At a Crossroads

I've finally started crafting again, doing projects that aren't school related, or even graphic design related. It's a nice change. I've missed the hands-on approach to making art.

For a while, earlier this year, I found myself exploring an entirely different aesthetic from my usual earth, organic style. Getting into the cuter-than-cute, the girly, the zakka, the mid-century modern. Pink, even! It was exciting. I had fun making the things I shared here, and exploring and being inspired by other people's creations in those wonderful styles.

When my ex and I parted ways, all that stopped. Emotionally and artistically, I retreated into what felt safe. I didn't have the energy or will to go on exploring. Things are much, much better these days. I'm happy again, and content with the direction life is taking. That said, I'm not sure I want to pick up where I left off. Time will tell, I suppose. I'm finding other interests that are really hooking me in. We may see some evolution in those directions here on StacySix.

I have a few of my felt pieces in a wonderful little gallery/store in Seattle, Snowmonkey's House of Monsters. I'm making some new pieces for the Orycon Art Show later this month, whatever doesn't sell there will be making its way north. This is one such:

Purple Cyclump

Don't Give Up On Me

I'm still here, still crafty in my heart even if I don't have any extra time these days. Hopefully that will change soon. In the meantime, I'd like to share one of the logos I'm designing:

Our class is designing potential logos for a local preschool. The best five out of the class will be sent to the client for her consideration. My instructor warned me that the final version with the type might be "too sophisticated" for the client. Oddly enough, I'm ok with that. If it isn't chosen, it might just become my own logo.

Home from Japan

I'm home from Japan. It was a wonderful trip, but something happened when I came home that makes me very sad, which is why I haven't been posting. My partner and I are going through a separation. This is not something I plan to blog about here, though it seems important to share the basic information. We hope to stay friends, even perhaps get back together at some point in the future. I'm going to keep going to school; taking some time off won't really help anything.

Please bear with me, I'll probably be a little slower with updates for a while, but I promise to share pictures of my trip (and my loot!) as well as to keep going on the creative front.

Spirited Away

I really am a lucky girl sometimes. Richard, one of my good friends whom I have known ever since high school, has lived and worked in Tokyo for the last seven or eight years. When he can, he likes to have friends come and visit him. I've been once before and now I'm going to get to go again, along with another friend, Pol. Best spring break ever!

It's going to be interesting to visit Japan again after a year and a half of design education. Last time, I was very much looking with a novice's eye, and from my anthropological background. My sense of aesthetics has taken a very solid shift over the last year or so. I expect to be noticing all sorts of things I didn't see last time - things that I couldn't see. I've become addicted to Japanese craft books - I understand that they have a few of those over there. The challenge will be to not come home with fifty gajillion craft books. Maybe if I pack less clothing...

I think I'm going to be much more on the lookout for zakka and cute things, as well as sweet modern Japanese design. There's no way that I can get away from the fact, though, that I can't go very long in Japan without thinking of Hayao Miyazaki films, espeically Totoro and Spirited Away. I had so many moments of recognition last time, of feeling like I somehow magically slipped into one of Miyazaki-san's idyllic landscapes. Unbelievably green and verdant. And this time, seeing Japan in the spring, I'm hoping for cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms and art and history and beauty.

Neighbors at Wonderland

I had some very good neighbors at Crafty Wonderland. Every time I looked up, I had a marvelous view of Paper Sparrow and her beautiful artwork. Andrea Courchene kindly gave me permission to share pictures of her work with you; I'm so glad to do so. Andrea's shadow boxes caught my eye again and again over the course of the day. I don't know what it is with me and gnomes lately, but this piece in particular was like looking into a window to a happier world. I am definitely lusting after this particular shadowbox, even more than the narwhale or the darling polar bear which was very serene.

I probably shouldn't say "lately" about gnomes. Like a lot of people, I had the
Gnomes book as a kid; still do, in fact. It was a warmer, more peaceful world than the one in which I grew up. Especially, I was fascinated by the domestic images, the gnomes' house and daily routine, from the moment the house mouse brought her slippers to the mama gnome to the moment at sunrise when all is safe and quiet and "nothing can possibly happen." Perhaps as a sign of things to come, I was also deeply drawn to the section on home industry: the gnomes at work making candles, ceramics, metalwork, clothmaking...all the works of the hands.

Despite having a kind of rotten childhood, I think the love of craft that I grew up with is an absolute, unadulterated blessing, granted perhaps as a gift that would let me keep a sense of hope and wonder about the wider world. A gift that would ensure I would appreciate artists like Andrea and all the pretty things that come from her hands.

Etsy Tuesday

I updated my Etsy store today, adding the pastel mushroom people shown here, a couple of new (and yummy) pincushions, and a pretty little owl feltie. The mushrooms are similar to the ones I made for the mushroom swap, only in different colors. I love all three, but I think the opal is my favorite. I'm getting so much mileage out of that shade of wool. These are super fun to make, and it's especially nifty to have a good way to use some of my vintage buttons.

This weekend, I figured out a new way to make bunnies. These are quick and easy to make and they can hang out with the little mice in the bowl at shows. These two are about as long as my thumb. I think I need to go back and add some highlights to the larger one's eyes, so they look cuter and less like they are burrowing.... into your soul!!! Add dramatic music here.

Really, really, really nice day

Here's my table from Crafty Wonderland. The bright background is from the talented crafters behind me, selling nifty paper. I had a really good time. They had film crews there for a Museum of Contemporary Craft Museum documentary, and I got to talk with them about feltmaking, felt sculpture, and stabbing my finger. I spent most of the day chatting with people, saying thanks for all the "oooh, so cute!" comments, and making a few new felt critters. Allison came by and sat with me for a good chunk of the afternoon. It was SO nice to have her there. I'd forgotten to pack a real lunch and my blood sugar was tanking. Note to self for next time - pack a lunch! Lots of people picked up my card, which made me very happy too. If you're reading my blog after seeing me this weekend, HI! I'm going to try to get in again in May.

Tomorrow, massive update of Etsy store. Bunnies!

Oh my ears and whiskers, how late it's getting!

Crafty Wonderland on Sunday! I've been busy this week getting ready, making new things, working to put together a pretty display. It's going to be brilliant. I hope folks like the plate of pincushions for sale - they are tremendous fun to make. I'll also have needle felts, tote bags, and other sweet little things.

As a thank you for my blog readers, I'll have a bit of a giveaway at Crafty Wonderland. The first five people to mention reading StacySix will receive a small gift bag. I'm trying to make the contents reflect something of the things I've blogged about, as well as including a small sample of my own work. One thing you'll find is that I've dug into my fabric stash to add a piece of quilter's candy to each bag. The rest, well, you'll have to show up early to find out. Hope to see you!

Nom nom nom...

Sitting on my computorz, making me smilzor. They are LOLNOMS!!! Ok, so they're "just" Noms, but it doesn't seem fair to refer to them as "just" anything, they brighten my day so. Noms are made by the wonderful and talented Aimee Ray, author of Doodle Stitching, a book very high on my current wishlist. Recently, she had a sale on her Etsy store (loads of cute stuff), and I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of her Noms. Ever since they've arrived, they've either been on my keyboard or sitting under the lamp next to me.

The other day, Trent over at the Simple Dollar wrote about an interesting article on the idea that the best way to make a creative living is to cultivate 1,000 "True Fans", people who love your work and support what you do. Personally, I'm not too fond of the term "fan" but the idea of having a dedicated following is vital to anyone who does creative work for a living. In these rough financial times, it seems more important than ever to support cottage industry, and I'm delighted to have been able to become one of Aimee's supporters.

Not much longer now...

What a beautiful day it's been! The clouds are coming in now, but just a little while ago, I was in the back yard and it was warm out. For the first time in months, I was comfortable outside with no sweater or hoodie. And little signs of spring are all over. We have a ginormous rosemary bush in the backyard and it's just starting to flower. I love the delicate color - not quite blue, not quite lavender, but some amazing shade like a piece of pre-dawn sky.

I think these guys are going to be bursting out into full color and blossom any day now. Wes, my significant other, doesn't really like tulips, so we dug out a whole bunch of bulbs last year to thin them down a bit, but here they are, coming up again, hardy and cheerful as anything you can imagine.

It finally seems safe to anticipate spring, to feel like the worst of winter is past. This was one of the worst winters I can remember for personally wishing it would just be done with. Most years, I manage to hold off the "fed up with winter" stage until late January or early February. Not this year. This year, I was done with winter back in December. Grrrrrrr. Anyway, seeing signs of spring all over inspired me to make this little confection of a pincushion. I particularly enjoyed embroidering the stem stitch/french knot flower garden. Maybe this will be the year I make our little side garden bed look so sweet and tidy.

Taking the Plunge

2 month pledge

For the next two months, I've joined the Refashionistas with this solemn oath:

I, Stacy, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 2 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftiness brings!

Since I already buy most of my clothing at resale, my primary goal with this project is to do more sewing for myself. My fabric stash is staring at me mournfully, whispering "you don't really love us." The secondary goal is to keep me away from the ever-present temptation of Sock Dreams for a couple of months. Especially since I've started looking at socks and planning new outfits around the socks.

Coming soon to a mailbox near you

Finished mushroom dudes! I took the picture with them inside a pyrex bowl, which lit the shot pretty nicely. The white fuzz on the red isn't nearly so pronounced in person, though. I'm so excited to be done. They were awfully fun to make. The stems are a little bendy, although they bend right back into place and tend to stay there. I'm thinking about putting them in yogurt cups to ship.

The next series of mushroom people will be made with vintage buttons. I was puttering around at Stars and found a few bags of vintage buttons on sale. Just imagine, a couple of months ago, the only buttons I had in the house were ones that had fallen off clothing and were waiting to be sewed back on. Now I have a collection of buttons waiting to be made into cute things.

Calloo, callay!

I'm in for Crafty Wonderland next month, woo hoo! I will have lots of cute little things, pincushions, needle felted bits, and whatever else works its way out from the creative soup in the back of my brain between now and then. I'm pondering a blog special giveaway: the first five people who drop by my table at the event and mention reading my blog will get a special little gift bag. Hmmmm.

Keeping Busy

School has been a bit demanding this week, but I've still made the time to get some hands-on craft time. I'm loving buttons and embroidery! Two mushrooms for the swap, another button heart ornament, and pincushion number five, this one with a sweet little appliqued acorn, and teensy embroidered oak leaves. I'm going to finish the rest of the mushroom guys this weekend, and hopefully make another pincushion or two. I'm still waiting (patiently, I assure you) to hear back about next month's Crafty Wonderland, and in the meantime, it certainly doesn't hurt to make more things with an eye towards putting them on the table. Maybe I'll make extra mushrooms, or other anthropomorphized vegetables.

Bigger Mushroom

Here's the bigger mushroom that I talked about yesterday. He has cuter 4-hole buttons and a nose too. He feels nice and solid, and I know that someone will be happy to get him. Now to make some fungus brothers.

Popping Up All Over

I'm in the Handmade Mushroom Swap! My very first craft swap, I'm very excited. I'm making little anthropomorphized needle felted mushrooms with brad eyes and button spots. The first set is turning out to be too small, so I'm going to be putting this one in my Etsy store and making a set of bigger musrooms for the swap. Super cute!

Although I've been needle-felting for about six years, this may be the first time that I've set out to make nearly-identical items, production line style. It's a little hard, because I'm so impatient to see them become themselves and it seems like better process to complete each step for each one before moving on to the next. All the stems, then all the caps, etc.

I hope whoever gets these will be as excited about them as I am. Some of the pictures on the Flickr group are just amazing. People are so creative and wonderful. I think my very favorites are the mushroom babies shown here. It's almost impossible to pick a favorite, though, since they are all so cool. This one is absolutely adorable, too. And by sheer coincidence, Alison is in the swap too! She's doing stitched morels - yummy! We're going to do our own personal little swap, so I'm making an extra one for her. (bounces!) I'm getting my own morel!

It's All About Being In Process

I'm in the middle of quite a bit right now, so it's very nice to have something completed. Here is pincushion #4, with applique and button embellishment. To make the bitsy star, I used a tiny Japanese cookie cutter for the fat little starfish shape. The wool felt is vegetable dyed in two pretty shades of blue, and I used cream and icy blue cotton thread to stitch it all together, with a few french knots just 'cause I love making them.

In school, we've begun the process for the final project of the term in my studio design class. I'm working on sketches, writing a creative brief, and tomorrow I'll be making inspiration boards for my two or three best ideas. I'm having some challenges coming up with big ideas; nothing has really smacked me upside the head yet, saying "hey! me! this one!" Inspiration boards might help.

Alison showed me how to make button hearts! I haven't finished this one yet. The wire needs to be twisted to make a hanger, and I'm going to add a ribbon bow to make it even prettier. I know, Valentine's Day is over, but isn't every day a good day for little pink and pearly white buttons and hearts? I've got one more project in the works, but I'll post about that tomorrow.

Remembering Other Places

I grew up on the dry side of the Cascades. During the winter it snows from October to sometimes as late as March, with a bit of rain now and then, but nothing like the rains here in the valley. The air is dry. In the summer, it cools down quickly at night. That's one of the few things I miss about living in the high desert: the refreshing coolness of the evening, after a day of sun and heat. The contrasts. When I moved to the valley, a few months after turning eighteen, it took me a long time to realize how different the climate is here - after all, it was still Oregon, wasn't it? I noticed that there were many, many more trees on the hills surrounding Eugene and that it didn't snow nearly so much, but I missed the subtle difference in humidity. We may complain about humidity in the valley, but after visiting Pennsylvania and Japan, nope, it's not really all that humid here. Despite the fact that it rains for about nine months out of the year. Weird, eh?

Every once in a while, something will remind me of those early days in Eugene - one of the best times of my life. I had a flash of it this morning, coming in from taking the recycling out to the curb. Something about the chill and the damp and the slight trace of woodsmoke on the air, and coming into the warm, dimly-lit kitchen, shrugging out of my hoodie and lunging for my cup of tea... I don't know why, but it brought on a sensory memory of a similar morning many years ago. Not one specific morning, but the general sense of the place and time I loved so much. They say you can't go home again and I know that this is true, but sometimes it's possible to duck in, just for a second, and know that it's still there, waiting for you to find a way to bridge that impossible gap and return at last.

Design Provides

There's so much cute stuff out there and so little time (so little room, so little money...). The other day, I was horribly tempted by "Happy Hermits" stationery by Apak. I saw it at Uwajimaya - wonderfully dangerous place, that store. I was drawn to the warm pretty colors, and cute, slightly sinister characters. They reminded me of the sort of thing I sketch in the margins of notebooks. Lately, I've been lusting after stationery in general, which is odd because I don't often write letters. Perhaps having nifty stationery would provide an excuse? I was standing in the store, asking myself who I'd write to, imagining how fun it would be to send letters written on this stationery, picturing the reactions of friends. In the end, I was fiscally responsible and walked away.

Instead of buying stationery (for now), I came home and made some of my own. The graphics are from a recent design piece I created for school. I really loved the palette of neutrals, for which I blame Alison (I used to think blue and gray and taupe sounded boring - what on earth was I thinking?). The next step is to get some envelopes from Art Media in the same colors and call it a set. Maybe transfer some of the houses and trees onto sticker paper - ooh, my own stickers!

I really enjoy playing with Illustrator - crisp, clean scalable graphics that look so cute when they are designed slightly askew. For the things I like to do, it's a better program than Photoshop. That said, one of my favorite things to do is to combine vector graphics with photography. The contrast makes me happy.

Sharing Inspiration: Carl Larsson

Carl and Karin Larsson
are high among my favorite artists and great personal inspirations. Long before the latest incarnation of the crafty life, they were living it to the fullest. While Carl's gorgeous paintings brought in the income, Karin not only painted, she was also an amazing textile artist and weaver. Some of her textiles were lightyears ahead of their time. In many ways, their entire lifestyle was incredibly modern - at a time when interior design tended towards the heavily ornate and visually cluttered, the Larsson's home was light and uncluttered. It was charmingly decorated with hand-crafted furnishings and marvelous little details, while retaining a visually clean look.

Reading Larsson's books "A Home" and "A Family" reminds me (now) of reading a wonderful art/craft blog, if that's not too irreverent. Carl's favorite subject for painting was his home and family, pursuing all the sweet activities that we crafty types like - picnics, parties, art activities, playing dress-up. Karin made all her own clothes, and she was also a fashion rebel: one of the pioneers of aesthetic dress. In all the pictures Carl painted of her, she always wears simple, beautiful, flowing dresses, and this at a time when women were expected to be heavily corseted and follow the trends towards ornate clothing.

The Larssons are often credited with being the creators of the Swedish style. I think that all you really have to do to "get that" is to look through a book or two of Larsson's paintings and then visit IKEA.

To-do lists are my friend

Here I am at the end of the day with only a couple of things left to do, and many things accomplished - one more thing as soon as I hit the "publish post" button. It snowed today; usually it makes me happy when it snows, but this winter all it does is make me grumpy. Grump, grump, grump. I concentrated on being productive and not moping about. Fortunately, I have pincushions to cheer me up. I am loving playing with wool felt in yummy, happy colors. These are pincushions 2 and 3. I'm already thinking about #4 - I think I will use the blue and applique it with stars. Stars are one of my favorite decorative motifs.

If it's still all wintry and gloomy out tomorrow, I'm going to do some baking. Chocolate cake, I think, with vanilla/pomegranate frosting for a little extra sweetness and pretty pinkness.


It's been a long time since I've been to Crafty Wonderland. That really needs to change. Today's visit was thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of amazingly cute stuff and talented people. Alison and I met there, walked around, enjoyed the sights. I found a great print!

It was difficult to choose too, let me tell you. In the end, I couldn't resist the sweet neighborhood in a bottle. The colors are so pretty and soft, and the theme so whimsical! This next one was the runner-up. I loved the colors and the execution of the jellyfish. In my opinion, it's very difficult to do jellyfish justice, since their appearance depends so much on light and translucence, and I think the artist succeeded completely:

One of the things I love about Crafty Wonderland is that you get to meet the artists, chat with them for a minute, get a sense of the person to whom you're giving your money and support. As I did this morning, I'd like you to meet Adrienne of Arcane Arts!

As I've said before (and will say over and over again), it's so good to be able to support a fellow local artist. In this economy, we've got to stick together and help each other.

Drat! It's cute!

I can't find my camera (that's the drat). This is making updates a bit more difficult than I'd like. However, the camera on my laptop is working just fine, so here, update (this is the cute)!

Pincushions really fit my current mood and schedule, being swift and sweet. This is a larger one (in progress) than the previous two, with an appliqued cupcake. And for the first time in my life, I've actually been able to make french knots! Every time I've tried them before, they failed. This time, I got all determined and, I don't know, tried harder. Got it on the second try! I'm quite happy that it did - french knot sugar sprinkles are darling - and making me crave cupcakes.

I'm multi-tasking like mad tonight. Pincushion, look for camera, pincushion, look for camera, look for paper knife, think about finishing tote bag, pincushion, mutter about camera. Tomorrow, I'm going to drop by Crafty Wonderland, the cute and crafty center of the Portland universe.


I just realized that I had comments for the blog on a very restrictive setting - I'd been wondering why there weren't more comments and hoping it wasn't because I'm boring. ;-) Setting fixed, anyone can comment, and I absolutely welcome you all to chime in.

My Tea-Cozy Hat

This is a great example of a project that took a left turn. One of my favorite sweaters accidentally went through the washer and drier - tragedy! I loved the green wool too much to simply sigh (or cry) and put it in the goodwill bag. I decided to try to recycle it. My kitchen gear lacked a tea cozy, and I thought my poor shrunken sweater would serve the purpose.

Alison had a tea party that weekend, and we always hang out and do crafty work, so I brought it to be my project. I deliberately felted a thrifted sweater for the applique, measured (one of) my tea kettles and stitched the pieces together. I used a needle felting tool to attach the applique. At this point, high on sweet black tea and sugar cookies, I got silly and put it on my head. Everyone went "ooh". I ran to a mirror and went "ooh" myself. We decided it HAD to be a hat - my tea kettle could continue to go bare. Alison made the tassels, we stitched them on, and BAM, cutest hat ever. Just having it to wear makes winter a little happier.

I <3 felt!

You can do such sweet little things with wool felt. I've spent the last two days home with an icky cold, so to do something productive, I made a pincushion! It's about 2" tall and similarly wide. It reminds me of a little cake - someday, I'm going to learn how to make and work with fondant, and when I do, I'll make a little petit four just like this pincushion. It's all hand sewn, with appliqued, embroidered felt leaves, and stuffed with wool fleece.

I used to love embroidery when I was little. When I was nine or ten, I'd embroider on kleenex using sewing thread - little houses and flowers. Sadly, I wasn't given any encouragement, so the desire to really learn how to do it faded away, and I didn't have the resources to pursue it on my own. Later, when I started sewing, I decided I didn't like embroidery after all - too time consuming and fiddly. I'm beginning to reconsider now, especially when there are so many little projects to do that would go fast and be so sweet and pleasing. I'm really happy with this pincushion , even if I do have a recurring desire to nibble on it.

Something in the Air

What is it about Olympia? Some of the best artists I know live there. My friend Alison lived there until a couple of years ago; now she lives here, and very glad we are about it, too. Nikki McClure (high on my list of "artists I'd like to meet" list) is also from that area. And my friend Bill Dawson lives near Olympia. He's an amazing artist, and I'd like to share some of his work with you.

Medieval re-enactment is one of my hobbies, has been for years. Bill was one of the people in that world that I met very early on. He's always been a good friend and has always encouraged people like me to pursue whatever facets of art interest us. His multidisciplinary level of achievement is just so inspiring to me. This is one of my favorites that he's done, a Santa Lucia crown. I've tried it on; it is SO pretty. This one piece has many different metalworking techniques, blended together to make something really, really special.

In addition to his other talents, Bill is a gifted teacher. He has some classes coming up soon, in Portland and Seattle, and I think he has a couple of spots left open. Here's the class schedule. If you want to learn some serious metalworking, he's one of the best.

Three Month Calendar

Just a quick calendar for January/February/March for you to print out, if you'd like. The next one will be up around the end of March. This is the first time I've put something together specifically to put it online for anyone who would like to use it, so any feedback you have would be very much appreciated. Thanks and enjoy!

One more thing about Friday

Ok, I don't want to sound like a total fangirl, but there was one more thing from Friday that Amy shared with us field trippers, an ad for Eco-Motion:

The talented Ms. Ruppel did the illustration (that's her on the green scooter!) and another local studio animated it. The very sweet singing voice is local girl, Laura Gibson. It is, as we say around here, so cute that you'll puke a rainbow. Which is a good thing.

A Brilliant Day!!

Today was such a great day on the art/design front, I can't believe it! First thing this morning, I met with one of my Ebay customers to hand off a package. While waiting for her at a coffee shop, I worked in my sketchbook - I don't get a chance very often to sit and draw for nothing other than fun, so that was nice. Then, to kill a little time between appointments, I spent a little time in Presents of Mind on Hawthorne. I haven't been in there for a few years, and I was just blown away by all the art/craft inspired items.

Next, I got to participate in one of the tremendously nice aspects to being a design student - field trip! And not just any field trip, a visit to the studio of the fabulously talented Amy Ruppel. Oh my gosh my golly, I don't even know where to begin. She was super sweet and friendly, and answered tons of our questions. She showed us her studio - I loved it! It's a long, narrow room filled with art and inspiration, with lots of organizational tools from IKEA (which I also love; who doesn't?). We learned so much, especially about things that haven't been discussed all that often in the classroom, such as independent selling, home office vs outside studio, how Amy got where she is, and copyright issues. Sorry about the blurry picture, I think my camera hates me, but this is a corner of Amy's studio.

After that, as if the day wasn't sweet enough, I went back up to Hawthorne for a while. There's a ceramics shop I read about a while back, and I'd been itching to go in and check it out. Now, I happen to love pottery and yesterday I dropped one of my favorite handmade milk cups. SAD PANDA! However, this created the excuse I needed to go look at pottery. My collection is to the point where my boyfriend makes fun of me when I pick up new pieces, so I either need to get rid of an old one or be prepared to hide the new one very well. I hated dropping the old one, but it was just about worth it to visit...

elsa + sam!

So much ooh-shiny! Everything in the store is made by hand, in North America and Europe. The high level of workmanship is evident in every piece. And the prices are really reasonable, especially considering the quality of the pottery. Right away, I was drawn to the work from Circa Ceramics, with its rich colors and detailed images. I decided that one of the small teacups would serve as a great replacement for yesterday's whoops moment. It was really hard to pick one. I liked all the colors, but was especially drawn to the green. Maybe because it was such a gray day here and the green reminded me that spring isn't too far away.

None of the green cups on this shelf had an image that really grabbed me and said "you will take me home!" When I asked Elsa (yup, I met the store's owner, how cool is that?) if there were any others, she showed me one sitting on the shelf near her desk. It had bumblebees! Instant squee. Here it is next to my calendar. It's really heavy and sturdy and fits perfectly between my two cupped hands. I love that I could get it from a local business and from American artists working by hand. In this economy, it's more important than ever to support local businesses, small businesses, and individual artists and crafters. Not just because I fit in those categories, either, but because such businesses are so vital for our communities. Each dollar spent at a local business circulates around the community many more times, doing good things, than a dollar spent at a large corporation. I really recommend dropping in to elsa + sam and taking a look around. Unfortunately, I had to run before Elsa and I finished chatting, but I will certainly be going back there again. Hopefully without dropping a piece of my existing collection.

All in all, a really brilliant day. Any day where I get to meet new and nifty people, learn more about the field of work that increasingly fills me with happy, and come home with a new piece of ceramics is a really, really good day.

Happy things in my sketchbook

Since Precious (how lucky am I to have a professor named Precious?) caught a glimpse of me doodling in class this morning, I figured I'd go ahead and share that page of my sketchbook with y'all. I think it's obvious that all the crafty blogs and ridiculously cute Japanese things I've been looking at lately are having an impact. My favorite is the either the pencil or the happy kleenex box.

Precious said I should turn it into stationery, which makes me all silly happy to contemplate.

Acorn Cottage

I am tremendously blessed with some very talented, generous, wonderful friends, who have guided and inspired my journey as an artist in many ways. One of the niftiest things about having my own blog now is that I get to share them with you. One of them is Alison Fine of Fine Artisanry.

We're talking serious Renaissance woman here. Alison does some of the most beautiful work you can imagine and in more areas than I can count this early in the morning. In addition to her wonderful cloisinee enameling, she does amazing metalwork, awesome stitchery, adorable whimsies, delicious cooking...I could go on and on and on. She and I barter back and forth rather often - she has some of my very best lampworked beads, I have a pair of her mistletoe earrings (my current favorites!), a pair of kitty earrings, and my SO has a spiffy Russian shirt that she custom sewed for us. She teaches enameling classes in her home studio, Acorn Cottage, so if you want to learn how to make the loveliest enameled jewelry of your own, I wholeheartedly recommend her as a teacher. She might even make you some lemon-poppyseed cakes in her little acorn cakepan and she'll definitely let you pet the sweetest akita dog in the world, Smokey.

Socks and LUV

Earlier this week, I made another pilgrimage to Sock Dreams. That place is PURE EVIL GOODNESS. I went in there for the first time last spring, mostly because of the amazing graphic design on their billboard, but also because I needed a pair of socks for a costume. For the most part, I am not a sock person. Sandals from sometime in late March/early April to as late in the fall as I can manage without freezing my tootsies off. Uggs as often as possible thereafter. Except for a couple of tie-dyed pairs, my socks were strictly utilitarian things: wool hiking socks, some ancient gold toes my mom bought for me years ago, and a few pairs of Maggie's organics. I had perhaps six pairs of the pointless things. Who knew that I would be unable to resist Sock Dreams' many charms? Who knew that I would become a sock lover? These are my latest happy little toe-and-heart warmers.

I've been contemplating my personal style lately. It's not the pure granola girl thing it was when I lived in Eugene. Being a believer in the whole "when in Rome" thing (with limits of course) I find that some of the stuff in my Eugene hippie wardrobe just doesn't work for Portland. Most of the time, I prefer not to stand out visually. Fortunately, with Portland being so quirky and well, weird, that's not a burden.

I love Scandinavian designers like Gudrun Sjoden who does all this beautiful, embellished, layered, amazing clothing in clean, soft Carl Larsson style colors and with playful prints that aren't fussy or overdone. There's a romantic, deconstructed Japanese style of clothing which I drool at over on Coton. My friend Ula used to describe my look as "moisture farmer" - pretty much an appropriate comment when said by/to a couple of SF/F geeks. I think I've found a better description, though, as well as a new favorite art/craft blog, and I'm totally going to yoink the term.

"Urban hobbit." Used by Amy at Angry Chicken to describe a seriously adorable pair of shoes. Another Portland girl! I love her blog and I love the term "urban hobbit" which pretty much describes the kind of stuff I've been wearing, especially since I've started picking out outfits for their tendency to show off my socks. Amy's blog is full of gorgeous photography, craft and cooking projects, and many other good things. I totally recommend checking it out.

Twice a week isn't going to be enough!

Ever since Sunday, I've been thinking of all kinds of things I want to post here and eagerly waiting for Wednesday so I could update StacySix when I said I would. I'm so excited about sharing this part of my life!

So, my just-for-fun project today was playing with shrinky plastic. When looking around for things to trace, I rediscovered a nifty clip art book, tucked away on a bottom shelf, that I picked up last year at Goodwill: a Dover book "Art Nouveau Designs in Color", c. 1974 (which reaffirms my faith in the goodness of stuff from the 70s).

When making my shrinky pendant/tag, I decided that I liked it better upside-down.

It isn't faded out at the bottom, that's just the light. I can't decide if I like the pen marks or not, but next time I'm going to use wider pens and try a smooth look. The texture is kind of neat.

I also put a couple of new felties in my Etsy store, please take a moment to check them out? Thanks!

Shout out for cottage industry!

Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
So says our brand-new American president, Barack Obama. It's probably tremendously silly of me, but it made me feel so included, so part of the day and part of Obama's vision for our country.