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30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

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Entries in holiday (3)


Happy Beeping Valentine's Day


In spite of a decades-long disinterest in the hoopla surrounding February 14, I started making Valentine's Day cards as soon as my little boy was old enough to hand them out to his friends at school. I can still picture my mother, hunched over our kitchen table, hand calligraphing the cards I had helped her make (butterflies fashioned from pairs of red foil heart stickers) for my class in the first grade. And so, I guess, it just feels right for me to continue the tradition with my son.

This year I planned to do as I have before and make a single, unisex design, but when I got to fiddling with the colors for these robots, I just couldn't resist the traditional pink on red color scheme. But my son was insistent that we had to have a version with the turquoise robot. I think two robots are better than one, don't you? And because I love envelopes, and I love patterns, I thought these would look swell coming out of tiny circuit board envelopes.

There are three pages in all: the first page has both envelopes and one of each card—the envelopes will be easiest to fold if you print them on plain paper. There are also separate sheets with 9 of each card design, so that if you want sturdier cards, you can print these on stock and cut them to size. These are old-fashioned teeny tiny cards, so don't try to put them in the mail, as they are too small for USPS, but just right for school chums.

And if robots aren't your thing, don't forget to check out the dinosaur, cowboy, rocket ship, skunk, and alligator valentines I've shared here in the past. 

As always, you are welcome to download and print as many of these as you like for personal use. Please do not alter or redistribute them.


Handmade Holiday Recap: Of Owls and Cowls

If you are a regular reader of this site, you know that I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about the inexplicable profusion of owls and cowls on handmade sites like Etsy. It's not that I am anti-owl nor anti-cowl. It's just that I eschew a certain hipster je ne sais quoi that seems to coalesce around these otherwise unrelated partners in rhyme.

And yet, as the handmade holiday got underway Chez Industrialiste this year, I found myself casting on for the first time in years and knitting up a cowl. And I must say, I rather liked how it turned out.

I didn't have a pattern—I just cast on a bunch of stitches and improvised. A little stockinette at the beginning for the soft rolled edge, and then a variation on seed stitch for a little visual interest. Freestyle knitting for the win!

And just as I was putting the finishing touches on my cowl, I received this in the mail:

And that, friends, is what's called paying attention. My friend Courtney is both a wizard in felt and a comedy genius. When I unwrapped this little goodie she sent I laughed until it hurt. He's been hanging on my back door, and I laugh every time I see him. I laugh doubly when my little boy notices him and shouts, "NO OWLS!"

And with inspiration like that, how could I not get into the making mood? Next stop: sewing machine. I'm not the world's greatest seamstress, but I have loads of small pieces of fabric (aka "strike-offs") from my textile design business. I also have loads of women in my family who are famously freezing all the time. So I sewed up a bunch of small warming pillows featuring an assortment of my fabrics—essentially, these are just a couple of rectangles of organic cotton sewn together and filled about 1/2 to 2/3 full with flax seed. A few seconds in the microwave, and voilà! Cozy warmth.

And still more knitting. And paper crafts. And sewing. A lot of things made it out of my grips without getting caught by my camera. And then there's the knitting I'm still working on (oops) (based on this pattern):

Finally, you may be wondering if I managed to turn my pirate snowman drawing into a stocking for my son. I avoided it for weeks for fear that I wouldn't be able to execute the idea that had taken root in my head. And then it was Christmas Eve. I pulled out the felt I had stockpiled from last year, and, miraculously, I had every color I needed. But other gifts had to be finished before going to my mom's house that night. And so later that night, we came home from my Mom's house fat, happy, and exhausted. After making, ahem, preparations for Santa's arrival, I collapsed. No stocking. Not one stitch.

I set the alarm for 4AM. It went off. I actually got up. And by 7:45 in the morning, I had built a snowman:


I think this was my favorite handmade holiday ever. Hope yours was great, too.

(And now I'm off to the post office...if you are my little sister and you are wondering where your #@&!* gifts are...the check, I mean, cowl, is in the mail...)


Still Crazy after All this Year

Blogiversary?! Last year this time I started this blog not sure where it would lead me. I never could have imagined all of the fun I've had, late nights I've spent, and friends I've made or reconnected with along the way. I have certainly put in a good bit of work, but what I have received in return has benefited me 10-fold.

So what do you get your blog when it turns one? Free printables, of course! I was so pleased with the way the tags turned out for my bake sale items last week that I thought I would share.

These come together quite easily--each sheet has 10 labels of one pattern. If you print them at 100%, you should be able to trim the top and bottom 1/2 inch and then cut in 1-inch increments (shortways) to get each tag. Then use a glue stick or sticker machine to make the back side tacky and wrap around the top of a cellophane bag or a gift bag handle. Or fold in half, make a two-sided tag, and punch a hole. If you come up with other nifty uses, I'd love to see pictures!

Each PDF is a fill-in. Of course, if you want to hand write your own message, just clear the fields with text and print them blank. Enjoy!

(As always, these are for personal use only. All patterns and files are copyright Cameron Blazer/Cottage Industrialist. Common sense and kindness should be your guide.)

Anytime tags - Even though these are not color coordinated, I used each of these for the items at last week's bake sale, and because each item was packaged the same way, that tied the look together and made it cohesive without being matchy-matchy. Of course, you can use one at a time, as well.

Anytime tags © 2009 Cottage IndustrialistDownload here: Blue Caning // Citrus // Harvest Damask

Holiday tags -  Ok, I know! Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, and I'm cursing every time I walk into a store...in November...when it's still 80 degrees in SC...and I come out whistling "Sleigh Bells," too. Yuck. But if, like me, you dream of a completely handmade holiday, you know now's the time to kick into gear to avoid pulling an all-nighter on December 24. I will be making reusable holiday giftbags from my fabrics in these same designs (if you are as nuts as I am, you can purchase the holiday fabrics directly through the Spoonflower marketplace. Nifty, eh?!). At least that's the plan. If that doesn't materialize, at least I'll have some cute tags to attach to my brown kraft paper wrapping.

Holiday tags © 2009 Cottage IndustrialistDownload here: Christmas Plaid // Winter Animals // Trees

Whether you've been here all along or are just tuning in, I hope you know how much I have enjoyed sharing this corner of my world with you (I don't mean to sound like Mr. Rogers--it's rare that I express genuine appreciation sans snark, so just go with it!), and I look forward to what the next year has in store. Cheers!