Saturday, October 29, 2011


woah. finally back to it! it's been a busy couple months of moving my life and moving my classroom...getting to know my "friends" at school better, and also just getting my life in order. we moved into an adorable little blue house, pictured here. music nights, craft nights and family dinners with games abound! and we have some great cluckity friends pictured below: not sure of their names yet. one of them is popeye. but they all have alternative names as well, making things far too confusing. [not to mention i've been learning a TON of new names lately.]

so, its become evident lately that halloween is HUGE in this city. we went on a little blue house pumpkin carving extravaganza, results pictured here. i made the dinosaur pumpkin, inspired both by my students and a really awesome dinosaur plate that lives in our kitchen. [its my favorite]

i also made my first real halloween costume in a couple of years. inspired by animal of muppet fame. and it's made from all repurposed materials from SCRAP. seriously, it's my pride and joy:

the rainy season, i.e. the crafting season, has begun! i'm working on some cozy wear; hats, mitts, and slipper socks. for big people and little people alike. all of which i'll begin posting on here, and asking for feedback as i start my line! right now i'm in the midst of finishing this floppy hat, but i need some help. i cast off too soon, realized the brim wasn't long enough, cast back on and finished it. so now there is a little bumpy line going around the brim that i want to conceal with some sort of texture or accent. i was thinking about "baubles", like little knit balls, going around the whole thing were the bump is. but do you awesome, creative people have any other ideas? other things happening for my little shandai-la; i'm doing a giveaway of origami earrings and a knitted necklace through my friend diana's site: enter to win by Monday for some free jewelry!

one last thing. are you on ravelry? i am just getting started and i love it. i think it will really help me track my progress and take notes on what i'm making, so i can streamline the whole process. it's so user friendly too. and a great way to find other knitting friends. so if you're on, find me! or post your username below and i'll find you. i'm shandai.

thanks for reading, friends. happy halloween!

Monday, August 22, 2011

craters, carcassonne, cb coozies

crater lake! wow. we recently made the venture here to central oregon for the crater lake rim run. this thing was 2,000 feet deep and the bluest blue i've ever seen. i was happy to not be running around it for 13 miles like aidan and his crazy friends. instead I got to go on my own little hike and snap some of my favorite photos of the summer.

carcassonne! this is my new geek out game project. it's made out of corian counter samples which i procured from SCRAP (for $2) and which make great (although heavy) game tiles. it definitely needs some touching up, and i'm considering doing some collage work to add some graphic elements. but really, to those catan geeks out there--you will love this game! if you want to make your own set, you can find the break down of the tile design on the wiki page and customize them however you want. i just used acrylic craft paint and then coated the whole thing with mod podge. i have to give credit to my housemate jay who came up with the idea for this set design. the best part is choosing your "religious symbol" icons...mine are t.v., a pink unicorn, the fsm and money. if you live in portland and you want to play (or learn to play) i am your girl! :D

i have a lot of projects in the works. just made my first etsy sale (thanks kate! :) and am developing prototypes for a recycled tshirt shopping tote and a great belt (inspired by this design) my awesome musician friend carley baer requested a custom "CB" coozie line that has been really fun. what have you been geeking out on lately?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

busy busy bee

goodness. there has been so very much going on! portland is just starting to feel like home. to the left is a photo of our cute little stairway which feels so homey thanks to diana's awesome housewarming wreath [check out her wonderful crafty stuff here] we're still planning on painting the place [gold? turquoise?] and i'm hoping to get it done soon so we can get things on the walls.

but who has time for home improvement when they're working so hard at going to concerts, enjoying nature, playing music, eating delicious food, bikeventuring, visiting family, and generally maxin' and relaxin'. shannon's life:

she goes to the beach! a few weeks ago we went to the oregon coast to see our good friends carley and jay [better known as folk and spoon] showcase their folky tunes. we ventured out late that night and watched a moon set on the ocean. wonderful. :D

she goes to festivals! no words can really describe the northwest string summit experience. but i can try: maybe a bluegrassy nature-y colorfilled hippie trick circus? i was lovin' the hoops, stilts, performing birds, and of course, the amazing pickin' going on at this place.

she visits aidan's family! the only thing missing from the quail farm reunion was me, taking pictures of it. i know this is non-descript photo, that doesn't even vaguely encompass the feel-goodery going on at that place. great food. awesome high desert scenery. lovely, lovely people. campfire songs. camping under the stars. YAY.

she volunteers! no, i am not a complete lazy-butt. i am giving back, scrap-tastically. scrap is an amazing place where people donate art stuff and other people reuse it to make wonderful things. and i'm proud to be a part of it!

she grows her baby business! my shandai-la etsy shop is getting a little bit bigger. with more things to come. these are some of my new creations: origami lotus flower earrings. i have other projects in the works too: crane earrings, recycled granny shoppers, funky belts, and braided necklaces. coming soon-soon-soon! (like, tomorrow?)

oh! and i have a job now. i'm going to be a preschool teacher in a couple of weeks! very excited to be working with little ones again; oh, how i miss their cheerful enthusiasm and crazy antics. all the more reason for me to go now, and get crafting, while i still have time. but i will be back! until then, send me pictures, let me know what is up in your lives, folks. i miss my minneapolis peeps and would love to hear from you. and thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


wowie zowie! where do i even begin? since i do believe ye olde adage *pictures speak louder than words* applies well to this post, i'll catch you up on my new life adventures with some choice photos...

PROM 2011. all i'm saying is, you should have been there.

i caught some tournament action before departure. my sisters rock!!!

a little fun time at the state park and beach (sand hole)
[pre-government shut-down!!! lame. glad i got out when i did. i feel slightly less angry this way.]

my last meal in minneapolis. deeeeelicious home-made pizza, ala mary.
[so, the portland 'za scene is slightly lacking? yet to find the galactic pizza of my dreams...any suggestions?]

these are the girls i already miss!!! :(

post luggage debacle. who knew that amtrak was so uptight?
[brit is wearing my excess 2 lbs. worth of clothing...]

flood! we were the last train to get through...kind of put the luggage ridiculousness in perspective...

passin' the (41 hours worth of) time
[word to the wise: think twice before challenging the gilmans to this (as it turns out) very competitive game...]

chillin' at the oregon coast

you know. playing with chameleons and stuff.

my favorite place so far. i seriously could sit all day with this little dude at the portland japanese garden...

the most infamous doughnuts i've ever eaten. guess how long we waited in line for these?

yes. there are hyenas running around. everywhere.

our little garden [romero says: keep out foolz!]

el brewstand magnifico y el brewmaster ultimo

whew. and i'm out, ya'll!
[i promise i'll be back soon with: projects in the works, house pics, new friends, stories, hoop-ventures, jam-ventures, food-ventures, and other great highlights of this, my ultimate summer bikestravaganza! yay!]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

weeeeeeeee! (ving)

this picture is from last spring, but the tulips are exploding here right now so i thought it was appropriate. so awesome.

we're weaving little pouches at school, which i pulled from the book "you can weave! projects for young weavers". it has lots of accessible and amazingly diverse projects, and has helped me understand the mechanics of weaving better than i ever have. sometimes i think for learning a new skill kid's books really are the best! still working on my frame loom weaving at school; regrettably, no pictures to share. but this is the clutch i wove for a friend's recent birthday...hit a few snags, but for pretty much my first weaving project, it was a success.

i've been trying to become a more informed, worldly individual. spending all day with young children doesn't necessarily fulfill my intellectual needs...and i have to admit that it's hard to get motivated to learn more things after i've been teaching all day. but i figured a book about the state of education would be something i could dig into. after hearing an awesome fresh air interview of diane ravitch, (the former assistant secretary of education under the bush administration) i decided to check out her book, "the death and life of the great american school system: how testing and choice are undermining education". it's starting slowly, full of facts and data. i'm hoping this is a deliberate attempt to lay out plenty of evidence before she comes to conclusions that, based on what i know about her views, i will find more compelling. the interview really struck a chord with me and spoke to so many things that i think are key in understanding the state of education...i won't go into them here but if you are interested you should really give it a listen.

and. i'm really leaving! very excited. it's sinking in now--the train tickets have been bought, the junk is being packed up. the art room is being deconstructed. it's all happening! one month from now i will be in (sunny?) portland, footloose and fancy free. i've got my game face on. and i'm ready. weee!