Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree Branch Table!

When I lived in nelson many moons ago they had a coffee table in a gallery there made entirely from tree branches. It was amazing and very much out of any price range I'd ever imagine I could afford. Luckily man made diy shared a tutorial for a much more affordable homemade version:

And still eye catching! I love it when you can add some natural rustic elements into home decor! I think if I attempted this one it would be neat to have the whole thing covered with those tree ring slices! Then you could put a piece of glass over the top and the surface would be smooth (unlike the table appears above) and still have the same feel. Cool! I think my milk-crate covered in padding and denim will do the trick for me while I'm still renting but perhaps once I venture into house buying I'll revisit this one. What do you think of it?

Monday, November 29, 2010

kate's adventures in pom pom making!

As many of you know, I am a big fan of the pom pom. I've been brainstorming, blogging, and dreaming about the wonders of those little yarn fluffs for quite some time and whenever given the chance I've snapped up all the pom pom makers I can get my hands on! Well the time has finally come for me to share my pom-tastic experiences with you and critique the three pom pom makers I own. Excited? I am! Let's go:

I picked up this gem at the bargain basement loveliness that is dress sew in vancouver. It seemed like such a deal for 99cents! I mean it's magic! and proudly boasts an exclamation mark! The added punctuation surely means it's a steal right? The directions seem simple enough too:

Yup, just wind your yarn around, tie them together, and cut! Then a little tease and tidy and you're set! Pom pom magic! Sounds like a dream! Here's how it actually went down:

It was initially super awesome. I really enjoyed being able to wind that yarn around the prongs so quickly and the grooved edges made snipping a breeze! Then its awesomeness plummeted quite drastically when I discovered my magic pom was actually a messy hashbrown looking haystack thing. It's ok. Just a little tease and tidy right? Wrong. Dead wrong. I am pretty sure I spent 30 minutes trimming that awful mess trying to make a round ball. Whew! And what a mess! The resultant pom pom was about half the size as the original scruffy ball and there was a ridiculous amount of wasted yarn. *Sigh* But it did start out fantastically...and pom pom magic lets you make two different sized fluffs:

So my verdict? Pom pom magic = fail. That exclamation mark is false advertising. I am additionally bitter about this product because I snipped my hand during the excessive trimming stage. Boo. Oh well...moving on...

Welcome pom-pom pals book and craft kit! Perhaps the hyphen is more promising than the previous products exclamation mark! Plus this one didn't cost me a penny because I got it for xmas last year! And when I took it off the shelf I found a $10 bill inside from the last time I used it! Double win! This trial is looking up already! Check out the contents:

Added bonus - amazingly clear (and illustrated) instructions:

Let's see how I made out:

I must start off by saying that this pom pom would have been amazingly frustrating to make if I had actually wound a single strand of yarn around the circle like the instructions show. Instead I used my keen crafting senses and wound multiple strands (hooray for added efficiency!). After I wrapped an outrageous amount of wool around those card circles I did have a little difficultly snipping around the edges, but at least the resultant pom pom sort of resembled a ball shape! Then just a little trim (very little waste pile this time) and fluff and voila! A gorgeous large pom! And no...this kit doesn't make your pom poms magically change colour...I just wanted to keep the image montage consistent...

Biggest downfall of this kit? The super cheap card circles they give you. I highly doubt they would last very long (depending on your pom pom production) but check out how sad they looked after two poms:

But they did do the job. Plus the kit is really all about the book of pom pom pal patterns (whew alliteration!) so I still think it was a good investment! Any excuse to make more pompoms! Yay!

Now for my final trial:

This gadget I picked up for about $3 in smithers (of all places) while visiting my sister this fall. I liked the idea of the 5-in-one versatility and it didn't exactly break the bank. Check out their instructions (once again illustrated and uber simple):

Wait a minute...pom pon?

Does this mean I will be able to take my pom pom making to the next level? The pom pon level perhaps? Or is it a typeo? Apparently not...it is on the package too. Hmm...let's take it for a spin:

Once again I went for the speedy route and used multiple strands of yarn at a time. Although I did notice that these instructions suggest doubling up your yarn so it is step up from the last kit! Time to wind that yarn! It quickly became apparent that smaller poms are much more difficult to make once your circles get covered. Don't know about you - but my fingers are much to large to pull those strands through that tiny center hole! Crochet hook to the rescue (another genius move thanks to my crafty senses):

Also a convenient shot to show off my pom pom magic wound - darn you! Anyways...I used a 3.5mm hook which worked quite well and made the crafting much easier. Then to trim around the edged (made fantastically easy with that sweet V-groove), tie it up, and rip those plastic circles off (somewhat difficult for my weak hands - but I managed). Plus it already looks pretty ball like! A quick little snip here and there and you're done! And hey - that is only the inner pink circle guide. You've still got 4 other sizes to chose from:

Great! Certainly an upgrade from the disastrous messy pom the first trial gave me and the V-groove and plastic construction made me appreciate them more than their cardboard relatives. I would have really appreciated not having to unwind huge quadrupled up strands of yarn to annoyingly thread through that tiny middle hole - but all in all the pom pon making was a success. All the pom pom makers I've found that remedy all my yarn winding woes aren't very practical purchases for me since the shipping to canada pretty much triples their price tag and a little yarn struggle isn't worth a $30 price tag in my books...or at least not yet...

So what's next for my adventures in pom pom making? You'll have to wait until I've made a big stash of poms to see...but I am enjoying my darling yarn fluff babies I've lovingly handcrafted so far:

Does anyone have any tips or tricks for pom pom making? Trials and tribulations perhaps? I would like to think I'm not the only who suffers from so many crafting injuries...but pom poms are just so awesome! I can't help but get carried away with my snipping with pom poms on the brain! How pom-tastic! Pom-cellent! Pom-derful? Pom-velous? Pom-sational? Yes! Pom poms for the win!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Waxy Poms!

To continue on with my pom pom holiday trend I thought I'd share yet another pom-tastic tutorial the girls over at nice package have so kindly put together! If you're not a yarn fan - perhaps you enjoy the wax paper pom! Just check out it in all its opaque glory:

Perfect for holiday package decorating, or even (my personal fav) on a string of xmas lights! What fun! Now to find some spare time amidst all my crazy holiday preparations to whip up a few of these! What would you use them for?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snowy Welcome!

Since we (canadians) celebrated thanksgiving back in october, we don't have the crazy kickstart to xmas shopping that those to the south have with black friday! With no landmark date to jump us into holiday mode it is easy to procrastinate preparations and end up doing it all last minute (ick)! I suppose you could base things on the grey cup...but who really cares about canadian football? (Seriously - not me) I've definitely been thinking about xmas shopping for the last few weeks but procrastinating was certainly more tempting - but there is nothing like a festive winter snowfall to change that! The balmy kamloops fall weather is a thing of the past and hello cold snap! And snow! And holiday inspiration! Take a peek at the glorious winter wonderland outside my front door this morning:

Okay. So that was yesterday morning (since I pre-schedule blog posts and all...) but isn't it great! And heck the roads aren't even too bad! How pretty! Even check out those snow covered mountains you can see from my back porch:

And blue skies to boot! Now I'm fully motivated to gear into full speed holiday cheer and get preparing! Lists are made, presents are half purchased, and pomtastic decorating is on the agenda! Hooray! What gets you pumped about the holidays? Any snow where you are?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Find: Paige Russel

For my last installment of "cool artisans I met at the fabulous finds show in kelowna" I thought I'd feature the uber talented paige russel as my friday find! If I ever did venture into the world of pottery I would certainly love to make such stylish goods as paige! Look at all those clean round lines:

And if miscellaneous spouted jugs aren't your thing she makes a variety of charming pendants too:

Since I am such a sucker for handmade jewelery you may not be surprised to know that I bought a selection of pendants from the show too! How exciting! Oh, and in true kelowna style (yet again) paige also has a vintage shop to peek at (quite the trend it seems). She sells in boutiques all over north america, and if you aren't lucky enough to see her stuff in real life you can always visit her website! Hooray for internet shopping! Happy friday everyone!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pom Holiday

Amidst all the hectic crafting I've been doing over the last few months (for craft show, xmas sales, and custom orders) I find myself craving pom poms more and more! I really want to figure out a way to get more time out of the day so I can sneak some pom pom decorating into the holiday season! Look how adorable this pom pom garland is from millalove:

Handmade decorations are the best - especially when they involve pom poms! In fact - I think I am going to make 2010 my "year of the pom pom" and try to come up with some interesting pom related decorations for my house! After all, this will be my first year with an entire rental to make festive and so far that string of lights I got for my craft show is all the decoration I've got! Whew! Can't believe that december is so close around the corner? How do you plan on decorating this year?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Take

A few months ago my fashion forward friend lucas (too bad your name didn't start with an F for added alliteration) was telling me how recycled jersey cotton scarf/necklaces where sure to be the next big thing as far as the trends go! Ever since then I've been dying to get my hands on some old shirts to make one out of! (Which, by the way, probably won't be for a while since I cut up all my old clothes to make rag rug that is very much still a work in progress....). Anyways, since I am all about the DIY's I quickly fell in love with isly's new take on the jersey scarf/necklace thing with her tutorial for a braided edition:

Looks great! I especially love her tutorial with it's clear directions, tons of step by step well lighted pictures, and after shots! I also really like the colours she chose for her jersey necklaces and totally want to just go buy a shirt to make one out of! Unless any of you have some old clothes perfect for refashioning? Jersey DIY night anyone?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

cute video for you!

Jim showed me this video he came across after watching a ton of Micheal Bernard Fitzgerald clips on you tube. Not sure how that linked him to M. Ward's "Chinese Translation", but it has been stuck in my head ever since! Enjoy:

So cute! I want to learn how to do animation so I can make music videos. I'm particularly inspired to make a video for The Burning Hell's "Last Winter" involving thumbs up yeti....but that does seem like an awful lot of work...maybe someday...

Monday, November 22, 2010

sketchbook fail

Back in the beginning of july I signed up for the sketchbook project, an awesome program where you buy a sketchbook, pick a theme, draw up a storm, and your finished book travels the US in a series of gallery stops:

The deadline for signup was october 31st (sorry if you're too late!) and I was so excited to have signed up in the summer to get a jump start on things! After all it is due in january - that is tons of time right? Well...one craft lead to another and quickly enough my sketchbook arrived and didn't even make it out of the envelope. In fact it has remained in the envelope until a few days ago when I decided to do an update:

Oh my. Talk about putting thigns off! (and suiting since I just did a discussion post on procrastinating)! So now how far have I gotten on my "it was a record year for rainfall" themed sketches? Let's look:

Yup...not far at all...but I am pleasantly surprised on how neat that picture turned out. Instead of drawing I've had my hands full whipping up loads of mustaches for some friends movember celebrations and their eventual new home in the kelowna boutique "frock":

Wow! That is a lot of felt facial hair! Now to sew, stuff, and stick them! Whew! Then, hopefully, I will get on that sketching thing...maybe...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

star wars - mexi style!

Being the geek enthusiast I am, I enjoy star wars. I also enjoy most star wars themed crafts and feel it necessary to blog about any I come across! So (surprise surprise) I quickly fell in love with the super awesome drawings jose pulido did in traditional mexican art style:

I think the ewoks are my favourite of the group but it is a close competition! Those prints woudl be so cool to have framed in my entryway! It also really makes me wish I could watch the star wars trilogy (as in 4,5, and 6 - not the newer 1,2, and 3 I wasn't as fond of) in complete mexi style animation! Any other takers?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

i love data...but not as much as i love you...

As you may know I am a data geek. Ever since I discovered the amazing data goodness that is google analytics I've been tracking all the lovely site visits I've been having on my etsy shop and blog and soaking it up! You may have read about my site visit bingo I had going for a while (well...still going...just really slowly...) but I rarely talk about the data I have collected from my blog! I very much appreciate every single visit, comment, and "awesome" I'm lucky enough to receive but I have noticed a most wondrous trend with my daily readers - they've increased! Not exactly the clearest of line graphs but take a peek:

Yup! Looks like in the last month my average 20ish visitors a day has jumped to a lovely 45ish! And where are all my wonderful new blog readers from? Let's see:

Not surprisingly the majority of you are from canada (where I am, my mom and sis are, and the most of my blog reading real life non-internet friends reside) followed by the US and the UK! Exciting! And even more exciting are all the visits from everywhere else in the world too! It is so amazing to think that random awesome people from all over the globe took a moment to read my ramblings! I'm honoured! And excited! And ever so thankful! Hooray!

So now I'll pass the discussion over to you (both my regular 20ish readers and the new added 25ish), what would you like to see more of in my blog? What are your favourite post themes? Anything you'd like to see more of? less of? Any tips or tricks? Inquiring minds (well mind...) want to know! And give yourself a lovely virtual internet hug from me for stopping by in the meantime! Thanks!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Find: Handmade Bliss

Sticking to my "cool etsy sellers I met at the fabulous finds craft show" theme this week's friday find is the wonderful christine of bliss handmade! She has quite the knack for combining fun colours, patterns, and textures to make a variety of goodies! I love her fabric covered button earrings the best...but apparently she doesn't put those online. Oh well - take a peek at a few of my other favs:

Man I love her fabric selections! I asked her for tips on her material sources as (surprise surprise) she gets everything off etsy! Now to track down her favourite shops...in the meantime please enjoy her wonderful creativity and if you're into vintage finds she's got a vintage shop too (apparnetly a trend for kelowna crafters). Fun! And if you're lucky enough to be in the vacinity, you can always check out a wide variety of bliss goodies at funktional or frock (where I also sell things - oo la la)! Hooray!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Felt Owl Brooch

I really love withing with felt. It comes in super fun colours, it doesn't fray when you cut it, and it is so inexpensive and forgiving to work with! I also happen to be a big fan of owls (and most woodland creatures) and brooches so you can imagine just how excited I was when I came across this felt owl brooch tutorial on my owl barn:

My goodness he is cute! And even cuter in an assortment of fun felt colours:

Yup - quite the fun project! And if DIY's aren't really your thing not to worry- you can just buy a baby hoot brooch from the small wood's etsy shop instead! Double win! Now which colour to choose...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crochet Rocks!

I've been in love with the wonderful crochet covered rocks of margret's for quite some time! She's the genius behind resurrection fern (that sweet cat loving blog I wrote about months ago) and also runs the etsy shop knitalatte where she sells photos of her creations! In fact, I even purchased this lovely picture and got it framed for lindsay's house warming:

What a talented lady! They are pretty much like doilies for your rock collection and we all know how much I enjoy doilies... Well your wait for your very own crochet covered stone is over since margret was kind enough to share a tutorial on how to make them over at the purl bee! Check these babies out:

Doesn't look overly complicated and I already know how to crochet! Hooray! Now to find spare time and get to work! Fun!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Road Trip: Vancouver

Just as I mentioned on saturday, lindsay and I made a return trip down to vancouver to see yet another concert! It turned into another amazing whirlwind one night stay with loads of laughs, memories, and (of course) the lovely music of dan mangan! Big highlights of the trip included:

1) Winter! Where did you come from? Oh right..the high elevation cold wet weather of the coquihalla! It was so pretty and the roads weren't even that bad! Woo!

2) Amazingly fun shopping with quinn! Just check out those rows of sequins:

So good! I managed to contain my crafting excitement and just took home a pom pom maker (the 3rd one I've come across). I am definitely excited to see how quinn's sequin projects turn out too...

3) Concert! Amazingly fantastic dan mangan concert!!!

Dan was awesome as always and this performance was particularly exciting with an extra six person strings section to amp up the fun! It appears as though every time I see dan he keeps adding members to his band. First time in victoria he was solo, in kelowna he had a three member band, and then in vancouver there were ten of them!! Well eleven at one point...and fourteen come encore. So much to absorb! So much awesome! If you ever get a chance to see him live snap up that opportunity. You won't be disappointed. I promise...oh..and no sign of the buttons I gave him last year...but there is still time...

Monday, November 15, 2010

DIY Pom Pom headband

Last friday I posted about the wonderful designer I met at my craft show last week and her fantastic creations! Of course you will not forget her fantastic pom pom pompadour (in cilantro) I thought was super fantastic:

That picture actually really reminds me of my friend amy who is extremely good at keeping a straight face in silly situations. I also really enjoy bobbi's description of her creation, "This pom pom is huge and so scrummy. It stays on your noggin with a yarn wrapped headband and gives you some serious added height. Made from a wool/acrylic blend yarn." Well! To my surprise sonia rykiel (a french fashion designer) also does the giant pom pom headband (so no mocking - it's high style!) :

And to top off the pom pom fun 'out of order' even did a tutorial on how to recreate your very own! And all for about $4! I think it is time for me to get pom pom making! Anyone care to join?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More cat storage

Back in the beginning of the year I shared a picture with you on "how to store and organize cats." It was adorable, memorable (for me anyways), and makes me wonder how much fur the photographer got on his clothes:

Well the cat storage continues! This time in wire form:

Hahah! So cute! Although I think these kitties look much more evil than the first batch - look at those glaring eyes! OoO! Or that poor squished black one! *Aww!* I wonder if I could get percy to stack...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Robot Love

Robots are awesome. I especially enjoy love robots (being robots designed for love as demonstrated by the little hearts they have on them) and as such have created a wide range of love robot products over the years including:

1) tea cozies

2) pocket mirrors/buttons/magnets

3) coffee sleeves

4) cell phone charms

5) art/postcards!

Yup - quite the number of love robots! I am also very fond of music and especially fond of the "robots need love too" music of dan mangan! So much so that I even gave him a set of my love robot buttons when I saw him last february!

and here he is wearing them!:

Okay...so I photoshopped the buttons in there...but a girl can dream right? But hey! I'm not the only one with this obsession! Three separate ladies who attended my craft show last weekend asked me if my love robot items were inspired by dan mangan's music and I got the lovely pleasure to tell each one of them about how dan owns his very own set of my robot buttons! Okay, I guess that doesn't make them as obsessed as me..since they didn't alter photographs of him or anything...but they did put the two together which I thought was pretty cool...

Anyways - long robot rambling aside, lindsay and I are headed down to vancouver today to see dan perform again! And at the vogue even (where we saw the most wonderful mumford and sons a few weeks ago)! Maybe he'll have the button on then for me to photograph! Okay, probably not but he does put on one heck of a good show! And to get you in the robot mood - check out dan's robots video:

Admittedly that is the first time I've actually seen that video...and it is...odd. Pretty heartwarming at the end though - and bonus - the battle robot team is actually members of the other vancouver band said the whale (who I saw in september)! Fun! Wish me luck at the dan show!