Jess Hutch.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Okee dokee. So here's what I did to celebrate my thirtieth.

On the evening of the 12th, we threw a big party. To decorate we put a map of Guam on the wall, along with some photos of me on the island as a wee babe and as a young kid. I also cooked some tasty food from the island of my birth, including chicken kelaguen and red rice - the very nice Santos, who lives on Guam and writes an amazing food blog called The Scent of Green Bananas, gave me a lot of assistance with these two dishes. Man, I love the internet. Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I drank about five mai tais. Could these two things be related?

So that was the party. On my actual birthday, Jeff and I took a trip to the necropolis of Colma. As San Francisco started to get bigger around the end of the 19th century, the folks in charge decided to start moving all the old cemetaries down to Colma to open up more space for the living. This very tiny city has been the burial place for San Franciscans for the last 100 years. Only 1,200 people live there, and over a million are buried there! Hence the town motto: "it's great to be alive in Colma!" Har. We bought the bumper sticker, of course.

I have always had soft spot in my heart for Victorian memorial customs. I love the horse-drawn hearses, the solemn mausoleums and black drapery; the cemetaries I like to visit in Colma are full of old monuments and funeral statuary from the old San Francisco sites. I know, I know, I like the cutesy colorful stuff too... I don't get it either. It was somehow important for me to spend my 30th birthday surrounded by reminders of lives past, to situate myself, in a way. It was so nice. Plus, Jeff took me out to lunch at the always fab (and close to Colma) Joe's of Westlake, you can't beat that.

olivet columbarium

This image is from the columbarium at Olivet Cemetary in Colma, which looks sort of like a Victorian conservatory or study due to the book-shaped urns and general ferniness. I love it.

To wrap up the Birthday Extravaganza, Rain, Chuck, and I headed to Disneyland. Making the pilgrimage with these two is always a blast. Plus, Chuck bought me prime rib. Mmm. Here are some photos from the trip... I never really know what to say about Disneyland, except that it's very strange and very beautiful. And it has the Temple of Mary Blair.

small world

mary blair cowboy

Original art by Mary Blair! Woo.

tiki room flower

Whew. Then I took a nap.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Swaps are pretty great. When I saw Tania's screenprinted stuffies I was so excited, I wrote her a gushing email about 'em. She suggested a swap, so she sent me the dolls, and today I sent her a wee odd fellow. I used one of my favorite Lamb's Pride Worsted colors - Lemon Drop. I love it because it's yellow, and because it is exactly like yellow Play-Doh. Something about the color, and - perhaps - the reflective qualities, I don't know, it's just like Play-Doh. Which is good.

Anyway, these stuffed figures from Tania are just so wonderful. She used very vibrant, jewel-like silk fabric in gorgeous colors - I especially love the pink. Tania's style is so sweet and joyful, it makes me very happy.

Speaking of happy, and Lamb's Pride Worsted, one of my favorite 30th birthday gifts was the huge box of LPW my sister Kate bought for me from Patternworks. I yelped when I opened it, there were so many colors, many of which (like the yellow above) I hadn't ever purchased for myself. So expect more toys in new, fun colors.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2005


Erica, who offers some very sweet and lovely clothes for children at her pumkinlittle online store, sent me a drawing her son Noah did of the toys in the booklet. I spent most of the day really really happy about this. Thanks Erica and Noah!

Folks have been sending me photos of completed toys, and links to posts on their blogs about their completed toys - keep sending them, I plan to make a gallery of these when I get a second.

No real updates on the next batch of booklets, they should be in my hands by next Tuesday or so. Woo!

Thanks for all the nice birthday comments and well-wishing, I had a great time, and I will post about it in the next few days, with photos. One thing I can definitely say - if you can, take the day off from work for your birthday. It's the best gift you can give yourself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I'm turning 30 tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about it.

These photos were taken when I was a wee babe on Guam, where I was born. I can't get over how young my parents look. And man, I was one cute kid.

I would tell you the places I'm going to celebrate but I think it'll be more fun to post photos when I get back.

Booklet news - it's more likely that the next batch will go on sale on November 28 or 29; taking into account the Thanksgiving holiday and a more realistic timeline for the printing process, this seems a lot more likely. The good news is, if you buy the booklet around that time it will definitely still arrive in time for you to make gifts for the holidays, as the toys don't take super long to make. Not like the (very beautiful and fun to knit) lace shawl I made for my Mom last year; sheesh!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Hi there. I have sold out of this batch of booklets. The good news is I'm getting more on November 21st or 22nd (sometime around then). I'm going with a different printer this time, someone local and very friendly and helpful. I have found that this is crucially important - the last printer did an incredible job, they look great, but I really had a hard time with their customer service. There was just no communication at all.

If you have already placed an order through paypal, I have a booklet for you. I didn't take any orders for booklets I didn't have.

Some folks have asked why I'm not taking orders in the meantime. I have considered this, but have decided that I need the booklets in my hands before I can feel comfortable actually selling them. That way, if something goes wrong at the printer, or whatever, I don't have to scramble to let people know they're coming late.

I'm new at this, and I'm learning! Self-publishing been really fun and incredibly educational.

What I've learned, and can pass on to you:

* it really helps to actually meet your printer. Talk to him or her, and look around the shop.

* order more copies than you think you'll sell. Even if they sit around forever, it's not like they'll expire or anything!

* get organized. Have a system for everything - image storage, orders, etc. It will save you a lot of time in the long run.

I'll provide more as I learn more.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

more 'lettes

Howdy. There are more booklets available now, please go to to purchase your very own.

A few folks asked about Dolores - I used Lamb's Pride Worsted, naturally. Seafoam for her head and body, Lotus Pink for the darker pink, RPM Pink for the stripes. I think she looks like some of that lovely old-fashioned striped ribbon candy everyone's grandparents always had in a nice dish. Can you still get that stuff?

Oh! And the chair, I forgot to mention it, I was so excited about it for a week after I got it, then the booklet arrived and everything took second fiddle there for a while. Can you believe I got it on ebay for $4? I guess you can still get some deals. Try searching for "doll chair" and see what comes up.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

plush rush

doloresThis is Dolores, and she's on her way (in a cardboard box) to the Plush Rush show in Columbus, OH. I had a hard time letting her go - something about the colors and the stripes kind of did me in. But I knew she'd end up in a good home, so off she went (with her brother Vernon, who is orange, lime, and dark green).

If you'll be in the Columbus area in early December, stop by the show and check out all the wonderful stuffed goodness. Look at all the artists who are participating! Wow. My whole family's from Ohio, so I'm particularly excited to be a part of this fab event.

Right after I finished Vernon I got an email from Jan at Be*mused, telling me about her bear, who also has a striped sweater! How cool is that? If you have the booklet or are planning to get it, you can do these stripes by alternating colors every 3 rows on the "sweater" part of the body. Neat.

Booklet news - the second batch of booklets will go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, when I get home from work (5:30ish). At that time, you can go to this page, click the appropriate button, which will take you to a paypal order form. Make sure to click the right button for your part of the world - each one has a different postage rate!

I'm learning a lot about postage rates.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


This booklet came in the mail a while back; hooray for ebay. It's by Jean Greenhowe, a knitted toy designer that Hannah told me about. The patterns include Mrs Mopitup, Daphne Dabble (a painter) and Winifred, the owner of the local wool shop (it includes a pattern for tiny balls of wool!). This is only part one of the Little Dumpling Dolls series - it promises another issue focusing on Little Dumpling Men. I especially love the tea shoppe patterns, how can you beat very tiny knitted fake food? That's 3 amazing things in one.

I also ordered a book of patterns for toys of historical figures, by Jan Messent, but it hasn't arrived. The front cover features a pretty remarkable knitted likeness of Elizabeth I. I can't wait!

Speaking of not being able to wait... Hillary's postcards sets went on sale the other day. Her patchwork dolls are so beautiful, and I love the photos. I've really been looking forward to these.

Boooklet news... I finally heard back from the printer, and the next batch of booklets should be available for purchase this Thursday evening.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

robot news

Wow! Cyn made a robot!

I can't tell you how much I love this photo. Having a cat (or another animal) interact with a robot was one of my dream photos for the booklet, but I never actually made it happen.

More photos (actually, a whole photo essay) here.

Cyn really cracked me up by telling me that she had the urge to take pictures of the robot in odd situations... tell me about it! Heh. I got pretty used to odd looks there for a while, as I posed toys in public places...

In more somber news, I found an error in the robot chart. I'm going to make a note of it on the booklet page on my site, and I'm going to print a little errata slip to put in the next batch of booklets, but for those who have already purchased the booklet, I apologize! I honestly quadrupled checked the booklet for errors but I guess it was inevitable that something would slip through.

Anyway - here's the correction - on the robot chart, where it says "CO 9 in CC1 using long tail method", it SHOULD say "CO 9 in CC2 using long tail method." I figure that most folks will come up with their own wacky color combos anyway, and the photo reference is correct, but again, sorry for the error.

If, heaven forfend, there are any more errors, I will post about them on the blog, and add them to the booklet website. I really hope there aren't any more!