The CPSC has granted a one year stay of testing and certification requirements!! (Details here.) I don't have to close my shop!!! Man, that's good news for all of us, and just in the nick of time. Hope you're having a good weekend :)



I mentioned the other day that I made a cape for our friend and photographer, Rachel. And here it is! Check out her posts here and here for more beautiful pictures. Yep, once again, Rachel totally rocks.




This sweet thang just landed in my shop, along with a few other additions.

I thought I would post a bunch of the less traditional names that have gone out on my elephants' tails. It must be awesome to have a name like Luai or Fritzna and actually get something personalized. I think Finley might be my favorite.


And now, I promise, I'll quit gabbing on about elephants for a while!


Feature and Shop Update

Wowzers, another feature!!! My shop got picked up this morning by Cool Mom Picks! Check out the post here.

As I clear out my stash in preparation for closing, I'll be posting a large shop update this Saturday, January 24, at 3:00 pm EST. Check back then for loads of (completely non-toxic and lead free) sweetness!





I had a friend in my undergrad days, Heidi, who used worked an after-school job back home in a bridal salon. How cool is that? She knew everything there was to know about wedding dresses. One afternoon a bunch of us girls sat around and dished about our dream weddings. Heidi had some amazing dress picked out for each of us. I remember she described her wedding as a dramatic and glamorous winter affair, with hundreds of candles and a dress with a monster train. Funny, she's a professional opera singer now. How's that for glamor and drama?

This cape reminds me of her dream wedding. It's this deep, rich red velvet, lined in ivory satin, and it's intense. The thing probably weighs 10 pounds. The pattern is Butterick 4377, and their picture is just about exactly how mine came out. My pictures won't ever do it justice, so I'm not even going to try. But there's hope, cause someone else's will . . .

I made this sucker for my friend and photographer, Rachel. She's planning an art/bridal shoot, something wintery, snowy if there's snow, maybe a little antique-ish, and this cape is a part of that. I'm glad I was able to help her with this one, and I'm excited to see what she gets out of the shoot! Links to come, when she posts the results on her blog. Her pictures will be worth it!



My little shop is featured today over at Everyday Etsy!! I'm so flattered. Thank you Robyn!


Randy and Helen

About this time last year I made a whole slew of wedding invitations for our friends, Randy and Helen. They just got married on the 3rd in Hawaii, and I realized I never showed you the invitations!

Randy + Helen's Wedding Invitation

We were working with a "pikake and pearls" theme. Pikake flowers grow in Hawaii, where Randy is from. I've never been to Hawaii or seen pikake flowers, but I hear they smell amazing! So Helen drew the pikakes, and we added tiny stick-on pearls at the flowers' centers. The stripe is this awesome fuzzy flocked paper we found at the Paper Source. All in all there was a lot of gocco-ing, a whole lot of cutting, and a ridiculous amount of pasting involved in putting these together. But I love the way they turned out!!

Randy + Helen

And now, the most recent news. Randy and Helen play with Waitiki, a group described as "classic exotica and tiki for modern listeners." Go, check it out. They're pretty fantastic. I actually recorded a piece with them a couple of months ago in which I got to portray an octopus. On my horn. Yeah, it was awfully cool. I'll be sure to post a link when the recording comes out. Anyway, they recorded an album to give as favors to their guests. (That must be the coolest wedding favor idea I've ever heard of.) And our collaborative invitation design became the CD sleeve!!

Wedding Album

Wow! Yep, I'm pleased as punch. And many congrats to the newly weds!!!!


Wedding Accessories

Goodness, who am I to post twice in one day? Nevertheless, I just found myself fawning over these lovelies..

I should mention, my dress is likely to be a golden/champagne color, something along these lines.


So can I pull them off? Together? And can I justify spending that much on just shoes and a handbag? My dress probably won't cost much more than that! (Ah, the joys of making your own wedding dress.) Hmmmm.....

Final Month

Green Elephant

I've been holding out on writing this post, trying to figure out my best course of action. It turns out that I need to close my shop by February 10.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has enacted a new law, the CPSIA, the next part of which goes into effect on February 10. This law mandates third party chemical testing of all items marketed and sold to children 12 and under. While large manufacturers will be able to roll with this, all cottage industries will have little choice but to close. Etsy will lose a huge category of their business. And we'll all be stuck buying mass produced toys from China, which was a huge source of the problem in the first place.

Luckily, this isn't a huge hit for me. My shop was just an extension of a hobby, and a neat way to share the love. I haven't promoted enough to have any regularity of sales, so the income lost will not be significant. And I have no shortage of personal projects, with my wedding exactly 9 months from today! I'm also not one of the amazingly brave and entrepreneurial people who have managed to quit their day jobs to sell full time on Etsy. (Gracious, I'm a musician, and that's half the point. I don't even have a day job!)

For the record, although it seems ridiculous to say, there are no hazardous materials in any of the 25 elephants I've made to this point, and there never will be. (Wow, I just counted them up. 25!) I had just bought a delightful pile of fabric before I learned of the law, and I intend to use it. There are 6 remaining elephants in my shop, and I'll continue selling through February 9. After that I imagine I'll donate some and continue giving them as gifts. Which is not a bad way to go, as far as sharing the love is concerned.

The gory details:

The CPSIA in its full form
Clarification for used products - good news for resale stores
Handmade Toy Alliance
Various Sources of Useful Information and Actions



I suggested in my last post that I might be a wee bit overwhelmed by this wedding process. And I'll be the first to admit that it's my own darn fault. As you may have figured by now, I'm a firm believer in the value of all things handmade. I could expound on that ideology for many paragraphs. But I'll assume that you're on the same page, at least in part, and skip that monologue. For now :)

Which leads me to the smallest, yet most time consuming detail of my wedding plans. The napkins. Even as I write this I'm rolling my eyes over the energy that I'm putting into this minor detail. But stay with me, I'm going to attempt to convince both of us!

It all started here, with these two pictures.


Jen, over at the Purlbee, made cloth napkins for her wedding and later turned them into a quilt. She works at a fabric store, so it was a personal detail. The colors totally brighten up the tables, and a bunch of her guests took them home as favors. Awesome. And have you ever taken the time to notice the average restaurant cloth napkins? There's not a natural fiber to be found in them! They're kind of gritty, kind of sticky smooth, not tremendously inspiring. Real cloth napkins are a simple but sweet luxury. So yes, I've decided to make cloth napkins.

Cloth Napkins

I didn't actually consider how much time this was going to take before I ordered a giant pile of fabrics, but I'm still excited. Every day I find myself flipping through the colorful stack that's growing on my desk, imagining how pretty they'll look at our reception. *Happy sigh.*

Cloth Napkins

Most of what's come in so far is normal (yet fantastic) fabric. But that floral blast-from-the-past on top is a vintage sheet. Half the napkins will be from vintage sheets when all is said and done. They're totally going to rock our modern yet playful fall vibe. Awesome.

Cloth Napkins

Maybe there's a wedding quilt in our future. I do hope guests take some home, lest we end up buried in 100+ cloth napkins. (We're also nixing favors, and this idea brings some rest to the glossy-wedding-magazine-intoxicated part of my brain that worries about that.) But I'm also hoping we can use these as our regular napkins till we get old and grey together. Along those lines, I hope we never buy paper napkins again. And I'm hoping friends and family recognize them when we pull them out years from now and smile, remembering the happiness of that day.

Right, back to the sewing machine.




2009 scares the bejezus out of me. I haven't even gone back to work yet (that starts tomorrow) and I'm nervous. There's an overwhelming sense of impending . . . something. It's not the work, per say, it's all the other stuff. (Alright, it's mostly the wedding. That's gonna be a major project. We'll discuss that more another day.) So, I've been inspired to get it all out, put it down on virtual paper, and focus on the good stuff. And here you have it, in no particular order. These are my goals, my resolutions, my plans, my coming year in a nutshell.


1. Marry Fred!

2. Plan and pull off an awesome, personal and meaningful wedding.

3. Run a marathon. On our honeymoon.

4. Play my horn every day.

5. Learn to bike commute into Boston.

6. Run 1000 miles.

7. Read the Bible. The whole thing.

8. Paint my finger nails regularly.

9. Wear skirts more often.

10. Learn to design my own patterns.

11. Design and sew my own wedding dress.

12. Let my hair grow out.

13. Start and finish a sweater.

14. Knit a pair of socks.

15. Give a recital.

16. Put money in savings and leave it there!

17. Take dance lessons.

18. Send (handmade) cards unexpectedly.

19. Make an inspiration board.

20. Stand up straight.

21. Worry a little less.

22. Smile a lot more.

23. Take a trip to somewhere I've never been.

24. Finish the quilt I got fabric for a year ago.

25. Hang out in NYC.

26. Cultivate a yoga practice.

27. Put things away a little quicker. (Dishes, laundry, etc.)

28. Go camping.

29. Wear pretty shoes.

30. Drink water like a fish.

31. Make better use of my extensive driving time.

32. Bag a couple of the local peaks.

33. Blog more often.