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Posts Tagged ‘etsy’

A Brief Word on Japan Relief

You have any number of ways to contribute to relief efforts in Japan, and in no way do I want to discourage you from sending some cold hard cash to The American Red Cross or the well-rated, legitimate organization of your choice. But I do want to direct you to some of the interesting ways that crafters and artists are raising money to be sent to Japan.

Quilts for Quake Survivors is a group in Portland that is both sewing log cabin quilts and distributing fabric to be sewn into warm quilts. These quilts will either be sold, with the proceeds sent to appropriate organizations supporting the efforts in Japan, or sent directly to survivors. You can send fabric, pieced blocks or cash donations, or you can organize a quilting bee in your area.

Handmade for Japan is an online auction of items by accomplished artists that starts tonight and runs through Sunday night.

Of course, people on Etsy are donating part or all of the proceeds of various items to Japan relief. In addition to fabric for the quilters and some cash of my own, I plan to donate the purchases of this striped wool hat and my Very Manly coffee sleeves. (Now would be a good time to stock up on presents!)

What I Made This Week

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I’ve been making more pincushions. I’ve just listed two and will list two more this weekend. Here’s a sneak peek:

blue vines pincushion

kaffe fassett pincushion
That said, I’m in a bit of a creative rut. I love my pincushions, but branching out into other dishes has been a frustrating exercise in getting all the sizing exactly right. (Not to mention that Mr. Apparently brought home more St. Marcellin and I accidentally dropped the dish on the floor, shattering it.) I’ve knit two hats this week but my yarn stash is not calling out with any brilliant ideas. How do you get over a dip in creativity? Do you set aside the making of things for a while, or do you plow right through and keep making stuff even if you’re not inspired?

Front Page of Etsy!

Yesterday a friend sent me a message that one of my pincushions was on the front page of Etsy. Then I discovered her second message, saying that oops, not exactly, just in her “items you may like” section, which pulls items from shops you’ve favorited. Ah well, it was a nice rush for a minute.

front page of etsy

I woke up this morning to discover 41 new hearts in my activity feed and immediately rushed to Craft Cult to sleuth out what had generated all this attention. Aha! Last night my “Very Manly Coffee Sleeves” had truly made it to the front page!

very manly coffee sleeves

The funniest part of all is that when I told Mr. Apparently, he said, “You know, I was on Etsy last night, and I saw your sleeves there, but I thought it was the same thing that had happened earlier.”

Thanks to ThatOldBlueHouse2 for including me in a treasury that made it to the front page!

What I Made This Week, Part I

Pincushions. I don’t what it is about these little guys, but I love making them.

dragonfly pincushion

These pincushions happened, by the way, because we eat too much cheese. St. Marcellin comes in little terracotta dishes, and we had at least a dozen in the kitchen cabinet. I was musing on some way to re/upcycle, and these little pincushions evolved. I’m rather hoping that people will consider them as Valentine’s Day gifts, or even better, little gifts to oneself for being such a dedicated/risk-taking/curious sewist.

Venetian marbleized pincushion

I particularly like this last one, made from an old teacup that a friend was clearing out of her china cabinet. I’d like to make all sorts of things from vintage teacups, but they’re not easy to find at a reasonable price in NYC. One day antiquing in Minnesota or Vermont would turn up enough teacups to craft for a year!

teacup pincushion

Speaking of which, please let me know if you have a source for the cheese dishes, or something very much like them. At $8 per cheese, this is not a sustainable habit.

Giveaway Day, Revisited

Remember Giveaway Day? I was so pleased to send a handmade needle book and a pack of charm squares to a lovely woman in Wisconsin.

luxe yarn

And as luck would have it, I won a giveaway myself! Inspired Mama, who also has a Etsy shop, sent me a gorgeous skein of beautiful hand-dyed wool and silk yarn in deep reds and purples. It arrived last night in a perfectly wrapped package along with two charming fabric buttons that I forgot to photograph. She was also kind enough to send a coupon code to share with you, so if you’d like your own Inspired Mama yarn, you can enjoy 10% off any yarn subscription (that’s one or two skeins a month for three months) by using code NEWYEAR2011. The code is good through February 1. Knitters take note: this is lovely yarn. Thanks, Inspired Mama!

edited to add: here are the buttons!

buttons

Weird Etsy Find: My Pincushions?

pincushion

My potted pincushions have been described as charming, lovely, unusual and just plain cute. But Etsy user jarabas has deemed them strange, in herĀ treasury of strange items. I’m totally flattered, but in my book a round pincushion isn’t half as strange as a needle felted eye or a subcutaneous magnoliopsida.

Strange As It Ever Was by jarabas on Etsy.

Weird Etsy Find: “Robot Heart”

I don’t want to sound cynical. I try to find the positive in most things. But after ten years in and around the advertising industry, I’m fairly adept at negotiating the fine line between spin and spit.

So if this seller thinks I’m going to pay $65 for a rusty piece of red metal “that got dug up near the barn,” he’s crazy. And if you give it to your beloved as an alternative to an engagement ring…then you’re crazy.

robot heart?

Seriously?

Giveaway Day!

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to #185, Jeanne, who won!

giveaway day

The lovely ladies at Sew Mama Sew! have organized their semi-annual Giveaway Day, and I’m delighted to take part again. Thank you for all your helpful comments back in May!

Needle Book and Charm Pack

One technique I grew particularly fond of this year was patchwork. I tend to save all my little bits and pieces, and I enjoy watching how my brain starts to make visual sense of the various colors and patterns that collect in my scrap drawer. I gravitate towards organizational projects: buckets, bags, pincushions…andĀ this adorable needle book pattern from Patchwork Posse (which I first saw during Sew Mama Sew’s stash buster month).

To win this handmade needle book, along with a charm pack of 42 5″x5″ squares from the various projects I’ve made this year, just visit my Etsy shop, Petite Legume, and leave a comment on this post telling me which item is your favorite. (If you “favorite” it on Etsy, too, I’d be so very appreciative, but it’s not required.)

The needle book contains 4 double-sided eco-felt pages and secures with an elastic around a vintage metal button.

And if your holiday shopping needs a kick in the pants, please use coupon code APPARENTLY2010 for 10% off anything in my Etsy shop. Happy holidays!

The Fine Print: This giveaway will remain open until 6pm EST on Friday, December 17. The winner will be chosen by random number generator and will be contacted by email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen at random. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, with apologies to those who live elsewhere, but if you’d ever had to wait in line at my local post office, you’d understand.

Crafting Like It’s 1978

rings

Click for a closer view

You know what I loved as a kid? Shrinky Dinks. I think they were second only to stained-glass suncatchers as a crafty activity. Why was I so drawn to crafts that required melting stinky plastic in the toaster oven?

Many years later, I’ve discovered Shrinky Dinks again, thanks to Etsy and the blogosphere, although now that I’m a grown-up I’m probably supposed to refer to the material as “shrink plastic.” These Etsy sellers make lovely rings, and these two sites demonstrate how supposedly easy it is to make them. Can you see where this is going?

I have now spent three two-hour naptimes playing around with shrink plastic (in addition to several hours sourcing materials and scouring the web for tutorials), and this is what I’ve learned so far:

  • Grafix inkjet shrink plastic does not work very well.
  • Shrinky Dinks brand inkjet shrink plastic works considerably better. I bought the opaque white.
  • Neither is much fun during the shaping process. You have about four seconds to work with the hot plastic before it hardens, and it’s nearly impossible to get any control if you’re wearing oven mitts. So I took them off. Plastic gloves were useless. One could probably use the thin cotton gloves used in darkrooms, but I can’t find ours. My fingers feel just the tiniest bit burned.
  • Take off any metal bracelets before you go sticking your arms repeatedly into a hot oven.
  • A toaster over would probably be easier, as it contains the heat in a smaller area and you could work on the counter right in front of the oven. But we have a pop-up toaster.
  • You can reheat your project a few times before it gets discolored and cranky. The Grafix shrink plastic showed more damage quickly and the image deteriorated.
more rings

Click for a closer view. That's my fifth-anniversary ring on the bottom. It's wood and titanium.

Even under the best conditions, my rings did not end up smooth and round and lovely. Even when all the parts lined up properly and I was able to form the ends quickly around a wooden dowel, the rings look wonky. If you look at the shrink plastic rings on Etsy, they tend to look great from the front and uneven from the top. They are also really light and feel like, well, plastic. This makes them fun, but not really sale-able. I had been hoping this would be my quick-and-easy craft for my annual local craft fair, but that is just not going to happen.

If you’re feeling experimental and resourceful, however, see what you can make from your scraps. I had a box of straight sewing pins nearby and discovered that little flowers make charming pin heads! I had much more fun drawing these little freehand flowers with a sharpie and coloring them in with colored pencils. They bake up in seconds and require no shaping. I also tried printing flower images onto the inkjet plastic; those are the larger ones. They’re cute, too, but I like the freehand flowers better. So there’s my silver lining.

pins

pins!

If you have ideas as to what else I can make with my shrink plastic, please leave them in the comments! I have a few more sheets of the opaque white inkjet and 10 sheets of frosted non-inkjet. (I plan to sell/trade the rest of the Grafix inkjet sheets, so if you’re interested even after my lukewarm review, let me know. Maybe others have had great success with them?)

What I Made This Week, or Several Weeks Ago

I’m behind on sharing my crafty output, as I’m slightly frustrated with my photos lately…

Two weeks ago we visited friends at their country house upstate. This upholstery fabric just kept saying “table runner,” and something about “country house” insisted “table runner” as well, and so I made this lovely table runner with matching coasters. It’s about 4 feet long and the panels to the left are all blues.

table runner

Another custom order of two pincushions became three because that’s what you do when your mother likes your stuff. (In general, I tend to include little presents in with my orders.) I’ve started packaging them in handmade origami boxes and plan to update my Etsy listings with photos of the boxed pincushions. I still love this design and would make nothing else…except they aren’t selling. That’s okay – I will use them!

petite legume pincushions

Also completed: one green striped cotton knit hat, one mustard and teal striped wool knit hat, six tassels and a bunch of quick capes for preschool. As fall approaches, I’m starting to knit again. Can’t wait to finish a pair of gloves (Ravelry link) – for me!