Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in review

This year has been a good one for House of Moss. I've seen my business grow by leaps and bounds. I've worked harder than I've ever worked. I've become more confident. It's been a rather "nose-to-the-grindstone" type of year, but when I look back I am happily surprised by some of the things that this hard work has accomplished:

1. BLOG: I began the "We make Portland awesome" series on this blog. Since beginning this project, I've hosted interviews from 42 amazing local makers. I've absolutely loved getting to know our handmade community, and I've made some real friends through it!

2. SALES: I met (and blew right past) my sales goal for the year.

3. WHOLESALE: I opened my first wholesale supply-purchasing account. This was a big deal and it kind of felt (haha, felt!) like I'd "made it" as a real business.

4. SHOWS: I did my first outdoor show (Arts Festival in the Forest, West Linn) and did 5 holiday shows in 5 weeks. I sold at both Crafty Wonderland's Spring and Holiday Sales. I learned that it's okay to leave early from a show if it's just that bad.

5. SHOPS: I expanded my local boutiques with seven new ones: The Blind Insect, Mag-Big, Little Things, Paper & Petal, Aster & Bee, Memento, and Hammer + Vine.

6. PRESS: Just this past week, I was honored to be featured in an Associated Press article about felting as a craft. It was published all over the country, including in our local paper, The Oregonian!

I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at what can be done in a year. I'm sure that many of you can relate to this: So many days spent working alone for hours on end, shipping never-ending amounts of packages, taking photos, tweaking Etsy listings, applying to (and sometimes not making it into) shows– and then one day you look back and see how far you've come.

End of the year gratitude

As I reflect on 2012, I find myself amazed and overwhelmed with gratitude for those who have helped make it all that it was. While I've been the one driving my business, I am constantly aware of those who support, who encourage, and who help make difficult things possible. I'd like to list some of them here.

• To Erik: Thank you for getting excited with me about every new detail, and for reminding me of the good when I can't see it.

• To Mum and Papa: Thank you for helping me with the peripheral expenses of living while I get my business up and running.

• To Karl, Nancy, and those who work at Allegra: Thank you for your flexibility with scheduling, and for "making ends meet" in the bindery when I can't be there.

• To the friends who come visit E & me at shows: We love you!

• To Torie & Cathy: Thank you for your good work in supporting our local handmade culture. Crafty Wonderland is the best!

• To my friends at the shops where my work can be found: It's a highlight of my week to see your sweet faces when I stop by to drop things off or pick up a check.

• To those with whom my work has found a home: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting my work, and for voting with your money for sustainable human-scale production. Your patronage means the world to me as I try to live my handmade life.

AP article in The Oregonian!

The Associated Press article showed up in our local paper! I'm pretty sure this is the first time in my 25 years that I've seen my name in The Oregonian. It was published on Friday (28 December).

Friday, December 28, 2012

Featured in an Associated Press article!

My work has been highlighted in this Associated Press article about crafting with felt!
 I know the screenshots are tiny. Here's the full text of the article:


It's that time of year when texture, character and warmth define the most successful decor. The perfect time for felt.

This season has seen a variety of creative, decorative felt items for table and tree. You'll find it sewn, lasercut, appliqued or otherwise manipulated to create eye-catching fashion accessories, charming toys and sculptures, and chic items for the home.

Or you can try your hand at felt-making and crafting yourself. (More on that later.)
In Portland, Ore., designer Alison Comfort offers a woodsy wonderland of little felt pumpkins, acorns, mushrooms, nests and forest animals — small sculptures that might add charm to a holiday table — at her shop,

"There's something so dear and precious about starting with a natural material in its raw state, using a simple tool and my own hands, and transforming it," she says.

There are guides online for making felt candy canes, but if you aren't crafty and still love the look, consider Land of Nod's delicious-looking versions; here too, round ornaments in felt stripes or gathered layers. All would look cute on a kids' tree.

At Crate & Barrel, laser-cut felt placemats with seasonal motifs, felt ball garlands, and a collection of tree ornaments including gingerbread men, Swedish style birds and owls add homespun charm. A felt pillow with appliquéd partridge in a pear tree might make a welcome hostess gift.

The nature of felt — soft, pliable and able to take on a variety of colors — makes it terrific for crafting, not only for designers but for creative amateurs.

"Felt is one of my favorite materials. It's an extremely easy material to work with because, unlike most fabrics, it's non-woven, so it won't unravel and doesn't require hemming," says Jodi Levine, designer-at-large for Martha Stewart Living.

April Tatom of Louisville, Ky., sells felting supplies on her website, When she decided to try her hand at appliqued clothing for children and experimented with various fabrics, "I found that nothing matched the lush texture of felt. It just beckons to be touched and adds a cozy dimension to any project. There's no 'right' or 'wrong' side to it. Felt toys are wonderfully tactile for little fingers and visually stimulating for kids of all ages."

For her own kids, Tatom recently completed a felt "picnic" set complete with a lunchmeat-, cheese- and lettuce-filled baguette, and a cookie for dessert. She also recreated one of her son's favorite book characters, Lowly Worm, from Richard Scarry's "Busytown."

Food is a popular subject for felt crafters, often as soft children's toys but sometimes so realistically rendered that it's elevated to something more artful.

Roving, a washed and carded wool with a texture similar to cotton candy, is the basis for many sculpted felt creatures and items. The fiber is pulled into strands that can be formed and poked with fingers or needles into shapes. Many of the animals on Etsy and in stores are crafted this way; it's easy to manipulate roving and no sewing is required. Check out for supplies and kits.

Alternatively, a method called wet felting uses hot, soapy water and agitation to enmesh wool or other fibers so tightly that they cannot be pulled apart.

Additional online sources for wool and wool-blend felt, Levine says, include:, and .

Or you may not have to buy anything at all if a common laundry mishap occurs. "If you've ever shrunk a wool sweater, scarf or hat, you've created felt," Levine laughs.

Check the closet for sweater castoffs, then machine-wash and dry them on hot settings and get crafting. Projects like pillow covers, patchwork blankets and pouches are on

In the felting community, that method, which uses yarn rather than roving, is called "fulling."
Martha Stewart's site also has instructions for making little felt mitten clips, mini stockings and mice ornaments, tree skirts and gifts, as well as some easy kids' projects.

Children also might enjoy making little felt animals with EK Success' penguin or snowman craft kits.

For first-time felt crafters, Tatom offers these tips:
— Invest in high-quality felt so it will hold up over time.
— Use a rotary cutter for larger cuts and small embroidery scissors for details. Rotary cutters save time, give precise results, and are also available in scallop and zigzag designs.
— Experiment with different types of felt. Each has benefits: recycled eco-felt (created from recycled bottles), 100 percent wool felt (rich texture), wool-blend felt (affordable, versatile), bamboo felt (ultra-soft).
— Don't create a machine-washable project without first testing a swatch of the felt in the washer.
KIM COOK The Associated Press

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Shipping Info

All domestic orders this week have been upgraded to Priority Mail (2-3 business days) for no extra charge to you. Please order by Wednesday to ensure Christmas delivery.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale 2012 in review

Crafty Wonderland this past weekend was absolutely great. Erik and I had an awesome time meeting so many wonderful people! Torie and Cathy announced that attendance was up by 2,000 attendees from last year: 18,000 people came through those doors! 10,000 on Saturday, and another 8,000 on Sunday!

We had some awesome neighbors (Michele Maule, Pepe & Ale from Muluk, Natalie Joy, Lark Press, Amy from Little Bright Studio, Karyn from Pirouette, and others!), ate some superb handmade treats (lollipops from This Charming Candy, truffles made by Nicole from DotShoppe), and made a fun trade (Adrienne from Neeka Knits). It was also super fun to go around and visit/meet a lot of the amazing makers I've had on this very blog in the series We Make Portland Awesome: Sofia from Buttonlandia, Telle & Rex from ISWAS+WILLBE, Denise from DKruegerBotanicArt, Brooke from Little Canoe, Amy from Ohlnu, and others!

And I got nearly all of my Christmas presents there... though if I reveal where I got those, some certain people may be able to guess what they're getting! ;)

Wholesale listings are back!

Wholesale listings are back in the shop! I deactivated them earlier in the month as I needed more time to prepare for the holiday shows– but now they're back! You can find them here.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Motivation to be early at Crafty Wonderland...

Each day (Saturday & Sunday) the first 150 shoppers at the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale will receive free goodie bags. They're filled with wonderful little things made by those who are selling at the show– and 50 of them will have one of my little acorns!

The lines have been seen to stretch halfway down the length of the Convention Center, so get in early if you want one!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

HOMESPUN @ Reading Frenzy

HOMESPUN is an affordable art show featuring 30+ artists and makers and hundreds of handmade and small batch items for $50 and under, including original art and prints, dolls and toys, accessories, housewares, confections, bath goods, and more. It's being put on by Reading Frenzy, a darling little book-and-magazine shop just down the block from Powell's.

The show runs from today (the opening is tonight, December 6th, at 6pm) through the end of the month, so stop by and see my little felted things among the amazingness!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to find House of Moss at Crafty Wonderland

I'll be at spot #85.

This weekend: Crafty Wonderland!

The holiday shows are marching forward, and after some smashing success at the Lewis Elementary and Laurelhurst School bazaars last weekend, I'm now gearing up for the big one... Crafty Wonderland is this weekend! It's the final, last-hurrah show for me this season; I'm looking forward to it immensely, but I'm also looking forward to having some holiday time (not to mention, weekend time without frantic felting work or shows!) after it's over.

I'm also excited for my display! I'll be unveiling a new component, which you'll have to stop by and see. (Hint: snowflakes!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Double-header this weekend!

This is going to be a busy weekend! I've done 2-day shows, but never two different shows within two days.

This SATURDAY, December 1st (!), is the Lewis Elementary Holiday Bazaar & Tree Sale.

SUNDAY, December 2nd, is the Laurelhurst Winter Bazaar!
These will be my first elementary school shows, as well as the last two of the season before Crafty Wonderland!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

We make Portland awesome: HHKnits

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Helene Hughart of HHKnits
Who are you?
My name is Helene Hughart. I was born and raised in Austria to Slovenian Parents. I came to the US over 30 years ago and have lived in California, Kansas and now Portland for 17 years.

What do you make?
Knitting and sewing has been passed down to me from my Mother who taught me these skills before I entered school where in the 60's knitting and sewing was still part of the school curriculum. I have knitted ever since and only started to sell my creations after I stopped working with children and raising our son.

Besides making things, what do you do?
Besides knitting and sewing I enjoy gardening, hiking and traveling.

What inspires you?
I get inspired by the people around me and the materials I work with. My favorite projects are custom works.

Where can your work be found?
You can find my items on and you can see my current work on page

What do you love about Portland?
I enjoy living in Portland because I can garden (long growing period), hike (mountains, beaches, hills in close proximity) and travel internationally.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Kendra Binney

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Kendra Binney

Who are you?
My name is Kendra Binney. I speak mostly through pictures, and spend most of my time painting, daydreaming, and wondering about small insignificant things.

What do you make?
I paint imaginary worlds of dripping landscapes and insecure, vulnerable characters covered in shiny candy coatings of resins. I sometimes turn these paintings into limited edition art panels, pendants, and other small things.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I spend a lot of time driving around in an ugly van with my dog - occasionally stopping to hike or camp or discover new things. I play a lot of sports in the summer, and also spend a strange amount of time reading about bugs. For someone who's normally very quiet, I tend to be very talkative when it comes to politics or social issues - probably breaching the tolerance of friends who are busy trying to watch a movie or something.

What inspires you?
Everything? I think painting is my way of processing the world around me. I’m often struck by the importance of fleeting moments , the perpetuity of their impermanence, and my inability to understand any of it. The world can be often despairing, and fiercely cruel....and then I see something to make it all completely endearing regardless. For me, painting is a way to grasp what can't be caught, and to express what I can't quite articulate.

Where can your work be found?
In rotating shows in random galleries all over the place. I currently have work up or shows scheduled in L.A., New York, and Manchester, England. - as well as locally. Information on upcoming and current shows can be found at , Work is also available online at

What do you love about Portland?
I was young when I first moved from Arizona to Oregon with my family. I remember taking a drive off the main road - sitting in the back seat with my face against the window - completely awestruck by how beautiful it was - the tangled masses of moss covered trees, the hazy fogs and streaks of rain mixing with the millions of colors of green. Until then, I thought those types of places only existed in fairy tales. I clearly remember thinking to myself that Portland was magic . . . which I'm still apt to believe is true.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Handcrafted Holiday Market this Saturday!

Erik and I will be here on Saturday 10-5! Though I've never been to the Marylhurst University campus, I'm under the impression that it's beautiful– and the show is inside the Old Library!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Siren Nation Art & Craft Sale in review

Originally I'd thought of this show as something of a "warm-up" to get me in the swing of things for the grueling show schedule I have planned this holiday. But it turned out to be one of the best ever! Good sales, excellent neighbors, friendly shoppers in a steady stream. It was extremely well-organized and well-publicized, AND it was in a McMenamins venue, so the atmosphere was great and of course lunch was a highlight.

Excuse the blurry picture. There were so many shoppers at this show that it was hard to find even a moment when the front of the booth was clear!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tender Loving Empire's online Handmade Shop

Tender Loving Empire– the first shop to sell my work in Portland, and a place very dear to my heart– has been making a lot of changes to their website, including a beautifully updated Handmade Store! They've photographed and listed some of the House of Moss items they stock, and I think they've done a darling job of it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Siren Nation Show this Sunday!

And so it begins. Come visit me and House of Moss at our first show of the holiday season!
Note the little felted acorns that made it onto the poster. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Bread and Badger

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Amanda of Bread and Badger
Who are you?
I'm Amanda Siska, the owner and artist behind Bread and Badger. My husband, Sean, works with me full-time in our home studio too.

What do you make?
We sandblast my original drawings onto glass and ceramic cups. I create all the art and maintain our online sites, while Sean does most of the production work.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I'm also the mom of a very energetic and hilarious toddler. Before he was born, I spent my free time knitting and playing video games, and I still find time for drinking beer and playing pool occasionally.

What inspires you?
I like to use bold art that reminds me of my childhood -- the wonder and imagination and obsession that we all have as kids. Kids just get so into things that they completely surround themselves with their favorite imagery. We can do this as adults too, without going totally overboard. What single thing defines you right at this moment? What are you really excited about? I like to think that we're making products that people can relate to on a really personal level and say, "this is who I am" when they use them.

Where can your work be found?
Besides Etsy and our website, we also sell our cups in person at Crafty Wonderland and Urban Craft Uprising (in Portland and Seattle, respectively). A full list of retailers that carry our work can be found here:

In Portland, you can find our work at these awesome shops:

Antler Gallery – 1722 NE Alberta St, Portland
Bikeasaurus – 1725 SE Hawthorne, Portland
Branch + Birdie – 8021 SE Stark, Portland
Crafty Wonderland – 802 SW 10th Ave., Portland
Etcetera – 8621 N. Lombard, Portland
Land/Buy Olympia – 3925 North Mississippi Ave Portland
Made in Oregon – various locations
Pacific North Fresh – 23 NW 5th Ave, Portland
Redux – 811 E Burnside St. Suite #110, Portland
Tender Loving Empire – 412 SW 10th Ave., Portland
Twisted Yarn Shop – 2310 NE Broadway, Portland
ZimZim – 2805 SE Ankeny, Portland

What do you love about Portland?
My husband and I moved here from Boston 4 1/2 years ago because we love the weather (seriously!) and the people. Everyone's so chatty here! It's a nice change from all the aggression and competition that people on the east coast hang onto.

One of the best parts about running an online business is the ability to live anywhere we want, and it's such a bonus to have found a place that's so supportive of local artists and small businesses. I don't think we'll ever leave!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Featured en français!

My little seedlings and hearts have been featured in this entry of the French blog Avec Ses 10 Ptits Doigts! Merci beaucoup to the author of this beautiful blog!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

We make Portland awesome: Marika Paz

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Marika Paz

Who are you?
Hello! I am Marika Paz and I am an illustrator and artist. I live in Portland with my husband Patrick and our two cats (Boogie and Sugar Britches) and our pup Biscuit.

What do you make?
I create original art and illustrations as well as archival prints. I also do commission work, such as pet portraits and logos, which I like to put my own little spin on. On a limited basis I also create cards and other small fun things.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I feel super lucky because my life is filled with things I love- when I am not illustrating I am out playing with pups! In addition to my illustration and freelance work, my husband and I own a dog walking business called Dog Star Walkers Portland. A friend of mine once said this and it's true- I live the dreams of my five year old self, playing with dogs all day and drawing at night! I also bellydance and play with my furr babies- my pup Biscuit in particular rules my life.

What inspires you?
So many things inspire me from found plants and twigs in the woods to old books. Nature is always influencing my art- our relationship with nature, animals relationship with nature, and the environment around us. I also am always influenced the cute, odd, and curious things in the world.

Where can your work be found?
On my etsy shop at I also do lots of art shows around Portland and craft fairs too! If you want to keep track of my coming and goings I update my facebook page regularly( – my art blog too: and of course my official webpage at

What do you love about Portland?
I have lived all over the country (up and down California, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Chicago) and in Scotland, and I can safely say that Portland is one of my favorite cities! I moved here a year ago and it has been a fantastic time! I love how creative the city is, its proximity to nature (the coast, forests, and mountains), and of course, its amazing food (yay for food trucks! Where else in the world is there Viking Soul Food?!). And of course the awesome weather- I know some people might not agree, but I just love it!  My husband and I chose very carefully our next move and Portland had everything we were looking for. I am so happy to be here!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Holiday Show Lineup 2012!

Oh my goodness, it is almost November! While I've been living a little ahead of the season (ahem, making acorn ornaments in July), it's somehow still startling to me that the holidays are actually coming! I've got a solid lineup of shows coming, too... and it looks to be the busiest season I've yet had with House of Moss. I'd love to see you there, so mark your calendar and come say hi!

11th, 11am-5pm: Siren Nation Show @ McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland
17th, 10am-5pm: Handcrafted Holiday Market @ The Old Library at Marylhurst University, Lake Oswego

1st, 10am-4pm: Lewis Holiday Bazaar @ Lewis Elementary, Portland
2nd, 9am-4pm: Laurelhurst Winter Bazaar @ Laurelhurst School, Portland
8th & 9th, 11am-6pm both days: Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale @ The Convention Center, Portland

I'll be writing individual blog posts about each one closer to when they happen, too, with more info.

What shows do you plan to shop at or sell at this year? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


If I've been a bit absent lately, it's because I've been swept up in a whirlwind of change. Life has been unfolding in the weirdest of ways, and I find myself back where I started– but with a renewed thankfulness for the situation I have. I was offered a couple of different possibilities for day jobs... but I've decided to keep the one I have for now in the interest of putting more into my own business these next couple of months.

My current day job has been asking lots more hours of me, House of Moss business has been picking up thanks to the holidays, and somehow Erik and I found time to carve pumpkins with my parents.

One might think that all of this would make me too tired to get much else done, but I've managed to be quite productive. Wool is so unbelievably soothing, and the process of needle-felting is very grounding. And so a happy neighborhood of little wool cottages has sprung up during the evenings.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

We make Portland awesome: BleuOiseau

"We make Portland awesome" is a weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Ashleigh of BleuOiseau

Who are you?
I am Ashleigh A. Coyner of BleuOiseau Photography

What do you make?
I am a fine art photographer who prints artwork on paper, wood, and even metal.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I am an avid birder as well as runner. I love reading and embroidery.

What inspires you?
I hold a degree in Resource Biology and therefore nature inspires most of my fine art.

Where can your work be found?
My Fire Series ( is being showcased at Tea Chai Tè on 1609 NW 23rd Ave until the end of October.

What do you love about Portland?
Since I live out in the “country”, I love everything about Portland. I love that it is a decent sized city and yet feels down to earth. I love that there is a great biking community, that it is child friendly. The zoo right outside of town is so fun to take my kids to and I love Portland’s Audubon chapter, with their great hiking trail right outside of town!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Milestone: First wholesale wool order!

This was a big one for me: finally taking the plunge and buying the massive first-order minimum to open a wholesale account from one of my favorite wool suppliers! This will save me a bunch in the long run, and it feels great to have some of my most-used colors stocked up before the holidays.
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