Friday, January 30, 2015

From sketches to the final pattern

Whew, I can't believe January is almost over! While sometimes I wish time would slow down a bit, I'm excited for February to fly by because my first crochet book is finally coming out in March! From the initial proposal to final release date, it's been almost two years so I thought I would share some of my work process behind the book.


Normally I don't sketch out any of my ideas out before starting a pattern, I simply start crocheting test pieces for the design and go from there. For the book though, it really helped do a quick doodle for each potential pattern so I could see what collection of designs would work best together.

pattern writing

Then I start crocheting, writing down every step in case I need to pull out any stitches that aren't working. This is a really great way to use up any yarn scraps I have left over from other projects and it can take several tries to get the pattern right so I end up with lots of test pieces. Sometimes the simplest shapes give me the most trouble and I can spend a few days on just an ear.

After getting all the patterns worked out, I sent the manuscript and projects to my publisher where it went through editing, layout, and photography.

Image from Happy-Gurumi by Vanessa Chan, Martingale, 2015; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.
The daisies, elephant, and sun are just a few of my favorites from the book. The other patterns are a fun mix of animals, food, and the occasional balloon! While Happy-Gurumi isn't coming out until March 10th, it's available for pre-order right now on Amazon. You can also check out the other designs in the book here.

Happy crocheting!

The Pudgy Rabbit

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Guide - Hudson Valley Etsy

If you are not following us on Facebook (why not??), then you missed this year's collection of Valentine's Day gift ideas from the Hudson Valley Etsy Team.  That's ok, we got you covered here to help you shop local.  See our complete list on Etsy here.  Click the image to view the listing in our members' Etsy shops.

Clutch from Hand J Star Creations
Valentine's Day Card from Cynla
Valentine Pocket Coffee Cozy from Quarter Life Luck

Heart Shape Swirl Glass Dish from Get Glassy
Hope you like our picks! You can always see more gift idea options on our Etsy page.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Meet our new members! winter edition

It's a new year, and have I got some new members for you!!  This winter, the Hudson Valley Etsy Team is pleased to announce six new members for your viewing pleasure. Maybe even for your shopping pleasure!  I'm sure you haven't spent all the money and gift cards you got for the holidays yet. I certainly haven't, at least.

Wild Flower Door Mat - Rope Mat - Front Door Decor by Twisted Thread And Hook
Magdalena Marsh runs Twisted Thread And Hook and does her crocheting in New York, NY.   Her shop is full of rugs and other home decor created by crocheting rope! I love the look and feel of her pieces, and can just imagine what it would feel like to step on one everyday before coming inside.  Welcome to the team!

Kitten Dish by Joy and Noelle

Joy and Noelle are twins and run Joy and Noelle together.  They've made their lovely illustrations even more beautiful and useful by decoupaging them to the back of a plate and then covering the back with gold leaf!  They're food safe, but would you really want to eat off them? They might be better off adorning your wall.  They even do custom work for weddings and other portraits.  Is anyone out there looking for an anniversary present for me?  Glad to have you!

Mod Colorful Clutch Purse, Kiss lock Frame, Vintage Fabric on Navy Canvas by John Met Betty
Jillian Darnell of John Met Betty does her creating in Croton-on-Hudson in New York.   Her shop is filled with purses and handbags, often made with vintage fabrics and other pieces, all in awesome and unique color and patterns.  They look super fashionable.  Nice to meet you!

NEW! NEBULA - Origami MINI Mobile - 4 Metallic Cranes - Astronomical Silver by Pick Up Sticks Studio
 Shannon Anastasia of Highland Falls, NY has renamed her shop  Pick Up Sticks Studio.  It's still full of awesome paper crane mobiles I'm sure my baby niece would love (I'm sure the older ones would love some of them, too!).  There are a couple other paper goods as well, and it looks like she's having a sale, so exciting!  Good to see you again!

Breathtaking Black Walnut Container with Lid by Rooster Studios
Jennifer Younge of Beacon, NY is the owner of Rooster Studios.  She creates some gorgeous wooden items for your home, with everything from bowl and vases to hand mills and candles!  Any of her pieces would add a bit of a rustic feel to your country kitchen, but wouldn't be out of place in a more modern one as well.  Plus, if you look at her about page, you'll see she cares for a herd of cats, so what's not to love?  Thanks for joining us!

Geode Pendant 8 - Healing Stones Collection- Quartz Crystal by Melissa Anne Designs
Melissa of Melissa Anne Designs lives in Accord, NY.  There, she creates a lovely collection of naturally inspired artwork and jewelry.  Not only are her photos of stones and flowers stunning, but the jewelry she makes using stones is, too.  And, if you're a Game of Thrones fan, you might just want to check out her digital art section.  Welcome to our group!

Well, those are all the new members I have for you today!  Please stop by their shops and make them feel welcome, not to mention to give yourself a boost of inspiration.  Remember, all these artisans are local and support our area's economy, plus you might even run into them at the grocery store some day.  Hope you all are having a great new year so far!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Shades From The Ocean

Happy Friday!  We know we're in the middle of winter but that doesn't stop us from having thoughts of hanging out at the beach and enjoying a view of the ocean.  This is reflected perfectly in one of our latest team's Etsy treasuries by Jillian from JohnMetBetty.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

In my Studio: Valentines Envelope Tutorial

Last year I made these really cute valentines envelopes, they were a huge hit with everyone. My sons teacher told me the other day how she has been using hers to store jewelry when she's travelling. I thought it would be fun to repost the tutorial in time for this years February the 14th.

  • Felt pieces
  • Embroidery thread and needle
  • Button
  • Iron-on printer sheet
  • Ribbon
  • Template (as photo below)

1) Write a list of all the names you would like on your envelopes and print them out onto iron-on printer paper. I used the font 'courier' to make it look like old-fashioned typewriter print. Remember to flip your page first before printing it so that the names come out the right way around. I did this my saving my word document as a PDF then opening it up in photoshop and flipping it before printing it out.

2) Cut out the names and iron them onto a grosgrain ribbon, cut the ribbon either side of the name leaving a small amount to turn under on both the open fraying sides.

3) Use your template to cut out your felt pieces, also cut out small felt hearts in coordinating colors.

4) Sew the hearts and the names on to the envelopes in the corresponding places (see photo below.) Tuck the raw edge of the ribbon under so that it won't fray.

5) Turn over the envelopes and sew the sides and the end down.

6) Sew a button on the back and cut a small eyelet in the flap.

7) Fill the envelop with a valentines card, gift, candy or a perfect Valentines day surprise.

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. Charles M Schultz

Good Luck and Good Making!

Sarah Omura
So Handmade

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In My Studio- Using up Scraps

After a busy holiday season January is the perfect time for me to have a big sort out of my supplies. One area that threatens to take over is my remnant stash, one scrap of fabric seems to multiple overnight and becomes an overflowing colorful hoard.
Each small scrap seems so precious to me, knowing its origins and its possibilities. I endeavor to try and use up all my scraps not only because I love all of these fabrics and can't bare to throw them away but in an effort to save money, to do a small bit for the environment and because I want to breath new life into these redundant offspring.
January seems like a perfect month to use up the scraps, maximize my existing supplies, organize my remnant stash and get creative with the possibilities.
Here are some ideas for projects to get crafty with your own scraps:
Butterfly Hair Barrettes

Monster Tooth Fairy Pillows

Flower Brooches

Flower Birthday Cards

Heart decorations

"I'm a little bit of a fabric lunatic" John Malkovich

Good Luck and Good Making!

Sarah Omura

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Team Etsy Treasury - January Fun

We hope everyone's 2015 is off to a wonderful start!  It's quite chilly here in the Hudson Valley so we wanted to share the lovely warm tones of this Etsy treasury put together by Judy from H & J Star Creations.   Click the image to take a closer look! 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Nurturing Creativity while Running a Business

One of my business goals for 2015 is to set aside 2-3 hours each week to make "things" without worrying about finishing it, selling it, or promoting it. This might mean a few of my other goals take longer to complete (building out my About page on Etsy, getting my website up and running after a 2 year hiatus, using Instagram for marketing), but I think making time for creativity will spill into the business side of things and bring greater success - not to mention happiness!

I'm out of practice when it comes to simply enjoying the process of making things and not worrying about if it will sell. I haven't totally figured out how to get over this hump so for now I'm just trying new things.

Last night a friend of mine hosted a gathering to make vision boards. Over 20 of us showed up and we started with a meditation and then just went crazy on the pile of magazines. Honestly I still don't totally understand how to make a vision board or how to use a vision board, I am so creatively blocked that I found myself ripping out images and words that would look good together so I could show it off on Instagram. It looked good, but it wasn't authentic so I tore them off my poster board and started over.

The woman next to me brought a Marimekko magazine and once I got my hands on images of their patterns the flood gates opened. I was able to tap memories of being a middle school kid making collages and suddenly it started to make sense.

My vision board is still a work in progress, I had to go home to start dinner and tend to my sick toddler, but I also wanted to leave some room so that I can add more later this week when I take time to create freely. I'll keep everyone updated as I find new ways to spend my creative hours. If you have any ideas or want to share what works for you I'd love to hear them!