Monday, December 29, 2008


I have secret fantasies of being this really great cook. That I can whip out tortes and souffles and perfectly round, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies.

But then I remember, I can't even make toast. I don't know if I have some sort of genetic mutation that predestines me to always burn it but I am really good at it. I think I have about a 50/50 chance each time that my toast will come out smoking and blacker than dirt. And the really funny thing? I hate burnt toast. Even the smell of it nauseates me.

The only highlight to this story? I have found a recipe to make a wicked good cup of chai tea latte. It is a hundred times better than anything I have ever gotten from a coffee chain and I know exactly what's in it. And it makes eating burnt toast even somewhat bearable.

Perfect cup of chai latte, 4 servings

2 c water
1/4 c of honey (or less to taste)
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1/4 t ground cardamom
1/4 t ground ginger
a shake or pinch of nutmeg
a shake or pinch of pepper (I use black)
2 c milk
4 black tea bags

Boil water in a saucepan. Add honey, vanilla, and spices - simmer for 5 minutes. Add milk and bring to just under a boil. Take pan off heat and add tea bags. Allow bags to steep only for 3-4 minutes (or as directed by the packaging). Remove bags and pour though a fine strainer. And viola! Perfection!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Treasury of Minnesota goodies

I snagged a treasury yesterday and took it as an opportunity to show off the wonderful talents that reside right here in the land of 10,000 lakes. I am especially a fan of Michelle Brusegaard (scarf, center top row) - I bought a tunic of hers at No Coast and I just &hearts it. I think my list is front page worthy but I am a bit prejudice in this case :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Etsy love - Winter

With a nice, four-inch layer of snow on the ground and daily temperatures in the single digits - Minnesota winter has officially arrived. And since it is a terrible idea to go outside without a proper hat/scarf/mitten set, I picked my favorites from etsy:

You have to be a little kooky and a whole lot of crazy to choose to live in this climate. That is why I adore this hat from NormaW's shop - perfect mix of winsome, warmth, and wacky.

A warm scarf that also is soft and beautiful is worth's it's weight in saffron. I am in love with this scarf from alonalona, I think it would make me feel like the queen of the fair with gently braided cotton candy around my neck.

While these fingerless mitts would only be a layer over woolen gloves, layers are what winter is all about. They are super long (bonus), beautifully knit (double bonus) and would look lovely wearing them indoors for added coziness (triple bonus score!). They can be found at elizabeth76's charming shop

And finally, I feel like a snuggly pair of legwarmers should be handed out to every man, woman and child who reside in cold climates. They are the perfect thing to make you feel cozy when the wind and snow blow. This pair from off the hook's shop fit all the requirements.

Monday, December 8, 2008

No Coast craft show

A girl and her table, don't ask about the strange face I have going on!

So this past weekend was the No Coast craft-o-rama in Minneapolis.

What a blast!

I really didn't know what to expect this year. Last year was great but we battled with an epic blizzard which I know affected turn-out. And I knew that the economy was going to be a factor in people's spending habits this year, but I didn't know how much.

People were definitely more reserved with their money. That said, I still exceed my own personal goal in sales and was absolutely floored by the wonderful comments people had about my work. We should have started keeping track of how many times people came up to ask "Is this Shrinky Dink?" - but people seemed pleasantly surprised when I confirmed that yes indeed it was.

I got to meet some wonderful artist and crafters and wished that I could have seen even more vendors' tables. There was just so many people!

Thanks to the lovely ladies and gents who made it possible at the Crafter's Local 612!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Own the hour!

Maybe a good beginning to a motivational speech?

Or not. I just learned about the new-ish site Own The Hour which is an independent site that sells advertising spots for etsy sellers. You "own the hour" by purchasing a hour long time slot for $.50 USD along with 11 other sellers that will be displayed on the front page. It is cleanly designed (in the etsy tradition) and the sign up process seems easy and straightforward.

Around the etsy forums, people who have tried it say they have only seen a slight increase in views but no sales. The site gives no information of how many visitors they are getting a day so it is hard to determine if it would be money well spent or like throwing two quarters out the window. I need to hoard quarters for laundry myself, so I think I will wait to try it out - I would love to know other thoughts and experiences with the site if you have them...

Monday, December 1, 2008

new small earrings

Recently I got some EZ cut printing blocks to make some small stamps. I really got into linoleum printing year and years ago but kinda fell out of love with it after getting one nasty gouge in my finger. However, I never got rid of all my cutting/carving tools and they have been just hanging around. I am really pretty happy how the stamps came out since I hadn't really practiced in such a long time. The EZ cut is much more up my alley since it is truly as the name states: easy to cut. So what did I do with my thanksgiving?

Why made them into earrings of course! It was really just me being selfish and wanting some bunny earrings - but I like how they turned out so I made a bunch more.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Felty ornaments

I've been busy getting stuff done and just as busy avoiding doing anything productive (such is the life of procrastinating perfectionist). I was looking at this Matryoshka fabric and just decided I needed to make some ornaments. Like right now. I really have no idea what I will do with them (try to sell them? give them away?) but I just like the way they look. That's reason enough to take the time to make them, right?

Friday, November 14, 2008


Ek! I love this cute little bunny vase from pretty random objects! Seriously, could this be any more adorable?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

self portrait thursday

I thought of this last night just before going to sleep. I am always amazed at my ability to act and feel like a different person from day to day. So me the book nerd, me the dreamer, me the hyper-crazy-fun girl.

Monday, November 10, 2008

swaptree + sunday afternoon = new skirt

I could do without the world financial crisis. Couldn't we all? But if it were to have a silver lining, it does make me more apt to be economical myself. When you are paying so much more for food, gas, and well, everything - it obviously cuts down on your budget in other areas.

So on this note of trying to be more squirrel-like with saving money - I must confess my crush on It is a site where you can swap any un-loved media you have lying around (books, DVDs, CDs, and even video games!) for stuff you do want. So not only are you recycling your old junk but helping another do the same! I basically raid my shelves every month just to make sure I didn't skip some forgotten college lit book that I will never crack open again.

My most recent trade was for the book Sew What! Skirts which I was able to utilize today during the Ame Bean's nap to make this:

The fabric is from a Joann remnant bin that was 75% off. And I got the book to help me for about $1.75 (cost of shipping). Plus the notions are all from a local scrap art store that sells things for nickles and pennies. So I figure I spent $4 on this skirt. You can barely thrift clothes this cheap! &hearts

Friday, November 7, 2008

new aceos

"quiet thursday night" - because the best thursday nights are spent drinking cocoa and reading.

"sketch + cafe" - are we sensing a hot drink related theme?

"go fly a kite" - really, go fly one if you can, it always looks like a lot of fun

Thursday, November 6, 2008

self portrait thursday

I had to mark this cold, rainy, cloudy November day with royal blue tights and bright yellow shoes. Colors are the cure for the blahs! The skirt is also one of my new favorites, thrifted for only a $1.5o :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To take a moment...

And express my happiness that this election is finally over. Well almost, we still have a very tight race here in Minnesota for Senate between the incumbent Norm Coleman and Al Franken which right now has Coleman ahead by 500 votes. 500 votes?!?! And people still say that their vote doesn't matter! So this is considered a case for an automatic recount. Additionally, it is reported that some shady things went on in Minneapolis with places running out of voter registration paperwork so this might not be settled for some time.

But I am proud to stand behind our new President-Elect, Barack Obama. I feel confident that we as a country will finally be heading in the right direction. And I finally feel like the rest of the world doesn't look at us like we are complete idiots.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

If I had been a bail-out benefactor...

Then I would make this ensemble mine!!! Still undecided what I would do with the rest of the $27 billion though...

I cannot express my love for this tank. Antifactory probably makes the cutest, most original clothes I have seen on etsy and I would much much rather spend $78 on this than on food. Now if I could only convince hubby on that...

And what would go more beautifully with my new tank than a precious hair clip from RedaretheRoses who makes some of the loveliest little plastic charmed clips and jewelry (clip above is only $12 to boot!)

No outfit is complete without darling shoes and this vintage blue ones are basically perfect - from Solanah, $22

I am so charmed by this little apple clutch and it doesn't require you take out a second mortgage to own it - from kateisgreat80 $35.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Final spinning class

And here is my creation! It's 36 yards of 50/50 merino and tencel. It is super luminous and super soft. I decided to go with this over the bamboo since I am still a bit scared of the slipperiness of it. The merino/tencel seemed to be a good meeting point between a plant based fiber and a wool. But I really like how this came out, I can obviously tell I have gotten better but still have a long way to go. I was really excited too because we were shown how to Navajo ply. It always looked so complicated when I saw it online but really it so easy! I can't wait to try it the next time I spin!

I highly suggest anyone in the metro area interested in spinning or plant dying to take a class with Virginia Parent. She is a staple in the MN Weaver's Guild and offers classes both through them and The Fiber Studio. Not only is she a extremely patient teacher, she knows her stuff so backward and forward - she is a walking dictionary of fiber.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More yarn from spinning class

Not much to write on this one, not super jazzed on how the spinning part went (my yarn kept breaking, so sad!). But I do like the colors and texture. It's all my own fault too for it breaking, I went in over my head a little and started getting crazy with my mixing of fiber. But all I need is practice, practice, practice!!

But for my next class, I think I am going to try bamboo (talk about getting in over your head with spinning). I REALLY love how bamboo looks when it is spun up (as seen in this beautiful example from traditions fiber arts). Plus of course all the good things like it is a vegan yarn, has natural anti-bacterial properties, etc. But after this weekend, I do need to take my spinning hat off and put on my craftin' hat so I can start gearing up for No Coast!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Self portarit thursday

Yay, remembered again this week! I got crazy with the flash last night, experimenting with putting different objects in front of it. This one was using a spool of thread which left a lovely starburst effect.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My weird obsession

So over the past year, I have found myself collecting cameras. Not on purpose really, I just really love the aesthetics of old film cameras and whenever I come across them at thrift stores, I just have to have them. I have two new finds from over the weekend:

This one I am unable to find much information online about. It's a GAF Anscomatic 236, which was primarily used for slide film I think. It no longer works (the spring that operates the shutter it broken) but I still love how it looks. I can imagine Donald Draper (from Mad Men) taking family photos with this thing.

And then this is Ninoka 700 which is basically a plastic toy camera with a fake SLR looking lens. But it still works as far as I can see and I want to find out what kind of pictures it takes. I read that these cameras were everywhere in the 80's as a promotional "free with purchase" type deal but most have been thrown away. So while not rare, I do love that I found one in working order. It even has four different aperture settings, how fancy! And of course for the bargain price of a $1.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yarn and No Coast

I am so enthralled with my wheel spinning class! Last week we practiced with some Bluefaced Leicester. It was just speaking to be dyed with grape kool-aid and to be crocheted into a scarf-let. The charming buttons were taken off an old anthropologie sweater that had become too big. I like spinning with the Leicester, it is softer than corridale and was easier to spin than merino (at least for now, I totally need to get better at spinning merino, it is sooooo soft).

Also, I found out over the weekend that I was accepted into No Coast Craft-o-Rama again this year!! I had such a great time last year that I am honored to be picked again to participate in this year's show. The only down side is that I am now going to be crazy busy for the next five weeks. But if this year is even as half as successful as it was last year for me, I will have more than enough to buy a wheel, whoohoooooo!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If I had $83...

All these etsy lovelies would be mine!

Yes, I love the feather fascinator thing that has popped up recently and I totally need one!! I love this one from topsyturvydesigns, it is different enough to stand out but a deal at $29.

I heart this sweet little mushroom brooch from createitcottage. And another steal for only $16.

This intricate, vintage-y cuff would look great with about 80% of my wardrobe. From peggradyart for $18.

And what would look stellar with all the above? Why this cute vintage dress from reciprocities! I love the buttons and the "U" top stitching detail on the front, $20.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My first yarn from wheel spinning!

Is it pretty? No. Do I love it anyway? Yes.

I don't know why, but I decided a couple weeks ago that I needed to take a spinning class. I have been enjoying my drop spindle but I feel like I have hit a wall with how slow it takes me to spin up any decent amount of yarn. There is a great little fiber shop relatively close to us and they were offering a comprehensive introduction to spinning. Considering that life is short, I figured why not do it?

Well this is my yarn from our first class last night. 90 yards of corridale spun up in about 2 hours. It took a bit to get the hang of using a wheel - there is just so freaking much you have to do all at once! But holy sh*t. When you get the hang of it, it's so fantastic!

I am obviously not a master spinner but I was really proud of what I was able to leave with. And it goes so fast! It would take me 8+ hours to spin 90 yards on my drop spindle. And the zen-like feeling you get when you're in the zone is just great. Although the class is only 2 hours once a week, the owner of the store is letting us come in any time she is open to practice - if I wasn't so busy with the beaner I would be there everyday.

So now I just need to save up $550 for a wheel. Um, yeah - maybe I can win the lottery this weekend?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Totoro, oh Totoro!

Rainy Sunday = Totoro barrette

And I just felt I really needed to add the Totoro song, enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pattern for Bunny Beer Cozy

I am so happy that people like the cozy! I must apologize in advance for my instructions. I have never written up any before and sometimes things might not make sense. PLEASE let me know if something seems wrong!

Also, please do not reproduce this pattern anywhere and please use this pattern for personal use only, not for any commercial or retail purposes. If you ARE interested in selling it, please contact me and I am sure we could work something out!


Yarn: Worsted (I used Sugar n Cream cotton in Ecru - I like how the cotton holds it's shape and works well with any condensation). You should need less that half of a skein.

Hook: G/6 (increase or decrease if needed)

Gauge: after row 3 of body, circle should be about 2 inches across (the same size as the rim along the bottom of a beer/soda can)

if you are unfamiliar with how to start with a magic ring, these are two great resources:

Crochet Me Article
YouTube video by tjw1963


Make a magic ring
Row 1: sc 8 times into magic ring
Row 2: 2 sc in each sc around (16 total stitches)
Row 3: *1 sc, 2 sc in next* repeat 8 times (24 total stitches)
Row 4: *1 sc, 1 sc, 2 sc in next* repeat 8 times (32 total stitches)
Row 5: Sc in BACK LOOPS ONLY (32 total stitches)
Row 6-24: Sc 32
After the end of row 24, slst the next three sts, weave in ends

if you are having a hard time getting the cozy to fit your can snugly, you can play around a little with the # of stitches in row 3. I tried doing one in acrylic and found that I had to take away two of the stitches to make it work (Then I had 30 total. I just did one sc instead of the *2 sc* two times). Then i kept the 30 total stitches in rows 5-24.


Make a magic ring
Row 1: sc 4 times into magic ring
Row 2: 2 sc in each sc around (8 total stitches)
Row 3: *1 sc, 2 sc in next* repeat 4 times (12 total stitches)
Row 4: *1 sc, 1 sctog* repeat 4 times (8 total stitches)

Stuff with fiberfill or fill of your choosing. Sew to body of bunny.

ARMS, make 2:

Make a magic ring
Row 1: sc 4 times into magic ring
Row 2: 2 sc in each sc around (8 total stitches)
Row 3-7: Sc 8

Stuff with a little bit of fiber fill, pinch and sew opening closed. Sew onto body.

EARS, make 2:

Make a magic ring
Row 1: sc 4 times into magic ring
Row 2: *1 sc, 2 sc in next* repeat once (6 total stitches)
Row 3: *1 sc, 1sc, 2 sc in next* repeat once (8 total stitches)
Row 4: *1 sc, 2 sc in next* repeat 3 times (12 total stitches)
Row 5-10: sc 12

Pinch opening closed and pinch corners together. Sew to save this shape. Sew onto body.

Here is a close up of the ear so you can sort of see the pinching:

Decorate face.

That's it! Again, please let me know if you have any issues - I will happily correct mistakes or expand on any confusing areas.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

bunny beer cozy

I got really excited in August when there was a contest on Craftster for cozies. You could fashion any type of cozy you wanted and I thought it would be hilarious to have a cute bunny beer cozy. Well, I got distracted and didn't finish it in time but was proud of myself for coming up with the whole pattern. I used Sugar and Cream cotton in Ecru and used the amigurumi style of crocheting in rounds. I figured the cotton would be good for condensation.

Here is more of him:

Is it creepy that I like squishing his tail? Maybe that was the allure of dressing girls in bunny suits in the long-gone Playboy clubs.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fiber Friday - Mustard and Grape Sandwich

Hooray! I have had this roving for a bit but didn't quite know what I wanted to do with it. Finally I figured I needed a new, funky, colorful scarf to give my new black dress a bit of je ne sais quoi.

80 yards of merino. This is just the first half of the total roving. It's twin will have more purple and taupe, less chartreuse. The purple and taupe also have firestar in the mix so they has this beautiful sheen.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Self Portrait Thursday

I finally remembered to do this today. An extreme close-up of my eye (obviously) but my eye gives away how tired I was today (aka the bloodshot-ness).

Monday, September 15, 2008

new barrette = love

Found this little guy in a larger pattern of a japanese fabric. He just screamed to be made in to a barrette.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama mania!

I won't lie, I am a huge obamaniac and when I saw this awesome lapel pin from DIYorDIE, I totally started coveting it!