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!

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!


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.


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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The Baby Shower

Holy Moly, I did a LOT of prep for my sister in-law’s baby shower.  I won’t lie though, it was a lot of fun to do.  I enjoyed all of it.  My husband thinks I spend too much time doing things for free… I respond with “I’m honing my skillz”.  I mean, you have to hone.  Otherwise you don’t have a portfolio to show anyone to actually GET work with.  Just sayin.

So, please enjoy the photos below.  There are a few that you may have already seen, so I will just link previous posts to them as they appear.

For the shower we had place settings decorated on a few tables and a buffet style lunch.  We also had a fun “Things that go pop” candy station table, with things like pop rocks and popcorn.  Just to poke fun at my sister in-law mostly, and have an excuse to pig on candy.  🙂    I tried to keep the theme from the baby shower invitation as much as possible for the decor, so you will see baby blocks, trains, and a few specific zoo animals.  I was able to pirate the actual image from the shower invitation from Papyrus’ website, which is probably a copyright infringement of some sort.  I can’t endorse it, but have at it!

DIY Baby Shower Paper Buntings / Banners

In my humble opinion, you can’t have a shower without a few banners or buntings.  You can’t.  You also must have onesies, everywhere.  In this case, it was my sister in-law’s baby shower.  She’s having a boy, so right off the bat I knew I needed a ton of blue stuff.  So off to Michael’s it was!

I’m kinda in love/obsessed with kraft paper these days, especially after throwing a bridal shower last month.  I previously bought a pack of letter sized kraft, so I already had kraft paper on hand.  For crafting.  Krafting?  LOL.  Assorted ‘dollar’ blue ribbon spools in the same shades of blue were picked up, as well as rustic garden twine.  I found adorable jolee’s stickers in baby shoe shapes, sticker letters, some adorable glitter letters in a teal-y blue, as well as “special delivery” balloon stickers.  I also found some really sweet packs of assorted papers, I’m pretty sure they were Shabby Chic label which I usually don’t care for – but I liked these even though some had florals on them.  I figured the shower really is FOR my sister in-law, it was okay to be a little girly with my blues.  So I justified.  The paper was square shaped, and I couldn’t immediately decide how to use it.  I knew I wanted to make a large sized bunting, so I cut large triangles out of kraft to spell out “baby zilli” with spacers on either size and to separate the words.  After cutting the triangles, I figured that I could glue the square blue paper sheets at an angle to cover about half of the kraft triangle.  I then applied the glittery sticker letters, and the baby stickers to the spacers.  After I laid out the entire banner, I decided the only way to apply the triangles to the twine was to sew it onto the paper triangles.  I used a super basic zig zag stitch on a really wide setting, and it turned out fabulous.

After finishing the large shower bunting, I had scraps left over that I was determined to use.  So a smaller banner was in order, for a special candy table that one of our party planners saw at another shower.  The table was to be labeled “Things that go pop”, and be filled with things like pop rocks, popcorn, ring pops, etc.  I used the scrap kraft, but discovered I could literally cover it completely by folding the patterned shabby chic paper over it.  So the kraft ended up being a stiffener in this case.  I’m okay with it.  I alternated paper patterns, and applied colorful sticker letters in alternating colors as well.  After sewing the first bunting together, I decided to sew this smaller banner together onto some of the blue grosgrain ribbon I picked up.  This turned out fantastic, until I realized I had sewn the letters backwards… which I then laughed at and ripped apart.  Only to be put back together in the correct order.  🙂  Don’t drink and craft, folks.  After finding out what candy had been bought, I opened up MS Word and put together a matching table tent for the “things that go pop” station table.  Pretty cute, if you ask me.

P.S. The “things that go pop” banner is on sale now at my shop on Etsy.com – Odds & Ends by lisaBbowman!

TheJoyofSew.blogspot post

Hi everyone!  I am super excited today, I was notified through Etsy that a blogger and shop owner from the UK blogged about one of my stationery items in my Etsy shop!  Not gonna lie, big day.  Smiling.  So hard.

The blog is called the Joy of Sew, and is pretty interesting to look through.  So if you have a moment, check out her post!

Stationery set of 5 Sewn notecards by lisaBbowman on Etsy.com!

Stationery set of 5 Sewn notecards by lisaBbowman on Etsy.com!

The Bridal Shower!

And just as quickly as it started, it seemed like it ended – we all had a load of fun.  The food was amazing, the decor looked great and I was happy with the favors I doled out. 🙂

Here are the photos as promised, that I said I would provide in order to make all my latest DIY posts make sense.  Please feel free to email me if you’d like to know anything specific that I didn’t cover in the post.  Enjoy!

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Handmade Paper Party Garlands, post from 3/29/12

Personalized Candy Favors, post from 3/24/12

Personalized Teacup Candle Favors, post from 3/11 & 3/14/12

Personalized Matchboxes, post from 3/17/12

Planted Moss & Succulent Table Centerpieces, post from 10/17/11

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