‘Kata Golda’

Spring Ahead

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

For Easter, I made my sweet little niece a new pink dress for her auntmade bunny and an Easter bonnet for her very own. The bunny’s dress pattern is amended from Kata Golda‘s book Hand Stitched Felt. My version has little felt buttons on the back so the dress can be removed.

The bonnet was made in collaboration with my mom. It’s from a pattern my mom used for me when I was a wee babe.

That’s a photo of me and my brother being country and adorable. Damn, I love a good sunbonnet.

But Easter’s not just about the clothes! It’s also about the food. We had plenty of delicious things to eat and drink, with a few special highlights. Rufus’s Uncle Ned and his Aunt Bobi made some amazing Meyer lemonade. Not only was the beverage itself unique and refreshing, Bobi and her nephew Dawson made some gorgeous ice cubes to put in it.

They used the floral ice cube instructions from Martha Stewart, and the results really were stunning. Bobi said that Dawson picked the flowers and helped with the water boiling and ice cube tray popping. There he is showing off his handy work with his own batch of Easter cubes.

But no Easter is complete without dessert, and my mother-in-law Susan makes a mean sweet. That beaut up there is a butterscotch pie. Recipe courtesy of a family friend from the Bay of Fundy. It’s so sweet it almost hurts your teeth, but it’s utterly impossible to resist.

When you’re surrounded by good food and loved ones, it’s easy to love LA.

But NY is pretty nice this time of year, and next Saturday, May 7th, we’re wrapping up the Spring Session of Handmade Crafternoon at the NYPL with a celebration of the Stephen A Schwarzman Building’s 100th birthday and a celebration of zines! It’s going to be super cool – Ayun Halliday, author of The Zinester’s Guide to New York City will be there along with a guest librarian, Karen Gisonny. And of course, my wondeful co-host Jessica Pigza and I will be there to get crafty with you. More info on the event here. Come on out and make something awesome.

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Easter Goodness

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Getting ready for Easter weekend, I’m doing a bit of crafting. That’s my craft/dining room table this morning before I head to work. In the upper right hand corner is the bonnet my mom and I worked on together for my sweet little niece. I love the way the modern fabric makes the old-fashioned design look brand new.

Below it are vintage Easter postcards I’ll be mounting on paper and sending to loved ones, a craft I described in this old post.  The bottom is the new pink dress for the little stuffed bunny I made for my niece back in December. Her bunny needs something new for Easter, too! That pattern is from Kata Golda’s beloved book, Hand Stitched Felt.

A friend at work asked if I had any fun Easter crafts to recommend. Though I haven’t tried this egg dyeing method yet, I adore the end result.

(Photo credit: bigsislilsis.com)

I read about this project in the April issue of Country Living magazine. It was created by Sonia Bauer of www.bigsislilsis.com. The full project, which looks gorgeous at every step, is here on her site. It also happens to be very eco-friendly, as she uses natural dyes for her eggs.

As I crafted this am, I heard a great story on NPR about an exhibit at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC. Makes me want to take a road trip south to see it. Check out this gorgeous textile by Maggy Rozycki Hiltner called Hothouse Flowers.


(Photo credit: Virginia Spragg via npr.org)

And if you want to hear some more Easter ideas, tune in to Whole Living on Martha Stewart Radio tomorrow at 10am. I’ll be returning to talk all things Easter with the lovely Terri Trespicio. Hope you are having a joyful week.

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Crafting with Kata

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

This Saturday’s Handmade Crafternoon at the New York Public Library was a total joy. On the warmest, sunniest day of the year, I was thrilled that we had a turnout of nearly 50 people to learn felt crafting from the lovely and talented Kata Golda.

We made adorable finger puppets like these samples that Kata brought with her.


We had a lovely pile of gorgeous felt donated by Kata and the woman who hand dyes all of Kata’s felt, Sorcha of OhMa Felt. We have lots of leftovers, so we’ll be able to do many felty crafts in their future thanks to their generosity. I like this shot of one of the felt piles, drenched by the sun on a big library windowsill.


The finger puppets are very simple to make, and Kata was a very clear and warm instructor, making sure that everyone felt comfortable doing the craft, no matter what their skill set. She’s precisely the sort of teacher I adore! Here she is showing us how to split threads for embroidery floss. Turns out you should split from the middle to avoid tangles. You learn a new thing at every Crafternoon.


These are just three of the puppets made by our gifted attendees.


Kata also brought a lovely selection of her other felt work, like this incredibly sweet group of creatures.


Everything she makes has a magical charm to it.


Every finger puppet family needs a bed, and Kata made sure that hers have a very cozy one.


Kata’s darling daughter Odette and their dear friend Amy are along for Kata’s trip and were wonderful assistant teachers. Here are the three Pacific Northwesterners with my kind co-host, Jessica Pigza, and the finger puppets they crafted.


And I managed to get a picture with the Golda girls and Jessica. I’m holding the felt toy that I just finished making for a baby shower. It was easy to make because I followed the clear and fun instructions and templates from Kata’s book, Hand-Stitched Felt. I’m thrilled with how it turned out, which is a testament to Kata’s great writing and illustrations.


I’m so thankful that Kata was able to make the long journey cross country to share her time with us. Even on a perfect sunny day, I always have an amazing time crafting at the library. I even had time to whip up a little bunny puppet.


Our great guests and lovely space make Handmade Crafternoon the perfect place to spend the day. If I do say so myself.

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See You this Saturday at the Library

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The next afternoon of craftiness is nearly upon us, and I can hardly wait. Last Crafternoon we had the talented Esther K. Smith on hand to share her collection of letterpress art and to show us some of paper works from her latest book, The Paper Bride.


Esther taught us how to make a garland guest book.


Using the basic folds she taught us, you could also get creative and make other shapes and objects, like the gorgeous crown my brother’s lovely girlfriend Emmy made, pictured below.


As always, we had a tremendous turnout and it was a great day.


This Saturday, March 20th, Kata Golda, author of Hand-Stitched Felt, is coming all the way from Washington state to share her process of making some of the sweetest felt creations to ever roam the earth. So get out your sewing kit and plan to whip up some stitches with us. She’ll be teaching us how to make these darling little mouse finger puppets.


We’ll have some supplies, but if you want to bring your own, Kata suggests that you “bring any scissors that will cut felt and needle with an eye big enough for 6 strands of embroidery floss” (and a sharp point). You could also bring some felt and embroidery floss if you like.

This event is FREE and held from 2-4pm at the main branch of the New York Public Library:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (Room #227, located in the northeast corner of the second floor)

My delightful librarian co-host Jessica Pigza will pull a wonderful selection of books from the library’s vaults for added inspiration. Kata and I will both be available to sign books at the event, which are for sale at The Library Shop.  We hope to see you there!

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Q & A with Kata Golda

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Our Handmade Crafternoon at the New York Public Library last Saturday was a fantastic event. Almost 80 people turned out to learn some new paper-folding skills from the talented Esther K. Smith and browse the wonderful selection of library books pulled by Jessica Pigza. Jessica was kind enough to make a list of the books she pulled for the event, and it’s a fantastic resource for all of your future book arts projects. Thanks to the NYPL, Jessica, Esther and all of the eager crafters who came out and created.

On March 20th, we are thrilled to welcome the wonderful Kata Golda, who will be joining us all the way from Washington state.  Kata is the author of Hand Stitched Felt, a charming book full of sweet patterns and ideas for all sorts of lovely felt projects, as well as wonderful advice on crafting. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her life and her craft, and take some delightful photos to illustrate.

What is a day in the life of Kata Golda like?

i try hard to make sure that each day holds a very quiet early morning. this is when i 1. organize my sewing basket with the days projects, even if these projects are not priorities they are usually easy things to pick up and work on when i am interrupted all day long.


2. make a list of what i have to do (return phone calls) and what i want to do (work on an illustration for a project).


3. i like to do my written correspondence in the early morning and all of my writing…..no interruptions. as the darkness becomes light getting outdoors is essential….a run, a walk in the woods, the garden. it has taken me years to recognize that this time spent lessens the stress and makes me see the joy in what i do. i am reminded that i love what i do but because i make a list for the day that i could not possibly finish in a week i will always feel unsuccessful….so i rethink my priorities with thorough completion of one or a few things being the goal. i am a homeschooling parent, a gardener, a lover of the sunshine and the outdoors and a cook. as i shift gears from project to project i always put things back in their place, otherwise i become overwhelmed by the chaos. at the end of the day it is essential to leave enough time to clean up so i can start the next day with every tool back where it belongs and freshly sharpened pencils.


You work with a group of women in your town to make the creations you sell all around the world. Does everyone work on their own projects at home, or do you all gather in one place to work, more like a quilting bee or a Crafternoon?

i work solitary and so do the few people that i work with. we all have different and specific things we do. we also live in oregon, washington and california.

You talk about the fact that your grandmother was a crafter and your mother is one as well. Does your daughter love crafting as much as you do? If so, how are your crafting styles different from one another?

i come from a crafty background..grandmother to mother (joy, to whom my book is dedicated). my daughter although good with fine motor skills, understanding and explaining, at this stage in her life, would rather be roller skating, playing basketball or exploring on her bicycle. that said she will be my enthusiastic and skilled helper at crafternoon.


(Per Kata, pictured above is the darling project we’ll be making at the March Crafternoon!)

In the introduction to Hand Stitched Felt you describe how your stitching style underwent a dramatic change as you started working with felt, transforming from perfect stitches used for quilting to “larger, more irregular stitches”. You say, “I fancied the way the ‘imperfections’ in my stitches showed the presence of my hand in the work.” I am also a firm believer in wabi-sabi, which is the Japanese concept of the beauty in imperfection. Do you ever revisit those “perfect” stitches of your past, or have you found that once you embraced imperfection, perfection lost its appeal?

kata golda stitch

i don’t really think about perfect and imperfect stitches. i just stitch the way i do. writing the book made me consider this and that was part of the great joy in working on Hand -Stitched Felt…to think about what i do and the way i do things…life just moves so quickly forward, i am grateful for this experience to reflect.

I’m a huge fan of your felt maker, Oh Ma Felt. How did you meet Sorcha and how did the partnership come to be?


my felt is made by OhMa Felt. Sorcha, my dear friend, started dying felt for me when i was having trouble with color consistency and safety issues with the plant dyed felt (i make things for children and need to pass safety tests). she came up with formulas for fabulous colors and child safe and consistent color! she dyes all of the felt that i use.

What is it like to be a small craft business owner? What is the biggest headache and what is the greatest reward?

i absolutely love what i do although it does present its set of challenges. i often feel overwhelmed and have a difficult time stopping working…that said i am so lucky to spend my days doing what i love to do. there are of course logistics of running a business that i don’t enjoy…dealing with past due invoices, worrying that i will run out of ideas and worrying that i will fail as it is all up to me to keep it rolling….sometimes at these moments i see the real appeal of a job that you leave at 5pm.

What is your next big project?


Next big project…i’ve got quite a few things brewing….they include working on another craft book and constructing large, movable characters (similar to the stuffed animal family in my book) for a stop motion and still photography project.

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2010 Handmade Crafternoons at the New York Public Library

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Handmade Crafternoons at the New York Public Library are returning in February, so mark your calendars for more amazing days of FREE crafting and inspiration in one of my favorite places in the world. If you came out this fall, thanks for making our inaugural series such a complete success. Every single Crafternoon was packed with crafters eager to learn from each other and the library. We raised money for the library, we gave away amazing raffle prizes, we made crafts, and we made new friends. And if you missed it, don’t be jealous! Just be sure to join us in February, March, April or May for some amazing crafty days.

My crafty librarian co-host, the remarkable, adorable and wildly knowledgeable Jessica Pigza will continue to pull stacks of jaw-droppingly cool books from the library’s collection to share with you. And we will continue to welcome incredible special guests who are traveling from all over the Crafternoon Nation to spend a little QT will us at the NYPL.

Saturday, February 20, 2:00 – 4:00pm


Esther K. Smith, author of How to Make Books, Magic Books & Paper Toys, and The Paper Bride, will join us for some paper folding and book making good times. Esther is a completely amazing artist and a very cool person, so you will definitely want to join us to learn the ways of the paper from the master herself.


Saturday, March 20, 2:00 – 4:00pm


Hand-Stitched Felt author Kata Golda is coming all the way from Washington state to share her process of making some of the sweetest felt creations to ever roam the earth. Kata is another very cool lady that you’ll most definitely want to meet, so get out your sewing kit and plan to whip out some stitches with us in March.

Saturday, April 17, 2:00 – 4:00pm


I will be leading us in DIY fun while also sharing tips on how to host your very own inspiring Crafternoons. Right now, I’m learning towards doing a decoupage theme, but Jessica is going to help me get some inspiration by helping me do some research in the library, so I might be psyched to craft something completely by the time April rolls around.

Saturday, May 15, 2:00 – 4:00pm

alabama studio style
Natalie Chanin, creative director of Alabama Chanin and author of Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style, is paying us a visit from Alabama to show us some of her favorite crafting techniques and talk about the inspiration behind her work. And I think it goes without saying that Natalie is a super cool lady. I haven’t had the chance to meet her yet, so I’m doubly excited to shake her hand and have her share her wisdom in May.


Location for All Events:

New York Public Library

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Check back here and at Jessica’s NYPL blog: http://www.nypl.org/blog_series/47887 for more details as each event approaches. See you at the library!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Crafters, Bakers and Cooks

Monday, December 7th, 2009

For the makers in your life, few gifts are more fun than brand new supplies. While I try to use recycled materials whenever possible, there are times when new materials are a necessity (or a really fun luxury). And these fine, fine items are a real joy.


Thick, luscious hand-dyed felt from OhMa Felt! I found OhMa on the blog of felt crafter extraordinaire Kata Golda. They provide the felt she uses in her beautiful, whimsical felt treasures. So I ordered a “Winter Pale” Combo pack and was thrilled when I opened the package. Wrapped in brown tissue paper with a sweet letterpress tag was a stack of thick, subtle felt, the likes of which I had never *felt* before. Dense and soft, not a bit itchy, and in colors as lovely as can be, I became a fan instantly. And I’m certain your recipient will feel the fandom too.


I have long adored Purl and Purl Patchwork. The two Soho shops have superb collections of delightful fabric and yarn in every price point, color, and material. And I took a wonderful hand quilting class with my mom at Purl Patchwork and loved the experience. So what could be better than a Purl gift certificate for your favorite knitter or seamstress/seamster? They can be used online or in the stores for all of the good things they sell, or for their classes. That’s a stitchy, knitty delight.


Cupcake kits from Bake It Pretty are a dream gift for anyone who loves to make the sweetest kind of cakes. The kits come with a selection of baking cups and cake toppers, as well as a bag of multi-colored jimmies. And I love the fact that they instruct buyers to, “Please use the memo box below for special instructions such as: ‘this kit is for a boy or girl’, ‘go heavy on the pink please’, ‘no clown-stuff because they scare me’, etc.” Any baking site that recognizes the fear of clowns, even in cake topper form, is a website after my own heart. And be sure to browse around the whole Bake It Pretty site. There is so much fun stuff on there, you’ll want to forgo the gift giving and spend all of the money onacquiring good things for your cake decorating stash instead.


Pick up a pack of exquisitely simple letterpress recipe cards from Moontree Letterpress for your most creative cook. Give them a pretty place to jot down the secret ingredients for all of their best dishes, and they’ll most certainly reward you with something tasty in return. I love the look of all things letterpress, and Moontree is one of my absolute, all-time favorite letterpress companies. Your culinary recipient is certain to fall sway to the pressed charm as well.

And if you’ve got some change to spare in your gifting budget, treat yourself to something new for your own craft closet or kitchen cupboard. In this time of holiday madness, it’s nice to treat yourself to something soft and sweet. I’m sure that you deserve it.

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