Friday, December 25, 2009

merry christmas!

i wish everyone a very merry christmas and a wonderful holiday season! wherever you are, whatever holiday you celebrate, i hope you are warm, happy, and with people that you love.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

beef & broccoli

i'm trying to be better about using new recipes. i get kind of lazy and end up rotating the same foods every few weeks. so, last week i saw this recipe from jaden's steamy kitchen (and her new cookbook!) on the pioneer woman's food blog and decided to give it a try. i'll pretty much try anything that the pioneer woman says is good. partly because she's usually right and partly because her pictures are so pretty. tah dah! my photos definitely aren't as pretty (have i mentioned yet that there is no such thing as natural light in my apartment?) but it was sooo tasty and easy to make. i was a little skeptical because the kind of beef and broccoli you get at your local sketchy chinese takeout place (the sketchier ones always taste better) is usually drowning in oily delicious gravy/sauce. i thought this would turn out dry and a little bland but i was completely wrong. everything is lightly coated in an incredibly flavorful sauce and since you don't have all that oily gravy/sauce, it feels much lighter and healthier. try it! and don't forget to chew while you're inhaling it :)

Monday, December 21, 2009


the toki cafe will be on vacation starting december 24-mid-january. the shop will be in vacation mode but feel free to convo me as i will be keeping tabs on my esty during this time. thank you and have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

a creative mint

i have a thing for colors. you might be able to trace it back my almost unhealthy obsession and love of this sesame street video. so when i discovered color me pretty over at decor8... it was love at first sight. color me pretty is a guest column written by leslie from a creative mint. leslie is amazing in every way possible. truly. her photos just make me so happy and each one packs in a ton of inspiration. i'll stop babbling and let her photos work their magic.
photos from a creative mint's flickr
photo from decor8
click on any of the photos to go to their source to see them in all their full sized glory. then spend the rest of your day swimming gleefully through a creative mint's flickr gallery and blog. laaaa!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

i'm a rock star!

miss bee asked me for some rock band magnets for her brother and of course i said yes :) and then i looked at my rock band instruments and cried because i had no idea how i was going to get all those details in with acrylic felt. acrylic felt is great because it's sturdy and affordable (i dream of wool felt in my sleep) but when cut into teeny pieces, it tends to fall to bits and all your left with is a tiny pile of 1mm threads. it's just the nature of acrylic felt or any sort of fabric really . so for these magnets, i had to skip the sewing and use a bit more glue than i usually do. and mod podge... oh mod podge you totally saved the day. now, some rock band cuteness! i hope miss bee's brother likes them and doesn't think that they're too "cute" for his manly fridge!

Monday, December 14, 2009

i dream of pretty baker's twine

i'm seeing this everywhere in places like oh happy day and twig & thistle. good ol traditional baker's twine in blue and red make me dance around but when they come in candy colors...

well that just knocks my socks off :) i'm going to go write a love letter to whisker graphics.

Friday, December 11, 2009

i won?!

i won a contest! the lovely susan from whatsoever things are beautiful hosted a giveaway featuring super girly pretty linens from anna-maria horner.

family gift set - sea salt
photo from anna maria

i started following susan's blog a few months back. it was one of those days where i click link to link to link until i'm completely lost and i'm not sure how i got to where i was. anywho. she just sounded so darn nice that i added her to my blogroll and my blogspot stalker list (what's the official name for the thing that shows up on your dashboard?) and guess what... she really truly is nice and sweet! she even gave a shout out to the toki cafe on her blog. now, i enter a good number of blog contests because they're fun and who doesn't love to win pretty things? but generally, i don't win (pioneer woman, someday... i will win one of your kitchen aid mixers. i don't have space for it but if i do win, i will make space even if it means i have to store my pots and pans in my nightstand) so when i saw that i won this one, i choked on my salad, banged both knees in to my table, then laughed outloud, clapped my hands, and bounced in my seat. totally made my week. i won't tell you exactly which items i chose. you'll just have to wait! while you're waiting, why not say hello to susan at whatsoever things are beautiful? :) thank you again susan!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

save on shipping!

one more week to get your christmas orders in! as a holiday treat, i'm offering $2 shipping on all amis shipped within the US and international shipping is only $4. secondary shipping will be $1 for US orders and $2 for everywhere else. to get the deal, your order must be placed and paid for by wednesday, december 16th 11:59pm EST so hop to it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

holiday shipping

i'm terrified that christmas is right around the corner. life is moving way to fast for me! you know what else terrifies me? holiday shipping. i hate the thought of packages not making it to happy gift receiving (and giving!) hands on time. there are several packages in my life that i have stalked praying that it will get to me in time (my sister's aisle runner for her wedding, my laptop, my harry potter tie for the premier, etc.) so here is a little guide to holiday shipping times courtesy of the united states postal office! mail-by dates: dec 4. military mail destined for iraq or afghanistan dec 16. parcel post (the normal shipping option for the toki cafe) dec 21. first class & priority dec 23. express mail i can always ship orders priority or express if needed. just contact me ahead of time so that i can calculate the shipping. i generally ship orders within two business days of purchase but i try my best for one day during the holidays. and your best bet is to play it safe and ship everything as soon as possible. you don't want to spend the week leading up to christmas stalking your mail man! if your order is being send as a gift directly to the recipient, i won't include a packing slip and i can put in a personalized note. just include a "message to seller" when you're checking out. happy shopping!
a little holiday handcarved stamp action :) the holly not the "thanks"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

rabbit rabbit rabbit and rosettes

i can't believe that december is here already! thanksgiving was a blur. it was an epic weekend filled with birthdays, wandering around new york, 5.10.15, atlantic city, lots of food, visiting friends, and very little sleep. there's so much that i'm thankful for from the health of my friends and fam to delicious fruit to thanksgiving, a holiday that bring everyone together and helps remind me how blessed i am. i hope you all had wonderful thanksgivings too :) in all the madness of thanksgiving, i haven't kept up with my fav blogs in days and i've just spent two hours blissfully clicking away. i suppose i should start my day soon... but before that, i wanted to share a recent fascination. paper rosettes! i've been seeing them around wedding design blogs and i think they're perfection. martha stewart featured a wedding here with some written instructions once wed featured this incredible wedding where the bride and her mother handmade everything including all the paper rosettes! i usually prefer softer colors but i'm really loving the bright and bold used here.
photography by kate murphy photo found via once wed
after poking around a bit, i decided to use the tutorial featured on style me pretty.
photography by jackie wonders found via style me pretty
the instructions are super easy to follow. i only made a couple of adjustments here and there for my rosettes. i thought it'd be fun to use vintage sheet music and security envelopes! i used glue dots to secure the ends together which held excellently... but were a little on the chubby side so if you look reeeeal closely, you can see the dot. maybe i should stick to tape (get it? stick to tape? hah! sorry.) i used a hot glue gun to put a large bead of glue on the center of the backside of the rosette to help keep the rosette in shape after smushing it down. the smushing part is the most fun and oh so satisfying. glue made things much easier and a lot more secure. hot glue came in handy when adding the button too. i'd like to take a moment to express how much i love hot glue guns. thank you hot glue guns. finished rosettes on my bookshelf! the security envelope was the perfect thickness for this project. the vintage sheet music turned out so pretty but was nerve wrecking to work with. it was very crumbly and tore when creased too sharply. if i use this paper again, i'll have to make it with more creases. if you're looking to make rosettes with less creases (thus showing off more of the paper design) try using the tutorial from the paper source. they look pretty on gifts too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

reading list

one good thing about being knocked out with the flu for weeks (WEEKS!) is that you get in some quality reading time. i thought i'd share my current reading list in case you were in search of a good read :)
the shadow of the wind by carlos ruiz zafron this had been on my "to read" list for a long time. once i got about half way through, i couldn't put it down. is it weird that i like books about books? it's a bit on the dark side but that made it perfect for a sick day wrapped up on the couch with a cup of tea. the mysterious benedict society and the prisoners dilemma by trenton lee stewart if you haven't read the first two mysterious benedict society books yet, get those then read this one. i think this is the best series out there for young people right now. no vampires, no gothic tortured romance, no crazy fantasy... just a group of kids who are thrown into crazy adventures and they learn meaningful life lessons along the way. oh and it's hilarious. moocho brazos! i've passed this series along to several people now and they've all loved them. the absolutely true diary of a part-time indian by sherman alexie i borrowed this one from the library then bought it the next day. i loved it that much. i couldn't stop laughing (the sketches and doodles are too perfect) then i'd turn the page and start sobbing. and it provided insight into life on a reservation (something i know squat about). the forgotten garden by kate morton this had a LONG wait at the library. i just got it and haven't cracked it open yet but dang am i excited! little house series by laura ingalls wilder this series (along with harry potter) are my all time favorite books. i have yet to get bored of them which is incredible considering how many times i've read them. the first set that my sister and i had crumbled to pieces after many reads lying on the floor with popcorn and apples. the best parts of the books are the food descriptions, especially the holiday meals!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

chic for cheap

creature comforts is lovely for oh so many reasons. sometimes i just like to visit there to swim in the pretty colors. but my favorite are her "chic for cheap"s. my wardrobe consists of jeans, tshirts, and a pair of beaten up pumas. "dressing up" is putting on something other than my pumas. my last job was cool with the jeans and tshirt thing so that only encouraged my bummy tendencies. if my next job requires business casual i'm in deep trouble. i'll say it, i'm boring and unfashionable and maybe even frumpy. i know it hurts the eyes of my trendy friends. sorry friends! Ez (pronounced Ee-zee) puts together the cutest, most comfy looking outfits and they're all for reasonable human budgets. it's fun to see how a piece of art or even a photo of a room can be translated into an outfit that i'd actually wear (have you seen what's in magazines these days?!) the one i put below is one of my favs (click the image to go straight to the actual post) please keep them coming Ez!

pst! Ez also shared where you can put together fancy shmancy fashion design boards just like hers.
visit polyvore and let the fun begin!

Friday, November 6, 2009

envelopes and chip bags

playing with the patterns in security envelopes! i started using clothespins to close chip bags, baby carrot packages, pretty much everything in my kitchen. i got the tip from my old bc buddy miss k. pants. no more disintegrating rubber bands, scotch/packaging tape, paper clips to keep my food bags shut! it also looks a lot cuter especially when you dress them up. happy weekend! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


i have a mouse. it's a cute mouse but it's a stranger mouse. while we were relaxing after dinner, i heard a noise in the kitchen. i peaked in to see a tiny mouse helping itself to a mushroom bit that was in the frying pan which i had left on the stove. not cool. see, my problem is that i like furry little things. i visit cuteoverload probably four times a day (oh shush you probably do it too). so i feel bad killing this mouse with a glue trap the size of a loaf of bread. if he could just sanitize himself before entering my apartment, i'd be fine with him visiting. unfortunately, i don't think mice carry purell with them. and what if he's a friend of waukegans?! how traumatizing would that be for her? although right now she doesn't seem too concerned... she's thundering around the apartment like a rhino looking for some more cords to chew.

photo from the house of mouse. anna makes the funniest little mice in the world.

even worse... what if he's a ron weasley mouse? then what would harry and hermione do without him?? i think i've lost it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

new in the shop!

i finally have some new stuff up in the shop! i've been crocheting furiously to get these ready. the fruit stand set includes a pear, lemon, orange and apple. the farm stand set has an egg, tomato, potato, and carrot. and they come with the berry basket shown in the photo! i really love crocheting food. come visit the shop and take a peek :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

lazy links while i wait for my laundry

must visit m& j trimming on my next new york trip! it's like a dream world. saw this over at green wedding shoes. incredible! i especially love the red dress and the red detail on the bottom of her shoe. i can't get enough of this video. i want to live in this video. feed your soul and decorate your space with happy prints. i love wine corks and labels (weird because i don't drink and thus need to ask friends for their corks). mint has a fun way to use and display your pretty corks. bake it pretty and the inspired bride teamed up to produce a the most beautiful sugary blue love child.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


sorry i've been so mia lately (hi j & t!). i've just been enjoying fall in new england. and job hunting. and reading at a furious rate. and of course crafting like a maniac. i'm hoping to fill up my poor neglected shop in time for the holidays. and maybe even test out a few new ideas. hmmm... :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

play with your food

remember how i was talking about a special order that i couldn't wait to share with everyone?? here it is! i know it's nothing groundbreaking but it was so much fun to put together. maybe it's because i really like food? some of the items were made using lion brand patterns. i still like using patterns because it's a great way to learn new techniques and provides a starting point for my slightly slow imagination. so this set includes an apple, pear, tomato, egg, orange, carrot, strawberries, mushrooms, peas, cupcake, doughnut, and cookies! i can play with the real thing in my kitchen but these just look like they'd be more fun :) hopefully i can put together a few mini-sets to put in the shop in time for the holidays. yes, we are already thinking of holidays... if you go into stores, you'll see a wrapping paper/ornaments/lights/santa aisle creeping up beside all the candy and costumes.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


i think that halloween and fall really bring out the best in indie artists and crafters. halloween can be fun, cute and eerie all at the same time and it encourages your imagination to go wild. these days, i'm wondering if i should dress up for halloween... i haven't dressed up since college and it was a lazy costume. i've always wanted to really dress up. maybe a pirate?
black feather eye patch by gothfoxdesigns (this shop carries adult items and photos for mature audiences only!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

time flies

*whew* i can't believe it's already october! i'm so glad fall is here. it's by far my favorite season. i've been busy whipping up some special orders... there's one that i really can't wait to share with everyone! but i'm forcing myself to wait until it's completely finished before posting any photos. i was poking around some of my favorites blogs and came across this over at planetjune. i don't understand a word of it but apparently a group of college students in Finland crocheted about 200 lemmings and put them up all over their IT building. that game was unbelievably frustrating... i'd get so mad when they'd just all follow each other off a cliff! anyways. it's such a fun idea and it's one of those little things that can brighten up someone's day.
photos from virkut which i think is the project's blog. click to see more pictures of their lemmings!
i'm really liking this guerilla art movement. i flipped through this book yesterday at the library and i may just have to hop on board.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

introducing sonia!

meet sonia the giraffe!
she's very pleased to meet you :) sonia the giraffe was made as a special request from my former boss for her niece but she's so sweet that i'm planning on making her a regular in the shop.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

von leben schnauzers

it took me over a year to finish the von leben schnauzers! i would get started, get hookers block, put it aside, pick it up again weeks later... repeat that several times over. but finally i just sat myself down and forced my hooks to move. the result... hee hee :) i think the hardest part was showing that they're fluffy. mini schnauzers are very very ... hairy and floofy. i didn't want to use furry yarn because my stitches become very erratic with fancy yarns. i just can't see where the loops are! but i did use a wonderfully fluffy yarn for their bushy eyebrows and chest hair. red heart baby clouds yarn has a great texture but it shreds really easily. i can't imagine crocheting an entire piece with it. but hooray they're completed and shipped off to my dearest cousin! hope she likes them :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

the perfect pear

miss m and mr j are getting married in less than two weeks! i'm so excited i could explode. for miss m's birthday/bridal shower gift, i made her a set of pears... the perfect pair. get it? :) they were made from an anapaulaoli pattern from her book, amigurumi world: seriously cute crochet. i added a bow to miss m's pear and their initials to the pears' butts so that they could tell who was who.
miss m and mr j, i can't wait to see you guys next week!