Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Can you keep a secret?

Well, I can't and if I really have to keep my mouth shut it will be pure torture! The last time I had to keep a secret, I became so anxious that I got exzema all over my hands. I know that I should wait until the swap ends but the deadline is May 28th. Can I keep a secret for a month?Obviously not! I'm part of the Functional Felt Swap organized by Painted fish studio and Three sneaky bugs. I think that it's an interesting swap because, as much as I love dust gathering items (aka my little softies collection), it's always interesting to get something that has a real purpuse. Even if deeply I think that gathering dust is a crucial function in life ;) So, after I received by e-mail my swap partner's favorite colours, I purchased nice wool felt and made a card case and a lined pouch. I'm a strong believer in "simple is better". I also think that a good quality felt, a colorful vintage ribbon and an attention to details can make a simple item quite attractive. Right? Now, I can't mail that pouch empty! What should I put in it?

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Presenting the 1st zipper

After months of agony, I finally put away my winter coat and I now welcome spring in all its glory...seasonal allergies included! I don't know if I'm the only one but I feel an urge to be outside in an attempt to get rid of my cadaver tan! As much as I love crafting, I started to feel guilty if I spend more than an hour at my sewing machine. My solution is to keep the "long term" projects for rainy days (we have quite a lot of those in Canada) and work on short & sweet projects when the sun is shinning and birds are singing. The other day, because a girl never has enough storage, I made a little boxy pouch from Tree Bears. There was just one small challenge: the zipper. For your information I don't have a zipper foot, I don't know what it looks like and even if I had one I don't know how to install it! So, with great joy, I present to the world my very first zipper! A piece of cake...or an entire cupcake!

In other news, Marjolijn from Something White gave me a while ago a "I've got a friend in you!" award. Thank you again! Blogging made me realise that friendship can, without hesitation, be developped in front of a computer screen! I would love to give that meaningful award to Erin (Girl with Curlz), Mirka (Oprikka), Ingrid (Words starting with "P" are cute), Camilla (Made by Milla), Diane (Woollie Wanderings) and Stephanie (Craft Lolly).

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Get over it!

I think that I'm finally ready to sew my very first piece of clothing from a real pattern. After all, my sewing machine is still working after 6 months and I don't sweat buckets anymore when I need to change the bobbin (no joke). So, last week, I went to the only fabric store that I know in Montreal. I sat on a tall stool, took a little pad from my purse and selected a big catalog (McCall's). Honestly, can the fabric used to illustrate the patterns be uglier than that??? I then decided to take another catalog (Simplicity)! It seems that I just can't get over the depressing pictures! After 30 minutes, I left the store empty handed. Maybe I'm just not ready!

Luckily, thanks to Flickr, I came across a picture of a lovely skirt that I would really like to make: McCall's 5430 (skirt C). I went back to the fabric store and did a bee line for the pattern...no silly catalog! A 1 hour skirt? Really? Even better, it's written on the package "Suddenly you're sewing!" That's perfect for me! Now, I just have to learn to use fusible interfacing, to make a button hole and to figure out my size...but that's a detail. A 1 hour skirt. I don't think so ;)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Curious Clo, an interview

Artist: Shannah Burton
Etsy shop: Das kaninchen (rabbit in German)
Craft: Crafty whims and conceptual soft sculpture art
Location: Born in Germany, she now lives in Illinois
Occupation: Works at a bookstore and teaches art to kids
Family: Wife and mother of Christian (11) and Max (3)

How did you get interested in crafts?
Just everyday mindful living keeps me busy with some kind of crafting creativity. I also love the social reconstruction elements of crafting (craftivism) and how it relates to art and education. This goes back to my belief in the work of Joseph Beuys and his idea of "social sculpture".

What influences your crafts?
I draw on personal narrative, mythology, science & math, art history, and contemporary art. I also have to mention the crafting community as a major influence. Etsy and Flickr have both been a wonderful resource for my motivation and growth as an artist.

What is your favorite medium?
My favorite material is wool felt. I love its metaphorical qualities: nature, warmth, and healing. I believe that they can be physically sensed within the texture even if it’s on a subconscious level. This is why I buy the best quality felt. You just can't get those qualities from printed fabric off the bolt. However, that doesn't stop me from buying those cute prints anyway!

From start to finish, what is the process you go through?
I have learned that most people are “process” or “concept first”. I am a “concept first”. I fill sketch books full of ideas and doodles. When an idea really gets my attention I usually over think
it to death before it even has a chance to get made. If I still have the compulsion to make it after all of that, I sketch out patterns for a day or two and then get set to work.

Do you remember the first item that you sold from Das kaninchen?
The first day that I opened my Etsy shop, Odkins (my Etsy fairy godmother) made a “treasury” featuring one of my rabbits. That “treasury” ended up on the front page and I sold 14 items by the next day! I will always remember my first customer. I sold a beuys bunny to Soto Softies, one of my favorite softie makers.

Are you working on a new project?
I just finished a few things for the Softie Awards, including some new softie elephants. I love that competition for motivating me to make things I wouldn't normally try. My big goal is to put together a solo soft sculpture show. I am also super excited about the upcoming Crammed Organisms show.

Favorite smell from a spice rack?
Favorite food on a picnic?
French bread, soft cheese and sparkling juice.
Favorite purse colour?
Black but I am working on getting color in my life.
Favorite music on a rainy day?
Andrew Bird or the Amelie soundtrack.
Favorite material for a dress?
I think I need to make a wool felt dress!

Thank you Shannah :)

Searching for inspiration!

So far, it seems that I have no problem with writing endlessly about the ups and downs of my little crafty life. However, sometimes, it's interesting to see what is going on the other side of the fence. I'm the kind of person who never really got over the questioning phase that kids have at a young age. Mommy, why is the sky blue? I still don't know the answer by the way! Anyway, to fulfill my curiosity I decided to do, once in a while, small interviews with inspiring crafters. I consider inspiration to be a wonderful gift and I would love to share it with you! I will happily post my very first interview Wednesday. I hope that you will enjoy, as much as I did, the answers of a very talented woman who shares my love of BUNNIES!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

I smell spring

With spring comes colorful crocus, sweet maple syrup and flooded dog parks! But mostly, for me, spring rhymes with renewal. I now have a sudden urge to find creative ways to organize my small loft. By nature, I would say that I'm a messy crafter. In a "normal" apartment it wouldn't be a big deal but in an open room it could be a little embarrassing. Especially when I have unannounced company. Oups, there is a sewing machine on the kitchen table, pieces of fabric on the sofa, some craft books on the floor and an embroidery hoop under the cushions. Because admitting the problem is the first step, I then decided to make a knitting needles roll-up organizer. All my knitting needles, from 3.5 to 13, are now grouped together in pretty elephant fabric. Next step, putting back the needles in the organizer when I don't need them...that is a big challenge!

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

It's evolution baby!

Exactly 5 months ago, my fingers flowed over a keyboard and wrote a paragraph, an introduction. That little text was only an experiment. I just wanted to see how it would feel like to write a blog post. However, it seems that on a subconscious level I wanted more than just a simple test. Oh my God, I published the post! What's wrong with me? I don't really know how to knit, to use a sewing machine and I don't even like to cook!

I still don't like to cook but I now enjoy the clickety-clack sounds of my knitting needles and the neat stitches made by my sewing machine. When I look back at the past months, I realized that blogging changed me more than I ever believed it would. Slowly, I became more aware of a new world of creativity. I still like the same things (such as squirrels and bunnies...how can I not like squirrels and bunnies?) but now they are in soft linen or in thick wool, with a more modern design, surrounded by simplicity and with a slightly edgier look. Blogging made me realize that there is more to creativity than just the obvious.

To show my new "transition", I selected some items that I probably wouldn't have enjoyed 5 months ago but that now inspire and fascinate me immensely. It's evolution baby!

Sand by Reyaveltman
Le Lapin by TillyBloom
Being you is the key by Paperiaarre
Dixon the windsee by Onegirl

Otto conejo by Essimar
Linen fabric -- Forest by Namolio
Ishmaels Whale - Indian Calico by Flyingstartoys
Knitty, knitty by Ashleyg

Friday, 4 April 2008

The arwards go to...the badger!

Two contestants were present at an award ceremony: a small bunny made out of recycled wool and a rather unusual badger. Both were anxious to learn the winner’s name. Two categories: “You Make Me Smile Award” and “Blogging with a Purpose Award”. Everybody believed that the bunny would win. Lets face it, the bunny had everything: cute, fuzzy and eco-friendly. The badger, on the other hand was a little sarcastic, slightly self-centered, often solitary and aggressive in the morning. They both held their breath. The presenter cleared his throat. And both awards go to… the badger!

Thank you Erin (Girl with Curlz), Jade (Chik Austin) and Ulla (Lille-Ursus) for giving me those awards. It seems that even grumpy badgers (a nickname that my husband gave me a while ago) can get recognition. My little blog is such a blessing for me and that “community” is beyond my expectations. Thank you again. Now it’s my turn to nominate 5 blogs that make me smile and have a purpose because they are such an inspiration: Chickpea Sewing Studio, Linaloo, Little Red Caboose, Orange Flower and Senorita Puri.

And for those who care about the other contestant. Well, he went to an after-ceremony party and drank all night long ;) If you want to make your own bunny, take a look here.