March 28, 2010


A couple of weeks ago I got an insatiable craving for Disney's animated version Alice in Wonderland. My friend Caroline came to the rescue: she had Alice on VHS and a television with a built in VCR, a true rarity in our new, DVD age. So we made a movie and crafting date. After watching Alice in Wonderland, I perused her impressive collection of classic Disney and late 80s movies--all on VHS. I had a hard time deciding what to watch next, until...Caroline recommended My Neighbor Totoro. Despite the fact that I knew about Totoro and the large fan following that he had, I hated to admit that I had never actually watched the movie.

We popped the tape into the VCR and embarked upon a fabulous journey. I thoroughly enjoyed watching--and commenting on--Totoro gallivanting around with Mei and Satsuki, and his cat bus buddy.

A few days after our Alice and Totoro date Molly invited me to Caroline's birthday party. I didn't know what to get Caroline and had pretty much decided that it would be handmade. Then Totoro appeared and offered his rotund figure for my creative needs. I did a quick Google image search for Totoro, copied a result to my desktop and printed it onto card stock. I then cut him out and used him as a template for his felt counterparts. A few hours, some careful cutting and stitching later, and I had this:

A plushy, Totoro pin.

Perfect for a lapel, a hat, or... a bag!

Thrift Store Haul

Apparently there is a new "journalistic" phenomenon on the Internets: hauls, videos of mostly (young) girls and women who show off their latest purchases, usually clothing, makeup and the like. Well, maybe its not entirely new--i.e. was born within the last few months--but it is kinda new to me. I recently watched one, and my brain (and ovaries) just about exploded from vapid consumerism sensory overload. I have no intention of performing any further research on this particular niche of video documentation, but I would like to offer my own version: Thrift Store Haul! I hope it catches on.

That being said...

I love--and I mean LOVE--thrifting. I've found some amazing things at thrift stores and flea markets like vintage dishware, bohemian scarves and vases. I particularly keep my eye out for Pyrex and enamel bake ware from the 60s and 70s and any dishware that has any indication that it is old and/or was made in Japan. My theory is that you can't beat good quality, classic dishware, especially when it rarely costs more than $5 a piece.

These mixing bowls are my favorite! I have such fond memories of using bowls just like these (except yellow) to make cookies and other comfort foods with my mom. (I definitely inherited a love for all things old from her, and that gene is definitely kicking in!)

I have two small Pyrex mixing bowls that my mom gave me and recently picked up a divided, oval casserole dish from this set from a thrift store.

I also frequent particular thrift stores. My favorite spots include: the Goodwill store on San Pablo in Oakland, Thrift Town in Hawyard and the Laney Flea Market, also in Oakland, all of which are great for old dishware, t-shirts and vintage--sometimes real, but mostly costume-- jewelry.

On my way home from work this past Monday, I stopped by the Goodwill on San Pablo in search of some t-shirts for my sewing projects. I couldn't resist looking through their kitchen ware section and left with some amazing finds.

The green, lily pad plate and dark glass flower petal shaped bowl both caught my eye for the entertaining possibilities that they hold. We have a (nearly) complete dinner ware set (Thanks Mom!) but very few platters or appetizer-type plates or bowls. So I'm constantly on the look out for little dishes and bowls that will eventually give me an eclectic collection of dishware.

And I absolutely fell in love with the silver rimmed, white lace motifed plate (made in Japan). Ever since I watched this video and read this blog post on DIY serving trays, I've wanted to make my own. I figured that with the right vase or cup, this plate would make a lovely cake, or cupcake, stand. Now I just need to find said glassware. I smell another thrift haul...

March 11, 2010

Cheeseburgers and Ravioli

I have more catnip buddies! Take a look and tell me what you think.

Cheeseburger Buddy

I had a lot of fun doing this one. I was just sitting on the couch watching a television show that was probably turning my brain to mush and trying to think of a new design that would appeal to kitties and humans alike. And then it hit me: CHEESEBURGERS! How is that I hadn't thought of this before? At any rate, I quickly got to work and two hours later I was holding a Cheeseburger catnip buddy.

Each ingredient is hand cut (freehand, too) and sewn in place with matching embroidery thread. And it even has sesame seeds!

Catnip Buddy Ravioli

These little catnip filled "raviolis" are the product of procrastination and sheer panic. About two weeks ago I committed to a craft fair at the last minute. I set a catnip buddy production schedule that I promptly slacked off on, which left me with only three catnip toys by the morning of the event. After getting my things together and frosting the cupcakes that I had made for the Craft Market, I sat down and took out my catnip buddy making supplies. I wanted a pattern that I could complete quickly so I turned to my first cat toy design.

I dropped the tether and focused on the pillow. Sticking to one color of embroidery thread for all the stitches saved me some time and I found myself with just enough time to make one more. Except I didn't just want to make another rectangular one. Then a little light bulb went off in my head and I skipped into the kitchen to grad a jar lid. I used this as a stencil for the second pillow and chose a star motif because I wanted something classic, sporty and cute.

The circular shape of the blue buddy inspired me to name them both as raviolis, which I decided was much more interesting than calling them just plain catnip toys.

March 3, 2010

Catnip and Philosophy

Freddy, our friends' cat, who stays with us occasionally.
He REALLY like the nip and was one of my feline inspirations for making these little buddies.

The wet weather and an unplanned, minor knitting injury have prompted me to start making catnip buddies again. I stopped by a pet store on my way home from work last week and picked up some more catnip. And I have to admit that I've developed a discerning nose for this kitty treat. I never thought that the odor of catnip would vary between different brands, but apparently it does. I had been using Cosmic Catnip but I didn't like that it contained a lot of twigs and although fragrant, was not particularly potent. (But it was free, so I can't really complain.) So this time around I went back to the VIP Premium Catnip that I've used before: its made up of small leaves and has a super strong, almost spicy catnip scent.

Wow...I didn't think that I'd ever wind up developing a preference for catnip, not to mention discuss it on a blog post. Enough catnip talk, lets get to the buddies.

Yellow Canary

Same design as my Cardinal Birdie, but in yellow.


Hanging out with his cracker snack counterparts.

Two Tone Heart

Too late for Valentine's Day, but any day can be a
good day to give your kitten a heart full of catnip.

All will be on my Etsy soon, or if sold out, will be available through special order.