Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New sign for shows!

Over the last couple of months, I've been working on my branding for House of Moss. I bought a custom stamp, refined my packaging routine, and changed up my show display. The custom stamp was key, because it ended up informing the design of the other two! I made a new sign for shows last week from it.

First I made a cloth background using the exact same technique as in my reusable cloth napkin tutorial. I wanted it to be versatile enough to be hung on the front of my table or above like a banner, so I used an upcycled natural linen for the front and a beautiful white-on-white floral cotton piece for the back. Then I drew the design freehand, looking at my custom stamp for reference, onto the sign I'd sewn. I installed metal grommets at the top corners, and added strings for hanging.

You can see the new one in action HERE in this post about my experience at the Lewis Elementary Garden Fair, and a picture of the old one HERE. What do you think of this new sign?

Lewis Elementary Garden Fair in Review

This past Saturday was the first show of the year, Lewis Elementary's Garden Fair. It was a fun combination of a plant sale, a cookout, live music, and a handmade fair.

The weather was spring-perfect, warm and sunny. Unfortunately, this meant that lots of attendees stayed outside with the other attractions enjoying the outdoors, while us vendors waited inside. Not resoundingly successful as far as sales go, but not a total loss: I found a mint plant and two strawberry starts for the garden at a plant booth, and we had great neighbors! They included Jackie of Scrumptious Suds, Molly of Elizabeth Jewelry, Ale of Muluk, and Jennifer of JBoldGlassArt. Meeting new friends and catching up with old favorites. I don't get to see these wonderful people during the off-season, so it was good to hang out with them. 

Plus it was a strategic opportunity to run through my new display (and debut some new items! see the acorn garlands above us in the photo?) before the first big show of the year, Crafty Wonderland's Spring Sale, which happens in two weeks.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

We make Portland awesome: ACBC Design

"We make Portland awesome" is a bi-weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Ann of ACBC Design
Who are you?
Ann Cosgrove, I’m a freelance graphic designer. I live and work in a beautiful 1920’s era home in NE Portland with my fellow designer husband and 2 rambunctious kitties.

What do you make?
I design and print a line of graphic and whimsical cards for birthdays, new baby, weddings and more! I also create custom wedding invitations and birth announcements.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I also really love knitting and try to fit it in to my day as much as possible. Food is another great passion of mine. I love experimenting with new recipes, along with trying all the unique restaurants around Portland. I’ve also been known to spend a few hours playing games on our PS3 and watching B movies.

What inspires you?
I’m inspired a lot by nature. The color and textures of plants, flowers, animals are all so beautiful. Fashion is another big influence - I love seeing bold prints, accessories and different fibers. It all can swirl around in my head and inspire a new card design.

Where can your work be found?
Currently all my work is found in my shop on Etsy.

What do you love about Portland?
I love so much about Portland - how it’s full of really creative, unique and supportive people. My husband and I are big fans of urban hiking - just walking around the different neighborhoods and taking in the unique sights each has to offer. Also the great green spaces and parks - great places for inspiration. Let’s not forget, since I’m a huge foodie, all the fantastic restaurants!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Upcoming Event: Lewis Elementary Garden Fair, Happening This Saturday!

Felted wool seedling in a small terra cotta pot

My first show of 2013 is this Saturday, April 27th, from 10am-3pm. Lewis Elementary's holiday show was a good one, so I'm very much looking forward to this springtime version. They hold a plant sale outside (so stop by and stock up on starts for your garden!) as well as an artisan/handmade sale inside the gym. Several of my favorite makers will be selling there, including the wonderful Pepe and Ale of Muluk, Andrea of Travelust (who also runs the dear shop Little Things), and Jennifer of JBoldGlassArt.

House of Moss will be there, too, with plenty of felted seedlings, mushroom gardens, and felted terrariums, for all of you us out there who can't seem to keep real plants alive. :)

I'm also debuting a new House of Moss sign, as well as some brand-new acorn garlands– not even listed in the shop yet, as of this writing! So stop by and be the first to pick one up.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Home Project: Reusable Cloth Napkins

In honor of Earth Day, I have a project for you that's just about the Earth-friendliest I could think of. Reusable cloth napkins!

I made a set of 30 this weekend, and over their lifetime they should save hundreds thousands of paper napkins around here! They shouldn't cause any extra laundry, either, because I'll just toss them in with the other loads I'm washing.

Here's how I made mine:

 1. Find an old bedsheet. I had some around the house already, but you can find them easily at thrift shops. Wash it, iron it, and fold it in quarters.

2. Make a "pattern" for the shape and size you would like your napkins to be. I chose a regular 8.5x11" sheet of paper for mine, but squares are also common. Cut around your "pattern," leaving at least a half-inch around to leave space for the seams. I made mine larger to make just a slightly bigger napkin than my handy sheet of paper. :)

3. Pin two together. Make sure the right sides (prettier sides) are facing inward if your fabric has a pattern on it.

4. Sew around the edges, leaving about 1/4" for your seam allowance.

5. Sew almost all the way around, leaving a 4-or-so-inch gap before you meet up with where you started.

(a gap like this)

6. Turn the piece right-side-out again, and iron it so the edges are sharp. The 4-inch gap will stick out funny, so just fold it in as if it had been sewn with the rest. You'll secure it in the next step.

7. Top-stitch, about 1/8" from the edge, all the way around. Done!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day has become one of my favorite holidays. I love all things natural and eco-responsible, so having a day where the whole country is extra-conscious of that stuff makes me so happy!

This will be the 4th year of an Earth Day tradition that Erik and I have, watching a documentary. Usually we go see the DisneyNature film that comes out in theaters this time every year, but this year there's a gap and it turns out that next year is Bears, about Alaskan grizzly bears. I guess the production on this one is taking longer for some reason.

Previously, we've gone to see Oceans (2010), African Cats (2011), and Chimpanzee (2012). This year we're going to find one on Netflix to watch. Even though it means we'll be sitting inside staring at a screen (ironic, no?), our tradition of watching a documentary is a fun way to become more aware and educated about our Earth.

I also spent most of the weekend making Earth-friendly projects, which I will be sharing with you soon!

For now, though, there are starlings outside the window, fresh tulips on the table, and so much sunshine that there are no lights on in the house. Living on this Earth is wonderful.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mushroom Pendants/Ornaments

I just finished making a batch of a new, improved version of my mushroom terrarium pendants. These new ones are slightly larger, slightly rounder, and still so very tiny and cute! They are also versatile enough to become either a necklace or a Christmas ornament. You can find them HERE.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

300 Acorns!

Ever wonder what 300 felt acorns looks like? Well now you know. :) These acorns are on their way to Australia tomorrow, to be sold in a little shop.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Some thoughts on tragedy

Sometimes it seems like the fabric of the universe gets thin. Things are just rolling along, and then suddenly a rash of unsettling events blindsides us. Yesterday, there were two bombs at the Boston Marathon, a truly tragic event that killed at least 2 people. This news, along with my eye exam that day (yes, not at all serious, but doctor visits of any kind always make me feel so mortal) and stories from my brother about scary fan riots at a Timbers soccer match he was at, combined to create a feeling of human vulnerability.

We may mourn or complain or curl up under blankets. And yet, the next day, we get up and get to work again. No one knows how long things will last, and yet so many of us continue to build good things– like the strong people of the city of Boston going about their lives today, as well as those of us who are simply planting gardens and apple trees.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nature Walk: Lacamas Heritage Trail 4/14/13

Yesterday, Erik and I went exploring at the trail we found near his new place. We love to walk and bike, so this awesome trail was a great find. It's called the Lacamas Heritage Trail, and it's a 3.5-mile gravel path along a beautiful lake. We saw plenty of gorgeous greenery and even some Canadian geese, under a moody spring sky. We definitely plan to spend more time here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Nadelwerk

"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: Karin of Nadelwerk
Who are you?
My name is Karin Kaufmann and I was born and raised in Munich, Germany, which is north of the Bavarian Alps. Ten years ago I met my dear husband in Dublin; we moved to England, and then eventually to Oregon.

What do you make?
I create decorative pins, pincushions, bookmarks, and felted items with both wet and needle felting.
I create crocheted and knitted items such as shawls and scarves. In the last four months, I've begun to work with fiber and have learned to spin my own yarn. For many of my creations, I use repurposed and vintage materials.

Besides making things, what do you do?
I love to meet with friends for coffee, or to share a meal, but most importantly, for good conversation.

What inspires you?
Dreams and Nature inspire me, but I also draw inspiration from my husband, my friends, and my international customers. The whole world can be an inspiration -- we just need to walk around with our eyes open.

Where can your work be found?
My work can be found in Etsy [American market], and DaWanda [European market]. I've been a member of DaWanda since its inception in 2007. Also, I invite my regular customers to my home shop for a more personal shopping experience, and to discuss a custom made order. During the Holiday season, I attend fundraising bazaars and craft fairs. The schedule will be posted on my fb page.

What do you love about Portland?
Portland is so wonderfully weird, let’s keep it that way!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Garden Plans

As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, I am very much looking forward to trying my hand at gardening this year. I grew up watching my mom make a successful garden each year, but I've never had one myself from start to finish. Erik's new house has a big yard, so this year is my chance.

I bought my seeds and I'm all ready to go! I chose snow peas (an old favorite, so deliciously springtime-flavored), purple beans (just like green beans only beautiful dark purple), zucchini (we love everything made with zucchini, and each plant makes so many), and asparagus beans (which I have never tried before, but they grow to be like a foot long!).

Somehow, though, I was under the impression that you plant your garden in March... and I was getting a little anxious because the space hadn't even been tilled yet! This idea was quickly squashed by both my mother's advice and the back of the seed packets. So I'll just hold on until it's a little warmer.

I'm also planning to grow a little herb garden this year too, but I'll post about that later.

Are you planning a garden this year? What are you planning to grow? Feel free to post any stories, or helpful hints for a newbie, in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Wool Arrives...

 My second wholesale order of wool arrived today! Watch out: You check a few boxes on an order form and -boom!- you have enough wool to cover your dining room floor! Enough that you have to roll the box instead of carrying it! Enough that you will not need to buy wool for YEARS! ...actually no, who am I kidding. I will always find more wool to buy. But it will make precisely a million gazillion acorns, pebbles, and mushrooms! Check in at the shop periodically to see what I make from all these new colors. And wish me luck in finding a way to store all of this!
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