January 05, 2010

A Collection a Day, 2010

I don't really do New Year's resolutions, but I really like San Francisco artist Lisa Congdon's idea for 2010: photograph or illustrate a collection every day for the entire year.


At the end of 2010, I hope Lisa compiles all of her collections into a book. I would totally buy that. (I am a big fan of her artwork and have a couple of original pieces in the house.)

July 23, 2009

Painting Le Tour

In our house, July means that the DVR is full of Tour de France recordings. Jon is more of a cycling fan than I am, but since meeting Levi Leipheimer and his lovely wife a couple of years ago — and writing about their Santa Rosa home for the Chronicle — I've been following the race more. I love that artist Rob Ijbema is not only watching the Tour, but creating paintings based on each day's stage.


Check them out at Painting Le Tour. Sadly, the Astana team time trial painting is already sold. I think Jon would have really liked that one.

May 21, 2009

Bird on a Wire

See this birdcage chandelier?


When I first saw it, I thought it was from Anthropologie. But Danny Seo, the genius that he is, created this lighting fixture for just $15! Here's how he did it:

"I took a $9.99 paper lighting fixture from Ikea and ripped off the paper to leave the exposed wire ribs. Then I wrapped it all with chicken wire from Lowe’s, added some branches and a few craft store birds from Michael’s craft store. I chose interesting bulbs (since it’s exposed) and voila! Birdcage chandelier. It was inspired by a $2000 version I saw in an antique store and thought …'I could make that.'"

P.S. You can see more of Danny's makeover of actress Kerry Washington's apartment by clicking on the link above. It's also featured in the June 2009 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine.

May 11, 2009

Sew and Tell

This weekend, I had access to industrial sewing and overlock machines. So, with some excellent guidance/close supervision, I did some sewing for the first time in ... I can't even remember how long! (I haven't used my sewing machine at all since moving nine months ago.) I whipped up this little pillow for the armchair in our guest bedroom:

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The pillow is made with some leftover fabric that was in the workroom, and I can't believe how well the colors in it match with the armchair and ottoman. (You'll have to trust me on that, since the photo is a bit dark.) I think the chair still needs either another pillow (maybe a square one behind the rectangle) or a throw (probably in orange).

I also sewed a pair of curtain panels for the gift-wrap closet, which I'll hopefully be able to share photos of soon. (Just to clarify: There are no windows in the closet. I removed a couple of cabinet doors and decided to replace them with fabric panels. Again, I managed to find the perfect pattern in the workroom.)

January 29, 2009

"You & Me" Valentines

I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, but think Portland artist Bishop Lennon's "You & Me" valentines series is very cool.


Too bad the Macaroni and Cheese already sold! Also worth checking out: Bishop's candy alphabet series. I couldn't resist the "r is for ring pop" painting.

November 18, 2008

Deck the Halls

I love these Martha Stewart Crafts goods — all of which are on sale now:

The favor boxes totally remind me of the Dutch gin houses that KLM gives away.

November 03, 2008

Handmade Hellos

When I heard that sisters Eunice and Sabrina Moyle (of Hello! Lucky) were releasing a crafty book with Chronicle, I knew I had to get one. Anything they're involved with has got to be cool, right? Well, the mailman just delivered my copy and I can't believe how many great artists, designers and craftspeople they collaborated with on Handmade Hellos. Like:

Shim + Sons Everyday Fabric Collage Card

Paper + Cup Library Book Birth Announcement

Foxy & Winston Animal Print Everyday Note

Pancake & Franks Little Accordian Card

Binth Big Number Birthday Card

So many good projects in one book!

October 27, 2008

Wallpaper Mobile

I love this DIY! The folks at Olli & Lime — which has a great line of children's home stuff — posted about this mobile on their blog:


It's made out of triangular pieces of wallpaper. Such a great idea for those scraps left over from various projects!

Also, I am trying to figure out how to incorporate Olli & Lime's "Carrie" wallpaper into my closet:


September 09, 2008

Going Mobile

I am smitten with this paper crane mobile from Cheri Messerli and David Rager's home, which is featured on The Selby:


We have high ceilings in the living/dining room and I would love to make something like this for one of the corners.

August 13, 2008

Amenity Fabric by the Yard

Grace posted today about Amenity's fantastic new holiday collection. While it's a bit early for me to start thinking about stockings and ornaments, I was delighted to find that their online shop now offers fabric by the yard.


July 07, 2008

Inspiration at Anthropologie

It's no secret that I love the displays at Anthropologie, and one of my favorite locations is the Carmel store. We were staying at Pebble Beach for the holiday weekend, so of course I had to pop in and snap a few photos. Sadly, I only had my cell phone with me, so they're not very good.

There was a small wall in the back of the store that had been given a woven treatment. Buying some wide ribbon in bulk could make this a budget-friendly project:


UPDATE: In case you're wondering, the material above is jute upholstery webbing. (Thanks, Anna!)

And this project costs absolutely nothing. Turn some found rocks into tabletop accessories with just a permanent marker and a cool pattern in mind:


June 04, 2008

Pretty Pantry Gifts

At the bookstore last night, I spied this neat kit:


"Pretty Pantry Gifts" includes recipes, cellophane bags, fabric jar toppers, gift tags and other supplies needed to assemble your own batch of homemade jams and sauces.

P.S. The Chronicle ran a great article in last week's Food section about the "fresh wave of home canners."

May 08, 2008

Good Timing

I just received my delivery of Lara Cameron's "Rainy Day" fabric and Amy Butler's laptop cover pattern.

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April 28, 2008

Fresh Paint

I've been meaning to paint the guest room nightstands for a while now, but the winter rains and various vacations left me with just a handful of weekends to work on the project this year. (Yes, this has been in the works since January.)


I think the white is much better in the room than the natural wood, but I feel like there's still plenty more to do in this space!

Other items seen in this photo:

  • That's an Anthropologie knob, previously brass, that I spraypainted (the knobs are no longer available).
  • The tissue box is an older Lotta design; there's a bench cushion in the room that I covered in the same fabric.
  • The vase is the Swallow cup by Cake — only $14! (Flowers courtesy of our garden.)
  • Bedding is an older Dwell pattern/color, with West Elm bolsters. (Bluefly sometimes has the duvet set in stock.)
  • The alarm clock is from Restoration Hardware.
  • The lamp was a clearance item from Garnet Hill, and I added the trim to the shade.
  • And that little upholstered horseshoe on the windowsill is from Hable Construction.

April 22, 2008

From Placemat to Pillow

During our recent trip to London, I stepped foot in Liberty for the first time. While I was wandering around the home accessories floor, I kept wondering how/why I failed to visit this store on previous vacations. In addition to lots of other pretty things, they have an amazing selection of goods made with Josef Frank fabrics. Unfortunately, with the U.S. dollar being what it is now, they were a bit pricey. So I opted for only a couple of small items, including a placemat.

Singular? Just one placemat, you ask? Yes. Because I had a plan to turn that placemat into a pillow. And that's exactly what I did this weekend. Behold:


April 15, 2008

Above the Fold

This post comes with a little story about a girl (me) and a boy (Jon) who, once upon a time, took a Memorial Day weekend road trip down/up Highway 1. Our ultimate destination was Hearst Castle, but along the way, we spent a night in Big Sur. This excursion took place years ago — and I'll be straight with you, I'm not even sure if I had a savings account at that point in time. So we weren't staying anywhere fancy like Ventana or Post Ranch Inn (which is definitely on my list of places to stay someday). No, we were holed up at some roadside motel that had a giant meat cooker rotisserie thing in the parking lot, and was adjacent to a very loud dive bar that seemed to attract a lot of bikers.

The room itself had no TV. And we decided that getting an origami box from the gift shop at Nepenthe — where we had dinner — was a great idea. I still have some of those origami creations that Jon folded together that night.

I guess what I'm getting at here is: Origami is a sentimental favorite in our household. So I couldn't help but smile when I opened up a package yesterday from Chronicle Books and found this:


Creatures & Critters Origami Craft Pad is a kit that includes lots of really cute sheets of paper and instructions for 25 projects. I hear this upcoming weekend is going to be a bit chilly, so I'm looking forward to sitting on the couch with a big pot of tea and doing some folding. (And I'm not just talking about laundry.)

Maybe I'll turn my handiwork into a mobile, like the one Lauren and Derek made for last week's D*S DIY column ...

March 19, 2008

Lotta Prints

Arriving soon at a bookstore near you: designer Lotta Jansdotter's latest guide. This one is called Lotta Prints: How to Print with Anything, from Potatoes to Linoleum.


I hope the instructions in Lotta's new book are as easy to follow as the ones in her sewing book.

February 14, 2008

Lara Cameron Lamps

My new Lara Cameron fabric just arrived today and I cannot wait to make something with these great patterns. Maybe I'll copy her and put together some lamps!


Fantastic, right? And she even has a tutorial for the rest of us to follow.

January 14, 2008

Coming Soon: New Amy Butler Fabrics

Wow. Amy Butler is coming out with a new fabric collection ("Midwest Modern") this Spring. You can check out the bold colors and funky patterns on her site, and below are just a few of the designs:


Also, I just received a few new AB patterns in the mail. And I cannot wait to make the "Anna" tunic.

December 10, 2007

Mid-Century Modern Christmas Village

I love this! The ladies over at Mod Cottage designed these mid-century structures for an updated version of a Christmas village. They even posted the patterns so you can create your own:


I think I might try to make them using paper printed with patterns from the Petit Pattern books.

November 06, 2007

She's Crafty

Sally Shim is one of my craft idols. Seriously. Everything she showcases on her blog is gorgeous and inspiring. Check out this setting she put together for a CHOW feature on Thanksgiving tables:


I totally want to make some of those glass cozies. And a similar table runner. And a little linen-leaf tree. See? I told you she's inspiring.

CRAFT: Apron Contest

Natalie sent over a reminder about this cool Apron Contest that CRAFT magazine is running:

We know there are lots of wonderful homemade aprons out there, and we want to see them. Taunton books has generously offered a copy of Prairie Girl to each of the five winners, and we'll be featuring the aprons in the Curio section of the next issue of CRAFT. Send photographs of the aprons you've been working on to curio[at]craftzine[dot]com by November 12th. (Be sure to include your website or Etsy shop!)

I can't wait to see what people come up with!

October 22, 2007

DIY Garland

I think I might have to pick up some of these Riche Felt Beads at Reprodepot to string together a holiday garland. They come in all sorts of colors.


October 01, 2007

What's Happening

I liked this weekend. On a scale of 1-10, it was an 8.5. (Points were subtracted because I spent most of Sunday in the office.) Cal beat Oregon. I made a bunch of jewelry. My niece turned 12. And I got to catch up with Jill at her art opening.


Speaking of Jill! I'm pleased to announce that I will finally be crafting more blissen products this holiday season. I can't wait! Unfortunately, with my renewed interest in jewelry-making and blissen-goods-making, something has to give around here. So after this month, I'll no longer be an editor at AT:SF. I'll still be writing plenty though — continuing as a contributor over there, blogging here, freelancing for the SF Chronicle, and who knows where else you'll find me in the blogosphere.

August 13, 2007

Japanese Sewing Kits

Have you seen all of the new kits at Reprodepot? Fantastic! The instructions are all in Japanese, but I'm guessing that won't be a problem. You can make all sorts of cool purses, plush animals and plush desserts.

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August 02, 2007

Craft, Inc.

craftinc.jpgSo you know Meg? The brilliant designer/writer who's behind those awesome Mod Economy sales? * Well, she just came out with a brand-new book called Craft, Inc. (yeah, I don't know how she has time to do EVERYTHING either) and you should buy it. Especially if you're an artsy/crafty type who is interested in starting your own business. She interviews all sorts of talented people. People whose work I really admire. Like Lotta Jansdotter, Rena Tom, Mav at Port2Port Press ...

Oh, and is it just me? Or does Chronicle Books have all the best titles these days?

* By the way, if you were at the most recent sale on Saturday, you know it was a big success. I was working at the sale and was floored by the turnout. There were lines to get in, even longer lines to check out. Next time you hear about a Mod Economy sale in your area, GO EARLY.

July 15, 2007

More on Petit Pattern Books

UPDATE, 07/16: JayneAlix wrote to let me know that Amazon is actually carrying some of the books. You just have to search for "Petite Pattern" (instead of "Petit Pattern"). Sweet!

So I dragged Jon to Kinokuniya yesterday morning to track down more of the Petit Pattern books (mentioned in a previous entry). The store staffer I spoke to said that they didn't carry the book — she knew because someone had come by the previous day and asked about them, too. But then she thought, two customers in two days? Maybe she should look into special-ordering the books. And, as she was making her way to the front of the store, she kept repeating the name to herself, "Petit Pattern, Petit Pattern, Petit Pattern." And then, as we were in the "Fine Arts" aisle, she had a lightbulb moment. There, to her right, were five books in the series!

So I picked up the four that I didn't have: "Japanese Style," "Dots and Stripes," "Check and Knit" and "Kids and Toys." I can't wait to start crafting things with all of my new patterns!

And to the person who visited the Kinokuniya last Friday and walked away empty-handed: Go back! The books really are there!

P.S. I was shocked — given how expensive everything in London is — that these books were actually cheaper at the Tate Modern. $30 there versus $40 at Kinokuniya. According to a comment in this CraftZine post, YesAsia has them for $35 with free international shipping. (Unfortunately, I searched and didn't come up with any Petit Pattern books on YesAsia. Maybe my search skills are just lacking here.) UPDATE: Another reader tip indicates that searching by ISBN is the way to go on the YesAsia site. Thank goodness Print & Pattern listed the ISBNs in a recent post.

July 11, 2007

Petit Pattern Books

If you come across any books in the "Petit Pattern" series, you should grab them ALL. Seriously. I wish I had!

The Tate Modern shop had several of them, but I only walked out with one: flowers and leaves. The books feature close to 150 patterns for your perusal. The best part? They come with a CD with all of the patterns in EPS and JPEG formats.

A quick Google search revealed that the books are also available at Kinokuniya stores. Which means I've got to get myself to Japantown asap!

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March 28, 2007

I ♥ Jen Corace

I have one of the prints that Jen Corace did for Tiny Showcase hanging in the guest bedroom. And if this artwork that she created for Art Star Philly's Craft Bazaar was available as a print or poster, I'd totally buy it!


March 13, 2007

Hoop It Up

This project — using embroidery hoops and whatever leftover fabric you might have — has been making the rounds lately (I think I first spotted it on Smarts & Crafts):


The folks at Purl Soho were looking for a good way to display a line of fabric and figured this out. Brilliant! I can't decide whether this is a project better suited for the craft room or the guest bedroom.

Instructions are here.

March 09, 2007

Simple Sewing

lottaI was bummed to get a notice from Amazon that Lotta Jansdotter's "Simple Sewing" isn't available to ship for a few more weeks. The estimate was something like mid- to late-April. But then I did a quick search on Overstock, and it looks like they have the book in stock. And slightly cheaper than Amazon.

The site says that shipping takes "2 days to 3 weeks from the time the item leaves our warehouse." I think Overstock will still beat Amazon's delivery estimate, even if they're on the longer end of that shipping window. So if you're as impatient as me, head over to Overstock! (Or I guess I could've checked my local bookstore, too — for possible instant gratification — but I love my Internet shopping too much.)

I'm really looking forward to sewing up some potholders, oven mitts, aprons ... Okay, I guess pretty much everything in the book. I've been saving up my Superbuzzy fabrics so I can use them for Lotta projects.

February 16, 2007

Apple Coin Purse

My Tall Poppy Craft order arrived yesterday, so I rushed home after work to sew up a little coin purse with the (now sold out) apple fabric from Superbuzzy:


As cute as it is, I think the fabric may be a little too thin for a coin purse. I'll have to do some experimenting with some other patterns in my fabric stash.

February 01, 2007

New Travel Tissue Packs

Back in stock at blissen: tissue packs (made by me). $8.


January 31, 2007

Making the Cut

Look what I made in my laser-etching/cutting class last night!


Using clear Plexi, I etched the letters and then cut a rectangle around them. I know, pretty amateur, but now that I've learned the basics, I can go back to the workshop whenever I want and make more advanced stuff!

P.S. That's a Jill Bliss notebook underneath the Plexi. (Holly: Thanks for the notebook!)

January 22, 2007

Craft: Magazine, #2

02The new issue of Craft hits newsstands this week! I've barely had a chance to flip through it, but already I want to sew the Fitz Patterns cape, make some repurposed house slippers, and create felted fruits and veggies.

The first issue was fantastic, so if you didn't get around to picking up a copy in the stores, you can order it online. (Back in November, the SF Chronicle ran a story on my attempts at several of the projects in the debut issue.)

January 18, 2007

Sew Good

I am definitely pre-ordering this book!


Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects is scheduled for release on March 1. (And, no, that title couldn't possibly be any longer.)

By the way, have you seen Lotta's blog?

January 09, 2007

Knitted Nigiri



The photo is from the MagKnits site, where you can also find instructions to knit your own platter of sushi.

BTW, did you know that Twinkle by Wenlan now sells yarn?

December 20, 2006

Kim Family Benefit

Stephanie has started posting previews of some of the handmade pieces that will be auctioned in next month's Kim Family Benefit. It's truly a reminder of how creative and generous people can be.

November 24, 2006

Afternoon Tea (and Trees)

When I left for work this morning, the car was telling me that the temperature was in the mid-30s. For the Bay Area, that is cold. Really cold.

I spent the morning drinking hot cider and hot chocolate in my cubicle. And, after the office closed early, I hurried home so I could make a big pot of tea, sit down in front of the TV, and sew up some soft trees. A very cozy afternoon after a very chilly start to the day.


November 22, 2006

A Tree Grows

Yay! Stephanie has kindly shared her pattern for making fabric trees. I cannot wait to sew a few for the holidays. I'm thinking they would be cool as part of a dining table centerpiece? I especially like that little kids at the table won't be able to do any damage with them.

She's Crafty

So about a month or two ago, I made a comment on this very blog about how "ridiculously awesome" it is to get paid to write about shopping. And it is. But you know what ranks right up there? Getting paid to write about crafts. Oh, and in the process, getting paid to actually make the crafts.

Today's SF Chronicle includes my article about Craft magazine. I tested out three of the projects featured in the publication: the re-upholstered light switch plate; the wood and Plexiglas frame; and the custom paint-by-numbers kits. Two of the finished projects are featured in the photos accompanying the article. (The bit that I wrote on the switch plate was actually edited out almost entirely.)

The Jen Corace print is from Tiny Showcase (I love that site)

That's Jon's parents' dog, Dulce

Craft is packed with more great ideas. Since it's a quarterly, the debut issue should be on the newsstands until at least January. I highly recommend picking up a copy.

November 20, 2006

Book It

In case you haven't already picked up Amy Sedaris' I Like You, fred flare is now offering autographed copies of the book. Only 75 are available.


November 18, 2006

Going to the Gym

The Craft Gym, that is. (I haven't stepped foot in any kind of fitness facility in maybe seven years?)

I dragged Jon into SF today to check out the local Craft Mafia's first-ever trunk show, held at the Craft Gym. It was so crowded! Very cute handmade stuff. And we got to visit (briefly) with one of my favorite crafters, Jill Bliss.

For those unfamiliar with the Gym, it's this awesome place where you can take all sorts of arts and crafts classes — too many for me to list, so definitely peruse the listings on their web site. Maybe a new skill or two can be picked up in time for holiday gift-making.

November 11, 2006

A Handmade Holiday

If you're like me and planning to handcraft a lot of your holiday decor and gifts, then check out the special Martha Stewart issue, Holiday: Handmade Gifts. I'm definitely going to make a couple of knitted pouches and personalized canvas totes this year.


P.S. I wore my new rainboots for the first time today, and am happy to report that they are quite comfy.

November 08, 2006

Paper Chains

Remember back in grade school, when you made those paper chains in art class? Strips of construction paper were taped or stapled together to create a chain?

Well, the cover of the new Garnet Hill catalog reminded me that paper chains can be a very grown-up and sophisticated way to deck your halls and walls this holiday season:


With patterned paper or ribbon like the ones above, this could easily be a year-round decorating idea.

November 06, 2006

Blissen Newbies

Lately, I have been so inspired by crafty sites like Little Birds and Shim+Sons. Plus, the holidays usually put me in the mood for making things. So last week, I finally finished up a couple of new blissen products:



And Jill has a bunch of awesome new goods, too. My favorite is her ornament/sachet:


In our house, we opt for a fake Christmas tree, so hanging a few of Jill's sachets — which are filled with redwood tree needles — will at least give us the real-tree smell. So cool.

November 02, 2006

Crafty Candy Wrappers

I stopped in at Anthropologie today during my lunch break and was delighted to see that their holiday decor is up. They have some of THE best store and window displays. There's this craftiness to their displays that makes them seem replicable in your own home. For example, they're currently featuring random pieces of green carpeting that mimic patches of grass, with fabric leaves scattered on them. You can sort of make them out in this camera-phone picture:


And, yes, that's a chocolate bar with a knitted wrapper! Cute, but not worth $14. I was thinking this would be a great idea to borrow if you're hosting a holiday party and planning to hand out favors.

November 01, 2006


Since I had some leftover fabric from my banner project, I decided to stitch together a little chicken:


But when sewing a stuffed animal from scratch just ain't happening, Egg Press comes to the rescue. They're now offering two new stuffed animals kits, Scoots and Hoots. These critters join Frank in Egg Press' growing DIY kit collection.

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