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The pendulum has swung back

I think that generations experience cycles. For example: my mom didn’t change her name when she got married, but all of my friends are changing their names. Seventies clothes were THE WORST when I was thirteen, and now they’re all the rage. The fifties are back on television.

I feel like we have come full circle, in a way, this past Cinco de Mayo.

3 pinata cookies made out of multicolored cookies filled with mini m&m's.
From She Knows

It was the pinata cookies.

The pinata cookies appeared on my Pinterest early last week. Oh, how cute, I thought. But I can’t believe someone would go through the trouble of making them. I mean, just look at those multi-colored stripes.

Then, I went to a Cinco de Mayo party on Saturday, where I had been promised a “surprise dessert.” Surprise! It was the pinata cookies!

Holy smokes, I thought, I know some SERIOUSLY crafty people!

Then I went on Facebook this morning and found another photo of the homemade–from a friend of mine. That’s right, I have two, count ’em, TWO friends who made pinata cookies. From scratch. Starting with the insane steps of making and dying cookie dough, baking and cutting out cookies, gluing them together and magically getting the M&M’s inside. You bake 40 cookies–you read right, 40 cookies–and you get 7 or 8 pinata cookies. That’s what it says in the recipe. I can’t believe one person did this who wasn’t Martha Stewart, and yet I know two.

I see this incredibly anecdotal evidence as a sign that we have swung away from Martha Stewart when we rebelled with our punky grrl crafts, and have now swung back. We are totally willing to spend hours in the kitchen making (let’s admit it) awesome cookies.

I don’t think this is a bad thing–I think the pendulum kind of swings in a spiral. So we spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but only because it’s cool and fun. Part of it may have to do with the economy–making cookies is a pretty cheap pastime. Kitchen craftiness is a pretty awesome phenomenon, especially if you’re friends with someone who’s hopped on the bandwagon. Because the cookies, they are amazing. They are a feat of pastry engineering majesty. I can’t stop looking at them. They’re so CUTE. Also, they were delicious.

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Fun activities

As a writer, I often work alone. As a crafter, I often find myself alone, too. Especially when doing sewing projects, because none of my friends really sew, and also, a sewing machine isn’t really a group bonding machine. My first card-making party was a great success, if I say so myself, but lately I’ve been on the prowl for other

cowgirl from Stitch 'n Bitch's Debbie Stoller
Lady S & B, courtesy of Stitch 'n Bitch

crafty group activities.

For example, I wish Dismount Creative were in my town, and not just because it would mean doubling the Alicia population. I wish there were non-stitching Stitch & Bitches. I like to knit as much as the next gal, but there are other crafts that could benefit from a circle. Quilt ‘n Bitch? Cupcake decorating?

Maybe I’m just in need of a party. It’s entirely possible; at school, we’ve reached the section of the semester where everyone’s pretty wiped and we’re already forsummer vacation.

At any rate, I noticed a posters for Dover Paint Along, which is along the lines of what I’m looking for. You can bring friends and wine and leave with a painted canvas. I’m not super into painting, but I might just try it. Or maybe I’ll rekindle my painting pottery obsession–it can be pricey, but once in a while, it’s perfetto.

How do you connect with other crafters off-line?

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Crafty update

I’ve been winding down research and gearing up for classes to begin. I’m a teaching assistant at UNH, but writing TA’s here teach classes, so I’ve been getting together my syllabus and lesson plans. Even when you’ve done it before, it feels like your head is going to explode as you schedule X number of readings and Y papers and Z homework assignments.

Hurricane Irene didn’t hit NH too hard, though it  inflicted mucho damage in Vermont, including knocking out 4-6 covered bridges. If anyone knows of any crafty charity things going on for VT, please comment! I spent the day sewing and knitting, playing Cranium, and watching Cheers.

Flowered rectangular book bag with one strap and outside pockets


I finished this book bag (with fabric from Simple Savvy, thank you!), and started on a new pair of slippers from The Knitting Man(ual) by Kristin Spurkland, which is a totally awesome knitting book for men and women. She explains things in a way I understand, and the projects are actually things I could conceive of making for a man. I’ve also finally found a book at the right level: not too hard. In other words, there aren’t too many sweaters. But the projects are interesting; the slippers I’m making are straightforward but use a new stitch, and I’ll have to pay attention for the next few steps.

What are your back to school crafts? I’ve been watching lots of apple-themed tutorials pop up. I prefer leaves, but to each her own.

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Portsmouth Open Market

Sunday was the last beautiful day here on the Seacoast, with gorgeous 70-something weather. Now we are firmly in the 80s, and I do not like it. Luckily, the A/C was fixed at the coffee shop where I work. Unluckily, our ice maker broke at home.

But back to Sunday…I saw a poster for the Portsmouth Open Market downtown and last weekend, I checked it out. The market is a combination farmers’ market/craft fair and is connected to the New England Open Markets, who put on SoWa. Strawberry Banke, where the fair is held every Sunday, is  a

collection of colonial buildings next to Prescott Park, a waterfront hanging-out area with gardens. Basically, it’s a beautiful place. Andrew went to the Jazz Festival while I walked around–perfect scheduling, Portsmouth!

Prescott Park trial flower beds
Thanks to InAweOfGod’sCreation on Flickr for the photo!

The vendors at POM are a mix of regulars and newbies; the application process is fairly low-key. Sellers get their spots on a first-come, first-serve basis, so one vendor told me she had moved around for each of the past four weeks. Not a bad idea, I think–get to try out all the different locations.

I talked to a few friendly local crafters, including Bark from Boston; Laura from Thornton, NH; Uma Joy from Rollinsford, NH (practically neighbors!); Heather, who had an awesome screen-printed quilt backdrop; Sibel from Newburyport, MA (lovely town); and Leanne from Lowell, MA. The business cards I had made got some positive reactions, which was just lovely, having spent a couple of days sewing them.

I was impressed with the variety of crafts: there were fishing lure earrings, organic soaps, New Hampshire-roasted coffee, homemade pasta, owl-printed pillowcases, spun and knitted yarn, and hand woven scarves. I couldn’t resist some soap from Clayton’s Way or a sweet purple headband from Robinwoods Design. I’m wearing it now to keep the sweat from getting into my eyes as I sit here and type. OK, slight exaggeration…but only slight.

I hope to hit the market again in a couple weeks and see who else comes to town. In the meantime, have you taken the survey?