Archive for Crafts

Book Review: Classic Knits

I just saw the most pretty yet subdue knitting book ever. It’s Classic Knits: 15 Timeless Designs to Knit and Keep Forever by Erika Knight. I am not the expert knitter, as I have never successfully knit anything more than a scarf.

If you are interested in classic design and can’t really knit any of the patterns in the book, you can still find ready made items and include them into your wardobe. Personally, I always like the idea of mixing a few classic items with trendy ones. Classic designs are the best since the style will last much longer for years to come. Unlike trendy pieces that can only be worn for a few seasons.

The photography in this book is also very beautiful. The background feels like somewhere in an Irish or English country cottage mixed with Parisian city apartments. Katya de Gunwald, who is the photographer, did a great job highlighting the clothing and setting. At first, it felt a bit solemn, but it’s still bright enough to feel like spring is just around the corner.


This picture above is a classic, but mix the nice leather boots and it looks modern. I love the combination of polka dot dress and a simple sweater. The decor reminds me of a drafty English home. It could probably use some fresh flowers, or maybe even a sleeping cat.

The three pictures in the photo gallery are some of my favorite from the book. I also like the cute little navy vest. I think I have one like it in wool, but unfortunately it was thrown in the washing machine and shrunk! I love the classic knit messenger bag. Just the right size for all your magazines and books. And finally, the soft caramel color sweater is sweet, but with an air of elegance.

If you like classic designs, I think you’ll like this book. And if you can’t knit, just keep it as an inspirational picture book. Please note, all pictures are copyrighted by Erika Knight and Katya de Grunwald. Please do not take photos without permission of artist. Thank you!


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Happy Chinese New Year

These are very beautiful paintings by Caroline R. Young. Caroline’s works can be seen at the permanent collection of the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, and the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. Chinese New Year is on January 26th. If you have a girl born in 2009 – she will be Year of the Ox. This one is funny, the ox is trying to eat her hair. Playful ox and girl. I also really like is the purple morning glory, one of my favorite climbing flowers. I think it would make great art wall for a child’s room too.


There are more fine arts and selection from this website: “Zodiac Children’s Series Girl Year of the Rabbit. All the beauty, wonder and magic of childhood come alive in the paintings of the renowned Chinese painter, Caroline R. Young. This exquisite limited edition print is done on ceramic coated polyethylene paper using hand embellished giclee.” This one represents “Year of the Rabbit” which represents prosperity.


I really like the varieties of flower arranged in the vase. This cute little girl and her black and white rabbit are very expressive. So if you have a little girl born in the year of the rabbit, I think this would make a really great framed gift.Each 9X12 print is signed and numbered and has been given some individual touch by the artist so that no two prints are exactly the same. The print run is limited to 88. But they are very expensive from about $200 to $700 each! Copyright © 2004, Caroline R. Young Studios, LLC

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Beautiful Paper Flowers

I saw some of these beautiful crepe paper making flower kit from Martha Stewart’s Collection. They look really crafty and they won’t wilt. I actually had mixed feelings about them at first. It would seem cheaper to just whip them up yourself. Or you can always find a pattern from a craft book and use that instead. But if you still want a kit, they are now on sale at 50% off the original price ($12.99 – $19.99).


Crepe Paper Dogwood Blossom

I like the dogwood the best. It looks simple and clean. The idea behind it is neat, at first I thought it would be a good project to do with kids. Except the crepe paper look a bit too delicate. Maybe more suitable for older children. Another down side is that the novelty will wear off. And soon they will be collecting dust and fading into the background, just waiting to be tossed out. So maybe fabric flowers are a better bet…

None the less, they look extremely pretty when taken by Martha’s talented photographers and art director. Here are some of my favorites:


Crepe Paper Peonies Read the rest of this entry »

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Cloth Dolls by April Cornell

Arpil Cornell,the person and the store named after her, is originally from Canada. She has lived a third of her life overseas and traveled the world for more than 30 years. Her design inspirations combine locations like Paris, India, Portugal, Hong Kong and British Columbia. As stated by April, “I get much of my inspiration and style from observing how other people are living and what they are feeling in cities and towns around the globe.” I really like that she uses ideas from flowers, leaves and birds as a recurring motif in all elements of her merchandise and designs.

There are actually quite a few April Cornell shops in the U.S. Her shop has a very romantic and girlie theme, imagine lots of floral curtains and British tea. There are some pretty dresses from her line, but they are a bit too romantic for me. But what I do like are the little girl cloth dolls. They look very crafty and has a nostalgic feel to them.


The dark hair cutie is Vicky and her cat Micky. A little story about them, “Micky and I like to curl up together and read a book. I tell Micky stories and he purrs and purrs and purrs. I think Micky likes my stories.” She has a crazy head of black yarn for hair and her dress looks nice.  Retails from $18 – $24. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rice Bran Handmade Soap

The past couple of years has been really good to olive oil. But the future may belong to rice bran oil. I had read so much of the benefits of this oil (and the rice bran powder) from many Japanese skincare company catalogs. They actually inspired me to make my own version of the rice bran soap. I searched all over town trying to locate the oil, including Whole Foods. They had almost every oil, but not rice bran. I also tried our local Japanese market, but they were very expensive for such a small bottle. But they did have a good selection of rice bran powder. I almost gave up, but finally came across a bigger Japanese market with a more reasonable price. About $12 for 64 fluid oz. ricebran1a4

Soap Ingredients: Rice Bran oil, Palm oil, Coconut oil, Soybean oil, Castor oil, Distilled water, Sodium hydroxide, Rice Bran Powder. So I finally got to make my first rice bran oil bar. It has become my favorite bar. I scented it with lychee and mandarin, very light fruity scent. I use it as a facial bar and it’s very moisturizing. The best part is using it as a shaving bar. It really leaves my legs super super soft. I even forgot to use moisturizer (or felt I didn’t need to use it anymore). In Japan, Rice Bran Oil is used to enhance your skin and hair. It is also used all over the world in a variety of cosmetics, especially for treating dry, mature skin. Rice bran oil can be used to make massage oil, bath oil, body butters, and especially soaps. Possibly anywhere in cosmetics making. It is full of antioxidants, such as Vitamin E. Vitamin E is also used in soapmaking as a natural preservative. Oils by Nature supplies, a specialty natural oils company that supply to soapmakers and gourmet food industries had an interesting list of the benefits of Rice Bran Oil. Some of which I will list here:

  • Provides moderate penetration with little greasiness
  • Promotes of collagen formation
  • Treats dry, mature skin
  • Provides smooth spreadability

Read the rest of this entry »

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Handmade Ginger & Cranberry Soap

Another addition to my handmade soap batch is ginger & cranberry soap. This batch also has ginger root powder and cranberry fruit extract, nature’s own antibacterial agent. After my ginger soap batch cured, it had a very nice soft ginger scent. The longer the soaps cure ( while it sits in a well ventilated room) the better it gets. The saponification happens when you add the sodium hydroxide to the oils and the mixture heats up and takes 18 to 24 hours to saponify. But it is recommended to let it completely saponify and becomes mild soap in 3 or 4 weeks.


Ingredients include: Safflower oil, Soybean oil, Olive oil, Palm oil, Avocado oil, Distilled water, Sodium Hydroxide, Ginger root powder, and cranberry extract. The color of bar is not as even out, with some streaks. No more streaks, after curing for 6 weeks. I thought the streaks might be from when I added the cranberry powder towards the end. But it is from not being completely cured. This bar is medium in texture, but gets softer after each use. Be sure to let it dry completely so you can get more uses out of it. The bubbles are nice. And it does later up well.

cranberryI have used this soap as a face bar and shaving soap. The bubbles are medium size and the scent is very light. For shaving, I find that I don’t get any more razor burns. I love that I never have to buy shaving cream again. Imagine all the chemicals found in commercial shaving creams. Basically, handmade soap is great and you can even use it as laundry soap.

These little cranberries (shown here) are really good for you. They are taken from John Cushnie’s article in the He wrote about these super berry tittled, “Cranberries and blueberries: the simple superfoods”. Who would have known that cranberries also help fight cavities.

You can purchase some of my other handmade soaps from my Etsy shop: Cambree’s Etsy Shop

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Customize Your Fabrics

I just found out about the coolest thing for all those aspiring fabric designers and craft lover out there. At you can design your own fabric patterns and have it printed out and sent to your home. Talk about customization and having a truly one of a kind prints.

I love the idea of printing out soft dolls patterns. The ones pictured below are so cute!



custom fabric from Spoonflower

  • No minimum order
  • $18 per yard
  • High-quality 4.3 oz Kona™ cotton
  • Satisfaction guaranteed
  • Fast turnaround

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