wednesday words

kerfuffle. a fuss; commotion. a brouhaha.

(thanks to everyone who told me their favorite words on instagram, facebook and twitter. this is the first of many, many words that i'll be embroidering from your suggestions. keep them coming!)

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traveling to oregon isn't easy!

did you ever see those words on your classroom's apple 2e? me neither. shawn tells me that the trick to oregon trail is to be the banker. although, since i've actually made it to oregon in real life, i'm less interested in winning the game. i'm pretty sure there isn't a voodoo doughnuts at the end of that oregon trail. who wants donuts when you're dying of dysentery? 

anyway, we'd already made oregon trail pins and cufflinks so i asked shawn if the vinyl guy we use for our logo stickers could do bumper stickers. sure enough, he could. the moment the stickers arrived, i ran out and slapped on on the car. so excellent. 

we often return to our car when we've parked it out in the world to find someone pointing and laughing or taking a picture with their phone. we've sold one or two right out of the car. a few friends have them on their cars. the crafty wonderland shop is carrying them. but, we've yet to see one on a car other than ours or our friends. there will probably be cartwheels. and possibly voodoo doughnuts. 

my friend cari (who has one of the bumper stickers) hooked me up with her friend doug, the resident historian at they do a bunch of nifty stuff including a podcast and a monthly history night at jack london bar. doug asked me if we'd like to sponsor an upcoming podcast or come to their next event and maybe sell some stickers. HECK YEAH! 

mainly because i'm dying to see one of these stickers on a car that we don't know but also because history is cool. 

so, that was last night. it was totally fun. doug is hilarious and knowledgable and the place was packed. yay, history! plus, we sold a bunch of stickers. if you're in portland, you should go . it was really fun and you know, learning stuff is awesome. 

the bumper stickers can be found here. $1 from the sale of each oregon trail and don't be a dick bumper stickers is being donated to ethos music center and to the portland women's crisis line

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wednesday words

what's your favorite word?

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front yard progress

our neighbor told me she thinks it looks "KICK ASS."

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cookoorikoo is not paying the bills. its not even coming close. occasionally, it brings in some extra cash and that's nice but i'm not selling things like i once was. it bums me out - especially since i've been making such amazing new things. really, i feel like i'm doing my best work right now but there are tumbleweeds rolling through my shop on most days.

pixelparty is where the money is at. i don't talk very much about pixelparty here, or my role in it. the facts are: i do a lot of the production work, i pack all the orders, i answer almost all the convos and emails, and i try to stay on top of stockists. I play a big role in the process and yet i act like its not my business. it may have not been my idea but i do love videogames. i may not have played as much as shawn when we were growing up but there were games i played for hours and hours, games i still enjoy playing from time to time. also, a bunch of the ideas i've had for characters have been great sellers and i do enjoy the work. so, yay, pixelparty! its time to just embrace it.

add to this mix my desire to find more time to write. i wrote book no.1 in november and have been working on editing it in tiny bursts, when i can find time. i've decided that by july, i want to be writing book no. 2 and i want to start shopping it around. those things demand more time than i have right now.

what does this all mean?

cookoorikoo isn't going away any time soon. making yoyos is a happy place for me. coming up with crazy new color combinations and new ways to use yoyos hasn't stopped being fun. but what has stopped being fun for me is bracelets and rings. sourcing materials is getting more time consuming and costly. the colors that sell the best are often the hardest to find and sometimes i haven't been as strict with myself about cost of goods, figuring it all works out in the end. if i pay $5 for this sparkle for one dollar for this bauble but i spent hours finding this piece... it doesn't really work out so well. to try and compensate, i raised the prices on bracelets and it affected sales. so, for now, i'm done with bracelets and rings. they both only ever sell at shows and then usually at a discount.

so, why are bobbypins are sticking around then? after a few years of not making bobbypins, i brought them back and i honestly priced them based on what my materials cost. if i use a slightly more spendy brooch, the bobbypin is priced higher. i feel good about it and they've been selling. plus, its easy to stumble upon things to use for bobbypins here and there. it doesn't feel like searching for a needle in a haystack the way finding red sparkles for bracelets does.

and why am i telling you all of this? while its not easy to publicly acknowledge my unhappiness with the current state of my business, i think honesty is best. i just wish it hadn't taken me so long to be honest with myself. 

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beads + yoyos = love

well, i just can't stop. i love making these so much. i still love my original style of yoyo necklace - those won't be disappearing anytime soon. its just that making something new is fun. these are a bit more of a challenge for me. picking supplies, wire wrapping the beads, getting the balance right - i don't quite know the formula yet. i don't know for sure if there will be one hard and fast formula for these. time will tell. right now, i'm just enjoying making them.

this last necklace was sold before i listed it on etsy. i posted a picture to instagram and twitter of it and one of my very favorite regular customers declared it hers. her exact word was: "MINE!"  that made me happy. then, i head from a few other people who are interested in getting a necklace like this one. so, i placed my first vintage bead order yesterday. (i cannot, after all, completely deplete kateri's stash of beads!) as soon as they arrive, i'll be making a few more. 

when i started assembling this one, the combination of metallic finishes and the blue silk reminded me of the elves in lord of the rings. the leaf toggle clasp, long buried in my stash, was a perfect match. when the first person tweeted that she wanted it, she asked if i was naming it something elvish. why yes, i'll be calling it mithril, i replied. because i'm a nerd. a nerd who makes pretty things.

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something new

i've had this idea rattling around in my head for months and months. i drew it out a few times and would daydream about how lovely it would be. wouldn't it be great if i could make yoyos like beads? wouldn't it be so pretty if i could use the yoyo "beads" with actual beads and make a whole necklace? 

i was certain i could make it work and that it would indeed be beautiful but i felt like my wire wrapping skills were not up to par. i know how to do it but it never looks as good as kateri's. (i've actually talked to a few people who make jewelry who agree - her wire wrapped beads are the best.) i told her this and asked her if she'd give me a lesson. she did (because she's awesome like that) and i was off and running. i spent an entire day making the yoyos, wrapping the beads, assembling the necklace, checking the balance, taking it apart and putting it back together again. it was worth it, i think.

this first one is mine, all mine. but i did make a bracelet using the same technique and i'm betting there will be more pieces like this in the shop in the weeks to come. because you know what's fun? making something new!

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color friends

kateri & i have been enjoying working together again. we've been able to make new color friends while sitting next to one another. we've also been able to hold things up and say "YES? NO? Does this work?" not being forced to rely on sometimes questionable cell phone pictures has been excellent. really. and the new color friends? they're kinda awesome.

poison ivy necklace // earrings

rose city bracelet // bridgetown necklace

there's one more set that kateri posted about here. check them out. and visit her shops here and here.

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six years of yoyos

sometime in the fall of 2006, i saw some picture that changed everything. it was from a gallery show in japan. the theme of the show was the art of fashion. i spent a lot of time looking at those photos. something about them had sparked my interest. i'd been doing mixed media art for a few years and had been successful but i was feeling bored. i needed something new. those pictures were on my mind but i couldn't figure out why. i had recently brushed up my sewing skills, thanks to my friend teena, but i wasn't ready to sew clothes. so what was it? so, one day i sat and stared determined to figure this out. there were fancing fabric folding and dying techniques. there were garments made from unconventional materials. it was all so beautiful. then it hit me. they were hiding in plain sight. yoyos. everywhere. those tiny fabric circles normally associated with grannies, creepy clown dolls and quilts were stitched to skirts like flowers, stitched together to form scarves. there were entire garments made of yoyos. it was breathtaking.

i remembered learning how to make them when i was wee but hadn't made one in years. i looked for a tutorial, pulled out some fabric scraps and a needle and thread and made one. then another. and another. before i knew it, i had a tiny pile and no idea what to do with them. that pile sat for a few days. a few days later i stitch some to a pair of wristwarners i made for a friend for chanukah. she loved them. then, i made a necklace for another friend's birthday. she also loved it. i was onto something. cookoorikoo was born. 

on new years day, i made things - necklaces and button rings, bobbypins. the following day, i took and edited some terrible photos. january 3, 2007, i opened up my new etsy shop. things have never really been the same since. there have been ups and downs but six years later, i still really love yoyos. i still daydream about everything i can do with them and get excited whenever i see someone doing something new and awesome with them. they are so simple, so beautiful and so full of possiblity. 2013 is going to be a big year for yoyos in my world. stay tuned. 


in the meantime, i'm celebrating six years of cookoorikoo with a sale. everything in the shop is 50% off through sunday. go ahead, buy yourself something pretty. you know you need more yoyos in your life. 


thanks for an awesome six years!

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2012 is dead, long live 2012

1. kateri's

so, that happened and i've wanted to write about it since i mailed the last one out. by that time, it had become clear that "everything," however positive my intentions meant EVERYTHING. there were deaths and illness, setbacks and a few broken hearts. but there were also engagements, births, weddings, new love, new jobs... one thing is certain - it was a big, weird year for just about everyone i know. it just all seemed so complicated and whenever i sat down to write i got stuck.

2. kerry's

for us shamptons,  2012 has been awesome. shawn's in two bands - the harvey girls and lovebomb gogo. i don't think he could be happier (or busier.) i wrote a book and have plans to write at least two more. that's in addition to working a ton, going on some adventures, and facing a few road blocks. last week, i was on the phone with a friend i hadn't talked to in a few months. we were catching up. she told me that hearing about my year was exhausting, in the best possible way. i understood. i can't really wrap my head around my 2012 entirely.

 3. diane's

i decided the year was ending and i had to finally write this post but that i didn't need to overthink it to much. i decided saying, "so that happened,"  was kind of enough. i don't need to wax on. there isn't time. 2013 starts soon.

this one was made to replace one that got lost in the mail. i added the "and beyond" because it was mailed in the late summer. 

i started planning for 2013 in august. i, of course, did not start embroidering until this week. i am not too worried. i'm only making 12 this year. well, 13. would you believe of the 63 i made that year that i didn't keep on for myself last year? of course you would. SIXTY THREE. my original limit was 20, then 25, then 50. so anyway, 12 of these will arrive in mailboxes in the next couple of week.


like last year, you can make your own. the pattern is here as well as some pictures of last year's in their new homes. i'll be adding pictures to the set throughout the year and would love to add yours if you end up making one!

happy 2013, ya'll. its your lucky year!

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