December 27, 2006

Holiday Sparkle - ABC Carpet

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This is the entrance to my favorite store in NY - ABC Carpet & Home. Years ago it was just a rug store, but now it's an enchanted forest with floors and floors of great linens and furniture. The ground floor has pretty chandeliers, Christmas decorations and jewelry. Here's some lovely eye candy from my pre-Christmas window shopping....

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Hand towels - the tag said it was made by '2 girls from Avignon' ...I'm still looking for their web site.

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A wonderland of glitter and shine.

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Oooohhh...pink trees and baby blue wreaths!

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Beaded horses...also sparkly.

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Beautiful chandelier - Italian, I think @ $2,000.

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Pretty pink pottery.

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This chandelier is a little hard to see - it's a sailing ship - $2800.

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Ok, sorta a softie, this reindeer was about 4 feet high and really nice. Can you imagine how wonderful he would be under the Christmas tree...uh, next to the tree.

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December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

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Handmade, blue net Christmas tree my mother made every year when I was a child. Following are some favorite Christmas trees from my childhood.

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Wow. Baby doll + stroller + tricycle + more...someone had a good haul that year.

December 24, 2006

Milk & Cookies for Santa

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Merry Christmas Eve!  Milk and cookies softies from Norththreads. Check out her softie pizza and cheesecake here.

December 22, 2006

Holiday Cold

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I've been sick with a horrible cold all week and so have somewhat neglected this blog :-(. When I can breathe again, I'll be back looking for more softies for you. Til then, please enjoy the lovely gingerbread houses coming up today here. This one is my all time favorite - a softie gingerbread house by Bella Dia. 

December 20, 2006

Holiday Ornament Swap Pix - #3

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My favorite non-softie ornaments from the Holiday Ornament Swap today.

I cannot resist pink houses with glitter! They don't quite look like softies, but uh, they could be if you squint a little. Made by chatdurouge with pink in her heart!

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Adorable apron (front and back) - rick rack, ribbon and it's own hanger - perfect! Made by laurelann.

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Paper bird ornaments for the Swap from Spagat Album, in Denmark. Want 'em.

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Very sophisticated grouping with simple outlines of iconic images and mix of patterns. By sydandgoose.

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More pretty perfect paper ornaments - cut and pasted by db 1920.

December 19, 2006

Christmas Mosaic Photo

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I could spend all day looking at Christmas photos. Makes you want to learn to make better snaps. Photos from ShazzMack taken at Sunnyside Home and Garden Centry in Calgary, Canada.

Life in the Lyon's Den Xmas Ornament Swap

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Oh, oh, oh...trees for another swap set up by Life in the Lyon's Den. These trees use the basic pattern from Little Birds and are then imaginatively embellished by cathygaubert.

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Printed and embroidered reindeer with a little sparkle from Crafty McGee, famous for her truly charming and unique vignettes!

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Little birds for the swap by Creative Kismet made of brass, aluminum and copper art sheets - hand painted too.

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Papier mache ornaments from Mariek Uniek from the Netherlands.

December 18, 2006

Holiday Ornament Swap Pix - #2

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A family of needle felted penguins for the Holiday Ornament Swap! These from Jenn! (knits a lot) - great, interesting colors.

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Embroidered felt for the green and grey ornaments, and stamped calico in the center. Made by Goldtop with a little clove and frankinsense inside! More non-traditional colors make them extra great!

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These crocheted ornaments from Yumiko are really unique - I've not seen any like these before...lucky the swap people who recieved these in the mail!

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Acorns in charming scraps of fabric with a little embroidery from Esther Mokka.

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And last but sweetest, a string of sweets to hang on your tree. Made by Julieree.

December 12, 2006

Holiday Ornament Swap Pix - #1

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The fabulous Holiday Ornament Swap organized by freshly{blended} and Cake + Pie Creative is showcased here today.  There are nearly 500 photographs on flickr of all the wonderful ornaments people made for the swap.

Here's just a sampling of some of the more softie-ish ones.  Check out the flickr pool for lots more! I've also noted the name of the flickr member who created the ornament.

Above, a really original idea from gasupthezamboni- ribbons made of embroidered felt shaped like octopi on top...this appears to be one of those times when the wrapping is probably better than the present inside. So inspiring!

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I love the use of what looks like recycled fabrics that give this one it's retro feel with a really modern style. Made by thisisloveforever for the swap.

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Cute, charming and musical too. The multi colored leaves as a ribbon around the ball are so pretty and the touch of red is perfect - classical colors, classical elements, but I've never seen one like this before. Made by whodapippi.

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Kangaroos with sparkles from Down Under - how great to have a little bit of Australia on your tree. Made by Craftaroo.

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Finally this lovely group of beautiful blue nesting dolls from Cake + Pie Creative.

December 11, 2006

Christmas Magic from Hollywell Designs

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Hollywell Designs is a the work of one woman, Sue Hicks, who lives in Monmouthshire in Wales. She has been designing exquisite needlwork for 25 years and now designs exclusively for Christmas, selling her work generally at fairs and online. Her needlework has also been sold in stores in Europe and the US. Take a look at her charming, old world style and lovely finishing techniques. She works with linen and velvet and her hearts are customizable with a name or a short message (see below). The linen hearts are backed with red boucle and filled with lavender. If you want to buy one of her beauties, rush to her online store though, as some items are already sold out.

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Penguin Palooza TWO

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Beautiful photo of penguins at the San Diego Zoo taken by Tanglewoodsmith.

Really excellent amigurumi penguin from Amigurumi Kingdom - the varigated yarn and big eyes are standout features on this little guy - how cute would he be under the tree?!

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A lonely-looking penguin by Lizette Greco. She says "This Blind Patagonian Penguin was born (inspired by a child's drawing) in Ituzaingo, Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is made of recylced fabrics and stuffing from Argentina."


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From Blakdove - this penguin has a jaunty hat and scarf - perhaps he's from Russia?

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Needle felted penguin from The Infatuated

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December 07, 2006

Snowmen - Group # 1

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I live in New York, and I'm really glad we haven't had any snow yet. I dread the snow. Sometimes, I'll read someone's blog who has posted beautiful pictures of their backyard covered in snow...and I think, 'oh no, where do they live...are they close to me...is it gonna snow here soon...'   

This slightly screw-y fear of an inanimate object thankfully, does not extend to snow covered softies! Here are some great SNOWmen that I adore inspite of the fact they remind me of the winter about to show up on my door.

The 'snow ghost' (above) is a very original interpretation of a familiar and loveable figure by Amy of Pushed Under. She sets the scene really well  - the size of the softie next to the bottle brush trees really help to add to the mystical atmosphere.

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This softie is knitted and reminds me of children's book illustrations from the 1920's. The pose and unusual color make him really special. Made by LGLarsencollection.

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Zippy is a needle felted snowman on a ski holiday - I bet he's fast down the slope, but what happens if he falls and becomes a bigger snow ball?!!! From the talented lauraboy.

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This is one happy amigurumi snowman with his own crocheted scarf and hat of course! Hand made by cutecumber  - if pink's not your color, he's also available with green or blue accessories.

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A musical santa made of fleece and felt with a green vintage bell attached by VerukaDollsLand.

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Last one - a snowman collage with paper, tissue and some hand stitching. For sale on etsy from Sushipot for only $5. It would make a great stocking stuffer.

 

December 06, 2006

Softie Advent Calendar

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These softies are advent calendars from the Garnet Hill catalog which says they are Danish. Each pocket has a number for the day in December and a small ring to hang tiny gifts from. Amazingly, these softies are nearly 5 feet tall!

En Gry & Sif - Copenhagan Softies

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En Gry & Sif is a design company in Copenhagen run by two sisters who make handmade felt toys for kids as well as fashion accessories and holiday ornaments.

Here's an adorable horse purse for little ones, a Christmas stocking, a goose softie, a really imaginative play house, and a tea cozy, all available online at Danish Bohemia.

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December 05, 2006

Penguin Palooza

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This is NOT one of the stars of "Happy Feet" or "The March of the Penguins." You you can tell that by the handmade blue boots he's wearing. A fashion-forward penguin....why isn't Daily Candy reporting on this style-du-jour?!

From National Geographic's site: "The newly shod bird (above), is one of 18 "second chance" little penguins now living at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. The penguins, also called blue or fairy penguins, were adopted from Marineland in Napier, New Zealand, which rescues sick or injured marine animals and sends some of those that can't return to the wild to live at regional animal centers."

And now for some penguin softies...

Penguin with pink scarf from Chika Mori, for sale on Mahar Dry Goods

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Penguin family from the distinctive imagination of Tamar Mogendorff

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This group is from Sewing Stars, but I think they're all sold out  :-(

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Looking like he  just stepped out of  "A Christmas Carol" from Knit One, Purr...too

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Penguin on a ice floe from Sweetest Pea

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These penguin ornaments by Work in Progress

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Crochedted penguin buddies from RaewaDolly

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Finally, on your next trip to the Arctic (or zoo), watch for the top 3 games penguins like to play (fr kidzone.ws):

1. tobogganing - penguins lie on their belly and toboggan through ice and snow

2. surfing - penguins have been seen to surf the waves onto land

3. diving - penguins dive off cliffs and ice flows into the water, hop back up onto land and dive down again...the line for a good diving spot can get very long!

December 04, 2006

NPR + Indie Crafting

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NPR is having a 'Make a Menorah, Create an Ornament' contest. From their site: "Design either a handmade menorah or a Christmas tree ornament. We are looking for designs that reflect the news of 2006. We also welcome quirky, funny and/or offbeat designs [like a Mel Gibson menorah or global warming Christmas ornament]." Sounds fun! Upload photos of your work to flickr (see NPR link above for tagging directions) . Deadline is Dec. 11th and the winner will be announced Dec. 15. NPR staff making the Mel Gibson menorah pictured above.

NPR has a audio piece by David Sedaris from '92 where he recounts his hilarious experiences as a Macy's Santaland elf.

Their list of noteworthy children's books look great , including The Snow Globe Family. Snowglobe1

Finally, NPR.org reports on a party you can give your kids - a Fashion Design Party from FAO Schwarz in New York City. Seemingly inspired by the interest in Project Runway, the host and guests are sent an "Imagine This Couture Designer Portfolio"  - it explains how to design handbags and clothing. At the party held at FAO's 5th Avenue store, professional illustrators turn the kids ideas into sketches. At the end of the party, each child picks one of the designs and two months later - poof - it's turned into an actual garment. The kids come back to the store and walk the 'runway' for up to 50 guests. Ice cream served. Know some kid's who'd love this? Great, it's only $25,000. Yes, that's not a typo. How ridiculous...but still, it might be fun to create a DIY version in your living room and have the kids actually make the clothes themselves with velcro and glue -- didn't some of those Project Runway designers resort to that for last minute fixes?

November 29, 2006

Christmas Stockings

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I have a few felt Christmas stockings and I'm always looking for more. The three above are made by Crafting with Love and are sold out (!) already in her etsy shop.

Here are some other inspiring felt stockings - some handmade, some not, but all lovelies.

This red and white beauty and the reindeer stocking are handmade in Hungary and for sale on greenergrassdesign.

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Here's a pink gingerbread on Mahar Dry Goods

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Group of stockings by Ahna Holder

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Hable Construction stockings - not handmade but felt

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Snowflake stockings on NY Botanical Garden site

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Fabric stocking with soft fluffy minky fabric on top and back from Little Lily

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A stocking with skulls - how fun! from My Imaginary Boyfriend

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From recycled, felted sweaters by Heartfelt Baby

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And from Martha Stewart, templates for making Christmas stockings and some great ideas for customizing yours.

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All these ideas for stockings are great -now what to do with them all? How 'bout an advent calendar like this one from Soulmania.

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November 27, 2006

Christmas Animal Ornaments

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There's nothing I like more than looking for Christmas tree ornaments! I love the old German glass ornaments and tinsel of course. I like Christmas trees so much, I have a bunch of old photos of family trees from my childhood that I've been meaning to frame and hang for years! And lights - all white or all blue lights are lovely and seem the grown-up way to go, but I'm a girl who likes color, and a string of multi-colored lights twinkling from the corner of the room is my idea of the perfect tree.

Hand-crafted ornaments are wonderful too, especially these grey felt animals from Maggierama. The red floss on the heathered grey felt is a sophisticated yet simple color scheme. The mouse is great with his trumpet ears and daisy embroidery! In addition to hanging them from the tree, a wooden farm bowl filled with a bunch of felt animals would be charming. I also hang them from door knobs.  And of course, they're small enough to be tied on to a gift with a red ribbon.

November 14, 2006

Christmas Ornaments

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Anthropologie has the best softie ornaments this year! This adorable snail and squirrel are the original designs for the store, from Chikagrapy, as is the magical mushroom, and birds below. The embroidery overlay elements are amazing and the colors interesting and sophisticated.  This is the second year that Chikagraphy is designing for Anthopologie - these ornaments are truely this year's collectible ornament!

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October 19, 2006

New Anthropologie Catalog!

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The new Anthropologie gift catalog arrived in my mail box today.  So many things to put on one's Christmas list, but tops will have to be ornaments.  Anthropologie does a great job of finding new, charming, vintage, hand-made-ish looking holiday fare. These koi are made of wool and beads, and while they are not hand-made, there must be some wonderful softie-girl out there who designed them for the store.  If anyone knows who it is, I'd like to send her a fan letter!