Rocket Craft: This one time in autoshop...

It's true, the plushie world has left owlies and cupcakes behind. Well maybe not forever, but our new favorite branch on the stuffed creature tree is definitely the super replica cars and automotive parts of Rocket Craft.
Originally brought to our attention by Jalopnik (yeah? so we're obsessed with cars), Rocket Craft operates out of Sapporo, Japan. Their creations aren't just off the shelf either. Rocket Craft carefully crafts exact replicas of you ride. Of course it's a big hit back home in Japan, but just think of the possibilities. Personally we're dreaming of cuddling up with a stuffed version of our very first car.
So, in celebration of this new branch on the crafting tree, Marimello is offering a prize in the form of a feature post to the first crafties who can identify not just the engine type featured in the upper the left, but what model it replicates. And special bonus to any one who sends in a pic of their own plushie machines.



Apathy is a Bitch

We know it's hard to get off the couch sometimes. Hell we rarely get into real work clothes here at Marimello. And don't even start to tell us about how damn near impossible it is to will the computer into your hands. We know. But apathy is a bitch people. And it can mean death for a craft business as well as an event. Organize all you want.
So today we have sad news to report. The IHR Craft Swap we mentioned on Friday has been canceled. Not because people weren't interested, but because because enthusiasm doesn't necessarily translate into activism.
If you're going to be enthusiastic, don't just send an email, send cash. Sign up for volunteer work. If you want to see something happen, be part of making it happen.



I Heart Rummage Craft Swap: Aug. 4th

Oh Seattle, you tempt us again with your fun fun events. Saturday August 4th from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Ballard Library, there is one heck of a craft swap going on (and the teleporter still isn't ready). Also it sounds like GASP this delicious event might be canceled (or we might get beat up) if we don't sign up.
Here's a repost from our IHR friend Cassandra:

We have local trading superstar Rosalie Gale of bARTer Sauce fame trading with us, Ginger from our fundraiser recipient Ginger's Pet Rescue will be joining us to tell us about all the special doggies that need our help, we're going to have a special networking table hosted by the Seattle Craft Mafia, and as usual there will be snacks galore! So join us for a fun filled afternoon of trading, networking, and snacking! And remember, we're doing it for the doggies!

So… what IS the Crafty Supply Swap, you ask? Well it's only Seattle's funnest trading extravaganza ever! Remember when you bought a bunch of cool crafty stuff that you thought for sure you'd make into that super cool thing you had an idea for? But somehow, you never got around to making it. Now that cool crafty stuff is just collecting dust or getting shuffled from one storage bin to another. Face it, you're never gonna make that super cool thing.

So, what to do with all that crafty goodness? SWAP IT!!!!

Come for an afternoon of pre-holiday trading, chatting, snacking and fun!

What can you bring? Anything you've got!

Bring anything you have that you didn't get around to using and probably never will. Maybe someone else has something that you WILL use!

Help each other and yourselves by clearing out your old craft supplies and offering them up for grabs!

Have fun trading with other crafters. See old friends, make new friends, get cool stuff, and know that you are contributing to a good cause!

Ginger's Pet Rescue is an amazing service that to date has saved 394 dogs' lives, this year alone! Ginger specializes in death row dogs, those that are in immediate danger of being put down. Ginger will be on hand at the Crafty Supply Swap to talk about what she does and to answer any questions you might have. Ginger would appreciate doggie contributions of any kind that you can provide to help care for these rescued dogs.

bARTer Sauce will also be joining the Crafty Supply Swap this year with Saucey goodness for all. bARTer Sauce is a trading experiment for art and odd objects that was supposed to last one year -- but is already well on its way to year two. The basic idea was to start with one item, in this case, an old laptop, and trade it for something else. Then take what was gotten from the laptop and trade it for something different. And on and on and on.

Bring something you've made (or something weird that you want to get rid of) to the Crafty Supply Swap and trade with The Sauce You'll get a write up in the Sauce's weekly (or every other weekly) blog. All you need is the item, a witty (not required) story about the item or how you got it and the willingness to be photographed with The Sauce.

Date: Saturday, August 4, 2007

Time: 2:30-6:00pm

Location: Ballard Library, Seattle WA

$8 donation, 50% of which goes to Ginger's Pet Rescue

The deadline is July 31, so if you are in the area or if you love puppies and don't want them to die, head to the Ballard Library and make yourself some friends.



How To: stay off the internets and seek out 3D peeps

There's so much to do this weekend, we thought we'd give you a head start deciding:
In LA, get your ipod and head down to Swap Meet. Have a beer and go pirate the music. Maybe have a few beers, get up on the stage and sing the music. But remember the warning posted on the site, "According to recent legal decisions, inducing anyone to use physical space for the purpose of sharing music may render the space-time continuum illegal. Use the space-time continuum at your own risk!"
If you're near Santa Monica on Saturday, check out Fashion Swap Meet. It may not be super crafty, but you are sure to get some good inspiration. Stop by our Maker Faire friend's booth, Custom Industries and tell them we sent you.
Speaking of not crafty, Marimello will be missing you all this weekend and heading out of town to San Diego and ComicCon. Bet you didn't think we were such nerds, but truth be told, we had a huge crush on The Preacher.
If you too won't be in Lalaland either, there's still too much to do.
Friday, Etsy is putting out the Trashion in Brooklyn. Come make trash into treasure for free! As it should be, we think.
If that doesn't satisfy your crafty needs, then on Saturday check out NYCreates in Red Hook (Brooklyn).
Sunday, in Portland, clap your hands for Handmade Bazaar. It's a tim tested, Pacific Northwest approved craft fair that Marimello wishes we had a teleporter for.

Heck, if you aren't anywhere near any of these event, don't cry. Check out Handmade Bazaars instructions for starting your own bazaar. And if starting traditions is your thing, but a whole craft fair sounds a little daunting, may we recommend starting up a craft night at your local pub. Heck, that's where you'll find Marimello. Tonight we'll be lapping up the crafts at Craft Night, hosted at Silverlake's oasis, Akbar.


If You Want To Employ This Sweater

Do you have a band? Did you make your own instruments? Did your friend make you all matching sweaters? Do you make your own merch to sell? Are you the merch girl that every band needs?
Marimello needs to talk to you.
Don't ask why, we are mysterious curious.
OK, ask why. We're working on a piece about music and passion. We have a task for you and an ear to lend to any damn story you want to tell.
And don't just email us to make fun of our guitar. It's pink and your boyfriend didn't buy you one. And regarding the chord, so what? Marimello can't play guitar, but check out the fine fine ruffles on that mini dress! Hand knit baby!
marimellodesign [at] gmail

Martha Martha Martha!

Much to the glee of the interns Martha made the cover of Wired. What do they know, they're nerds. If Martha wants a cover, she has five, count 'em, five perfectly good magazines on which to to plaster her face. But after much nagging, we had to take a peek at the queen's latest edict and we weren't half pissed the interns brought it to our attention. DIY, to Martha is "about using your hands and your mid to make things work better. Whether you're a programmer or a seamstress, it's all about new techniques, simplifying old techniques, and consolidating steps. Making things go faster--but not worse. Better."
We like it Martha. Why pretend to be something lesser when you know what you're capable of doing is better?



Marimello Hearts I Heart Rummage

Here in LA the Crocodile Cafe is a shitty chain restaurant we haven't seen in a while and are not sure if it is still in business. However in Seattle the Crocodile Café is muuuuch cooler and every first Sunday of the month, they host I Heart Rummage.

According to Marimello's Seattle correspondent, "it's the cute craft fair that your mom would drag you to as a kid but has all the stuff you want. Like Etsy come to life…and with you can get breaky before or after you shop if you find yourself famished." Check out the vibe on the new video here.

Food? Crafts? How could we resist? But not being in Seattle we hit the internet and met up with Cassandra Lanning who has been running a one-woman show for the last year.

IHR though has been around for almost six years, throwing events on the first Sundays of almost every month. [CORRECTIONS ABOUND!] You can catch them next at Bumbershoot.
That's right, Bumbershoot. Craft+Food+Music. It's like Heaven except it still costs money.
The next regular show at the Croc is September 16.

But IHR isn't just a pretty craft fair. Says Cassandra, "We are currently offering a series of free summer craft classes to our customers as well as other vendors. The classes are being taught by several of our expert vendors in the areas of jewelry making, needle felting, card making, sewing and home-brewing (yep, that means BEER!)." They're building a full-fledged crafting (albeit a little tipsy) army.

Contact Cassandra and check out their site here. Stay tuned Mello readers, for more IHR events.

(And P.S. Seattalians or Seattlites or whatever you are calling yourselves these days, Marimello's got a craving for some clouds. You never know when we'll be invading!)


Open Letter From the Editor to The Great Northwest

Dear Pacific Northwest,
While I type this, it is exactly four billion degrees outside and a helicopter is really harshing the mello in the Marimello compound.

It has come to my attention that while your traffic also sucks and the weather will make me suicidal, there is stuff we will otherwise miss dearly if we are not immediately snuggled into your tree lined bosom. So I would like to request that you northern states band together and put together a set of sky buckets for the Marimello staff and haul us up there for all the fun. It is exactly no fair that you did not invite us in the first place and we feel a sky bucket ride is the only fair compensation for our woe.

Please drop us all off at the following stops:

PDXEtsy, where our fellow Etsians will gather and bring the wonder that is Etsy to life.

Churchmouse Yarns & Teas where our hero, Amy Singer of Knitty.com makes her first and only Seattle-area appearance at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge Island. I also require spots for the staff at her evening class wherein she reveals the non-wool secrets of her book, No Sheep for You! Failing that we will need spots in her daytime lace classes.



Countdown to Gothtober

It's official people, Gothtober is coming! Entirely internet based, Gothtober counts down the days to Halloween with art in a sort of flash advent calender. And yes that is as super cool as it sounds. Julianna Parr (also the brilliance behind Craft Night) has put together this online museum since 2003 and most if not all the artists are Los Angeles based. But that doesn't mean if you aren't in smog central that you shouldn't submit! Check out last year here. Applicant deadline (sorry, couldn't resist) is July 27th and you should hear back by the 31st. So get you ghoolies humming and submit your creepy creations already.



Crafters in Wonderland: Renee Garner and Wonderland Retreat

Marimello sent out the word about Wonderland Retreat back in April and we're happy to report that Alison of Wonderland Q is doing well and the Etsy benefit was a huge success. Of course the sad news is that Alison isn't the only crafter in need, so recently Wonderland Retreat started helping out Elijah Wyman who needed a kidney transplant.
We recently caught up with Renee Garner of Wolfie and the Sneak and chatted her up about creating Wonderland Retreat, the altruism of crafters, and the scary leap from a steady 9-5 to full-time crafting. We also did a little shopping and picked up that cute bear on the left. (Get it? it's a kidney bear from Sappy Moose Tree)

How did you decide to start up Wonderland Retreat?

RG: I've always been a firm believer in the "it takes a village" philosophy, in a more general sense, not just with raising kids but in the sense of community spirit. We all have to give in the ways we can. When I heard about Alison Gordon, a fellow crafter and entrepreneur extraordinaire, having surgery without health insurance I felt like I needed to give, but I wanted to do it in a way that would have a greater impact than the little monetary help I could offer. The name came as a spinoff of Alison's great shop, WonderlandQ, and voila! Wonderland Retreat was born.
Setting up a shop seemed like the way to go, that way people that are less inclined to give a donation of money could buy an item, receive a great handmade product, and help out a great cause.
Etsy was a given, it's so easy to set everything up and get it going in relatively little time. It's an affordable option and offers less hassle and red tape than setting up a benefit through somewhere like eBay.

M: Who are the brains behind the op? Do you have help?

RG: What a tough question! The main team is Ileana of India Romeo, Marie, the Sampler's Queen Bee, Neesy Pea of Heyday Fashion, Tess of Made By Tess, and me. But we had about 300 crafters offer their wares as in-kind donations to the shop so the "profit" went (and now goes) to the crafter-in-need. Of course, then there was Etsy and all of the great bloggers out there who spread the word. Without going on too long like an Oscar recipient, all of these people helped out in a very essential way!

M: Is this your first time organizing a craft charity?

RG: This was the first time doing a craft charity of that magnitude. I'd never imagined how wildly popular the shop ended up being! Like I said before, I'm a big fan of contributing as much as possible towards community, so I usually try to do a little something when I hear of a need that hits close to home.

M: How has the customer response been?

RG: Originally the response was incredible, the first few days were a juggling act for all of us to get things listed and keep up with sales, despite the fact that as an organizational group (I'll brag a bit here) we were an all-star team. We've had over 200 sales in just a few months, people have really been so supportive!
Since then, things have slowed down drastically. Alison is much better now, so we've switched gears and all the sales benefit a different crafty fellow named Elijah, who underwent a kidney transplant (can you imagine?!?).

M: How did you choose Etsy as your shop window?

RG: Etsy is just so dang easy to set up, affordable and very visible. It was a natural choice. The funny thing is lot of people thought it was Etsy that set the shop up; I'm here to dispel the rumors! ha ha ha!

M: How do you pick your sponsees?

RG: The sponsees have both had problems that hit so close to home. I'm trying to transition out of the 9 to 5 world, and the biggest thing keeping me from doing that is health insurance. In the mean time I'm walking around like a zombie working 2 full time jobs (the 9 to 5er and my own creative business) looking for a safe solution. So obviously I can relate to issues surrounding being an artist/craftsperson, and, in the US in particular, health care costs are so exorbitant, not just procedures or doctor's visits, but the cost of medicine. So far both of the recipients have had surgery (=$$$$$$), subsequent treatments and follow up visits. You're talking a lot of money at that point, and, as I've said before, we all gotta pitch in and help out in what ever ways we can!

M: Obviously there are a lot of freelancers/crafters out there with out health insurance. There are also a lot of altruistic crafters running around out there. Where do you see this type of effort heading?

That's such a foggy area, it's hard to envision. As the field of crafts gains respect as a viable career, I'd hope more insurance companies would realize the trend and offer suitable options for crafts people. Some do, and sometimes it depends on the state laws (again, here in the US). The Graphic Designer's Guild offers great insight into the laws and options available. So I guess part of the effort is to educate and share information about options so crafters aren't stuck neck-deep in debt when health care issues arise.
At the same time, I hope more non-profit groups rise up as a collective (even simply grassroots efforts like Wonderland Retreat) to help the crafting community out when one of "ours" is in need.



Felt Club Rules!

For anyone in LA who braved the heat, The Ukranian Culture Center and Felt Club was where it was AT yesterday! (Lucky for Marimello, we were posted at the door where the breeze was at it's strongest.) Go support our new friends and check out the vendor list at Felt Club. If you missed it, be sure to make the next event in their new and improved digs on November 18th! Stay tuned for details and deadlines if you are planning to apply to be a vendor.



Ekaweeka: it's not just another pretty face site

For the business minded crafter, the Web is useful but Web 2.0 is priceless. Since it's impossible to be at every craft fair on every weekend, and still have time to make product, social marketing and networking online have become staple of the successful craft business. But when you're focused on knitting the monkey, and not learning the HTML to make the site to sell the monkey, it's hard to DIY or bust.
Certain online social networking giants have forbidden marketing and/or become too popular to wade through. Bummer. So it's a good idea to check out niche sites like Ekaweeka if you want to stay personally involved with your online sales. Like co-founder Thomas Hillard says, “Anyone can start a business, the challenge is developing and maintaining a successful online presence. Ekaweeka leverages social networking technology to provide simple, customizable solutions for creative types and small business owners, while working to develop a close-knit community where relationships form and develop organically.”

Marimello recently chatted up Thomas Hillard.
M: there are a lot more networking sites up these days so apparently there is a perception that the larger sites are not living up to their potential to promote people's indie spirits.
TH: I don't think the larger sites ever intended to promote everything for everyone (most were originally for dating). Social networking is just a new staple for community oriented websites. Whether its a presidential campaign or a crochet community, all the new sites are just fulfilling other interests people can bond on.
M: For reals, why are people sick of the well known sites? who uses Ekaweeka?
TH: People are sick of it because businesses shamelessly advertise themselves there. The classic Ekaweeka user is running their own business from their living room or on the side of their day job. Their trade ranges; we have artists, writers, crafters, photographers, services, fashion/accessory/jewelry designers and more.

M: What has surprised you about the way people are using Ekaweeka?
TH: Many users who had just started their profile have found themselves sending customers and perspectives to their Ekaweeka page as their website never made it out of the "under construction phase." That and somehow we generate excellent search engine results for our users. Don't ask me how. Seriously though if you don't already have a good Google search result, sign up on Ekaweeka and you'll see your profile go to the top in no time.

M: How many indie bands does it take to screw in a light bulb?
TH: Trick question, the bands never do it, their managers walk in screaming and do it for them.

M: HA! k that was a joke. the number is pretty obscure. I bet you wouldn't know it...

TH: I guess not, but I used to work in the music business so seriously don't get me start on making bands do anything ayayay!

M: HA! The indies have always carried a bit of elitism on their indie badges, yes? How do you maintain that (if you imagine that there is a plan to maintain that label) if you lose control of your, how do i say? user content.

TH: Well no one is really in control of user content. Aside from being built and run by the same people who use it, we're proud that there are no board rooms, no hidden agendas.
Instead we prefer to think of it like a party, we invited an eclectic/artsy/DIY crowd. We set the mood with lighting, music, food and drink. Now all we can do is host the party, too much control and no one has fun, too little is a problem too. Our biggest job at this point is to make sure we listen to the demands and keep the punch bowl full!