Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category


Guys, I am FLOORED by the number of you who stopped by last week for Giveaway Day! The sincerest of thanks to each of you for leaving a comment, and a thrilled welcome to my new readers. Out of 343 entries, Mr. Random Number Generator picked….#209, Kim from Pokeytown Kim. Kim, you’ve been emailed and I will get your package in the mail as soon as you send me your address.

And because I can’t have a post without a photo, here’s a sneak peek at my latest completed project. Full review forthcoming in the next post. Thanks again to all, and congratulations Kim!

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Giveaway Day!

I’m very excited to be doing my first ever blog giveaway — and I can’t think of a better inaugural event than this! After launching The Hungry Crafter in February 2010 and bumbling my way through the first few months of blogging, I ran across May Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew!. After compulsively working my way through the giveaway blog list, I found myself launched headfirst into the wide world of craft blogs, and a new obsession began. A Google Reader account, Flickr Pro account, new URL, Facebook page and a (brand-spanking-new for you this week!) Feedburner feed later, I can honestly say that I have learned more than I ever could have imagined from all my fellow bloggers in the past ten months. I’ve loved blogland so much that I’ve been waiting ever since then for the opportunity to participate in Giveaway Day myself. For more info on Giveaway Day (and to find the master list of participating blogs), visit Sew, Mama, Sew!

For new readers, a warm welcome to you! My name is Jo, aka “The Hungry Crafter,” and this is where I work on building an idyllic world of all things handmade — both crafty and tasty — and explore related Boston-area events. For more about the philosophy behind this blog, read this entry. For links to some of my favorite tutorials and ongoing project lists, check out the “To Make” and “No, Really, To Make” tabs up at the top. I hope you like what you see on this blog — if so, please subscribe. Tools for e-mail, Facebook, and/or RSS subscription are over there on the top right.

You may notice that this has morphed into much more of a food blog than a craft blog over the past six months or so…to which I can only shrug my shoulders and say, “Hey! I never promised to be a *prolific* crafter…just a hungry one!” And hungry I am! The good news for all you crafty folks is that I’ll definitely have a couple of new crafting posts up just as soon as the holidays are over. And I bet a couple of you are hungry too… 😉

But enough chatter — let’s have a giveaway!

It seemed only proper that I should give away the first craft to grace the pages of this blog — the linen patchwork apron. You can check out the original post here for more pictures.

And just for fun, I wanted to share a little extra something for your own crafty pleasure: a fat quarter of Heather Ross‘s blue unicorn from the original Far, Far Away collection, and three hand-covered buttons featuring some critters from my Japanese linen stash.


To enter, just leave a comment below — that’s it! One entry per person, and the giveaway will close at 12pm EST on Friday, December 17th. I’ll be away on the 18th, so will draw and announce the winner on Sunday. Good luck, and thanks so much for stopping by!

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Another thing I love about summer in Boston is the Sunday craft market in the South End, known as the SoWa Open Market. Now, if you’re in it for the antiques, don’t expect any bargains. If you’re in it for the food vendors and farmstands, I’m partial to the Copley Sq. Farmer’s Market on the weekdays, myself. Art and crafts? This is THE place to be. Seriously, there is so much to look at, such wonderful quality craftsmanship, wide variety of vendors… Just thinking about it makes me a little sad that I’m not going again this weekend, but I’ve got bigger fish to fry — namely the Newport Folk Festival! But more on that later.

One of the great parts about SoWa Market is that the vendors change week to week, so you can go repeatedly and still see something new each time. There’s usually some real eclectic things there. For example, you might see something like this:

Vintage Clothes Seller

Trailer Detail

A few stands over from the trailer was Josephine Plaszewski, a woman selling amazing lamps made from antique silver teapots and platters. I’m still kicking myself for not getting a photo, but you can check out her website. A few booths over was a man from NYC selling gorgeous terrariums and other plant art.

Prefer more traditional craft show wares? There’s plenty of hand-sewn goods, like this gorgeous pillow from Red Staggerwing Designs:

Look at that amazing running dog stitching in the grey parts!

Pillow back: That's a STITCHED design, not a print!

There was also a friendly woman from NH selling beautiful kids’ clothes made with all my favorite designer fabrics under the name little girl Pearl. I had a nice chat with the woman from Venezie Designs, who sells fabric, scrap packs and patterns. Apparently, she started off as a crafter until she realized she enjoyed buying fabric more than using it, and started her online fabric store. Hmmmm… Food for thought.

For all the hipsters out there, several vendors sell quirky silkscreened tees, ironic buttons, and wallets made out of mens ties and the like. For example, who knew until SoWa that I could get my boyfriend a t-shirt of a giant ape riding an ostrich? And more to the point, why would I? Because clearly he needed it.


Or take a look at this lovely, which, yes, did come home with me — a wonderful artist’s representation of the old feminist slogan “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” on a women’s grey v-neck tee. (both t-shirts from www.sharpshirter.com)

Bicycle close-up

And then there’s the straight up visual artists. I was happy to see a couple of encaustic artists, which I think is one of the coolest looking art forms. I’ve been looking for local classes for a while, and was thrilled to find that one of the artists there is actually starting up classes in Boston under Fiddlehead Arts! I was also happy to see Bumble Belly Designs at SoWa again this year (I found some great Christmas presents from her booth last year), and picked up a couple of small cards to frame. Aren’t they adorable? I love the maps in the background.

Cards by Bumble Belly Designs

I also picked up this great print from SepiaLepus, who, I just found out, lives in the same town as I do. I couldn’t resist the magnets as well, which are happily co-habitating on my fridge at the moment:

Print and magnets

Want more? Check out the websites of several SoWa vendors:

*bought an awesome wooden spatula from here – my new favorite tool!

**bought the most stunning pottery from them last year: a shallow bowl with a gorgeous dappled purple/pink glaze that looks like the belly of a rainbow trout

***i am DYING for one of her envelope rings. WHY must they be so pricey, WHY?

Wait. Did someone say “Newport Folk Festival”? Oh right. I did. I’m off to Newport! John Prine! Doc Watson! Richie Havens! The real treat for me, though, is one of the very first performers of the day — a young (19 years old?) gal from Texas named Sarah Jarosz. I read an article about her in the Boston Globe last summer, as she had just moved to Boston to attend New England Conservatory. It piqued my interest, so I looked her up, and the rest is history. New favorite artist for the year. She is truly amazing — period. Not just “for her age”. Amazing. If you like banjos and mandolins and guitars, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch, you should check Sarah out. See you after Newport!

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Site update

Just a quick note to let you know about a couple of new pages I added to my blog. Check them out! They’re right up there at the top!

These will be updated on an ongoing basis. I have a love of lists and organization, proving that I really wasn’t adopted or a moon-baby (as my sister used to like to tell me), but rather am a true, bona fide Farina/LeRoy. “To Read” is in the works. I thought about adding a “To Buy” page, but really, that’s just too dangerous, methinks. So I’m going to pass on that one. For now.

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Summer time thieves #2

As promised, part two of “Where has the summer gone?”:  the always fun (and dangerous) fabric shopping. Now, I should preface all this by saying that I truly do not NEED any more fabric. I have plenty. P-L-E-N-T-Y. But, there’s been what I like to call extenuating circumstances.

Extenuating circumstance #1: a trip to NYC!

I don’t think I have words to say what a fabulous time I had. Dear old friends from childhood, friends from college, new friends, and of course the best boyfriend in the world, not to mention more booze than you can shake a stick at. Plus some amazing food as well, of course, but more on that (with photos) in a later post.

Work’s been extremely busy, so we ended up rolling into Penn Station around 10:30 Friday night without a plan for the weekend, other than one: I would finally get to visit what I imagined to be the mecca of all fabric lovers, Purl Soho. The pilgrimage took place the next day in the midst of a sweltering New York afternoon. After filling our bellies in the Lower East Side, we took a long, lazy walk over to Purl Soho, where my non-sewing friends kindly browsed the store with me for a few minutes before excusing themselves to congregate at a bar around the corner to watch the US get knocked out of the World Cup.

I was left in peace. Too overcome by the bolts of fabric surrounding me to notice the coolness of the air conditioner, I made my way through the store in a trance-like state: eyes darting, fingers touching. One lap around the store, then two, slowly converging on my prey. My credit card said no, but my fingers felt the soft drape of the Liberty cotton lawn — begging to become a beautiful summer shirt to accompany me through the rest of these hot summer days — and my heart said yes. I would do it. The fabric would be mine.

Now, I of course don’t have a *pattern* yet, but…details, details. Part of me thinks I’ll just do a simple tank top, using the pink for straps and edging; the other part thinks I should hold out for something a bit more substantial, with flirty cap sleeves, and the pink used for a waistband insert.

What I loved about Purl Soho was the simplicity. It was smaller than I expected (as were most of the places I visited in New York–I underestimate the limited real estate there), but it was absolutely a store of quality over quantity. (I feel compelled to add that they’ve recently redone their online store as well, and the quantity matches quality there. Yowsa.) The store has a stunning layout, and is a true feast for the eyes. I also picked up a couple of packs of high-quality wool felt in an assortment of colors, plus some shot cotton solids and a couple of beautiful prints to make handbags that have been designing themselves in my head:

I took a deep breath, hid the receipt in the far reaches of my bag, never to be looked at again, and rejoined my friends at the Broome St. Bar for a couple of good English pints. Ahhh. What an afternoon.

Extenuating circumstance #2:  fabric.com sale

I believe I’ve mentioned previously that my favorite fabric designer is Anna Maria Horner. She creates gorgeous fabrics in bright bold colors and modern designs that I just adore. SO, of course when I read on the Brown Paper Packages blog that fabric.com was having a major sale that included some of Anna’s fabrics, well… Justification is such an ugly word, so let’s say that I took advantage of an excellent opportunity:

Cool colors

Warm colors

And finally, for good measure, I’d like to introduce you to Owlie, who just felt the need to pop in and play with the fabrics along with me. I made him over the winter from a kit I purchased from Fancy Tiger. I had intentions of eventually posting some sort of step-by-step post on how I made him, but he just didn’t want to wait any longer for an introduction. Hello, Owlie.

And last but not least, a collection of fabrics for a pair of new pillowcases:

Oh. I’m sorry. When I said “last but not least,” did that sound like that was the end of my fabric shopping adventures? Oh, no, my friends. Oh no.

Extenuating circumstance #3: link to new fabric store + coupon + glass of wine = forgetful spending

So I finally banned myself from buying any more fabric once I discovered that I forgot that I had placed a particular order of fabric. Bad, bad, bad. But did I mention cute, cute, cute? Check out these lovely Japanese fabrics from Crybaby’s Boutique:

Too cute!

And there we have it (OK, well not completely, I actually got a couple of not-pictured knits while I was at it). Phew. Now that I’m officially banned from buying more fabric, perhaps I’ll get some sewing done? Or are there MORE summer time thieves lurking around the corner? Perhaps something to do with my ultimate distraction? We ARE in the middle of farm share season after all… Once again, to be continued…

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Finally…a craft

Truthfully, this project has taken much longer than it should have. Technically speaking, it started back in the fall of 2008 when I went out to Detroit to visit Haberman’s Fabrics. No wait, I meant visit my mom & step-dad… Visiting parents aside, there’s a couple of things I always look forward to when out in Detroit: Haberman’s, a visit to Pewabic Pottery, and — a new addition to the list after my last visit — Motor City Brewing Company. (I know this is supposed to be a crafting post, but let me digress for one second here and say: Nut Brown Ale brewed in-house served with a roasted pear, fig, and gorgonzola pizza??? HEAVEN! Now no more about food…)

That particular Thanksgiving visit in 2008 was my first visit to Haberman’s. What a visit! My mom and I were in there for hours, and, amazingly enough, SHE was the one who had to drag ME out of there (another first, to be sure). I left with a beautiful selection of fabrics, including those slated for the apron project I’m sharing with you today.

The apron pattern is from the book A is for Apron. Fantastic book — I highly recommend it, and have several more patterns I’d like to take a stab at. I finally started working on the apron this past January, and then it sat on my ironing board for a good 2-3 months once I put together the patchwork strips, because I just wasn’t convinced about the fabric selection. I just felt like it was a little too…precious. What do you think?

Check out the duck lace!

Towel tab

Back side: muslin lining

Pocket detail

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Minor setback

So, this weekend’s crafting adventures would have gone much more smoothly if I had had this:

Pattern pieces have been cut.  More to come…

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I am craving spring.  What else could explain why project #1 is a bright green, short sleeve shirt made out of cotton voile?

The pattern is “Prairie Girl” by Favorite Things, and the fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s “Little Folks” line of fabric (see link at right under People; she is one of my absolute favorite fabric designers)

Prairie Girl Pattern by Favorite Things

I’ll be making the shirt on the left, although depending on how that comes out, I can certainly see myself continuing on to do a dress or two.  Needless to say, based on my last post, I will NOT be making the optional “dickie.”

And here’s the fabric:

Little Folks cotton voile in Meadow, by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit Fabrics

Yes, that’s my cat, Zoe.  Expect frequent cameos by Zoe in this blog.  I can’t help myself; it’s genetic.  (A side story:  for my one year anniversary of quitting smoking, I bought myself a lovely silver Victorian locket.  People who know me well asked, “Are you going to put a picture of Nate in it?”  People who know me even better asked, “Are you going to put a picture of Zoe in it?”  Sorry dear, the cat wins.)

Work in progress photos to follow…

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