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by Wiley

This large custom order was recently mailed out to a client. The client and I worked together to pick out the perfect pink, green, and yellow materials for her goodie bags:

specialorder

yarnoptions

green-options

crayonrows

 

To celebrate our first big order, we made up some business cards. A shrunken-down version of Ingo’s banner + home printer + beloved Dahle paper cutter = (voilà!) instant branding tool

bizcards

Rainbow crayons are a kiddie crowd-pleaser. To make your own, all you’ll need are:

  • crayons
  • a silicone mold
  • a sheet of foil
  • a cookie sheet
  • an oven
  • an oven mitt
  1. Preheat your oven to 250°.
  2. Let your kid peel off the crayon wrappers and break the crayons.
  3. Line the cookie sheet with some foil, then place the silicone mold onto the foil. (The foil will help catch any melted liquid that runs off the mold.)
  4. Let your kid place the broken crayons into the mold.
  5. Place the cookie sheet into the oven.
  6. Check on the crayons every five to ten minutes . Once the crayons have melted down, use your oven mitt to take out the cookie sheet. (The molds will now be about half-filled.)
  7. Drop more crayon pieces into the mold.
  8. Place the tray into the oven again for a second round of melting.
  9. Use your oven mitt to remove the tray from the oven, then let the crayons cool completely.
  10. Pop the crayons out of the mold.

Now let your kid color away!

Notes:

  • The labels on both Crayola and Roseart crayons are pretty easy to peel. (Every once in awhile, you might get a crayon that’s a bit “gummy.” You can set those crayons aside or else spend some time rubbing away the gumminess.) In terms of quality, Crayola crayons produce less waxy/higher quality rainbow crayons than Roseart, but both are acceptable for this project. (For Quizzical Creatures products, we only use Crayola.) I’d steer clear of super cheap crayons, like the Oriental Trading Company brand, which are hard to peel and incredibly waxy.
  • Target sells inexpensive silicone molds, especially around certain holidays. (I found silicone heart molds in their $1 bin around Valentine’s Day.)

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by Wiley

Everyone knows what’s at the end of a rainbow. (A pot of gold, tiny crunchy marshmallows, and the dissolution of the dispersion of light.) But what treasures lie in the space between the oft-hyped yet ever-elusive double rainbow?

We searched the world over to answer this mystery. What we found may shock and delight you…


It turns out that the land between double rainbows is home to colorful tribes of itty-bitty vegan dinosaurs that stomp around on stubby legs and let out shrill roars of feigned ferocity. Who’da thunk?

Now here’s your chance to experience the magic. As our very first Etsy product, we’re excited to offer you a HOMEMADE GOODIE BAG FILLED WITH 8 RAINBOW DINOSAUR CRAYONS.


The glittery dinos measure ~1″x1.25″x0.5″ and are made from high-quality Crayola crayons. (Your crayons will be similar to, but not exactly the same as, what’s pictured in this listing.)

The goodie bag is made out of a rainbow-patterned turquoise (or pink) cotton fabric and measures ~5″x8″. A cartoon dinosaur patch, backed by a felt zig-zag square, is sewn on the front.  The bag is tied with a jaunty turquoise (or cream-colored) bow.


Your kid will get a kick out of these fantastical creatures!

Here’s what one mom had to say: “[Our family has] a hard and fast rule about ‘no toys at the dinner table.’ But let me tell you, that one went out the window today at lunch, when [my son] and I opened your package just as we were sitting down to eat! We immediately got some paper and started to put our new friends to use while hounding down our lunch!! Do you love that I’m saying ‘we’ and ‘our’…Yes, I was just as excited as my two-foot partner in crime….And let me tell you—he was excited!!!! He LOVES them and asked if he could color again when he’s done napping.  It went a little like this: ‘Mama, color with tigers all done sleepy-time.’ He thinks one of the dinos looks like a tiger, so that’s what he’s named them…”

Know a little munchkin who’d appreciate these one-of-a-kind scribblers? Come get your own litter at our Etsy store!

by Wiley

Even though the idea for Quizzical Creatures didn’t fully foment until after we had moved out of our North Oakland apartment, it was in this lilliputian bachelorette pad that we started musing about starting up our own homegrown business.  My favorite thing about the apartment was definitely having Ingo as a roommate — but my second favorite thing was how the apartment was really a blank canvas. We owned hardly anything when we first moved in (except for a giant insect painting and a beach chair), so the apartment gave us a chance to create a home from scratch.

This mission-style rocking chair was scavenged from Urban Ore (a giant Berkeley thrift store/pack rat’s paradise).

Four sorry-looking chairs from Urban Ore + Chair Day Chair Month (four weekends of cleaning, cutting, sanding, priming, painting) + cutting up velvet curtains from Target + staple gun = a new dining table set!

This fixer-upper toy chest was from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse .  In our apartment, it served as a bench, linen chest, coffee table, stepping stool, ottoman, and occasional hiding spot.

We lined the built-in bookcase with damask paper for a fresh look and no elbow grease. Here are some cloth-bound classics designed by illustrator Coralie Bickford-Smith. The marble bookend is from Heartware in Berkeley.

A collection of buttons in quilted mason jars.

The bunny was a gift from my friend Jamie and the treasure box, with working lock and key, is from a trip that Ingo took to Mexico for a Playa del Carmen wedding shoot.

Several years ago, Ingo and I lived with a  few other friends. These are the nesting dolls that we and our other housemates painted one afternoon. A variation of these matryoshkas will be available for purchase at Quizzical Creatures.

The Room and Board couch was the one splurge in our apartment — everything else was either a gift, handmade/hand restored, or purchased on the cheap. If you go on sale days, Jeremys (in Berkeley and San Francisco) is a great place to find discounted Anthropologie curtains and home furnishings. The villi-like pendant lamp was based off of a tutorial in DesignSponge. The lamp also came in handy as a last-minute Halloween costume:

Can you guess what we are? Hint: We’re a dirtier, suckier version of the picture Ingo posted in her last entry.

This nicked but sturdy end table was purchased off of Craigslist and repainted. After affixing a $2 knob from Anthropologie, the table was like brand new!

A lovely lino print by Ingo that reminds me of the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel.

A digital print of Paris by Fleet Street Scandal.

A letterpress print of San Francisco by Lab Partners.

Our modest little kitchen.

A collection of loose-leaf teas labeled using an old-school Dymo machine.

Dessert plates from Jeremys.

Ingo wrapped a birthday gift with fresh flowers from her co-op. Walt hung these flowers to dry on the antique chandelier in the kitchen. I still have the tiny bouquet in my room (and used it as decoration for Ingo’s bridal shower).

Our sweet old landlord and her son restored this antique clawfoot bathtub. (I bet they found it at Urban Ore!)

Ingo and Jerry took a ceramic course last year and she gave me these gorgeous spice bowls for Christmas.

Ingo: “We were starting a beginners class in pottery and the teacher asked if anyone had experience. Jerry said, ‘I watched a lot of videos on YouTube.’ Then he started whispering next to me about how his hands were so masterful because he learned a superior Japanese throwing technique on YouTube.”

The sentry guarding our back porch. Ingo loves succulents and even grew her own for her wedding!

The view through the dining room’s screened window into the backyard.

A lino print that Ingo created for her dad.

We always kept a fresh stem in the big Spanish glass vase. The artwork above the phonograph stand are prints from Emma San Cartier. Currently, I’m working on restoring the stand using tools from the Berkeley Tool Lending Library, which is an awesome resource for local DIYers.

by Wiley

Once upon a time there were two creatures who moved in to a three-unit burrow in North Oakland. Wiley was a smallish creature who liked to gobble spaghetti and sprint around the neighborhood. (What she was chasing after, we’re not sure. A runaway meatball perhaps?)

parkpic

Ingo was an even smallerish creature who loved her pet praying mantis, finding small places to hide in her closet, and piloting vintage planes.

airplane

When they first moved in, the burrow smelled like an unused library. When it rained, the closet leaked and ants paraded in.

But Ingo and Wiley worked hard to make their new house a home. They mopped, scoured, and disinfected. They salvaged furniture from a nearby junkyard and gave old chairs and treasure chests lots of TLC. They worked on art projects and decorated the living room with things that inspired them. Their place was tiny but full of love and good cheer. Great things happened while the two shared their burrow. They got to know their neighbors. Friends came over for pizza parties and pinata powwows. Ingo got engaged to an Endearing Dino and Wiley met a Cosmic Creature who was out of this world. A lot of yummy snacks were had.

But to every thing there is a season, and eventually each of the creatures moved out of their burrow and into new habitats. Ingo and Wiley stayed close friends though and one day, while Wiley was helping Ingo with wedding crafts, Quizzical Creatures was born.

Quizzical Creatures is a celebration of two of life’s greatest blessings: friendship and treasured moments. We’re inspired by the natural world around us (e.g., insects, animals) and when we hear encouraging stories about our fellow human beings — the most quizzical creatures of all.