Author: Erin G.

paper snowflakes.

There’s no secret to the paper bag snowflake DIY; it seems to be all over the internet again this year. I’m adding a few tips and tricks here, plus sharing how we used this craft at my office winter party. Materials: Instructions: Tip: To make this craft last through the years or if you need it to travel well, assemble the snowflakes without sealing the final pieces together. Instead, secure with ribbon (and well-hidden paper clips) when in use; and then store flat. My office started to meet more regularly in person for work meetings, and this is the first time we’ve had a craftivity since Hearts and Crafts 2020. Excited to introduce more crafts to my coworkers! Have you tried this craft? Share below!

cross stitch kit.

My friend Laura is such a good crafty gift finder and giver (remember the bear pouch?). This cross-stitch kit is the latest in her kit finds. It was super user-friendly and the product turned out so lovely. This kit came with everything (just add scissors) to create one of three pouch designs. The hardest part was picking which design to use! I spent a couple of leisure evenings working on this project, though you could easily finish in one sitting. The pattern was simple to follow; I also added a few improv-ed stitches. Pro-tip: Make sure you’ve got good lighting to count the holes. Tahdum! A floral pouch! For me, what’s better than a handmade gift is a gift I can make myself! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you’re having a crafty holiday season!

umami.

Have you shopped Umami in Albany? The shop is filled with colorful handmade finds. There’s so much to peruse! There’s jewelry, kitchen ware, baskets (my fave!), decor, towels…. I feel like you can find something for everyone on your shopping list here. Or in my case, everything for me. ๐Ÿ˜› I found a felted hummingbird to add to my collection of hummingbird figurines (will need to post about these sometime!), a tiny basket (because “I need more baskets”), and a salt and pepper pinch bowl (so fancy!). Side note: Here’s the mural outside the shop – I highly recommend Tay Tah Cafe for Thai iced tea slushies and banh mi, and Bua Luang for a sit down meal, too. Yay for shopping small and supporting local businesses year round! What are some of your go-to shops for gift shopping? Share below.

bookmark.

Here’s a handmade gift idea for all your book (or magazine) lovers, and in my case – craft book enthusiast! For this project I used two colors of 4mm cord. I cut 4 strands 4-feet long with one color and 1 strand 8 inches long in the second color. You can mix and match however you like. I used basic macrame knots for this project, starting with 4 Lark’s head knots to attach the longer cords to the shorter cord. Then a series of square knots alternating between a square knot for strands 1-4 and 5-8, and then a square knot for strands 3-6, until you have about 8 inches of cord left. Finish off with a double half hitch knot for strands 1-4 and 5-8 going diagonally down and inward, then tie the two inner most strands together to create the pointed bottom. Trim and fray as you wish. Add a cute tag for funsies. Pair with a book of choice. What’s on your reading list this winter? Me: Modern Macrame by Emily Katz.

beadazzled.

Short story: I found a bead store and bought a bunch of beads. I hope Bebe doesn’t eat them. Owned and operated by Lilian Leung, this Solano Avenue (Berkeley side) shop – Beadazzled – boasts two rooms of beads and findings, handmade jewelry (by Lilian!), and a space to create. On this visit I reupped my collection of Miyuki beads, memory wire (love this stuff!), and nylon jewelry cord (which I actually use for making garlands). I also learned that kids like to put stuff up their noses – Lilian shared that her grandchild once put a bead up their nose. D’oh! As far as crafts go, Bebe and I have drawn together, painted (more on that soon!), and he’s seen me work on a couple macrame pieces. I hope one day we can craft together with tiny materials, hot glue, and scissors. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hurry, name some toddler-friendly (beaded) craft projects!

dream big!

It’s been quiet on the felt crafting front, but I’ve managed to work on a few projects over the last few months inspired by customers who dream big! I worked on a giant wall hanging for a school auction. A class of second graders shared what giving means to them and I made a collage with their responses. What a joy to cut these words out! All the students got to sign the back, too. I made a duo of metallic felt garlands for my friend – one said Happy Birthday! and the other Congrats! The goal was to make something in neutral-ish colors to match any celebration. Metallic is neutral, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ This is the biggest word garland I’ve made yet! Each flag is 6 inches by 12 inches. And lastly, I made another happy birthday sign for a friend. They wanted something colorful that they could use every year for Henry’s birthday. This banner was so big it barely fit my craft table! I used tape to line up my letters and make …

baskets and bees.

The last in-person crafty workshop I attended was held at Royal Bee Yarn in Pacifica. The shop is filled with yarn (of course), craft kits, and gifts. They also had bee-utiful spice wall. And as if a yarn store and a creative workshop weren’t enough, there was also a neighborhood event happening the same day and Royal Bee was hosting a few handmade vendors in their backyard space. Clearly I was drawn to the baskets as is apparent by my camera roll. I adopted two baskets! I now officially have a designated farmers market bag and Bebe has a travel book basket (Start ’em young.). Discover any fun creative shops lately? Share below.

sunshine baby.

My Bebe turned one (ahem, in November) and we threw a little party. We were still (and still are) in keep-away-from-people times so we kept our celebration to just immediate family, but of course decorated like there was a crowd (why not!). We went with a first trip around the sun theme to inspire the photo backdrop and birthday outfits, plus You Are My Sunshine was on Bebe’s top song list. I had two ‘major’ projects for the occasion: a balloon arch and a birthday cake. Balloon Arch I’d made a small balloon arch just to experiment with making balloon arches a few years back. Bebe’s balloon arch was a much more involved, larger project with over 100 balloons. I found a balloon arch kit online; it came with balloons, a long plastic strip with holes to place the filled and tied balloons, plus sticky dots (like Glue Dots). That plastic strip is a total game changer! If you’re planning a big balloon project I also highly recommend getting a balloon pump and balloon tie …

back at it.

Oh hi! It’s been a minute and I’ve got a backlog of fun local finds and creative pursuits I want to share. I am not fully back to the level of explorations and crafts pre-pandemic and pre-baby, but Iโ€™m easing my way back with a different capacity and mindset. First, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve visited a few local pop-up markets within the last year or so, including Handmade Pacifica (featuring my friends Roberta, Chelsea, and Melissa!) and one across the street from where I live at the Senior Center (thatโ€™s super local!). And, get this: I participated in my first in-person event in two years – the first Small Business Love Holiday Market hosted by Pamana Plantas, The Dance Floor, and Fonda, all businesses on Solano Ave in Albany. This definitely took a lot of mental preparation and months of getting accustomed to life with Bebe, but Iโ€™m here for it, as long as itโ€™s low key and no one tries to high-five me. Also, aren’t you so proud of me for …

skeleton.

#tbt to last year’s Halloween festivities! I learned how to create a skeleton look during one of the online Yelp events. I was never big on face paint – something about sharing a palette with others and germs grossed me out – and also I was never sure of safe make up or how to remove it all afterwards (now I know – coconut oil for the win!). This was the perfect class for me because I didn’t have to share a palette and I learned some pro tips! Sabrina Lopez of Rabbit Rye based out of San Antonio, TX led the make up tutorial. Before the event she provided a list of make up and tool recommendations. She’s the pro so I got all the things on her list. I gathered a cream-based make up palette, paint/make up brushes, and make up sponges. Plus, I opted in for face glitter – I had been looking for an excuse to purchase body glitter! Here we go! First, we felt around our face to find our …