Small Eats

Mmmm....this will be the first of many posts on food. Taiwan is all about street markets and 小吃 (small eats). Portions are small, which is perfect for snacking, or you can make a meal of it by ordering several different dishes. The dishes above are a cuttlefish soup and sliced vegetarian chicken - (It doesn't taste or look like chicken. That's just what it's called, though I have had some surprisingly convincing mock meats here before). Dried cuttlefish (or squid) is reconstituted in a water/soda solution which gives it a different taste and texture from fresh cuttlefish. Don't knock it until you try it. I love this stuff, and it costs less than that can of high sodium Cambell's Chunky in your pantry.

That's dad checking out the other dishes. That's not his man-purse, it's a shopping bag. Taiwan has a plastic bag ban, it's a loose ban, but it only really affects us when we go to the supermarket. If you don't bring your own bags, you have to buy one from the store. No big deal, I'm happy to use my own anyway. All the street markets, small shops and food shops still use plastic bags though, so there's certainly no shortage of extra plastic sacks at home when you need them. I'm also happy to report that garbage collection is pretty similar to what it was back in Seattle; recycling, food waste and rubbish. Yay! Our building has a refrigerated room where they keep the food scraps bin. One day I'll document this, but let's get back to the food.

A woman making steam buns. Boiled dumplings and the tray of dumpling condiments; soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper sauce...

This was a noodle soup place we stopped at. No frills, no menu, just soup. Then you just stand right there on the sidewalk or street side and eat it with everyone else. And when you're done, put the bowls in a bucket and the spoons in another, easy.

Airplane Crafts

I'm in Taiwan! I arrived about a week ago after some stressful issues regarding travel visas, plane tickets, finding storage for my car, packing up, moving, and among other things, a failed attempt at obtaining a Washington drivers license. The grumpy woman at the DMV could use some customer service training. Well, all that is done, and I am now getting somewhat settled in my new home for the next few months. The plane ride was long, but I easily passed the time, nearly 24 hours, from Seattle to San Francisco to Tokyo to Taipei by crocheting a turtle and heart for my mom. I left Seattle early Thursday morning (many thanks to the wonderful James and Aileen!). The entire trip to Tokyo was daylight, so I didn't feel the need to sleep...not that I could have slept much. I don't think they could have gotten away with any less leg room in coach. My knees touched the seat in front of me, and I don't consider myself unusually tall.

This was only my second time making amigurumi, so I was still quite slow. But I did manage to finish both the turtle and the heart before I landed in Taipei, which was all that mattered anyway. During the first week, I made a second turtle with different yarn. Cute, eh? The pattern is free here.

In other news, I have some more photos that I will post, later. I'll be in Taiwan for several months, so that should keep things pretty interesting. My etsy shop is closed for the time being :-( In the meantime, I've started taking a picture (when I remember to) at the top of every hour of what I'm looking at. It's an experiment; we'll see how long it goes, but for now it's kind of fun for me to document some mundane everyday activities that normal don't normally get photographed. You can view them here. It's not live blogged because I don't have a mobile phone, but I'll upload the photos daily.

Meaty Christmas

Anyone need some Christmas cards? My Meaty Christmas cards are in the shop now! Oh, and if you want some, don't procrastinate. I'm planning on leaving the country come beginning of December.

My shop is getting bare, must restock! I've got errands to run tomorrow and a custom bag to finish. Hopefully soon I'll have the shop restocked with crafty goodies. I got my hands on another Holly Hobbie bed sheet...which means I'll be able to make some more Holly Hobbie tote bags! Unfortunately, I made up that bag as I went and didn't keep a pattern for it. Not a big worry, just kind of a pain. I'll have to do more work with the tape measure than I care to, but it's cool.

My First Amigurumi!

I finally learned to crochet! I was visiting friends in Ohio last week and spent a good deal of time with my friend Becky's crochet books. Thanks, Becky! It took a while, but I finally figured it out! I'm happy to have a craft that's easy to travel with. I've tried knitting, but haven't been able to stick with it long enough to finish anything except a tiny ipod case. Making amigurumi suits me better because the projects are small, and they turn out so flippin' cute! I made this little fella from this free pattern. Mine's blue because I love blue penguins. I saw some when I was in New Zealand and Australia...see, they're not much bigger than the one I made!

Handmade Nation

I went to see Handmade Nation two weeks ago. If you're not familiar with the documentary, check out the trailer below. I highly enjoyed it! That's the director Faythe Levine on the right. If you'd like to see it, it comes out on DVD in November. Go craft! :-)

Autumn Projects

Working on a few a more things for the shop...

Another cute bag!

I made a new bag! What do you think? Isn't it cute? Should I make more? The pattern is from KeykaLou. I totally love it! I don't usually carry purses, but I think this one is adorable.

I ♥ Red

I've been accumulating quite a list of etsy finds. I'm always finding wonderful things on etsy and new blogs to follow. I decided to start sharing my own etsy finds on a somewhat regular basis. Plus it will also give me something to write about when I don't have much to post. As you've probably noticed, I haven't been posting much lately. Apologies! My mind has been elsewhere... I just noticed that three of my finds are fruit-themed, which was not my intention. My intention was only to pick red things. What can I say? I like red, and I like fruit :-)

Pup & Pony Press :: Love their super cute letterpress cards! :: Apple Letterpress Card

Lulu Bug Jewelery :: Silver jewelery with charm :: strawberry necklace

Made With Love By Hannah :: Hannah makes some fun prints for her skirts. I have my eye on several of them. :: Apple Pickin' Skirt

Circa Ceramics :: I like this bowl :: Red Bicycle Bowl

Christy Studio :: I need a new messenger bag, preferably in red. This one's more like a large purse, but it's simple and has a long strap. I like. :: Red Messenger Bag

Summersville :: Screen printed fabric and some cool things made with them :: Red Houses Sketchbook

Harvest Fair

I have actually forgotten about my poor blog. I will be posting more regularly starting...soon. That's the plan. Last week I went to Seattle Tilth's Harvest Fair in Wallingford. It's about a 3 mile walk from the house, and it was a gorgeous day! Not a cloud in the sky, and a bit hot. I went because I wanted to learn more about urban gardening and raising chickens. Yes, one day I will have a yard, and in that yard I will compost, grow fruit trees, herbs and veggies, and raise some chickens!

I wasn't expecting the fair to be so big. It was really good! I met Marlo M who's the organizer for our etsy team, very cool. Always nice to meet fellow local crafters!

Need some peppers? What kind?

Chickens! I've been intrigued with the idea of raising chickens for a while, but after talking to some chicken owners at the fair, I really want some! To be clear, I just want a few hens for eggs and as pets. I am an omnivore, but I won't expect anything from my chickens other than fresh eggs...and to eat the bugs from my lawn (pretty please). Oh, this is just my observation, but kids seem to love chickens. Seriously, they like to chase them around, pick them up and hug them like teddy bears. See below, it's a fairy princess trying to hug a chicken.

Seattle Tilth offers a city coop tour every summer and classes on raising chickens in the city. Yay! They also have classes on raising goats if you're so inclined. I am not. What do you think of this little bird? Ain't she a beaut? I don't know much about chicken breeds, but I recognized this one right away as the kind I've had in a traditional Chinese soup. Yeah, the first time I had it, I was a little disturbed, but I soon got over it. Gray chicken meat with black bones is probably one of the tamer things I've eaten.

SVC Wayzgoose

Seattle's School of Visual Concepts hosts a Wayzgoose every year at the end of summer. They open up their letterpress studio for curious guests, there's equipment and art to buy, and most exciting of all, the steamroller smackdown!

Steamroller Smackdown: Local artists and design firms will be challenged to produce a giant poster, printed in the SVC parking lot, using a two-ton steamroller as a press. Prints will then be sold to the public by silent auction.

I took lots of pictures, so get ready!

Steamroller press! If I had a steamroller, this is what I would use it for.


Checking out the letterpress studio...pretty cool. I'm going add 'Take a letterpress class' to my shopping list.

...and blocks for sale.

Looking down from the Fitch poster, and AIGA group checking their print.

I think this is the Starbucks group. Cool stuff! I had a good time! Now go and design something :-)

Holly Hobbie Tote Bag

I just added this tote bag to the shop. I love how it turned out. I want to keep it, but I have too many bags. I'm trying to organize my fabric stash and use up some of my scrappy bits...because I have a mess of fabric scraps. After making my first bed sheet skirt, I had some oddly shaped bed sheet scraps left over. I kind of made this bag up as I went, but it turned out so well! I had to do some strategic cutting and piecing of the fabric because there wasn't much of it left. I like this simple bag. If I find some more awesome bed linens, I'll make some more. I'm kind of missing the Strawberry Shortcake sheets of my youth.

More Tinys

I'm nearly done with tiny pouches for now. I only have a few tiny zippers left in odd colors. Hmmmm....what to make next? The wiener dog pouch is for myself. Does anyone who knew me at university recognize where this fabric came from? Hmmm? I won't go into detail, but it's from a piece of clothing I've had for years, but couldn't bear to get rid of because of the little dachshunds. I ♥ dachshunds.

Tiny Zippy Pouches

New Tiny Zippies in the shop! Aren't they cute? I had a small stash of various colored zippers that had been sitting around for a while. They were just asking to be turned into tiny zipper pouches. Once I find my stash of D-rings I'll make some pouches that you can attach to key rings, fobs, clasps... I have a few more tiny pouches to add to the shop, then it's on to the larger pouches and perhaps some more boxy bags. The shop is pretty sparse, I know. I'm working on it!

Urban Craft Uprising

Sorry for the lack of posts! I've been having some troubles with my laptop :-( It appears the fan needs to be replaced, repaired or cleaned. in the meantime, I only use my laptop until it reaches a certain temperature before the fan kicks on, which seems to be an hour or so, longer if I rest it on an ice pack. it's low tech but it works. And doing any flash or video is a problem. sucks sucks sucks!

Anyway, this is way late, but three weeks ago I went to Urban Craft Uprising at Seattle Center. I had a fabulous time! So fabulous, I didn't leave for three hours! I didn't take many pics, but I found a few on flickr. The picture on the left is from a felting workshop by the lovely ladies of Feltique. Well hey! That's me! (look for the white hat) I've never done any felting before, except by accident when I tried to machine wash my wool sweater in college. Um, so needle felting is very cool and terribly addicting. I recommend it to anyone, especially those who like to poke and stab things. See more photos here.

See the apple I made!

I also sat in on a kansashi fabric flower workshop by Diane Gilleland. It's a great way to use up small scraps of fabric. There are some more pictures on her blog. Hey! I'm in some of those pictures, too! (in white hat)

There were so many wonderful things I wanted to buy! There's so much amazing talent out there. Unfortunately, I'm still on an extreme budget diet, so I was not able to purchase much. I did allow myself two small purchases though, a sketchbook (from ex libris anonymous) and some flavored salt (from Secret Stash). I actually did need a new sketchbook, and I got attached to this penguin book. I think it suits me :-) It's made from an old children's book. I love it much. and flavored sea salt...YUM! I humored myself and only bought a small vial. Afterwards, I spent the rest of the day wandering around Seattle Center, checked out the Arab Festival, got a kebab, found a spot under a tree and relaxed. It was good.