Etsy at Glenbow: A Fabulous Opportunity for Alberta Artisans

For me, it’ll be a chance to unveil the Western outfits I’ve been working on for our little family of 18″ dolls. Pictures to come of coonskin* caps, jeans, chaps, cowboys hats, boots, and period piece dresses.

*No raccoons were harmed in the making of this craft project ūüôā

In the meantime, here are the details from Etsy:

Etsy is teaming up with Glenbow Museum in Calgary to offer our Alberta sellers the unique opportunity to create new products inspired by their vast collection of art and artifacts.

Glenbow’s collection represents Western Canadian art and culture, both as a repository of important cultural history but also as a living record of contemporary life in this part of the world.

… If you think you would be inspired by Glenbow‚Äôs collection, and if you would love to see your product stocked in their shop. Please submit this short application form by September 2, 2016.

Interested? You can find the application form here.


Fish Extenders on a Disney Cruise

So. We’re planning our next cruise. December 2016, aboard the Disney Dream. *Doing the happy dance* You will notice from my previous posts (and more likely with upcoming posts) that we’re a family of Disney enthusiasts.

We’re going with our daughter, son-in-law, and our two granddaughters (who will be 6 and 2 at cruise time). Four nights and five days of all Disney, all the time.

Disney ships have¬†this ad hoc fun activity that originated from its passengers, not Disney proper. Called Fish Extenders, it’s an activity organized by the passengers of a particular cruise. Sounds like fun, right?

Full disclosure: I did a stint as a travel writer, so I’m prone to researching the heck out of anything, especially if it’s travel-related.

What is a Fish Extender? ¬†If you’ve ever cruised before, you’ll know that each line has a sort of a signature mail holder beside your door. It’s where mail – special cruise offers, meet & greet notices, etc. – are left. On Disney, that mail holder is a fish.

A Fish Extender is a pouch (or row of pouches) that hang from this brass fish. You can make your own, or purchase one from Etsy (hmmm, that gives me an idea!) or eBay. They can be very simple or very elaborate.

How does a Fish Extender work?

Some variables dependent on what the group decides:

  1. How big is the group?
  2. Is the size of the group determined by the number of cabins, or the number of people?
  3. Gift for each person? Each kid? Each cabin?
  4. Frequency – once per trip? Or more?
  5. Does the gift drop happen on a certain day or time, or is that left to the individual giver to decide?
  6. Is there a price limit?
  7. Is there a theme? For example, we’re cruising close to Christmas so we might design our little gifts around a Christmas theme.

How do you find out about the Fish Extender activity on your cruise?¬†You can often find your “meet & greet” group on sites like Cruise Critic (Look for the Roll Call for your cruise ship and date) and the Disboards (specific to the Disney brand of travellers) or Facebook. You’ll often see that someone on your cruise has already introduced the idea of a Fish Extender.

We ultimately opted to join the Facebook group which we found by joining Disney Cruise Meet Facebook Group. We were directed to our our specific cruise date/ship where we found a fun, lively, well-organized group with daily posts from others on our cruise.

The Fish Extender group is ideally composed of 10-15cabins. Ours had ten, which proved to be the perfect number as we sifted through the information on what kinds of things people made/purchased as gifts. We knew we wanted to make our gifts – that’s half the fun. And the options are literally endless.

There you have it. Everything you need to know about Fish Extenders in a single post. As for me, I’ve started on the follow up post to this. Homemade amigurumi Disney characters to fill the Fish Extenders of the cruisers on our ship.

Stay tuned for pics and patterns of my fish extender efforts!

BONUS Research: The history of the Fish Extender.

Word is that the Fish Extender started out on the Disboards as a gift exchange on the Disney Magic (westbound Panama Canal itinerary) in 2005 when cruiser Debbie Chitester gave out hanging fish extenders to her fellow cruisers.


Because Who Doesn’t Love a Sock Monkey?

Ok, the last four weeks I’ve been on a sock monkey tear. My granddaughter’s birthday is coming up and I’ve decided to theme some doll clothes and accessories for her American Girl doll (Annabelle).

At first, it was just going to be a sock monkey stuffie for the doll. But, as with so many projects, the sock monkey idea soon went wildly out of control to include these sock monkey patterned items: jacket, blanket, hat, leggings, scarf, purse … really, the ideas were coming in faster than I could buy wool for the projects.

The beauty of sock monkey is that the color scheme is so uniquely linked to … well, work socks and sock monkeys. Just using the colors will imply sock monkey so it’s easy to use a basic pattern and just alter the colors to reflect the sock monkey idea.

Of course, nothing says sock monkey like an actual sock monkey. Below are pics of some of my creations, some available on Etsy as the finished product, or as patterns (or both). I hope you enjoy the pictures (and the spirit of sock monkey) as much as I enjoyed creating these outfits and accessories for Annabelle.

Freestanding Sweater and Hat      front 2 brick background_CROPPED      thumb_IMG_0426_1024

Yarn Bombing: On Practicing Textile Graffiti

My childhood home town is – apparently – in the throes of a graffiti invasion. Yarn bombing.

I’d never thought of knitting as a form of radicalism before. Wait, that’s not true. I took my teenage daughter to a knit-in … probably 15 years ago. I can’t even remember what we were protesting, but our picture ended up on the front page of a local paper. Below the fold, but still.

Wikipedia defines yarn bombing as, “Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarn storming, guerrilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk.”

English author and artist Lauren O’Farrell ¬†(aka Deadly Knitshade)¬†is credited for making yarn bombing popular. You can read more about Lauren and her Knit the City efforts to tell stitched stories with yarn here. ¬†The site is tongue-in-cheek, its humor well worth the read.

If you’re the type to go overboard on a good idea – and I am – you can even delve into Extreme Yarn Bombing. I admit this one took my breath away. The steps of the townhall in Helsinki covered in granny squares? ¬†Yes please.

A yarn bombing Facebook page boasts more than 21,000 Likes. ¬†So, yeah. It’s a Thing. People are Doing It. Probably not me, though. I can’t help but look at all that gorgeous yarn, those beautiful colors and think about the projects I could make.

I guess I’m getting too old for activism. ūüėČ



The Heat is ON – Grill Accessories for Your 18 Inch Doll

Ok, maybe I’m a little obsessive.

After my last post on the grill out for my granddaughter’s doll to celebrate July 4th (we’re Canadian, but ANY excuse for a cookout!), I couldn’t stop looking at accessories to go with the outfits.

First step? The grill, of course. Here’s a step-by-step Youtube video on exactly how to make that grill yourself.Written instuctions can be found here.

Paper plates and cups? Find a how-to video here. Written instructions for the plates here, and written instructions for the cups here.

What’s left? Food, of course! Find the directions for a pitcher of lemonade here¬†and¬†hamburger (the DIY video is for a lunch tray that includes a hamburger, but I think you can adapt it for a grill). Stay tuned, I’ll be adding more as I discover them.

Edited to add: here’s another burger tutorial.

Not the crafty kind? A full up bonafide American Doll campstove and food is available here at the AG store, and you can purchase a chef’s grill outfit from Etsy.

full shot  AG Grill Outfit   full shot

Please note, we are in Canada, so allow for plenty of shipping time if you order a grill outfit for July 4th (or any other special date).

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Released today (May 27, 2016) Alice Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to the 2010 Alice in Wonderland.

And while I don’t expect to be going on opening weekend, I’ll probably pay homage to Lewis Carroll by reading a chapter or two of Alice in Wonderland to my grandchildren this weekend.

And, since one of the is named Alice, I suspect there will be some Alice in Wonderland crafts coming up in the next month or so. The crocheted doll at the top of this post is available from Etsy – from the Shop of Dutch Doll Design.

There’s also an adorable White Rabbit¬†design in Krawka’s shop.


If craft making isn’t your thing, I’ve got a nice listing – just posted – of Alice in Wonderland items available for purchase here. Tough to limit to 16 items, but steampunk Mad Hatter hats, journals, themed infinity scarves, and, of course, a tea pot, made the cut.

Some interesting trivia about Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass

  • Through the Looking Glass was Alan Rychman’s last film; he reprises his role as the caterpillar
  • Alice was real; she was the daughter of Henry Liddell, the dean of Christ Church College, where Lewis Carrol taught mathematics
  • In 1931, Alice in Wonderland became a banned book in China because it featured animals speaking “human language”
  • Lewis Carroll’s real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
  • Alice in Wonderland introduced these phrases into popular¬†usage:
    • Mad as a Hatter – although it was in use prior to Alice in Wonderland, Carroll is responsible for popularizing it
    • Down the rabbit hole
    • Tweedledum and Tweedledee
    • Cheshire cat grin

And finally, Disney has a good quiz on its website to test your Alice knowledge. The Littles in your life might enjoy the Disney mazes available here, including one for Alice.

The Crafter’s Curse: Unfinished Projects

I took a look at my backlog of blog posts this morning. Nearly completed posts on the houndstooth stitch, the basketweave, the wheel stitch, broomstick, crochet, fish extenders … and the list goes on?

So what’s prevented me from posting?

Finishing touches.¬†I can’t post pictures until the projects are finished. A dozen projects done, save for sewing on buttons, weaving in loose yarn ends, and blocking.

And it’s not even that I hate doing these things – although I do. Invariably, before I finish a project, another captures my imagination and consumes me.

I suspect most crafters are like me. Are you?