Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So, what do you do when you're stuck in the dark with no electricity for 12 hours? Sleep? Heck no! If you're hardcore (which I apparently am) you'll craft, lights be damned!

If you haven't already heard, the day after Christmas a lightning storm took out one of the electrical power plants (we have four) on my island (O`ahu, in Hawai`i), causing the other 3 to shut down totally as a safety precaution. It was already evening (7:00 pm) so when the lights went out, they really went out, EVERYWHERE; even the infamous Waikiki was pitch black! The entire island was completely without electricity the entire night and some people didn't get power back until late the next day. You may have heard about our blackout for two reasons: it was island-wide, and President Barrack Obama was staying with his family in Kailua! He was sent four generators by the governor and mayor, but like a trooper he turned them away, and sat in the dark like the rest of us.... isn't that awesome?!

It was actually the second time in my life I've been in complete darkness, which is usually hard because I live in the middle of a genuine metropolitan hustle and bustle city. It really makes you appreciate modernization when you have to do everything by candlelight... no wonder some people go to bed at dusk and wake up with the sun! Everything was so dark and quiet, people literally had to dig out their hurricane candles and flashlights. It was kinda funny actually; you could tell people started getting bored because lots of people began illegally setting off their fireworks meant for New Years.

Anyway, I started getting bored too, so I decided to wet felt some arms and legs for my new amigurumi bearlets, premiering January 2009. I have since come to the conclusion that it is better to needle felt such things, although it was a good craft to do for 5 hours in the dark!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thanks so much Joanna!

I hope everyone's Christmas was great, mine was! I've actually been so busy; I've been meaning to update multiple things (my shop, my blog, my twittter... did you guys notice I've gotten a twitter? Let me know yours and I'll follow you!) but I just haven't gotten much of a chance. I did want to extend a special thank you to everyone who reads up on berrysprite, a customer or even an admirer, you've all made it such a wonderful year, and its so nice making friends across the globe :)

I also wanted to extend a very special thank you to Joanna; she sent me this lovely, very generous Christmas gift (in a recycled graham cracker box... so eco-friendly and neat! My family ooohed and aaaahed over the ingenuity of it all!) Here are the lovely things she sent me; I LOVE everything but the Double Punch postcard in the corner is soooo awesome! Thanks so much again Joanna!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Candy... as food?

My sister holding the bento... see her slippers?

Japanese candy is so inventive! Check out these kawaii bento I found at Don Quixote here in Hawai`i. They have colored konpeito (the little star candies) as rice, and specially shaped sugar candies as vegetables and meats to form a candy bento... there is even a candy ume (salty plum that traditionally goes on the rice). All in a lovely lacquered bento box (not really... its made of plastic!) Don't they make you want to eat some bento... or some candy... or both? Hee hee!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Amigurumi Craft Series #1- amigurumi tool kit

I've been making amigurumi for over 2 years now, and during that time I've learned so much! Though I'm completely self-taught (no amigurumi or crocheting books, patterns... I was actually given my first amigurumi book just a few months ago) I thought it might be helpful to have a mini series of things I've learned that can help others who are just beginning to learn the fun art of making amigurumi!

So here we go, Amigurumi Craft Series # 1: amigurumi tool kit! These are some items (essentials and embellishments) that I use to make my amigurumi. They aren't all necessary, though they add lots of fun to your creations! Each item is numbered, and each number has a description of why the item is great for amigurumi crafting, and approximately how much it costs/ where you can buy it (a lot is from Wal-Mart which is kinda bad... but they have the best prices!). If you have any suggestions of vital things to add, please leave a comment, much appreciated!

  1. Foldable scissors; because these fold, they can be carried everywhere! These are great for plane rides (security check) and for on the go crafting... they're small and slim enough to be very travel ready and handy, and they cut yarn and embroidery thread well. They don't cut felt well though, so you may need an additional scissors. $1-$3, Wal-mart/craft store.
  2. Yarn; so many different types, there will have to be an additional craft series just on yarn, I think! Yarns come in different weights, styles and colors; for beginners Red Heart acrylic yarn is the best. The different weights/gauges of yarn determine what size crochet needle you should use; for Red Heart acrylic yarn (not sport weight) an E or F hook is excellent... less holes for stuffing to poke through! $1.99-$3.99 a skein, Wal-mart/craft store.
  3. Plastic half-bead eyes; these are so economical! They come in multiple sizes, I typically use 8 mm and 5mm. Using a hot glue gun, attach them to your amigurumi as one of the last steps towards completion. These are not baby or toddler safe (meaning they can pull them off, though I think they're too small to cause choking...) $0.59, craft stores
  4. Thread: great for felt embellishment, attaching buttons, sequins or beads. Try using colors that coordinate with the yarn color of your amigurumi. Try getting mini bobbin variety packs... awesome color choices and very economical. Wal Mart $4
  5. Thread snips; these are optional, but so good! They snip really close to your material, so things don't hang off (like glue, thread or yarn). $3-$17, depending on style; craft stores
  6. Jewelry pliers (chain-nose) and craft wire: great for putting wire inside your amigurumi, so that they bend etc. Pliers- $4, wire-$2 Craft stores
  7. Pins and needles: great for pinning pieces together so you can see where you want attach them, placement of eyes, mouth, nose etc. Thread needles and embroidery needles are also a must! $2, Craft stores or Wal Mart.
  8. Paper and pen: handy for drafting ideas, patterns
  9. Safety eyes: greater variety of eye types and sizes, including cat eyes... meow! More expensive, but also toddler safe. $0.89-$2, stores.
  10. Yarn needles: allows you to attach crocheted pieces together, $2 craft stores
  11. Carrying case or bag: allows you to store everything you need all together, handy for traveling.
  12. Embroidery thread- great for embellishments, mouths etc ($0.49). Most useful colors: red, black and white.
  13. Polyfil- many different types (organic, hypoallergenic etc). Most economical is the 5lb box, but it also comes in smaller bags. $6 (bags) -$12 (box). Wal- Mart
  14. Crochet needles: we'll need a craft series entry just for needles! Many different brands and types: aluminum, bamboo, etc. Clover is an excellent brand, but more expensive. Shown from top to bottom: clover bamboo, clover soft-touch, bates. Different gauges go with different yarns; the thinner the yarn the smaller the gauge. Japanese and American sizes on needles are a bit different; I have an assortment of sizes and styles from D-H. My favorites are the clover soft touch in sizes E and F and the clover bamboo in E and F. Craft stores (Walmart for the cheapy aluminum ones) Clover: $4-$8, Bates: $2-$4
  15. Acrylic or wool felt: great for snouts, hearts, leaves etc... I love adding felt because it breaks up the yarn and adds interest to your piece. Wool felt is more expensive, Acrylic can be found at Walmart/ craft stores: $0.20-$1.00. Most useful colors: off-white, white, greens, red, yellow-orange, tan and black.
  16. Buttons, seed beads and sequins. Best if sewn on. Adds some specialness to your design! $0.25-$5.00.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Giveaway results!

Awww, thanks for all the entries/comments guys, it was so fun! Unfortunately, not everyone can win in a material way.... but here are three lucky ladies who did. That's right, I said THREE! Hee hee, there was a secret third place prize, which includes a tiny albino octo and three bento sauce bottles. Here are the winners from my Christmas Giveaway (chosen by a random number generator), but very warm holiday wishes to you all!

Set A: Girl Fun!
#14, Mushroom Meadows

Set B: Purple Sweet!
# 10, Sugar-Coated

Set C: Secret Octo!
#25, Miso

The winners have until Friday to accept their new goodies!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breaking News!

photos from Fat Quarter Shop
Disclaimer: I am not an agent/shareholder of this shop or the Lecien fabric company... I JUST LOVE THEM SO!

Omigosh I'm so excited! My sister found this online store that is selling the Caramel Town line of Lecien Japanese import fabrics: Fat Quarter Shop. This fabric line is so ADORABLE, I just had to share this great find with you all... just in case you are as addicted to cute fabric as I am! I've seen one or two of the prints among various etsy sellers, and most price them at $10 per half yard, plus international shipping rates. If you're at all interested, I would hurry on over to the Fat Quarter Shop; I expect they will go fast! Right now, they have a huge variety (I'm pretty sure its the whole line) and they just introduced it into their shop today. The Fat Quarter Shop is sooo much more affordable than anything I've seen (or expect to see, in regards to the prices of this fabric), and they have regular USPS and UPS shipping rates.
And the Caramel Town fabric are all priced at $9.99 a yard!
They also have a fat quarter pack (18 fat quarters, one from each design) for $49.50. You can use paypal or credit card to pay. I am seriously spending all my Christmas present money here... Can you imagine a quilt from these fabrics? I sure can! Eeeee!

New obsession: Flight of the Conchords

I love this show, it's so funny! Awesome New Zealand accents and off color humor:

"Brit (Brett), I'm 1980s David Bowie from the movie The Labrinth."

Okay, so maybe that doesn't make much sense but it was super funny in context!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quick Christmas present

Here's a quick Christmas present idea: get a cute box, or even better, a woven basket box (in Hawaii we have lauhala boxes) and fill them tissue paper and with seasonal or special candies; I filled mine with macadamia nut hershey kisses, which are only available here in the islands (hee hee). But other hershey kisses work well; I like the toffee chip ones and the peppermint ones... mmmmm! Tie them up with a little tag and nice double ribbon in complimentary colors, and presto, an ultra cheap and quick present idea, which is perfect for giving to people that you don't know that well or to people who know that you are poor (just kidding!) >__<. For example, I'm giving these to my fellow teaching assistants, and we are all broke! I've got lots more ideas for good Christmas presents too; go to a dollar store and load up on kawaii goods or stationary items, they're so awesome to receive as gifts. For fellow Hawai‘i residents looking for a good deal, Marukai 99 is awesome! I've also recently discovered Taj Clubhouse in Ward Warehouse, which sells Japanese Kawaii memo pads and sticker sacks for relatively cheap!

Monday, December 8, 2008

New apple/bear

Unfortunately, I won't have much time to post these next two weeks, it really is crunch time! I cannot wait until the semester is over, its been a difficult one! I don't even want to go to school this week, and it's the last real week of classes, the week after is finals. I mean honestly, why do we have to go to class if all we're going to do is talk about our final papers (which aren't due till next week anyway)? I mean honestly, give us the time to work on our papers! Next semester will be much easier (I hope!). I do have these new apple bears though, I think they turned out cute! Whewwwww! Just two more weeks....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Seasons Best Craft and Gift Fair

So last weekend I got a brief, unplanned chance to stop by the Season's Best Craft & Gift Fair, which is probably one of the biggest craft fairs here in Hawai`i; it was actually my first experience visiting a craft fair of this size (I can imagine how big they must get on the mainland)! Boy, was it ever busy... it was totally packed with people, which must have made the vendors really happy. It was really very nice; there were so many cool handmade items, the crafters were very friendly. I came away some really cute handmade items, and I was able to learn so much, which will come in handy in case I ever want to show at a craft fair (at a point in time way, way, way in the future!)

One of the only drawbacks I saw was that many vendors had the same or simmilar items: there were a lot of T-shirts, Asian and Hawaiian print fabric household goods (like baby blankets, bags, napkins, tablecloths)... in many ways I expected it to be a little more hip and young... don't get me wrong it was still awesome, and there were many vendors selling unique and beautiful things. I guess it was just particularly noticeable to me because I was specifically looking for kawaii items like you see on etsy, like fimo charms, kawaii japanese import fabrics made into items, and amigurumi. I was especially shocked to find that there was not a single vendor dedicated to selling amigurumi, not even sewn plushies! I guess that means if I did participate in the craft fair, I wouldn't have that much competition, but still, I was more than a little surprised to say the least.

Anyway, here are some of my favorites vendors, which especially stood out to me because of their displays, and their nice products (which I found very appealing!). Here we go:

Wire and flower bead rings from Angie's Beads... such a sweet vendor; she was so polite and her jewelry was very affordable and soooo beautiful!

Mini Ecosystem with ‘Opae ‘Ula: each handmade environment is a self-sustaining mini aquarium that houses a number of ‘opae ‘ula, which are tiny red shrimp that are found in Hawaiian brackish tidepools and ponds. So unique to our islands, and vendor Zen Creations was so helpful!

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Nice displays, clockwise from Top left- Ceramic mushrooms from Li-Nan Ceramic Garden Art, Angie's Bead's display, Mesh and wire flower hair picks from Tropical Silk, Berry-Sweet Bath & Body.

Here are the lovely things I bought, all within my budget of a crisp $20 bill : A ring from Angie's Beads ($5), a ceramic mushroom from Li-Nan Ceramic Garden Art ($4), lip sugar scrubs and mango butter lip balm from Berry Sweet Bath & Body (4 for $10)
The beauty products are especially nice; they came in wicked cool island flavors like lychee, green tea smoothie, brown sugar, kudzu and ginger, and even wasabi! Let me just say, the lip sugar scrub is TO DIE FOR... I love it so much! I believe Berry Sweet Bath & Body has made me into a follower; their next show is this Saturday, Dec 6 at Waialae Elementary in Kaimuki. Yay!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas giveaway

A. Girl fun!
B. Purple sweet!

Huzzah, I'm doing a give-away for Christmas (or any other holiday in this season, your preference :) There are two chancest to win;
  • A includes a crocheted unazukin I did a while back, 3 paper covered pencils that have bunnies and strawberries, 3 bento sauce holders and a pack of kawaii girl stickers.

  • B includes a new style of bearlet (crocheted and felted) but in mini; he's the first one I made using this new style, 3 paper pencils featuring hamsters and cherries, a bath bear zippered pouch and 2 bento sauce holders.
The giveaway entrance period will be open from:
December 1st to December 15
(because that's when I get out of school... I think). To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, if you have a preference between a and b, please note it (the first person I pull get's their first choice, the second person I pull gets the other set)! On December 15th I'll do a drawing using a random number generator, and then notify the winners, who will need to provide me with an address. Then the prizes will be on their way to lovely new homes!
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