Florida Fun Friday: Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

This short Florida Fun Friday post is just to say, Happy Memorial Day weekend! Hope you have fun with friends and family and….

enjoy the great outdoors…

climb a tree…

read a good book…

or just sit on a good book…

I will enjoy Memorial Day weekend at the Orlando Mini Maker Faire where I will celebrate people who like to make things and marvel at the things they like to make. You should go, too! Tomorrow! Central Florida Fairgrounds! 10am-7pm! Find more info here. I can’t wait to go…and maybe next year I’ll be a vendor! That would be cool!

Whatever you do this weekend, in Florida or otherwise, I hope it’s fun.

Happy Memorial Day!

Project Progress!

Last week I reported on a bunch of projects I wanted to work on around the house and I thought I’d write up a little progress report. I also have some exciting Happy Handmade news to share!

Project 1 – iPad cover makeover – COMPLETE



Laid out the fabric strips to see get an idea for the cover. All I needed was a pair of good fabric scissors,  a sponge brush and some Mod Podge (I decided to give it a try with plain old Mod Podge rather than the fabric-specific kind).


I toyed with lots of different ideas. I thought about something more layered and abstract. I thought about cutting out chevron strips and laying them across in stripes. In the end, I really liked how parts of the fabric print looked when cut out. If I did it again, I’d probably use some fabric or puff paint to add a painted element and might do a messier look. I’m happy with this, though! It’s much more fun to reach for my iPad now!

Project 2: Photo Wall – COMPLETE


This was what was previously over the piano. Then my husband had the idea to make a big, dynamic photo wall capturing our family’s many adventures.


He designed the wall using Photoshop, although we forgot to account for the fact that there would be horizontally oriented photos! Oops! So, although  he did use his Photoshopped diagram as a guideline, we couldn’t follow it as closely as we’d hoped. Looking at this now, I see how many changes we actually made while hanging. The Photoshopped photo did help us see how many frames we’d need and also gave us a general plan and shape.


Project 3: Landscaping – Still in Progress



It doesn’t look much different, but it took me a couple hours to get the terrible weeds and thorny vines out of here. I’m going to slowly add plants to this area, but the bird bath is clean standing upright and it’s at least a little better.

I planted both hibiscus, a bougainvillea, and some purslane.

I love the purslane. The flowers close up at night, and open with the sun.

I didn’t have a before picture of this, but I cleared out the corner of this little patio garden bed and put in a little herb garden! Right now there is lavender and rosemary, cilantro, basil, citrus mint, and some droopy yellow parsley.

Project 4: Potluck Pinterest Party – Planning In Progress

I mentioned that I wanted to have my first craft night, or Potluck Pinterest Party, and I think I’ll stick with the evening of June 9th for my first one. I started a Pinterest board with possible craft ideas. Check it out! Use the comments section below to vote and RSVP! I think I’ll also make up an invite on Facebook, so you can RSVP and vote that way once I get that going. I’ll do some better planning on this event this week.

In the meantime, I have exciting news! Starting June 1st, you’ll be able to find Happy Handmade creations at a new contemporary arts and crafts gallery in Mount Dora called Hart & Soul! The gallery is in a great location in The Renaissance Building right downtown. I will be visiting for the first time next week and the grand opening is on June 1st with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 8th at 10am! I will definitely be attending one or the other. I’ll share more about those events soon. Her website is up and, while many pages are still under construction, you can learn more about Brigette, the owner, and her new gallery here.

More project updates, details about the upcoming craft night, and info about the Hart & Soul opening and other Happy Handmade news will come soon! For now, I have a giraffe to sew and a Marine and SCV from the videogame, Starcraft, to design (and my debit card to find or replace. Anyone know where it went? Agh!)

Have a Happy rest of your week!



Florida Friday Fun: Get Cultured…For Free!

I haven’t written a Florida Friday Fun post in awhile. I was so busy getting ready for my first craft show, there was not any time for weekend Florida fun! This weekend there are two special free events I wanted to share. I’m going to try to get to both of them, but even if I can’t, you should!

1. Emotions Dance performs Excerpts at Fringe Theatre Festival
WHEN; Friday May 18, Saturday May 19, Friday May 25, Saturday May 25TIME: 8-9pm

WHERE: Green Lawn of Fabulousness that separates the Shakespeare and Orlando Rep theaters. FREE STAGE. (1001 E. Princeton St. Orlando).


For more information please visit www.emotionsdance.org

My friend and fellow Stetson alum, Larissa, founded Emotions Dance and I’ve enjoyed several of the productions I’ve seen. Go, go go see them and support Emotions Dance and the Orlando Fringe Festival!
2. Orlando Museum of Art offers free gallery admission for National Free Museum Day and the Storytellers of Central Florida Present Tales of Florida: Past and Present
WHEN: Sunday, May 20 at 2pm
WHERE: Orlando Museum of Art
The Orlando Museum of Art holds a special place in my heart as it was where I got my first “real” job, it’s where I met many very special people and colleagues, and where I was able to enjoy and introduce children to some incredible art over the years. It’s a precious place to me and, if you’ve never been, you should go this Sunday. Come early, though, as parking can be a challenge during Fringe Festival.

Happy Birthday from Happy Handmade

My favorite set of twins received special amigurumi gifts yesterday. In honor of them, and their birthday, I present to you Helga, from the TV show The Oblongs, and Mr. Saturn, from the videogames EarthBound and Mother 3.

Happy Birthday, Jack and Joy!

Project: Handmade Home

The craft show is over and now it’s time to regroup and recover a bit. I have custom orders and another show in June, plus a couple new shops that might carry my things. I’ve also got lots of other little craft projects I want to find time to complete that will make this house feel a little more personal and homey. There are some empty spaces at my house I really want to fill. I’m not good with blank spaces. Minimalism is definitely not my thing.

Project 1 – iPad cover

I love my iPad! I’m not in love with my plain white iPad cover, though. I found this roll of fabric scraps in yellow and gray that I really love and I think I want to try using some sort of Mod Podge to glue a cute fabric design onto the cover. I can picture it being cute in my mind, but that definitely doesn’t mean it will end up cute. I am a bit worried it will be a gluey, fabric-unravelling disaster. I’ll have to get my nerve up for this one. I see there is a fabric specific Mod Podge and I’m wondering if that’s necessary or if my plain old Mod Podge will work fine. I’ll have to do some research on that. Anyone know?

Project 2 – Flower beds

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have the gardening bug. However, there is a lot of work to do in the yard before I can actually plant new plants. I am amazed at Florida’s natural vegetation. It is strong and mean and resilient and tricky! I find myself fighting tough,  tangling, thorny vines with huge, unending roots. I’m fighting unwanted trees growing right in the middle of my azaleas and painful weeds with giant root beds that want to hurt me! I just know that we’ve been lucky thus far that it hasn’t been horribly hot, but that heat is coming at me fast and if I’m ever going to clear these beds I have to do it now or wait until the Fall. It looks really terrible right now. I keep reminding myself that it’s got to get worse before it can get better.

I was left with many garden gnomes, bird baths, and other treasures from the previous homeowner that I have to clean up and figure out what to do with. As you can see, I let inappropriate plants grow in inappropriate places while killing off the stuff that  belongs where it was planted. I’m paying the price for my neglect.

A work in progress! I know it could look amazing,  but I’m currently striving for it to look not-embarrassing.

My Mother’s Day project! Succulents! I have many memories of using my childhood aloe plant on my many terrible sunburns. I’m not sure if I put too many or too few succulents in this pot. I guess I’ll see!

Project 3 – fill empty walls

I just can’t stand an empty wall….especially an empty wall with ugly wood paneling behind it. I have tossed around the idea of pulling down the paneling, but keep talking myself out of it. I could paint over it? I think I might just cover it with a BIG canvas inspired by one of my favorite artists and bloggers, Alisa Burke, that is covered in a favorite poem or song lyric written with shoe polish. I also have a big wooden frame I bought on clearance that  I have been meaning to fill with a watercolor painting. We also have to finish our photo wall!

Project 4 – Kitchen Color

Our kitchen is very….beige. I have to perk it up. We lifted up the ceiling a bit by getting rid of the fluorescent lights and putting in some prettier silver and white lights. That has helped and brought some nicer light into the room. Now I think I want to make some sort of mixed media wall art for over the microwave. I also just got new white dishes that will make for some beautiful food photography before long. That also means that my dining room table is like a blank canvas and I should make some fun tablecloths or placemats! It occurred to me that I should break in my sewing machine with a tablecloth-making adventure. Couldn’t I just use one of my current tablecloths as a “pattern” for cutting and then hem the edges?

Project 5 – Host a craft night!

I’ve always wanted to entertain guests more often, but our house is divided into a lot of rooms with few big, open spaces. I’d love the house to be more inviting to guests and that’s what I want to work on this year so I can host some craft nights! I originally wanted to have craft night once a month, but I’m realizing that is too much. Bimonthly or seasonally might be more realistic. Maybe instead of Craft Night I should host Potluck Pinterest Parties where everyone brings a dish they have pinned and want to try and then we do a project found on Pinterest (or one made up and put on Pinterest instead)!

Like all of these projects, I should just set a date and do it! How does June 9th sound?

The most overwhelming project with the highest priority, currently, is my nine month old baby who doesn’t want to take 2-3 naps anymore, but does want to pull her cute little self up on furniture that I now need to make baby-proof…ASAP.

I will post updates on all these projects as well as Happy Handmade news very soon. I also have a very fun new amigurumi to share with you as soon as I get pictures uploaded. Until then, I will be working on a surprise ami for a friend’s birthday, as well as a flying pig, a Marine from the videogame, Starcraft, and a Black Mamba that I’ve been putting off making for a month because, I’m sorry, snakes are gross.

If you have any advice or ideas about any of these projects, please share! Favorite Florida plants? Best plant food to use? Good wall art ideas? Craft night RSVP or ideas on how to make craft night awesome?

Here’s hoping you have a happy week full of exciting, creative projects!




First Craft Show Recap

That was one for the bucket list. The hours and work put in are longer than I could probably ever be repaid, but sometimes you can’t put a price tag on a life experience, a goal reached, a compliment received, or a vision carried out. You can’t put a price tag on being a part of a cool community of creative and passionate people.

Thank you so much for everyone that came out. It’s so hard to make an event like this a success nowadays, and it means a lot that people still come out to admire and sometimes bring home a handmade treasure or two.

I learned a lot from this, my second event, but my first actual craft show. First, have frogs next time! Second, bring a second body, mostly for hauling stuff out of the car, but also to foster relationships and friendships with neighboring crafters. Third, unfortunately Ben was right (I hate that!). You can practice setting up until everything is perfect, but once you get there you’ll probably have to change everything. The set-up was a bit more hectic than I’d even anticipated (and I’m a worrywart). Fourth, people responded to my table exactly as I’d hoped they would, with a delighted smile. The best compliment I received all day was from a little girl who turned the corner, saw my table and started giggling a happy giggle. That was exactly the response I was going for. No words necessary.

I was afraid I wouldn’t sell a thing and I actually sold many things!  I was hopeful I would sell out…I didn’t. Giraffes, narwhals, and koalas were the favorites of the day.  In fact, I had two customers duke it out over the last narwhal. We were trying to concoct an actual brawl which we thought might gain my booth some publicity and also solve the narwhal dilemma, but in the end, a very nice guy gave up his narwhal to a fun New Jersey woman with narwhal-loving twins at home.

I gave out a lot of cards, talked about a lot of custom order possibilities, and got a lot of great feedback and a general happy feeling about all of it!  In some ways it’s great I didn’t sell out. Now I finally have a little inventory built up for future events and for a few stores in the area that might carry my things. I also desperately need to update my Etsy site. I can make so many different things that are not currently listed.

Speaking of other things…check out the adorable dresses and neckties my friend, Lisa, of Sweet Summer Baby made! We shared a booth and it was fun to see everyone going gaga over these adorable ties…I especially love the gray and yellow one! Find her things, and maybe my balloons soon(?), at Artistree Gifts, a beautiful store in College Park.

I even heard someone say my business had a great name. That was the best thing about this craft show. Making that booth made me feel like I had created a little brand for Happy Handmade. I felt like a kid playing house…my favorite thing to do as a kid.

I left Ben at the booth for a few minutes and, when I pictured him sitting behind that table I had to laugh…it was a funny picture. I went back to relieve him and he said he thought he was scaring off customers. 🙂 That’s when I realized that this little project of mine is really….me….and that felt good.



Turtle and Narwhal Want To Meet You

These two new Happy Handmade buddies really want to meet you. They were made especially for my first craft show tomorrow (Sunday, May 6th) at the Maitland Homebuilder’s Building right at the corner of 17-92 and Maitland Blvd. from 2-6pm. Check out http://homespunchicmarket.wordpress.com/ for more details and…

meet turtle! 

I love him. I don’t usually use patterns. I really prefer to design all my creatures, but I saw this turtle online and fell in love. I adapted the pattern a little and used smaller eyes because I prefer that look. Plus, it needed a smile! Here is the pattern I used. The pattern creator clearly states that she doesn’t care if I sell the finished product as long as I credit her with the pattern design, so I don’t feel bad about using a pattern in this case. I really don’t know that I could come up with anything cuter than this guy.

Also, meet narwhal!

I must make a couple bigger narwhals soon. Both turtle and narwhal-making could get out of hand. They are my new favorites.

I’m really excited and a little nervous about the show tomorrow, but feel pretty well prepared. I have never had a booth like this before, so last night I turned our entire living room area into my mock 8′ by 8′ booth space.  I now know our living room has almost exactly 8′ by 8′ of empty space. I blocked off access to half my house in the process and Ben watched the Celtics/Hawks game from the piano bench. My son (and sometimes I) had to navigate through the space by ducking under the tables and navigating a maze of table legs, which was actually fun for both of us.

(Note the picture wall in the background is in progress!)

Now I have a very long list of things to finish up. It’s amazing how much there is to think about: pricing and tagging items, nicely packing it all in my already very full car, making the tables look nice and somewhat professional, getting cash to make change, finding bags and tablecloths and tables and business cards, and on and on and on. Somehow I love it, though! How is this all so fun?

Wish me luck and, in the midst of all this chaos, I must certainly make time for one of my favorite things this world has to offer – a margarita. Maybe I’ll take this opportunity to use my ice cream maker the way it should be used…as a margarita freezer. Wish me double-luck! And Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Green (yarn) Thumb

A garden is like a fad diet to me. It seems like a healthy, productive thing to maintain at certain times in my life, but it’s often confusing and difficult to integrate into my life, leaves me rife with guilt when I’m too lazy to keep up with it, and, ultimately, I end up putting a lot of thought and time into something that fails and puts me right back where I was when I started….flabby with really ugly landscaping.

My mother has a notoriously black thumb. She has been known to kill silk flowers. Throughout my life, and most especially after I have tried to keep a plant alive and failed,  I have convinced myself that her thumb color is hereditary. That excuse has probably stopped me from having delved into gardening with the sort of conviction I need in order to succeed.

This Spring, however, was extra beautiful and the dry, breezy air may have either clouded or cleared my brain into thinking that I should actually fill the beautiful beds in my yard with something living. A trip to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival (extra gorgeous to me this year) sealed the deal. Look at this amazing rainbow garden and the stunning amaranth plants in front of the Epcot ball!

I started my garden experiment small: one herb (citrus mint), two vegetables (tomato and orange sweet pepper) and a couple hibiscus bushes because I figured they were tropical plants and may just be hardy enough to survive me and my inattention. I am trying to make gardening a family affair. The kids like being outside and can be helpful (but also often unhelpful).

I have big gardening ideas, but a real and unfortunate impatience for actually watering and feeding plants. I figure with a husband, two kids, and a dog, I have enough mouths to feed and water. Still, the house looks so dead and sad when I pull into my driveway every day. It’s really time to at least give a little thought to our eyesore of a lawn. I have devoted a little time, three days a week, to checking in on the plants I’ve adopted and will try and add one or two new ones each month. The Florida summers aren’t kind to plants, so no promises.

What I can promise is that I will NOT kill this adorable plant and one of my favorite new ami creations. If only actual plants were as easy to grow and maintain as this fella, I’d be in good shape.

I have been wanting to make a plant in a terra cotta pot forever and was sad to see that other people had already done it before me. I thought about using a preexisting pattern and never found one I loved. I’m glad I didn’t because I really like my own!

I have a really pretty front porch that I’d also really like to clean up and beautify. I started by putting some bird seed into the bird feeders left here by the previous tenant and was so happy to find cardinals partaking in their new vittles that same week. I made my first bird recently and it decided to sample the snacks, too.

My new happy daisy and silly pink bird will be just two of the over 40 items that will be on sale at the Homespun Chic Marketplace THIS SUNDAY at the Maitland Homebuilder’s Building (544 Mayo Avenue Maitland, Fl 32751) from 2-6pm. Please, please come and get your Mother’s Day gifts here rather than the mall. There are going to be so many awesome handmade items to see made by so many talented and creative hands. I can’t wait to be part of it.

There weren’t many April Showers, but I’m hoping there WILL be some May flowers in my yard. If I can’t make them grow in my yard, I now know I can make them grow in my living room with a little yarn and a little love. Happy May, everybody!