Best of Happy Handmade 2014 Part 6 – Inanimate objects

I have been posting pictures of my favorite custom orders and creations completed last year and here’s the final post – part six! If you missed my last five, be sure to go see the first (barn bag)second (dogs), third (Double Fine creations), fourth (animals), and fifth (characters) posts in the series.

Last year I made some fun and memorable inanimate objects. I forgot to take a picture of the s’more I made for the craft show, but I did capture this adorable toaster along with his happy toast buddy!15631936833_5745234b77_k

They also can morph into Christmas ornaments!toaster and toast



You can’t have toast in the morning without a cup of coffee. I made this mug for an amazing client who gave it as a gift to the owners of Hoboken Coffee. She even sent me a bag of Hoboken Coffee beans! <3


From coffee mugs to electric guitars…I’ve always got a new crocheting adventure! DSC_0065 DSC_0057-001DSC_0063

The year 2014 was a great one for custom orders. Thank you to all my customers for the fun challenges. It’s often the things I have the hardest time making that I appreciate the most. Thanks to photography, I can continue to treasure these creations, too!



Best of Happy Handmade 2014 Part 5 – Characters

I have been posting pictures of my favorite custom orders and creations completed last year and here’s part five! If you missed my last four, be sure to go see the first (barn bag)second (dogs), and third (Double Fine creations), fourth (animals) posts in the series.

I made a bunch of characters from video games, movies, and TV shows last year…plus a Viking that I desperately love.

This Makar (a character from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) is one of my favorites. I love its freeform stripes.Makar

This could be any old clownfish, except it does have a stumpy fin just like Nemo. Nemo

Kiki’s Delivery Service is one of my favorite Miyazaki movies and Jiji the cat is the best character! I love his purple ears!Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service

I was nervous about making a Wallykazaam, but once he was complete, I didn’t want to let him go! I just LOVE him and was really proud of how he turned out.DSC_0142Wallykazam

And here’s that handsome viking! His beard turned out so fluffy and strokable. I didn’t want to see him go, but I sent him off to Europe where he belongs. DSC_0162DSC_0199


Best of Happy Handmade 2014 Part 4 – Animals, of course!

I have been posting pictures of my favorite custom orders completed last year and here’s part four! If you missed my last three, be sure to go see the first (barn bag)second (dogs), and third (Double Fine creations) posts in the series.

As usual, I got to try my hand at many different types of animals last year, most that I’d never made before.

I’m really crazy about this giant grinning hippo!DSC_0082I love this squirrel’s tail and cute little ears.DSC_0023-001This chubby cow was my first time really experimenting with color changes to make a random looking shape, though the dragging udders are really the highlight on this buddy.DSC_0031-003Slothy had a baby!SlothsI really like my cat design slightly altered to become a tiger!DSC_0032Turtle can come in any colors you want!DSC_0014I have new green eyes in stock!DSC_0085I love that this snake can be tied in a knot….plus this is a cool picture of him!DSC_0107Finally, I’m really proud of this custom parrot portrait.Parrot

There were a couple others, but I’m saving them for future posts. What will be my next animal challenge? I’ve never made a…capybara! Or a polar bear! Or a zebra!

So many possibilities…


Best of 2014 Part 3 – Double Fine friends!

I have been posting pictures of my favorite custom orders completed last year and here’s part 3! If you missed my last two, be sure to go see the first (barn bag) and second (dogs) posts in the series.

My husband works for Double Fine Productions and, last year, I got to make this giant Two-Headed Baby (the company’s mascot!) Two-Headed Baby is definitely the largest and one of the most complicated amigurumi I’ve ever made. It was a fun challenge.Double FineTwo-Headed Baby

Last year, my husband got to work on a game prototype called Little Pink Best Buds (for Pendleton Ward’s Amnesia Fortnight game pitch) and I ended up making several of these Buds:DSC_0155DSC_0188-001Little Pink Best Buds

I also got to make this pair of zombies based on the two main characters from Dirt Nap, a web comic by Double Fine designer Gabe Cinquepalmi. The exposed chunk of brain is my favorite little detail… DSC_0056 DSC_0064



Best of 2014 – Part 2

Last week I posted the first in a series of posts sharing some of my favorite custom Happy Handmade orders completed in 2014.

It may have, technically, been the year of the horse last year, but it felt like the year of the dog to me. I made a bunch of custom dog portraits that included six different breeds…and a couple howling wolves.

DSC_0004DSC_0058DSC_0083DSC_0098amigurumi dogDSC_0104DSC_0109DSC_0129DSC_0033DSC_0068-002Howling Wolf

Is there a special dog in your life you’d like recreated in a squishy crochet version? Let me know! I’ll turn a picture of your dog into a custom crochet dog portrait!


Best of 2014

The holiday season has come and gone and I have a lot to show for it, but haven’t been able to show any of it here….until now.

So much has happened since my last post way back in mid-September! I worked my fingers off to take part in my second Holiday Patchwork Show in Oakland. I made more ornaments this year and that really paid off. I made many of my old favorites and a few new things that I never got a chance to photograph. I really enjoy this show and am going to try to start building inventory for it earlier in the year so I can do more on Etsy over the holidays. patchwork_show_2014 DSC_0006 DSC_0008

I might try to add a spring show, too, but I’m not going to promise myself.

Homeschooling my six-year-old,DSC_0017

running after my three-year-old,DSC_0077

having fun exploring and photographing the Bay area,DSC_0026DSC_0212DSC_0011

and continuing my current level of crocheting is keeping me plenty busy, though I do try to grow Happy Handmade a little more each year.

Before I figure out the concrete ways in which I plan to expand my little business, I thought I’d celebrate last year’s many fun and challenging custom order requests that I never shared. I just couldn’t keep up with posting, but I’m super proud of some of these. There were so many new creations, I’m going to post them in categories over the next couple weeks.

So here is one of the first (and one of my favorite) custom orders of last year and the beginning of my Best of Happy Handmade, 2014 recap:

1. These five cute barn animals fit right inside this barn bag! (I designed all the animals, but tried to recreate the barn bag for a client based on a picture of one she’d purchased in a store long ago).Barn animals DSC_0166 DSC_0185 DSC_0193

I just realized that Happy Handmade turns five years old in November of this year!  Thank you so much for all the support and encouragement over the past five years. 2014 was such a good year, I’m not sure if I can top it for the five year anniversary.

But I can try.

Happy 2015 from Happy Handmade!


Jhonen’s 6th Birthday: A Lego Party

Our lives are Lego crazy these days. I step on teensy Lego bits in the rug every day of my life. I move aside partially completed Lego sets to eat my breakfast at the dining room table. I get on my hands and knees to help my son locate the one missing Lego piece that just rolled…somewhere. Jhonen and his friends can spend hours with Lego and, after recently hanging out in a yurt with a Lego Masterbuilder at his good friend’s birthday, Jhonen couldn’t imagine having any other theme for his 6th birthday celebration.

Pinterest is overflowing with genius Lego party ideas. I used several of them and I have nothing really new to contribute to the bunch. Still, I thought I’d share our party plans here so I can remember Jhonen’s fantastically Lego-filled 6th-year-old birthday party details.

My birthday-party plans simplified after I purchased a small fold-up table. Now, I just pick a park, roll up with some food, a picnic blanket, and my table, and I have a party! Easy.Lego Birthday

This is my third folding-table-at-the-park-party and I really love them (Margot’s 2nd Woodland Themed Party and 3rd Day-In-the-Country Party). It helps that I never have to worry about bad weather here in the East Bay and that there are a billion beautiful parks from which to choose. This year we picked Codornices Park in Berkeley. It’s really beautiful and has a big stone slide that is super fun. I knew I wouldn’t need to have a bunch of activities planned if there was a playground with that slide.Codornices Slide

And with views like this, it’s a nice place for the grown-ups, too…Codornices Park

not that we don’t enjoy that crazy slide, ourselves!Codornices slide

I put a box of miscellaneous Lego pieces out on the blanket…Lego Party

and blank, create-your-own-minifigs drawings sheets I printed from here.Lego Party

The kids played, climbed trees, and went down the slide a million times.Codornices Park

Then we gathered up the kids and let them choose a surprise from a bag.Lego Party

Inside the bag were little Mixel sets.Lego Party

Mixels are really cute, affordable Lego monster sets that come in lots of different colors and can be combined to make new, custom monsters. It was so handy that these Mixel sets were the birthday party entertainment, the party favor, AND a gift for Jhonen.

Everyone worked hard constructing their Mixels.Lego Party

Then they took their Mixels down the slide…Codornices Slide

and we even (attempted) to make a Mixel movie.

They kept their Mixels (relatively) safe in these little favor boxes I made using a paper template I have. I glued some dots punched from the same colored paper on the front of the bags to make them Lego-like. See the orange one on the right:Lego Party

The cake reveal was fun. I found the idea for the mini-fig candle holders on Pinterest and HAD to do it, too.They turned out so cute! The mugs from the Lego christmas calendars we’ve gotten every year came in very handy. Birthday candles fit perfectly inside them. Plus, the decorations masked the bad frosting job on the cake. 😉Lego Party

I also saw a cute idea to make a cake platter made of sideways Lego and really love how it turned out.Lego PartyLego PartyLego PartyDSC_0162-001

After cake and some goodbyes, we casually perused his new presents (more Lego sets….which, of course, was exactly what he wanted).Lego Party

As I type this up, he is at the dining room table assembling, disassembling, then reassembling his Mixel sets. He has done it so many times that he has now combined all the Mixel pieces together to make the process more challenging.

Happy 6th birthday to my favorite little monster…Lego Party

and a big thank you to all his Lego-loving buddies for making his birthday so special!Lego Party



I haven’t posted since February and I promise I have reasons. Mostly I’ve been keeping busy with this:

New Amigurumi Creations

and THIS:Custom Order CollectionAnd that’s not even everything!

I have been working on this one fantastic, big order since the last week in January. I have crocheted over 70 items, 13 of which were completely new designs, and several more were adaptations of previous designs.

In the middle of all that crocheting, I took on a part-time, work-from-home job that I really enjoy. Recently, my mind has been whirling over whether or not to homeschool my children next year and how I would do it if we decide to go that route. Then there’s the daily fun of keeping my little lady growing and learning and not destroying herself or the house14131303668_5538e04c0c_bAnd all the end-of-the-year choir concerts, swim lessons, and school festivals with my kindergartener. Butterfly GardenIt goes without saying, the laundry hasn’t been put into its drawers as often and our dinners have been less than gourmet, of late.

I’m proud, though! It was such an amazing feeling to send this off this weekend:boxNow I have some catching up to do. If I want to do that holiday craft show again, I should get started right now. I would also love to get some inventory in the local shops. I’ve been feeling guilty about not keeping those shelves stocked.

This weekend was a good start. Since sending off that box, it has felt good to get some items back up in my Etsy shop, see some new orders come in, and get a blog post up again. I have so many new creations to present!

I don’t want to spoil too much about the contents of that big box with closeup photos quite yet…but, for now, here are some of my newest feline friends I made earlier this year!

Meet Pusheen the Cat:Pusheen the Cat

Meet Tiger: Tiger

Meet Jiji, the awesome cat from one of my favorite Ghibli movies, Kiki’s Delivery Service:Amigurumi Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service

I love making fat felines in all shapes and colors. If you’d like one of your own, send me a custom order request here.

I will definitely be posting throughout the summer with photos and journaling and updates. It’s good to be back!

Happy summertime, everybody!


Meet your new Little Pink Best Bud, Big Leg!

My husband, Ben, is working on a prototype of a video game called Little Pink Best Buds, a project headed up by none other than one of our favorite creators ever, Pendleton Ward (of Adventure Time).

As soon as I saw the design for the Best Buds, I knew they’d make a perfect little amigurumi buddy. Big Leg was my first attempt. I had to complete the design in a hurry because I wanted it to be finished before Amnesia Fortnight (the two weeks each team has to complete their prototype) was over. If I make more Best Buds, I know better now how to crochet the waist area and a bit more about how to fix the leg to body ratios. Still, it was a good first try.

I’ll update this post with more information about the game and Amnesia Fortnight very soon. Until then, Big Leg wants you to choose him….even though he IS embarrassed about his leg and how slow it makes him.

Little Pink Best Bud Big Leg DSC_0012


Clean slate: a house transformed, 2014 can officially begin


That pretty much summed up my December. I started January still reeling from the December mess that had still suffered from my November neglect and then added a house guest. For months, I was under the impression that we’d have to move out of our house in February, so I never fully fixed some of the organization problems in my house, thinking I’d just have to pack it all up anyway. Why bother actually moving in properly when we were just going to have to move out again?

Then I found out we wouldn’t have to move after all! Suddenly, I couldn’t bear another day in the house the way it was. I couldn’t crochet or write or play or even eat or sleep. All I could do was clean and organize and move furniture until this place was perfect. I needed the house to feel like a clean slate. I could barely have a conversation, I was so focused on the task of making this home a comfortable and productive place to be.

I started by flip-flopping the location of my piano – a very sadly neglected household dust-collecter that had become more a piece of furniture than an instrument, mostly because we feel it is too loud to play in our townhouse. I figured if we moved it into a small room with a door we can close and get it off our neighbor’s wall, we might actually play it.  It has worked! I moved the big shelf cubes into the piano’s old place and now our living room feels like a living room. The toys live there instead of the tiny understairs closet I couldn’t go into without hitting my head. My most-used craft items live there, too, so I make sure to put the things I use away, instead of let them sit on our dining room table.

Clean House

The office had a big, underutilized closet with annoying, large sliding  doors that squealed loudly when opened, so we just never opened them. I removed the closet doors and put them behind the piano to help as added sound-muffling material. Now I have a big open craft closet that stores my newly color-coded yarn drawers and streamlined shipping/packaging shelves.

Craft closetCraft Closet12107383656_48f01d194c_b

I learned that teal must really be my favorite color as I had somehow aquired enough teal yarn to justify its very own drawer.


I have never lived so happily in a space as I have this past week, since the house was transformed. I can enjoy the treasures I have – things that weren’t displayed since I had had no room to display them before -things like my handbound books and Ben’s colorful collection of Moleskine notebooks.

Handbound books

Things like my West Wing box set, the colorful giraffe my Mom bought me, and my favorite books (also color-coded of COURSE).

Display shelves

I can play with my kids and feel like the house might not be totally destroyed because their toys actually have a place to live. I have been continuously channelling my Gramma-who-isn’t-actually-my-grandma who once told me “the key to keeping the house picked up is for everything you own to have a place. If you give everything a place, it will always have a place to go.”

For example, I had no real place to crochet! I’d tried everything to solve the problem. Yarn baskets next to the couch always got overfilled and messy and hard to find things in…plus, on the couch, I had no surface on which to work. I tried a little lap desk that held my work well, but, when I wasn’t working, there was nowhere for the lap desk to go! I tried keeping a basket near the dining room table where I always found myself working because it was the most convenient and centrally-located spot in the house with a flat surface, but then I’d cover the dining room table in crocheting projects and we had nowhere to eat.

When I rearranged the house I realized there was a perfect spot for a long narrow desk to go behind the couch. Then I could sit at a flat surface and watch TV at night while I work while also being close to where the kids play with their toys and eat their snacks. While walking through IKEA the other day I saw THE desk, bought it without measuring and hoped for the best. It’s perfect.

12107372346_ba82556716_b craft desk

So now, when you order a crocheted buddy from me, it will probably have been made while sitting at that desk.

Besides keeping the house clean and organized, I also feel like I really need to squeeze in some time for some of the things I haven’t done in a long time, but have always loved doing…things like reading and making music. I am pleased to report I have actually gotten to page 44 (!) of the Walt Disney biography I’ve been wanting to read for years. You can see it sitting on my now clean nightstand along with some of my favorite things (gerber daisies, Kurt Halsey prints, and Burt’s Bees lotion) and my new  (teal, of course) comforter.

Some of my favorite things

My husband also bought the family a ukelele for Christmas and we all love it! I can’t seem to spend more than 30 seconds with the red little beauty, though, before a family member comes and steals it from me.


I even found the perfect spot for kite girl to fly. I really think, if the house were on fire, kite girl would be among the top five things I’d save.

Kite Girl

Now that she’s hung in her new and improved spot, 20 months since we moved to California, I think I’m feeling officially moved in, fired up for 2014, and ready to make you crocheted cuties like this black bear (Or you can make it yourself! I just posted the pattern on my Etsy site for purchase!)

Black bear amigurumi

Any other patterns you wish were available? Please let me know! I am going to try and create more this year and it’s hard to decide which ones to make first.

OK! Off to crochet a frog at my new, pretty desk. Creativity IS messy, but that doesn’t mean my whole house has to be.