Monday, March 3, 2014

Plush swap love

(cross-posted from the Plush Team blog)

I am delayed in posting about the AMAZING plush I received from M. Bridges of Moon's Creations for the annual Plush Team swap, but that's mostly because I've been overwhelmed by the awesomeness of it! I had mentioned that I'm a huge Wes Anderson fan (and, honestly, who isn't?!?) and Marcy made up these super awesome Sam and Suzy Moon Buns for me!

Just look at the details! Sam has a scarf and his Khaki Scout badges, and Suzy has a tiny pair of binoculars, awesome fluffy hair, and even her trademark blue eyeshadow!

I *adore* these little guys! Marcy was so sweet and included some little wooden rings to help them stand up, and they have a place of honor right by my TV!

Check out more of Marcy's plush here (seriously--the quality of these guys is impeccable; you won't be disappointed!) and see the cat in pajamas that I made for her here!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Popping in, popping up

Hello! Long time no....anything, really*. My hands have been too busy behind the scenes, making making making, for me to do some necessary typing! I just wanted to pop in here quickly to announce that Kitty Kitty Crafts is participating in this year's Boston Handmade Gallery! This year, Boston Handmade is working with Pop-Up Republic and has curated a gorgeous space right across from the Brookline Village T station (on the D branch of the Green Line, for you Bostonians). My work, along with that of these other great local craftspeople, is on sale there NOW, from 11am–7pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, through Christmas Eve!

My wares include a number of hippos, both regular size and my yet-to-be-listed miniature ones (which you see above), 

Giraffes small and large, 

And a few manatees! I've also got a number of cozy scarves available, and NEW super sneaky sets of holiday postcards! (More to come on those.) All of my plush available at the gallery has embroidered eyes—no buttons anywhere to be found, so everything is child-safe. 

(check out that adorable orange giraffe that made the sign collage!)
The news of no Boston Bazaar Bizarre this year hit everyone really hard. I'm super happy that this pop-up gallery exists, so us locals still have many opportunities to buy handmade holiday gifts. I'm also so happy to have been asked to participate in this great shop with such a talented group of people! 

If you're in the Boston area and still reading this, there is a Handmade Holiday Hurrah grand opening party tonight(!!) at the gallery from 5–9pm. There will be snacks and music and many of the artists will be there (myself included). I'd love to see you if you're around! And if you're NOT local, I have large hippos, giraffes, manatees, and scarves available and ready to ship, all the time, from my shop HERE.

*Psst: If you missed hearing from me, you can always find more up-to-the-minute chatter in my Twitter feed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Plush Team!

Just a quick note to mention that I was accepted to Etsy's Plush Team this quarter (yay! that was a big 2013 business goal for me!) and I have a post up today on the evolution of my giraffe plush design. Please go check it out! 

Monday, May 6, 2013


Couture dress front
Well, I certainly didn't *mean* to take a 6-month break from the blog, but...! Life, you know? I'm just popping in today to share a bit of progress, because even though things aren't being blogged here or posted to my Flickr page (both things I really want to improve upon), they are happening.

Couture dress midriff front
For instance: this dress. This is my in-progress couture dress from the Susan Khalje Couture Dress class on I have been working on this pretty much exclusively for two months already! I had hoped to finish a month ago, in time for my birthday, as is my tradition, but alas... (I tabled the dress for a day and whipped up another, so no fretting! I did have my birthday dress!) I knew this dress would be time-consuming, but underestimated exactly how much time!

Couture dress front bodice side detail
Still... It is phenomenal. I am loving it. The dress is made from an Amy Butler voile print, underlined in silk organza. I got a deal on the silk because it was "printed" to look like a linen texture. The printing side is a little sticky to iron, but the other? Fab. And it's silk! And it was half price. Score.

Couture dress back
In these photos you can see the silk organza underlining and the many many many catch-stitches I did, in various thread colors, to hold the seam allowances open by tacking them to the underlining. In some places on the underlining you can see the grainline marks that I transferred while tracing, or even my marker labels of "front" and "back" on the circle skirt pieces, which are slightly different. You can also see the back of my hand-picked zipper. It was my first time doing ALL of these techniques, much less in one garment!

Couture dress hem
And oh, this hem! This hem. I have spent probably 12 hours on this hem! Fully encased in there is a 2" wide strip of horsehair braid! I didn't leave enough hem allowance to enclose the braid when I cut the skirt pieces, so I created a hem facing out of a wide bias strip of lining fabric. The horsehair braid was catch-stitched to the turn of the hem, and then shaped into a curve and catch-stitched at the top of the braid as well. The bias strip was then pressed up and fell-stitched to completely cover the horsehair braid--both to hide all those loose catch-stitch threads and to keep the braid safe from washing and wearing. And look at those lovely cones and graceful folds of fabric! I'm very pleased with these results.

Couture dress hem detail
So, what's left? I've basted the skirt lining in place and am working on fell-stitching the bodice lining around ALL the outer edges, and then understitching it to the seam allowance as well. Then goes in the midriff band, and then the lining hem! And then all the finishing touches. Heh. So, I still have a ways to go, but nothing near all the work I've already put in, what with tracing and fitting and hand-basting the entire thing together... Still, it's the best fit I think I've ever gotten on a garment, as you will see! The work is all totally worth it, and I'm really enjoying the process. Still, I need to wrap this up, because I've got some plush drafting to do! I hope to debut at least one new animal at this upcoming show I've been accepted to! (!!!!!!!)

And if you're interested in more frequent updates from me, I hang out on Twitter a lot, and have been posting on Instagram and my Facebook page a bit as well.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Please give.

As I mentioned in my last post, we were very fortunate during Superstorm Sandy and didn't even lost power. So many others were not nearly so lucky. I wanted to help, but what could I do?

Hippo for donation
Enter Gather Here. The lovely and generous Virginia and Noah have organized a fundraiser. All funds go to the Red Cross, BUT! there are a ton of amazing prizes donated by lots of amazing makers. For every $10 you donate, you're entered into a drawing to win one of these fabulous prizes.

Hippo for donation
I am of the belief that we should do good without expecting something in return (the good deed is all the good we should need, no?), but sometimes it's hard to know where to give or how much to give. So, in addition to making my own donation, I've made the hippo you see in this post especially for this raffle Gather Here is hosting.

Hippo for donation
If you haven't given any money yet, please do consider making a donation to the Red Cross. And if you have, feel free to enter yourself in the drawing to win something awesome. The fundraiser is open until 11/19, so there's still time! You can see how much has been raised HERE. So many people have given time and talent and amazing handmade goods; it's a wonderful community, and I couldn't be happier to be a part of it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bonnie Quilt

Bonnie quilt
Oh my. You know how it is when your to-do list is so long and overwhelming that instead of diving in and doing ALL THE THINGS you just come home from work, drink vegan white russians, and collapse on the couch? Yeah, that. For me, it's not really a lack of crafting, though there is some of that; it's more a lack of photo-editing and uploading and blogging and linking. It just feels like so much effort; I've been skipping it.

Bonnie quilt
BUT! This is my attempt to return! And catch you up on some un-blogged project, plus some goings-on. First: the Bonnie Quilt! This is a wallhanging that finished around 44" square. It was commissioned by Bonnie, who lives next door to my parents (and has for my entire life) and just did a lovely living room remodel. She has a wood-paneled wall behind her couch, across from a big bay window. When she removed the old art she had on the wall, it was discolored, so she ordered a quilt from me to fill that space.

Bonnie quilt
The colors she's using for her new living room are a dark brick red, tan, and some deep green furniture. Not my usual palette, but she wanted lots of colors in the quilt, and I knew that Civil War repros were the way to go. Luckily, my LQS MarketPlace Quilts carries a wide variety of gorgeous repros, so I got exactly what I needed: cranberry, deep purple and blue, and a little teal.

Bonnie quilt
I drafted my own string blocks so that the secondary diamond pattern in cream would be created, and I just love that effect. The cranberry border has a narrow flat-piping to set it off, and I like the end "framed" result. I quilted a diagonal grid through the center bit, and carried some of the lines through on the border as well. When I was in Wisconsin in June (yes, this has been finished since May but is only just now hitting the blog), my mom and I helped Bonnie hang it up, and it was the perfect addition to her new room. Success!

So, here's a quick rundown on what's up with me these days:
  • First, we survived Sandy without even losing power. We are incredibly lucky and feel so very grateful to have been spared the worst. I'm doing a bit to help those who weren't so lucky, and will have more info on that next week.
  • New photos in the shop! I finally got around to some props and styling and re-photographed ALL of my inventory. Take a peek, and let me know what you think! I have a half-dozen more manatees to add once I get them photographed!
  • Impending Dear Jane update! For REAL; I'm on row H now, guys! I've certainly fallen off my block-a-week schedule, but when we were fearing we'd lose power during Sandy, I heated up the iron and prepped 5 more blocks, so I have some catching up to do.
  • Rob's book is coming out SOON! We'll be in DC and Baltimore in less than 2 weeks for a mini book tour, and I couldn't be more excited or proud. You can pre-order here, and check out some amazing art created in response to the book here, at Sundog Lit. There's a lot more coming, so stay tuned!
  • Last but certainly not least, I'm going to be an auntie! My brother and sister-in-law, who were married last October, are expecting Baby Swenson in March. I'm knee-deep in nursery decor right now, and the baby handmades haven't begun yet!

Friday, September 7, 2012


Newsletter #1!

Have you seen? Did you hear? Manatees are now available in my shop on Etsy! Newsletter subscribers were the first to find out. Want to be included? Sign up here!

zigzag manatee 6
I've always loved manatees, since I first saw them as a kid at Homosassa Springs in Florida, where we used to go when visiting my grandparents. My eighth grade speech was on manatees and conservation, and I had a plush manatee long ago, a last-minute purchase from an airport gift shop before we flew back to Wisconsin. Manatees are gentle, beautiful herbivores, and I knew I needed to honor them in softie form!

monsterz manatee 9
The problem was I couldn't figure out how to attach the head to the body. Should I shape it with a dart? Add a gusset? I was stuck. So when Abby Glassenberg announced a softie design class at Gather Here, I jumped at the chance! Abby is one of my softie-making idols, and working with her was so exciting! She helped me figure out the head, and gave me some great suggestions for the flippers and shaping the tail. If only I could have her help me with ALL of my designs... Her Design-Your-Own Plush series has been invaluable, and I am eagerly awaiting her new book on the same topic, due out this spring!

mod dot manatee 1
I hope you love these little guys as much as I do! They are SO fun to make! I use some quilt batting in the flippers and tail to add a little extra *squish*, which may be my favorite part of all!

2 hippos
Of course, I am still making my beloved hippos, too! There are plenty more listed in the shop, including this pink and green one inspired by fabric chosen for a custom job, and this sweet fishy one (at a discount!) with a little pucker on its belly. They all need good homes, and I need some more room for new softies!