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:

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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 Etsy.com shop, www.etsy.com/shop/houseofmoss.

"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. www.landofnod.com

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 appliqu├ęd partridge in a pear tree might make a welcome hostess gift. www.crateandbarrel.com

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, www.feltorama.com. 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 www.livingfelt.com 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: www.purlsoho.com, www.achildsdream.com and www.commonwealthfelt.com .

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 www.marthastewart.com.

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. www.eksuccess.com

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!)
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