Coraline Mystery Box

March 26, 2009

It’s Monday, February 16th 1:56 PM Oregon time and I am at my laptop.  I’ve got the timer on the oven set to beep in 3 minutes just in case I am not paying attention.   I’m already in my email and have one drafted with what I imagine will be the required information, name, address, blog address.   I’ve got that nervous feeling that I get when I am bidding the last couple of seconds for something on eBay.  Refresh, refresh, nothing yet. I am waiting for this.
It’s the countdown to the post that will contain the email address to participate in the swap. There is a max of 50 people (apparently in the end only 44 signed up) and the other 80 commenters all said they would be waiting to sign up so I thought I should too.

1:59 PM – baby whining “One second, honey.  Mommy will be right there.”
2:00 PM – there’s the signup post, right on time.
2:00 PM – read, read, cut, copy
2:01 PM – send

Yes, I am weird but if you have read anything on this blog you have probably figured that out already.  Oh, and it get’s worse.  I had already started building my box before the timelines and partner assignments were even posted.

So, here’s my prize for being a keener: from Christine

And here is what I sent to King Carmen:

inside box with mini letter and banner

mini button box

mini Coraline Star Sweater

mini needle felted squid

And here are all the boxes in the swap.  What amazing fun.  Great treasures!

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of the talent and creativity out there.  All the time and effort put into every piece of art is priceless.  Except, sometimes it’s really pricey!  My trolling through etsy brings me to countless treasures that I covet. Problem is, I can’t afford many of the handmade items I find.  But, I can certainly snag the materials from local craft fabric store and make it myself.   I respect copyrights and have never copied a pattern.  To be honest, I don’t know much about patterns.  You see, I am what you would call a novice crafter. I’m pretty much wingin’ it here.   Nope, you won’t be reading about new additions to my online shop.   I probably won’t be having one.  Won’t see you at the next cool modern craft fair.  I can’t put something like that together.  I craft for myself personally and it is strictly experimental.  They should have a group for people like me, to keep us from getting in too deep.  I hear this stuff is highly addictive.

But has anyone ever been contacted over a copyright?  Do you check out similar items to yours for sale on etsy to check out the competition?  For example, search etsy for, the new favorite on my wish list, the log shaped pillow:

They are all different, but all in all, it’s just a pillow shaped like a log.

That’s pretty much why I don’t have my own shop.   It is unreasonable for me to think that someone else wouldn’t be able to recreate (or make better, for that matter) something that I could put together or paint with my own hands.  How would I know if you made something that I made for your home or child that brought a smile to their face.   I don’t know you, don’t know you exist, wouldn’t know your recreated craft existed.   I love it when I see people’s blogs or flickr sites and they adamantly state “My work is copyrighted, do not recreate in any form, blah, blah, blah!” when actually their stuff loosely resembles something I’ve seen on kidrobot or deviantArt, etc.   I’ve got some things I’ve made and my 9 year old nephew in Canada tells me it looks just like ….. Well, I don’t play video games or watch Cartoon Network. So, guess I can’t post pictures of those.

I understand that selling art is often one’s financial lifeline, especially in these times. Any public library contains patterns and instructions for basic sewing and crafts.   Most items are not difficult to recreate without instructions.   I’m not talking about knitting or crocheting, cause I am an extremely amateur knitter, and that stuff is hard.  But seriously though, someone needs to buy a pattern of how to make a pizza out of felt?  That’s like needing to buy a pattern to make an actual pizza.  Does giving your plush creation a name and mythical background  history make it sell more?  Am I the only one that can’t believe how much someone is trying to charge for a felt cut out?  Felt is only 20¢.   There are so many sites that offer free tutorials:

Lit’l Brown Bird’s Ideas
The Long Thread
One Pretty Thing

I’m sure I will get a lot of flack for writing about all this.  I love handmade.  But when does it become a rip-off?   Listen, I just learned how to sew and if I can tell how you made something just by looking at it, I’m not buying your pattern that you will email to me for $10.  But if your craft business pays the mortgage, groceries, kid’s schooling and health insurance, then please call me.

My inspiration comes from the following story:

When I was in high school, my best friend’s older brother was in college and his girlfriend met Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam.  I know, I know, but true story, really. He was at a coffee house in Chicago while on tour and they met and talked about politics.   She said the girlfriend said Vedder was all about sharing.   He said that if you liked their music, don’t buy the albums.   Make a tape from someone who already had the music or get songs from the radio.  I doubt he would say that now, what with all the lawsuits and everything.  And for the record, growing up, when my house finally upgraded to a stereo system with a CD player, the first compact disc I ever purchased just happened to be Ten.

So, most of the time we create something that brings happiness and makes the world a better more beautiful place. That’s what it’s all about.  It doesn’t have to be perfect to bring joy. You can’t put a price on that.

Anyway, part of the whole DIY movement is the actual encouragement of doing it yourself. Moving on to: daaa, da da, daaaaa!


My first one.  Here it is.  One person gets all things.  3 items below based on things that other people craft and sell all the time.

The rules are simple:

Just leave me one comment with your thoughts.  No need for cordiality, urban craft is a freezone.  I swear (to God) here and so can you.  Make sure I get some kind of contact for you, cause I will contact you if you are the winner.  I won’t make you come back and check to see if you have won.

You DO NOT need to have a blog or linkback to this blog or anything.  If you do have a blog, let me know.  I’d love to check it out.

I’m going to leave this giveaway open for some time.  I know I hate it when I just find someone’s blog and have missed their giveaway by like a day.  Let’s say the last day for comments will be Sunday, April 19th.  That gives you enough time to finish up on your projects, finish that swap you got going.  And file those taxes.  Oh, make sure you put those etsy sales as earned income. On the next day, depending on the number of commenters, I will either pull numbers from a bowl or randomizer it.

Otherwise, if you can make this:

mini felt ninja


Mini red felt ninja plushie for your kimono clad Blythe or Pulip with real button eyes. (I don’t have one of those dolls, BTW.  I have a hard enough time finding clothes for myself, my son, and my husband let alone try to pimp out an inanimate object. But just as soon as I get a daughter, she’ll have one with a whole handmade estate.)

or this:

Urban Craft keychain

Felt cityscape keychain crafted in the style of my blog header.  Don’t worry, I’m sure the valet at the new hip restaurant you go to won’t want to steal it.

or this?
needle felted sushi

Set of felt sushi, mmmm.  Get those little ones started early on loving their omegas.  

Well, if you can, then you’ll save yourself around $32 plus shipping for similar items. Good Luck and thanks!

Bargain crafting

March 4, 2009

A couple that lives on the block across from us that we met through a friend is going to have a baby.  They are pretty cool and we met them ages ago but we have never been able to get together even though they only live on the next block. That’s sad on my part.  But, it’s weird sometimes.  What is with this great divide of people who have kids and people who don’t? When I was growing up (and by growing up, I mean my early twenties) my best friend had a son before I met her and then proceeded to have 2 more kids.  But now that I have a child, it’s like I am only allowed to make friends with other moms.  Which is lame because it’s always “Who’s the better mommy?” game.  Plus, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I am a perfectionist and who wants that for a friend?  Now that they are expecting, I don’t want it to seem like we are now so suddenly so much more interested in them as friends.  Cause I thought they were cool before.  They’ve done a lot of traveling, lived in multiple states and somehow ended up exactly we are.  Perhaps now there will be more wandering down the street.  But anyway, back to craft.  We are having them over and I needed to whip up a baby gift fast.

polar bear


This is more decorative as it’s rickety stitching probably won’t hold up to an infant. Courtesy of my new best friend, Miyako Kanamori.  Oh, public library.  You have saved me once again. Next one I think will be bloody clawed people eating polar bear.  Last pair of white gloves in the store provided by Dollar Tree.  And I picked up some of those multicolored fleece scarfs for future use.  Uh oh, I’m stocking up on supplies for stuff that I haven’t even thought up yet. Well, it’s all downhill from here.