Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Felt Baron

From time to time Petaluma Craft Mafia and Moxieville will be conducting interviews on these blogsites of our own crafty famiglia, The Petaluma Craft Mafia. We may include other nifty and crafty folks we admire as well. It's all good! The Petaluma Craft Mafia has grown since we founded our famiglia late last summer. One of our newest members is Tami Lovett-Brumfield. Tami is transitioning her company Felt-Baron into 3 Black Dog Design. She impressed me not only with her clever and original felt plushies, but her kindness, grace and humor. She is an absolute professional and is generous with lots of fun and warmth to share. We're very proud to welcome her into the Petaluma Craft Mafia.

Like me, Tami is a fellow illustrator as well and she is the culprit that turned me onto gouache. (Yeah, you all remember the blog.) And I'm looking forward to any more tips she may have to share with me. She keeps us well-supplied in awesome stickers from Mrs. Grossman's, where she works as a sticker designer. She is generous with her sunny and wise humor and of course adorable felty Neopolitan ice cream sandwiches. We heart her!

Welcome Tami, please tell us the name of your business.


Tell the folks what you make...
Plushies made from felt and fleece.

How did you get into this line of work? My mom taught me how to sew when I was a little kid and I’ve always liked to make things. I came across “The Cute Book” by Aronzi Aronzo last year and it really inspired me to sew again.

What is the typical work day for you like?
During the day, Monday through Friday I work as an illustrator for Mrs. Grossman’s Paper Company in Petaluma. From the time I get home, until the wee hours of I turn into the Feltbaron soon to be 3 Black Dog Design.

What and who inspires you?

Favorite thing about your work?
It makes people smile and it won’t break if you drop it.

What is the single best piece of business advice you wish you knew when you were getting started?
Do your homework first.

What’s in your fridge?
Some cupcakes from Tuesday’s cupcake swap.

Oh man, we ate all of ours! Who’s your favorite poet?
Does Dr. Seuss count? No, I’m kidding I don’t have one.

Dr. Suess absolutely counts! Favorite guilty pleasure?
Pie and fried chicken.

What’s playing on the I-pod?
The Foo Fighters

Himself loves the Foos. What is your favorite way to unwind?
A cup of decaf tea sitting in bed with my dog watching episodes of “Keeping up Appearances.”

Where is your favorite crafty haunt?
Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. If parking weren’t so expensive I’d be in there all day.

How do you feel American women crafty entrepreneurs have influenced American culture and craft in general?
They’ve saved us from the mountains of mass produced products. Handmade items are really valued and appreciated again. There seems to be a rediscovery of things we’ve all valued as children but forgot about.

Amen! Hail American Women Crafters! What about the world still holds wonder for you?
People that throw cigarettes out the window.

Yeah, and The Donald's hairpiece! Speaking of famous and not so, when throwing a dinner party who would you love to invite and have seated on your left, and another choice on your right?
William Shatner and Thomas Hardy

If you had the chance to sing a live duet on stage, who would you choose to sing with? What would you sing?
William Huang from American Idol because I might actually sound like I could sing next to him. The song we’d sing would be “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” because I could actually remember the lyrics.

Not to get all macabre on you, but as we are in the "Mafia," what would you like enscribed on your headstone and what music would you choose?
“Here lies Tami, she died smiling” Music: Hells Bells by AC/DC, I want to go out with a bang.

Where do you see you and your business heading in the coming year? Any particular goals or plans? My focus for the beginning part of the year is getting a website up and running. Asides from rebuilding my plushy inventory, I’m working on some new designs for this year.

What words of advice would you give crafty entrepreneurs?

Take risks, have fun, and do what you love.

What absolutely just makes your day?
When people say they like my work!

Thanks Tami. To check out Tami's felt-up goods check out her Etsy shop above.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

CRAFTALUMA! "the greatest show on earth"

Since forming the Petaluma Craft Mafia last summer with my three cohorts in crime, (now double), I've been wanting to come up with a name for a local Petaluma craft show that is uniquely Petaluma. There were lots of names that came to mind, ideas come easily to me, but everything I came up with was either another regional show elsewhere in the country, or it didn't feel like "Petaluma" to me. Then a couple of weeks ago, before the holidays it came to me, "Craftaluma." Craftaluma? Yep. My other two founding members lurrved it. I wasn't sure, but felt like we were on to something, and Himself hated it. Then the theme and tagline came instantly, "The greatest show on earth." Kind of Barnum & Bailey, no? Elephants with knitting needles, a big top, trapeze artists with a yarn net... nawwww.

So, I posted a poll along with some other craft show name suggestions for my crafty famiglia to vote on, and hands down "Craftaluma" was the winner. Yay! Now the design process begins. It would be a no-brainer to do a carnival theme, and my original thoughts were to do that, but I'd like to do something a little unique that incorporates both Petaluma and that running away to the carnival crafty feel. Romantic, but slightly soiled around the edges with carny sweat and the sweet waft of stale caramel corn and greasy corn dogs on a stick.

I haven't done a thing with the design until this afternoon as my famiglia and I are planning for our Petaluma Craft Mafia's first show this summer. Yay! But it has been on the back-burner of my subconscious and I think inspired a scary clown dream a few weeks ago.

We are very excited about our show, but have loads to get done, loads.

Are you a local craft vendor? Look for "Craftaluma" information soon. If you're interested in being a vendor or caterer or a local band looking to strut your musical or crafty stuff, you can contact us for an application at cheryl@petalumacraftmafia.com.

Just uh, please don't send in the clowns.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Art of the Cupcake

Cupcakes. Who doesn't love 'em? I personally don't trust non-cupcake lovers. Do you? Something slightly sinister about those rare cupcake "disser's."

My mom was the first one to turn us on to the wonders of the cupcake. In the summer she'd make orange chiffon with cool citrusy pastel orange, lemon and lime icings. And her good ol' fashioned white cake with fudgey chocolate (my grandmother's recipe) make a grown man weep with joy. We were fortunate to have a mother who could make anything out of a little flour, sugar and loads of creativity. So the cupcake has a special place in my heart because of her and her special way of presenting them.

Yesterday we had our Petaluma Craft Mafia meeting and I thought it might be nice if we had a cupcake swap. It went quite nicely. We had a nice variety from carrot cake to chocolate-orange. My company colors and a favorite flavor! Yummy!

Cupcake historians, (yes there are those who study the cupcake) believe the cupcake is truly an American invention, brought about by some confusion over a measuring term and the challenges of baking in the days of old when Americans simplified the baking process from weighing to measuring, hence "cup" cake. Hostess was the first commercial bakery to announce the arrival of the pre-packaged "cupcake." Since then the cupcake has gone in and out of vogue, but never with children. Children have always known the value of the humble cupcake. It is only in the recent years cupcakes, much like craft have forged a revolution and cult following in the hearts of creatives everywhere. Cupcake cafes and bakeries specializing in the tiny treat cropping up everywhere. I couldn't be happier!

I haven't had a ton of time to bake of late. But baking and cooking are a great way for me to relax. As I whipped up a batch of pastel and purple ballerina and conversation candy heart cupcakes before our meeting yesterday, I thought, my goodness I think I need to do this more often. Not quite like a good massage, but relaxing none the less.

The best part about cupcakes swaps is that you get to see what inspires other people. Some like them plain, some like them fancy. My favorites are good old Americana like what the Magnolia Bakery in NYC whips up or even the Cupcake Cafe. Just the best fresh ingredients, and a rich buttery or chocolately homemade icing.

I was toying with making my famous Red Velvet cake into cupcakes, perfect for Valentines day. But figured lemon and vanilla were crowd pleasers. I may make a Red Velevet cake anyway.

Himself had no complaints, except that he had burned his dinner I had left him. When I walked in late in the evening, he had already eaten not one, but two cupcakes. This was his dinner as his galavanting wife had abandoned him for her crafty chicks last evening. How did I know? The distinct aroma of burnt food, and a certain tell-tale purple smudge of the smeared icing drying on his face. Clever cupcake detective at your service.

There is a certain sweetness from visualizing a grown man enjoying sparkly purple cupcakes adorned with a tiny ballerina when pressed for dinner plans. Awwww... It's also a great way to show your valentine how much you care.

Let him eat cake!