Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hot Off the Press: Finger Puppet DIY Kits

 

Lots of new, exciting things have been happening in my little mossy corner of the world! 

My graphic designer and I have been hard at work putting together a whole new suite of Kata Golda DIY felt sewing kits, complete with full color instruction booklets and patterns. After several rounds of editing and adjustments, three of the new kits are ready and available for sale.


Introducing Kata Golda's Finger Puppet DIY Felt Sewing Kit Series

The Felt Finger Puppet series debuted last week at the annual Kata Golda/Egg Press Sample sale (held in the lovely new Schoolhouse Electric showroom in Portland), with updates to three classic Kata Golda designs:
  

Felt Cat Finger Puppet DIY Kit

Felt Mouse Finger Puppet DIY Kit

Felt Bunny Finger Puppet DIY Kit

Each kit, priced at $8, comes in a clear wrapper and contains:
  • A full-color booklet with detailed instructions and illustrations
  • Sewing pattern
  • Hand-dyed wool felt
  • Cotton thread
Your finished finger puppet will measure 2" wide by 2.5" tall, not including the ears and tail. These kits are suitable for advanced beginners, and even shows what the steps are to do the 5 basic stitches found in most kits. You'll need to supply your own tools (sewing needle, scissors, etc.), of course. 


The finger puppets make great gifts for new moms and small children, but the kits themselves are nice little treats to give DIY crafters as well. They are currently only available in the Kata Golda Etsy Boutique and include free ground shipping within the continental U.S.

Give them a try and let me know what you think of them — and if you're on Facebook, feel free to post photos of your finished finger puppets on my wall! I welcome all constructive feedback.

Happy stitching~
Kata Golda


PLACE YOUR HOLIDAY ORDER BY DECEMBER 12, 2011

In order to receive your order in time for the Christmas holiday, please place your order with Kata Golda by 12/12/11. This will allow time for your order to be processed and shipped. Kata Golda will be closing the evening of 12/14/11 for holiday vacation, and will be available again starting January 4, 2012. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Abundance & Appreciation

Each fall brings the theme of abundance back into my life, and this year is no exception. Right now, I am joyfully buried in it. 

Work continues on my new 2012-2013 collection, fighting for my time with the sudden rush of new orders (hence my absence on Facebook/Twitter). Many of the orders are for customers planning ahead for the holiday season — which feels like it's been starting earlier and earlier each year. Stores are now starting to put up their Christmas windows (virtual and brick and mortar) right after Halloween, often before. (And sure enough, I'm not imagining this — USA Today has confirmed this.)

As a consumer this adds stress (the holidays? already?), but as a small-business owner I have a different outlook. Because I make most every item to order by hand, I am finding myself appreciative of the early order placement that this new trend brings. Stores place their inventory orders early, leaving me more time to make the items individuals order in November and early December.

During the process of cutting and stitching, I am still and focused — there is satisfaction in working on multiples of the same design, giving slight variation in expression on each character.
A flock of egg chicks, hatching in 2012.

It's the perfect way to "cozy up" on a rainy fall day, and when the work day is done I can look at my finished stacks of stitching with a true feeling of accomplishment. Afterall, I don't do this work to be an assembly-line production house; I do it for the enjoyment it brings to both me and the recipients of my work.


My letterpress printed "you're a star" folded cards, new for 2012-2013, are not yet available online. Contact me directly to place an order.
Pages for felt counting books — a great baby gift.

I am most appreciative to all of the those retail shops and individuals who have made this pre-holiday season the busiest ever for Kata Golda. Thank you, all, for your continued support!

~ Kata Golda

KATA GOLDA JOINS EGG PRESS IN PORTLAND

Kata Golda will be returning to Portland, Oregon for another holiday sale with friends at Egg Press in mid-November 2011. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Garden Inspiration: Carrots

This is the third installment in a short series about the influence my garden has had on the new items I'm creating for my 2012-2013 catalog. The first post was about pea pods; the second was about beets; and this latest addition focuses on carrots.


GARDEN INSPIRATION: CARROTS

Summer has been a great test of work-life balance. It's been full of so many activities that I love, the majority of which take place outdoors and don't always mesh well with the work that needs to be done inside the studio.

Perhaps my most cherished daily summer activity is vegetable gardening. I feel productive, am outdoors and the fruits of my labor are delicious and provide me with a great deal of satisfaction. But it's the unique way that caring for the plants informs my creative work that really makes this segment of my life feel like an essential piece of the pie. The patience that garden tasks can require is a welcome slowing of pace to my otherwise "go-go-go" lifestyle, providing a "quiet of mind" that can otherwise be hard to come by.
 
Picking carrots is one of the routine tasks that really gets the back burners of my brain simmering. It's so satisfying to pull all of that color from the dark dirt. I am thankful that I don't have rabbits to compete with, as my friend Rita does. On a recent visit to her place we noticed that they had managed to find their way under the chicken wire and into her garden bed. They had quite the feast.


These rabbits are more endearing, and less likely to gobble up the garden. Like the pea pod I made, the carrot that these little guys live in is made from a 50% organic cotton / 50% organic hemp fabric that is hand-dyed. All 3 rabbits are made from wool felt, also hand-dyed, and tuck in to the carrot, which fastens at the top with a hook and loop closure.


I did take some liberties with the leaves on top of the carrot. I wasn't happy with how my experiments making carrot leaves from felt were turning out, so I turned elsewhere in the garden for inspiration — and found that arugula leaves translated beautifully. 


I hope you all have a fabulous labor day weekend and enjoy the last days of summer.

~ Kata Golda


NOW AVAILABLE IN KATA GOLDA's ETSY BOUTIQUE

The Kata Golda Good News Bear DIY Kit contains the sewing pattern and materials needed to create your very own wool felt Good News Bear. This small wall hanging holds a collection of cards upon which kids, parents or teachers can write the "good news" they have to look forward to that day.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Garden Inspiration: Beets

This is the second installment in a short series about the influence my garden has had on the new items I'm creating for my 2012-2013 catalog. The first post was about pea pods; this week's is about beets.


GARDEN INSPIRATION: BEETS

I volunteer each Thursday at a local farm, helping out in the garden where needed. Little kids always seem to enjoy picking radishes because they are often the first things ready in the garden. Later, as the garden grows, their preference shifts to carrots because they are not only familiar, but also so utterly amazing — all that color coming out from the dark, rich soil like a rabbit out of a hat.

Between the two, I prefer to pick beets, and at home I get to pick them all. Now that my daughter is older, I have no competition! 


This year my beet greens are red, planted between the tall, green leafy foliage of the potatoes and the tall, thick, grass-like sticks of the onions — a placement that seems sort of perfect to me. Although it may seem like an odd source of inspiration, the beet has managed to find its way into my work time and time again.

Last year it made an appearance on the custom sign I made for Port Townsend's Colinwood Farm



…and it currently appears in my card line, held by a sweet little lamb dressed in overalls.
The current design for my "I picked this for you" card is available in the 2010-2011 Kata Golda collection. The lamb and beet, made from felt, are adorned with stitching and framed on a sheet of delicate rice paper mounted on a cotton card. The words are typed on the paper by hand using a vintage typewriter that has a unique typeface.

I've always been smitten by the facial expressions of goats and lambs, so this design will continue to live on in the 2012-2013 catalog, with a few updates. The message is the same, but instead of being typed, the words are letterpress printed directly onto the card. The letter forms were originally handwritten, inspired by the unusual typeface found on my trusty little red vintage typewriter.

Updated for the 2012-2013 Kata Golda catalog, my new "I picked this for you" card combines letterpress printing with wool felt and hand-stitching. The card, made from cotton paper, measures about 5x7" and comes with a matching envelope.

I encourage you to go out and pick something for yourself from the garden — whether it's at a local farm, your neighborhood pea patch, or your own backyard. Just make sure to ask first if you plan on picking it from someone else's garden!

~Kata Golda


NOW AVAILABLE IN KATA GOLDA's ETSY BOUTIQUE

The Kata Golda Good News Bear DIY Kit contains the sewing pattern and materials needed to create your very own wool felt Good News Bear. This small wall hanging holds a collection of cards upon which kids, parents or teachers can write the "good news" they have to look forward to that day.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Garden Inspiration: Pea Pods

With the recent increase of sunny days in the Pacific Northwest, my garden is growing by leaps and bounds. Each day — morning, noon and evening — we wander through it to collect ingredients for our next meal. As my family enjoys the fruits of our labors, it seems to be the perfect time to reflect on how influential the garden has been on the new items I've created for the 2012-2013 Kata Golda collection. So for the next few weeks, I'll focus on different items from my garden and give a sneak peak at the work they've inspired.


GARDEN INSPIRATION: PEA PODS

The plentiful pods in my pea patch have a great ability to hide. I always need to walk through the pea patch two or three times to make sure I did not miss any of the perfectly plump pods. Yet inevitably I do, because when I return the next morning I find it hard to believe how the engorged pods I find could have possibly grown that big overnight.




As someone who handcrafts a lot of items for babies, the pea pod is a real favorite image of mine. The pods act as the momma, protecting the little baby peas inside as they mature and grow sweetly plump.

The felt "Peapod" Heirloom pocket comes with a letterpress printed baby record, with a place to record a name, birthdate, and other details of your baby's milestones, including a place to paste a photo. The pocket gives you a place to store other memorabilia, and can be personalized with a hand-stitched message.
Studies of a pea pod for the 2012–2013 Kata Golda catalog. On the left is a hand-stitched design; on the right are the pieces to a design I cut from felt, which I will then stitch together.

A detail shot of the pea pod design I "drew" with needle and thread.

The connection to make between these studies of my garden and my new plush Pea Pod toy is an easy one. Three cheerful round pea pods, each a different size and made from hand-dyed wool felt, sleep soundly in the belly of their pod case. The faces are hand-stitched, and the pod stays shut with the help of a hook-and-loop closure, making it friendly for your little ones.


The material for the pod is a 50% organic cotton / 50% organic hemp blend that is new to the Kata Golda collection. Look for this and other new items inspired by the pea pod in late 2011.

~ Kata Golda


NOW AVAILABLE IN KATA GOLDA's ETSY BOUTIQUE

The Kata Golda Good News Bear DIY Kit contains the sewing pattern and materials needed to create your very own wool felt Good News Bear. This small wall hanging holds a collection of cards upon which kids, parents or teachers can write the "good news" they have to look forward to that day.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Slow is Fast

Friendly starfish at low tide.

By nature I am a go-go-go person, but when I make the effort to be still, I am able to see the beauty in the details of the world around me. So easily I can be distracted by big pictures, losing sight of the small parts that create these inspirational scenes and inform my work.

I am most successful at focusing on the small parts when I'm outdoors, away from my studio. And since I haven't found a way to bottle up stillness, I guess I'll just have to make the effort to enjoy it fresh each day.

A close-up view of barnacles on a rock.
It's not easy, especially with deadlines now growing close for the new 2012-2013 Kata Golda catalog. However this is exactly the time — as all the "small parts" are beginning to form the big picture — that it is most important for me to step away and escape to the outdoors, rain or shine.

Finding color in the ocean on a gray, rainy day.
This step away from the catalog gives me some great perspective and reassures me that each item I create, even if it gets cut from the final list, plays a significant role in the success of my body of work. It also reminds me of the great joy I feel while creating each part.

An army ranger once said, "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast." In order to keep the joy, I need to get out of my "Kata Golda world" and slow down long enough to look in from the outside. When I do, I re-enter with fresh eyes and clarity about what I need to do next in order to keep moving forward.

In other words, slow is fast.

~ Kata Golda


NOW AVAILABLE IN KATA GOLDA's ETSY BOUTIQUE

The Kata Golda Good News Bear DIY Kit contains the sewing pattern and materials needed to create your very own wool felt Good News Bear. This small wall hanging holds a collection of cards upon which kids, parents or teachers can write the "good news" they have to look forward to that day.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Bottle of Stillness

With most of the country going through extensive heat ways, it's hard for most of you to imagine that it could be cold, gray and rainy elsewhere in the US. But our summer here in the Pacific Northwest has been a cool and gray one, and there is still so much snow pack (as in 6 – 10 feet deep!) in the mountains that many of my hiking adventures have had to be moved to lower elevations.

For one backpacking trip this meant that instead of a mountain adventure, we had a rainforest and beach adventure. Rain is not, understandably, my favorite weather to camp in, but even a grey and quiet beach brings great surprises.

A beach walk along the Pacific in Olympic National Park.
During one afternoon walk we were surprised by a small, lone doe that emerged from the fog along the coastline and trotted across the sand — the endless movement of waves providing a perfect soundtrack to this peaceful scene.


In that moment everything stopped — and my presence in that exact moment, the attentiveness to my surroundings, the stillness it all created in my mind…I wanted to bottle it all up and keep it in my pocket, to pull out later when the busy-ness of life starts to overwhelm me.

Exploring the calm of the tide pools.
If only I could figure out how to do that. Any ideas?
~ Kata Golda

NOW AVAILABLE IN KATA GOLDA's ETSY BOUTIQUE

The Kata Golda Good News Bear DIY Kit contains the sewing pattern and materials needed to create your very own wool felt Good News Bear. This small wall hanging holds a collection of cards upon which kids, parents or teachers can write the "good news" they have to look forward to that day.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Lily Pads

I can't believe how beautiful the weather has been. I went canoeing amongst the lily pads on a little lake and it was all warm sun, no bugs, and perfectly quiet. A perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday morning.

Back in the studio that afternoon my little lake adventure became the inspiration for a wall hanging to go in a child's room — one of three nature-themed wall hangings that will be a part of the 2012-2013 Kata Golda catalog. Each will contain 3 stuffed animals that "live" in their respective wall hanging's environment.
Real lily pads inspired whimsical ones made from felt.

The pond scene was created with wool felt and has little pockets to hold the little stuffed animals that just might live in these wetlands, such as this green frog.

A small frog will tuck into a pocket — disguised as a lily pad — on the pond-themed wall hanging.
As I create the scene I pin elements into place, waiting until the whole scene is composed to start my stitching. I'll use a combination of hand and machine stitching to tie it all together, securing grommets to the upper corners of the piece so that it can be hung on a child's wall — the perfect combination of artful decoration and an imaginative toy.

~ Kata Golda




PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDY FORTUNE // PETITE PURLS.
Look in the new Summer 2011 issue of Petite Purls for Kata Golda's tutorial on how to sew an egg-shaped chick from felt.


SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good News Bear


A little over a month ago my friend Kerri Hartman, of Bazaar Girls, asked me I would be interested in creating a pattern for a "good news bear," a small wall hanging that holds a collection of cards upon which kids or parents can write the "good news" that they have to look forward that day.

I thought it was a great project idea, one that translates well into my style, is simple to execute, and yet full of many possibilities. I agreed to pitch in.
The original Good News Bear was created
by Angela Amos, of Bazaar Girls.
The original "Good News Bear" was created by Kerri's business partner, Angela Amos, and Kerri fell in love with the concept. As a contributing editor to Inspiring Times, she wanted my interpretation of the pattern to be the first craft project featured in the newspaper. Based in Port Townsend, Washington, this new alternative free paper focuses on "good" news, supporting small businesses, creativity, and healthy living.

As I worked on the pattern I thought about all of the words and images that my daughter and I could put on the index cards that the Good News Bear holds — all things that would make us happy upon seeing them each morning. With all the things I have on my to-do list, I sometimes get so overwhelmed by cluttered thoughts, images, words that the simplicity of the Good News Bear is comforting to me.

The Good News Bear is easy to make, and only requires a materials and beginning sewing skills. It can hang on a wall, or with the addition of magnets, on your fridge — which is where my family hangs ours. Teachers might also like using it their classroom.


The Good News Bear DIY Kit, complete with the materials and instructions, is available for purchase online through the Kata Golda Etsy boutique, and contains:
  • Pattern and detailed instructions
  • Color photo of what bear will look like when finished
  • Wool felt
  • 2 buttons
  • Cotton thread
  • 10 blank index cards (3x5")
 
Those in the Port Townsend area of Washington state looking to pick up a free copy of Inspiring Times can do so at several downtown stores, including:
  • Don's Pharmacy
    1151 Water St
    reet
    Port Townsend, WA 98368
    (360) 385-2622
  • The Writer's Workshoppe
    820 Water St
    reet
    Port Townsend, WA 98368(360) 379-2617
  • Elevated Ice Cream
    631 Water Street
    Port Townsend, WA 98368
    (360) 385-1156
  • Creative Union Fabrics*
    112 Kala Square Place, Suite 3
    Port Townsend, WA 98368
    (360) 379-0655

    *Also sells Kata Golda Good News Bear DIY Kits.



~ Kata Golda




PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDY FORTUNE // PETITE PURLS.
Look in the new Summer 2011 issue of Petite Purls for Kata Golda's tutorial on how to sew an egg-shaped chick from felt.


SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sharp Pencils, Sharp Mind


I made a trip over the neighborhood art supply store this past week, looking for some thick translucent paper to make templates with — but it was also just an excuse to get out of the studio and jog my brain a bit, which was in a bit of a creative rut.

Akamai Art & Glass is local shop I like to visit it often, kind of like my trips to the farmer's market or co-op. I know all of the areas of the art store quite well, but enjoy wandering about to see if there's anything new that will spark an idea or give a burst of creative energy....a paint brush, a new type of clay, etc. My favorite spot to linger is the writing utensil area, where I can test out different pens and pencils by scribbling a few marks on a pad of paper set out just for that purpose. It's hard to not walk out of there with a new pen to draw with.

This time, however, it was not something shiny and bright that caught my attention, but a tried and true classic. As I was scanning the area I noticed a 12-pack of good old #2 pencils, and without a second thought tossed it into my basket along with a few white erasers, went back to the studio, sharpened all of them, and returned to my sketch book with renewed energy.




It's amazing how such a simple tool can hold so much potential, and make everything seem possible.

~ Kata Golda




PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDY FORTUNE // PETITE PURLS.
Look in the new Summer 2011 issue of Petite Purls for Kata Golda's tutorial on how to sew an egg-shaped chick from felt.


SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Simple Tree

I love that ideas can come from anywhere, any time. What's fascinating is that most times you're completely unaware that it's happening, and it's only in reflecting on your collection of experiences that those sources come to light.


This is a painting on wood that my daughter made when she was little. It is so simple, so clear, so uncomplicated. It inspired one of the designs on my new journals and tea cup cozies that will be a part of the Kata Golda 2012–2013 catalog.



Acknowledging that something from years ago is influencing my work today is a gentle reminder to pay attention in the moment, to savor and participate.
I love that tree.

~ Kata Golda


Look in the new Summer 2011 issue of Petite Purls for Kata Golda's tutorial on how to sew an egg-shaped chick from felt.

SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Balancing Act

Yesterday was one of those spring days that did not threaten rain, but did not promise sun either. So I decided to set up two work stations — one indoors and the other outdoors — to make the most of whatever the weather decided to throw my way.

Outside, in the warm sunny spot on my front porch, I had my stitching arranged and was working on embroidering names on stuffed companions. On a work table in my studio I was working on laying out and reviewing the new card designs that will go in the the 2012–2013 Kata Golda catalog.


All day I ran between projects, dashing outside when the sun was shining and back into my studio when it was not. The embroidery work was a meditative task, while the cards was a focused process of design and decision making… together making the perfect recipe for a mentally satisfying day of productive work.

At point, when returning to my sunny spot, I found Molly  — the little sweety — sound asleep on the bench with her paw slung over nonother than a new design for a cat boy stuffed companion. It felt picture worthy and made me laugh.



It really was a perfect day.

~ Kata Golda


Congratulations to this week's Tada! Shop giveaway winners Jennie Stalnaker Harnett and Lisa Goodman Brown! Each won a Kata Golda letterpress-printed photo album.


SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Process & Progress

Whether in my studio or in my garden, the current themes in my life right now center around the process of weeding out, paying attention to placement, cleaning up and reorganizing.

I've now entered my sixth month of work creating a new collection of items for the 2012–2013 Kata Golda catalog. Even things so seemingly simple — such as these felt balls — take a lot of diligent work to get them just right. But when my catalog is published at the end of this year, I'll be confident that it reflects my best efforts.


In addition to the catalog (and fulfilling orders — after all, it is wedding season), I've also been working on an art piece that will go up next winter at Marigold & Mint in Seattle. Part of that piece will consist of flowers made of felt, so I've been sewing a lot of those lately. Many have turned out quite lovely, and although I'm fond of them, they're just not right for the project just yet. And so I've "weeded" them out.

But in the spirit of giving new life to rejected creations, I'm holding on to them. I'm not sure where they might fit in with other projects — if they fit at all — but I enjoy having them near me. Here they are sprinkled in with the apple blossoms that lay all over my yard.


Perhaps inspiration will come from this new juxtaposition.

~ Kata Golda

Kata Golda GiveAway on Tada! Shop:
Do you use traditional or digital albums to organize your family/kid photos? Share your answer on Tada!'s Facebook Page for a chance to win a FREE 8x8" Kata Golda Letterpress-printed photo album. Tada! Shop will select a winner on Tuesday, June 7, 2011.

SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Endless Amazement

Thanks to the particularly cold and soggy weather in the Pacific Northwest this May, I've been "blessed" with a painfully endless supply of slugs and snails in the garden. Luckily I know some ducks that would be happy to accept a bucket full or two.

When it comes to planting my garden I prefer to sow the beans directly in the ground, but my never-ending battle with these slow-moving pests means that I have to let go of my preferred tactics and start the seeds in trays instead. This means more work, but my garden is an infinite source of creative inspiration, and worth this extra bit of effort. It provides a welcome distraction from work and replenishes my head with ideas.

Perhaps a benefit of this circumstance is that by having to transplant these sprouts, I'm more aware of their unbelievably beauty. What magic —! — the plant just bursts open from its seed and shell and grows up my arbor, providing the most stellar salmon-colored flowers and beans. And then later, as the season fades away, I'm amazed all over again as it leaves me with plenty of seeds to repeat the process again next year — and perhaps for even a hundred years beyond.
And then, from another corner of my garden, came this tulip: so stunning, so perfect.


Spring continues to amaze me.

~ Kata Golda




My new children's books, Stories for Bedtime and Tooth Fairy Keepsake from Chronicle Books, are now available for purchase! Ask for them at your favorite local book store.

SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy