Happy Summer

Summer Crafts | Red Circle Crafts

Someone I admire recently told me that they feel more patriotic than ever since the Supreme Court passed Marriage Equality. And I definitely agree with that. Though I’m still not inclined to cover everything in the US flag like I see all the craft blogs doing this time of year.

Fourth of July is really about the kick off of summer for me. I LOVE summer. Not only is my birthday this month, but J’s birthday is next month. We’ll hopefully get a few trips out to the coast and a friend has promised to show me some excellent swimming holes not too far away.

I know we’re all tired of this heat here in Portland, but there’s been a lot of negativity about summer lately. So to combat that, my favorite things about the summer are (in no particular order):

All the fruit and berries
Swimming (or playing in water really)
Hiking and other outdoor activities
Bonfires (or you know fire pits)
Ridiculous cocktails (in a pineapple or buddah glass all the better)
Seeing other people’s tattoos

Plus lots of other things, really. Loving summer is not just for kids on summer vacation. But even I’m wilting in this Portland heatwave. Can we go back to a mix of sunshine and rain showers now?

Here are some summer crafting ideas to help you woo your inner summer child. (We all loved summer break as kids, right?)

City Gym Shorts | Purl BeeI recently made myself a pair of these super easy city gym shorts. The pattern and tutorial are over at Purl Bee. Mine are here.

Farmer's Market Bag | PoppytalkI love this bag from Oh Joy! on Poppytalk. I’ve been meaning to make myself some smaller vegetable bags to segregate my vegetables from the Farmer’s Market.

Homemade Horchata | Say YesHorchata (recipe from Say Yes) is one of my favorite summer drinks. We especially love to eat Mexican food in the summer. But it’s nice to have something other than water to drink on hot days at home.

DIY Fruit Coasters | Design is YayThese fruit inspired coasters from Design is Yay are all things kitschy and good in my book. Bright colors, fruity design, and can hold a cold drink, what more can you ask for from summer crafting?

I hope you get a nice long weekend to ring in the summer over this 4th of July.

All the photos in this post belong to their respective and linked sites, except the bubbles, which belong to me.

Upcycled Cat Scratcher

Upcycled Cat Scratcher | Red Circle Crafts

After my garage sale not too long ago, I was left with some fairly large pieces of cardboard from the boxes I broke down to make signs. It seemed like the perfect time to make a cat scratcher for Fezzik.

I had a carpet cat tree that I’d re-carpeted after Schroedinger destroyed it with his wicked ways. But after Schroedinger died last summer, Fezzik still wasn’t interested in the cat tree. While Fezzik has pretty much taken over all of Schroedy’s old spots in the apartment, that cat tree was the last hold out. I finally threw out the cat tree, but I want something for Fezzik to scratch at that isn’t my floor or furniture.

Upcycled Cat Scratcher | Red Circle Crafts

The recycled cardboard cat scratcher from Design*Sponge seems like the ideal! Easy to make with free materials. Frankly it’s hard to want to make something for the purpose of having it destroyed. But thus is life with cats!

Upcycled Cat Scratcher | Red Circle Crafts

The project is absurdly simple, but it took forever. My first attempt, I just started rolling up the cardboard strips, only to realize that if I wanted it to roll evenly I needed to essentially score each bend.

Upcycled Cat Scratcher | Red Circle Crafts

So each strip was bent at every single corrugation and then I taped the whole string of them together end to end to make one long strip.

Upcycled Cat Scratcher | Red Circle Crafts

Once I finally started rolling it all up, it was truly simple. I decided that I don’t need anything super fancy. So I just wrapped the outside in duck tape and called it good. Although I like the look of the decorated one on Design*Sponge.

Upcycled Cat Scratcher | Red Circle Crafts

I haven’t decided if I want to douse it in catnip or not. I think it depends whether Fezzik is at all interested in it as is.

Street Art in NYC Part 2

New York City View | Red Circle Crafts

I’m back from New York. I keep having to remind J that we left New York for a reason and how much we love Portland. There were so many good things about being back there, but ultimately it’s too manic for me. Too much of everything, even all the things I love.

NYC Street Art | Red Circle Crafts

Apparently I spoke too soon about the lack of temporary (also illegal) street art in New York City. I was just hanging out in the wrong places. A trip down to Lower East Side and East Village produced far more than I could capture (at least that my friends were willing to wait for me to photograph).

NYC Street Art | Red Circle Crafts

It’s different than the street art I see here in Portland though, which is not surprising. Here I see lots of hand-drawn stickers, paper put up with wheat paste, and spray painted stenciled images (like this one).

NYC Street Art | Red Circle Crafts

NYC Street Art | Red Circle Crafts NYC Street Art | Red Circle Crafts NYC Street Art | Red Circle Crafts NYC Street Art | Red Circle Crafts

Ok. Back to crafty posts again. If this is the sort of thing you’re interested in though, I regularly post the street art I see in Portland on my instagram.

Street Art in NYC

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for art in my wanderings around the city. While there’s less illegal street art (not including tagging) there are more murals than I remember. I like the trend, but there’s something about the temporary nature of street art that seems raw and real that I miss.





Crafty Plans in New York City

Brooklyn Bridge

I’m trying not to make too many plans for our visit to New York City. Mostly we just want to see everyone that we haven’t seen in six-years. But I’m also going to hit up some of my old stomping grounds. Everything I’ve seen online shows that the handmade scene has grown exponentially since I was there. I can’t wait to see how much has changed and how much is the same. So here are some of the places I’m hoping to check out while I’m in town.

Artists & Fleas Market – Chelsea & Williamsburg

Two really cool marketplaces for handmade and vintage vendors to sell their wares.

How much of a hipster does it make me to say that I remember when it was tiny warehouse just off the beaten path in Williamsburg (i.e. before it was cool)? I love seeing photos from friends whose businesses have grown up with this market and I can’t wait to visit their larger, more improved spaces.

Better Than Jam – Bushwick & Governor’s Island

My friend Karin opened this store full of handmade wonders just after I left New York. I’m proud to say that she carries some of my kits and a few other things I make here.

Every summer she also has a pop-up shop on Governor’s Island. If the timing works out (and the line for the ferry isn’t too long) I really want to go see the Governor’s Island location.

The Garment District – Mahattan

I have spent countless hours digging through fabric stores and bargaining for the best prices in the Garment District. I’m going to limit my purchases, but I can’t wait to check out the fabric, a store full of zippers, and all the other odds and ends.

For the easiest route, I usually take the subway to Herald Sq and then roam northwesternly.

The Brooklyn Flea – Fort Greene & Williamsburg

Every weekend this gigantic vintage, handmade, and gourmet food market takes over. I think there’s tons of new events and vendors, so I’m excited to check it out. Although I remember it having a very limited selection of handmade. So maybe I’ll just go for the food.

Renegade Craft Fair – Brooklyn Pop-Up at East River State Park

While I was less than impressed with the Portland Renegade Craft Fair last year, I remember the Brooklyn versions being huge, packed, and full of really great vendors. They are apparently doing 4 dates this summer, two of which I’ll be in town for.

Etsy Craft Party – Brooklyn – June 5th

Etsy is throwing their annual Craft Party while I’m in town this year. Check here to find one in your neighborhood.

I haven’t been to Etsy’s new HQ, but I loved going to craft night at their old one. It looks like some folks I know will be at the Craft Party too.

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

I’ll be back from New York on June 15th. In the meantime you can find me on Instagram posting tons of photos of my trip (probably).



Monster Travel Pillows

Monster Travel Pillow | Red Circle Crafts

When I made monsters for a living, I often had people ask me about travel pillows with monster faces on them. It seemed like a good idea, but was pretty low on my to do list. I’m finally making my own travel pillows for our trip to New York and figured it’s only right to put monster faces on them.

I was hoping to make a full tutorial out of this. But alas I’ve run out of time.

Monster Travel Pillow | Red Circle Crafts Monster Travel Pillow | Red Circle Crafts

Once I prototyped a few ideas and got a pattern down, I made a pillow out of cotton and stuffed it (over-stuffed really) with fiber fill. Then I made an envelope style pillowcase out of fleece that I decorated with more fleece for a face. You can see J’s has a bow tie too.

Monster Travel Pillow | Red Circle Crafts Monster Travel Pillow | Red Circle Crafts

I wanted a really firm pillow and fleece is a bit stretchy, so I decided to make the actual pillow out of cotton so it would have more support for my head. The fleece is nice and soft and doesn’t have any bits of fiber fill sticking out to tickle my face.

My favorite part of these are the claws.

Monster Travel Pillow | Red Circle Crafts

Back From Denver. Leaving Again Next Week.

Double Rainbow

I have a whole slew of photos from my recent trip to Denver and Golden, CO. I haven’t had a chance to go through them yet. Delayed flights, tired days and realizing we leave again in a week for 10-days in New York basically means not a lot is getting done right now. (Or too much is?)

So enjoy this double rainbow, photo from J on one of our last days in Colorado. We had crazy weather. I got sunburned in the morning, hailed on in the afternoon, and thunder storms would pop up any time.


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