Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A few photos from my birthday

I had a magical birthday weekend, kicking off with a small cookout at the CoSos. Rob, Kerry, Piper, and Molly—my Seattle family—opened up their backyard for some great play (including bocce ball), conversation, and all-around fun. Strange songs were sung in lieu of the "Happy Birthday" song, baked beans and bratwurst were shoved in the piehole, and there were cupcakes.

Yesterday, my actual birthday, I went with a couple of dear friends to Whidbey Island for the day. We followed my usual route: Greenbank for pie, Coupeville for salmon & chips at Toby's Tavern, beach glass hunting (check out the two bags of glass booty!), just over Deception Pass for espresso shakes at the Shrimp Shack (love the photo of Michaela and Jessica; they look like they are up to no good)... We added in a stop at the Tulalip Casino (truly, the number-one place for fun), which blew Michaela's mind. She kept looking up at the ceiling like she had just gone down the rabbit hole. Sadly, I was not the Queen of Hearts but I was queen for a day. The best part about the entire celebration was the insightful, funny conversations I had with my friends. I am so blessed to have such an amazing urban tribe; that really is the best gift and I get it on a daily basis.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Notes from the G-Wood

I had a fun time talking Backcountry Betty: Crafting with Style tonight at the Greenwood Branch of the Seattle Public Library. Friends and strangers came out for the promise of hugs, salted caramels, and crafty tips. And I loved hearing from library patrons how to make paper and chocolate leaves out of found items. And to cap off the evening (not counting the drinks I downed later at Gainsbourg), a librarian bequeathed to me a bin of plastic register tape rolls, CD jewel cases, and library card templates to repurpose into something. We'll see what magic awaits with these goodies.

Make a gorgeous paper flower bouquet

Over at Etsy, my favorite designer Jeff Rudell shows us how to make an ingenious paper bouquet. Check it out.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Next up: Greenwood Library

I know you must be dying to discover the world of inexpensive and ingenious craft projects in Backcountry Betty: Crafting With Style. You're in luck! Come see me tomorrow night at the Greenwood Library. I'll be there at 6:30, talking up beach glass, pine cones, and all sorts of treasures you can find on the ground. I'll discuss my current state of craft dementia and my dream for a Battle of the Beach Glass Stars someday. I'll do a demo of one of the projects in the book, and Friends of the Seattle Public Library will be on hand to sell books. What's not to like about that?

A weekend of projects and Piper

I had a super weekend. After a fun Backcountry Betty: Crafting With Style talk and signing at the West Seattle Library on Saturday, I spent some time whipping up crafts for my upcoming book of gift projects. I made some salted caramels late on Saturday night and they are delish, if a tad hard. I am just going to have to make another batch this week, and pull out the caramel at the "soft ball" rather than "firm ball" stage. I made a quilted easy-peasy baby blanket yesterday and now I have the perfect go-to gift for my legions of expecting friends. I wonder if I can make a quilted Snuggie knockoff…

And I also made a charming framed silhouette of my favorite little pal Piper. Another perfect gift for a little one's room and a gift project that can be done, swear, in under an hour). Speaking of Piper, who's almost 4, I played dress-up with her for hours yesterday, meaning she was my Sarah Jessica Parker and I was Patricia Field. I'm most proud of two outfits: I wrapped a giant scarf around her so that it crossed in back and tied at the neck oh-so-smartly. Add to that a satin pencil skirt (from her Disney princesses dress-up kit), some mules and a floral lei worn as a bracelet and she was every bit as chic as Kate Moss on holiday in Ibiza. The other outfit was pure girly fun. I pulled a frilly pink skirt with lots of tulle layers up so that it became a strapless top (like SJP wore during that season of SATC when she was trying to cover up her baby bump). I added a slim pink skirt, a burgundy wrist band, and a pink headband worn Olivia Newton-John style and she was ready for Mr. Big/Prince Charming, not to mention a fancy lunch date with her girlfriends at a swanky place like Trophy Cupcakes.

I tried to make her up as a pirate but she was having none of it. Eye patches are not for her. However, her gypsy fairy look was a bit hit with her parents. She told a few fortunes with her Magic 8-Ball.

Anyway, it was a welcome respite from work and financial stress, and recharged me to come home and keep plugging away on the gift projects.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Craftin' my life away

I've been crazy busy promoting Backcountry Betty: Crafting With Style and tomorrow, Tuesday, I'll be talking about all the great projects in the book on Whole Living with Terri Trespicio on Martha Stewart Radio. I should be on around 10:30am ET so check it out. I'll also be talking all things Betty at the Vashon Island Library on Wednesday and the West Seattle Library on Saturday.

Meanwhile, I'm furiously cranking out gorgeous projects for my next book so they can be photographed. Writing the manuscript is the most challenging part of the publishing process but it's certainly not the end of my job. Sometimes I just have to review edits, illustrations, and page proofs. But in this case, I have to create 50 projects that are ready for their close-up. At the moment, my apartment looks like a craft bomb detonated. I don't work well in chaos so I keep cleaning up after each craft is completed and then I start the mayhem anew. Not the most time-efficient strategy…

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to Kill Your Favorite Website. (Or Magazine. Or TV show.)

Please read this terrific article from Sister Diane on Craftypod. She discusses the state of old and new media, and the challenges of monetizing content. I am one of the bloggers who is affected by CraftStylish's decision to cut the budget for content (my final article posted yesterday), and while I'm excited at how publishing will transform itself during this exciting time, I'm also affected financially by both print and online publishing decisions.

How do you think publishing will come out on the other end of this digital revolution?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A look back at Maker Faire

"I went to Maker Faire and all I got was this awesome t-shirt."

Okay, I got a lot more but one of the highlights of the weekend was hanging out in the Provo Craft booth, chatting with people about how to make shrink plastic jewelry using the Cricut and silk-screening t-shirts for myself and tote bags for the public with the Yudu screen-printing machine.

Yeah, it pretty much rocks.

And the weekend rocked as well. From watching the Mentos/Diet Coke guys set off a huge demonstration to music, to watching a giant Rube Goldberg contraption, to perusing the indie crafter wares at the Bizarre Bazaar (including Erika Kern's loverly log pillows), to rubbing elbows with freaks and geeks, it was a crafter's and nerd's delight. Needless to say, I was in hog heaven amongst all that interesting eyewear.

So I thought I'd provide a few highlight photos of this techie Renaissance Faire. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NYC crafty storytelling this Thursday

My gifted friends Michaela Murphy and Jeffrey Rudell will be telling crafty tales this Thursday at The Lion Brand Studio in NYC @ 6:00. This show will feature first-time storytellers spinning yarns and it promises to be a fun evening. Seeing as I live across the country, I can't make it but if you're a crafter, you'll dig this.

Check the Lion Brand blog for more details and reservation information.I was with Michaela and Jeffrey this weekend at Maker Faire and will be posting some highlights and insights in the next few days. It was, hands down, the coolest festival/faire/large gathering I've ever attended.

(photo: flickr.com/photos/muggingovercoffee/3530849713/)

A sampling of my books