Friday, November 11, 2011

All Things Corduroy -or- A Little Plush From a Few of My Friends

As I mentioned in my last post, I've had the privilege to curate a corduroy plush show for the Corduroy Appreciation Club's big meeting on 11|11|11.  I am here to share with you this incredible work.  I'd like to say, it has been such a pleasure working with these 11 extraordinarily talented artists, and I'm grateful to have such wonderful friends who do such incredible work.  Work that will be available for sale November 12th at noon at the Plush Team's website.  Buy some.  

Pinwale Pin Whale by Squirrel Momma

Meet the Pinwale Pin Whale.  The Corduroy Appreciation Club’s main public symbol is the whale. The whale is a homonym of wale. Wale, or wales, is the raised portion of Corduroy fabric—its most distinctive trait and what makes Corduroy, Corduroy. Whales also possess attributes the CAC and its membership wish to exude: strength, endurance, intelligence, sociability, and mystery. The Whale should always be facing left.
About the Artist:
Squirrel Momma, who sometimes goes by the secret identity of Amy Williams, is a fiber artist living and working in West Michigan. Trained as a metalsmith, she has now turned to soft sculpture and is fascinated with bringing to life tiny creatures and making sure each and every one gets to tell the world his bizarre and amazing story.  Find more of Squirrel Momma's work at

Cordelia by ThEm DoLLz
Meet Cordelia, a pensive lady who has spent hours upon hours reflecting upon a sense of fellowship rooted in the historic and culturally significant fabric known as Corduroy.  
About the Artist:
This piece is created by Jen Musatto of ThEm DoLLz.  Each of her dollz are handmade with love using new or recycled clean fabric, buttons, safety eyes, and new polyfil. Each one is a one-of-a-kind creation, as she does not use a pattern. Cordelia is signed by the artist on her back patch to assure authenticity.  To find more work by ThEm DoLLz visit

Wavy Wade by Patti Haskins
Wavy Wade is the Whale of Wales.  Wade thinks those cords are so groovy he styles them everywhere he goes.  The Corduroy Appreciation Club’s main public symbol is the whale. The whale is a homonym of wale. Wale, or wales, is the raised portion of Corduroy fabric—its most distinctive trait and what makes Corduroy, Corduroy. Whales also possess attributes the CAC and its membership wish to exude: strength, endurance, intelligence, sociability, and mystery. The Whale should always be facing left.

About the Artist:
Patti Haskins is a self-taught artist and her work reflects her love of animals and her goofy sense of humor. Whether crocheted, sewn, painted, or computer generated, chances are the subject matter she portrays will be animal. Most likely, cat or dog; but fish, bunnies, squirrels and ferrets and now a whale have been known to leap out of her studio.  See more at


"Waling" Banshee
"Waling" Banshee

According to Irish folklore, banshees are fairy women (or ghosts of women who died, commonly in childbirth) who wail when death is nigh. Their wails are most often heard at night near woods.

About the Artist:
Jessica Puckett, the creature creator behind Plushroom Soup, sees no reason why plush can't be a little strange, like most of us. And even though she wears corduroy at least twice per week, this is the first time she's dressed a plushie in wale.  It will not be the last.  Find more of her work at


Dapper Whale by Chris Creatures
Dapper Whale comes with a corduroy driver cap and removable corduroy vest, making him in full compliance with the "two item rule," the Corduroy Club mandate that all members where a minimum of two items of corduroy to gain admittance to the meeting.  

About the Artist:
Chris Hwang a plush artist living in the DC Metro area.  ChrisCreatures are inspired by simplicity, humor, and hip hop.  Find more here:


Honey Badger Doesn't Give a Sh*t by Fuz Frenzy
This faux taxidermy sculpture is paying tribute to several honorable entities at once.  First, the crochet method used creates ridges, thus forming the wonder that from this day forward shall be known as CORDUROY CROCHET!  

As if that weren't enough, the subject matter the artist has chosen is that of the fearsome honey badger, the same one we all know and love for not giving one sh*t, depicted here in an eternal struggle with a cobra.  The honey badger is a favored mascot among the members of the Plush Team, primarily because of the infamous youtube video by Randall.

About the Artist:
Jennifer Clayton is the mastermind behind fuzfrenzy.  See what happens when you go to art school and end up crocheting monsters and whatnot.


Hipster Wholphin by Christina Ward Creatures
Introducing Hipster Wholphin.  One side smile, other side smirk, this marine mammal is wearing a scarf made of vintage Wisconsin flannels and corduroy.   He is an expert in all things indie, totally vegan, and knows way more about Wes Anderson than you do.   This hybrid combines the best qualities of the dolphin and the whale, elevating his cool factor to unfathomable heights.  His parents make an unlikely couple, having met at a gallery opening of moronic art while sipping krill-washed bourbons.  

About the artist:
Christina Ward is a stoic dilettante making ridiculous animals out of fur, fleece and yes, corduroy. She lived in the LES of NYC in the 1980's but now lives in Milwaukee; making her an ur-hipster. 


Woody Allen, Corduroy Enthusiast by Plush Goodness
A famous lifelong Corduroy wearer and unconscious ambassador for the "everyman's fabric", you may also know of Woody Allen for his writing, directing, and sometimes acting in almost 70 feature films. Resplendent in his corduroy blazer and pinwale corduroy pants, Mr. Allen is fully compliant with the CAC's rule to wear 2 pieces of corduroy minimum.  

About the artist:
Plush Goodness (aka Leeanna Butcher) is a freelance textile artist, fabric collector, and plush-aholic living and working in Northern California. She received her degree in Character Animation, and now uses that training to make her drawings come to life in plush form. When not busily sewing new creations, she spends her time with her scruffy dog and equally scruffy artist husband.  Experience more of her work at


The Squid and the Wale by Plushinator
Amid the pod of whales we find a shining star, or rather, squid.  As everyone knows, the whale is the mascot of the Corduroy Appreciation Club, but the cephalapod is equally worthy of your adoration, sporting his baby wale in a most glorious combination of plum and pink.  Sometimes it really is preferable to stand out from the crowd, isn't it?

About the artist:
Lana Crooks loves the antique, the creepy, the cute and the mysterious. She began her artistic life as an illustrator, but became a sculptor of fabrics and found objects. She constructs all kinds of creatures (commonly those from the deepest oceans, but even the ones from under your bed).  Explore more of her work at

Grow a Pair by Scrumptious Delight
title: "Grow a pair"
description: corduroy capsule vending machine
dimensions:20" x 10" x 10"
materials: corduroy (of course!), vinyl, capsule vending balls, felt.
the idea:  This handmade vending machine will happily dispense to you for the incredible price of .25 a capsule containing one pair of miniature corduroy flare pants.  To "grow a pair" just add water and -voila- slip into your full-sized pants.  

Becky Gould is the artist behind  Scrumptious Delight.  She is originally from Bournemouth in the UK but has roved the world, from Portugal, Spain, France and has now settled in Vancouver.  Becky has created plush since she was a child, but felt her passion for sewing really ignite after her son was born ten years ago.  Since then she has exhibited her work internationally and enjoyed recognition in various media outlets, including the cover of Stuffed magazine.  Visit her at


11|11|11 by Raggy Rat
the work

a triptych, actually
comprising of - 
'the day'
'the month'
'the year'

and being three sets of paired number one plushies, all in cord.

This plush piece's title is a poem honoring the grandest of Corduroy Appreciation Club dates, 11|11|11.  Meetings of the CAC occur only on dates which resemble Corduroy, which includes 1|11 and 11|1.  Also worthy of excitement are the times 1:11 and 11:11.  I think you get the gyst.  

About the Artist:  
The Raggy Rat is a place where you will find all kinds of goings on, although not all of them are based around rats and mice!

Cat Owens enjoys working in many ways, but always come back to fabric and stitches. These days she even sticks fabric on her canvases! She enjoys private and community commissions as well as picking an idea and seeing where it takes her, and creates anything from costumes and puppets, to miniature toys.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What on earth have I been up to?

I've been oddly quiet for far too long, I know.  It's been a strange year that way.  Lots of covert operations going on over here, but I'm here to share some of it with you.

First off, there's a really nifty facebook app I'd like you to check out.  I can't take credit for any of the handmade plush featured in it, but let's just say I have extremely intimate knowledge of every piece in there.  One of them was replicated 100 times for promotional  purposes.  I imagine that whoever had that project must have been very busy indeed!  But, as I said, legally the artist responsible for this work cannot publicly take credit for it.  Whoever she may be.

Feel Better Friend!  An app full of handmade plush.  By someone really awesome.
What I'm pretty sure I CAN take credit for is that adorable baby girl in that photo.  I totally made her.  Isn't she gorgeous?  Okay, quit staring and go play with the app.

Next up, there's a very special date approaching.  11|11|11 is NEXT WEEK, and I've been making preparations for a few months to celebrate this grandest of dates in high style with the Corduroy Appreciation Club, a social club based in New York City that celebrates this every-man's fabric and its related items.  They hold spectacular meetings on dates that resemble corduroy, and this upcoming date of 11|11|11 is the date that most closely resembles corduroy of ALL TIME!

Not one to miss out on grand events, I will be packing the family into the minivan and trekking out to New York to attend this meeting, which is reported to be the last of its kind.  I have this on authority, as my brother and his betrothed help run the organization.  A multitude of wondrous events are planned, some of which are still being kept under wraps, but suffice it to say we have a very personal reason to attend this meeting that celebrates all things corduroy.  I wouldn't miss it for the world.  Once it's over I will regale you, not to worry!  Many, many pictures with hilarious descriptions will rain down upon you, dear reader.
The whale is the mascot of the CAC, and should always be facing left.  
 But I've had another role to play as well, that of Plush CORDinator (get it?  get it?).  I'm cultivating a small exhibit of 11 plush pieces by 11 plush artists from my beloved Plush Team.  These soft sculptures are incredible to behold, and will be displayed one night only at the CAC meeting held at the Desmond Tutu Center on 11|11|11.  Alas, the event is sold out, so if you don't have your ticket you're out of luck to see the exhibit in person.  Not to worry!  These pieces will be available for purchase on Saturday, November 12th beginning at noon at the Plush Team's etsy shop, so that you may add one of these amazing creations to your private corduroy collection.

Look at my fancy membership card!  Backed in CORDUROY!!!  Jealous?

To attend a CAC meeting you must be wearing a minimum of two items of corduroy, which for this most auspicious date has been raised to THREE items.  I've been making dresses, ties, helping with spats, scouring vintage shops, and I think we're good to go.  Jason even has a pair of cordarounds, whose horizontal wale greatly diminishes crotch friction.  Fancy!

So, while I put all the final details on our preparations, check out Plush Team's blog, where I've been celebrating 11 days of corduroy, revealing a different plush piece from the show each day.  Also peruse the CAC's blog, as they have their own 11 days of corduroy to help you get into the spirit.

A sneak peek at a special project I made for the CAC.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to be cool like me.

I've been asked time and time again, "Abby, how can I ever be as cool as you?"

Actually, I have never once been asked this, but I know you are all thinking it and are merely too intimidated by my unmitigated awesomeness to ask.  Not to fear!  I've taken the liberty of answering your unspoken question for you.  And here we go:

1.  Have purple hair.
2.  Get people's names wrong.
3.  Have an extended family that is straight out of a Woody Allen movie, but not in a funny ha-ha kind of way.
4.  Name inanimate objects.  For example: your sewing machine, your minivan, etc.  I've named mine Sappho and Black Mamba, so those are taken.
5.  Watch way too much Dr. Who.
6.  After half of an alcoholic beverage curl up on the couch like a little kitten and fall asleep.  In other words, be the life of the party!
7.  Assume everyone loves you.
8.  Assume everyone hates you.
9.  Argue with your cat.
10. Be perpetually inappropriate, ideally while using catch phrases too often or completely wrong.
11. Live on the West Side.  Booyah.
12. Marry a dude who is artsy and sweet and shy and is totally smitten with you.  Extra bonus points if he lusted for you from afar for several years.  I can't recommend this highly enough.
13.  Eat greek yogurt.
14.  Walk around with your own personal soundtrack in your head.  Randomly dance to it.
15.  Do not leave the house for days on end and when you do it's to go to Target.

There!  See how easy that is?  Soon you too will be a raging badass like myself if you follow these simple steps.  You're welcome!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Looking for me? Here I am!

abbydid does The City Flea by abbydid
abbydid at The City Flea in June.

I've been keeping a low profile as of late, tis true, and it's been a good thing by and large.  But I've missed all of you darlings!  So I'm here to tell you there are 3 more craft shows where you will be able to find me should you desire some plush love and my delightful company.  

I will be partaking in two shows this September and one in October.  There will be NO SHOWS in November, and I may pop up a time or two in December, but that still remains in flux so no promises just yet.  Meanwhile, I will do my best to keep Fabricate in Northside stocked, so that you can always find goodies there.  

As always, custom orders are welcome and even encouraged, though the earlier we discuss those plans the better, ideally before Thanksgiving.  The etsy shop is a bit threadbare, so if you don't see your heart's fondest desire give me a shout, I'm sure I can hook you up:)

There are some fun, funky things coming up to share with you, so some of my absence will make more sense when they begin rearing their heads.  In the meantime they are to be kept secret.  Oh, I do hate the suspense, don't you?

abbydid does The City Flea by abbydid
Come get a prize from the craftball machine!
And now, without further ado, where to find me over the next few months:

THIS SATURDAY!!! September 3rd, 10am-4pm
Central Parkway and Vine Street at the Cincinnatus Mural
Cincinnati, Ohio
This is the last City Flea of the summer, so be sure to hurry down!  This has been such a fun show, I've loved being a part of it, both as a vendor and an attendee.  I had the chance to visit the Brooklyn Flea last week, which inspired our own City Flea, and I have to say I like ours better:)  Don't miss it!  So much fun...

Saturday, September 24 · 11:00am - 5:00pm
Westwood Town Hall (outside)
3017 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio
Welcome to my neighborhood!  I couldn't let this pass by without being a part of it, it's just such a lovely day filled with good music, good food, good finds, and good company.

Sunday, October 9 · 12:00pm - 5:00pm

Main Street between 13th and Liberty

Cincinnati, Ohio
The last Second Sunday of the year!  This is the first year for the events to extend into October, making for a lovely fall day downtown with nice, cool temperatures.  Jason generally insists we be located across from the beer truck, so look for us there.  Be sure to enjoy the excellent food vendors and check out the celebrity chef demo.  The chefs and cocktologist from Senate (which I hear is AMAZING) will teaching you the tricks of the trade.  How can you pass that up?  You can't.  
abbydid does The City Flea by abbydid
Did you spot the blue polka-dotted nailbiter in the July Cincinnati Magazine?  He's famous!
Now, some of you eagle eyes may have noticed this means NO CRAFTY SUPERMARKET.  I know!!!  Can you believe it?  My schedule in November just isn't allowing for the time to make the inventory I'd need.  BUT!!!  Don't you dare miss it!!!  I plan on being a volunteer and attending as a civilian, and if Fabricate has a table, as they usually do, I'll ask extra nicely that they include my plush fro their shop.  Also, I'll make something nifty for the swag bags they hand out to the first 100 in the door.  
Hope your summer has been gorgeous!  See you soon:)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Team Ta-Tas

I was approached this summer by Team Ta-Tas to create a few pieces for a special event.  Team Ta-Tas is a Cincinnati-based organization whos goal is to raise breast cancer awareness as well as raise funds for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure.  They are a fun, zany group, and it was my absolute pleasure to create something just for them.

This Friday, August 5th is Pink-a-POLOoza at the Polo Grille in Mason, Ohio from 6:00-10:00pm.  Browse the various silent auctions and vendors, all there to help raise money for this worthy cause, while sipping a TaTaTini!  And wear your pink.  These ladies do love PINK!  I know I'm hoping to make it, so I'm sure I'll see you there:)

And now, what I have made for this fine event:
The Mini TaTas by abbydid

Mini TaTa, a little mascot for the group!  As you can see, Mini TaTa and her sisters have championed the disease and are celebrating their victories wearing boxing gloves, championship belt, and newly sprouted hair after going a few rounds with chemotherapy.   
And some of you may recall the bouncing boobies from when the Plush Team was holding a Plushraiser for the Susan G. Komen Institute a couple of years ago.  Well, they're back!  Yes, they really bounce, and they will be for sale individually or by the pair, whatever your preference may be.  

The proceeds from these items will go to Team Ta-Tas, and I will have these pieces listed in my etsy shop soon as well.  

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A little, possibly unneccesary, explanation of what I'm up to. Or not up to, as the case may be.

So, I've been on a bit of a plush hiatus.  I was starting to get anxiety attacks whenever I sat down to my dear machine, so I knew something had to give.  The timing of this wasn't ideal, but perhaps not a surprise.  I had signed myself up for 4 shows in June alone, and June is already a bit of a madhouse for me, what with the boy and the manchild BOTH having birthdays, along with 5 other members of the family, plus Father's Day, PLUS both kids being home with me all day long on summer break.  What has resulted has been a general melee of Abby attempting to do too much too fast and thus the pressure cooker that is my head.
Lately I've been getting that sinking feeling.

For those of you who don't know, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.  I was diagnosed 4 1/2 years ago, but I'm fairly certain I've had it since at least high school.  I am almost constantly experiencing some level of anxiety in my body, and it manifests itself in all sorts of interesting ways when I don't give it healthier outlets.  One of the scarier ways it rears its ugly head is in the dreaded migraine.  I'll save you some of the gorier details of this, but for me a migraine means a minimum of 4 hours of being completely out of commission, and up to a week of feeling lethargic and vulnerable to a rebound attack.  I have had three in the past year, all of them right before a craft show.  The last one was a little over a week ago, before a night time show down on Fountain Square.  Luckily for me, I have a husband who loves the indie craft show scene, and has stepped in for me all three times to peddle the plush in my stead.

But clearly something needs to change, and so I cancelled my last show this month and don't have another scheduled until August, giving me a chance to regroup and reevaluate.  I'm catching up on some orders I hadn't been giving proper attention.  Once I'm caught up I'd like to focus on restocking the two shops I'm currently working with, perhaps approaching a third I've heard might like to do business with me.  My poor etsy shop was looking a bit neglected, so I'm slowly giving it some love as well.   
Sometimes I feel I'm too small too fill what I see as enormous shoes.

I'm reading books.  I'm spending time with my kids.  I've put away the piles and piles of work waiting to be sewn so I don't feel overwhelmed, and instead I've actually made myself a little dress this week, and have a couple of other personal projects I'd like to do.  I'm making gifts for a few unsuspecting folks, which is something else I've had on my to-do list for ages.  Workouts were beginning to get dropped, which is very bad as exercise is key to keeping my anxiety down and has been my replacement for the anti-anxiety meds I weaned myself off of in February.  So cardio is getting factored in again, and yoga needs to be in the mix as well.  I've dropped taking classes, which I've loathed doing, but need to at least resume my yoga practice at home.  

The hardest part of all of this is feeling like I've had to retreat, like I've admitted some sort of defeat and ducked away with my head between my tails.  I don't ever like to concede I have limits, that I'm not up to a task, so to say it's time to back down is painful for me.   I want to be all things to everyone all the time, which is not realistic at all.  And it often results in me being too little to too few, primarily my kids and my husband. 
I forget I'm just one person, not a team of people capable of lots of tasks at once.

I have known for awhile I have been struggling mightily with burn out.  I was quickly losing all the joy in my work.  What once was a very therapeutic activity for me was becoming the source for much of my anxiety.  There needs to be a middle ground somewhere here, and I'm treading carefully to find it and do this all properly. 

Added frustration comes in that I feel I am at the cusp of turning abbydid into a real full time job, a real business that truly contributes to my family's income.  It has been more than a hobby for quite a long time, but has hovered in that limbo of almost being the real deal (at least in my mind) for awhile.  But in reality, this is a one-woman show, with a very supportive husband and understanding kids, but still it's all on me.  And abbydid is only going to be as good as Abby can do.  This little biz has been built on my passion and love and quirkiness, and it has to be allowed it's own good time to grow and develop naturally.  I can't hold myself to artificial standards, projecting what I believe success to be.  I need to proceed carefully to be true to the spirit of abbydid, true to myself, true to my family. 
Just breathe.

And so, I need to get my house in order.  And by house, I mean my head.  I can't beat myself up for struggling with GAD.  I need to be forgiving of myself, accepting of my capabilities, and mindful of where I need to be.  I saw this gorgeous dish on etsy the other day, and I think it sums things up nicely.  Here it is:
Bowl by mb artstudios

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Time to go to Crafty Supermarket

The first 100 people in the door get an uber cool swag bag.  Included in said bag - this badge made by yours truly:)

 Cincinnati's indie craft scene has really been perking up, I'm delighted to say, and it's fantastic to see this town get excited about all things handmade.  Far and away the queen of these craft shows in the 'nati is Crafty Supermarket.  The trio of ladies who put this show together have done an outstanding job, again and again, of putting together the right mix of vendors (both local and regional), location, and promotional hype.  The result is a busy, happy day of crowds that understand the value of handmade and are happy to support it.  Good vibes abound! 
125 of these suckers!  Yes, that's how much I love me my Crafty Supermarket.
This Saturday, May 7th, from 11:00am to 6:00pm this event shall rise again to delight you with all that is crafty.  And I SHALL BE THERE!  RAWR!  I have all sorts of new things to share with you, my darlings, and here's a sneak peak of a few of them. 
LoRaffe - part giraffe, part lion, all charm.
Bot Bots - plushtronics
Kermuffle - a scarf with monster mitts
Teenie Tiny Wibbly Woos, just for the tooth fairy!

Arbuckle - the monster coffee cozy/armband.
All this and so much more!  I've been working my little hiney off for this, my friends, from tweaking the signage to refilling the craftball machine to making the largest inventory of plush EVER.  All of the old favorites will be there, too, not to worry.  I made something just for you!  Come and get it:)
New additions to the craftball machine.  Doodads, let's call them.
Crafty Supermarket also happens to be Mother's Day Eve, and so Jason and the kids have been instructed to find me gifts at the show.  I shall also find myself a gift, I am sure.  And more than likely, it shall come from one of my pals also working at the show.  Go by and say hi, these are some good people making great stuff, and I just love them to bits:

Lily in Flux  - the coolest damn repurposed jewelry you will ever find.  Fact.  Lizz is the bomb.  Also fact. 

Nimmy Designs - Nikki is adorable, and makes such gorgeous adornments. 

Paper Acorn - all paper, all wonderful.  Jessica is the sweet sass behind these beautiful paperworks.  Say hi:)

And last, but certainly not least, is The Lovely Teaspoon.  Alicia takes kitsch to such delightful new levels.  She is hilarious.  And she is so freaking affordable, you'll be stocking up, I promise. 

Oh, and so many, many, many more amazing vendors.  I could go on for days.  But I'll just stop here and assume you have the idea and trust you'll be coming out to see for yourself.  Come early for the swag bags!  People line up around the block, and they get there before I even show up to set up my table.  We have some die hard fans for Supermarket:)

See you Saturday!  I'm off to sew some more...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Craft Show Line Up - Spring and Summer, baby!

I have this very moment finalized the dates and details of my craft show Spring/Summer season.  And so now, my kittens, you pull out your calendars and mark down all of the delightful shows where you will be coming out and visiting me with your bright, shiny faces.  Extra brownie points if you bring me refreshments.

And here we go:

Crafty Supermarket
Saturday, May 7, 2011, 11:00am-6:00pm
Clifton Cultural Arts Center
3711 Clifton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220
*This is a favorite show of mine, primarily because it is such a great mix of people and indie craft at it's finest.  A warning - it gets crowded.  In my experience, afternoon is not quite so crazy, though that means you miss out on the 100 bags of free swag given to the first folks in the door.  Of course, these folks will have been waiting outside for 1-2 hours for said swag, but I hear it is worth it:)  This show gets a ton of press, deservedly.  In the past I've had my work appear in Cincinnati Magazine and on the Fox19 morning news when they promoted it!

OTR Gateway Summer Celebration
Saturday, May 21, 2011 10:00 AM- 4:00PM
12th & Vine in Over-the-Rhine
Cincinnati, Ohio
*Organized by the fine folks at Mica 12/v, this is a great show with live music in a hip corner of the Gateway Quarter in historic Over-the-Rhine.  I've attended this fine festival, but never worked it as a vendor, so I'm excited to be a part of it.  If I recall correctly, beer is available, just in case that sweetens the deal for you at all.

The City Flea
Saturday, June 4, 11:00am-5:00pm
Central Parkway and Vine Street at the Cincinnatus Mural
Cincinnati, Ohio
*This is a brand new event that's come to Cincinnati, and us Cincy craft folk have been abuzz over it.  This will be a monthly event throughout the summer, and I will be in the first and last of these shows.  The line up of vendors looks great, it's in an extremely cool spot (my high school art history teacher took us on a field trip to this very mural, I'll have you know!), and the couple organizing the show have done a bang up job. 

Midwest Craft Caucus
Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5 (I will speak on Sunday, June 5th)

*This is a weekend-long conference for us crafty folk trying to make a living off of our handmade goods.  Columbus has a strong handmade scene, and so it makes perfect sense they'd organize such an amazingly resourceful series of lectures and discussion panels.  I will be part of a discussion panel on Sunday, Working with Craft Collectives and Street Teams, to share my experiences as a member and leader of PlushTeam.  Check back to their website for a finalized schedule of sessions and their times, it's not up quite yet.  

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange 
Saturday, June 11, 11:00am-8:00pm
The Harrison Center for the Arts
1505 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

*My first time as a vendor here!  I've attended this show, way back when it was brand spanking new, and I really loved it.  I was newly operating abbydid at the time and it was really inspirational to me to see such a fine array of handcrafters doing their thing.  I hear it has really grown since then, I'm excited to check it out.


The City Flea
Saturday, September 3, 11:00am-5:00pm
Central Parkway and Vine Street at the Cincinnatus Mural
Cincinnati, Ohio

Mariemont Art and Craft Show    
Sunday, September 11, 11:00am-5:00pm
US 50 (Wooster Pike - just west of Mariemont Village Square)
Cincinnati, Ohio
 Westwood Art Show                        
 Saturday, September 24, 10:00am-4:00pm
Westwood Town Hall
3017 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio
*Welcome to my hood. The West Side is great for many, many reasons, but hipness is not one of them.  Having said that, I have found two craft shows on my side of town that I consider an absolute pleasure to be part of t his is DEFINITELY one of them!  The old town hall is a lovely venue, the grounds around it perfect for a craft show, live music, and play areas for the kids.  Amanda, the woman behind the show is probably the nicest person you will ever meet, and she is a indie crafter as well - here she is on etsy.   Go show her some love, she deserves it.  She works tirelessly to promote the Westwood community.  She also looks dead on the Widow Garret from Deadwood.  Just sayin'. 

And there we have it!  Clearly, I'm one busy bee.  As you can see, I'm not traveling much this season, mainly keeping it local.  As far as childcare and finances go, that just makes the most sense.  I have so many new things I'm working on, I can't wait to share them with you!  I so love the feedback I get when doing these shows, you are the folks who inspire me with new ideas and help me tweak the old ones.  Feel free to shout ideas my way ahead of time!  I'm working hard to make what I think you want to see at these shows, but if you have requests, I'm more than happy to hear them.  

See you soon:)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Steampunk Challenge - the Steam-powered Sewing Machine

As I've probably mentioned a million times, I'm a member of the PlushTeam.  This international guild of plush artists comes up with a Team Challenge every couple of months to keep us on our toes and get those creative juices flowing.  I try to participate in as many as possible, and occasionally I even win something as a result, but I always come away from it inspired and having tried something crazy, different, and out of my comfort zone.

And so, it is my pleasure to present to you my entry for the PlushTeam Stempunk Challenge (in the gadget category)- the entirely steam-powered sewing machine of the Victorian Age!  Or at least what I imagine it probably looked like with that little abbydid spin tossed in.

Please visit the week of April 18-23 to VOTE for my Steampunk piece if you think it is the plush best exemplifying the glory of the Steampunk Era! Oh, and also, buy this piece and display it proudly for all to see!  It's located in the PlushTeam Shop for your perusing and/or purchasing pleasure.

But, Abby, tell us more!  This bad boy is made of hand sculpted foam core covered in a variety of up-cycled upholstery fabrics, sourced from leftover samples from interior decorators that were headed for the trash. Clock hands serve as sewing needles.  Metal bobbins, a necklace chain, and the mechanics of a wind up duck make up the inner workings inside the panel.  A pressure gauge accompanies some bobbins and doodads at the top. The side wheel is a faucet spigot.

Wait, did she say a wind up duck?  And is that a duck foot I see in there?  Why, yes, yes it is. 

Measures 13"x9.5"x6.5", approximately the same size as a standard sewing machine.  And that concludes our glimpse for the day into the oddly wondrous place that is my brain.  Carry on:)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Have you met Big Bunny?

Right, so, here's what happened.  I was sort of bored and was wondering just how BIG I could make something.  I set to work, and sometime in the wee hours late one Saturday night, Big Bunny was born.  The next morning, I emerged from my den of slumber to find Big Bunny sitting on the couch, right where I had left him, only now he had two children draped around him.  They declared we were keeping him, he was not for sale, and that was that.
The morning after.  See that face?  That face is saying, "you will take him away only over my dead body."  We do not mess with her when she makes that face;) 
So, Big Bunny is a member of the family.  He is my mascot, and he comes with me to meet the people.  But he is not for sale.  We can talk about how you can get your own Big Bunny, if you like.
Our 2010 Christmas Card.  Boy, Girl, Bunny.  Not necessarily in that order.

Big Bunny is the strong, silent type.  While he isn't much on words, he is an excellent snuggler, and everyone always seems happy to see him.  Who can blame them?  There is just an aura about him, just a happy, relaxed vibe.  It's all good, as far as Big Bunny is concerned.

The Mascots at PlushTeam's Candyland Show.  Big Bunny is accompanied by Tyler Poncho and Froderick.

I have more photos of Big Bunny hanging around town over at my flickr page, go check them out!  And better yet, come meet him in person at one of my upcoming shows.  

Speaking of, my craft show schedule is shaping up quite nicely, and I have some dates to announce:

The City of Wyoming's Earth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 16, 2011
10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Along Wyoming Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio

Crafty Supermarket
(you know I love me my Supermarket!)
Saturday, May 7, 2011
11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Clifton Cultural Arts Center
3711 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange
Saturday, June 11
12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m
The Harrison Center for the Arts1505 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

That's it for now, kittens!  I'm off on a weekend retreat with my sisters in plush-making - EIGHTEEN of us in a cabin in the mountains of Virginia!!!  PLUSH RETREAT!!!  WOOT!!!  You can rest assured, you'll hear all about it ;)

Friday, March 18, 2011

When the Creative Juices Are Flowing -or- Biproducts of the Compulsively Crafty

For us artsy folk there seems to be a cyclical effect to the creative process.  We all go through slumps, and we all go through highs.  Sometimes we are bursting with ideas.  Sometimes we hate every damn thing we make.  I know I go through this constantly.  So I thought I'd explore this a little more, and share how I navigate my hills and valleys of drawing from one's imagination to keep things fresh and interesting.
The Craftball Machine - a REALLY good idea.  Kids are powerless to resist it. 

When I'm on my game, I know it.  I feel good, my brain is whirring, I can literally feel the cogs turning and cranking out new ideas.  At the pinnacle of this I am simply crackling with creativity, it feels like electricity is coarsing through me and I need to make things NOW.  This is the very sweetest spot to be in, and alas, the most elusive.  When I am in this rare space of euphoria I feel confident I can do no wrong, and I am the best damn artist on the planet.

The direct opposite of this is the dreaded SLUMP.  Oh, how I hate the slump.  Everything I make is crap.  I don't have a single original idea in my head.  Everything I've EVER made is crap.  I am uninspired, trite, derivative, and I should just give up now and spare the world my efforts.  This sad state of affairs is also extremely rare, thankfully, though it seems to coincide with being turned away from a show I really wanted to be a part of, or being declined from a magazine I sent my best work, etc.  Rejection is an excellent entrance point to this downward spiral. 

Pirate monkey always cheers me up when I need it.  Want one of your own?  Dingo Girl will hook you up, no problem.

Now, these two are obviously extremes, and if they were recurrent on a more regular basis I'm pretty sure I'd be bipolar.  But as that is one of the few issues my therapist has NOT brought up in the laundry list of things I should be working on, I'm going to go on the assumption this is pretty normal.   

What is the norm for me is somewhere in-between.  Little moments of doubt creep in here and there.  Days where i don't feel like making anything balance out days where I feel certain of the path I am following and want to see some results take shape.  I hardly ever feel like I am being productive enough.  It is often hard to stay focused.  I want to check my email, see who's on facebook, browse etsy for things I can't afford.  Anything but sit down and stay committed to the task at hand.
It is so easy to get caught up in too much at once.

I find my potholes seem to involve having too many projects going on at once.  Sometimes I have so many ideas hitting me I am split into too many directions.  That's currently where I am now.  There are 7 projects on the sewing table waiting to be made, photographed, and listed in my shop.  I have a huge challenge project for PlushTeam that is sort of percolating in a limbo state.  I'm dying to experiment with resin and make bangle bracelets filled with good n' plenty candy.  I'm in the process of making my Pullip doll a collage-covered dollhouse that has been taking up the coffee table for the better part of two weeks.  I am too scattered and there isn't enough focus on any one project. 
Tiling the roof of the house in paper samples and cereal boxes.

The solution when I get like this?  Play music, and work on one project at a time so that I can see something finished and continue to move forward.  Upbeat music really seems to keep me moving at a better pace.  Occasionally, if I have quiet hand-work to do, I'll put in an audiobook.  This runs the risk of me getting caught up in the story instead of focusing on the project, however.  I mean, you really want to give Neil Gaiman your full attention, don't you?  Another key to keeping focus is making to-do lists, sometimes with due dates.  Open-ended projects are the easiest to let fall by the way-side.  That must be why my first quilt is collecting dust and is perpetually unfinished.  Also, keeping my space neat(ish) and tidy(ish) helps me feel less chaotic and scattered.
My work space is eclectic and inspiring, in my eyes.

But what to do if you have no ideas in that poor empty noggin?  That's the worst, isn't it?  For me, it's when I'm cluttered and distracted and anxiety is getting the best of me that I am truly constipated creatively.  The hardest part of clearing the block is being motivated to do so.  If I can defeat the apathy monster looming over me, if I get into a routine, meditate, lie in Shavasana after a really great yoga practice, that's when I will suddenly have the thunderbolt of an idea hit me again.  It's like a rainfall after a long, dry spell.  It's delicious, it makes the colors brighter all around me, and I can't wait to get my hands into my next project.  And so the cycle begins again. 
The cover to Sappho the sewing machine.  She likes to travel in style!

One last note on rejection.  I had this hit recently and it really got me down.  My lovely friends rallied around me, gave me tons of advice, and assured me it was the rejecter's loss, not mine.  So, I recommend having a lovely circle of friends as a support group to give you a nice pet as you lick your wounds.  And you do have to give yourself a bit of a pity party when this happens.  Give into it for a day or two, at most three, and then move on.  Sure, being turned down sucked, but then I gave it some thought and realized I had so many other great opportunities surrounding me - one I had just finished (and I can't wait to tell you about when it's time), another that presented itself out of the blue - there will always be some yeses along with the nos.  I do feel like princess-of-quite-a-lot lately and will just revel in that.