Saturday, December 30, 2006

Before we get too far from the holidays, I thought I'd post a few pictures. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of tree trimming, shopping, cookie-making, present-wrapping, present unwrapping, sight-seeing, and family bonding. Observe:

A tiny nativity I made in 1991:

In my family it is tradition (going back 30+ years) to "hide the ugly Santa."

Sage makes cookies with his grandparents:

Twas the night before Christmas:

. . . and then the morning after:

I hope your holidays have been full of family, friends and fun. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

BazBiz in brief

Last Saturday was the Bazaar Bizarre at the Shrine Auditorium in downtown L.A. It certainly wasn't as well organized/publicized/attended/financially successful as Felt Club, but it was an opportunity to meet some indie aficionados and hang out with cool crafters. The night before, I made these cupcakes for the BazBiz Cakewalk:

They were little strawberry cupcake boobs and each one had a flag that said "Breast Wishes for a Happy Nude Year!", inspired by my contribution last year. I heard they were one of the first to be chosen among the cakewalk winners. Someone liked my boobies!

Here I am at my booth:

Wow, that looks kinda sparse. To the right is a wall-o-racks that isn't translating well. Two tiers + one clothing rack+ one purse rack + one table full of stuff = kokoleo overload.

When I see other vendors walking in with only a bin or two and setting up in less than 15 minutes, I'm jealous. Meanwhile, I'm making numerous trips to the car lugging tons of clothes, pillows, monsters, purses, accessories and the paraphernalia needed to display it all. Why do I always do things the hard way? Why am I not drawn to creating small things like toothpick sculptures or matchbox paintings? My life would be a lot simpler then. . . but then also, less kokoleoier.

I didn't have much time to mingle during the show, but toward the end Erik and Sage showed up and I quickly took Sage around to see all the wacky stuff. I bought him this shirt from The Mighty Squirm because it remined me of him and Kali, and this hat from Things That Are Square:

Don't dare call him a frog though. He will inform you, "I'm not a frog! I'm a dead monster." This hat paired with some kokoleo flame print monster pants makes Sage the weirdest looking kid at preschool. Luckily, he doesn't mind.

It was nice having extra hands at the end to disassemble my racks. Sage gladly lugged bags out to the car and wheeled my clothing rack through the parking lot like a scooter.

I, in turn, treated them to a nice dinner at our favorite Italian restarunt. Two purses sold = one nice dinner out.

I promised them I'd cut down on the craft shows for a while to do more family fun stuff. Speaking of that. . .

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Felt Club XL Holiday Event

The Felt Club XL Holiday event was yesterday and it was a BLAST! It was pretty much like this the entire time:

Jam-packed with people who appreciate handmade goods. Shows like these make me realize that there is a reason why I make all the things I do. Although an item may sit in my studio for days, weeks, months, even years, someday someone is going to see it and and say, "That's the one I want. I love it!" Yesterday was one of those days and I was able to send a whole bunch of kokoleo items out into the world.

Here was my setup:

One of my sixth grade students, Lillye, showed up with her dad. Lillye is one of the most creative 12-year-olds I've ever met. She has a sewing machine and enjoys working with felt so last week I gave her a postcard for the show. I was so happy to see her there and she was in awe of all the cool handmade stuff. She purchased this purse from me and I gave her a good deal because it was one of those things that when I made it, I wondered, "Who in the world is going to want this crazy thing?" I'm glad Lillye was the one. I told her I predict that in ten years she'll be doing shows like these.

Another exciting purchase was when someone who was doing the interior design of a treehouse for an L.A. executive bought these three vintage calendar linen pillows:

I couldn't bring myself to ask who the executive was (this is Hollywood, after all) but she said she would send me pictures. Sweet! Is sounds like my kind of place.

There's nothing better than when someone walks up smiling, and says, "I'd like to buy this," or, "I really like your stuff." I like to tell people the history behind the items. Like, "That's sequined applique came from this old seamstress lady at the Melrose Ave. flea market." or, "That fabric came from Savannah, Georgia." or, "I held on to that material for 10 years before I made that purse, I loved it so." or, "I just made that monster yesterday, it's hot off the sewing machine!" These are the things that make buying a one-of-a-kind more intimate and special than purchasing a mass produced good at a chain store.

Not only did I sell a bunch of stuff, but I also won two things in the raffle - a skirt kit from my pal Susan Stars (I'm going to give it to Lillye) and a "Lucious Pies" t-shirt from Rotem Gear. Sweet! I also got a cool Craft Show Survival Kit hand-delivered by Marie from The Sampler. Plus, I had my holiday project how-to published in the event program:

Driving home on the freeway I couldn't help but thinking, damn, here I am driving home on the freeway from a big show on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood where I was a vendor selling my own designs. Kokoleo's come a long way in the past few years. And next week I'm doing it all over again at Shrine Auditorium for Bazaar Bizarre. See you there!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Of Monsters and Marvels

Saturday night was the opening for the this show at Monkeyhouse Toys:

I had eight pieces in the show. I took them all in to show Mayra, the gallery owner thinking she would pick out just one or two, but she insisted on taking them all! I love her.

Here's my Jack-in-the-Hatbox. The blue furry winged thing above him is by Jenny Harada. Jenny's stuff rocks.

Here are four of The Five Senses, from bottom to top - Mouthius, Handre', Nosetradamus, Earick. I accidentally cut off Eyevan who was at the bottom of the totem. Oops.

Here's Threeo, the one with three eyes and overalls:

I also had an orange five-eyed one fin/footed t-shirt wearing monster named Fiveye that sold before I got there so I never got to take his picture. Oh well. Bon Voyage undocumented one! I hope you enjoy your new home!

The show was jammed packed with lots of cool people mingling amongst the monsters. At Monkeyhouse, it's hard to tell where the gallery ends and the shop begins. Likewise, the line between art and toy is blurred. It's all art. Check it out:

Here's Sage with his friend Ava.

He fell in love with that top hat while we were there. It's a magician's hat and it comes complete with a bunny. He wore it all night, took it to bed, and this morning I awoke to him standing beside my bed saying, "Abra Kazabra! Look! I'm magic!"

Thanks Mayra, for making magic happen.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Me and my sexual buttons

Okay, you're going to have to keep reading to understand that title up there.

A few weeks ago I was psyched to get an order from Tel Aviv, Isreal. It was for my flower tote that had been featured on page 81 in issue #004 of N.E.E.T. magazine (another item they featured, my friendship pillow, was purchased by someone in Paris, France). Yesterday I received this email:

hello girls,
my name is Yael Regev and i am an Israeli journalist. i admire and am inspired by your work; therefore i have incorporated it in an article of mine.
it is in Hebrew, sorry, but enjoy anyway
Yael Regev

Sweet! Kokoleo's goin' global! Since the article was in Hebrew, I Googled around for a translation and all I could come up with was this:

"Mother in the fulltime job. Her love to sewing and cloths, brought her to try and to produce from it economic fringe benefits and in the this goal inaugurated her website. The site is designed in the amateurism of balance, visible laden and in disorder and will be prepared written in the clear fonts of word. A little depressing, lame beginning, but the designs completely is not bad.

Oanhorn offers varied eclectic stylistically and with respect to type of the products. The sewing and the decrees that is most basic, but the colorfulness that are abundant and the creativeness are thrilling.

Apparently that the woman supposed her paws on from stonecutter of fantasy Ointag ' desireable the most and authentic neighbour she creates clothes, purses, repairs and wallets are visible as if were yanked from the years 70 and therefore also the decrees that are basic and the oldfashioned add to the authenticity of the product. Oanhorn unafraid to combine between cloths with different adverse examples and mysteriously this exit her successful on the way that thought that only shade Stephanie was successful to slide.

By combination of the cloths that are random this, Oanhorn add to the most sexual buttons, embroideries and knitted oldfashioned applications of owls, girls of pin, berries and my bottle."

Ha! What? That's hilarious. Thanks Yael! Now I'm off to sew more sexual buttons on stuff. Hubba hubba.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm 32 today. It's not as good as 33 with the double numbers going on, but it's better than 31, what with that lonley little one standing there at attention. Two is a nice number, curvy, like it's sitting back, comfortable, ready to enjoy the 30s.

To celebrate - I'm offering free shipping this week at It's for any order, big or small, local or international. Go on over there and get some Christmas shopping finished early! Tell your friends, neighbors, strangers, etc. Pssst - previous kokoleo customers - this offer can be combined with your discount vouchers to save you even more!

Speaking of good deals, Check this out:

Buy a couple raffle tickets to support Felt Club and you could win a lifetime subscription to the Sampler! How cool would that be? Handmade and indie-produced stuff delivered to your door every month! Hurry, this raffle ends November 30. As much as I want my raffle tickets to be the one chosen, I'd be just as thrilled to know that someone won who I encouraged to enter.

So now that Thanksgiving is out of the way and Christmas is upon us, I have to buckle down and make a bunch of stuff for the Felt Club XL Holiday Event and Bazaar Bizarre. (Yeah, I won't shut up about these until they're over, and probably not even then.) I'll still be accepting commission orders, however, they won't be able to be fulfilled until after the holidays. Don't hesitate to add your name to the list if you have a commission in mind, though. Come January 1st I'll be back in action, I promise.

Here are a few commissions I recently completed:

For Stephanie in NYC. Who wouldn't want to be her friend? Look at the gifts she gives! (Unless you ARE one of her friends, then avert your eyes for a moment.) :

For a raffle at my school:

And for Jenny, the kickass chick who makes Felt Club happen. Shhh. Don't tell her. It's gonna be a surprise.

I'm a letter-cutting, appliqueing, pillow and banner-making machine!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Out and about in L.A.

What a hectic weekend! On Saturday morning I attended the Original Trends trunk show at The Seeley in Glendale. It was packed, probably because it was early and everyone wanted a swag bag (I got one!). The event was chock full of the trediest L.A. has to offer. Many (not all, but many) of the vendors there didn't actually make the stuff they were selling. Some were wholesalers and some were designers who outsourced their labor, so it was a different vibe than the shows I'm used to like Felt Club and Bazarre Bizarre where the person behind the booth is the person who made all the wares you see before you. Still, there was some nice stuff. I got this purse:

Yeah, I know, I make purses, why should I but someone else's? I'm a sucker for tooled leather.

That afternoon I set up my own booth at a Harvest Festival that was being held at the school where I teach. Saleswise, it was a very successful night but my favorite part was that my students got to see the other side of me. A bunch of my 6th grade girls hung out at my booth asking questions like, "Who is your boss at kokoleo?" and "Who are your employees?" and "How do you have time to make all this stuff and be a teacher and a mom too?" and "How can I become a famous designer like you?" Ha! So cute. I love those kids. It was nice to see my monsters head off to new loving homes and I can't wait to see kids at the school running around in kokoleo.

(This is where I'd post pictures of my booth, my students with their monsters, a cute little girl who bought my crown, a girl from my math class and her mom who bought matching skully tees, etc. but my camera's batteries were exhausted so you'll just have to imagine all the cuteness.)

Today we just hung out at home, watched movies, and played with the dog. Then we went to Griffith Park and caught the shuttle up to the Observatory. Man, it's beautiful up there. It's also mindblowing to see how vast the city is and then also how vast the universe is. We are but specks in it all. I think that's why I love making stuff and then sending it off into the world. I'm spreading my speckage.

Here I am with my favorite little speck, Sage:

That's the Hollywood sign behind us. Here's the sunset over Santa Monica:

Hollywood, beyond, and the Pacific Ocean:

Los Feliz, Hollywood and the Santa Monica Mountains:

Downtown L.A. at night:

Sage attempting to high-five Albert Einstein inside the Observatory, or as Sage kept calling it, the "Lavatory":

Yeah, someone needs a haircut (and for once, it's not Einstein.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Heavens to Etsy!

Okay, I'm a little late to the Etsy party, but better late than never, right? I signed up way back when it started and they held the Crafters United benefit for Hurricane Katrina Relief, but then put off opening my own Etsy shop. Last week I finally got around to it - I figured if anything, it would be a way to advertise kokoleo. Within one week I've sold two bags! Sweet! And I've gotten some nice feedback from a few friendly strangers. Cool! I sold the Bumblebee Bag I posted on this blog a few weeks ago, plus this one that I made last week:

I just knew there was a Fred Flintstone fan out there who would go for it. And there was! It sold within 15 minutes of being posted. Etsy Rocks!

I'm really on a needlepoint/embroidery themed purse kick lately. Here's one I completed last night:

I got it way back in July and have been waiting for the perfect material with which to turn it into a bag. I finally found the shimmery blue vinyl on ebay and then paired it with two fabrics I scored at an estate sale in Burbank a few weekends ago:

So now there are two less kokoleo bags hanging on my studio walls, but then, one more. Sometimes I wonder why I'm always sewing like a madwoman, filling up my studio with things that relatively few people will ever see. Venues like Etsy help. I think I'm always going to make stuff whwether people want it or not, but it sure is nice when they do.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

a Robot, a Spider, a Postman and Pumpkins

Mad-seamstress that I am, I worked feverishly in my lab this week to transform one sweet little boy into an angry robot:

Ingredients include lots of silver vinyl, red, blue and bronze vinyl, a fake brain in tupperware, telephone cords, calculator parts. . .

. . . an empty beer box, the top to a salt shaker, polyester stuffing and cotton batting, elastic, an plastic placemat, Sharpie ink and about a pound of hot glue.

On their way to the Atwater Village trick-or-treat event on Friday, Sage and his friendly lion friend (kind of Wizard of Oz-ish but with a demented Tinman):

Last week at a Halloween party Erik went postal and I went as a spider. It's kind of hard to see my legs here but they were three pairs of black tights stuffed and hanging by strings from my wrists.

Lovely couple, aren't we?

Tonight we carved pumpkins. When I picked these two out at the pumpkin patch they just screamed Bert and Ernie to me. It's hard to ignore a screaming pumpkin.

Erik's pumpkin - evil, of course:

and Sage's pumpkin - cute just like him:

Happy Halloween!


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