have a little get-together at our place.

Three, on Sunday, the Bazaar Bizarre in Boston! I’ve never been before, and I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re in the area, check out the website. There are also events coming up in LA, Cleveland, and San Francisco. (I also hope to make it to Craftland in Providence sometime before it ends on December 22nd, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to squeeze it in!)

Lots of fun things to do and post about this week!

December 3, 2007 at 2:21 pm 4 comments

Made my first outfit!

Granted, it is for a doll. But it’s a start.


Whew. This took me a LOT longer than I thought it would. I began with the Wee Wonderfuls jumper pattern, but I cut the skirt piece too short, so I had to improvise the pink ruffle on the bottom. The dark pink fabric is corduroy, which I’ve never used before. Once my sewing machine had its first taste of corduroy, it kept trying to eat it. The needle kept getting stuck and sewing lots of stitches in one spot. Whenever I tried to sew anywhere near the edge of the fabric, it frayed and then the seam opened. Ugh. This was also my first try at sewing darts and straps, or any type of clothing for that matter, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it was such slow going.

I’m very happy with how it turned out, thank goodness. Tomorrow, I’ll give this doll and her new jumper to my niece for her birthday. Hopefully my rookie sewing can hold up to the abuse (err, I mean love) of a four-year-old!


December 1, 2007 at 4:22 pm 5 comments

Hooray for felt!

I am loving wool felt right now– the mottled look of it, the feel, and how easy it is to work with. I’d really like to make something useful with it. When I buy it, I’m thinking, “Wallet? Journal cover? Tote bag?” … but I keep ending up with little monsters…

Don’t call me practical.

Well, this guy does make me smile when I spot him grinning up at me. He reminds me of the time I spent in Japan, where cute little monsters abound. I think I was inspired by Domo-kun, a mascot who I often saw on TV in Japan and who I am now seeing in shops all over the place here in the U.S.

Next time, a change purse!


November 13, 2007 at 11:54 pm 5 comments

I *heart* Hillary Lang

A few weeks ago, I bought the make-a-long pattern from Hillary Lang’s incredible website, Wee Wonderfuls. Hers is the first blog in my reader that I absolutely must read when it shows a new entry. She is so talented, and her work is just my style. I’ve been admiring her work and the work of others who use her patterns, and that’s been a part of what has inspired me to dust off my old machine and get going again. I’ve been trying to teach myself to sew for a long time, mostly without the help of a pattern (see my last entry, a project that I just “winged”). I finally decided to buy one of Hillary’s patterns though because I haven’t really been able to sew three-dimensional objects very well. My hope is that by following the patterns of some of my favorite artists, I’ll be able to gain the skills I need to improve my own designs.

Now that I’ve made my first doll using Hillary’s pattern, I have to say, she is so cute and was so much fun to make that I don’t want to stop! Here’s a picture of my first attempt. I’m not sure if she’s quite done: I might add a collar or buttons to the front of her dress and some kind of embellishment to her shoes. But she’s lovely the way she is. Hillary, you rock.


November 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm 1 comment

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