Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Post 4. (I should post more.)

Oh wow. I really don't update this blog much anymore. Only 3 posts so far this year? I'm ashamed.

I'm proud of what I've done with Club Teasdale though. Two years ago I started my quest to get it open and now I have a successful year of a daily after school program under my belt, I taught 3 camps - craft, nature, and drama - in our building this summer, and we're now 2 months in to our second year of after school activities and we have a full roster. It's not always easy but I can't imagine a better job for me right now.

I still manage to crank out some kokoleos from time to time. Here are some pillows, banners, and a cape I sent out into the world in the past few months:



Here are some mermaid tails I made for a paly my daughtrer was in this summer at the Burien Little Theater.

And here's an apron I made for my friend Carolyn Danza Ossorio, a.k.a. Pippimamma, to wear in her web series entitled "Cookin and Trippin at Camp Ossorio." 


Here she is wearing her kokoleo apron on my favorite local morning show New Day Northwest!

It's fun to see fabric that once in my studio now on my television. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Glasses Holder for a Glasses Hoarder

Don't judge me by my glasses hoard. At least they're organized!

I've been mulling over this idea for a while now, especially since my latest shipment from Zenni Optical arrived. Years ago I'd pay $300+ for a pair of glasses and wear them until they fell apart but now I spend $75 a year and get several pairs. They were starting to pile up in my bedside drawer, on counter tops, etc. so today I resolved to make this handy glasses holder and hang it next to my closet for easy access.

It only took about an hour to make. Here's how I did it:

First, I cut a rectangle of soft brown corduroy 14 inches wide by 30 inches long. Then I folded it in half lengthwise and stitched up the side.

  Next, I ironed it flat with the seam in the middle and inserted a vintage necktie with the front of the tie facing the seam and then I stitched the bottom closed securing the tie in place.

Then I turned it right side out, gathered the tie in increments, and straight stitched it to the corduroy. Later, I went over the straight stitches with machine embroidery stitches because I thought it looked better.

Finally I folded over the top, stitched a channel, and inserted a chopstick to hang it.  Viola!

This area is right next to my closet and faces the mirror where I apply my makeup. Now all I have to do is choose a pair to match my outfit/mood and go.

After I hung it up I found a few more pairs and added them to to top and sides.

I think I can stop buying glasses now.  Any more and I'll have to make another one of these. 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Another kokoleo banner/pillow update

That last post makes it seem as if kokoleo is kaput. Nope, just scaled back a little. Luckily, I have some longtime customers who keep me in business with commissions. I haven't done a personalized pillow/banner update in a while, so here's my latest batch:

The customer asked for initials so I did it monogram-style.


One week I got 2 commissions for the same name from customers on different sides of the country.

I made these pillows as a donation for an auction at my old summer camp Peterkin in West Virginia. They made $400!

 And of course, I had to make this...

to bring a little kokoleo into my new workspace.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Out in front, behind the scenes.

Six. That's how many blog entries I wrote last year. It's an all time low. Let's see if I can do a little better this year. It's not that I wasn't doing anything blog-worthy. In fact, 2013 will go down in my mind as one of my better years, though there's little evidence of this on my blog. This year I learned that sometimes it's best to work behind the scenes.

In years past, this blog has traced the evolution of kokoleo - essentially, the things I make and sometimes sell online or in shops or at craft shows. I used to spend hours putting together detailed step-by-step tutorials in the hopes they would get featured on the well-known D.I.Y. websites or reblogged with a link and shoutout by some better-known crafter. These were the little victories  cherished in my effort to "build my brand", though they were rarely lucrative. More often than not, I was ripped off by people (some who I thought were friends in the craft community) with the same goal - to get featured, reblogged, recognized, published, etc. It's disheartening to see something you shared slightly repackaged by a fellow crafter or worse, reprinted word for word on a for-profit site with no credit given. It was enough to make me second guess sharing my ideas in the first place. So I stopped. Consequently my blog became barren and boring and "building my brand" got put on the back burner.

 As many hours as I used to spend crafting my online presence, in 2013 I spent it carving out a place for myself in my immediate community. I became the PTO secretary at my kids school and helped pull off a 30-act talent show. I taught a Mother Goose preschool class and Nature craft camp at the community center. I joined my Homeowners Association board and designed a neighborhood newsletter. I started attending city forums and neighborhood planning meetings and began to speak up for things I thought would benefit my neighborhood. I met repeatedly with city officials and developed a financially sustainable business model - a fee based program where the teacher (me) earns a living wage and the city shares in the profits - to convert an abandoned city building into a successful after school program - Club Teasdale. Four months into the program, and we're still going strong. There was a story about us in the newspaper and we were featured, along with the mayor, on the cover of the city services guide that goes out to every household in the city.

All this means little to anyone outside our city. There are no blog badges, page hits, or number of "likes" I can look to for validity. This is what life must have been like before the internet, when the impact you made among your neighbors was all that mattered. What a novel concept!

Friday, November 01, 2013

kokoleo-style Spy vs. Spy

UPDATE: My tutorial for these costumes won second place in the Instructables Halloween Costume Contest this year!

The last 3 years my kids have wanted to do brother/sister team costumes for Halloween. In 2011 they were Finn and Jake from Adventure Time. In 2012 they were Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show. This year, they wanted to be these guys:

They don't read MAD magazine but they watch the animated sketch show on Cartoon Network and love the stop motion Spy Vs. Spy vignettes. This may be the last year they want to do a team costume so I had to oblige. I took a few pictures throughout my process to help anyone else who
 may want to sew some Spy vs. Spy masks too. Here's the gist of how I made them: 

I started with some stiff fusible interfacing - one layer in the shape of the mask and one smaller layer for stablity. Between the two layers I inserted a piece of sheer black satin and straight-stitched around the eyes, then trimmed the excess satin. 

Next on top of mask-shaped interfacing, I lightly ironed (be careful - if your iron is too hot the fleece will melt) some white fleece about an inch larger than interfacing, traced and cut out eye holes, and embroider-stitched around the eyes (then went over it with a Sharpie to make it even darker). 

Then I traced with a pencil some eyebrows and a mouth and sewed an embroider stitch over top (and again went over those stitches with a Sharpie to make it darker. 

Next, I sewed the nose part into the shape of a cone and folded the fleece over the interfacing and sewed all the way around the edge of the mask. Then I hot-glued it to the inside of a hat. 

Lastly, I made them these bags to hold their candy.

And here they are, ready for mischief:


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