Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my ramblings. I'll be taking a break from blogging for the next week or so. See you in 2008!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Oh deer me, what a cutie!

Check out this beautiful picture a kokoleo customer just sent me of her daughter in my new "Oh Deer" shirt:

Both the model and the photography look so professional. I swear, I'm convinced some people just have the knack for photography and some don't. I think I don't. I'm always a split second behind that perfect shot. One of my New Year's resolutions is to read the owners manual for my new camera and try to improve my photography skills.

This shirt will be available in 2008, along with the earlier version. Both deer pictures were taken by my friend Carolyn (another awesome photographer) in her backyard. I tweaked them a bit in Photoshop -- played with the color, lengthened the deer's lashes, put sparkles in its eyes, pinked up it's tongue, etc. Ha! I should start an Extreme Deer Makeover business, Forest Edition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The elves are hard at work

You'll notice on the left hand column of my blog, if you scroll down a bit, a little badge that says "I Took The Handmade Pledge." For more on the story behind it, click here. I'm #713 on the list that's now over 10,000 crafters strong. I'm happy to report that I've pretty much kept my promise. I haven't stepped foot in a mall this holiday season and nearly everyone on my list is getting something handmade. That's not to say I'm denying Sage of a few noisy plastic items he's been asking Santa to bring. A boy can only have so many stuffed monsters and sock monkeys before he starts getting bored.

Before I can show you what I've been making, I have to ask some of you to leave. If you are my mother, mother-in-law, father, father-in-law, brother, sisters-in-law, aunt, or Sage's kindergarten teacher, do not scroll down any further.

Go on now, git!

Hey, no peeking!

Are they gone?

Whew. I thought they'd never leave! Oh wait, there goes the majority of my blog-readers.

For the past week I've been busy making these:

They're reversible "shoppers"; reusable totes to take the place of those environmentally unsound ugly plastic ones. I made 8.

I think I've settled on a pattern I like and I might start making them for my kokoleo shop next year. Hopefully they'll encourage more people to join the bring-your-own-tote craze. I love my own personal shopping tote collection and I love how much easier they are to handle than those godawful plastic bags. (I just need to remember to put them back in my car and take them with me every time.)

Sage has gotten into the handmade holiday spirit too. Here's a picture he drew for my brother:

And for his Nana and Papa (my parents):

That one cracks me up. It's a self-portrait of himself waving. It is so him, all happy and eager and in your face. He did this one for his Grammy and PopPop (Erik's parents):

I think he captured her likeness quite well, don't you?

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Dos and Don'ts of Craft Shows

After four straight weekends of doing craft shows, it's nice to finally have a break. No waking up early to rush across town. No acrobatic feats of assembling my display, followed by frantic wheeling and dealing (on a good day), or (on a bad one) long stretches of sitting alone amidst my stuff. I can eat when I want, pee when I want, and my cheeks don't hurt from smiling all day. It was fun, for the most part. I made a lot of new contacts and got valuable feedback. I took advantage of the time I had with my stuff to draw up some new designs and think about new directions I want to take kokoleo. Also, just for fun, I wrote up some dos and don'ts of craft shows based on things I did or didn't do right and things I saw others doing. Feel free to add your own dos and don'ts in the comments section. Who knows? Maybe we'll help some crafty newbie's first show go a little more smoothly.

The Dos and Don'ts of Craft Shows

In the weeks and days before the show:

  • Do help promote the event. Advertise it on your blog, your website, print out cards to hand to people, post about it on message boards, etc.
  • Don’t rely on the organizer to bring the crowd.

  • Do pack your items so that they can be set up quickly.
  • Don’t forget to pack a box of the essentials: tape, a sewing kit (or whatever your craft requires), scissors, markers and pens, price tags, food, water, phone, camera, $1 bills.

  • Do pack your car, get gas, and print out MapQuest (Google Maps, etc.) directions ahead of time.
  • Don’t leave a light on in your car overnight night so that your battery is dead in the morning.

The day of the show:

  • Do get there on time, or early if you volunteered to help set up.
  • Don’t arrive a half-hour before the doors open.

  • Do set up right away.
  • Don’t bug the organizer with your drama or problems (unless it’s something serious).

  • Do introduce yourself to your neighbor.
  • Don’t be passive-aggressive about marking your territory – you’ll be sitting next to this person for the next few hours.

  • Do keep your stuff within the space allotted.
  • Don’t make your display all wobbly and precarious.

  • Do help your neighbor if he or she needs it.
  • Don’t try to set up a tent all by yourself.

  • Do eat something.
  • Don’t eat stinky tuna fish sandwiches or fast food.

  • Do invite your friends and family.
  • Don’t let them hang out with you too long if they’re not there to help.

  • Do check out other people’s work when you get a chance, but scoot out of the way when real customers arrive. Even better, talk about how awesome their stuff is to the potential customer.
  • Don’t sit in the same place the whole time talking only to people who come to you and only talking about how awesome you are.

  • Do keep it on the down low if you’re raking in the dough.
  • Don’t bitch about it loudly if you’re not.

  • Do offer to trade with vendors who seem to like your stuff (if you like their stuff too).
  • Don’t hold it against them if they say no thank you (and don’t think it’s because your stuff sucks and you’re a loser.)

  • Do spend the cash, if you have it, on someone’s work you really like – it may be gone soon.
  • Don’t forget to get business cards of shops/people you want to remember.

  • Do give fellow crafters and loyal customers a discount.
  • Don’t shout it from the rooftops in front of those paying full price.

  • Do take pictures if that’s something you like to do. Later they can help drum up interest in the event and promote fellow crafters.
  • Don’t forget to ask first. Some people hate getting their picture taken. But some love it. Also, make sure to tell them how you’ll be using the pictures – on your blog, website, on Flickr, etc. so they can see them if they want to.

  • Do continue to spruce up your display throughout the event. Fill in the holes left by things that have sold.
  • Don’t start taking your booth apart before closing. Resist the urge.

  • Do dismantle quickly at closing.
  • Don’t dawdle or make anyone wait for you to leave.

  • Do offer to help other people, if you can.
  • Don’t expect people to help you, but take them up if they offer.

  • Do thank the organizer on the way out if you get a chance.
  • Don't leave anything behind. Don't pack your keys away with your products. Don't leave a light on in your car and make your battery die. Just get in your car and go! You've had a long day.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Real quick. . .

the 50% off sale at kokoleo ends at midnight tonight. The pickins are slim but there are still some good deals. After that, the shop will be closed until January. I've got lots of ideas for new things I want to do in 2008. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Craftmas Bizarre 3

Before I get swept up in all the Christmas hooplah, I want to show some pictures from the Craftmas Bizarre 3 at the FAKE the other day. It was such a fun show. I sent a bunch of stuff I've been carrying around off to new homes and my faith in craft shows has been restored. I loved my spot and my vendor neighbors and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Look!

Awesome customers:

Live entertainment:

Plus a cool gallery with a funky (in a good way) bathroom:

At one point, I look across the room and saw a cute guy holding an adorable baby. Then Sage's head popped up and said, "Hi mom!" It was my family!

All three survived their first ever outing with dad all by himself. They stayed long enough to eat some Holy Toast and Magic Pickles:

Made by Stacy McQueen (a.k.a. the Craft Whore):

Who organized the whole she-bang with help from her trusty sidekick Steve:

These two win the award for being the coolest people in Hollywood in my book, not only because they pulled off a kickass show, but also because they insisted on waiting for AAA with me when my car wouldn't start after we had all packed up. (Way to end an awesome show there, KB.)

If you're ever stranded on a dark corner of Melrose on a Sunday night, call those two to come hang out with you. They're hilarious. Thank you Stacy and Steve!

Monday, December 10, 2007

50% off sale at!

First of all, I have to say that the Craftmas Bizarre 3 was a blast! Thanks to everyone who came out. Pictures soon. For now:
Everything in my shop is 50% off! Plus I added some holiday items too. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


$1 at the door or print this out, write "kokoleo" on the back and get in free. I'll be selling all my stuff for 50% off! See you there.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thrift Friday

I'm still figuring out this new camera. I couldn't get all the do-hickeys together to upload these photos in time for Thrift Thursday. Thrift Friday just doesn't have the same ring to it. Oh well, check this out:

I just liked it for the birdies but when I got it home I found that it was a Pyrex piece from 1975. I never knew how much I loved Pyrex until I joined the Pyrex Love group on Flickr. Now it seems my radar is fine-tuned to find it. Pyrex + Birdies = Happiness.

They have nothing to do with one another except for the fact that I got them both at the American Way in Burbank - a vintage sailor dress for McKenna (with anchors! so trendy!) and a tie for me (to cut up). The tie came in a bag with 4 others that I didn't care so much about, but this one has "Capitalist Tool" written all over it. Ha! Indeed.

Also this "Glass Cloth":

An octopus, some wine, and a bunch of happy vegetables who have no idea they're about to be BOILED ALIVE. Cute!

Speaking of thriftiness, wanna save some money and support some indie crafters by buying handmade this holiday season? Here are some sales from some of my internet pals (Note to other internet pals - tell me about your sales and I'll add them to this list.):

Sommer Designs
is offering free shipping through December 15th.

Gerbera Designs is offering free shipping through December 10th.

Textile Fetish is having a sale on Needle Cases and card Holders.

Michelle Caplan is offering up to 30% off her artwork. (I want this one if someone wants to play Santa.)

Screw the malls - buy handmade!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I love sale signs. They call my name from across the room with their big red letters and sexy exclamation points.

I was thinking, since I love a good sale, I should hold a good sale. I first thought I'd do a $5 box at the Craftmas Bizarre at the FAKE gallery (4319 Melrose Ave.) from 11-7 this Sunday, but I always do that and it's boring. Then I thought, when do I really get excited by a sale sign? When I see:

Everything 50% off!

So that's what I'm going to do.

But then I thought, what about my internet pals, my online customers, and my friends from far away who can't make it to the Craftmas Bizarre at the FAKE gallery (4319 Melrose Ave.) from 11-7 this Sunday? Shouldn't I extend the offer to them? Yes I should, but not until Monday. I need to update the website first. Then from Monday, December 10th through Thursday, December 13th, everything I have online will be 50% off too (plus Priority shipping). Just enter:

Happy Holidays!

in the voucher area at checkout and include the exclamation point. Tell your friends, advertise it on your blog, stake out what you want and snipe it on Monday. KB is lightening her load.

and if I don't sell a thing I think I'll cry.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Attempting Christmas photos

Last night was the Disney Family Holiday party at Disneyland where they only open the park to Disney employees and their families. This was our third year attending and our first with McKenna.

It's a small girl after all.

This place is so trippy.

We always try to get our family picture taken for our Christmas cards while we're here.

Eh. That's no good.

Too far away.

The kids look cute here, but no Erik. Plus, my scarf seems to be slithering away from me.

Kinda cute, but McKenna looks uncomfortable.

This one cracks me up. Erik looks fine but Sage is (as always) looking somewhere else, McKenna is crying and I look positively crazy.

I guess we'll keep trying. Until then, here:

Monday, December 03, 2007

. . . this little KB went to Market

The Little Monster Market was Saturday. It was a bust for me. I sold one thing. I'm a loser. I also left my fold-up table there when I was packing up, so I literally am a loser.
(crickets chirping)

Ummmm, I think I need to reevaluate where I'm going with kokoleo. Obviously, not many people are interested. I've already vowed to make some changes in 2008. Gotta shake things up. Also, after next Sunday, no more show for a while! It's too hard on the ego.

But! it was a nice day, close to home, and over by 3:00. Best of all, I did a bunch of nice trades.

I traded my Annie Git Yer Guns purse for this sundress (and bloomers) for McKenna:
from these girls

of Bunny Farm. They only wanted $12 for the dress. I thought it was worth much more.

I traded a tie cuff for 3 handmade cards from Peez and Ques:

I traded an Oh Deer! shirt and a necktie choker for this cool alligator shirt for Sage:

from Saundra of Precious Few.

I met her a few years ago when I used to do the Montrose Farmer's Market. We've both expanded our businesses a little since then. It was nice to hang out with her again.

I traded a monster for these shirts for Sage:

(Plus one he's already worn - a cammo one with a squid holding a teddy bear.)

from Denise of Eeny Meanie.

(Note to Santa, Sage doesn't need any more shirts.)

And I traded a 3-eyed overall-wearing monster for this beautiful necklace (for me!):

from Christine of Chocolate and Steel.

So the afternoon wasn't a total loss. I guess this is my new way of "shopping." Barter is better, right? Now, if only the grocery store took monsters. . .

Speaking of monsters, here are Dotty and Sal at the Welcome to Dollywood show that night:

at MonkeyHouse Toys.
It was a well hung (hehe) show with lots of cool handmade plushiness:

Afterward we ate ate Simply Thai on Hillhurst in Los Feliz. For the last year we've been on a quest to find the best Thai food in L.A and I think we found it. Erik had the Hot Mermaid, I had the White Elephant, Sage had some of both and little McKenna had none.

Sheesh, Saturday was quite a day.


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