Monday, November 21, 2011

Put a Bow on It: Thinking about Packaging

The default for the lazy gift wrapper is just to "put a bow on it"! Here I wanted to show off how I've done the work for you. These top two are recent examples of packages I've sent off from Etsy orders. They didn't ask for gift wrap, but I feel like opening something from the mail should be a special experience. Besides, how else would I wrap up my goods? The top package is sewn fabric slipcase for a baby girl's hood. The package below is felt wrapped over miniature bunting, then secured with fabric and baker's twine. Notice how I keep saying fabric? I switched from tissue paper to fabric for shipping years ago. Why would I spend all those hours making the perfect delicate item only to wrap it in cheap tissue paper, when, instead, I can make a permanent home for it with fabric that you'll use over and over to store and protect your garment?

For the recent batch of craft shows I've done this fall, I made these paper packages. The smaller ones are made from an extra copy of "Pride and Prejudice," while the larger ones are made from "Dwell" magazine. For the magazine b I added a piece of Japanese sticker tape and my own MA stamp. I used the same tape to tape the bag shut after it's been filled. All of these bags have single pleat sides.

When thinking about how I wanted to make my packaging I kept coming back to what would be the most delightful and environmentally friendly solution? What would best reflect my brand for Modest Ambition as well as my own personal views on packaging, excess, and waste? Just because I run a business doesn't mean that I have to contribute to the chaos of clutter. Hopefully, I've made something that you will either keep, re-purpose, or recycle, but only after you've had a moment of enjoyment and delight.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

DIY Holiday Crafts: Mini Bunting

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the sheer amount of opportunities to make things: cookies, decorations, gifts, wrapping, cards! So much fun. I decided to share some of that joy with you with my craft kits.

I've expanded my miniature holiday garland making to include mini bunting kits! Your choice of four festive colors or classic red and white. Each kit comes with four tiny crocheted felted wooly flags tied up in a 14-inch crocheted strand. Ready for you to sew or glue together (fabric glue recommended, though hot glue would do in a pinch). Each flag measures about an inch. Everything looks cuter tiny.

Besides flags, you can also add jingle bells, fabric, tiny toys, and other trinkets. I'm planning to embroider my daughters names on her bunting -- four letters, four flags. Luckily, her name is simple since my embroidery is very primitive. I'll have these with me at the Jingle Bash on Saturday and should have them in my Etsy shop by next week. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Candy Colored Hats for Cold Days

Brrr, it was cold this morning. Winter is definitely coming! I'm excited to present my new candy-colored crocheted hats for Winter 2011. These are one-of-a-kind brightly hued hats that will go fast. I'm debuting them at The Holiday Experience in Fort Worth this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 12-13, at Will Rogers, presented by Funky Finds.

Each hat is designed to stretch and have a deep fit to keep even your ears warm. The yarns are from my personal stash. It was fun to work in as many different possibilities of each hue as I could find in a way that still makes for an overall pleasing effect. These are not striping or variegated yarns; each color is hand-worked.

Then, it was on to stripes and creating either bold patterns or subtle color shifts. You won't find anything like these hats at the mall. Each is completely individual. While I may not be listing these hats on my Etsy shop at the moment (they go too fast in person!), I'm always up for a custom order in adult or kids' sizes--contact me through my Etsy shop or website. I'm sticking with last year's prices: $30 each or 2 for $50. What a steal!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Tiny Reindeer Scarf

I was a little late in finishing these, but they've been safely delivered now. Meet my promotional item for the 2011 Etsy Dallas Jingle Bash's Bash Bag! It's a reindeer scarf/bookmark. If you're one of the first 50 people in line when the doors open at 1 p.m. on Nov. 19 you'll be the proud owner of one of these.

I split it evenly with these two red and blue color combinations then threw in six in pink and green, just for fun. In case you can't tell, that's a simplified snowy hillside in the distance, i.e. a pinked curved line. It seems like no matter how easy the project is, as soon as you have to make 50 of it, it's hard to keep it fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Indexing Bobby Pins

I just finished packaging my new Index Bobby Pins to debut at the Cowtown Indie Bazaar this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Fort Worth, TX. They are perfect for the bibliophile of any age. The Index Bobby Pin is replacing the Heidi Bobby Pin, but continues the use of recycled book pages in the packaging. 

While the Heidi featured illustrations and text from a vintage edition of Heidi, the Index is on actual index cards and has delicate little paper leaves cut from Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice. Note, the leaves are not part of the hair accessory, just part of the packaging.

Check out the nifty box for my index cards. I feel very organized. The Index Bobby Pin is not available  in my Etsy shop yet. Come see me at a show or send me an email if you're interested.

P.S. Just added to my shop here. Free gift wrapping available!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Here is my submission for the Etsy Dallas Chairity Event, October 13, 6:30-9 p.m., Blue Room, South Side on Lamar, 1409 S. Lamar, Dallas, TX 75215. My chair was inspired by new Modest Ambition logo design by La Alicia! I transformed our adorable little chair into a tree--a chair-i-tree! Wouldn't a fluffy little squirrel look cute sitting in this tree/chair?

Here's the info from the Etsy Dallas website:

Sit Down to Stand Up for Kids: Little Chairs for a Big Cause is Etsy Dallas' first ever charity-spotlight event. We invite you to come party with us, all while raising money for a good cause. Etsy Dallas believes in giving back to our community, and we do it by using our artistic talents to help out others! All proceeds benefit the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center (DCAC), a non-profit agency serving abused children in Dallas County.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Post-Flea Picts

Here are some photos of my booth at the Dallas Flea last Saturday. I'm looking forward to the Cowtown Indie Bazaar, October 15, in Fort Worth. I'll be debuting my fall and winter wear for the season.

At the Flea, I focused on my baby hoods and ponchos, hair accessories, and new fiber necklaces. It was great to see so many people out. I was next to Lauren from Blue Eye Brown Eye, my old neighbor from last year's Funky Finds fall show.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Preparing for the Dallas Flea

I've been busy this week getting ready for The Dallas Flea on Saturday, 9-4, South Side on Lamar, 1409 S. Lamar. This is my first real show of the fall season. I've been working on new merchandise, new designs, and new displays. I can't wait to show it all off tomorrow. I went by the space tonight and I'll be right in the middle of the Artist's Quarter by the stairs for Hip Hazel Hoops, which is great!

Sadly, I don't think this scarf will be ready in time. I'll hold off on the winter wear until the October shows. It is supposed to be 94 tomorrow so I don't think anyone will be clamoring for hats and scarves. However, it is fun to show off this "in progress" photo. The final scarf will be hot washed and dried to felt the 100% wool yarn into a tighter smaller weave.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Notes Black Ruffle Necklace

This weekend I finished and gave this necklace as a birthday present. It is the third ruffle necklace I've made so far. This one is made from a loop of stretchy black and white print fabric. I stitched the two pieces together before starting then tied a knot in the back to make the necklace shorter. Since it is stretchy it will slip over the head, or you could untie the knot and have a longer necklace. 

The thread is fairly easy to crochet with a tiny steel hook; it holds its shape really well. Working in black makes it more challenging since it is so hard to see. It seems to suck all of the light from the lamp, but as long as I can find the next loop everything is fine. I love how the crochet starts to ruffle in beautiful crenelations. This is a form of hyperbolic crochet with two stitches in every one, just like the hyperbolic pseudospheres that I like to make. I look forward to trying more combinations of fibers and fabrics. 

I thought this would look really great with a crisp white shirt or black sweater.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


My friend Billy Zinser makes Macrodons. For his new baby, Tilly, I made this crocheted plush version based on the 20-foot blow up version he made last year. I'm really happy with it. I can't wait to meet baby Tilly!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

New, New, New!

Last weekend, I set up for my first show of the 2011 season. It was at a baby store, so I geared the items towards babies and little girls. It was my first opportunity to debut not only a whole new line of products, but a new display, tags, and sign. It's a complete visual make-over! Everything is green, gray, or cream. These delicate neutrals set the stage for the muted colors that I prefer and the wide range of colorful yarns that I use in my crocheted button pins (and now hair clips!). There is also a literary theme working throughout the display: pages from the class children's book Heidi are used in item tags, drawings and pages from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice are used on the new gray trays I made and on my new Modest Ambition sign. In addition, I have a new logo, sort of. I'm still working on it. It's my signature MA text, plus a few hand drawn flourishes in a nice fluid, yet brittle line. 

I'm very excited about all of these new items and I'm really looking forward to putting the new baby merchandise out with the new and returning favorites for adults at The Dallas Flea on September 24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at South Side on Lamar. I'm planning on bringing a whole new line of crocheted necklaces -- in advance of my October 23 Crocheted Necklace Workshop at Oil & Cotton Creative Exchange, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. So... maybe I have a thing for seersucker right now?

By the way, I also have a new website. More on that soon.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wee Thing Winter Wear

Tomorrow, I'm debuting my new baby items at the Babytique Grand Opening, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Here's Lena trying on a few things for me. We're going to have to work on her on her ability to sit still! But, she's awfully cute. The baby hoods and coordinating ponchos are made from either acrylic and bamboo blend or acrylic and wool blend yarns. All are really soft and wearable. The buttons on the hoods are from my vintage collection and the ponchos button at the flower, so the neck opening is nice and wide. I can't wait to share these!