Craftcation 2017

Coworker: “So where are you going on your time off next week?”

Me: “Um….craft….cation…?”

Coworker: [blank stare]

Its super hard to explain to anyone why a grown woman would need to use up her vacation days to fly across the country to go crafting with a bunch of strangers. (….because I’m a grown woman and I do what I want?)

That is, unless you’ve been to Craftcation.

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So what is Craftcation? Its a 4-day Conference that happens every year in Ventura, CA. Hundreds of crafty creatives get together and attend hands on craft workshops and classes for creative business owners. Its run by the incredible Nicole Stevens and Delilah Snell of Dear Handmade Life.

I made the decision to attend Craftcation about this time last year, as I went onto the Dear Handmade Life website/social media and saw all of their Craftcation 2016 coverage. I had never heard of anything like it, and everyone looked so…happy! Attendees gushed about the amazing experience, and I knew I had to do it. I bought my ticket in October as soon as they went on sale, booked the hotel, and hoped for the best.

I attended by myself. I’m usually quite shy but I wasn’t worried (even though I usually worry about everything.) Between the posts that Dear Handmade Life published and the insights from attendee group on Facebook, I was assured that it wouldn’t be an issue navigating the conference solo. And they were right. Even though the majority of attendees would call themselves introverts, once I was there everyone was super pumped and friendly. I also had 3 random roommates that turned out to be amazing people. (Shout out to Rachel, Robin, and Nica!)

The conference officially starts on Thursday, but on Wednesday they host a few classes and a Happy Hour event for those who arrived early. I arrived too late in the day to take advantage (train issues. Long story), but after my first In-N-Out experience (animal what?) and a walk to watch the sun set on the beach, I settled in to get ready for my first day.

The next few days were so great and went by way too quickly. I took a total of 7 classes, attended 3 business workshops, as well as the Keynote speech (Jenny Hart!) during Dinner on Friday and the Closing remarks (Tiffany Han!!!) on Sunday. I had my headshots taken and went on a Walking Photo Tour with Sarah Deragon , and met Crochet Idol Twinkie Chan!

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Was distracted by succulents at Olivas Adobe (and hey, there’s Delilah!)

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Downtown Ventura as seen from City Hall

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Blue skies at City Hall

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Watching photography master Sarah Deragon at work during the Photo Walking Tour

Other highlights of the conference:

  • My minor freak-out in my Fabric Block Printing class when they told us we would need to draw our designs. I powered through and ended up making a really cute (in the way a mother finds her children cute?) scissor pattern on my tea towels! This was my favorite class and something I want to continue doing!
  • Showing up an hour early with my roommate to the branding workshop by Lela Barker to make sure we all got seats. It was at least 40 minutes before anyone else showed up, but whatever! The workshop was great. (Lela Barker is amazing!) It made me realize I have so much thinking to do about my sewing business.
  • Finishing my Succulent Terrarium only to ask myself how am I getting this home? It made it home, but not before getting manhandled by TSA.
  • An impromptu photo shoot with my roommate at the Dance Party. Because after the Walking Photo Tour I’m obviously a pro photographer.
  • Skipping class to go fabric shopping at SuperBuzzy. Good thing I set a budget, or I would’ve needed a 2nd suitcase.
  • The Food. They provided a few lunches with registration, as well as a dinner. Not only were the venues lovely (Lunches were at City Hall. Dinner was a Olivas Adobe), but the food was DELICIOUS. I don’t remember exactly what we ate, only that I kept wishing we had a fridge in the room so we could take back leftovers every time.
  • Wanderings. I was blown away by Wanderings. To be honest, it sounded kinda…cheesy. Rooms volunteer to host a pop-up shop or activity, and we wander through the hotel from room to room. I seriously underestimated my fellow attendees. Such a fun, bizarre, and exhausting experience, but I loved it!

There were so many moments where I’d walk around and think where else could this ever happen? Like when I walked to the hotel terrace and found a group of girls huddling around a table full of fabrics and a button maker that another attendee had brought so everyone can make magnets. (I made 5.) And when I’d walk by and see a class in progress in the middle of the Marriott Lobby. I met so many lovely people, and most of all left inspired. Not only to finally do something with my business, but to create freely and without judgement from myself.

Craftcation 2018 dates have already been set for April 4-8. Maybe I’ll see you there?

 

 

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That time I made Unicorn Headbands for a bunch of grown women…

What happens when a group of grown women get together to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of a magical friend?

We wear Unicorn Headbands!

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I recently volunteered to make Unicorn headbands for a magical themed bachelorette party. With the much appreciated help of a friend it wasn’t too difficult. By the end of the night we were Unicorn Headband making pros.

Supplies needed:

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  • Headbands (we used 1/4″ white plastic)
  • White felt (you can fit 2 horns onto one sheet)
  • Colored felt (we used 5 different colors, 1 sheet will get you 2, maybe 3 sets of ears)
  • Gold thread (we used embroidery floss, but recommend using something that won’t fray at the ends)
  • Glue Gun (and about 1 stick of glue per headband)
  • Tulle in assorted colors (6 – 3″x6″ strips for each headband)
  • Polyester fill/stuffing
  • Scissors

There are a few tutorials out there to make the horns using different methods. We ended up using the pattern from HowToGal’s Unicorn Headband tutorial and drew inspiration from a combination of headbands out there on the internets. You can improvise and make your own pattern, but having one premade sped things up (even though it took us a while to figure out exactly how to roll up those horns….)

The ear shape was drawn freehand and required one larger shape, and a smaller one to fit into the larger shape.

First step: Cut out the parts!

The white felt is used for the horn, the inner part of the ear (2 needed) and the base of the horn (2 needed).

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The colored felt is used for the outer part of the ear….so you need two! To minimize the amount of cutting the pattern is meant to be cut on the fold! If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to attach it easily to the headband.

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Be sure to cut on the fold so that both sides of the ear (front and back) are connected!!

Once you have all your parts cut out….

Step 2: The horn

This isn’t as complicated as I convinced myself it was…you basically apply a strip of glue to the edge of one side of the horn piece. Then you take the other edge, and rolling the piece, you place it over that glued edge.

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There’s probably a proper way to deal with the tip of the horn, but life is short, so most of them ended up with a little gap up top.

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Your horn is going to end up a little asymmetrical, so you just chop off that extra piece.

Step 3: Stuff and wrap! (Still working on the horn)

To properly stuff the horn you should use small pieces of fill to get to the very top of the horn. Then you gradually use larger pieces until the whole thing is firmly stuffed. Make sure to stuff the top well or your horn will droop later on.

To ensure that your horn does not look like a dunce cap, you can’t skip the gold thread! Start by tying the string as close to the top as you can. Then you bring the floss down in a spiral until you reach the bottom. The tighter you squeeze, the cuter it will look! Then you glue the end on the bottom, and tuck the loose end under.

Finally, apply glue to the bottom perimeter of the horn and attach to one of the circles. The circle is going to be bigger than the base of the horn so that you can trim it down once the glue has dried up.

Step 4: The Headband!

Now that you have a standalone horn, take the headband and find the center. Apply some glue (about 1-1/2″ wide), and stick that horn on! Then take the 2nd white circle, and glue that to the bottom so that the headband is sandwiched between the horn and the circle.

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Step 5: Ears!

Attaching the ears was my favorite part! Open up the “ear” piece, apply glue on the inside, and close it with the headband on the bottom edge. Make sure to leave room between the ear and the horn for the tulle!

Repeat that on the other side, and then glue on the inner ear.

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Step 6: Tulle!

The final step is adding the tulle strips! First you decide what order (yellow on the inside? blue  on the outside??), then you take one strip at a time and just tie it onto the headband!

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….and you’re done!

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The headbands were a HUGE hit at the party, to the point that we wore them again to the Bridal Shower (and I wouldn’t be surprised if some make an appearance at the wedding next month as well).

I’ve been asked a few times whether I will be selling these. While they will not be listed in my Etsy shop, I will accept custom requests! Contact me for more information.

Mythical Creatures Brunch: Totoro

Have you heard of Geek Girl Brunch? If you haven’t, go check it out right now.

I joined as soon as they launched a chapter in Miami, and I am not exaggerating when I say its one of the best things I’ve done in the last few years. I have met so many great people through Geek Girl Brunch (GGB) and it has legitimately changed my life.

Last weekend the Miami Chapter had their November brunch with the theme of “Mythical Creatures” in honor of the new Harry Potter movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. It took me a few weeks to find the proper inspiration and I finally made the decision with less than a week before the event. I decided on one of my favorite mythical creatures: Totoro, from “My Neighbor Totoro.”

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As soon as I made my decision, I knew exactly how I would make this happen, and all without having to buy a single thing! (You see, hoarding does have its benefits!)

All I needed was a grey dress, grey and white fleece, and a headband. The most complicated part was the headband. I had purchased a few pairs of kids bunny ears at Target back around Easter (yay for the Dollar Spot!) so I used one as the base for my Totoro ears.

I was crafting this all the night before, so I didn’t get any progress pics. However the process is simple. Once I had the headband and wires exposed I shaped them into the general shape I wanted. I traced this shape onto the fleece and cut out 4 times (I added a seam allowance, but in hindsight I would make it smaller, or eliminate altogether) and sewed two pairs together to make 2 ears! (Sew right sides together, trim excess fabric, and turn right side out!)

If you don’t have a sewing machine I’m fairly sure you can recreate this by sandwiching the wires in between two layers and gluing together.

I slipped them over the wires and glued down the base of the ears to the headband. To cover up the band I cut out a rectangle long enough to cover from end to end, and tapered the width to match the headband. I measured out the location for two slits through which I could squeeze the ears through, and then glued it all down with a glue gun. (I won’t show you the inner part of the headband, because like I said….I was in a hurry so it does NOT look pretty!

The bib was the easiest part to make. I grabbed a piece of fleece, eyeballed the width and height I wanted, and cut out the shape with scissors. I cut out and glued the little crescents with a glue gun. Once dry, I safety pinned (from the inside) to the front of my dress. Definitely not the most impeccable items I’ve ever made, but it was quick, fun, and dare I say cute!

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My best attempt at imitating Totoro’s expression.

Geek Girl Brunch always does a fantastic job at the brunches. If you consider yourself even mildly geeky I’d suggest you check it out! The brunches are very popular, thus a bit difficult to get into, but so worth it! (Did I mention there are swag bags?!)

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Group shot  courtesy of GGB Miami

 

 

Mollie Makes: Amigurumi Doughnuts

Its no secret that I’m a fan of Mollie Makes magazine. The moment I see my magazine in the mailbox I start dancing with excitement….what fun projects will be featured this month?!

When I spotted these adorable amigurumi doughnuts in last month’s issue I absolutely knew I needed one of my own! For those who aren’t familiar with amigurumi, it is the Japanese art of crocheting stuffed objects with anthropomorphic features.

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Crochet has a special place in my heart. I want to say that it was the first crafty skill I learned. I was about 7 or 8 years old, on vacation with my family in Colombia and my mother’s aunt decided to teach me during the time I was there. I vividly remember the frustration of having to mirror everything that she was doing (Yay for being a lefty!) and working with a very fine crochet hook and thread (it was mustard yellow). My little hands would get sweaty and keeping tension was a struggle. Thanks to her infinite patience I stuck with it and more or less learned the basics.

So back to the doughnuts….aren’t they adorable?!

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Look at those happy doughnuts!

I decided to make the pale pink doughnut with white icing. (Um, how awesome is it to have a yarn stash and not have to purchase anything??)

Once again, I found that the Mollie Makes instructions assume an existing level of craftiness. In this case, you need to know the basic stitches. Its also a UK magazine, so I think they may use different terminology for crochet?? I thought they were referencing a Double Crochet stitch, but I used a Single Crochet instead (since its the basic amigurumi stitch).

There’s just something about crochet….its so relaxing because of the level of repetition. It gets me in the zone every time. (On that note, you don’t really want to be watching TV or singing music you’re tempted to sing along to. That’s how you lose count of your stitches!)

The steps were pretty basic. The hardest part for me is the actual stuffing and sealing of the doughnut. My hands are just awkward like that.

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Donut, or bagel? 

My favorite part: making the face!!

I used Safety Eyes (they’re like stud earrings that don’t come off!), and red thread for the mouth. Its always fun to experiment with the expressions, but I decided to copy the magazine go simple with a basic happy expression.

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Pin that icing down!

For the icing you simply crochet a few lines, and then stitch them on. While I typically hate doing all these small decorative details, I really enjoyed it this time! It may have something to do with the level of cuteness of this doughnut. (Don’t you want to just take a bite out of it?!)

A hint though: always read the directions all the way through before proceeding…..if I’d have done that I would’ve left the tails a bit longer and saved me some heartache with sewing on that icing.

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Ta-da! I made it myself! =D

This project reminded me just how much I love crochet….and how long its been since my LAST amigurumi project! I can’t wait for the next one!

Donut Divas Tasting Event

Today I’m taking a break from beer and crafting to tell you about a blogger tasting event I was invited to a couple of weeks ago. I was lucky enough to be one of 15 bloggers invited to Donut Divas for a dessert tasting!

I’d heard plenty of great things about this place but hadn’t yet stopped by. If you haven’t heard, they specialize in carnival foods (yes, you heard read right), and have a brick and mortar shop in Miami, as well as a catering program. I’m talking elephant ears, corn dogs, funnel cakes….and of course donuts.

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As soon as I walked into the store I felt like I’d walked into a carnival tent. They have a front seating area, where you can order off the menu or pick up some popcorn (assorted flavors!), candied apples, or ice cream.

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Stages like this are why I wish I knew how to tap dance…

If you go a little bit further in there’s an area with some carnival games, followed by a mini stage and larger seating area which is perfect for hosting a party.

We took a few minutes to play some Ski ball, bean bag toss, and had some fun with their photo booth and props!

And then….the food.

They brought out large platters of 5 different items for us to try:

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Fried Oreos – I’ve had fried Oreos a few times in my life, but these may be the best. They weren’t overly sweet or dry….or even super greasy. Biting into one of these felt like being snuggled with a nice fluffy blanket.

Red Velvet Fried Oreos – these were the crowd favorite, but….not my favorite. (oops). Don’t get me wrong, they were still good! Its just hard to compete with the perfection that the regular fried oreos were. The dough was slightly more dense than the regular dough, and of course sweeter.

Churros – the churros were nice and crisp, and just the right amount of sweet! Some drizzled condensed milk gave it the right touch. Yum…

Elephant Ears – Ok, these were my favorite!!! I was wary at first, they looked like breaded chicken cutlets on the platter, and thicker than I was used to seeing at The Fair….which meant I was expecting them to be greasier. But one bite…..and it was like biting into a cloud (I’m guessing). Light, fluffy, slightly crisped…I salivate thinking back on it!

Mini Donuts – I wasn’t expecting much from these. (Yes, I know we were at Donut Divas, but I’m just not a powdered donut type of girl!) Well, I was pleasantly surprised….these donuts were GOOD. Crispy, fluffy, not at all greasy tasting. They felt like they were melting in my mouth. Like the churros, I had these with a drizzle of condensed milk.

If you haven’t been to Donut Divas yet….GO! I plan on returning to try some of their savory offerings (corn dogs!), as well as get my hands on those Elephant Ears again!!

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The thing about eating with bloggers: you MUST get a good picture of the food! =D

Donut Divas is located at 5779 SW 8th Street, Miami FL and they’re open from 11am to 11pm daily.

This event was organized by South Florida Bloggers, a chapter of The Blogger Union

 

Crafting with Kraft

When inspiration strikes, you just have to run with it. Even if it means people will look at you funny as you explain to them why you are saving that box of Star Wars macaroni and cheese. (Hint: it wasn’t for eating.)

It wasn’t until I was going through my 3rd box (of a 4-pack) of Star Wars Kraft mac & cheese, as I watched an X-wing traveling along the bottom of a pot of boiling water, that I got the idea….I was going to make macaroni art! A macaroni frame! Yes, it was totally going to work.

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Spoiler: one box was enough to make 4 frames.

I somehow convinced Nabila (of Nabzillla.com) to join me in these shenanigans and she was kind of enough to take all the photos used in this post.

The process was simple in theory: take a simple flat frame, glue on the macaroni, paint.

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In practice: you really shouldn’t be spray painting on a windy day. Especially not in a parking lot full of leaves.

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Teamwork! And kind-of matching shoes…

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My original idea was simply to make a frame, but considering that both of us have recently developed a pin-collecting habit we thought this would make a perfect pin display! Just cut out a sheet of cork, glue to the back of the frame, and we’re done!

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I must say, I’m embarrassingly pleased with the end product!

A special shoutout and THANKS to Nabila, of course, and also the awesome pin designers that made our pins!

The Stag Beetle is by Kristina Micotti, Unicorn Piñata by Luella, and the Pink Burger by WinkPins.  (Tell them Sabrina Clementine sent you!)  😉 

The Handbook for the Recently Deceased is by Two Ghouls Press, and the Gameboy Cat is by Kawaii Kollective.

 

 

Channeling my Spirit Animal: Stimpson J. Cat

 

 

A friend of mine recently celebrated her 30th birthday with the best theme ever….Nickelodeon of the 90’s!

Of course, dressing up was encouraged and there were SO MANY great shows to choose from! From the game shows (Legends of the Hidden Temple, Gutz, Double Dare, What Would You Do?), to the cartoons (Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy), and other classics like Salute Your Shorts, Clarissa Explains it all, Are you Afraid of the Dark, just to name a few.

I decided early on I wanted to be Judy Funnie. However when I realized I’d be Judy Funnie minus the orange hair, minus the purple dress, and minus the glasses….I knew I had to do something else. Unfortunately that was the day before the party. I was out of time.

I brainstormed that morning, and something drew my thoughts toward everybody’s favorite cat…Stimpson J. Cat!

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My spirit animal.

I had a burgundy shirt that would work and I would recreate Stimpy’s goofy face on my shirt!

With some white, blue and pink fleece from leftover projects I could make it happen. I was a little short on time, so after a few attempts at using a satin stitch for the mouth (the sewing machine kept jamming) I decided on using a Sharpie to outline his eyes and his mouth. The tongue was sewn only on one end which left it wagging a little (a feature I was very excited/proud about for some reason).

The hardest part was getting the face onto the shirt. Fleece doesn’t stretch very much. On the other hand the shirt was very stretchy. I hand sewed the top corners, and the rest I safety pinned to allow it to stretch and move without bunching up. (Plus, I wanted to be able to use the shirt later without Stimpy.)

It doesn’t look exactly like him, but for someone who doesn’t draw at all, I’d say I’m close enough! Most importantly I had a lot of fun making it and wearing it!

Any other 90’s kids? What was your favorite Nickelodeon show?