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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

christmasy ornaments

I'm gonna take a few days off from blogging in order to eat and spend time with family. Have a Happy Holiday, where ever you are!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

it's the most busiest time of the year!

If you are my mother, stop reading!! Right now!

This month has absolutely flown by. Between closing my show and crafting for the holidays, I haven't had a free minute. Chris and I did, however, make it to the 60's Twister Christmas party, and dressed the part:

60's Twister Christmas Party

My dress is vintage, and I think I am officially, completely obsessed with sheer sleeves. I think this dress might make another appearance on Christmas. If you couldn't guess, neither of us actually played Twister, due to injuries sustained earlier in the day from taking down the set from our play. So consider us dressed as the "chaperons" of the party. 

photo by Emily Hoskins

Last night I finished my mother's Christmas sweater vest! I knit this sucker in just under a week, and I'm pretty proud, considering I didn't have much free time.

mum's sweater vest

Excuse the poor "blocking" picture. The dreary weather makes for some sad pictures. But it's done, and I'll do a full break down of the pattern soon.

Still left to do - buy a few more small things, make a few small things, and wrap EVERYTHING. Wish me luck! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Sew Mama, Sew giveaway! Extra thanks to those of you who are new followers or said you'd book mark my blog and stop by later. Always nice to have new friends!

holly brooch

It was so fun to read through all 215 comments. I loved hearing about your holiday traditions and stories. So many good ideas, and some really funny stories.

Without further ado, random.org tells me that the winner of the ornament is Sandy and the winner of the brooch is Kim

If you didn't win and would like to purchase a holiday ornament or brooch, please stop by my etsy shop. Anything that is ordered this weekend will be shipped on Monday. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's the day of the (holiday) Giveaway, y'all!

Another giveaway, you ask?! Tis true! 

Once again, I am participating in Sew Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day (Welcome, new readers - I'm Katie, nice to see you!). Myself and hundreds of other generous bloggers will be giving away goodies all week, so click the image below for more details.


Now on to what I am giving away!

Holiday Ornaments!

There will be two winners, chosen at random. Winner #1 will win their choice of felt holiday ornament (pictured above, more pictures on my flickr and in my etsy shop). 

Winner #2 will win their choice of felt brooch, below. Please note that I will make these to order, so you can pick and choose which styles and colors you like. 

a gaggle of felt brooches

To enter, simply leave a comment and make sure your email address is somewhere in there. The giveaway will close at 9am on December 17th, and I'll pick two winners at random at that time. I will ship internationally, but please note that I cannot guarantee that your prize will get to you before Christmas - sadface. 

Ps. If you want to make my day, in your comment you could also share some sort of holiday story or tradition or anecdote! Good luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

on the Doctor and felt...

If you are my sister, do not look below! Don't do it!

I have a confession: I like geek television shows. Anything sci-fi or fantasy, I love it. I'll save you the list for now and just say that Chris and I are currently watching Season 2 of Doctor Who on Netflix. Thanks to my habit of watching nerdy TV while knitting or sewing, my coffee table has been turned into making-central:

holiday making central

I've been doing pretty well on the gloves. Hopefully I'll finish those up this weekend and then tackle the sweaters. In between that, I've been making felt ornaments for some etsy orders, and doing a few other present type projects.

Do you see those little felt roses up there? Those were discarded from a project (just didn't work), and now I'm thinking of turning them into a little brooch. It's a little bit holiday, but also could be worn year round. I'll keep you updated on that. 

So back to Doctor Who. I'm watching it for the first time, and I have to say, there is a lot of yelling and screaming. It's a very loud show. It seems like every episode has a crowd scene where a large amount of people are attacked and have to run screaming while guns are being fired. And for that reason, I think it will never be one of my favorite shows. I like my panic a little more creative. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

a holiday check list

It finally snowed in Chicago.

frosty in Chicago

Saturday I woke up to a ton of snow, and it's been about 20 degrees ever since. But I'm not letting the cold weather get to me. I'm all about the holiday spirit and I kicked it into high gear with the Christmas present-making and decorating. 

My holiday to-do list includes:

- knit a sweater vest for my mom
- make a few tree decorations with felt and lace (inspired by EmilyDanielle & Mandi)
- knit a cardigan for my great aunt
- figure out what to wear to a holiday Twister-themed party (I'm thinking 60's mini dress with leggings)
- make these yummy cherry bombs from Emma's blog, From Scratch (perhaps to take to Twister Party?)
- figure out a way to wrap presents using stuff I have around the house (I will share my ideas with y'all!)

I'm not worried. I'll totally get it all done. Especially the knitting. I can totally knit two sweaters in like two weeks. (Does sarcasm work over the internet?)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

HUMbug - Tom Kurzanski's cute cards

If you're looking for your Christmas cards, look no further!


I loooove this Humbug card, drawn by Tom Kurzanski. In addition to being my friend, Tom is a pretty funny guy and a talented cartoonist. You can find his drawings all over the web - he draws the web comic Post Apocolyptic Nick and he recently offered some adorable baby shower downloads at Sew Mama, Sew! (aka my favorite website ever). 

Click over to his etsy shop and check out the other cards. In addition to the Humbug, I'm partial to the Abe Nog.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy December!

I feel like December is really winter. November is just like - "maybe it will snow, but hopefully not." Once I went to the beach in November in Chicago, so really, I will probably never be able to take it seriously ever again. I mean - I swam. in. the. lake. So yeah, November is not winter.

a cold winters day

But December - it's cold. 

And on that note - the giveaway! Thank you to everyone who entered - reading your stories was amazing. Random.org tells me the winner is...


Jingle, I'll email you today about the particulars!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

still life with chips

I wanted to share these felt lunches I've been making for the store around the corner, Sacred Art. Now that I've got my pattern down, they are pretty quick to sew up. My lunch includes a sandwich, a bag of chips, an "oreo" cookie, and a brown "paper" bag. 

still life with chips

I'm sure you've seen a ton of these around the interwebs and my version is heavily inspired by others. I find it really interesting that making felt food has become so popular. I suppose it's because felt is easy to work with and comes in bright colors.

a felt lunch

Either way, I think I should take some serious still life pictures of my felt food, arranged just so to look extra appetizing. Maybe a Cooking Light recipie made up of felt? Any suggestions?

Ps. Still time to enter the giveaway!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Giveaway!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! I had a deliciously huge meal with my friends, spent some time with my family, performed a few shows, and sewed a lot of ornaments

a huge pile of Christmas ornaments

To kick off the holiday frenzy, I would like to giveaway an ornament to a lucky reader - Whoohoo! You can see the available styles above and in my shop

To enter, just comment here with your favorite holiday tradition or memory and I'll pick one winner on Wednesday, December 1st!

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Black Friday!

It is the biggest shopping day of the year or whatever! Huzzah! I'm celebrating by working from home in my pajamas and updating my Etsy shop. You can now find all my holiday ornaments there, as well as the Girl Scout Totes aaaannnndddd....

Santa's Mustache

A new mounted mustache! That's right - it's Santa's mustache! 

To celebrate this festive holiday weekend - all new items in the shop have free shipping. And especially for my blog readers - if you enter the code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout, you'll get an extra 10% off everything. Whoohoo!

Monday, November 22, 2010

the weekend in numbers

Number of:

hats knit - 4

five hats

ornaments cut out - 53
ornaments sewn - 10

felt heart ornament

ornaments still to be sewn - 43

shows done - 5
glasses of opening night champagne drunk - 2

And He Flew Over the Forest
windows broken - 1

the broken window!

bricks used - 1

hours slept - not enough!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's the Holiday Season!

First and foremost, I want to show you the ornaments I've been sewing for local shops. My very favorite ornament is the white heart with the blue and red stitching. After a little brainstorming session with my bff, I've come up with 5 or 6 other designs that I plan to make up in the next day or two.

Holiday Ornaments!

I'm not sure why I'm drawn to felt again and again. I think it was one of the very first materials I ever worked with around age 8. Although I've explored a lot of other fabrics and fibers and techniques - it usually comes back to this. And things like this are what people respond to, which has always surprised me. Maybe it's the simplicity? I'm not sure, but I'm happy to keep at it.

Secondly - I wanted to confess that it's always been hard for me to focus on just one art. I have always wanted to do it all, and because of this sometimes I think I've missed out on perfecting a skill. In the past week I've made about 50 felt things - ornaments, brooches, magnets - and it's been interesting. Interesting and exhausting. I'm not used to working like this and it's wearing me down. But it's also given me a new perspective, which I think is a good thing. 

Thirdly - I'm going to do a big holiday Etsy update next week in time for ye olde Black Friday, in which these felt things will be included, as well as my tote bags. December, here we come!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Countdown to Opening

My play, And He Flew Over the Forest, opens in two days, and I couldn't be more excited. 

And He Flew Over the Forest - The Lay of the Land

I created this map of the fantasy world for the program, and I think I missed my calling. I should have been fantasy cartographer. I was on a deadline for this map, so it's not perfect, but I can see many fantastical maps in my future. Creating each little detail was too much fun! 

If you're in the Chicago area, I would love for you to come see my show. Information here or leave a comment and I'll email you. 

Ok, regular crafty business will resume tomorrow. I've been busy with rehearsal, but I've got a few things up my sleeve, including some holiday updates!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

felt inspiration

While clicking around in Flickr-land, I came across this work in progress by Olivia, who blogs at Young Captive.

dresses i didn't buy

She titles it "Dresses I Didn't Buy," and I love it. I mean - serious love happening over here. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

busy weekend...

This weekend I:

Alphonso & friends

Made a toadstool & his little buddies.

many owls (and three holly brooches)

Began the Christmas crafting in earnest. From top to bottom: Owl ornaments, brooches, magnets & holly brooches. How gross is my ironing board cover? Time to put this tutorial to good use!

new hair!

Got a new head of hair. It's for the show and it is much darker than I anticipated. Luckily, it makes my eyes look supernaturally blue, and Holly just posted this guide to keeping your very red hair very red!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What I've been up to...

Please excuse this break from your regularly scheduled (crafty) program:

Studebaker Promotional
Taken for a show I was in last fall - I'm on the left.

For those of you who don't know, I'm also an actor. For the past three months, I've been writing and rehearsing a completely original new show, "And He Flew Over the Forest." The show opens next Thursday, so the past week has been a bit crazy. All of this is part of my theater company, Brain Surgeon Theater (Click on that, because I also made our website! See, that counts as making something, right?). 

If you're in the Chicago area, you should come out and see me. Heck, it's for people of all ages, so you can even bring your kiddos! Comment on this post if you want more info and I'll send you an email.  

I promise it will be good - I get a sword, so c'mon, that's a recipe for success!

Ps. Shout out to MafiosaGrrl, who correctly guessed that Chris and I dressed up as the Oregon Trail! You're the best!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

From Chris & I : Happy Halloween!

Halloween!

Can you guess what we are? I'll give you two hints: 

1. The theme of the party was "inappropriately sexy costumes"
2. The card on my dress said "Katie has dysentery. What do you want to do?
 - Keep going 
- Rest for 1 day 
- Rest for 3 days

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More Halloween - The Movies

If you didn't notice, I love Halloween. And part of this is Halloween movies - I'm not talking about horror movies, here. I'm talking about silly Halloween/creepy/witch-themed works of cinematic genius.

1. Hocus Pocus. A childhood favorite that I must watch every year. When the three main witches are played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, you cannot go wrong. The dialog is priceless - 90's cultural references spoken in "ye olde English" - and the historical elements always intrigued me as a child. This movie is funny, smart, and still enjoyable 17 years later.


2. Teen Witch. Before there was Sabrina the Teenage Witch, there was Teen Witch. My sister and I used to watch this movie on the Disney channel (where it was vigorously edited) and it is completely ridiculous. Quick run down for those of you who >gasp!< haven't seen it - A nerdy girl named Louise turns 16 and becomes a witch. She uses her powers to become popular, but then discovers she just wants to read a book! The cliches are endless, the songs are so terrible, but somehow it all adds up to something awesome. Extra memorable: at one point Louise uses her powers to give her friend sweet rap skills, which Kenneth paid homage to on 30 Rock:


3. The Nightmare Before Christmas. If you haven't seen this brilliant movie, get thee to a movie store! One of Tim Burton's most famous, TNBC is suitable to watch any time from October til Christmas. It's truly creepy ("I am the clown with the tear-away face" is a lyric in the opening song), but strangely vulnerable. And the songs are great. Did you notice I love a good song?


Do you have a favorite Halloween movie? I would love to know about it - I have Netflix, people! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It is Halloween! (halloween! halloween!)

Oh, man, it's hit me hard: Halloween. I get so excited - the costumes, the decorations, the candy!

Luckily, I am not the only one:

Elsie from A Beautiful Mess is having a Halloween blog celebration (with guests!) - including crafts, recipies & giveaways! A lot of giveaways! My favorites so far are these cute ghosties:


And these yummy looking Spiced Caramel Buttons:


More yummy treats - Pumpkin Bread Pudding from Emma at From Scratch.


And Meringue Bones made by Amy of Angry Chicken.


Adorable costumes are popping up already, including this Ever After giveaway from Kathleen at Grosgrain:

Yes, she is giving this away!

Dogs in costumes at Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade, via Gala Darling


Mena from Sew Weekly turned her daughther, Penelope, into a miniature Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. 


And Emily Martin of The Black Apple has been working on some awesome costume-inspired prints. I like this one - "Arrow Head." 


We are having a party on Saturday, and there is much to do before then: finish costumes, make delicious treats & carve pumpkins!

(all photos linked to original owners, please visit them and tell them how lovely they are)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bunnies!

It's Friday and I have a looong weekend ahead of me. If you ask me - that's the perfect time for a small bunny video:


Don't worry - I won't go all crazy bunny lady on you. But sometimes - you can't resist the cute! Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Crafty Wares - Now Available in Stores!

Exciting news!

brooches ready to go!

My work will now be sold at Sacred Art here in Chicago. Sacred Art is a shop that carries art from local, emerging artists. I'm in good company - Ork Posters & Spinal Fusion are two of my favorites. 

coasters ready to go!

I spent Sunday afternoon tagging & pricing - very professional!

set of two - yellow

I made two sets of stacking Felt & Fabric Boxes especially for Sacred Art. Let me tell you - I had a hard time letting those yellow ones go. 

set of two - green

So if you're local or visiting - stop by Sacred Art at 4619 N Lincoln Ave and check it out.

Ps. I've been tweaking the blog layout a bit, so you can also click on the "Shop" link above for this info. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fois Bois Book Case - the eternal diy project

Whew. This project. I thought it was going to take a Saturday afternoon - and it ended up taking two weeks. Whoops. 

I started with a basic bookcase that my dad made when I was about a year old. I took it with me to college and painted it yellow, which does not fit in with my current decorating scheme.

It all began with stripping the yellow paint.

stripping the yellow paint

After spending a million hours scraping old paint off while crying and sweating, it was ready for the new coat of paint. I painted the whole thing a basic light brown. I believe it is called "Hazelnut."

After the Hazelnut was all dry, I drew a basic fois bois pattern on a piece of contact paper and then started cutting. I didn't bother using any "negative" space in my drawing - I just spaced the contact paper out on the bookcase. This made for a nice stencil.

the contact paper "stencil"

Then I painted two coats of dark brown paint, and topped the whole thing with a matte sealer. It probably would have been faster to use spray paint - but it is ILLEGAL in Chicago. Lame. 

pretty much finished

And finally, two weeks later, here it is in my entry way (note the mail basket - very helpful!):

finally in place!

Only took two weeks. Sigh. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

The fruits of my screen printing - Felt Coasters

grey & yellow coasters

In addition to the Girl Scout totes, I screen printed these coasters. You may remember them from a few months ago. They've been done for awhile - but I wanted to reveal all the screen printed stuff at one time - so "Ta Dahhh!"

pink & grey coasters

They're backed with vintage fabric, and even though they suggest eating, I'd say they're pretty good for drinking (please don't eat felt). 

gold & green coasters

I bought the grey wool felt with this project in mind, but didn't know how it would work, so I bought some acrylic felt for the test run. Ahem! I mean "recycled" felt. Both variations worked great!

coasters all tied up

Why the "Eat Me" design, you ask? Well, #1 - cake is delicious. And #2 - I originally came up with this design when my theater company did an Alice in Wonderland - themed fundraiser. I had big plans to sell Alice-themed crafty wares, but that didn't really pan out. My screen printing class gave new life to the old idea!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Music of the Month :: Sufjan Stevens

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the enigmatic Sufjan Stevens


I would say he is one of my top-10-favorite musicians of all time. I'm highlighting him now because his brand new album, The Age of Adz, was just released on Tuesday. I've been listing to it non-stop for the past two weeks, courtesy of NPR. I heartily recommend it.


Stevens is mostly known for a folksy style - he plays the banjo a lot (do you see a trend with my musical preference?). But on this new album, he explores a more technical sound, to great success.


Although I can't stop listening to this new album, I think my favorite is still Illinois. I used to listen to it while biking around Chicago - perfection.