26 December 2007

back to reality

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Things were busy over here, as usual, but thankfully we had a great time. Just wanted to let you all know that I will be taking a little blogging break from sotosofties for a bit. I'll be back in mid-January, hopefully with a whole slew of new designs to share with you and maybe even a pattern or two. Right now, I need to focus on family and on working on a few crafty endeavors that are not softie-related. I want to actually finish a quilt or two and do some selfish crafting. I don't really celebrate Christmas with my family; we celebrate "El Dia de los Reyes," which is on January 6th. Hence, I luckily have two weeks to get cranking on gifts for my family, provided my right hand stops hurting. There are a few other familial obligations for January, so I won't really have time to work on stuff for the shop.

Besides, 'tis the season for change as far as this blog and the shop go. There are a few things that I need to work out as far as how I do business through the shop. I am not sure if I want to do commission work again. I had a couple of experiences this season that really left a bad taste in my mouth, and I am seriously wondering if it is worth my while to continue doing commissions. Also, as you can see, the poll for whether it is alright to reserve non-commissioned pieces for people through etsy has closed and the majority of you (3 to 1) say it is okay to do so. I think it's fine, too, but to be honest with you, I am not so sure about the waiting lists for specific items. After all, if you are on my mailing list, you are notified immediately when I post new stuff onto etsy. As it is, I don't think the system I am utilizing right now is the most efficient. I need to rethink all these things and then some. I'm sorry and hope I am not offending anyone by talking about it on here. I hope I am not being tacky as all get-out, but the truth is that I feel I need to be clearer about my policies. If I discuss them here and get feedback from an open forum, then it helps me make better decisions, I think. Anyway.... There are a few softie-related projects that I am extremely excited about which are still in the embryonic stage. Once I get those going and am free to discuss them without fear of jinxing anything (yes, I am superstitious that way), I will be sharing that on here with you at great length (because I am that excited about them). One more thing - this blog will be strictly softie-related going forward. That was my intention when I first started this blog, but I haven't been faithful to it. What can I say? Life is multi-faceted. It's hard for me to stay on-topic all the time. I'll be talking about my other crafty endeavors (knitting, quilting, whatever), life, books, pop culture and people I heart on inside the softie machine, and I will of course continue my obsessive relationship with Flickr, where you can see all sorts of photos I take. In the meanwhile, thank you all for reading this blog. Thank you for all of your comments and your support this last year. It has meant a lot to me. Wishing all of you all the best in the new year and lots and lots of love.

20 December 2007

over and out - happy holidays, folks!

Thank you so much, you guys! Thanks to everyone who has bought a soto softie this holiday season and to everyone who has left positive feedback for me on etsy. And thank you for reading this blog-boondoggle. I really have appreciated all of your kind words and encouragement. Thank you! The shop is closed until after the 25th, and I won't have any new stock until the second week of January at the earliest (lots of family obligations over the next couple of weeks). I am busy working on the last few presents for family over here. I am happy to say that I seem to be working at a pretty fast pace and have already ticked a few names off my list. My friend Beba may be coming over later, so we can get our craft on over some wine and "Freaks and Geeks" and finish the last few projects. I am not sure if this will be my last post here before the holidays so I will leave you all with a hearty "Happy Holidays!!!" Hope you all have a wonderful time full of love and cheer and family and friends. Wishing you all the best!

P.S. - For anyone who is interested, I may be posting over the next few days on my personal blog, inside the softie machine. It is not softie or crafting-related, just photos and blather. I just wanted a space where I could write about things that were not necessarily limited to making stuff. Anyway, hope you all have a great week.

P.P.S. - Yes, that is LG under the tree in the photo above. It is his new favorite spot to curl up in, and he won't let the other cats near the tree, which is kinda good, I guess.

17 December 2007

it's a very softie christmas charlie brown

It's like Santa's workshop around here these days. Now with all the madness of Bazaar Bizarre behind me and all the shop orders and commissions done and sent (minus the small batch that I am taking to the Post Office tomorrow morning), I can start checking things off on my personal holidays to-do list. (Thanks Hilary for reminding me!) I am finally getting around to whipping up presents for family and friends. Guess what everyone is getting? If you said a softie, then you my friend are hyper-perceptive. Yes, everyone's getting a softie, with the small exception of a couple of folks who are getting books or handknit socks. It's another hand-made holiday! That's how we roll in the 138, yo! I can now cross the raccoon off my list. Now on to the skunk, the bat, the aardvark, and a very special one that I dare not mention lest its recipient be reading this right now (nosy nosy). Hope you are all having a delightful holiday season thus far and that it only gets better!

14 December 2007

the last update

So today I posted my last etsy update for the year. These lambkin fingerpuppets were in that update, and they disappeared before I could even write this post. (Thanks, folks!) There are a bunch of penguins and a couple of critters still up there for anyone who is interested. The last day I am shipping will be Wednesday, December 19th. I will have plenty of new softies in the new year, so please do stay tuned for that. Happy Friday everyone!

12 December 2007

hey you!

Mischa is mine - yay!

I unofficially took the day off today. I started out with the best intentions, to finish a few finger puppets and some last-minute commissions that I took on before I made my firm announcement a week or so ago (maybe more - who knows - time is a blur), but I've been so tired since I haven't had a day's rest in two and a half weeks that I just crashed. Anyway, I just wanted to touch base and say hello to you all. All the mieces are on their ways to their new homes - hooray! Well, all except Mischa, who will be keeping me company as I sit at the computer every day. I normally don't get attached to my softies and have no problem sending them off because I know they will be loved. Every now and then, however, I make something that is so special to me that I don't want to part with it. I want to enjoy it every day because it is like something, some toy, that I always wanted as a child. Yeah, we could psychoanalyze that to death, about how I make toys to recapture my childhood or whatever, but why destroy the joy? I enjoy making things that make other people happy.

I am planning my last shop update of the year for this Friday at 2PM. As I mentioned before, I will have a few fingerpuppets up for grabs but probably not too much more. I will be posting the rest of the penguins and maybe a mini-mantis or two. For the rest of the season, I am going to concentrate on my family - making gifts for them, spending time with them, enjoying the holidays with them. The last day I will be shipping is December 19th. The shop will be closed from the 20th through the 25th. I think I may also be closed the first part of January, but I don't know yet. I do know that there are a lot of family commitments I have then, and I hope you all understand. I'll let you all know what's going on as I get a clearer idea myself. In the meanwhile, hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far.

10 December 2007

okey-dokey, they're up now

in today's update

This is what is now up in ye olde shoppe. I am probably going to add the rest of the penguins tomorrow as right now I am tired and need to step away from the computer (I've been hankering to curl up and read). I hope to add another couple of items once I finish them later in the week. These will be the things that I didn't finish in time for Bazaar Bizarre. Anyway, I hope you all like what you see for now. Happy Monday folks!

after these messages

Hey guys! Bazaar Bizzare was a lot of fun and an overall success yesterday. It was great to see so many people there; the turnout was fantastic! Thanks to everyone who made Bazaar Bizarre possible - all the organizers, vendors, and you, the public, who came and showed your support. A huge thanks to everyone who came out yesterday! It was wonderful to meet so many of you in person. Thanks to all of you who purchased one of my softies or cards. You guys rock! Also, I would like to give many thanks to Matt, who was a super-trooper, helping me out with everything, from doing all the hand-lettering on our sign and making the finger puppet displays and packaging card sets, to driving to the Cyclorama with me at 8:30 AM to set up, to watching the table when I grew restless and needed a walk and when I could barely keep my eyes open at the end of the day. His enthusiasm and encouragement have kept me going even when I have questioned what the heck I am doing.

Today's shop update is going to be a little late because the light has been crap here this overcast day and I had to do a bit of finagling to get good shots of the softies (not to mention the fact that I slept in late, which I haven't done in weeks and weeks). I will have everything up say before 5 PM. I'll post here as soon as the update is complete. Thanks again guys!

09 December 2007

it's all one big, colorful, jumbled mess

peek into the softie bin

Well, that's life, isn't it?

08 December 2007

tomorrow is the big day

b.b. mousey

If you are in the Boston area, please drop by and check out Boston's Bazaar Bizarre:

Sunday December 9, 2007
12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

at the Cyclorama (Boston Center for the Arts)
539 Tremont St in the South End of Boston

Admission fee $1.00

For more info, please check out the official site here.

I will be at table #31, which is on the inside of the ring but outside the middle cluster of tables, towards the men's room. Insert bad joke about "Gonna meet you the men's room," or women's room, as the song goes. Just a heads up to anyone who is interested in picking up their very own soto softie - I am not set up to take credit cards yet unfortunately so please bring cash. Sorry about that; hope it's not an inconvenience. I am really excited about tomorrow (albeit a little nervous - do I have enough stuff ? what if I don't sell a thing? did I pack the cards yet? ohmygod how exactly am I going to hang my banner?). I am looking forward to finally meeting some of you in person. Hope to see you tomorrow.

07 December 2007

delirium sets in

Sunday is the big day. It's my first actual craft fair, so I am ridiculously excited about this. I am hoping that I have enough stuff. I am going to try to bang out a couple of last minute items here. Happy Friday folks!

06 December 2007

hooray for fingerpuppet displays

And hooray for Matt for making the displays! I especially love this one:

Look at how cute the birdy looks on it:

finger puppet display - with puppet

05 December 2007

getting my ducks in a row and my penguins suited up

It's just a few days away now....

04 December 2007

these fingerpuppets in progress totally remind me of chupa-chups

Do you remember Chupa Chups - those little perfectly spherical lollipops that come in a wonderful variety of flavors? One year, when I went to Puerto Rico to see my family, Chupa Chups must have been all the rage because just about everywhere you went people were trying to shove one in your mouth. (Pervo please! It's not as dirty as it sounds.) I don't know if there were just trucks sprinkling them on the population, but they were everywhere. Seriously, I went to visit an 80 year old great aunt up way in Miraflores, and she handed me a Chupa Chup. "These are great! I can't eat sweets, but you take it." It kinda felt like an endless rave in the jungle with everyone handing you lollipops. By the end of my three weeks there, I thought my teeth were going to just start falling out of my head. I know there's a sugar-free variety of these, but I don't think these were the ones everyone was madly consuming. Anyway, these little guys remind me of Chupa Chups, only they won't give anyone cavities with their sweetness.

03 December 2007

being realistic / honest

I'm sorry folks, but there will be no shop update today. In fact, I think I won't be online for the rest of the week. This weekend, I made about 10 critters, all of which I am now detailing. I told Matt I was putting half in the shop, and he looked at me like I said I was going to eat a kitten for lunch. "Are you crazy? Bazaar Bizarre is less than a week away! You only have a about 10 pieces for that so far. You need to focus here." He's right. Because I mismanaged my time last month and went through that so-sick-of-making-critters slump, I have been playing catch-up big time the last couple of weeks. I can't quite say I am succeeding at it. So while I am sorry and hope I am not disappointing anyone, I need to step away from the computer and get cracking on these softies. I may touch base with you all later in the week. I hope to do so anyway. Also, just a reminder for those of you who are interested: I am doing my one big holiday shop update on December 10th, so please drop by for that (time of update will be approximately 2 PM, like always). Thanks for your understanding, folks!

30 November 2007

am i really too tired to come up with a title?

Apparently, yes, I am. Wow, the creative juices must be sapped. Hope not! Anyway, Thanks for all of your input and insight yesterday. I wasn't clear in the post about a couple of things I guess, and I'm sorry about that. For starters, I was referring to non-commissioned works being reserved for customers. Second, I have to apologize to you guys because I never stated my policy regarding reserving items. To be perfectly honest with you, I never thought about it, and I never "had" a policy per se. I am still not totally decided about how I feel about it. I am fine with taking requests for items. For example, if someone wants a bat or a woodchuck and wants to know when I will be posting some, I would be happy to add them to a list and notify them as soon as I finish some. And I am fine with doing commissions, although I am not taking on any more right now due to other commitments. In fact, once the holidays are over, I will be happy to start doing commissions again. Right now, it is not feasible for me to do so without stressing myself out to the gills and possibly run the risk of not meeting someone's holiday time-frame, not to mention my own obligations to my family. I was never clear about people asking me to reserve stuff that they see either in progress or once it's finished on my Flickr or the blog because I was never sure about it myself. People just approached me, and I thought it was fine. I certainly didn't mean to alienate anyone. This is a little scary sometimes because I am really just learning about all of this myself. It really has been less than a year that I have been selling these softies that I make, and I am learning more about this every day. I am a one-person operation here, and I get frustrated with myself when I can't get everything done in one go. Anyway, I am thankful for all of your support, encouragement, and enthusiasm. I am leaving the poll open for a few more days because I am still interested in what you all have to say about it. Thanks for participating!

The shop has been updated for today. There will be another update on Monday. Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo (thank crunchy!!!) so I am stepping away from the computer until Monday. That way I can get more work done. Happy weekend folks!

29 November 2007


I have a silly question for you folks today. I was thinking about "reserved" items and wondering if maybe you would share your input regarding the matter. See, I usually reserve items on my etsy for people if they ask, and I have no problem with doing that. I know that other crafters/ artisans don't necessarily do this, and they have their reasons. It seems to me that one major reason that some choose not to reserve items is that some folks think it's not fair. I am not sure if it or isn't fair, but I thought I would throw the question out there in hopes of a discussion. In addition (and for the fun of it), I have put up a little poll on the sidebar where you can vote:

A) Reserving items is fine. Keep doing it.

B) Ehhhh, not so fair. It should be on a first come-first serve basis.

So please let me know what you think. I am extremely interested to learn what people's thoughts on this are, especially right now when I am producing things in limited batches, not for the sake of making an exclusive or elusive item so much as because I am having a hard time managing my time and moving as fast as I would like to move. I am updating the shop tomorrow by 2 PM, and sadly, it will only be small batch of items. Monday's will be larger, but please do stop by tomorrow anyway. I hope you'll see something that you like. Thanks!

28 November 2007


Not quite.... I am going so slowly here. I thought I would have a nice uninterrupted workday earlier, but I was wrong. Now I kinda want to cry because I am so seriously behind (as behind as the behind I am metaphorically dragging here). Gah! Back to work now, goodnight!

27 November 2007

uhhhhhhhhh, yeah

See those? That's part of the reason why there will be no shop update today. I was so engrossed in finishing the ones you see in the photo above and five more of their friends that I didn't get to stuff and seam the critters in time for a decent photo session. 11 AM in the magic hour here; that's when the natural light in the apartment is perfect for photographing softies. Any later hour and you're risking bad photos. Once the sun sets, well, it takes a lot of fussing setting everything up next to an available outlet with the one light I have. I have said it before, and I will say it again: I need to get myself a tripod. I know there are decent inexpensive ones to be had. I just have get off my butt and find one. So yeah, long story short, I have no decent critter photos to post. In fact, half of the them are still unfinished. What to do? I keep vacillating between updating the shop every day and doing updates on Mondays and Fridays only. Didn't I recently say that I was sticking with those two days as my update days? So much for being firm and sticking to my plan. I am only stressing myself out by trying to update every day and feeling bad when I don't because there's a ton of stuff to do in preparation for the Bazaar Bizarre and the holidays. I'm sorry if I disappointed any of you today. I will make it up to you, I hope, with Friday's update.

Let's focus on Bazaar Bizarre for a moment because I am actually ridiculously excited about that (and that's what all those mice are for, in addition to almost everything else that I am working on at the moment). Bazaar Bizarre is coming up in just a couple of weeks. I really need to buckle down and work for that because I want to be well-stocked. It will be on December 9th at the Cyclorama, 539 Tremont Street in the South End. If any of you good folks are in the Boston area, please do stop by. I would love to meet you, and I hope to have a ton of stuff there. I will be at table 31, which is towards the back of the Cyclorama. Lesson learned the hard way, folks - when a craft fair is kind enough and generous enough, as the lovely people at Bazaar Bizarre were, to ask you if you have any location preferences where you would like to have your table, you respond right away and ask for the front of the venue. That's what all the smart people did. I am not one of the smart people. I figured, having been to the Cyclorama before, that there really isn't any bad location there because everything is out in the open. The room is round, afterall. Oh how very wrong I was, how naíve of me to think that. I didn't count on rows on tables creating a grid in the middle of the space. DOH! How could I have not imagined that? Do you see just how important a little imagination is? All the well-known softie makers who have craft fair experience knew to ask for locations in the front. They will be the first people you will see upon walking into the Cyclorama. You will gaze upon their fabulous creations. You will buy their wares and cross names off your holiday shopping list. You will be satisfied with your softie purchases and perhaps look no further. If you're looking for me, you will find me near the men's room, all the way in the back and to your right. Yep, the men's room. Oh man, I messed up big time in not asking for a front and center location right away. Please don't think this is a "woe-is-me" or "pity-me" post. This is a "wow! I can't believe I was so stupid! What was I thinking?!" post and perhaps a "please learn from my stupid mistake" post. Anyway, I hope there's a great turn-out, and more importantly right now, I hope to finish all of these half-way completed projects that have totally taken over my work-table by the end of this week so I can start on new stuff. Because ultimately, it doesn't matter where I am located; what matters is that I bring the best that I have to offer.

P.S. Also, as I have mentioned on here before, I am planning one giant update of the good old etsy shop on Monday December 10th. Please stay tuned for that.

26 November 2007

fun with fingerpuppets

There are four sets of 3 and two individual guys up at the shop now. The critters will be up tomorrow.

25 November 2007

quacking myself up

I have never been able to resist making a bad pun if there's a bad pun to be made.

24 November 2007

but i digress

Wow, what a gorgeous day it was today. While raking leaves in the backyard with Matt, it finally hit me that I absolutely love living in New England. I think last year, when we first moved here, I was too preoccupied with things back in NYC. I was also feeling a little lost since I didn't know my way around and didn't know anyone here and was overwhelmed with the need to spruce up the space and make it our own. Now, this year, I am able to fully appreciate just how beautiful Autumn is around these parts. I am just blown away every time I leave the house. Every walk I take, every trip to Harvard Square, every errand run, every time I go to meet friends is just pure joy as I fall in love all over again with the beauty around me. *sigh*

Anyway, as you can see, this is not a post about softies. It was a toss up between sharing some pretty autumnal photo or posting about the many WIPs going on here. I opted for the foliage and to celebrate the colors and textures I see all over the place. It's a bit of digression, but you know what? As Ray Bradbury said, "Digression is the soul of wit." I use that as my line of defense when I tell a long rambling story and my friends, eager for me to get to the punchline, ask me to get to the point. I freely admit that I am the world's worst story-teller, but I'd like to think I'm a pretty decent conversationalist as having a conversation with me meanders and pretty much goes all over the place, basically leaving almost no topic uncovered. I'm trying to apply that little statement to my life, as well. I think the reason that I recently became so bored with the critters was because I needed to cover some new ground or do something completely different in order to reinvigorate myself, to recharge if you will. And by "different," I don't think I meant just making new designs or more softies. I think I needed to really do something that I hadn't done in a while, like go see live music or spend all afternoon raking leaves and gardening. I feel wonderful right now, and I am actually having a productive softie-making day.

Since I mentioned live music, we saw Dinosaur Jr. last night, and it was fantastic! I hadn't seen them play in about 12 years. J. Mascis has become the white wizard of grunge/ alt rock/ call it what you will. Speaking of which, whoever said grunge is dead was mistaken. Grunge isn't dead; it's just older now and possibly arthritic. I wonder what Mark Arm is up to these days. Back to Dinosaur, here's a funny video they did (which is probably about 20 years old at this point) which shows some softie love. Enjoy! Hope you're all having a great weekend!

23 November 2007

rediscovering joy

Sorry about today's lack of shop update. I know it being Black Friday and all, it was probably imperative for me to update, but last night about midnight, I was detailing critter faces when I got sidetracked by a new idea. Yes, I should have finished the faces first because then I would have had stuff for the shop this morning. However, when an idea strikes me, I need to run with it in order to stay enthusiastic about it and to generate some enthusiasm for the project at hand as well. Because as much as I love detailing critter faces, it can become a little monotonous, especially when you're doing about a dozen at once. These little finger puppets, inspired by the finger puppets I made as a child and by this cute little Japanese design, definitely got me excited about toy-making again. I have about a dozen (maybe more) cut up and ready to sew! They will be up in the shop on Monday - yes, Monday will be my official update and it looks like it's going to be a big one - where they will be sold in sets and individually.

I am taking today off because it is beautiful here, and it has been a long time since Matt, Mali and I went hiking in the Fells. Besides, as guilty as I feel about it, I need a day off and away from the workshop. My left elbow has been cranky, and I think it is high time to rediscover joy, take a nice long walk, and be inspired by nature again. See you all tomorrow. Happy Friday folks!

22 November 2007

thankful blissful and about to pass out

Embossed Leaves

That tryptophan is kicking in and fast so I thought I would share this before I pass out. Although I didn't get a chance to finish these last month and meet my one goal for Socktoberfest (which was to finish at least one pair of socks), I did manage to finish these last night, which really makes me happy because A) I had been dying to make a pair of these for the last two years and B) I truly love this combination of yarn and pattern. This particular Koigu colorway gets me all warm and fuzzy; it is just about my favorite shade of green ever. So now it's one down and four more pairs to go! Because every day is Socktoberfest around here.

green socks photo shoot

Specs: Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt
Interweave Knits Winter 2005, pp. 96-98
knit using Koigu KPM in P119 33 and Addi Turbos US size #1 needles (magic loop it, baby!)

21 November 2007

divine bovine, batman!


Wow, holy cow indeed! You guys are all sorts of wonderful! Thank you to everyone who has purchased one of my softies in the last couple of days. All the orders have been sent out today. I think I need to invest in a small scale here because there are still some kinks to work out with shipping costs. Overall, I am super excited, and I can't wait to get all the softies I have been working on over the last few days up in the shop on Friday. I won't be updating tomorrow because I am spending the whole day with the family. Hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

20 November 2007

i love those mieces to pieces

new mouse in the house

These two and a few more are up in the shop today.

19 November 2007

magic, voodoo, or just plain slapstick

The cards are up in the shop now. Hooray for small victories! Due to the gray and overcast sky, resulting in the most dismal lighting ever in our apartment, I was not able to properly photograph any of the softies I managed to finish today. Therefore, there is no softie update today because, really, I just can't bring myself to post these shots. While Photoshop has been known to perform magic, I don't think it can perform the sort of miracles needed to rescue these shots without resorting to creating total artifice. Bleah.

It just goes with the rest of my day. It's been one of those days where you're pretty sure that the sewing machine is going to burst into flames at any moment given everything else that's happening. That Murphy guy and his cheesy law are at it today and big time. First, I attached the wrong head to the wrong softie for a commission piece no less. It takes me longer to carefully unstitch everything than it did to sew it up in the first place - about twice as long. I get everything unsewn and ironed, looking crisp and fresh again, only to sew the first part inside out. More unstitching and befuddlement at how I could have even made this mistake in the first place (newsflash - I am far from perfect). While the first error had me near tears, the second had me laughing because at this point, this is just plain silly. Ridiculous even. But wait! There's more! Because there's always more.... As I am hand-stitching another softie, the thread rips on me. So once again, I unstitch carefully, rethread the needle and try again. AGAIN the thread snaps, this time as I am about to finish and bury the knot. GAH! Seriously, this happened to me 3 more times. 3. more. times.... It's laughable!

Anyway, I promise you pretty photos and lovable softies and another, more complete shop update tomorrow.

18 November 2007

they're heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere....

And they will be up in the shop tomorrow at 2PM! The vertical cards are not available yet; the printer made a boo-boo and sent me 200 of the horizontal cards instead of 100 of each. It would be too time-consuming to send them back (only to have them destroyed - such a waste of paper and ink) and wait for the vertical ones to be printed and get here. Hence, we have a lot of the horizontal cards right now, enough to go around and then some, folks.

17 November 2007

pieces of mieces

awaiting to be sewn....

16 November 2007

eye-candy friday - the seasonal poetry edition

The skies they were ashen and sober,
The leaves they were crispéd and sere --
The leaves they were withering and sere;

from Ulalume - Edgar Allan Poe

No shop update today. There is still much to finish, and it would be easier all around to do one big update on Monday with the cards and the new softies. Hope you all understand. Happy Friday folks!

15 November 2007

tonight tonight


When I was a teenager, the sound of a skateboard slapping the pavement or just whooshing by was enough to give me whiplash. Yeah, I had a huge thing for skaters, but more so than that, I always ALWAYS wanted to learn how to skateboard myself. I would watch dudes on boards with a mixture of envy and admiration, simultaneously crushing on them and wanting to do the same things they did but even better. The reason I never learned how to skateboard, besides my father yelling at me that I was going to break my neck, is really because I have always been a wuss about hospitals and the thought of a broken arm or leg or worse (and trust me, I have seen worse happen to skaters - I have a friend who injured his spine, scary stuff there) is so thoroughly unappealing to me. The risk of injury on a skateboard is much greater than just walking, even if skating gets you there much quicker and is much more fun. Hence, I choose to walk. I'm boring that way.

Why all this talk about skateboards? One of the projects that I have been working on the last few days is this softie-skateboard for the latest Hit the Deck exhibition here in Boston. I have titled it "Ollie - Praying Mantis Style." I am pretty psyched to be a part of this show. There are a lot of great artists partaking in this event, and it sounds like the party is going to be hella cool! (Huhhuh, I said "hella.") I am listed on the flyer as "Softies" instead of "soto softies" - DOH! I gave them the correct info, but you know how the poo, it loves to happen. And apparently, asking for a blank skateboard at some of the local Cambridge skate shops is the equivalent to asking for guns or drugs or something else that would make the ATF's day, because let me tell you, they played "20 Questions" with me when I went looking for one. One place even told me that they didn't carry blank boards, when they had told Matt the week before that they did. At first I got a little up in arms about it because I thought I was being discriminated against for being female, but truthfully, the hardest time I got was from another woman, who basically interviewed me as if I were applying for a job just to buy a skateboard. For some reason, it reminded me a bit of the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons and how he would interrogate people on their comic book knowledge in order to determine whether or not to sell them comic books. Comic books, skateboards - am I worthy of this subculture? Whatevs, I got my board, and this is what I did with it. There was a good deal of deliberation at first. I was debating whether or not to just paint something graphic on it, like do some cartoons of my softies with text, like one of the woodchucks with the fingerguns and, "Bang! Bang! King Kong ain't got nothin' on me!" But then I figured I was asked to participate in this because they had seen my work at the South End Open Studios in September, so they must know I make softies - why not incorporate the softie and the skateboard? Then I figured why not turn the softie into the skateboard, or rather, the skateboard into a softie. I hope it is well-received tonight.

14 November 2007

in the shop by monday

So last week, as I was walking down the street with some friends, we walked past a Crate & Barrel that was already festooned with holiday ornaments and decorations and all sorts of eye-catching sparkly, spangly stuff. The only problem I saw with it was the fact that the date was November 5th - almost two months away from Christmas and although I'm not sure what date Hanukkah falls on this year, I'm sure it's still more than a month away too. When I went to the post office later in the week, the friendly dude behind the counter asked me if I wanted some holiday stamps. I think I may have involuntarily raised my eyebrows, like "Word?" because he laughed and said, "Yeah, gotta start early, you know." Looking through etsy these days, I know he's right. So I made some cards, which will be available in packs of 6 through my shop starting Monday. There are actually going to be two different sets available, one in a horizontal format and one vertical. And yes, they both feature the new mice. I was pretty happy with the photo shoot - I had fun putting everything together and liked most of the shots. I wanted to go for a very 70s, retro kind of look, like those old cards with photos of cutesy muppets or stop-action-animation-looking dolls in adorable situations. I think this comes pretty close. Anyway, I will let you all know as soon as they are officially up in the shop.

13 November 2007

two for the shop, two for the fair

And that's how it goes! There's so much going on around here lately. So many piles of WIPs, so much cutting, so much sewing, so many ideas and thoughts and colors and words. The only thing lacking is time, it seems. Right now, I have a funny story to share, but it will have to wait until I have the time to compose and edit a post, unlike now where my fingers are just flying across the keyboard and I'm not really thinking too hard about what I'm saying or how I'm saying it. Perhaps the rest of the week will be silent around here. Just photos - no words. I wish I had a pack of elves helping me out here. Those Keebler elves look like they get stuff done; perhaps I need some softie-making elves. They could live in the oak tree in the backyard, and I swear, I'd be super-nice to them. I'd even make them pancakes in the morning and pump them full of yummy coffee throughout the day.

By the way, this post over at Wish Jar made me laugh out loud today. How perfect is that, really?

12 November 2007

more critters

Happy Monday folks! You can find these guys at the shop - they're up now. I'm trying to do two weekly updates now - every Monday and every Friday, by 2 PM.

11 November 2007

revving up

Four of the six critters I had planned for tomorrow will definitely be up in the shop at 2 PM. I am working on a lot of things at once here so that hopefully Friday's update will be a big one. Please stay tuned.

10 November 2007

a bird-brained experiment

bird-brained design

Every morning when I have my breakfast, I sit by the kitchen window, watch the chickadees and woodpeckers at the bird feeder, and think about how much fun it would be to make a bird softie. I've been meaning to make one for a long time, but I am always daunted by the actual prospect. There are so many others who make birds, and they do them brilliantly. The first names to come to mind are Ann Wood, Abby Glassenberg (while she naps), and Stephanie Congdon Barnes (little birds). So I am always a little shy about it. This morning, I figured, "Why not go for it, and see what it looks like?" Well, this is what it looks like. I think it's cute, but next time, I think I will forgo using the safety eyes and will maybe use a bead or perhaps just do a French Knot for each eye. The plastic eyes are a bit bulky and out of proportion on this size bird. I am happy with the shape of the body, but I might make the head just a smidgen more narrow, like by 1/4 of an inch tops. By the way, do you wanna laugh? Check out my first attempt at machine-sewing a gusseted toy. I was trying to make this softie here. Ahhhhh, how we've grown (I hope!).

09 November 2007

the shop - updated

These guys are up, and two are gone already. Anya is up there. And I will update again on Monday - 6 new critters and hopefully some holiday-themed stuff. Happy Friday folks!

08 November 2007

you've got the cutest little critter face

So many works in progress here today! I am going to update the shop tomorrow (around 2 PM) and hope to add three critters (2 Zaubermausi and 1 bunny) and two of the conga-dancing mice (Sasha and Anya). I am finishing up the last of the commissions and have set a goal for how many pieces I want to have ready for Bazaar Bizarre. I have decided I need a minimum of 50 pieces, so I better get working. So far I only have 5 pieces set aside specifically for the show. Yikes! Also, just wanted to remind you folks that everything that does not sell that day will be up in the shop no later than December 10th. In the meanwhile, I will try to keep the shop stocked with critters between now and then. Please be sure to stop by and check it all out. I am pretty comfortable with doing updates every Friday, but I might try to do one more during the week for the next couple of weeks. We'll see; I will keep you posted.

07 November 2007

come on everybody do that conga

Mischa has a few friends over, and they are some wild and ca-razy mice. Meet Sasha, Nikita, and Anya. They've been dancing up a storm every since they got here. They don't even seem to mind the fact that they don't have tails yet.