Friday, May 20, 2011

Maker Faire prep day 1

A hugely wonderful day getting ready for Maker Faire! Here are some pics from the day - descriptions and more soon, right now we have to get back to work! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Back to the Happy Place

I can't believe it's already time for Maker Faire again. This year has flown by. I got to San Francisco earlier today and spent a wonderful afternoon with Natalie. Tonight, I get to see Lish and Nick for dinner & tomorrow I'll see the rest of my CRAFT & MAKE pals at the Fairgrounds. Truly ... these people make me so stinkin' happy. I can't wait to hug Diane for the first time in TWO years, squee like a school girl over Moxie and bask in the awesomeness that is Becky Stern. Good good times. It's like a very nerdy Christmas and I love it.

I'm setting up my phone so I can blog from it. I haven't done this in a while, so this is a dry run. We'll see how it goes. It's a very quick way to share fun stuff from Maker Faire, though most of my activity will be over on Twitter (@avgjanecrafter and on @craft) Forgive my sappiness - this is just really one of the highlights of my year & I'm so glad it's here again!

Natalie took me to Daiso today, where we flipped out over cute Japanese packaged craft supplies and a wall 'o bento goodness. Then she took me out for dim sum for the first time ever. She ordered a great spread of food, and we sipped chrysanthemum tea and talked for ages. It was so awesome. A great start to the weekend! More fun from Maker Faire soon!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Announcing the World of Geekcraft Book Winner!

Needle-Felted Solar System Mobile by Rachel Hobson

Thanks to all who entered to win a copy of Susan Beal's new World of Geekcraft book, and for being so understanding of my big ole craft FAILs. I loved reading all about your favorite geeky possessions from childhood. It made me want to go scour ebay to find some of these things. (especially the E.T. glasses - I used to have a set but lost them during one of our many moves over the years.)

I'm so excited to announce the winner, because I happen to know her! The random number generator picked comment number 22, which is Jen (@FlyingJenny on Twitter). I met Jen through twitter ages ago, and she's actually quite the space crafter as well. I've featured her work on Craft before, and her bad ass needle felted Hubble Space Telescope was a finalist in the Etsy/NASA Space Craft Contest. She's a very prolific crafter and is constantly posting cool things that she makes over on Twitter. Congrats, Jen! I can't wait to see what you make from this book!

And now, I've got to bust out on unpacking boxes in my studio. We've gotten just about all of the house unpacked and settled, but of course my studio has gotten pushed to end. Time to get it set up before I head out to Maker Faire next week!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cool Crafty iPhone cases

I saw these fun crafty iPhone cases from Uncommon a while back, but was having trouble choosing between the Magda Sayed cases and the Sublime Stitching cases. I just read about their Buy One, Get One Free sale and instantly went to snap both of them up. After I bought them, I started browsing through the catalog of artists and realized there are TONS I'd also love to have (Jill Bliss, anyone!?)

My current iPhone case is beat to heck, and I'm looking forward to sporting a bold, crafty one - especially when I can change it out with another depending on my mood! (NERDALERT) The sale ends today, so go grab some while you can! Enter BOGOCASE in the discount box when ordering. Have you found any other artists in the Uncommon database that you love?

(and no, I didn't get any compensation for this little post - no free cases {well, except for the one with the sale} no perks - just stumbled on 'em and wanted to share ... so there!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yay! It's World of Geekcraft time! (and a giveaway)

World of Geekcraft

Y'all are all well aware that I am a huge geek, so I was stoked when Susan Beal asked me to contribute a project to her new book, World of Geekcraft. I love Susan. I love crafting. I love geekery. It was a win-win all around. I'm excited to be part of the World of Geekcraft blog tour today. You can get more information on all the other blog tour stops that will include patterns and projects, giveaways and all the geeky goodness you can handle at the end of this post. (and *cough*a giveaway*cough*)

POW! ZAP! Magnets at CRAFT:!

There are a couple of hilarious stories surrounding this book that I'd like to share with you. First off, my almost complete and total failure to produce a project for it. You know, it's always nice to see the picture perfect final projects in a craft book, but sometimes it's good to see the goofs/failures/bloopers behind the projects, too. So here we go!

Initially, I had this grand idea to create a cool kid's astronaut helmet for dressing up and playing space exploration. I thought it should be pretty easy to do, and set about with great optimism that it would be a fabulous project. It didn't take long for that optimism to take a bit of a beating. It turns out that constructing the shape of a helmet was far more difficult than I anticipated it would be. I cranked out sample after sample, trying different construction methods with absolutely no luck at all. I was in a severe state of panic as the deadline for getting the project submitted quickly approached. When the week of project-creation mayhem was going on, I shared the picture above and the one below with my fellow Craft editors in a Craft Fail commiseration email. We all had a very good laugh over them. Above, you see one version I attempted. Hulk was not very happy about modeling. Below is a picture of me in one of the more hilarious failed prototypes. You win some, and you lose (very badly) some. (The polka dot fabric is just scrap fabric I was using to make prototypes - I wasn't trying to make a Space Clothing Statement.)

Beaten down and feeling pretty much like a failure, I escaped to a friend's house for a girls' craft night. Another friend of mine had recently sent a box full of needle felting supplies that she'd cleaned out of her craft closet and no longer needed, so I took them along with me. Aside from a little dabbling with Moxie at Maker Faire, I hadn't done much needle felting before, but the poke-poke-poke seemed like a great way to relieve the stress of that week and the failed astronaut helmet project.

LCROSS Lands on the Moon! (NASA, Moon, 10/09/09)

I curled up on Curlin's big comfy couch with good friends and a glass of wine and started the therapeutic poke-poke-poke of needle felting. I started creating a ball, not yet completely sure what it would end up being. This happened to be the same day that LCROSS impacted the Moon, and since it was on my mind I decided to turn the quickly-forming sphere into the Moon. As I created craters from wisps of grey wool roving, a new idea popped into my head ... What if I made a needle felted solar system mobile? I love mobiles (I think I read somewhere once that they inspire creativity when hung over a desk. Who knows if that's true, but I've had a mobile hanging above my desk since college) and thought it could be an easier beginner project. With just a couple of days to spare, I set to work on creating all the planets (and I included Pluto - OF COURSE) for the project. It was loads of fun and came together seamlessly and I was able to send it off just in the nick of time.

Here it is right after I finished it. In the book, we ended up painting the embroidery hoops black - it looks much cooler that way.

It's hard to believe that was almost two years ago. Book production takes a while, but it is so worth it. World of Geekcraft is one of my favorite craft books ever, and not just because I have a project in there. Each project is hilarious and fun and clever and most are pretty simple, making it a very inspirational and practical craft book. The perfect kind, right!?

Star Wars Terrariums

Several weeks ago, one of my best friends in the whole world came to Houston to visit us at our new house. She was giddy to hand off a gift she'd purchased for me, and it had a hilarious big note on the wrapping paper about how I probably already had this gift, but she saw it and instantly thought of me and HAD to get it ... I opened the paper and found a copy of World of Geekcraft. She had no idea I had a project in it, and at the time I still hadn't seen a copy of the book. It was so much fun - we squeed like good little nerdy friends and had a huge laugh over it. It made me love the book that much more.

I hope you'll check out World of Geekcraft by Susan Beal. It's charming, clever, funny and interesting, and there are some really spectacular contributors. Here are the details on the rest of the blog tour, be sure to check out all the stops for pattern excerpts, giveaways and more information on this awesome book. The book pictures in this post are from Susan and give you just a taste of how much fun the book is.

LilyPad Arduino Cake by Ruth Suehle

  • Monday, May 2 – Geek Crafts & CRAFT:
  • Tuesday, May 3 – Cathy of California
  • Wednesday, May 4 – Average Jane Crafter
  • Thursday, May 5 – LindaMade
  • Friday, May 6 – Easy Crafts Wiki & Patterns by Figgy
  • Monday, May 9 – CraftyPod & Craft Gossip
  • Tuesday, May 10 -Quilter Geek
  • Wednesday, May 11 – Indie Fixx
  • Thursday, May 12 – Not Martha
  • Friday, May 13 – House on Hill Road & Public School

  • World of Geekcraft

    And, since you stuck with me through this entire post ... it's giveaway time! I have one copy of World of Geekcraft to give to a lucky Average Jane Crafter reader. What was your favorite geeky possession as a kid? Your E.T. lunchbox? (I have one) Your C-3PO Underoos (yep, had those, too) Your Star Trek drinking glass set from McDonalds? I love love love love vintage geekery goods, so I want to hear about what you had as a kid and loved? Let me know. I'll close comments on Saturday at 10AM CST and will announce the winner last week - be sure to leave a way I can get in touch! :)

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Finally coming up for air!

    Whew. All I can say about the last 6 or so months is WHIRL.WIND.

    Last October, we got news we'd be moving to the Houston area for my husband's new job. I spent most of November getting our house in Austin ready to put on the market, we sold it in three days, found a dream house in Seabrook and moved down on New Years Eve. Since then, we've been working on a renovation of the house and finally got moved in a couple of weeks ago. As I type this, I'm in my new studio, surrounded by boxes and a gorgeous view of the backyard and pool. Not too shabby. Too say I've been up to my eyeballs, though, is a dramatic understatement. I'm just now finally getting to the place where I can breathe a little bit and - more importantly for you at least - blog about the renovation process and new crafty stuff! Whew!

    Some highlights before I dive in to pictures from the renovation (because I honestly haven't even been able to get proper pictures taken and/or downloaded yet)

    A new cat!
    When we announced to our kids that we were moving, they both flipped out. Like ugly, screaming, crying, kicking F-L-I-P-P-E-D-O-U-T. So, in a moment of weak parenting, I blurted out to my daughter, "YOU CAN GET A CAT WHEN WE MOVE IN TO THE NEW HOUSE!" She's been begging for a cat for ages, mostly because of her obsession with the Warriors books, but we've never been cat people.

    Folks: if I'd known having a cat could be this awesome, I would have cut out the "I'm not a cat person" snark years ago and gotten one earlier.

    Little Bit came to us through our new vet's office. She'd been an owner-surrender pet, sent to be euthanized because she'd been peeing on a bath mat. Yeah. Poor thing. Fortunately, the vet refused to put her down and instead fostered her. She's been beyond awesome - so loving and sweet and cool. With the exception of some freakouts over her reflections in all the windows around here, she has settled in perfectly. We adore her. I've turned in to one of those crazy ladies who snaps pictures of her cat all.the.time. Fair warning.

    Garage/Estate Sale Finds!
    One thing about the area in which we live now is that there are several older neighborhoods (60s-70s) and not nearly as many hipsters as there were in Austin. This works out to mean lots of opportunity for excellent garage and estate sale finds. My friend, Misty, visited over spring break, and we literally stumbled on a few estate/garage sales and hit the motherlode.

    Everything in the picture above was scored for about $12 - for everything. I love those yellow tea cups and that aqua flower platter. Together, they were ONE DOLLAR. You guys. One dollar!? Come on!

    And perhaps the best deal of that day was the set of awesome furniture I scored at the same garage sale. I scored this 8-ft mid century couch and three chairs for a ridiculously low price. They are in excellent condition and could just use some updates in the fabric. Until we can afford to have them professionally reupholstered, they are living in my studio and are a perfect place for the kids to crash while I finish up work or for the cat to perch on and get a full view of the back and side yards through the giant windows.

    And then there is this magnificent beauty that my friend, Mica, scored for me at a neighbor's house. She was visiting and saw it in their "send to Goodwill" pile. She immediately snapped a picture and texted me, asking if I wanted it for my daughter's room. Uh ... no ... I didn't want it for my daughter's room ... I wanted it for MY studio (bad mom? eh - maybe...) ! It's fabulous and giant - maybe 2ft X 3ft or so - and is vintage crewel work done by the neighbor's mother. I traded a few book boxes for it - how awesome is that!?

    So while I get settled in the house and start to prepare to show off the renovations, I've got some other things to share with you. Tomorrow, I'll have a blog book tour stop for Susan Beal's World of Geekcraft (One of my favorite craft books ever - and not just 'cause I have a project in there) and some fun stuff to share about Kim Werker's For the Animals project. And, of course, in just a few weeks I'll be heading out to California for Maker Faire Bay Area - one of my happiest trips of the year.

    Thanks for hanging in there with me as life took me on a wild ride! It's nice to be slowing down a bit!