f3Oakland’s “Art & Taxes” event recap!

Blog, oh hey!  I’m just gonna lay it out there, I’m super addicted to my friend’s building events.  SO ecclectic and fun!!  I have previously posted a few recaps about f3 events at the Cotton Mill Studios, should you want to check them out:



This past event was themed “Art & Taxes”, I’m guessing mostly because it was so close to Tax Day.  I made a few sewn stationery items that looked like lined grade school paper and yellow legal pads.  I also brought some jewelry, scarves AND amazing treats since we usually kill it during the later hours of the event when folks are peckish.  What can we say, we know our audience!  Lexi had awesome dino hoodies on hand, lumberjack and narwhal totes, a cloud mobile that is adorbs and stuffed whales and narwhals.  The Meck brought amazing jewelry too!   Sold a little jewelry, sold some stationery – but killed on treats.  Like, $100 on just treats alone.  Word.

As usual, there was no shortage of deliciousness that was put out on the delectables table.  The food, oh, the food – there was such a spread.  I made Madelines, triple chocolate chunk chocolate chip cookies, and Black Magic chocolate cupcakes with Vanilla Bean buttercream icing.  My mom made (yes, my mom) made Lemon Tea Bread, the Meck made the America’s Test Kitchen peanut butter cookies, and Lexi made gingersnaps, a gingersnap sandwich cookie with lemon cream cheese filling, lemon mini cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and gluten free dark chocolate brownies with hazelnuts.  Yeah, you could say we all like to bake or something.

After the event got started, it was a little slow.  Then a band member from Mad Noise walked in and asked if they could do a 2 song set in the studio, and I said hell yes.  So if you scroll through, you will see a photo of them captivating the audience we had in the loft at that point.  They were literally amazing.  Such talent!

Can’t wait for the next event, and hope you can come too!

Open Studios Event @ F3!

Open Studios Event @ F3!

Blog, oh hey!  No, I didn’t forget about ya’ll.  It was the holidays, we had guests and family, and a good time was had by all.  Cut back to real life…

Just thought I would share my next event that is coming up fast, so mark your calendars for January 25th at Cotton Mill Studios!!!  Oh, and did I mention that the theme for the event is “Full Wolf Moon”?  That’s how you know it’ll be good… Here’s a preview of somethings in the works, just to wet your whistle and entice you to come out!

An F3 Event bib... "hungry like the wolf"

An F3 Event bib… “hungry like the wolf”

These are the “Event Special” kids items, bibs and onesies in super fun colorways.  And yes, I currently have “Her name is Rio, and she’s dancing in the saaaaaaaaaand…” running through my head on an endless loop.  You’re welcome.

Wolf Moon stationery in progress....

Wolf Moon stationery in progress….

And THIS will be the most awesome stationery to date.  The plan is to use the silver ink to sponge the background of the wolf silhouette, which is stitched onto the foldover card.  The cutout wolf will also get stitched onto a card, but I haven’t decided yet what size, OR if I want to use the silver ink to sponge a moon to put the wolf on.  Decisions, decisions… anyhow, the event is really fun and there’s a little bit of everything.  Including delicious baked goods and items like you see in this post AND in this previous post too.  On the 4th floor.  It’s where the players dwell.


I’m totally late on posting this to my actual blog – awhile back you might remember that I had done a bunch of posts on DIY projects that related to my brother in-law’s wedding last year.  It was beautiful, really really beautiful.  SO, I’d love to share the fact that my in-laws were featured on the wedding website, http://www.stylemepretty.com .  The photos really don’t do that day justice, even though they are amazing photos… but I’m biased, what can I say?

Somewhere in there is the cake that I made for them, as well as a name credit for stitch binding all of their programs, and that’s my shameless self promoting plug.  I won’t mention the temperamental antique stove I had to make the cake in, or that I had pre measured all of my ingredients in ziploc bags because we traveled to southern California to be there.  You’ll also see my gorgeous husband, who is giving excellent “face” during the best man’s speech.  It was awesome.  The whole.  Freaking.  Thing.



m+d cake day shot

m+d cake day shot

m+d cake day shot

m+d cake day shot

m+d cake nite time

m+d cake nite time

m+d cake nite time shot

m+d cake nite time shot

The AMS Holiday Craft Fair Success

Blog, oh hey!  I didn’t forget about you guys, it’s been a weirdly busy week thus far.  This past Sunday was my aforementioned ‘other’ craft fair date.  We were approached at the infamous EBMMF event by a lovely woman, who said our items would fit in at her middle school’s fundraiser fair.  I took it as a sign, and gave her our contact info.  Didn’t remember too much about it, but she emailed me with an application form the following week.  It was an inexpensive table fee, so I figured why not.  I recruited my Mom and Aunt again, and we worked on some more items to bring.  Mainly arm warmers, my Mom and Aunt can knit like mad women, and that’s what did the BEST out of everything we brought to the other event.  35 pairs later (!), we packed up and headed to Albany Middle School for our event.

I decided we should maybe scale back a little from what we put out at the EBMMF event.  We put up our table, and started merchandising as best we could.  In my opinion, we can still do better with more levels to the table.  But, for a 3 hour stint, this was great.  This time around we put everything almost on top of itself, more like “piles”, that people would go through.  It seemed to work, at least with this crowd 🙂

See the pics below, we made some money this time!  All of our leftover product will be listed in the Etsy shop, if you’re so inclined to browse…


P.S.  If you are thinking about doing Fairs too, or anything like this – I highly recommend getting yourself a Square card reader.  I can’t tell you how many times I got a sale because the customer didn’t have to use all of their cash!!!  Of course, I have an iPhone, but I know there are other readers that will work with Droid, Blackberry, etc.  But that’s an unsolicited piece of advice from me, so take it for what’s it worth.


www.etsy.com/shop/lisaBbowman Cyber Monday Sale @ Odds & Ends

‎30% off everything you’ve had your eye on during the CYBER MONDAY SALE in the shop today only! Enter the code CYBER2012 at your checkout to receive the discount, and happy shopping!


DIY Turkey day bunting

Hey again.  After making more progress and almost being finished with my napkin rings from the last post – I got flowers from the hubs.  They were gorg, but I kinda obsessed over the fabric that surrounded the bouquet.  It was this orange netting thing I immediately knew I had to save.  Wasn’t sure for what… but I folded it up anyways.  Then as I was sewing I thought about the tablescapes again.  Hmm, I don’t have a banner or bunting like I just did for Halloween, why not make one?  AND OUT OF THAT FABRIC!  Make it so, number one.

It was a rainy day today, so I pulled out some craft stuff for the kids and I to play with.  I started out with just wanting to use the orange fabric.  It turned out that it was too sheer against the kraft, so I doubled it up by folding it into a pennant shape and gluing it to the kraft.  I also stuck a heavy book on top of them while drying.  After adding my glitter letters, punching holes in them and stringing, I decided that there still was not enough contrast from far away.  So, I found some ivory handmade paper and cut it into 1×1″ squares.  I put the letters on top of the squares, and viola.  I also covered the middle marker in the same paper, and added some paper cut arrows to tie back to my Evite theme that featured them.  They are a little too big for the pennant, but I was tired at that point.  My 2 year old was really acting 2 today.  I’m pretty happy with it, but we’ll see if I don’t tweak it some more before this Thursday!  🙂

The Thanksgiving project

I’m hosting Thanksgiving. WAIT. I’m hosting Thanksgiving?! Oh boy, evite up, up and away!! Here’s to hoping everyone RSVP’s in a timely manner.

So our families together make for a large gathering, to say the least. A few months back my Mom and I picked up some fall-ish fabric to make table runners with, since most of my runners are major holiday related or springy in color. I really liked this patterned beige fabric with wheat stalks, it also had some gold metallic on it and I’m a sucker for metallic prints. So there you have it. We also chose a patterned black fabric that had ravens on top of pumpkins, which I thought was funny and good for the kids. So, we made a two sided table runner, one for each of us.

There was fabric leftover, and I hate keeping it around to find something else to do with it. Most of it was scraps, but I kept thinking napkin rings would be great- and a good excuse to try out the button hole stitch on my sewing machine.

After cutting out 20 strips of each fabric and strips of batting, I was ready to rock. I must have put the first one together incorrectly about three times, before my Mom had to step in. I guess I don’t sew enough… But I digress. Sewed them wrong sides together, flipped them inside out, pressed them, then sewed them shut. This is where the button comes in. Anyone who has a newer sewing machine got a long plastic foot that everyone looked at like, WTFrench toast is this? It’s the button hole foot. Sure! I knew that.

It is stupid easy to use. Once you go through the directions once, you are a pro. And I’m excited I get to do 20 of them, they’re so easy. Mark with chalk, line it up, press the button and presto. All you have to do then is open it up using your seam ripper. The photos below show you some of the steps, including where I was too lazy to drag out the ironing board for bookmark sized items. Yes, that’s my sleeve board and I’m in the hallway. So what?

I’m undecided on whether or not to add a button to the flip side too… How about we just get through Thanksgiving first. Okay?

I’ll try to remember to post some pics of the tablescape on Thanksgiving so you can see it in all it’s glory. 🙂

Etsy shop sales & the “storybook ending”

Blog, oh hey!  I woke up this morning as usual, getting my oldest up for school and trying to not wake anyone else up.  After the initial ‘wake up call’, I grab my phone and check email and look at updates.  An Etsy Conversations email?  A potential sale??  Awesome.  Seriously awesome way to start the day.  A gal wanted to know if I had more quantity than what was listed of my Lined Paper Stationery, because she was going to send her boyfriend letters while he was deployed.  She also wanted to make sure the cards were “big enough” because he was going to be gone for 9 months, so she’d need room to write!  I emailed her back saying I absolutely could make more and reiterated that it was a fold over card, so there was plenty of space to write on.  Enter: the sale.  She wanted 20, and I happily obliged.

WAIT.  Hold the phone.  Did I read that right??  She is buying my stationery to write her boyfriend, who is about to be deployed??  As in, these are going overseas to be a small part of a long distance love?  At that moment I was instantly transported in my mind to my Grandmothers’ home, with my Father clearing out the house after her passing.  I was about 22.  This was many years ago, but I will never ever forget it.

Standing next to my Father in his Mother’s room, at her dresser in the corner.  It’s never an easy thing to deal with emotions that surround losing a loved one.  To the right was a large window, and we would take turns staring out of it and trying to keep it together while sorting and boxing belongings up.  I remember I was the one that rummaged through the drawer when we found them, the things placed there and probably not looked at since my Grandfather’s passing 8 years earlier.  An old school Gump’s Department Store box, the contents of which was awesome and also awe-inspiring.  My Grandmother had kept the letters she and my Grandfather sent each other while he was serving in the Army in WWII.  Most of them were from his deployment in North Africa, which was something I hadn’t been told.  I knew he served, but that was it.  So after the short history lesson about occupying North Africa as a tactical move, we continued through the box.  His dice, some photos of him and his Army buddies while stationed, two packs of 40’s topless pinup girl playing cards, his dog tags and his medals.  For me, it was a treasure trove of what kids don’t pay attention to when they’re young.  At the time, I was more moved that these letters still existed than anything else.  I didn’t open them, because I wasn’t sure this was the time and I didn’t know if my Dad would even be open to me reading them.  It just felt like I should ask his permission.  So I didn’t ask.

Today I kicked myself mentally because this day occurred about 12 years ago.  I saw the box my Dad had labeled for himself “to go through” of my Grandparents things, from that day, recently in the garage.  I’ll have to think of a way to ask to go through it… because I really want to see the letters again.

Back to the stationery sale today – I was just so thrilled to think back on finding old letters from war-time(s), that I took crazy care in putting her order together.  I mean, I usually put a ton of effort and care into every order I put out, but this was so much more personal for me.  After putting the cards and envelopes together, I included a small hand written note wishing her boyfriend a safe deployment and my best wishes.  If the letters she writes to him on the stationery I made keep them close to each other… Wouldn’t it be lovely to be a part of a storybook ending?  I think so.


More adventures in Faire-y Fairs, the F3 Oakland Event!

So I said that I would write something before my next fair, who knew it would take so little time?!!  A friend of mine lives in a very cool building that is nothing but live/work lofts, and apparently has events periodically.  This particular event happens every three months and on the 3rd Friday of whatever the month, hence the title F3.  My friend has only lived in the building a few months and hadn’t been to an event, so she didn’t know much and I had zero expectations.

My plan WAS to bring jewelry, stationery and a few knits to sell out of her loft space, somewhere.  I didn’t actually remember to put the stationery IN the car, so it stayed at home, not selling.  Great work, Lisa!  But I digress.  I got to her place right before the event started, at 6pm.  It was 6-10pm, and at the very least, I was hanging out SANS chitlins and drinking with my friends.  They had me at “hello”, so to speak.  I took a table from her, and got to work setting up.  Mainly pinning my jewelry onto foam core boards that I had spray painted with black chalkboard paint, and planned to write on with these super sweet liquid chalk pens that I found at Michael’s.  I think it turned out alright, but I think I need to fine tune my presentations a bit more.  I’m always looking to improve…

Lexi had baked up a lot of goodies that were to draw folks in, which worked like gangbusters.  Right out of the gate a lovely woman sauntered in and started chatting with us and tried on a few things of mine.  She walked out with the most complicated 7 strand necklace I had made, so I felt great about the night starting so well!  And when I say she walked out, she paid me and literally wore it out the door.  Felt good.  😉  Lexi had these AWESOME, and I mean AWESOME stuffed animal narwhals that everyone loved.  She also had these great totes with a lumberjack silhouette applique on them, and some sweet dino hoodies and repurposed ceramic cake stands.

Throughout the 4 hour stint we had a lot of folks come and go, and some even came through a few times.  I think the baked goods were part of that… but hey, traffic is traffic, amirite?!  At the very end of the night there WAS this shorter latin man that latched onto my very gorgeous and tall friend Lacey, and things got weird because he kept missing the obvious social queues to leave.  It wasn’t stalkerish or anything, but more comical because he had clearly had his fair share of wine that night.

Anyhow, we had a great time and I cannot wait to attend the next F3Oakland event!!  If you’d like info on what the event is, and how to get there click here to go to the f3oakland website.  Enjoy the photos below of our adventures!

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Adventures in Faire-y Faires

In passing at my oldest daughter’s school one morning, a fellow mom mentioned a Maker Faire that is annually held in Oakland.  I inquired about it, and it turned out that it is a PTA driven school fundraiser of sorts.  That is attached to benefiting the StudioOne Art Center in Oakland.  I recruited my Mom and my Aunt, who had previously done boutiques and craft fair things when I was a kid.  Looooooong story short, I applied after the deadline and was denied.  I thought, well it didn’t hurt to see if they had any room, so maybe next time. The very next day, I got an email with a booth number and instructions on the Faire day’s events.  OK, so we’re in then. Great!

Cut to the week before the Faire.  We decided on a course of action and inventory, and what projects we wanted to finish before then.  It was an eclectic inventory mix, but mostly centered on hand sewn goods.  With some jewelry and stationery thrown in for good measure.  During the week before the Faire day, the folks running the show held an open house that we attended.  They showed us our location, which was inside the school’s art room.  NOT in the Art Studio.  This should have been an important distinction.  It was not, at the time.  My Mom and I decided on how to set up and how to make our section look cohesive, and then went back to finishing projects for the big day.

The day before the Faire, I was making tags for jewelry and applying them to everything, my mom was embroidering like a mad woman, and I even went to Kinko’s to spend $35 on two 16×20″ posters I made to highlight the fact that a scarf in our Etsy shop was featured on lilsugar.com .  It was an “as seen on” sign with screen shots from the site, which turned out great.  It turned out that our location though, was not so great in the grand scheme of things.

I mentioned we were in the school art room.  EVERY OTHER RETAIL SELLER was in a “Crafters Hall” on the opposite side of the same building.  So, it’s logical to say that if you attended the faire and walked that “hall” room, you thought that was it.  Because there was one sign, ONE, that was way above eye line and not even in the Crafter’s Hall to tell you there might be more stuff to see.  We shared this art room with another seller, a pair of girls; young, nice and one even worked at the school.  They also noticed the severe lack of traffic.  I saw a list of “locations”, but it wasn’t a listing of who was where; it was more of a list of buildings that were open.  Thank god I tweeted what building we were in, otherwise my 3 followers wouldn’t have found us at all!!

Ok.  I’ve mentioned I disliked the location.  I also mentioned I disliked the lack of traffic due to the location.  We managed to make back the cost of the booth, and a little extra.  This was NOT what I had planned, as I had broken it down to we only needed 10 people to spend $5 an hour, etc.  We’re there for 7 hours- you get the picture I’m trying to paint here.  Needless to say our experience was SEVERELY disappointing.  Especially after the folks running it had touted they get about 5,000 people on average at this event.  They may get that many people, but this wasn’t a Faire for retail makers in my opinion.  So why call it that?  It was literally all demonstration based!  There were a ton of demo stations, a ton of burning-man-types with really large metal toys that spat fire… which I really think is awesome.  Really, I do.  But this was not what I paid a $100 fee to be a part of that day.  I guess the fact that I asked to be inside was a detriment?  There were folks outside selling, I hope they had a way better day than I did.

The best part of the entire day, was that one nice woman approached us and said she liked our work.  She also said she was trying to find makers for an upcoming December event at Albany Middle School, which upon first thought was not something I was into.  But that was literally based on the time spent and wasted at StudioOne / Park Day School.  I’m a little more inclined to attend this December event, only because something good HAD to come out of that day 😉

See you again in December, when I blog about attending that event!!  Or before then.  I’ll blog about stuff before then, I’m sure.  Stay tuned, and stay crafty!!

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