Sunday, August 11, 2013

Modern Mouse Crafternoons

     Calling all crafters!  If you like to get together with friends and other fun people who like to do hands-on activities, then you'll love Modern Mouse Crafternoons.  Modern Mouse is an adorable little shop at the Alameda South Shore Center that sells products made by Bay Area artists.  You can find everything from necklaces to shirts, coffee cups to wall clocks, stationary to posters, and more at Modern Mouse.  Many of the items are handmade, most are locally designed and themed, and all come from artists and crafters who live nearby.
     But Modern Mouse isn't satisfied with just supporting local artists and crafters.  They want to get their customers involved in the creative process.  That's why they offer a craft workshop at least one Sunday a month, and you don't have to be an expert crafter to have a blast at this event.  Modern Mouse usually allows customers to vote on the craft for each event and sends out a notice of the upcoming crafternoon via Facebook.  To participate, all you have to do is RSVP on Facebook.  The cost is only $5, which covers all your crafting supplies as well as snacks and drinks.  Occasionally the crafternoon benefits a charity, and crafts made during the workshop are donated afterwards.
     The first crafternoon I attended focused on making bottle cap necklaces, magnets, and pins.  I was amazed by how many materials you get for the price you pay.  I was able to make five necklaces, three pins, and two magnets...for just $5! And it was so simple to do! I am not the crafter in my family.  My sister holds that title.  I am usually the person dropping the bottle of glitter, gluing her shirt to the table, or embedding a needle in her finger.  But the workshop instructor not only gives directions to guide you through the craft, but she also makes rounds to give personal advice and instruction just in case you're struggling.
     This time, we made tomato pincushions.  My sister and I decided to make pumpkin pincushions instead of tomatoes, so we could use them as fall decorations.  The instructor for this craft was Polly Conway, the same person who taught us how to make our fabulous bottle cap items.  Even though sewing is my personal crafting nemesis, I was able to create a fairly cute pincushion, and I only jabbed myself once with the needle!  And my ego was stoked a little by the compliments my frankencushion received from the instructor and other crafters.
     The atmosphere for these events is awesome.  Everyone is relaxed, happy, and ready to have a good time.  You will receive a warm welcome, and everyone wanders around the room while crafting to comment on each other's designs and to share advice and feedback on the craft.  You definitely feel like you're part of a big, happy family in this workshop, and you get to walk away from it with an item to brag about to all your lame, noncrafting friends.
     The crafts you'll learn to make at these events are also so easy and so cheap to make, and give you so many ideas for similar creations, that you'll definitely want to stop by a craft store and pick up supplies to continue the fun on your own.  Lucky for you, there's a wonderful craft store just across from Modern Mouse called Beverly's.  Anything you could ever need is in this craft store.  I was able to pick up more bottle caps, seals, and necklace chains there after the last event.  The prices are a bit steep at Beverly's, but the selection of supplies is worth it.
     Modern Mouse is also in Alameda's biggest shopping center.  This attractive area provides shops, benches, and eateries that will tempt you to hang out a while after your craft is complete.  You can get a coffee, pick up some groceries at Safeway or Trader Joe's, and have some lunch at Chipotle or Panera.  The beach and the bay are just across the street, so you can also go sit by the water and watch the kite surfers do their thing.
     If you want a quiet, relaxing Sunday where you can let your creative juices flow and chat with like-minded people, and you also don't want to break your budget, then you have to try Modern Mouse Crafternoons.  Make sure to bring a five dollar bill to drop in the fishbowl as you enter.  And make sure to like Modern Mouse's Facebook page to get notices of upcoming events, to RSVP, and to see fun pictures of people crafting from previous events.  You can also visit Modern Mouse's website to learn more about local artists, shop for gifts, and learn about the shop.  In the meantime, stay calm and craft on.

Some of the bottle cap necklaces we made last time.

Here come the crafters!

Supplies and written instructions should you need them.

My little gem is the squashed one on left, my sister's expert pincushion is obviously on the right.

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