New Items for the Holiday Season

I’ve finally finished photographing my last few items that I created for the holiday season and posted them in the shop.

Bike Mini Notebooks

I thought these would make a nice stocking stuffer for all the bike lovers out there. I also thought that since I’ll be selling in Brooklyn bikes had a good chance of selling well.

2013 Calendar

I thought calendars would be a great option for the shop, but it turned out to be a bigger project than I anticipated. I designed and printed out each of the months, and then went and hand embroidered each design on the top half of the card. However, what I didn’t think through was that each image is the time equivalent of a card (more actually) and so I won’t be able to make many of these. I have an initial version that didn’t work out color-wise that my sister has already laid claim to!

D.I.Y. Embroidery Kit

This is a product I’ve been working out the kinks on for awhile. I wanted to create a kit so that anyone could make their own embroidered project without the headache of lining up and punching out your design.

I settled on a design of two concentric circles and included instructions so that people would have some flexibility to be creative with the designs. I felt that some degree of customization was important since part of the fun of D.I.Y. is putting your own personal touch on the item.

So that is the very last of my new products for the holiday season. I have a couple of things that I don’t plan on listing on Etsy, that I’m holding back specially for the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade. We’ll see if I get a chance to photograph them!

Craft Show Card Display

I have my first craft show coming up and I’m pretty excited and nervous. I’m trying to counteract the nervousness by being as prepared as possible.

One huge difference between selling live and selling online is that you need to totally rethink the way you display things. For my Etsy shop I do my best to take nice photographs, but since my items are all 2D I just show them flat on a plain background. For my table I needed to figure out a way to display my items vertically so that shoppers walking by can actually see what I’m selling.

I had two major restrictions on my display, it needed to fold flat for ease of transportation/storage and be relatively cheap. Since I’m new to the whole craft show scene I’m not quite ready to commit to a large investment until I have a better idea of what works and how often I’ll be doing these shows.

I did a lot of searching on flickr’s Show Me Your Booths group and found a lot of really nice displays. Many displays use a spinning rack, like you see in stores, or tiered wood racks. Unfortunately both of these solutions violate my criteria of being cheap and relatively flat. Another common theme I saw was the use of clothespins and string to display flat items. I really loved this display by Your Secret Admiral, where she uses a wood frame to hang strings and then pins her cards with mini clothespins.

With this idea I headed to Michaels to try to find some way to create a base and stand for my clothespin card display. After a failed attempt with buckets of stones and sticks, I found two wire folding-easel wreath stands. Only $2.50 each! I bought a dowel and after a bit of black paint, I ended up with this:

The dowel sits where the wreath would hang, and I have it attached with twisty ties. Then I swung by goodwill and bought an old black curtain. I cut it up and sewed covers for my two stands:

I took the top part of the curtain that I had left intact and hung it on the dowel through the existing pocket to create a solid background for my cards. On the stand covers I left strategically placed gaps in my seams so that I could sneak string through the seam and tie it to the wire frames. Unfortunately, at this point I discovered that the tension of the string would pull the bases together. After a LOT of experimenting (which I did not document) I finally settled on adding another pole across the bottom, which I twisty tied to my stands to hold everything in place. The hanging curtain covers the pole across the bottom. My finished product looks like this now:

Apologies for the terrible photos, at this point I had been fiddling with the thing for awhile and I didn’t want to re-set up the whole display with better lighting/positioning. I’m debating sawing off the ends so the top looks less awkward, or expanding the bottom to make the display wider.

Once I figure out how I will acquire a table I will stage my entire table setup to see how the whole thing works together. Otherwise my backup plan is lots of baskets!

Sandy Relief by Knitters

I thought this was a nice idea to get the word out about. Basically a group in Brooklyn has gotten together and organized knitters/crocheters/sewers to create warm items for victims of Sandy. Given the nasty turn of weather recently this seems like a great way to contribute to hurricane relief, especially if you would like to do something more personal to help out and are too far away to volunteer. More information available here.

Framed Embroidered Cards

We rode out the storm last night safe and sound, and since we’re on high ground we didn’t flood and have electricity (so I can post now while we wait for the city to get back on its feet).

I got a new camera a couple months ago and I have been working on improving my photography. Part of this is trying to improve how I display/style my items in product photos.

Even though they’re intended as cards, I thought one added benefit is that they can be re-used and displayed after they’re received. I framed and hung selections from the Moroccan series and constellations. I’ll probably pick out my favorites at some point and leave them up permanently.

Bike Birthday Card

My brother is absolutely bike obsessed. He commutes to work on bike and takes long tours in his free time. He works a non-bike-related job so he can save up to start his own custom bike frame business. So I wanted to make him a custom bike birthday card.

He is very very tall, so his bike frame looks a bit odd:

Here’s my embroidered version:

I used ombre pink thread and attempted to match it up to the fade on the bike, but that didn’t work out so well. He liked it though, and was surprised on what I got right (since I know nothing about the specifics of how a bike fits together. The wheels are the major leap from reality).

I liked the result and thought it would be fun to try something a bit smaller for more average sized bicyclists. Et Voila!

One blue bicycle with upgraded tires! And that’s how the bicycle card in the shop came to be.

Knitting Catch-up

So this is the last of the knitting projects that I had in the backlog. Both fairly simple, last-minute gifts.

First up are a pair of wool handwarmers made for my bike-addicted brother on his July birthday. Because everyone wants wool in the middle of July! Really though, he had requested them very specifically, and he is a long lanky guy so custom clothing is always nice for him.

I made the pattern myself based on several other handwarmers that I’ve made to date, with special attention to accommodating my brother’s size. That’s me modelling above, which is why it looks baggy.

The final project in my knitting backlog was a quick hat made as a Christmas present for a friend. I love knit hats like this, only took a few hours in front of the TV to finish!

Astrology constellation cards complete!

Basically the title says it all. For my etsy shop, I’ve been working on a series of embroidered cards featuring all of the constellations of astrology. I just finished posting the last of them online, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.

The most time consuming part is getting the placement of the stars right. Each hole actually represents the location of a star as we see it. You can see the whole set (with many more pictures) right here.

Magnetic Map Memo Board

So quite awhile ago I wrote about turning the pins that once adorned my backpack into magnets. I mentioned that they were meant for another project, but lazy me didn’t get around to writing about it until now, while other projects are in progress but far from complete.

It all began with this image:

Part of me wonders if I should even share these images, since my photography/styling/execution can never hope to compete…anyway! They included a tutorial, available here.

So here’s my attempt and result. To summarize, basically you add adhesive to the board, stick the map on the front and wrap it around the sides, add more adhesive on top and let it dry.

I started with one IKEA SPONTAN board, hauled out from Brooklyn, a map of Asia purchased via Etsy and miscellaneous brushes and Modge Podge (not pictured).

I started with the first adhesive product (shown above) but it wasn’t making things stick well, so I got some Modge Podge proper which did the job.

I wrapped as much map as I could around the edges and added adhesive. Two lessons learned: 1) Buy a really big map (surprisingly difficult). My map didn’t quite cover the edges for a really nice finished look on the sides of the board 2) If at all possible, buy a map that has been rolled, not folded. Despite all my efforts to flatten and smooth, once the modge podge dried I could still see wrinkles.

Here’s what it looked like with the Modge Podge applied:

It went on looking like paste but dried clear. The strokes of the brush are still visible though.

And here it is immediately after being finished and drying on the wall. I added another layer of the original adhesive, which acted like a sealer, since the Modge Podge was still tacky even after drying overnight.

And here’s what it looks like today, several months after being completed. It’s usually a bit more messy (right now it has a to-do list, coupons and my jury duty summons -_-), but it’s a super convenient place to keep stuff and looks decent when it’s empty. My apartment may not be house tour-worthy but at least my memo board is slightly more stylish 😛

A Knitting Challenge

So there won’t be any knitting updates in the near future, due to the new Etsy shop sucking up a lot of my free time and a new massive project that I’ve just started up. Last month I came across this stunning project:

I’m a shawl/scarf addict and the pattern didn’t seem too difficult. There was just one thing holding me back…it’s a lace project….that requires incredibly expensive yarn. I’ve never knitted with lace yarn or anything that cost more than $12 a skein.

Then for my birthday I got a yarn store gift certificate. I decided to go for it.

I present Anzula Mermaid in Red Shoe. I’ve never been so nervous to knit something before. A mistake with this yarn is ruining a decent chunk of money.

I discovered another downside to lace:

This is going to take forever! Luckily I have my beautiful KnitPicks needles. I never understood why the needles needed to be so sharp until this project.

To be continued…

CS101 Complete!

I’ve been taking a free online course at, which features classes taught by professors at Stanford, Princeton, UPenn and University of Michigan. I tried Computer Science 101 since it was subject in which I had always been interested. The professor, Nick Parlante, is from Stanford and has ties to Google. He also sounds and looks like Dr. Rodney McKay from the Stargate TV series, only much nicer (yeah I’m a big nerd).

Each week a few video lectures, lecture notes, and exercises went up. Lectures were semi-interactive –sometimes it would pause and prompt you with a question or problem to make sure you were following the material. The exercises often involved little coding problems, which were the most fun. There were also forums to interact with other students and instructors, though I didn’t use them at all. While the content in the class wasn’t especially difficult, I learned quite a bit and managed to stick with it to the end.

Today I got this in my inbox:


Granted, it doesn’t mean much, but it’s nice to have a little pat on the back 🙂 I’m definitely going to look into more classes from in the future.