Where’d December go?

I have started and restarted a post on the Patchwork Craft Show I participated in right before Thanksgiving three times now. I haven’t posted in a month. There are so many new creations to show you that I couldn’t post before Christmas…I couldn’t risk any holiday gift spoilers. December was a blur of constant crocheting and dealing with various family illness with one amazing Disneyland interlude.  How do I possibly catch up? How do I regroup and prepare for 2014 when it feels like I’m still stuck back in November?

So, quickly, I’ll just rehash and make some sense out of the chaos that was this holiday season. First off, Patchwork Show was a huge success for Happy Handmade! Happy Handmade at Patchwork Show

I never posted the pictures or thanked all the people who were so helpful to and supportive of me during the last two months preparing for this, my first California craft show and the largest event in which I’ve ever participated. The show was run so smoothly, the crowd was fantastic, and the feedback was inspiring. I can’t wait for next year!  Here was my table setup and new holiday card sets!

Happy Handmade at Patchwork Show

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Happy Handmade at Patchwork ShowNext year I’m going to start preparing for the show earlier in the year – try to accumulate a few things each month that I can set aside for the show – because I really hated shutting down my shop during the busiest time of the year and I also over-extended a bit on post-show holiday orders…though I’m happy to show you some of these new custom holiday creations:DSC_0017 Hot Air Balloon Amigurumi

Totoro AmigurumiTotoro AmigurumiMurloc from World of Warcraft Amigurumi Deadmau5 KeychainNemo Amigurumi Nemo AmigurumiDSC_0024-001Moose OrnamentSweet Pea Pod AmigurumiDSC_0041 DSC_0034

Add to that a few custom cats, a horse, and a narwhal or two, shipping and packaging them all, a bout of strep that tore through my entire family, the whirlwind getaway to Disneyland, a Christmas chorus concert and parade, a trip to cut down our own tree that resulted in a chipped windshield, and a stomach flu that still hasn’t left our home completely and I’m a little dazed realizing just how very close we are to 2014.

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A few new orders and a pile of new yarn from my Mom for Christmas has invigorated me and I’m beginning to look forward to a new year. I hope to make more of my amigurumi patterns available, work on my website, experiment further with greeting card sales, offer more Happy Handmade creations in more stores throughout the Bay Area, explore pattern publishing opportunities, and consider teaching amigurumi design classes.

Thank you, everybody. I’m beginning to feel all caught up.

Happy Holidays from Happy Handmade! Let’s make life unbelievadorable in 2014. <3!

 

One more week!

I have one week until my California craft show debut at Patchwork Show Oakland in Jack London Square from 11am-5pm! All weekend I’ve been playing around with my table set-up and crafting some cute signage and tags to make my little booth stand out among the other 139 booths that will be there that day.

I haven’t posted in what has felt like forever. I’ve been steadily working my way through my long “to-crochet list,” a list that only seems to grow instead of shrink, a list that is difficult to prioritize as everyone likes something and I could crochet and put a Happy Handmade smile on just about anything! I’ve made a lot of new things and made some old favorites in different colors. We took a trip to a park today to photograph them before I (hopefully) sell them!

Here’s a small sampling of what you could see next Sunday afternoon:DSC_0210 DSC_0193  DSC_0178 DSC_0159 DSC_0149 DSC_0135 DSC_0100 DSC_0097

I’ll try to post another batch midway through the week! There are so many more!

Meet Fat Applejack!

Between now and the Patchwork Show on November 24th (I just received my official acceptance letter this week!)  I’ll be periodically introducing you to an amigurumi buddy you haven’t met yet. The first one is fat Applejack, the third in a series of chubby My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters. I really love these chibi ponies!Applejack MLP DSC_0066 DSC_0069 DSC_0092 DSC_0101

 

 

Meet Rhino and Hedgehog!

Rhino and Hedgehog are an unconventional couple and their recent love affair came as a surprise to both their parents. While on vacation in Apapulco, the two met gazes and have been inseparable ever since.

Hedgehog and Rhino Amigurumi

Sure, rhino has a rough and tough outer skin, but to hedgehog, he is always soft and squishy.

rhino amigurumi

Hedgehog can come across as prickly and cold, but she is always sweet and kind to rhino.

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They know their pairing is unusual but, for them, it just works!

Rhino and hedghog amigurumi

A note about this project: Hedgehog and rhino were made for a couple getting married in November. The hedghog was adapted from a pattern I found here by “Drunken Aunt Wendy.” I made her smaller, improvised a bit and added legs, but the bow, the loop stitch idea, and the face are taken directly from the pattern. Rhino was an original design. I had the hardest time with that muzzle, but when he was all put together I was pretty pleased with him. I didn’t intend to give rhino a bowler hat, but he asked for one.

As for Happy Handmade, I have a lot of news! First, you can now find Happy Handmade at one of my very favorite stores in Oakland, Marion and Rose’s Workshop on 9th Street! This store is beautiful and really represents some of the best locally handmade items in the area. I am so thrilled to have my work sitting in such a lovely store among so many other fabulous handmade items!

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Second, I have registered for my first Oakland craft show! Mark your calendars! November 24th, you will find Happy Handmade Christmas ornaments, cards and other crocheted buddies galore at the Patchwork Festival in Jack London Square! I can’t wait! But I’m also panicking, sooo…

I’ve temporarily put my Etsy shop on vacation to give myself a little prep time for this craft show. I hate to do it. I rarely ever put my shop on vacation, but I’ve set my mind to doing this craft show and I want to do it right. If you have any custom order questions between now and November 24th, please email me or comment here on my blog and I’ll get right back to you!

Fourth, there will be lots of new buddies to meet in the next couple months as I prepare for this craft show and, whatever leftover inventory I create will be available just in time for the holidays! It will be so fun to see piles and piles of smiling faces on cute little crocheted bodies.

Fifth, basketball season is about to start. Get hyped!

Finally, it’s feeling like Fall here in Oakland. The air is crisp and we need sweaters and closed-toed shoes again. We’ve picked out our pumpkin and costumes and I’m going to try and post a tutorial, soon, for a treat-or-treat bag idea I have. We’re making sure to eat pumpkin and cinnamon-laden things and enjoy the Fall season.

With that, I wish you all a happy, busy, pumpkiny Autumn-time from here at Happy Handmade HQ!

Joan's Pumpkin Patch

 

Birth Day

Today, long-awaited little Meredith was born, the third child to friends of ours back in Florida. Tomorrow is my birthday. And my latest crochet project will go to a family in celebration of the arrival of their little baby girl, due soon.

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I used to think of my birthday in a very self-centered way. October 2nd is my day, a day to get lots of attention, to be pampered and celebrated.

After having children, though, my thoughts go to my mother on my birthday. Each time my children’s birthdays roll around, I feel so proud and full of joy, remembering and reliving the days of their births and secretly celebrating the day that I became a mother.

Tomorrow, on my birthday, I will be thinking of my mother and the very significant role she played on October 2nd, 33 years ago. I will be thanking her for her courage and her love, for her sacrifices and her selflessness so that I could come into the world and be the person I am today. My birthday is not my day. It is our day.

Congratulations to Jacquie and Meredith who celebrate a birth day today. I hope the recipient of this lovable pair have a beautiful birth day, too. It is an honor to know that these faces will be there to welcome a brand new baby into the world.

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A note on this project: The design for the Mommy elephant came about from a pattern found here. I made a few small changes, but otherwise I used the pattern almost exactly. This is one of the largest things I’ve ever crocheted and the first thing I’ve ever made almost entirely in double crochet. I knew I needed to make a baby version and tried to make a small version of the same exact pattern, but just didn’t like my results. My husband said, “What are you doing? Just make it up! You make up patterns using tiny, terrible pencil sketches all the time. This should be easy.” So I did. And he was right. In fact, I really like how the baby turned out better than the mother and I plan to make more baby elephants like this in the future because I like this elephant better than any I’ve ever made. It’s fun to note that the baby has many of the same features as the mother, but is her own little special, unique self.

Jhonen’s 5th Birthday: Volcano Party!

Months ago, Jhonen saw a Target commercial that featured kids in a classroom erupting a model volcano and he said, “I want a volcano birthday this year!”

Day after long day, week after long week passed, and this poor kid thought his birthday and his long-awaited volcano party would never arrive. As the weeks went by, the volcano party evolved into more of an all-around natural disaster theme. Tornados, avalanches, hurricanes and other destructive forces fascinated my own little destructive force of nature.

Birthday boy

I tried to take the party in more of a weather themed direction by adding a make-a-rainbow activity and a sunshine pinata, but he wanted none of it. He made it clear that only something that “could destroy a town” was allowed. A highly insensitive party theme, considering we’re just coming off Hurricane Sandy, the California wildfires, and now these Colorado floods, but…the kid made himself very clear and I love a theme, so natural disaster party it would have to be.

The party could have been held anywhere, but I needed a place without too many distractions, i.e. no playgrounds, because I was afraid my little homemade activity centers wouldn’t hold these 3-6-year old’s attention. I opted to have the party in the community room at our housing complex.

Community Room

This party went through many iterations in my head. I thought up and nixed a dozen different ideas before settling on a few that seemed like they’d work the best. Here are the highlights:

Entryway

I knew guests would not all arrive at once, so I kept the opening activities unstructured. I set out a few natural disaster-related activites, demonstrated how they were supposed to work, and then let the kids have at it. We had an earthquake table with two activities on it. First, we set out a pan of Jell-O that had plastic wrap over the top and then provided a box of sugar cubes. The kids were then meant to build sugar cube buildings on the Jell-O and then lightly knock on the pan to see if their building could withstand the “quake.”

earthquake activities

The second activity demonstrated how tectonic plates rubbing together can make the ground shake. Place two long, narrow cardboard strips next to each other slightly hanging over the side of a table. Then put a piece of green or brown felt (the ground) on top of the strips and some little plastic toy animals on top of the felt. Then, grab the overhanging ends of your cardboard tectonic, make them rub forward and backward against each other in alternating directions and watch as your little animals all fall over!

We made a tornado in two, two-liter bottles using a tornado tube connector widely available for purchase online. It was a little tricky for the little ones to do on their own, but easy for the adults and the effect was really cool. The kids LOVED watching the water tornados!

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Finally, we had an avalanche/blizzard table where kids could pile marshmallows up into a mountain, push the mountain over and watch the marshmallow avalanche crush the unsuspecting Lego knights down below. Some kids preferred to just rain the marshmallows down on those knight’s little yellow Lego heads for a more blizzard-like effect.

DSC_0030 Marshmallow avalanche!

We played with the disaster centers for awhile and ate the loosely-themed food options. Some nacho cheese Bugles and turkey and cheese spiral sandwiches made great tornadoes, but trail-mix rubble and the gigantic avalanche of Pirates Booty worked ok, too.

Natural Disaster Party

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The adults had some Hurricane cocktails to calm the nerves in case the atmosphere in the room got a little too dangerous.

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After our snacks, it was time to bring out the volcanos! I knew getting eight volcanos made and successfully erupted without ruining anyone’s clothes or the carpeting in the community room might take a great many practice runs on my part. To save anyone else the trouble of much trial and error and many web searches/Pinterest scouring, I will share the entire process in detail for anyone that may want to replicate this volcano action for your own party. There are MANY ways to accomplish the same end here, but this is how we did it:

1. My husband scavenged these cute, squatty 8 ounce water bottles from a good friend’s birthday party earlier in the month. I later discovered the same bottles can be purchased in bulk at Costco. I had never seen that shape bottle before…already shaped a bit like a volcano! Make sure to save the caps.

Homemade Volcano

I prefilled the bottles with this mixture:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • a squirt of dish soap
  • 2-3 drops of red food coloring

At the party, I handed out a bottle, lid ON, to each child with a heavy-duty, extra-large paper plate, along with a Ziplock baggie of salt dough that I’d made ahead of time. I thought about having the kids mix their own salt dough, but opted against it because of their age and timing concerns.

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The salt dough recipe I went with was from here. Just mix the following ingredients in a big bowl, turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead it until it’s smooth and nicely pliable. The first time I made it, I followed the directions and waited to add the food coloring until after the other ingredients were mixed. I didn’t love it that way, so I tried to mix the coloring in with all the other ingredients and I didn’t love that either. Just keep mixing and it eventually works.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • food coloring (I used green and red and mixed it in along with the rest of the ingredients, though it took a long time to get the color to stop being streaky. There’s probably a better way, but it worked in the end.)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

After making one batch as directed, I determined that I could make two good-sized volcanos out of each batch. The day before the party, Jhonen and I whipped up five batches of this stuff all at once, which was fine until it was time to mix it all together! An hour later my husband and I had very achy hands and a TON of mildly gray salt dough. I divided it up into ten equal balls and put each ball into the individual sandwich baggie that was handed to each child at the table. Homemade Volcano

I instructed the kids to cover their bottle with the salt dough, but there were two important rules: leave the cap ON and do not cover the cap with ANY dough. They covered the bottles just fine and maybe a little faster than I’d expected. The dough really molded nicely to the bottles and wasn’t sticky enough to even require immediate hand-washing afterwards.

I had the birthday boy remove the cap from his bottle and watch carefully as I poured vinegar into his bottle from a bigger water bottle I’d pre-filled with plain white vinegar earlier that day. (You need about a half a cup of vinegar per volcano). I thought about giving out small cups of vinegar for the kids to pour into their own bottles, but figured that might lead to trouble, so I did the pouring).

Homemade Volcano

It was interesting to see that every volcano erupted a little bit differently! I wonder if that had to do with slight variations in the amount of vinegar I added to each volcano or if some kids shook their bottles around more than others. I also noticed that it was necessary to remove each child’s erupted volcano right after the eruption so as to avoid any “lava” from going everywhere. Anyway, it was really fun to watch each of the volcanos erupt and not one volcano’s lava went over the sides of any of the plates. Success!

Homemade Volcano

I was worried about erupting the volcanos over salt dough that hadn’t hardened, but that was not a problem at all. I even noticed, after previous experiments, that the salt dough volcano will still dry over the course of about 24-48 hours, even after eruption. The bottles can be washed out and the volcanos reused!

Homemade Volcano

After the volcanos, the kids went outside to my husband who, looking out for his nervous wife, made sure that there were water balloons to play with just in case the natural disaster activities I’d had planned turned out to be disasterous. He figured, as long as there were water balloons at the party, the kids would be sure to have fun.

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Caught in a storm? Nope! He just spent a half hour filling a ton of water balloons!Water balloons!

He divided the kids into two teams of four: Team Ice and Team Fire. Then the two teams threw blue and red balloons, respectively, into their correspondingly marked buckets.

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The battle raged on for about ten minutes and, of course, ended in a tie.

Water balloons

While the kids tossed water balloons, I raced to get the chocolate lava cakes I’d made reheated and my red and orange chocolate candy pieces melted. I made lava cakes in those extra-tall muffin tins from IKEA ($10) so they were volcano shaped.

Volcano cakes

I planned to have the kids drip oozy orange and red chocolate “lava” over the top of their plain chocolate cakes. I thought about using the icing tubes (what I should have done), but wanted all the kids to work on it at the same time and, when I saw that each tiny tube was more than $2 apiece, I decided to just get the bags of chocolate pieces, melt them and let the kids scoop up the chocolate in spoons and drizzle the hot lava over the top.

Voclano cakes

After reading the back of the candy piece bag, though, it said you could put the chocolate into Wilton plastic disposable frosting bags (I already had a bunch of those at home!), melt them in the microwave, cut the tip and go to town! Perfect! Except…I got a little greedy and wanted to speed things along. I microwaved the frosting bags full of chocolate all at once and the plastic bags melted to each other, the chocolate came out scorching hot and barely squeezable. I salvaged the bags I could and it still came out ok…not as I’d imagined, but a fun activity and the kids didn’t really care or notice.Voclano cakesVoclano cakes

I was still glad that I had a big, delicious earthquake cake for the adults (especially after I tasted the lava cakes which just…didn’t tast that great). I definitely endorse this earthquake cake recipe, though! Yum! Here is the Earthquake Cake before it was baked.

Earthquake cake

And here’s a slice!

Earthquake Cake

The kids couldn’t resist opening presents and then playing with them while the adults dealt with the natural disaster party’s aftermath.

Natural Disaster Party

At one point the kids even spontaneously broke into whirling human tornados!

Natural Disaster Party

On their way out, party attendees were congratulated on surviving the party and given a Disaster Survival Kit to make sure they are prepared in case of future disasters.

Natural Disaster Party

The kits were packed with a compass, an energy bar, an organic lollipop (kid’s equivalent to a sugar pill!), a bar of Ivory soap (that doubled as a fun at-home science experiment to make pretend snow…instructions taped to the side), and the best party favors I’ve ever purchased…finger flashlights in four different colors! We have been playing with them every day since the party.

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The party, full of recipes I had never tried before, dependent on kids eager to participate and parents willing to help, felt like it could be a disaster waiting to happen. Luckily for us all, the only disasters at this party were the pre-planned, natural variety. I never got to finish the giant volcano and tornado decorations I had planned or make lava rock candy, but there’s never the time or energy to complete every single idea and what we attempted worked out well. The kids all seemed to have fun, the volcanos all erupted to the sounds of gleeful shrieks, and the community room weathered the storm.

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In the end, the only real trouble we had at all was a loud, disruptive party crasher…

our dog.

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Thank you to everyone who helped make this party a total BLAST, especially Ben who, again and again, puts up with my crazy birthday party plans and Mike who took almost all of these fantastic photos which I never would have been able to take while managing the chaos.

 

Animals…accessorized!

My son just started Kindergarten and there is nothing cuter than his class all lined up, gigantic backpacks sagging from each set of small shoulders. Lately, my two-year-old daughter can’t go out of the house without some special possession – a book, a blanket, a purse, or a doll. Much like my children, I have noticed that giving my animals accessories automatically ups their cute factor.

A sloth is already cute, but give him an ice cream cone or a freshly picked daisy and he suddenly has a personality!

Sloth with ice cream cone DSC_0006-001 DSC_0003 Amigurumi sloth with daisy

A frog is fun, but with a crown and cape, he is instantly transformed into an animal with a story to tell!

DSC_0052 Amigurumi Frog PrinceAmigurumi Frog Prince

Whether worn on the neck or tucked in front of an ear, any creature looks more fashion-forward and adorable with a custom crocheted bow.

Amigurumi Giraffe with  bow tie  Orange tabby cat with yellow bow

Do you have any animal/accessory pairing I should consider crocheting next? Let me know!

Also, I know my last post promised woodland creatures but…all the above happened instead. I started a hedgehog and have designed a cute owl on paper. I promise they’re coming as soon as I finish up some recent orders.

All I know is…my hedgehog is going to require a bow.

Margot’s Woodland-Themed 2nd Birthday Party

Birthday season has hit! For the next three-four months, I will be in a constant state of distraction. Once I have a birthday theme in my head, I have a really hard time thinking about anything else. I find myself wanting to crochet some woodland creatures this week, so I thought I’d write up a little recap of Margot’s recent woodland-themed 2nd birthday party.

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Like most toddlers, my daughter loves animals. She also loves big slides…the bigger and steeper the better. She is a very brave little two-year-old. That’s why I chose to have her party at Coyote Point Park in San Mateo, the home of a really cute mini-zoo that houses mostly native woodland animals as well as a cool hands-on science center, extensive picnic spots, and a truly awesome playground that features a two (maybe three?) story metal tube slide. Perfect.

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I decided to have a morning party, mostly to honor toddler nap times. I was nervous about a morning party, due to my typical pre-party hysteria, but I did a little extra organizing  to prepare for a possible morning Mommy meltdown, and all went well. Instead, I had the meltdown late the night before when my handmade frittatas came out of the oven looking like ugly, rubbery, flying saucers. I ditched them and my husband ordered Panera catering which we picked up on the way to the park the next morning.

He loves me….and has come to expect this sort of foodtastrophe. There’s one for every party. I always have high hopes for my baking/cooking skills, but realize a little more every year that I should just stick to the birthday crafting and delegate food prep to others who may be a bit more capable…and focused.

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Luckily, the “cake,” which is usually the source of my agony, turned out really well! A few months back, Margot got her first taste of sticky buns at a Walt Disney World character breakfast and, I swear, I’ve never seen her more full of glee than while eating those things. She thought Tigger was terrible, but those sticky buns were amaaaazing. When I decided on having a picnic brunch at the park, I knew I had to make her sticky buns. That’s when I found recipes for these sticky bun cakes (otherwise known as monkey bread/rolls) all over Pinterest that use frozen yeast rolls, butterscotch pudding mix, butter and pecans that you let rise, bake for awhile and then flip upside down for the magical, gooey, gorgeous reveal. Margot’s sticky bun birthday “cake” turned out great, and looked cute, too, thanks to these free Woodland-themed printables I found and adapted for my purposes.

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I also used the free woodland animal themed ears that I attached pretty colored ribbon to for the kids (and grown-ups!) to wear at the party.

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I set out picnic blankets, a basket of books with woodland themes, and a couple stuffed woodland animals and it looked super cute.

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My husband and I had debated for a while about whether or not the sticky bun cake counted as a cake. He felt that a traditional cake or, at the least, cupcakes had to be present in order for a birthday party to feel like a birthday party. I felt like no one wanted toddlers to have cupcakes for breakfast and anything can feel like a cake if it has candles. We compromised. I made zucchini-carrot muffins with cream cheese frosting. Then I found this adorable idea for owl cupcakes here that I copied on the big muffins.

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I turned the mini-muffins into little flowers with loopy petals and candied sunflower seed centers. A box of bagels, a few quartered egg soufflees, and a big box of coffee from the on-the-fly Panera trip, and the brunch turned out to be really yummy and not super stressful.

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The kids played on the giant playground while the adults supervised and snacked.

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Then we sang to Margot (which, surprisingly, made her really uncomfortable), I blew out her candles for her, and we packed up for the trip to Curiodyssey so we could all see an actual owl, fox, coyote, badger, and other assorted animals.

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We even got to pet an opossum!

Opossum

She looked so much like my own Olivia!

Opossum

We looked for otters, but they were sleeping, so Margot took their place.

Margot's 2nd Birthday Party

We had a ton of fun playing in the science center, too!

Curiodyssey

I was nervous about a party away from the house, but I was really pleased with it and think everyone had a great time. As usual, I didn’t take nearly as many pictures of some of the cute party decor as I wanted to. Jhonen helped me string the Happy Birthday letters on the banner and assemble a 3D paper owl kit we got on clearance at Michaels. I printed out personalized woodland-themed bookmarks and tied them with ribbon to brown paper bags filled with woodland animal bath squirters, teddy grahams, and animal stickers. Each bookmark was a different animal and, all lined up together, they looked really cute, but I didn’t think to get a picture. Here’s Margot’s little bag, though.

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I was so happy with this party. It felt laid-back, comfortable, and fun. Most importantly of all, Margot seemed to love every minute and it made me so happy to see her enjoy her special day.

Margot at two years old

One of these years I WILL crochet thematically appropriate birthday favors. I will! One of these days I will also crochet both my kids an amigurumi to go with each themed birthday we’ve done. In that case, I need to make a couple bumblebees, an owl, a car, a volcano, and a fish.

All that thinking about woodland animals has me wanting to make a hedgehog, a fox (my favorite!), and a variety of owls. I’m hoping to work on at least one of those this week and, if I do, I’ll be sure to introduce it to you. I won’t make any promises, though, as I now have less than a month to plan Jhonen’s Volcano-themed 5th birthday party!

I really love planning birthday parties. Makes me think I should be doing more of it…

 

Catch up!

Two weeks have passed since my last post and I have so much to write in order to catch up that it’s hard to even decide what to write about first! Today’s blog post is going to be a complete mish-mash of thoughts and sights and news because that best illustrates how scattered my brain is right now! Brace yourself for an onslaught of random thoughts, new crochet critters, a couple exciting announcements, and some pretty pictures that will get you all caught up on the last two weeks at Happy Handmade.

Since my last post, I completed an order for two mini dogs to match their larger counterparts, Hank and Sunny.DSC_0043  DSC_0029  Custom Dogscustom_dogThen I moved on to an Aloe Pony…a spa pony from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series. I really love how she turned out, but I’m a sucker for anything pink and aqua. DSC_0010 DSC_0015I got the BIG news that the awesome couple who just opened a really special new gallery space, The Grease Diner in Oakland, wanted to sell my little buddies and cards! I set to work on some items to start them with and even made a little potted succulent plant that I somehow completely forgot to photograph before I sent it off. I’ll have to make another one! I now want to make an entire succulent garden because it is really fun. They are also  excited to sell hanging things so I sent them off with a hot air balloon and a hanging bumble bee. But NOW, after seeing these sights at the Berkeley Kite Festival, all I want to make is colorful, flying crocheted mobiles!

DSC_0045 DSC_0029-001 DSC_0083DSC_0052 We, of course, couldn’t resist joining in the kite festivities, so this is the newest member of our family, Willie the Worm Kite.DSC_0058-001A parasailing zoo animals mobile, a mobile of crazy crocheted colorful shapes, a mobile of raindrops and umbrellas…I have so many ideas for mobiles!

In the middle of all that crocheting, Ben and I both had our best friends from Florida visiting the Bay area for the first time. We definitely wanted to see them as much as possible and show them around. Plus, it was a fun excuse to play tourist ourselves. DSC_0094 DSC_0108We took an abridged version of the Scenic 49-Mile drive through San Francisco and saw so many of the beautiful, colorful, iconic sights that make this part of the world so special.DSC_0109DSC_0149DSC_0082DSC_0136 DSC_0119I enjoyed a fabulous girl’s day on my first trip to Napa. I will DEFINITELY be back. It was amazing.DSC_0110 DSC_0097 DSC_0118Then there was a crazy period of adjustment for the whole family when our visitors left and we went back to the regularly scheduled program and I returned to the constant entertainment and interaction with my kids and dog all day, every day. DSC_0042 DSC_0152  DSC_0058This little happy girl is about to turn TWO! I’m desperately trying to get a party together.DSC_0050Many hours of Pinning woodland themed recipes and party decor ideas on Pinterest later and I’m about to just go to Panera and have the whole darn Woodland-themed picnic brunch catered.

My son just started his first week of day camp which is helping me prepare for the all-too-soon start of his first ever five-day-a-week school year (gulp). I just learned he’ll have to have school uniforms  that I have to find and purchase and I’m already nervous about getting used to school schedules and open houses and new teachers.

We found out we’ll probably only be able to renew the lease on this house for another 6 months, so that information is slowly sinking in. Then a neighbor was kind enough to take me down to one of my favorite stores in Oakland where I happened to buy all of my Christmas presents last year to talk to the owner about selling my crocheted items there, too! She said yes! Sooo….as soon as I finish up a frog prince for a 5-year-old with a princess bedroom and a happy aqua narwhal, I’ll have to decide what to make for Marion and Rose’s Workshop! I’m SO excited!

Add in a crazy family camping experience, an even crazier night of tequila school on a much-needed and LOOOONG-overdue date night with Ben, and little things like groceries, laundry, and dishes and…WHEW! I am a little dazed and confused right now. But in a good way! The past two weeks have been really fun and exciting.

Now I’m looking forward to the new relationships I’m about to  forge with Oakland small businesses, the friendships and new experiences my son will soon gain in Kindergarten, the quality, one-on-one time with my soon-to-be two-year-old, and the new creations coming out of Happy Handmade Headquarters in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!