Friday, November 30, 2007


We're moving house!!!!

Its been a long haul to find a place (hence my lack of activity here online the last couple of months) but now the time has finally come, everything's nearly boxed up and time to move on.

Once settled in to the new place -with a great new studio space- I hope to be back on full steam to fill up my etsy shop and catch up on everything I've missed!

It does mean I'll be without internet for the next couple of weeks (...fingers crossed it doesn't take longer!) while phone lines and broadband etc are activated. So 'til then take care all... and wish me strength for hauling all the boxes!!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ethical Fashion

As some of you may have noticed, for a while now I haven't really had much time to dedicate to Katsai ventures - still pending listing new season pieces in my Etsy shop... and got waaay behind on correspondence :( - hopefully things'll get back to normal soon!

I've also really missed surfing around all the great blogs and sites I've discovered in my time online these past few months.

A new one that I have come across, though, and I just couldn't miss passing on to any "interested parties" is an interesting looking forum called the Ethical Fashion Forum.

EFF define themselves as a "network of designers, businesses and organisations focusing upon social and environmental sustainability in the fashion industry" that aim to "reduce poverty and create sustainable livelihoods by supporting, promoting and facilitating innovative values led business practices within the garment industry".

I'm actually passing on this link without fully reading through the ins-and-outs of it all (...see above lack of time, snif...), but I'm definately going to check this out in the near future, and I hope maybe some of you fellow Etsy designers, crafters and homemade fans will find it interesting!

Note: I found this site following a link in an feature from The Guardian unlimited, that led me to a the web of specialised boutique in London called Equa that, apart from being what looks like a great little set-up in itself, also offers so very interesting bookmarks in it's links section! If you found this interesting.... be sure to check the others out too!

Friday, September 21, 2007

completely off-topic ..... Wanna feed my fish?!

I couldn't resist.

Click on the tank to drop them a bit of food....

... I'm so tempted to name them, is that sad?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

getting organised!

Its been a while since I updated, and a while that has brought many changes as far as both Katsai and the rest of my life are concerned. Unfortunately this has meant that i've been really busy with things other than making new items for the shop, but hopefully now I have a much better organised base to work from, making the most of my now more limited time and enjoying the whole process so much more!

To start with i organised my work space, classifying fabrics, notions, paperwork, the ever growing collection of notebooks, original patterns, threads, etc. A BIG job but extremely satisfying to have a bit of order around me as I work :)

In this mosaic you can meet "the ladies"! (my loyal aged industrial machine, the Singer tabletop sat next to her, and my hardworking serger).
I also couldn't resist showing-off a quick storage system for some of the cones of thread I made one afternoon out of plastic water bottles and good ol' celotape... not perfect (next time i'll cut them slightly slanted, so the "pockets" are tilted holding in the cones better)... but it does a wonderful job for now ;P

I also took time out to get my "data" organised and set-up a new database collection in my beloved Filemaker.
Now i can easily keep track of production, pieces, materials, listings, time and contact management etc. and in just a short time this proving to be extremely useful and much more practical than relying on the My SHop section of Etsy for tracking many of these things...

What else? Ah yes!!!
My first ever interview was published just this last weekend on the superb Spanish design and craft orientated web page Handmadecrafts/Todo Artesanias.

A big BIG thankyou to Myrna and IxcheL for all the encouragement and enthusiasm and helping to get the word out about Katsai in the Spanish speaking world!! Besos guapas!!!

(click on the link above to read the whole article.... and be sure to check out the rest of the web too, these girls do an excellent job!)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

watching paint dry .... and inspiration

OK, not literally watching.... but waiting patiently ;P

I went on a little excursion yesterday to the serigraphers' supplier here in the city and so now am testing a new fabric paint for a new line I'm working on.

So far things seem to be going well, and it looks promising ... but it seems I must wait a WEEK before I can wash it! ... And so until I can see that it survives the multiple wash test on different fabrics, this is going to have to stay another "in-the-works" project...

I'm pretty excited about the new designs though. I'm developing new motifs that are inspired by the beautiful modernist architecture here in Barcelona.

Everywhere you look there are amazing and intricate design details on the seemingly most ordinary of buildings.

And since working for an architectural photographer for a long time, when I first moved out here, my gaze often drifts up to the skyline rather than where i'm going!

... These are a few of the snapshots I've taken of things that have caught my eye.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Buzz (part 1)

Following this useful link from digg I managed to dig up some links that I'd lost track of, to some of the amazing features Katsai has had around the blogosphere.

Selling and building up a reputation online is so much to do with word-of-mouth, and I'd just like to thank, once again, all the fellow bloggers and etsy members who have spread the word about Katsai :)

I'm actually trying to compile info to finally update my own web page with more than just my "Etsy Mini" and an email link. I plan to include links to Katsai "press" and a portfolio section probably making good use of the Splashr widget I mentioned in a a previous post.

Here are some of the articles that had my head spinning when i discovered them!

SwankShow - "Verde"
LarkinandCatcher - "Katsai at Etsy"
She's a Betty - "Etsy Finds: Part X"
Vintageous - "Katsai: Original designs to wear & accessorize"
Modish - "Sucker-punched"

Thanks so much to all for taking the time to spread the word :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

A little peek behind the scenes...

The latest addition to my shop is this "built from scratch" autumn/spring jacket. I'm extremely pleased with how it has turned out, and am already planning making more when the new season's fabrics are in the shops.

I'd actually made the pattern and done a first mock-up way back in the spring, but then the warm weather came and I couldn't get my head round doing "wrap-up" wear!

Now with the cooler weather last week I got to work again on perfecting the cut and the details, and making the final garment.

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots at varying stages of the construction :)

Lined tailored jackets have to be one of my favourite things to make ... although there are a number of nerve-racking moments that I could do without!
The point where I have to cut into the piece to construct the pockets, for example, which i imagine must be a bit like the feeling a knitter has when they have to cut at the "steeks"? Or, last of all, when I have to cut into the otherwise completley finished garment to make the buttonhole ;P Talk about scary!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Its a Love/Hate thing...

Living where I do means that as of the middle of August I'm grumpy and tired for about a week long. This is thanks to the local traditional Fiesta the Festes de Gracia, that are basically a week-long street party, with horrendous music blaring out just metres from my flat windows until all hours of the morning.

... but, as I say, its a real love/hate thing!!

Despite the lack of quiet and calm in the neighbourhood, the inconvenience of thousands of people swarming past my doorstop and the general stink of urine and rubbish in the street -ok, I'm getting old, so what? - the creative side of the festival just has me drooling and in awe of all my crafty neighbours.

This year 18 streets were closed down by the neighbours to be adorned and decorated following the theme of their choosing. The year-long planning and hoarding of recyclable materials takes shape and become the amazing laberynth of fantasy worlds that is the neighbourhood of Gracia this week.

Anything and everything from plastic bottles and bottle caps, plumber's piping, celophane, junkyard vehicles, papier-mache and more gets mixed with a dumper-truck-load of imagination and transforms the streets ready for the day and nighttime activities for all ages.


The top prize winners this year were C/Verdi with "Route 66", C/Fraternitat with "Selva Tropical" and C/Tordera with "Mina de Sal".

For those interested in seeing more, videos walking through the decorated streets can be seen on YouTube and in this section of the Festa's official web.

...and just as a final note... here's an example of the reason for my lack of sleep!
But, even I have to admit, noisy as it is, it is amazing ;P

Friday, August 17, 2007

Printing addiction

Those of you who have visited my blog before will already know of my fastly growing addiction to printing my own fabrics.

I started out printing tshirts years ago, just for friends, and then recently got the itch again so started printing fabric with my own designs and making them up into original little tote bags.

The, many trials and tests later... and much detergent along the way... i found the formula for which paints and which fabrics work and last best, to print with my designs, for clothing that can be worn and washed indefinately without fading :)

These are the first two printed garments I put up in my shop:

The blue one already sold out (the first one just an hour after listing!) and the red one is a new addition I finished just yesterday.

....ooooh, if only the summer was everlasting....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Katsai Love .... and "cava" all round!

For those of you who don't know Etsy much, the site has it's own system of showing appreciation for a seller or item, and also bookmarking or adding them to your Favourites. This is affectionately called hearting by many.

You can see how many hearts any item or shop has by clicking the link on the righthandside of it's page. A pretty little Flash application loads up circling an image of the item or shop in question with all the avatars of the etsy members who have left their heart.

It's been sometime since I took a peek at how many hearts my shop has, and so i was extactic to see this morning that i've reached over 1000 hearts!!

This is a screenshot of my Hearts Me on Etsy. Isn't it amazing?! 1005 users call Katsai a favourite!

I've blanked out the avatars of those etsy members that are most recent, as i wasn't really sure if they'd maybe mind me publicising their affections here on my blog ;P

I'd just like to thank - and pass a glass of sparkly cava around - to all those who have supported my little adventure, all the blogs that have featured my work, all the people who have bought and talked about my designs, and eveyone who has wished me well and encouraged me along the way :) A thousand hearts to you all from me!

Woah, that sounded like an award winner's prize giving speech! Haha, but i really do feel like an award winner this morning... Humour me, ok? :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Who needs a "new black"?!

Heres the latest addition to my shop...

I'm hoping to be starting a new part-time job soon, so i've had on my mind alot lately that I'm probably going to have to dress more seriously (in my last job I was often told I looked like I was going down the beach in the summer months!). So, I adapted my tunic design to work with this gorgeous black flowey fabric I bought recently. Smart and comfortable... perfect!

The listing in my shop is for a made-to-order (ie. in your size) version of this same top!

Monday, August 06, 2007

stop... slowdown... GO! - Treasury fun on Etsy

Well after literally weeks of trying to get hold of a Treasury on Etsy, i finally managed it this morning! It's not actually that hard to get one... so long as you're at the right place at the right time. Unfortunately i never managed to get the two right until today :)

Here are my featured items, all chosen from European shops on Etsy, and follwing the red, amber and green colour theme of traffic lights (don't ask where that came from!)

As Treasuries have a limited life span on Etsy (this one expires around midday Thursday 9th August), and just so you're not all left craving for more info anything featured ;P here are the links to the lovely shops with items shown...

Balle Handknits, Stitchmarkers, Vintage Buttons, Papertags
Mtuent A world full of small treasures of other ages
FrenchLandscapes Landscapes and nature photography by Patrick Morand
Iragrant A cute range of accessories design for any individuality
AegeanSea Unique Aegean inspired mobiles, wind chimes, gift items & Vintage
PamelaAngus Stained Glass, Art and Vintage-inspired Wares
thymbyldesigns Spoil your inner Bohemien!
Karlita Original jewelrey and wetfelted accessories
Garbagebag Unique bags made of recycled materials
HeliS Unique and cute T-shirts and art. With love.
Kreativlink Mysterious, strange or just beautiful leather journals
Paperflowergirl Jewelry with a story.

These are just a few of the ever growing number of Etsy shops in Europe. For an updated list, and special features and interiews, see our group blog for more info :)

Happy browsing!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

More fabric printing

I've been making more stencils and printing fabrics for my new line of tote bags ... here are two of the latest laid out to dry.

I still have to make up the second one into a bag... and i'm think of making it with a longer strap, so that it can be worn like a sling across the body. You don't really seem to find many of this style of bag over at Etsy...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

goings on...

The first big news of the last few days was a real suprise and of much excitement for those of us Etsy sellers who are members of the newly formed European Street Team I spoke of in my last post.

Last Friday (well, for part of it), THIS was the home page over at!

All creations shown in this feature are made by European sellers on Etsy... thanks to the lovely "Treasury" list put together by Pamela Angus.

Personally, this was the first EVER time that one of my creations had been featured on the home page (see fabric bangle at bottom-middle ;P) and its just great that we, Ye Ole Shop owners over on this side of the lake, got such excellent coverage during a few frantic hours :)

All artists featured enjoyed extra visits to their shops and a few new 'favourites' awarded by generous etsy shoppers and browsers. Lets hope we get more exposure for more of the European shops back up on the Home Page soon!

Aside from this I've been busy working on, and listing in my shop, a number of new summer tops in different sizes and original bags and totes :)

... I'm really getting into this fabric-printing lark!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I've been tagged for the Etsy European Street Team!!!

I seem to have left my blog a little bit abandoned these last few weeks :( And in my absence I've been TAGGED by both Wapita and PaperFlowerGirl of the newly formed European STreet Team over at Etsy.

One of the things i love about Etsy is the community, and the "Street Teams" are a large part of this. There are many established Street TEams already, each set-up and coordinated by Etsy members with similar products or origins, that all work together to promote their segment of the marketplace.

Just recently there has been talk of setting up a Europe-wide Street Team, what with the number of shops growing daily throughout the "old continent"... and no sooner said than done things are well on their way thanks to a number of dedicated ETsyiers!

To find out more about the Etsy shops around Europe, check out the newly created European Street Teams blog where each shop is listed by country!!

Now to get on with my homework! Lets see, i have to reveal 5 little known facts about myself.... can i come up with the whole 5??

1) I'm extremely clumsey, and have broke BOTH my little toes - on different occasions - thanks to my "torpeza" and my addiction to wearing flip-flops when it gets warm. I still wear flip-flops ;P

2) I'm scared of flying, which is not a good thing when living "abroad" :(

3) I used to play the piano, the cello, and later on the guitar.... now i just play with my computer ;P

4) I've read ALL the Harry Potter books, and am eagerly awaiting the release of the new one!

5) I used to have a motorbike (500cc!) until i had an accident and got scared so sold it.

There you go. Nothing extremely groundbreaking here I'm afraid.... but now you all know me just a little bit more ;P

Thanks for the homework girlies! Now to pass-on the good deed :)
I tag -and i'm sure they've been tagged before, so 5 MORE things (?) - these ETsy members :


... I hope they don't mind taking on the challenge!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The wonders of Flickr and Splashr

I've had an account on Flickr for some time now, and love the communities and visual booty to be found and appreciated there. However, I hadn't really checked out the possibilities of using it as a "tool" until now.

A quick google took me to Splashr, a site that has developed a number of applications or widgets that let you present flickr images in a myriad of different formats.

A quick nose about and i came up with this interactive "Desktop" presentation, which reminds me a lot of the Flash presentations on Etsy :)

I'm thinking of incorporating it into my own Katsai web page as a "portfolio" of sorts ;P Thanks Splashr and Flickr!!

NOTE: Start by pressing "continue". Then click on a photo to enlarge it. Click it again to reduce. Or, press play and watch the little animation! And the little "?" down bottom brings up a help menu if you want to see what more can be done :)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

happy feet :)

As a self-confessed flip-flop addict (....see my earlier post about toed socks i was knitting so i could wear my beloved "chanclas" in winter too round the house ;P), with two broken little toes two summers running to prove it (!) I've really enjoyed discovering some new flip-flop alternatives that have been featured over at Coolhunting this week:

First we have the Papé sandal all the way from Brazil... home of the ever worshipped hawaianas...

They look so comfy, and the endless ways of wearing them along with the ability to change the fabric whenever it tickles your fancy (watchout fabric stash!!) I think makes them my dream shoes for this summer... Now just to find out where to get hold of a pair ;P

See the original Cool Hunting post here, and the Papé web page here.

Then, secondly we have the Dopie sandals, which are so original too and seemingly easier to buy online... hmmmm, more shoe lust!!

See the original Cool Hunting post here, and the Terra Plana online shop here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

NEW funky fabric bangles

This week i sort of unveiled a "new product" in my Etsy shop that i've been working on for some time now.

I'm completley addicted to bangles, especially during the summer time with short sleeve tops ;P The thing is, although i love all my store bought-bangles aesthetically, they're not actually THAT comfortable to wear :( My favourite favourite one is made out of some sort of turquoise blue stone mounted on a metal base, it gorgeous, but gives me an awful and irritating rash if warn for longer than say an hour :(

And then i have wooden and plastic ones too, but as i like to wear them on my forearm and they're rigid, its not the most comfortable fit (my arm is NOT perfectly circular... don't know about yours?!) and when i rest my arm on a table the rigidness digging in and the knocking does get particularly irritating.

As i say, i'm addicted, however, and so none of these inconveniences were enough of a problem to stop me sporting my beloved bangles (i don't wear high-heeled shoes much at all, but just think of my fashion-victimness as far as bangles are concerned a bit like the torture we girlies put ourselves through with heels).... until now!

Well, the challenge had been set, how to come up with a process that would create an attractive, comfortable, non-allergenic, non-rigid bangle that i can wear in the hot weather without all those little downfalls...

Many hours of prototypes, tests with different interfacing, plastics, stretching, wrapping, handstitching and generally swearing at the frustration of not getting it quite right finally gave way to these!

I'm in love!

....and completley addicted to making them (although it is no piece-of-cake, each one takes over an hour and a half of labour!).

It has also breathed new life into my humungous fabric stash - i see so many possibilities and new combinations that i know i'm gonna have fun trying them all out :)

I'd love to hear all of your's thoughts on these accessories, as feedback is always extremely useful to refine a process or idea ... and sometimes familiarity clouds judgement, if you get what I mean?

Do you think there is a market for these types of "fabric jewellrey"?

Saturday, March 31, 2007

post data....

<<< THIS was the view out the window while i was writing that last post!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Where did Spring go?!

So as of a week or so ago we're officially in Springtime, right? So what happened??!

A month ago we were at around 20º each day (ok, so not "normal" either) but now we're back to wearing scarves while at home, picking up the brolly on the way out just incase, and only dreaming of flip-flop-weather! Moan moan groan..... ;P

Been busy, as ever, and here's some of what i've got to Show & Tell:

Started knitting some toed-socks so i can still wear my beloved flip-flops even if it is just round the house ;P I actually finished the first one already, now i just have to make it to completing the pair.

And two new tunic tops hot off the manequin and listed in my Etsy shop :P

...Just for the record, i FROZE taking these pics!!!

edit: links to patterns used for toed socks...
GEISHA SOCKS from Spun Magazine
TOE-UP "SOCKULATOR" from The Knitting Fiend

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Shoutout for new fun blog!! - Trousseaux to Treasure

If you're into independent designers and are not adverse to shopping -or atleast window shopping- online, then you have to check out the fun new blog Trousseaux to Treasure.

Dreamt up by Janaina from Olilo Designs at Etsy, and Renee from Cocoapod at Etsy, both have been working hard on getting things together on the Trousseaux to Treasure Flickr group, ready for the official launch of the blog just last week.

In their own words, "Trousseaux to treasure was created not only to invigorate our fashion minds but also to offer a wonderful view into the indie design world. For people who are longing the perfect outfit, or just lacking inspiration."

Janaina and Renee invite us all to enjoy virtual outfits put together by group and blog members. They also plan to feature indie designer interviews, offer discount coupons and Shoutouts to new designers on the blog.
But, in my opinion, the best part of all is that we can all join in the fun, window shopping for the perfect outfit for that special -or not so special- occasion and submit it to the Flickr group for consideration for the blog!

Here's an outfit I put together and that was already featured on the blog! It was sooooooo much fun putting it all together ;P

And, ofcourse, the details of where to find all these great pieces...

Independent / Etsy shops:
- tshirt from circularaccessories
- ring from tigerlillyshop
- earrings from scorpienna
- bag from lindasfiberarts

High Street / Mainstream retailers:
- Jeans from Mango
- Jacket from Zara
- shoes by Marc Jacobs (available at Les Escarpins by Marinamode)

Monday, March 26, 2007

mini-update... to get me back in the swing of things ;P

Its been a while! I just don't seem to have got back into the swing of things since me internet connection at home was fixed... And then it got to the point that it was becoming quite a challenge to decide what to post after so long, so "mañana, mañana" i found myself convincing myself, and here we are.... more than just a couple of weeks later!

Its good to be back online though. How i've come to depend on internet for even the simplest things, nevermind running my Etsy shop. News, tv guide, recipes, street maps, the weirdest little niggle question like what WAS that actor's name or etc etc and of course contact with those that are far and not so far... don't know how i coped with just day to day life without internet!!

In the meantime i've been working on some new pieces, and most importantly new patterns!! I hope to get some decent pics in daylight tomorrow of the first finished top from the new patterns, and get to list it on Etsy :P

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Aaaarghhhhhhh!!!..... I'm without my broadband internet connection!

This week has been pretty frustrating. Apart from spending the first half of it down with 'flu, to top it off my router has gone kapput and i have to wait till my internet service provider send out a replace... which could be a late as the end of the month :(

How frustrating is this?! In the meantime i'm back to dial-up connection, and just quick check-ins on the shop and email, so i may not be posting for a week or so. Hopefully things'll sort sooner than expected :D

Thursday, February 08, 2007

We're getting there!

Well, we're getting there!

Been particularly busy this week working on new designs, new colour combinations, and "producing" for both Nina's Boutique and my Etsy shop.

This red top has been popular, both at Etsy and the shop here on C/Verdi, and so now i've chosen another fabric combination... and also adapted it into a short shift-style dress!

This dress is a little large on me (I'm extending the Katsai size range)... but you get the idea.

Until i get hold of more of the khaki green fabric, this version is only available at Nina's... but i'm searching ;P

Thursday, February 01, 2007

teeny-weeny handstitched mini journals!

I make these as a little-something-extra-free-gift for my customers on Etsy and finally remembered to take some pictures before sending!

I make them out of my business cards, and handstitch the pages together using Coptic Stitch.

I really love them, but, come to think of it, no receiver has actually commented anything on them as yet.... maybe its just me thats obsessed with notebooks, journals and everything paper?!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

DIY stripes

I find it really hard to get hold of interesting fabrics locally, and as the fabric store nearest to home has been closed all week, i've had a go and printing my own...

Yesterday I cracked out the fabric paint left over from when i used to print t-shirts, and after a while of measuring, masking and painting, here are the results :)

As you can see, I started easy: stripes!

I'm really pleased how it turned out, although it did soak up a hell-of-alot of paint :( Going to have to get more supplies in for the next lot...


Ultimamente me he cansado un poco de lo dificil que lo encuentro comprar telas interesantes. Entonces, y como podéis ver, he decidido experimentar un poco con las pinturas textiles que me quedan de cuando estampaba camisetas! Aquí tienes los resultados ;P

Me encanta esta pintura, porque despues de lavarlo queda muy integrado a la tela... no como pintura acrílica mezclado con no-sé-que-líquido que se supone que lo hace más suave y resistente en telas (que fue lo primero que probé con las camisetas), pero que en la realidad deja la tela dura como un piedra y se agrieta al lavar :( Ésta es mucho mejor!

Me sorprenió la cantidad de pintura que chupó este retal por eso.... habrá que comprar más provisiones para la siguiente aventura ;P

I'm thinking of using this newly printed cotton to make a couple more tops like this one ...using the stripes for the top part, and either brown or black plain cotton for the rest.

I'll be sure to post a pic of the finished thing when its done ;P