Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Newsletter

Halloween on Polk Street

 

IN THIS ISSUE: OWLS & BLACK CATS & A HALLOWEEN GIVE-AWAY: CAT FINGER PUPPETS... OH MY!

 

The Kata Golda studio just happens to sit on one of the few streets in our mossy seaside town where trick-or-treating happens at a brisk pace, consistently, all night long. I wonder how this happened... Read the full newsletter
 



Kata Golda creates unique gifts for children and adults using a combination of hand-dyed wool felt, stitching, and letterpress printing. From photo albums and guest books to hand-stitched items and personalized gifts, Kata Golda’s work is a treasured heirloom for any occasion.

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TWEET: twitter.com/katagolda
SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September Newsletter

Giving a Personal Gift
Giving the perfect gift is a joy and challenge to me. I strive to find gifts that are beautiful, personal and lasting and present them in a thoughtful way. Here's my advice for putting together the right little collection, right down to the gift wrap, for an occasion to honor friends or family.

1) COLLECTING
I am continually collecting things that I love, whether it is finding a small object at a shop, picking up a pine cone on my path, taking a photograph, writing an idea in my book or grabbing a postcard next to a bulletin board at the coffee shop. This gathering is usually inspired by thinking about a particular person in my life, in advance of a birthday or celebration.


2) ORGANIZING
When I return home I like to organize what I have found, often adding to a collection that has already been started. Thanks to my penchant for collecting I rarely find myself in a scramble for a thoughtful gift.        

                
3) GET INSPIRED
My favorite part of creating a personalized gift is pouring the collection on to my desk and tying it all together. I start by clearing the physical space to lay it all out, as well as clearing my mind so that I can focus. I prefer to do this in the early morning, with a cup of coffee and instrumental music to help create the right atmosphere.

Perhaps most importantly, I try to ensure that I will have plenty of uninterrupted time. My style of gift giving doesn’t lend itself to last minute, running-out-the-door-to-the-party timing.

Lay out all you’ve collected to inspire some thoughtful words (or perhaps you’ve already jotted down some thoughts or a quote or poem on a little scrap of paper). Find or sketch images that remind you of the recipient.


4) GATHER
Collect supplies for putting it all together that tie in with a general theme of the gift (wrapping paper, scissors, ribbon, glue, tape, etc). Be creative in selecting supplies: twigs, yarn, fabric, string, newspaper, objects found in nature, etc.

5) TIE IT ALL TOGETHER
Think of a way to integrate the words and images into the package. Some ideas:

  • Type the words on a piece of translucent paper and glue them on the wrapping paper.
  • Make a collage on a card incorporating the words and images.
  • Use a brown paper bag and glue on images and use a sewing machine to stitch into an envelope.
  • Hand-sew some words on a strip of felt to create a gift tag.
   
6) CHOOSE THE PERFECT PAPER
Pick the right wrapping material for the item, determined by the shape — tissue paper for the odd-shaped items and wrapping paper to make clean folded creases for items with straight edges. 

7) CAREFUL CRAFTSMANSHIP
Use a glue stick instead of tape for perfect overlaps.

8) CREATE A PATH TO FOLLOW
If there is an order to how items should be opened, consider numbering the gifts with a little tag, or using the letters of the recipient’s name, to be opened in order.

9) LET THE EVENT GUIDE YOUR PRESENTATION
If I am hosting, I will often incorporate the little parcels into a centerpiece or table setting. If I am bringing a gift, I will tie them up in a bag of some sort, similarly personalized. 
Two of my favorite things are giving gifts and summer time, which is no coincidence. The sun is positively one of life’s greatest gifts and not a day goes by that I don't try to get the absolute most out of it. As the season draws to a close, I cherish it even more.

~ Alison Kaplan, Founder of Kata Golda




Kata Golda creates unique gifts for children and adults using a combination of hand-dyed wool felt, stitching, and letterpress printing. From photo albums and guest books to hand-stitched items and personalized gifts, Kata Golda’s work is a treasured heirloom for any occasion.

LIKE:
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TWEET: twitter.com/katagolda
SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Newsletter

For Those Who Think
They Are Not Creative

 


I have a dear friend who thinks that she is not creative or skilled in making things. The other day I was at her house and found this winged horse amongst a smattering of her daughter’s toys. I fell in love with its simplicity and the perfect execution of her daughter’s request for a horse with wings.

Without hesitation, my self-proclaimed "non-creative" friend had cut and stitched the horse from scraps in a matter of minutes. The little loved horse has journeyed around town and through the washing machine inside a pocket a number of times.

It is important to remove judgment and worry about how your audience will receive what you create. Perhaps this is why making things for young children often comes without hesitation and self-doubt. Too much judgment will surely inhibit (and maybe even destroy) the outcome.

My advice for you “non-creative” types: Just go for it (should you have a small child as your intended audience or not).
I borrowed this little horse and put it on my desk for a few days, and upon returning it I asked my friend if I could copy her design and make one for myself. Needless to say, she was flattered.

~ Alison Kaplan, Founder of Kata Golda



GIVE-AWAY:

Wool Felt Scraps


Do you feel like you are one of these "non-creative" types? Would an envelope of felt scraps inspire you to be more daring?

If so, drop Kata Golda a line (and your mailing address) and we'll send the first ten respondents some felt scraps, free of charge.





Kata Golda creates unique gifts for children and adults using a combination of hand-dyed wool felt, stitching, and letterpress printing. From photo albums and guest books to hand-stitched items and personalized gifts, Kata Golda’s work is a treasured heirloom for any occasion.

LIKE:
Facebook & Pinterest
TWEET: twitter.com/katagolda
SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June Newsletter

Silence, please



The windows are open; I’m lying in bed listening to the gentle waves, trying to silence my mind of all that needs to be done tomorrow, of all that was forgotten today.

A memory comes to me of a quiet day one summer, in a canoe on a pond surrounded by lily pads, watching damselflies, hearing nothing but the occasional paddle dip and the lapping of water on the side of the boat.

But then my sweetheart reminds me of all the sounds: the tinny whir of dragonfly wings, calls of the marsh wren and warbler, the insistence of frogs. Perhaps silence isn’t so quiet after all.



Summer days at the beach or lakeside are a great time for craft projects. Stuff a few sheets of felt, some thread, scissors and a needle into your beach bag or picnic basket and enjoy the sounds of summer — whatever they may be.

~ Alison Kaplan, Founder of Kata Golda



DIY PROJECT:
Plush Turtle

This project was recently featured on Ebabee Likes, a London-based style guide for babies, young kids and their mamas.

Want more inspiration? View all things "turtle" from Kata Golda.


MATERIALS YOU’LL NEED:
  • Turtle Template [PDF]
  • Wool felt: 2 colors (use the template to gauge dimensions)
  • Stuffing (polyester fiberfill, wool, bamboo, or cotton)
  • Embroidery floss: 2 colors (This thread is 6-ply and is easily separated; steps below will use 2 or 3 plies.)
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED:
  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sharp snips
  • Hand sewing needle (sharp and with a large enough eye to thread embroidery floss)
STITCHES YOU’LL USE:
  • Satin stitch
  • Double Running stitch
  • Whip stitch
  • Blanket stitch
Unfamiliar with these stitches or just need a refresher? Download Kata Golda’s Guide to Basic Stitches [PDF].


INSTRUCTIONS:

STEP 1
Print the template and cut out the pieces with paper scissors. If you wish to make all three turtles, print one template at 100%, one at 75% and one at 125%. Then place the pieces on the felt and cut out the felt shapes with fabric scissors. Note that you will cut out two of the body pieces and one shell piece for each turtle you make.



STEP 2
Stitch the eyes on one body piece using 3-ply black embroidery floss. Use a satin stitch and widely place the two eyes.



STEP 3
Using a blanket stitch and 2-ply black thread, stitch the two body pieces together.



STEP 4
Use a double running stitch to sew eight “U” shapes on the shell layer with 2-ply gold embroidery floss.



STEP 5
To attach shell to body, whip stitch shell piece to only the top layer of the body layer three quarters of the way around. Leave an opening and stuff.



Continue your stitch and close the hole.

STEP 6
Repeat Steps 1–5 for each additional turtle.



NOTES & TIPS:
  • Hand-sew with a piece of thread that is about 18" long. (Longer lengths are frustrating to work with as they tangle easily.)
  • To separate the 6-ply floss, start in the middle of the floss strand you've cut and gently, slowly pull off the strands needed (together at the same time).
  • Try to keep the stitch depth and length consistent. When whip stitching and blanket stitching, make your stitch length and depth between 1/8"–1/4".
  • Bundles of wool felt squares in various colors are also available from Kata Golda, and include ten sheets of 6.5" x 6.5" hand-dyed felt.



Kata Golda creates unique gifts for children and adults using a combination of hand-dyed wool felt, stitching, and letterpress printing. From photo albums and guest books to hand-stitched items and personalized gifts, Kata Golda’s work is a treasured heirloom for any occasion.

LIKE:
Facebook & Pinterest
TWEET: twitter.com/katagolda
SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April Newsletter

Oh, Deer

 

Port Townsend (the mossy little seaside town where Kata Golda springs from in Washington) is populated by many herds of deer. Beloved by tourists — cursed by gardeners — we see deer every day in our neighborhood of Victorian homes and lush landscapes. And so it is that Rennie Simone, a little girl who lives across the street, came to fall in love with these gentle neighbors.


When Rennie announced her ambitions to have a springtime, deer-themed 6th birthday party, we couldn’t resist the desire to host and decorate and craft the party by hand. But a quick internet search for party ideas yielded ideas for John Deere themed parties (think tractors and camouflage) or large-eyed, curvaceous Disney Bambi parties. We set out to create a simple, handmade party for six little “dears”. 


A Kata Golda DIY Deer Birthday Party 

DECORATING

 

The Kata Golda color palette lends itself to springtime parties, and wool felt is as easy and forgiving to work with as it is beautiful. A few stems of Ranunculus and a large, life-like plush deer were all that was needed as a backdrop for homemade decorations. Colorful felt banners hung over the table, with a gold balloon tied to each chair.


Deer finger puppets stood upright on twigs, and became the inspiration for the girl’s craft project. Each place setting featured a deer medallion napkin ring (which became a hair tie) and a wool felt goodie bag, with each girl’s name hand-stitched on the front.


Making these useful, high-quality party favors took time, but was by far more preferable than using disposable, mass-produced trinkets that often end up in the garbage following a party.





SNACKING

 

A little lemonade and popcorn were all that was necessary to keep the girls nourished. But it was the adults that couldn’t keep their hands out of the popcorn — thanks to the addition of our friend Anika’s lovely Sea Smoke Salt from Old Salt Merchants, another small business in Port Townsend.

Rennie had requested a deer cake, which left a lot of room for interpretation. After deer, gold and mango are her two favorite things in the world, so it was only natural to incorporate all three into her special birthday cake. In the name of simplicity, we went with a vanilla buttermilk cake with mango curd between layers. The cake, covered with a simple cream cheese frosting, was topped with gold sprinkles, a family of toy deer and gold candles.



CRAFTING

 

After eating, the girls jumped wholeheartedly into making deer finger puppets, the components of which were found in their goody bags. With a simple template, they began by cutting out three pieces of felt.


With some help from adults they "drew" their deer's face onto felt with a needle and thread, and then stitched the pieces together to finish the puppet.



What a joy it was to create magic for these little girls. The DIY Deer Birthday Party was a lovely affair, with six smiling, happy dears leaving with a bag of their own wool felt keepsakes.



Here’s to more inspired, homemade parties!

~ Kata Golda



IN BLOOM THIS SPRING

CELEBRATION INSPIRATION: Inspired to create a handmade birthday party or wedding? Get some help making your own banners and finger puppets with Kata Golda's DIY Felt Sewing Kits, which come with instructions, templates, wool felt and thread. (Visit Etsy to see more DIY kits.)

 

NEW CRAFT VIDEOS: Two new Kata Golda video tutorials are now available from Creativebug. Learn how to make a Woodland Wall Hanging, as well as the plush Nature Pals that tuck inside the wall hanging's pockets. Materials kits for both projects can be purchased on KataGolda.com.





Kata Golda creates unique gifts for children and adults using a combination of hand-dyed wool felt, stitching, and letterpress printing. From photo albums and guest books to hand-stitched items and personalized gifts, Kata Golda’s work is a treasured heirloom for any occasion.
 
LIKE:
Facebook & Pinterest
TWEET: twitter.com/katagolda
SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Newsletter

ANTICIPATION

It's the time of year when I cannot resist taking my morning cup of coffee out to the garden to see what has transpired there, seemingly overnight. New buds appearing on the fruit trees, the first crocuses unfurling on the south side of the house, patient daphne odora teasing me with the promise of bloom and heavenly scent.


But frosty mornings and heavy ground slow my impatient hands, and so instead of digging and sowing seeds, I keep them warm around my mug and wait, with anticipation, for Spring to unfold. 

— Alison Kaplan
     Founder and Principal, Kata Golda



DIY PROJECT: BUNNY WITH BABY

One of our new designs for Spring 2013 is a bunny rabbit that holds a baby in its pouch pocket. It's great for little hands that love babies and putting small pieces where they belong. It's available for a limited time in the Kata Golda Etsy boutique, but more adventurous crafters may enjoy making their own. The combined set is approximately 4.25" in width by 6.7" tall, and can be stitched by hand or with a sewing machine.
 
The bunny on the left was stitched by hand; the one on the right was machine stitched.


MATERIALS YOU’LL NEED:

  • "Bunny with Baby" template [PDF]
  • 3 pieces of wool felt: 2 colors for the bodies and 1 for the pocket (use the template to gauge dimensions)
  • Stuffing (polyester fiberfill, wool, bamboo, or cotton)
  • Embroidery floss (This thread is 6-ply and is easily separated; most patterns use 1–3 plies.)
  • Optional: sewing machine and thread (should you choose to machine stitch the seams of your bunnies)

TOOLS YOU’LL NEED:

  • Paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sharp snips
  • Hand sewing needle (sharp and with a large enough eye to thread embroidery floss) 
 

STITCHES YOU’LL USE:

  • Straight stitch
  • Running stitch
  • Double Running stitch
  • Whip stitch
  • Blanket stitch

Unfamiliar with these stitches or just need a refresher? Download Kata Golda’s Guide to Basic Stitches [PDF].
 

INSTRUCTIONS:

 

STEP 1

Print the template and cut out the template pieces with paper scissors. Then place the pieces on the felt and cut out the felt shapes with fabric scissors.

STEP 2

In the front pieces of both the little and big bunny bodies, use small snips to pierce the felt and cut out holes for the ears.




STEP 3

Little bunny: Stitch the face and hands on the little bunny using 3-ply black embroidery floss. Satin stitch the eyes directly below the center of each ear; use a double running stitch to create the nose, mouth and hands.
 
Big bunny: Place the pocket and hand pieces on the front of the body, using a running stitch to attach them. Make sure you don't stitch the top of the pocket closed — only stitch the top of the pocket through the green felt, but then stitch through all 3 felt layers at the places where the hands overlap the pocket. You'll only sew through 2 pieces of felt along the bottom of the pocket.



STEP 4

To determine the location of the big bunny's facial features, place the top layer of the baby bunny in the pocket. Ideally the eyes are placed on the outside of each of the little bunny's ears and the nose/mouth is placed between the ears. Sew on the features just as you did for little bunny.


STEP 5

To assemble the big bunny lay the front of the body (with pocket), facing up, on top of the matching back. Make sure the edges align, and choose how you'd like to stitch the edges together:

By hand: With 2-ply thread, whip stitch around the inner edges of the ears. Starting on one of the sides, blanket stitch around the bunny, leaving an opening along the side to add stuffing.

By machine: Machine-sew a straight stitch around the inner edges of the ears, and then continue around the outer edges of the bunny, leaving an opening on one of the sides to add stuffing.

Repeat these steps for the little bunny, and add stuffing to both bunnies.

This example shows a hand-stitched big bunny.

STEP 6

To finish each bunny, continue your stitch and close the hole. If you are using a machine, finish by sewing a straight stitch around the outer edges of the bunny (the outer edges should have 2 lines of stitching around it).

 



NOTES & TIPS:


  • I like to hand sew with a piece of thread that is about 18" long. (Longer lengths are frustrating to work with as they tangle easily.)
  • To separate the 6-ply floss, I start in the middle of the floss strand I’ve cut and gently, slowly pull off 2 strands (together at the same time).
  • Try to keep the stitch depth and length consistent. When whip stitching and blanket stitching, I make my stitch length and depth between 1/8" – 1/4".
  • Need materials for specific to this project? Enter the give-away (below); otherwise we'd be more than happy to send you a small bundle of hand-dyed wool felt, embroidery floss, and recycled polyester fiberfill stuffing for $15. Simply contact Kata Golda or send a good old fashioned letter with a check for $15 to:
    Kata Golda
    PO Box 504
    Port Townsend, WA 98368

  • Bundles of wool felt squares in various colors are also available from KataGolda, and include ten sheets of 6.5" x 6.5" hand-dyed felt. 


WIN A FREE BUNNY WITH BABY MATERIALS KIT

What is your favorite springtime tradition? Email your response and mailing address, with "Spring Inspiration Give-Away" in the subject line, to information@katagolda.com by Sunday March 24, 2013. The two winners will be notified by email and sent their kits on March 25.
 
Please note that Kata Golda reserves the right to share all entries online; if you don't want us to share yours, please say so in your email.



PLAN AHEAD FOR EASTER

All orders placed by 3/21/13 will arrive in time for Easter. Personalized and custom orders welcome.


Kata Golda creates unique gifts for children and adults using a combination of hand-dyed wool felt, stitching, and letterpress printing. From photo albums and guest books to hand-stitched items and personalized gifts, Kata Golda’s work is a treasured heirloom for any occasion.
 
LIKE:
Facebook & Pinterest
TWEET: twitter.com/katagolda
SHOP: KataGolda.com & Etsy