Thursday, April 28, 2011

Apron Progression

I've been collecting and working on new aprons very slowly in between other squid work since December but 2 days ago I started to wrap things up.

Still sewing spoons and tentacles.  Waiting to sew pockets back on.  

This morning. 

And here are a few of my favorites.  You can see most of the finished aprons here.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Artists in Matrimony

 Since I work across the room from my husband we're both pretty involved in even the projects we aren't doing together.  So, I figured I'd share some of his work with you from time to time.  Perhaps someday I'll show you some of the projects Ico does.  But only if you earn the privilege. 

Scott has been working on a megaton of projects so far this year that are still not out in the public but here's a peek at one that just launched today.  He animated these for the non-profit Riverlife. We heart this organization not only because they're cleaning up the rivers around here but we use the trail they helped build almost daily.  Sometimes I go out of my way to use it while running errands around the southside.  This is the first of four stories that he animated for them.

Riverlife's "Living in a River City" - Emily's Story from Scott Benson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Glace and Shade

One of the last trips I made home my Dad gave me an old apple box filled with "stuff from the farmhouse".  I grew up on the old pastures of my Great-grandparent's farm (which then became my Grandparent's farm).  The farmhouse was across the road.  This box was brimming with postcards from the 1800's, old hymn books, letters from a soldier during WW1 and loads of photos of my mom's relatives spanning from the late 1800's through the 1970's.  It was pretty rad and I'm still not done sorting through everything but so far the best part was finally finding some photos of my Gram Shade when she was a child with her twin sister. I really never knew much about my Gram's side of the family except that her father and twin sister died during one of the many influenza outbreaks of the time (early 1900's).  Also that her mother remarried a very nice man with the last name of Goss who drove the trolley in town and she would sit in the front and ride around his route with him.  And I knew that she didn't have a middle name so when she married she used her last name of Glace as the middle.

(great-grandmother Berlyn Glace with twins- my grandma and great-aunt)

 This was the best part.  Flipping the above photo over and finding this:

This story combined with my Dad having a brother who died in infancy along with other now pretty preventable infant deaths with my Grandma Hockenberry's siblings makes me very glad to live today (yay for flu shots!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Under Thy Table

shelf boxes, bin, tadly duffle, squid bags, lunch and purse

Not much to say on this post just wanted to give you a peek.  I'm not sure if everyone is like this but I like to see what everyone keeps out of view.  Not enough that I pull up other people's tablecloths at shows.  Mostly because that would be scandalous and kind of awkward to explain if anyone caught you.  I would be so ashamed.  But I do wonder about it enough that I figure someone out there would be interested in knowing.  And hey, isn't that why we all have these blogs anyway?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Best Thing I've Seen All Week

Technically I saw this a long time ago but hey, it's Doctor Who!  And it's coming out tomorrow!  Yay!


I also feel that this needs to accompany anything that deals with Doctor Who. Mainly because Scott and I both love the description of the character and the show. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The power of Butter Krak

An insane amount of chocolate arrived today from the Marvelous Milners.  They are fellow crafters that run My Favorite Mirror/Overdue Industries.  Scott and I love nothing more than seeing them at a show because they are awesome in every way.  I don't remember exactly how but there was a facebook post that involved Zitner eggs versus Cadbury creme eggs that ended in me wanted Zitners but they are only available in Eastern PA.  We were going to trade candies during Handmade Arcade but they couldn't find any in time. Then they hit the motherload on the way home so now I have a box full of awesome candy in awesome packaging to eat.  I don't think I will ever touch another Cadbury creme egg again and I'm totally saving that Butter Krak box for storing something in.  Also, Scott has found a new favorite peanut butter egg. 
Thanks, Milners.  Keep being awesome. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This here is the Cat's Particulars

The sewing project I wanted to show is not ready so I'll share some Flapper Fun for today.  The link above is from a book peddler in York, PA.  He found a Flapper's dictionary and was kind enough to post it.  I love things like this.  I love looking at how words were created or evolved over time, how even some of the definitions I don't understand since they are referencing some bit of pop culture that never made it through the ages.  I love hearing older people, heck even people my age, complain about "kids these days" and their lack of respect for the English language. 
I am a great lover of grammar and punctuation and think that there is no excuse for not knowing when to use their, there and they're and I think that a fear or hatred of "big words" is kind of ridiculous and causes you to miss out on words that will make your point come across much clearer.  However, I never forget that language is fluid.   This is why we have some difficulty reading anything written by the Puritans or sometimes even the Victorians.   This is also why English is pretty hard to learn. We have so many words that have been adopted (and then anglicised) from the different groups of people that have arrived here and the rules of how to use all of these words is just as disjointed.  And I love that, I love that we as a culture will change words and phrasing or adopt words to fit our needs and even the region that we are living in. Think of all of the different accents or turns of phrases you can find just in the state of PA, not to mention conversing with someone from a different English-speaking country (the evolution of the phrase Berk is brilliant).  I love that different groups (particularly teens and younger people) create words that needed to be created to express something very specific to their lives. 
Some of these words will be forgotten even by them in a few years and others will live on.  Some will feel like you have never been without them, some may always have that feel of being old-timey (Chatty Cathy, Bees Knees), and others will evolve into such a different meaning or spelling that even linguists won't be able to figure out exactly where it came from (corduroy, nittany). 
I think it's so easy to forget that the young are not the only ones to create words that work in the environment, group or profession they are in.  I love to think back on lists such as this or watch the black and white teen exploitation flicks and read articles about how afraid the older generation was of people who are now in their 60's and beyond and how they were all doomed to become the dredges of society.  In college I worked with the generation that grew up in the 20's and 30's who then would be afraid of the young and parrot back the same fears their their grandparents used in writtings and movies.  Even before then you have quotes such as these so I think it's safe to say this is not a modern issue.  People just have very short memories.

Well, if you got through all of that I'll reward you with some fun time.  Here are my other favorites from the list above:

cancelled stamp
horse prancer
hush money
and of course, rock of ages (I am totally using that when I turn 30 because It Is Awesome)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cover Thy Table

Since I've talked previously about what I take to craft shows and how I store it I figured I'd give you a little peek at what I put everything on so here, let me show you my tablecloths.  First up are 2 that I made myself for the 4 ft. tables I take with me to tent shows.  Here they are when they were first made.  Those poor little pom-poms do not look as fresh anymore.  I really need to make new ones but I don't have as much time as I'd like to spend on them so hey, perhaps next year.  In the meantime I'll just keep lint rolling them before the show starts.
I made these at the end of 2007 after 2 years of figuring out what I would like my tablecloth to do.  I hate having any hint of the table showing if there are items underneath (which is always the case for me).  I sewed the corners together to make sure the wind would not blow these up (which also keeps your products that are on the table from getting knocked around by the cloth).  While I did sew the corners I didn't sew all the way to the ground.  That idea came from the experience of selling in tents.  One of my tables worked best being shoved up against my tent wall so I needed to be able to get at it from the front or side.  With the slits I can lift up the cloth just enough to get what I need.  This has also come in handy when the tent is full of people and one of us is busy behind the main table with transactions but other items need to be taken out from underneath to be restocked.  

 Most of the time though the back is our main access point.  It also gets lifted up a lot and it's hard to lift up 4 feet of cloth without knocking things on top around.  So I cut the back wall right up the middle and added bias tape to the edges.  It is wonderful and makes grabbing drinks, bags or whatever else we need a cinch.

If we're at a show that provides tables we usually opt for that since it means less for us to carry. One time I grabbed a set of black sheets for a quick fix that I meant to sew but I cut them and arrange them in such a way that no cut edges ever show so I'm pretty happy with how they are.  I cut one queen flat sheet into 2 strips that are wide and long enough to cover either a 6 or 8 foot table.  I put those down first and adjust the length so they're touching the ground and then put a little bit of tape down to keep them from sliding off.  Then I place another flat sheet that has been cut to also accommodate a 6 or 8 footer.  It's long enough to overlap the sides to work for any length of table and hits the ground in the front with the back having a foot or so of clearance for easy access.  I used to adorn it with a white circle table cloth that I stitched my name on using felt letters I cut out and trimmed with pom-poms.  But these don't last very long since the white gets pretty dirty (the one below is my second version.  Now I either wrap my super long outdoor banner* around the table or the pennant banner (this is where those thumbtacks come in handy).
fare thee well, circle cloth

good day, big banner

Probably at the end of next year I'll make some new tablecloths but I'll most likely spend this show season trying to figure out exactly what I want and how to make them fit different lengths.  Good lord, I can't believe I just wrote about tablecloths for this long. 

*my totally awesome banner was made by our friend Denman Rooke.  I gave him paint and some black cloth that was cut to size and asked that he make something that would fit in with the style of our signs and website.  He presented me with this and I probably sat and stared at it in quiet love for about an hour.  After I was done hugging it I put on a backing, sewed it together and then put white bias tape all around.  Later on we pinned 2 squid to the corners for fun.  Go to his site and marvel at all of his self-taught awesomeness. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Handmade Arcade is tomorrow, April 16th!

Hey Folks,
Remember to stop on by the David H. Lawrence Center in downtown Pittsburgh tomorrow for Handmade Arcade from 11am-7pm.  We are table 30 (in the back corner to the left of the food) with oodles of fun new designs surrounded by tons of super awesome vendors.  Here's a look at another new design that will debut tomorrow:

A new Abigail!
Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New Squid

A little sneak peek at some of the new squid that will be at Handmade Arcade on Saturday.

School Teacher

Cat toy

Monday, April 11, 2011

Craft Show Prep

Waiting to be sorted.

I took last night to pack up the squid and Tadly for Handmade Arcade.  One thing that's nice about doing this for 5 and a half years is along with getting much faster at sewing I have become much, much better at packing.  I have everything packed into our 2 display trunks, a giant duffle bag and one rolling bin.  The only thing left is our 2 boxes with the wooden Tadly shelves and depending on the show a tent, chairs, tables, an extra mini trunk display and a cooler.  Now let's take a closer look at everything.  First up, the duffle bag. 

the duffle bag.
This was purchased at an Army Surplus store by the turnpike that we stopped at last August.  I remember it being August because the display outside featured a bomb on a gurney with a sign that had back to school items listed next to it.  I think I may have that photo.  Hold on....

Ah, here you go.
Ok, so the duffle bag is specifically for Tadly and Abigail since they're pretty big and can be a tad unwieldy.  Last year at Renegade Chicago I was opening it up to restock and a little girl who was in the tent saw me reach into a 4 foot long bag filled to the brim with plush octopi and calico cats and her little mind was blown. 

Now it's time for the trunks.  The trunks have been with us for a few years and normally they are on either end of the table housing squid and signs.  Like so:


Below is how they look before we set them up.  Having our display trunks also double as our carriers has helped out immensely.  There is not as much stuff to pack in the car, carry to the show site, and to hide under the tables at the show.  I have gone through many items to use to hold and hide the extra squid.  Usually after every show season I'll head to stores to check out what types of storage products they have which may work better. One of the items I had for a bit were boxes that folded flat but they were bulky in the trunks and under the tables so I moved onto 6 recycling bags I found from Ikea.  They are narrow but tall, sturdy and waterproof (which is a HUGE plus when it rains hard enough that water pools on the ground).  They also have lids and handles.  Perfect. 

In the summer one trunk carries the squid and the other carries the Ikea bags along with all variety of mini squid. If it's an outdoor show aprons are gently folded and laid on top of the other products at the last minute.  In the fall/winter there is also a creche, mini  Halloween or Christmas squid sets and a few more bags of squid.  I then take an extra super old mini trunk to carry some extras.

These ziploc bags have been with me for about 4 years as you can probably tell.  They're renamed depending on which squids have been added or detracted. I'd love to have something else for these guys but I haven't found anything that works quite as well or is see-through.

The one thing with lugging these trunks is that the handles could dig into your skin so I made some detachable padding made from felt and ribbon.  This has made carrying these for long stretches of time pretty darn pleasant.

And now onto the most wonderful part of my setup.  The Bin.  The Bin holds everything that we could possibly need for a show.  Over the years we have added items based on things we can't live without or other items we used in a pinch and have now found to be great multi-taskers (like thumb tacks with flat heads). 
The Bin.

The bin is filled with all of the essentials.  Over the years this bin has evolved to hold everything we have needed the most through the years.  

Here's a handy list of what's inside: 
Tablecloths (2 types)
banner (2 types)
cash box (in here I keep a tablet, pen, calculator, and the square reader)
knuckle buster with credit card slips (in case wifi or 3G isn't available)
business cards
business card holder
candy jar (this used to hold candy or free pins but due to space limitations it now sits behind the scenes filled with pens, markers and other things we need to grab quickly throughout the show)
permanent marker
a file folder with all of my laminated signs plus extra cardstock  for impromptu signs
sketchbook or extra loose paper
receipts (for folks who purchase the squid a month show special)
cotton string
2 different sizes of twine
nylon rope
clothes pin
more pens
hooks for the trunks
all of my shopping bags (squid, tadly and bigger bags for larger purchases)
extra tags
lint roller
hole punch
extra squidtivity and mini squid set boxes in case some of them are crushed during the show
hand sanitizer or a mini bottle of hand soap (soap runs out pretty quickly at shows)
hand creme
3 types of tape (duct, packing and scotch)
safety pins
thumb tacks
oh and of course the trusty inventory list.

The list is usually at least 6 pages long and by the end of the show is covered in quick tallies of how much we spent on food and purchases along with Scott's doodles.  Everytime something sells it's crossed off, easy-peasy.

If we have downtime at a show (or most likely on the drive back) we usually spend some of it brainstorming new products or new ways to streamline the display. This is how in 2008 Scott came up with the brilliance that is the storage/display of the steamer trunks.  Driving through the night from Chicago to Pittsburgh is also how we came up with Tadly.
Since I've covered in greater detail than I thought I could about craft show prep I guess next week I'll show you the progression of how I got to the display items I have today.  This will feature photos all the way back from shows in 2007 with some really ugly tablecloths.  

Friday, April 08, 2011

Best Thing I've Seen All Week


This seems a fitting post since it's a lovely rainy day where I'm at.  There is a giant 360 degree panorama of the Philosophical  hall in the 18th century library of Strahov in Prague. I've spent a good amount of time zooming in on the spines of the books and ogling that awesome painting above. I want to live here.

And here's a nifty article on how they made it.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thursday's Accessory and Abigail Recommends

The planet Saturn. 

Also, stop on over to Tadly's Facebook page and check out Abigail's book review post.  It will happen every Wednesday and will be chocked full of historical fun (plus, cute pictures of the dearest calico).

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Plant it and destroy

This is the first time I've planted something so I'm still a little concerned that these things will just die* but hey, I can always try again.  I started out with grass and cat nip.  Mostly because I love my cat but mostly because my cat is a jerk and likes to knock over my pretty pretty flowers which then soaks the basket that holds my pretty pretty gps system and purse.  When he has grass though those flowers mean nothing to him.  He has no loyalty. 
I got the coffee pot from csmeyer49 on Etsy. I took the little glass knob off and the lid will just stay up since it's attached.  The other thing in the pot (can you tell I don't drink coffee?) I used for the actual planting which was nice since it has holes in the bottom for great drainage, hopefully it's deep enough but I should be OK since catnip is pretty easy to grow. 


 Here are some more shots to soak in the awesomeness of Pennsylvanian Dutch design.

* Hey, guess what?  A few hours after posting this I killed the catnip.  I was unloading the drying rack and dropped the cutting board directly on top of the rooster pot which tumbled to the ground spreading dirt and seeds under the stove.  Glad to see my killing streak has expanded into new territory.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Fate of Tadly Waldorfington

Hey folks,
In accordance with re-vamp week we thought it would be helpful if we fill you in on the happenings of Tadly*.   In order to hear that news I am going to send you to Scott's blog and as you will found out why in the post I also implore you to friend Tadly on Facebook to stay up on some super awesome treats. But first (or second) here's the post:


*In case you are unfamiliar, Scott (my animator husband) and I combined forces to create a new character last year.  This involves both a plush form and an animated series of adventures. I still suggest you read the linked post because it will fill you in on the story more and you'll get to see all of the stories and Pilgrim songs we have done so far.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Well I've spent almost 6 years on the livejournal but it was finally time for a change.  This new area will be similar to the old but I promise to keep up on it more in a very spiffy way. You can believe me because I've already typed repeating reminders into my phone.
Dude, I am serious.    
So hey, welcome and I hope you stick around.  If you do you'll get lots of this:


And this:


Oh, and of course you will get this, possibly more than you could want but I highly doubt you could ever get enough: