Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My new kokoleo woven labels have arrived!

Just in time to sew into all the new things I'm working on for the EtsyRain Handmade Spring Craft Show!

I designed it myself too and spent a ridiculous amount of time on those buttons and finding the right style text. I don't fancy myself a great graphic designer or illustrator (I prefer working in the 3-dimensional textural world) but I'm happy with how they came out. I threw the "one-of-a-kinds by KB VanHorn" line in there at the last minute and I'm glad I did. It's exciting to see my name woven into fabric.

(I know lots of people will want to know where I got them. Simply type "custom woven labels" in the "Supplies" section of Etsy and you'll see several options. There. I just saved you several hours that I spent combing the internet. You're welcome.)

In the last 10 years I estimate I've gone through about 8 versions of kokoleo labels (over 1000 labels in all) though I've made many more items that never got a label sewn onto it. That's a a lot of kokoleos! I wish I had saved at least one example of each. Most were different color combinations of this:

purchased from I can usually figure out the year I made an item based on the color of the label. When I ran out of those, I sometimes made my own with the computer and printable fabric, or stitched out "kokoleo" on my computerized Janome.

I did manage to save my very first label though. It's pinned on my corkboard-o-craft nostalgia.

I ordered them off ebay way back in 2002. It's poorly printed and plain, but now that I look at it again, it's kinda similar to my new version. I had forgotten about this when I designed it but it must have been in my subconscious. My 2002 self would have been happy to know that after 10 years, kokoleo would still be cranking out the one-of-a-kinds, and with better labels too.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Some recent commissions

There was a brief time in my blogging past that I did Made By Monday posts where I blogged about whatever I made that week. I'm going to try to revive that tradition. But first, here are a few commissions that I made within the last couple months.

First, this banner, my first-ever black and white one:

The recipient told me her newborn daughter stares at it all the time, which make a lot of sense since babies can't see colors well when they're wee little. No one had ever asked for a black and white one before so I never thought to offer it as an option.

I also made these pillows:

 A shopper on Etsy contacted me and told me she loved my Oldskool Sesame Street Sundress, but it was too small for her daughter and could I possibly make another one. Luckily, I had enough of the fabric left to make one, and this is what I made for her:

I also made this dress:


For a Facebook fan and fellow blogger Becky of Chicken Wire and Paper Flowers whose daughter was going to attend a Picasso exhibit in Richmond, Virginia. She had seen my toddler Picasso dress and wondered if I could make one to fit a ten year old. She even blogged about it here and posted this awesome picture of her stylin' girl.

It's customers like this that make me happy to be back in the commission business.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

 I just figured out how to update my blog from my phone. This changes everything!
 I hope your day is full of fresh air, flowers, and springtime sunshine.

Friday, April 15, 2011

EtsyRain Spring Handmade Craft show

I'm excited to announce that kokoleo will have a booth at the EtsyRain Spring Handmade Craft Show Saturday, May 7th from 11-5 at the Intiman Thater in the Seattle Center.

It's the day before Mother's Day, so stop by and stock up one some one-of-a-kind creations for the one you love.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Embroidered Easter Eggs (the easy way)

Last week, Craft Gossip posted a link to these embroidered eggs featured on the Needle n Thread blog:

and I've been thinking about them ever since. That led me to find this project

posted along with a tutorial by CelineG on Hand Dyed First you punch the holes, then you stitch the ribbon through and hope to God it doesn't crack.

I also found these on Wikipedia

made by  a Ukrainian folk artist named Forostyuk Inna. Amazing!

I just had to try this myself, so last night I whipped up these:

Except I cheated. I let someone else do the embroidery... a long time ago. I simply got out my vintage suitcase full-o-embroidered pieces that I've purchased at estate sales, flea markets, antique shops, etc. over the years and chose a few to (gasp!) cut up. Apologies to the ladies (I'm assuming) who worked so hard on these but remember, I rescued them because I recognized the time and talent that went into each piece and I held on to them for the perfect project. This was it.
Here's how you do it:

First, blow the yolk out of some eggs. If you're not sure how to do this, read this tutorial - How to Decoupage Easter Eggs - which I posted in 2009. 

Now, find an embroidered linen, the thinner and more lightweight, the better.

Next, carefully cut out the embroidered part close to, but not clipping the stitches.

Now, coat the backside with Mod Podge.

and carefully press onto an egg. For an all-over shiny look you can Mod Podge over top of the embroidered piece if you like. Let it dry overnight. To add a hanging device, squirt some hot glue into the hole and insert a wire or ribbon.


It's the perfect project for those delicate intricately embroidered hankies you never want to blow your nose into but can't bring yourself to give away. It's nice to see these pieces out of storage and on display.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thrift Thursday: A Paper Doll (minus the paper)

Last week, as I was perusing the fabric aisle at our local Value Village, McKenna found this and asked if she could have it:

It's made of felt and designed by "Story Teller Inc." (1991) for use with felt boards. I tried to explain to her that it was missing an important part - the doll on which to put the clothes, to which she replied, "That's okay, you can just make me one." Smart girl, she knows I cant resist a crafty challenge.

At first I thought I'd make a felt board with a flat felt girl, but then I decided to go the 3-D route and make a real doll.  I chronicled the process with my camera phone via TwitPic in Twitter. First the body:

Then hair:


Eek! That was NOT what I envisioned. I chalked it up to a craftfail and took all the stitches out and started over. Here:

That's better.

It took a few days and some callouses on my fingers to cut out all the clothes, but I was happy to see that they fit well (at least on her front, the backside is a little drafty).

Yes, I am a grown woman and I play dress-up with my daughter's doll at 2 in the morning (when I do my best crafting). I was just making sure everything fit.  In the morning I showed McKenna her new toy which she named "Little Sis". She immediately began styling her.

(Speaking of stylin' check out the hand-me-down monster pajamas on McKenna. I made them for Sage when he was her age.) 

Here's another outfit she came up with:

I just did a little Google sleuthing a found that the company that made these clothes is now called Story Time Felts and they sell the flat dolls plus ones you can personalize with your child's face, which are pretty cute.  I might have ordered one if I had seen them first, but then I would have never made this one, so I'm glad I didn't.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday: Patchwork Carrot Tutorial

The bunnies I made last week were hungry, so I made them a bunch of patchwork carrots:

If you have hungry handmade bunnies, here's how you can make some too. Here's a pattern:


The 2-3 sided larger carrot is easiest, while the 3-4 sided smaller carrot is more challenging. I worked my way up. Here's the challenging one: 

Cut 5 separate pieces and sew one to another 2/8 inch from the edge making sure to meet at a common endpoint at the bottom:

Stitch all sides together leaving an opening at the top:

 Trim excess fabric at the tip and turn right-side-out through the hole at the top.

 Now stuff it:

For leaves, rip fabric into 1/4 inch strips. Insert into the hole and hand stitch closed.

You can also use string or ribbons or lace:

or ric-rac:

Now your bunnies* won't go hungry.

*Not suitable for real-live bunnies, intended only for the handmade variety.


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