I made this little amigurumi softy as a gift for a friend's new baby. I'm really a knitter and not a crocheter, but I thought I'd share this project because it proved just how creative and simple crochet is. With just a little bit of practice, you could be creating sculptural stuffed toys for your cat, baby or roommate in just a single afternoon!
I found the pattern for free through Ravelry, but you can see it here (sorry, I don't know the designer's name, beyond "Katherine"). The silly thing is that I'm terrible at counting crochet stitches, so I just kind of winged it and somehow only ended up with seven legs! So, he's actually a "septopus" instead of an octopus.
If you'd like to learn how to crochet, there are some fantastic online resources. I learned from Debbie Stoller's book, The Happy Hooker, which I highly recommend!
June 30, 2008
June 27, 2008
I had a great afternoon at tea time with fellow-Etsy team members, Leah, Lea and newbie Jonathan. It was a great day to spend in Laurelhurst Park, talking shop and drinking tea!
Jonathan just opened his Etsy shop, Poecreate, to sell his gorgeous lampworked glass focal beads. He took some model shots of his beads in action on Lea and myself, so you may catch a glimpse of us in some of his listings! You may even see me in person wearing a beautiful barrel bead of his in my favorite greens. Check back in his shop soon for heart focals and the ever-creative-and-artistic "balls" pendants! They reminded me of Truck Balls, only prettier.
If you're looking for some hot shopping action from some of your favorite Portland-area Etsy sellers, meet us this Saturday at the PDX Art and Craft Show next to the PSU Farmer's Market!! Bread and Badger will be there, debuting our Flight of the Conchords portrait vase, which is so new, it isn't even finished yet. ;)
PDX Art & Craft Show
featuring members of the PDX Etsy Street Team
Saturday June 28
South Park Blocks at PSU
There will be many great local creators selling such things as handmade soap, lovely handcrafted jewelry and art. The Portland Farmers Market is just to the North so you can buy local food as well! PDX Etsy will donate some money to our sponsor, the PSU Women's Studies Department.
June 25, 2008
I had a booth at Rebel Rabbit craft fair this past Sunday, which was my first time at this Portland event. The space inside Hipbone Studio was amazingly well-lit from skylights, and I loved the sketches, paintings and sculptures adorning the walls.
The bad news was that there weren't many customers. I heard later that there was another big event in north Portland that may have drawn everyone outdoors, but not many folks came through our space.
The good news was that all the vendors got to hang out and get to know each other a little better while also trading goods! I got to chat with my table-neighbors while knitting a sweater I'm working on, which made the event feel like a crafty meetup, rather than a day of working a fair.
I ended up trading some of my things for an awesome set of Koozies from PDX Softgoods and an original painting and magnet by Ian of Bend Rivers!!
Merritt's koozies got immediate use at my house for keeping my evening beer cold, and I'm sure they'll be a hit when we have friends over. It was almost impossible for me to decide which designs to get (she also has scooter designs, and a tattoo flash swallow design that says "Portland Forever"!), but I ended up choosing a pre-pack with cowboys/cowgirls and horses. Each one even has a cute name next to their picture!
I am so in love with Ian's paintings, I can't wait until he has an active Etsy shop! For now, I'll just have to hope we run into each other again at another Portland event. He paints amazingly layered pictures on wood, then heavily shellacs them for a sturdy, uber-shiny finish. I love that his imagery contains words, bright colors, robots with wavy arms, animals, and all kinds of iconic shapes. Everything has so much energy to it, it's hard to stop staring at! The painting I picked up was a reclaimed landscape painting that Ian made into his own work of art. I wish I could put one of his little masterpieces in every room of my house! Luckily, with my new vampire teeth magnet, I've now got two rooms covered.
The bird collage that hangs above my new robot painting is actually my first Etsy purchase! It was made by Flukey Madera in Spain (who appears to no longer maintain her shop). I bought one of her other bird collages for a friend's birthday, and had to have one for myself!
June 23, 2008
In case you haven't heard by now, the Phoenix Mars Lander has discovered ice on Mars! You can check out the official article here (there are lots of photos, here too) or follow the Phoenix's frequent updates on Twitter here.
Next step: getting David Bowie to write a song about Mars popsicles.
June 20, 2008
This was sent to me by my great, eco-conscience mother-in-law. Urban Edibles is a website devoted to sharing natural food sources like nut and fruit trees, berry patches and wild herbs with the community of Portland, OR. The site is made up of user-contributed sources, so you can submit plants that you've found or own, with harvesting tips or other details. Just remember to get permission before picking fruit on someone else's property!
The database aims to bring the community together by encouraging food foragers to converse with property owners, ultimately making use of the natural resources in our own neigborhoods. You can search by category for a specific plant, or using the Google map on the site, so it's easy to plan a trip even if you don't know the area that well. I can't wait to go on my first fruit-scouting mission!
June 18, 2008
I found this site while Stumbling recently. It hasn't been updated in a while, but the video is awesome! You can also watch it at multiple speeds (including single-frame) by clicking the ascii buttons below. I wish I'd come up with an idea this cool..
June 16, 2008
In case you're wondering how to befriend more white people, this blog has all the tips you need. If you already have enough white friends, it has some great insight into their predictable habits.
Embarrassingly, I used to work for New Balance shoes (#96), and can claim quite a few of the items on the list as things that I like. Of course, Portland, Oregon is one of the things listed in the Stuff White People Like book, so now I really am a stereotype!
Check out the full list here. It's totally worth your time.
June 13, 2008
About a year ago, I was visiting friends in Berkeley, when Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) came on the ipod. At first I didn't think much of the catchy pop song playing out of the stereo, until I realized that I was listening to Biggie rapping over Tiny Dancer. Let me just let that sink in for you. The Notorious B.I.G. rapping. over. Tiny. Dancer.
With samples coming from classic to current hip-hop, rock, punk and pop favorites, it's hard not to love every song, no matter how strange the mash-ups. I know I'm not the only person who secretly switches the radio over to the hip-hop station when no one's around, so don't be afraid to admit that you recognize more than a couple of the hooks.
This video shows a bit of Gregg's process when creating a new remix:
If you wanna rock out or shake yer laffy taffy to Girl Talk's tunes, Night Ripper is a great album to start with since it's a bit more pop-y and danceable than some of his more frenetic albums. This wikipedia page even has a track list for all the samples (don't peak if you want the fun of figuring them out to yourself!).
Just be prepared to have multiple songs stuck in your head at once. For days at a time.
(mp3 clips courtesy of the Illegal Art website.)
June 11, 2008
Since moving to Portland, I've been lucky enough to meet some amazing crafty folks through the PDX Etsy team (currently renaming ourselves as we become a co-op!). I was immediately enthralled by glass artist Leah Pellegrini's beautiful mobiles, and we quickly worked out a collaborative project.
Using glass scraps from other projects, Leah has created two sets of fused discs, which I've etched with my original designs. One set is a beautiful array of greens adorned with organic-shaped bare trees, the other is icy blues which have cute ocean critters on them. Leah's sturdy mobiles are perfect for hanging indoors or out, and are carefully handcrafted to withstand the tests of time.
We're still testing the waters with this creative endeavor, but I can't wait to work with Leah again since I'm dying to see some other great mobiles come to life (robots, anyone?)!!
June 9, 2008
Look what I just made! This is a gift for Dr. McNinja comic creator and artist, Chris Hastings. I hope he likes it.
This is the first of many planned gifts for the creators of my favorite webcomics. As a self-employed artist, I wanted a way to give something back to these great creative folks who put their work out there on the internet for free. I can't afford to buy books and t-shirt from all of them (even though I'd like to!) so hopefully they'll appreciate this token of my appreciation.
I'd like to encourage everyone out there to take a peak at the awesome webcomics in my sidebar, buy something from their creators if you can, or find one nice thing to do for your favorite internet artist today. Just sending a positive fan letter makes a big difference in someone's life who offers their art publicly. You don't have to be shy!The design for this pint glass was based on this panel, where the good doctor has been possessed by an ear-ghost. The storyline is pure genius.
June 6, 2008
One thing that will never go out of fashion is mix tapes. Even as technology advances, we still all feel connected to those cute little plastic packages of love that took so long to make. (Check out BraveMoonman's shop for some amazing mixtape-inspired goods!!)
One website I've been in love with recently is Muxtape.com. This is one of those sites that I'd been hearing about on Twitter and around the blogosphere for a while before I ever bothered to check it out.
You basically create a free account, then you upload mp3's to their site and create an online mixtape! You can share the url for your mixtape with friends, and they can listen to all your songs (or buy them, although I haven't tried that yet, so I don't know who you're actually buying from).
One thing that's both charming and frustrating is the layout of the site. It's very "no-frills" which makes it feel old-school and fun, but also a little annoying to use. You can only upload one song at a time, and it automatically saves them in the reverse order of how you upload them. You can drag-and-drop to rearrange the order of the songs, but I found this to be glichy. It often didn't save all the changes I'd made, even though it appeared to.
It's still a super cool site! The front page appears to have the most recently created mixes available for browsing. There's no organization or searching, unfortunately, but I've found some really cool new songs on there just by clicking randomly.
You can listen to my muxtape here: http://breadandbadger.muxtape.com
(Please note that my Muxtape songs are not G-rated and contain obscene language.) Let me know what you think, and post your muxtape urls so I can listen to them, too!
June 4, 2008
Here's an awesome recipe for Vietnamese-style coffee popsicles! I found it via the Craft: Magazine Twitter page.
If you don't have a fancy popsicle mold, you can make a granita out of the coffee mixture by pouring it into a shallow tray or baking dish, and letting it freeze for 2 hours so that ice crystals have started to form on the surface. Scrape the ice crystals around with a fork, and return to the freezer for another 30 minutes. Repeat the scraping and freezing 3 or 4 more times, until it's all fluffy and frozen. Serve immediately!
You could also serve it before it's completely frozen and have a drinkable slushie icy coffee concoction. I can't wait to try this!
June 2, 2008
I discovered this highly-addictive game after Sean heard about it on a forum, and then continued laughing and cursing at it for over an hour. I knew I had to give it a try.
The object of Magic Pen is simple: get the ball to roll onto the flag. By any means necessary. You have a magic crayon to draw shapes that you can drop, connect together, and build objects out of, all based on physics.
One of the hardest elements to this game was drawing the shapes the way I wanted them, since the program "smooths" out the lines for you once you finish drawing. I don't recommend playing this on a laptop touch-pad!
The best part of the game was that the shapes and contraptions really did follow the laws of physics! As far as crayon-drawn created-out-of-thin-air shapes and contraptions can, of course. It was even fun to see my lovely machines fall off a cliff because I weighted a swinging arm too much in one direction.
It was also fun to see how Sean and I both solved the levels differently. There's more than one solution to almost every level, and you can get really creative with your solutions. Sometimes putting our heads together was the only way to figure it out!
Alejandro Guillen, who created Magic Pen, also wrote another game called Spin the Black Circle (extra points for the Pearl Jam reference) which is supposed to be just as addictive. I haven't played it myself, but watching Sean puzzle out the levels proved that it could be a similar time-suck for me, if I let it.