Edible Vegan Knits

While I love cheese and ice cream too much to ever be vegan, I have been drooling over the delectable veggie dishes at VeganYumYum for a little over six months now. I really hope she reaches the world-wide acclaim of Chocolate and Zucchini some day, because her darling petite deserts and inventive veggie dishes are just too amazing. And if that cooking ninja ever lands a book deal for her recipes, her book will have the honors of being the first ever vegan cookbook to end up on my dedicated vegetarian cooking shelf.

And I dare you to say "no" to these cupcakes with "knitted" marzipan! So cute!


I obviously love design and making things. I also just as obviously love the whimsical-while-still-elegant nature of Japanese creations. So, PingMag, "The Tokyo-based magazine about 'Design and Making Things'" obviously has me hooked hopelessly and forever in its clutches. It is yet another wonderful eye candy-filled site to consume what little free time I have left.

What may not be as obvious is that I had an impressive collection of pop-up books as a child that I ruined from over-use. To this day, I have only one book from my childhood collection—the only book that somehow managed to survive because it wasn't about monkeys or dinosaurs.

And so, I now present one of the best features I've seen yet on PingMag: Welcome to the amazing world of pop-up books!.

Miyazaki Knits

Flickr user elewa has some stunning Miyazaki-based knits on her photostream. Miyazaki is a master at creating breathtaking and inspiring animation that opens viewers' imaginations, so it's not surprising to see more and more crafts based from his most notable films. In fact, I look forward to seeing more Miyazaki-based crafts gorgeous enough to make me drool.

Um...May I Have One, Please?

From joshjakus, these woolen bags manage to embody my three favorite design principles: style, function, and eco-friendly material. They store flat when completely unzipped, and are made from two layers of industrial wool felt scraps (hence the eco-friendly). There are a variety of styles and sizes available, but I'm partial to the tote version of the "Um" line.

A limited number of white pieces are also available for half-price as they are made from discontinued white felt that has been deemed "too delicate for the retail environment."

Via TreeHugger.

Etsy Upcycling Weenie Roast

A day late but not a dollar too short. The winners of the Upcycle contest co-sponsored by Etsy have been announced.

One of my picks, the Plasticoat, was runner-up. The others—well—sadly, they didn't even make it to honorable mention. However, with 200 plus entries to slog through, I'm impressed one of my picks even made it. The entries for this contest were overwhelmingly awesome, too.

And that wiener bench—I don't even know how the hell I missed it! I'm glad it won first place. If each one of those crocheted wieners would wiggle and vibrate, that bench would give one killer massage for sore ninja muscles. Honestly, can you think of something better than being kneaded by pulsating plush penises?

Though I think the cardboard chair was a bunch of...Hmpf! Honorable mention my ninja ass.


The entries for yet another awesome Etsy contest have rolled in. This time, the contest is co-sponsored by William McDonaugh and Michael Braugart, the authors of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. The theme is "upcycling", a term the co-authors coined for the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value. In this contest, Etsy challenged users to create an object made from materials that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. You can view all unsold entries over at Etsy.

Winning entries won't be officially announced until February 1st, via the Etsy blog, but below are my top five favorites (in no particular ranking):

Totoro Baby Bonnet

Awhile back, I randomly ran into a Totoro Baby Bonnet pattern via Flickr. I don't know any amine-appreciating babies, but I do want to convert this to an adult hat. Another thing to add to my ever expanding "to-do" list.

That same site, Hello Yarn, also has some other great free patterns worth checking out, particularly if you're looking for a nice cable project, skulls, or gorgeous double-color knitting. My other favorites include the Besotted Scarf, We Call Them Pirates Hat, and One Baaad Poncho. There are also some gorgeous handspun and hand-dyed yarns for sale, though I'm too poor to do anything but drool for now.

Spotlight: Flash Bags

Amazing artist and Etsy seller mLee was recently approached by a company called Flash Bags after they discovered one of her wood block prints through a feature on the Etsy front page. Flash Bags takes interesting, unique and beautiful (in mLee's case) works of art and turns them into simply gorgeous bags like no other, splitting the profits with the artist. Even better is that buyers have some customization control—being able to choose from a selection of artwork and styles to create a unique bag that's all their own. It's a great idea, executed in a stunning way.

Both shop links are definitely worth a browse for inspiration, if not for gift-purchasing.


Here's a couple of "meaty" links today, both from Monster Crochet.

A short, picture-filled post featuring Mixed Grilled Mats. Mats, as in table placemats!

And most importantly, a really good entry on Demystified Design. She goes quickly through her design process for creating crocheted "meat men." Totally awesome project, and uber-useful design information for someone wanting more than the basic yarn store pattern books.

Craft + Etsy Contest

The five winners of the Craft + Etsy contest have been anounced!

When I first saw it, I knew the interactive pendant by KathrynRiechert (first picture in this post) would win. I didn't follow the entries close enough to predict all of the others. However, I'm really surprised that this entry didn't make the list at all—not even the Etsy front page features the day of the announcements. I thought for sure it would be selected when I first saw it. Maybe I'm a freak, but I thought it was really clever.

If interested, you can view all the unsold entries for the time being.

Play With Your Food

Of late, miniature food art made from Sculpey seems to be cropping up all over the place. A recent search for tutorials brought me to the amazing work of Pine Studio. The site hosts a number of pictorial how-tos that are not in English, but the gallery is where I spend most of my time. Whoever this person is, they're one of the more detailed and amazing miniature food artists I've seen.

The following picture is from verpabunny at Flickr. They have posted a few other examples of food art that are almost as inspiring as those at Pine Studio.

If you're more interested in purchasing miniature food, there's some amazing sellers who make food jewelry and such over at Etsy. Aoi's Art is one of the more notable Etsy food artists, but I absolutely adore Tatsuko's sushi platter necklaces, earrings, and wall art.

Handspun Meal

I have Etsy to thank for my newest money-sucking addiction: handpun yarns. Handspun lacks the regularity of commercial yarns, preventing one from creating using them in intricate projects where an consistent weight is needed to show the detail of the pattern (i.e. The Branching out Scarf). But, you do end up with an incredibly unique item that often has colors and textures more amazing than any high-quality commercial yarn. The inspiration that floods over me every time I look at my newest additions to my stash makes the higher prices well-worth the occasional splurge.

My favorite yarn seller on Etsy is Castleman because of her colors, plying techniques (raisin yarn one and two), and her choice of amazing materials. I cannot do her Tussah silk yarn justice with words. It's soft, silky, shimmery, and environmentally friendly (the silk cacoons are collected after the worms discard them). Also, her silk prices are a great deal when compared to the 100% silk yarns I've seen at my local yarn store. The quality is much higher and the price much lower.

The yellow and blue skiens are silk yarns from Castleman, the other is her "raisin yarn" and a coordinating skein in wool.

Handpsun Silks
Rasin Yarn

And while I'm a Castleman groupie, I do try to buy from other yarnmiesters. Below is a very soft and bulky yarn I purchased from Elysium Yarns. It's merino wool, hand painted in a dark jewel-toned rainbow. So stunning in person, I've been carefully planning how to use it. I'm thinking fingerless gloves as a scarf would be too stereotypical. Fingered gloves would be awesome, but I think it's too bulky for fingers.

Rainbow Jewel
Jewel Rainbow


During my lunch break, I spent a handful of minutes browsing Etsy and this person's jewelry struck me. It's amazing how detailed it is for being so tiny and for being made out of polymer clay.

When I was in Junior High, I went through a polymer obsession and created countless detailed statues. But comparing all of my creations to their’s is like comparing scribbles made by a child who just learned how to hold a crayon to Bernini's pliant statues.

I'm not generally attracted to things that are so sickly cute, but everything in their Etsy shop has this hard-to-define quality about it that captures the essence of Japanese culture- both traditional and modern.