Saturday, January 30, 2010

saturday inspiration

i had a dream two nights ago involving high school again (i think facebook is getting to me, yes). we were assigned the task of posting an etsy item for every letter of the alphabet. i was overjoyed. i am gonna nail this one! i even have a head start!

i've been thinking lately, if my work were actually assigned by someone other than me, i'd do it. right? (of course, i might fake an illness or pull an all-nighter). working by hand at home doesn't always allow this, but today someone else was hard at work with some pincushions (thank you, soulemama, for the tip on teaching pins early on).

first he took them out of the cushions. "you have to put them on my fabric."

and back again. with such focus. and such lovely pin pattern-ings. (thanks to jcasa for the impetus to photograph inspired happenings.)

thanks to colden's pinning work, my waldorf-inspired sock dolly is almost complete. i'm eager to share 'how-to' with you.

Monday, January 25, 2010

warming up to leg warmers

i never did get around to posting gifts i made over the holidays... things got so hectic and really, photographs were not as high on the priority list as shipping before 2010. but, i made three whole pairs of sweater -> leg warmers. the first was super quick, for the hand2mouth silent auction. i thought, i could definitely make a ton of these for my shop!

the second was originally a gift for lanz, but they ended up going to our awesome mail lady. she wears a usps skirt every day and totally rocks it (i don't know if usps allows leg warmers). plus she picks up all my little etsy packages. i had a different inspiration for lanz's, so the others went out the door as soon as i saw the mail coming! lanz's leg warmers required a little repair of holes and such, but it was worth it. i used a sweater she had given me for re-crafting; it was her mother's, originally from greece! love leg warmers with history! i confidently boasted of my leg warmer skills to another friend, and then had the darnedest time making more.

finally i dived in. i knew these red ones would be super simple with the ribbing. no elastic needed! but the edge was a little tricky because of that. i still think they are cute bell-bottom-y leg warmers, but i have no idea of their appeal to anyone else. nor would i know how to price them, since the sweater did most of the work itself. oh leg warmers, how you tease!

this argyle pair had a huge number of elusive holes that i did not see until it was too late. i had gone too far, patched too much, and i was not going back. they're kinda scrappy and again, i don't exactly know how to handle that! are they marketable? will they wear well or get snagged? will the excessive patching make them super warm or super difficult to match to any other clothes? luckily, said friend, to whom i bragged, agreed to be a leg warmer tester. hopefully they are keeping her ankles toasty in the bitter chicago cold. and another lesson under my belt. look before you leg warmer? two leg warmers on the legs are worth four in the head? (y'know, bird in the hand?). don't count your warmers before they're hatched? you get the idea. onward!

a new face

i've moved again! not houses, thankfully!, but internet addresses. i'll now be over at, or alternatively, i'm participating in another vintage swap - winter 2010, and heather gave everyone a chance to design a new banner for the vintage swap blog... i didn't quite get mine in on time. soooo, marc helped me put my design in action for my own banner for by hand at home. isn't it pretty?!

marc also orchestrated my blog move AND the other address too. all while being sole childcare provider, as i spent the weekend away playing. i learned about this play from our friends at play after play and have wanted to learn more ever since. it was amazing. check out play after play if you live in portland, especially if you have little ones!

aaaand...i've also got another new face to put forward. remember my hedgehog from a previous post? well, i worked with the idea a little more since then. ta-daaaah! he's in my shop:

i also saw that betz white has a pattern available for her woolly version of the hedgehog. also extremely cute! hedgehogs are popping up all over! love!

Monday, January 18, 2010

we are one

[sent e-mail to sarah (at) crafthope (dot) com]

inspired by 'the kinks' song,
strangers: ...strangers on this road we are on ... we are not two *we are one* ...

this seemed like the perfect contribution to craft for hope, reminding me that we are all one, as human beings in this universe. united in love. especially in times like this. a dear gift for your beloved this valentine's, with extra special significance.

this little pillow is constructed from 100% wool recycled/upcycled/reclaimed suit coat, and backed with 100% cotton recycled/upcycled/reclaimed light blue knit. a wool i-cord loop is attached for hanging - on the wall, or maybe next year's tree?

scented with soothing lavender essential oil.

the pillow is also stuffed with 100% wool recycled bits (from sweater clippings).

i am sorry to say that i cannot afford to offer international shipping on this because it is prohibitively expensive for me, but i will offer more 'we are one' hearts in my shop with international shipping, and all proceeds to haiti via 'partners in health'. blessings to you and yours.


if you would like to donate an item, please
follow this link for instructions.

if you are shopping, please visit the Craft Hope for Haiti Etsy shop, which benefits Doctors Without Borders.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

as you wish

i hope you recognize the title of this blog from a very favorite book and movie, the princess bride. i wanted to make something for v-day, and then had this divine inspiration.

not only is it made from recycled wool, it is made from a recycled wool suitcoat, and the backside sports one of the suitcoat's pockets (and button)!!! clearly, this would be a brilliant way to give a gift of jewelry, poetry, little chocolates, or any other pocket-sized token. truly one of a kind.

i'm also making some littles. i think it was leftover christmas spirit that made me want to put a hanging loop on the top (wool yarn i-cord). wouldn't it be a sweet ornament? it is backed in 100% cotton denim, this one without pocket.

but the best part of this gift, i think, could be the presentation. how many times a day do we ask our loved ones to do something for us? a glass of water? change the laundry? let the dogs in? let's say your sweetie asks you to turn the lights on, and you pop out of bed, turn the lights on and hand him or her this precious gift, with the words 'as you wish'. nice, right? or, if he or she is not familiar with the princess bride i've made this one too:

it's in the denim, backed in light blue cotton knit (no pocket), reclaimed pants, both of them (100% cotton, of course). all are stuffed with 100% wool bits - recycled from sweater trimmings. more are coming, and possibly to be featured at some local craft happenings! i'll let you know! <3

Saturday, January 9, 2010

birthdate embroidery

now in my shop, custom embroidery! i loved doing the wedding pieces for my newly-married friends this year, and thought a birth announcement embroidery would be just as sweet! i can't remember where i happened upon this cute fabric -goodwill or estate sale, but the little boy and girl figures begged for it! plus, it gives one the very real excuse of needing all the details before finishing up that baby gift.

i made this one shortly after our friends, the fortneys, welcomed graham into their lives. finn's birthday was not that long after, so i thought making matching birthday boys would be appropriate.

the pictures were taken before i had secured the fabric around the edge with stitches. i am also so very pleased that all the materials are reclaimed, recycled, or, as they say, 'upcycled'. there are a limited supply of these available since the fabric is also rescued, but there are plenty of little boys and girls now.

always, if you have an idea for a special birth embroidery or otherwise, don't hesitate to contact me at byhandathome (at) i especially love making things with the recipient in mind, so custom orders are a real pleasure for me. hope you enjoy these!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

safety first

as colden grows, we've been moving our things higher and higher. at this point, little is unreachable, although he hasn't begun moving furniture to climb up and access higher shelves.

but, he has gotten the hang of the doorknobs. at first it was difficult to keep him out of the garage (and all its wonders and terrors), but now he is pretty content to 'leave it closed right now'. and i have to say that it's quite sweet when he hears the dogs whining to come in and lets them in. he closes the door behind them too. sometimes i even ask him to go take care of them! how great is that?

so we thought we might be able to get away without purchasing those plastic door handle covers that prevent children from opening doors while still allowing adult access. then, the other morning, marc woke up and colden was out of the bedroom. (i was still sleeping). with all the christmas lights, cole's fondness for electrical outlets and candles, the occasional stray pin, well. i guess this was a wake up call (ha!). marc proposed the idea long ago for a crocheted cover, and well, it was just easy as pie.

we may not need it for long, or we may need more, but either way it is not going in the landfill ever, beautiful to look at and touch, and didn't cost a dime. hooray!

Monday, January 4, 2010

lessons learned

the new year is a time a lot of us take stock of things, and think about the future. so what have i learned?

for starters, seam allowance. well not just seam allowance, but being a bit more liberal with my fabric. i have the great goal of conservation and re-use always in mind. thus, i tend to scrimp as much as possible. i've found this to be a point of contention again and again. as i continue to craft, i vow to be more daring. i will go ahead and cut into beautiful sweaters that i have imagined into fifteen different projects. i will not fret when they do not turn out as i have envisioned. if you have read the artist's way, you may remember one of the tenets that goes a little something like this: i am in charge of quantity, i leave quality up to the divine (god, goddess, luck, pure inspiration, whatever you believe). i intend to remind myself of this as often as possible, and just keep on truckin'. i will, of course, do my best on quality too. or re-do it fifteen times.

papa's gift from at sunnyside craft fair.

here's another inspirational link, to elizabeth gilbert's talk on creativity and genius. or why we need to talk to fairies. i just loved it (thanks maesie and h2m!). our wishes and dreams for 2010 include: prosperity, creativity, and levity. the same and all the best to you!