Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spring Intern: Dejah Anderson

                   Hey Guys, it's spring and the weather is starting to warm up. We've had alternating cold and hot weather. I wanted to introduce you to this season's intern, Dejah Anderson. She's also a fellow NC State student who just finished up and a mad seamstress. With a background working for an interior designer prior to coming to me, I have high hopes for the neat projects we will see her complete this spring. Similar to Ella, we will be showing her do 1 special project a month in addition to the normal piecing/bread and butter projects that pay our rent. I can't wait to see how this goes and am excited for our new expanded space and future projects. Let's hear it for more cute girls in the shop.
                    You will start seeing her in the blogs and she will start posting hopefully in March. Look forward to seeing how this goes.

If you get a chance, drop by and tell her hi. She's super friendly and we love her.

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Visitor: Mobile Convience Store

Need fuel to that late night art project? We had a lovely visitor over this past week, the new Mobil Mini-mart is coming to Roth complete with tasty snacks, chocolate, and deliciousness. You can check them out on facebook, twitter, or their webpage. Their website has a gps tracker so you can figure out exactly where it is down to the ft. I'm so excited to have this new tasty addition to our location and hope to have them drop by for some Tuesday night get togethers.

Plus, they carry miso soup along with the normal hot dogs, tacos, and snack food. A place after my own heart.

Check them out on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mobile-Mini-Mart/232470686814464

Can't wait to have them back again.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Textile Friday: Tailoring vs. Draping

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." ~Mark Twain

                This week's post is a little esoteric. The purpose is to help people understand how to select well-made clothing. Good clothes don't just make you feel great, they also make you look great. They often make a person look 30 lbs lighter and several inches taller. There are two specific types: tailored and draped. If you can, you should always buy tailored. At it's most basic level tailored clothing is clothing that is made by a needle and thread stitching fabric together and is found more in Northern Climates. Draping is fabric that is often one piece that is draped over a figure to create a look and is more common in Southern Climates. If you would like to understand this better, I suggest you read this blog post by Whereing that has great pictures of the differences between the two. I have reprinted a picture here for clarification ease, but it's worth reading the entire post if you get a chance.
                Draping in general relies on the natural folds and figure of a person to create a look from a person's best features while tailoring often seeks to bring out the best in a person by imposing a perceived ideal. Tailoring often relies on set rules often called pattern, slopers, or basics as a starting point. The best designers use BOTH methods, but generally tailor or design first. They often create a pattern then test it by draping it on a model (live or form) to do a reality check.
                 Back to draping. Unlike tailored clothes which in general form outfits by being paired with other pieces, draped fabric can be manipulated on the body to create different looks. Especially in Asian, Indian, and Japanese culture, it may have specific cultural significance. This is great when you have a limited budget or are in a culture where ideally you wear one thing every day: your best. Draping brings out a person's inner beauty. However, tailored clothing has one specific advantage over draped fabric. It does not rely on the body's natural form to create the finished look. 
                   Everyone has flaws. Man, woman, and child. It is the nature of being human. Tailored clothing creates the perception of perfection with optical illusions. This hard truth makes it one of the most powerful weapons of the mature and wealthy who look to present a stylized ideal. Tailored clothing will take years off your appearance, pounds off your frame, and present you in your best possible light. This structure is often hidden through interfacing and lining so that few people understand the gift a designer has gone to make them look their best. Bulges are flattened or added to shift problems such as a sagging waistline or small cups. A cheap, knock off pair of pants may have less than a dozen pieces to it, sometimes as few as 4-6. A recent middle of the road Tommy Hilfiger pair of pants I took apart for fun had almost 100. The number often climbs even more for bespoke and haute culture.
                 One of the more dramatic examples most brides remember is the second layered dress that they put on before putting on their wedding dress. These are created by designers as a realized ideal to make women beautiful. Any time you put on a piece of clothing, you should realize a designer somewhere loved you enough to make something just for you with your flaws and strengths in mind. So find a designer that loves your flaws and strengths and your clothes will fit you much better. Look at them, their spouse, or family to get an idea of what this love is.
              In a down economy or on more modest means, people often stick to the basics and skimp on this extra help. Alan Greenspan used to follow the "underwear index." Here's a pic of Hanes S and P ratings during the 2009 recession you can see the DIP. Thankfully it's getting better just like our job outlook. As the economy improves or wallets, you have more time for this extra help.
              The average tailored garment is 4 inches smaller around than it's ready to wear alternate and that's a very real perception in size. So next time you're at the store, turn your garment inside out. If it has lots of extra details on the inside or is lined, it probably was created especially to make you look better and those little tricks and tips add up to a more lovely you. A well-made piece may not cost you more, but it often has more attention to detail which is worthwhile. That's the extra fabric and time you're paying for in a garment that may look very like a cheaper version and well worth the extra cash. So thank the tailor or dressmaker, even if you never meet them. 

Have a great weekend everyone.

PS- I feel I should note there is one exception to this, in that tailored clothes are more practical for work so very high upswings by societies may have a resurgence of draped clothing simply as a way to say...I don't do work, I spend all my time preening in a mirror. The reverse is often true during war or revolution when people are very busy. Practicality tends to trump fashion on a limited budget. All photos are from public places, I do not have the rights to nor claim ownership of the photos.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day Twenty-Four: Free Button Keychains This Week

             This week has been awesome and amazing. Thank you. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. We've been cranking out our new button style keychains for Artomat's visit in Febuary. I love vintage buttons and collect them like a mad crazy fiend. Buttons are ancient fasteners primarly used in clothing over the last 5,000 years. Considered some of the smallest works of art and archeological items of note, they have a varied history. Buttons have been used by both the drug industry to transport drugs and by the military as storage to hide everything from compasses to spy secrets. US brass buttons are famous as voting tools used to win elections and commemorate political events.
              As pieces of history, many museums and art galleries hold buttons of note including the Smithsonian. There is a popular British online gallery by Hammond Turner and Sons I love to look through. Supposedly the best button maker was a Frenchman known for his buttons named Renarldo Galvies, but that's a matter of debate. Regardless, buttons are awesome and I love them.
              Some of you remember my button jewelry from 2 year's ago spring collection. It seemed time to take an old idea and make it new. I took some lovely 1950s Bakerlite buttons and put them on 100 leather keychains made from leather scraps. Your very own work of art in miniature. I hope they bring a smile to your face. Our first batch, I accidentally left the t off States in my "Handmade in the United States." 27 keychains to be exact. My loss is your gain. This week, I am giving away 27 custom keychains to readers and customers who would like to test our newest look. Simply post your comment here and I will mail one to the first 27 people who respond. Happy Valentines from us to you.

Have a great week.

PS- The rest are exclusive to Artomat and will not be available for general sale.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day Twenty-Three: How-To-Repair a Gun Holster

Today we're fixing a thigh gun holster for a friend. These are the 5 min fixes I love to do and teach people. Hope you have fun and feel free to visit our alterations and repair class in the spring. For those of you who can't make the class, check us out on instructables. Have fun everyone, see you tomorrow.


Monday, January 23, 2012

February Acorn to Oak Etsy Team Meet-ups

          Hey Everyone, so excited about the new space. This coming month we will be splitting our time between our normal Techshop RDU and our new expanded space team studio as we get ready for our 3D printing class in March. We will also have one class at the Durham Scrap Exchange on Feb 18th. I am so excited about this, great people one and all.
           I really think that 3D replication is where the industry is headed as a whole in the next 40 yrs. and Luis Freeman is coming for 4 weeks in March to teach us to build, replicate, and program 3D printers. 3D printers allow for rapid prototyping, especially of metal. Nash and I can't wait to make our own and we hope that some of our other fellow artists can do the same. I've wanted to be able to print my own custom buttons, zippers, and hardware for my clothing. WHICH is awesome! Ok, I'm getting sidetracked in my excitement.I'm just so happy about our cool classes this spring. Note, I have decided to not hold a meeting for Valentine's Week so everyone can have fun eating chocolate and being with people they love.


Acorn to Oak Handmade Etsy Team Studio
5825 Triangle Drive
Raleigh, NC 27617

Techshop RDU
5900 Triangle Drive
Raleigh, NC 27617

 Feb 7th from 7-10 pm: New Studio

7-8 pm Finishing Quilting from the Linus Foundation: Come finish our quilts for the Linus Foundation blanket day on Feb 25th. I have 5 quilts that have been sewn together and simply need to be hand sewn at 4 inch intervals to complete them. You can also bring back any quilts you finished to put in loft and backs. We will be hanging out in the lobby of our new space and putting them together over coffee and dessert.

8-10 pm Making Origami Jewelry for Valentines: This week we will be making jewelry from the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. There are two really good books that cover this topic that I like which you can get off Amazon (the book cover pictures come from there). The first is more traditional paper jewelry making by Ayako Brodek and the second is the popular metal silver clay origami which is folded and then fired in a kiln by Sarah Cole. They will run you $10-15 each and are great investments for people into paper crafting. I will have lots of paper and jewelry findings available which have been donated so you can make your loved one something special for Valentines. Paper jewelry is often sprayed with a lacquer finish to give it strength in regular wear.
Cost: Free and Open to the Public 
Register on Skillshare: http://www.skillshare.com/Origami-Jewelry-Making-Class-for-Valentines/1009706890 

Feb 18th: Sock Monkey Making Class- Durham Scrap Exchange

For anyone who enjoyed out sock monkey making class in the fall, we will be having it again at the Durham Scrap Exchange this spring. You can check it out on their website here: http://www.scrapexchange.org/programs/classes.htm. Use EventBrite to register. There is a $10 cost which goes directly to support this wonderful institution.

Feb  21st from 7-10 pm: Techshop RDU Conference

7-8 pm: Clark Whittington with Artomat: I am really excited about this partnership with established graphic artist and designer out of Winston-Salem. He does vending art all around the country that allows local artists to reach people in everyday venues. Clark is a lot of fun and I hope this will help our artists gain more exposure in the marketplace. With over 700 artists, I feel we need to work on growing sales as a group. You can listen to him on youtube. I love this quirky fun concept and can't wait to part of it. Starting in April, 1 meeting a month will be for making art to feature in his machines. Hopefully this will help the group in many ways and be a great partnership for everyone.

8-10 pm: Using Bamboo As A Natural Wood to make Beer Mugs: Tonight we will be using the rotary turner on the laser to show people how to make cool, one of a kind products from naturally grown local bamboo donated by Mike Shaperio. Thank you Mike! Everyone is welcome to bring a design or lineart to put on their own bamboo pieces. We will also discuss other things you can make with bamboo such as rain sticks, planters, audio sound systems, vases, planters, etc. There is lots of bamboo that has been cut so please feel free to come and take some. All left-over bamboo will be available through the 28th for artists to come and get as much as you want. I can't wait to see what everyone makes.

Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Register on Skillshare: http://www.skillshare.com/Bamboo-Beermaking-Glasses/1954327458

Friday, January 20, 2012

Textile Friday: The Race For Convertible Footwear

              I love shoes. I mean REALLY love shoes. I've made some, probably will make more, but won't claim to be an expert. There's a lot that standard, and a lot that's open to interpretation and personal style. One of the quiet revolutions that people are fighting for in this down market since Sheila's Heels in 2005 (some would argue earlier) is convertible 2-in-1 (or more) shoes that can function as multiple looks or most popularly as both heels and flats. Ironically this trend came out of the car insurance industry to improve female driving behind the wheel. Go figure. There are a number of companies failing at this concept and 2 that I think are doing a great job out of Chicago and Germany.
              The latest failure is made by Night2Day which features 5 different heel heights for office to work. This is one of several companies that has tried to launch this idea in the last 2-3 years and while the funding levels vary, I remain skeptical of the viability of the overall project. Every woman loves the idea of being able to switch in and out of those killing high arches at will. The major problem I see at this point is referred to as the 1/2 inch rule that most actual cobblers use. This states that for every 1 inch of heel height a woman increases her foot, there is a corresponding 1/2 shrink in the foot sole print. That's why many women drop shoe sizes as the heel height increases, you need a snugger fit or the shoe will fall off. You'll also see your foot literally come out of the shoe if you do not have strap on top. I have yet to see any major shoe company peddling the flat'n'heels idea address this specific problem that a shoe sole needs to shrink with heel height to some extent to remain comfortable. Until that I will be passing up buying a pair for $150 on their website: http://www.convertible-heels.com/Day2Night.html. No offense to the lovely ladies involved.
              In case you think I'm doom in gloom here, there are several other companies that have successfully bridged the gap of offering multiple shoes for 1 price. Their success is awesome and worth talking about as they've taken unusual solutions and should be rewarded in my mind for their creativity, beauty, and inventiveness. It's also a testament to their hard work in the face of a graveyard of companies who have not been able to do what these handful have accomplished. Their prices are reasonable and often affordable for a fashionista.
              My first favorite is the local US company, Mohop. They're an amazing Chicago company that makes convertible sandals using CNC and computer modeling technology! I really can not say enough good things about this company. I love companies that are using their brains to make a difference. They use sustainable local woods to create bases that can be custom finished with bands of fabric woven into different patterns and colors across the foot. Best of all, when you get tired of one look, a few pulls or new fabric and voila...a new you is born. Check-out the youtube video for further drool factor. Yum, yum, yum....These average between $70-170 range with new colored strings and accessories being $3-10. A totally affordable, ecofriendly shoe! If I only had enough money to buy 1 pair of shoes this year...these would be it!

               The second major company is more urban hip hop than my taste (read great brand, but a little too young for me in my opinion). It's a Munich company called Nat-2 and they're currently winning a bunch of awards. Their product is fairly easy to understand in which they use zippers to allow you to attach different uppers to your shoe sole. You have probably already seen them in several popular movies such as Transformers, etc. Their current 4-in-1 shoe is my favorite.They're a little pricey, but not over the top. Check out their website. The Nat-2 is more versatile, but more prone to failure as zipper teeth fail more easily than static loops do.

                I could easily mention a couple other shoe companies that are riffing on this idea of the year, but I won't because I have yet to see any of them indicate they're actually going to be successful vs. these 2 are worth investing in. You're seeing a lot of this 1 object/ multiple ways to wear it this year and it's a lovely trend despite it's limitations. A great way to stretch your dollars further in this recovering economy. Donna Karen did an awesome little black dress of this for her Christmas 2011 Collection and it's simply amazing. We'll also discuss the 6 inch rule next Fri which is why objects like this despite their popularity during down economies often do not have staying power as the overall economy recovers. Mostly, it gets down to fit.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jan 24th: Glassmaking with Sallye

Glassmaking Studio
5520 Lockridge Rd
Durham, NC 27705

Studio Class: 7-10 pm

This coming week we are heading over to my friend, Sallye's awesome studio where she does glassmaking and digital fabrication. You can check-out her website here at: http://www.goodharborbay.com/.

         I am so excited at getting to make glass items, I love the idea of getting to make small custom buttons and lamp beads personally. I know several group members are looking to make larger pieces like plates, windchimes, etc. Can't wait to see you there.

         Remember that the address this week will not be Techshop, but Sallye's Studio right up the road. This will add roughly 10 mins to your commute time if you are coming from Raleigh, or take 10 min off your commute time if you are coming from Durham/Chapel Hill. There is a $25 fee to cover her expenses for the kiln, glass, etc. I can't wait to hang out with her this coming week and learn new things.

        Have a great week! See ya Tues!

You may pre-register on Skillshare: http://www.skillshare.com/Glassmaking-with-Sallye/2128132297

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day Twenty-Two: Sewing Custom Shoes Part 2

            Alright, you have all your pieces, now what? Was going to post this up on Thurs but we had an unexpected delay which will be shortly explained. Bring out the glue and paint brushes. I have to add make sure your glue is good. Contact glue can be a bit tricky to work with if you're not used to. I had to throw away a gallon over the weekend that accidently got dinged when we moved to our bigger studio. Definitely a good lesson to learn, wish it hadn't been quite so expensive to do, but guess it's better than nothing.

         Next, ladies and gentlemen, start sewing. This is the part I always find relaxing. The sewing machine hums, well-oiled and happy...zip zip and you have a stack of shoe uppers all crisp and ready to go. If you have particularly expensive leather, I will sometimes sew in reverse from standard with my fabric on the right instead of left to hit my 1/8 inch seam allowance that shoes are traditionally sewn at. I've never heard of anyone else doing that though so it may be just particular to me. A good zipper foot will also work wonders here. If you can't sew that narrow or you don't trust your abilities, then sew the normal seam allowance and just trim off the extra. Afterwards, wet them down. Now the shoe glue, counters, and toe puffs come out. Sew the leather to the insole. Add your cork and final sole. Voila, now...you let the shoe dry before polishing and buffing it.

             Tomorrow, finishing the shoes. I hope you have fun smiling with me at some of the fun creations kids designed.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jan 17th: Meeting Canceled

Hi everyone, we are going to have to unexpectedly cancel our coming meeting on Tuesday night, Jan 17th. Both myself, Nash, and Katie seem to be having a reaction to the red cedar sawdust we used making the pilows for the lace-making class. We are going to give myself and Katie a little bit to recover while we look for another type of wood sawdust to use in the pillow class and reschedule for March when the weather is nicer.

I apologize for this unexpected turn of events. I am told a number of people develop allergies to red cedar dust so this may simply be a helpful preventative.

Textile Friday: Perspective: The Value of Age

             "Respect the old while searching for the new." -Morimoto (Iron Chef)

           I've been catching up on my New Year's resolution for reading and wanted to talk today not about the future, but the past. This is the hardest lesson I have had to learn as an adult. That I do not know it all. To be a good designer, you must know your tools. To be an extraordinary designer, you must know the past. Many people forget in the face of our rapid technological increases, the value of old wisdom. There's a lot of experience that living imparts that can not be replicated or stolen. A machine run according to a manual that does not assume failure results in a hunk of broken metal. Real expertise comes not from expecting a perfect system, but knowing all systems are opening to failure and allowing for it. The harder part comes in being willing to fix them. And having the knowledge to do so.
            A beginner sits at a sewing machine and sews for an hour only to think that they have mastered the concept by completing the class. An master knows that a pattern must be drafted, corrected, redrafted, cut, recut, ironed, sewn, ironed again, and finally tested. Many master crastmen do all of this with 40 years experience at a speed that is both humbling and mind-blowing. Really getting a skill is the work of years not minutes. Sketching a concept may be the work of minutes or an hour, it takes longer to create the real thing. Add to that raw materials must be bought and costs figured. Machines must be oiled and maintained. The final product must be tested in the marketplace. That's why real commercial patterns that have been tested over time have such value, because of all the built in failures of the master you are not required to make to reach their conclusions. Or why established design shop equipment is so valuable.
           You should respect a master craftsmen for the time and effort he has put into learning his craft. This is a real skill and this is why design shops consider skilled labor of all types to be preferential. Be warned, you will limit yourself if you allow this sense of accomplishment to get in the way of your common sense. Skill rests upon the value of your equipment.  And equipment can always be improved. Your hands, feet, mind, soul, and body are part of that equipment set.
           A wise man prizes his tools for this reason and has several sets at his disposal. He also knows that tools tend to, like skills, get better over time. Right now the price of robotics is going down significantly. In another 5 years it will likely be 3D pattern drafting. Watching the industry as a whole as seeing where it is going is important. And this is the second part of this proverb by one of my favorite chefs, that the new always exists right beyond our grasp ready to surprise, delight, and frustrate us with it's unguessed beauty. Thanks Morimoto.

Have a great weekend everyone. May you grow in wisdom and may your workshop find new tools in it soon.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day Twenty-Two: Cutting Custom Shoes Part 1

         Alright, we're finishing up all the custom shoes, if you remember last week we displayed all the custom lasts, this week we are using those lasts to help high schoolers put together their first pair of shoes. Today, tomorrow, and Saturday we are posting up putting the shoes together and then the finished shoes each young man or woman designed for themselves. I really had a lot of fun doing this, it's wonderful to see what other people can create using a little math and some leather and fabric.
        I originally meant to do this 3 part series starting Tues, but the rain has slowed me down a little bit. So after you design the last to the general type of shoe you want to make (boot, dress shoe, heel), you start cutting out the pieces. There's 6-40 pieces in the average shoe (ones with shoe laces have more).
        The upper is generally cut of various layers of fabrics, buckram, cording, and anything specific for your shoe. This is often trim like buckles, laces, metal findings, loops, etc. I monogrammed all the insoles with the students names so that each pair was their own. These were the first pairs they'd ever designed.  Then I went to the lower. Nash traced all the soles with an allowance. Then he cut them out on the band saw, wet, and hammered them into shape. You can see him here in the forge working away. I used to cut my soles out by hand, but that just takes way too long. Being a designer is about working smarter not harder. Have a great day everyone, see you tomorrow when we go over sewing the shoes together and you'll get a preview of some of the finished pairs for the final part 3.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day Twenty-One: Leather Keychain Holders

                      Today I'm busy catching up on New Year's orders for clients, which is great fun. It's nice to spend your day to the pleasant thrum of a sewing machine. This is hands down my favorite activity to be tied to and one it often seems I have to juggle between my other demands to carve out time for. This week has been awesome in that most of it has been spent humming quietly to myself behind a one of the sewing machines. That all weeks this coming year could be so pleasant. Nash and I have been busy filling orders and making samples for a variety of new and returning clients. Some of my favorite new pieces this season are notable not for their size (we can all remember that monstrous kite last season), but their practicality. I especially love the leather key-chain holders I've been doing for a friend this week. These fun key-chains are especially a favorite as they boast of Germany metal clasps which I sadly do not have as much of an occasion to use as I would like. This exception bodes well. I hope that you get to pick one of these up at your next Craft Show. Have a great day. See you back tomorrow.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Jan 17th: Models'n'Lace

Can't wait to see everyone for the tomorrow night Quilting Bee. Now, let's look towards next week when we will be spending our time flashing smiles at models and making super pretty lace! This event is free and open to the public!

As always we will be meeting at:

The Conference Room at Techshop RDU
5905 Triangle Drive
Raleigh, NC 27617
(919) 782-2344

Call if you get lost, we can't wait to see you.

7-8 pm Working with Models It's Allegra and Katie time this week as we get to spend an hour working with these lovely ladies on photography shots. I hope that this will allow everyone the chance to work on their photos and lighting. You are welcome to bring your own camera or us one of ours, I will be uploading all the photos afterwards for anyone who does not have ready access to a camera. I really hope that everyone has fun and gets to learn a lot.

If you would like to book them for more work, their going rates are $100/ half day and $200/full day. Pick up their cards and feel free to check out some local model talent.

8-10 pm Beginning Lace-making

Tues night we're celebrating North Carolina's lace-making history. For those of you who aren't aware, North Carolina had a number of famous lace factories until the 1970s when they were shut down to move overseas. Many of the factories have since reopened in the 1990s only instead of making lace for ladies to wear, they are being used by the health care industry in research to knit living tissue together. It's a little wild to think that your new artery or skin might come from one of these vintage machines. Today we will be paying homage to that with a little traditional lace-making 101. This is still popular in Europe as way to make a living, especially if you like crocheting or knitting. Please wear comfortable clothes you can get dirty as stuffing lace pillow bases with saw dust can get on clothing. Everyone should get a free pillow to take home to make more of their own lace after this event.

Lace making traditionally occurs on a pillow that has been stuffed with saw dust, shavings, or straw to provide a firm base. Richard from Triangle Outdoor Furniture is providing the dust for this event. The pillow is filled with at least 2 inches of wood shavings, then sewn or stapled shut. The most common form used is round as it allows for more mistakes.

Next the needles or bobbins are threaded and the paper pattern is laid out on the pillow. You begin filling in the pattern with 3 basic stitches that are alternated and pinned as you go to fill in the designs. We will have free downloaded designs on Italian Lace from the University of Arizona's public library at the meetings. You can visit the website here: http://www.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books/ng1_lace.pdf to get an idea of available patterns.

When you get done, take the lace off the pillow and voila. You are ready to decorate your own outfit or give as a unique Valentine's Gift. Have a great week everyone and can't wait to have you drop in.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day Twenty: The Ultimate Cat Scratching Post

          Today's post comes to you courtesy of Mike Hinman. My only real contribution to this project was sewing a straight line down some carpet, but totally worth it. This project seemed too easy and awesome not to share. Mike's two kittens are holy terrors when it comes to trimming their nails so Mike designed the ultimate cat scratching post so that he would no longer have to suffer torn up furniture. I thought this was absolutely brilliant and pretty cost affordable so had fun putting it up on instructables here:


I hope you have fun looking. And feel free to ask him questions at Techshop. Because cats are awesome! And cat scratching posts are just as awesome! Happy Weekend everyone! See ya back monday.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day Nineteen: Scarf Attack!

                "Fire and Ice"

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

by Robert Frost

Today we're having fun with one of my favorite poets and silk. Demi Mu spent all last night testing our new silk scarves in a huge pounce fest, and I couldn't help taking a few photos while holding my sides from the laughter. I hope you will enjoy the massive amount of cuteness and your own scarf this spring for you or someone you love. The scarves range in the colors of fire and ice from pale cream to hot pink! Perfect for a little fire or ice to brighten your day.

You can pick your own up on special this week for $10 off Etsy here from the regular $30. They will go back to normal price next Friday:


Have a great weekend everyone!

May you be blessed with cuteness in this chilly weather.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day Eighteen: Part 1 Designing Rapid Shoes Lasts

              So for those of you who don't know, I've been busy the past few weeks teaching at Chatham County High School to kids about using math in design. This class came out of the summer NC State Guest Lecture Series I gave and it's nice to see making a positive impact. We all prototyped custom leather shoes which has great fun and I wanted to share some of them with you.
              Today we're hanging out with my friend Evan making shoe lasts with rapid prototyping sand. He's holding one of the completed molds. If you'd like to learn more about sand casting (aka-rapid prototyping), come to one of his Thursday night pours. Since these are the kids first custom shoes, we are using this method. If you are going to make a long-term last, you can have a great one made locally,  in Virginia, California, or other last making companies out of Maple. Today we are using sand.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jan 10th: Linus Foundation from 7-10 pm

Location: Conference Room of Techshop RDU
               5905 Triangle Drive Raleigh, NC 27617
Time: 7-10 pm

Hey Everyone from the Acorn to Oak Handmade group, this coming week we will making quilts to donate to the Linus foundation for the children at Wake Med Hospital, Duke, and children of soldiers who need blankets during deployment. We will have lots of fabric and quilts in various sizes to finish. The three sizes we will be making are:

Baby 30" by 36"
Child 40" by 60"
Teen 45" by 72"

No prior experience is necessary. You are welcome to take home any quilts you do not finish and bring them back by Febuary 7th completed if you would like to finish extra details. We will be taking the first hour of that meeting to handsew together any remaining quilts that need it. We will be monogramming the names of everyone who works on each quilt in the bottom before giving them to Susie Holmes so the kids can know who gave them this gift. We will be focusing on making the larger blankets, specifically for boys and teens with cars, animals, and other applique motifs.

Please feel free to bring a portable sewing machine from home if you have one. We will be doing 2 primary things during the event.

1. Hand-sewing some of the blankets that have already been cut and sewn at 4 inch intervals so the blankets will hold up to repeated washing. This is important for parents and hospitals who have sick children, the blankets need regular care.
2. Taking fabric that has been pre-cut and making it into blocks that we can sew together into children's blankets. Given the huge need for boy's blankets, I will be trying to focus on things like xbox controllers, popular sports, videogames, travel, etc.

A warm thanks in advance to everyone who participates. We are accepting extra fabric/yarn or batting donations for anyone who would like bring their extra stashes from home.

Check out the local chapter website here: http://projectlinusraleigh.blogspot.com/

New Year, New Fun

Welcome back from the holidays, we are happy to be starting a new year. We will be continuing our textile Fridays and working to start a Acorn to Oak Handmade Posts on Mondays to invite you to come to the upcoming event on the following Tuesday nights. This hopefully will give everyone time to make plans, blog, and invite friends. In addition, we will be finishing up our 30 days of design for the winter and starting on spring. I hope that you will enjoy the concepts before you and look forward to seeing where everything leads.